• Thinking Out Loud: Where’s Joba?
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    Since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 2, eight days ago, Joba Chamberlain has graced a whopping two games with his appearance, and it’s now been four days since his two-out, 22-pitch effort against the Mariners. Meanwhile, Joba is sitting pretty on 91 innings this season with but two and a half weeks left to play. The Yankees need to get him innings, and last night was as good a time as any to bring him in. Why not have him throw two or three innings in a 6-1 game? Why not stretch him out a little from the bullpen?

    I understand that the Yanks are proceeding cautiously with Joba. I understand they don’t want to risk further injury, a reaggravation or anything of the sort. But Joba is a great starter and should be throwing more innings. He shouldn’t just become the de facto 8th inning guy because that’s what Joe Girardi has written down in his black binder. If Joba’s injured worse than the Yanks are letting on, they should say so. If not, let him pitch. Give him his innings. He needs it.
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You can never have enough pitching. It’s the cliche that rings true every time you hear it. So if Andy Pettitte wants to come back, the Yankees should welcome him with open arms. Peter Abraham caught some quotes from the lefty which indicate that he’d be open to coming back next year should the Yankees want him.

“I look at that ballpark next door, and it makes you want to play there. It’s wonderful to look over there and think how special that would be,” he said. “I came back here to try to help this team win and win in the playoffs.”

In seasons past, Pettitte has been concerned about his family and being away from seven or eight months of the year. That seems to be less of a concern now. He says of his in-season home in Westchester:

“We love it, we really do. It feels almost as much as home as Houston does sometimes,” he said. “The people have been so nice to us.”

As for his kids, well, at this point they’re at the age where they can appreciate their dad being a major league pitcher. Pettitte says that they’d try to talk him out of quitting if it came to that.

Abraham also brings up Pettitte’s off-season workout routine, or lack of it. He’s worked hard since Spring Training, but his off-season workouts, less than he’s used to, might explain why he’s fading in the second half. Let’s hope that’s the case. This way, he can get back to working out as normal this winter, and give the Yankees a solid lefty in the rotation for 2009.

Categories : Pitching
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If it sounds like a cliché, that’s because it is one. But tonight’s game was Yankee baseball the way it should be played. Good starting pitching, timely hitting and a crisply fielded game brought the Yankees a road win in Anaheim.

In a way, this was a game the Yankees needed to win. They didn’t need for any hope of making the playoffs; realistically, those hopes died when they didn’t sweep Boston in New York a few weeks ago. But they needed it for the morale of their fans. Lately, Yankee fans have been down on the team with their minds on the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants or the Brett Favre-led Jets. But baseball in New York will still be around for another 20 games, and we might as well enjoy them.

The story of the night was, obviously, Al Aceves. Making his first Major League start in lieu of Darrell Rasner, Aceves threw seven innings of five-hit ball. He gave up one run, didn’t walk anyone and struck out two. He threw just 89 pitches, 63 of them for strikes, and kept the Angels off balance all night. While his stuff seemingly isn’t that much better than Rasner’s, Aceves is a huge improvement over a pitcher who made way too many starts this year. He has a few more miles per hour on the fastball than Rasner does, and he pitches with more command and authority.

Offensively, the top four hitters on the Yanks went 7 for 17 with six runs scored, six RBIs and three home runs. A-Rod hit a monster three-run to give the Yanks a 4-0 lead, and Johnny Damon added a two-run shot in the seventh and a solo blast in the 9th. Two hours and thirty six minutes after it started, the Yanks wrapped up their 7-1 victory.

In the end, this game doesn’t really tell us anything about the Yankees except that they have more options than Rasner and Sidney Ponson floating around their system. Aceves showed what he could do, and the young arms are coming. All it needs is just a little patience.

Categories : Game Stories
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Triple-A Scranton (8-7 win over Durham, walk-off style) SWB leads the best-of-five Governor’s Cup 1-0 … Ian Kennedy gets the ball in Game 2 tomorrow
Justin Christian: 0 for 5, 2 K – threw Jonny Gomes out at home from LF
Bernie Castro: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K – picked up an RBI hit off David Price, a pretty good lefty
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI – last three hits have gone for extra bases
Tim Battle: 1 for 1, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI – doubled in the game-tying run in the bottom of the 9th
Ben Broussard: 1 for 2, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB – picked off first
Matt Carson & Eric Duncan: both 1 for 5, 1 RBI, 3 K – E-Dunc hit a walk-off single … bust
Nick Green: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 E (fielding)
Chris Stewart: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB
Chase Wright: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HB, 9-5 GB/FB – 55 of 84 pitches were strikes (65.6%) … outpitched Price … can’t say I saw that coming
David Robertson: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HB, 3-1 GB/FB – 16 of 27 pitches were strikes (59.3%)
Zack Kroenke: 0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP – only 2 of 6 pitches were strikes … allowed 2 inherited runners to score
Scott Strickland: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HB – allowed all 3 inherited runners to score
Mark Melancon: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K - I guess the back’s okay

Read More→

Categories : Down on the Farm
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After last night’s debacle in Anaheim, I’d imagine that most Yankee fans are looking ahead with trepidation to tonight’s game. The Yanks don’t play well in Anaheim. They’ve lost four of five on the road, and they’re staring up at a Blue Jays team that has, as of this writing, won nine in a row.

Meanwhile, down on the farm, the Yanks’ AAA kids are battling the Durham Bulls. So we won’t see any call-ups for a least a few more days. But tonight’s starter offers up something new for Yankee fans. Alfredo Aceves will become the 13th pitcher to make a start for the Yanks when he takes the mound tonight. Aceves, known as the Mexican Gangster, has appeared in two games this season at the Big League level. In seven innings, he’s allowed one run on five hits and two walks while racking up seven strike outs. He replaces Darrell Rasner in the rotation.

Of all the arms in the Yankee system, Aceves was one of the biggest surprises this year. The Yanks signed him out of the Mexican League in February, and he rocketed through the farm this year. He put up an 8-6 won-loss record, but in 140.2 innings, he was downright filthy. He allowed 111 hits and 27 walks along with 114 strike outs, and his ERA was a stingy 2.62. Opponents hit just .217.

As Aceves takes the mound tonight, the Yanks are playing for little than pride right now. But hopefully, the 25-year-old will give us something to watch tonight. At the very least, it’s a new face and a new arm. We no longer have to suffer through another Darrell Rasner start.

Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Matsui DH
Cano 2B – Still no walks since the middle of August.
Moeller C – The forgotten Yankee.

Aceves P

Yankee Notes: The Angels have scratched Jered Weaver from his start tonight, and in his stead, Ervin Santana (15-5, 3.23) will start…The Scranton Yanks and Durham Bulls are battling it out for the IL Championship. You can follow the action and watch the game for free here. While the Yanks are winning, David Price is throwing quite well…In the Penn League, Jonathan Albaladejo had a rocky first inning, but Jeremy Bleich is throwing nicely. Mike will have more on those two games later tonight.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (232)
  • CC and the Pitch Counts of Doom
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    As CC Sabathia has nearly singlehandedly pitch the Brewers into the playoff picture, we’ve seen the big lefty rack up the pitch counts. 110, 124, 130, 117. The numbers are gaudy by today’s standards, and as we Yankee fans feel as though we’re entitled to Sabathia’s services next year, many have understandably expressed some concern about the pitch counts. But worry not, says The Hardball Times’ Josh Kalk who, after a rigorous study, determines that Sabathia is a-OK, high pitch counts or not. · (47) ·

What did we do this season without a flurry of dumb Curt Schilling quotes? Maybe it’s the reason the Yankees suck. Ah, but that’s what he wants you to think. At least that’s how he comes across in this interview with WEEI radio, via The Big Lead:

People don’t like [New England/Boston] anymore. The euphoria in New York is palpable. The Yankees suck this year, and they’re bitter and mad and they’re making excuses over that. Now they got Tom going down, so New York is excited.

Oh, where do I begin? How about the connection with the “euphoria in New York” and the Yankees sucking. I dunno, Curt, but I have this hunch that the two might not be related. You see, the New York Football Giants faced the Patriots in the Super Bowl last year, and won. So, y’know, maybe it has something to do with that, and not with the Yankees.

As for the making excuses bit, well, I guess it depends on your definition of excuse. If you think we’re looking for reasons why the team failed, yeah, then I guess we’re doing that. In reality, there is no excuse. Unless you consider losing your top two starters an excuse. I suppose if Boston lost Matsuzaka and Lester, they might be singing a different tune up there. Yet it’s not an excuse, because the bulk of the blame lies with the bats.

More on this, of course, as the season winds down. In closing, though: Go to hell, Curt.

Categories : Rants
Comments (41)
Sep
09

The end of an era

By in Analysis. Tags: · Comments (51) ·

While waiting for the Sunday afternoon Yankee affair to begin in Seattle, I flipped on the first game of the Mets-Phillies day-night doubleheader. As I watched that Phillies’ victory unfold, my thoughts landed on the Mets’ starter, not long for the game, and I thought that I could be watching the end of an era.

Pedro Martinez didn’t make it into the fifth inning on Sunday. He threw just four innings and allowed six earned runs on seven hits and a walk. In a very un-Pedro-like fashion, he struck out just one Phillie. That loss would drop Pedro to 5-4 on the season with a 5.44 ERA. In 91 innings, he has allowed 18 home runs while striking out just 68, and he is Pedro in name only.

In two months, Pedro Martinez will be out of a job. His four-year deal with the Mets expires at the end of the season, and after various injuries and surgeries, he will have made around 80 starts for the Mets. For $53 million, they probably expected more.

Now, Pedro will probably get a decent enough contract offer for next year. He’ll be 37 come opening day, and this year’s troubles could be attributed to his rebounding from arm surgery. But no matter what, Pedro is not the Pedro from the days of Who’s Your Daddy? chants. He’s a different pitcher, no longer feared and not nearly as effective as he was while on Boston.

For me, this realization that Pedro is nearing the end is a somber one. In a way, it’s just a part of the changing of the guard in baseball. The kids grow up, they get old and they lose it. Baseball is fleeting; it takes away the skills of the very best after just a few years, and all that’s left are shells of what they once were. Rare are the Jamie Moyer’s, Mike Mussina’s and Mariano Rivera‘s, pitchers who have maintained their effectiveness and, in Rivera’s case, dominance well past the usual expiration point.

When Pedro was on the Red Sox, I always wanted the Yankees to face him, and it wasn’t because they somehow managed to find ways to beat him. I wanted to watch Pedro pitch because what he did was an art. Remember September 10, 1999, nine years ago from tomorrow? That was the day the Yanks went 1 for 27 against Pedro, and he struck out 17 hitters. The Yanks scored a run on a Chili Davis home run, and Chuck Knoblauch reached on an HBP only to get caught stealing. It was dominance.

Over the years, Pedro would win some and lose some against the Yankees. But always the games would be fun. He would be cocky on the mound and a joker in the dugout when he wasn’t pitching. Pedro, a member of the hated Red Sox, will always be a part of the years of Yankee dominance. He was the best pitcher in the league during the years when the Yanks were the best in the biz, and he couldn’t do anything about it. But he gave it his all every time out much to my delight.

While Pedro once said that, to the Yankees, he just tips his cap and calls them daddy, I’ll have to tip my cap to Pedro when he finally retires. It was a pleasure watching him do his thing against the Yankees during his heydays on the Red Sox, and I’m sorry to see this era end as Pedro’s flame is seemingly dying in a hurry.

Categories : Analysis
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  • Girardi gets dreaded vote of confidence
    By

    “Joe will be back,” said Hank Steinbrenner yesterday. And that can mean only one thing: The Joe Girardi Job Watch is on. Whenever an owner goes out of his way to note that a manager, already under contract, won’t be fired, the storm clouds gather. Girardi hasn’t been the godsend people thought he would be, but the injuries weren’t his fault. He deserves to be back in 2009 and shouldn’t be questioned yet. · (24) ·

In the name of tradition, the Yankees have opted to forego selling the naming rights on their new stadium. Sports business analysts suggested that, in light of the Mets’ deal with Citibank, the Yankees could have gotten upwards of $25 million a year for the deal, but baseball tradition was strong with the Steinbrenners. Their home field will remain Yankee Stadium.

But, as I reported in February, the Yankees are going to sell naming rights on everything else in the stadium. We’re working on securing the River Ave. Blues bathroom as I type. (I kid.)

Yesterday, via Maury Brown’s Biz of Baseball, comes word that the Yankees and Bank of America are on the verge of signing a significant sponsorship deal for the new stadium. Terry Lefton, a staff writer for Sports Business Journal, reports:

While numerous sources said an agreement on the Premier Partnership package has been reached, an announcement date had not been set at press time for this story. Terms of the deal could not be confirmed and were difficult to discern. Early this year, the package was being shopped at $20 million a year. Sources familiar with the deal said last week that it was worth more than the New York Mets’ deal with Citibank and Barclays’ deal with the New Jersey Nets’ new home, each of which was said to be for an average of $20 million a year over 20 years and set a new benchmark. But another source said the Yankees’ deal was in the mid-teens per annum…

The deal includes a comprehensive financial relationship between the franchise and Bank of America. It also offers the company a vast array of inventory within the new ballpark, which will open next year, including prime signage in and around the park, large signs on the highways around the stadium, prominent exposure on Gate 4, the stadium’s main entrance, several fixed signs on top of the stadium affording an aerial view, a large sign atop the right-field scoreboard, even bigger signage on the back of the scoreboard that will face a new subway stop, signs on interior gates leading to the field, fixed and LED signs inside the stadium and the stadium bowl, permanent dugout branding and behind-the-plate signage and a logo on all Yankees tickets.

Also included are media on Yankees rights holder YES and flagship radio WCBS radio and access to some of the front-row Legends seats in the new stadium, which the Yankees will price at $500 to $2,500 a seat.

It’s hard to understate the impact the Yankees have on the sports business world. Even as a fourth-place team, they’re commanding more money for this non-naming rights sponsorship deal than any other team could ever dream of getting. In effect, they’re receiving the Marlins’ payroll annually from Bank of America in exchange for signage and sponsorship. Wrap your mind around that one for a second. Perhaps Chris Smith would like to amend his argument claiming the Yankees are just another team.

For the fans, all this means is a Bank of American inundation next year. BoA will have their logos literally all over the stadium. Their ads will be ubiquitous on TV and the radio. But for the money, who’s complaining? This game of baseball is, after all, a business, and this deal will be a record-breaker.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
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