Over the weekend, the Yankees dropped two out of three to what was the worst team in baseball. They’re now a game and a half ahead of the Padres, who hold a 55-88 record. Bet you couldn’t have called that one on Opening Day.
Old friend Gary Sheffield has hit the 249,999th and 250,000th homers in MLB history. Just thought that’d be a little something interesting to talk about before the game.
Last week, Dave Pinto pointed out that Mark Teixeira is doing his job and then some since coming over to the Angels. He was hitting .380/.469/.645 with the Angels at the time of his writing, though the Angels were just 19-14 since the trade, which had actually brought down their win percentage. He’s now at .360/.441/.610 as an Angel, and the team is now 20-16 since the trade.
Why the discrepancy? Pitching. What else. Before the trade, the staff pitched to a 3.85 ERA, striking out 6.2, walking 2.7, and giving up a homer per nine innings. Since the trade they’re pitching to a 4.56 ERA, though they’re striking out more (6.6 per nine) and walking fewer (2.2 per nine). They’re giving up 1.45 homers per nine, which seems to be the difference.
Enough about Anaheim. I’d just like to win a few more games before the season is over.
And on the mound, number forty-five, Carl Pavano.
When we all do our post mortems on the 2008 New York Yankees, Robinson Cano will be one of the main cast of characters.
Coming off of two stellar years, Cano’s 2008 season has been a disappointment. On the season, Cano is hitting .264/.299/.403. Much of that poor line can be attributed to a start that saw him hitting .150/.213/.230 at the start of May, and over his last 441 plate appearances, he’s hitting a respectable .294/.323/.450.
But even still, something isn’t right with Robinson Cano. His power his down, and he’s doing a terrible job of getting on base. In fact, he’s drawn one base on balls in last 89 appearances and none since August 20. For a hitter who should be entering his prime offensive years, 2008 is a clear step back in the development of Robinson Cano.
Cano a 25-year-old second base who can hit .300 at the Major League level. He’s got power and great athletic ability, but he’s shown decreasing rate stats in each of the past two seasons. The Yankees, for 2009 and beyond, need Cano to put it together. He can’t become another flash-in-the-pan second baseman in the Bronx.
According to Tyler Kepner, Bernie Wlliams, a recent guest of President Bush’s and coach at a White House T-ball game, will make an appearance at Yankee Stadium before the year is out. Bernie’s publicist doesn’t yet have any official details concerning Bernie’s reappearance in the Bronx after a two-year Cold War with the Yankees, but this is one overdue détente. · (13) ·
And why Hank and Hal won’t either
It’s always entertaining when New York Magazine, the tabloid of the city’s vibrant magazine world, pushes itself into the sports scene. Their pieces are so full of broad generalizations, sweeping proclamations and incorrect facts as to obscure any larger point the magazine might be trying to make.
This week, with the Yanks’ season nearing an end and the team sitting uncomfortably in fourth place, Chris Smith examines the current state of Yankee ownership and wonders if the Yankees are fading without George Steinbrenner around to right the ship. “As the tyrant fades away and his team fades with him,” the magazine’s headline writers say, “it has now become all too apparent that the Boss was really the straw that stirred the drink.”
The only problem with this argument is that it’s just not true, and we’re once again stuck with a tired media trope that, if repeated often enough, becomes accepted fact.
Via our buddy Mark Feinsand, we learn that the Yankees are taking this Japan thing seriously. Clearly wanting to avoid another Kei Igawa debacle, they’ve sent Gene Michael overseas to scout things out. Among the rumored targets are Koji Uehara, a 33-year-old righty, Kenshin Kawakami, another righty, and Hitoki Iwase, a lefty reliever. Cork Gaines at MLBTR brings up Yu Darvish as well, though it’s not likely he gets posted this winter.
Hey, when you need something done right, you send the guy or guys you trust most. You definitely don’t send Mike Pagliarulo to do the job. Or else you get a scouting report like this:
“(Igawa) is considered one of the best starters in Japan and is having a good season. He is doing a good job of moving the ball around the zone and seems to be conserving himself throughout the game … He showed a good split and was adding on to his fastball in tough situations. He has enough to be a fourth or fifth starter in the U.S.”
I wish we had more of Pags’s scouting report. I wonder if he mentioned anything about Igawa leaving his changeup high in the zone, a pitch that might fool some in Japan, but one that major league hitters will deposit over the wall. Or take and draw a walk.
Personally, I’m skeptical about talent, particularly pitching talent, coming from Japan. Have we seen any of them sustain success? You can point to Daisuke Matsuzaka, who with a 2.88 ERA is powering the Red Sox. He’s walked 84 in 146 innings, though, which is never a good sign. Can he have consistent success with control like that? History would say no.
Another minor league season is in the books, but this year was a bit more tumultuous than last. I’d say more guys underperformed and disappointed than stepped up this year, which is the exact opposite of what happened last year. Graduation, injuries and ineffectiveness have been prevalent, but there have certainly been some bright spots.
Yankees’ affiliates combined to go 485-348 this year, good for a .582 winning percentage, marking at least the 17th consecutive season the affiliates have combined for an above .500 record. I say at least because B-Ref’s data only goes back to 1992, and I’m not going to spend the time to keep digging further. Take a second to get your head around how ridiculous a combined .582 winning percentage is – that’s better than a 94 win pace in a 162-game season. Insane.
Keep in mind that this isn’t some kind of best prospect list, it’s a recognition of the guys who had great years, regardless of prospect status. In order to keep things from getting redundant, the winner of the Player of the Year award isn’t eligible for the other major awards. Fun starts after the jump.
With the Yankees in fourth place, it’s fairly safe to say that Sept. 21st will play host to the last baseball game ever at Yankee Stadium. Between now and then, the Yanks will be home just ten more times, and thousands of Yankee fans will make their final trips to the stadium. To that end, I’m sure souvenir hunters will be out in full force. I’ve already seen cops arrest would-be vandals, and now the Yankees (and Mets) have announced plans to beef up security measures during the final regular season games. That last game is going to be really messy from a security standpoint. · (13) ·
When I returned home, the Mariners had a 4-2 lead, Phil Coke was in the game and the New York Yankees with their $208-million payroll were staring at the inevitability of fourth place. The last 2.5 innings of the game today seemed like a mere formality. The Yanks, after their pair of early-game home runs, couldn’t do much of anything against the Mariners, and they limped out of Seattle losers of two of three and three of four, overall.
The dual stories today focus around Mike Mussina and the AL East standings. In losing today, Mike Mussina fell to 17-8, but he didn’t really pitch poorly. In six innings, Mussina showed great command of the strike zone, throwing 73 or 107 pitches for strikes, but two of those pitches — one to Adrian Beltre with a runner on and another to Jose Lopez — were too good. Seven hits — two home runs — and one walk resulted in four Mariners runs. Moose struck out seven, but he didn’t get the win.
With four starts left, Mussina is going to have to earn 20 wins. He’s going to face the Rays, the White Sox, the Blue Jays and Red Sox. Three of those teams are bound for the playoffs, and all four, as of this writing, have better records than the Yankees. The magic number 20 won’t come easy for Mussina.
Meanwhile, the Yankees, whose bats were silent against the likes of Ryan Feierabend, have to face the reality of fourth place right now as they journey south from Seattle to Anaheim, a city in which they haven’t enjoyed much success. In stark contrast to the Yanks’ fortunes, the papers in south California tomorrow will be filled with stories about Joe Torre’s first-place Dodgers. How ironic.
At some point soon, we’ll talk about injuries and an under-performing offense. We’ll talk about trades that weren’t, couldn’t and shouldn’t have been made. We’ll talk about where the Yankees are going, where they should go and where they shouldn’t go. For now, we just have to know that, on September 8, for the first time since Danny Tartabull drove in nine runs against the Orioles, the Yankees will start the day in fourth place. I don’t think anyone really saw that one coming.
Triple-A Scranton (2-0 win over Pawtucket in 10 innings, walk-off style) SWB wins series 3-1 … it’s their first trip to the Governor’s Cup since 2001 … they’ll be taking on David Price, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis & the rest of the Durham Bulls for the Cup
Justin Christian: 1 for 4
Bernie Castro: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K – led off the 10th with a double (he advanced to third on an error) after PawSox pitchers had retired 20 straight Yanks
Juan Miranda: 0 for 4, 2 K
Aaron Boone Shelley Duncan: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – walk-off homer to end the PawSox’s season
Ben Broussard, Matt Carson & Eric Duncan: all 0 for 3 – Broussard & E-Dunc K’ed
Nick Green: 1 for 3, 1 K
Chris Stewart: 0 for 2
Phil Hughes 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K, 7-6 GB/FB – 75 of 94 pitches were strikes (79.8%) … that’s domination homes, even more impressive considered he was facing a former Cy Young Award winner … career line in the playoffs: 19.2 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 30 K
Scott Strickland:2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HB – 23 of 32 pitches were strikes (71.9%)
Mike Mussina has won 18 games five times, but he hasn’t accomplished this feat since 2002. Today, in Seattle, he’s gunning for his 18th victory of the year. If he nails the W today, he’ll have 20 in his sights. If not, he’ll have to win three of his last four starts.
Originally scheduled to face him was Carlos Silva, and it’s too bad that Silva’s back is acting up. Against the Yankees, Silva has been nothing short of terrible in his career. But alas, the Yanks will instead face Ryan Feierabend, a 23-year-old with some unimpressive Major League numbers.
Mussina P (17-7, 3.39 ERA)