It’s raining in Boston again, but the weather should let up in time to allow the Yanks and Red Sox to play a meaningless double header. In Game 1, Mike Mussina is going for his 20th win of the year. He faces Daisuke Matsuzaka.
After today, the only baseball left is post-season play. It’s hard to believe the season is almost over. Didn’t Spring Training just end?
Ed Price, Yankee beat writer for the troubled Star Ledger, has been one of the more reliable reporters this year. He’s consistently offered up what I feel are fair assessments of the team through thick and thin. If The Star-Ledger goes under, as has been rumored around the New York media circuit recently, I hope Price lands himself a good gig with another paper.
Today, Price tackles a topic bound to come up over the off-season: Joe Girarid’s effectiveness in his first season as Yankee manager. The piece is both a fair and blunt assessment of Girardi’s shortcomings this season. Compiling some info from anonymous clubhouse sources, Price writes:
Girardi’s shortcomings this season have been a lack of communication with players and some of his coaches, an inability, at times, to create a productive atmosphere, a lack of a deft touch with the media (no small issue in New York) and an occasional disregard for players’ egos…
The media skills of Girardi — who has worked as a television analyst — became a topic again last week when Girardi, at Mariano Rivera‘s request, tried to hide Rivera’s shoulder issue. In the aftermath, Girardi wound up apologizing for his handling of injury news over the course of the season.
The same tension that often comes across in Girardi’s interview sessions also affects the players. He has been described as “tight” from about an hour before the game through its duration, and players feed off that.
So as the team dug itself a deficit in the standings, the players found it hard to relax.
Price also notes that Girardi relied too heavily on Bobby Meachem and Mike Harkey, coaches of his from the Marlins, and did not do a great job with talent evaluation, including decisions regarding Morgan Ensberg and the center field role.
In the end, we’ll all have a lot to say about Joe Girardi this year. He has his flaws; he has his strengths. The real test will, of course, come next year when we find out if Joe learned anything from his first year in New York.
Eh, so it wasn’t as great as we all hoped, but who gives a crap. It’s his first ever start in an affiliated game and it’s winter ball. He’s there for one reason – to do some learnin’. As I said last winter, it’s probably going to take this kid years before he figures out some comfortable, consistent mechanics.
Unfortunately Gameday didn’t have pitch type or velocity, but you could see he was missing high (as you’d expect a 6’10″ pitcher to do) and putting too many balls in the dirt (seven total, most likely with the spike curve). Catcher Buster Posey was charged with two passed balls, likely on curves. All-in-all, of the 45 strikes he threw (71 pitches total), 10 were called strikes and 35 were swinging. That’s a function of both his electric stuff and the A-ball level competition.
Supposedly you’ll be able to listen and/or watch HWB games here this winter (h/t Eric), but the video feed was off-air all night, and radio broadcast was Hawaii-San Jose St. Hopefully that starts working properly in the near future.
No other Yankees’ farmhands were in the starting lineup. I’ll update this post with the final score and any additional stats tonight if I’m still awake, otherwise it’ll wait until tomorrow.
The Arizona Fall League season starts on October 7th.
Update (1:00pm): Honolulu won 8-4, no other Yanks’ prospects got into the game.
This year’s theme: The Village People. The cast: Brett Gardner as the construction worker, Juan Miranda as the cop, Al Aceves as the indian, Frankie Cervelli as the biker, Humberto Sanchez as the sailor, and David Robertson as the cowboy. Phil Coke was spared because there weren’t enough costumes to go around.
Given the way they played all year, it’s no surprise the team vets mailed this one in too. Yawn.
The Yankees and the Red Sox are going to end their season in style. While today’s game was rained out, the teams will play a double header tomorrow to close out the year. Sidney Ponson will probably pitch one game while Mike Mussina will go for win number 20 on the final day of the year. In the meantime, feel free to make this another open thread. FOX is showing the Brewers and Cubs if you’re in New York or the Phillies and Nationals elsewhere. At least, somewhere, teams are fighting it out in a pennant race. · (25) ·
It is raining in Boston, and the start of today’s game is yet again in doubt. When this party gets started, we’ll be greeted with one final Sidney Ponson start, and I just can’t figure out why.
On the season, Ponson is 8-5 with a 5.21 ERA. On the Yanks, he’s 4-4 with a 6.20 ERA, and against the Red Sox, he’s 0-2 and has allowed 11 earned runs in 8.2 innings. The Yanks are using Ponson because Andy Pettitte is out with a sore shoulder. But with two games left in the season, it’s really disappointing to have to sit through another Ponson start. At least we can take solace in the fact that this will be Sir Sidney’s final start for the Yankees.
The game, which counts for nothing and features a bunch of Minor Leaguers, is on FOX. I have no idea why FOX is wasting time with this game.
A. Rodriguez 3B
I. Rodriguez C
Pennant Race Notes: As the Mets and Marlins continue to battle it out, you can chat about that game here.
While we wait for today’s Yanks’ game that might end up washed out anyway, lets turn our attention to the boys in blue-and-orange across town for a few hours while they still have something to play for. It’s simple: If the Mets lose OR the Phils win today, Philly wins the division. If the Brewers win today, they’ll clinch at least a tie of the Wildcard. The Mets have to win there last two games to stand a chance.
It’s already 1-0 Mets in the 4th, both Ricky Nolasco and teh Johan are dealin’. · (168) ·
The Yanks may have to look for a new Plan B. According to reports out of Toronto, the Blue Jays have offered to extend A.J. Burnett’s current deal by two years and $30 million, bringing his contract to four years and $55 million. Burnett can probably get a bit more on the open market, but he’s expressed his comfort with Toronto. While there’s no doubt that CC Sabathia is the better pitcher, if the Yanks were to miss out on both Burnett and the Brewers’ current ace, the off-season would start to look rather bleak. · (126) ·
After his first stint in the Bigs, Brett Gardner returned to AAA with little fanfare. While fast and solid in the outfield, he didn’t do much hitting and looked like the consummate Quadruple-A player. This time around, the numbers tell a different tale. Since taking over the center field job a few weeks ago, Gardner is 13 for 40 (.325) with seven RBIs and four stolen bases. He’s now doing what we expected him to do. While Gardner, as John Sickels noted this week, probably won’t be more than good fourth outfielder, he’s certainly making a case for himself this month. · (39) ·
The game lasted three hours and thirty eight minutes. The rain delays totaled two hours and eight minutes, and when it all ended, Michael Kay couldn’t help but remind us of a game we all wanted to forget. In a score reminiscent of the Yanks’ last good playoff game in the 2004 ALCS, some of the Yankees beat some of the Red Sox 19-8.
Anyone watching this game instead of the Presidential Debates — or, for that matter, anything else — did so out of love. The game featured two long rain delays, no regulars and a bunch of sloppy play. Six Yankees — Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, Xavier Nady, Bobby Abreu, Cody Ransom and Wilson Betemit — had a multi-hit game, and everyone clicked as the Yanks clinched a better record than the NL Champion Dodgers.
In the milestone department, Bobby Abreu reached 100 RBIs yet again. While it’s impressive that he is just one of three active players to accomplish this feat six years in a row, that also speaks volumes about the players hitting in front of him. If you had Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter or Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley hitting ahead of you, you too would drive in 100 runs every year. Abreu, by dint of that magic 100 number, will land another big contract. Whether he’s worth it, at age 35, is a question best left to, well, next week.
On the other side of the ball, anyone already inking Al Aceves into the rotation last year probably paused after this game. Pitching in conditions far from ideal, Aceves allowed nine baserunners in four innings, and the Sox plated four against him. Phil Coke, David Robertson and an ineffective Chris Brittain closed it out after the rains came.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Majors, the games proved more compelling. The Brewers defeated the Cubs, the Phillies topped the Nationals and the Mets lost to the Marlins. Were the season to end today, the Mets would not be in the playoffs. They’ll now turn to Johan Santana pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in his regular season career.
In the AL, the White Sox lost, and the Twins lost. Apparently, no one wants to win the AL Central. So with these compelling pennant races, tomorrow’s meaningless Yankees-Red Sox game between the AL East’s third place team and the Wild Card winner, between Sidney Ponson and Daisuke Matsuzaka, will be broadcast nationall on FOX at 3:55 p.m. That makes so little sense, and yet again, FOX shows why they shouldn’t hold an exclusive baseball contract.