Let me just say, flat out, that the Royals suck. They are 24-37, and prior to tonight, they had lost 11 straight road games. They’ve scored 62 fewer runs than they’ve allowed, and they seem destined for a fifth straight AL Central last-place finish.
Tonight’s starter for this terrible Kansas City team was Kyle Davies. He has a career 6.16 ERA, and opponents have hit .292 off of him. With the Yanks coming off a nine-run game against a better Blue Jays team, the stars were aligning to create a perfect night for a win.
Too bad someone forgot to tell that to the Yankee offense.
In the end, Kyle Davies throw one helluva game. He showed why he’s been so highly regarded — at least by Dayton Moore — both in Atlanta and Kansas City. The Yanks couldn’t muster much of anything, and the Royals couldn’t either. But their two runs — one on a single and one on a double play — held up. C’est la vie.
On the Yanks’ front, Darrell Rasner threw another stellar game. Throwing what must be a Yankee starter season-high 118 pitches, Rasner threw eight innings giving up nine hits and no walks. He struck out four, and the two earned runs allowed lowered his ERA to 2.58. Rasner emerged 3-3, the no-luck loser yet again.
I can’t complain about Jason Giambi‘s controversial third strike. He clearly didn’t swing, but the Yanks shouldn’t be in a position in the eighth inning against the Royals to begin with.
So on a night when the Red Sox lost and the dregs of the AL were in town, the Yanks dropped a well-pitched game to the Royals. Let’s just hope Andy Pettitte can do his thing later this afternoon. This team needs some wins to emerge from this flirtation with mediocrity and .500.
Jeremy Bleich, the Yanks’ sandwich pick on Thursday (you know, the one I wrote off way too early because I had never heard of him), is starting tonight for Stanford against Cal State Fullerton in Game 1 of their Super Regional matchup. You can catch the game on ESPN2 right now, or follow along on CSTV’s unbelievable Game Tracker. Feel free to talk about it on this thread.
I also want to mention that Brian Foley at The College Baseball Blog previewed the Super Regionals at his site, and also talked NCAA postseason on air with two insufferable LA shock jocks. Make sure you stop by and make fun of his accent. Tell him Mike sent you.
- Alberto Gonzalez had three hits and a double. Jason Lane & Ben Broussard also picked up two baggers. Broussard has been a beast since signing.
- Matt Carson picked up 3 hits, including a jack.
- Steven White and Heath Phillips got absolutely creamed, combining to give up 15 hits and 11 runs in 4.2 IP. Both have been lucky that SWB is short on arms right now. See the TJ Watch for JB Cox’s line.
- Trenton was getting no-hit into the 8th inning, but ended up winning 2-1 thanks to RBI’s from Ramiro Pena and Austin Jackson.
- Jason Jones had yet another strong start, giving up 1 run in 6.
- Eduard Nunez & Mitch Hilligoss each picked up 3 hits, Andres Perez picked up 4.
- Seth Fortenberry had a single in the first, a homer in the 4th, a triple in the 6th and double in the 7th, giving him a good ol’ fashioned cycle.
- Zach McAllister tossed 7 shutout innings, and now has a 63-9 K/BB ratio in 73.1 IP. Wow.
- Jon Hovis tossed one of his typical perfect inning after missing over a month due to an unknown injury.
- Brandon Laird had 2 doubles and 2 RBI. No one else did anything significant (Jesus Montero had the day off).
- Charleston’s pitching dominated all game, with 4 pitching combining to throw a 4-hit shutout (10 K).
Regular, full blown DotF returns tomorrow.
The Royals are in town. David Ortiz, Dice-K, Manny and Jacoby Ellsbury are banged up. Did I mention the Royals – a team that has been outscored by 63 runs thanks to a 4.58 team ERA and a MLB-low .311 team OBP – are in town?
Thaaaaaaa Yankees’ lineup!
1. Damon, LF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Matsui, DH
6. Walk-off, 1B
7. Cano, 2B
8. Molina, C
9. Cabrera, CF
On the mound, he of the rotation high 154 ERA+, Darrell Rasner.
Notes: LaTroy Hawkins’ suspension was upheld, so he’s out for 3 games (that’s a good thing) … Chris Britton strained his ribcage while warming up yesterday, and has been placed on the 15-day DL, Dan Giese has been summoned from Scranton to take his spot (I say it’s 50/50 that the Yanks were just looking for an injury so they could recall Giese) … Mariano Rivera has a 1185 ERA+ this year … if you’ve missed any of my draft coverage, go here.
With their 30th round pick, the Yanks selected Ben McMahan, C, Bishop Moore HS (Fl.)
Scouting Report: Known as a defense first catcher, McMahan also has a potent bat and runs very well for a catcher. His defense is Gold Glove caliber, and he could blossom into a .280-.350-.420 hitter. He’s a strong student and committed to Florida. Here’s his scouting video.
My Take: Great pick. Let’s hope they keep him away from the Gators.
Outlook: If they sign him, we won’t see him in any games until 2009 because it’ll likely go don to the wire. He could survive a full season assignment next year based on his defense alone.
We’ve all heard about Mark Melancon. We know he’s one of our Tommy John Rehab Watch guys, and we know that the buzz is growing surrounding Melancon. We heard he could be the next eighth inning guy for the Yanks and a possible replacement for Mariano Rivera when that time finally comes. But just who is Mark Melancon? Today, Tyler Kepner answers that question in a profile on the 23-year-old. Check it out. · (6) ·
Remember April? It’s easy to start off an article that way, since things are so vastly different now than they were then. Now Jason Giambi is helping carry this offense. Now Melky Carbera has cooled off, to say the least. And now Chien-Ming Wang is having his bout with ineffectiveness.
During the season’s first month, Wang was 5-0, picking up his sixth win without a loss on May 2. Since then, he’s 0-2, and has seen his ERA balloon from an even 3.00 to 4.57. The “Wang is an ace” crowd was getting rather indignant in April. They’re not quite eating crow yet, but their arrogance was certainly overstated.
According to pitching coach Dave Eiland and catcher Jorge Posada, Wang’s troubles are in the form of a mechanical issue. I’m loathe to write this phrase, since it was also attributed to Randy Johnson when he came to New York, but it appears Wang is “flying open” during his delivery. This leads him to “drop his right elbow and push the ball rather than drive it down. That means no sink on his sinker and a loss of command.”
Posada notes that because he uses different arm angles for his slider and sinker, he’s having trouble moving from the former to the latter. This seems a bit strange to me. If he’s using different arm angles for specific pitches, isn’t that an easy tip to hitters? Then again, that could be another facet of his recent struggles.
So we’re getting less than expected from Pettitte and Wang, and realizing the worst case scenarios from IPK and Hughes. Yes, we’re getting far more than anyone could have expected from Mike Mussina and Darrell Rasner, but that hasn’t quite balanced things out yet. But as the offense returns to its true form, we’re going to rely on these pitchers to drive us a 15th straight playoff appearance.
With their 9th round pick, the Yanks’ selected Mikey O’Brien, RHP, Hidden Valley HS (Va.)
Scouting Report: A short (5’11″) righthander, O’Brien works with a low-90′s fastball, a good changeup and a solid curve. He commands his pitches exceptionally well, and could add a tick or two as he fills out. He can hit a little too, leading his team in RBI as a senior.
My Take: I love the pick. He’s got a strong commitment to Winthrop, but anytime you take a 5’11″ player named Michael (just like me), you done good. And, well, he sounds like a heck of a pitcher too.
Outlook: If they sign him, he’ll get a few innings in the Rookie level GCL.
Well, if there was ever good news, this is it. Buried a bit in this notebook, the main part of which I’ll discuss shortly, Ed Price notes that Brian Bruney has been cleared to throw from 60 feet, and could make his way back this season, as early as the All-Star break. I know many of you aren’t convinced that Bruney can cut it, but he looked impressive early on. Considering our current options in the pen, his comeback would be more than welcome. · (18) ·
Hard to believe there’s still 44 rounds left in the draft, huh? The draft starts back up at noon (I think), and you can follow along all day via MLB’s Draft Tracker. I’m not going to blog all of the Yanks’ picks today, just the signability guys and any other ones I feel like chiming in on. Here’s some quick notes:
- Lane Meyer of NoMaas fame dug up some good info on 6th rounder Brett Marshall. Brett’s father Eddie said it’ll take around $1M to sign his son away from Rice, and to that I say: Fuck the heck dad, pay your own mortgage! Seriously though, the Yanks wouldn’t have taken the kid this high if they didn’t have the intention of signing him.
- I’m a pitching guy for whatever reason, I’ve always tended to gravitate towards the guys on the mound more than the guys in the box, especially high schoolers. That said, there’s some great pitching left available, led by Pepperdine RHP Brett Hunter, prep RHP’s Alex Meyer & Danny Webb, and prep LHP’s Nick Maronde & Brett Mooneyham. All five are signability guys at this point, and I want Maronde more than any of the other three. Taking him right out of the chute in the 7th round would already be a steal.
- The best hitters left on the board are Pepperdine LF/DH Eric Thames, and prep 3B’s Zach Cox and Harold Martinez. Thames missed the end of the season with a quad injury, Cox is a signability guy at this point, and Martinez just had a terrible draft year. Any of the three is a coup regardless of where they are drafted at this point.
- John Manuel and JJ Cooper of Baseball America wrapped up the first and sandwich rounds in a great 15-minute podcast. Manuel raved about the Jeremy Bleich pick, noting that he has first round talent but fell off the radar because of a minor elbow injury.
- KLaw wrapped up the first round best pick/worst pick style.
- Paul DePodesta live blogged each of the Padres’ picks. DePo’s blog has become a must read, make sure you don’t miss it.
Finally, I just wanted to mention that we shattered all sort of records yesteday (and by we, I mean you). Over 25,000 readers checked in, more than double a typical game day. I guess a walk-off win and the draft will do that. Over 720 comments were left on the draft posts alone, and that oblierated the RAB single day record by like, 300 comments. Thanks for making us part of your daily rotation, and if you just found the site yesterday, thanks for sticking around in the future.
It’s amazing what a two-out, two-strike, two-run, walk-off home run will do for a team.
Shortly before 4 p.m., Yankee fans were ready to write this game off. Chien-Ming Wang had another terrible outing; Melky Cabrera had made a very costly play in the field; and Kyle Farnsworth had just pitched yet another ineffective eighth inning, giving up a run that I assumed would be the end of the Yankees.
But the loss just wasn’t meant to be. With two outs, A-Rod singled and moved to second on what would be a costly defensive indifference. Hideki Matsui singled him home, and up to the plate strode the red-hot Jason Giambi, battling a foot problem. Giambi fell behind 0-2, and then he launched one, high and deep and far into the upper deck. Watching the game, I thought the ball was foul. I shook my head and said, “Almost.” It was the same “Almost” I had said to myself when Brad Wilkerson tracked down Johnny Damon‘s blast in the bottom of the 8th.
But somehow, the ball stayed fair, and the crowd and the Yankees erupted. It was a come-from-behind win, a badly needed W that drew the Yankees even at 30-30. It marked a comeback from five down, and it showed that, yes, Jason Giambi is a force to be reckoned with, just as Jamal has told us all for the entire season.
As the adrenaline from that victory flowed, I couldn’t help but reflect on the problems in the game that were sure to be ignored. We saw Chien-Ming Wang struggle, Melky Cabrera make a bad play and Robinson Cano fail to get down a bunt.
Cano and Cabrera are simply playing below what anyone expected. Melky’s inexplicably dropped double play line drive led to five runs. Instead of being out of the inning, Chien-Ming Wang was out of the game. It seems to me to be another sign that Melky just isn’t quite what he’s supposed to be.
Cano’s bad play came late in the game when he failed to bunt Wilson Betemit to second. We could argue night and day whether the Yanks should be bunting in the eighth (short answer: They shouldn’t be), but Cano must get that bunt down. I know he’s been a middle-of-the-order hitter for a long time, but really, a Major Leaguer should be able to bunt now and then.
We’ll end with Wang. I am officially concerned. Wang is now winless since the start of May, and he’s been utterly terrible lately. He’s given up 26 earned runs in 37.2 innings, while allowing 39 hits and 20 walks while striking out 16. That is a 6.21 ERA, and Wang is, whether we want to admit it, scuffling. Something’s got to give, and I have to believe that perhaps Dave Eiland is to blame. Outside of Mike Mussina, he’s hardly done a good job this year with Kennedy and Hughes struggling and Wang looking lost on the mound.
But in the end, the Yanks won, and they won in grand style. For a day, we’ll forget these problems, and we’ll look forward to chasing the Red Sox, just 6.5 games ahead of the Yankees. But these problems linger; let’s not forget that either.
Site Notes: Just want to say thank you to everyone who dropped by on Thursday. We had a record-breaking day on RAB.