The Angels are the best team in baseball. No doubt about it. A few weeks ago I mentioned to Joe that I thought the Halos should make a run at Teixeira because this was their year, and booya (of course I suggested a Kotchman + Adenhart package, but that’s neither here nor there). They’ve got excellent starting pitching, a strong bullpen with all sorts of different looks, a defense that makes every play, and an offense capable of beating you on the bases or now by hitting the ball over the wall. They might as well start lining up their postseason rotation now.
I know the Yanks have a shiny new future HOF catcher, but wouldn’t it make more sense to start Jose Molina behind the plate today? He’s been much better at gunning down would-be basestealers than Pudge, which is going to be worth something all those baserunners Sidney Ponson will inevitably allow. I guess it doesn’t really matter if the Halos keep hitting all those 3-run homers.
Speaking of, where did all the pitching go? Just a week ago we were talking about how unbelievable the Yanks pitching staff had been lately, but now? They’ve got a 6.39 ERA & 1.60 WHIP over the last seven days, and opposing batters have an .884 OPS in that span. They’ve basically turned everyone into Carlos frickin’ Lee. You can bitch about Ponson & Rasner all you want, but Moose and Pettitte haven’t been getting it done lately either. Thank Mariano for Joba.
1. Damon, LF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, DH
6. Cano, 2B
7. Betemit, 1B
8. Pudge, C
9. Melky, CF
And on the mound, Sidney “will pitch for food” Ponson.
Note: Chris Britton was shipped back to Triple-A after his 53 pitch outing last night, Brian Bruney rejoins the team sans lisfranc fracture … X(BH) Nady has a sore quad and is day-to-day … the last batter to get a hit off Edwar Ramirez was Brian Schneider in the second game of the split-stadium doubleheader against the Mets, he’s faced 45 batters since then … Bobby Abreu has a 1.105 OPS since July 8th … this could be Ponson’s last start for the Yanks, IPK has been pitching pretty well in Triple-A … Jeff Karstens won his first start with the Buccos earlier today … the game is on MY9 tonight, not YES
I hadn’t heard this until today, but apparently Jerome Holtzman, the sportswriter credited with inventing the save, passed away last weekend. Today, Colby Cash of the National Post takes a look at the rule’s origins — Holtzman wanted to prove that a reliever’s 18-1 record was highly deceptive, so he created an equally deceptive statistic.
There’s not a whole ton to the article, as Cash goes on to make an analogy to public policy. Yippee! But there is this one takeaway quote:
By 1980 the idea of the “closer,” a role that gives a team’s best reliever the narrowly defined job of protecting a lead at the end of the game, had taken over. As countless researchers have demonstrated, and as elementary logic indicates, this is a suboptimal use of talent. Teams are no less likely to blow late leads in the “closer” era than they were before, and a team’s most effective reliever should almost certainly be allowed to come into tied games, in which an extra run saved by good pitching has the highest possible value.
Instead, a team like the Yankees uses a Rivera to protect relatively safe two- or three-run leads, but lets ties be decided by guys who can’t hoist Rivera’s jock. Why? Because the “save” has come to define what it was originally meant only to describe: Since we measure relievers by saves, saves must be what they do. Q.E.D.
Tim over at the indispensable MLBTR grabs all the deadline reactions from around the internets. Jayson Stark & Jon Heyman both have the Yanks listed as winners, and it’s hard to argue with that, Yankee fan or not. RAB homey Keith Law broke down all the deals over at the Worldwide Leader (he’s also going to chatting at 2pm EST today), while Baseball America did the same at their Trade Central. Did you know that Jason Bay is hitting .216-.333-.318 with RISP? Yikes. · (26) ·
The Yanks are continuing to sign pitchers who aren’t very good like it’s nobody’s business. After weeks of speculation, they signed Victor Zambrano to a Minor League deal. Zambrano is most famous for being terrible after the Mets inexplicably traded Scott Kazmir for him. Meanwhile, the Twins are about to DFA Livan Hernandez. What are the odds that the 1997 NLCS and World Series MVP ends up on the Yankees? After all, he’s better than Sidney Ponson, although better is all relative. · (26) ·
It’s the next article in an ongoing effort to bring you misleading RAB headlines about Phil Hughes. The Yankees, says Peter Abraham, have activated Phil Hughes from the DL and have shipped him off to Single A Charleston. He’ll continue to work his way up through the system as on an assignment but is off the 30-day rehab schedule. Carl Pavano, meanwhile, is still on a rehab clock. In 28 days, he will be back in the Bronx, reinjured or off the Yankees. · (24) ·
It’s always easy to blame the new guy. It’s always comforting to point fingers at the interloper. It’s his fault, they say, that Andy Pettitte was off his game. That Ivan Rodriguez fellow, who needs him with Jose Molina calling better games?
Of course, it’s never quite that easy. Andy Pettitte just didn’t have it tonight. He allowed 14 base runners to reach in 5.1 innings and gave up nine runs tonight. Chris Britton, fresh up from AAA, finished the job in a way by allowing two inherited runners to score on the Angels’ third three-run home run of the night.
While Bobby Abreu continued his hot hitting with another homer and Xavier Nady launched his second Bronx bomb, the Yanks fell to the torrid Angels 12-6. It was just one of those nights, and with Sidney Ponson due to face Ervin Santana tomorrow, the timing couldn’t have been worse. There is, of course, a silver lining. While a flat-out awful call in the seventh squashed a Yankee rally before it could take off, the Yanks plated three runs in the bottom of the ninth, and we’ll get to get Joe’s belief that the team that scores last the night before starts off hot the next day.
For the Yankees, tonight’s loss dropped them a half further back behind the idle Red Sox and Rays in the AL East. With the Red Sox playing a fading Oakland team this weekend and the Rays, 40-16 at home, hosting the Tigers, the Yanks will have to bring their A game later tonight.
Meanwhile, more alarming is the fact that tonight’s loss was the Yanks’ fourth in five games. Since their eight-game winning streak to start the second half, the Yanks have cooled considerably. Sure, 9-4 over a 13-game span is still great baseball, but the hot streak has been dulled by a run of terrible baseball.
There is, in fact, no denying that these last few games have been terrible. Over their last five games, Yanks’ pitchers are throwing to an 8.80 ERA, and opponents are hitting around .350/.400/.600 against them. On the other side of the ball, the team’s hitters are hitting, but they can’t overcome such large deficits night after night.
Of course, the slate is wiped clean each day in baseball, and tonight the Yanks have a chance to start another winning streak. Maybe Ponson can launch them in a better direction.
Chad Jennings mentioned yesterday that Alan Horne was shipped down to Tampa so the head honchos can figure out what the hell is wrong with him. Horne’s medical history isn’t pretty, but after going injury free in 2006 & 2007, I figured that was all in the past. Now it’s starting to look like those two years were the exception rather than the rule.
Triple-A Scranton (4-1 win over Syracuse)
Brett Gardner, Juan Miranda & JD Closser: all 2 for 4 – Gardner drew a walk, scored a run & was caught stealing … Miranda doubled, drove in a run & was also caught stealing … Closser scored a run & K’ed
Bernie Castro: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 R, 1 RBI – the new everyday SS now that The Former Attorney General is heading to Washington
Matt Carson & Greg Porter: both 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K – Carson scored a run & threw a runner out at second from RF … Porter drove in a run
Cody Ransom & Ben Broussard: both 0 for 4, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 1 for 4, 2 K
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 7-9 GB/FB – 55 of 87 pitches were strikes (63.2%)
Billy Traber: 1 IP, zeroes, 1-2 GB/FB – needed six pitches to navigate TEH 8TH INNING!!11!11
Scott Strickland: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3-0 GB/FB
In all the hoopla surrounding the trade deadline, it’s easy to forget that the Yanks play a game tonight. We’re too busy celebrating the departure of Manny from the Red Sox or the arrival of Pudge to focus on the game, but it’s a doozy tonight.
For the first time this season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim arrive in New York. The Angels have long been a thorn in the Yanks’ side. The Yanks were just 55-61 against them during Joe Torre’s tenure. So I’m hoping they can get off on the right foot with Joe Girardi at the helm.
This, however, will be no small task. The Angels currently sport a 67-40 record, tops in the Majors by three games. They swept the Red Sox in Fenway Park this week, and the games weren’t really close. And, oh yeah, they also landed Mark Teixeira in a trade with the Braves. They are clearly the AL frontrunners right now, and this four-game set this weekend will impact the Yanks’ playoff hopes.
For the Yanks, Andy Pettitte takes the mound. The Angels are 19-7 against lefties this year. Gulp. The Angels counter with Jon Garland, 3-5 with a 4.26 ERA in his career against the Yanks. Starting this series — and Pudge’s Yankee career — out with a win would be huge for the Yanks.
Game Notes: Pudge will wear number 12. Andy Phillips, Clay Bellinger and Tony Womack plan to complain about that. I wonder if any other team has two numbers with the same last name wearing consecutive numbers on their backs. Someone get the Elias Sports Bureau on the phone….Edwar Ramirez is facing a three-game suspension for throwing at Kevin Millar. He’ll appeal. Daniel Cabrera received a six-game time-out for throwing at A-Rod.
At least, that’s what Jon Heyman says. Jason Bay is heading to Boston as part of the deal. More as we know it. The Rays’ inability to seal the Bay deal at the deadline may come back to hurt them after all.
Update: As expected, Ramirez waived his no-trade clause in exchange for the Dodgers’ declining his club options in 2009 and 2010. Those options were worth $20 million each. So Manny figures he can get more on the open market. While we’ve, for kicks, tossed around the idea of Manny’s coming to New York, odds are that another team will sign him to a longer term deal after this season. Scott Boras knows what’s out there and wouldn’t have given up $40 million if he couldn’t land a better deal elsewhere (See: Alex Rodriguez, circa Oct.-Nov. 2007).
Update 2: Good ol’ Kenny R. has more: “Pirates outfielder Jason Bay is headed to the Red Sox. The Pirates will receive Andy LaRoche and right-hander Bryan Morris from the Dodgers and outfielder Brandon Moss and releiver Craig Hansen from the Red Sox.” The Red Sox will also pick up all of the money left on Manny’s contract, and that strikes me as odd. If the Red Sox are willing to pay Manny not to play for them and they’re willing to forego the draft picks this off-season, they must really have wanted to ship Manny out of town this week.
Update on the Yanks: As many of you have noted, the Yanks sent the Former Attorney General to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Jhonny Nunez, a 22-year-old reliever. Chad Jennings breaks it down, and I can’t imagine this trade amounting to much of anything for either team. · (68) ·