Allow me to quote myself from six days ago:
Every time Sidney Ponson takes the mound, I half expect that to happen, and one night, it will. It may not be his next start which happens to fall against — gulp — the Red Sox, but it will come. Tonight, Ponson managed to win yet another game for the Yanks. He went 5.2 innings and allowed his customary 11 base runners. Somehow, he has to keep up that 1.94 WHIP.
Somehow, indeed. Last night, in a losing effort against the Red Sox, Ponson managed to put 11 runners in 4 innings for a WHIP of 2.75. While the portly Aruban lasted three outs longer than I predicted he would, seven of those 11 runners scored, and the Yanks wouldn’t be able to overcome that deficit.
Since joining the Yankees, we’ve seen a lot of the same out of Sidney Ponson. He’s thrown 26.2 innings with a 6.08 ERA. He’s allowed 39 hits and has both walked and struck out 11. His WHIP is 1.88. Stick a fork in him, folks, because he’s done. I can’t really see him making his next start against the Los Angeles Angels this week.
In Toronto, Jarrod Washburn strengthened the Mariners’ position with a solid outing, and as Sunday’s game unfolded, I couldn’t help but imagine how things may have turned out differently had the Mariners been more willing to consummate what seems like an inevitable trade. But Washburn or not, someone — Ian Kennedy, Al Aceves — has to replace Sidney Ponson. He’s just not doing the job.
* * *
In the end, I can’t, outside of my condemnation of Ponson, be too critical of the Yanks. Jon Lester has the team’s number, and he pitched a brilliant game. The Yanks, since the All Star Break, are now 8-1, and they sit three behind Tampa in the AL East and two behind Boston in the Wild Card. There’s a lot of baseball left, and the Yanks are a better team today than they were three days ago.
Game Notes: I no longer wonder why Richie Sexson was released by the Mariners. Whenever Joe Girardi wants to bat Jason Giambi against a lefty instead of this abomination of a player, count me in…Dan Giese threw an effective four innings, but don’t let those results full you. He had a 0-12 GB-FB ratio. I wouldn’t be too keen on seeing him make a start…Derek Jeter has now hit into 15 double plays this season and 36 since the start of 2007.
Brian Foley from The College Baseball Blog made the trip down to Chatham yesterday to take in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, so make sure to check out his write-up here. As you can see, there was a small army of scouts in attendance.
Triple-A Scranton (10-5 loss to Rochester)
Bernie Castro: 1 for 5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)
Alberto Gonzalez: 2 for 5, 1 2B, 2 K – SLG .322 this year between AAA and the bigs
Matt Carson & Cody Ransom: both 0 for 4 – Carson K’ed twice … Ransom K’ed all 4 times & missed a catch for an error
Ben Broussard & Nick Green: both 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 K – Broussard doubled … Nick Green ripped a 3-R homer off a pretty decent pitcher
JD Closser: 1 for 4, 1 K
Chris Basak: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Al Aceves: 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2-9 GB/FB – 51 of 74 pitches were strikes (68.9%)
JB Cox: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 4-1 GB/FB – only 21 of 41 pitches were strikes (51.2%)
Steven White: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Props go out to Jamal for the title. ESPN Sunday Night games usually means Joe Morgan’s incoherent rants and constant reminders that as a HOF second baseman, he’s smarter than everyone else. However tonight is a special night, because Morgan will be up in Cooperstown at the HOF induction ceremony, and filling in for him is the man that once traded for Mo Vaughn and the $59,666,668 left on his contract, Steve “the Yankees need a set-up man” Phillips. What a way to end the weekend.
On the field, the Yanks are straight rollin’. They’ve won eight in a row and 13 of their last 16. The pitching staff leads baseball with a 1.56 ERA since the break, and they’re fifth in baseball with a .858 team OPS. After being 5.5 GB of the Wildcard just two weeks ago, a win tonight will move them into the lead by percentage points over the Sox.
The Yanks went out like wimps the last time they faced Lester, but things were different then. The team was in the middle of losing 10 out of 15, and they didn’t have X. Nady and a molten hot Robbie Cano adding depth to the lineup. Plus the Yanks just own the Sox in the second half, they’re 19-7 against them after the All-Star break since 2005.
The Rays already lost, so they’ve got a chance to gain some serious ground with a win. Besides, sweeps in Fenway are just awesome.
1. Damon, DH – .211-.318-.263 since coming off the DL
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B – Happy 33rd Birthday, now put one onto the Mass Pike
5. X, LF
6. Cano, 2B – leads the AL in OPS since the break
7. Dick Lock Sexy, 1B
8. Melky, CF
9. Molina, C
And on the mound, Sidney “2.33 ERA on the road” Ponson.
Notes: The Yanks are undefeated during the Richie Sexson era … the pitching staff has an unreal 83-18 K/BB ratio since the All-Star Break … Edwar Ramirez is five days away from having a hitless July … Jarrod Washburn was damn good today, but the Yanks didn’t have anyone there to watch him … the Organizational Depth Chart has been updated to reflect all the recent moves … did you know that Bronson Arroyo is the 12th highest paid SP in baseball? Yikes … we play today, we win today, das it
Update (7:35): They’re saying there will be a slight delay, but they should be able to start within 15 minutes of the scheduled start time. I’ll believe it when I see it. Thankfully The Simpsons is on at 8.
Word on the street is that Manny Ramirez and the Boston Red Sox may be heading for a divorce, and today, Jack Curry checks in on the whole twisted situation. If Manny is exiled from the Red Sox, as Dan Shaughnessy feels he will be, he’s bound to become a free agent this off-season and would be an intriguing option for the outfield for a couple of seasons. The Yanks could do worse if they wanted to keep the spot warm until Austin Jackson is ready for prime time. · (133) ·
This afternoon, a few big figures in the history of New York baseball will find their ways into the Hall of Fame. Walter O’Malley, the scourge of Brooklyn, will earn his Cooperstown plaque today, and Richard Sandomir writes about the connection between O’Malley and new inductee and former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Many New Yorkers still resent O’Malley’s role in moving the Dodgers out of Brooklyn. Outside of New York, some columnists feel that Goose Gossage doesn’t deserve a place in the Hall. And Chris Lamb writes about how a racial slur in the late 1930s may have set baseball on a path toward history. · (20) ·
Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star writes about the Yanks’ supposed interest in Brian Bannister. He believes that the Yanks could swap Melky Cabrera for Bannister. This would be a trade of two below-average players making no money and wouldn’t serve to make either team better. Brian Bannister, in fact, is probably not an upgrade over Darrell Rasner. If this story contains more than just idle musings, I’d be surprised.
Update on Jarrod Washburn (1:15 p.m.): The game is underway in Toronto, and Jarrod Washburn is on the mound for the Mariners. It seems as though trade talks aren’t as close to completion as has been reported. If Washburn were anywhere close to being dealt, he wouldn’t be pitching today. · (125) ·
When Craig Hansen hit Alex Rodriguez with a fastball yesterday, Fenway Park classlessly erupted in howls. It was retribution for Joba Chamberlain’s not hitting Youkilis, and my dad, watching at a bar in the Berkshires, said that a Red Sox fan near him hoped that A-Rod was hurt. Gotta love Red Sox fans. Anyway, Jack Curry checked in on this escalating situation, and I have a sinking feeling this whole ridiculous thing isn’t over yet. · (85) ·
Throughout his relatively successful Boston career, Tim Wakefield hasn’t exactly had the Yankees’ number. Over 46 games and 29 starts, Wakefield has thrown 208.1 innings against the Yankees. He has a 9-16 record and a 5.01 ERA against the Bombers.
So the Yankees, riding a seven-game winning streak and just two games behind the Red Sox, didn’t really need to face Tim Wakefield today. But, hey, who’s complaining?
Three hours and twenty-eight innings later, in a game that included an over-the-top retaliation for Joba’s missing Kevin Youkilis on Friday, the Yanks emerged the 10-3 victors over the Red Sox. The team is 58-45, just one game — two in the win column — behind the Red Sox for the Wild Card lead. Since the All Star break, the Yankees are 8-0, and they no longer lose. Also, Mike always writes the game thread. I’m sensing a trend.
Today’s game started out with a bit of a rocky first inning. Alex Rodriguez, later the victim of retaliation off the arm of Craig Hansen, committed an error that led to two unearned runs. With this error, Andy Pettitte nearly reached 50 pitches by the second inning, but then things turned around. The Yanks plated one in the third, two in the fourth and four in the sixth to break the game wide open. While a J.D. Drew home run in the sixth cut the Yanks’ lead to four, three runs in the eighth put the game away for good.
In the end, Andy Pettitte had another stellar outing in a season full of them. He threw six innings, allowing one earned run on five hits and three walks while striking out seven. His ERA now stands at 3.76, and he’s 12-7 on the year. Joba, Moose and Pettitte make a rather effective threesome, eh?
After Pettitte left, the bullpen — sans the useless LaTroy Hawkins — took over. While Jose Veras, echoing Kyle Farnsworth, pitched himself into trouble by allowing two baserunners in 0.1 innings, Damaso Marte, newly arrived from Pittsburgh, struck out David Ortiz on four pitches. Edwar Ramirez retired Manny Ramirez and threw a scoreless eighth while David Robertson ended the formality with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Offensively, eight Yankees scored runs, and Robinson Cano led the way. Cano, now 18 for 35 (.514) since the All Star Break, knocked out three hits and drove in three runs. He also walked for the first time since the break. As much as any pitcher on this team, Cano has been as responsible for the Yanks’ second-half surge as anyone else, and it’s comforting to see his average climbing up to .270. Slumps end; good teams win.
Later tonight, baring a trade, Sidney Ponson will take the mound in an effort to deliver the Yanks their ninth strength win. Ponson has allowed nearly two baserunners an inning and faces the very effective Jon Lester. He will have his work cut out for him. But these are the post-All Star Break Yankees and anything is possible. They’re tired in the loss column with the Red Sox, and they’re three games behind the Rays. They’re buyers at the trade deadline, and anything is possible.
So with three starters traded away, Scranton’s left with Al Aceves, Kei Igawa & IPK in their rotation. Chad Jennings says that Alan Horne will rejoin the team and start Monday, but Wednesday’s starter is still up in the air. Maybe Phil Coke or Jason Jones gets bumped up from Trenton, but word is that Coke will start having his innings limited. Both guys certainly deserve it, but either way they’d just be keeping the spot warm for Phil Hughes.
Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Rochester)
Alberto Gonzalez: 0 for 3
Eric Duncan & Juan Miranda: both 0 for 4 – E-Dunc K’ed
Matt Carson: 1 for 4, 1 R, 2 K – threw a runner out at first from CF
Cody Ransom: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (missed catch)
Ben Broussard & Chris Stewart: both 1 for 3 – Broussard was hit by a pitch, scored a run & K’ed … Stewart drove in a run & picked a runer off first with a snap throw
JD Closser: 3 for 3, 1 RBI – 10 for his last 22 (.455)
Greg Porter: 1 for 2, 1 2B, 1 HB
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0-13 GB/FB, 1 E (throwing) – not one ground ball? sheesh
Steven Jackson: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3-0 GB/FB – 3 baserunners allowed in his last 6.2 IP
Scott Strickland: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
According to Jon Heyman, the Yanks and Mariners “may be close” on a deal to bring Jarrod Washburn to New York. The move would be a strict salary dump; the Yanks would take on all of Washburn’s contract and would not send anyone to Seattle. Washburn, a clear upgrade over Sidney Ponson or Darrell Rasner, is scheduled to start tomorrow afternoon’s Mariners-Blue Jay. So keep your eye on the game in Toronto; if Washburn is scratched or removed early, expect him in the Bronx sooner rather than later. We’ll wrap up today’s excellent 10-3 victory over the Red Sox later.
Update: Via MLBTR comes word that the M’s are holding up the deal because they want, according to Ken Rosenthal, a “top prospect.” They could probably draw out a prospect from the Yanks but not a top one in a salary dump. Keep your eye on tomorrow’s probables and the M’s-Jays game for more indications of a possible trade. · (71) ·