The Quest for Twenty continues this afternoon as Mike Mussina takes the mound in search of his 18th victory of the season. For Moose, in his career-long quest for a 20-win season, today is something of a must-win. He’s set to make three more starts this season, but to expect him to go 3-0 might be asking too much. If he wins today, his quest will be that much easier.
On the season, Mussina is 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA against the Rays. He’s allowed 17 hits and just three walks in 18.1 innings. Hopefully, his dominance against Tampa will continue. He faces James Shields who is 0-2 against the Yanks this year but with a sub-3.00 ERA.
This afternoon starts at 1:05 p.m., and it’s on YES. Mike will have the nightcap game thread later. That one’s on My9.
Update by Mike (1:10pm): A-Rod scratched with a stiff neck. Nady’s cleaning up, Ransom’s playing third & batting 7th. Ouch for Betemit.
Chad Jennings has the news. After flat-out dominating during the IL playoffs, the promotion is well deserved. I think we’re all excited to see him in pinstripes again, even if he won’t be able to pitch for a few days. In similarly exciting news for fans of young stud pitchers, David Price, amongst others, was called up to Rays. There’s a good chance we’ll see him sometime this series.
Update (11:30am): David Robertson’s back too. · (10) ·
Phil Hughes, fresh off his IL Championship-clinching win, will make an Internet radio appearance. Eric SanInocencio, host of Baseball Digest Daily Live, will interview the Yankees’ young prospect this afternoon during the noon broadcast of his show. Point your browser over to the BDD Live homepage at 12 to catch Hughes. · (7) ·
For the first time in a long time, New York City will play host to four Major League Baseball games on one calendar day. The Yanks and Mets were both rained out on Friday, and both teams plan to play doubleheaders on Saturday. The Yanks are going the split-admission. day-night route to enable fans to catch their last games at the Stadium while the Mets are playing a single-admission set starting at 3:55 p.m. The Yankee Stadium Insider Blog notes that it’s possible for dedicated baseball to catch 75 percent of the doubleheader later today. That would be one long day of baseball. · (1) ·
Admit it, you know that title has a nice ring to it.
Triple-A Scranton (20-2 win over Durham) they pounded a guy who’s arguably the best RHP prospect in the game … they win the Governor’s Cup with a 3-1 series win over Durham … it’s the first time the Yanks’ AAA affiliate has won the league title since the Columbus Clippers back in 1992
Justin Christian: 2 for 7, 3 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 SB
Bernie Casatro: 3 for 3, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 3 for 5, 2 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 K – hit a homer late and did a little Manny pose
Shelley Duncan & Ben Broussard: both 1 for 4, 1 R – Shelley walked twice … Broussard doubled, drove in a run, walked & K’ed
Matt Carson: 2 for 6, 1 R, 2 K – threw a runner out at the plate to end the 1st
Eric Duncan: 1 for 6, 1 R, 3 K
Chris Stewart: 1 for 3, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K
Chris Basak: 4 for 4, 4 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB – Chris Basak, really?
Philthy Hughes: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 12 K, 0-2 GB/FB – 58 of 97 pitches were strikes (59.8%) … okay, where to start with this one … he struck out at least 2 batters in every inning, as well as the side in the 3rd & 4th … he loaded the bases on a single-single-walk in the 4th, then walked in a run before striking out the next 3 batters to get out of the jam … his 23 K sets new franchise single-postseason & career strikeout records … his career line in the postseason is 24.2 IP, 16H, 1ER, 5 BB, 42 K … we’ve been saying this all season: don’t write the kid off, he had 6 bad starts in April (something anyone can do), that’s it … he’s too talented to write-off this soon
Jon Albaladejo: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HB, 5-2 GB/FB – 21 of 35 pitches were strikes (60.0%)
Zack Kroenke: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1-0 GB/FB
Scranton will now head to Oklahoma to take on the Pacific Coast League Champion in the Bricktown Showdown next Tuesday. The Sacramento River Cats (A’s) and Oklahoma Red Hawks (Rangers) were tied at one in their-best-of-five series heading into tonight. Victor Zambrano will likely get the start; the game is usually broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2.
With rain falling in New York and the Yanks playing generally uninspired baseball, we turn our attention to Durham where the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees are going for the International League title. A win tonight would bring the Governor’s Cup home to Scranton.
Meanwhile, the 1992 Columbus Clippers were he last Yankee affiliate to grab that coveted AAA title. That team featured quite the collection of players. Bernie Williams was the clear star along with J.T. Snow, Torey Lovullo, Hensely “Bam-Bam” Muelens and Gerald “Ice” Williams. On the pitching front, Bob Wickman, Sam Militello and Russ Springer lead the rotation while Mike Draper closed. That’s quite the collection of stars, never-were’s and has-been’s.
Tonight’s game pits Phil Hughes, coming off one of his most dominant AAA appearances ever, against Wade Davis. This is a matchup of premier right-handed pitching prospects. If it lives up to its billing, it could be a classic.
Scranton leads the best-of-five series 2-1, and every game has been decided in the final at-bat. In fact, Scranton’s last four games have all been walk-offs. You can catch this one for free over at MiLB.com. Just follow the video links.
It’s raining in New York City, and the Doppler doesn’t look good. My guess is a rainout tonight with a doubleheader tomorrow.
But in case I’m wrong, the Yanks’ lineup is below. Jump for joy; it’s another Sidney Ponson start.
Yankee Notes: We will have a Game Thread for the AAA playoff game as well. That goes live at 6:45 p.m. Please try to keep comments in this thread about the Yanks and in that thread about Scranton.
Update by Mike (9:02pm): The game has been postponed. Day-nighter tomorrow.
Yesterday, we heard that Hank Steinbrenner wants to set up an advisory board to determine how the team will handle this off-season. He evoked the late 90s dynasty, essentially saying that it worked then, so it should work now. Put aside for a moment the implications this has for Brian Cashman‘s job. If Hank is serious about creating this board, and if Hal will actually let him go through with it, then I have a suggestion to make regarding its members.
Place Ben K., Mike A., and Joseph P. on the board.
Yeah, well, no duh; everyone wants to be on the committee. Why us? What we’re proposing is a fresh perspective — and not in some cheap politician way.
Surely the board will comprise the team’s most trusted scouts and baseball people. Those are the ones, after all, who are most capable of making the best decisions. However, there’s a problem here. All of them have been entrenched in the bureaucracy of baseball. Traditional knowledge abounds. Not that traditional knowledge doesn’t work — clearly, we understand the value of scouting and subjective analysis. But it seems that the team could use a different way of looking at things moving forward.
We wouldn’t be at the center of the board. Rather, we’d be at the fringes. We’d take in every bit of knowledge the board has. We’d process scouting reports and opinions from across the spectrum. Then we’d evaluate and submit our own opinions. The advantage is that these perspectives don’t come from years within the game. They come from years of closely observing the game.
What’s the difference? It might be nothing. The board might hear our opinions and decide not to use them in determining the final decisions. The point is, though, that they’ll be out there for the board to consider. Plus, we’ll know the job is temporary. We won’t have inhibitions about contradicting the boss, as many of those present might, in the name of job security. So when Hank says “If I want somebody, I’m going to go after him,” and wants to pull a Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner, we can tell him that it’s a terrible idea. Whereas some in the room might not be so inclined to do so.
It boils down to lack of experience in a major league setting, and our collective ability to process new information and form an opinion. Hey, it could prove invaluable to the future of the Yankees*.
*Yeah, I know, it’s not realistic at all. But hey, if Hank’s going to deal with things in this manner, he might as well have a group of reasonably sane fans to talk him off the ledge.
Here’s a good “duh” story with some interesting analysis attached to it: Ticket prices for the final game at Yankee Stadium are, according to Maury Brown, very high. Brown reports that the median price of tickets on the secondary market for nine of the final ten games at the stadium is $222, but the final game is in a class by itself. Tickets are going for an average of $1111 a pop with the highest marked at $18,300. Whether these seats actually sell at that price point is an entirely different story altogether. · (9) ·
While we’re all eagerly awaiting Bob Sheppard’s return to the booth, The Times got around to profiling Sheppard’s replacement last week. Jim Hall, the man filling in for the Voice of God, talks about the reception he receives, his efforts at mimicking Sheppard and his 40-year career as the backup Yankee public address announcer. I’m a sucker for stories like these. · (8) ·