In 1997, the Yankees hired Kim Ng as an assistant general manager, and in doing so, they became the first team to offer such a high position in the front office hierarchy to a female. Eleven years later, Ng, one of the sharpest baseball minds in the game, still awaits the call to ascend to that coveted General Manager position. Last week, Tim Brown wondered when that call might come for Ng, now with the Dodgers, or Jean Afterman, one of the Yanks’ assistant GMs and only other female in the game with such a high title in baseball ops. Baseball has long been male dominated, but Ng is qualified enough to get her shot. One day she will. · (12) ·
As Robinson Cano led off second with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning about two hours ago and Brett Gardner, 2 for 20 in his short Yankee career, Mike and I were chatting online about the game. We had the following conversation prior to Gardner’s walk-off hit:
Mike: Brett Gardner, walk-off infield single right here.
Ben: That would be a tough one.
Mike: True…This is the moment that will forever define Brett Gardner’s Yankee career.
Eight pitches later, Mike’s word were strangely prophetic as Gardner sneaked a single just past the dive of
Julio Lugo Alex Cora. Robinson Cano, running with the pitch off of the noodle arm of All Star Catcher Jason Varitek™, dashed home, and the Yanks won a game they needed to win.
For the Bombers, tonight’s game featured a bit of home-grown retribution. Outside of A-Rod‘s 536th home run — hello, Mickey — the Yanks won this game with a little bit of home-grown talent. Offensively, the player of the game was clearly the young Brett Gardner. He had his first multi-hit game at the Major League level, going 2 for 5 with a stolen base and the game-winning RBI. With that RBI, Gardner became the first Yankee rookie to record a walk-off hit against Boston since some guy named Derek did it in 1996.
But Gardner wasn’t the only home-grown Bomber to come through. While the home-grown Jeter drove in a run, Robinson Cano had a big role in this game. Cano went 2 for 4 with a game-tying triple in the 7th. He also scored the winning run and has generally been on fire lately. With his 2 for 4 performance tonight, Cano is now 19 for his last 48, and his triple slash line is .396/.400/.625. (He’s worked zero walks over his last 12 games.)
Meanwhile, the home-grown Bombers dazzled on the mound as well. For five of his six innings, Joba Chamberlain was downright untouchable, and his final line — 6 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K — shows another quality start for the youngster. After sailing through four innings, he allowed all three runs on two walks and three hits in the fifth. It was the only blemish on the evening. I’d say Joba has acquitted himself well as a starter.
The final home-grown Yankee to make an impact on this game was none other than Mariano Rivera. After giving Yankee fans a collective heart attack yesterday, Rivera rebounded with two scoreless innings. In a piece of high baseball drama, he struck out Manny Ramirez in the top of the 9th with two outs and the go-ahead runner 90 feet from home. Ramirez, in a prolonged slump, watched three pitches go by, and the crowd erupted.
For the Yankees, it’s tough to say that any game in early July is a must-win, but tonight’s win was as close as they come. The Yankees find themselves in third place, nine games behind a Tampa Bay Rays team that doesn’t lose (and will find its way to New York for two games this week). With that victory tonight, they moved to within four games of a struggling Red Sox team in the Wild Card race, and with 73 games left in the season, anything can happen. They needed that win tonight to draw a split of a home series against the Red Sox, and the home-grown team delivered tonight.
Triple-A Scranton (5-4 win over Toledo in 12 innings)
Matt Carson: 4 for 6, 1 R – threw a runner out at third from CF
Alberto Gonzalez: 2 for 6, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (throwing) – game winning homer in the top of the 12th
Juan Miranda: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (missed catch) – just 3 for his last 26
Cody Ransom: 3 for 6, 1 R, 2 3B, 1 K
Ben Broussard: 2 for 6, 2 RBI
Jason Lane: 1 for 4, 1 BB, 1 K – avg down to .234
Eric Duncan & Greg Porter: both 1 for 5 – E-Dunc K’ed twice … Porter committed a fielding error
Ross Ohlendorf: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HB, 7-2 GB/FB – 43 of 62 pitches were strikes (69.4%)
Steven White: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Chris Britton: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3-3 GB/FB – all he does is get outs
Heath Phillips: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Scott Strickland: 2 IP, zeroes, 4 K – 8 baserunners & 0 runs allowed in his last 14.1 IP with 18 K … dealin’
Steven Jackson: 2 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 3-1 GB/FB
It would be nice to come out of this weekend five games over .500, wouldn’t it? Not only that, but only three behind the Sox in the loss column, though the Yanks were there when the series started on Thursday. But it started so horribly that I’m sure many of us are surprised a split is possible.
All right, enough of the negativity. We’ve got our ace-in-training on the mound tonight, as Joba Chamberlain faces the Sox for the first time as a starter. He’ll be opposed by Tim Wakefield, who has pitched 202 innings against the Yankees during his career. His ERA sits at 5.03, though the most damning number is the 110 walks he’s given up in those innings. That works out to 4.90 walks per nine; his career average is 3.48 BB/9. The Yanks hit him especially hard last year, plating 17 runs in 14 innings. They also amassed 17 walks in that period.
Joba has just 4.1 innings of work against the Sox, in which he has allowed one run and walked two while striking out five. The Yanks could use a solid seven out of him. But then again, when could they not use a solid seven from a starting pitcher. We all know that the Yanks will need Joba to step up with Wang out, and tonight presents a strong opportunity. He’ll certainly need to improve over his last start, in which he lasted just four innings against the Texas Rangers.
Word has surely gotten around already that Johnny Damon has been placed on the DL for the first time in his career. Justin Christian has been recalled to play the role of reserve outfielder. While this is certainly a devastating blow to the offense, it does open up a little competition between Melky and Gardner. Our rook speedster hasn’t gotten off to a hot start, but he should have at least 10 games of regular at bats to turn it on. Melky has seemingly responded to the Gardner call-up, going 5 of his last 10. So let’s see if he can turn that into a little hot streak.
Enough of all that, though. Onto your lineups.
And on the mound, number sixty-two, Joba Chamberlain.
Update by Ben (8:05 p.m.): During the pre-game show, Buster Olney reported that the Brewers have traded a package of prospects fronted by Matt LaPorta to the Indians for C.C. Sabathia. I’ll have more on this deal tomorrow morning, but quickly: While this now means the Yanks won’t have Sabathia this year, it puts them in a prime position to nab him once he hits free agency this winter. There’s no way the Brewers re-sign the lefty before he hits the open market. And LaPorta’s quite the price to pay.
The fan votes are in and the reserves have been picked. Derek Jeter and A-Rod won the popularity contest and will start the game at short and third. A-Rod was the leading vote getter for the second straight year. Ian Kinsler Dustin Pedroia will start at second. Our campaign was futile.
The selection show is on TBS right now. I’ll update this post once the pitchers & reserves are announced.
Update (2:35): The NL pitchers & reserves have been announced. Johan Santana didn’t make the team, but Ryan Dempster did. Hah. Looks like Billy Wagner is the only Met headed to the Midsummer Classic. I can’t wait to see Timmy Lincecum take the mound in the Boogie Down, but how in the world does Carlos Marmol not make the team? Look at those numbers. I believe the term is “sick.” PeteAbe has the full rosters for ya.
Update (2:50): The AL pitchers & reserves have been announced. Mariano Rivera made it, now lets see if Francona has the guts to start him. Jason Varitek inexplicably made the team; his OPS+ is 73. One time great Yankee prospect Dioner Navarro made the team, I’m super happy for him. That’s it, no Johnny Damon or Mike Mussina.
Update (2:55): The Final Vote players were announced, so you can vote Jason Giambi into the game. · (85) ·
PeteAbe passed along a rather impressive statistic yesterday: when Jose Molina threw Jacoby Ellsbury out trying to steal second in the 5th inning yesterday, it was the 10th consecutive would-be base stealer that Molina has gunned down. Despite being a backup for most of the year, Molina has thrown out a league leading 22 base stealers, good for 47.9%, which also leads the league. Just imagine if he didn’t have a .572 OPS. · (23) ·
Remember how Joe Buck & Tim McCarver were gushing over how great Clay Buchholz has been since returning to Triple-A? Spoke too soon.
Triple-A Scranton (5-0 win over Syracuse)
Justin Christian: 1 for 4, 1 K, 1 HBP
Alberto Gonzalez: 2 for 5, 1 K
Cody Ransom, Matt Carson & Eric Duncan: all 2 for 4, 1 2B – Ransom scored 1 run, Carson scored 2 … Ransom was picked off first … Carson threw a runner out at third from RF … Duncan drove in 3
Ben Broussard: 0 for 3, 1 K, 1 HBP – back for more with Shelley likely done for the year
Jason Lane & Chris Stewart: both 1 for 3, 1 K – Lane doubled, drove in a run, scored another & was hit by a pitch
Nick Green: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 K
Dan McCutchen: 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 4-12 GB/FB – 77 of 109 pitches were strikes (70.6%) … the only way he could have been better was if the GB/FB ratio was reversed
I dunno about you, but I hate these 4pm Mike Mussina starts on FOX. Something about it just makes me feel very uncomfortable. The only way it could be worse is if the game was in Fenway.
The Damon situation adds injury to insult, and it’s just another in a long line of debilitating injuries that includes (at one time or another) 60% of the Opening Day starting rotation, a HOF third baseman, a HOF shortstop, an All-Star catcher, an All-Star DH, three serviceable if not down right reliable bullpen arms, and a utility man. I’m not making excuses, this team needs to start playing better. Bases loaded with one out? You have to get some runs in, doesn’t matter if you’re the Yankees or the Red Sox or the Pirates. You don’t come through in those situations, you’re going to lose ball games.
Sox starter Justin Masterson has been pounded for 8 earned runs (3 homers) and 21 baserunners in 12 IP over his last 2 starts. Double-A Trenton beat the sidearming sinkerballer from Jamaica on not one, but two occasions last year, so let’s hope the big league team follows suit and gives him the same Bronx welcome they gave The Laptop Stealer earlier this year.
Righties are OPS’ing .501 off Masterson, lefties .864.
1. Gardner, LF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, DH
6. Betemit, 1B
7. Cano, 2B
8. Melky, CF
9. Molina, C
Notes: PeteAbe says Jorge Posada is a little under the weather, otherwise he’d almost certainly be playing … Brian Bruney’s road back started yesterday with a 2 inning stint in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League
As spiraling construction costs and a weak economy have sent the price tag on the new Yankee Stadium soaring, the Yankees have been seeking some $350 million in tax exempt bonds beyond what they’ve already secured for the stadium. New York State politicians, however, are growing increasingly leery of the richest sports franchise’s continual cries of poverty.
This conflict came to something of a head earlier this week when city officials and Yankee club reps squared off with New York State Assembly Representative Richard Brodsky (Dem. – Westchester)and his Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions.
As Mark Gianotto reported in The Sun, Brodsky is big opponent of any further bonds at tax-payer expense for the stadium construction efforts:
At a hearing before the Assembly’s Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions in Lower Manhattan yesterday, the committee’s chairman, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester, said the city’s Industrial Development Agency committed a “fundamental public policy breakdown” by ignoring the baseball team’s potential revenue streams and ticket prices when determining if public funding was necessary for the new stadium. In the process, Mr. Brodsky said, the city bypassed more worthy projects.
But Brodsky’s critique is only icing on the cake. As Juan Gonzalez wrote in the Daily News on Wednesday, the Yankees can cash in on a whole bunch of incentives including one that would allow them to operate 25 pushcart vendors if they don’t get 600 parking spots. Gonzalez writes about more of the deception uncovered prior to this week’s Assembly hearing:
According to other documents IDA released to Brodsky, Mayor Bloomberg and former Gov. George Pataki greatly exaggerated the number of permanent jobs the new Yankee stadium will produce.
At the groundbreaking in August 2006, Bloomberg announced that the new stadium would “result in about 1,000 permanent jobs.” The actual job figures the Yankees submitted in their application to the IDA told a far different story.
They show the Yankees had only 104 full-time permanent employees in 2005. Included in that total were all team executives, ballplayers, office workers and maintenance personnel. Barely half were city residents. The number of full-time permanent jobs, the Yankees projected, would increase to 140 by 2009, the year the new stadium will open. That’s a gain of just 36 permanent jobs.
The Yankees have reported part-time jobs as well even though employees for those jobs largely come from outside of New York City. This is yet another example of the city’s willingness to look the other way for the Yankees while allowing other services — education and transportation come to mind — to fall by the wayside. While I know a lot of Yankee fans don’t care about this issue or would rather see the city placate the team, as I’ve written before, the Good Government New Yorker in me would prefer to see the city take advantage of their potential tax revenues. The Yankees were never going to leave, and this stadium simply acts as an unnecessary gift.
Our local politicians, however, aren’t the only ones looking into stadium subsidies. As Keith Herbert and Michael Frazier reported earlier this week, the feds are looking into it too. The IRS is looking to close a few tax loopholes that allow corporations to exploit tax-exempt bonds while a House subcommittee plans to ask the Treasury Department why these exemptions are granted in the first place.
No matter what, it seems that the ostentatious Yankee Stadium plans will finally convince the government to crack down on public subsidies of sports complexes. This is a move that’s probably coming twenty years too late as most sports economists have been urging these changes for the duration of the stadium boom. But, hey, better late than never.