• June 30th vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on June 30th, 2008 · Comments (7)

    I watched most of this one – picking the game up around 8 pm – during the Baseball Prospectus gathering at Foley’s Pub tonight.

    The third biggest reaction from the crowd at the bar was when A-Rod hit his monster homer.

    The second biggest reaction from the crowd at the bar was when Jose Molina got his bell rung on a cross-up from Jose Veras.

    The biggest reaction from the crowd at the bar was when the T.V. showed the slow-motion replay of Molina taking one on the fly from Veras right to his huevos.

    And, that just about sums up the Yankees night today. What a waste. But, hey, it was Supercuts Visor Night! (I only know this because I saw a bunch of people on the train, heading back to New Jersey, sporting their brand new visors.)

    It was an interesting night at Foley’s…the Yankees lost a tough one, the Mets lost badly to the Cardinals…which hurt because the Mets just beat the Yankees and now were getting their tail kicked, easily, in St. Louis…and the Rays beat the Red Sox…and you’re not sure who to root for in that series…and all three games were going at the same time on three different T.V. sets…

    So, from a game watching perspective, it was somewhat painful. But, from a “hanging out” perspective…it was a great night.

    I got to meet some of the readers of this blog – including frequent WasWatching.com commenter “Raf.” I got to meet some good Yankees fans who don’t read this blog. (Hey, what’s up with that?) I got to see people like Alex Belth and Cliff Corcoran, from Bronx Banter, who I haven’t seen in a while. And, I got to meet, for the first time, some people – like Peter Abraham and Will Carroll – who I’ve traded e-mails with in the past…but who I had never meet in person before tonight. (Happy Birthday, again, Will!)

    You know, back in the day, during a Yankees game recap, when the Scooter heard that Pope Paul VI had just passed away, he said “Well, that kind of puts a damper on even a Yankee win.”

    Well, hanging at Foley’s tonight was fun enough for me to now say “Hey, that kind of takes the damper off even a Yankee loss!”

    My thanks to all who took some time to chat with me and share part of the evening…it was a pleasure. And, my apologies to anyone who I didn’t get a chance to say ‘good-bye’ to when I had to bolt – soon after the game ended – at 10:20. (My train was leaving Penn at 10:42 – which I just made – and that got me home just before midnight. The next train was leaving at 11:30 – which would have gotten me home at 12:42…and that’s a big difference.)

    Cross your fingers for Joba Chamberlain on Tuesday. With this loss today, and Sidney Ponson going on Wednesday…Joba may be our best chance at avoiding a sweep.

    June 29th @ The Mets

    Posted by on June 29th, 2008 · Comments (11)

    It kills me every time Oliver Perez pitches a good game against the Yankees. Why? I just have this fear of Hank Stein falling in love with him – based on what Perez does against the Yanks – and then signing him as a free agent this off-season.

    Don’t get me wrong…if the Yankees want to sign a young, left-handed, starting pitcher free agent in this, or any, off-season, I’m fine with that…as long as he’s good and of sound mind and body. Perez? He’s just a mess – unless he’s pitching against the Yankees. And, it would be a waste of money to sign him as a free agent.

    Speaking of pitching, Darrell Rasner was better today. Based on what we’re hearing now from Girardi on Ian Kennedy (that he’s not on a rehab assignment, that he was demoted to the minors, and he has to earn his way back to the majors) and what we’re hearing now from Cashman on Phil Hughes (that he should pitch again this season – but, don’t expect it to be in the majors), the Yankees are going to need Rasner to be decent…because there aren’t many other options on the roster.

    Before I forget…yeah, that homer from Wilson Betemit was impressive today. It had the look, sound, and distance of a Glenallen Hill juice-job circa 2000. No, I not suggesting anything about Betemit. I’m just saying that you cannot hit a ball any harder than that one.

    How about David Robertson? Well, based on what we saw today, I would say that his upside is Gregg Olson (the former Orioles closer) and his downside is Jason Anderson (a recent failed Yankees pitching prospect). Then again, he could just be somewhere in the middle too.

    One last thing before I get to the most important thing about this game…how about that hissy fit by Agador Reyes in the top of the seventh (when he was charged with a throwing error on a ball that Delgado should have caught and then Reyes threw his glove into the ground, in disgust)? Gosh, I hope that video gets played, over and over again, for the next 24-hours, on every sports highlight show between ESPN, FOX and you name it. The whole world needs to see how this guy is not worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence with Derek Jeter – even when Jeter is having a poor season.

    Now, the big ticket: On the season, the Mets beat the Yankees four out of six times. And, one of those times that the Yankees won was a narrow 3-2 victory where they got lucky with a couple of somewhat gift runs. Yes, this same Mets team who was been playing .500 ball for the last calendar year (or longer?) pushed the Yankees around this season.

    When you boil down how the Yankees have played, on the whole, this season, should we be shocked that the Mets took four of six? Or, is that just another indication that this Yankees team has some issues that need to be addressed?

    Me? I’m saying no to the former and yes to the latter. How about you?

    June 28th @ The Mets

    Posted by on June 28th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Sweet. Sum’game, huh?

    Nothing better than winning, 3-2, with Andy Pettitte pitching like an “ace” – especially coming back out after the long rain delay today – and besting the Mets’ ace, Johan Santana. Also, having Agador Reyes get picked-off second, in the bottom of the fifth, with two outs, and his team down by a run, with David Wright up at the plate, was just the icing on the cake.

    Although, I have to be honest, I was sweating the bottom of the 8th inning. Yanks up by just one, the Mets 2-3-4 hitters coming to the plate, and Kyle Farnsworth pitching. Man, General Joe has the guts of a burglar…either that, or, he really does think that Farnsworth is a capable pitcher…

    Part of me fears seeing Farnsworth coming through in these spots – as crazy as that sounds. I just have this feeling that, if Kyle keeps handling the eighth, the Yankees are going to continue to count on him for that spot. And, then, somewhere – maybe late in the season or in the post-season – it’s going to come back to haunt them…when Farnsworth blows a huge game.

    In any event, now that this win is in the books, I really want to see the Yankees win on Sunday. Given the way that the Mets pushed the Yankees around in the Bronx this season, it only seems fair that the Yankees win all three games at Shea…as payback.

    “Revenge, it’s the best way of getting even.” – A. Bunker, circa 1970’s

    June 27th @ The Mets – Game 2

    Posted by on June 27th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Early in this contest, Sidney Ponson was on the mound for the Yankees – and in a jam – while Kei Igawa began to warm in the Yankees pen. Really, Sidney Ponson and Kei Igawa. At that point, who would have ever guessed that the Yankees would go on to win this game, 9-0, with Ponson allowing zero runs over the first six frames?

    In fact, Igawa would later get into the game, in the ninth, and contributed another three outs.

    Yes, the Yankees won a game this evening – getting seven scoreless innings from the combination of Sidney Ponson and Kei Igawa.

    O.K., I have to say it again: Really, Sidney Ponson and Kei Igawa.

    You don’t see that everyday.

    Seeing this almost makes it worth enduring that ugly first game today – also against the Mets. But, I stress almost. It’s not a perfect offset – but it’s pretty darn close. Prittay, prittay, close. (And, it’s always a treat to beat Slippery Pete the Mango Tree Sitter.)

    Well, at the least, this win makes it worth having to sit through two games of David Cone calling Ken Singleton “Singie” – way too many times – while also having to hear Cone use an exaggerated accentuation during his pronunciation of the word “life”…over and over again.

    …Look at the late LIE-fe on that pitch. That Yankees bench is starting to show some signs of LIE-fe…

    Oh, my stars and garters – I thought my ears were going to start to bleed after a while…and I actually like Cone in the booth too. David, please, stop doing that, O.K.?

    Back to Ponson, let’s not forget that he went 6 and 2/3 innings pitched in his first Yankees game the last time the Yankees picked him off the scrap heap – back in 2006. And, then, he was back to being a human batting-tee. So, while this effort probably earns him another start for the Yankees – assuming he doesn’t do something stupid, off the field, in the next four days – don’t start expecting him to be the wind beneath the Yankees wings.

    Tomorrow should be fun – a re-match of May 17th – Pettitte and Santana.

    Pettitte’s ERA over his last 3 starts is 0.43 (in 21 IP). Santana’s ERA over his last 3 starts is 2.25 (in 20 IP). It could end up being a battle of the bullpens. We’ll see…

    June 27th vs. The Mets – Game 1

    Posted by on June 27th, 2008 · Comments (16)

    I have to run and handle some personal things at 4 pm ET…but, until then…I thought I would do some live blogging for the game.

    2:20 pm ET: Well, that was quick. One-zip, Mets.

    2:38 pm ET: Nice hitting…er…bloops by A-Rod and the Big G. Now tied at one. Mets’ Mike Pelfrey’s fastball is showing up at 95 MPH – and on a two-seamer! – on the YES/my9 gun. I suppose they only use that “slow” YES/my9 gun for the Yankees pitchers…

    2:49 pm ET: Forty minutes for an inning and a half of baseball? Throw in at least one rain delay and these two teams will never make it to Queens in time for the night-cap…at this rate.

    2:56 pm ET: I’m sorry…but…runner on second, via a lead-off double (Cano), and no outs…you gotta get him in. Bad job by the Yankees 8-9-1 hitters there.

    3:10 pm ET: That look on Girardi’s face right after Beltran hit the two-run homer says it all.

    3:25 pm ET: Nice job by Conie with the Rickey Henderson stories. Love those. And, man, does Beltran play too deep. That’s two gift hits via him – A-Rod before and Posada now.

    3:30 pm ET: Another rocket…er, well placed squib…this time from Betemit. Yanks now lead, 4-3, after three. Hey, better lucky than good, right?

    3:50 pm ET: Bummer. Bases juiced. And, all left stranded. That could have been a spot to blow this one open. Is it just me, or, could Pelfrey give Giambi a run for his money on the playing with your tongue sticking out thing? Four-three, Yanks, end of four.

    (O.K., gotta take a call at 4 pm. I’ll try and check in again once I’m done.)

    4:27 pm ET: Just got off a phone call and peeked at the T.V. It’s now 6-4 Mets in the top of the 6th. Edwar Ramírez is pitching. Wha’ happened? Dare I ask?

    4:38 pm ET: Just saw, via SNY.tv’s STATS At The Park, what happened in the top of the 5th. Glad I missed that mess.

    4:44 pm ET: Delgado, of all people, hits a slam. It’s now 11-4 Mets in the 6th. I’m done. Going to the gym. It’s a better use of my time right now. See ya later tonight.

    6:25 pm ET: For the record, when Delgado homered off Hawkins in the 8th, to make the score 15-5, Mets, a couple of Mets fans in the gym (who were watching the game on one of the T.V.’s there) made a noise implying that they just made happy time in their gym shorts. I guess it’s a great day, so far, in the land of the Mets. Then again, why shouldn’t it be after a game like this one?

    Man, it’s been a long time since the Yankees let one man destroy them in their own park – the way that Carlos Delgado did this afternoon. Ouch.

    June 25th @ The Pirates

    Posted by on June 25th, 2008 · Comments (13)

    Joba Chamberlain has now started 5 games for the Yankees and New York has won four of them.

    Let’s look at Joba’s last three starts – including this game:

    June 13th: 6.0 Innings, 10 Base-runners, 1 Earned Run
    June 19th: 5.6 Innings, 7 Base-runners, 1 Earned Run
    June 25th: 6.6 Innings, 7 Base-runners, 0 Earned Runs

    This is just a guess…but…I think you have to go back to Dave Righetti in 1981 to find the last time when a Yankees pitcher, as young as Joba is now, has put together three starts in a row like these.

    Very impressive.

    The Yankees have now won 8 of their last 11 games. Three of those eight wins have come in starts by Chamberlain.

    He’s starting to look like an ace to me.

    June 24th @ The Pirates

    Posted by on June 24th, 2008 · Comments (12)

    This was the first time that the Yankees have ever played at PNC Park.

    What a beautiful ballpark. What a terrible game.

    Guess what? The Yankees now have to win the next two games in order to win this series. Yes, if the Yankees split the next two games, then they will have lost a series to the less than stellar Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Why would this be a big deal? Look at it this way: Assume the Yankees do go ahead now and split the next two games with the Buccos. This would put New York’s season W-L record at 42-37. But, more importantly, this would make the Yankees 30-37 this season against all teams not named the Mariners, Astros and Padres. And, with 79 games then under their belt (which is basically half the season), this then would be testament that the 2008 Yankees are not a very good baseball team. And, Yankees fans should then level set their expectations, accordingly.

    Of course, having Chamberlain and Mussina going for New York in their next two games (in Pittsburgh) should help their chances of winning both games. Then again…it also makes it worse if the Yankees end up losing one or both of these games as well.

    Lastly, some words on two of the Yankees pitchers this evening. Darrell Rasner has now allowed 21 ER in his last 27 IP. Has the clock struck midnight on him? It could be true. And, let’s be honest, LaTroy Hawkins should be given his walking papers before he leaves the clubhouse this evening. He may be a nice guy to have in the clubhouse, etc. But, he’s right up there with the likes of Juan Acevedo, Felix Heredia, and Felix Rodriguez in terms of recent and really stinky Yankees relief pitchers. Com’on Cash…cut the cord on this one already.

    June 22nd vs. The Reds

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2008 · Comments (17)

    I could be wrong; but, I think the rain delay during the sixth inning helped the Yankees in this one today. The way Johnny Cueto was pitching this afternoon, I like my chances better facing Gary Majewski in the sixth rather than having to hit off Cueto for another frame. And, without those three runs in the sixth, this is a much closer game – and perhaps the end result is different?

    In any event, this was a good one to win. Getting swept by the Reds would have been a bummer.

    Speaking of bummers, I can’t believe that Kid Griffey got a standing-ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd after he homered in the eighth. He didn’t deserve it.

    So, now, it’s an off-day tomorrow, followed by three at the Pirates and then the Mets for four games in three days. Let’s hope the Yankees don’t look past the Buccos. Last season, the Yankees beat up on Pittsburgh, pretty good, for three games at the Stadium (in early June). Some of the Pirates may remember that and they could be pumped for this rematch.

    Some post-game video, via SNY’s Geico SportsNite:

    June 21st vs. The Reds

    Posted by on June 21st, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Well, if playing the Yankees is your litmus test, it’s probably safe to say that the Cincinnati Reds are better than the Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, and San Diego Padres.

    I almost want to say that it’s a shame Dan Giese was not lifted today after his stellar first six innings – and he was awesome today for the first six. And, I almost want to say that it’s a shame that the Yankees infantry relievers didn’t pitch better today. As, if those two things happened, that could have made this a closer game.

    But, the fact of the matter is that the Yankees offense, today, was ineffective – and that’s being polite.

    It will be interesting to see what New York does tomorrow with the Reds’ Johnny Cueto. So far, this season, it seems like Cueto is either good for 6 innings and allowing about 2 earned runs; or, he’s “bad” in the sense that he doesn’t make it to the sixth and allows at least a run per inning pitched. It could help the Yankees that Cueto has been hit hard when he’s pitching on the road, to date, this year.

    Let’s hope that Andy Pettitte has his “A” game tomorrow. Losing three in a row, at home, to the Reds, would certainly take away from the seven game winning streak that New York had coming into this series.

    June 20th vs. The Reds

    Posted by on June 20th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Hey, this Edinson Volquez kid is pretty good. So, what can you do?

    On the bright side, Hideki Matsui’s knee allowed him to play again and Mike Mussina gave the Yankees a solid eight innings in this contest.

    Sure, that top of the fifth inning could have played out a little differently – and that would have made this an even closer game. But, you can’t win every game. And, very few teams are beating Volquez this season.

    Games like this one…you just rub some dirt on it…try and walk it off…and come back tomorrow.

    June 19th vs. The Padres

    Posted by on June 19th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    This is now two in a row.

    What? Not seven in a row?” you may be thinking?

    No, I’m not talking about the seven wins in a row for the Yankees. (Which, by the way, is just great.) What I’m talking about here is the Joba & Jeter Show – it’s now two times in a row that they’ve done it.

    What’s “it”?

    Look at this game today. And, now, look at Joba Chamberlain’s last start (before this one).

    That’s two starts in a row for Chamberlain which have resulted in a 2-1 Yankees win – where Derek Jeter, both times, was key in plating the winning run late in the game.

    And, that brings us back to the seven game winning streak – which has truly lifted the Yankees fortunes this season. Without these two games from Joba & Jeter, the seven game streak would look like this: One win, one loss, four wins, and one loss. That’s a lot different from: win, win, win, win, win, win, and win.

    If not for these two “2-1″ wins, the Yankees would be three games over .500 instead of seven games over .500 – and, that’s a big difference.

    Hey, this Joba & Jeter Show just might turn out to be something special.

    Some post-game video, via SNY’s Geico SportsNite:

    June 18th vs. The Padres

    Posted by on June 19th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Baseball is a funny game, eh?

    If you would have told me back in March that the Yankees would be hosting the Padres in June and that it would be Jake Peavy for San Diego against Darrell Rasner for New York, I would have marked that one down as a potential “L” (for the Yankees) in a heartbeat.

    Rasner was not sharp in this one. But, I liked his comments in the YES post-game interview. He shared that his mechanics were out of whack and that the number of pitches which he threw in the 3rd inning was unacceptable. He also credited Dave Eiland and Jorge Posada for getting him through his five innings and helping him battle his issues with his mechanics. Rasner gets it and is saying all the right things. Always nice to see that.

    What’s up with the National League? Yes, the Yankees are feasting against them. I think it has something to do with these teams having so many young guys. I noticed it with some of the Astros pitchers when the Yankees played in Houston. And, last night, when I saw the face of the Padres catcher, Luke Carlin, I thought “What is he, twelve?”

    Another big night for A-Rod in this one. The Yankees are 19-9 since Alex has come off the disabled list (on May 20th). I’ll have more on that one later today.

    Some post-game video interviews, via SNY’s Geico SportsNite:

    June 17th vs. The Padres

    Posted by on June 17th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Jason Giambi has now played 34 games since May 6th – hitting 12 homeruns and fashioning an OBA that’s bumping up against .500 in the process. That’s Bondsian, to say the least.

    I still fear that other shoe when it comes to Giambi doing well. But, I also still marvel at what he’s doing now with the bat.

    Coming into this game, Giambi had an OPS+ of 159 on the season. In the history of the game, since 1901, there have only been 21 batters, age 37 or older, to have a season with 230+ PA and an OPS+ of 150 or better. It’s not everyday that you see a guy the age of Jason doing what he’s doing now. I never expected it from Giambi this season.

    It will be very interesting to see how the Yankees, and the free agent market as a whole, handle Giambi this winter if he ends up hitting something like 45 homeruns this season with an OPS near one.

    In any event, another good start from Andy Pettitte in this game. I’m sure it’s bothersome for some non-Yankees fans to see a game like this…where a couple of formerly admitted PED users star in a Yankees win. But, right now, there’s nothing they can do about it…except whine. In the meantime, it’s another “W” for the Yankees – and they’ll take it.

    June 15th @ The Astros

    Posted by on June 15th, 2008 · Comments (24)

    This entry was supposed to be about how much fun it is to play the Houston Astros right now. It was supposed to be about Robinson Cano getting lucky with a bloop double that just landed fair down the left-field line. It was supposed to be about how some of the Astros pitchers – by appearance and performance – look like they should be pitching in Little League and not the big leagues. It was supposed to be about A-Rod finally making a great play to his right and hitting a ball to whatever state sits next to Texas outside left-field at Minute Maid Park.

    But, all that really matters about this game, now, is the injury to Chien-Ming Wang.

    When it first happened, I thought “hamstring” and “six to eight weeks.” And, that was depressing. You don’t lose one of your two best starting pitchers for two months and not feel it. Then, on the YES broadcast, they said it was an injury to his right foot. And, I actually started to feel a little better. But, then, in the YES post-game, I saw Girardi call it “a sprained foot.” For those who don’t know, that’s 2008-Yankees talk for “He’s hurt; but, there’s no way in heck that we’re going to tell you anything about it.” That’s not good. Further, Peter Abraham reported after the game that Wang, himself, thinks that this could be a bad injury.

    Now, I am back to full-blown depression over this injury. Sure, we have to wait and see what tomorrow brings. But, what are the odds that it’s going to be favorable news?

    As crazy as this sounds, if it turns out to be season-ending, the Yankees are going to have to go out and trade for a starting pitcher. Sure, maybe Dan McCutchen could step in. But, the Yankees may still see him as more of a relief pitcher. Who does that leave? Ian Kennedy? Kei Igawa? Jeff Karstens? None of those are going to fill Wang’s shoes. This injury may bring cause for some drastic measures – either that, or, get ready to punt the season.

    June 14th @ The Astros

    Posted by on June 15th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Including this contest, Yankees starters, to date, with games where IP>=6 and ER<=3:

    Chien-Ming Wang: 9
    Andy Pettitte: 8
    Mike Mussina: 8
    Darrell Rasner: 5
    Ian Kennedy: 2
    Philip Hughes: 1
    Joba Chamberlain: 1

    Mike Mussina is clearly in the team picture for the “ace” of the Yankees starting staff according to these statistics. It will be interesting to see this leader board at the end of the season – and whether or not Moose can stay in the chase. If he does, that would be a huge pelt on his belt when it comes time to get his next contract (after this season).

    June 13th @ The Astros

    Posted by on June 13th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    I was having a pretty good testosterone night here – for a while. In addition to watching the Yankees game, with Joba Chamberlain and Jose Veras pitching well, Gladiator was on one HBO channel and 300 was on another HBO channel. I was clicking back and forth between the three programs, enjoying the macho evening, and not even allowing the Yankees lack of offense in this contest bother me all that much.

    And, then, came the bottom of the ninth inning. Talk about going from fight to flight mode in a heartbeat. I would rather walk through a heavily furnished room that I’ve never been in before, at night, in the pitch-black dark, with my shoes off, than have Kyle Farnsworth attempt to close out a 2-1 game for me.

    But, some things are even more powerful than the suckitude of Mr. Farnsworth – namely the bad baseball being played lately by the Houston Astros (who have now lost 12 of their last 15 games). After a failed sac-bunt attempt and a costly caught stealing, one of many on the night for Houston, all of a sudden you had a situation where it would be hard for even the Bizarro Mo Rivera, #48 in your Yankees program, to fail. Bingo. The Yankees are now two games over .500 for the first time in a long time.

    Now, here’s a fun stat for you. Since July of 1996, only twice have the Yankees won a game on the road by a score of 2-1 where Mariano Rivera did not get the save: August 21, 2006 and this game tonight. How about that?

    June 12th @ The A’s

    Posted by on June 13th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    I fell asleep during this one. Hey, it happens with these west coast weekday night games. The last thing I remembered, it was the bottom of the 5th and the Yankees were losing 1-0.

    I remember seeing that Giambi error in the 5th – for sure. I also remember Flaherty and Singleton, on YES, earlier in the game talking about how Andy Pettitte has trouble later in the game with inside pitchers because he’s older and loses a few feet off his fastball. I also remember them talking about how Hideki Matsui had never homered on his birthday. (And, this game was being played on his birthday.)

    I woke up, some time around 12:20 am ET, and realized that I had dozed during the game. Once I could get my eyes to focus, and saw the T.V., I noticed that it was the 8th inning, the Yankees were winning, 4-1, and Andy Pettitte was still pitching. Flaherty was commenting on how Pettitte was getting stronger as this game was going on. I was awake enough to remember that was a different tune than what they were singing earlier in the game. But, I was so tired that I decided to go to bed.

    Then, when I woke up this morning and saw the game recap, I found out that Matsui had hit a grand slam just about the time I drifted off on this one. Happy Birthday Godzilla! And, so much for never homering on your birthday.

    It’s nice to see both Wang and Pettitte pitch well this series. Back in March, when I predicted the Yankees to win 92 games this season, a big part of it was having Wang and Pettitte taking a regular turn and pitching well. Let’s face it – if Wang and Pettitte struggle this year, this season is toast. Let’s hope they both go on a roll now.

    June 11th @ The A’s

    Posted by on June 12th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Ah, .500 again…

    In many ways, the Yankees are like Underdog and this season is Simon Bar Sinister. And, in this episode, Simon Bar Sinister has invented a “.500 gun” that he’s using against our hero, Underdog. I can just hear Bar Sinister now, pointing the gun at the Yankees and declaring: “Simon sez, return to five hundred!”

    What happened to Darrell Rasner in this game? Too many pitches left right smack-dab in the middle of the hitting zone. I’m willing to write this one off to him having so much family at the game. Branch Rickey used to say that control/command (for pitchers) was a matter of concentration. And, clearly, with so many loved ones at the game, Rasner had a lot on his mind during this one. Also, maybe that error by Giambi – on that terrible flip on the 3-1 attempt – got Darrell a bit rattled?

    And, the Bronx bats? Well, this season, the Yankees offense is about as consistent as Anne Heche’s dating habits back when she was someone in the news.

    So, the Yankees have now played 66 games this season. And, New York has found themselves at .500 (on the season) after 23 of those 66 games. Here are the dates, this year, where the Yankees record has sat at .500 (after a game):

    April 2
    April 4
    April 6
    April 8
    April 10
    April 12
    April 14
    April 18
    April 20
    April 25
    April 27
    April 29
    May 3
    May 6
    May 8
    May 10
    May 25
    May 30
    June 1
    June 5
    June 7
    June 9
    June 11

    Not a lot of days in May, there, are there? That’s because – believe or not – there were many days in May where the Yankees record was under .500. And, it was not until the Seattle Mariners came along that the Yankees got their record back near the .500 mark.

    That’s the rub for me on the Yankees record. They’ve really played worse than their record appears – on the whole. Look at it this way: The Yankees, in their 66 games, have played 25 games against the Indians, Tigers, Royals and Mariners – teams who have been very bad this season. That’s over one-third of the Yankees games so far this season. And, yet, even with having this soft chunk of the schedule to feast on…the Yankees are just a .500 team.

    Or, put it another way: The Yankees, so far, this season, are 27-33 when playing teams not called the Seattle Mariners. That’s a .450 winning percentage. And, that’s not pretty.

    June 10th @ The A’s

    Posted by on June 11th, 2008 · Comments (18)

    Hey, the shark never came! Cool.

    For me, watching this game was somewhat like watching the movie Jaws. There were so many points in the contest where, in my head, I started to hear that music from Jaws that let’s you know the shark is coming.

    When guys would reach base on Wang, I would hear it – but, then came some key double-plays and it was over. When A-Rod botched that pop-up in the 8th, I heard it – but, then Wang got the batter to fly to left. When Wang was removed from the game, I heard it – but, Veras danced his way out of the inning. And, yes, I even heard it when Mariano came into the game.

    But, like I said, the shark never came. Awesome.

    Big play in this game that will probably be overlooked: Giambi driving in A-Rod in the first with a groundball hit right where the shortstop should have been playing. It is so beautiful to watch Jason finally start to take advantage of that on a somewhat more regular basis. Better late than never!

    June 9th vs. The Royals

    Posted by on June 9th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Mike Mussina went 8 innings today – throwing 89 pitches. There’s only been one other time in Mussina’s entire career where he’s gone 8+ innings on less than 90 pitches: September 5, 1993.

    Mariano Rivera allowed a 9th inning homerun today on an 0-2 pitch. This is only the fourth time in Rivera’s entire career where he’s allowed a homer on an 0-2 pitch. The other three times: April 15, 2007, July 14, 1997, and June 28, 1996.

    We saw some pretty rare stuff at Yankee Stadium today.

    Then again, we saw something else that we’re seeing way too often this season as well…it terms of the type of loss…like this one was today.

    I’ll let Big Stein sing it for us…

    June 8th vs. The Royals

    Posted by on June 8th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    General Joe, following this game: “It was a positive day.”

    Well said Mr. Girardi.

    This one was pretty much a party – as much as a non-laugher can be a party. I’m most happy for Dan Giese – as he got his first major league win today. It’s a day that he’ll never forget.

    According to my findings, Dan Giese now joins Jose Contreras, El Duque Hernandez and Rocky Colavito as the only “pitchers” – since 1956 – with 10 games (or less) in their big league “pitching” career and who were age 31 or older (at the time) to get their first big league win – as a Yankee at Yankee Stadium. Now, there’s a trivia question for you.

    Another win, tomorrow, would put the Yankees two games over .500 for the first time, this season, since April 23rd. It would be nice to see that happen – since April 23rd was almost seven weeks ago. When you consider that the season, itself, is just about ten weeks old, seven weeks is a long time.

    Here’s a prediction for you: Mike Mussina pitches between 6 and 7 innings tomorrow and holds the Royals to three runs or less – and the Yankees win the game. Hey, it’s a “positive day” in Yankeeland. Why should I be any different?

    June 7th vs. The Royals

    Posted by on June 7th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Hi. My name is Steve. And, I’m the only Yankees fan in the world who is depressed over their improbable win today. Crazy? Well, let me explain…

    (more…)

    June 6th vs. The Royals

    Posted by on June 7th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Hey, look at the bright side. The Yankees paid Darrell Rasner a lot less in this game to pitch brilliantly and lose 2-1 than the Mets paid Johan Santana to pitch brilliantly on the same day and also lose 2-1.

    O.K., that’s about the only positive thing that I can think to say about this one. With 101 games left to this season, the Yankees are now 24-31 this year when playing teams not called the Seattle Mariners.

    This Yankees team has a long, and tough, climb uphill just to get to the point where you can call them decent…and a bigger one to get to being called good.

    June 5th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on June 5th, 2008 · Comments (14)

    Down by one and down to your last strike of the game. It doesn’t come any closer than that, does it? What a spot for Jason Giambi to deliver a pinch-hit walk-off tater.

    I would like to know when the last time was that a Yankee hit a homerun in the 9th inning, at Yankee Stadium, with 2 outs and a count of 0-2 on them? I found a few recent situations where a Yankee hit a 2-out, 0-2, homer on the road, in the 9th inning. But, nothing for it happening at the Stadium. This was, truly, a special moment for Giambi.

    Now, to the bigger issue: Chien-Ming Wang.

    This is four bad starts in a row for him. Did he even try the Hsiung Huang Wine?

    You have to wonder about Wang at this point. Maybe this is why the Yankees didn’t want to offer him an extension this spring? Is it true that he has a torn rotator cuff that has never been repaired? Is that becoming an issue for him now?

    In any event, how about Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramirez acting like guests on Jerry Springer today? I can’t wait to hear what that was all about.

    June 4th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on June 5th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Mike Mussina was sharp in this game. Granted, the Blue Jays are not an offensive force. But, Moose was on for this one…it probably was his third best game pitched (so far) this season.

    And, this morning, Yankees fans are pondering if this will be the season that Mussina finally wins 20 games. Heck, Moose is tied for the league lead in wins – so, why not have him start the All-Star Game for the A.L. this season? Better yet, let’s give him the A.L. Cy Young Award!

    O.K., I’m being silly here…but, here’s something to consider about Mussina…in terms of stats.

    The league is batting .286 against Mussina this year. What has saved Mike in 2008 is that he’s not walking anyone this season – really, at all. In 12 starts he’s only allowed 10 walks. That’s amazing. And, while he’s giving up homers – 9 to date – only three homers have come with runners on base.

    That’s been the key to Mussina’s season to date: Not allowing walks or homers with runners on base. And, there’s something else: Extra rest. Check out these stats for Moose with respect to when he pitches:

    Days Rest	        GS	W	L	IP	ERA
    3 Days		1	1	0	5.0	7.20
    4 Days		6	4	2	30.2	4.70
    5 Days		4	3	1	20.0	2.70
    6+ Days		1	0	1	5.2	4.76

    On “normal” or short rest, Mussina pitches like the Mike Mussina that we saw last season – with an ERA near five. This season, when Mussina gets an extra day’s rest – meaning pitching on 5 days rest – he’s stellar. Hey, the numbers don’t lie here.

    So, for Mike Mussina to keep doing what he’s been doing, he’s going to need three things this season: Keep his walks down, don’t allow homers with runners on, and get an extra day’s rest as much as possible. If this doesn’t happen, well, you can forget about that 20 win season…for starters.

    June 3rd vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on June 3rd, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Let’s look at the good stuff from this game:

    1. Jason Giambi got a hit by placing a ground ball against the shift (used for him) – right where the shortstop should have been positioned.
    2. Bobby Abreu made a catch in the outfield with his back against the wall.
    3. Robinson Cano had some At Bats where he did not swing at the first pitch.

    It’s so true…at Yankee Stadium…in every game, you have a chance to see something that you may never see again at a ballpark.

    Speaking of “seeing,” what a shame it was that no one was there, in the 9th, to see Derek Jeter tie Mickey Mantle for # 3 on the all-time Yankees hit list. Hopefully Jeter will single his first time up tomorrow, while the fans are still in the park, and he’ll get an ovation from a full house.

    Now, to the serious stuff. This contest was just another game in the recent string of games where the Yankees pitchers could not keep a close game close. Will this stop soon? Probably not.

    By the way, this game was just the 11th time, since 1956, where the Yankees pitchers allowed 10+ BB and 10+ hits, in the same game at Yankee Stadium, where the contest was played in 9 innings or less. (Click here to see the other ten games.)

    Hey, in case you haven’t noticed, the Yankees, this season, are 22-30 when playing teams not called the Seattle Mariners. Perhaps it’s time to consider the notion that this team is not good?

    Lastly, Joba. Tonight may not have been the worst thing in the world for him. If Chamberlain had gone five innings this evening, on 62 pitches, and thrown all goose eggs, it may have placed that expectation bar even higher (than it already is) for him. However, with his actual results from today, there’s really no place to go but up (now). I think we’ll see more from him in his next start.

    June 2nd @ The Twins

    Posted by on June 3rd, 2008 · Comments (4)

    This seems as good as any time for a flashback to December 3, 2005 – via Tyler Kepner -

    So yesterday, as the Philadelphia Phillies announced their three-year, $18 million deal with Gordon, the Yankees completed their three-year, $17 million contract with Kyle Farnsworth. He does not carry the same age risk as Gordon, but there are other questions.

    Farnsworth will be 29 on opening day, and he has more strikeouts than innings pitched over a seven-year career. But he has made just one career appearance at Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees expect him to handle eighth-inning pressure through 2008.

    In his conference call with reporters yesterday, Farnsworth was asked how he knew he would be able to adapt to the intense environment of New York. He answered candidly.

    “I really don’t know,” Farnsworth said. “That’s another reason why I wanted to come to New York and really test how good I really am. I think I did good enough last year to be able to pitch anywhere.”

    Farnsworth became the fourth Braves pitcher in five years to sign with the Yankees as a free agent, and he will try to reverse a trend. The others – Steve Karsay, Chris Hammond and Jaret Wright – have been disappointments.

    “The previous failures we had with some Atlanta pitchers were not necessarily because they came from the Atlanta Braves,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said. “Some, I think, we made inaccurate scouting assessments on, and others we took on a risk.”

    “In Kyle’s case, a lot of teams were interested in securing him, us being one of them,” Cashman said. “Given the thin market and given the cost, given his ability and given his age, on a three-year contract, we figured we would try this.”

    Assuming the Yankees don’t make the post-season this year, we only have four more months of Kyle Farnsworth in pinstripes. (And people say I never have anything positive to say at this blog!)
     

    June 1st @ The Twins

    Posted by on June 1st, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Say what you want about the Yankees pitching and/or defense today; but, bottom line, the Bronx Bombers scored just one run in this contest.

    And, since 2004, when they score exactly one run in a game, the Yankees are (now) 7-44. Yes, that’s seven and forty-four. (Then again, the Red Sox, since 2004, coming into today, are 9-45 when they score just one run. So, basically, no matter who you are, when you only score one run, you’re not going to win many games.)

    So, what can you do? Just try and shake it off and try again tomorrow.