Posted by mobile phone:
Short write-up tonight because I don’t feel like typing much on the Blackberry right now…

Andy Pettitte and the Yanks outlasted the rain and the Mets tonight to emerge victorious in Shea Stadium for the second day in a row. Coupled with a Red Sox loss in Houston, the Yanks closed the AL East gap to five. Halfway through the season, the Yanks are seven games over .500 and in the thick of the playoff hunt.

The Yanks were held to just five hits – two of them by the hot-hitting Robinson Cano. While the team struck out 11 times, they drew five walks off Mets pitcher and the three runs proved to be plenty as Andy Pettitte (9-5, 3.98) and three one-hit innings by the pen made it work.

And now some bullets:

-How many of you died with Kyle Farnsworth pitching the eighth in a one-run game? That the Mets had up their middle-of-the-lineup guys just made it worse. While Farnsworth came through in a very high leverage situation, if ever there is a time to go to your best reliever for a two-inning save, that was it.

-Nice Golden Sombrero for Carlos Beltran today.

-Robinson Cano is now at .244. Melky is now at .249. We should have a pool predicting which day Cano passes Cabrera. Could it be today? Tomorrow? Inevitably, it will be soon.

-Another two K’s and a save for Mariano. That guy’s pretty damn good, eh?

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (27)

Baby-Bombers.com now has a magazine, which you can purchase here. It’s chock full o’ stats, reviews, player interviews (including an upcoming one with Pat Venditte), all sorts of cool stuff. Make sure you check it out.

Some quick injury news: Al Aceves was placed on the 7-day DL with a minor groin issue, and Kevin Whelan is out with an elbow issue. It sounds like Tommy John surgery is inevitable.

Triple-A Scranton
Game 1
(2-1 loss to Buffalo in 10 innings, walk-off style) this was the completion of yesterday’s game that was suspended in the 9th because of fog
Brett Gardner, Jason Lane & Chris Stewart: all 0 for 4 – Gardner walked & K’ed … Lane drew a walk & K’ed twice … Stewart K’ed once
Cody Ransom: 0 for 5, 2 K
Juan Miranda & Eric Duncan: both 2 for 5, 1 2B
Shelley: 0 for 2, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SB – threw a runner out at first from RF as part of a double play
Matt Carson: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 CS
Jeff Karstens: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 6-10 GB/FB – 65 of 93 pitches were strikes (69.9%)
Heath Phillips: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K – allowed a walk-off single after Morgan Ensberg bunted the winning run into scoring position … I’m not joking

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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Nine innings from now the Yanks season will be 50% complete, and at worst they’ll be 43-38, 7 GB of the division lead and 6.5 GB of the Wildcard. After their 81st game last year, the Yanks were 40-41 and 10.5 GB of first place Boston, 7 GB of Wildcard leading Detroit. It hasn’t been smooth sailing, but it’s improvement.

De facto ace Andy Pettitte toes the rubber today, taking on Johan “WE SHOULD HAVE TRADED KENNEDY AND TEH MELKY FOR HIM!!11one!!” Santana. Andy’s been dandy of late (I hate myself for typing that), allowing only 18 baserunners and 1 run against 19 strikeouts in 21 IP since Jose Guillen owned him in that forgettable beatdown at the hands of the Royals. Johan’s allowed 19 baserunners and 10 runs in his 2 starts (13 IP), both against AL opponents. There’s only five guaranteed years and $128M (minimum) remaining on his contract.

You probably have already heard that David Robertson has been summoned from Triple-A Scranton. Check this out: Robertson was Yarmouth-Dennis’ closer during the 2006 Cape Cod League season, and in the title clinching game he threw 3 perfect innings to close out the win. He struck out the final batter of the game, some kid from Texas named Bradley Suttle. The opposing starter that day? Jeremy Bleich. See, the world does revolve around the Yanks.

The lineup:

1. Damon, LF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, 1B
6. Posada, C
7. Cano, 2B
8. Cabrera, CF
9. Pettitte, SP

Notes: LaTroy Hawkins has been designated for assigning that pink backpack the rookies take out to the bullpen to Robertson … Hah! See what I did there? But seriously, Igawa was sent back to Scranton, Oneli Perez and his six-fingered hands were DFA’ed to clear up spots on the 25-man & 40-man roster, respectively for D-Rob … Ross Ohlendorf will work out of Scranton’s rotation for the time being, but the Yanks still view him as a reliever long term … Matsui had his knee drained again, Cashman said surgery was a possibility … Cash also said that Phil Hughes is 2-3 weeks away from pitching in games, and that he might not necessarily return to the big league team this season … Brian Bruney is a week away from pitching in games

Update: The start of the game is being delayed by the threat of rain. Pete Abe says they’ve just begun to take the tarp off. I live about two miles geographically from the Stadium, and the sun’s out here.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (209)
  • Yanks promote Robertson
    By

    This should make everyone happy: the Yanks have called up reliever David Robertson from Triple-A Scranton. The righty has certainly earned his chance, allowing just 48 baserunners in 51.2 IP this season. He’s struck out 187 men against just 54 in 136 career IP. Robertson last pitched on Thursday, throwing 24 pitches in 2 shutdown innings, so he should be good to go today. No word yet on a who’s going down. · (51) ·

With the trade deadline a month away, talk will inevitably heat up over which Yankee prospects should go for what type of players. As Joe noted, anything we say is pretty meaningless, but we do have some insight into how Brian Cashman will approach the trade deadline.

In a nutshell, don’t expect anything major.

Early this week, Brian Cashman spoke a dinner in Scranton, and Chad Jenning was on hand to cover this event. He relates to us an anecdote about Cashman’s grabbing the reins of the Yankee organization from those who had turned it away from player development. I’m going to quote at length:

Cashman said that he was angry in 2005. “We got away from building from within,” he said. “There were a lot of players who wound up on our roster who I wasn’t in favor of. A lot of fighting between the cities (Tampa and New York).” The Yankees got off to a bad start that season, and Cashman told Steinbrenner he’d fix it, but he wanted to do it his way — “I needed to listen to one person, not 10 at once.”

That was the year he promoted Wang and Cano at the same time, claimed Al Leiter, brought up Aaron Small, etc., and they made the playoffs. “At the end of the year,” Cashman said. “I told the Boss I was done.”

He said the draft picks were gone, they were 24th of 30 clubs in quality of the minor league system and that “this all-veteran thing was not going to work. We were headed back to where we were in the ’80s.”

“I honestly didn’t think he was going to listen to me. Why would he? He hadn’t the last few years.”

Steinbrenner asked him to stay, and he would give him full authority to do what was right. He had job offers that were “easier jobs” for more money, but he stayed with the Yankees. “It was the opportunity of a lifetime. I’d be nothing without George Steinbrenner. There was a loyalty factor here. I couldn’t leave him when he asked me to stay.”

He told Steinbrenner his plan was to do two things: Rebuild the farm system and remain a contender while doing it.

Now, why is this relevant with July nearly upon us? Well, Brian Cashman’s plan is still a work in progress. He’s watching many of his draft picks and international signings make their ways through the farm system to great acclaim. He’s not about to move some of the Yanks’ top prospects for a rent-a-player, and he won’t land that impact player — think C.C. Sabathia or the oft-injured Rich Harden — without giving up those prospects.

Think of this as you will. I know many fans are dismayed at this approach, and they would rather win now with no regard for the future. Many others are fully on board, and still others are eying this plan skeptically while subscribing to it. The media won’t like it if the Yanks don’t make a push for C.C. Sabathia in July but tough.

What Brian Cashman is doing now has a chance to benefit the Yankees as an organization for the next five to ten years. Whether the Yankee brass and their fans have the patience to see it through will determine whether or not we get to enjoy the fruits of a rich farm system in the end. It’s a risk, but it should work better than the trade-now, sign-late approach we witnessed earlier this decade.

Categories : Front Office
Comments (44)

Posted by mobile phone:
Today, in what amounted to an endless day of baseball, both Dan Giese and Sidney Ponson had something in common. Both pitchers allowed nine baserunners over four innings. In fact, Dan Giese actually pitched into the fifth before his ninth baserunner reached.
But as we know full well, the outcomes of their two efforts today were wildly divergent.

Giese probably pitched himself back to AAA – or at least the bullpen – as he emerged the loser of the 15-6 drubbing the Yanks suffered at home yesterday afternoon. Ponson, meanwhile, earned himself the win – and a largely undeserved second start – as the Yanks blanked the Mets in Shea last evening 9-0.

These two games clearly highlight the vagaries of baseball. Neither pitcher threw exceptionally well, and each were under fire for the duration of their respective starts. But when the dust settled, the breaks fell for Ponson and not for Giese. Such is the way luck in baseball works.

On a more detailed level, I have a few observations about the day’s events:

-Edwar Ramirez throws a high-pressure inning in a tight game and blows it while Jose Veras throws a scoreless frame in a blow out. Why? Joe Girardi‘s bullpen use in game one today was fairly inexplicable. He managed as though the Yanks were down by five when the game was well within reach. When the Yanks were up by nine runs, he used the better relievers. Until Edwar can get hitters out with that change up, he shouldn’t be pitching important innings.

-Ponson’s line is better than expected, and the 11-2 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio is a positive. But he threw just 56 of 96 pitches for strikes and was flirting with disaster all night. I don’t think that can last.

-Ain’t nothing like giving up two hits in the ninth inning of a 9-0 game. Way to go, Kei Igawa. Hopefully, he’ll be back in Scranton in exchange for David Robertson.

-Will anyone miss LaTroy Hawkins when he’s finally dismissed? I have to believe that move is on the horizon.

-With Jeter, Abreu and Cano emerging from their slumps at the same time, this team is on the verge of becoming an insane offensive force.

All right, folks. That’s it from me tonight. Thanks for all the comments today, and we’ll do it again tomorrow.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (33)

Triple-A Scranton had their game suspended with the batter facing an 0-2 count with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. I know that sounds crazy, but the scored was tied at one. Chad Jennings says they’ll wrap it up tomorrow, so I’ll update the stats then.

Double-A Trenton (5-3 loss to Portland)
Ramiro Pena & Cody Ehlers: both 0 for 4, 1 K
Colin Curtis & Austin Jackson: both 1 for 5 – Curtis doubled in a run, K’ed & threw a runner out at third from LF … Ajax hit a triple
PJ Pilittere: 1 for 4
Jose Tabata: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB – still just 9 for his last 39 (.231)
Chris Malec & Edwar Gonzalez: both 2 for 4, 1 R - Malec K’ed twice … Edwar doubled, drove in 2 & K’ed
Reegie Corona: 1 for 3, 1 BB
Eric Wordekemper: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 3-6 GB/FB – made his first start since 2006 … gave up 2 solo jacks, giving him 5 HR allowed this season, 5 more than last year
Mark Melancon: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1-4 GB/FB – second worst outing of the year (the first was his second appearance of the season)
Zack Kroenke: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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15-6 don’t mean nuttin’ now. New game, clean slate. Let’s do this.

The front line:

1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Jason Giambi, 1B
6. Robbie Cano, 2B
7. Melky Cabrera, CF
8. Jose Molina, C
9. Sidney Ponson, SP

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (180)

In a few hours, weather-permitting, Sidney Ponson will make his glorious return to the Bronx. It is a day we not long-awaited since Ponson was DFA’d by the Yankees on August 23, 2006, a whopping 40 days after they first signed him.

In Yankee-land, the Ponson start is stirring up most consternation. How did the Yankees get there? Typical of that response is an e-mail I received this morning from Steve S., a long-time RAB reader:

someone needs to say something about Cashman and this Ponson decision. Yes the Yankees have been riddled by injuries but these are the kinds of things that happen. And I cant help but think that he should have had the foresight to get a guy like Colon. I didn’t care as much at the time because I had the belief that they would focus on using young arms, but now I have to see Ponson?

Now, before launching into this subject, I believe that Ponson will, unless he blows away the Yanks (and Mets) tonight, be around for just one start. The Yanks got screwed by the schedule and even more screwed by the rain last night and needed a starter.

That being said, is it fair to lay the blame — if that’s what you want to call it — for Ponson on Brian Cashman‘s shoulders? Not really. It’s a low risk, high reward move, and if it doesn’t pan out, c’est la vie.

The Yankees are at this point right now because 3/5ths of their Opening Day starting rotation is on the DL. They’re at this point because, while they have some very promising and lively arms in their farm system, those arms aren’t quite yet ready. They’re at this point because they see Sidney Ponson as a more viable option for whatever reason than Jeff Karstens. They’re at this point basically due to dire circumstances, and it’s not the end of the world.

But what about Bartolo Colon? Should the Yanks have been higher on Colon than they were? Well, they saw the same audition the Red Sox and the other 28 teams that passed on Colon saw. They weren’t impressed with his velocity, and they didn’t see how a 35-year-old injury-plagued pitcher coming off of shoulder surgery fit in with the Yankees’ current approach toward constructing a baseball team. For a few starts, Colon made everyone look bad as he went 4-2 with a 4.09 ERA. But as is his wont, Colon went down with an injury, and Boston doesn’t really have a timetable for his return.

Now, would Colon have been a good pick-up in hindsight? Sure. But unlike the Red Sox and Curt Schilling, the Yanks weren’t facing any long-term injury prospects when Colon signed his deal. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.

Having Ponson start tonight’s game is hardly ideal, but considering the circumstances, it’s not really worth holding Brian Cashman’s feet to the fire for it. He took someone 4-1 with a 3.88 ERA and is basically asking him to give the Yanks five innings of decent baseball once.

We’d rather see a young kid get a shot, but none of the young kids are quite ready for this. If only this game had been set for three weeks later when Alan Horne was more in his grove, Ian Kennedy had a few rehab starts under his belt and Alfredo Aceves had a chance to shine at AAA. Alas.

Categories : Analysis
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