Earlier today, Damaso Marte threw yet another scoreless inning for the Yankees, and his mid-August troubles are seemingly long gone. In his last 14 appearances, stretching back to August 16, Marte has thrown 11 innings, allowing one run on three hits and four walks. He’s struck out 13 in that span and is pitching about as well as any reliever could. As he’s now shown why he was a hot commodity at the trade deadline, I believe the Yanks will pick up his option this fall, solidifying the late-inning need for a lefty next year. · (76) ·
As Robinson Cano lined a single up the middle to give the Yanks’ a walk-off 1-0 win over the Orioles, the team closed the book on a chapter of Yankee Stadium. No longer with the field at the southwest corner of River Ave. and 161st St. in the Bronx play host to day games. No longer will the Bronx County Court House preside over sun-drenched afternoon affairs.
The Yanks couldn’t have asked for better weather in late September for their afternoon send-off to the stadium. With the mercury pushing 68 degrees and nary a cloud in the sky, the Orioles and Yanks racked up zero after zero until the Yanks broke through in the bottom of the 9th. Two unlikely pitchers – Brian Burres with an ERA over 6.00 and Al Aceves with 20 Big League innings under his belt — kept the opposing hitters guessing, and the game came down to a battle of the bullpens with the Yanks’ pen pitching just a hair better than the Orioles’ relievers.
For the third time in three starts, Aceves threw six innings and didn’t allow much. The Orioles knocked out just five hits against the Mexican righthander and worked three walks. Aceves struck out three and didn’t allow a run. On the season, Aceves sees his ERA drop to 1.38, and many Yankee fans are writing him in as a presumptive starter next year. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
To me, the biggest question mark surrounding Aceves is the “luck vs. skill” debate. Right now, Aceves’ BABIP is a meager .217, and it’s highly doubtful that this mark would stand. His three strike outs today gave him just eight in 19 innings as a starter, and the 2:1 K:BB ratio isn’t stellar. Today, he recorded four outs on the ground and nine in the air. While in his first start, he induced a Wangian 14 ground balls in seven innings, if his fly ball rates are up and his strike outs remain low, he’ll start to give up more runs.
Now, I don’t mean to sound negative about Aceves; he’s shown better stuff and command than Darrell Rasner or Sidney Ponson did. But once the league gets a long look at him, we’ll know for sure what we have. At the worst, he’d make for a great long reliever next year.
Otherwise, the offense had nothing today. The Yanks mustered four hits and just seven base runners against Brian Burres. But what else is new? This team has long had a tendency this season to make bad pitchers look good. At least today they came out on top.
With one game left at Yankee Stadium, the Yanks are riding the hot hand. They’ve won seven of their last nine at home and are enjoying good pitching and timely hitting. With tomorrow’s emotional stadium finale on tap, today’s was a great win.
We’ll get around to wrapping up the Yanks’ 1-0 victory over the Orioles later. For now, the news is about Derek Jeter who left the game in the 9th after getting hit on the hand with a pitch. According to Ed Price, x-rays on Derek’s hand came back negative. While Jeter is sure to be sore tomorrow, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell he’ll miss the final game at Yankee Stadium. · (8) ·
I’m just wondering: would anyone be interested in hitting a New York bar on Sunday night? I’d be down if we have enough interest. Thing is, I’m not sure where to go. I’m out in Queens, and honestly there aren’t many places around me that would fit the bill. Plus, I figure it’s easier to meet in Manhattan. So if anyone is interested and/or has any bar suggestions, leave a comment. We’ll get this going if we drum up enough attendees. · (7) ·
It’s the last day game in the stories history of Yankee Stadium. In 40 minutes, the Yanks will take the field on the House that Ruth Built for the last time under the sun. It is a bittersweet moment, to be sure.
Al Aceves draws the start today for the Yanks. In his last Yankee Stadium start, he held the White Sox to two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings. He is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings this year. Facing him will be Brian Burres, 7-9 with a 6.32 ERA.
Final Game Notes: The Biz of Baseball has the complete rundown of the ESPN TV coverage scheduled for tomorrow. If you can’t make it to the stadium for the farewell game, there are plenty of tributes to watch on the Worldwide Leader.
Photo Credit: The new Yankee Stadium by Librado Romero for The New York Times.
According to numerous reports, George Steinbrenner will not be at Yankee Stadium on Sunday evening. Considering all that George has meant for baseball and all that he has done with the Yankees since buying the team in the early 1970s, I have to believe that he must be rather incapacitated if he’s missing the final game. For better or worse, it won’t be the same without him around. · (5) ·
After pulling the Carl Pavano Special this year (pitching like crap when we wasn’t hurt), Jeff Marquez will be heading to the Arizona Fall League to make up for missed time. The Yanks still have one pitchers spot to fill, but it seems unlikely that Ian Kennedy or Chris Garcia will get the call. Maybe it’ll be JB Cox, assuming his knee’s okay? Otherwise I dunno who it could be. · (19) ·
While Mike Mussina earned himself a nice curtain call last night, Carl Pavano wishes he could win the adulation of the fans that way. Pavano, another high-priced pitcher who failed to deliver for the Yanks, won what will probably be his last start for the Yankees in a home uniform as New York triumphed over Baltimore 3-2.
Pavano threw five innings against Baltimore tonight, allowing two earned runs on six hits and a walk. He also struck out two. Somehow, improbably, Pavano is now 4-1 with a 4.99 ERA. While he probably has just two starts left in the Bronx, he is somehow pitching his way to another guaranteed contract, albeit one with incentives.
But while Pavano stymied the Orioles through five, the real pitching stars came out of the bullpen. Phil Coke, Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte, Joba Chamblerain and Mariano Rivera combined for four shut-out innings. This group gave up just two hits — both off of Rivera in the ninth. Coke and Bruney faced two batters and struck them both out; Joba faced three and walked away with three K’s. With Bruney and Coke set to return and Mark Melancon and Humberto Sanchez waiting in the wings, the Yanks’ bullpen is primed for a huge 2009 season.
With their victory tonight, the Yanks moved back into sole possession of third place. They’re nine games behind Tampa and 7.5 behind Boston. They are on the verge of postseason elimination for the first time in fifteen years. Yet, the fans care about these final games at the Stadium, and the team is playing with an urgency we haven’t seen all year. While it might be a little late for the Yanks’ October dreams, at least they’re sending the stadium out on the right note.
And so it begins, the final series at Yankee Stadium. It’s only fitting that the Orioles would close out the Stadium, since the Yankees’ franchise came about when the original Baltimore Orioles moved to New York in 1903. The Orioles became the New York Highlanders, who then became the Yankees in 1913. The rest is history.
If Mike Mussina’s send off was any indication of what we can expect these last few games, it’s going to be one exciting weekend. Sit back, relax, and enjoy Yankee baseball the next three days. They won’t disappoint us.
1. Damon, DH
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, 1B
6. Nady, LF
7. Cano, 2B – .500-.545-.600 since the benching
8. Pudge, C
9. Gardner, CF – .364-.417-.455 with 2 SB in his last 3 starts
And on the mound, Carl Pavano.
A few hours ago, Mike posted a link to the Yanks’ plans for Sunday evening. As farewell ceremonies go, it sounds like a pretty swell plan, but something about it bugs me.
For ticket-holders to Sunday’s game, the Yanks plan to open the stadium at 1 p.m., seven hours before the first pitch. From 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., these fans can wander around the field — on the warning track only — and tour Monument Park. Then, the normal pre-game batting practice routine starts. At 7 p.m., the Yankees will begin the pre-game ceremonies featuring former Yankees and artifacts from the stadium’s past. The game is set to start at 8:15 p.m.
The catch is that anyone who enters the ballpark for the hours of pre-game explorations and ceremonies doesn’t enjoy the privilege of re-entry. If you show up at Yankee Stadium at 1 p.m. and want to see the game, you’re stuck in the Bronx at the stadium for the next seven hours. I’d guess that only the most die-hard of obsessed fans will go. I have tickets, and I probably won’t stop by the stadium until at least Yankee batting practice at 4:40 p.m, if not later.
While re-entry isn’t the norm at any sports venue across the country, the Yankees should make an effort on Sunday to accommodate fans making their final journeys to the House that Ruth Built. A re-entry system wouldn’t require much thought, but it would require a little bit of work. As the number of fans who would take advantage of it are capped by the capacity of the stadium, it can be done. Yet again, though, the Yanks are neglecting the common fan. But that’s why, as Cliff Corcoran so aptly wrote yesterday, they’re building this new ballpark in the first place.
Update 4:28: Now that I’ve reflected for a few minutes on this, I realize I come across as bitter over this plan. I want to clear something up: I love this ceremony. I love the idea that fans will be able to spend time on the field and watch Yankee batting practice. I love that the team is planning to honor the stadium with former greats and an extensive pre-game ceremony. I just wish the team could find a way to be a little more flexible with re-entry on a day during which some fans could be in the stadium for ten or eleven hours.