With last night’s six-inning effort from Joba, we can, in essence, start the innings pitched clock. He’s at full strength as a starter now, and each outing he makes will deduct from the overall goal of 150-160 innings he’s slated to pitch this season. Based on my math, Joba is primed to make about 19-20 starts through the end of the year as long as the Yanks don’t skip him. (They probably will get creative when Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy return.) If he averages six innings a start, he’ll land at that 155-inning mark on the final day of the season which would put him out of commission prior to the playoffs. We’ll have to cross that October bridge as we get closer, but for now, the focus is on ensuring that Joba is on pace to reach his innings limit before the postseason. We just can’t assume a playoff berth this year. · (25) ·
The College World Series (aka the most exciting two weeks in baseball) starts today, and Yankees’ fans get a primo matchup right from the get-go. Sandwich rounder Jeremy Bleich takes to the mound and faces Florida State, where 13th round pick Jack Rye bats cleanup behind 5th overall pick Buster Posey. The game begins at 2pm EST, and can be seen on ESPN. If you can’t watch, you can follow along via CSTV’s ridiculous Game Tracker.
Make sure you check out The College Baseball Blog’s CWS preview to get your head around all the upcoming action, then check out all the box scores and game recaps at NCAA-Baseball’s calender. Baseball America also has a ton of CWS content up on their site, including a 12-page preview, player highlights, and a breakdown of all eight participants. You can find the bracket for the double elimination tournament here.
I can’t recommend the CWS enough, the game is so much more exciting when the goal is to win as a team, not to land a big contract or a postseason award. DotF turned into a game thread the last time a Bleich start was televised, so feel free to comment on the action here.
Over the last few months, we have had plenty of opportunities to discuss instant replay. While it first seemed that instant replay would be tested during the AFL, MLB wants to move up that time table.
According to a report in USA Today, baseball may implement instant replay on or around August 1.
Major League Baseball wants to implement instant replay by Aug. 1, according to two high-ranking officials from the World Umpires Association.
The officials said MLB approached the umpires Wednesday to request that replay be used on “boundary calls,” which include whether a home run clears an outfield wall or if a potential home run is fair or foul…
Not only must the issue be bargained between the two sides, but details would have to be worked out, such as whether replays would be originated by umpires or from a manager’s request or challenge, what video feeds would be available and whether calls would be made by an umpire on site or at a central command center.
This move comes after a few high-profile blown calls that are just recent examples of bad calls through the ages that could have been improved via the use of instant replay. It also follows a 25-5 vote by baseball’s General Manager to recommend the use of video review for plays such as these.
While reaction will always be mixed when it comes to changing the sanctity and purity of baseball, I’ve long been in support of this move. It won’t delay the game as opponents contend, and it will help improve calls. In an age in which every close call is analyzed to death on TV, why shouldn’t the game be striving to make sure that the only outcome is the right one?
MLBTR points to a MetsBlog report that the Not-So-Amazin’s have acquired old Yankee foe Trot Nixon
to replace Billy Wagner as their closer. I’m sure that will solve all of the Mets’ problems. Meanwhile, if you find yourself as Shea this summer, make sure you remind Trot just how much we all loved him during his days on the Sox. And, yes, I’m being sarcastic. · (14) ·
So for about eight innings, tonight’s 2-1 Yankee victory was a pleasure to watch. The ninth? Well, that was a different story.
While the Yankee offense took the night off against Shawn Chacon and his slow fastball of doom, Joba Chamberlain kept the Astros’ hitters guessing for six innings — and he would have thrown seven had it not been for that pesky DH-less NL.
While Joba didn’t have his strike out pitch going for him tonight — he recorded just two over six innings — his breaking balls were dancing, the fastball was, by and large, stellar and the changeup was on. He gave out a few too many free passes and ran into some trouble in the fourth when he walked the guys in the heart of the Astros’ order. After an 88-pitch outing, shortened because his spot in the batting order was through, Joba had recorded his first Major League quality start.
The Yanks took the lead for good when Derek Jeter hit an opposite-field home run in the 8th. Perhaps Captain Clutch isn’t quite as finished as his paltry offensive numbers suggest this year.
But outside of Joba, the two real stories of the night focused around the Yankee battery. Let’s start with the pitchers. In relief of Joba Chamberlain, Jose Veras looked about as good as he ever has in the Bronx. He threw two scoreless innings, striking out three and pounding the strike zone. Just six of his 24 pitches were called balls.
As good as Veras was, Kyle Farnsworth had Yankee fans the world over on the edge of their seats. Farnsworth came into close in lieu of a Mariano Rivera who has thrown 70 pitches over the past six games, and he started off the 9th in spectacular fashion. After getting ahead 0-2 on Ty Wigginton, Farnsworth fell behind 3-2 and promptly hit the Astros’ third baseman with a pitch.
With the speedy Michael Bourn up next, Farnsworth then proceeded to make something of a bad baseball play. Bourn bunted a pop up back to Farnsworth and stood in the box to watch it. Kyle should have let the ball fall to turn two, but he caught it instead. It’s tough to think that far ahead in the heat of the moment, and getting the sure out is always a better move. Wigginton made the point moot by getting thrown out by Jose Molina, and Geoff Blum struck out on a 2-2 slider to end the game. We all breathed a sigh of relief, and I couldn’t help but think that Jose Veras is much better suited to set up than Farnsworth is right now.
The other story was Jorge Posada. The Yanks’ injured catcher — and, yes, because of his torn labrum, he’s injured — was lifted in the game as part of a double switch in the bottom of the 7th. At first, I was worried Posada had hurt himself on a thrown to third to nail Bourn in the 6th, but Joe Girardi says he pulled the switch for defensive purposes. That in itself is worrying.
The Astros stole four bases off of Chamberlain and Posada. While some of that can be attribute to Joba’s slow delivery, as Ed Price ever so graciously notes in the linked piece, teams are going to run off of Posada, and Girardi now considers him a late-inning liability. The Yanks, however, need his bat.
Meanwhile, the Yanks have finally reached that two games over plateau, tying their high-water mark for 2008. They’re 3-1 on a tough road trip and are looking to move three games over .500 for the first time all season later today when Mike Mussina squares off against Wandy Rodriguez. They’re six out — 4.5 behind Tampa Bay — and I’m wondering if things are finally starting to click. It’s not a moment too soon.
Triple-A Scranton (9-3 over Richmond)
Bernie Castro: 2 for 3, 1 2B, 1 RBI – left with an apparent injury after legging out a double
Eric Duncan: 0 for 2, 1 R, 2 K
Brett Gardner & Justin Christian: both 1 for 4 – Christian scored a run, swiped 2 bags (including home) & drove in 2
Cody Ransom: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
Jason Lane: 0 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB – 6 for his last 40
Matt Carson: 2 for 3, 3 R, 1 2B, 2 BB – all the guy does is hit
Nick Green: 2 for 3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Alan Horne: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 10-6 GB/FB - 52 of 88 pitches were strikes (59.1%)
Heath Phillips: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 4-2 GB/FB
The Yanks go for two games over .500 for the umpteenth time this season, and do so against one time great Yankee Shawn Chacon. Joba’s set to throw 85-90 pitches tonight, which means he has a chance of seeing the 6th inning for the first time as a starter.
Thaaaaaa Yankees’ lineup:
1. Jeter, SS
2. Cano, 2B – you really can’t ask to hit in a better spot that between Jeter & Abreu, hopefully this gets him going
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Matsui, LF
6. Giambi, 1B
7. Posada, C
8. Melky, CF
9. Joba, SP – how sweet would it be if he hit one into the Crawford Boxes tonight? Think of the headlines … "Joba hits like Owings, except he’s good at pitching"
With the shocking and sad news that Tim Russert passed away this afternoon, baseball lost one of its own. Tim, a New York native, was a life-long Yankee fan and a recent Nationals season ticket holder as well as a Board of Director at the Hall of Fame. MLB.com’s Barry Bloom has up a piece with reaction from around the game. Our thoughts go out to the Russert family. · (4) ·
Shelley Duncan, the once and former wunderkind, has been sent back to AAA. Alberto Gonzalez has been recalled to provide more flexibility off the bench over the next few weeks. As the Yanks are planning on holding on to both Chad Moeller and Jose Molina until they get to Pittsburgh, the timing on this move seems to suggest that Duncan will come up again when a third catcher goes down. Brett Gardner is, of coures, the wild card there.
And as an administrative note, if you’ve been trying to e-mail the three of us over the last two days, try again now. We were having some problems with our e-mail server that have since been fixed. · (24) ·
The coolest construction picture you’ll see all day. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)
Chalk this one up to the “too little, too late” department.
One day after word leaked about the Yanks’ intentions to seek more money to fund their stadium construction, New York’s elected represented hopped up on their soap boxes with vows of “never again.” Never again will they allow such a high amount of public funds to go toward sports franchises. Never again will backroom deals be allowed to carry the day. Color me skeptical.
Three state Assembly members from New York City called for a public hearing to examine a proposal to provide public support for one the richest franchises in sports.
“These sports teams are private companies that appear addicted to keeping their hands in the government cookie jar,” said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn.
Brodsky, meanwhile, is going a bit overboard with the rhetoric, but he too brings up some valid points. As The Sun reports, Brodsky compared these tax deals to Soviet Russia. “These decisions are being made in secret in these Soviet-style meetings and it is outrageous,” he said. More compelling are Brodsky’s arguments about the state of the New York economy:
“What’s at stake here is a much bigger issue than whether you like or dislike the Yankee Stadium deal,” Brodsky said. “Stadiums [are] soaking a lot of the tax-exempt financing, and we can’t fund the capital plan of the MTA and we’re short capital money on schools and hospitals.”
While there are myriad reasons why the state can’t fund the MTA’s capital plan — legislative neglect, the downfall of congestion pricing, Brodsky’s own refusal to dole out the funds — his overall message is a valid one. The state is not in a fiscal position where it should be giving more funding breaks out to its wealthy sports institutions.
As Charles Bagli wrote in The Times today, the end game of this debate will probably lead to cost increases across the board for projects of this nature with the potential rule changes impacting the Atlantic Yards development, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. But somehow I think the sports franchises will worm the money out of the public coffers one way or another.