• We Play Today, We’re Insipid Today. Dat’s it.

    Posted by on May 31st, 2014 · Comments (5)

    Via Wally Matthews

    The Yankees did not pitch well, they did not hit well and they did not run the bases well in their 6-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins at the Stadium tonight.

    But playing poorly was not the worst of their sins; even the best of teams can have a bad night now and then.

    In this one, however, the Yankees weren’t just bad. They were boring, and that is a lot worse.

    How boring were they? In the sixth inning, down by just three runs and with Ricky Nolasco, a pitcher with a 6.12 ERA still in the game, what was left of the announced crowd of 42,245 began doing the wave.

    Not just once and not just twice. At least four times, the silly shouting and raising of hands circled the ballpark. Clearly, the crowd had no further interest in watching a game that on the scoreboard at least was not close to being out of reach.

    On the field, however, it was a different story. The Yankees had nine hits, and three of them were timely — Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI double in the third, Derek Jeter’s single in the fifth that looked like it would score a run but wound up turning into a soul-crushing, inning-ending rundown thanks to the arm of Twins right-fielder Oswaldo Arcia and a rare baserunning mistake by Jeter, and Yangervis Solarte’s single in the sixth, that looked as if it would score Roberts — until a rifle shot from Arcia nailed him at the plate for the final out.

    But it seemed as if the crowd had come in with little faith in the Yankees’ ability to score runs tonight, and with good reason. Time and again, their big hitters failed in clutch situations. Three times, Brian McCann came up with runners on base, twice with a runner in scoring position. He made an out all three times, ending the inning twice. He did manage a two-out single in the eight, which went nowhere when Brian Roberts flied out. Roberts also got picked off first after leading off the second inning with a single.

    The sad fact is that right now, every team but the Yankees is taking advantage of their homer-friendly ballpark. Arcia hit a long solo homer in the second. Josh Willingham hit a longer solo homer in the fourth. Two batters later, Trevor Plouffe hit the longest homer of all, into the mesh above Monument Park, to give the Twins a 4-1 lead. All of them came off Vidal Nuno, who took the loss.

    Meanwhile, the Yankees — formerly known as the Bronx Bombers — rank eighth in the AL and 17th in baseball with just 47 home runs, and have no player in double digits. (The Toronto Blue Jays lead the pack with 80).

    “This is not a lineup that’s filled with a ton of power, so we’re going to have to put hits together and hit doubles and steal some bases and do some things like that,” Joe Girardi said.

    The manager then launched into a bizarre justification in which he ridiculed people who said the Yankees were too reliant on home runs in previous seasons. “Now we’re hitting singles and now we’re not hitting home runs and I’m being asked why we’re not hitting home runs,” Girardi said. “I was thinking back a couple of years, people were asking me, well, all you do is score runs with home runs. What are you going to do when you don’t hit home runs?”

    Girardi’s team provided the answer tonight: Lose. And lose boringly.

    On the bright side, Tanaka is pitching today.

    Kendrys Morales To The Yankees?

    Posted by on May 30th, 2014 · Comments (3)

    Here’s one story that says it could happen.

    No idea how big or hairy Kendrys is…?

    Getting It Dunn: The 40/100 Club

    Posted by on May 29th, 2014 · Comments (2)

    Only FOUR players in baseball history have 6+ seasons with 40+ homeruns AND 100+ walks:

    Rk Yrs From To Age
    1 Babe Ruth 10 1920 1932 25-37 Ind. Seasons
    2 Barry Bonds 8 1993 2004 28-39 Ind. Seasons
    3 Adam Dunn 6 2004 2012 24-32 Ind. Seasons
    4 Jim Thome 6 1997 2006 26-35 Ind. Seasons
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 5/29/2014.

    If Dunn can do it 2 more times, which is possible, then he will join Ruth and Bonds as the only three batters in big league history to do it 8+ times. Amazing.

    Funny, Johnny

    Posted by on May 29th, 2014 · Comments (2)

    As much as I still, now, have nightmares about the 2004 ALCS, this was pretty funny last night.

    Have The Twins Fixed Phil Hughes?

    Posted by on May 29th, 2014 · Comments (3)

    Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants?

    She Throws A Lot Better Than 50 Cent

    Posted by on May 28th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Yanks Have 5 Regulars With Sub 100 OPS+

    Posted by on May 28th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    If they keep up that pace, it would tie for worst in franchise history:

    Query: For single seasons, playing for the Yankees, from 1903 to 2014, requiring OPS+ less than or equal to 99 and qualified for league batting title, sorted by greatest number of players matching criteria.

    Rk Year #Matching
    1 2014 5 Jacoby Ellsbury / Derek Jeter / Brian McCann / Brian Roberts / Alfonso Soriano
    2 1914 5 Luke Boone / Roy Hartzell / Fritz Maisel / Charlie Mullen / Roger Peckinpaugh
    3 1908 5 Neal Ball / Hal Chase / Wid Conroy / Red Kleinow / George Moriarty
    4 1905 5 Hal Chase / Patsy Dougherty / Kid Elberfeld / Dave Fultz / Jimmy Williams
    5 1937 4 Frankie Crosetti / Myril Hoag / Tony Lazzeri / Red Rolfe
    6 1924 4 Joe Dugan / Everett Scott / Aaron Ward / Whitey Witt
    7 1913 4 Bert Daniels / Roy Hartzell / Roger Peckinpaugh / Jeff Sweeney
    8 1906 4 Wid Conroy / Frank Delahanty / Danny Hoffman / Red Kleinow
    9 2000 3 Scott Brosius / Tino Martinez / Paul O’Neill
    10 1964 3 Clete Boyer / Joe Pepitone / Bobby Richardson
    11 1963 3 Clete Boyer / Tony Kubek / Bobby Richardson
    12 1961 3 Clete Boyer / Tony Kubek / Bobby Richardson
    13 1941 3 Phil Rizzuto / Red Rolfe / Johnny Sturm
    14 1940 3 Frankie Crosetti / Babe Dahlgren / Red Rolfe
    15 1929 3 Leo Durocher / Mark Koenig / Bob Meusel
    16 1925 3 Joe Dugan / Pee-Wee Wanninger / Aaron Ward
    17 1923 3 Joe Dugan / Wally Pipp / Everett Scott
    18 1922 3 Everett Scott / Aaron Ward / Whitey Witt
    19 1921 3 Roger Peckinpaugh / Wally Pipp / Aaron Ward
    20 1920 3 Duffy Lewis / Roger Peckinpaugh / Aaron Ward
    21 1917 3 Hugh High / Fritz Maisel / Les Nunamaker
    22 1915 3 Luke Boone / Roy Hartzell / Roger Peckinpaugh
    23 1912 3 Hal Chase / Hack Simmons / Jeff Sweeney
    24 1909 3 Jimmy Austin / Kid Elberfeld / John Knight
    25 1907 3 Wid Conroy / Danny Hoffman / Willie Keeler
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 5/28/2014.


    Yangervis Solarte Last 50 PA

    Posted by on May 28th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    Solarte’s BA/OBA/SLG line in last 12 games is .152/.204/.217 (in 50 PA). Is the bloom now off the his rose?

    Cashman: McCann Is A Potential Hall Of Famer

    Posted by on May 28th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    Well, that’s what he said about 6 months ago. Via the Post, back in December of last year:

    The Yankees dropped $85 million across five years on catcher Brian McCann and didn’t waste a second letting everyone know what they expect.

    At a Yankee Stadium press conference Thursday to introduce McCann, manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman weren’t shy about what they purchased.

    “We are hoping he clearly continues the type of production on the offensive and defensive side he provided in Atlanta. If he continues to do that, we are talking about a potential Hall of Famer,’’ Cashman said. “We are buying someone with that type of reputation. We have a lot of needs, and this fills one of them.’’

    McCann’s BA/OBA/SLG line this morning is .218/.275/.370 (in 178 PA).

    But, if Cashman had been paying attention, he should have seen this coming.

    Mets Fire Hitting Coach

    Posted by on May 27th, 2014 · Comments (4)

    Via Newsday

    Fired Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens hinted that team ownership was the driving force behind his ouster, then fired back at the club’s own television broadcasters, who have long criticized the hitting approach espoused by general manager Sandy Alderson as too passive.

    Did Hudgens believe he got a fair shake?

    “It depends on who you’re talking about, from who,” Hudgens told Newsday Monday night in a phone interview, just a few hours after his dismissal. “From Sandy, from the front office, from the players, from Terry [Collins], from the other coaches, yeah, absolutely.”

    He omitted team ownership. Hudgens and Alderson have ties dating to their time with the Athletics organization. Hudgens, who joined the Mets in 2011, defended the team’s patient hitting approach, which has been bashed by broadcaster Keith Hernandez.

    “The naysayers, the guys who disapprove of us, the guys who I listen to on TV all the time, those guys that know everything about the game, I’m just amazed at it,” Hudgens said. “What’s wrong with getting a good pitch to hit? Somebody, please punch a hole in that for me. I just shake my head at the old-school guys that have it all figured out. Go up there and swing the bat. Well, what do you want to swing at? It just confounds me. It’s just hilarious, really.

    “That’s one thing. I’m glad I don’t have to listen to those guys anymore.”

    Hudgens said he was “a little bit surprised” by his firing since he believed the Mets had shown signs of improvement. “Every one of the players came in and gave me a hug and said how sorry they were,” he said. “I was really happy with my relationship with all the guys, with coaches, with Terry, Sandy, the front office. I’ve got nothing but positive things to say.”

    Once again, he did not mention team ownership.

    And, yet, Kevin Long remains employed…

    Yanks Have Won 8 Of Their Last 12

    Posted by on May 27th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    Is this the start of something big?

    Dellin Betances Vs. Stephen Pryor

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2014 · Comments (10)

    The start of their careers:

    Player SO9 G ERA+ From To Age W L IP H R ER BB SO BF
    Dellin Betances 15.24 26 121 2011 2014 23-26 2 0 33.2 24 13 13 17 57 141
    Stephen Pryor 10.09 33 131 2012 2013 22-23 3 1 30.1 25 13 10 14 34 130
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 5/23/2014.

    Just saying.

    Chris Christie Wants To Be Mets G.M.

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2014 · Comments (10)

    Via USA Today

    Many believe New Jersey governor Chris Christie is eying a 2016 presidential campaign, but the lifelong Mets fan admitted Friday that he has another dream job in mind.

    “I would love to be general manager of the Mets,” he told WFAN radio’s Boomer and Carton show. “If Sandy (Alderson) would put his crap in boxes and get out of there now, I’d be happy to go there now.”

    The gig is tougher than it seems. Since Alderson took over, the club’s payroll has steadily shrunk amid questions about ownership’s financial stability. The Mets haven’t had a winning season since 2008, and their struggles have made them a constant punchline around baseball. But then, anyone from New Jersey knows a thing or two about being the butt of jokes.

    The team is 21-25 on the season after losing six of their last eight games. Christie seems to take the losses pretty hard.

    “I texted my son after they lost one of the games this week: It is impossible to watch,” he said. “It is impossible to watch. Just when you care about them as much as I do, it’s hard to watch sometimes.”

    If Sandy would put his crap in boxes and get out of there…I would hope that Brian Cashman would take his place.

    In Last 24 Games, Yankees Team OPS Is .694

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2014 · Comments (5)

    Check out the numbers. The Yankees have gone 11-13 in their last 24 games. (Which, for some reason, a few Yankees fans find to be exciting?) This covers the games from April 25th through May 22nd.

    Over those 24 games, the Yankees team BA/OBA/SLG line is .248/.311/.382 (in 918 PA!). Yes, we’re talking about an on-base average close to three hundred and a slugging percentage less than three-ninety. Yikes.

    During this span, Yankees batters have almost as many strikeouts (179) as hits (205).

    On average, over these 24 games, the Yankees are sending 38.2 batters to the plate per game. Here, keep in mind, that the minimum sent to the plate in a 9-inning game would be 27 batters. So, the Yankees are averaging close to just one batter per inning over the minimum.

    Not so big and hairy, if you’re smoking the objective pipe, is it, Mr. Cashman?

    Cashman’s Latest Spending Spree A Bust So Far

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2014 · Comments (20)

    Via Ken Davidoff

    Consider the Yankees, now 24-21, have scored 193 runs and allowed 204, an underwhelming run differential. The 16-28 Cubs? They have scored 174 and allowed 174. They are woefully underperforming their own mathematical expectations.

    And if you wonder why that is, all you had to do was endure this contest, when Cubs ace — and likely Yankees trade target — Jeff Samardzija dominated the Yankees’ lineup for seven shutout innings, lowering his ERA to a major-league-leading 1.46, only to see his closer Hector Rondon blow a 2-0 lead in the ninth inning thanks in part to a throwing error by Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. Samardzija has zero wins in 10 starts, which tells you all you need to know about the useless measure of pitchers’ wins.

    These Yankees aren’t the scrappy bunch that we witnessed in their immediate predecessors, when a bunch of replacement-level players accompanied Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner (and late-season reinforcement Alfonso Soriano) on an unlikely ride to late-season contention.

    The Steinbrenners spent nearly $300 million to re-energize their team’s offense, even while allowing Cano to go to the Mariners, and so far, that reboot hasn’t paid many dividends. The Yankees rank eighth in the American League in runs scored.

    Most responsible for that mediocrity are the three highly compensated newcomers in the lineup. Carlos Beltran (.234/.286/.430) resides on the disabled list with a right elbow injury, Jacoby Ellsbury (.272/.346/.389) cooled down after a blazing start, and Brian McCann (.224/.274/.367) has just been awful. The Yankees’ three best offensive players have been the resurgent Mark Teixeira (.264/.372/.527), unheralded rookie Yangervis Solarte (.317/.394/.493) and blossoming pillar Brett Gardner (.304/.379/.424).

    But, hey, if the free agents don’t work out, it’s alright…after all, we have Cito Culver, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Dante Bichette Jr., and Ty Hensley down on the farm, right?

    The Yankees Are On Pace To Win 85 Games This Year

    Posted by on May 21st, 2014 · Comments (24)

    Worse, there’s only been three times this season where they have won more than 3 games in a row.

    Maybe they should be renamed “The New York Yawnkees”?

    The only ring this team is going to win is the “ring” at the end of “Bore-ring!”

    #Season2Watch …NOT!

    Obama Closes Baseball Hall Of Fame

    Posted by on May 20th, 2014 · Comments (2)

    Well, at least for a day.

    Time For The N.L. To Adopt The D.H.?

    Posted by on May 20th, 2014 · Comments (3)

    Or, they can just enjoy those Bartolo Colon At Bats.

    CCU Much Later

    Posted by on May 19th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    Via ESPN

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia’s knee injury is likely to keep him out of action until July 1 and possibly longer, according to general manager Brian Cashman.

    Speaking on ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney’s podcast, Cashman said Sabathia has some breakdown of cartilage in his right knee, which caused the pain, swelling and fluid buildup that sent him to the disabled list on May 11, the day after he allowed three long home runs in a 5-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Sabathia visited noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews last week and was given a stem-cell injection in his knee, a painful procedure that left the 33-year-old left-hander on crutches.

    “It’s an unpredictable time frame,” Cashman said. “I’d say you’re talking at least six weeks until you see him on a major league mound again.”

    Cashman said Sabathia would need to keep weight off his knee for a period of time and would begin with exercises in a pool to reduce the strain on his knee. He would gradually progress through strengthening exercises and eventually a return to pitching.

    But Cashman cautioned that even a return in six weeks, or around July 1, might be overly optimistic.

    “If we predict anything before six weeks, then we’re probably setting ourselves up for disappointment,” Cashman said.

    It’s OK. Jeremy Bleich is just down the road in Trenton.

    Joe Girardi Spits In The Face Of Pythagorean

    Posted by on May 19th, 2014 · Comments (4)

    For reals.

    Look at the Yankees run differential last year. Look at it this season. Look at what the Yankees Pythagorean W-L% was last year and is this season, to date. Then, look at their actual won-loss records.

    Somehow, Joe Girardi gets his team to win more games than they should…or, have a right to win.

    At some point, the MSM and others have to give him props for this, no?

    Brian Dozier

    Posted by on May 19th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    I’m sorry…but he never hit 10 home runs in a full season in the minor leagues, ever.

    Who Will Be The Yankees SS & 2B In 2015?

    Posted by on May 18th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    This is Derek Jeter’s last year. And, it should be Brian Roberts last season.

    So, who plays SS and 2B for the Yankees in 2015? Brendan Ryan and Yangervis Solarte?

    There’s no one in the farm system ready to step in at either position. (No shocker there.) And, there are not many, if any, trade chips in the minors for the Yankees that will net a quality keystone player in a trade.

    Or, to the Yankees just open up the checkbook and sign Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie after this season?

    This – if not earlier – is the time to get a plan in place, right?

    Dylan Fosnacht Throws 194 Pitches In H.S. Game

    Posted by on May 16th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    But, is it a problem?

    Dude was averaging 14 pitches an inning. That’s not a lot of effort. And, as he said, this is the end of his baseball career. Why not let the kid keep throwing?

    Hal: Yanks Will Spend To Cover Mistakes & Flaws

    Posted by on May 16th, 2014 · Comments (4)

    Via Ken Davidoff

    With the Yankees’ pitching staff in tatters, a midseason import seems increasingly likely. Hal Steinbrenner strongly intimated Thursday he’d be willing to pay the import fees.

    “[We’re] always willing to look at options come July. Come the trade deadline,” Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, said as he departed the quarterly owners’ meetings at Major League Baseball’s Manhattan headquarters. “And I think we’ve shown that. Some years we’ve done stuff, like last year with [Alfonso] Soriano. Some years we haven’t. But we’re not going to ever lay down and die. We’re going to do what we need to do to stay in.”

    The Yankees have seen three of the five members of their original 2014 starting rotation — Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery), Michael Pineda (right shoulder blade) and CC Sabathia (right knee) go on the disabled list.

    “That’s been a big concern,” Steinbrenner said. “We’ve got to get Pineda back. We’ve got to get CC back. We’ve had some bright spots in the bullpen. We’ve got some concerns in the bullpen.”

    The Yankees’ older players have proven especially vulnerable this season; on Thursday, the team placed 37-year-old Carlos Beltran on the disabled list with a right elbow injury that ultimately could sideline him for three months.

    “Age is always a concern,” Steinbrenner said. “We’ve got some bright spots that we’ve seen. [Adam] Warren, [Dellin] Betances, [John Ryan] Murphy. Going out and getting younger players like [Jacoby] Ellsbury, [Brian] McCann. …I’ve always believed in that balance between young guys and veterans. Because the veterans lead, teach. “

    His endorsement of the team’s minor-league development speaks volumes, as Steinbrenner has repeatedly expressed his unhappiness with the way the farm system didn’t deliver in 2013.

    “Clearly, in the offseason, we recognized we had some positions to improve. Catching was one of them. So we went out and got the guy we wanted,” Steinbrenner said. “He [McCann] is going to be great for us. He is great for us.

    “… Our minor leagues didn’t provide the players that we needed, so when that’s the case, obviously you’ve got to go out on the free agent market and make your improvements there. And we did.”

    “Tough times. We’ve been through them before,” Steinbrenner said. “We’ve got a veteran club. They’re going to keep grinding away.”

    …Tough times. We’ve been through them before…

    And, they will continue, as long as Brian Cashman is G.M. of this team, Steinbrenner Family Checkbook to bail him out, or not.

    Going 6+ IP In Your First 8 Career Starts

    Posted by on May 15th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    Since 1914, here’s the guys to do it:

    Rk Player Year #Matching W L W-L% ERA GS SHO IP HR BB SO WHIP Tm
    1 John Whitehead 1935 8 Ind. Games 8 0 1.000 2.99 8 1 72.1 5 31 22 1.15 CHW
    2 Jered Weaver 2006 8 Ind. Games 7 0 1.000 1.51 8 0 53.2 2 13 44 0.86 LAA
    3 Masahiro Tanaka 2014 8 Ind. Games 6 0 1.000 2.17 8 1 58.0 7 7 66 0.91 NYY
    4 Don Sutton 1966 8 Ind. Games 5 3 .625 2.21 8 1 61.0 4 8 50 0.97 LAD
    5 Wayne Simpson 1970 8 Ind. Games 5 1 .833 2.11 8 2 59.2 6 26 35 0.91 CIN
    6 Herb Score 1955 8 Ind. Games 4 3 .571 2.95 8 1 64.0 5 40 77 1.25 CLE
    7 Hyun-jin Ryu 2013 8 Ind. Games 4 2 .667 3.40 8 0 50.1 5 15 51 1.21 LAD
    8 Jeff Russell 1983 8 Ind. Games 4 3 .571 2.56 8 0 56.1 6 15 30 1.07 CIN
    9 Dave Rozema 1977 8 Ind. Games 3 1 .750 2.86 8 1 63.0 5 10 30 1.02 DET
    10 Steve Rogers 1973 8 Ind. Games 4 3 .571 1.36 8 2 66.0 3 20 31 0.97 MON
    11 Bill Pulsipher 1995 8 Ind. Games 2 5 .286 4.42 8 0 57.0 6 30 47 1.54 NYM
    12 Michael Pineda 2011 8 Ind. Games 5 2 .714 2.45 8 0 51.1 3 13 52 1.01 SEA
    13 Joe McClain 1961 8 Ind. Games 5 3 .625 2.67 8 1 64.0 3 11 20 0.98 WSA
    14 Eddie Lopat 1944 8 Ind. Games 2 4 .333 2.78 8 0 64.2 5 28 24 1.44 CHW
    15 Mike Leake 2010 8 Ind. Games 4 0 1.000 2.91 8 0 52.2 4 21 39 1.18 CIN
    16 Jason Jacome 1994 8 Ind. Games 4 3 .571 2.67 8 1 54.0 3 17 30 1.31 NYM
    17 Joey Hamilton 1994 8 Ind. Games 4 3 .571 2.02 8 1 58.0 2 17 31 1.14 SDP
    18 Brandon Duckworth 2001 8 Ind. Games 2 1 .667 3.14 8 0 51.2 2 22 32 1.24 PHI
    19 Jose DeLeon 1983 8 Ind. Games 5 2 .714 2.08 8 1 65.0 3 26 73 0.95 PIT
    20 Willie Adams 1996 8 Ind. Games 1 2 .333 4.38 8 0 51.1 11 16 46 1.29 OAK
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 5/15/2014.

    The numbers on Tanaka and Sutton are close.

    CC’s Knee Needs Help

    Posted by on May 15th, 2014 · Comments (4)

    Via Mark Feinsand

    CC Sabathia’s knee troubles are far from over. In fact, they might just be beginning.

    General manager Brian Cashman confirmed that a second opinion by Dr. James Andrews revealed no tear in the meniscus in Sabathia’s right knee, which was surgically repaired following the 2010 season.

    Sabathia does, however, have what Cashman termed “degenerative changes” in the area, meaning that “some cartilage breakdown is occurring” in the 33-year-old’s knee.

    “His knee stability is fine, so there’s no ligament damage or anything like that,” Cashman said. “His knee is stable; but he does have some degenerative changes.”

    Sabathia stayed in Birmingham Wednesday night after having his knee drained of fluid earlier in the day. He’ll see Dr. Andrews again on Thursday to receive an injection of cortisone and stem cell, the standard treatment for his condition.

    “We have current players and we’ve had past players that have dealt with this in the past,” Cashman said. “There have been a number of successes throughout that process; hopefully CC will be in that success, also.”

    The Yankees remain hopeful that Sabathia will be ready to go when he’s eligible to return from his 15-day stint on the disabled list, but Cashman said he’ll wait to hear what Dr. Andrews has to say before making any such predictions.

    “I’m going to wait until he goes through the procedure on it,” Cashman said.

    Cashman listed Hideki Matsui, Randy Johnson, Carlos Beltran, Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones as players who have dealt with similar issues, playing through the knee problems while remaining productive. According to Cashman, Beltran continues to get treated for it even now.

    “Randy Johnson pitched for many, many years with it; when Arizona signed him from Houston, then we got him from Arizona, he was going through a lot of the same stuff,” Cashman said. “Everybody is different, but they had similar situations; hopefully far worse. They found some sort of happy medium between the treatments they received and performance.”

    I would feel better about Sabathia’s chances to have good seasons after this if he were pitching in the National League and there was no PED testing in place.

    Time To Lower The Mound?

    Posted by on May 14th, 2014 · Comments (3)

    Via Tom Verducci

    What used to be an injury of attrition (Tommy John was 32 and had thrown more than 2,000 major league innings before his groundbreaking surgery) has become an injury of too much too soon — too much velocity and too much stress. The average age of the 22 major league pitchers to need Tommy John surgery this year is just 23.4 years old.

    Wait, it gets worse: A study out just this month in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons found that year-round play in the amateur market has contributed to a 10-fold increase in Tommy John surgeries for youth pitchers.

    What can be done? It’s time for Major League Baseball to lower the mound — and for the entire amateur market to follow its lead. When I took part in an MLB Network roundtable discussion last week on the epidemic of Tommy John surgeries, what struck me as most profound was the statement of fact by both Mets team physician Dr. David Altchek and biomechanics expert and former pitcher Tom House that the greater the slope of the mound the greater the forces that are applied to the arm. Reduce the height of the mound and you reduce the forces upon the arm.

    It makes perfect sense. What makes no sense is that 13-year-old kids are pitching off the same size mound as major league pitchers. Little Leaguers should be throwing off flat ground. (What’s the first step for pitchers as they come back from injury? They throw off flat ground. Why? It’s less strenuous.)

    There happens to be another compelling reason to lower the mound besides saving the elbows of pitchers: the game needs offense. People, especially inside the game, are not paying nearly enough attention to how the game has been bastardized in just the past five years by the increase in velocity and the specialization of bullpens. Games are getting longer and longer with less and less action — a terrible combination in any era, but especially this one in which commerce and culture move at a quickened pace. The proliferation of pitching changes (men standing around killing time, pitchers warming up after they just spent the past 15 minutes warming up) and strikeouts are harming the pace of action more than anything else.

    Strikeouts are up for a ninth straight year. Singles have reached an all-time low. But what is happening in the late innings of games is a particularly insidious problem. Offense dries up to absurdly low levels and the ball doesn’t even get put into play enough. The long endgame is about managers bringing in one hard-throwing specialist after another in the eternal quest to gain the platoon advantage and keep the ball out of play. Some teams are using eight-man bullpens and clamoring for a 26-man roster so they can add yet another arm. This trend must stop.

    Most every sport increases action and drama as the game draws near to its end; football teams can go to a hurry-up offense, hockey teams can pull their goalie, basketball teams can shoot more three-pointers . . . but the closer baseball games get to their conclusion the more they slow down and the less likely teams are to get a hit, which makes the excitement of the comeback less likely.

    Let’s use the National League as an example. From the seventh through ninth innings, nearly one out of every four at-bats ends in a strikeout (24.1%). In those innings, batters are hitting .232.

    Now here’s the context you need to know about that batting average. The worst hitting in the league’s history occurred in 1908, when batters hit .239 for the season. So what is happening in today’s game is that the late innings have turned into a brand of offensive baseball that is worse than the deadest of the Deadball Era years.

    The overall MLB average in innings 7-9 is .240; only three full seasons ever have been worse: 1888, 1908 and 1968 — the year hitting was so bad it prompted MLB to lower the mound. Scoring immediately shot up 19 percent.

    It’s time to act again. We have reached a convergence of the biggest on-field problems affecting baseball: the increase in strikeouts, the drag on offense and pace of play caused by increased bullpen usage and the epidemic of Tommy John surgeries on young pitchers. All of those problems can be addressed by lowering the mound. Baseball shouldn’t wait for more young stars to blow out their elbows before deciding to do something about it.

    I still cannot believe that it’s the mound which is causing arm and offense issues in MLB. It’s the same mound that they used in the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s, right? There’s more to all this than just the mound…

    Mets Beat Yankees…Again

    Posted by on May 14th, 2014 · Comments (14)

    Via the Daily News

    The Yanks and Mets often seem to operate not in separate leagues, but unrelated universes. One payroll in excess of $200 million, another failing to crack $90 million. Established, celebrity ballplayers in the Bronx, random lineups and Kyle Farnsworth in Queens.

    But while the Mets have spent too many years chopping payroll and selling fans on prospects who might or might not succeed (nothing to see here, folks, but look! We have a phenom in Triple-A!), this Subway Series has presented them with the chance to contrast what they are trying to build with a team that might be wilting into an aging, expensive disaster.

    It takes less than one minute to walk from the home clubhouse to the visiting one on the lower level of Yankee Stadium, but the difference in mood was jarring, during the first half of this year’s series.

    On the first base side on Tuesday afternoon, you had Carlos Beltran, 37, standing at his locker, explaining that he would need significant surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow, if a cortisone shot would not work. This news was bleak; if Beltran avoids the surgery, but still feels pain, his production could suffer greatly.

    “That would be a tough injury,” another player explained. “If you can’t get full extension, and you’re swinging a little bit down here instead of up there, that could be the difference between a foul ball and a home run.”

    You also had Ichiro Suzuki, 40, holding his own mini-news conference a few feet away, explaining that his sore back would probably prevent him from playing. And a few minutes after that, you had Girardi announcing that an important reliever, Shawn Kelley, was on the disabled list with his own back injury. Oh, and CC Sabathia was visiting the dreaded Dr. Andrews for a follow-up knee exam.

    After the game, you had Kelley providing a perfect summary of his team’s crisis: “It’s almost like injuries are contagious right now.”

    “When you become older, your body doesn’t necessarily bounce back as quick and heal as quick,” Girardi said, clearly knowing that his team had arrived at a tough moment, clearly unable to explain exactly what a manager might do about it.

    It’s really hard to say that the Yankees first quarter of the 2014 season has been a success. Worse, it doesn’t seem that it will be getting better any time soon.

    At this rate, 2013-2014 could be the Yankees worst back-to-back full seasons since 1991-1992. And, if you use pyth W-L%, then these two years are just as bad as 1991-92. Yet, no one in the organization will be held accountable – as always, in life after George.

    Get The Injury Excuse Bandwagon Rolling

    Posted by on May 13th, 2014 · Comments (18)

    Beltran may land on DL. Ichiro’s back is stiff. Teixeira is running like he’s injured. Add that to Nova, Cervelli, Pineda, etc.

    And, soon, certain Yankees fans will start to say “It’s a curse. Just like last year!”

    But, the reality of it is, to be candid, this is what you get when you have a roster full of older players. Younger guys just to break down as often.

    It’s the planning to blame, not the players…and their injuries.

    Francesa Says Mets Are Donkeys

    Posted by on May 13th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Via WFAN

    WFAN radio host Mike Francesa has had just about enough of the New York Mets.

    On Monday, Francesa accused the franchise of boycotting the radio station. WFAN announced a multi-year deal with the Yankees in September, ending their longtime relationship with the Mets.

    “Now the Mets have banned all their personnel — including their TV people — from coming on the station because they’re angry at the FAN because, you know, the FAN did not re-up their radio contract after all these many years,” said Francesa, who was broadcasting live from Yankee Stadium ahead of the Subway Series opener. “Regardless of the fact of how much money FAN may have lost because the Mets stunk for the last decade, maybe if they had won a game once or twice, we would have been able to do something about it.”

    He was just getting started:

    “This is just ridiculous. The Mets are acting like jacka—-. They really are. They get what they deserve. I hope there’s 10,000 people in Citi Field in a couple of days. You can quote me: jacka—-. You hear me? By banning guys from the show — it’s just stupid. Their poor manager, who they’ll probably boot out the door any day, is not allowed on the show. You know that? Sandy (Alderson) makes moves, he’s not allowed on the show. Even Keith’s not allowed on the show. I mean, you’re banning Keith Hernandez from the show. Utter nonsense.”

    Earlier this month, Francesa accused the Mets of shutting him out from doing a Subway Series remote from Citi Field.

    The team isn’t boycotting WFAN, a Mets source told the New York Daily News. Instead they’re “trying to build up” a rapport with their new flagship station, which wouldn’t thrilled about hearing any Mets on WFAN, the Daily News reported.

    “No wonder you have to run around and put out fires about Saul Katz wants to sell,” Francesa said. “If I was Saul I’d want to sell the franchise too the way things were going. You know what? I’ve had enough of the Mets. I’ve had enough. I really have. It’s just ridiculous.”

    Francesa didn’t hold back on the Yankees, either.

    “The Yanks are as petty as the Mets are, so I’ve had about enough of the both of them.”

    Of course, “make up” interviews are just as good for ratings as “make up”…well, you know.

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