Never mind the Yankees’ current standing in third place, or their recent struggles. Both Steinbrenner brothers are now said by people familiar with their thinking to be on board with Brian Cashman as their general manager, for now and long into the future. Even if the Yankees fail to play into October for the first full season since 1993, club insiders say that the Steinbrenners plan to offer Cashman a contract extension after this season.
At the start of the season, as we well know, Cashman’s long-term prospects in the New York seemed to hinge on this season. He had very publicly — and with an assist from Hal Steinbrenner — declined to give up prospects (and perhaps Chien-Ming Wang) in a trade for Johan Santana and was putting his chips in the development basket. Now, we sit in mid-August, and the Yanks are firmly ensconced in third place, a distant five games behind Boston in the Wild Card.
Yet, as Heyman notes, the Steinbrenners have reportedly latched onto the positives this year. The Yanks organization looks very strong with Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero leading the charge. Plus, Cashman gained major points for his seeming coup in acquiring Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte for nothing more than Jose Tabata and a bunch of mid-level prospects.
Meanwhile, if the Yanks are serious about a new approach involving smart investing in free agency and developing quality youngsters from within, it never made sense to hold Cashman’s feet to the fire based on just the 2008 season. The Yankees are going to have to ride out a plan that takes a few years to see through, and that means Brian Cashman should return. Hopefully, Heyman’s report contains the truth. Hopefully, Cashman doesn’t jump ship to Seattle. Hopefully, the Yanks’ new approach will work for years to come.
Nothing like a day game right after a four hour and 22 minute affair the night before. It’ll just make tomorrow’s day off feel sweeter. That is, if they can pull of a win and take the series from the Twins.
They’ll be without the captain, who will sit out the game after fouling a ball of his foot last night. It makes enough sense. Might as well give him a full two days to rest. They will miss has bat, though. He’s 15 for 47 in August, adding up to a .319/.370/.404 line. In his place is Wilson Betemit, who is having yet another ugly month, despite his slightly increased playing time. In 27 plate appearances, he hasn’t drawn a single walk.
Rasner takes the mound again, looking to redeem himself. Phil Hughes is getting closer, and could take Rasner’s spot in 10 days or so. Here’s to hoping Ras puts up a fight to keep his spot.
And on the mound, number forty-three, Darrell Rasner.
The USA Olympic baseball team lost it’s opener today, falling 8-7 to Korea. One time Yankee farmhand (and ex-Met) Brandon Knight drew the start and was pretty ineffective, allowing 8 hits, 2 walks and 3 runs in 4.1 IP (1 K). Mike Koplove, Brian Duensing & Kevin Jepsen followed with 3.2 perfect innings of relief. Team USA rallied for three runs in the top of the 9th, highlighted by a Mike Hessman solo homer and a Matt Brown 2-run single that gave the team a 7-6 lead. Closer Jeff Stevens (the guy the Indians got in the Brandon Phillips trade) blew the save in the bottom half thanks to a double, fielder’s choice, throwing error (by Stevens) and a walk-off sac fly.
Quick turn around for the red, white & blue; they’ll take on the Netherlands tonight at 10:30 EST. I imagine either Brett Anderson or Trevor Cahill will take the ball.
Update: Here’s the box score. Knight allowed 6 runs, not 3. · (11) ·
So the Yankees have Johnny Damon leading the AL in hitting, Xavier Nady with 6 HR, 17 RBI and a .344 batting average in 17 games with the Yanks, and Bobby Abreu manning right field. With Hideki Matsui on the rehab trail, I have to wonder about Melky Cabrera.
The Melk Man has played just three times in the last six games and has just six starts in August. He has three hits this month — all in one games — and on the season, he’s at .243/.297/.338 . While the Yanks won’t officially proclaim the Melky Cabrera Era over, Tyler Kepner writes today that Melky has lost the center field job. I wonder what, if anything, the Yanks can get for him in a trade this winter. · (36) ·
In the eighth inning, following Delmon Young’s one-out, three-run home run against Mariano Rivera, tonight’s Yankee game seemed like Just One of Those Nights. Lately, we’ve known that feeling all too well. Following a solid start, the Yanks’ bullpen steps in to blow the game while the offense can’t quite push across enough runs.
Luckily, tonight, the game ended in the Yanks’ favor when the beleaguered Alex Rodriguez, 0 for the night until the 12th, blasted a shot to straightaway center field. Following a Xavier Nady two-run home run and a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning for Edwar Ramirez, the Yanks walked away winners.
For the team, this win may yet turn out to be the game that saved the season — or at least delayed the inevitable — as the Red Sox blew a 10-run first-inning but still managed to win. The Yanks maintained the five-game divide separating them and Boston and narrowed the AL East deficit to eight. They’re down, but not quite out of it yet.
For the first seven innings, Mike Mussina and the Yanks’ offense were the stars of the game. With Johnny Damon — the AL’s leading hitter — back in the lineup after an inexplicable day off, the Yanks got off to a very first start. One batter into the game, and the Yanks were up a run. While the Twins would answer with two in the second, Nady picked up two of his four RBIs in the third. He now has 17 ribbies as a Yank. But of course, the other half of that trade would strike back.
By the seven, the Yanks were up 6-3. Mike Mussina threw 104 pitches in seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and his customary one walk. He struck out five. But Damaso Marte, called upon to pitch the eighth, couldn’t handle the job. Again. Marte gave up a hit, got an out, gave up another hit and then hit the showers.
And then disaster struck. Mariano Rivera is having a season for the ages, but since July 1, his totals are less than stellar. In 14 innings prior to tonight, he has a 3.21 ERA and two losses. Now, he can finally add a blown save to that line. After Young’s home run, Rivera made the most of it, and Jose Veras picked up the slack. By the time A-Rod homered and Nady added the icing on the cake, the bullpen had done an admirable job outside of the eighth.
For the Yanks, 2-6 on the road before tonight, this was about as big a must-win as they’ve had all season. With Darrell Rasner set to go this afternoon, they need every win they can get on the road right now. As the calendar pages disappear and the season marches inevitably closer to the end, the Yanks basically just have to keep on winning. Tonight it was nearly Mo’s turn to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but in the end, A-Rod — the much-maligned A-Rod — stepped in to save the day. I’ll take it.
Steven White has been released, and Jeff Marquez takes his spot on Trenton’s roster. White’s fall from grace was rather precipitous. He’ll land on his feet though.
Triple-A Scranton (8-6 win over Pawtucket in 11 innings) they took a 4-run lead in the top of the 10th, but blew it in the bottom of the inning
Brett Gardner: 2 for 6, 1 RBI, 1 K
Matt Carson: 1 for 5, 1 BB, 2 K
Juan Miranda: 0 for 6, 1 K – eek
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 4, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 SB – it’s always fun when Shelley steals a bag
Ben Broussard: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP
Cody Ransom: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB – doubled in the winning runs
Chad Moeller: 2 for 6, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K – when Moeller homers, you’ve gotta find a way to win the game
Chris Basak: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SB
Phil Hughes: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 4-8 GB/FB – 50 of 84 pitches were strikes (59.5%) … one more start in AAA and he’s ready to go
Mark Melancon: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 3-2 GB/FB – 18 of 31 pitches were strikes (58.1%) … allowed a pair of inherited runners to score, uglifying Hughes’ line … hopefully we’ll be watching him relieve Hughes for many years to come
Phil Coke: 1 IP, zeroes
Scott Strickland: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K – 11 earned runs allowed in his last 1.2 IP (59.28 ERA) … 2.11 ERA on the year before that
Steven Jackson: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HB
While Hank is seemingly writing off the season, we’re trying to stay optimistic. We know the Yankees need to go on a tear, and each loss decreases the likelihood of them doing so. Was last night rock bottom? It didn’t feel like it, not to me at least. Maybe it did in the locker room. Maybe the only place this team can go is up.
If so, they’ve got the guy on the mound to do it. Moose looks for his 16th victory tonight, against a team he dominated on July 23. It was, in fact, probably his best performance of the year, and that’s saying something, considering how well he has pitched.
There’s not much left to say. Melky’s out of the lineup. He has three hits in 25 plate appearances this month, and they all came on Saturday against the Angels.
And on the mound, number thirty-five, Mike Mussina.
Via Ed Price, Brian Cashman said that the perpetually under-appreciated Hideki Matsui will begin a minor league rehab assignment this Thursday in Tampa. If the Yanks can get 4 or 5 healthy weeks out of Matsui a the end of the year, man, that would be some kind of boost to the offense. · (11) ·