Kevin Millwood takes the mound for the Rangers tonight. He’s been quite crappy this season, pitching to a 5.08 ERA. He lasted just five innings against the Astros last time out, surrendering seven runs over five innings, walking three and giving up 12 hits. Now, we know the Yanks tend to suck against hittable pitchers, and Millwood seems like one of that ilk this season. But in 37.1 career innings against the Yanks, he’s surrendered 20 earned runs. So maybe they have a shot tonight.
On the other hill is a man who needs no introduction. In his five starts this season, Joba Chamberlain is pitching to a 1.80 ERA over 25 innings, and has now pitched more innings in 2008 out of the rotation than the bullpen. He’s struck out 26 while walking 13 for a nifty 2:1 K/BB ratio. He’ll need to decrease his walks to continue succeeding, but most of us have faith that this will continue. But, you know, since he hasn’t gone more than 6.2 innings over his first five major league starts, he’s only a six, six-plus inning pitcher. Thanks, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, for prophesizing Joba’s career for us.
Cap’n Jetes gets the night off, which is nice. I understand he wants to play every game, but he’s 34 years old. Guys that age could use a day off here and there. In his place, though, I feel Girardi has made a mistake in starting Betemit. Yeah, his bat has some pop, but I’d far rather have Alberto’s glove in there. Anyone else with me?
Via PeteAbe: Britton tossed eight pitches in the GCL, finishing an inning with a strikeout. Humberto Sanchez got through a 12-pitch inning while issuing a walk.
Now onto your lineup:
1. Johnny Damon, DH
2. Brett Gardner, LF
3. Bobby Abreu, RF — three lefties in a row. Wow
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jason Giambi, 1B
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Wilson Betemit, SS
9. Melky Cabrera, CF
And on the mount, number sixty-two, Joba Chamberlain
I’ve noticed a lack of Bobby Murcer over the last few months on the Yankee broadcasts, and today we found out why. Murcer, according to numerous reports, is suffering the effects of his cancer treatments. He recently faced a bout of shingles and hasn’t been up to the speed he prefers. Here’s to you, Bobby. Hope you’re feeling better soon. · (7) ·
As part of his GM Trade History series, Tim at MLBTR (with help from Brendan Bianowicz) has compiled all of trades Brian Cashman has made since becoming the Yanks’ GM way back in 1998. You can access the spreadsheet here. It’s fun looking back at all the names that have long since been forgotten, especially since we all know that Cash has never made a good deal, right? · (68) ·
As reported at the Biz of Baseball, Derek Jeter is set to join Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry (a soccer player) in the Gillette Champions ad campaign. As Chip Bergh, the vice president for global personal care at Proctor & Gamble, Gillette’s parent company put it, the shaving product giant chose Derek as their first baseball rep “not only for his outstanding sporting performances, but also for his performance off the field, in his charitable actions and his reputation as an icon of true sporting values.” I guess that means Derek, as a bachelor, is being rewarded for his efforts at dating every starlet around. As long as he stays away from Madonna, he should be a-OK.
Update: Jimmy Traina of SI.com caught up with Jeter at the Gillette announcement. Jeter talks about “hanging out” with Minka Kelly and that whole parking incident in Florida. (Hat tip to Mr. Belth at the Banter.) · (23) ·
Love it (somehow) or hate it (as most people do), the Yankee Stadium grounds crew rendition of the Y.M.C.A. has stuck around long past its expiration date. While we’ve advocated leaving this tired routine at the old stadium next year, the Yanks have other plans. According to an industry insider, the Y.M.C.A. will get the grand treatment at the All Star Game this year. The Village People, originators of this torturous song, will be performing the song live alongside the grounds crew during the All Star Game this year. I have no words. · (22) ·
The Yanks got some good news yesterday, as Hideki Matsui’s knee showed signs of improvement after having it drained over the weekend. Joe Girardi even says that he might take BP sometime this week, which would indicate a better-than-expected forecast for the DH. He’s eligible to come off the DL on July 8, so you can count on him staying there until at least after the All-Star break. He’ll have to prove he can run on it first, and the Yanks figure to remain cautious in dealing with this. · (19) ·
While the Yanks’ offense looked absurdly uninspired last night, the Power of the ‘Stache was out in full force. Jason Giambi tripled for just the second time as a Yankee. The first came in the fifth inning of a 10-5 Yankee win over the Blue Jays on July 7, 2002, nearly six years ago to the day. I’ve always said that for Giambi to hit a triple, an outfielder would have to fall over, and that’s exactly what happened last night. The Big G sure flashed the wheels legging that one into third. Too bad the Yanks couldn’t plate that run. · (4) ·
Why am I writing the game wrap? Because I’m not the one who blew the game last night.
Tonight presented another clear case of why a pitcher’s win-loss record tells us very little. Mike Mussina pitched admirably — six innings, two runs, five hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts — yet was tagged with the loss. His record, now 10-6, seems good, but that doesn’t quite tell the story of Moose’s season. He’s provided more than anyone had expected, so much so that we say something to this effect nearly every time he takes the mound. Last year, we were imagining where we would have been without A-Rod. This year, we’re asking the same question of Moose.
The pull-your-hair-out Yankees offense played predictably tonight. One might think that the Yankees offense, even without Matsui, should school a pitcher with a 4.60 ERA and a 3:2 K/BB ratio. Anyone who watches the games, though, knows that this is like the story your great uncle Chaz tells you over and over again; it gets worse every single time. What’s worse is that this time they also failed to score against a bullpen ranked next to last in the AL in ERA, and dead last in walks. So it only makes sense that they issue none of either to the Yankees.
We did get to see Brett Gardner‘s blazing speed at work, including his first major league stolen base. Here’s to many more. He should be in the starting lineup tomorrow; Cashman has said that he wants Gardner getting regular playing time, so it appears either Damon will DH, or Melky will take a day off. It depends on whether Girardi wants to give Wilson Betemit some at bats. If it is Damon at DH, here’s to hoping that a lineup going Melky-Gardner-Damon can light up the basepaths.
This one should be easy to put behind us. While it’s frustrating to sit through such a grueling offensive experience, we have Joba tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll ever not get geeked up before his starts. Kevin Millwood, who isn’t having quite the year he imagined or the Rangers expected, is on the other side. Hey! We’ve seen him before! Maybe we can muster more than four freakin’ hits.
Triple-A Scranton (5-4 win over Buffalo, walk-off style) SWB scored 4 in the bottom of the 9th to get the win
Chris Basak: 0 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K – walk-off sac fly
Jason Lane: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 2 for 3, 1 2B, 1 BB – 18 for his last 45 (.400)
Shelley: 0 for 4, 2 K - 7 for his last 40 (.175)
Cody Ransom: 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K – led off the 9th with a walk, triggering the comeback
Eric Duncan: 3 for 4, 1 R
JD Closser: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI – hit a 3-R HR in the 9th to tie the game up
Nick Green: 0 for 2, 1 R, 2 BB – scored the winning run after drawing a walk & going from first-to-third on a Greg Porter single
Dan McCutchen: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HB, 6-7 GB/FB – 68 of 103 pitches were strikes (66.0%)
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K – 25 of 44 pitches were strikes (56.8%) … scheduled to start Friday
So we’re just a little excited about the debut of Brett Gardner. While no reasonable person thinks he’ll be the savior to the season, it’s always nice when a prospect, who is performing well, gets a promotion. And at the same time, he’s out there auditioning. We’re well aware of Melky’s poor May (.234/.270/.319) and poorer June (.212/.297/.263). Now he knows that his job is not guaranteed.
To make room for Gardner in the leadoff spot, Justin Christian was option to AAA, and Johnny Damon gets the night off. No word as I type this on the 40-man roster move, but one has to figure it’s either Wang or Hughes being moved to the 60-day DL. Update: Steward was designated. To jump off on a tangent:
Eventually, a number of players are going to have to be removed from the 60-day DL. Humberto Sanchez has started rehabbing in games, meaning he’s on a clock. Brian Bruney starts throwing in games this week or next, meaning he’ll have a limited time to be moved back to the active roster. With J.B. Cox a likely addition to the team later on this year, and with Scott Strickland pushing a promotion, they’ll have to find yet another 40-man spot. While Chad Moeller and Chris Stewart are likely casualties, the Yanks will need a few more spots. My short list:
With Moeller and Stewart, that’s eight guys the Yanks could cut and I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Anyone else you guys would consider? I thought about adding Jeff Marquez, but I’d clearly rather keep him, and with eight guys on the list figured it was enough.
Back to Gardner, here are some interesting numbers, courtesy of our own Mike A.:
- He’s been on base 26 times in his last 10 games — 11 hits and 15 walks — with 9 stolen bases.
- His .412 OBP is second in the International League, trailing only a 35-year-old Andy Tracy by .001.
- In the 80 games he’s appeared for the SWB Yanks — including games where he entered late with a pinch hitting appearance — he has failed to reach base in five games. One of those was an 0 for 1 game as a pinch hitter. Is that freakin’ insane or what?
So, clearly, if he doesn’t go 4 for 4 with three stolen bases and an inside the park job, his debut will be a complete failure.
1. Brett Gardner, LF — felt sooooo awesome to type that
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jason Giambi, 1B
6. Jorge Posada, DH
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Melky Cabrera, CF
9. Jose Molina, C
And on the mount, number thirty-five, Mike Mussina.