Game 101: Momentum is only as good as tomorrow’s starter


The Yankees are hot hot hot, winners of all five games since coming back from the All-Star Break. They’ve won in blowouts, nail biters, extra inning marathons, you name it. Nine games back in the division as recently as July 6th, the Yanks have cut that deficit down to just 3.5 thanks to timely hitting, a lights out bullpen, and a well-timed slump by the Rays.

On the mound today is the AL’s second winningest pitcher, Mike Mussina. Picking up a win before heading up to the land of pizza throwers (with an off-day in between) would be pretty rad. Standing in their way is young southpaw Glen Perkins, a command-and-control lefty that tends to give up oodles of hits without many strikeouts. Dick Lock Sexy, this is why you’re in pinstripes brother.

Damon DH
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Sexson 1B
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF
Molina C
Christian LF

Mussina P

Remember, off days are only fun when you go in with a six-game win streak.

Categories : Game Threads


  1. Jamal G. says:

    Jim Callis, of Baseball America, will be holding his ESPN chat today at 2PM-EST.

  2. Setty says:

    Pete Abe reported that Jorge is going to try to rehab and come back as a DH/1B in 2 weeks. I really think he should just undergo the surgery and come back 100% for the ’09 campaign. If he can’t generate any power in hiw swing b/c of his shoulder, what use is he as a DH?

    • radnom says:

      How do you know how his shoulder is affecting his swing? You are just speculating because of his recent slumping but remember he was aggrivating the shoulder during that time trying to catch. Apparently he (and the Yankees) still feel he can hit better than the current options at DH and that he can hit well enough that its worth putting the begining of ’09 at risk.

      • Setty says:

        This is how I know his shoulder is affecting his swing, per the AP yesterday:

        “Posada hasn’t played since he left New York’s 4-3, 12-inning win over Oakland on Saturday before the 10th, and said the shoulder has been bothering him since spring training. He said it’s also affecting him at the plate but insisted he could fight through it if all he can do is serve as a designated hitter/first baseman for the rest of the season.”

    • A.D. says:

      it could effect his swing, but if he stops throwing, such as he does in warmups catching it may not bother him

  3. Joey H says:

    question for the three amigos again, dont you think , or atleast i do, it came to me last night, that MLB should be like NBA and let the top seeds from each league go into the playoffs. for instance, make it east and west or even north and south? abolish the Pitchers hitting rule and lets the top 4 teams from each league make the playoffs? because its ridiculous that a team like sya the brewers or cards are gnna miss the playoffs when a team like arizona or the dodgers will make it in. Your thoughts?

    • Setty says:

      What are you talking about? The NBA isn’t like that – every DIVISION WINNER makes the playoffs. It’s just a matter of the seeding that is changed

      • Jamal G. says:

        It’s being discussed that the NBA playoff format be changed to the top seeds overall. I think that’s what Joey H. was referring to.

        • Joey H says:

          yeah sorry i typed it kinda fast, thanks for covering me jamal, but thats what i mean, cuase its really bullshit that the best teams dont make the playoffs, it will increase competition and put better teams in the playoffs= better TV ratings for MLB

          • christopher says:

            its baseball _ the wild card has done enough to ensure the best $ teams make it> it isnt perfect but we need to keep some semblence of tradition to the game

    • DP says:

      What is the point of divisions then?

      • Joey H says:

        you still have divisions, but the structure of them are terrible, they need to work it out in a better fashion, sure the wild card is great but its hardly enough with the uprising of better teams. im not saying thatwhat im saying is how it hsould be done but MLB needs to come up wit hthe proper structure for playoffs

    • Take it easy, Champ. Why don’t you sit the next one out, maybe stop talking for a while.

  4. Randy Wilkins says:

    i agree. jorge should just take care of the issue now and be ready for next year. i can’t see how him being at first base is an option. what if he has to make a throw to second or home? you’re still running into the same performance/health issue that would exist if he was catching. if he dh’s he takes a lineup spot from someone who has been more productive. i think he should just focus on getting healthy for the long term.

  5. Jersey says:

    Richie Sexson looks like Matthew Modine, except diesel.

  6. Ben K. says:

    Oh wow. I was out last night and didn’t realize what Melky had done last night in the first inning. What a fool.

  7. Jamal G. says:

    What the fuck is Mike Redmond and his .324-OBP (not to mention his 85-OPS+) doing ahead of Justin Morneau in the lineup?

  8. Setty says:

    Off topic, but I was at the game last night and didn’t get to chime in on the Yankee jersey collection comments. I was able to snag a Bobby Murcer t-shirt jersey last night which I’m very pleased about. It’s funny though since he wore number 2, weird to see t-shirts/jerseys with 2 and “JETER” not above it

  9. Jamal G. says:

    Ground-balls and strikeouts, it’s like I’m watching a Phil Hughes Minor League start!

  10. Yankee1010 says:

    When did Randy Levine get a M.D.? I know he has a PhD. in jackassery, but I was unaware of his recent accomplishments. Congratulations, ass face Levine.

  11. Yankee1010 says:

    27 pitches through 3 for Perkins. Way to make him work, boys.

    • Jamal G. says:

      When a guy throws strikes you can’t just sit back and continually have 0-2 count after 0-2 count. It’s like the Roy Halladay games. The Yanks would like to work him early but if the guy is pounding the strike zone what are you supposed to do?

      • Manimal says:

        Foul off a couple, find one to drive. Stuff Major leaguers do.

      • Yankee1010 says:

        I’m not watching the game, but you can’t possibly say that Perkins is on a Halladay level.

        It still wouldn’t hurt to take some pitches. What is to be gained by Melky and Molina just going up there and swinging away? It’s not like there going to do much damage anyway.

        Just looking at the pitch count, the fact that this is a getaway day with an off-day tomorrow, and some other games this year on getaway days, it seems like there are a few times where they just want to go out, get their hacks in and if they win, all the better.

        Again, I can’t watch the game, but we’ve all seen this movie before.

  12. KW says:

    This might be the quickest game of the season! combined 60 pitches through 3 innings

  13. dkidd says:

    can anyone remember another pitcher who looked as done and came back as strong as mussina?

  14. Manimal says:

    Only Yes would zoom in on the plate and wonder where the Black is.

    • giselle says:

      have you ever watched a game on nesn? remy and orsillo have got to be two of the most self-promoting assholes i’ve ever seen.

      at least with kay you can mute your tv and still watch the game. but with nesn, these two dudes will talk about the most random non-baseball related crap and whats worse is that the camera’s on them in the booth THE WHOLE TIME. they do that quick flip to show the pitch to the batter and then switch back to the booth. i hate that.

      and you know how the cameras show fans during the game? the only ones shown on nesn are fans who have signs that say stuff like “rem-dawg is kewl” or some useless crap like that. gag.

      sorry i guess i just had to vent…

  15. dkidd says:

    sexson looks like a vertically stretched jeff bridges

  16. Jamal G. says:

    Richie Sexson sure can pick it, more than a couple good plays already.

  17. A.D. says:

    all inf outs by Moose, beautiful

  18. Brian says:

    watching an eight-pitch plus at-bat?

    who cares about strikeouts? i think i’m getting a case of sexy dick lockwood

  19. Jamal G. says:

    Wow, he really did forget how many outs there were.

    • Yankee1010 says:

      What happened? I just changed jobs and can’t watch mlb.tv at work anymore (my old IP address was a foreign server, which worked out pretty well for me). I can’t even watch Gameday because it’s blocked, so I’m stuck with GameCast.

  20. Jamal G. says:

    Oh my fucking God. Alexi Casilla must want to dig a hole to hell.

    • Simon B. says:

      Hah. I was looking on Yahoo scores, and when I saw the “Fielder’s Choice at 2nd”, I wondered how in the hell did they not get a double play with Molina running.

  21. Manimal says:

    that made up for him tripping.

  22. zs190 says:

    wow, talk about momentum. Justin Christian coming through with RISP, who would have thought of it?

  23. Brian says:

    your new york yankees, making perk work since 2:12 pm

  24. dkidd says:

    least it didn’t end up hurting them

  25. Yankee1010 says:

    Come on, Jamal. Show A-Jax some love …

    Jamal G. (Brooklyn, New York): Austin Jackson, rated the 14th best prospect in BA’s mid-season rankings. Even us Yankee fans have been saying that seems a bit high, can you give us a little something as to why he was rated that high and if he can be an impact player at the Major League level?

    Jim Callis: (2:20 PM ET ) As I’ve said before, a lot of players seemed higher on that list than they should be — I don’t think the minors are as deep as usual right now. He’s a toolsy center fielder who’s handling Double-A at a young age and has really come on in the last 15th months. He has a chance to be an all-star in the majors and I bet he’s starting for the Yankees by the end of 2009.

    • Jamal G. says:

      I thought Mike was a bit strong in calling him “uninspiring” as a prospect but I agreed with his premise. I just don’t see 14th best prospect for Austin Jackson.

      • Mike A. says:

        I will never live that down. “Uninspiring” was a poor choice of words, but the general idea is that he’s the worst top prospect the Yanks have had probably since 2002 or 2003.

  26. Jamal G. says:

    A’s have runners on first and second with nobody out and down 3-2 in the top of the seventh.

  27. Yankee1010 says:

    In what world does Molina beat out a double play groundball to 3rd and then score from 1st on a 2b?

    • dkidd says:


    • giselle says:


    • Jamal G. says:

      He didn’t beat it out, it was a fielder’s choice. Alexi Casilla, Twins Second Basemen, forgot how many outs there were in the inning (one) and stepped on second to force Melky Cabrera but did not throw to first base. Justin Christian then bounced a double down the LF line that hugged the corner allowing Jose Molina to score from first base and Justin Christian to go to third on the throw home.

      • Yankee1010 says:

        Sounds good to me. I could just picture Molina getting thrown out at home on a play like that being “Send ‘em in” Meachem’s last hurrah.

        • Chip says:

          Yeah me too, he should have been out by about 10 feet but Punto can’t throw from deep third to home

          • Yankee1010 says:

            Figures. God, he’s just awful as a 3rd base coach. Randolph in ’09.

            • Chip says:

              I’m ok with getting thrown out at home with two outs for just the reason Molina scored. It’d be one thing with A-Rod on deck but the chances of driving him in aren’t wonderful so why not take the risk? That way you make the defense earn the out

  28. Simon B. says:

    Again, I’m only going by Yahoo scores, but damn, it must’ve been a pretty sleek play to get a double play off involving Gomez/Span. Those are easily two of the top ten speedsters in the game.

  29. DP says:

    Since the SWB game is rained out, and Bruney was supposed to throw to prove he could go back to back, are they just gonna call him up or really wait 3-4 extra days?

  30. Chip says:

    Here we go, now we’re working the count a bit

  31. Manimal says:

    arod has the right Idea, kill Meachem.

  32. Brian says:

    So who pitches game 3 against the sox? rasner or ponson?
    i know who i want (rasner), but who will it be?

    • Jamal G. says:

      I don’t think their is a big enough advantage starting Darrel Rasner over Sidney Ponson to warrant Ponson being skipped a full turn through the rotation and having him on irregular rest his next time out.

      • Chip says:

        That was my thinking, they’re pretty interchangable in my mind anyways. Both essentially fifth starters who allow too many baserunners

      • Brian says:

        true enough. “last start basis” isn’t sufficient. but ponson v. lester? at least the sox have seen rasner less…

        • Brian says:

          just goes to show how pitching is nearly everything it takes to win. obviously moose has been great today, but look over at the ray’s batting averages against the a’s.

          iwamura’s hitting .277. that’s the best they got. shields is scarily delivering, sprinkling hits, twirling well, spinning a fine tale, etc., but they only have four guys hitting .260 or above.

          First place has never seemed so possible.

    • giselle says:

      i think moose should pitch on short rest.

      • J.R. says:

        No way, Moose pitches every fifth day and bitches when his schedule is altered. And dont fuck with your aces schedule.

  33. Manimal says:

    WTF, top of the wall…

  34. Jamal G. says:

    Sixth inning, not clutchy enough.

  35. Setty says:

    Anyone still want to be a seller at the deadline?

    • Jamal G. says:

      Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) I can’t think of any reason not to call him up. You screw around with arbitration eligibility only if it’s not going to cost you the playoffs. This could cost Minnesota a division title in the long run.

      I agree with Callis. I fully support per longing a player’s arb-years if you are not sacrificing a postseason berth. Livan Hernandez should not be taking away starts from Francisco Liriano.

    • mustang says:

      Never wanted to be a seller. Does anyone think this team has shown Cashman enough for him to buy?
      BUY! BUY! BUY!

  36. Chip says:

    Speaking of selling, the Twins are having a rough patch with this Liriano guy, maybe they’d want someone to take him off their hands, I hear he’s pretty good :D

    • zs190 says:

      I don’t see why teams do this, you make the player annoyed with the organization and it’ll cost them during arbitration years anyways, seems like a no-win move.

      • Chris says:

        There’s plenty of time to go before arbitration, so holding him back a few weeks won’t have that big an impact.

        Also, the process is set up so that it’s difficult to screw the team (or player). They both submit numbers, and the arbitrator decides between the two, so if the player throws out a ridiculously high number, they’re just going to lose.

        There may be an impact when he gets to FA, but if he’s good (and healthy) there’s no way he resigns in Minnesota anyway.

    • Jamal G. says:

      This was meant for this comment, my bad:

      Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) I can’t think of any reason not to call him up. You screw around with arbitration eligibility only if it’s not going to cost you the playoffs. This could cost Minnesota a division title in the long run.

      I agree with Callis. I fully support per longing a player’s arb-years if you are not sacrificing a postseason berth. Livan Hernandez should not be taking away starts from Francisco Liriano.

  37. mustang says:

    Watching Moose pitch and seeing the line-up they put together today and what they are doing with it I realize one thing this team is on a mission from God.

    I’m just going to sit back and watch.

  38. Brian says:

    *accidentally posted above

    just goes to show how pitching is nearly everything it takes to win. obviously moose has been great today, but look over at the ray’s batting averages against the a’s.

    iwamura’s hitting .277. that’s the best they got. shields is scarily delivering, sprinkling hits, twirling well, spinning a fine tale, etc., but they only have four guys hitting .260 or above.

    First place has never seemed so possible.

  39. Chris says:

    Why is Brett Gardner starting instead of Christian? I know he’s probably a better prospect in the long run, but Christian seems to be better now.

    • Brian says:

      I think Gardner’s adjusting, but so is Christian. Remember Gardner’s game-winner? Surely, Gardner has the value in the long term, but Christian and Gardner are equal now. Giving Gardner time to absorb the bigs is a smart move, giving them both some time, etc., because neither guy is really sufficient.

    • Manimal says:

      Gardner looks really overmatched.

    • Christian’s a righty, Gardner’s a lefty.


      Strawberry: You’re pinch-hitting for me?
      Burns: Yes… you see, you’re a left-hander, and so is the pitcher. If I send up a right-handed batter, it’s called “playing the percentages”. It’s what smart managers do to win ballgames.
      Strawberry: But I hit nine home runs today, Skip!
      Burns: You should be very proud of yourself. Sit down.

  40. A.D. says:

    With any luck King Felix can out duel Buchholtz tonight

  41. Jamal G. says:

    Mike Mussina fucking owns.

  42. mustang says:

    MOOOOOOSE !!!!!!!!!

  43. giselle says:

    moose is the man! he’s almost as fun to watch as joba!

  44. A.D. says:

    Moose at his finest today

  45. giselle says:

    moose eggs? wtf?

  46. usty says:

    I say let him finish it.

  47. Brian says:


  48. Mac says:

    Is this game latroy proof? I say we need another 8 runs..

  49. Jamal G. says:

    Results haven’t been there but I like what I see from Richie Sexson, having some reall good Plate Appearances.

  50. dkidd says:

    sexson’s arms are so long it seems like he gets jammed by balls right down the center of the plate

  51. Jamal G. says:

    Come on Hawkins, preserve the shutout.

  52. mustang says:

    I can’t believe Moose can’t throw a compete game.

  53. Ben K. says:

    So LaTroy Hawkins pretty much sucks.

  54. Chris says:

    I think we found the exception to the ‘score late in a blow out leads to more offense tomorrow’ rule. Any runs scored against Hawkins should be ignored. You have to score against a real pitcher.

  55. Hand of Abbot says:

    With Bruney available for the weekend what happens to Hawkins after this?

  56. Mac says:


    Maybe Girardi put Hawkins in on purpose so he could pad Rivera’s stats?

  57. giselle says:

    meh. i get an easy save from mariano this week for my fantasy team. i’ll take it.

  58. Jamal G. says:

    A bloop lead-off single and a slap-hit down the LF line, nothing real bad.

    Thinking about it now, that is probably LaTroy Hawkins last appearance as a Yankee. Brian Bruney is scheduled to throw his second straight game tonight in Scranton. So therefore if Bruney is called up then I can’t see Dan Giese or David Robertson getting sent down.

    • Jamal G. says:

      I just realized something. Mariano Rivera has not pitched since Sunday and there is no game tomorrow. Do you think Joe Girardi put in Hawkins to start the ninth just to give him a final appearance? I think the Yankees would have to know already who they want Brian Bruney replacing.

  59. Bo says:

    Hawkins will be traded as soon as Bruney is ready to go.

  60. Jamal G. says:

    Mariano Rivera is currently having the best season of his Major League career…by far. He is posting a 10.63-K/9 (Career-high of 10.87 in 1996), career low 0.64-WHIP (Previous low was 0.88 in 1999), career low 0.85-BB/9 (1.27 was his previous career low in 2003), and a 4.89-H/9 (Previous low of his career was 5.61 in 1999). Unbelievable.

    • KW says:

      There’s definitely some competition around for the title of best reliever:


      • Jamal G. says:

        Joe Nathan and Joakim Soria are his top two competitors and they both have two blown saves each. Outside of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, Mariano Rivera is the A.L. Cy Young.

        • KW says:

          I’m not sure if we want to measure greatness of a closer by his #s, because Mo’s been in some pretty easy situations (opponents faced, how big the lead was, environment, etc). Not to denigrate the performance, but there’s more than enough competition for the Cy Young (Cliff Lee, Halladay, from a starter’s perspective, and from a reliever’s perspective as well.

          Also, ot sure if you mean that saves= good and blown saves = bad, because then wouldn’t K-rod be cy young? He’s had 44 chances and blown 3. Blown saves happen, it hasn’t happened to Mo yet but there’s not a chance that he goes the remaining 60 games without blowing one. Would that make him suddenly un-cy worthy? Not sure about that either. I like the WPA, leverage, and the clutch stats because they tend to give a little more context as to how the player performed, rather than raw stats. I think we all know that Mo hasn’t had the toughest season around, hence that’s why his stats are so damn good. Yes those measures are definitely flawed as well, but they help paint a more complete picture. Not to denigrate Mo (since he is godly), but pointing out that things aren’t so clear cut.

      • How the hell do three guys with more baserunners allowed, more hits, more walks, more runs, fewer strikeouts, and more blown saves than Mariano have a better LI and WPA than he does?

        If those numbers are true, than we need a new stat to evaluate relievers. Nathan, Lidge, and Rodriguez are all having great seasons, but they’re not in Mo’s stratosphere.

        • KW says:

          I think you answered the question: they were used in higher leverage situations. Now how those “leverage” situations are used and calculated is definitely a point of contention. Baserunners in and of themselves don’t indicate dominance. Conceivably, mariano could have faced the 7-8-9 hitters with a 3 run lead at home and gotten a save, whereas a lidge could have faced a holliday, atkins, and helton combo in the bottom 9 in Coors with a 1 run lead. Who knows? I do think it provides a little more color as to the situations the relievers were used.

          • I’m saying, though, that has to be some pretty damn huge discrepancies in leverage. Opposing hitters are damn near TWICE as likely to reach base off of Nathan, KRod, and Lidge as compared to Mariano. They’d have to have all their appearances against playoff teams heart of the orders with a one run lead in the 9th compared to Mo getting nothing but 7-8-9′s against the Indians and the Mariners with three run cushions to compensate for that type of difference in pure statistical dominance.

            I mean, Mo’s allowed fewer WALKS than they’ve allowed RUNS. That’s sick.

            How does LI work, anyway? Is part of the increased Leverage Index of a guy like KRod his own fault? I haven’t seen all his games, but he puts so many baserunners on himself that he’s probably adding to it himself. Mo having a 1-2-3 9th is a lower “leverage” situation than KRod walking the bases loaded before striking out the side, so Mo’s dominance could actually work against him in that regard…

            • KW says:

              I don’t know too too much about LI, but here’s a website that gives those weights:


              I think LI is designed kind of to weight how good relievers are versus their situation and weights their WPA accordingly. If you view the WPA/LI stats (WPA minus the leverage situations) Mariano comes in very highly!

              Don’t get me wrong, Mo is absolutely sick and filthy disgusting. But I do notice that his saves are “softer” than normal. Mariano at his best would come in in the 8th with the bases juiced and 1 out and punch his way out to a yanks victory. It somehow seems easier this year (less crappy bullpen will do that!)

  61. giselle says:

    i’m sorry, but i can’t chalk this win up to moose’s pitching, or the yankees’ good hitting with RISP, or the twin’s horrific defense (and offense). no, this game was won because mike wrote up the game thread. keep up the good work, mike.

  62. Jamal G. says:

    Mike Mussina’s K:BB ratio stands at 81:16 for the season, yes class, that is better than 5:1. Awesome.

  63. christopher says:

    mussina will get to 300 wins – it is seeming more and more likely. would love to see him do it as a yankee, but its better for both him and the tem that he be on his way after this season. i see him in the nl west pretty handily winning 12-15 games per year. maybe he makes his way back to the yanks in 2012 to get the win in pinstripes.

    either way , you have to salute what he has done this year and the adjustments he has made.

    this team has a legit shot at the playoffs and with a bat and a 4th starter they can do damage in the playoffs. still think burnett and his potential to dominate is what this team needs in the playoffs and i really dont think he will cost much more than washboard. i dream of a rotation of sabathia, wang, petitte, joba, and burnett with hughes waiting in the wings maybe even pitching in the bullen.

    the bat part is a bit more tricky, but holliday/fuentes has shades of tino/nelson. getting holliday and burnett this year not only gives thema great shot at this season, but sets it up so that they need to go after sabathia or sheets and a bat – maybe burrell or dunn this offseason. i think nick johnson is a FA this offseason and he would be a good cheap alternative at first.

    start the rebuilding process now

    • Dude, I’m all for being proactive and improving the team, but you’re biting off some mighty big chunks there. We may need to brush up on the Heimlich.

      Dealing two good prospects for Burnett (who will cost more than Washburn, considerably more) AND probably 4 or 5 good prospects for Holliday AND Fuentes (and we should avoid trading anything of substance for big ticket relievers like the plague, imho), and then paying all of their sizeable salaries and extensions, AND then signing Sabathia to 20M+ AND Burrell or Dunn to 18M-20M AND Nick Johnson (who’s entering Baldellian injury risk territory) to whatever he’s want… it’s just untenable. We’d have to drain the farm system and we’d lock up all the resources we just freed up… and I don’t even know that we’d be a better team for it. If I’m going to trade away prospects of substance, I want an under-26-year-old star on the ascension (like a Hanley Ramirez) and not three guys who’ll all be 30 (or 25) and struggling before you know it.

      Outside of Sabathia, all of those acqusitions come with big question marks (and maybe CC does too…) Too many gambles in too short of a timespan. Be agressive… but don’t overreach.

  64. giselle says:

    i think peter abraham put it well:

    “* Try and think a little. Cashman did not package his best prospects for Johan Santana or CC Sabathia. What makes you think he’ll suddenly shift his thinking now? The Yankees could well make a move to improve their roster, but Cashman isn’t likely to make some stunning trade.”


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