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.
The forecast isn’t brilliant for the Boston area this weekend. As you can see by the radar, at 6:15 p.m., the entire area is blanketed in different shades of green, and the rain isn’t expected to let up for a few days.
So here’s your obligatory game thread. If the game gets called, just turn it into an open thread. Anything goes here.
Lasting Yankee Stadium Memory: My contribution to Alex Belth’s Lasting Yankee Stadium Memory series is up on the Banter. Stop and by and check it out.
PeteAbe‘s got the word. It seems likely that The Hammer of God will need his shoulder scoped to clean out some bone spurs, and the Yanks are just doing their due diligence by getting another doc on the case. Assuming it’s nothing more serious than this, Mo will be ready go to next spring.
Oh, and please stop it Girardi. Giving misleading information about injuries doesn’t make them go away. Grow up and tell the truth like you were taught as a child. [/rant] · (14) ·
Not in the big leagues, in Hawaii. Baseball America has the story. The Yanks’ 2007 first rounder still hasn’t thrown a pitch in a game thanks to Tommy John surgery and an appendectomy, but his undeniable talent is worth the wait. Game time is 7pm local, so unless my math is wrong, that’s 1am Sunday on the east coast. Regardless, it’s exciting to see him finally get going. · (22) ·
The Yanks hold a $20 million option or a $5 million buy-out on Jason Giambi’s contract. While the team will, in all likelihood, not exercise that option, Giambi says he would like to return to the Yanks. I’m on the fence here. The Yanks need the 134 OPS+ Giambi brings to the table, and he’s certainly a much better option than Hideki Matsui at this point. But they need a better first baseman, and the team really needs to get younger. For the right price, I’d bring him back but not at the expense of any other potential moves to improve the team. · (22) ·
Jim Palmer, an old buddy of Mike Mussina’s for his Orioles days, spoke to a MASN reporter yesterday and dropped in a line about Moose’s future. According to Palmer, Mussina told the Hall of Famer that he doesn’t think he’ll pitch in 2009. If Mussina, who goes for win number 20 this weekend, the Yankees would have quite a few rotation holes to fill in the coming months. · (32) ·
It’s amazing what $39.95 million can buy in these troubled economic times. For their pretty penny, the Yanks got 26 starts and nine wins. That’s just $4.43 million a win. Act now; supplies are going fast.
In a rather inglorious fashion, the Carl Pavano Era in the Bronx likely ended last night when Pavano and a bunch of Yankee farmhands lost to the Blue Jays 8-2. Roy Halladay threw a complete game, giving up six hits and a walk in the process, and if it seemed like the fifth time this year the Yanks have lost to Hallday, well, that’s because it was. Only once did the Yanks beat the AL Cy Young candidate, and that was a way back on Opening Day when Chien-Ming Wang outdueled Halladay.
For Pavano, today was hardly a stellar start in his effort to find himself a job for next year. He lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out one.
On the season, Pavano made seven starts for the Yanks and has thrown 34.1 innings. He has a 4-2 record with a 5.77 ERA, and he struck out 15 while walking 10. While we’ve debated the merits of picking up Pavano’s option for 2009 to ensure some pitching depth, the truth is that Pavano just hasn’t offered up much. He hasn’t shown much control; his breaking pitches are doing much breaking. It seems as though, after three season of inactivity, Pavano has turned from a pitcher into a thrower.
What Pavano and his failed tenure symbolize for the Yanks is up for debate. It could stand for the frustrations of the last few seasons. It could stand for an era of decadence in which the Yanks tried to grab every big-name free agent out of there regardless of numbers of make-up. Or it could just have been a high-profile mistake that, today, doesn’t even seem that expensive.
At some point, another Carl Pavano will come along. In fact, Carl wasn’t the first of his kind – Darren Dreifort and Mike Hampton come to mind — and he won’t be the last. But as Pavano heads for greener pastures, perhaps the Yanks have learned their lessons about signing pitchers that just aren’t that good. Good bye, Carl. We hardly knew ye.
While Joe alluded to a problem with Mariano Rivera in the game thread, we didn’t realize the severity of the issue until later on. The Yanks’ All Star closer left the team in Toronto in order to get an MRI in New York on his sore right shoulder. Clearly, this isn’t the best news, but we’ll hold our breaths under the Yanks announce the test results tomorrow. More on the Yanks’ loss to the Blue Jays in a bit.
Update 11:38 Tyler Kepner reports that Rivera may need arthroscopic surgery but would be ready for Spring Training. The Yanks aren’t sure. That’s some way to put a damper on the end of a disappointing season. · (27) ·