In yesterday’s Rumblings column about possible tweaks to the All-Star festivities, Jayson Stark mentioned something that grabbed my attention and sounded pretty damn cool. Take it away, Mr. Stark:
An entirely new Futures Game, matching a team of great minor league prospects against a team of first-year and second-year big leaguers.
Look at that. It’s simple, easy to implement, and much more interesting than the current USA vs The World format. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the marketing importance of the current format, but as a fan, I think the MLers vs MiLers format would be much better entertainment.
Think about it, you’d have a team of the top prospects in baseball strutting their stuff and trying to show they belong against a team of the best young players in bigs, who certainly don’t want to lose to a bunch of minor leaguers. I highly doubt this would ever be implemented, but it sure would be fun.
It’s a Friday afternoon and no one’s in the mood for an intense and heavily analytical read after the long work week (am I right?), so sit back and enjoy the 25-man rosters I would select for each team. Here’s the actual USA and World rosters if you’re interested; fun starts after the jump.
Jen of No Sense Worrying has donated four tickets to the All Star FanFest for tomorrow afternoon. She wants us to give it away through a trivia contest. So here’s your question. The first person to answer the question correctly based on the time of your comment wins the tickets. Ready? Set? Go: Which Yankee was the first pitcher to DH in a game? When was the game? What spot in the lineup did he hit? What was his hitting line for the day? And who was the winning pitcher that day? · (6) ·
It seems like 60 percent of our commenters will be pissed at this, while another 40 percent will jump for joy. According to a quote in Newsday, Barry Bonds is not a consideration for the Bombers: “I guess I can say that they have engaged us in the past and I’ve told them that I have too many people, maybe not too many people with the same ability, but too many people at the same spot that you have a lot of dollars committed to.” · (43) ·
Earlier this week, news broke that Citi Field is going to be something of a foodie’s paradise. According to Eater, Danny Meyer of Blue Smoke fame and the Mets are teaming up to bring Mets fans good food. Their new stadium will house a Blue Smoke, a Shake Shack, a Taquería and a Belgian frites stand. Yankee Stadium will get a steakhouse and a Hard Rock Cafe. As a self-professed foodie, I begrudgingly award the Mets the victory on this one. So far. · (19) ·
Alex Eisenberg of Baseball Intellect breaks down the stuff and mechanics of Yanks first rounder Gerrit Cole over at The Hardball Times. You’ve gotta love the combination of velocity and movement he brings with his four-seamer, and the slight change with the two-seamer. His curve and change also figure to be above-average, so we’re looking at a guy with ace potential — though, as we’ve learned over the past few years, ace potential guarantees you diddly shit. Eisenberg’s conclusion: “Why fix something that ain’t broke?” Perfect. · (29) ·
It might be Hideki Matsui. The Yanks are hitting .252/.337/.380 since he went down. It might be Johnny Damon. The Bombers have mustered a .248/.315/.349 line since he hit the DL. But whatever it is, the Yankees just aren’t hitting right now.
Nothing proved that point like tonight’s uninspired loss to the Pirates in Pittsburgh. While Mike Mussina threw another quality start — 6 innings, 9 hits, 2 earned runs, no walks, 5 strike outs — to lower his ERA to 3.61, the Yankees bats couldn’t muster much of anything against a left-handed Paul Maholm. A brief two hours and thirty-seven minutes after the first pitch, the Yanks escaped Pittsburgh, losing an opportunity to gain valuable ground on the idle Red Sox and the shellacked Rays.
The game itself doesn’t lend itself to verbose musings. The offense looked bad, Jose Veras didn’t do the job, and the Yanks fell short. The story is in the details. In July, the Yanks bats have all but disappeared. Outside of that 18-run game against the Rangers, the Yankees, by my calculations, are hitting .230 with a .296 OBP and a .300 slugging percentage as a team in July. That’s worse than Melky. (Zing!)
Cheap shots at Melky aside, the only answer for this team right now is that they’re in a slump, and they are continually fielding a lineup with Jose Molina and the young Mr. Cabrera at the bottom. Bobby Abreu hasn’t hit much since he took out Nick Blackburn — .237/.318/.370 since the second game of that Twins seriers — and the lineup can hold up a bunch of struggling starters.
So far, the Yanks have managed to win because of their superior pitching. The bullpen — prior to tonight — has been outstanding, and the starting pitchers are, by and large, getting the job down with three of the hurlers being outstanding and two being serviceable to okay. The Yanks could have won many more games recently than they have.
At some point, something will give; the bats will come alive or the pitching will falter. I’m hoping for the former while dreading the latter. Either way, this offensive malaise doesn’t make for fun Yankee baseball.
Triple-A Scranton (7-3 win over Columbus)
Alberto Gonzalez & Eric Duncan: both 0 for 5 – E-Dunc K’ed
Matt Carson: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 3 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB – went back-to-back with Carson to lead off the 6th
Cody Ransom: 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – Chad Jennings says he’s taking Justin Christian’s spot in the All-Star Game
Ben Broussard: 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB
Jason Lane: 2 for 4
Dan McCutchen: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 8-4 GB/FB – 61 of 89 pitches were strikes (68.6%)
JB Cox: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2-0 GB/FB
Chris Britton: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Scott Strickland: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K – 6 baserunners in his last 13 IP … sick
Tyler Clippard: 5 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K – ah there’s the T-Clip we all know and love
Yeah, so those last four spots aren’t going to look that pretty. Thankfully, though, this means that Girardi opted not to bat Melky leadoff tonight. That, unfortunately, means that he’s actually in the lineup. It’s too bad Brett Gardner isn’t hitting better, or maybe we’d have an option to take over for him in center.
Jorge’s starting at first tonight in place of Jason Giambi, though Hip Hip is none too happy about it. Too bad, I say. He had and continue to has shoulder problems (that labrum won’t untear itself), so Girardi has opted to go with Molina behind the plate more frequently. It has made perfect sense with Damon and Matsui on the DL. Jorge will be behind the plate tomorrow and on Sunday.
Giambi didn’t win the final vote contest, dropping it to a deserving Evan Longoria. He’ll have tonight off, followed by a three-day vacation next week. That can never hurt a 37-year-old with an injury history.
Quickie injury update: Damon is still sidelined, his shoulder still swollen. Matsui is progressing, though nothing is certain with him. Phil Hughes will toss off a mound Saturday.
Make sure to check out the discussion in Steve’s guest post. Seriously, with just a few exceptions, this is one of the best and most honest conversations about the youth movement that we’ve had on RAB.
TV ratings for nationally-televised MLB games are down, and Maury Brown at The Biz of Baseball notes the cause. According to Brown’s post, FOX had aired two more Yankees/Red Sox at this point last year, and ESPN had aired five more Yankees/Red Sox and Yankees/Mets games than they have this year. So as baseball looks forward to its second half, you can bet that we’ll be getting more than our fair share of Tim McCarver, Joe Buck and Joe Morgan. I can’t wait. · (7) ·