• May 30th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on May 30th, 2007 · Comments (13)

    Up until that wacky top of the 9th, I was convinced that the Yankees would lose this game. I guess that means they have me conditioned.

    Mark your calendars for July 16, 2007 – that’s the next time the Yankees play the Jays. A-Rod’s first At Bat in that game could be interesting.

    Going to watch the post-game now. I’ll be back if I have more to add to this entry.

    May 29th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on May 29th, 2007 · Comments (12)

    First, some facts: It’s close of business, May 29, 2007. The Yankees are in last place – 14.5 games back of first place.

    The last time the Yankees were in last place on May 29th: 1990

    The last time the Yankees were 14+ games back of first on May 29th: 1984

    The 1984 Yankees had one of the worst starts in the last quarter-century of Yankees baseball. The 1990 Yankees were one of the worst teams in franchise history.

    Yes, in 2007, we’re seeing Yankees suckage at a level that’s hardly ever seen. Don’t blink boys and girls – you may miss history in the making!

    Now, on to this contest tonight.

    So, the Yankees take full “infield” before the game today, around 6:14 pm ET, for what may be the first time in something like (at least) five years. (And, it’s not just the infielders made to work here – it’s the outfielders, catchers…the whole team.)

    What happens in the game?

    Jeter makes a stupid throw in the first to allow a runner to get into scoring position. A-Rod makes a bad fielder’s choice in the first to allow that runner to score.

    In the seventh, the Yankees infield fails to pay attention to a runner on third – and he steals home – giving the Blue Jays a lead in the game. Pettitte, A-Rod and, to an extent, Phelps had a hand in the botched play. (Another failed fielder’s choice between A-Rod and Josh Phelps set the runner up on third before the steal of home.)

    In the eighth, A-Rod grabs a bunt that’s heading foul and elects to go for the out – allowing a base runner to advance (who will eventually score the winning run).

    Boy, the team really responded to that infield practice, huh? Just another sign that Torre has lost the attention of this team.

    Oh, and, the Yankees hitters pulled another no-show and wasted a fine effort from Andy Pettitte. Same old, same old.

    We play today, we lose today – Dat’s it.

    May 28th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on May 28th, 2007 · Comments (17)

    You watch the way the Yankees went about their business today – even after a long pre-game meeting – and then you watch the way the Red Sox looked in the highlights of their game today, and you can see the difference between the having a losing and winning attitude.

    Sure, maybe it’s a chicken and the egg thing – meaning that your attitude is better when you win and terrible when you’re playing like the Yankees now. But, bottom line, regardless of the root cause, you have to change your attitude when it is like the one the Yankees have now. (And, that’s why Torre called the failed meeting today – to try and address their attitude issue.)

    After all, the Yankees need to do something. It’s not like they can take some players out of the starting line-up…because they have no bench whatsoever and there’s no one at Triple-A (or even Double-A) who can join this team and be a spark for them. There are no trades to be made at this point of the season.

    Basically, the Yankees are in a terrible losing funk now…and it’s become a losing state of mind. And, when someone has a mental situation like this, the only way to stop it is to break the pattern. It’s the same as when someone starts to go down a mental path that’s not good for them, but one that they’ve been down before and have been repeating (as a response to their situation). Maybe they have to get up and go for a walk. Or, maybe they need to get control of their breathing. Or, maybe someone has to slap them or throw cold water in their face. But, there has to be some shock to the system to get their attention away from repeating that bad mental state.

    You’ve seen this pattern-breaker happen for baseball teams in the past. Maybe it’s an on-the-field brawl that will wake up a team. Or, maybe it’s a big trade – moving someone who they team never thought would be traded. But, most of the time, it’s a matter of firing the manager.

    At this point in Yankeeland, it’s time to strongly consider letting Joe Torre go – in an attempt to shock the team and break the pattern that this unit has formed this season.

    It might work – or, it might do nothing. In any event, it’s the only thing left for the Yankees to try now. Perhaps someone “new” (read not someone on the current staff) can be a spark for this team to start winning some games and get back into the wildcard chase?

    Put it this way: How much worse could things get with a change? There’s probably little downside to letting Joe go, and, maybe, you might get lucky with the move.

    The Yankees are not a great team. But, they have some talent. It’s not like they’re the Devil Rays, Royals or Rangers. Even with their flaws, they should at least be a few games over .500 at this point. The fact that they’re playing this poorly, when they need (in the worst way) to show some life, is a sign that they have flatlined.

    It’s time for team management to break out the defibrillator. Again, maybe it’s too late? But, you have to at least try now. Inaction will only lead to no change in the Yankees current state. Taking some action, in an attempt to break the pattern, albeit not a guarantee of solution, at least shows that the Yankees don’t want this state to continue and are willing to try and stop it.

    It’s a Hail Mary pass type move, sure. But, it’s better than what’s happening now – which is the Yankees just taking a knee.

    It’s time for Big Stein and Cashman to huddle up between now and May 31st and get a new, fresh, guy at the wheel to start the month of June.

    Four months should be enough time to make a run at the wildcard – if the Yankees can get back to a better state now. But, that’s not going to happen without a change. It’s time for the only change possible at this point: Let Joe go.

    May 27th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on May 27th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    O.K., it’s the day before Memorial Day.

    The Yankees are now six games below .500 (on the season). They’ve lost three in a row, seven of their last ten, and ten of their last fifteen games.

    New York now trails Boston by 12.5 games in the A.L. East. (This is their largest hole since 1995 – when they were 16 games back in August.) The Yankees are also 8 games back of the A.L. Wildcard – with seven teams in front of them.

    The Yankees, this season, have found every way possible to lose a ballgame. No starting pitching. No hitting when they get starting pitching. Or, maybe, like today, it’s no hitting, good starting pitching, and the bullpen that fails.

    At this point, in terms of the Yankees season, well…

    The dream is gone,
    and I have become,
    comfortably numb.

    May 26th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on May 26th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    Today, we brought our kids – ages 3 and 5 – to the Stadium for the first time.

    I have to say, in the first couple of innings, it looked like Worm Killer Wang was going to serve up a laugher for the Angels. But, he came around and did a very nice, overall, job.

    Today was one of those “My wife was right” days.

    At the start of the bottom of the ninth, we had this exchange:

    Me: The Yankees are going to win this game in their last At Bat.

    Her: No, this is no longer the same team.

    Me: No, when I went to my first game, the Yankees won the game in the bottom of the ninth. It’s only right that they do it again on our kid’s first game.

    Even when Giambi and Cano opened up the bottom of the ninth with punch-outs, I was still thinking/rooting positive. And, when Damon and Cabrera reached with two outs, I was really feeling it. But, Abreu went down and the game was over. Yanks lose, 3-1, and, a bummer of a game for the kid’s first time in the Bronx.

    My wife is right: This is no longer the same team.

    I guess it could have been worse. We were sitting in Section 6 of the Main Reserve. The section next to us (Section 4) must have been the Angels comp-tickets section. There were at least 150 Angels fans sitting there. They fell into the following groups: Blonde Valley-Girl types, Hoochie Mama types, or the extended family members of Vladimir Guerrero, Jose Molina and Kelvim Escobar. (I say the latter because there were a ton of Guerrero, Molina and Escobar jerseys there.)

    They were a pretty polite group. They cheered – but not too loud. And, they did not try and rub anything in the faces of the Yankees fans around them. I’ve seen fans of other teams act much worse at the Stadium…lots of times.

    I heard on the radio post-game, on the way home, that Torre was pissed with the umps for the called strike on Abreu in the ninth. Suzyn Waldman said it was the first time she could recall hearing Torre blame the umpires for being a part in costing the Yankees a game. Sounds like Joe and his boys are starting to get frustrated. I think they know it’s a sinking ship and the water is rushing in hard. They’re grabbing for anything at this point…if they want to blame the ump for blowing one called strike.

    Just look at the Yankees record this season. New York is playing like a bad baseball team. That’s why they’re losing games. That’s it – and it alone.

    May 25th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on May 25th, 2007 · Comments (18)

    Regardless of the bad outcome tonight, I want the Yankees to give Tyler Clippard (at least) one more start – rather than making a call on him based on this latest game. I still think he can still hold his own at this level. But, you never know what Torre and Cashman may do with his turn in the rotation.

    I want to give Matt DeSalvo a buddy pass on this one tonight too. It’s been eight days since he last pitched in a game. That’s too long. Of course, for a guy like him, he’s not going to have any command with a lay-off like that one.

    Luis Vizcaíno? Well, I’m beginning to believe he’s a cat person – because he’s been “putting out the fire with gasoline” just about every time out.

    I’ll be at the game tomorrow. I hope the Yankees give a little better effort in that contest.

    Here’s a fact for you: The Yankees will have to win every game left in May to have a record over .500 on June 1st. (All those wins would put them one game over the mark.) The last time the Yankees were not a .500 team on June 1st? That was back in 1995. However, that season was not a full season. The last time the Yankees were not a .500 team on June 1st – when it was a full season – was 1991.

    The Yankees finished 1991 with a record of 71-91 (which left them 20 games out of first place).

    May 23rd vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2007 · Comments (5)

    Oh, it’s going to be fun to read the next entry to 38pitches.com

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    May 22nd vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2007 · Comments (6)

    Julian Tavarez, coming into this season, has been a Freddy Lima type hurler – meaning he looks like Freddy Krueger, acts like Jose Lima, and pitches like some hybrid of the two. Basically, he’s only on the Red Sox because Manny Ramirez wanted a puppy. There’s no excuse for being shut down by him…therefore, the Yankees offensive performance this evening (against Boston and Tavarez) is inexcusable.

    And, as much as I want to say “I told you so” and point to Mussina’s oreo performance tonight – crunchy start, sweet middle, crunchy end – and blame Moose’s hits and runs allowed for this loss, at the end of the day, it was the Yankees weak bats against a weak pitcher which makes Mussina’s failure today a moot item. (And, yes, I know about the blown call in the seventh on the Crisp steal. Sorry, that doesn’t give Moose a pass for allowing all those hits in this game.)

    This loss sets-up an interesting match-up tomorrow. Will Curt Schilling win and put a huge nail in the Yankees hopes to get into the A.L. East race? Or, will Andy Pettitte perform CPR for the Yankees and allow New York to prove that their overall streak of poor play in 2007 is coming to an end?

    Five days ago, I made the following prediction: “If, at the close of business on May 23rd, the Yankees are 13.5 games out of first (or greater), there will be an organizational meeting in Tampa on May 24th and Joe Girardi will be managing the Yankees on May 25th.”

    A loss tomorrow would put the Yankees 11.5 games back of Boston at the close of business on May 23rd. As such, I do not think a loss tomorrow will cost Joe Torre his job. However, if the Yankees lose tomorrow and then split their next 6 games, or worse, you still might see that organizational meeting – just a week later (being held on May 31st).

    The Yankees play Boston again on June 1st – in Fenway for three games – including a FOX game on Saturday and an ESPN game on Sunday. I would have to think that Big Stein would want the ship to be right by then – or have a new skipper at the wheel (if Team Torre has another bad week).

    It’s a good thing Andy Pettitte has broad shoulders. There’s a lot riding on them tomorrow. Of course, if the Yankees bats pull another no-show, even Pettitte may not matter.

    May 21st vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2007 · Comments (15)

    We’ll start with the traffic report. It took me 90 minutes to drive 55 miles into the game today. But, that was with me leaving at 4:15 pm for a 7:00 pm game. Had I left later, I’m sure it would have taken longer – considering how many empty seats could be found inside the Stadium during the first inning or two this evening. Going home was a little better: 80 minutes to travel 52 miles. However, I had a couple of breaks there. First, I stayed until the last out of the game – and many, many, people left before that. Secondly, I drove out of the parking garage against the direction arrows and that led me to an exit that everyone seemed to forget…and I saved a ton of time that would normally be wasted sitting, snaked in line, trying to get out of the garage. (I also drove a tad over the speed limit on the NJT and GSP – given it was so late in the night as I was driving home.) So, other than the price I’ll pay for leaving work early, overall, it was not all that bad coming and going today – even with it being a Sox game.

    I attended this game with frequent WasWatching.com commentor “MJ” – and that also made going to this game a pleasant event. “MJ” is an astute and zealous Yankees fan. And, what’s not to like about going to a game with an astute and zealous Yankees fan?

    Lastly, on top of the favorable traffic results and top-notch game-mate, and, before I forget to mention it…the Yankees won!

    Looks like I got the hat trick.

    There were so many positives in this game. A-Rod’s homer in the first primed the pump. Wang’s whiff of Youkilis in the second took Jeter off the hook. Cano’s two-out triple in the fifth was clutch. Bruney getting Manny on strikes in the seventh was a huge moment. Cano’s play on Lugo’s grounder in the eighth saved the day.

    I was surprised to see Torre have Wang come out to start the seventh – given his pitch count. And, during the seventh and the eighth it seemed like Torre had the reliever-go-round running on full steam. Most importantly, from the fourth inning until the last out, this game had a nervous feel to it…as it seemed like Boston was too close for comfort, in terms of the overall score.

    But, in the end, the win is the only thing that matters. The Yankees needed this win. I knew it. “MJ” knew it. The polite Boston fan sitting in front of me wearing the “Wakefield” road uniform knew it. The concession stand vendors throughout the Loge who told me the Stadium was out of hot pretzels by the sixth inning today knew it. The many, many, young drunk fans at the game tonight knew it. The nuts involved in the half-dozen (or so) fights which broke out in the stands this evening knew it. And, the Yankees knew it – as did the Red Sox.

    This is now two big wins in a row for the Yankees. Can they make it into three? We’ll know for sure in about 24 hours. Until then, enjoy this one Yankees fans. Enjoy the stuffing out of it.

    May 20th @ The Mets

    Posted by on May 21st, 2007 · Comments (12)

    Excusing me for gushing, but, I’ve been a Tyler Clippard fan for a while now – so, last night was fun.

    Clippard was entertaining to watch. He was more animated out there than I recall seeing from him in the past. Not like Mark Fidrych or Pascual Perez – but, he was pumped for this game, for sure. And, Tyler had a great sense of timing too – waiting until after The Sopranos to get his first big league hit.

    When you factor in Clippard, Hughes, DeSalvo, Karstens and Chase Wright – the Yankees, without question, have some very good young arms that should be peaking at the big league level just in time for the new Stadium.

    Nice to see A-Rod go deep for the second game in a row. And, it appears that Abreu may be coming around. The Yankees will need them with Boston in town now.

    This game was a big win for Torre. Even if he just wins one game against the Red Sox this week, Joe should be safe for a while. But, if he lost three against the Mets and then two (or more) to Boston, it would have been bad news for him.

    I’ll be at the game tonight. Funny, I’m more nervous about getting there in time for the first pitch, because of work and traffic, than I am about the game itself. Being 10.5 games back will do that to you, I suppose. Actually, I do have some fear about the game: Tim Wakefield. If he’s on, he could put the Yankees hitters (who appear to be coming around) back into a funk. Let’s hope that his knuckler is flat tonight. According to the forecast, the winds will be SE at 6-15 MPH this evening. That means they will be blowing out to right-center and not all that strong. That should help. A strong wind from the north-west would help the knuckleball dance more. Let’s hope the weather man got this one right.

    May 19th @ The Mets

    Posted by on May 19th, 2007 · Comments (4)

    This afternoon, I had to run the usual Saturday errands: Go to the bank, the Post Office, the dry cleaners, the supermarket, etc. And, everywhere I went, I saw tons of Mets gear…most looking like it was right out of the box. Boy, when things are going good for Mets fans, those guys can break out the blue, black, and orange stuff faster than a cockroach runs for cover when the lights go on. This afternoon should have been a sign for the pain that was to come later today with this game.

    I have to admit, when the Yankees were running their hurry-up offense in the 8th and 9th of this game, part of me was thinking “Just watch, they’ll tie the game and then let the Mets win it in the bottom of the 9th.” Since that prediction did not come true, I guess that means, as painful as this game was for Yankees fans, it could have been worse out there today. How’s that for thinking positive?

    Still, in the end, another close loss for the Yankees. As Peter Abraham wrote today: The Yankees are now 4-13 in games decided by one or two runs this season. Man, perhaps with a little better defense and/or the ability to manufacture some runs, the Yankees could be a lot better off this year.

    And, why are Juan Acevedo, Antonio Osuna, Felix Heredia, Felix Rodriguez and Luis Vizcaíno all starting to look alike to me now?

    Tough “break” for Darrell Rasner today. But, it could be a tougher “break” for Tyler Clippard tomorrow. The Yankees are putting him in a very rough spot. First big league game. Against the Mets – in Shea Stadium. On national TV. And, in a game that the Yankees must win. The only thing else the Yankees could throw at him is to make him pitch the game blindfolded and in his underwear.

    Well, thanks to John Smoltz, the Yankees now sit “just” 10.5 games back of Boston in the standings. That’s better than eleven, right?

    Two down, four to go.

    May 18th @ The Mets

    Posted by on May 18th, 2007 · Comments (22)

    Another fine Andy Pettitte outing wasted.

    Losing.
    So easy, a Yankee could do it.

    Credit Willow for getting the Mets a win today. He took off the bunt in the 5th and that was the difference in the game. Amazing what a thinking manager can do, in terms of helping his team. (Joe’s counter? “Hey, I made a double-switch in the 8th!”)

    On the bright-side, it was a quick killing today. Giambi made the final out at 9:28 pm ET. That gives bloggers like me a chance to write this and then go watch “NUMB3RS.”

    One down, five to go.

    May 17th @ The White Sox

    Posted by on May 17th, 2007 · Comments (13)

    One baseball team from New York was playing a baseball team from Chicago today. New York trailed Chicago by three runs heading into the 9th inning. But, New York was retired in the 9th – three up, three down (with the last batter whiffing).

    Another baseball team from New York was also playing a baseball team from Chicago today. Here, New York trailed Chicago by four runs heading into the 9th inning. However, again, here, New York scored five in the 9th to win the game.

    Next, New York will play New York.

    It’s the tale of two baseball teams in this Yankees fan’s city.

    Oh, the next three games are going to be ugly. It is not the best of times, it may be the worst of times.

    And, then comes Boston.

    May 16th @ The White Sox – Game 2

    Posted by on May 17th, 2007 · Comments (18)

    I’m happy any time that the Yankees beat Jose Contreras.

    It’s not at the level when the Yankees beat Schilling, Beckett, or, once upon a time, Pedro. After all, those guys are/were in Boston and are loud mouths. That makes them easy to hate.

    Beating Contreras is on the same pleasure level as beating Jeff Weaver, Randy Johnson, Kenny Rogers, or Javy Vazquez. You know the type – guys who wasted our time in New York.

    It’s not all ex-Yankees pitchers fall into this “love to beat” thing. I don’t feel this way about Ted Lilly, Jaret Wright or Jon Lieber. And, it’s not all “good” pitchers in general. While I am sad to see the Yankees lose to guys like Johan Santana or Roy Halladay, I don’t feel extra pleasure when the Yankees beat them…just normal satisfaction.

    But, as stated, I do enjoy seeing Jose Contreras lose to the Yankees. So, regardless of the Yankees overall record, or their place in the standings right now, this game was an extra special one (for this Yankees fan) to see New York win.

    May 16th @ The White Sox – Game 1

    Posted by on May 16th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    Once there was a two-hour delayed calling of yesterday’s game, you knew that Mussina would pitch poorly today…as his routine was altered.

    Moosey just hates it when someone puts a pea under his pillow.

    Still, the Yankees only scored three runs in this contest. So, Mussina would have needed to be razor sharp to get the team a win today. John Danks had one career win and just six big league starts to his credit coming into this game. Yet, the “mighty” Bombers only touched him for 2 runs in 6.3 IP. I think someone has replaced the Yankees bats with wet rolled up newspapers.

    At least Abreu homered.

    May 13th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on May 13th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    SparkyandGenAdmission.jpg

    We took the kids to go see Chris Hoiles’ York Revolution take on Sparky Lyle’s Somerset Patriots today. It was a very fun Mother’s Day at the ballpark.

    We stopped for dinner out, on the way home, after the Patriots’ game. The place we chose had both the Yankees game and ESPN News on flat screen TVs. It was there that I got to see the final few innings of the Yankees game – along with the ESPN News’ highlights of that 9th inning today up at Fenway.

    Man, it was a good thing we had a great day at the ballpark in Somerset…because the residual happy vibe from that helped offset what I saw on the big TV screens while eating dinner.

    You know, at the end of April, I said that the Yankees needed to use the first 13 games on May to make a statement…via a “break” in their schedule. What did they do? New York went 8-5 in those games. That’s not very impressive. At this rate, it would not shock me to see the Yankees be 15 games out of first place by June 4th – because the Yanks are letting games slip and Boston never loses.

    And, now, with Clemens on board, you cannot even fire Torre to try and shake up the team…since Clemens has reportedly said that Torre was a big reason why he decided to come back to New York. Or, can you?

    The whole thing is a mess. Is it too early to start saying “Wait till next year”?

    May 12th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on May 13th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    This, my friends, was a big win. To lose this game, and then fall 8 games behind the Red Sox, would have been a disaster.

    As Torre says about Matt DeSalvo: “He’s legitimate.” And, he’s the best pitcher to ever wear #14 in Yankees history. (Take that, Russ Van Atta and Hideki Irabu!)

    If DeSalvo keeps rolling, he has to stay with this team. This means back to Triple-A for Phil Hughes when he’s sound. (This would not be a terrible thing for Hughes.) A rotation of Wang, Pettitte, Mussina, Clemens and DeSalvo is starting to look real good, for now. (This means “Just say ‘No!’ to Igawa.”)

    Lastly, “Happy Mother’s Day!” to all the Moms out there today. Last year, Randy Johnson started for the Yankees on Mother’s Day. The year before that, it was Kevin Brown. This year, we have Andy Pettitte. Makes you want to sing “Which one of these things doesn’t belong with the other?” (Right?)

    With Josh Beckett going for Boston today (against the O’s in Fenway), Andy will need to be dandy for New York (against Seattle). Another day, another big game for New York to win. Let’s hope the pink bats bring out the best for the Yanks today.

    May 11th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on May 12th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    Who can make Jarrod Washburn? (Who can make Jarrod Washburn?)
    Look like a buzzsaw. (Look like a buzzsaw.)
    Give their fans a headache that will surely gnaw.
    The Yankees can. (The Yankees can.)
    Oh, the Yankees can. (The Yankees can.)

    The Yankees can
    ’cause they stink like poo.
    And make this year no good.
    (Make this year no good.)

    May 10th vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on May 10th, 2007 · Comments (14)

    12:15 pm ET Prediction: Assuming there’s no rain, the Yankees will win this game today, by a score of 7-2. Worm Killer Wang will go seven. Johnny Damon will hit a homer. Let’s see how close I come to being correct.

    Update, 3:46 pm ET: At the end of 7, it’s Texas ahead, 7-2. Looks like I got my teams mixed up with the prediction!

    Update, 4:42pm ET: Fourteen to two? Texas set season highs for runs and hits in this game – mostly thanks to Vizcaino and Henn (who allowed a combined seven runs and five hits while registering just five outs). Man, this was one ugly game. I doubt this one will make Yankees Classics. On the bright-side, the Yankees don’t play another game until 29 hours from now. Hopefully they can shake this one off by then…and maybe Darrell Rasner and Matt DeSalvo can finally get this team over .500 again.

    May 9th vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on May 9th, 2007 · Comments (13)

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    May 8th vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on May 8th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    I used to think that heaven was a place where there were no alarm clocks and bills only existed on the heads of waterfowl. I’m now starting to think that heaven is a place where the Yankees get to play the 2007 version of the Texas Rangers whenever they need a win.

    Heck, even Rico Bergman looked muy suave tonight.

    File this game under: “Firing on all cylinders.” It’s a pretty thing to watch.

    May 7th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on May 7th, 2007 · Comments (12)

    You can blame the second base umpire for this loss. Or, if you want, you can blame Mo Rivera for tonight. But, the fact of the matter is that the Yankees only plated 2 runs this evening – even though they had 14 runners reach base in the game. On the whole, New York was one for eleven with runners in scoring position.

    Abreu, A-Rod and Cano each had at least one chance to deliver a big blow in this game – and failed.

    That’s why the Yankees lost this one, in my opinion.

    On the bright side, we have Matt DeSalvo. I thought he did a good job today. Some balls were hit deep and run down. Some other balls were well struck – but went for outs. Nonetheless, for the most part, DeSalvo was doing his thing out there.

    I really enjoyed seeing his energy and poise on the mound today. He looked like a confident player, in control – rather than a guy getting his first big league start.

    On a scale of one to ten, in terms of body language on the field, with one being Igawa/Pavano and ten being Clemens/Mussina, I give DeSalvo a solid “eight” – based on the way he carried himself tonight. Not too shabby for a guy who was signed as an undrafted free agent – after being named “Small College Player of the Year” – in 2003.

    I’m looking forward to his next start.

    May 6th vs. The Mariners [aka Clemens Signing Day]

    Posted by on May 6th, 2007 · Comments (21)

    Today’s date is 5-06-07…as in “five-six-seven.” Sounds like a rocket count-down in reverse, doesn’t it?

    We went to see Spiderman 3 today at 1:15 pm (ET) – it was O.K., not great, but, it was not terrible…if you’re a fan, you pretty much have to go see it. When the movie was over, and we were back in our car, I turned on the radio to catch the score of the game. It was 3:46 pm (ET). However, instead of hearing the game I heard Darrell Rasner being interviewed. “Huh?” I thought to myself – until I then heard John Sterling say that the Yankees won 5-0 and the time of the game was 2 hours and 32 minutes.

    My first thought at that moment was: “Seeing how Wang was almost perfect against the M’s, and Rasner shut them out, that tells you how bad it was that Igawa allowed himself to get lit up like a Christmas tree on Friday (against this team).” This was quickly followed by “A two-and-a-half hour game? That’s sweet for anyone who was there.”

    As we started to drive home, I continued to listen to the post-game coverage and that’s when I heard the news. Sterling said something like “You’ll want to listen to the clubhouse report from Suzyn Waldman. There’s a lot to hear about from this game…not to mention the Clemens signing.”

    My mouth dropped open when I heard that about the signing. Just this morning I was reading about rumors of the Yankees trading for a starting pitcher. This news on Clemens caught me completely off-guard.

    When we got home, I told my father about the news. (My Mom and Dad were watching the kids for us while my wife and I went to the movies.) His first question was “Is he going to get the ‘travel when you want’ deal?” (I found out later that the Yankees are granting him that.)

    We all then went out to eat and I got back home around 6:20 pm (ET) and quickly threw on ESPN. It was then that I saw how the Yankees announced this deal – during the 7th inning at the Stadium. Reminded me of July 29, 1978 – when the Yankees made the announcement about Billy Martin being rehired. Kinda show-boatie, if you ask me. But, it must have been a thrill for those at the game today.

    Funny thing is – I was supposed to be there today. I had tickets, but, I sold them to someone in my Yankees ticket group. I just had too much to do this weekend and couldn’t squeeze in the game as well. (Ron, you can thank me later. And, by the way, happy birthday!)

    O.K., here’s the part that I think most reading this want to know: My opinion on the deal.

    Back on December 26, 2006, I shared some insight on Clemens’ 2006 pitching results…and how his numbers were greatly masked by his defense helping him out last year in Houston. And, two months before that, I wrote: “I’ve had enough of Carpetbagger Clemens already.”

    However, times change. When your options after Pettitte/Wang/Mussina are Igawa and the Rookie-of-the-Day, getting Roger Clemens is an upgrade to your team. Yes, he’ll probably only make 20 starts for the Yankees this year. And, to be honest, he may only win half of those starts. And, Clemens’ ERA in the A.L. will probably be close to four this season – as the Rocket will miss facing auto-outs once every 9 batters (like he did in the National League).

    At the least, like Proctor buzzing Betancourt today, Clemens will make it interesting when Yankees batters get plunked. (I can’t wait to see him move Oritz and Manny the first time he faces Boston.) Roger will add some fire to the Yankees team, for sure. (It will be worth all the jokes around Clemens and Pettitte spooning each other on the bench during days where they’re not pitching.)

    And, the timing is good…now that the hamstring virus seems to be out of the Yankees clubhouse. Clemens’ hammies would have been a prime target for that.

    It’s a ton of money – and there’s some risk here. But, when you factor in the state of the Yankees rotation these days, it’s a good move by the Yankees (for now).

    May 5th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on May 5th, 2007 · Comments (9)

    I really thought Worm Killer Wang was going to get the perfect game today. But, actually, my early thoughts in this game were not only on him.

    Just at the start of the game, I heard John Sterling say (on the radio) that opponents had batted .492 against Jeff Weaver, so far this season (coming into the game). Yes, four-ninety-two. When I heard that, my first thought was “Now, watch, this S.O.B. is going to handcuff the Yankees today.” And, it looked like it was happening…as Weaver kept the Yankees in check for five…before he blew up in the sixth (and New York put the game on ice).

    Back to Wang, once he got through six, I started to think about how cool it would be to have the Cinco de Mayo perfecto…as it would be like Rags’ no-hitter on July 4th (1983). The event overlap with the holiday would give the pitching achievement even greater recall connective power.

    Once Worm Killer reached the seventh, all I could think was “Don’t let me hear the words ‘Past-a-diving Jeter.’ Don’t let me hear the words ‘Past-a-diving Jeter’…” But, Ben Broussard put an end to all that the next inning.

    Bummer. Still, a helluva game by Wang today. He’s something special.

    May 4th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on May 4th, 2007 · Comments (8)

    Big Papi was right.

    For the record, Esteban Loaiza, with an ERA of 8.50 (in 42.3 IP) holds the record for worst career Yankees ERA (min. 30 IP). At least Igawa has that to shoot for…I guess. By the way, coming into this season, Randy Keisler held the mark for lefties…with an ERA of 7.19 (in 61.3 IP).

    Seriously, at this point, you have to option Igawa to Triple-A. You’ve tried everything…including having him only pitch from the stretch. It’s time for Cashman to throw himself on his sword for this stupid signing and get someone else in here…anyone in Triple-A should be able to match Igawa’s ERA of 7.63 (to date).

    Big thumbs up to Mike Myers today – for taking one for the team. And, a tip of the cap to the Yankees hitters…for fighting right down to the 9th inning. When you get 22 runners on base, and plate 11 of them, you should win the game.

    For now, all that’s left after this game is to figure out if Kei Igawa is Japanese for Steve Trout, Denny Neagle, or Felix Heredia. Heck, maybe it’s all three?

    May 3rd @ The Rangers – Game 2

    Posted by on May 4th, 2007 · Comments (13)

    From the AP:

    “We had a little extra attitude this week,” Mientkiewicz said. “Not that we were freaking out, but it was like, let’s put our foot on the gas a little bit.”

    I’m not seeing that. Well, actually, I saw it in the first game of this series. But, in the last two games, the Yankees faced Mike Wood and Robinson Tejeda, and they didn’t exactly rip the cover off the ball.

    Mussina did look very sharp in the game. That’s a huge positive.

    Man, that catch by Matt Kata in the 1st inning, off Jeter’s drive, reminded me of Joe Rudi in the 1972 World Series. That was an incredible play.

    Lastly, I just hope that Brian Bruney doesn’t get gun-shy now…after beaning Sammy Sosa pretty good. It’s happened to pitchers before…you never know.

    I’m glad that the Yankees swept the Rangers…but, while I watch this week (and next) with one eye, I have my other eye on the Yankees remaining 15 games this month. I’m not quite sure that the effort shown yesterday, despite what Mientkiewicz says, is full-throttle. And, it’s going to need to be there in order for New York to do well against those teams that the Yankees face this month after the Rangers and Mariners.

    May 3rd @ The Rangers – Game 1

    Posted by on May 3rd, 2007 · Comments (12)

    Gotta be honest here. This game, albeit a win, was boring. Basically, only three guys in the Yankees line-up did anything, at all, with the stick (Melky, Giambi and Matsui). Is Mike Wood that good of a pitcher?

    On the mound? Pettitte did a decent job. Vizcaino was not good. (Not terrible, but, clearly not good.) Farnsworth made it more interesting than it should have been in his inning. And, Mo was Mo.

    So, cheers for Pettitte, Giambi, Matsui, Rivera and Cabrera. The rest of the team was…well…yawn. Not exactly what you would hope to see against a team as bad as the Rangers are now.

    But, hey, they won. So, yes, it could have been a lot worse out there this afternoon.

    May 1st @ The Rangers

    Posted by on May 2nd, 2007 · Comments (56)

    May Day, indeed. Another injury? Another pitcher? I’m calling it “The Curse of Jeff Mangold.”

    This game reminded me that there’s a difference between disappointment and pain. Sure, disappointment can be painful. And, pain can be disappointing. But, there’s no contest between which hurts more – pain wins. Disappointment is getting an ice-cream cone and watching the top of it fall to the ground before your first lick. Pain is when someone punches you in the gut when you’re not expecting it.

    That’s the way I felt about Hughes’ fortunes in this game. When he had to leave the game, and lost the chance at the no-hitter, it was disappointing. But, when I lip-read Gene Monahan (during the YES broadcast) say “It popped” (when talking about Hughes’ hamstring), I was in pain. Like a punch to the gut.

    I have to confess that I missed most of the first six innings of this game. Tuesday evening is an Idol/House night in my home. (Hey, I don’t live alone and I’m not a TV dictator in my relationship.) However, from 8 pm to 10 pm, I did tune into the game during commercials – because I wanted to see Hughes. And, wouldn’t you know it – up until 9:30 pm, every time I turned to the game, the Yankees were batting.

    By the time I first saw Hughes, it was when he was facing the first batter of the bottom of the fifth inning. I made note of the fact that he was throwing 89-90-91 on his fastball (and around 71 on his curve) – and that he was around 40 pitches. But, I did not know that he had yet to give up a hit. It wasn’t until the next commercial break that I found out about the potential no-hitter.

    When House was over, and I got to the game full-time, it was the start of the bottom of the seventh. The YES boys said that Hughes was at 78 pitches. His first three pitches were fastballs: 89-91-92 on the YES gun. His next pitch, his last, was a curve at 74 MPH.

    So, once again, Phil Hughes was showing us a fastball in the range of 89-92 MPH during his game. The difference in this contest was his control – 63% of his pitches were for strikes. If someone wants to say he had “no-hit stuff” in this game, that’s probably not correct. What Hughes had was “no-hit command.”

    Shame, now we won’t see Hughes for another 6 weeks or so. It’s a tough break for the kid. For him, it must feel like someone punched him in the gut after he just dropped his ice cream cone.

    By the way, I think the umpires blew a call in this game. Hughes had an 0-2 count on Teixeira when he had to leave the game. Myers came in and Teixeira then switched to batting righty. (He was batting left against Hughes.) If I recall correctly, a switch-hitter cannot move to the other box during an At Bat once he has two strikes on him. (At least, I think that’s the rule.) If I’m right, shame on the umps for letting that slide – and on Torre too for not picking that up.

    In any event, the Yankees won the game – which is good. Strange though, with the Hughes injury, it feels like a loss.

    Lastly, pretty funny of the YES crew last night to put the camera on Pavano shortly after the Hughes injury. Much like Horace Clarke being the face of the 1966-1972 Yankees, Pavano is becoming the face of the 2005-2007 Yankees, with all these pitching woes, huh?