As we all know, Fox dropped the ball on Saturday night. With the Yankees-Red Sox game rapidly nearing a conclusion, Fox bounced baseball to FX, its cable entertainment network, so that a NASCAR race could start.

The transition was far from seamless, and fans were none too thrilled with the News Corp. network. From the AP:

The teams didn’t begin playing again until 8:30 after a delay of more than two hours. Announcer Joe Buck repeated several times that the game was being simulcast on cable channel FX and Fox would have to switch to the race at 8:53.

It appeared the network might be able to show both events in their entirety, but with two outs and two strikes in the top of the ninth, the Yankees’ Robinson Cano fouled off several pitches. At 8:55, Fox switched to the race in the middle of Cano’s at-bat.

The final two pitches of the 4-3 Red Sox win were shown only on FX, which is available in about three-quarters of the nation’s homes with televisions.

Bell said Fox hoped to show all of Cano’s at-bat instead of switching to the race earlier so the change would occur between hitters. “It wasn’t the smoothest transition, but our intentions were to try to finish on the network,” Bell said.

For Fox, this move was a simple business decision. NASCAR races receives ratings well above those for mid-afternoon baseball games. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that the network cut away from a one-run game with one out remaining. Fox apologized, but it rings a little false.

Categories : NYC Sports Media
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Panic! at the Disco

By in Game Stories. · Comments (63) ·

It doesn’t take much digging to find out why development plans and Yankee fans don’t mesh. Take a look through the comments on our Game Thread Overflow post, and you will be greeted with a lot of Yankee fans who are ready to throw in the towel on the 2008 season.

Of course, we’re only 13 games into the season, and the bats haven’t come alive yet. There’s really no need to panic, but such are Yankee fans. The FAN — while not bemoaning the Mets’ crappy start tomorrow — will be a-twitter with Yankee fans ready to throw themselves off of the Willis Ave. Bridge. While some people are already calling for one of Darrell Rasner, Steven White, Jeffrey Marquez, Kei Igawa, Jeff Karstens, Whitey Ford, Ed Figueroa or Dick Tidrow to replace Phil Hughes in the rotation, in reality, the Yanks are better off with their 21-year-old stud pitching in the bigs. You can take that to the bank.

Tonight’s problem for Phil was of course location. His stuff was as electric as it’s been, but he couldn’t buy a strike. A 40-pitch first inning was a harbinger of things to come, and he couldn’t make it off the third inning. Maybe it was the cold; Daisuke Matsuzaka couldn’t locate many of his 116 pitches tonight either. In fact, he barely managed to throw more than half for strikes. So we’ll see how Hughes fares in five days. In the meantime, we can’t expect a 21-year-old with great stuff to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders.

If we’re going to nitpick this game, it’s the same old, same old for the Yankees. It’s watching Joe Girardi, a Joe Torre disciple, making the same mistakes that his mentor used to make. The idea that Joba Chamberlain can’t pitch while the Yankees are losing a close game is one that should be thrown out the window along with Kyle Farnsworth. The idea that Johnny Damon shouldn’t be bunting with two on and no out late in the game should go out the window too.

At some point, the bats will come alive; the Yanks would pound out 10 runs; and everyone will calm down. For now, it’s just 13 games. They’re 6-7, a whopping two games out of first place. Nothing is ruined.

Nothing, that is, except for Jose Molina’s hamstring. This is in fact worse news than anything we saw on the field tonight. Molina’s been a God-send so far this year. He’s hitting .364 with seven doubles and has more than adequately filled in for Jorge Posada behind the plate. But now he’s out for a few weeks, and the Yanks’ catching situation just grew dire.

As we saw tonight, Jorge cannot throw yet, and his eventual replacement tomorrow night — Chad Moeller — has a careeer OPS+ of 60. He was filling a roster spot in Scranton; now he has to catch at the Big League level and fill in a lineup spot, something for which he is ill-equipped.

The beginning of the season is a tough time for Yankee fans. We tend to find the cloud in every silver lining, but at 6-7, two games out, the Yanks may be down, but they’re far from out. Give them a chance. We’re all fans after all; let’s cheer for our team instead of killing ourselves over them. Save that for August and September.

Categories : Game Stories
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Triple-A Scranton (2-0 loss to Durham)
Brett Gardner & Juan Miranda: both 0 for 2, 2 BB – Gardner K’ed once & was caught stealing
Justin Christian, Shelley Duncan & Cody Ransom: all 0 for 4 – Christian threw a runner out at the plate from LF … Shelley K’ed once
Eric Duncan: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS
Greg Porter & Chad Moeller: 1 for 2, 1 BB – Porter doubled & K’ed
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 3-9 GB/FB – 65 of 95 pitches were strikes (68.4%)
Chris Britton: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K – way to not allow a ball to be put into play
Jon Albaladejo: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

Read More→

Categories : Down on the Farm
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As the Yankees and the Red Sox prepare for a battle amid the cold and the rain tonight, both teams are going with some lineup changes. The Yankees, mercifully, have pushed Jason Giambi down in the order while David Ortiz is on the bench for the Sox tonight.

The big story, of course, as is the case every five days is Phil Hughes. The 21-year-old is the youngest Yankee pitcher to face the Red Sox since Jose Rijo in 1985, and Peter Pascarelli in previewing the game sees big things in the future for young Mr. Hughes.

The Red Sox counter with Daisuke Matsuzaka. In three starts this year, Matsuzaka has been the pitcher the Sox thought they were getting last year. He’s 2-0 in 18.1 innings with a 1.47 ERA. He’s struck out 22 and walked nine while giving up just eight hits. The Yankees in the past have hit Matsuzaka hard. So we’ll see if the Sox’s expensive import has turned a new page or simply enjoyed facing the A’s a few times.

Game time is at 8:05 p.m., and we are stuck with the ever-talented Joe Morgan.

Johnny Damon CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui LF
Jorge Posada DH
Jason Giambi 1B
Jose Molina C
The Former Attorney General SS

Phil Hughes P

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
J.D. Drew RF
Manny Ramirez DH
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Sean Casey 1B
Jason Varitek C
Coco Crisp CF
Julio Lugo SS

Daisuke Matsuzaka P

Game Notes: The loser of this game will land in sole possession of last place in the AL East but just 1.5 games behind the first place teams. How’s that for a tight division after two weeks of the season?

Categories : Game Threads
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Most fans felt the story of the Red Sox shirt embedded in the concrete slab of the visitor’s clubhouse at the New Stadium was just a laughable “exclusive” by the Post that was a few days late for April’s Fools. Turns out the Yankees weren’t taking any chances:

It took about five hours, but the Red Sox jersey that was embedded in the concrete of the Yankees’ new stadium to place a curse on the New York franchise has been unearthed with jackhammers, according to a published report.

“They absolutely pinpointed that if it was in the ground, that’s where it was,” Yankees spokeswoman Alice McGillion told the newspaper.

As always, Hank Hal Steinbrenner provided the money quote: “I hope his co-workers kick the [expletive] out of him.” Hank’s great when he isn’t talking about making trades and stuff, isn’t he? Hal just earned all sorts of street cred in my book. Sox fans did what they do best, the turned the story into another patently lame T-shirt. Where’s the “David Ortiz is hitting 0.70-.231-.140 and Francona still has him batting third” swag?

Categories : Yankee Stadium
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Is the honeymoon over? Are we allowed to criticize Joe Girardi yet? Today, I’d like to criticize Girardi.

When Mike Mussina and Josh Beckett face off, it’s tough

But alas, the Red Sox were able to, as we know, mount a threat. While Mussina was able to strike out a struggling David Ortiz with one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd, the Yankees tempted fate. With two outs, Yankee killer Manny Ramirez stepped to the plate yesterday afternoon, and Joe Girardi emerged from the dugout.

During his prior at bat, Manny Ramirez took Mike Mussina deep. In fact, "deep" might be a little bit of an understatement considering how far the ball travelled. At that point, the move — while only in the sixth — would be to bring in Joba Chamberlain. Power vs. power, heat vs. heat. But after a lengthy conference at the mound, Girardi stuck with Mussina, Moose gave up a hit and the Yanks lost a game they could have won without ever using their best bullpen arms.

The problem I have with Girardi’s decision — besides the utter stupidity of allowing Ramirez to face Mussina late in a close game with first base open — is the way he went about making it. It was in fact a classic Joe Torre Era mistake. Peter Abraham relates information about the exchange on the mound:

Joe Girardi went with what Mike Mussina wanted to do. The Moose was more comfortable going after Manny than facing the ever-selective Kevin Youkilis with the bases loaded.

“I’ve been pitching a while, so he asked me what I felt like doing,” Mussina said. “I told him what I thought.”

Girardi after the game took the blame, but he has to know Mussina’s limitations. He has to know Manny Ramirez’s ridiculous history against the Yankees. He has to take the ball from Mussina in that situation.

In the end, Mussina wasn’t terrible. He gave up 4 runs in a 5.2 innings largely because Brian Bruney didn’t get the job done either. But again, Mussina went to his fastball too often. That 87 mph meatball he threw to Manny Ramirez was simply indicative of a less-than-stellar Mussina outing.

After the game, Girardi and Moose both said the right thing. Too bad they didn’t do the right thing during the game.

Categories : Game Stories
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