A week from today, 25-man rosters will be eligible for expansion. Anyone on the 40-man roster can be called up and played just like they were on the 25-man. It’s one of the more exciting times of year for prospect nuts, who can get a chance to see some players who are close to seeing big league playing time.
The Yankees cannot afford such a luxury this year. They’ll call up players, for sure, likely after the minor league playoffs conclude. From these additions, however, the Yanks will be looking for production. They can’t afford to stroll out scrubs during the final month of the season, where they’ll hopefully be scratching their way to a 14th consecutive playoff berth. If you can’t help, there’s a seat for you on the bench, in other words.
The question is, who do you think will have the best chance of helping the team down the stretch? Can we get some useful relief innings out of Scott Patterson? Will Al Aceves make his way onto the 40-man? Can Phil Hughes right the ship in time for prime time?
Can we start using “to Joe Torre” a pitcher as a verb? Damaso Marte says he’s no longer hurting after a 42-pitch outing on Aug. 4 left him with a sore elbow. Marte, a disappointment so far in his short Yankee career but showing some signs of life lately, was overworked the night the Yanks lost Joba Chamberlain and hasn’t been effective since then. I hope Joe Girardi takes this as a lesson Joe Torre never learned about the arms of relievers. These pitchers can only handle so much stress before they break down. · (26) ·
Not much, says Newsday’s Jim Baumbach. The media these days really loves to doubt Pavano, but I’m not ready to hop on that bandwagon. Perhaps the oft-injured Carl can do some good for the Yankees over the next five weeks. He is, after all, pitching for a contract. · (67) ·
This year marked the final hurrah of baseball as an Olympic sport. In 2012, baseball will no longer be considered an Olympic sport, the first since Polo in 1936 to lose that exclusive label. Now, with the Beijing games over, the IOC is telling Major League Baseball that their game can regain its international cache if they included big names like A-Rod in international competition. I can’t really support this move. I could care less if A-Rod and other superstars are playing in the Olympics, and if it means a two-week absence from the Yanks in the middle of summer, I’d have to issue a very definite no to this call. Keep on promoting rowing and gymnastics. We’ll enjoy our baseball right here. · (42) ·
It looks like today’s off-day will not be used to skip one of the current starters. The Yanks will trot out Mike Mussina on Tuesday, Sidney Ponson on Wednesday, and Andy Pettitte on Thursday to face the Red Sox. Sure, they could tell Sidney to take a day off, slide Pettitte into his spot, and pitch Pavano on Thursday. But is that any better? After all, Sidney tends to do well in his start after being blown out.
The real rotation issues actually begin on Saturday. This will be Darrell Rasner’s next start. He’s faced Toronto twice this year, each time coming up with at least acceptable results. So do you give him another shot? Or do you turn to Phil Hughes or Alfredo Aceves?
It’s not an easy question to answer. Aceves might seem attractive after last night’s performance, but is he ready for The Show? Hughes has been uninspiring his past two times out, but could eight days of rest cure what ails him? These are questions the Yanks will ask over the course of the week. The results against the Red Sox could play a large role in that decision.
Let’s toss this one up to the comments. Do you take a risk with Hughes and Aceves, hoping that they can piece together a few good starts in September? Or do you give Rasner the ball again and give those two another start in AAA?
“The game of baseball is challenging,” [Melancon] said. “It’s really the game, it’s not the opponents. It’s getting strike one. It’s getting the first out. It’s throwing to the glove. Obviously I’m giving respect to the hitters but at the same time, if you locate the ball it really does not matter who’s up there. You know, sometimes guys are going to get a good pitch and hit it far, but you can’t worry about that. You have to worry about what you can control, and that’s throwing my pitches well.”
I mean, wow. Could he have said it any better?
We’ve been hearing how great Melancon’s makeup is since he was drafted, and that quote shows it. The 23-yr old from Colorado has come back from Tommy John surgery better than anyone could have expected, and has put himself in a position to be a factor out of the Yanks’ pen as soon as next April. He’ll be a fan favorite rather quickly.
Rare are the series this season when the Yankees sweep a three-game set. But if ever there were to be a time for the Yanks to pick up the pace, this week would be it.
While New York is reeling from the news about Osi Umenyiora, the Yankees are trying to make a last-gasp run at the playoffs, and to accomplish this dream, they’ll have to sweep the Red Sox this week. Momentum is on their side.
Sunday’s game did not start out well for the Yankees. Darrell Rasner, a starter by default, was terrible. He allowed ten baserunners and five runs — three earned — in just 3.1 innings of work. While the Yanks spotted Rasner to a 7-3 lead, he and the bullpen could not hold the Orioles, and at this point, no one really knows who will next start for the Yankees when they need a fifth starter.
Meanwhile, the Yanks’ bullpen came through late with a few huge innings. While David Robertson and Edwar Ramirez coughed up a two-run lead, Jose Veras, Damaso Marte and Mariano Rivera held the Orioles over the final three innings. Marte finally showed Yankee fans what he could do, and Mariano picked up a four-out save — his 31st of the season — to give the Yankees a much-needed victory.
Offensively, Sunday belonged to Robinson Cano. While he’s still trying to overcome a terrible start, Cano knocked out four hits on Sunday including the game-winning home run in the seventh inning. He drove in two, scored two and pushed his average up to .269. The Yanks really need to Cano to get hot over their last 30 games, and Sunday proved to be a good start.
Meanwhile, while Jason Giambi had yet another 0-fer and left seven runners on base, A-Rod and Bobby Abreu went a combined 5 for 7. Xavier Nady drove in two runs; Johnny Damon drove in three. And while Boston won, the Yanks kept the pressure on the Wild Card teams.
They may be down, but they’re not out. And with Boston on the way this week, the Yanks’ fate rests squarely in their hands. A sweep would keep them alive; anything would be a big blow. Here come some key August games. What could be better?
Triple-A Scranton (2-0 win over Buffalo)
J-Christ & Melky: both 0 for 4, 1 K
Juan Miranda & Chad Moeller: both 0 for 3 – Miranda K’ed thrice
Shelley: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K – 25 of his 42 hits in AAA have gone for extra bases (59.5%)
Ben Broussard: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
Chris Basak, Nick Green & Bernie Castro: all 1 for 3 – Green K’ed
Al Aceves: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 5-5 GB/FB – 65 of 95 pitches were strikes (68.4%) … pitched very well against a lineup that included a whole bunch of rehabbing big leaguers and top prospects
Mark Melancon: 2 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 0-3 GB/FB – 15 of 21 pitches were strikes (71.4%) … you know, I didn’t believe that whole “he’s throwing so few pitches per inning that he needs to pitch multiple innings to get his work in” excuse for why his innings total was so high, but now that I’ve been able to see his pitch count in the box score, man, he’s one efficient dude
Bill Traber: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
A little Sunday afternoon discussion for you: Jonah Keri thinks that Mike Mussina belongs in the Hall. Do you? What if he reaches 20 wins this year and somehow makes it up to the 285-300 range over the next few years? This old Moose seems to have a few tricks up his sleeve, and one of them may be earning himself a spot in Cooperstown. · (33) ·