• As the Andy Pettitte saga turns
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    Late yesterday afternoon, Mike reported the news, via Mark Feinsand, that Andy Pettitte may miss his next start. Well, when word of Feinsand’s story hit the Yankees’ clubhouse, both Andy Pettitte and Joe Girardi issued denials, and now the story is different. As Feinsand writes in his updated post, Pettitte will start on Sunday but could earn himself an extra day of rest the next time through the rotation. Clearly, Pettitte isn’t 100 percent; his post-All Star Break numbers are terrible, and he could be suffering from the ever-popular fatigue. We’ll see how this one develops, but the Yanks can ill afford to lose Pettitte right now. · (21) ·

On August 11, 2007, the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Devil Rays played a rather meaningless game in the scheme of the season. Both teams were far out of the playoff hunt, wrapping up the formality of a 162-game season. In that game, Edwin Jackson would throw a four-hit shut out. It would be the last time the Rangers would get shut out at home until last night.

Three hundred and sixty two days later, someone else finally shut out the Rangers in Arlington. As the team has scored a Major League-leading 651, this is, clearly, no small feat, and tonight, the superlatives fall on the shoulders of Mike Mussina, the Yanks’ first 15-game winner. Over seven innings, Mussina scattered eight hits — only two for extra bases. He struck out six and walked just one. He’s now allowed 20 walks in 24 starts. Not only is Mussina chasing 20 wins yet again, but he may well finish the season with fewer walks than starts.

Moose, ever humble and sporting a nifty 3.27 ERA, would have none of the praise. “I didn’t have my best stuff,” he said after the game. Of course not. Who shuts down the Rangers at home with their best stuff? And for all the grief I’ve given Moose over the years, I have to tip my cap to him this year. He has shown, week after week, that old dogs — headstrong ones at that — can indeed learn a few new tricks.

Meanwhile, after a hiccup earlier this week, the bullpen was again strong for the Yanks. Brian Bruney got his out; Damaso Marte got his two outs; and Mariano Rivera needed a whopping eight pitches to dispatch the Rangers in the ninth. Game, set, match.

For the Yankees, the offense came to them courtesy of Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Johnny Damon. The three combined for eight of the Yanks’ 11 hits. Jeter’s home run in the first and his single in the 9th plated two of the runs, and Damon’s fifth inning single plated the other.

Of note was the odd non-double play in the ninth. With Wilson Betemit on first, Jose Molina hit a sure DP ball to Ian Kinsler. But the Rangers’ second baseman threw to first, and Wilson Betemit, either alert or too oblivious, scampered back to the bag, safe. He would later score on Jeter’s single. I’ve never quite seen a play unfold as that one did.

As the Yanks head to Anaheim tonight, they do so 5.5 games out of first following a rare Tampa loss and three games behind Boston in the Wild Card. They have Ian Kennedy and Dan Giese lined up to start the first two games. Beyond that, who knows? But that’s the maddening joy of baseball. Anything is possible, and while the Yanks are down, they’re aren’t out yet.

Game A-Rod Slump Notes: Alex Rodriguez had a series to forget. He went 0 for 14 and hit into four double plays. Prior to this week, he had hit into four double plays all season. Hopefully, he’ll heat up in Anaheim. He is a career .332/.399/.678 hitter in 352 plate appearances at the Big A…When A-Rod struck out with Derek Jeter on third and one out in the seventh, it was his 35th at-bat with a runner on third and less than two outs. He is now 7 for 29 in those situations, and the runner has scored in 13 of 35 situations. Those are bad numbers, albeit in a small sample.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (40)

Triple-A Scranton (6-1 win over Pawtucket)
Matt Carson: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K – filling in for Brett Gardner, who’s day-to-day with sore legs
Eric Duncan: 0 for 4, 1 K
Shelley Duncan & Juan Miranda: both 1 for 3, 1 2B, 1 BB – Shelley scored a pair of runs, drove in a run & K’ed twice … Miranda K’ed once
Cody Ransom: 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 CS, 1 HBP
Ben Broussard: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K – 10 XBH in his last 11 games (5 doubles, 5 homers)
Nick Green & Chris Basak: both 0 for 3, 1 K
Chad Moeller: 1 for 4, 1 K
Phil Hughes: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 9-3 GB/FB – 40 of 64 pitches were strikes (62.5%) … that’s a classic Phil Hughes start right there, right down to the pitch count … Chad Jennings said he was looking pretty nasty
Phil Coke: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K – it’s always fun when a pitcher records all of his outs via the K
Steven Jackson: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 3-1 GB/FB
Mark Melancon: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K – 15 of 24 pitches were strikes (62.5%) … for the first time in his professional career, he entered a game in the middle of an inning

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Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (105)

Bravo to Joe Girardi for the lineup the past few days. Melky’s been a drain on the offense, and I’ve said on more than one occasion that I think Wilson Betemit can be a productive (i.e. at least average) player if given regular at-bats. Last week I proposed a lineup scenario to Joe in which Betemit, A-Rod, Jeter and Cano played every day, taking turns at DH to keep everyone fresh, and it looks this may be the case, even temporarily.

This is the A-lineup right now, the best they can trot out there as long as Matsui’s hurt.

1. Damon, CF
2. Jeter, DH
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, 1B
6. Nady, LF 
7. Cano, 2B
8. Betemit, SS
9. Molina, C

And on the mound, the man with the third most wins in baseball, Mike Mussina.

Notes: Andy Pettitte might miss his start Sunday … Phil Hughes is scheduled to throw 60-65 pitches for Triple-A Scranton tonight … Bobby wants to come back next year … blogging HOFer Matt Cerrone at MetsBlog interviewed Giuseppe Franco

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (422)
  • Pettitte may miss next start
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    Via Mark Feinsand, southpaw Andy Pettitte has been experiencing some sort of stiffness is his throwing arm, and may not be able to make his start this Sunday in Anaheim. This probably explains why Pettitte has sucked lately. The simple solution is to stick Darrell Rasner in that spot. When it rains, it pours baby.

    (Save us, Phil)
    · (101) ·

When it comes to the economics of baseball, conversations tend to begin and end in New York. The Yankees — and, to a lesser extent, the Mets — hold the blue-chip market captive and command hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues each year. While teams such as the Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers and Cubs can attempt to compete, the potential will always be greater in New York.

To that end, the Yankees have always been Public Enemy No. 1 and everyone’s best friend. They are frowned upon for spending exorbitant sums of money on free agents, but through baseball’s current revenue sharing system, they are funding many of their top competitors year after year. It’s a double-edged sword, and while lately, Bud Selig and the owners have kept the anti-Yankee rhetoric to a minimum, nothing would please the powers-that-be more than a decrease in the power of the Yankees.

To that end, then, the recent news that the new Yankee Stadium would push the Bombers’ revenue streams to stratospheric heights probably isn’t welcome news around the Commissioner’s Office. The rich are getting richer, and while the poor will piggy-back their way to more money, the name of the game these days is equality.

Enter Maury Brown. In a recent piece, Brown brings up the dreaded E word. That’s right; it’s time to talk expansion. As Brown notes, the only major baseball move since 1998 when the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks started play was the relocation of the Expos to Washington, D.C. This is the second longest stretch of stability in baseball since the Marlins and Rockies broke a 16-year hiatus on expansion.

As the other major sports leagues have all expanded more recently than baseball and with attendance booming, might the big wigs be itching to extend their reach? Perhaps so, but with an unstable U.S. economy and Mark Cuban nearly ready to close on the Cubs, baseball may not have the luxury to expand any time soon. But Brown ponders the available markets, and his number one destination is something of a tease to those of us living in the New York Metropolitan Area.

Brown recommends Northern New Jersey as the number one destination without a team that could support one. Drawing on the estimated 21 million people who live in the megalopolis that stretches from Philadelphia to the New York suburbs, this vast media market could easily support another team. There are, of course, the typical catches: The Yankees, Mets and Phillies would have to be compensated a prohibitive amount to waive their territorial rights over New Jersey. There is no stadium that could adequately house a Major League team. Transit options to any potential stadium site are dicey at best.

But I have to wonder if this is a path Major League Baseball could pursue in an effort to decrease the financial clout of the Yankees. A third team in the New York media market would draw fans and TV viewers away from the Yankees. While the Yanks would continue to profit at obscenely high margins, they would have to do so knowing that the local competition won’t roll over and die or play in another league, as the case may be with the Mets.

Brooklynites — I among them — yearn for the arrival of a Major League team in our borough. The day the Dodgers left is still a bitter one for fans from that generation. But what if the key to baseball’s economic inequalities lies not within the five boroughs but across the Hudson River in New Jersey? It won’t happen any time soon, but it’s a very distinct possibility.

Categories : Rants
Comments (32)
  • O say, can you see around that pole over there?
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    Back in the day, prior to the mid-1970s renovation of Yankee Stadium, support poles dotted the stadium, and it was possible to find a seat with a view of a pole and not the field. Today, the worst sight lines in the Stadium are found in the Upper Deck down the lines where the Tier juts out too far and blocks the view of the left- or right-field corners. That’s small beans compared with the problems in Fenway. In an amusing piece, Home Run Derby takes a look at some of the worst seats in the house. It sure must be nice to sit right behind the foul pole in Shea Stadium. Literally. (Hat tip to YFSF) · (2) ·

  • Source: Joba’s injury not ‘a long-term problem’
    By

    While we’re always a bit a skeptical of unsourced according-to’s around here, Buster Olney has some comforting words on Joba this morning. According to the tireless ESPN scribe as reported both on TV and in this article, a source said that “[Dr. James] Andrews told the Yankees he doesn’t believe Chamberlain’s injury is a long-term problem.” While rotator cuff tendinitis is not good news by a long stretch, as more information hits about Joba’s injury, the more comforted I am that this is not going to lead to long-term DL trip for Chamberlain.

    Update 10:26: It seems my optimism may be an isolated feeling. Tyler Kepner is skeptical of these best-case reports, and other beat writers — well aware of the Yanks’ tendency to downplay injuries — are a bit wary as well.
    · (22) ·