Chad Jennings is the man. Need proof? He’s got a makeshift box score for today’s Triple-A Scranton vs. Syracuse (Toronto) game. Well done, sir.
Glad to see Eric Duncan is starting the season off on the right foot, ditto Wady Rufino and Jason Jones. The season’s gettin’ close… · (1) ·
This afternoon, we were all impressed by the velocity on the YES gun. Bartolo Colon was hitting 94 regularly with a few pitches at 96, and Brian Bruney cracked 100 twice. Not so fast, says Peter Abraham. The Yanks’ own guns had Bruney topping out at 96. So if Colon as throwing 90 with no control, he doesn’t look nearly as good as he does if he’s throwing 94 with no control. Remember: The gun on TV lies. It just looks better that way. · (8) ·
A little over a month ago, we learned a little about Scott Patterson. Over the past few weeks, we’ve gotten to see him in action, and it’s been rather pretty. The results, that is, not his “herky-jerky motion,” which we’ll hopefully all come to know and love soon enough. Today, king beat writer Tyler Kepner shares something else about Patterson with us: If it wasn’t for a stubbed finger, he might never have gotten his shot to play in the bigs.
“I stubbed my finger in a door at my host family’s house in Lancaster,” Patterson said. “They brought me back slowly and said, ‘Could you work out of the pen?’ It was my first time ever doing that, and I just let it go for an inning. I was up to 90, 91, 92 miles an hour, and I was like, This could be good; let me stay here for a little bit.
Prior to his finger-jamming incident, Patterson’s only taste of big league ball was a short stint in camp with the Seattle Mariners. They didn’t feel he was worth a spot on their A-ball roster, though, and let him go back to the independent leagues.
After the injury, though, Patterson started focusing on his fastball and slow curve. Eventually, he caught the attention of Yanks’ scout Cesar Presbott, who brought him into the organization. After fixing a “slight hesitation in his delivery,” Patterson was set. He steamrolled through AA Trenton last year, tossing 74.1 innings to the tune of a 1.09 ERA, with opponents hitting just .170 off him. And I’m not sure what is more impressive: That he struck out 91 in those 74.1 innings, or that he allowed only one homer in that time.
Giardi sums him up perfectly:
“All he’s done is get everybody out,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s been pretty unbelievable. He’s gotten us out of jam after jam. He has a chance.”
Three of the seven spots in the Yanks pen are seemingly up for grabs. It’s looking more and more like Patterson will nab one of them.
In a rare non pro-Red Sox blog post, Peter Gammons notes that the Yanks have told RHP Andrew Brackman “not to even think about pitching this season, just get healthy.” Man, I really can’t wait until this kid gets back into games. Gammons also notes that Brackman “may be a monster talent.” Wave those pom-poms proud, Peter. · (9) ·
It’s getting to the time of year when my roommates and I start our annual whiffle ball league. It’s nothing big, just the three of us and whoever else wants to play. The rules are kind of strange, which is fitting, since there are obstacles galore between us and the home run fence. As much fun as I have, I’m totally envious of these guys:
Is that not the perfect whiffle ball set up? Fence along the edge of the lawn, faux catcher (we use one of those pitching nets), scoreboard, lights…and even a freakin’ practice pitching mound.
I’ll still have to make due with the makeshift field we use, trees and all (we’ve named them Grady and Hanley). But man, what I wouldn’t give for a setup like that.
At 1:15 p.m., the baseball season has meaning.
No, wait. That’s wrong. No, it doesn’t, but don’t tell that to the folks at Yankees.com urging you to “tune in when the rivalry resumes.” The rivalry for the Grapefruit League sure is a good one. Whoever wins today is clearly the much better team.
In real news, Joba Chamberlain believes he is destined for the bullpen to start the season. I’m fine with this move on one condition: that Joba be moved to the starting rotation sooner rather than later. It’s fine to keep his innings under wraps as a reliever at the beginning of the season. It’s fine to have him thrown the 8th innings the Yanks hopefully get off to a hot start.
But his stuff is too and he’s just too dominant to stay in that role. Unless he can maintain a 0.50 ERA out of the bullpen for an entire season, he is much more valuable to the Yanks as a starter than he is a reliever.
And please keep the game thread halfway civilized if possible.
C.C. Sabathia is under contract with the Indians for the 2008 season. It’s still Spring Training with the entire season ahead of us. Yet, for some reason, sports writers are surprised that C.C. won’t talk about the possibility pitching in New York next year. Tampering, folks. It’s a bad thing. · (8) ·
Last night, the draft for the 2008 edition of the YBFBL was held, and by my count, 10 of the 14 teams were present. (Great turnout). I led the league wire-to-wire during the regular season last year thanks mostly to 21st round pick BJ Upton, and I’m pretty sure I won the regular season title in 2006 as well. I’ve gone out without a whimper in the postseason each year, mostly because my team was never deep enough offensively. I plan to change that this year.
Usually, I go into my fantasy draft targeting six or seven key players hoping to land four or five of ‘em. From there, I just wing it and build the rest of my team around those guys. This year, I tried something different. I went in with a set strategy that I’m happy to say I stuck to despite several tempting opportunities to digress. Basically, I loaded up on offense early, and waited until the very end of the draft to grab pitchers–preferably high upside guys. My thinking is that hitters are generally known commodities and can be difficult to obtain during the season, but pitching is so unpredictable that there will certainly be a few quality arms available in free agency along the way. (I grabbed Fausto off the waiver wire last year). Problem is that if my team stinks, I look like an idiot.
I got stuck with the first overall pick in the scissor style draft, meaning I had to wait roughly 15 minutes in between making back-to-back picks; it was quite the ordeal. (The draft started at 9 p.m. and ended at 11:30-ish). Thanks to Patrick for once again putting this together. My roster is after the jump.
In about 12 hours, the Yankees and Red Sox will square off for their first and only meeting of the Spring Training season. With Andy Pettitte making his first start since elbow problems prevented him from
getting even with the Rays throwing last week and Bartolo Colon hoping to win a spot on a team suddenly a bit short on starting pitchers, the game has plenty of drama for the two teams involved.
But as this is New York and Boston, it also has the added bonus of being a media circus. Reporters will descend on Tampa tomorrow afternoon and wax philosophical about this meeting as though it’s a harbinger of things to come this season. They’ll expound on the storied rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox, mentioning the Sox’s two World Series wins over the last four seasons as some sign of dominance in the rivalry. They’ll talk about this as though it’s the be-all and end-all of Spring Training games.
And you know what? I’m sick of it. Spring Training, as we’ve tried to point over the last few weeks, isn’t about winning or losing. It’s not about fine-tuned rivalries or spring stats. It’s about rediscovering baseball and tinkering with pitches. It’s about getting a feel for the strike zone and timing a swing on a fastball. It’s about learning new ways to get hitters out, and it’s about finding new ways to close that hole in a swing.
For four weeks, the baseball season can survive without the Yankees and the Red Sox squaring off, and for four weeks, these two teams can make their ways through Spring Training without the added bonus of an over-hyped game. Both teams would still sell out every single Spring Training game they play with or without facing off against each other.
Sure, I’ll enjoy the game tomorrow afternoon, and maybe I’m being a bit too sensitive. But when all is said and done, Spring Training doesn’t count, but everyone covering this circus sometimes thinks it does.
Yesterday afternoon, in Midtown Manhattan, a crane took a disastrous fall into some nearby buildings, crushing a Brownstone and destroying a restaurant. While four people died, the death toll could have been higher had it not been for a Yankees Spring Training game.
Manny Fernandez, writing in The Times, has more:
Fubar, the bar that was destroyed by the crane, was not open at the time. It opens at 4 p.m., and the owner, John P. LaGreco, said he had been on his way there early Saturday afternoon but had gotten wrapped up in the Yankees preseason game.
Jorge Posada had just driven in a run, the Yankees were down 2-1 in the fourth inning and the bases were loaded. He stayed in his apartment, blocks from the bar, to see what would happen. Then a neighbor, a bartender at Fubar, knocked on his door and told him what had happened. Mr. LaGreco’s heart raced. “If I wasn’t watching the game,” he said, “I would’ve been killed.”
John P. LaGreco will never again believe that Spring Training does not count.