Injury updates on A-Rod, Posada, Gardner

Update by Mike (9:51pm): Brian Cashman confirmed that A-Rod will not play before Tuesday.

Just a few injury updates:

  • Mark Feinsand reports that A-Rod has tendinitis of the hip flexor. Girardi thinks it’s good news that it’s not a muscular issue. A-Rod is day-to-day. He could pinch hit tonight, but Girardi would like to avoid that. The Yanks have an off-day on Monday as well, so they could use Sunday to give him two days off in a row, including three off in four days.
  • Via Chad Jennings, Tony Pena led Jorge Posada in some more catching drills today. I can see him back behind the plate Tuesday against Philly, but that’s just a guess.
  • Also from Jennings, Gardner will take BP of some sort today. He is not in tonight’s lineup.

Game 61: Houston, you have a problem

"Aw dang, I really miss New York y'all." (Photo Credit: Pat Sullivan, AP)

The Astros are bad, like really really bad. As a team they’re hitting .237-.290-.339, which is like having nine Randy Winn’s in the lineup. It’s that bad. Houston’s rotation is sneaky good, but it’s just not enough to overcome that putrid lineup. I’m sure former ‘Stro Andy Pettitte is glad he decided to come back to the Yankees when he did.

Here’s the tonight’s lineup…

Jeter, SS
Granderson, CF
Teixeira, 1B
Cano, 2B
Swisher, RF
Posada, DH
Cervelli, C
Pena, 3B
Russo, LF

And on the mound, Andrew Pettitte.

Make sure you check out all the injury updates from earlier in case you missed them. The game starts at 7:05pm ET, and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

NoMaas interviews Mark Newman

The gang over at NoMaas scored an interview with Mark Newman, the Yankees’ Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and a 22-year veteran of the organization. The discussed a wide range of farm system related topics, from the organizational hierarchy to the team’s plans for Slade Heathcott and J.R Murphy to the draft. There’s a ton, and I really mean a ton of great info in there, so it get my highest level or recommendation. Hit it up, yo.

A no-hitter most strange seven years later

Photo credit: Osamu Honda/AP

Once upon a time, the best team in the American League — the team destined for a first place finish, a classic ALCS and, unfortunately, a disappointing World Series loss — found itself no-hit by a motley bunch of Houston Astros. Now, these Astros were no schlubs. After all, they entered the game 36-28, in first in NL Central, just half a game worse than the Yanks. Plus, as Dallas Braden and countless others have shown, no-hitters can come from the unlikeliest of unlikely pitchers. But this nine-inning effort was unique in that it took six pitchers, each throwing harder than the last.

On paper, the original pitching match-up looked every bit the lopsided affair this game would turn out to be. Astros’ ace Roy Oswalt would face off against the Yanks’ Jeff Weaver in one of those painfully unexciting Interleague games that have come to dominate the mid-June schedule. Weaver, as was his pinstriped wont, had nothing from the start, and Oswalt had everthing. The Astros took a 1-0 lead after a Craig Biggio leadoff double, a flyball and a wild pitch, and Oswalt struck out Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi.

And then the Yanks caught a break. Oswalt left the game with a groin injury, and the Yanks could feast on 8 innings of bullpen work. Even with Jeff Weaver on the mound, the Yanks had 24 outs against pitchers not as good as Oswalt.

The break, it turned out, was anything but. Peter Munro took over for Oswalt and was effectively wild. He walked three — the only three Yanks to reach base — and struck out two in 2.2 innings of work. Kirk Saarloos took the ball for 1.1 hitless innings, and then the Astros brought the heat.

Over the final four innings of the game, the Yanks had to face Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner, each throwing harder than the last. The trio combined for eight strike outs over the final 12 outs of the game, and the game ended when Hideki Matsui grounded out to first. No runs, no hits.

Overall, the Astros’ pitching line was one for ages. 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 13 K. What made it confounding, though, was the sheer number of pitchers the Astros used. Houston seemed even more confused than New York. “I kind of expected him to hug me,” Billy Wagner said after the game, referring to first baseman Jeff Bagwell. “It was kind of a weird situation.”

Weird indeed. The 2003 Astros became the first team to use six pitchers in a single no-hitter, and the Yanks, who hadn’t been on the wrong end of a no-hitter in decades over a span of 6980 games, found themselves in the record books for all the wrong reasons. Sometimes, you lose, and sometimes, you lose historically.

Tonight, the Astros return to the scene of the crime seven years and one new stadium later. Lidge, Dotel, and Wagner have moved on to greener pastures, and while Oswalt has stayed with Houston through thick and thin, the Astros are engaged in a race to the bottom with the Orioles. One team will be crowned worst in baseball four months for now.

For now, the Astros and Yanks will just have to look back on that odd June 11 no-hitter and laugh. “Whatever kind of history it was,” said then-manager Joe Torre at the time, “it was terrible. It was one of the worst games I’ve ever been involved with.”

RAB Live Chat

The expectations of playing losing teams

A little less than three weeks ago, things didn’t seem so rosy for the Yankees. They were battling injuries to a few key players, and weren’t getting elite production from their elite players. After dropping two of three from the Mets the Yanks had something of a cold streak going, 5-9 in a two-week span that began with their trip to Detroit. The starting pitching, which propped up the offense in April, had a bad turn or two through the rotation, and it showed on the scoreboard and in the standings.

Yet there was a bit of hope ahead. The Yanks had an off-day after the Sunday night loss to the Mets, after which they’d travel to Minnesota for a mini three-game road trip. After three games against the first-place Twins, they’d have a string of games that had the potential to boost them back into gear. First four against last-place Cleveland. Then three against last-place Baltimore. The only tough series in that stretch came against Toronto, after which the Yankees would have last-place Baltimore again followed by second-to-last-place Houston.

So far the stretch has gone pretty well. The Yanks, by virtue of their pitching staff, took two of three from Minnesota before taking three of four from Cleveland. They swept Baltimore, so even though they lost two of three to Toronto it didn’t hurt so badly. They had still averaged only one loss per series. In the Baltimore series they maintained that pace. Since May 25 the Yanks are 11-5, with three games against Houston before they face a string of decently tough National League teams (excepting the Diamondbacks). They then get Seattle, Toronto, Oakland, and then Seattle again before the All-Star Break.

This is what the Yanks had hoped for. They played a tough schedule early in the year and despite injuries they weathered it. The Rays might have played better, but the Yanks still find themselves just two games out, which is still a good position right now. If they can make an interleague run like they have in years past, they’ll be in an even better position when they head into the break.

Yes, the Yankees were supposed to do this. They were supposed to steamroll the poor teams. I don’t think that takes anything away from the accomplishment, though. If the Yankees were going to underachieve they’d probably have lost more than one game per series, on average, during this stretch. They’d probably have dropped one of those one-run games in Minnesota. They might have gotten swept in Toronto. Those would be the marks of underachieving teams. The Yanks are just doing what they’re supposed to, and it’s been a joy to watch.

If the Yanks can keep that pace and take two of three from the Astros, they’ll head into the off-day having won 13 of their last 19, a 110-win pace for a full season, just to put it into some context. This has come during a time when they’ve seen Mark Teixeira go hot and cold, and during which A-Rod has hit .288/.317/.475. I guess they picked a good time to struggle. Their teammates can pick them up against the weaker teams. If they start to rebound during the interleague stretch, we’ll see even better things from this Yankees squad.

Why the wave doesn’t belong at Yankee Stadium

The video above comes to us from our friend Ross at NYY Stadium Insider. He shot it in April as the crowd did the wave while Curtis Granderson legged out a triple. Few fans were paying attention to the actual game, and the audio on Ross’ video is quite hilarious. It serves as a great introduction to this morning’s guest column on the wave.

Written by Larry Koestler of Yankeeist, this piece explores why many die-hards and more than a few newcomers can’t stand the modern phenomenon of the wave. I’ve always enjoyed the “Take the wave to Shea” chant, still relevant today even if Shea is just a parking lot.

A disturbing trend has come to pass at Yankee Stadium during the 2010 campaign. No, it’s not the seemingly automatic way in which the Yankees continue to compile wins at their beautiful ballpark. Or the proliferation of ridiculous Yankee paraphernalia that fans deign to wear to the Stadium. No, I’m talking about something much more sinister and disturbing: people at Yankee Stadium have — shockingly, and much to many long-time Yankee fans’ collective chagrin — resuscitated The Wave from its rightful place in the mausoleum and have been seen performing this paean to boredom at nearly every Yankee home game thus far this season.

That’s right. The Wave. At Yankee Stadium. God help us all.

The Wave began in the 1980s as a way for fans of National League teams to pass the time, because nothing says fun like a lame human ripple effect ringing around the upper deck of a baseball stadium. Then again, if I had to watch my pitchers hit I’d be bored as hell, too.

Kidding aside, participating in The Wave is basically the most insulting thing you can do to your team. You are literally telling everyone — as you wait to see if it’s going to make it all the way around and back to your section — that (a) You absolutely do not care about the fact that you are fortunate enough to be attending a baseball game, and (b) You have absolutely no interest in what or how your team is doing. You may as well have switched caps with a fan of the opposing team, because seeing as how they made the trip out to Yankee Stadium from wherever they’re from, they actually give a damn about the fact that a baseball game is being played.

In addition to displaying a complete and utter lack of interest in the events unfolding directly in front of you, The Wave also serves as a distraction to the folks who showed up to watch a ballgame. While playing at home may not statistically hold much of an advantage, a team’s fans still play a large role in both cheering the team on and trying to psyche the opposition out. Perhaps the most frequently recurring comment from opposing teams — at least about the old Yankee Stadium — was that once those 55,000 fans got going, there was no other noise on earth quite like it. The sound was deafening. The acoustics of new Yankee Stadium don’t allow for quite the same decibel level, but the proceedings can still get pretty loud, especially come playoff time. If people are trying to start up a Wave, it can be an immense distraction to the paying fans who know better, and also takes the crowd out of the game — how can 45,000 people will their team to victory through intense cheering and clapping when forced to shake their heads in disbelief that their fellow fans would rather throw their arms up in the air than clap for two-strike fever?

As far as I’m concerned, real Yankee fans don’t do The Wave. I attended well over 100 games at the old Yankee Stadium, and I honestly can’t remember a single instance of people even attempting to do The Wave. While I’m sure it broke out several times over the years — most likely during the dark late 80s/early 90s — it must have dissipated as the Yankees got better, because I seldom recall seeing it this past decade. At the old house, if you tried to do The Wave in the Bronx you’d have been more mercilessly razzed than a Red Sox fan.

Speaking of which, do you ever see fans at Fenway Park do The Wave? If you have, it probably happens fairly infrequently — I don’t remember seeing The Wave take place during any of the Yankee-Sox games I’ve watched over the years. Do you know why? Because Boston fans are obsessed with baseball and love and respect their baseball team. The idea of The Wave rarely if ever crosses the mind of a Boston Red Sox fan, because BoSox fans live and die with every single pitch. Every single pitch. And it should never be crossing the mind of a New York Yankees fan.

Clearly one of the reasons behind this atrocity is that a good number of classic, die-hard Yankee fans have been priced out of the new Stadium, and their seats are now being filled with people who barely even realize they’re attending a baseball game. However, that does not excuse things, and also begs the question: Why are you spending money to attend a baseball game if you’re going to be that bored? Do you know how many Yankee fans would kill to have your seats on any given night? Additionally, I don’t care if the team is losing 30-1; I’d rather you leave in the 6th inning than feel the need to participate in this atrocity.

I can’t believe I even feel the need to write about this; but it keeps coming up and something needs to be done about it. I was apoplectic when I saw The Wave at the first Yankee game I attended this season and actually had to stand up and put both hands up in an effort to “stop” The Wave while scolding everyone in my section. The Wave reared its ugly head again when I was back at the Stadium a couple of weeks ago, and I once again went hoarse yelling at people to quit doing it. And last week, Michael Kay even pointed out that people at Yankee Stadium were doing The Wave on the YES broadcast, which was the last straw.

So to the people who have been attending games at Yankee Stadium this season, I implore you: Stop doing The Wave. It’s incredibly disrespectful to the game and the players and makes all Yankee fans look like we couldn’t care less. Obviously that couldn’t be further from the truth, and I know not everyone attending a baseball game at Yankee Stadium is going to be hanging on every single pitch through all nine innings like obsessives such as myself, but if you’re really that bored, then go home. Or if you absolutely must do The Wave at a baseball game, then become a Mets fan and bring it to Citi Field, where it belongs.

Larry Koestler eats, drinks, sleeps and breathes the Yankees at his blog Yankeeist.