Tonight’s game promises to be less … chaotic, than last night’s. The weather is nice and clear, so there will be no 10pm first pitch tonight, and you have to imagine we won’t see the two teams be so self-destructive in the later innings again.

I’ve watched the replay of Carlos Ruiz’s walk-off “hit” a few times, and I can’t say for sure that the ball would have gone foul. It looks like it might have, but it was far enough from the line to make me think it would have stayed fair. Oh, by the way, that was the Phillies’ first hit with RISP that actually scored a run in the series. They’re up 2-1 in the series, but you can only rely on the long ball so much.

Cupcakes Blanton will be facing his first American League club since his midsummer trade to the land of cheesesteaks. He was 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA & 1.42 WHIP with Oakland this year, and then better, but not great after the trade, going 4-0, 4.20, 1.37 with the Phightin’s. His strikeout rate has never been good, so he’ll have to hope they don’t hit them where they ain’t.

Needless to say this is a big game for Tampa, who certainly doesn’t want to go down 3-1 in the series with Cole Hamels looming in Game 5. Andy Sonnanstine is the Rays’ version of Ian Kennedy – fringy stuff with excellent command – except he’s already mastered the art of keeping the ball in the lower third of the zone, which is what he’ll have to do tonight to keep the Phillies in check.

The game doesn’t start until 8, so feel free to use this as an open thread to discuss today’s NFL action.

Tampa Bay
1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
2. BJ Upton, CF
3. Carlos Pena, 1B
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Carl Crawford, LF
6. Dioner Navarro, C
7. Ben Zobrist, RF
8. Jason Bartlett, SS
9. Andy Sonnanstine, P (13-9, 4.38)

Philadelphia
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Jayson Werth, RF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Pat Burrel, LF
6. Shane Victorino, CF
7. Pedro Feliz, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Joe Blanton, P (9-12, 4.69)

Site note: No DotF tonight, the Arizona Fall League is off and Hawaii Winter Baseball was rained. Yes, apparently it does rain in Hawaii.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (197)
  • The sweet sounds of Sunday night
    By

    Joe Morgan and Jon Miller could be headed for a 2009 break-up, says Bob Raissman. ESPN is seriously considering moving Morgan off of the Sunday night broadcast. This would be great news for those of us who find ourselves shouting at Joe Morgan’s inane broadcast missives every Sunday night during the baseball season, and I have to wonder if this is in response to a growing segment of baseball fans who can’t stand these prominent broadcasters. If only FOX would do the same with Buck and McCarver… · (14) ·

  • Straw to Joba: Don’t do what I did
    By

    Via Jim Baumbach, Darryl Strawberry has a few words of caution for Joba regarding his DUI arrest. Strawman, who’s problems are well documented and impacted what could have been a Hall of Fame career, suggests he seek out The Captain for advice because Jeter’s mastered the art of being a superstar in New York. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: Joba’s rise to stardom in NY was meteoric, but the fall from grace could be even swifter. Hopefully he realizes this. (h/t Seamus) · (10) ·

October is a slow month for a baseball team not in the playoffs. With a general gag order from the Commissioner’s Office and no free agents yet, the other 28 teams that didn’t make the Fall Classic are in a bit of a holding pattern with organizational meetings and preliminary talks with their own free agents.

So all we’re left with is the same old-same old. Jon Heyman rehashes the rumors. Ken Rosenthal tries to find some new angle. Only ESPN, it seems, refrains from going overboard with the “anonymous scouts” and “one AL executive” stories. In two weeks, of course, that resolve will be thrown out the window, but for now, at least one sports news organization seems to appreciate the World Series for the games, bad managing or not.

Nowhere is this lack of news more disturbing than in New York. The city’s tabloids thrive on the constant New York attention, and when a team from Philadelphia plays a team from Tampa in the World Series, New York must take second stage to the rest of baseball. Needless to say, no one paid to write likes that too much.

To sell papers, to keep people talking about the Yanks and about baseball, these papers and the bloggers that follow the team will post just about anything. Five years ago, hardly anyone had heard of the Arizona Fall League. Now, columnists and bloggers salivate over the daily results from an instructional league with little or no perspective on what those results mean.

Meanwhile, on the free agent front, any time a potential free agent — or a potential free agent’s teammate’s brother’s cousin’s former secretary — breaths a word about New York, it’s front page news. No free agents want to come to New York! None of the Yanks’ young prospects are any good! The sky is falling!

Over the last few years, folks in politics have had to adapt to a world in which the Internet exposes everything. Say something stupid in speech in California, and YouTube will have it available to the world within a few hours. Now baseball is suffering through the same problem. We have unfettered access to Minor League numbers and games. We have limitless access to everything but clubhouse insiders, and the response is overwhelmingly wrong-headed.

Instead of allowing for negotiating strategies — by saying you don’t want to go somewhere, you raise your asking price — instead of allowing for the struggles of youth, writers and bloggers write off General Managers while displaying a willful ignorance of the role a GM and his scouting staff plays. These same writers throw in the towel for 2009 before the free agent signing period even begins.

Right now, no one knows anything about the next few months. We know that the Yanks have a lot of money and a bunch of options on the table. We can speculate until the cows — or Eric Bruntlett — comes home, but in the end, it’s all meaningless. For now, we should just step back from the ledge, enjoy the World Series and worry about who’s signing where and what young kids will play a role next year in a few weeks. Anything else is just idle, uninformed speculation.

Categories : Rants
Comments (12)

That’s the kind of quality title you’ve come to expect here at RAB…

AzL Peoria (15-4 loss to the other Peoria)
Kevin Russo: 2 for 3, 2 R – picked off first … 9 for his last 14 (.643)
Juan Miranda: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 2 K – 0 for his last 14 after a 10 for 20 binge
Jeff Marquez: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1-3 GB/FB – 30 of 55 pitches were strikes (54.5%) … making the spot start in Phil Hughes‘ rotation spot since he started the Rising Stars Showcase on Friday

HWB Waikiki had their game rained out. Not sure if or when they’ll make this game up.

Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (4)

Jamie Moyer’s thrown 3,781.2 innings in his Major League career, regular season & postseason combined, but for the first time tonight he’ll take the mound in a World Series game. Matt Garza just wrapped up his first full season in the big leagues, and has thrown just 336.2 big league innings in his career, but like Moyer he’ll be making his first World Series start tonight. Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

Moyer’s last three postseason starts (dating back to ’07, obviously) have gotten progressively worse:

6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (’07 NLDS Game 3)
4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (’08 NLDS Game 3)
1.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (’08 NLCS Game 3)

Matt Garza, on the other hand, has gotten progressively better each time out this postseason:

6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K (ALDS Game 3)
6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (ALCS Game 3)
7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K (ALCS Game 7)

It’s hard to imagine Garza pitching any better than he did against the Sox six days ago, but stranger things have happened. The cards are stacked against Moyer so severely that this game just might be a reserve lock. That’s why they play the games I guess.

The weather in Philly isn’t looking so hot, but there appears to be a big enough window for them to get the game in. ESPN’s Playoff Blog has an update saying that Rays’ manager Joe Maddon was informed that they hope to start the game at 9:30.

Feel free to use this as an open thread until the game starts. Play nice.

Tampa Bay
1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
2. BJ Upton, CF
3. Carlos Pena, 1B
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Carl Crawford, LF
6. Dioner Navarro, C
7. Gabe Gross, RF
8. Jason Bartlett, SS
9. Matt Garza, P (11-9, 3.70)

Philadelphia
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Jayson Werth, RF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Pat Burrell, LF
6. Shane Victorino, CF
7. Pedro Feliz, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Jamie Moyer, P (16-7, 3.71)

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (259)
  • Willie’s options
    By

    While the Yankees and Larry Bowa won’t be reunited this fall, I wouldn’t expect to see Willie Randolph back in the Bronx either. The former Mets manager turned down a job in DC so that he could keep his name in the running for the Milwaukee managerial opening. Considering that Willie would have become the heir-apparent in Washington, at this point, it sounds like Willie will hold out for another top slot and isn’t too keen on joining someone else’s staff. · (4) ·

  • Newark Bears fold
    By

    This isn’t exactly Yankees’ related, but it’s local and I’m sure people are interested. The Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League have ceased operations and no longer exist, effective yesterday. Former Yankee Rick Cerone founded the team in 1998, and the Bears have had some notable alumni over the years including Rickey Henderson, Jose Lima and Jose Canseco. I don’t know the circumstances of the team’s folding, but I’m sure the recent economic crisis played a part. (h/t Robert Pimpsner) · (7) ·

Phil Hughes, the promising but seemingly inconsistent Yanks youngster, made the start in the AFL’s Rising Stars showcase last night. He threw three innings but did not have his best stuff. He allowed four runs — but just one earned — on three hits and two walks. Two of those three hits were home runs. While he did strike out three, he threw just 27 of 50 pitches for strikes.

For Hughes, this effort was another in a recent spate of sub-par efforts. In the long run, AFL stats don’t account for anything; the whole purpose of Hughes’ stint in Arizona is to ensure him the innings he needs after he missed much of the season to an injury. Until we hear some first-hand scouting reports though, all we have to go on are the numbers, and a 54 percent strike rate is not what we’d like to see.

Update by Mike (1:05pm): Ben beat me to it, so I’m just going to tack on the rest of DotF here. Austin Jackson started in center and batted leadoff in said Rising Stars Showcase, going 0 for 1 with a walk, a strikeout, and a stolen base. The National team won the game when Reds’ prospect Drew Stubbs drew a walk-off bases loaded walk, an inning after Mets’ prospect Eddie Kunz blew the save by allowing all three inherited runners to score.

Jeremy Bleich took the mound for Waikiki, and had another strong outing: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, throwing 58 of 86 pitches for strikes (67.4%). Bleich walked his first batter since October 4th, and over his last three starts he’s allowed just 13 baserunners in 19.2 IP, striking out 19 in the process. Impressive since he apparently needs elbow surgery.

Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (85)