A win a day chips the deficit away

Charleston's offense erupts, but they lose anyway
Yanks want a lefty but why?

A three-game set against a depleted A’s team was exactly what the good doctor ordered for the Yankees to start the second half.

Facing a team with a weak offense and down a few pitchers after two recent trades, the Yanks made the most of this chance to win three at home while Tampa Bay dropped their finale on Sunday and the Red Sox lost three in Anaheim. With 64 games left, the Yanks find themselves 4.5 out in the AL East and just three behind Boston in the Wild Card. They face the Twins — the second-place Wild Card — before journeying up to Fenway. A big week awaits the Bombers.

Sunday’s speedy game was dominated by pitching. Andy Petitte threw eight stellar innings, giving up a run on four hits while walking no one and striking out nine. Yankee starters have issued just one walk since the All Star Break. On the other side, the A’s All Star starter Justin Duchscherer threw six effective innings, allowing just two runs but a sixth-inning Jason Giambi home run would give the Yanks the lead and the series.

Amusingly enough, after winning Saturday’s game on a walk-off HBP for the first time since the mid-1960s, the game ended yesterday with a caught stealing. How fitting.

But while the Yankees are riding a three-game winning streak that pushed them right back into the playoff picture, the team now faces a daunting proposition: They have to beat the Twins with Darrell Rasner and Sidney Ponson on the mound. It’s here, again, that I come back to Chien-Ming Wang and his ill-begotten injury. Had Wang not suffered some of the worst luck I’ve ever seen on the basepaths, the Yanks would be in a prime position to reach October.

Even if the team leaves 20+ runners on base, even if they’re aren’t the offensive powerhouse they should be, this team has the pitching to compete. Since the break, the Yanks are pitching to a 1.50 ERA with 39 strike outs in 30 innings. They walked a whopping five Oakland A’s this weekend. While not every team will be as impotent as the A’s, the pitching — at least for their front three — is there. Now we just have to hope that it holds up in the back as well. October depends on it.

Charleston's offense erupts, but they lose anyway
Yanks want a lefty but why?
  • adeelmd

    how about the bugs in cleveland last year. We had the momentum to beat cleveland… It all went downhill because of the bugs. We would have one that game and and Wang would have pitched on full rest on game 5…..

    that was truly freaky.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

    Tampa Bay won their series.

    As to the outlook for this upcoming week, I agree, biggest test yet for the Bombers. I remember in 2006 that Michael Kay used to always say “The Yankees have to win the starts made by Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina”. That holds true this year. With the back-end of this rotation consisting of Sidney Ponson and Darrel Rasner, the Yankees need to win those games started by Mussina, Joba Chamberlain, and Andy Pettitte. When it comes to Ponson and Ranser, they need to be just grateful if one can give them a quality start.

    What should we read into Ian Kennedy possibly not making his schedule start on Thursday? If Ponson struggles tonight versus the Twins then he will not make his next scheduled start, Sunday against the Red Sox?

    • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

      i think with every good start Ponson has, he earns himself another 2 starts. so even if he sucks againt Minny, i think he’ll get at least one more shot. and i’d rather not bring Kennedy up to face Boston in his first game back.

    • mustang

      “What should we read into Ian Kennedy possibly not making his schedule start on Thursday?”

      Nobody has brought this up how about if IPK is getting ready to be trade?
      The rumors are that talks with both the Philles and Angles about Holliday have broken down. Just wanted to put this out there thoughts?

      • MD

        I asked the same question below…..the smoke seems to be out of Pitt

        • mustang

          There something going on McCutchen skipping a start and Ohlendorf throwing 91 pitches the other day. Maybe I’m making too much of it but a lot of Cashman trades come out of no where and things have been very quite. I don’t know?

      • ChrisS

        Did you see what the Rox were allegedly asking LAA for Holliday? Starting with Howie Kendrick and either Joe Saunders or Ervin Santana, plus prospects. I can’t even imagine what the Yankee equivalent would be.

        I don’t think anyone is going to give them what they want this year.

  • RollingWave

    Minni’s offense is due for some mega regression. hopefully it starts here.

    their pitching might be pretty legit though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=35303355 Ryan

    The team has a .633 win percentage since Wang has been out (19-11). I’m in no way saying that they are a better team without Wang, that would just be stupid. I’m just pointing out that they are holding their own without him in the rotation. Over the same period, since Wang has been injured, Boston is 13-15 (.464) and the Rays are 17-11 (.607). If the Yanks can just keep up this kind of play until some key players come back (Hughes, IPK, Pavano? ha just kidding, Wang, Bruney, Matsui, Damon…) we can definitely make the playoffs and have a realistic shot at #27.

    So with Wang slated (hopefully) for a Sept 1. return to the bigs, we can have a September-October rotation of:

    1. Chien-Ming Wang (8-2, 4.07)
    2. Mike Mussina (12-6, 3.49)
    3. Andy Pettitte (11-7, 3.86)
    4. Joba Chamberlain (2-3, 2.52)

    But with a load of competition for that 5th spot, the “contenders” being:

    5a. Phil Hughes, Possibly back in late August with a few stops in SWB for sure. Upon his return, who knows if he will be kind of “automatically” recalled to the Bronx or if he’ll have to earn his spot back, as such has been said of IPK. Throw away his numbers from this year, well don’t completely disregard them, but just look to last year and his relief of Clemens in the post-season. Frankly, the kid can pitch and I’d love to see him back in the rotation ASAP.

    5b. Ian Kennedy, Still “earning” his way back up to the Major league team but he seems pretty ready. His line from his last start (courtesy of DoTF): 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HB, 11-8 GB/FB – 56 of 89 pitches were strikes (62.9%). I think it could be time for them to make a move. At this point bump either Rasner or Ponson, they’re carry almost the same amount of effectiveness.

    5c. Sidney Ponson, The Yankees have come out on top in each of Sid’s 3 starts, though he has only been awarded one win. His stats seem decent I guess (1-0, 4.24 with the Yanks / 5-1, 3.50 all year) but they’re definitely deceiving. The ERA is nothing special, but the 5-1 looks good, though when you watch him, he doesn’t really have the look of a good pitcher. He allows a ton of base-runners, which scares me every time he’s on the mound.

    5d. Darrell Rasner, I don’t expect him to be in the rotation much longer, with IPK on the brink. I’d say right now he’s in competition with Sid the Kid. He seemed like a beacon of light when he started out 3-0, 1.89, but then a string of four straight losses bumped him to 3-4, 3.64. Now he stands at 5-7, 4.97. Hopefully he can return to the success of his first three starts, but I don’t think anybody really sees that happening.

    5e. Carl Pavano, Started facing hitters again the other day. There are no real expectations of Pavano, but like the New York State Lotto Jackpot, “Hey, You never know!” Maybe he can bring some kind of usefulness to the team and earn just a little bit of his near $40 million contract.

    5f. Kei Igawa, Horrible in the bigs, just horrible. But he’s posting decent numbers with SWB (8-5, 3.80). I’m not sure he’s an actual option, but if it comes down to it and the rest aren’t performing, I’d give him another shot. I say this only because I saw him pitch in the beginning last year, before he was completely awful, and watched him beat the Red Sox (Struck out Manny twice). (By the way his career ERA now stands at 6.66 in the Majors.. surprising?)

    As of right now the Bullpen is solid.
    1. Marian Rivera, Amazing.. that’s all (44.1 IP, 1.22, 53 Ks, 24/24)
    2. Kyle Farnsworth, Pretty good lately, no hits in his last 8 IP (1.04 in last 10 appearance)
    3. Jose Veras, Has been pretty reliable lately (32.1 IP, 3.06, 3- Ks)
    4. LaTroy Hawkins, Needs to be DFA’d, traded for bats (38.1, 5.63)
    5. Edaw Ramirez, I like what he’s got (36 IP, 2.50, 42 Ks)
    6. Dan Giese, Good long-man (23.1 IP, 2.70)
    7. David Robertson, He’s pretty legit (10 IP, 1.80, 13 Ks)
    8. Billy Traber, Ehh (12 IP, 6.00)

    So I’d say that we’ll only need to replace Hawkins and Traber. I like the rest of them. So maybe for those two spots we let a few more guys from the farm take a shot. Or there are these reports that the Yanks are interested in Fuentes, I’d take him personally (Although the last guy we got outta Colorado has done wonders for us). And with Bruney making rehab appearances we might have the other spot filled.

    Hopefully we can stop carrying Moeller, maybe Damon will take his spot soon?

    Other than that I think we just need to start scoring more runs. Cano seems on his way to turning things around in the second half. Hopefully a few others can follw his lead (Melky and Jeter in particular). I’m ready for Brett Gardner to start making a big impact too, I think he will. He’ll get the bat going and then he’ll get those feet going and they’ll put up some numbers.

    Things are looking good for the Yankees to me.

    • Steve

      Cash has already saids numerous times that he believes they rushed Hughes/Kennedy to the bigs, and said we will see Hughes again this year but “Not necessarily on the MLB club”. I could see Kennedy get another shot if he pitches well in Scranton, but not Hughes.

      Hughes needs to work on some things. He had trouble finishing off MLB hitters, he was too predictable and too around the strike zone. He needs to work on a 3rd pitch, or they should go back to the 3/4 delivery and let him be the Fastball/slider pitcher he was when they signed him. But what he did when he was here didn’t work at all.

      Personally, I hope he goes back to the 3/4 delivery. It would give his 4 seamer more life and his slider is a plus pitch when thrown from that angle. If you lose a little break on the curve, who cares. He would still have 2 plus pitches and a good curve as opposed to the plus curve and mediocre fastball/slider he has now.

    • Geno

      Veras has been “pretty reliable” all season. In fact, he’s been really good.

    • Old Ranger

      Damm long, but covered most everything well. Good show. 27/08??

    • A.D.

      Traber is gone already.

      Igawa no way

      IPKs last appearance was good, but he previous wasn’t. He needs a string of those to really jump into contention again.

      I’d add the additional 5’s of:
      McCutchen
      Aceves
      Karstens

  • p

    traber is already gone.

  • Bart

    The Yankees do not exhibited the balance to compete — they have required dominant pitching from Joba Moose and Pettit – when Moose and Pettit have been bad they have not had the offense to win

    Rasner and Ponson ar disasters — they need outsized luck to get htrough the season at .500- putting strain on the Pen and on the offese

    The Offense has been ineffective – in part to carrying — often at the same time — Bettemit, Molina, Melky,and now Gardner (who has been somewhat timely)

    Giradi has to play Posad, Giambi, and Damon to have a chnace ay restoring the offense — there is only room for one DH — at times the matchup will call for Sexton.

    Everyone is impressed with Molina’s defense and in denying the opposition the running game – he has been critical in close games — MADE CLOSER BY HIS BAT — might be the right question — can we afford Begi in and Jorge out

    the Pen has been nearly perfect absent the curious Mo phenomenon and a Veras meltdown.

    It is a tighrope and interesting — edge of the seat to root for and to keep it that way the the RedSox and Rays have to cooperate —

    The question is are they truly competitive or one Rockies (last year) series from a regression to the mean (for this year) which won’t be good enough

    Answer that question before the trading deadline to best position as a buyer or seller.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Okay, first of all, TYPE SLOWER. This is not Egyptian hieroglyphics… you have to use both the consonants and the vowels.

      Secondly, JOSE Molina plays for the Yankees, not Bengie (and certainly not “Begi”. Matter of fact, why don’t you go peruse the Yankees roster, because we don’t have any Giradi’s, Sexton’s, Posad’s, Pettit’s, or Bettemit’s at all.

      Thirdly, I don’t know what the hell the “curious Mo phenomenon” is… please explain. (On second thought, don’t.)

  • MD

    Some stuff going on with AAA rotation later this week…..possibly the pre-cursor of a move?……rumble is Pirates……something involving Kennedy for Nady or Bay? obviously needs to be more than that, but just wondering if anyone is picking anything up in this area, or am I just reading too much into it?…maybe someone can find something out of Pitt on this…..it does seem like something is brewing.

    • A.D.

      Personally I’d be disappointed if its Nady

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I hate when a team is pushed into a playoff pitcher. That pitcher gets really hurt.

  • http://2009 Haggs

    Rasner has been worse than Ponson (scary as that sounds).

    I bet Rasner is the first to lose his spot, unless he’s good and Sidney is awful this week.

    Random, but that play in the 9th inning, where ARod alertly flipped the ball to Jeter after Abreu airmailed a throw to second isn’t being talked about much, but that was a heads up play that saved Mo from a sticky situation.

    Had Jeter been the one to make that play, would they already be tacking it on to the end of his Yankeeography?

    • LiveFromNewYork

      And Jeter said he had no idea what was going on during that play. And Bobby threw it to the infield with the attitude, “Here someone catch this.” and Arod was looking alive at the time. It def should have been a highlight.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Haggs complimenting A-Rod. Everyone take a screen capture of this. It only happens once in a lifetime.

      (I kid, Haggs, I kid.)

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

        ARod really was heads up and made a great play there…

        … FOR ME TO POOP ON!

    • Old Ranger

      You are right on.
      Other then pitchers, the Yanks have three instinctive players; Jeter, A-Rod and Brett. They are all real ballplayers, not just athletes. Bernie was an example of an athlete who played baseball…no real instincts, just raw athleticism. There are many more athletes playing ball then one would think. Don’t get me wrong, many of them are great ball players but they don’t have that sixth sence that others have. 27/08??

  • RichYF

    Anyone going to the game on Wednesday?

    We’ll probably get there early and snag some Lunch. Any restaurant recommendations?

    • Motown Yankee Fan

      Press Cafe on 157th Street. Great bar with good food.

  • scott

    here we go again…just like after the yankees rolled through interleague play. We cant possibly talk about the legitimacy of the yankees playoff chances until they get through this upcoming week. The A’s were a team the yankees should have beaten. They basically waved the white flag by trading away 2 of their three top starters. If the yankees go 4-2 or better against the twins and sox then we can talk…otherwise it will just be a case of false hope crushed when the schedule turns to legit competition.

    • Old Ranger

      Scott…
      Stay Optimistic, we could (realistically) go better then 4-2. All we need is for the offence to get their buts in gear. We have many underachievers right now, let us hope they wake up and play well. It seems I have been over using the word HOPE…but then, what else is there? 27/08??

    • steve (different one)

      seriously guys.

      we can’t talk about these things on the internet. the team may get cocky and stop trying.

      • Old Ranger

        You may be right! I take it all back. 27/08??

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

        Good point, Steve. You’re absolutely right.

        I firmly believe the reason ARod had such a great 2007 year is because I personally went to every home game in 2006 and booed him every time he didn’t hit a home run.

        Before, he was a soft-ass who didn’t play with heart and didn’t try hard, and he also had bad character and created bad team chemistry and wasn’t gritty or gutty and didn’t play like a True Yankee, and he tarnished the game, but my relentless criticism of his lack of unseen intangibles and my constant booing of him toughened him up and made him the best player in baseball.

        You’re all welcome.

  • McCaff

    please tell me we won’t trade AJax to anyone. What high level prospects would we trade and who would we get in return ?

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

    Glass half full.

    Moose, Pettitte, and Joba have shown us that they can keep us in any game, and can even pitch well enough to win games where our offense struggles. And with ARod and Giambi still doing well, and Cano and Jeter still improving, and a pretty dominant bullpen that’s only going to get better with probable September additions of Cox and McCutchen, we’re still a damn good team even with three offensive black holes in our lineup (Molina, Melky, Gardner)… and while they’re not there yet, two of those three black holes should get plugged eventually by Damon and Posada.

    I still feel like we can compete for a title this year, and that all we really need to do is add one more starting pitcher to give us better depth and help us bridge the gap until we get healthy again. If it’s true that we’re preparing to make a trade for Jason Bay, I’m fine with that (because Bay would address not just a short term need bout would be a valuable long-term answer in the outfield), but the Pirates would probably ask for the moon for Bay… and I’m anti Xavier Nady. He seems like smoke and mirrors to me. Outside of those two, I don’t see who would be a realistic OF option for us.

    I’d still like to kick some tires on Paul Byrd, Jarrod Washburn, and Randy Wolf, though. Unless I can see IPK or Al Aceves look good in an ML start in the next two weeks…

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

      … and Odalis Perez. Left that one out.

      Washburn is making 9.3M this year and next. In June and July he’s made 8 starts and gone at least six innings in 6 of ’em, and only given up more than 2 runs twice (that’s a 3.02 ERA, in the AL, over that stretch).

  • Old Ranger

    I realize this is reactionary, but here goes. Why trade for someone, we have the right guys now? The players we have MUST play up to their baseball cards, if they do that…we don’t need help. If they don’t do that…all the help in the world will not change a thing. CMW will (most likely) be back in sept. If he is up to par, we have a very good arm going forward…also Hughes may be coming back…along with Aceves.
    In other words, no trades are there to be made (who really knows), and none are needed. Some we could dream of…but let’s be realest. 27/08??

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Ranger – it seems like the organization wants to quasi-shut-down Hughes for the year. He probably only throws in minor league or simulated action… probably not for the big club. And even though IPK is doing okay on the farm, there seems to be no rush on him either. I think the thinking is that both of them should focus on getting healthy and getting their confidence back, by punishing inferior hitters. Before the injuries, they both looked too gunshy to be counted on. And the more I think about that plan, the smarter it sounds.

      CMW and (perish the thought) Carl Pavano are probably the only real live starters you’ll see by the end of this year making a contribution to the big league club…

      • Old Ranger

        Maybe so, but I think one should look at Aceves.
        I would think IPK and PH are in AAA for the duration, unless someone else bites the dust. Carl (when healthy) is a good pitcher, but can he pitch as before? CMW gets back in sept., but how will he be? The lower body is one of the most needed healthy parts of a pitchers body…without it, no go big show. All in all your right. Aceves pitched lights out in the mex league and A/AA/AAA so far. Mex league is equal to our AA/AAA. 27/08??