At the outset of the season we announced our plan to raise money for The Jorge Posada Foundation with The Big Three K’s Craniosynostosis Pledge Drive, where readers pledge a certain amount of money for each strikeout recorded by Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy. The response we received was better than I expected: 24 pledges totaling $4.94 per strikeout.
Even though The Big Three haven’t performed as well as we hoped, they’ve still helped us raise $266.49. We’re on pace to pull in over $980 over the course of the season, and obviously we all hope Phil, Joba & IPK right their respective ships and make that number even bigger.
If you haven’t already pledged, please consider doing so. We’re very flexible about this and can start your pledge today, retroactive to the start of the season, any time really. You set the terms and everyone wins. Whether you think the Yanks should traded for Santana or not, we can all agree that this is for a good cause. Shoot me a line at mike (at) riveraveblues (dot) com, stick Pledge Drive in the subject line, and we’ll get you all set up.
While we had a good laugh over the Jason Giambi thong story on Friday, it turns out that Portfolio’s piece was another example of subpar journalism. PeteAbe says that the thong story is nothing new, and Jason Giambi said that the Portfolio reporter never attempted to interview him for the piece. So much for journalistic standards. · (5) ·
Is there anything worse than watching a Yankee game where the team looks terrible, they’re losing badly and Joe Morgan is one of the announcers? I had trouble refraining from chucking my remote control through the TV as Morgan spouted out wrong information and general inanities for nine innings.
The stupidity reached a high point though during the disastrous top of the fourth. When Carlos Delgado lined a foul ball/home run down the left field line and the umpires overruled a call that was probably correct in the first place, Joe Morgan said that the disputed nature of the call and the unclear conclusion offered by the instant replay was exactly why instant replay shouldn’t be instituted in baseball. And that, folks, is Emmy-award winning baseball coverage from the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
In fact, Delgado’s home run was exactly why baseball needs instant replay. I’ve written passingly about instant replay in the distant (blogging) past. Basically, MLB should institute a form of instant replay review like the NFL. It’s not too hard to figure out how, and with even the umpires admitting they erred, it would be really easy to fix this problem.
Here’s my proposal: Instant replay should be available for plays that could lend themselves to controversy. That includes tag plays, home run calls and runners tagging up on fly balls. Instant replay review can be initiated by each team, say, once or twice during a game, and the umpires can choose to consult the video as well if they can’t agree on a call. Much like in the NFL, the ruling on the field should be the default, and it should be overturned only if video evidence is conclusive enough to warrant it.
In tonight’s game, then, since, as Morgan noted, video evidence wasn’t obvious, then the call stands as a home run. That was probably the right call anyway.
Through this system, you won’t see managers challenging balls and strikes calls, and I’m happy to leave force plays up to the umpires. Tags and foul ball/home run calls are wrong way more often than force plays at a base.
The technology exists to perfect these calls, and there’s no reason for MLB to delay implementing instant replay. We’ve seen far too many bad calls in very prominent situations. Shouldn’t getting it right trump any sense of tradition? We have QuesTec; why not instant replay?
Anyway, I’m not going to harp on the game too much. The Yanks are a mess, and hopefully, A-Rod‘s return and a three-game set against the Orioles can spark something of a resurgence. It’s still early, and the Yanks just have more talent than a last-place, 20-24 team. I know things will get better. They can’t get much worse.
Chad Jennings says Jeff Karstens will make the start for Triple-A Scranton tomorrow. Karstens is the model AAAA pitcher; he destroys minor leaguers (3.48 minor league ERA) but get’s destroyed by big leaguers (80 career ERA+). If nothing else, at least he’s another option.
In completed unrelated news, Mike A. prospect crush Hall of Famer Michael Aubrey was recently called up by the Indians and picked up his first career hit today when he took Edison Volquez deep. Congrats on first career knock and jack Mikey, hope the back’s doing well.
Game 1 (7-1 loss to Pawtucket in 7 innings)
Brett Gardner, Justin Christian & Jason Lane (aka the 1-2-3 hitters) combined 0 for 10 – Christian drove in a run & K’ed
Juan Miranda: 1 for 2, 1 2B, 1 BB
Greg Porter & Chris Stewart: combined 2 for 3 – Stewart scored a run & K’ed
Bernie Castro: 1 for 3, 1 SB
Steven White: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 2 HB, 5-5 GB/FB – 42 of 75 pitches were strikes (56%)
David Robertson: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1-2 GB/FB – 36 K in 28 IP
JB Cox: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2-1 GB/FB
It’s cloudy and cool in New York. While this afternoon’s rain storms have let up for a bit, showers are supposed to return this evening, but the House that Ruth Built will host a baseball game tonight as the New York teams wrap up round two of the six-round Subway Series. (Shameless plug alert.)
For the Yankees, today is thankfully the last day of the A-Rod Disabled List stint. If his value to the team isn’t apparent after this terrible stretch of baseball, then you haven’t been paying much attention. Right now, I’d have to believe that Morgan Ensberg may be witnessing his last game in a Yankee uniform. His stint in New York was a good idea; it just hasn’t panned out, and Alberto Gonzalez is a much better fit for this team going forward than Ensberg is.
The Yanks, oh so terrible against lefties, face yet another southpaw tonight as Oliver Perez takes the mound of the Mets. As a team, the Yanks have never really hit Perez, and on the season, they are hitting .232/.303/.333 against lefties. As Ed Price relates, the Yanks are 1-6 vs. lefty starters since A-Rod hit the DL. Chien-Ming Wang better bring his A game to the Bronx tonight.
Game time is 8:05, and we’re stuck with the All Star broadcasting team of Joe Morgan and Jon Miller.
As the Yankees — without Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez‘s anchoring the middle of their lineup — struggle to score runs, the team has come to rely upon their starting pitching to keep them in games. While the back end of the rotation has been in flux, Chien-Ming Wang and Mike Mussina have so far done their jobs and both lead the team with six wins. Where the Yanks’ pitching has faltered, however, has been with Andy Pettitte.
Over his last five starts — a period of time that seems to correspond with the Yanks’ less-than-stellar hitting — Pettitte has not been his reliable self. He’s put together a truly forgettable stretch of pitching. Over 27.1 innings, he’s given up 35 hits, five of them home runs, and nine walks while striking out 24. He’s 0-4 over that span with a 6.26 ERA. Yesterday’s Pettitte effort counts as a Quality Start, but he’s probably just as unhappy as the rest of us were with his forcing in a run by walking the Mets’ number eight hitter with two outs.
During this stretch of time, opponents are hitting .315 off Pettitte with a .372 OBP and a .477 slugging. Basically, with Pettitte on the hill, opposing hitters are putting up Magglio Ordoñez-like numbers. That’s not going to lead to many Yankee wins.
For Pettitte right now, the key stat seems to be the batting average on balls in play or BABIP. Over the course of the season, Pettitte’s BABIP is .333 while a pitcher will, on average, see a BABIP of .290. For the Yankees, this is good news. Luck dictates that Pettitte will stop giving up so many hits at some point soon. He’s bound to regress to his career mean and become a more effective pitcher.
But at the same time, Pettitte’s defensive-dependent pitching numbers raise something of a red flag. His line drive numbers are down this year and his fly ball numbers are down this year but he’s giving up many more groundballs — 53.3 percent of all balls put in play this year compared to 47.7 percent last year — than he has in the past. The Yankee defense, then, isn’t doing a very good job of turning the ground balls Pettitte is surrendering into outs.
Something has to give here, and it will. Petttitte’s BABIP will decline, and the Yanks will hopefully grab a few more batted balls. The team certainly needs Pettitte to be more effective than he’s been over the last month. The success of their starting pitching depends on it.
I find myself with two extra tickets to this Thursday’s game between the Yankees and the Orioles. The seats are excellent — Tier Reserve Section 4, Row N — and all I want is to cover what I paid for them. So this pair can be yours for $32 total. E-mail me at the address at right, and it’s first come, first serve. · (5) ·
PeteAbe brings the good news. A-Rod mashed in a simulate game today (?), but more importantly he took 54 grounders of varying degrees of difficulty at the hot corner, and ran in the outfield without incident. “It’s the best I’ve felt since the injury,” Rodriguez said. Yes, A-Rod wasn’t exactly tearing the cover off the ball before the injury, but the Yanks have scored 2 or fewer runs in 6 of 14 games this month. Getting the cleanup hitter back and healthy is better than any trade acquisition could ever be. · (16) ·
Triple-A Scranton was rained out, they’ll play two tomorrow.
Double-A Trenton (4-3 win over New Hampshire)
Ramiro Pena: 1 for 5, 2 K
Austin Jackson: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K – threw a runner out at second from CF … 3 XBH (2 doubles & a jack) in the past 2 days
Colin Curtis & Kevin Russo: both 2 for 4, 1 2B – Russo also tripled & drove in 2
Edwar Gonzalez, Jose Tabata & Reegie Corona: all 1 for 4 – Tabata scored a run & K’ed … Corona K’ed twice
PJ Pilittere: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
George Kontos: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 4-3 GB/FB
Zach Kroenke: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3-1 GB/FB – southpaw is holding righties to a .148 avg, lefties to .250
Mike Gardner: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 4-0 GB/FB – he’s been a 2 inning closer all season
Quickly: We can blame Kyle Farnsworth and Joba Chamberlain for shoddy relief work today. We can criticize Andy Pettitte for walking the number eight hitter in the Mets’ lineup with two outs and the bases loaded. We can point fingers at the umpires and absolve the team of blame in a game where Johan Santana didn’t look that great. Or we can note that the bottom of the lineup — Melky Cabrera, Alberto Gonzalz, Chad Moeller and pinch hitters Shelley Duncan and Morgan Ensberg — went 0 for 11 with one walk. No matter what, this team is looking pretty pathetic, and they will remain in last place, five games behind the Rays. · (63) ·