As far as losses go, tonight’s was fairly expected. The Yanks were facing the NL’s ERA leader, and the team had just won seven in a row. But in a way, this loss is a bit infuriating too. With Boston and Tampa Bay both losing, the Yanks lost a chance to gain some ground. If only the breaks had gone their way.
The biggest play in the game was, besides a few early caught stealings, Johnny Damon‘s non-error on a fly ball he’ll tell he should have caught. Leading off the fifth Edwin Encarnacion hit a hard line drive at Damon, and as the Yanks’ left fielder went for the catch, he lost the ball in the glare from the lights at twilight in the Bronx. Encarnacion was awarded a double.
A few batters later — after an intentional walk that Mussina did not want to issue — Jolbert Cabrera picked up his third of four hits and drove in two runs. While he would score — and Ken Griffey would oddly high-five the umpire — the damage was done, and those two runs, the Reds’ second and third of the game, would hold up. (Later on in the game, Cabrera would leave the game with a severely dislocated finger after sliding head-first into second base. Feet first is the way to go.)
For the Yankees, they just couldn’t get any breaks. Jason Giambi missed a game-changing home run in the 7th by about a quarter of an inch when he lofted a deep fly ball to left-center field, and Wilson Betemit drove one deep only to see Jay Bruce haul it in with his back literally to the wall.
The story of the night heading into the game was Volquez, and he did not disappoint. He gave up two earned runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out five. The Yanks lost, but they didn’t gain any ground. I’ll take eight wins out of ten games any time of the season.
Game Notes Jason Giambi made the final out of the game as the potential tying run and went 0 for 4 on the night. He is now 0 for his last 12 since homering twice against San Diego on Tuesday. While we may have spoke too soon, I’d expect a hot streak from Giambi soon.
My respect for DotF‘s gone up a notch with Mike gone. This takes a looong time to compile, and I’m only doing the short version. More from me in a bit when I opine on the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to Edinson Volquez and the Reds.
AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre lost to the Toledo Mud Hens 8-4. (Box Score)
Dan McCutchen – 5 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, L (1-5) – Struggling a bit at AAA
Juan Miranda – 5 for 5, 2 2B, 2 RBI – Daaamn. He pulled a Jolbert Cabrera.
Shelley Duncan – 0 for 4, 1 BB – Shelley is 1 for 14 with 6 walks since returning to AAA
When tonight’s Reds starter Edinson Volquez made his Major League debut, he was 21 years old and a phenom out of the Texas Rangers’ system. He struggled mightily that year, going 0-4 with an ERA of 14.21.
Over the next two years, he would improve but not by much. In 2006 and 2007, he was 3-7 with a 5.90 ERA. While his strike out totals improved in 2007 to a shade under one K per inning, the Rangers opted to trade the youngster for Josh Hamilton last winter. It’s been a win-win trade for both teams.
On the season, Volquez has been one of the top NL pitchers. He’s 9-2 with a 1.64 ERA. In 88 innings, he’s given up 29 fewer hits per innings pitched, but he’s walked a batter
an inning every two innings. His 105 strike outs are rather impressive.
Volquez is a study in patience with youth. He made his debut just a few weeks after his 22nd birthday, and now he has matured into a pitcher everyone thought he would be. Keep that mind when next you disparage Phil Hughes for a bad start this year.
On the mound for the Yankees is Father Time himself, going for his 11th win. Mike Mussina will have to pitch a tight game to give the Yankees an opening they’ll need against Volquez. Game time is 7:05 p.m.
Back in 2000, as part of a charity auction, cows decorated by people from all over adorned the streets of New York as part of the Cow Parade. This year, with the All Star Game in town, MLB is releasing its own version of the cow parade: baseball-themed replicas of the Statue of Liberty.
Throughout the city starting today, observant New Yorkers can find 42 different Statues celebrating the 30 teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and various other New York City baseball related designs.
I like this idea. While it’s clearly a bit gimmicky, it’s a nice way of honoring the city while marketing baseball, and if it’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that baseball needs to find a few feel-good marketing campaigns to run. Much like they did with the cows, fans will hunt down these statues for photo ops, and the casual person happening upon one of these statues will stop and notice it.
Per the press release, find the statues here, among other places:
|All-Star Game||MLB, 245 Park Avenue|
|American League||Statue of Liberty|
|National League||Ellis Island|
|Brooklyn Dodgers||Topps, One Whitehall Street|
|New York Giants||Toys “R” Us, Times Square,1514 Broadway|
|New York Mets||Penn Station, 2 Penn Plaza|
|Yankee Stadium tribute||Yankee Stadium|
|Atlanta Braves||World Financial Center Plaza|
|Boston Red Sox||Sports Museum of America, 26 Broadway|
|Chicago Cubs||20 Broad Street, near N.Y. Stock Exchange|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||888 7th Avenue, near Carnegie Hall|
|St. Louis Cardinals||1290 Ave. of the Americas, near Radio City|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Champs, 5 Times Square|
We’ve got a free extra to tonight’s game. Seats are in the bleachers. First person who wants the ticket to leave a comment in this thread with a valid e-mail address in the e-mail field (where it will stay private) gets it. Please be in New York and able to go the game tonight. Ready, set, go. · (5) ·
While old-timer Brooklynites will still grouse about Walter O’Malley and the Dodgers’ flight to LA 50 years ago, on the other coast, fans are celebrating five decades of baseball in sunny California. Variety, the entertainment industry’s leading trade publication, published its Los Angeles Dodgers 50th Anniversary issue this week. Organized by Dodger Thoughts writer Jon Weisman, the Hollywood-centric baseball special contained two pieces by Alex Belth, one on the top ten baseball movies and one on ten movies that used baseball as a plot device. And for the nostalgic Bums among us, check out Weisman’s piece on what Brooklyn’s long lost team now means to LA. · (2) ·
It’s time for the once-a-month look back at Kei Igawa! This time, it’s brought to you by Rainer Sabin and The New York Times. Reading about Kei’s predicament in Scranton and his constant trips to New York to visit his wife, I feel bad for the Yanks’ expensive left-handed flop. He just wants to do well. · (19) ·
For those of you who get to the bottom of the DotF comments, there’s some video on the Pat Venditte incident from last night. It’s a bit long, but if you want to make him play the hitter for a fool, fast forward to the last few seconds.
Curt Schilling is set to have season-ending (and possibly career-ending) surgery. This will probably raise the stakes a bit in any eventual C.C. Sabathia trade negotiations. · (36) ·
Is it too early to think about 2009? It seems as though, in Yankee-land, it is not.
Price of the Giambino: Two months ago, we would have set the odds of Jason Giambi’s returning to the Bronx next year at approximately, well, zero. But we’re hearing the Yankees have sent signals to Giambi that, assuming he stays healthy and reasonably productive, they would be amenable to bringing him back next year. There’s zilch chance they’ll pick up his $22 million option. But a modest one-year offer, on top of his $5 million buyout, apparently is no longer out of the question. Who’d have thunk it?
Who’d have thunk it? Well, outside of our own Jamal, approximately no one. We knew Giambi wasn’t going to be terrible all season; we didn’t realize he would start putting up MVP-caliber numbers over a significant stretch of the season.
Now, I don’t need to rehash Giambi’s numbers since he broke out of his slump. I’ve done that recently here and, in a more in-depth post here this week. Suffice it to say that Jason Giambi is having a stretch right now that ranks among his best in pinstripes.
So what are the Yankees to do next year and beyond? The Yanks hold a $20 million option or a $5 million buyout for Giambi. There’s almost no chance that the Yanks would opt to exercise that option. Stark’s sources speculate that the Yankees would be more inclined to exercise that buy out and sign Giambi to a much lower one-year deal.
There are of course a few factors involved in this decision. One of those factors lies with Jason Giambi. If Jason continues to mash this year, the odds are pretty good that he could land a deal longer than one year. He’ll have to decide if he wants to stick around New York or go for a longer contract. I highly doubt the Yanks would be willing to do more than a year-to-year situation with Giambi. Maybe they would give him a two-year deal with a lower salary but some high incentives.
The other factor, of course, lies with the Yankees. If Jason Giambi can be a productive offensive player, the Yankees will definitely look to bring him back. He hasn’t been terrible in the field this year, and he more than makes up for it at the plate. Furthermore, the Yanks seem to believe that Hideki Matsui is no longer as durable as he once was and are hoping to prolong Jorge Posada‘s career by spelling him behind the plate as often as possible. Giambi could do a bit of 1B/DH platooning next year.
But if the Yankees want to go young — or younger — and take a long, hard look at Mark Teixeira in the off-season, they probably wouldn’t opt to retain Giambi and Matsui. Despite the age difference, I’d almost take Giambi over Matsui with that lineup. Of course, economics play into it too. If the Yanks are going to be paying Giambi $5 million not to renew his contract, they’ll probably want some of that money to go to on-field production and would thus be more willing to bring him back for the right price.
In the end, of course, despite Stark’s assertions, it’s way too early to be making this decision. We still have over half the season to go, and questions of frailty surround Jason Giambi. It’s interesting to think about it, and if Giambi stays healthy and keeps producing, the Yanks will have to make a decision this October that probably doesn’t have a right or wrong answer.