• July 30th vs. The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 30th, 2006 · Comments (5)

    SIYanks0730.jpg

    I missed this one today – we took the kids to go see the Staten Island Yankees play the Hudson Valley Renegades.

    The starter for the S.I. Yanks, Edgar Soto, got torched today: 7 ER in 3.67 IP. The crowd was really on him. It’s a shame. At this level, it’s all about getting your reps in. Yes, it’s nice to win. But, at the short-season A-ball level, it’s about getting PAs and facing batters. The crowd wanted Soto out of the game in the first inning.

    I got to see Colin Curtis play for the Yankees. Despite the fact that he’s batting .342 for Staten Island, it looked like he needs work, still, against off-speed stuff.

    Moving to the big team – it was nice to see Damon have a big day after he was one of the few brave enough to face the press after that mess on Saturday. Shame on the big boys who bolted out of the clubhouse as soon as they could yesterday.

    You know, I hated Damon with a purple passion when he was on the Red Sox. But, boy, has he impressed me as a Yankee. Now I know why they loved him so much in Boston.

    Looks like Moose had his A-game on today. After Unit’s F-game yesterday, it was just what the doctor ordered.

    July 29th vs. The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 29th, 2006 · Comments (13)

    The week before you need to go out and get a new policy for your car insurance is the worst week to go out and get five speeding tickets. And, when you need pitching and it’s the weekend before the trading deadline, it’s the worst time to have four of your pitchers get undressed in a game.

    Brian Cashman must hate answering his phone at this moment.

    You know what? It’s almost August. A legit playoff contender does not go out there at this stage of the season and gets it’s clock cleaned by a team as lowly as the Devil Rays are at this junction.

    This is embarrassing with a capital “E.”

    July 28th vs. The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 28th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    OK, com’on, and sing along with me……….

    “W” is for the way you WIN with ease.
    “A” is for the bullpen ARMS you please.
    “N” is NASTY, NASTY mega-ground-ball-master-sassy.
    “G” is GREAT that you do, each time out, no-thin’ new.

    Thanks to Nat King Cole and “Worm Killer” for the inspiration.

    July 26th @ The Rangers

    Posted by on July 26th, 2006 · Comments (8)

    Personally, I had a very tiring day at work today. And, it caught up with me tonight – as I fell asleep in front of the T.V. around 10 pm ET.

    When I woke up, it was right around 11 pm ET – and, the first sight I had upon opening my eyes was seeing Shawn Chacon on the mound for the Yankees, in the 8th inning, with the bases loaded and no outs, with the score 7-6 in favor of the Rangers.

    I felt like the guy from The Godfather who woke up to find the horse’s head in his bed.

    And, then Chacon struck out DeRosa. That was good, but, I was still thinking “This is going to be bad.” However, Chacon then got the “Look what I found!” DP-liner to end the frame. All of a sudden, I started to chuckle to myself and I thought “You never really know in this game, do you?”

    When Jeter singled in the 9th and then Giambi homered to give the Yankees the lead, I was more stunned than anything else. I was still groggy and fuzzy from the unexpected nap. Was I dreaming? Did I really see Chacon work out of bases juiced with no outs and then see this huge homer?

    I looked around the room to see if Pam Anderson was near with a serving tray full of chocolate chip cookies or if Ed McMahon was walking towards me with an over-sized check from the Publishers Clearing House. Since I didn’t see either one of them, I knew that I could believe what I just saw.

    Not too shabby.

    But, when I saw the game recap, and how Texas took the lead in the 8th, I realized that Torre got lucky in this game. Bringing in Beam with a two-run lead is stupid. Asking Proctor to pitch for the 8th time in 12 days is criminal. Unless I missed something today, Farnsworth was well rested today and there’s an off-day following this game. He should be in this game in the 8th inning.

    If Farnsworth is hurt, and I missed the report, then I’m sorry to bring up this point. But, if Farnsworth was available, and Torre doesn’t use him tonight, then he has no business making pitching moves.

    Then again, if Chacon came into the game, maybe Farnsworth was not available for this game?

    The whole thing is strange. Well, at least the Yankees won and now control the wildcard – - until Torre does something stupid to let it go.

    July 25th @ The Rangers

    Posted by on July 26th, 2006 · Comments (9)

    The Yankees scored 7 runs on 4 hits in this game.

    Did the Yankees win this one, or, did Texas hand it to them?

    There’s something about Aaron Guiel that makes me think of someone else. It’s his body-type, swing, etc. It’s still not coming to me. I want to say Don Mattingly – because he’s a smallish LH-batter, and he’s wearing # 46 (which was young Donnie’s first number). But, the swing, while at times looks Mattingly-ish, also reminds me of Ken Phelps and/or Dan Pasqua. In any event, Guiel has some skills. He’s not a bad part to have on your team. This was a good pick-up by the Yankees.

    I spent most of the night clicking back and forth between this game and “Work Out” (on Bravo). And, I have to confess, I was more interested in Work Out.

    Why?

    I’m not sure. Maybe it was the lack of hits by the Yankees? Maybe it was just the pace of the game in general? Or, maybe it’s because I’m on sorta-Yankees-overload? Or, maybe it’s because this Yankees team, at this stage of the season, is not very interesting to watch?

    Or, it’s some combination of these reasons.

    Right now, I’m not too concerned about it – I’d rather worry more about who Aaron Guiel reminds me of when he’s hitting. It’s a more pleasant problem to tackle.

    July 24th @ The Rangers

    Posted by on July 24th, 2006 · Comments (11)

    On Saturday, I wrote:

    “Worm Killer” Wang was not at his all-time best today – but, he was plenty good enough (with 15 grounders in 6 IP) to keep the Yankees in this game – until “ProcFarnMo” ™ slammed the door on the last three innings.

    And, tonight, I can now write:

    Randy Johnson was not at his all-time best today – but, he was plenty good enough (with 7 whiffs in 6 IP) to keep the Yankees in this game – until “ProcFarnMo” ™ slammed the door on the last three innings.

    By the way, tonight and this past Saturday were the only two wins for the Yankees in their last six games.

    I believe we have found the formula for a victory in 2006: A solid six from the starter and then go to “ProcFarnMo” ™ to close.

    But, perhaps the biggest news today is the injury to Damon before the game and the injury to Jeter during the game. Without these two players, the Yankees are done. Cross your fingers for the both of them, if you’re a Yankees fan.

    Lastly – maybe I’m imagining this – or perhaps I’m just noticing it – but, has Jorge Posada switched to a new style of catching mask? Looking at him tonight, it appeared like he was wearing something that looked like Hannibal Lecter Meets Spiderman. In the past, I recall him wearing a mask that had two big handles on the side – something like what a Ferengi would wear during a masochistic escapade. Anyone else see this tonight?

    Update, 7-25-06: Thanks to Jen for setting the record straight. Below, on the left, is Posada’s mask this past Thursday. And, on the right was one that he wore on Saturday. Looks like it’s just a matter of two different colored masks.

    JorgeMask.jpg

    July 23rd @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on July 23rd, 2006 · Comments (4)

    YogiGate.jpg

    I missed this game today. We took the kids to go see the N.J. Jackals play. It’s not the greatest level of play, nor the most fun minor league park. But, the building where I work sits right behind CF – and, for $9 you can get a seat four rows behind the dugout as a walk-up. If you like watching live baseball, up close, and cheap – then the Jackals are your ticket.

    So, now I’m three-for-three in terms of going to a minor league game this season and having the Yankees lose bad while I’m having fun at another park.

    Looks like that object in the rear-view is getting closer still, huh?

    You know, coming into this series, I mentioned that Damon, Melky, Jeter and A-Rod were the Yankees hot hitters in the month of July. And, I said that it would be helpful for them to keep it up in Toronto. So, how did they do? See below:

    Damon: 5 for 16 (.313)
    Jeter: 6 for 14 (.429)
    Melky: 6 for 14 (.429)
    A-Rod: 2 for 16 (.125)

    Joe batting Alex Rodriguez in the clean-up spot during this entire big series did not help the team. Then again, I said a month ago that A-Rod, in New York, has never been at his best when batting fourth in the line-up.

    It’s just another piece in the Alex Rodriguez puzzle.

    Lastly, Ponson’s AL ERA this season is now 10.00. Think any G.M.’s of teams other than the Yankees will be quoting that number to Brian Cashman in phone calls this week?

    July 22nd @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on July 22nd, 2006 · Comments (6)

    Worm Killer” Wang was not at his all-time best today – but, he was plenty good enough (with 15 grounders in 6 IP) to keep the Yankees in this game – until “ProcFarnMo” slammed the door on the last three innings.

    It sure looks like the All-Star break was a good thing for Everyday Scottie Proctor, huh?

    Just two days ago, I wrote about “Mmmmmmmm, Mmmmmmmm,”‘s increasing K-rate (since he joined New York). And, what does he do today? He goes down on strikes four times – the first time he’s done this in a game since June 22, 1995. For those scoring at home, that’s a span of 4,048 days. (Really, I counted.)

    Right now, Alex Rodriguez is playing so tight, that, if you stuck a Tyrannosaurus up his fanny, you would get gasoline.

    And, at the current rate, that fuel would be worth about $1,400. (Really, I counted.)

    In any event, this was a pretty big win for the Yankees – with them mounting a losing streak and with Boston losing today. The balk play that Jeter and Damon caused in the 6th just may have been the key to this one.

    If you’re taping the game tomorrow, set your VCRs and DVDRs for at least 5 hours. This is just a hunch, but, I think it’s going to be a long one – given the pitchers starting on both sides and the hitting of these two teams.

    July 21st @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on July 21st, 2006 · Comments (9)

    Tonight, it might be fashionable to look at the Reed Johnson grounder in the 1st that A-Rod boxed into a double – or the A-Rod missed pop-up on Vernon Wells in the 4th, which was then followed up by another throwing error by A-Rod (allowing Wells to reach in the inning).

    But, the heart of the loss tonight centers on the Yankees bats doing nothing, on the whole, against A.J. Burnett- sans Rodriguez’ 2,000th career hit (which was also his 450th career HR).

    Even the poor pitching of Jaret Wright is meaningless, to some extent, today, because the meat of the Yankees order went 2 for 12 this evening (and the bottom of the Bombers order went 1 for 10).

    OK, so, the Yankees have now faced the Blue Jays best two starters (in terms of stuff) and have lost two games – allowing Toronto to get back into the race in the A.L. East.

    The games on Saturday and Sunday will be the test now for New York. The starters that Toronto will run out there are not over-powering. It’s time for the Yankees bats to wake up and savage this series.

    Back to A-Rod’s yips in the field, I do not believe that this situation has reached the Steve Sax/Chuck Knoblauch level – yet. But, it is concerning.

    Looking at The Fielding Bible tonight, I’ve noticed something.

    According to the stats in the book, A-Rod was the best fielding 3B in the AL during 2004 – with Eric Chavez close behind him. But, in 2005, Alex Rodriguez, overall for the season, was just about league average at 3B, defensively – with about a half-dozen guys in the AL doing a better job than him (at 3B).

    Perhaps 2006 is just the continuation of the decline in Alex’s ability to play 3B? Personally, I would have guessed, at the start of this season, that A-Rod had, at least, another 4 seasons after this one before he would have to be moved off 3B. But, sometimes things happen quicker than you expect.

    I’m not saying this decline, and need for a move, is a “sure-thing.” But, it’s something to keep on the radar this season – rather than ignore it completely – until A-Rod starts to show that he can be a good fielding 3B again.

    July 20th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on July 20th, 2006 · Comments (17)

    There’s an episode of “All in the Family” where the character of Edith Bunker dents a car with a can of “cling peaches (in heavy syrup).”

    At one point in the story, the character of Archie Bunker orders Edith to not say the words “cling peaches” again. So, later in the episode, when Edith has to again describe how she dented the car with the can, instead of saying “cling peaches,” she refers to the can as “Mmmmmmmm, Mmmmmmmm – in heavy syrup!”

    Based on the harsh feedback that I have received lately from many readers of WasWatching.com, any time that I mention the recent play Alex Rodriguez, over the last 6 or 7 weeks, I’m at the point now where I feel as if I’ve been ordered, albeit more implied than clearly expressed, to never say the words “Alex Rodriguez” here again.

    Therefore, herein, I’m pulling an Edith – just to be safe.

    Kim Jones, in the YES post-game tonight, was asking everyone about the error that “Mmmmmmmm, Mmmmmmmm,” made in the bottom of the 6th tonight (and the impact that it had on the game) – including Torre, Mike Mussina, and “Mmmmmmmm, Mmmmmmmm,” himself.

    Torre and “Mmmmmmmm, Mmmmmmmm,” had the responses to Jones’ questioning that you would expect. But, Mike Mussina, when reflecting on the play of “Mmmmmmmm, Mmmmmmmm,” had the following to say:

    “We need him back the way he’s supposed to be.”

    I think that comment speaks for itself – in volumes.

    It’s sad that, in a game like tonight, coming off a bad loss in New York where a win today on the road against a tough pitcher would have been a lift (and needed as Boston has won four-in-a-row), the main talking point is “Mmmmmmmm, Mmmmmmmm,” again – when it should be anything ranging from the fine outing by Mussina to the funny shot YES had of Ron “Gator” Guidry drinking a cup of “Gator”-Ade in the Yankees dugout.

    Sure, some may want to talk about Mariano Rivera. But, when you listen to the Yankees players in the post-game, they say that Wells just hit a good pitch. Tip your hat, and stuff like that. And, some might want to talk about Giambi and Phillips having somewhat rough nights at the plate today. And, maybe we should talk about that. But, after that comment by Mussina, well, expect another day where the focus is on “Mmmmmmmm, Mmmmmmmm,” – whether it’s fair or not, or, if you like it or not.

    July 19th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on July 19th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    It’s 10 minutes before game-time today as I write this entry.

    The Yankees are playing well these days. It’s a beautiful day outside.

    Yet, I’m nervous about this game today. Why?

    Is it because the bottom of the Yankees line-up today is Phillips, Guiel, Green and Stinnett? Nah.

    It’s two words: Randy Johnson.

    You just never know which Randy Johnson will show up these days, it seems.

    And, I should not feel this way. I know that Randy does a decent job against teams not named the Mets or Blue Jays. Still, it, the doom and gloom potential, is hard to shake.

    OK, now that I’ve said that, watch – Unit will pitch a perfect game today. And, if he does, I’m taking all the credit for the reverse whammy.

    UPDATE 1:19 pm ET: Well, there goes the perfect game, the no-hitter, and the shutout. That was quick.

    UPDATE 4:03 pm ET: What a not an Alfred E. Neuman moment for me on this one. Johnson has what is probably his 2nd best start of the season today. But, the Yankees only have 2 runs through 8 innings. Maybe I should have been more concerned about the line-up?

    UPDATE 4:19 pm ET: Oh, this one hurts. Yanks lose 3-2. And, in the 7th, with that 3-2 score, New York had a runner on 3rd with one out and PH Bernie Williams whiffs. You have to make contact in that game situation. Worse, Boston won it’s second “1-0″ win in two days.

    The Blue Jays are going to be loaded for Bear. The Yankees need to be sharp, everyday, against them.

    July 18th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on July 19th, 2006 · Comments (4)

    There’s going to be some tired ball players in the Bronx for the day game today.

    What a thrill to wake up this morning and see the score of this game – and how they won.

    Just the other day, I said: “I’d rather be lucky than good any day.” So, I’ll gladly take that call at first on Posada.

    As far as Ponson, as much as the YES crew was painting him to be the greatest find of the century, let’s remember that his ERA for this game is 5.40. And, that’s about right for him.

    On ESPN News this morning, they showed Damon catching Melky’s helmet at home plate, and then spiking it like it was a TD catch. Very funny and cool.

    July 17th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on July 17th, 2006 · Comments (4)

    On May 25th of last year, I suggested that we should start calling Chien-Ming Wang “Obi Wang.” I know that people liked that – because I’ve seen references to it in many places since that suggestion was first made here.

    Still, on May 17th of this year, I wrote about Chien-Ming Wang:

    Chien-Ming Wang is now there for me as well – because he is an absolute ground-ball freak. I love to watch him pitch just to see all those grounders. I’m not sure if the stats point to someone else – and I really don’t care, to be honest – because my eyes tell me and my heart believes it – there’s no one better in the game now at getting ground-ball after ground-ball.

    And, no one can stop him.

    Mr. Wang-der-full, the Grounder King, having it his way. Long live the king!

    And, I’ve repeated the “Mr. Wang-der-full” reference, here, at least four times since my first mention of it this past May.

    But, now, I think it’s time to move past Obi Wang and Mr. Wang-der-full.

    Chien-Ming Wang, after coming through again tonight, saving his teammates, the game, and the Yankees place in the standings, with grounder-after-grounder, deserves an even bigger nickname.

    From now on, he’s “Worm Killer” Wang to me.

    I was going to borrow from Bob Ferguson and suggest “Death to Crawling Things” Wang – but, I like the angle of having “Killer” in the nickname (because that’s what Wang is on the mound).

    Lastly, why do I think that A-Rod’s big left toe is going to be, over the next few days, the most talked about hallux since Sergeant Hulka?

    July 16th vs. The White Sox

    Posted by on July 16th, 2006 · Comments (7)

    Park716.jpg

    For a trip to Yankee Stadium that started on a down-note for this Yankees fan, it turned out to be a great day in Yankeeland, after all.

    We ended up leaving the house about 15 minutes later than first planned. And, you know how that works when going to Yankee Stadium (from New Jersey). This means you get to the GWB 15 minutes later than usual. And, getting to the GWB 15 minutes later than planned can be the difference between zipping over the bridge or sitting in a mess.

    We got the mess today. It took us about a half-hour to get across the bridge. Luckily, I take local streets right after the bridge – and that saves a ton of time. But, by the time I got to the parking garage between 162nd and 164th Streets, it was full to the roof – except for half of the first level that they keep closed off.

    I knew that I needed a quick exit after the game – to relieve our baby-sitters. (I was at the game with my wife.) And, parking on the first floor was a must. So, I played the game:

    Me, to the attendant waiving us up the parking ramps: “Can I park over there?” (Pointing to the first floor section that was closed off.)

    The attendant: “No, that’s closed.”

    Me: “But, I really want to park there.”

    The attendant: “Ten bucks.”

    Me: “OK.”

    So, for an additional $10 to the $13 to get in the garage, I was able to make up for getting stuck on the GWB. And, when it was time to go home, I was able to sail out of the lot.

    And, the Yankees threw the leather around today like I was throwing around parking money.

    A-Rod starting the run-down in the 1st – to nail Iguchi at the plate. A-Rod starting the DP in the 1st to end the inning. Guiel nailing Thome at 2nd in the 3rd. Melkly nailing Crede at home in the 6th. And, then the two DPs turned at the end of the game – in the 8th and 9th. When your margin of victory is two runs, and you throw out two runners at the plate, you’re doing something right.

    In addition to the “D,” you had big homers (Jeter and A-Rod in the 1st) and big two-out hits by Cairo and Crosby in the 4th. (Cairo’s coming on an 0-2 pitch!)

    And, of course, you have Mo Rivera getting the last 6 outs for career save #400.

    Like I said, not a bad little day in Yankeeland – and, then you add Boston’s loss today, which puts the Yankees just a half-game out of first, and it gets even better.

    One last interesting thing: There were two young guys sitting behind us who were White Sox fans. From listening in on their conversation, they seemed like pretty knowledgeable fans and they were certainly courteous and respectful of their surroundings. So, I asked them “Did you guys come in from Chicago for this game?” They laughed and said no – and shared that they’re more local. That made me ask “How did you guys end up White Sox fans?” They shared that they were from west New York State, and, being there, they just gravitated towards the White Sox.

    It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that there are two Great Lakes between New York State and Chicago. (Yeah, I’m geography-challenged.) That’s some gravitation pull, huh? Maybe it was WGN-assisted?

    I wish that I had connected on this at the Stadium. I would have loved to ask them more about the origin of their fandom. There’s got to be a story there. In any event, if you have to sit in front of two guys rooting for the other team, you couldn’t ask for two better fans.

    Having sat near Mets fans, Indians fans, Red Sox fans, among others, at the Stadium in the past, who were less than polite, it’s was a pleasant change of pace today.

    July 15th vs. The White Sox

    Posted by on July 15th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    It’s interesting to see back-to-back score outcomes like yesterday and today.

    It’s interesting to me because it helped form this question in my head this evening: From the Yankees fan perspective, which type of “win” is more “enjoyable” – the “late and close win” or “the laugher”?

    In terms of “viewing pleasure,” I would imagine that there’s a view-angle contingency.

    If you’re watching the game at home, on TV, I would bet that the “late and close” game keeps your attention longer than the game where the score is 8-0, Yanks, after four.

    But, if you’re at the Stadium, where you can revel with 50,000 others, then I think, maybe, the romp-win is the preferred game outcome. Then again, the greatest games that I’ve ever attended in person have been those which have been “late and close” wins.

    In terms of “comfort level,” there’s no question that “the laugher” is less stress on your heart and/or sphincter – regardless of where you watch the game.

    At the end of the day, all “wins” are enjoyable – regardless of the shape or size. And, perhaps, just as “variety is the spice of life,” having variance in the way you win is what keeps it the most entertaining for the fans?

    Speaking of winning, as I write this, Boston is leading Oakland, 5-0, in the 4th inning. As a Yankees fan, of course, I find that a shame. It would have been extra sweet to see the A’s beat the Red Sox tonight and slice the “Games Back” column to a half at the close of business today.

    I’ll be at the Yankees game tomorrow – and, I was looking forward to being at the game where (maybe) it could be said (with a Yankees win tomorrow and another Boston loss on Sunday) that the Yankees went into first place in 2006 and never looked back.

    Then again, maybe the A’s can come back in this game today? Or, is that being greedy after watching the Yankees beat the defending World Champs the last two games?

    July 14th vs. The White Sox

    Posted by on July 14th, 2006 · Comments (17)

    I’m not lying when I confess this: Had this game been a one-game “play-in” elimination game, instead of a regular season game in July, I would have soiled myself during A.J. Swizzle Stick’s At Bat against Mo Rivera in the 9th inning.

    Watching Melky Cabrera get the big hit tonight, makes this news even more depressing than it is just as a standalone item:

    General manager Brian Cashman has made it clear that pitching prospect Philip Hughes is as close to untouchable as any player in the Yankees’ farm system.

    Melky Cabrera on the other hand, may not be.

    According to a Major League executive, the Yankees and Pirates have discussed a deal that would send the young outfielder to Pittsburgh in exchange for outfielder Jeromy Burnitz and first baseman/outfielder Craig Wilson.

    Right now, I’d rather have Melky Cabrera and Aaron Guiel on my team than Jeromy Burnitz and Craig Wilson.

    This is no knock on Craig Wilson. I like Wilson. I would trade Matt Smith or T.J. Beam for Wilson. But, that’s about it. If the cost is Cabrera, then I don’t want Wilson.

    And, I see no value at all in picking up Burnitz. Since 2000, he’s been an average batter – at best. There’s no need to give up anything to acquire a player like him at this stage in his career.

    Moving on, when I wake up tomorrow morning, I expect to see the Yankees be just a game and a half out of first place – and, just one game back in the loss column.

    Thanks, recently, to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Oakland A’s, Boston is feeling it right now. Maybe this makes the Yankees lucky? So, what? But, I’d rather be lucky than good any day.

    And, I’ll take 7 innings and just 3 runs allowed from Randy Johnson every time out. I just hope that the right arm-pit issue from the game tonight is not going to be a problem for him now.

    Lastly, ain’t it sweet to spoil the winning streak for Contreras?

    July 9th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 9th, 2006 · Comments (6)

    MelkyThunder.jpg

    We took the kids to go see the Trenton Thunder play today (against the Binghamton Mets) and I missed the Yankees game.

    If you count the last minor league game that I went to this season, I’m two-for-two this year – in terms of having the Yankees lose a bad game while I was away having fun at another ballpark.

    They announced an interim Yankees score at the park in Trenton – when it was 5-0 in favor of New York. And, I thought “Cool, this one should be in the bag.” When I got home from Trenton, and turned on the T.V., I saw Nancy Newman showing highlights of Baldelli throwing out Melky and robbing Jeter. And, then, I said, out-loud, what any Yankees fan would say seeing that and learning the final score.

    Mercer County Waterfront Park at Trenton is very nice. I asked for tickets in the shade (as the kids are little and fry in the sun). And, they gave us perfect seats – right behind home plate and under cover. Boomer is the mascot for the Thunder and he did a good job of working the crowd with his water cannon. And, the Thunder had a nice give-away for the kids today – a logo softball.

    We sat surrounded by a fair-sized group of folks who must be regulars for the Thunder – as they sounded like they go to a lot of games. We were also about 20 feet from the Annies section – where the gals were busy reading books, talking on their cells, and working on their tans. It was a funny sight.

    Most of all, it was great to see, in person, guys like Tyler Clippard, Brett Gardner, Kevin Howard, Vince Faison, Felix Escalona, Eric Duncan and Randy Ruiz.

    For those wishing to see Philip Hughes in New York soon, let me tell you, Double-A play is far away from the Major League level – let’s give Hughes some time in Triple-A before he hits the Bronx.

    Back to the Yankees game today, well, the only thing that I can say now is: Thank you Jermaine Dye!

    July 8th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 9th, 2006 · Comments (9)

    Once again, Mr. Wang-der-full comes through for the Yankees. Mussina is the Yankees ace this year. But, over the last two years, it’s Wang who has been New York’s ace, in my opinion.

    Speaking of coming through, is it just me, or is Boston’s David Ortiz getting into one of those streaks where he’s winning games for the Red Sox everyday?

    Actually, if you check the stats, both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz have been tearing it up for the Sox since June 6th. Here are their numbers since then, as well as some Yankees players during the same time:

    Since666.jpg

    Wow. How valuable has Johnny Damon been for the Yankees over the last month?

    July 7th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 7th, 2006 · Comments (8)

    Game Score is a measure of pitching performance for starting pitchers. It was developed by Bill James. The formula consists of eight parts:

    1. Start with 50.
    2. Add 1 point for each out recorded.
    3. Add 2 points for each inning the pitcher completes after the fourth inning.
    4. Add 1 point for each strikeout.
    5. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed.
    6. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed.
    7. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed.
    8. Subtract 1 point for each walk.

    An average start would score 50. One start in 300 reaches a score of 90 or better, and an all-time great performance would reach 100.

    Tonight, Jaret Wright had a Game Score of 74.

    There have only been five other times this season, to date, where a Yankees starter has had a Game Score of 70+. They are:

    Randy Johnson: 78 on 6/26
    Mike Mussina: 77 on 5/31
    Randy Johnson: 76 on 4/23
    Chien-Ming Wang: 74 on 5/12
    Chien-Ming Wang: 70 on 6/13

    Yes, Jaret Wright just pitched the 5th best game by a Yankees pitcher in the first half of the 2006 season. Yup, there have been 84 games started now, this year, by Yankees pitchers and tonight’s effort by Wright is the 5th best out of the 84 games.

    Talk about the Wright stuff!

    July 6th @ The Indians

    Posted by on July 6th, 2006 · Comments (12)

    With his great effort in this game, Randy Johnson is now on pace to have a record of 18-7 this season (for the Yankees).

    Last year, the Big Unit went 17-8 for New York. So, it looks like Johnson, this season, will be doing what he did last season. And, that’s not bad.

    Five months ago, I said that anything over 16 wins from Randy in 2006 would be a miracle. Hey, what can I say? Hallelujah!

    If Johnson does win 17+ games again for the Yankees this season, it will be the first time in a while, for New York, where a pitcher has won 17+ in back-to-back years. Here’s the list of the most recent times that it has happened:

    Mike Mussina 2001-03
    Andy Pettitte 1996-97
    Jimmy Key 1993-94
    Ron Guidry 1978-80
    Tommy John 1979-80
    Catfish Hunter 1975-76
    Fritz Peterson 1969-70
    Mel Stottlemyre 1968-69

    Therefore, the Big Unit would become only the 4th pitcher in the last quarter-century to have back-to-back seasons of 17+ wins for the Yankees. That’s an interesting stat.

    And, with the game tonight, if you took Johnson’s stats for the season, and removed the two games each that he pitched against the tip-reading Mets and the Blue Jays, then his season ERA would be 3.61 (in 94.67 IP).

    An ERA of 3.61 would be the 12th best mark in the American League right now.

    The last time the Yankees had a left-handed SP make 30+ starts in a season and have an ERA of 3.61 or better was David Wells in 1998. Nine seasons is a long time.

    When you look at it all this way, getting Randy Johnson was not such a bad move by the Yankees – even if he was over forty at the time.

    July 5th @ The Indians

    Posted by on July 5th, 2006 · Comments (8)

    Torre said it best in the post-game tonight: “We did a lot of things good” (in this game). It’s amazing how easy it is to win when your whole line-up hits, your starter goes a solid six innings, and your bullpen allows one runner in three innings.

    But, two things bother me about this game.

    First, Kris Wilson throwing two innings. This means Chacon will probably start on Sunday. I was hoping to see them give that start to Wilson.

    Secondly, the Damon oblique muscle injury. In the post-game, Torre said that it was in the front and not the side. The Indians’ Casey Blake just had this and here’s what Rick Wilton said on that two weeks ago:

    The Indians have lost a key component to their offense for the foreseeable future. Blake has a strained left internal oblique muscle. The injury occurred during batting practice on Wednesday. This injury is a little less common than the external oblique strains that have happened so often in recent years.

    The internal oblique is located below the tip of the left hip and just outside of the rectus abdominus muscles (the main muscles down the middle of the abdomen). Both ends of this muscle connect to two different parts of the hip bone. One physical therapy expert I talked to today believes this injury is a bit harder to recover from than the external oblique because of its location.

    We’ll use a baseline of 30 days for a recovery from the injury and work off that number. The Indians’ medical staff has already stated he will miss more than two weeks or the minimum DL time. Once Blake gets a few days into his recovery program, the medical staff will have a better idea how long he’ll be out. Because of the location, I’m predicting a 4-6 week recovery unless the ailment turns out to be minor.

    The Yankees cannot afford to lose Johnny Damon, now, for 4-6 weeks. Imagine no Matsui, Sheffield, or Damon for the next month? It will be turn out the lights time – because the party will be over.

    Lastly, how ’bout those Tampa Bay Devil Rays?

    July 4th @ The Indians

    Posted by on July 4th, 2006 · Comments (17)

    Add another one to the list!

    Worst Yankees Losses

    Aug. 31, 2004: Cleveland 22, Yankees 0
    July 4, 2006: Cleveland 19, Yankees 1
    June 17, 1925: Detroit 19, Yankees 1
    July 29, 1928: Cleveland 24, Yankees 6
    July 19, 1987: Texas 20, Yankees 3

    Funny, in that 2004 game, it was Jake Westbrook, like tonight, who got the benefit of all those runs. Actually, that 2004 game started out like this one tonight for the Yankees. Javy Vazquez allowed 6 runs in 1.3 IP to start that game. Tonight, Chacon allowed 7 runs in 1.3 IP to start this game.

    I had tickets to that 2004 game and sold them to someone that I worked with at that time. The next morning, I told him “I will never sell you tickets again. You’re bad luck.” But, who can I blame for today?

    I think it has to start and end with Shawn Chacon. Don’t get me wrong, last year Chacon and Aaron Small were Cinderella Men for the Yankees. But, there was evidence that suggested that was just a lightning strike. There were stats that said Chacon was just lucky last year.

    The Yankees have already pushed the button on Small. It’s time to do it now with Chacon as well. Yes, he’s a great guy and super in the clubhouse. But, he’s not a good pitcher. This season, he’s pitching like I said that he would when the Yankees were going after him last season.

    Give Ramiro Mendoza, Steven White, or Jorge De Paula a chance. They’ve been pitching OK at Columbus. Put it this way, could they do any worse than Chacon has lately?

    July 3rd @ The Indians

    Posted by on July 3rd, 2006 · Comments (7)

    Anyone who reads Baseball America can tell you that (the Indians) Jeremy Sowers is a very promising young pitcher. So, I’m torn on the outcome of this game (from the Yankees fan perspective).

    First, throw out Wang’s effort. He got some pitches up. Still, even if he only allowed 2 runs tonight, the Yankees are not going to win this game. Again, it’s the Yankees offense that was the game-breaker in this loss.

    Ok, back to the source of my Imbruglia agita. Was tonight just a matter of Sowers’ talent? Or, is it just the Yankees being as bad, still, now, as they were for most of June? Maybe the offensive explosion from last night was less Yankees goodness and more the sucky-ness of the Mets’ starter Olay O-lay Soler?

    If I had to make a call on this now, with all due respect for young Mr. Sowers, I have to say that this evening is just the Yankees continuing to struggle to score runs.

    And, it may get worse. Take a look at Bernie Williams since June 21st. His batting average is close to a hundred. Around 5 weeks ago, I said “Forget what I said in December. Bernie’s not washed up. He can help this team in some ways.” But, in reality, maybe Bernie, this year, is Tino Martinez from last year?

    Remember last season? Tino was supposed to be a glove-caddy at 1B. But, he got a bunch of playing time early in the year and hit better than anyone expected. And, it was a Tino-love-fest at the Stadium. Sounds just like Bernie this year, right? And, how did Tino do in the second-half last year? We could be seeing the same thing happening now with Bernie.

    And, if Bernie is going to be a dud, then the Yankees are left with just one outfielder who’s going to hit. That’s not going to help the Yankees offense be better.

    Speaking of which, notice that Todd Hollandsworth went deep against the Yankees tonight? That’s the second time (this year) that he’s busted up a game for the Yankees with a long ball. I told you back in December of last year that he could be a useful bench player. Looking at the Yankees’ corner outfielders the last month, I would now say that he would have been a very useful bench player for New York.

    He would be a lot better than Bubba Crosby and Kevin Reese.

    You know, some say that it was the lack of a decent bench that cost the Yankees from winning the division, outright, last season. Are things any better this year? Are they worse?

    For what it’s worth, this exact time, last year, I wrote:

    This is the problem when you have three-quarters of your infield making ~$51 million, your outfield making ~$32 million, and four-fifths of your starting rotation making ~$59 million.

    To fill out the rest of your team, you’re left to the Kevin Reeses, Wayne Franklins, Jason Andersons, Bubba Crosbys, Brad Voyles and Aaron Smalls of the world.

    Sad, huh? But, get used to it. Yankees fans have another two years of this situation after this season.

    What you see now from the Yankees – the inability to survive injury – just may be the state of the team for a while.

    July 2nd vs. The Mets

    Posted by on July 3rd, 2006 · Comments (12)

    OK, now that (bottom of the 3rd inning) was a rally! I’m glad that the Yankees were listening.

    I have to confess that I fell asleep around midnight, in front of the TV, just about the start of the 7th inning. Somehow, I got myself from the couch to the bedroom in a sleep-walk manner. But, I knew the Yankees were way ahead as I hit the pillow. Still, when I woke up this morning, I had to think to myself “Don’t tell me that they blew this game in the last three innings.” I’m glad that they didn’t.

    Paul Lo Duca has now made my “He’s An A-hole” list. Here are his comments regarding his beef from last night (via the News):

    Alex Rodriguez struck the big blow of the night, but Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca didn’t think he handled it in a classy way at all.

    When Rodriguez crossed the plate after his third-inning grand slam, the two of them had such a heated exchange that plate umpire Tim McClelland had to get between them.

    Lo Duca said that not only did Rodriguez spend too much time watching the flight of his home run, he didn’t like the way the 2005 MVP flipped his bat or that he looked into the Yankees’ dugout en route to first base.

    “You hit a home run. It’s a big home run,” Lo Duca said. “Listen, I understand he’s getting booed. To me he’s a great player. So you hit it, you watch it. That’s fine.

    “You don’t toss your bat and look in your dugout and do that. I thought that was disrespectful.”

    Really?

    This is funny, because, I could swear that I saw Jose Reyes during Saturday’s game, on second base in the 4th inning, clapping and doing a mini-version of the chicken dance while pointing to the Mets dugout when the Mets took a (then) 5-2 lead on Randy Johnson. Am I just dreaming this? If not, then Lo Duca should take a look at his own house before reacting like he did last night. Besides, A-Rod didn’t do anything show-boaty last night, compared to today’s standards. Lo Duca’s position on this thing just stinks of punk.

    Speaking of A-Rod, some game, huh? You have to be happy for him. And, I can’t help but wonder how Ron Villone felt about this series. He grew up a Yankees fan in New Jersey. Think he ever imagined himself, while playing whiffle-ball in his backyard as a kid, pitching for the Yankees against the Mets, in front of a full house? Now, he got to do it, twice, and win. That’s cool.

    July 1st vs. The Mets

    Posted by on July 1st, 2006 · Comments (4)

    Part of me wants to get on Randy Johnson today for ignoring the DNR Order on the Mets. But, in reality, even if the Big Unit posted a Quality Start today, the Yankees would still not win this game.

    Why? Because they are terrible at scoring runs these days.

    So, for the sake of the Yankees, I would like to share the following information:

    ral·ly
    v. ral·lied, ral·ly·ing, ral·lies
    v.tr.
    1. To rouse or revive from inactivity or decline:
    2. To join in an effort for a common cause:
    3. To recover abruptly from a setback or disadvantage.

    Maybe now that they know what it is, they can do it once in a while.

    Com’on Yankees. Learn it, know it, live it.