Via some schmuck at MLBTR, the Phillies offered the Yanks an unknown prospect for Chien-Ming Wang, but apparently the prospect was not to their liking. After sticking with Wang through all his early season struggles, you can bet the Yanks weren’t going to just give him up for a prospect. If they’re going to move him, they’re going to want a significant piece in return. · (53) ·
Chien-Ming Wang left today’s game after 5.1 innings with an unknown injury. We’ll update once we find out what it is.
Update (3:23pm): Strained right shoulder for Wang. He’ll have an MRI later today. Hello DL.
The Yanks have their work cut out for them today, as the almighty Roy Halladay will toe the rubber for the visiting Blue Jays. Thankfully the Yanks will have Jorge Posada back in the lineup after a two day rest brought on by a sore thumb. Mo knows they’ll need all the help they can get.
Have a Happy Fourth everyone, whether you’re spending it with us and the Yankees or someone else.
Here’s today’s lineup:
And on the mound, Chien-Ming Wang.
George Steinbrenner turns 79 today, and although he’s scaled back his involvement with the team, his impact still resonates throughout the organization. The New York Yankees wouldn’t be what they are or where they are today without him.
Happy Birthday, big guy. And thanks. · (8) ·
Every year ESPN The Magazine ranks all of the sports franchises across the four major sports leagues for their Ultimate Team Rankings feature. Each team is graded against eight categories — title track, ownership, coaching, players, fan relations, affordability, stadium experience and overall bang for the buck — and the magazine publishes the standings.
Earlier this week, the Worldwide Leaders released the 2009 edition of the Ultimate Team Rankings, and the Yankees did not perform so well. The team is ranked an absurdly low 107, ahead of also-rans and disasters such as the Knicks, Clippers, Bengals and Islanders. They are ranked just 27th in the “title track” department, despite a lofty payroll and the third best record in Major League baseball, and they find themselves far behind the Angels, the overall No. 1 team, the Red Sox (58) and even the hapless Mets (82).
A few months ago, as ESPN was putting together this list, I spoke with Eddie Matz, the reporter assigned to write up the piece on the Yankees. At the time, the team was struggling, and people were complaining about the new stadium. Furthermore, with no George Steinbrenner-type figure atop the Yankee Front Office, even the ownership seemed in flux. In the end though, the new stadium dragged down the team. Matz writes:
How do you replace a legend? You don’t. That’s what fans are saying about the new Yankee Stadium, which ranked a surprising 37 spots lower than Babe’s house did a year ago. (Among outdoor AL parks, only Oakland’s, Minny’s and Tampa’s rated worse!) Sure, the new crib has double-wide concourses that circle the park. Yeah, the seats have as many as 10 inches more legroom, and the 101-foot-wide scoreboard is seven times larger than its predecessor. Plus there’s a Hard Rock Cafe and cupholders and family bathrooms. So what’s missing? A certain je ne sais quoi. “It just doesn’t have that same feel,” says Ben Kabak of fansite RiverAveBlues.com.
In fact, the only feeling most fans have is the need to knock off a bank to pay for a date with the Bombers: For the price of an average Yanks ticket ($72.97, up 76% and the most in baseball by more than 20 bucks), you could buy five — count ‘em, five — average seats (a lot more if you were going for the cheapos) at a D-backs game. Steak sandwiches for $15 from Lobel’s don’t cut the mustard either. Yes, it’s tough replacing a legend. And right now the sound filling Yankee Stadium isn’t the actual Voice of God (retired PA announcer Bob Sheppard) but an honest-to-goodness Bronx cheer.
The use of “right now” in that last sentence is certainly out-dated. As the Yanks find themselves just a few games out of first, the stadium has been filled with cheers of a different nature. Meanwhile, fans have come to embrace the new stadium for what it is: a spot to watch the Yankees play baseball. It may not be the old Yankee Stadium, but it is home.
Take a look at ESPN’s final Yankee rankings:
Title Track: 27
Fan Relations: 101
Stadium Experience: 84
Bang for the Buck: 119
That affordability number is completely skewed by the expensive seats. True, the average ticket price is up, but it’s easy to find an affordable seat at Yankee Stadium. The team has also made an effort to improve their fan relations, and the players — one of the more talented collection in any sport — deserve higher than 81.
In the end, this seems to be more Yankee negativity coming out of Bristol. It’s far better for sales if the Yanks are ranked lower. Everyone likes to beat up on the Bombers because everyone is jealous of them. It just makes winning that much sweeter.
A day after the Yankees disappointed by losing the finale of the Mariners series, they came back to impress by taking the series opener from the Blue Jays, 4-2. The Yanks had it working from both sides of the ball, riding solid pitching for all nine innings and getting a few key offensive contributions along the way.
Robinson Cano staked the Yanks to an early lead, taking a first pitch from Brian Tallet deep for a 1-0 lead. That would last A.J. Burnett for a few innings. He had a slip-up when Lyle Overbay doubled to open the fourth. While Burnett quelled a threat when Marco Scutaro doubled to lead off the previous frame, he ran into some bad luck with a wild pitch, and then Alex Rios took advantage with an RBI single. It was the closest the Jays would get for the rest of the game.
Tallet seemingly lost it in the fifth, walking Brett Gardner and then Derek Jeter to put two runners on with none out. Johnny Damon wanted to make that second and third with one out for Teixeira by bunting, but Tallet rolled his underhand throw to Overbay and everyone was safe. Tex drew a walk to take the lead back, and a passed ball gave the Yanks a 2-1 lead. Vernon Wells would get one back with a no-doubt-about-it shot in the sixth, but Burnett would easily finish that inning and the next.
Girardi continued his love affair with match-ups, trotting out Phil Coke to start the eighth and then calling on Phil Hughes once Coke retired Adam Lind. Hughes started off rocky with a single to Scott Rolen, but he retired the next two batters to hand the ball to Mo. A-Rod would tack on an insurance run with an opposite-field homer off Jeremy Accardo in the eighth to ice the Yankees 4-2 win.
The Yankees face two games straight which they should have one, and it’s a bit disappointing that they only took one of them. Yeah, it happens. Teams lose games they’re supposed to win. But tomorrow they not only face Roy Halladay, but have a handicap on the mound with Chien-Ming Wang. Who knows. Maybe Wang works some July Fourth magic. He’d better. We don’t want our team losing to a bunch of Canadians on Independence Day.
(I say that in drunken jest. Please take it as such.)
There are still some tickets left for this year’s Double-A Eastern League All-Star Game in Trenton, if you’re interested.
Triple-A Scranton (6-1 win over Partucket)
Kevin Russo, Ramiro Pena, Shelley Duncan, Colin Curtis: Yurendell DeCaster & Eric Duncan: all 1 for 4 – Russo drew a walk & K’ed … Pena walked, scored a run & K’ed twice … Shelley walked, scored a run, drove in one & K’ed … Curtis broke the game open with a grand salami in the 8th … E-Dunc doubled & scored a run
Austin Jackson: 0 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Jose Molina: 1 for 2, 1 2B, 1 BB – caught six innings
Josh Towers: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HB, 7-10 GB/FB – 61 of 86 pitches were strikes (74.4%) … his ERA’s high, but he’s certainly been better than I expected
Anthony Claggett: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3-2 GB/FB – 17 of 29 pitches were strikes (58.6%) … hadn’t pitched in the last six days
The three of us are out and about, carousing with pals and family, and we hope you are too. If you’re not, no worries. We’re throwing up an open thread for anything about, well, anything. Feel free to discuss the game, though we’ll have a recap later on, or what you happen to be drinking at the moment (Saranac Brown Ale).
On a serious note, we’ve gotten a few complaints about malware coming from the domain cdn1.eyewonder.com. This has apparently been flagged by Google for Google Chrome users. While I have my own suspicions on why, it’s something we’re going to take care of. Since we’re all out and about, I expect we’ll get to a fix tomorrow morning. Apologies to anyone who this has affected.
For now, everyone have a good, safe evening.