It’s a solid group. The rotation is excellent, led by Brett Anderson, Jake Arrieta, Trevor Cahill and Steven Strasburg (San Diego State), and the bullpen is solid with Casey Weathers, Mike Koplove and Jeff Stevens (the guy the Indians got for Brandon Phillips). GM Bob Watson went for hitters that he knew could handle top flight pitching, surrounding young studs Colby Rasmus, Dexter Fowler and Matt LaPorta with veteran mashers Mike Hessman, John Gall and Terry Tiffee. No Yankees made the team, but I can’t imagine they were too keen on letting a guy like Mark Melancon leave their watch for a month. · (13) ·
As part of an example of what NASA imaging technology can do, mosey on over to this nifty applet on Sports Illustrated’s Website. The image — a composite of 124 frames shot over 10 minutes — shows just how detailed GigaPan technology can be. If you were at the Yankees-Red Sox game on July 4th, odds are pretty good that you can find yourself, in high res, in that photo. Oddly, because of the time lapse, Matsuzaka is just finishing up a pitch while A-Rod has stepped out of the box. (Hat tip to Bryan Hoch.) · (18) ·
Perhaps the best news of the month is the current seven-game slide of the Tampa Bay Rays. They looked unstoppable a month ago, but now seem to be regressing to the mean. That’s not to say they’re not a good team. They certainly are. And they’d be a lot better if Carl Crawford was hitting as he has in recent years. Given current indications, though, we could see the Rays drop off a bit in the second half, much to the delight of the Yankees.
The key to Tampa Bay’s second half is their home/road discrepancy. They currently hold a 36-14 record at home, and a 19-25 mark on the road. The significant part of that is the number of games they’ve played with each: 50 at home, and just 44 on the road. So they have 31 games left at home, and 37 on the road. If they continue to play sub-.500 ball away from the Trop and can’t keep up the torrid pace at home, they could quickly fall out of the Wild Card race.
Then again, this is an instance where past performance might not be the best indicator of future results. If Tampa Bay can get their overall road record back to .500, they could negate any kind of drop-off in play at home. Still, to know that they have more road games in the second half is a bit reassuring.
Yesterday afternoon, as I noted then, Hideki Matsui called his setback “short-term.” Today, we find out that the news may be worse. Matsui’s knee has swelled up again, and the AP reports that he will likely need surgery. Within the same report comes speculation that the Yanks could turn to Barry Bonds to fill the Matsui void. However, Brian Cashman doesn’t seem to want to go down that path. No matter, Matsui’s injury is bad news for the Bombers. · (71) ·
Posted by mobile phone: The Yankee Stadium scoreboard just told those of us still left in the Stadium that this is now the longest ASG in terms of hours. After the AL fails to score in the 15th, we’ll reach a new innings mark too. Apparently, the ghosts of Yankee Stadium are trying to send a message… · (16) ·
Triple-A Scranton is off until Thursday for the All-Star Break. The Triple-A All-Star Game (International League vs Pacific Coast League) is Wednesday at 7pm, and can be seen on ESPN2. Justin Christian made the team, but he’s in the bigs so he won’t be playing. Cody Ransom has replaced him on the roster. Yawn.
Double-A Trenton, High-A Tampa, Low-A Charleston & Short Season Staten Island were all off in observance of the MLB All-Star Game. No joke. They do this every year.
The Rookie GCL Yanks were rained out. They’ll probably make in up as part of a doubleheader on July 28th.
In other news, Jim Callis of Baseball America updated the top prospect for each team in the latest edition of Ask BA. It’s been a while since the Yanks had a top prospect that … uninspiring.
Hooray for meaningless games. The lineups:
Talk it up here.
We interrupt our
slam Jason Varitek All Star Game coverage to bring you some not-so-great news on a few injured Yankees. Via the AP:
Matsui did not hit Tuesday after experiencing additional discomfort in his sore left knee. The Yankees had hoped he might be ready to return when eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Friday.
“Perhaps you can say so, it’s a short-term setback,” Matsui said through a translator at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “I’m going to hit tomorrow, that’s the plan anyway.”
Damon, eligible to be activated from the DL on Sunday, continues to have soreness in his injured left shoulder, and won’t likely start hitting off a tee until at least late this week. He underwent treatment only on Tuesday.
“It feels a little better today,” Damon said. “It still feels horrible waking up. I’m still kind of down because I know (Yankees manager Joe) Girardi wants to put me in the lineup on Sunday and I’m not sure we can do that.”
Damon’s news is being reported as a “setback,” but I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. His injury hasn’t gotten worse; it just isn’t getting better as quickly as he and the Yanks had hoped it would. Matsui’s knee and his progress, however, should probably be regarded as a setback, and at this point, I’m skeptical that we’ll see Matsui back in the Bronx before 2009.
With this news, the Yankees are obviously going to have to face a tough decision. While I’m not sold on his long-term prospects, it does make sense to give Richie Sexson a look at DH/1B in a platoon situation. Otherwise, we’ll be stuck with Wilson Betemit in the lineup nearly everyday. Meanwhile, the Yanks will continue to mix and match with Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera and Justin Christian until Damon recovers. Tough times for the outfield.
We’ve been making quite the to-do over the Jason Varitek All Star selection. After all, it’s not everyday that someone hitting .218/.299/.354 with an OPS+ of 71 and a VORP of -2.6 gets to play in the Midsummer Classic. But is Jason Varitek the worst All Star ever? Al Doyle at The Baseball Analysts and Craig Brown at The Hardball Times look at some of the worst All Star selections of all time and the last 30 years, respectively. Varitek may not be the worst, but he certainly ranks up there. · (11) ·