• July 31st vs. The White Sox

    Posted by on July 31st, 2007 · Comments (11)

    It’s still sweet to pound Jose Contreras.

    It’s not everyday that you see eight homers in a single game from the Yankees. In fact, the last time the Yankees had seven homers in a game was on May 30, 1961.

    How is it that the Yankees play so well at home this season and so not so well on the road?

    I have to shift gears here for a minute and talk about what an idiot Steve Phillips of ESPN is when it comes to placing a dollar sign on the muscle.

    I’m driving home tonight from work and listening to Phillips on ESPN Radio in NYC on 1050 AM. He’s talking about Eric Gagne. Phillips said that he considers Melky Cabrera to be a fourth outfielder, at best, on most teams and that he would not let trading Cabrera stand in the way of his team winning a pennant – and that he would have traded Melky, in a minute, for Gagne (and that the Yankees were not smart to decline the Rangers offer of Gagne for Cabrera).

    I thought of that again as Melky made a great catch early in this game and then again when he homered in this contest as well.

    Steve Phillips is clueless. Melky Cabrera adds so much to this Yankees team. How many games is Eric Gagne going to pitch for the Yankees in two months? Maybe 20 times?

    Oh, wait, that’s right – Cabrera is just a fourth outfielder, according to all the experts, like Phillips. Perhaps I should start calling Melky Cabrera “E4O” – for “Experts’ Fourth Outfielder”?

    You know what? As a Yankees fan, I would rather not win a pennant with “E4O” on my team than win a pennant without him and having Eric Gagne instead.

    Lastly, that A-Rod homer will come, really, it will. In fact, it would not shock me to see him get it on the first pitch that John Danks throws to him tomorrow.

    July 29th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on July 30th, 2007 · Comments (9)

    I totally missed this game. We went to see the Simpsons movie (it was just O.K. – and we’re fans of the show) and we then went out for an early dinner (where my Chicken Penne Alla Vodka was excellent, if that matters). But, from the highlights that I’ve seen – and by the accounts that I’ve read – this one doesn’t seem to have been a clean and impressive win.

    The Yankees had guys picked off base, guys thrown out at the plate, guys failing with men on base, guys failing out of the pen, and got a somewhat struggling but gutty start from Wang. (Although, if you pay attention, you’ll know that Wang on the road is rarely lights-out.)

    O.K., on the bright side, Damon got some hits and made a nice play in the field. Matsui continues to drive in runners. And, Melky’s batting average is nearly .300 for the season with another big day from him. Cano is also knocking on the door of that mark.

    And, the Yankees are returning home – where they play well, as compared to how poorly they play on the road this year (24-29). Also, the Indians lost – so, New York is now just 4 back in the loss column of the Wildcard.

    The Wildcard is still right there for the taking. It’s just up to the Yankees to play like champions and put the race to bed. For those who did see this game, you tell me, did this team look like that type of squad – one that is capable of grabbing the Wildcard and nailing it down in the next month or so? Me, I’m still not seeing that – even with the win here.

    I wish that I felt different here. But, the three full games before this one, plus all the other slides following winning runs this season, have left me with a “I’m not falling for it again” attitude. I need to see it now, before I can believe it.

    July 28th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on July 28th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    The story of this game is the same as the story for this season in Yankeeland: Too little, too late.

    I think it’s time to face it, and admit it, that this Yankees’ team is a “C.T.” – as in “Contender Tease.” They excel at scratching at the door, making it look like they want to come in – but, when it’s time to come in the house, they shy away like a cat sensing water and flee back into the yard.

    It’s just about time to start saying “Wait ’til next year!” (again).

    July 27th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on July 27th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    So, is Jeremy Guthrie a power pitcher? Probably not – but, he is a guy who does pound the strikezone.

    You know, when you’re in a chase for an October play-off slot, and there’s just 60 games left to the season, and your starting pitcher (in this case, Andy Pettitte) gets you to the 8th inning where you’re just down by a run, you have to find a way to win that game.

    Think about it, down by one, in the 8th, and the Yankees have their 3-4-5 hitters due up…and nothing. Then, in the bottom of the 8th, first batter up, boom, homerun – and now it’s a two-run hole heading into the ninth.

    The Yankees are now 4-40 this season when they start the 8th inning of a game where they are behind in the score. This does not mean they are a terrible team – few teams have more than a half-dozen wins in a season in these situations. But, what it does mean is that the Yankees are not an above average “late comeback” team. And, one would think, given the fact that they throw names out there like Damon, Jeter, Abreu, A-Rod, Matsui, Posada, etc., that they would be the leaders of the pack in terms of coming back late in the game when down by one or two runs. Not so – especially tonight.

    The Yankees still have an excellent chance to take the next two games in this series – based on the pitching match-ups. But, if they blow the next two games, and the Indians win the next two, then you can kiss the Wildcard hopes away in a hurry and use August and September to start planning for next year.

    July 26th @ The Royals

    Posted by on July 27th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    OK, show of hands – how many people turned this game off once A-Rod grounded out in the 8th inning?

    Didn’t this game have a, sort of, “Let’s watch for A-Rod’s 500th homer tonight because Igawa’s pitching and we’re going to lose” feel to it?

    Is that why the Yankees batters took the night off for this contest?

    Too bad. The Yankees cannot afford to be letting any games get away for them at this stage – even if they are expecting milestones or have someone like Igawa (who once again gave up too many long flyball hits) starting for them.

    July 25th @ The Royals

    Posted by on July 26th, 2007 · Comments (16)

    Mike Mussina looked sharp in this game. He had some nice bite to the knuckle-curve and when he missed with his fastball, he didn’t miss by much. Still, five and two-thirds is not great from him. Moose has to give you at least six innings in a game when he’s on with his pitches. I’m still concerned about his value to this team – both in the short- and long-term.

    Switching gears, let’s talk about Melky Cabrera. Where are all those scouts, fans, and media-types who kept saying last year that Melky was not a full-time big league type player? Have we seen enough yet? How about some retractions from those critics of Cabrera now?

    This was a big win for the Yankees – with the Indians beating the Red Sox.

    New York is now 6 back in the loss column of Boston in the A.L. East. And, New York is now 4 games back in the loss column of Cleveland in the Wildcard standings.

    If you count the suspended game in Baltimore as already being played, this means the Yankees have 60 games left after their July 26th game with the Royals.

    If New York is 5 games back, in the loss column, or less, of either Boston or Cleveland with 60 games to go, you have to consider them as being legit contenders for the post-season this year. Five games with sixty to go is very doable. Therefore, to have a chance at being 5 back of Red Sox, the Yankees need to win their next game. Is Kei Igawa up to it? We’ll see…we’ll soon see…

    If Igawa bombs, and Boston wins, and the Yankees fall 7 games back in the loss column of the Sox, with 60 games to go, I think it’s then time to start thinking only about the Wildcard and focus your win-loss wishes for other teams in a manner that helps the Yankees get the ‘card.

    Yeah, it’s only a one game difference. But, the clock is ticking…and New York does not have a ton of games left with Boston…at least not enough to make up for 7 games in a head-to-head fashion.

    July 24th @ The Royals

    Posted by on July 25th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    With this game, Chien-Ming Wang’s road ERA this season is now 4.44 – compared to a mark of 3.40 when he pitches in the Bronx.

    Last year, Wang’s ERA was 3.03 at home and 4.35 on the road. In 2005, his ERA was 3.55 at home and 4.65 on the road.

    Anyone seeing a trend here? Home ERA near three – and the ERA is around four-and-a-half on the road. I think Chien-Ming likes Yankee Stadium – or vice-versa.

    It’s great to see the Yankees win these games that they’re supposed to win. Now, it’s time for Mussina and Igawa to show us something over the next two games. I’m less than sure that they will show us something good. That’s why the last two games from Clemens and Wang are so important to the Yankees recent run.

    July 23rd @ The Royals

    Posted by on July 24th, 2007 · Comments (4)

    In this game, A-Rod becomes the first batter to reach 100 RBI in (a season) in fewer than 100 of his team games since Manny Ramirez did it in 1999. What a year for Rodriguez. I take back what I said about Alex and Manny – at least for this season.

    And, a tip of the cap to Clemens for his effort in this game. In his last five starts, Rocket has averaged almost 7 innings per start. I never thought we would see that from him – going this deep into games – and I was not the only one. Roger is showing us all something special here.

    I caught the start of this game on the TV in my local gym. But, I was watching it in the mirror – as the big screen TV was behind where I was working out. Because I was watching in the mirror, the game was backwards. It’s strange to watch Roger Clemens pitch as a left-hander and to see Johnny Damon bat as a right-hander…but that’s what happens when you watch a baseball game on TV through a mirror. If you’ve never experienced this, try it some time. It’s very bizarre – especially when it’s players that you’re so used to seeing.

    July 22nd vs. The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 22nd, 2007 · Comments (12)

    As much as I want to say that it’s Shelley Duncan’s world and I’m just happy to be living in it, the fact of the matter is that the Yankees, as a team, have just mashed the D-Rays pitching over the last two games. What you’ve seen in the Bronx over the last two days has not been done in at least the last 50 years: A team scoring 17+ runs, against the same team, for two days in a row at home.

    By the way, for what it’s worth, I do like Duncan’s approach and attitude. He seems like the kind of kid that you want to root for…and, he does have power. I called him “Mike Blowers” the other day and that was unfair. He just might be a “Richie Sexson” type hitter if he’s given a chance to play everyday. He’s a big dude and does not get cheated at the plate. He’ll hit mistakes out of the park.

    This was only the 5th time since 1957 that the Yankees have hit 6+ homers in a game at Yankee Stadium – with the last time also coming against Tampa Bay. It’s interesting that all five times where this has happened since 1957 were for Joe Torre teams. Ol’ Joe sure has had some talented teams at his disposal, huh?

    Lastly, what do you think that the last two game scores have done to the Yankees Pythagorean Winning Percentage? Will the impact make the Yankees look even more unlucky this season?

    July 21st vs. The Devil Rays – Game 2

    Posted by on July 21st, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Jay Witasick must have thought he was called in to this game to perform an encore performance of his work during Game 6 of the 2001 World Series. I’m just glad he was pitching against the Yankees this time – instead of pitching for them.

    This was only the 6th time since 1957 that the Yankees have scored 17+ runs and had 20+ hits in a game at Yankee Stadium. Joe Torre has been there for five of the six. This is the 16th time that the Yankees have score 17+ runs in a game, period, for Joe Torre. Yes, they’ve won all sixteen times.

    So, with this win, this is where the Yankees stand:

    New York is 7 game back in the loss column of Boston
    New York has 66 games left
    Boston has 65 games left

    So, if the Red Sox go 33-32 in their remaining games, the Yankees would need to go 42-24 in order to pass them. Let’s put in another way: Unless Boston goes into a full-blown, absolute, tank job, the Yankees can only afford to lose two dozen more games this season – over the next ten weeks.

    In a nutshell, from any given Sunday through Saturday, the Yankees can only lose two games per week, until the end of the season, if they want to catch the Red Sox this year.

    This is why it’s key for the Yankees to get an improvement in the rotation for Igawa, to get Mussina going right again, and for Andy Pettitte to be like he was earlier in the year.

    Tomorrow is Sunday. It’s a new week. It’s also Andy Pettitte’s turn in the rotation. Andy was good his last time out – which followed three starts in a row where he was bad. Let’s hope his last time out was the start of a nice run for him. The Yankees can use it.

    Either that, or, they better start scoring 17+ runs a game for Torre much more often.

    July 21st vs. The Devil Rays – Game 1

    Posted by on July 21st, 2007 · Comments (3)

    I took my 5-year old daughter to see “Ratatouille” this afternoon. (Nice little movie. Visually, impressive. I thought Patton Oswalt did a heckuva job on his voice-over. And, Peter O’Toole’s character was a hoot. Some of the storyline was above the head of a 5-year old. But, I would imagine that kids six- to nine-years old would love this movie.)

    When we got out of the movie, and back to our car, I tuned into the Yankees game on the radio. It was the eighth inning and Wigginton was up for the Rays. John Sterling said something like “Here’s Wigginton who homered earlier in the game” and my first reaction was “Oh, no, here we go again….”

    But, then, Sterling said that the Yankees were winning, 7-2, and I thought “Am I hearing this right? Did Igawa pitch a good game today?”

    We had to run some errands on the way home and I had to leave the car/radio for a bit – so, I never got the details…until we got home and I had a chance to turn on YES. By this point, it was the 9th inning and Rivera just hit Wigginton with a pitch to bring the tying run to the plate. And, again, my first thought was “Oh, no, here we go again….”

    But, Mo got Gomes and the game was over. During the post-game, I heard about how shaky and lucky Igawa was during this game – and I got to see Shelly Duncan almost break Kim Jones’ arm with the high-five.

    This is a good win for the Yanks – and it takes some, but not all, of the pressure off DeSalvo for the nightcap. Plus, with the Red Sox rolling today, every win helps, of course.

    July 20th vs. The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 20th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    Wow.

    Let’s start at the top. Mike Mussina has to show a better effort than what we saw in tonight’s game. Yes, I’ll charge his first two runs allowed to Bobby Abreu – for shying away from the wall, allowing a flyball to become an extra basehit, and, for making a piss-poor throw when he had the ball in his hand as Runs-like-a-Catcher Navarro was just hitting third (and he still could not throw him out at the plate).

    But, that moon shot from Upton was all Mussina. And, the melt-down in the fifth was all Mussina. (I can’t blame Edwar Ramirez for having no control in this game. What could anyone expect – it’s been close to two weeks since Torre allowed him to pitch in a game? Of course, he’s going to be very rusty.)

    Actually, the bottom of the third tonight told us everything that you need to know about the Yankees in this game – and maybe this season. Mussina throws about a million pitches in the top of the third – and he’s out there for a half-hour or something like that. In the bottom of the frame, Damon and Jeter go down on something like three pitches – and then A-Rod comes to the plate. Does he take a pitch or two to give Mussina some time to rest? No. Alex swings at the first pitch and grounds to third – inning over in something like three minutes and Mussina has to get his tired arm back up on the hill.

    Great teamwork and heads-up baseball there, huh?

    And, didn’t Edwin Jackson have a 1-9 record and an ERA of 7.14 coming into this game? I’m sorry, but, a winner of a team takes a guy like that and just eats him up…they don’t allow him to post a doughnut over six innings.

    Also, while I want to say “Lastly, have we seen enough of Brian Bruney?” Instead, I’ll say “Lastly, here’s the ‘good’ news – Igawa and DeSalvo are pitching tomorrow!”

    P.S. – Shelly Duncan = Mike Blowers.

    Sorry, it’s that kind of a night in Yankeeland.

    July 19th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on July 19th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    In this game, the Yankees sent 34 batters to the plate. The first 3 batters reached base – producing two runs. What did the next 31 batters do? Twenty-five of the thirty-one were retired. (There were two double-plays in there – helping the Yankees burn their 27 outs for the game.)

    You’re not going to win many ballgames when your batters send 31 straight batters to the plate and they make 27 outs.

    Shame, Wang pitched a heckuva game in my book…seven-plus innings, three runs, and in very hot conditions.

    This one hurts. Given their play, overall this season, and their current place in the standings, this Yankees team cannot afford to be losing games by the score of 3-2 at this point in the season.

    File this game under: “Allowing it to slip through your fingers.”

    July 18th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on July 19th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    For the first six innings, things in this contest, offensively for the Yankees, looked more hairy than Nick Tortelli’s back. However, thanks to a “GBA” assisted, 25-minute, top of the 7th inning, icing of the Jays’ starter, Shaun Marcum, the home team was able to pull this one out.

    Big hits for A-Rod and A-Phil…along with gutty pitching from the Rocket and…Mike Myers(!) save the day in this one. Oh yeah, an extended Mo Rivera had something to say in the outcome as well.

    Before I get to the really good news, let’s talk about Edwar Ramírez. The kid gets called up on July 1st. He pitches on July 3rd and then again on July 6th – and then we never see him again. So, it’s now 12 days since he pitched in a game. Why does Torre even have him on the team if he’s not going to use him?

    Enough. Now, the good stuff. Boston lost again. Yes, it’s getting closer yet…just one more and then I’ll start to get really giddy.

    July 17th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on July 17th, 2007 · Comments (12)

    As I write this, it’s 2-2 in the top of the 10th with one out. Joe Girardi, in the YES coverage, said it best during the 8th inning tonight: “These are the games that you can’t afford to let get away.”

    So, what will it be Yankees?

    July 16th vs. The Blue Jays

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

    Remember last week when I mentioned Mike Pagliarulo and Adam White’s Baseline Report? Here’s what they recently had to say about Kei Igawa, tonight’s starter, in a feature on Brian Cashman:

    Igawa could potentially be one of the worst free agent signings ever – in Mike Hampton territory. Dare we say another Carl Pavano? At least Hampton did have stretches of decent production after he left Colorado. Igawa, on the other hand, might never be better than what he is now: a AAA pitcher with an attitude who is at best a back end starter on a second division team, possible long man or innings eater out of the pen and an insurance policy for the major league club. Cashman has another 4.5 years and $45M committed to Igawa! The Yankees chose not to use his Japan consultants, who have told him to walk away from Igawa. The consultants knew about the Igawa hold-out in spring training 2005 in Japan, and how Igawa’s manager slapped him for not playing during spring training after the team had won the NPB championship. Igawa then laid down that year and wasn’t productive at all. Important information that is interpreted through consulting and difficult to put on scouting reports. Previous reports on Hideki Matsui, Kazuo Matsui, Iguchi, etc were handled in a different manner by the Yankees, and proved beneficial to their bottom line.

    I wonder who those consultants were? I do have an idea.

    In any event, Iwaga went five tonight – throwing 115 pitches – and was in trouble every inning. Scooby Hughes, where are you!

    Thanks to homers from Mat-Can-Rod and some good pen work from Proc-Viz-Mo, along with a clutch hit from Andy “Little Engine” Phillips in the 6th, the Yankees survived Igawa and get a big win…big in the fact that they’re now two games over .500…and it’s been a long time since they’ve seen that mark this season.

    Feels good, huh?

    July 15th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 15th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    It was closer today than one would like to have seen…but, with this win, the Yankees are now over .500 for the first time since June 22nd and they are now nine games back in the East – the first time New York has been within single digits of first since June 19th. Yeah, it’s been a month since things looked this “good” in Yankeeland. (Hey, good is a relative term.)

    It was great to see Andy Phillips have a huge game today – at the bat and in the field. Why? Well, first, he’s a nice guy and you like to see nice guys do well. But, more importantly, as long as Phillips does well, that should keep Shea Hillenbrand away.

    I know that Mussina had a long layoff between starts – and that’s never been good for him. But, the fact of the matter is that he faced 27 batters in this game and 13 of them reached base. That’s terrible. He’s lucky that he didn’t get pounded in this game. If you look at Moose’s last 5 starts – including this one – he’s averaging just 6 IP per start. And, he’s allowing around 3 runs per game in those starts.

    Six innings and three runs should be fine – from Mussina – each time out. But, if Moose starts to move off that line, in the wrong direction, and someone like Kartsens or Clippard is tearing it up in Triple-A, at some point Torre is going to have to make a hard call…on whether or not Mussina stays in the rotation. (Of course, this assumes that Kei Igawa is long gone and replaced in the rotation. If not, then Mussina maybe becomes the fifth man in the rotation – if someone from Triple-A is ready to come up and be a force in the starting five. Heck, maybe Mussina becomes the fifth guy if Hughes replaces Igawa and Phil is lights-out?)

    Lastly, Farnsworth. What can you say? What’s interesting is that, coming into this game, his WHIP/BAA at home is 1.38/.242 whereas it’s 1.78/.301 on the road. Why is Kyle effective at Yankee Stadium and so terrible away from home? There’s got to be something there – small sample size be damned.

    July 14th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 15th, 2007 · Comments (4)

    A root beer win is always nice – brought to you by A&W (Abreu & Wang).

    And, how about Matsui? His July BA/OBA/SLG stats to date: .302/.388/.767. Godzilla cometh?

    And, congrats to Mo for passing John Franco on the career saves list.

    Lastly, yes, it’s come to this: Many Yankees fans would rather see Rob Villone come into the game to bridge the gap to Rivera than see Kyle Farnsworth. Cashman should really work the phones over the next two weeks to send Farnsie packing.

    So, the Yankees are now again a .500 team – at 44 and 44. They’re 9 games back of Boston, in the loss column. And, New York is 7 games back, loss-column-wise, in the Wildcard chase. It would be better for them to get that 9 and 7 down to 5 over the next two weeks.

    Part of it starts with this last game in the Tampa series. Mike Mussina needs to pitch very well today. It’s time to get past being .500 (or below) and time to start moving towards being 5, and then 10, games over .500. You can’t get to 10 over until you do 5 over. And, you can’t get to 5 over until you get to 1 over. Mussina, with a strong game today, can get the Yankees 1 game over .500 – and rolling in the right direction.

    July 13th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 13th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    It’s clear, at this stage of his career, if he can’t “locate,” Roger Clemens will not have a good game. And, tonight, the Rocket could not “locate.” (Not that it probably mattered much the way Kazmir pushed the Yankees batters around for six innings tonight.)

    It was nice to see the Yankees try and get back into this game during the 7th and 8th innings. And, in my opinion, had they come back to win this game, we could have been looking at one of those things where we would have been able to say “Remember that Friday the 13th in July? That was the game where things took off for the team.”

    Instead, now, it’s just another loss.

    At least Boston lost a tough one tonight too – up in Fenway…down by a run, bottom of the 9th, one out, runners on 1st and 2nd…Ortiz flies out to center and then Manny flies out to deep right…ballgame over. Close, but, no cigar.

    July 12th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on July 13th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    He held it together as best that he could – still, you want to see better from Andy Pettitte than you saw in this game. I’ll give him some slack because of the All-Star layoff, for this one. I’m looking forward to his next start…to see if he can show us that there’s no need to be concerned over his recent struggles in June and July.

    I mentioned this on June 24th, and, this game shows it some more: When Bobby Abreu hits, the Yankees do well.

    Abreu, with this game, is now 14 for 29 in the month of July. Yes, he’s red hot right now. Actually, overall, Abreu went .290 /.408 /.470 in the month of June as well. If Bobby can go on a run where he hits .330+ with a ton on walks, over the second half of the season, maybe, just maybe, he could be someone who helps lead the Yankees towards a charge at making the post-season.

    Considering that he’s playing for a contract as well, it would serve him just as well as it would serve the Yankees.

    In any event, since Abreu is on fire as a “7th batter” in the line-up – Torre should just leave him there for the rest of the season. Why mess with what’s working for everyone?

    July 8th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on July 8th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    Outside of a little bit of heat, in terms of the weather, and some yahoos starting up “The Wave” during the bottom of the 6th inning, it was a perfect day at Yankee Stadium today…if you’re a fan of the home team there.

    Why can’t every game in the Bronx be like this one?

    So, this is where we stand at the All-Star break…the Yankees are 9 games back, in the loss column, of the first place Boston Red Sox. Further, New York is 7 games back, also in the loss column, of the A.L. Wildcard leading Cleveland Indians – with four teams sandwiched in there between them and the Tribe.

    Can the Yankees make up those 9 games on Boston? Can New York make up those 7 games in the Wildcard – and fight off the other five teams who are also in the chase there? What do you think?

    Me? I’m just going to enjoy the moment of today’s win. And, should the Yankees get within 5 games back, in the loss column, of either Boston or the Wildcard, by the end of July…then I’ll start dreaming about a post-season slot in 2007.

    It’s not impossible – especially with the Wildcard. But, the Yanks just need to get a tad closer for my tastes…as five with two months to go is a lot more “doable” (in my mind) than what’s out there now.

    In any event, for the next three days, the Yankees will lose no games, or ground, and the mojo of the team is high – coming off a fanny spanking of the Angels. It’s all good.

    July 7th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on July 7th, 2007 · Comments (15)

    So, on 7/7/07, the 13th was the unlucky inning for the Yankees today. Ouch, this one hurts. Wasted a gem by Clemens. Gave the Halos a gift run in the 13th. And, had a chance in the 13th – with a runner on 3rd and one out – to tie the game. But, Melky capped off a nightmare of a game with his 5th “K” of the contest in the big spot. Add the lack of execution in the 7th for the Yankees – and, this is not a shining example of how to win a tight game via small ball.

    With this loss, it’s a lock that the Yankees will not be a .500 team at the 2007 All-Star break. How many people saw that coming before this season started?

    I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve always had a theory on Old Timer’s Day (OTD) – although it’s based on memory, and not fact. It seems to me that the Yankees often lose on OTD – and I think that’s because the clubhouse is such a zoo on that day that it’s a distraction to the team.

    Was that the reason why the Yankees, sans Clemens and Rivera, seemed like they were playing this game tapped out? I mean, com’on, 14 K’s in 13 innings? Lackey, Sheilds and K-Rod are good. But, are they that good? Maybe the Yankees were just tired from all their scoring in the last game? Or, maybe it is the OTD thing?

    As much as I love to see some guys come back for a day in the sun, you have to wonder if it’s worth it. Do we need to see Ken Clay, George Zeber, and Homer Bush, again, that badly? Maybe it just makes more sense to have a day for select groups throughout the season?

    You know…like a day where you salute the ’77 Yanks. And, a day where you salute the living former Yankees in Cooperstown. Stuff like that…with a small ceremony before the game. And, then, you take away the distraction of having 20-30 extra bodies and more media in the clubhouse before a game that you need to win.

    I’m not saying that I’m sure on this idea…but, it’s an idea worth considering…if it’s true that OTD creates a mess for the team before the game.

    July 6th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on July 6th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    O.K., now, I’m going to be a greedy Yankees fan. I want New York to win the next two games – and then be over .500 at the All-Star break. That would be special. (Plus, I’m going to the game on Sunday – which would make it extra special…being there when it happens, if they can sweep the Angels and get over the hump by the break.)

    Coming into this game, Andy Pettitte had thrown 34 IP in June…and allowed 37 hits and had an ERA of 4.76 for the month. Now, Andy starts off July (including this game) with 2 starts, 6.67 combined IP and 15 ER allowed. I’m starting to get worried about Pettitte.

    Thanks to A-Rod and his friends tonight, and getting to face Bartolo Colon, Pettitte’s issues were moot – for this game. Still, I hope that a few extra days between starts helps Pettitte get back into a routine of better performance.

    Moving off Pettitte, it was fun to see the Yankees pound the baseball and be aggressive on the bases tonight.

    When was the last time that the Yankees scored 14+ runs in a game where they had at least one homer and at least one stolen base? It was July 15th of last year. (Villone closed out that game too.) It just missed being a year to the day by nine days. That’s a long time.

    July 5th vs. The Twins

    Posted by on July 5th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    Is it just me, or, did this game seem a lot longer than the listed “3:32″ time of game that ended up in the box score?

    I think I finally figured it out. “Kei Igawa” is Japanese for “Chuck Cary.” There’s just something about the way Igawa carries himself on the field that screams “I don’t belong in the major leagues.” Or, is that just me again?

    This was a great game to win – in part, because the Yankees need wins. But, also, in part, because to lose this game (and the 9th was a little scary there) would have been very deflating – considering how long it went on for in terms of time on the field.

    Good jobs by Cano, Melky, Matsui and the bullpen today.

    And, check out Andy Phillips over the last 5 games. Eight hits in five games? Giambi who?

    July 4th vs. The Twins

    Posted by on July 4th, 2007 · Comments (26)

    Kyle Farnsworth, with this game, has a streak going. In his last 12 appearances, he’s pitched an inning or less each time – and allowed at least one base runner in each appearance. In total, in those 12 games, he’s pitched 10.3 IP and allowed 19 runners to each against him.

    And, how about Brian Bruney? With this game, he’s now walked at least one batter in 15 of his last 22 appearances. It’s not just chance that his initials are “BB.” In total, in those 22 games, he’s pitched 19 IP and walked 18 batters.

    Why are these two pitchers still on the team?

    Mussina pitched well today – albeit just for six. Torre should have never let him go out for the seventh…not with the game being tied and Santana dealing for the Twins. Given his pitch count at that time, the odds of Mussina giving you anything in the 7th were slim. Mr. Green Tea pushed those odds today and lost.

    One more loss between now and the All-break clinches the Yankees not being a .500 team at the All-Star break.

    July 3rd vs. The Twins

    Posted by on July 3rd, 2007 · Comments (4)

    There’s many great stories from this game. A-Rod being able to play. Worm Killer Wang hanging tough. Jeter, Cano, and Abreu swinging the big sticks. The overall stellar team defense that New York used in this game. Even Melky and Godzilla threw in a couple of hits each. But, for me, the story of this game was Edwar Ramirez.

    First, let’s get the “looks” thing out of the way. Man, is Edwar skinny. He’s in the Jimmie “Kid Dy-no-mite” Walker, Oil Can Boyd, Mick Jaggar class of skinny. And, then there are the glasses. While they’re not in the Rick Vaughn or Gustavo Chacin class, the specs do add another flavor to Edwar’s look out there on the hill.

    But, it’s the stuff that’s the story here. A fastball in the 90-91 MPH range with a 78-80 MPH change-up for a chaser. Ladies and Germs, that’s pulling a string.

    And, in this game, Ramirez whiffs the first three big league batters that he faces in his career. Just last month, Jordan De Jong of the Blue Jays pulled this off – making his major league debut in relief, and striking out the side (and the first three batters that he ever faced). So, it’s a great story – but, it’s not like it’s never been done before – or, even, never been done before this season.

    In any event, it looks like Edwar Ramirez can help add some positive energy to this team – in a place where they need it…meaning the bullpen.

    The only downside may be having to hear Michael Kay keep telling the story, over and over and over again, about how Ramirez’ dad talked him out of quitting the game and how Edwar ended up in an Indy League.

    Really, Michael, after the kid pitches in more than five games here, you can let it go. We get it. It’s an uplifting tale. But, you don’t have to beat it like you’re trying to turn a stick of butter into whipped cream.

    Lastly, since it seems like Edwar Ramirez needs a nickname, I’m going to offer one here, right out of the chute: El Cambio (It’s Spanish for “The Change.”) Considering the story of how Ramirez turned his career around, and the offering that’s his money pitch, it just seems to make sense. Plus, it sounds cool in an “El Kabong” kind of way. John Sterling could have a lot of fun with it – assuming it takes off.

    July 2nd vs. The Twins

    Posted by on July 2nd, 2007 · Comments (22)

    Well, for sure, no one can ever say that Roger Clemens backed into his 350th career win. Ol’ Roger was in command this evening. It was impressive.

    While I enjoyed watching the Abreu homer, it was not all that impressive to me. It was a hanging slider – which is basically a BP-fastball, at the end of the day. Those types of pitches should be hit a long way.

    Hopefully, A-Rod will be OK tomorrow. But, I’ll say this…if he’s only around 80% and wants to nurse it, that’s fine…he should. But, if it’s still not near 100% at the end of the week, he should beg out of the All-Star game. No need to turn 90% into 60% by pushing yourself in a game like that one. Sure, make the trip, take your bow, etc. But, let them replace you on the roster with someone else. Better safe than sorry. Of course, if, tomorrow, he says he’s 99% fine, then it’s a moot point.

    July 1st vs. The A’s

    Posted by on July 1st, 2007 · Comments (5)

    Another day, another loss, in Yankeeland. To be honest, I’m just shocked that this Yankees team scored 5 runs off Dan Haren. I’ll take that as a positive from this game – and skip the stuff about Pettitte’s pitching and Abreu’s defense in right, etc.

    Since writing about how much the Yankees stink this year is getting boring, I’ll move on to something else. We went to see the Staten Island Yankees play today. Angel Reyes started for the home team:

    SIYanks070107.jpg

    Reyes got banged around pretty good today – no command. He was barely touching 90 on the ballpark gun. Most of the time he was around 87-88 MPH.

    I also saw Taylor Holiday and Dave Williams for the first time today. They look like ballplayers. Ryan Zink threw some today as well. I liked his presence on the mound.

    I did get a kick out of watching D.J. Hollingsworth play today. He’s listed at 5′ 7″ – which means he’s closer to 5′ 6″ in reality. He plays with a lot of emotion. Being a 14th round draft pick (in 2006), he better play with some emotion. At his height, he’s an underdog. Seems like the type of story that many would find easy to root for…and would be a great story if he managed to make the bigs someday.

    At the worst, maybe the Yankees can just clone the kid’s heart and transplant it into some of the guys on the big league club who need to stop going through the motions?