The weatherman says it feels like 103° in Arlington, which by my estimation is really freakin’ hot. Luckily for the players it’s supposed to cool down to 99° by game time. That’s why God made air conditioning.
The Rangers are flying under the radar as one of baseball’s hottest teams (no pun intended), having gone 47-36 since May 1st, good for a .566 winning percentage. The messed-up part is that they’ve gone from 6.5 GB in the division to 11.5 GB because the Angels are just that damn good. It’s the same story, different year with them: They have scored the most runs in baseball by a significant amount. Yet they’ve also allowed the most runs in baseball, again by a significant amount. Luckily Milton Bradley (aka the man with highest OPS in the AL) has been bothered by a quad injury of late. So he may not be his usual self this series.
They love them some Alex Rodriguez in Texas; he should feel right at home with all the boos.
And on the mound, Joba “lower ERA as a starter than as a reliever despite three times as many IP” Chamberlain.
Notes: Melky is “hitting” .229-.278-.287 over his last 76 games, giving him the 4th worst OBP & the worstest SLG in the game over that time … That’s right, I said the worstest … Let’s stop beating around the bush and just say it: Melky Cabrera is the worst every day player in Major League Baseball … On the bright side, X. Nady shared AL Player of the Week honors, he’s been the anti-Melky since the trade …
Just a heads up, tonight’s SI Yanks-Brooklyn Cyclones game will be airing on Snigh, first pitch is set for 7:00. Luke Greinke should be taking the mound for SI, but Pat Venditte will likely get the day off after tossing 3 scoreless frames yesterday. Ike Davis, the Mets’ first pick in this year’s draft (#18 overall), should be in the lineup for Brooklyn. (h/t MetsBlog) · (11) ·
Per Tyler Kepner, both Phil Hughes and Shelley Duncan will make their triumphant return to Triple-A Scranton this week follow short rehab stints in the lower minors. Hughes will slot into the rotation sometime this weeked, likely taking the spot currently occupied by Billy Traber. Shelley should return to the lineup in the next day or so. You may remember that he separated his shoulder making a diving catch in the outfield a few weeks back. (h/t to loyal reader Gurpreet for the email) · (56) ·
As reports of Manny Ramirez’s exploits in Los Angeles filter through the Boston/New York East Coast media bias sieve that we know and loathe, we’ve seen photos of Manny wearing not his customary 24 but rather the slightly absurd 99 on his back. Turk Wendell he is not. Scott Miller, writing for CBS Sports, tells us why: The Dodgers have retired 24, and while Manny requested 34, the Dodgers will not reissue Fernando Valenzuela’s old number. “It’s been retired in our hearts,” Mitch Poole, the team’s clubhouse manager, said to Miller.
I, for one, am glad to see the Yanks aren’t the only team retiring people’s numbers in their hearts but not in reality. As Shysterball opines, perhaps some standard for retired numbers and unissued but non-retired numbers should be put forth. It’s all just a little silly. · (19) ·
As we’ve discussed before, the one thing the Yanks didn’t nail down at the non-waiver trade deadline was another starting pitcher. They’re not looking for much…just an upgrade over Ponson and Rasner. Ian Kennedy might be the remedy for the latter, since their starts line up. In fact, if I were a betting man I might place a few dollars on Kennedy getting the start against the Angels Friday night.
Still, can we trust Ponson to stay effective in the rotation? For every start like he had against the Angels on Friday night, he’ll have one or two like he had against the Rangers earlier, or against the Red Sox on that gloomy Sunday night. If you can find a more stable piece, you have to make the move.
Where would we find one? Tim at MLB Trade Rumors takes a look at the American League waiver trade candidates. Clearly, there are no guarantees here; it’s just another place to look for scrap heap options. Tomorrow he’ll have the NL up, and we’ll take a look in that direction.
Unfortunately, there are slim pickings in the AL. Kevin Millwood’s contract makes him a bit prohibitive. He has a guaranteed $11 million coming his way next year, and a conditional $12 million for 2010. He has to pitch 540 innings from 2007 through 2009, 360 innings from 2008 through 2009, or 180 innings in 2009. Clearly, he could just hit that 180 mark next year and it’ll vest. He’s got 281 innings between last year and this year, and 108.1 this year. He’s been on the DL since June 26, retroactive to the 24th, with a groin injury. Given all this, I think we can put a resounding NO stamp on Millwood.
The Rangers also have Vicente Padilla, though he’s got $12 million guaranteed for next year, plus a $1.75 million buyout of his $12 million club option for 2010. He’s pitching to a 4.52 ERA over 127.1 IP this year, and really hasn’t been good since the 2003 season. There’s no reason to waste nearly $17 million on this guy.
Then there’s Jarrod Washburn, but it appears that ship has sailed. Miguel Batista also makes Tim’s list, but he’s rather horrible. Hey, Carlos Silva would probably clear waivers, too, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to make a deal for him.
While we haven’t seen the NL list of waiver trade candidates, it looks like this cupboard will be bare. It’s best that the Yanks make the best of what they’ve got.
Besides the poorest excuse for a center fielder on a playoff-contending team, Jason Giambi earned the rare distinction as the only Yankee starter without a hit on Sunday. To that end, Jason Giambi opted to shave off the ‘stache. Long gone is the 1970s porno facial hair. This decision to shave couldn’t have come a moment to soon; since July 18, Giambi is hitting .216 with six extra-base hits. A hot streak any time soon would be most welcome. · (17) ·
Major League Baseball’s win rule is something of a funny beast. In yeseterday afternoon’s Yankee game, Edwar Ramirez walked away with the win, but to say he earned it would be a complete fallacy. In fact, when he retired the last batter of the eighth inning and ostensibly left the game, he had just given up a three-run lead, and the Yanks were facing a deficit with six outs to go.
But Sunday was one of those days, and the Yanks had to get Edwar, unhittable in July but less so in August, off the hook. When the dust finally settled after the eighth, the Yanks had scored six runs — five of them unearned — and won a key Sunday split of the four-game set against the Angels.
The day started out rather poorly for the Yanks. After four innings, they were down 5-0, and Darrell Rasner was done for the day and possibly for the starting rotation. Rasner allowed five earned runs on seven hits and three walks in four innings today, and with Ian Kennedy tossing another solid start for Scranton, I would be surprised to see Rasner take the mound next week against this same Angels team.
The Yanks, held to just three hits in the game’s first four innings, weren’t quite finished yet though. Ivan Rodriguez homered in the fifth, and the flood gates opened in the sixth. Xavier Nady plated two on a ground rule double, and after an RBI groundout by Wilson Betemit, the Yanks had cut the Angels’ deficit to one.
In the seventh, things started to fall apart for the Angels. With one out, Jeter hit a ball to center that should have been caught, but Gary Matthews couldn’t handle it. Derek was on second with a clutch error by the other team’s center fielder. After an Abreu RBI single and a completely meaningless single by A-Rod that did nothing to keep the inning alive or help the Yankees win the game since it was a hit by A-Rod, Xavier Nady blasted a three-run home run to give the Yanks a one-run lead.
But this one was far from over, Edwar Ramirez racked up two quick K’s, but a walk, a hit and a walk brought Mark Teixeira to the plate. With one swing, the newest Angel showed the Yanks why they may want to toss around the idea of signing him in the off-season. As the ball sailed over the right field fence, the Angels grabbed a one-run lead.
The eighth would feature more fun times for the Angels’ defense. Erick Aybra would drop a Melky Cabrera ground ball, Jeff Mathis would toss a ball into the outfield and Chone Figgins would boot an A-Rod ground ball while Robinson Cano, Xavier Nady and Justin Christian would all pick up RBI hits. The 14-9 lead would hold up.
Left unmentioned and forgotten would be Dan Giese, the real winner of this game. In relief of Rasner, Giese threw three one-hit innings, and his performance gave the Yanks a chance to get back into the game.
For the Yankees, this win delivered a four-game split of the weekend series with the Angels. More importantly, though, the Yanks showed that they could beat their archnemesis Angels. Had anyone hit on Friday, the Yanks could have walked away winners of three of four against Los Angeles, and next weekend, the Angels will have to face young Mr. Chamberlain.
Sunday’s game also showed what the Yankees could do. They were down, but not out, against a very tough bullpen, and they took advantage of the Angels’ mistakes. The newest Yankees — Nady and Pudge — went a combined 6 for 8 with seven RBIs and two home runs. The Yanks now face a very tough ten-game road trip, but they do so on a very good note. Joba goes later tonight, and there’s a lot of baseball left this year.
Brian Foley at The College Baseball Blog ran down the Eastern Division pitchers he saw last weekend at the Cape Cod League All-Star Game. Check it out, most of those guys are going to premium draft picks next year.
Triple-A Scranton (5-2 win over Pawtucket)
Brett Gardner: 0 for 5
Berne Castro: 3 for 5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 CS
Matt Carson: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K, 1 SB – another year, another .800+ OPS
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Cody Ransom: 0 for 3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – 1 for his last 20 (.050)
Ben Broussard: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
Chris Stewart: 0 for 2, 2 BB, 1 K – picked a runner off first with a snap throw
Eric Duncan: 0 for 4, 2 K
Chris Basak: 1 for 3, 1 R
IPK: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HB, 5-9 GB/FB – 67 of 96 pitches were strikes (69.7%) … he’s ready to take a spot from Ponson/Rasner
Scott Patterson: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
In the bottom of the eighth with two outs and the bases loaded, Edwar Ramirez remained in the game to face Mark Teixeira. Yankee fans all over raised a collective eyebrow as Mariano Rivera sat in the bullpen. Now, we learn that he’s simply going through his routine August injury period. Rivera is day-to-day with back spasms. The future Hall of Famer says he first felt the pain after losing Friday’s game and couldn’t get loose before the game today. He along with the rest of us hopes to get back on the field tomorrow. · (20) ·
While the Yanks managed to win a game despite their pitchers’ best efforts, the Tigers weren’t so lucky, and the Yanks were the ones to pay the price. Heading into the eighth with a 3-1 lead, the Tigers called upon Kyle Farnsworth to shut down the Rays. Well, six batters later, the Rays had scored three runs on home runs by Eric Hinske and B.J. Upton, and two innings later, Tampa walked away a winner. So there you go; Krazy Kyle had that meltdown we’ve all been waiting for, and it’s impacting the Yanks’ playoff chances. · (44) ·