Why is Jason Giambi sitting tonight? Why? Why why why why why? Texas starter Matt Harrison is a lefty, that’s why. Never freaking mind that Giambi has .919 OPS against LHP in a not insignificant sampling of 112 plate appearances this year (.895 OPS vs RHP), or that he went 3 for 4 with a homer yesterday, or that big league lefties are hitting (this is too good) .500-.563-.923 against Harrison in his young career. Erg.
David Robertson, get ready, you’re the next contestant on “Let’s See If You Can Magically Pitch Out Of Self-Induced Trouble Despite Being Left In The Game For Far Too Long.” The previous two participants – Edwar Ramirez & Damaso Marte – had to settle for consolation prizes: a four-slot toaster, and a parrot that can’t talk. Good luck!
1. Damon, LF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. X(BH) Nady, DH
6. Cano, 2B
7. Dick Lock Sexy Sexson, 1B – you gotta earn that nickname
8. Molina, C
9. Christian, CF – two straight starts huh? interesting…
And on the mound, Andy “sure, you can” Pettitte.
Notes: Joba’s MRI is heading to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion, which sounds really bad, but anyone with half a brain understands that something like this gets second, third, and fourth opinions, plus the last pitch he threw yesterday registered 96, something you can’t do with a major shoulder issue … this is a few days old, but the guys at Baseball America broke down the trade deadline action podcast style, don’t miss it, really really good stuff … despite all the doom & gloom lately, the Yanks are only 2.5 GB of a playoff spot, they’re just a good weekend away from leading the Wildcard …
The American Mustache Institute has instituted a day of mourning for Jason Giambi’s ‘stache. Sadly for AMI, Jason Giambi, on his first day sans the ‘stache, went 3 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs. He had been struggling of late, and while AMI hopes to see a monument for the mustache pop up in Monument Park, I doubt Giambi will bring it back any time soon if his hot hitting continues. · (4) ·
The Yankees and some of their international scouts are now embroiled in the FBI investigation plaguing baseball, says The New York Times. The investigation focuses around “whether club employees paid players small portions of bonuses they reported to baseball and kept the difference for themselves,” according to Michael S. Schmidt. While this will have little impact on the team on the field, this developing scandal, which encompasses Dominican scouts from six to eight teams, could be the push MLB has been looking for to begin an international draft. · (15) ·
The early word is that his muscle tightened up due to a combination of the blistering heat (I sat in that heat the night before, and yeah, it’s a huge factor) and fatigue. It’s the latter that’s most worrisome given Chamberlain’s switch of roles. While he built up his arm strength, no one has any idea how the fatigue will be affected by the shape of his season. He’s headed back to New York for tests, so we’ll know more soon, but early reports and sources tell me that things look relatively positive, based both on the pain’s location, and on his reaction. Expect the Yanks to be ultra-conservative, and for Chamberlain to miss a start at least. We’ll know more after the images, but I’ll leave the DXL as a TBD for now.
Carroll’s report is pretty much the best-case scenario for Joba. He could be going through a dead-arm period, but Carroll doesn’t note which muscle tightened up. Some reports have Joba’s deltoid as the muscle in question while others are relatively vague.
Again, we don’t really know anything beyond what Joba, Joe Girardi and a few unnamed sources have said. Strength tests were positive last night, but any time there’s fatigue or stiffness around the throwing arm, there is cause for concern. Hopefully, we’ll know more later.
For the baseball history buffs among us, here’s a good story for you: A dentist interested in both dental history and baseball lore researched Babe Ruth’s medical history and discovered that the Yankee slugger did not die of throat cancer as legend has it. Rather, Dr. William Maloney believes Ruth died of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, an exceedingly rare form of cancer. According to Maloney, Ruth participated in medical trials that eventually paved the way toward modern cancer treatments. Interesting stuff. · (2) ·
In the seminal 1980 film Airplane!, Steve McCroskey, played by Lloyd Bridges, bemoans his current predicament. “I picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue,” he says, later noting that he also quite amphetamines, drinking and smoking that week as well. Tonight’s Yankee game felt a bit like that.
Disaster struck for the Yanks in the fifth. Clinging to a 4-2 lead, Joba Chamberlain allowed a three-run home run to Michael Young. Josh Hamilton struck out, and Marlon Byrd singled. A few pitches later, Joba shook out his arm, and Joe Girardi and Gene Monahan came sprinting out of the dugout. Monahan would return with Joba in a tow, and the rest of the game unfolded as though through a fog as Yankee fans everywhere awaited the post-game interviews with baited breath.
Following the game, both Girardi and Chamberlain expressed optimism. While Chamberlain will head back to New York later today for an MRI and various other tests on the youngster’s arm, neither believed the injury to be serious. This doesn’t appear to be a labrum or a rotator cuff injury. It doesn’t seem as though Joba’s elbow was impacted either.
But right now, we don’t really know anything outside of the fact that right shoulder stiffness sent Joba packing tonight. We know Joba will probably not make his next scheduled start on Saturday, but beyond that, who knows? The Yanks tend to be cautious with their young guns, and considering what Joba can do and what a healthy Joba means to the Yanks, they are going to tread lightly with the righty. When the Yanks release more information, we’ll know what the short-term ramifications of this dismaying development mean for the Yanks.
Meanwhile, back in the game, the Yanks managed to stick around until the ninth inning when Joe Girardi once again left a reliever in the game for far too long. After falling behind 5-4, the Yanks tied the game on Xavier Nady‘s third pinstripe home run. But the loss would fall squarely on the shoulders of his partner in trade, Damaso Marte.
After throwing an effective eighth inning, Marte allowed three walks and a walk-off grand slam to Marlon Byrd in the ninth. Marte now finds himself 0-1 on the Yanks with an 11.57 ERA. He’s doing a great job replacing Kyle Farnsworth.
But the fault hardly lies only with Marte. The grand slam came on Marte’s 42nd pitch of the night. The last time he reached such a lofty pitch count was on August 16, 2006 when the Pirates and Brewers played an extra-inning affair and Marte couldn’t buy a strike. Before that, he hadn’t thrown so many pitches since 2002. At some point, Joe Girardi has to go to the pen. I realize that Dan Giese is in pitching staff limbo and Mariano Rivera isn’t available, but to overtax relievers as Joe did tonight to Marte harkens back to the days of Joe Torre, Steve Karsay and Paul Quantrill.
In the end, tonight, the Yanks lost a chance to gain a game on both Tampa Bay and Boston. They may have lost their right-handed pitching stud too. This is indeed shaping up to be a bad week to stop sniffing glue.
George Kontos was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week, so congrats to him. Jim Callis at Baseball America answered a question about two-sport eligiblity in this week’s Ask BA, which applies to the Yanks’ 29th round pick Mike Jones, who’s also a senior wideout for Arizona State.
Triple-A Scranton (3-2 win over Pawtucket, walk-off style)
Brett Gardner & Chris Stewart: 1 for 3 – Gardner drew a pair of walks … Stewart walked & K’ed
Bernie Castro: 1 for 4, 1 RBI – walk-off single
Matt Carson & Ben Broussard: both 0 for 3, 1 BB
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 1 R
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – well I guess the shoulder’s fine
Cody Ransom: 0 for 2, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 1 for 4, 1 2B
Chase Wright: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HB, 10-5 GB/FB – 63 of 89 pitches were strikes (70.8%)
Phil Coke: 1.2 IP, zeroes, 3 K – 15 of 22 pitches strikes (68.2%)
Steven Jackson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
The Yankees have just announced that stud youngster Joba Chamberlain left tonight’s Yankees/Rangers game with a “stiff right shoulder.” Joba left the game accompanied by Yanks’ trainer Gene Monahan with two outs in the five. Right now, no one has anymore information than this, and we’ll keep everyone posted as this story develops. Hopefully, this is nothing serious, but shoulder stiffness is never a good sign.
Update 10:45 p.m.: Before you all jump off a collective bridge, remember that the last time a promising young Yankee pitcher had a “stiff right shoulder,” the Yanks simply shut that pitcher down for two months to prevent anything serious from developing. That pitcher ended up being fine. His name? Chien-Ming Wang. While the Yanks could shut Joba down for the season as a precaution, don’t start the collective panicking until we know more. · (65) ·
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 …