Sunday Morning Links

Here are some links while we have to wait all day for the Moseley vs. Dice-K pitchers duel (good luck to ESPN selling this game).

Here’s a good read on maple bats and the potential fix to the very real problem of them breaking.  Within the piece there are several other links to good articles.  Barry Bonds being one of the first players to use maple bats might end up having a bigger impact on the game than Bonds being one of the thousands to have used PED’s.

An update on Mark Mulder and the cautionary tale of pitching . Mulder’s career is a great reason why the Yankees are cautious to lock up their young arbitration eligible pitchers early and will likely continue to do so with Hughes going forward.  Through the age of 27 Mulder already had 97 wins and seemed to be well on his way to a great, Pettitte like career. He won just 6 more the rest of his career and is now trying his hand at golf, still just 33 years old.

I think instant replay in baseball is just a matter of when, but not if at this point.  Still, the more it’s talked about, and the more awful calls that cost teams games, the quicker it will be here.  Bob Costas was recently on the Dan Patrick show and ripped Bud Selig over the lack of replay in baseball.  Here is a quick rundown of what he had to say, and here is full audio of the segment.  I certainly will celebrate the day there is a good replay plan in place in MLB.

Jon Heyman took a look at some of the question marks plaguing all of the playoff contenders.  People that focus solely on the Yankees can certainly point out their flaws, but there’s certainly no perfect team out there.  Heyman also notes that the Yankees aren’t likely to go all out for Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth.  While this makes sense to anyone who’s paid attention this year, many in the MSM still are fitting Crawford for pinstripes in the offseason.  I just don’t see it myself.

Yanks lose

This picture could act as the recap (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The short, short version:

Jon Lester is one of the top five pitchers in the AL, but the Yanks hitters were still underwhelming. Nova predictably got rattled when he put men on base. Chad Gaudin is terrible. Romulo Sanchez has trouble throwing strikes, but when he does guys have a hard time hitting it. A-Rod likes his 30-homer streak.

That’s about it. Last chance to put the magic number at one tomorrow night.

Open Thread: There’s always tomorrow, right?

Nice try, Austin. NOT. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Don’t worry guys, Dustin Moseley gets the ball tomorrow. I’m sure this latest losing streak will end there. Maybe the White Sox will do the Yankees job for them next week since the Yanks seem to have zero interest in doing it themselves. They’re playing a completely unwatchable brand of baseball right now, and it absolutely sucks. They look like garbage and the results match the process. I sure hope they can just flip a switch and turn it on again for the playoffs like they seem to believe they can.

Anyway, here’s your open thread for the evening. The Mets are playing out the rest of their schedule and have a date with the Phillies tonight, but the Giants and Rockies will be on MLB Network in a game that actually means something (albeit a small something). I’m sure there’s college football out the wazoo on as well, plus there’s preseason hockey on MSN tonight as well (Rangers vs. Devils). If you’re a Rangers fan and need a site to get your fix, check out Blue Seat Blogs. If you’re a Devils or Islanders fan … too bad I don’t care about you and your blogging needs. You know the drill, so have at it.

Game 155: You know, a win would be nice

Seriously, knock them on their ass. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Yankees failed to move any closer to securing a playoff berth last night, and they haven’t made any progress on that front in the last few days either. It’s time for that nonsense to stop. Yes, resting players is important, but it would be nice to win a damn game and actually clinch something first. Cut the crap and come to play. For my sanity.

Here’s the starting nine…

El Capitan, SS
Swishalicious, RF
Texual Healing, 1B
A-God, 3B
RBInson, 2B
Mr. Thames, DH
Austin Powers, LF
Grandyman, CF
You Got Cerv’d, C

And on the bump, it’s Ivan Manuel Nova.

First pitch is scheduled for a little after 4pm ET, and this gem will be on FOX. I don’t think the Yankees have won a FOX Saturday game against the Red Sox since Bump Hadley outdueled Rube Walberg a few days before the Hindenberg burst into flames. Yeah, it’s been a while. Try to enjoy the game.

Thomson not thinking about Blue Jays’ managerial opening

Via Ken Rosenthal, Yankees third base coach Robbie Thomson has not yet heard from the Blue Jays about their soon-to-be-vacant manager’s position. “I’ve got to keep my focus right here,” said Thomson, who also said he wouldn’t even discuss the possibility of finding a managerial position elsewhere until the season was over in fairness to his team.

Thomson has been with the Yankees since 1990. He’s done it all in his time with the organization, starting as a minor league coach before moving up to director of player development, vice president of minor league development, and Major League field coordinator before moving back into the coaching ranks in 2008. He served as Joe Girardi‘s bench coach in 2008, and actually managed the games on April 4th and 5th of that season (both losses to the Rays) when Girardi was sick.

It’s easy to understand why Thomson would leave his employer of the last 20 years for a big league manager’s job elsewhere, but he’s incredibly valuable to the Yanks no matter what capacity he’s working in. Of course, there’s always the remote possibility that his first managerial job comes with the Yankees if Girardi bolts for the Cubs after the season, but again, I think that’s unlikely.

Another kind of Wild Card

While the Andrew Brackman call-up story has been all over the map, it was confirmed on Thursday that Brackman has indeed been activated.  We still have no idea if Brackman will throw his first major league pitch this year (Thursday would have been an ideal time).  If he does, and he’s a success, could we see Brackman on the postseason roster?

The pitching roster for the playoffs is far from set and the possibilities are being debated all over the place and I’m sure within the Yankees organization.  If Brackman gets some garbage time innings in and dominates, I could see him replacing whoever is currently penciled in for the last spot on the roster.  While it sounds crazy, Brackman has upside that Moseley, Vazquez, Gaudin and Mitre just don’t have.  If he comes in and dominates for 5-10 innings over the next 10 days, why not?

This idea all stems from how valuable Francisco Rodriguez was for the Angels in 2002.  He wasn’t called up until September and didn’t throw his first major league pitch until September 18th.  He was 20 years old with 317.2 minor league innings, Brackman is 24 with 247.1 innings, so it’s not like Rodriguez had a huge advantage in experience, especially considering Brackman went to college. K-Rod established himself quickly and despite just 5.2 major league innings, there was no way the Angels could leave him off their playoff roster.  They were rewarded when Rodriguez’ domination continued into the playoffs and helped the Angels to the title.  I don’t think Brackman has it in him to dominate like K-Rod did, but he could also pitch 5 or 6 innings if needed in an extra inning or a bad AJ kind of game.  He could truly be a wild card.

I will say that I don’t expect this to happen, but I would love for Brackman to get his feet wet in the majors and pitch well enough for him to even be in the discussion.  While the last spot on a playoff bullpen may not matter much, if he pitches well enough to get real innings in, he could be extremely valuable.  The value of relievers is greatly overrated in the regular season, but dominating performances out of the pen can go a long way in a tight postseason series.  We’ve seen enough of Mariano Rivera over the past decade and half to know how valuable a shutdown reliever can be, but he hasn’t been alone.  He’s the only one who has done it consistently, but there’s no way the Angels win in 2002 without Rodriguez, or the Sox in 2004 without Foulke, or the Cardinals in 2006 without Wainwright all dominating out of the pen.  What do you think, if Brackman pitches and dominates over the next 10 days, would you want to see him on the mound in October?

Yanks rally falls short, drop third in a row

After a pair of blow out losses the last two nights, the Yankees looked to be headed down that path again on Friday. Down nine runs at one point, they rallied back on the stretch of many, many homers to bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning. Alas, it was not meant to be, as Jon Papelbon wiggled his way out of trouble and helped keep his team in the race for another day.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Lowrie Starts It Off For The Sox

WPA doesn’t seem to do a real good job with blowout games like this, but tonight my emotions agreed with the biggest hit of the game. That was Jed Lowrie’s three run homer in the second, one batter after Nick Swisher muffed a semi-routine fly ball/line drive/fliner. I think we all felt confident with Andy Pettitte on the mound and a fully rested bullpen, but that shot to rightfield kind of took the wind out of the sails. It increased Boston’s chances of winning by more than 21% despite being so early in the game, and you could feel it when the ball landed too. Oh well.

Honorable Mention: Hall Goes To Zaaaaaales

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The fifth inning was like the culmination of every Yankee problem ever. The Red Sox scored three runs in the inning on a Bill Hall homer off the Zales sign in the visitor’s bullpen after Jon Albaladejo recorded two quick outs to lead off the frame. We know all about this two out runs thing. Of course, those three runs appeared to be nothing more than meaningless tack-on runs at the time (the score was then 10-1), but the Sox ended up needing every last one of them. The Yanks have learned a thing or two about the consequences of not scoring insurance runs in the last few weeks, haven’t they? So much fail, so little time.


They call them the Bronx Bombers for a reason, and they showed why in the sixth and seventh innings of this one. Curtis Granderson got the Yanks on board early on with a third inning solo shot, his 12th in the last 40 games or so, but the omgBOOMstix didn’t really come out a little later. Mark Teixeira whacked his first homer of the month off Josh Beckett in the sixth, and one batter later Alex Rodriguez took him deep for the Yanks eighth set of back-to-back jacks this season.

With Beckett still out their next inning, Nick Swisher drove in Derek Jeter with a two out homer, and then A-Rod went deep again with Tex on base two batters later, though this came off Scott Atchison. In the span of ten batters, Red Sox pitchers allowed four homers. Teixeira hit his second of the game with two outs in the ninth, bringing the Yanks to within two. Joe Torre used to always say that homers where only good for catching up quickly or extending the lead (dry humor ftw), and that’s exactly what we saw tonight. It’s too bad they didn’t have one more in their bats.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Bad Andy

As good as Andy Pettitte was in his last start against the Orioles, that’s how as bad as he was tonight (/McCarver’d) (no seriously, read that sentence in his voice). It was just hit after hit after hit, some legit line drives, others dinky little bloopers, but they all count the same. Pettitte was falling behind hitters quite a bit which hurt him, obviously, and the end result was ten hits, seven runs, and ten outs. At least he didn’t walk anyone.

Joe Girardi said before the game that the goal was 95 pitches for Andy, but he was lifted after throwing just 75. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went to the indoor batting cage under the stands and threw some more after being taken out, but who knows. He has one more start left this season and needs to get stretched out to over 100 pitches for the postseason.


Beckett has allowed nine homers in 26 IP against the Yankees this year. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Yanks became just the fifth team this century to hit six longballs in a game and lose, and just the second Yankee team to do it since 1961. A new low every day, eh? On the bright side, The O’Neill Theory is in full effect for tomorrow, and that’s always a good thing.

Jeter extended his hitting streak to a baker’s dozen, and both Tex and A-Rod each reached base three times (well, four of those were homers, so they weren’t technically “on base”). Grandy also had three hits to push his batting average over the .250 mark. The bad news is that the 4-5-6 hitters (Robbie Cano, Lance Berkman, Jorge Posada) went a combined 0-for-12 with just one walk. Cano, of course, struck out to end the game. Getting something out of them would have helped.

Teixeira has definitely been swinging the bat a little better in the last three games. He hit a homerun ball on Wednesday that went just foul into the second deck, then he doubled and had another two-bagger taken away from him by Rocco Baldelli on Thursday, then tonight there were the two homers, his first two of the month. He’s going to have to produce for them down the stretch and into the playoffs, so it’s good to see him getting back on track.

Sergio Mitre, pitching for the first time in 11 days, kept the Sox off the board for two innings before giving way to filthy dirty Kerry Wood, who got the next four outs. Boone Logan then came in and got two outs on three pitches against lefties David Ortiz and Lars Anderson. Aside from AAAAlbaladejo, very nice work by the bullpen tonight. Wood threw just 18 pitches, so I’m certain he’ll be available tomorrow if needed.

The Rays beat the Mariners, so they took over first place in the AL East and lead by half-a-game. The Sox crept to within six-and-a-half games of the Wild Card with just eight to play. The Yanks have won just 26 of their last 50 games and are now just 6-12 in their last 18 games. Their playoff ticket is very close to being punched, but it hasn’t been just yet, so they really need to start playing better. Start taking it easy when you’ve clinched something.

WPA Graph & Box Score

I guess the rally wasn’t as great as we thought. has the box score, FanGraphs some other stuff.

Up Next

You ready for some FOX baseball action? Cause that’s what you’re getting tomorrow when these two clubs meet again at 4:05pm ET. Ivan Nova gets the ball against Jon Lester. Hopefully the kid won’t lose it the third time through the order, but I’m not holding my breath.