As the Thursday negotiation deadline neared an end, the Yankees and DirecTV have averted a blackout. The two sides have renewed their deals. Terms have yet to be disclosed, and we’ll update this post as we hear more. Yankee fans with DirecTV will not miss Friday afternoon’s contest against the winless Red Sox.
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Once you’ve done that, use this as your open thread for the night. The free preview of the Extra Inning package is still in effect, so there’s baseball on somewhere. The (New York) Rangers are also playing what is essentially their biggest game of the season as well, so that should be fun. Talk about whatever, go bananas.
Note: Friend of the site Alex Kresovich (who produced the intro music for our podcast) has a beat in the running for the NBA2K12 soundtrack. They’re now down to ten finalists after 11,000+ submissions, and you can vote for Alex through Facebook. All you have to do is click the link, then click “Like” for Alex Kresovich, “The Return.” That’s all. Thanks.
Quite a stir was made a few days ago when Derek Jeter told Ian O’Connor that he wasn’t thinking about his new stride after working on it all spring. “I just said the heck with it,” said the Cap’n. “I wasn’t going to think about it. Before you’re trying to think about where your foot is and you’re trying not to move it, and it’s just too much to think about. So today I tried not to.” Rob Neyer picked it up and presented it as if Jeter abandoned the new stride and went back to his old ways, which wasn’t entirely true. He just said he wasn’t going to think about it, not that he was giving up on it all together.
Fast forward to this morning. Buster Olney reported before this afternoon’s game that there were “indications” that Jeter has in fact given up on his new stride and gone back to his old mechanics. It wasn’t clear if Olney was reporting this as new information or if he was just piggy-backing on O’Connor’s report, but then Jeter came to the plate in the first inning against Francisco Liriano with the leg kick and stride he used for most of his career. It worked today – he went 2-for-3 (legit double into the left field corner and an infield single) with a walk – and Jeter never really seemed to be get comfortable with the changes Kevin Long tried to make, so whatever works I guess.
In a lot of ways, the Yankees lucked out with last night’s postponement. They can skip not only one Freddy Garcia start but two, and the core bullpen pieces get some much needed rest. The regular position players also get a day of rest without missing an actual game, which is always a good thing. The less Gustavo Molina, the better.
New York will wrap up its first home stand of the season this afternoon, then they’ll head up to Boston for a quick three-game weekend series before returning home for another six game homestand. It sucks that 14.8% of the home schedule will be played in the first 9.3% of the season, but that’s the card they drew. Hopefully they can squeeze out a W and win their second straight series under some overcast skies today and leave town on a high note.
Here’s the lineup that’ll face lefty Francisco Liriano…
A.J. Burnett, SP
It’s a 1:05pm ET start today, and the game can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
The Yankees had their first postponement of the 2011 season, though it didn’t seem like severe enough conditions to warrant it. That causes plenty of schedule changes. Mike and I walk through the team’s options and figure out what’s what.
Would you rather face Francisco Liriano or Carl Pavano today? We also talk about this issue.
Podcast run time 22:09
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Intro music: “Die Hard” courtesy of reader Alex Kresovich. Thanks to Tyler Wilkinson for the graphic.
Via Brian Costello, doctors have told Pedro Feliciano to take it easy as he comes back from a strained rotator cuff, pushing his schedule back just slightly. The lefty had hoped to begin throwing this week, but he’ll instead have to wait until next week to start playing catch. We heard Feliciano would be shut down completely for ten days right before the season started, which would have put him on target to being throwing this weekend. It’s not the end of the world, but when left-handed batters have a 1.000 OBP against Boone Logan like they do now, yeah, it sucks. Get well soon Pedro.
- Blue Jays (4-1, +17 run differential)
- Orioles (4-1, +9)
- Yankees (3-2, +4)
- Rays (0-5, -15)
- Red Sox (0-5, -21)
Those are the AL East standings as of this morning. The teams in Baltimore and Toronto are overachieving due to pitching and timely hitting while the Rays and Red Sox have fallen victim to a lack of offense and pitching, respectively. Tampa has scored seven runs total in their five games and haven’t even held a lead yet all season. Seriously, they’ve been nothing but tied or behind in 2011.
And then there are the Yankees. Right in the middle of the division, winners of three (really should be four) games and the only club in the East doing pretty much exactly what was expected of them. The offense is averaging just over six runs a game but is doing so with heavy reliance on the long ball. Take out their league-leading 13 homers, and they’re hitting just .190 with a .261 OBP as team. Of course it doesn’t work like that, those homers count so we can’t just take them out to fit a narrative, but at some point the balls won’t be flying over the fence with the same frequency. Neither the team ERA (4.89) or FIP (3.56) represents the pitching staff’s true talent level, which is probably somewhere in between those two numbers. We’re still well short of the point where some of these statistical indicators stabilize, so there’s no sense in obsessing over numbers just yet.
While it’s certainly fun to watch Boston and Tampa struggle out of the gate, we know it won’t last. The Red Sox will win a game soon enough, and if it doesn’t happen against the Indians this afternoon, then there’s a really good chance that it’ll happen against the Yankees over the weekend. That will probably begin a stampede toward to top of the standings. The Rays’ offensive ineptitude (.212 wOBA) won’t be around to make fun of all season, unfortunately. On the other side of the coin, eventually the Orioles’ team ERA will climb north of 2.00 (probably once their .212 BABIP and 87% strand rate returns to Earth). Reality will slap the Blue Jays in the face once they stop playing games against AL Central and AL West opponents.
There’s nothing special about the first five games of the season, at least not when it comes to predictive value. We just happened to remember these games more because we’ve been baseball-starved for the last five months or so. The first five games are really no different than a randomly selected five-game stretch in June, it’s just one small slice of the bigger picture. We’re talking about five games people, which is just slightly more than three-percent of the season. If the season was a nine inning game, there wouldn’t even be one out in the top of the first yet. That how much is still left to be played.
By all means, enjoy the Rays inability to get a hit (.152 BABIP) and Boston’s hilariously bad pitching performances (8.25 FIP) while they last. Reality is going to rear it’s ugly head soon enough, crashing through the wall like the Kool-Aid guy saying “OH YEEEEAH!!!” The standings right now are pretty much the exact opposite of what one could reasonably expect coming into the season, but the power of small sample sizes can work in mysterious ways.