Despite the struggles of Phil Hughes last night, the Yankees were able to bring the tying and go-ahead runs to the plate on more than one occasion during the game’s late innings. Why? Because the bullpen was utterly lights out.
Three pitchers combined to pitch 5.1 three-hit innings. They combined for one walk and six strikes outs while doing everything they could to keep the Yankees’ dormant offense within spitting distance of the Tigers.
For the Yanks, this newfound bullpen success is a welcome surprise. Over the last five games, the Yanks’ pen has been stellar. The pen has thrown 18 innings, and the pitchers have given up two earned runs on nine hits while walking 10 and striking out 18. While the walk totals area bit high, the strike out totals are excellent.
On the season, the pen’s numbers are pretty good. Yankee relievers have an ERA of 3.72, good for seventh in the AL. They’ve given up 42 runs on 89 hits while walking 39 and striking out 92. Opponents are hitting .237/.314/.349, and the team has blown just one save this season.
But there is a problem: The Yankee bullpen has thrown an AL-leading 101.2 innings this year. They’ve thrown 0.1 innings less than the Major League leaders, and at this rate, the Yanks are going to burn out their bullpen. While they have the fresh arms in the minors and the pen promises to be something of a revolving door this season, the Yanks need more length for their starters. But we knew that already.
Rob Neyer today called Dan Levitt’s biography of Ed Barrow the “most important baseball book of the year,” and I’m going to read and review it as soon as I’m done with this one on Ebbets Field. But in the meantime, check out this extensive Q and A Rich Lederer of The Baseball Analysts conducted with Levitt. It is a thorough and fascinating look back at the way the Yankees assembled their first great dynasty. · (0) ·
It’s the All Star Game ticketing information we’ve all been waiting for. Too bad few — if any of us — will get or even afford the tickets for the game.
Anthony Rieber has all the details:
A ticket to the 79th Midsummer Classic on July 15 will set you back at least $150 and as much as $725 – up from the $75-$285 charged for last season’s game in San Francisco. And you have to buy two. Tickets were $10-$15 for box and reserved seats the last time the All-Star Game was at Yankee Stadium, in 1977…
Tickets for the general public will be on sale only through an online drawing. Fans can register now for the chance to buy two tickets at MLB.com or Yankees.com until 10 p.m. on June 15. The online drawing will take place the next day. Tickets will be sold on June 23.
Yankees’ full and partial season-ticket holders will be given an opportunity to buy tickets, subject to availability, on Yankees.com.
MLB president Bob DuPuy said “70 percent” of tickets would be available to “existing Yankees fans.”…
The game itself is not the only event that will cost fans big money. Tickets for the Home Run Derby, always a fan favorite, and workout day on July 14 are $100-$650, an increase from $50-$225 last year. Tickets for the Futures game on July 13 are $50-$225, up from $22.50-$125 last year.
Fifty bucks for the bleachers for the Futures Game?! Yikes.
I really want to go to the All Star Game. I’m practically willing to give up an extraneous appendage for it, and it seems like that’s going to be the going rate.
While DuPuy can promise the world to 70 percent of Yankee tickets, you can bet that scalpers will drive up the prices of these tickets to astronomical levels. The All Star Game should really be about the fans enjoying that spectacle. Instead, it’s going to be all about the money and ticket prices as Yankee Stadium goes out with a bang. What a shame. What a shame.
No, Phil Hughes is not pitching well. I had big hopes for last night, after seeing how sharp he was last time out, before the rain delay. He did not fulfill those hopes, though, and naturally it raised questions about his belonging on a major league roster. Those questions should be asked. Hughes has been frustratingly inconsistent, and further has put a taxing on our bullpen. He’s the youngest pitcher in the majors, so the simple solution would be to let him work out his issues at AAA.
The only problem is, I’m not sure that’s the remedy.
At some point, there will be no harm in trying. But right now, as in today, I’m not convinced that a demotion is in order. Some readers might thing I’m trying to spin this with, as one commenter said, Hughes-colored glasses. But it’s not quite that. Hear me out.
First, let’s look at the immediate. Hughes’s next scheduled start is Sunday against Seattle. It’s not like they’ve got a super-charged offense, so you might as well let the kid go out there and see if he can start May better than he left off April. Plus, it’s still relatively early, so we can afford a hint of patience.
Monday is a day off. So if Hughes throws another poor game on Sunday, you can skip his next start, sending him down for a spare bullpen arm or bench bat, until a fifth starter is needed again. If he pitches well, you can proceed with caution.
Now let’s get to the long-term.
Triple-A Scranton (8-5 win over Buffalo)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 4, 2 R, 2 BB
Bernie Castro: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 HBP
Nick Green: 0 for 6, 2 K, 1 E (throwing) – 0 for 9 since moving to the 3-hole
Juan Miranda & Chris Kunda: both 1 for 2, 1 2B – Miranda drove in 3, Kunda drove in 2 .. Miranda left the game in the 4th, so it looks like you can add another to the walking wounded
Jason Lane: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 SB – threw a runner out at home from LF
Eric Duncan: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI – .279-.426-.508 this year … don’t write him off yet
Eladio Rodriguez: 1 for 3, 1 2B, 2 BB, 1 K - fresh off his MVP season in the Israeli Baseball League
Dan Giese: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Billy Traber: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K – faced 3 lefties … walked one, K’ed one, one reached on an error
Scott Patterson: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Heath Phillips: 0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP
Steven Jackson: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Jose Veras: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 2 K
Update: Chad Jennings reports that Miranda hurt his shoulder swinging the bat one pitch before he ripped a three run double. If only Posada’s bum shoulder worked like that.
Not a whole lot to say before today’s game that we haven’t already discussed today. But it appears that Brittongate continues, as the hefty righty has been optioned out in favor of Edwar Ramirez. Britton made zero appearances during his brief stint with the Yanks, and you have to wonder why the Yanks refuse to use the guy. I guess they like what they have in Edwar better.
Really, it comes down to usage. There’s no sense in having a seven-man bullpen if you’re only going to use six of the guys. So as long as Girardi is going to use Edwar, I’m cool with this. But if he’s going to rot like Britton has the past few days, well, I’d be just as content to call up another bench player (though I have no idea who), considering A-Rod‘s injury.
Anyway, here’s the lineup.
And on the mount, number thirty-four, Phil Hughes.
As part of a multi-billion-dollar deal to broadcast baseball, TBS gets the non-exclusive rights to Sunday baseball games. This weekend, while I watched the Sabathia-Wang pitcher’s duel on the YES Network, fans around the country could tune in on TBS.
While watching the game, Maury Brown, the man behind the Biz of Baseball site, transcribed some of the more interesting tidbits from the broadcast. The first topic I found interesting focused around CC Sabathia:
CC Sabathia on his impending free agency: “This is home, I mean I’ve been here since I was 17 years old, eleven years now. This is the only place I know and I feel comfortable here, coming in from the parking attendants to the General Manager I feel comfortable, so that’s been the biggest difference.”
Martinez on the CC Sabathia’s needs versus those of the MLB Players Association: “He is very genuine and sincere about his desire to stay here (in Cleveland). Get the deal done and don’t let the outside influences cloud your judgment. The Players Association want him to set the standard for free agent contracts in this off-season and at his age, 27, he’ll turn 28 in July, he is the premiere free agent pitcher on the market. (Johan) Santana’s contract of 137 million with the Mets, they want him to out do that contract, and I don’t know if that is going to make him happy.
While Buck Martinez and Chip Caray were discussing this, so were the Yanks’ announcers. It seems that Kevin Millwood, unhappy in Texas despite the big bucks, called his former teammate and warned him to pitch where he is happy even if that means giving up a few dollars. For the Yankees, this could be a sign that they shouldn’t be counting on overwhelming Sabathia with dollars. Perhaps Sabathia will elect to remain with Cleveland for fewer dollars if the team makes a ballpark offer.
On the other hand, it seems that Sabathia knows he could have a four-year, $80-million extension from the Indians and has elected to pitch out the season anyway. If he continues to throw like he has in his last two outings, he’ll easily clear that $80 million and stands to land a deal in between those signed by the Giants’ reliever Barry Zito and the Mets’ starter Johan Santana.
The other topic was, of course, Joba Chamberlain. Take it away, Buck Martinez:
“I know there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Joba Chamberlain about whether he should start or be used as an eighth inning set-up guy and as a former manager this is where he was meant to be in my mind…I believe he can turn into Mariano Rivera in a couple of years when Rivera steps aside.”
In less than a couple of years, he could be an ace starter giving the Yankees way more than one inning every two or three games. With Rivera under contract for three more years after this one, why waste Chamberlain in the eighth inning for years on end? But then again, we’re just beating a dead horse with this one.
While you and I don’t think baseball is a boring sport, TV ratings for the game’s big-ticket events — the playoffs and World Series come to mind — have been trending downward recently. Yesterday, the Freakonomics blog tried to look at ways to make the game more “interesting.” The piece fails, in my opinion, because it focuses instead on new strategies and not overall ways to draw more casual fans to the game. Yes, managers are getting more creative with their pitchers. We’ve seen relievers play the outfield and return to the mound; we’ve seen pitchers bat eighth; and we’ve seen starters come in as relievers if the weather’s bad. But do any of those moves really draw in more fans or do they simply excite the baseball geeks in all of us? · (7) ·