With the shocking and sad news that Tim Russert passed away this afternoon, baseball lost one of its own. Tim, a New York native, was a life-long Yankee fan and a recent Nationals season ticket holder as well as a Board of Director at the Hall of Fame. MLB.com’s Barry Bloom has up a piece with reaction from around the game. Our thoughts go out to the Russert family. · (4) ·
Shelley Duncan, the once and former wunderkind, has been sent back to AAA. Alberto Gonzalez has been recalled to provide more flexibility off the bench over the next few weeks. As the Yanks are planning on holding on to both Chad Moeller and Jose Molina until they get to Pittsburgh, the timing on this move seems to suggest that Duncan will come up again when a third catcher goes down. Brett Gardner is, of coures, the wild card there.
And as an administrative note, if you’ve been trying to e-mail the three of us over the last two days, try again now. We were having some problems with our e-mail server that have since been fixed. · (24) ·
The coolest construction picture you’ll see all day. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)
Chalk this one up to the “too little, too late” department.
One day after word leaked about the Yanks’ intentions to seek more money to fund their stadium construction, New York’s elected represented hopped up on their soap boxes with vows of “never again.” Never again will they allow such a high amount of public funds to go toward sports franchises. Never again will backroom deals be allowed to carry the day. Color me skeptical.
Three state Assembly members from New York City called for a public hearing to examine a proposal to provide public support for one the richest franchises in sports.
“These sports teams are private companies that appear addicted to keeping their hands in the government cookie jar,” said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn.
Brodsky, meanwhile, is going a bit overboard with the rhetoric, but he too brings up some valid points. As The Sun reports, Brodsky compared these tax deals to Soviet Russia. “These decisions are being made in secret in these Soviet-style meetings and it is outrageous,” he said. More compelling are Brodsky’s arguments about the state of the New York economy:
“What’s at stake here is a much bigger issue than whether you like or dislike the Yankee Stadium deal,” Brodsky said. “Stadiums [are] soaking a lot of the tax-exempt financing, and we can’t fund the capital plan of the MTA and we’re short capital money on schools and hospitals.”
While there are myriad reasons why the state can’t fund the MTA’s capital plan — legislative neglect, the downfall of congestion pricing, Brodsky’s own refusal to dole out the funds — his overall message is a valid one. The state is not in a fiscal position where it should be giving more funding breaks out to its wealthy sports institutions.
As Charles Bagli wrote in The Times today, the end game of this debate will probably lead to cost increases across the board for projects of this nature with the potential rule changes impacting the Atlantic Yards development, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. But somehow I think the sports franchises will worm the money out of the public coffers one way or another.
So I just read through this thread at MLBTR, talking about the C.C. Sabathia rumors involving the Yanks. Of course, everyone in the comments has their idea of a trade proposal. And, more often than not, anyone who came up with a proposition was called stupid or insane by a slew of other commenters.
We’re going to hear trade talk for the next month and a half, so I figured we could agree on some groundrules for talking trade. These are just points we can bear in mind when we post an irresponsible rumor, so we don’t start flame wars across the board. I’ll start with a few, and we can add some in the comments.
1) We value our own prospects more than the rest of the league. Definitely the most important point on this list.
2) Our trade proposals are never going to happen. They’re fun, for sure. That’s why we think about who we would trade for whom. But so few of them end up happening. Bottom line: You’re not right and I’m not right, so let’s not act like it.
3) C.C. Sabathia is a six-month rental, and brings zero guarantees, in terms of his helping the team, and in terms of him re-signing.
4) As with No. 2, the trade rumors you hear in the paper will likely amount to nothing. We see them every year. They’re neat, but not very useful.
5) The more players you put into a trade proposal, the more certain it is to not happen. The days of trading a bunch of crap for a good arm — like the David Cone trade — are far behind us. Bobby Abreu is the exception, far from the rule.
6) When we’re talking trading prospects, we’re talking about uncertainty. Teams take that into consideration when trading their established players.
I’m sure I’m missing a ton. Fire away in the comments.
With interleague play making its return tonight, the Yankees find themselves in the unenviable position of losing the DH. While Jason Giambi‘s bat will stay in the lineup, the Yanks will either have to sacrifice Hideki Matsui‘s bat or Johnny Damon‘s bat and defense (or, as a few commenters have noted, Melky Cabrera). That’s
not an easy decision to make.
Making matters worse for the Yanks is the lack of data against tonight’s starter Shawn Chacon. No one on the Yanks outside of Bobby Abreu has faced the former Bronx flash-in-the-pan more than a handful of times. Matsui is 2 for 3 off of Chacon, Damon is 1 for 5 and Melky is 1 for 1. Decision. Decisions. Decisions.
Meanwhile, as the Yanks head to an NL park, their pitchers will have to bat. Overall, the Yanks on the team with official at-bats are a whopping 36 for 295. That’s .122 for those keeping score at home and a far cry from their DH production this season (.319/.407/.504). With the Yanks offense slogging along, it’s time for the guys slumping and underperforming — middle infielders, I’m lookin’ at you — to pick it up a bit.
So that’s the way the Yankees are supposed to play. The Yankees capitalized on Joe Blanton’s one mistake, and Andy Pettitte pitched eight dominant innings as the Yanks won 4-1 behind a grand slam from Hideki Matsui on his 34th birthday. Pettitte rebounded from one of his worst outings of his career to stifle the A’s, and the Yanks head into Houston winning two out of three on the brief West Coast trip. Congratulations are in order too for Mariano Rivera. His two strike outs moved him ahead of David Cone into 16th place on the Yankees’ all-time strike out list. And that’s all she wrote. · (26) ·
Triple-A Scranton (5-4 loss to Richmond in 13 innings, walk-off style)
Brett Gardner, Eric Duncan & Matt Carson: all 1 for 6 – Gardner scored a run, drove in another, walked & K’ed 4 times … Duncan K’ed twice … Carson drove in 2 runs & K’ed
JD Closser: 1 for 5, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 CS
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 3, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 E (fielding) – on base 20 times in his last 7 games
Jason Christian: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 BB
Nick Green & Bernie Castro: both 2 for 6 – Green doubled, drove in a run & K’ed – Castro stole a base & was picked off first
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 6-6 GB/FB – picked a runn off first, but he gave up a homer to Sal Fasano … Sal freaking Fasano
Scott Strickland: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K - only 8 of 22 pitches were strikes (36.4%)
Heath Phillips: 0.1 IP, zeroes
Scott Patterson: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K
Billy Traber: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3-2 GB/FB
David Robertson: 1 IP, zeroes, 3 K – this time last year, he was still in Charleston
Steven “don’t call me” White: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K – to make it worse, Scranton took the lead in the top half of the inning thanks to a Brett Gardner bases loaded walk … the link is for those of you that never got the reference
There was a game in Boston back in 2006 — May 22 — where the Yanks were getting beat 9-1 by the Sox headed into the top of the 9th. A few hits, combined with back-to-back shots by A-Rod and Jorge, netted the Yanks four runs in a futile comeback attempt. But Paul O’Neill said something peculiar, to the effect that it’s good to score runs late when you’re getting blown out. It shows you have life, and you’re bound to win the next day.
Being at the height of my sabermetric obsession (which, thankfully, has long since passed), I wrote him off as being a bit batty, and looking too much with his eyes and not with the logic and reason of statistics. Fool! Not him, but me. Turns out, the Yanks did win the next game. At that point, I decided to make a note of any situations in which the Yanks were getting blown out, scored a few in the ninth, and won the next day.
To this day, every time the Yanks have been in that situation, they’ve won the next day. Well, at least every time I’ve remembered to make the note. I was going to mention this trend on May 9, the day after the Yanks were down 6-1 going into the ninth in Detroit, and mustered four runs. I held off, though. Yet, the Yankees won again.
Is there truth to Paulie’s statement? Clearly, there’s no way to prove it. But from my limited and likely skewed observation, it has merit. So there is hope for tonight. I’ll be interested to see how this all plays out.
Notes: Per PeteAbe: Albalaedjo is done for the season. Hughes will start a throwing program in two weeks. Say hello to winter ball, Phil.
And on the mound, number forty-six, Andy Pettitte.
So here we are again, a few hours away from another game in which the Yanks could sneak above that .500 mark. It’s been quite the battle really. Since April 23, the Yankees have been no more than one game above .500, and it seems as though the team has been running in place, waiting that big blow.
For the first few weeks of the season, fans were content enough to compare 2008 to 2007. The Yanks started very slow and made a race of it in the AL East last year before walking away with the Wild Card. So why couldn’t they do the same thing this year?
Right now, the Yanks are 33-33, seven games out of first. They’re also five games behind Tampa Bay for the Wild Card. Last year, at this point, the Yanks were 34-32, 8.5 games behind the Red Sox and 4.5 games behind the Wild Card-leading Tigers.
So my question for you tonight as we once again await a 10 p.m. start is this: Are the Yankees in a better spot in 2008 than in 2007 or a worse spot?
I’m leaning toward better. The team has a lot more potential than the 2007 version did, and the Yanks are primed to see contributions from some of their young guns soon. Ian Kennedy will return and hopefully throw better; Phil Hughes should be back around August. Derek Jeter won’t be so anemic at the plate for the duration of the year, and Cano should get back on track.
But perhaps you disagree. Perhaps you see an aging team with bad contracts and a piecemeal bullpen. Perhaps you see an offense relying too much on Jason Giambi‘s hot bat and Johnny Damon‘s fast start. Perhaps you are low on Kennedy and Hughes. But that’s why we debate. So have fun; play nice.
Until the Yankees rolled into Oakland, Darrell Rasner had been dealing. In six starts covering 38.1 innings, the righty had allowed 36 hits and five walks while striking out 23 and pitching to a 2.38 ERA.
The wheels, however, came off in a big way last night. Rasner lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up seven runs, six earned, on nine hits. He walked one while striking out four, and his ERA jumped over a run to 3.64. The A’s basically went to town on Rasner.
Now, there are two ways to look at last night. One is to say that Rasner was bound to have a bad start. Following that outing, his 2008 totals aren’t that far off from his career line. But the way he reached that regression I find to be interesting.
Prior to last night, Rasner had thrown 386 out of 585 pitches — or 66 percent — for strikes. Of those, 63 percent were strikes with contact either on foul balls or balls put into play; nine percent were swinging strikes; and the remainder — 28 percent — were called strikes.
Last night, Rasner’s strike totals were actually in line with his season totals. While he threw just 62.4 percent of his pitches for strikes, 45 percent of those were called strikes while about 7.5 percent were swinging strikes. The contact strikes and balls in play made up the rest of those numbers.
So what do we learn here? Rasner got into trouble last night because he could not locate his pitches. During the endless third inning in which the A’s hit everything Rasner had to offer, his pitches, usually on the corner, were straying to the middle of the plate. I think the higher percentage of called strikes attests to that. Rasner couldn’t push the pitches far enough to the corners, and the A’s were hitting solid line drives off the righty.
With Ian Kennedy on the mend and the Yanks much higher on Kennedy than they are on Rasner, it will be interesting to see how Rasner adjusts over the next few weeks. If the Yanks opt to stick with a five-man rotation, he’ll draw the weak-hitting Padres on Tuesday and the Reds on Sunday. Beyond that, we’ll have a better idea of Rasner’s stuff and ability.