With less than 2 weeks until the big event, it’s time to get serious with our draft coverage here at RAB. With mock drafts popping up left and rightÂ (subscription required for the first link), I figured it was time we got in on the action. To help me out, I brought in blogging hall of famer DA Humber, who runs the fantastic and recently re-launched Baseball Central blog. If you aren’t checkin’ out his site everyday, you should be, cause you’re missing out on some cool shit.
The rules are simple: who do we think will go where in the first round? Enough talking, let’s get down to business.
1. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
DA:Â David Price, LHP, VandyÂ â€“ Simply, the medicine the Devil Rays need.Â A legit frontline starter that should fly to the big league squad quickly.Â Dominated college and has a perfect frame and arsenal to have the Rays challenge the Twins as having the best 1-2 punch of southpaws.
Mike: Price – The D-Rays say they have 3 players in mind for the first overall pick, but you know they’re just sayin’ that to make the other teams sweat. In a familiar spot (Tampa has had the first pick twice before, and hasn’t pickedÂ lower thanÂ 10th Â in the lastÂ 9 years),Â they go with the consensus top talent in the draft. Pretty soon they’ll have Price alongside Kazmir, Jamie Shields and Jeff Niemann, which means they’re going to be a juggernaut with that talented lineup. Watch out in 2010.
There are just three words to describe last night: Totally Fuckin’ Awesome. Not only did we win the series, but we socked it to Schilling for the second time this season. Yeah, the sweep would have been nice, but we have another chance for that next week.
I’d like to thank Charu for graciously giving me tickets to the game. That would have been a completely different experience had I watched from home. It was, how you say, a bit rowdier than most games — hell, it was a bit rowdier than it was on Monday. I’ve personally never seen so many ejections (though I’m sure there have been).
Quick aside: did you know that Tier Reserve Section 13 is alcohol free? Neither did I. After buying a $10 Heinken, my buddy and I sat down, only to be told we had to leave the section while we drank. Why does the Stadium do this? It seemed everyone in our section wanted to drink…
There were way too many Boston fans there last night. Everywhere you looked, there was an Ortiz jersey. Hell, I even saw some chick wearing a Damon Red Sox jersey. I wonder if her friends secretly plotted to kill her during the game. That has to be considered a faux pas in Red Sox Nation.
The only thought during the first inning was “man, if they jump out to a quick lead and we don’t answer, this is going to be a looooong game.” Everywhere you looked in the stands, you’d see a “B” cap. I was sitting next to a Boston fan and his 9-year-old son — thankfully he was a reasonable one, a rarity indeed. After Matsui homered, some guys behind us — who had been heckling all game — started a “Schilling is a homo” chant. It lasted all of 30 seconds, but it was enough to get them tossed. Seriously? I know some people consider it “insensitive,” but this is America. Heckling at baseball games is part of our culture.
That wasn’t the last ejection, though. A 20-something Red Sox fan was throwing peanuts in our section, and was promptly shown the door. He tried to play tough guy when the female usher told him to get up, proving that — I don’t know what he was proving. The entire time, I was just hoping that one of the cops would mace him. Now that would have been hilarious.
By the time Mientkiewicz homered in the fourth (man, was that a shot or what?), the tourists were getting kind of restless. And why wouldn’t they? Their “ace” just gave up a bomb to a guy for whom we named a new low in batting standards (a .150 batting average will always be known, at least to me, as the Mientkiewicz Line). Their team was down 6-0, so all they had to reach for was “nine and a half games!” Yeah. You keep saying that, Sox fans. Makes you sound real secure.
The most entertaining portion of the night, by far, was the sixth inning (I believe it was the sixth, but I have a horrible concept of time). A roar came from the upper deck near right field. A young-looking woman was throwing her hands in the air, trying to pump up the crowd, while two cops tried to drag her out. I can only assume that she flashed the crowd. About four seconds later, I saw the first of about 10 beer cups go flying. Now there were six or seven cops on the scene, dragging people out left and right. Some dude actually threw a beer (and didn’t come close to hitting anyone), and turned around to see two cops standing right there. He was wearing a beige hat, but I really hope that it had a red “B” on it.
That was all the excitement we got until the 8th, when Kyle Farnsworth proved that he’s just not going to make it around these parts. Seriously, a home run to Coco Crisp? On the second pitch you threw? I’ve been trying to defend Farnsworth, but it’s impossible now. Nothing you can say can mitigate his season — his whole Yankee tenure, even. As commenter John pointed out, let’s see if we can get Carlos Ruiz or Rod Barajas from the Phillies for him. Straight up. No cash involved.
We all got a little scared in the ninth when Mo allowed a leadoff double to Whiffy Mo Pena (I still like Automatic-K better, but the masses have spoken). But then he came back to strikeout the next three batters to end the game. Lugo really didn’t like the call on his, but he’s a .230 hitter, so he should have other things to worry about. What’s crazy is that Mo struck out Crisp — who had led off the previous inning — to end the game. Just shows you how terrible Farnsworth is.
As for best moment of the game, you all know. Seeing Derek Jeter pass Joe D. on the all-time Yanks hit list was quite the event. When the crowd rose to its feet and chanted “De-rek Je-ter, clap, clap, clap clap clap,” it seemed like there wasn’t a Boston fan in the house. And that’s the way it should be.
So now comes another off-day, followed by an always-tough series against the Angels. I’d say two out of three would be nice, but we’re going to have to sweep a few series at some point.
* Just wanted to point out that the nickname “Whiffy Mo Pena” is courtesy of my pal Pfisty. He has also introduced such nicknames as: Carol Pavano (even though it was a slam dunk), Blower-san (Igawa, named aptly after Cashman said he’s “not a blower”), Senor Hustle (one guess as to who that is), and Cairomack (because Cairo is just Tony Womack without the speed). Props to reader Mg for “Farnsworthless” (that one dated back to early last year).
Last 7 Days
When Curt Schilling faces Andy Pettitte tonight, the Yanks will be in a dire situation. They are 20-24, 10.5 games behind the league-leading Red Sox. After two solid wins, they looked listless and lost against Julian Tavarez, a sub-par starting pitcher. So now I have to wonder: Is tonight a must-win game for the Yanks? If the Yanks lose tonight, the go into a weekend series against the Angels 11.5 games out of first and five games under .500. They are now also 7 games behind the Wild Card-leading Tigers. So what do you think, RAB readers? Is this a must-win game for the Yanks? Does King George erupt if the Yanks don’t pull this one out? · (7) ·
Much like Barry Bonds before, Jason Giambi, according to reports in today’s Daily News, failed an amphetamines test last year. With the recent controversy over his comments in U.S.A. Today, this revelation means either Giambi was apologizing for failing this speed test or he’s in more trouble than we first thought. Meanwhile, yesterday, Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus, in a piece viewable for everyone, issued an eloquent appeal to MLB to leave the past in the past. Only time will tell what Giambi’s future on the Yanks or in baseball holds. Update by Joe P.: I wanted to put this up yesterday, but I was running out the door when I heard it. Peter Gammons is reporting that the Daily News report isn’t necessarily true. Then again, since it was an unconfirmed report in the first place, we should have just assumed that. · (3) ·
I’m not gonna put together the whole schabang for last night’s action, but if you wanna check out all the stat lines, go here. In an otherwise uninteresting night, here’s the most notable performances:
Alan Horne: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 8-4 GB/FB – 48 H, 66 K in 53 IP
Mitch Hilligoss: 2 for 5, 2 R – my math sucks, NOW the streak is at 28 games…seriously…I mean it this time
Check out the Joba Watch for his update.
Well, look at that. The Yankees were held in check by a shitty pitcher. What a surprise. I should be more outraged right now — I sure was last night. But the truth is, the Yankees did not deserve to win that game. Not after Mussina’s first inning, Not after they failed to register a hit the first time through the order.
When they needed a big hit, they got a groundball. Sure, a run may have scored, but that’s not always a huge consolation. It was okay when they were down 4-1 and needed a boost in the fifth. It wasn’t okay when they were down 7-2 and needed a big inning in the eighth.
And then there was the ninth. Yeah, you can’t expect that they’ll score four to tie it, but dammit, when Papelbon walks the first two guys, you gotta get something started. But Melky swung through ball four. Damon grounded out. And then Cap’n Clutch went down looking at three straight pitches. Yeah, Derek, we get it. You didn’t think those balls caught the plate. You were wrong. But you’re an asshole for not swinging.
(Yeah, the overhead replay showed that the last pitch could have easily caught the black. It was by no means a bad call. I’m sure Derek arguing with the ump about his strikezone all night didn’t help that call.)
So what, are the Yankees just going to turn the bats back on like a light switch tonight? Or are they going to come out lifeless again?
Pettitte vs. Schilling. It’s tough to say “must win,” but, uh, the Yanks kind of have too many losses for this point of the season. Every game that goes by (and they lose) is another game they can’t make up later in the year.
Last 7 Days
That one word summarizes tonight’s game which I had the distinct pleasure of watching from the Upper Deck at Yankee Stadium. If the Bombers can’t find it within themselves to beat Julian Tavarez, what does that say about the team? This evening’s game against Curt Schilling is about as big a must-win as a team can have at the end of May. More later today. I’m quite discouraged. · (2) ·
Some hack of a journalist has been spreading rumors about the Angels being interested in Jason Giambi. We here at River Ave. Blues try not to acknowledge this person, so his name will not get a mention. Just know that he probably made this up, as he has plenty of trade rumors in the past. Some things to consider: 1) Giambi has a full no-trade clause. His option for 2009 is freaking insane — $22 million. That’s usually the condition of a player waiving his NTC, and that goes especially for a player like Giambi, who would be leaving a team for which he likes to play. 2) Who’s going to fill his role at DH? 3) The reported return — Chone Figgins and Jose Molina — is laughable, and that’s being generous. Even if Bill Stoneman uncharacteristically included a C prospect like Dustin Mosely, it’s still not worth it. This is nonsense. Update: You know, the last [unnamed hack] rumor I remember creating a swirl like this was Humberto Sanchez and Melky Cabrera for Dontrelle Wilis. Yeah. Mike remembers Spring Training 2005, when it was Cano, Wang, and Eric Duncan for Ben Sheets. So that’s how much stock you should put in this. · (30) ·