What’s there to say about last night’s 6-0 shutout at the hands of the Orioles that Axl Rose hasn’t already said?

Ian Kennedy was, at the same time, getting squeezed and nibbling, but right now, he has to trust his stuff more. Like Phil Hughes had been doing before Friday, Kennedy is attacking hitters and is trying to finesse his way through his starts. Considering the type of pitcher he’s been before this year, that approach just flat-out will not work.

But at the same time, Joe Girardi has to keep the kid gloves on a bit. He went out to the mound in the third and let loose on Kennedy. IPK did not respond well to that at all, and a few batters later, he was gone from the game, replaced by a very effective Ross Ohlendorf who did not falter until his third inning of work.

The Yankees young guns are very good. Their Minor League track records are off the charts, and scouts across the board love their stuff and make-up. Right now, though, their approach just doesn’t seem to fly. Hughes and Kennedy are trying to paint corners when they shouldn’t be; they’re throwing breaking balls in fastball counts and their throwing fastballs in breaking ball counts. Somehow, the Yankees have to find a fix for this problem that doesn’t involve a trip for either of these two pitchers to AAA. It’s all about patience.

Meanwhile, the problems on the other side of the ball are worse. Tonight, the Orioles’ fourth starter shut out the Yankee offense. Brian Burres and Jim Johnson combined for nine innings of six-hit ball. The two combined threw just 129 pitches to a Yankee team that’s supposed to work the count and really push back-of-the-rotation starters. The Yanks have three regulars hitting below .200 and an otherwise anemic offense.

For all the trouble the pitchers have been through, if the offense won’t score any runs, the pitching doesn’t much matter. They need to score runs, but that goes without saying.

To tie everything together, overall tonight, I saw something I hadn’t seen from a Yankee manager in a while. Joe Girardi was impatient with his team. He was pissed at Kennedy for not putting the ball in the strike zone, and by the end of this frustrating night, he wasn’t too happy with his hitters either. Something’s going to give soon. Girardi has to be patient with his pitchers, and the offense has to come through for the Yanks to accomplish what they want and need to accomplish tonight.

Fat load of good Joba’s doing them pitching the 8th inning down 6-0, eh?

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (58)

Triple-A Scranton (1-0 win over Rochester)
Brett Gardner & Nick Green: both 1 for 3 – Gardner K’ed once & was caught stealing
Bernie Castro: 2 for 4, 1 K
Greg Porter: 1 for 4, 1 2B
rest of lineup: combined 0 for 13, 1 R, 1 RBI, 5 K, 4 K – Cody Ransom drove in Chris Stewart with a bases loaded walk for the game’s only run
Dan Giese: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 8-3 GB/FB – remember when Cash said Alan Horne would only miss one start? funny how that works, huh?
Heath Phillips, Scott Strickland & Jose Veras combined 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K – each guy K’ed two apiece

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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Last night was one of those where I had to say “eff this” in the sixth and turn it off. There were plenty of better things I could have been doing (and did) than watch the Yanks get trounced by the Orioles.

I’m not sure why but I can’t stand losing to the Orioles. It irks me more to lose to the O’s than any other team other than the Sawks. I’m bothered even more by seeing them above the Yanks in the standings, even if it’s April, and even keeping in mind 2005.

A few notes from PeteAbe: Joba is en rote to Camden Yards. Not sure if he’ll pitch tonight unless absolutely necessary. PA also notes that Posada could be ready to catch tomorrow or Tuesday. That means there’s no chance he catches tomorrow, since there’s an off-day (!!) on Monday.

Yanks lineup:

1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Melky Cabrera, CF
3. Derek Jeter, SS
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B DH
5. Jorge Posada, 1B
6. Hideki Matsui, RF
7. Morgan Ensberg, 1B 3B
8. Robinson Cano, 2B — there’s a case to be made for starting the AG here
9. Chad Moeller, C Jose Molina, C

And on the mound, number thirty-one, Ian Patrick Kennedy

Update by Mike: Mass confusion about the lineup, it’s fixed now.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (174)

Defend your teammates, get suspended. That’s the message MLB is apparently sending to its players. Mark Feinsand is hearing a rumor that Kyle Farnsworth will be suspended for throwing at Manny Ramirez on Thursday night. It should be of the three-game type, though an appeal is almost certain. To me, this is beyond ridiculous.

Say what you will about the location of the pitch. It was behind him, but I saw it as being more towards the shoulders than the neck/head. Plus — and I don’t know why I haven’t read this elsewhere — Kyle Farnsworth has no control of his pitches! Have we not learned this over the first two years of his contract? It stands to reason that Farnsworth could have been aiming for the middle of the back, where they hit A-Rod, and just missed by a bit.

All this does is allow aggressions from one team to go unrequited. So if you want to hit someone, you’d better make sure none of your guys were hit recently. Because that’s retaliation, and you’re on the hook for a suspension. Hit the guy first, though, and you’re in the clear.

Does this make sense to anyone?

Categories : News
Comments (35)

So that was hardly ideal tonight, huh? Phil Hughes flashes his stuff for five innings and then becomes undone by an A-Rod error and some shoddy relief pitching. Meanwhile, the Yanks’ bats can’t hit a lick off Orioles pitching.

As far as Hughes’ outing goes, I don’t have much to say. Except for the second inning when he couldn’t find his out-pitch, Hughes kept his pitch count manageable and was getting ahead of hitters. He was throwing his fastball and breaking pitches for strikes, and the Orioles, until the sixth, couldn’t put much of anything together off of him. The third time through the lineup however was decidedly not the charm.

While some commenters in the game thread suggested sending Hughes down to AAA to work out whatever mechanical problems the bunch of pitching coaches on RAB seem to have spotted, I’m firmly in the camp that he has to stay in the Majors. I’m ready to write off Moose after four starts because I know what Mussina brings to the table now that he’s 39 and pitching in the twilight of his career. I’m not ready to write off a 21-year-old with good stuff who’s learning how to get Major League hitters out. Beyond the hit to his confidence, the Yankees wouldn’t be doing themselves any favors by replacing Hughes right now.

Beyond Hughes, LaTroy Hawkins continued to pitch maddeningly inconsistent baseball. If you all want to boo him for that, go right ahead. Had he come in to be the stopper — something that his stuff suggests he isn’t — the Yanks and Hughes emerge in a close game, and maybe the offense wakes up from its slumber.

In that situation with two runners in scoring position and the Yanks in need of an out, Joe Girardi should really turn to a strike out guy. That’s a prime spot for Brian Bruney to blow a few 96-mph fastballs past the next few hitters. Hawkins wasn’t the right man for the job, and the results just backed up my feeling at the time.

Finally, Mr. Giambi’s days should be numbered at first base. He can’t field; he isn’t hitting; and when the ten days are up and the catchers are healthy, Shelley Duncan should get that job until he’s hitting worse than Giambi’s .116/.291/.302. There’s little downside and a lot to be gained from that potential move.

Saturday’s another game. We’ll get ‘em next time.

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Categories : Game Stories
Comments (26)

Triple-A Scranton (9-5 win over Charlotte)
Brett Gardner & Greg Porter: both 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K – Porter drove 2 runs in
Juan Miranda: 1 for 4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Shelley: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K – only 2 more days until he can be called back up
Jason Lane & Cody Ransom: both 1 for 5, 1 K – Ransom smacked a 2-run homer & committed a fielding error
Eric Duncan: 2 for 3, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1 HBP – yay Eric!
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K – don’t look now, but Igawa has a 20-4 K/BB ratio in 22.2 IP
Sean Henn: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K – 15 of 22 pitches were strikes (68.2%)
Scott PAtterson: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K – he’s been pitching for basically a year straight thanks to winter ball, I betcha he’s working through a case of dead arm right now

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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Nine and friggin’ nine against the Orioles last year. That’s pretty unacceptable for a team that basically had the inverse of the Yanks record. They hope to get off on the right foot tonight, as they take on the erratic — and that’s putting it mildly — Daniel Cabrera.

In his career, Cabrera has pitched 72.2 innings against the Yanks, to the tune of a 4.95 ERA. What’s strange is that while he’s struck out 7.52 per nine inning over his career, he’s only struck out 5.2 per nine against the Yankees. He’s walked 5.31 per nine over his career (hence the 5.02 lifetime ERA), and 5.70 per nine vs. the Yanks.

So he has struck out fewer hitters and has walked more vs. the Yankees compared to the rest of his career, yet his ERA vs. the Yankees is a tick lower than his lifetime ERA. Strange stuff. Could tonight be the night luck really catches up to him? We started moving in that direction last year, tattooing him for 20 earned runs (21 total) in 27 innings, with 18 strikeouts to 17 walks.

Really, Cabrera should be sick. He’s 6’7″ and has nasty stuff. But control problems have plagued his career, and not even the tutelage of Leo Mazzone could fix him. His ERA has climbed every year since 2005, and he has yet to crack a league-average ERA.

For the good guys, Phil Hughes takes the mount, trying to regain his form. And what better team to do it against than the Orioles? Yeah, they may be 9-7 now, but I can’t seem to figure out how. They only have three guys on the offensive side with an OPS+ above league average — and Luke Scott won’t be hitting .380/.456/.600 for much longer. Then again, it stands to reason that Ramon Hernandez will raise his paltry .152/.160/.326 line.

Oh yeah, and Edwar is in the house! Albaladejo is sent down, which is fine and good, since he tossed three innings last night. You might be asking what happened to Scott Patterson, but I don’t think it’s a big deal. Edwar will be gone once Joba comes back, which probably won’t be too far in the future.

Your lineups:

1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Jason Giambi, 1B
8. Melky Cabrera, CF
9. Chad Moeller, C

And on the mound, number thirty-four, Phil Hughes

And for the O’s

R. Hernandez
L. Hernandez

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (186)