• So much baseball

    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.

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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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.

Categories : Game Threads, Minors
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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.

Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
Molina C

Ponson P

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.

Categories : Game Threads
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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.

Categories : Whimsy
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  • Ticket prices high for the final game

    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) ·

  • Sitting in for Bob

    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) ·

The Interlocking NY

In ten days, it will be all be over. Eight-five years of memories along with countless photos will be all that remains of Yankee Stadium.

Over the next week and a half, we’ll hear more than we ever wanted to about the final days of the Stadium. We’ll see old Yankees return to say their final good byes. We’ll see fans making the exodus up the House that Ruth Built one more time. We’ll see countless pieces — such as Sweeney Murti’s excellent read of his Top 25 Yankee Stadium Moments — laud the stadium’s place in both baseball history and New York City lore.

Right now, though, before the ten-game homestand to end all homestands, the Yankees aren’t inspiring much confidence in their fan base. Yankee fans have given up on the season, and everyone and their uncles have suggestions on how to “fix” the Yankees. Before we get to that point in our discussions though, the Yankees have to wrap up what they started in 1923.

It’s not easy for a team of veterans who expected to make the playoffs to maintain to play in the face of disappointment. I’ve played enough sports in my life to know the drain of a long season and the weight of impossible expectations. I know what it’s like to watch another team win when that trophy was supposed to belong to you. I can only begin to guess what it’s like, after 146 games, to push through to the end when there’s nothing left for which to play.

But for the fans, for the history and for the stadium, the Yankees should and will find a way to bring some semblance of respect to the last 10 games at the stadium. They’re facing tough teams; two of their three opponents this week will probably play well past the end of September. But I have to believe the Yanks have one last hurrah in them. The ghosts of Yankee past that haunt the stadium will see to it that we won’t be disappointed as their prepare to tear down the Cathedral in the Bronx.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
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Triple-A Scranton (3-2 loss to Durham, walk-off style) SWB leads the best-of-five series 2-1 … all three games of the series have been decided on walk-off hits, as was the final game of the previous round for SWB … Phil Hughes vs Wade Davis in Game 4 tomorrow, pitching matchups in the minors don’t get any better
Justin Christian: 3 for 3, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 BB, 3 SB – what a stud
Bernie Castro: 0 for 2, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 2 RBI, 1 K
Shelley Duncan & Chris Basak: both 0 for 3, 1 K – Shelley drew a walk
Ben Broussard & Eric Duncan: both 0 for 4, 3 K – yikes
Matt Carson & Chris Stewart: both 1 for 4, 1 K – Stewart allowed a passed ball
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 7-7 GB/FB, 1 E (throwing) – 71 of 105 pitches were strikes (67.6%)
David Robertson: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0-1 GB/FB – 14 of 26 pitches were strikes (53.8%)
Six-Finger Perez: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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According to Bryan Hoch, Kevin Long and Robinson Cano are going to work together to retool Cano’s swing this off-season. The Yanks seem to feel that Cano’s moving parts are to blame for his sub-par season. However, I’m not quite convinced this is indeed the case.

On the season, Cano’s batting metrics are right in line with his previous seasons’ numbers. His line drive percentage is at 19.1, 2.2 percentage points higher than his 2007 number; his groundball percentage is 48.4, 3.8 percentage points lower than last year’s total. Meanwhile, Cano’s batting average on balls in play is sitting at .273, nearly .060 points lower than it was last year. These numbers seem to suggest that Cano is simply having one of the unluckiest seasons in recent memory.

So as the Yankees head into the off-season, looking to turn around one of the players most responsible for the team’s offensive malaise this year, I have to wonder if this is just a misguided effort or if the Yankees are seeing something in Cano’s swing and results that we’re not seeing reflected in the numbers.

To me, Cano’s steeply declining home run total is the biggest indication of a problem. He’s gone from a home run every 32.5 ABs to one every 41.6 ABs. If Cano were simply unlucky, his absolute power — his ability to hit the ball over the fence — shouldn’t decline as much as it has. For now, we’ll just have to wait ’til next year on this one, but this could just be case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Hat tip to Manimal for the article.

Categories : Analysis
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