With the late-inning implosion of the Rays’ bullpen earlier this evening, the Yankees find themselves tied for third place. A loss tonight would drop them into fourth place in the AL East. It would be the first time since 1992 that the Yanks are in fourth this late in the season.

Over the course of the evening, we’ve seen a few opinions emerge as to whether or not fourth place matters. Some people feel that if the Yanks aren’t going to make the playoffs — first place or wild card — then it doesn’t matter where they finish as long as it isn’t last. Others — including me — believe it to be a point of pride.

Sure, the $200-million Yankees are a big disappointment this year, but that doesn’t mean they should roll over and give up on the rest of the season. Their fans are still watching; we expect decent baseball. So the team should deliver. Plus, it’s better to win more games than anything else. While some cite the difference in draft picks, the Yanks aren’t going to land one of the top five picks no matter how poorly they do over their final three weeks of the season. I’d rather see them finish in third and land the 20th pick than finish in fourth and land the 18th pick.

To keep the Yankees in third place, Joe Girardi will painfully hand the ball off to Sidney Ponson. The only reason Ponson is starting tonight is because Al Aceves has to replace Darrell Rasner next week. Such are the state of things in September. As a Yankee, Ponson is 3-4 with a 6.22 ERA. Since winning on August 6, he’s 0-3 in 20.2 innings spanning four starts. He’s walked nine and struck out seven while pitching to an ERA of 7.40. I’m glad I’m leaving the house tonight before this game starts. It could be an ugly, ugly evening.

Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
A. Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
I. Rodriguez C

Ponson P

Categories : Game Threads
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Following up on my morning post about the non-sold out Mets-Phillies games comes more stadium shenanigans. Richard Sandomir in The Times writes about the Yankees haven’t really honored their legends during the final year at the Stadium.

Descendants of Babe Ruth, the man who built the house, and Mickey Mantle, for example, have wondered why the Yanks have neglected history. Peter Abraham notes growing discontent among Yankee fans who feel that the team hasn’t done much beyond the All Star Game to honor the building’s history. And a quick scan of the list of people who have pulled the countdown lever leaves me underwhelmed.

So with ten games left, the Yanks have one more homestand to send the stadium out in style. For a stadium, 1970s renovations or not, that has played to host to so much Yankee history and has been a part of New York’s sports, cultural and religious life since 1923, the building has gone largely unappreciated by the team this year, and I’m not holding my breath that this attitude will change before Sept. 21.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
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Brandon Morrow is 24 years old. Prior to Friday evening, he had thrown 100 big league innings and had made a grand total of zero starts.

This year, Morrow, one of the Mariners’ top pitching prospects, has thrown up some impressive numbers. In 36.2 innings, he’s allowed 18 hits and has a better than 3:1 K:BB ratio. He also throws in the upper 90s.

The Yankees, meanwhile, were coming off a night game in Tampa and a cross-country flight. Clearly, that’s a winning combination for the Mariners, and Morrow did not disappoint. The youngster didn’t give up a hit until Wilson Betemit doubled in a run in the 8th. He walked three, struck out eight and threw 72 of his 106 pitches for strikes. On nights like these, you just tip your cap to the opposing pitcher and salute him for a stellar game.

On the Yanks’ side of the ball, Andy Pettitte, with his pinstripe future in doubt, had himself a nice outing. He threw seven strong innings, striking out nine Mariners and allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk. He did what he’s supposed to do against a punchless offense. Too bad the Yankees were even more punchless tonight.

With that loss, the Yanks fall 8.5 games behind the Red Sox for that final playoff spot. More alarming, however, is the 0.5 games separating them from the Blue Jays. Right now, I’ll retire my pipe dream of seeing the Yankees overcome the odds to play in October and start rooting for them to avoid a fourth-place finish. Considering their schedule the rest of the way, they don’t have a lock on third place.

Categories : Game Stories
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Damon Sublett is heading to Hawaii Winter Baseball after missing most of the season due to injury.

Triple-A Scranton (6-4 win over Pawtucket) SWB leads the best-of-five series 2-1 … Phil Hughes takes on Bartolo Colon in Game 4 tomorrow
Justin Christian, Juan Miranda, Shelley Duncan & Chris Stewart: all 1 for 4 – J-Chrizzle drew a walk & scored a run … Miranda doubled, drove in a run & K’ed … Shelley K’ed twice … Stewart committed an error on catcher’s interference
Bernie Castro: 0 for 4, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Ben Broussard: 3 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Matt Carson: 0 for 3, 2 R, 1 K – playing CF now that Melky’s back up
Eric Duncan: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB – drove in the game winning runs with a 3-R jack … but it came in the 4th inning, so it doesn’t count because it wasn’t late in the game and therefore not clutch, right?
Nick Green: 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 10-7 GB/FB – 61 of 103 pitches were strikes (59.2%)
Steven Jackson: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1-0 GB/FB
Scott Strickland: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 1-0 GB/FB – now that’s how you slam the door in the playoffs

Read More→

Categories : Down on the Farm
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Last night’s game ended at roughly 10:30pm EST, then the Yanks had to board their charter for the longest possible flight in baseball. I’m guessing the team didn’t get to their hotel until about 7am EST this morning. That’s why they get paid the big bucks I suppose.

Don’t be surprised if they look a little flat tonight, especially with Brandon Morrow and his 98mph heat making his first career start for the M’s. Seattle sucks, but the Yanks are set-up to lose tonight.

1. Damon, CF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, 1B
6. Nady, LF
7. Matsui, DH
8. Cano, 2B
9. Molina, C

And on the mound, Andy Pettitte.

Notes: Darrell Rasner is out of the rotation, Al Aceves is in … after throwing only 43 pitches last night, I suspect Rasner will be available out of the pen as early as tomorrow, good thing considering Ponson’s starting … Wilson Betemit has three at-bats since August 15th, he’s basically useless now, no way he can do much of anything with all that rust …

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (269)

The Facts:

  • Since July 31st, Andy Pettitte has a 7.02 ERA and has a 1.75 WHIP.
  • Opponents are hitting .288-.337-.422-.756 off him this year, roughly equivalent to facing all Derek Jeters.
  • Pettitte’s ERA at Yankee Stadium is nearly two runs higher than it is on the road this year.
  • He’s 36 years old.

Is Pettitte falling off a cliff right before our eyes, or is he just in a rut? Either way, the Yanks will have to decide what to do with Andy next year. Given that he’s a Type-A free agent, offering him arbitration is a no brainer … or is it? Is he worth $16M a year?

What do you think, should the Yankees try to bring Andy Pettitte back next year (assuming he doesn’t retire)? Talk it out here while we wait for the West Coast game to start.

Categories : Open Thread
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In six months, the Yankees and the City of New York will begin the soul-destroying and heart-wrenching process of tearing down Yankee Stadium. But they want to do it carefully. To that end, The New York Times’ City Room blog has a story on the looming destruction of the House that Ruth Built.

Writes Patrick McGeehan:

New York City is looking for demolition companies that think they can tear down Yankee Stadium without damaging any of the seats or other pieces that might be sold to collectors.

The razing of the famous ballpark is scheduled to start in March and last as long as a year, according to a solicitation form issued by the city’s Economic Development Corporation. The first stage of the demolition will involve salvaging all of the stadium seating as well as some large features like the white frieze that adorns the wall behind the bleachers and the 120-foot-tall bat-shaped boiler stack outside the main entrance.

City officials are still working out a plan with the Yankees for selling the parts of the stadium that belong to the city and memorabilia, like lockers and signs that belong to the team, said Andrew Brent, a spokesman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

It will be a sad, sad day when the demolition of Yankee Stadium begins.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
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The Yankees last turned a triple play during the waning months of the Johnson Administration. In the eighth inning of a game against the Twins on June 3, 1968, John Roseboro came up to the plate with two on and no out. He lined the pitch back to Dooley Womack, a name largely lost to baseball history. Womack threw to Bobby Cox at third to double off Tony Oliva, and Cox threw to Mickey Mantle, who was manning first base, to double off Bob Allison.

These days, if the Yanks turn a triple play, one lucky fan — if you count listening to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman lucky — will win $10,000 and a year of cable from Time Warner. But there’s a catch: The triple play must come in the third inning. The odds are, as you can imagine, not very high that someone will ever win this contest.

Nowadays, with the Yanks nearing elimination, the broadcast partners are struggling to keep their audiences. To that end, WCBS has been pimping their unlikely contests. Win $1,000,000 if someone throws a perfect game. Score $10K for that third inning triple play. Carl Bialik, the Numbers Guy at The Wall Street Journal, drilled down on those contests this week. He found that Time Warner has a 99.4 percent chance of never paying out the prize and that the Yanks had a 0.3 percent chance of tossing a perfect game.

But keep watching. Someone might win.

Categories : Whimsy
Comments (15)