• August 7th @ The Rangers

    Posted by on August 7th, 2008 · Comments (7)

    Another bad night, if you ask me, by the Yankees offense. Scott Feldman held them in check? Scott Feldman?

    Three runs for the Yanks in this one – with the last one being a gift from Ian Kinsler breaking the wrong way on Jeter’s grounder. The Yankees have to start scoring more runs.

    A-Rod is now oh’fer his last fifteen. That’s part of the problem.

    On the flip-side, there’s Mike Mussina. Hey, Texas can hit. In fact, they hit very well. Moose holding them to goose-eggs in this one…well…shoot, I’ve run out of words to describe how good Mike Mussina has been…in this game…and on this season.

    Without Mike Mussina, the Yankees would be in a heap of trouble this season. Yes, I know that the Yankees are only 15-9 in the games that Moose has started. But, within those nine losses are games that the Yankees dropped by the scores of 4-3, 3-2, and 2-1. (And, there’s two more by the scores of 4-2.)

    Only five more wins, now, needed for Mussina to get twenty on the season. Moose should have about 8 or 9 more starts this year. It’s going to be close…but…I hope he gets that 20th win. He deserves it.

    August 31st vs. The Devil Rays

    Posted by on August 31st, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Young Andy Sonnanstine came into this game, for Tampa Bay, with an ERA of 6.38 is his career 16 big league starts. What does he do to the Yankees tonight? He throws 8 innings – facing just 3 batters over the minimum during that period.

    Sonnanstine didn’t just fall out of a tree. He was awesome in Double-A last year and did very well in A-ball the year before that one. His game is one based on great command and changing speeds. He’s got some talent and skills and is capable of shutting down a big league team, even at his young age, once in a while, like he did to the Yankees tonight.

    Young Phil Hughes, also full of talent and skills, came into this game, for New York, with an ERA of 5.35 is his career seven big league starts. What did he do for the Yankees tonight? He throws 4.3 innings – allowing 11 of the 24 batters that he faced in that time to reach base. In terms of “stuff,” Hughes was averaging 92 MPH on his fastball in the first 4 innings of this game. But, when Phil came out to pitch in the fifth inning, his fastball was closer to 90 MPH – and, in fact, his last fastball of the game was clocked at 88 MPH. Once he got near 90 pitches this evening, Hughes basically ran out of gas.

    On a night where Seattle lost again and where Boston lost a heart-breaker in Fenway, it would have been great to see Phil Hughes pitch more like Andy Sonnanstine did tonight, and vice versa, and have the Yankees win in a romp today – instead of having Tampa Bay take New York to school. Alas, it was not to be…and that’s a shame.

    August 30th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 30th, 2007 · Comments (26)

    Coming into this contest, Worm Killer Wang averages 3.49 Pitches thrown per Plate Appearance (P/PA) and Curt Schilling averages 3.62 P/PA. Both of those marks are excellent – compared to the rest of the league. Does this mean this game will be quick moving?

    Update, 8/30/07, 2:20 pm ET: It’s the bottom of the 4th, with one out, and Wang’s averaging 4.0 P/PA in the game compared to Schilling’s 3.14 P/PA. Seems like the Sox are making Wang work whereas the Yankees are jumping at Schilling early in the count.

    Update, 8/30/07, 2:42 pm ET: At this point in time, Robinson Cano is batting .407 lifetime against Schilling with 3 homers in 27 At Bats. I think he likes him.

    Update, 8/30/07, 2:54 pm ET: It’s 2:54 am, Friday morning, in Taiwan. Think anyone there knows that Worm Killer Wang is 9 outs away from a no-hitter?

    Update, 8/30/07, 4:14 pm ET: Sweep Fancy Moses! The Yankees are now 5 games back of Boston. Those two blown “Sean Henn” games from last week – August 20th and August 24th are indeed very haunting now. If the Yankees had won those two games, we’d be looking at 3 games back – with 28 games to go, including three at Fenway against the Sox. Now, that would have been something.

    As far as the whole Youkilis/Joba thing, well, I want to see the video on that one before I comment. However, if you saw it, and want to comment on it now, please feel free to…in the comment section here.

    August 29th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 29th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    I’m going to rubber stamp the start to this entry with the same opening that I used for the entry on last night’s game:

    Good game. The loss means nada to the Red Sox. Still, to a Yankees fan, at least this one, it’s always fun to beat Boston, in a close game, at the Stadium. Plus, it keeps the Yankees tragic number at ten (for another day). This really was a fun one to watch – I wouldn’t even mind seeing it make a re-run some time over the winter on YES.

    Yeah, it’s a ditto job – but, it fits because these last two games were mirror images of each other in terms of feel, excitement and impact.

    Did you know that, since 1957, the Red Sox have never pitched a game in Yankee (or Shea) Stadium against the Yankees where they threw eight innings in the contest and allowed 14+ hits and four runs or less? Well, until tonight, that is…so, maybe this game was a little bit different from the one of last night? (By the way, it, meaning H>=14 and R<=4, last happened in a nine inning game on August 22, 1989.)

    Clemens and Rivera earned their pay today. Kyle Farnsworth, well, yoooooou….not so much. Oh, well, at least we’re now duly reminded that you cannot trust Kyle…no matter how many games in a row he may pitch where it appears that he could be useful.

    Before I close, was anyone screaming “Bunt!” at their T.V. when Giambi was batting in the third, with Matsui on third, and two outs, and where Lowell was way off third – positioned at deep short (in a shift) and the right-handed throwing Beckett (falling towards first) on the mound?

    So, now, the Yankees are in a virtual tie for first in the Wildcard – with 29 games left to go. That’s great. But, I want to see it where New York is in first for the ‘card with the trailing team one game back in the loss column. At that time, I will be a giddy Yankees fan – and then some.

    August 28th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 28th, 2007 · Comments (12)

    Good game. The loss means nada to the Red Sox. Still, to a Yankees fan, at least this one, it’s always fun to beat Boston, in a close game, at the Stadium. Plus, it keeps the Yankees tragic number at ten (for another day). This really was a fun one to watch – I wouldn’t even mind seeing it make a re-run some time over the winter on YES.

    Speaking of YES, sure, they played the squirrel sitting on the foul pole thing to death this evening. But, maybe that little guy can become the Yankees version of Charley Lupica?

    Speaking of reincarnations, can it be that Matsuzaka facing the Yankees, as a member of the Red Sox, might turn out the same as Contreras facing the Red Sox, as a member of the Yankees? Wouldn’t that be a kick?

    Big game for some of the character guys on the team today: Pettitte was full of fire – storming off the mound in the fifth, and, getting pissed in the dugout after allowing the homer in the seventh. Posada got the clutch hit in the first. Jeter homered. Phillips got a big hit to set up the Damon homer. Mo was nasty for the save. Melky had a sweet bunt. And, Damon, along with the hits, made some nice plays in left.

    Lastly, when I look at Joba Chamberlain, I see him being a starter next year, and doing very well – until he hits three homeruns in one game during an inter-league match-up. Then, the Yankees start playing him in the outfield during off days…and the long-balls keep coming…and eventually Joba becomes a full-time position player and goes on to hit 714 career homeruns…wait, am I confusing him with someone else?

    Seriously, as much fun as the “Jabba the Hutt” play on names thing is, it’s a tad insulting because the kid did once have a weight problem. Perhaps, playing on Icebox Chamberlain, we should start calling Joba “Toaster Chamberlain,” as that’s what he’s turning batters into with that heater he throws.

    O.K., that’s not awesome either. Anyone have some better suggestions?

    August 27th @ The Tigers

    Posted by on August 27th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    As I write this, the Yankees are losing this game 10-0, after six – and New York has only 3 hits in the contest to date. I think it’s safe to say that this one is going to end up in the “L” column.

    Back on August 20th, I wrote:

    The New York Yankees are currently 4 games back of the Boston Red Sox in the A.L. East – with 38 games remaining on the 2007 schedule.

    The Yankees and Red Sox are scheduled to face each other on August 28th. Between now, and then, both New York and Boston have seven games to play this week – all on the road (for both teams).

    Look at it this way, at the best, the Yankees will be three games ahead of the Red Sox, when they meet on August 28th. And, at the worst, the Yankees will be eleven games out of first, when Boston comes to New York.

    Well, with a loss in this game, the Yankees will be eight games out of first place when they face the Red Sox tomorrow. In just one week’s time, the Yankees have fallen another four games back of Boston – making this upcoming series no pressure whatsoever for the Bosox. Even if the Yankees sweep, at the worst, Boston will be five games up with 28 games left to play. That’s no problem for the Sox.

    On the flip side, if the Red Sox take 2 of 3 from the Yankees now, that will give them a nine game lead with 28 games to play…so, if that happens, you might as well stick a fork in New York, because they appear to be done in the A.L. East.

    The Yankees have played themselves into a corner where their only hope for October baseball now comes in the form of the Wildcard. One of five teams will take the ‘card between the Angels, Mariners, Yankees, Indians or Tigers. No one else has a shot at it. And, I suppose that you can say it’s three teams – since someone from the M’s/Angels will win the west and someone from the Tigers/Tribe will win the central.

    Since it usually comes down to pitching, I’m going to say that Angels win the west and the Indians win the central – leaving the Yankees, Tigers and Mariners to fight over the Wildcard.

    Detroit and Seattle are pretty close to each other, in terms of overall team pitching effectiveness. Some people would say that New York is slightly better than the two of them in this department. But, the Yankees are working with a three-man rotation now. It’s going to be tight for New York.

    It’s up to Pettitte, Wang and Clemens from here out. Combined, they’re probably going to get 18 starts over the rest of the season. And, the trio will most likely have to go something like 13-5 over those games to get the Yankees were they need to be (for the Wildcard).

    Therefore, this is what I’m calling at this point: As soon as Pettitte, Wang and Clemens lose 5 more games this year, combined, you can then forget about the Yankees’ 2007 season – as it will be over at that point.

    August 26th @ The Tigers

    Posted by on August 26th, 2007 · Comments (19)

    That Marcus Thames’ homer in the third was off an 88-MPH fastball, down the middle, from Phil Hughes. How is Phil Hughes serving up an 88-MPH fastball to the third batter in the third inning? Should he not have more life on his fastball than that – so early in the contest?

    David Justice, in the YES post-game, was right. When Hughes hits the corners with his fastball, he’s tough. But, when he gets too much of the plate with it, Hughes’ fastball is very hittable to major league batters. John Flaherty said this back on August 4th as well – that Phil’s 89-91 MPH fastball was very hittable in a spot where it’s expected.

    It will be interesting to see if this will always be the case with Phil Hughes.

    Less than two weeks ago, the Yankees were just 4 games back of Boston in the A.L. East. Since that time, New York has gone 5-7 while the Red Sox have gone 9-4. The gap between the two teams is now 7 games in the loss column.

    It’s probably safe at this point for the Boston Red Sox to put that 2007 A.L. East Crown Champagne on ice.

    To date, this season, the Yankees have gone 3-0 against the Pirates, 5-1 against the Rangers, 6-0 against the Indians, and 3-0 against the Diamondbacks. That’s a total of 17-1 against the Pirates, Rangers, Indians and Diamondbacks. This means New York has gone 55-57 against everyone else (not named the Pirates, Rangers, Indians or Diamondbacks). Heck, maybe the 2007 Yankees are just not that good?

    August 25th @ The Tigers

    Posted by on August 26th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s always good when the Yankees win. I’ll take a Yankees win over a Yankees loss, any time, any day, any season – no matter what the standings, situation, etc.

    And, it’s beyond good – nearing awesome – to see Worm Killer Wang on top of his game. When he’s on, he’s an absolute pleasure to watch on the mound – like in the case of this game.

    Also, while I respect a pitcher who uses the inside corner of the plate and who is willing to make batters move in the box once in while, I thought that the Tigers’ Jeremy Bonderman came up and in to Yankees batters too many times in this game. Below the belt is fine – a pitcher should make a batter move his feet once in a while. However, Bonderman was coming up and in every time – above the belt and too close to heads. So, it was great to see the Yankees tag Bonderman for seven runs in less than six innings – as payback of sorts for his brushbacks.

    Good to see, awesome to see, great to see…yet, because of where the recent losses to the Angels and the loss in the game before this one (to the Tigers) have put the Yankees in the chase for a post-season berth, it’s hard to get overly excited about this game – at least to me. It just feels like a win – but, one that’s too little too late.

    Maybe some more wins in the next five games or so will change the way I feel about all this? And, I wonder if any other Yankees fans will the same way today?

    August 24th @ The Tigers

    Posted by on August 25th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    GameOver332AM.jpg

    The first pitch at 11:06 p.m. (because of a rain delay of 4 hours and 1 minute)? That’s just wrong.

    Pin this terrible loss on Clemens and Henn – every other Yankees pitcher did their job in this game. Henn allowed three straight two-out hits to blow the game. Clemens allowed 4 huge extra-base hits in 6 innings of work…along with 3 walks…to allow 6 runs in 6 innings pitched.

    The Yankees bats were good in the first half of the game – they scored 6 runs in the first 5 innings of the contest. I guess they were just sleepy by the time the sixth inning rolled along.

    So, now the Yankees are 6 back, in the loss column, of Boston in the A.L. East – and New York is 4 games back, in the loss column, of Seattle in the Wildcard standings. The Yankees have 34 games left to play.

    I think the Yankees have now found their theme song for 2007. It’s Dave Edmunds’ Slipping Away:

    I can feel you slipping away from me.
    A little bit further now every day.
    I’m holding on, but I can’t believe
    This is how you want it to be.
    Oh, you’re slipping away.
    Oh, you’re slipping away.
    It feels like walking down a long, dark road.
    You never talk to me the way you did before.
    You ride through the city with your head held high.
    And all I can do is watch you go by.
    Oh, you’re slipping away.
    Oh, you’re slipping away.
    I’m gonna give it all I’ve got to give.
    I’ve got to hold on, see what tomorrow brings.
    You’re slipping away, but give me one more try.
    One more chance to wipe these tears from my eyes.
    You’re slipping away.
    Oh, you’re slipping away.

    August 22nd @ The Angels

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2007 · Comments (10)

    When you factor in:

    1. The results of the two games before this one.
    2. The Yankees place in the standings.
    3. The calendar.
    4. The losses by Boston and Seattle prior to this game.

    This contest was as close to “must win” for the Yankees as you can get during the regular season. And, Andy Pettitte came through for New York.

    Pettitte did not allow the Angels to take a lead in this game, through six, and then threw a shutdown inning in the seventh after the Yankees took a 3-1 lead. You cannot ask for more than that from a pitcher.

    Given Hughes’ learning curves, Mussina’s ups-and-downs, Clemens’ age, and Wang’s issues with pitching on the road, you have to think that Pettitte is the Yankees “Game 1 Starter” and ace for the post-season, no?

    One beef on this game for me: Joba Chamberlain is your “Barney Fife Bullet” – meaning he has to stay in your pocket and only be used carefully – and you bring him into a game when you have a 7-1 lead in the eighth? Is the Yankees bullpen that bad that no one else can help get the last 6 outs of a game where you have a 6-run lead?

    O.K., sure, I realize that there’s an off-day between this game and the Yankees next series. And, that factors into it. However, if there’s an overall innings limit that the Yankees are applying to Joba this year, it seems like a waste to have him pitch an inning in a situation like this one, no?

    Lastly, congrats to Joe Torre – for getting sole possession of second place on the franchise win chart behind Joe McCarthy. That’s pretty impressive. It makes me wonder if Joe wants to keep his job through 2010 to try and get the all-time record. Given his pay-rate, and the perks of being the Yankees manager, I can’t imagine why he would not want to stick around. If the Yankees don’t get a ring this year, it will be interesting to see what happens with Joe and his future plans.

    August 21st @ The Angels

    Posted by on August 22nd, 2007 · Comments (4)

    Back when I was a sophomore in high school, a classmate of mine, big bad Carl Myers, got the drop on me and landed a sucker punch right to my gut. It was the first and last time that happened. In any event, it’s hard to forget that sickening feeling of getting the wind knocked out of you – the instant and simultaneous sensation that you’re going to blackout and puke at the same time.

    When I woke up this morning and saw the “highlights” of how the Yankees got pounded in this game, coupled with seeing the scores of the games for Boston and Seattle, I started to get that feeling again – a brilliant flash of blinding light followed by an increasing dimming towards total darkness along with involuntary spasms of the stomach.

    And, as long as I continue to think about this game and the residual standings impact for the Yankees, I keep feeling that way. Therefore, for the sake of hoping to have a better day (as compared to how it started when I turned on the news at five AM this morning), I’m not going to think about it any more.

    Ever see the Star Trek episode “Requiem for Methuselah” where Spock does a mini-mind-meld on Kirk at the end and whispers “Forget“? That’s what I need about now.

    August 20th @ The Angels

    Posted by on August 21st, 2007 · Comments (21)

    This one hurts.

    Down, 3-1, after two.
    Up, 4-3, after six.
    Down, 6-4, after seven.
    Tied, 6-6, after eight.
    And, then, losing it, 7-6, in ten.

    And, on a night that Boston and Seattle both won too.

    To come back, twice, and then blow it…well, like I said, it hurts.

    August 19th vs. The Tigers

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

    The Yankees, in these last three games against the Tigers, have looked so smooth, doing it all (starting pitching, hitting, the pen, etc.) that, if they were a musical act, right now, they would be some sort of hybrid mix of Earth, Wind & Fire and Kool & the Gang.

    But, in the three games before these, well, they were not so good.

    How will they perform over the next 10 games or so? With this team, it’s hard to tell. So, just sit back and watch, and we’ll know soon enough.

    August 18th vs. The Tigers

    Posted by on August 18th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    That 2-1, strikeout/caught stealing, play that Posada and Clemens pulled off in this game was a first for me. Does anyone know the last time that happened in a game? I can’t find it now.

    Clemens, for me, was the story in this contest – like Pettitte was in the last one. Great effort from the Rocket.

    True confession time: Joe Torre scared me, good, today. With the score 5-2, and Clemens working his last inning, Torre had Edwar Ramirez warming up in the pen. Then, Joe switched to Kyle Farnsworth and had Kyle come in to pitch the seventh. I thought, for sure, Farnsworth was going to find a way to allow some runs in the seventh and make this game uncomfortable. Go figure.

    August 17th vs. The Tigers

    Posted by on August 18th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    This game was all about two words: Andy Pettitte.

    Andy was dandy, and then some, and the Yankees win. It’s so simple when your starter controls the game, eh? And, what’s wrong with Chamberlain? Only one whiff in his inning of work? (Just kidding.)

    The Yankees offense still concerns me. Robertson is not that good this year. And, I thought the Yankees got lucky on the “doubles” by A-Rod and Phillips – as Camron Maybin did not play them well. (Great name for a player, by the way, “Camron Maybin” – it’s not up there with “Craven Morehead,” but, it’s got that fancy ring to it. And, despite last night, this kid is going to be a very good player. I’ve been reading about him in Baseball America since he’s been in High School.)

    And, is it just me, or, does Giambi start pounding multiple-homer games every time Torre bats him 7th or lower in the line-up?

    Anywho, maybe Clemens (today) and Wang (tomorrow) can match Pettitte from this game? Three in a row like this one would be sweet – and great for the team.

    August 16th vs. The Tigers

    Posted by on August 17th, 2007 · Comments (4)

    The Tigers have been a very bad baseball team now for a month or so. Still, this contest had a “big game” feel to it before the game – as well it should, given the need that both these teams have for wins (and given the chance that this series could be a post-season preview in case the Yanks and Tigers meet again in October).

    What happens? Mussina melts. A-Rod makes a costly error. The Yankees bats do very little against power arms – even if they work pitch counts. New York loses. In the YES post-game, Joe Torre gives his patented “the effort was there, we just didn’t get the results that we wanted” speech.

    Sure, the Yankees could go on to win the next three games of this series now. But, then again, this whole series, and the one to follow it, and the one after that, and the next one, could just be platform for us to see what we have here in Yankeeland: A team good enough to pound bad pitching and make the post-season, but, once they have to face good pitching, it will be 2005 and 2006 all over again in the ALDS.

    Maybe it’s time to get ready for the 2007 version of the Yankees post-season punt play: Three and out. Unless, of course, we see something different in the next couple of weeks from what we saw in this game.

    August 15th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on August 15th, 2007 · Comments (8)

    I spent the day down at Belmar today with the family. So, I missed this one.

    Still, let’s see if I can tie all this together. A while back, A-Rod yells “Ha!” at the Blue Jays and Toronto gets ticked. They never forget it and go after Alex the next time the Yankees are in Toronto. Roger Clemens protects A-Rod and gets suspended. Last night was Rocket’s turn, which he had to miss, and the Yankees send scrubs to the mound and get pounded. New York loses – and loses a game in the standings when the Red Sox win a close one. Today, because the bullpen was shot from last night, the Yankees call up two pitchers. Those two pitchers, plus Phil Hughes, do a somewhat decent job at holding the Orioles to 3 runs – and only 2 earned – in nine innings. However, once again, the Yankees cannot hit a brand-name pitcher and they struggle to score runs in this game. Yet, here comes Shelly Duncan with a miracle in the bottom of the ninth to tie the score! Alas, then Mo Rivera, who’s now been shaky his last three times out, blows the game, hugely, in the tenth. Meanwhile, up in Boston, Daisuke Matsuzaka gets banged around and the Red Sox lose a close one.

    Therefore, the Yankees, who were just 4 games out of first two days ago, are now 5 games out of first place, behind the Red Sox. And, had New York won these last two games, they would be just 3 games out of first place (instead of five games back).

    Did I miss anything here?

    Oh, yeah, that’s right, now the first place Detroit Tigers and Gary Sheffield come into town for four games with the Yanks (while the Red Sox have to host the Los Angeles Angels for four games in three days this weekend up in Boston).

    Why do I think this race in the A.L. East is going to become a lot closer, or get blown further apart, over the next four days – rather than stay at five games between New York and Boston?

    It’s just a gut feel, mind you. I just have this vibe that the next four games for both these teams in the A.L. East race are going to tell us something about the squads in New York and Boston. But, I have no idea what that something is now. We’ll have to wait and see, I suppose…

    August 14th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on August 14th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    Even as badly as the Yankees need to win games at this point in the season, it almost still seems fitting to have a lopsided game like this one tonight – on the day of Phil Rizzuto’s passing – as it allowed plenty of air time for the broadcast crew to tell stories about the Scooter.

    Sure, or, should I say “Ha!“(?), it would have been nice to see Clemens pitch this game. Maybe the O’s would have been held to less than a dozen runs with Rocket on the mound? Maybe Clemens only allows two runs in this game? Still, the way the Yankees bats performed tonight, it would not have mattered.

    Just cross your fingers that Hughes has at least six innings in him tomorrow. Anything less than that could fry the pen at a very bad time in the schedule – as the next two weeks are big for the Yankees. Joba and Mo should be good for three tomorrow. It’s up to Hughes to cover the rest.

    August 13th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on August 13th, 2007 · Comments (28)

    Rough start for Worm Killer Wang today – but, like an ace, he gutted it out for six innings. Joba Chamberlain continued his electric debut. Joba is the now the first Yankees pitcher since 1957 to have SO>=2 and BF<=8 in each of the first three games of his career. How about Mo? Ah, they were kind of dinks dropping in, I'm not worried.

    Now, this was a game for Melky - great catch in the second, extends his hitting streak to 18 games, makes a super throw in the ninth to save the game, and then scores the winner in the bottom of the ninth. Hey, I've been saying it since June of last year, Melky Cabrera is a player maker – and it’s great to have him on this team.

    Wilson Betemit’s homer was a big part of this game too. Since he’s arrived, Betemit has been haunting me. His face, and somewhat his body-frame, remind me of someone. It’s mostly the face. But, I can’t place it. I want to say that it’s a former Yankee – but, I’m not sure. For a while, I thought it was the former pitcher Ken Hill – but, I’ve moved off that quickly. For a split second, I thought maybe it was Bam Bam Meulens – however, honestly, I know that I’m just guessing there.

    Does Wilson Betemit remind you, facially, and maybe more, of another player? Am I the only one that feels like he looks like someone else?

    In any event, good times, these days, in Yankeeland. If this was May 2007, the Yankees lose this game. Nice to see the team so pumped when Jeter got the walk-off FC. Let the good times roll – and keep on rollin’.

    August 12th @ The Indians

    Posted by on August 12th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    I missed the Yankees game today. We took the kids down to Trenton to see the Thunder play. I was shocked to see Mike Kinkade playing third for the Thunder. Just ten days ago, I saw him playing third for the Somerset Patriots. I had no idea that he was picked up by Trenton on August 7th. That sort of tells you something about the depth of position players that the Yankees have in the minors – or, rather, the lack thereof. I did get to see Jeff Marquez take the mound for the Thunder today:

    JM54_081207.jpg

    I see what the scouts mean about him. His ball has a lot of movement – even in his warm-up tosses, it was dancing.

    That’s the good news. The bad news? Juan Miranda. He has about as much fun in the batter’s box with breaking pitches as Pedro Cerrano.

    They announced the Giambi homer during the game at Trenton. And, they gave an update when the score hit 4-0. I saw Pettitte pitching in the seventh while we were in the gift shop at Waterfront Park. All told, I knew that things were looking good for the Yanks today. But, when I got home and saw that the Red Sox lost today, well, let’s just say that it’s a Snoopy Dance kinda of day in Yankeeland today. Would you agree?

    August 11th @ The Indians

    Posted by on August 12th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    Mike Mussina had a memorable night in this contest. He got Yankees win #100, for him – funny, I would have guessed that he had that already – and became just the ninth player ever to win 100 games with two teams. (I would have guessed that had happened more times than that too. Shows you what I know.)

    And, Moose almost pitched 8 innings last night. (He registered 7.2 for the game.) Now, that would have been something. The last time that Mussina pitched 8+ innings in a game was May 31, 2006. Although, for the record, Mike came close to eight, again, on June 13th of this season.

    The Yankees offense was rolling in this game. Hey, even José Molina had four hits. This game was the 5th time the Yankees had 19+ hits in a contest this season. In the A.L. this season, on the whole, a team has gotten 19+ hits in a game 17 times – and it’s been the Yankees 29% of the time. That’s pretty impressive.

    August 10th @ The Indians

    Posted by on August 10th, 2007 · Comments (8)

    Phil Hughes looked pretty good tonight. In the words of Larry David, he looked prittay, prittay, good. OK, yes, I’m kidding – Hughes was awesome with a capital “A” this evening. He had some extra zip on the fastball (at least 2-3 more MPH than what he’s routinely shown in his other starts), fantastic control, and a borderline Blylevenesque curveball. Hughes’ bender was indeed as straight up as twelve to six in this game. You could not ask anything more from a pitcher than what Hughes offered today.

    And, Joba Chamberlain was, in the words of Blaine Edwards and Antoine Marryweather, two snaps up with a twist as well tonight. Seriously, if Joba is going to pitch like this, in a Goose Gossage way, out of the pen, you have to start to wonder if it makes more sense to leave him there going forward – and groom him to be the next closer after Mo Rivera.

    It’s an old question, but, it’s still an open one. Is it better to have a stud eat up 200 IP and help a team win 15-20 games. Or, is it better to have him throw 80 IP and have a hand in 40-50 wins? What do you think?

    August 8th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 8th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    Ever hear the song “Hash Pipe” by the band Weezer? I have to confess, when listening to the lyrics of that song, I’m one of those people who are somewhat confused in thinking that they’re hearing “I got my ass wipe” when the correct lyric is “I’ve got my ass wide.”

    However, make no mistake about it, I do know when a baseball team has gotten their ass kicked in a game. And, in this contest, the Blue Jays left many a bootie print on the Yankees’ buttocks – and then some.

    In a case like this, all you can do is turn the page. Enjoy the day tomorrow. And, get ready to go play the Indians.

    August 7th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 7th, 2007 · Comments (44)

    Interesting little game this evening in Toronto.

    First, Joba. He’s a wide-body, eh? From the back, he looks just like Clemens – as Rocket looks today. I was suprised to see him come back out for a second inning. I thought the Yankees were going to baby him? Chamberlain was nervous tonight – can you blame him? – but, he was impressive. Don’t ask me why, but, as I watched Joba pitch tonight, I thought about Aurelio “Señor Smoke” Lopez and Juan Berenguer. I know that makes no sense – since Chamberlain is bigger and a better prospect than they were…still, the thought of Joba coming out of the pen, being a big boy, and pumping ninety-eight with that nasty slider coming too…well, let’s just say that I “get it” as to why the Yankees are trying this move with him this season.

    On to the game. The Blue Jays have to let it go. The “Ha!” game pissed them off – and I don’t blame them. The goons at MLB told Toronto, when the Jays last came to New York, that they didn’t want to see any fireworks in Yankee Stadium. So, Toronto had to bite down on it and do nothing – until last night when they threw behind A-Rod. That should have been the end of it. But, nooooooo

    The Jays had to go after Alex again tonight – which led to Clemens later nailing Rios. Roger will get a suspension out of this one – it’s an automatic. That’s too bad – with the Yankees schedule being so big this month.

    And, I’m sure that some Red Sox fans probably noted Alex’s lips getting a little purple as this game went on today. For those Yankees fans out there with friends in RSN, get prepared to receive an e-mail or two about how the team can thank “Slappy McBlue Lips” for costing the Yankees to have to screw with their rotation now – to cover for Clemens suspension.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the hits, homers, RBI and all the VORP out the yin-yang that Alex provides – like in this season. But, there’s a part of me that would be more than willing to punt some offense for a guy who just plays the game and saves the drama for his mamma.

    August 6th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 6th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    The Yankees played a good team today. And, there was some tension on the field of play. In the end, they won this game – albeit a close contest.

    Once again, the “C&C Fun Factory” (Cano & Cabrera) were in the thick of it. Rivera in the ninth, facing Rios, Wells and the Big Hurt, was pumping gas.

    This team is starting to get a Mariano Duncan, Tim Raines, Andy Fox, type feel to it…with guys like Cabrera, Cano, Duncan, Molina, Betemit, and Phillips…and, it’s nice to see.

    August 5th vs. The Royals

    Posted by on August 5th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    I missed most of this one. We took the kids to see “Underdog” today – and then went out for an early dinner afterwards. (Comments on the movie to follow.)

    It was nice to find out later today that the Yankees won this game. (It was 4-0, New York, in the bottom of the second, when I left to go to the movies.) Good to see that Mussina pitched well – and for more than five innings. Most importantly, it’s great to see where the Yankees are now in the Wildcard chase. New York was 9 1/2 games back in the Wildcard standings after their game of July 7th – and now they’re a half-game back of Detroit in that chase, one full game in the loss column. Picking up nine games in just about a month is amazing.

    Now, the fun begins. The next 23 games should make or break the Yankees chances to win the Wildcard.

    The next 6 are on the road – including 3 in Cleveland. The 7 after that are at home – but against the now pesky O’s and the Tigers. The Yankees have to win 9 of these 13 games.

    After the Jays, Tribe, O’s and Tigers, the Yankees have 10 games from hell: Three at the Angels, four at the Tigers, and then three in the Bronx against the Red Sox. You want to see the Yankees win 6 or 7 of these ten games. But, that’s going to be a tall order.

    If the Yankees win 15 of their next 23 games, I think they can start to print their post-season tickets. If New York goes something like 11-12 (or worse) in these games, that may just kill their hopes for some October baseball.

    Now, back to the movie. As a kid, I was a big fan of Underdog – and the Go Go Gophers, Klondike Kat, Tennessee Tuxedo, Commander McBragg side dishes that came with the show. To be candid, when I heard they were doing a live-action movie version of the show, I was less than thrilled. My first thoughts were “Didn’t the learn anything from the movie version of ‘The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle‘?” But, my kids wanted to see this movie, after spying the commericals for it – so, off we went to see it anyway, despite my concerns.

    However, I was pleasantly surprised at watching “Underdog” today. My kids (ages 3 and 5) were a little freaked by the character Simon Barsinister as well as some of the scenes in the movie that had a little tension. (They were not the only ones – as I heard a kid behind me crying a few times.) It’s probably a movie better served for kids over the age of seven. Still, I thought that the film makers did a nice job of adapting the story, having some fun with the characters and script, while also being respectful of what made the cartoon so popular. It could be the result of me going into this one with very low expectations, but, I give it a thumbs up. Even as an adult, I found it entertaining.

    August 4th vs. The Royals

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

    OK, OK, we get it. The Yankees can really rake against pitchers who have no business being in the major leagues. I just hope that the team does not get a big head about all these high-scoring games and then loses focus on what it takes to beat good pitching – which is what they will see from opponents if New York does make it to the post-season this year. And, with this win today, the Yanks are now just two back in the loss column of the Wildcard standings (with 52 games to go). Therefore, Team Torre has an excellent shot at making the post-season this year.

    To me, there were two stories in this game today: Alex Rodriguez and Phil Hughes. I’ll start with the former and end with the latter.

    A-Rod gets #500 today. Awesome for him. And, good for the team. Getting this personal milestone out of the way now puts the focus, for the media and the fans, back on the Yankees game as a whole and not on one player. We can stop watching every Rodriguez At Bat like it’s the bottom of the 9th in Game Seven of a World Series with the Yankees down by a run. A-Rod can get back to just playing baseball – and not have the entire world on him like flies on a road apple, watching his every move. That’s going to be good for Alex – and good for the Yankees team.

    In any event, I think the way that Rodriguez, the Yankees team, and the Stadium personnel handled the reaction to #500 was both appropriate and tasteful. Two big thumbs way up to all involved on that one.

    It was not the greatest day out there for Phil Hughes today, was it? Maybe it was the heat? Maybe it was the pressure of his first game back? Maybe it was just the fact that a 21-year old kid is going to have some bad days on the mound? Heck, maybe it was just the fact that any pitcher is going to have a bad day on the mound at least once in a while?

    But, what if it’s not any of that? What if, after all this waiting, and saying things like “Don’t sweat Igawa, when Hughes is back and takes his spot, the Yankees won’t have to worry about that slot in the rotation,” it turns out that Hughes is not the answer this season? Because of this, I don’t think you can give Hughes a lot of rope this year at the big league level.

    As John Flaherty noted on the YES coverage today, Hughes was fooling people today early by throwing fastballs in counts where they didn’t expect it. But, once the Royals adjusted, that 89-91 MPH fastball was very hittable. And, that’s all we’ve seen from Hughes at the big league level in terms of his heater: 89-91 MPH. (And, don’t tell me that YES has a slow gun. The YES coverage was clocking Royals pitcher, and journeyman, John Bale at 90-91 on his fastball today too. You going to claim that Bale was really throwing 93-95 MPH out there today?)

    Hey, this is no rip job on Hughes. To be in the major leagues, and to deserve to be there based on minor league results, at age twenty-one, like Hughes is an amazing accomplishment. And, if he stays sound, I fully expect Hughes to have a nice career as a major league pitcher – probably make a few All-Star games, win 15+ games in at least four different seasons, and have at least 150 career wins when he’s done.

    However, I’ve yet to see anything from Hughes that says he’s going to have one-hundred (or more) career wins than losses when he’s done playing this game. I can see Hughes, in time, having a very nice big league career – again, if he stays healthy. I just don’t see him having an elite type career.

    Maybe I’m wrong here? Maybe Hughes will show me something different in his starts to come this year? But, again, if he doesn’t show more soon, the Yankees should think about giving his slot to someone else this season. The team does need to have a chance to win every game over the next two months. (And, then, maybe, next year will be the season for Hughes to provide a deeper body of work to use as an indication of how his career value shake out.)

    August 3rd vs. The Royals

    Posted by on August 3rd, 2007 · Comments (10)

    With this win tonight, here’s the Yankees Won-Loss record in games where Worm Killer Wang has made an appearance:

    2007: 14-6
    2006: 23-11
    2005: 11-7

    At this season’s pace, the W-L mark for 2007 should be around 21-9. If that happens, you can say that Wang has a hand in about 20% of the Yankees wins in the last two seasons. Considering that Wang appears in only 20% of the Yankees total games in a season, that’s an impressive impact that he has on the team. In rough math, at the end of the day, this all says that the Yankees win about 70% of the time that Worm Killer Wang pitches (over the last two years).

    Wednesday may be Sundae at Carvel, but, in Yankeeland, Worm Killer Wang day is winner day.

    Closing thoughts: Do we really need Vizcaino and Rivera pitching the 8th and 9th tonight? Is there no one else in the pen who can pitch either the 8th or the 9th with a 6-run lead in the game? And, am I the only one who is watching this team click in the field and at the plate now and wondering if Jason Giambi coming back is going to mess with the collective good-time thing that’s going on presently with the Yankees?

    August 2nd vs. The White Sox

    Posted by on August 2nd, 2007 · Comments (6)

    Clemens today: 1.67 IP, 15 batters faced, 39 pitches, 9 hits, 8 runs allowed – albeit just 3 earned – and he’s done for the game. Ouch. The last time that Clemens had a game like this (in terms of the innings, pitches thrown, runs allowed, etc.) was on June 18, 1990. That’s a long time ago. (If you allow for more pitches thrown, then July 23, 1995 would have been the last game this bad.)

    Update, 2:26 pm ET, 8/2/07: Not a bad little comeback by the Yankees in the bottom of the second – plating 8 runs to put themselves back into the game, making the score 8-8, with 7 innings left to play. Also, not a bad first “Yankees At Bat” there for Wilson Betemit there – with the 3-run jimmy-jack.

    Update, 2:30 pm ET, 8/2/07: Great job by Karstens in the third, retiring the side in order, on just 9 pitches, after the Yankees had that big second inning. Imagine how the White Sox felt in that spot – having to go right back into the field on a hot day like this one…

    Update, 4:10 pm ET, 8/2/07: That was a strange play which ended the top of the 7th. You don’t see a 4-2 pop-out DP everyday.

    Update, 4:22 pm ET, 8/2/07: Torre has Jeter pinch-hit in the 7th with a runner on and no outs. It’s the 4th time in his career that he’s pinch-hit…and he whiffs. So, now, Jeter has PH four times in his career and he’s walked once, struck-out twice, and flied to center…for those keeping track on such things.

    Update, 4:26 pm ET, 8/2/07: That Damon line-out DP to end the 7th, with Cano doubled off second, did not help the Yankees chances to win this game.

    Update, 4:32 pm ET, 8/2/07: “Watching” the game on MLB Gameday, and seeing Posada come out of the game in the 8th, and not knowing why, leaves me full of fear. If he’s hurt badly, there goes the Yankees chances this season.

    Update, 4:35 pm ET, 8/2/07: Konerko goes yard in the eighth. That Kyle Farnsworth is the Jeff Weaver of relief pitchers, if you ask me.

    Update, 4:43 pm ET, 8/2/07: Dye goes yard in the eighth. That Kyle Farnsworth is the Kei Igawa of relief pitchers, if you ask me.

    Update, 5:08 pm ET, 8/2/07: Four of the Yankees final six outs in this game were whiffs: Abreu, A-Rod, Matsui and Cano. Game over. Yankees lose. And, the Indians won their game. Shame, you think when you score nine runs, you should be able to win a game. Pin this one on Clemens, Karstens and Farnsworth. Maybe, if at least one of them did better today, this would have been a closer game – and perhaps a win.

    August 1st vs. The White Sox

    Posted by on August 1st, 2007 · Comments (11)

    This is now four good starts in a row for Pettitte. Whatever was bothering him at the start of July must now be moot.

    It’s great to watch that Cano, Melky, Phillips, Duncan group have so much fun in the dugout. It does help add some life to this team. It’s a shame that some of them may go when Giambi and Rico come back.

    Is A-Rod really “Oh’fer” his last 21 now? (This includes his last AB in the resumed game in Baltimore last Friday.) Dan Graziano offers a look into Alex’s head these days. Part of me wants to say that Rodriguez is not pressing – but, another part of me wants to say that we should have expected it. It’s no big deal now – because the team is winning. However, in the bigger picture, it does suggest that Alex is still prone to pressing – and, if the Yankees make it to October…well, if A-Rod presses and fails in another post-season series for New York, that’s not going to help his Yankees legacy.

    Lastly, how about those Texas Rangers! The Yankees are now just two back in the loss column of the Wildcard. Sooooooo close that you can just taste it, huh?