Nice work, folks. We’ve booed LaTroy Hawkins into submission. I hope everyone feels good about that. Hawkins, previously wearing number 21, will switch to 22 tonight after fans couldn’t deal with someone else wearing the number seven years after Paul O’Neill retired. No word yet if the Omar Moreno or Jimmy Key fans plan on booing Hawkins for the switch. · (119) ·
It’s a sweep. It may only be two games, but hey, a sweep is a sweep is a sweep. And the Yanks come back to the Bronx to face the Red Sox riding a two-game winning streak.
Overall, tonight’s game wasn’t the best game. Andy Pettitte didn’t have his best stuff but persevered. The Yankee offense didn’t come through too often, but their five runs stood up. And Mo — good ol’ Mo — nailed down this one for his fifth save in five chances this year.
Since a lot of little things struck me during this game, let’s break it down bullet-point style:
- Derek Jeter sure didn’t like missing games. He went 5 for 9 in Tampa. He’s recorded just one extra-base hit this season, but I’m not too worried about that quite yet. The leg will turn some doubles into singles for now.
- Jason Giambi wuz robbed! With A-Rod on third, the Rays drew the infield in during the fourth inning. An Edwin Jackson wild pitch allowed A-Rod to score and the infield to move back to normal depth. Giambi scorched a ball that, two pitches earlier, would have been an RBI double, but Carlos “Vacuum” Peña turned it into an out. Maybe Giambi’s coming out of it.
- Hideki Matsui looks very comfortable at the plate no matter his defensive role. I like his as the long-term DH this season.
- When I saw Kyle Farnsworth warming in the pen, my heart dropped. But then he nailed down a 1-2-3 eighth for a huge hold. That’s about as surprised as I’ve ever been during a Farnsworth inning.
- The Yankees left eight runners on base during the last three innings of the game. That’s an alarming stat that will be forgotten because they won. At some point, the Yanks have to start driving in runners.
- On the season, Mariano Rivera has thrown 6.1 innings over six appearances. He has allowed 3 hits and no runs or walks while striking out seven. He has five saves. Rivera did not pick up his fifth save last season until May 3 when he was 0-2 with two blown saves. What a difference a year makes.
The Yanks are now 8-7, and the sky isn’t falling. They’re one game out of first and are playing better as a team. It’s funny how fan attitudes can shift after seeing the team go from a 1-2 weekend in Boston to a 2-0 swing through Tampa. It’s a marathon, folks, not a sprint, and today was another good leg of the race.
Triple-A Scranton (6-2 win over Charlotte)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 4, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB – check out this guy with his .694 SLG
Bernie Castro: 3 for 5, 1 K, 1 SB
Juan Miranda: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Shelley: 0 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Jason Lane: 3 for 4, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 BB, 1 K – he’s been raking this year
Eric Duncan: 1 for 3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Steven White: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2-14 GB/FB, 1 E (missed catch)
Sean Henn: 2 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0-5 GB/FB – his rehab time is going to be up soon, so a decision will need to be made about his roster spot since he’s out of options
Jose Veras: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Second of two against the Rays tonight. The lineup, despite the absence of Jorge, doesn’t look too bad. Actually, put Molina in that 9 spot — or put him at 8 and Melky at 9 — and it looks pretty formidable. Not that I in any way want Jorge out of the lineup. Just saying…
Don’t let Johnny Damon‘s poor line fool you. He got off to a slow start, but he’s racked up six walks and seven hits over the past seven games. Yeah, he’ll have to do a bit more in the hits department, but at least he’s getting on base. It’s still early. I wouldn’t write off Damon so quickly.
You know what I loved about last night? That there were three shots that I could yell “gone!” right off the bat: A-Rod, Ensberg, Cano. Maybe we get a couple tonight off Edwin Jackson. He’s been top-flight in his first two starts of the seasons, as we witnessed first hand two weeks ago. But he has a history of control problems. Let’s hope those resurface tonight.
Now, onto your lineup:
And on the mound, number 46, Andy Pettitte
The stupid internet topic of the month appears to be pitching mechanics (next month, pickoff moves!), but amidst the crap comes this gem about what makes Scott Patterson effective, courtesy of Frankie at Saber-Scouting. Frankie details how Patterson uses not only his size, but general quirkiness to create massive amounts of deception. Check it out. · (6) ·
Isn’t amazing how Daily News writers go from moral outrage on the one hand to a different brand of outrage on the other all in the space of 800 words? Yesterday, Filip Bondy, writing about the Red Sox jersey fiasco at the new Yankee Stadium, did just that.
The city of New York is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructural costs and is too generously ceding precious parkland to the Yankees, just to ensure that the new Bronx stadium will become a showcase profit maker for the extended corporate Steinbrenner family.
In return, the city probably should not be asking too much that the Yankees demonstrate a modicum of common sense befitting such fortunate business partners, when it comes to this expensive co-enterprise.
But on Sunday, we witnessed an inane spectacle that should wholly frighten any taxpayer or serious baseball fan. At the cost of about $30,000 and the wasted sweat of 5-1/2 hours’ toil, the Yankees directed construction workers at the site to drill for a tattered David Ortiz baseball jersey a Red Sox fan/construction worker had buried beneath considerable cement.
Got that outrage? The city is investing way too much money in the stadium, and the Yankees should show some common sense. That $30,000 of their own money they spent to dig up the jersey, that’s not common sense in Bondy’s word.
So what if the Yankees try to recapture those lost funds. Well, Filip Bondy, the construction expert and lawyer, thinks that deserves its own outrage:
Yankee officials are turning what might have been a dumb lark into something much darker. They are threatening to throw legal fees into the growing pot, by suing Gino Castignoli for his jersey burial.
“There are criminal issues and maybe civil,” said the ultra-serious Lonn Trost, chief operating officer for the club.
The Yankees will lose this case, I can promise you. No judge or jury, even in the Bronx, will find that a buried jersey, out of sight and structurally harmless, demands punitive damages. Castignoli did nothing that demanded $30,000 worth of repairs. If the Yanks pursue this civil case against the worker, then they will only look nastier, forfeit more money and (hard to believe) make greater fools of themselves.
I would believe that the Yanks could easily win this case. In what contract does it allow for workers to bury clothing in the Yankee Stadium foundation? In which employment agreement are construction workers allowed to act like total goof-offs? I’m not really going out on a limb when I say none.
While Bondy thinks the Yanks wasted their time and money, Buster Olney, among others, hit the nail upon the head this morning. The Yanks had to remove the jersey once they found out about it because otherwise, for as long as they played in the new stadium, the team struggles would be blamed on a Red Sox jersey buried in the stadium. As dumb as that sounds, it would just be another in a long line of absurd baseball superstitions. The jersey’s gone; the guy deserves to be sued; and we can all share in that special brand of outrage.
A few blog posts about the Yankees hurlers and their pitching mechanics have been making the rounds lately. Originating from a new site run by Kyle Boddy, a 24-year-old baseball analyst, called Driveline Mechanics, the two Yankee-related entries focus on Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain.
To ruin the endings, Boddy loves Wang’s mechanics but feels that Chamberlain’s put him at risk for injury. Boddy writes, “I think Joba’s injury concerns are well-founded. He has a lot of the classic signs of hyperabduction, rushing, hung arms syndrome, and a bad followthrough.”
These posts offer up a few interesting points. First is that Boddy derives his analysis from Mike Marshall, and after reading a Jeff Passon piece from 2007 about Marshall, I’ve been a little suspect of Marshall and his disciples. Major League pitching coaches and GMs aren’t rushing to subscribe to Marshall’s philosophies, and Marshall’s projects haven’t had much success at the pro level.
But I’ve watched Joba pitch, and my concerns with his deliver are the same ones that Boddy has. I’ve seen Joba pull up and finish tall on his pitches. It’s not, by any stretch, the traditional follow-through, and it will be interesting to see how the Yankees work with their young stud as they gear up to move him into the starting rotation.
Jorge Posada is considering getting a cortisone shot for his sore throwing shoulder. The Yanks’ catcher say the effectiveness of such a shot would be about 50/50 though considering the source of the pain. I’m really starting to wonder just how badly Jorge’s shoulder is hurt. I think it’s more than the Yanks have let on so far. · (21) ·
Isn’t it funny how baseball works sometimes?
Until tonight, the Yankee bullpen had been fairly stellar this season. In 46.2 innings (yikes), the bullpen as a whole was sporting a nifty 3.09 ERA. They had allowed 41 hits and just four home runs while striking out 43 and walking 13. The starters on the other hand had a 4.34 ERA in 66.1 innings while sporting an ugly 3:2 K:BB ratio.
So tonight, the Yanks got a solid six-inning outing from their starting pitcher while the bullpen imploded. Billy Traber — on what was actually a pretty good pitch — gave up a two-run home run to Carl Crawford, and Brian Bruney gave up two solo shots to allow the Rays to tie the game. In less than an inning, the Yanks’ bullpen nearly doubled the number of home runs allowed this season.
But a few minutes later, Robinson Canó, coming off the bench, made the point moot. His home run — a no-doubter into the right field seats — secured the Yankee win. Bruney settled down in the 8th, and Mariano Rivera nailed down his first four-out save of the season. The Yanks went back to their hotels at a happy .500.
While for one day, the stay in Yankeeland is no longer falling, tonight’s game provided us with a few interesting observations. First, we see Brian Bruney emerging as a trusted arm in the bullpen. Bruney blew the game but was allowed to stay in. He settled down and got the outs he needed. In 10 innings this year, he’s struck out 10 and walked just three. That is a promising start.
Relatedly, Kyle Farnsworth was nowhere to be found tonight. He can’t — or won’t — pitch on back-to-back days, and after his appearance yesterday, he’s safely in the Yankee doghouse. I know the team would be better off with Jonathan Albaladejo or Chris Britton instead of Farnsworth, and even teams — such as the Tigers — need bullpen help. Farnsworth just should be gone.
It’s also worth pondering the weather. The Yanks’ bats came alive during warm weather in the dome. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Anyway, here’s to a solid win after a rough weekend. May Pettitte deliver the start of a streak later today.
Game Notes: Ian Kennedy has a bruised hip but is otherwise fine. Basically, he’ll have a nasty black-and-blue mark for the next few days but is not expected to miss any time…At what point do the Yanks give Alberto Gonzalez the job currently held by Wilson Betemit? It’s almost tempting to ponder a Yankee infield with Jeter at first, Gonzalez at short and Jason Giambi relegated to his DH/bench spot. You have to believe the team would be better.