AL East Roundup: 4/20/09 through 4/26/09

Fan Confidence Poll: April 27th, 2009
Fun with Small Sample Sizes: Catchers' ERA

Toronto Blue Jays

Note: Still no Jays blogger. Anyone know someone? Anyone want to just write the recap weekly? Better from a Jays fan than a Yanks one. Hit me: josephp at riveraveblues dot com.

The Jays continued to roll through the season’s third week, taking two out of three from each of their opponents. Their week started and ended with Roy Halladay, who had an uncharacteristic performance on Tuesday, surrendering five runs over eight innings. This is why we need a Jays blogger to take this. Halladay had allows three through six innings, and then another two in the seventh. He tossed just 104 pitches in those eight innings, and struck out nine with no walks. The start didn’t seem all that bad, but it’s still five runs and a loss in the box score. He came back to win on Sunday, but his line, other than the earned runs, doesn’t look as impressive: 7 IP, 3 ER, 6 K, 1 BB, 118 pitches. So he used more pitches in fewer innings, struck out fewer, walked more, and allowed fewer runs. This baseball is an odd game.

Following the Halladay loss, the Jays took an 11-inning affair 8-7 on a Kevin Millar walk-off single. The Jays were actually up 7-4 heading into the top of the ninth, but B.J. Ryan hit a guy and issued a walk to lead off the frame, and it all came unraveled from there. An error and a Michael Young home run later and the game was headed to extras. Thursday was another good start for Kevin Millwood, though he did allow three home runs. The overall damage was limited to four runs over seven innings, and the Jays finished taking two of three from the Rangers.

In Chicago the Jays opened by simply massacring the Sox 14-0 on 21 hits. Lyle Overbay was the only starter to go hitless in the affair. The Sox turned the tables the next day, defeating Brian Burres and the Jays 10-2. Then finally, in the aforementioned Halladay start on Sunday, the Jays took the game 4-3 on a go-ahead single by Scott Rolen in the eighth. Few expected the Jays to play like this, but their offense has been clicking and the pitching staff has been doing the job, despite the flurry of injuries (McGowan, Marcum, Litsch, now Romero and Ryan).

Week’s record: 4-2

Season record: 14-6

Injuries: LHP B.J. Ryan (15-day DL, soreness between shoulder and back), LHP Ricky Romero (15-day DL, strained muscle on right side).

This week: Mon – Thu @Kansas City; Fri – Sun BALTIMORE


Boston Red SoxSurviving Grady

Not much to complain about in Red Sox Nation this week, the Sox haven’t lost a game. Monday they played the traditional Patriot’s Day morning game and completed a 4-game sweep of the Orioles with a dominating 12-1 victory. After a washout on Tuesday, the Sox played two against the Twins on Wednesday. Tim Wakefield pitched his second consecutive complete game in the first match-up, a rain-shortened seven inning affair. The offense was fueled with homers off the bats of Lowell, Nick Green, and the Bearded Wonder Kevin Youkilis. The second game featured Brad Penny and a Jeff Bailey homer on the way to a 7-3 win. Thursday was a scheduled off-day, giving everyone a chance to stock up on red meat, cheap beer and bail money as the Yankees were coming on Friday.

The rivalry lived up to its reputation on Friday evening. The Yanks took a 2-run lead into the ninth, only to see Mariano Rivera cough it up when Jason Bay smashed a game-tying homer. The Sox bullpen out-dueled the Yankee pen and Youk ended things in the 11th with a walk-off homer. Saturday’s game – what should have been a pitching duel between Beckett and Burnett – turned into an old-fashioned barn-burner. Each team hit 3 homeruns, but it was the Red Sox bullpen again that outlasted New York. Mike Lowell had a 3-run shot and Jason Varitek, perhaps the worst bases-loaded hitter in the game, belted a grand slam. Twelve pitchers, 385 pitches, 28 hits and 27 runs kept the scorekeepers busy in the 4 hour and 21 minute marathon.

On Sunday, the series concludes with Pettitte versus Masterson and audio-pain that is Joe Morgan on ESPN. (ed note: move along, nothing to see here…)

Week’s record: 6-0

Season record: 12-6

Injuries: OF Rocco Baldelli (15-day DL, strained left hamstring)

This week: Mon – Wed @Cleveland; Thu – Sun @Tampa Bay


Baltimore OriolesDempsey’s Army

The Orioles started the week with a 12-1 shellacking from the Red Sox on Patriot’s Day and ended the week with a late rally and a three-run homer by Adam Jones to salvage a win against Texas at Camden Yards. The rest of the week’s results were just as varied. The Orioles managed to lose is varied ways this week (blowouts, blown leads, late rallies falling short) and the pitching staff is pretty painful to watch. But there were some bright spots.

Rookie RHP Brad Bergesen debuted on Tuesday and shut down the White Sox with a punishing sinker that induced grounders at an impressive rate. Bergesen got knocked around a bit by Texas on Sunday but he has the makings of a good ground ball type pitcher which is a plus in Camden Yards. He’ll probably be good enough to be a back of the rotation guy but right now is probably the third best pitcher in the rotation.

RHP Koji Uehara pitched a nice game against Texas on Friday (6.2 IP, 4 H. 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) and looks to be able to hold his own against some tough AL lineups. He won’t win the Cy Young but should be able to keep his ERA below 4.50.

RHP Adam Eaton got the win over the White Sox on Thursday while striking out 9 over 7+ innings. We’ll take the miracle but do not expect it to continue.

The bullpen is still going through growing pains but the coaches seem to be finding roles for people. Jamie Walker has turned into a strict LOOGY. Outside of one bad outing Matt Albers looks good coming back from shoulder surgery. Ditto for Chris Ray who after two bad outings to start the year hasn’t given up a run in his last 5 outings. Jim Johnson continues to do good work as the primary setup man. Even Danys Baez is looking like a decent reliever again and Brian Bass has settles down as well. George Sherrill…let me digress…

I am fine with Sherrill as the Oriole closer. I am not a fan of having your very best reliever in the closer role…sometimes that guy is wasted on a three run lead in the 9th. But Sherrill is fine with a two or three run in the 9th. He is not great but has only blown one save this season and that’s when they tried to have him pitch more than one inning. I like him. He brings good value even if he is flawed.

The Orioles lineup is producing runs to keep up with just about anyone in the AL. The Big Three of Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are wearing out opposing pitching staffs with all three sporting OPS’s well north of .900. Adding Aubrey Huff (.863 OPS) and Luke Scott (.889) to the mix helps mask the weak bats of Cesar Izturis, Gregg Zaun and Felix Pie. Baltimore fans can dream on this lineup and imagine what it will look like once Matt Wieters arrives from Norfolk.

Speaking of Norfolk, Matt Wieters returned from a strained hamstring to go 3 for 13 while serving as the team’s DH this week. LF Nolan Reimold continues to destroy AAA pitching. He is hitting .417 with 6 homers (including two on Sunday) and could be in Baltimore after the All-Star break. Reimold was a 2nd round pick in 2005 but has battled injuries during his minor league career. Last year he stayed completely healthy and put up nice numbers at AA Bowie. If he can stay on the field, he could join Adam Jones and Nick Markakis as part of a young dynamic Baltimore outfield for years to come.

Notes: Nick Markakis now has a 13 game hitting streak, the second longest of his young career, He put together a 17 game streak last season. He has also reached base safely in 19 straight games…It was not a no-brainer to have CF Adam Jones bat 2nd and move 3B Melvin Mora down further in the lineup but has worked out very well as Jones has posted a .323/.403/.548 line in the 2 hole.

Week’s record: 3-4

Season record: 9-10

Injuries: RHP Alfredo Simon – Elbow (Out for Season), 3B Melvin Mora – Hamstring (Out until early May), LHP Rich Hill – Elbow (Out until mid-May), UT Ryan Freel – Concussion (Indefinitely)

This Week: Monday TEXAS; Tue – Wed ANAHEIM, Fri – Sun @Toronto


Tampa Bay RaysRays of Light

One team has to be in last place; unfortunately for the Rays, that team is the defending American League Champions. And, let’s be honest, the team has no one to blame but itself for its current standing. It’s not hitting and it’s not pitching. At that point, it’s pretty darn hard to win ballgames. The biggest issue for the Rays is that the bullpen is allowing an ERA over 2 runs higher than it did last season. Couple that with struggles of Matt Garza and Andy Sonnanstine, and you’ve got the recipe for a 7-12 record, 6 1/2 games behind Toronto for first place in the division.

The Rays hope that a trip into the Metrodome – a place that has been good to the team in the past – will be just what the doctor ordered to get off this snide. They’d better hope whatever’s wrong is corrected soon; a pivotal 4-game set against the red-hot Red Sox opens up this weekend at Tropicana Field. It’ll take more than just Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena to carry the team. Hits will need to be strung together. Pitchers will need to work deep into games. The bullpen will need to get key outs. Essentially, the Rays need the exact opposite of everything that’s happened so far to go down.

Week’s record: 2-4

Season record: 7-12

Injuries: Shawn Riggans (shoulder tendonitis) – 15-day-DL, Jason Isringhausen (began rehab assignment) – 15-day-DL

This week: Mon – Wed @Minnesota; Thur – Sun BOSTON

Fan Confidence Poll: April 27th, 2009
Fun with Small Sample Sizes: Catchers' ERA
  • Confused Axl

    The Yankees need to relax. For years now they seem like they’re unable to…and it’s costing them more and more each year. Even the new additions get sucked into the fun-less atmosphere. Even the happy-go-luck Nick Swisher can’t bring a smile to these faces.

    Meanwhile, Toronto and the Red Sox never lose…and if we don’t fix the problem soon…we’ll be sinking into that perennial hole we’ve been digging ourselves into around this time for the past 3 years. Only difference is, each year it’s gotten harder and harder to climb out…

    • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

      You need to relax, too.

      • Confused Axl

        And by “relax” you mean “stop saying things that make complete sense”?

        • whozat

          They’re LOSING. You expect them to look HAPPY?? You think the problem is a lack of HAPPY???

          • Confused Axl

            Read it again. Apparently you don’t quite understand much. If you think everything I said equates to just being “happy” then maybe you should go back to school…or at least stay in your parents basement so you don’t get in the rest of society’s way…

        • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

          No, i mean showing T.O. how to be a REAL drama queen.

    • El Generalissimo

      Swisher wore a black with red pinstriped suit to the game yesterday, apparently with a zipper on it… No one look shappy when you blow 2 straight games you should have won and then got outplayed in the 3rd.

      I think everyone is just a little bit concerned with the pitching completely underwhelming. The good news right now is they are healthy and just need to shift into gear.

  • A.D.

    Litsch is going to see Dr. James Andrews, which is just something you never want to hear.

  • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

    I would kill for Adam Jones right about now.

    • Joe R

      Pacman?!

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

        IETC.

        What do you think about the Cowboys’ draft, Mike Pop?

        • Joe R

          You didnt ask me but as a Cowboys fan I can say I thought it wasnt very good. Alot of questionable picks.

          • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

            I’m a Cowboys fan, too, didn’t know you also were one. It was not great IMO but at least we took care of special teams and got some good guys for the defense. Not really flashy but I think some guys will contribute in the future. The best thing: guys like Watkins, Ellis, Barbie Carpenter etc. will be gone soon. I’d give it a C.

            • Bo

              The Cowboys suck.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Great comment, Grantbo. Compelling, and rich.

  • http://thebatshatters.blogspot.com the artist formerly known as (sic)

    Not to be a jerk or anything but…does anyone read this? I mean, I follow baseball closely every day, so is a recap really necessary?

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

      Not everyone follows baseball closely every day. I’m willing to bet that most readers on this site just follow the Yanks and maybe the box scores. If you don’t need the recap, just skip the post. It’s not like another won’t be coming in two hours.

    • Joey

      I follow baseball closely and I still like the feature. Kind of sums everything up from a non-Yankees fan POV, which I don’t get because every time BBTN comes on I have to change the channel, it got that bad

      • GG

        it has gotten so bad, I wish they would get rid of the homers, and make it a good show again. I mean you cant have THE HOST rooting for one of the teams in particular, thats simply ridiculous.

    • A.D.

      I follow baseball closely too and had no idea that Alfredo Simon was out for the season.

      Its a nice recap to see what the blogs are thinking about & saying about their teams.

    • Rich

      Unless they’re holding a gun to your head forcing you to read it what are you concerned about?

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      I’m assuming you follow it from a Yankees fan’s POV. These are written by each team’s fans, so you get a different perspective.

      It’s a feature I happen to enjoy. If you don’t, well then as they say, change the channel.

      • Bo

        I would think that anyone who is here on a daily basis pretty follows the game pretty thoroughly.

  • GG

    I dislike Pedroia a lot more in ’09 than I did in ’08…and I disliked him plenty last year.

    • Accent Shallow

      Agreed.

      • Bo

        And we’d worship him and Youk if they wore pinstripes.

        Would it kill us to actually develop all star level young position players?

        One in 12 years isn’t enough.

        • A.D.

          Since the Jeter & Posada development there have been 2 with Soriano & Cano.

          In that time the Sox have developed Youk & Pedroia

  • Confused Axl

    I love how our Triple A team wins the Championship last year and goes undefeated like 12-0 or something the start of this year…but the players we bring up from that team struggle…while the players the Red Sox bring up seem to succeed much easier.

    It’s the pressure of having to win everyday!!! Having that “anything less than a championship is a failure” mentality being bestowed onto these guys is too much. That’s why when new players come over they fail…they try too hard and are forced to perform differently than the way they were successful which ironically was what got us interested in these players in the first place!!!

    What ever happened to our players having fun? The past couple of years they’ve looked exhausted and depressed out there…and they’re having the new young guys sink into this atmosphere too after they come up.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      Really??? You’re going to go with that??

      • Confused Axl

        Yeah. You think it’s just a coincidence that they start out slow and are irratically inconsistent year after year???

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          Yes.

          • andrew

            Or maybe it’s because the Yankees only have lazy dominicans and the Red Sox only draft grit, hustle, and heart

    • Accent Shallow

      In 2006, Dustin Pedroia got into 31 games. He hit .191/.258/.303. Through 27 games in 2007, he was hitting .180/.306/.230. We all know what happened next. Some young players are going to struggle when they first get into the show, and some are going to succeed immediately. Neither is a guarantor of future success.

    • Joe R

      Yeah i’m sure the difference in talent levels at the majors and AAA have nothing to do with players comming up not being as good as they were in minors.

      • Confused Axl

        They do when other teams AAA guys perform just fine when they come up.

        • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

          It’s all Arod’s fault.

          • Bo

            Winning in the minors and developing quality talent are not the same things you know.

  • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

    I love Mike Francesa. According to him, this series “was not three games, it was three years!”

    • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

      and the yankees cant find pitchers.

      • http://www.supertangas.com The man with 33 fingers

        Yet Juan Cruz is killing it for the Royals.

        *sigh*

        • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

          Melancons innings dont count because the game was over.

        • Accent Shallow

          I can live with the Cruz non-signing. No way are both Veras and Edwar true talent 6+ ERA pitchers.

  • Confused Axl

    Over/Under on the date in which Girardi is fired?? Anyone??

    • Bo

      June 15.

      He gets a month of A-Rod before he gets the boot.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Axl, you seem confused.

      Try this:
      http://www.paxilcr.com/

  • Confused Axl

    I with there was a way to fire the Steinbrenners…

    • Confused Axl

      *wish

      • Bo

        Yea because spending whatever it takes and going the extra mile is somehow bad as owners.

        Moron. I’m sure there fans of 29 other franchises that would have their owners trade places right now

        • Confused Axl

          Yeah I’m the moron. Since they’ve gone on their spending binge (Big Boss included)…the Yankees have won zero championships…and have met zero of their expectations.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Yes, Axl, that statement is moronic on many levels. It’s both oversimplifying (since luck is a factor and, thus, nobody ever wins constantly) and factually inaccurate (since we have always been on a spending spree, including when we were winning titles, so you’re moving the goalposts and excerpting history to fit your narrative).

            • Angry Axl

              Well not that all depends on your definition of “spending”. Getting one big guy a year to help round out the club and what we’ve been doing recently in the off season is a tad different. I understand your point…but it all depends on what “spending” we’re talking about now doesn’t it? Luck is an irrational thought…it could something it could not be. But more often than not…there’s a reason for the “bad luck” or “good luck”…it’s basically an excuse and just arbitrary as using a “curse” or “mystique” as a factor…

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    On Sunday, the series concludes with Pettitte versus Masterson and audio-pain that is Joe Morgan on ESPN. (ed note: move along, nothing to see here…)

    OH, MY GOD, A HORRIBLE PLANE CRASH!!! EVERYBODY GET A LOAD OF THIS FLAMING WRECKAGE!!! CROWD AROUND!!!
    Crowd around, don’t be shy, crowd around.

    • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

      Chief Wiggum.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I’m sorry, but unfortunately in Double Jeopardy you must remember to phrase your response in the form of a question. We were looking for “Who is Chief Wiggum”. I’ll have to rule against you.

        I’d also like to remind our contestants to please refrain from using ethnic slurs.

        • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

          NOT SO FAST, TREBEK!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    The Orioles lineup is producing runs to keep up with just about anyone in the AL. The Big Three of Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are wearing out opposing pitching staffs with all three sporting OPS’s well north of .900. Adding Aubrey Huff (.863 OPS) and Luke Scott (.889) to the mix helps mask the weak bats of Cesar Izturis, Gregg Zaun and Felix Pie. Baltimore fans can dream on this lineup and imagine what it will look like once Matt Wieters arrives from Norfolk.

    There’s a perspective here we should keep in mind. Like the Orioles, we have Cano, Swisher, and Damon with OPS’s north of .900 and Jorge and Jeter not far off from .800, helping mask the weak bats of Ransom/Pena and Gardner/Melky. And things will look better once ARod returns from Tampa. Not to mention the fact that Tex won’t be OPS’ing below .800 all season long, and I didn’t even mention Matsui who also has a solid .880 OPS and whom, if he remains healthy, makes us even more dangerous.

    Perspective is a good thing.

    • Bo

      Too bad our bullpen and rotation are both Baltimore esque too.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Yes, but Baltimore’s bullpen and rotation is likely to remain shitty for the duration of the season. Our’s isn’t.

        Our pitching staff is good but underperforming. There’s is just mediocre and overmatched. We’ll play better. They won’t.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Whoops…

          There’s Theirs is just mediocre and overmatched.

        • Confused Axl

          Yes, but why? Why do we always start off terrible and inconsistent? All of this is nice to assume based on previous stats…but WHY do the Yankees continue to start off slow and dig themselves into a hole?? Yes, there are injuries…but we were winning in most of those games and Arod has nothing to do with the bullpen and starting pitching imploding…

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Yankees W/L record, by year, on April 27th:
            2009: 9-9 (4.0 behind BOS) ???

            2008: 13-13 (0.5 behind BOS) finished 8.0 behind TBA

            2007: 8-13 (6.5 behind BOS) finished 2.0 behind BOS

            2006: 11-9 (1.0 behind BOS) won the division by 10.0

            2005: 9-12 (5.0 behind BAL) won the division by tiebreaker

            2004: 9-11 (5.0 behind BOS) won the division by 3.0

            2003: 20-5 (4.0 games over BOS) won the division by 6.0

            2002: 15-10 (2.0 behind BOS) won the division by 10.5

            2001: 12-11 (4.0 behind of BOS) won the division by 13.5
            2000: 13-7 (1.0 games over BOS) won the division by 2.5
            1999: 13-5 (1.5 games over TOR) won the division by 4.0
            1998: 15-5 (0.5 games over BOS) won the division by 22.0
            1997: 12-12 (3.5 behind BAL) finished 2.0 behind BAL
            1996: 11-10 (1.0 behind BAL) won the division by 4.0

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Yes, but why?

            Shit happens. ARod, Nady,and Bruney got hurt. CMW futzed something up in his rehab/recovery and isn’t himself. Hideki is still gimpy.

            Shit happens. We’re 9-9. We’re 4 games back.

            CALM. DOWN.

            • Angry Axl

              I’d just like to start out like that 1998 season that’s all. I mean we have the talent for it…it’s just aggrivating…sorry.