Fat lot of good Joba would have done in the eighth inning tonight. No, elite setup men tend not to enter the eighth inning when their team is down 7-3. The only thing that could have helped us at that point was an offensive surge. No pitcher — not Koufax, nor Gibson, nor Maddux, nor Mo — can take runs off the board. But they can prevent them from getting there in the first place.
You can see where I’m going with this. Joba the starter would have been nice tonight (in theory, of course). As is often the case, the innings before the eighth were more important than that one singular inning. This is why good starters are so valuable — and so overpaid on the free agent market. If you can find a guy who keeps runs off the board early in the game, the need for an elite setup corps is diminished.
This is why you have to give Joba every shot to succeed as a starter. Yes, I understand the idea of deploying him in the 7th and 8th innings, thereby making it a “six-inning game.” But to illustrate the benefits of having Joba in the rotation, you need to look no further than our opponent last night.
Joba has the potential to be every bit as good, if not better than Josh Beckett. There’s no guarantee that he reaches that level, but why not give him every chance to do so? Imagine if that was Joba instead of Moose tonight. Wouldn’t you rather have a guy like that going every five days, rather than every couple of days for an inning or two from the bullpen?
You can’t take runs off the board. That’s why every inning matters. When you have a guy with the potential to be a frontline starter, you want him out there preventing runs for as many innings as possible. And if he reaches his potential, I’m sure there will be plenty of times where he does pitch in the eighth inning…of his own start.
(I apologize to anyone who is sick of hearing this debate. This is what I was thinking about during the game, and I doubt anyone wants to read a recap. Hence, it is the game story.)
Triple-A Scranton (10-2 loss to Charlotte)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 K
Juan Miranda, Jason Lane & Nick Green: all 1 for 4 – Miranda drove a run in … Green committed a fielding error
Shelley: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K – 3 for his last 17 after his torrid start
Greg Porter: 3 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB, 1 CS
Jeff Marquez: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HB, 6-3 GB/FB – picked a runner off first … 28 baserunners and 16 ER allowed in 14.2 IP
Chris Britton: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2-0 GB/FB – needed 48 pitches to record 4 outs
Scott Strickland: 1.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 K – let it get away in the 8th
In the recent past, there was no Red Sox pitcher more fun to rough up than Curt Schilling. Every time that loud mouth took the hill, all I’d think was, “Please, A-Rod, take him deep.” (This in light of Schilling’s comments three and a half years ago.)
But with Schilling on the DL for at least half — and possibly all of — the season, we need a new whipping boy. Enter Josh Beckett. If we’re going to pick on a Red Sox pitcher, it might as well be their best one. We did get to him for 13 runs in 26.2 innings last year, and 21 runs in 20 innings in 2006. He wasn’t exactly at his best last time out, either, giving up 3 runs in 6.2 IP just five days ago.
One can only pray that Moose pitches like he did on Saturday. The last thing we need right now is another long performance from the bullpen. You figure Albaladejo, Traber, and Farnsworth could each go an inning (maybe two for Alb), plus Mo — though I wonder what kind of shape his arm is in after appearing in two straight games and warming up for a third. I guess we’ll see in the later innings.
No Matsui today. Looks like Girardi has set his rotation and is sticking with it. Matsui doesn’t have great career numbers against Beckett, though I doubt that was a consideration in this decision.
And on the mound, number thirty-five, Mike Mussina.
And those damn Red Sox:
At the risk of inciting a numbers-based riot, I direct your attention to Tyler Kepner’s latest notebook in The Times with a quote from Number 21 himself:
“I’ve always been blown away by the way the fans have treated me there,” O’Neill said in a telephone interview. “I have absolutely nothing against LaTroy Hawkins, but it’s unbelievable what the fans have done. It makes you feel good as a player, obviously, because that tells you they appreciate what we did as a team.”
To me, it sounds like Paul would love to see his number retired. That is a rather pregnant “but” after the LaTroy Hawkins mention. Either way, perhaps we should put this story to rest for now. · (17) ·
Via Maury Brown, we learn that Forbes this week released their annual Business of Baseball report. Why is this relevant to us Yankee fans? Well, because the team is worth $1.3 billion, tops in the league by nearly $500 million.
Forbes’ list of baseball franchises shows the Yanks atop a list of the usual suspects. At $1.306 billion, the Yanks’ valuation puts them ahead of the Mets ($824 million), Red Sox ($816 million), Dodgers ($694 million), Cubs ($642 million) and Angels ($500 million). The Marlins and Rays at $296 million and $250 million respectively hold up the list from the bottom.
While the Yankees’ worth increased by nine percent over 2007, no Major League team saw their value decline. The Orioles and Blue Jays saw one and two percent grown respectively, but it is safe to say that baseball as a business is booming.
On the revenue front, the Yanks have a clear advantage over their competitors. Astheir franchise breakdown shows, the team draws in $171 million worth of gate receipts alone. Factoring in unparalleled attendance numbers, brand management and concession sales, the Yanks are rolling in the dough to the tune of $327 million in 2007 revenue. The Red Sox took in $262 million. Those figures for the Yanks should only increase as the Yanks move across the street to their high-falutin’ new digs next season.
Interestingly, the Yanks — along with the Red Sox and Blue Jays — operated at a net loss. The AP tells us why:
The Yankees were listed by Forbes as having $327 million in revenue last year and a $47.3 million operating loss, up from a $25.2 million loss on revenue of $302 million the previous year. Forbes’ revenue figure is after deducting revenue sharing payments, which the Yankees estimate at about $92 million. The team also paid approximately $24 million in luxury tax, which is reflected in the operating loss.
Now, as far as I understand it, these valuations do not include YES Network estimates and revenues, all of which feed the Yankee Empire. From what we’ve heard over the last few months, the YES Network could in fact be worth more than the Yankees. Considering that George Steinbrenner and his group of investors bought the team from CBS in 1973 for a measly $10 million — approximately $48 million in 2008 — that is a pretty stellar investment all around.
As of yesterday evening shortly before game-time, Yanks’ manager Joe Girardi said that Jorge Posada is not quite ready to resume his catching duties. Posada, filling in as the DH recently, made a series of 40 throws from around 150 feet, Ed Price reported, but his shoulder is still not up to par. The Yankees can afford to take their time with Posada. A healthy shoulder later on is much more important, and we can deal with Chad Moeller for a few more days. · (15) ·
Yankees bury Bernie Williams under new stadium for good luck: “By giving Bernie this chance, we have once again proven why we are the classiest organization in all of sports,” Yankees President Randy Leving said to The Onion. “Lesser teams would have overreacted to this whole curse thing and buried Derek Jeter.” · (4) ·
Chien-Ming Wang has quite the relationship with the Red Sox.
Six days ago, Wang turned 93-pitch complete game that was a few unlucky breaks away from being a potential perfect game. Yesterday, he turned in quite the clunker, lasting just 4+ innings and giving up eight runs to see his ERA skyrocket from the low 1.00s to 3.81. It happens.
After the game, Wang said he was too strong with his sinker. It was finishing out of the zone, and the pitches he could throw for strikes were getting ripped by the Sox hitters. In other words, Wang, like Phil Hughes, must still master that change-up for days when his sinker isn’t on. Major League hitters will tee off against straight fastballs as they did tonight.
On the Yankees side of the ball though, everything went right. Bobby Abreu and A-Rod went back-to-back in the first inning, and the two they hit were no-doubters off the bat, as far as I could see from the right field bleachers. Jason Giambi had a few good at bats, and while Robinson Cano was just 1 for 5, he is hitting the ball well. Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui continued to rake.
Considering the mood around Yankeeland after the Boston series, things have really turned around in a hurry. The Yanks have scored 28 runs over their last three games and find themselves tied for first place at 9-7. As PeteAbe noted, the team batting average, buoyed by 16 hits in 39 at-bats, rose from .261 to .272. The team OBP went from .328 to .340, and the team slugging rose from .415 to .435. It was a good night to be a Yankee hitter, and a bad night to be
laptop thief a Red Sox pitcher not named David Aardsma.
Let me wrap this feel-good win up with three observations:
- As Yankee relievers struggle to throw strikes, the folks in favor of keeping Joba as the 8th inning guy are going to have a field day. I’m just sayin’. I still want to see him in the starting rotation.
- It was pretty ironic that LaTroy Hawkins was the one to stop the bleeding tonight. After Ross Ohlendorf faltered a little bit — while still showing nasty stuff — Hawkins, wearing Luis Polonia’s old number, left to cheers after stopping the Sox for two innings while the Yankee bats did the job. Hawkins recorded his first Yankee win tonight. (I should also direct you to Yankee Numbers. This excellent resource has provided me with the obscure and not-so-obscure Yankee uniform numbers we’ve discussed recently.)
- Wrap your head around this one: Only 14 — fourteen! — other players in Major League history have hit more home runs than Alex Rodriguez, and A-Rod is still just 32 years old. That is a stunning stat. Meanwhile, the Yanks right now have A-Rod, one of the best hitters of all time, and Mariano Rivera, one of the best closers of all time, on the team at the same time. We’re spoiled.
Triple-A Scranton (4-2 win over Charlotte)
Brett Gardner: 0 for 3, 2 R
Bernie Castro: 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)
Juan Miranda: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – reached base safely in his last 9 games
Jason Lane, Eric Duncan & Nick Green: all 0 for 4 – Lane K’ed twice … Duncan & Green each K’ed once
Justin Christian: for 3, 1 2B, 1 CS – 5 of his last 7 hits have been doubles
Darrell Rasner: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 7-2 GB/FB – 65 of 103 pitches were strikes (63.1%)
Heath Phillips: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Scott Patterson: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K
Jose Veras: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HB – 8 K in his last 4 IP