* pLI not available at the time of posting. Work to do tomorrow morning, so I wanted to get this done tonight. I’ll fill it in tomorrow.
Not bad, Chase Wright. Not bad at all. Tonight ended up being an ideal scenario, with the offense striking early and allowing Wright to just throw strikes and let what happens happen. In a close game, who knows what happens. But he was handed ideal circumstances last night, and he took advantage.
Things didn’t look so hit at the beginning, though. After walking both Grady Sizemore and Jason Michaels to open the game, Gator was forced to make his first of what was hopefully not many mound visits. This situation was extra scary, because Travis Hafner was the next man up. He should have been MVP last year, despite his September injury. He’s just a scary, scary man up there, especially with two men on base. And especially when he’s up in the count 2-1. But Wright fooled him with a change, and then induced a grounder that advanced the runners.
Victor Martinez, who would be better off taking a Rascal scooter to first base, hit a run-scoring grounder to Jeter, leaving a runner on third for Ryan Garko, who even Chase Wright could retire. One inning, one run. Not so bad, Chase.
After Damon, Jeter, Alex, Giambi, and Jorge lent him a little hand, Chase went back out for the second. And again, the first two runners reached base, this time via a Casey Blake single and a Jhonny Peralta walk. Three fly balls later, and we’re in the bottom of the frame.
This is where the offense said, “Chase, you’re looking shaky out there. How about we knock this Westbrook character around for a while so you can calm down and finish an inning without letting the first two guys reach base.” We know this was a preconceived plan by the offense, because Doug “Guys hit balls out of the infield?” Mientkiewicz got it started with a tater to right. After an Abreu RBI single, Alex willed himself another home run. Two batters later, Jorge smacked one out, giving Wright an 8-1 lead. Apparently, Melky isn’t one of the cool kids; he made the first and last outs of the inning.
Check out his numbers, every year was damn good, except last. There’s talent in there, somewhere.
As far as the rest of the moves, I’d absolutely take a flier on Dan Haigwood, who was DFA’ed by the Rangers. Not much else that’s noteworthy.
Yeah yeah, so the season’s already a couple weeks old, but Joe and I took part in Baseball Think Factory’s recently posted look ahead to the 2007 Yankees. Head over there and check it out. · (5) ·
In what would be a highly anticipated match-up halfway across the globe as well as in Boston and New York, rumors are surfacing that the pitching-strapped Yanks may have Chien-Ming Wang make his next rehab start not in the minors but in Fenway Park against Daisuke Matsuzaka on ESPN this Sunday. But Brian Cashman has denied these rumors. Personally, I would think Wang is ready for a Major League start. If his hammy’s feeling up for it, why have him waste innings pitching at an A-ball game when the Big League club is in desperate need of hurlers? · (3) ·
While discussing the Chase Wright situation yesterday, another interesting topic came up: who’s going to start Saturday against the Red Sox? Pettitte has Friday, and Wright — if he doesn’t completely bomb — will have enough rest to start Sunday. That leaves a damning hole.
Wang and Karstens won’t be back for the weekend. Starting Wright and Igawa on short rest on back to back days isn’t exactly advisable. What to do?
The easy answer is to start Sean Henn. However, much like the decision to give Chase Wright tonight’s start, this would be a mistake. Henn has done very well out of the bullpen so far, so why mess that up? Plus, the Yanks are going to need plenty of help from the bullpen against the Indians, and likely will also need it against the Red Sox. Why sacrifice a bullpen arm in that situation?
(Yes, I realize there are now eight bullpen arms: Mo, Farns, Proctor, Vizcaino, Henn, Myers, Bruney, and Britton. All of them may be needed over the next four games, and all of them, sans Britton and Mo, have been worked hard this season. Having eight guys in the bullpen is a Godsend this week.)
The solution suggested by River Ave. Blues: Mighty Matt DeSalvo. He’s dealing this year: 2 ER, 11 K, 3 BB, 6 H over 9 innings of work. Yes, this is just as small a sample as Wright’s (though DeSalvo has fewer innings). But we’re also talking about a guy who 1) is facing tougher competition (the Braves and Red Sox AAA teams, as opposed to the Orioles and Nats AA teams) and 2) is/was an actual prospect.
Like Wright, DeSalvo absolutely dominated the Florida State League (1.43 ERA, 80 strikeouts to 30 walks and ONE home run over 75.1 innings). He went on to have a great year at AA in 2005, compiling a 3.02 ERA over 149 innings, 151 strikeouts to 67 walks, and just 8 homers allowed.
Of course, we all know about his hiccup last year, but given his performances before and after, that seems like an anomaly. That’s what happens when you double your career walk rate. He also had personal issues to work through last year.
Really, there was little good reason to pass over DeSalvo for Wright in the first place (the 40-man roster status may have been the deciding factor, with DeSalvo having lost his spot to Miguel Cairo in January). However, with the opportunity for another start, there is even less reason to deny DeSalvo this time around. Choose Henn if you will, but that’s too simplistic and it doesn’t allow him to continue what he’s been doing so well this season: coming out of the pen and getting guys out. Some guys are just better off in the bullpen.
Game 1 (5-2 win over Pawtucket in 7 innings)
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 4 – BA “down” to .324
Bronson Sardinha: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
Andy Phillips: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – more H (10), XBH (6), HR (3), RBI (6), and BB (6) in fewer ABs (38) than Minky and Phelps combined (6, 0, 0, 1, 5, 39)Â
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K -Â 3 straight games with a bomb
Chris Basak: 2 for 3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Steven Jackson: 5 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K – solid effort considering it was 44 degrees and raining
TJ Beam: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1-5 GB/FB
Game 2 postponed due to wet grounds. No makeup date announced.
Ben, Mike, and I have made no attempt to hide our sincere opinion that Phil Hughes should be called up in the wake of the Yankees recent pitching injuries. Over the course of the season, they will face even more injuries and find that certain pitchers — I won’t even sugar coat it: I’m talking about Igawa — aren’t going to be consistently effective. Therefore, if called up now, Hughes should manage to stay in the rotation for the remainder of the season. People claim that he still has stuff to learn in the minors, but he can learn all of that in the majors. And he’ll learn it against bona fide competition, not the retreads that fill AAA rosters.
Yet, the Yankees decided to call up Chase Wright as a temporary replacement. The reasoning: he impressed them in the spring, and he’s had two dominant outings so far in AA. All of which, of course, means that he’s a better option than the guy with the most talent. At least that’s how the Yankees brass — and many fans — are assessing the situation.
People often cite psychology as a reason to not promote Hughes. He’s not ready, they say — though I wholeheartedly contest that. If you bring him up now and he gets rocked (they say), you can mess up his head and ruin our blue chip prospect. However, if we’re going to talk psychology — which is often an exercise in futility — we have to bring up the damage the Yankees are doing to him right now. First was Spring Training, when they flat out told him he wouldn’t make the team. And now we have him passed over promotion by Chase Wright. How do you think he feels now? At least if he got the call and got smacked around, he could make a learning experience of it.
He says he’s ready, the scouts say he’s ready, but for some reason, the Yankees organization is obsessed with babying its pitchers. Yeah, you don’t want to see your blue chipper bust, but holding him back is going to have adverse effects at some point. He’s mentally ready, and his stuff is ready (and if I hear that he needs a dominating changeup one more time, I’m going to put a fist through my freakin’ wall). Call him up and let him help this team. Keeping him on pitch counts in AAA isn’t doing him any good — or at least compared to the good that can come from a stint in the majors.
I digress, though. My objective wasn’t to campaign for Phil Hughes — again. If management is going to be set in their ways, I’m doing nothing but wasting breath. My objective is to debunk this Chase Wright myth. Even if they are refusing to call up Hughes, there are four other options in the Scranton rotation that are better than Wright.
Well, at least no tabloid stooped to the “Mo isn’t Mr. Automatic anymore” bit.
In the long run, that loss won’t kill the Yanks. In the short term, however, it really stings. Twice they were just a strike away from winning, and twice the at bat ended in disappointment. I could probably gush for hours about it, but since it was just a freak occurrence, I’ll just leave it be. Hopefully we can look back on this in September and laugh.
I wish I had more as far as a recap goes, but sadly I don’t. Some crappy defense by Jeter cost them a run in the first, and Mientkiewicz’s slow ass cost them a run — or at least a run-scoring situation — in the sixth. Okay, fine: it was more the favorable rebound off the wall that cost them a run. But if that’s anyone but Minky or Giambi at third, that run scores and you still have Alex up with a man on. Thankfully, he, Giambi, Posada, Cano, and Melky rendered that moot the next inning, plating three runs to take the lead.
I have to admit, I tuned out for portions in the middle of the game. It was seriously frustrating. Before the seventh inning, the Yankees failed to have more than four hitters complete at bats. That happened seven times for the Athletics, as they only put something together in the first and ninth innings.
Having a day off today is a good thing. Beyond the apparently devastating rainfall (that has cancelled work for both of my roommates), it’s really tough to watch a game following a weekend series like that. All three games were winnable, and I’m just glad we didn’t get swept. I don’t know if it’s the worst part or the best part, but we could have swept them, too.
Baseball is a funny game.
The Yankees have played 11 games. Scott Proctor has appeared in 8 of them, including four in a row and is now on pace to appear in over 110 games this season. Last Wednesday, Joe and I had this conversation about Scotty. We were joking. But, um, yeah. Ben: It’s Wednesday. That means Scott Proctor pitches! Joe: And you know what Joe Torre’s thinkin’. Joe: “Well, tomorrow is an off day, so I can use him Friday, too!” Ben: So true. Joe: And if he uses him Saturday, it’s okay, because it’s only two days in a row. Ben: And Monday’s an off day. Joe: Sunday it is. · (0) ·
Don’t sweat Mo blowing the game today; the A’s beat the best, just tip your hats to ‘em.Â Just think, you’ve got a guy whose thrown 14Â innings above A-ball in his career starting the next game, against the team with third highest OPS in baseball no less!
Triple-A Scranton rained out. Doubleheader Monday.
Double-A Trenton rained out. No makeup date announced.
High-A Tampa (6-3 loss toÂ Sarasota)Â
Tim Battle: 0 for, 4 K, 1 E (fielding)Â - 15 K in last 24 AB, but who’s counting?
Jose Tabata: 3 for 5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K – the best Yankee position player prospect since Nick Johnson was putting up .525 OBP’s…there, I said it
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 K
Marcos Vechionacci: 1 for 2, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 2 E (both throwing) – third straight game with a double
Francisco Cervelli: 1 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 PB – picked off first
Bryan Villalona: 4 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Jose Valdez: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Low-A Charleston (4-0 loss toÂ Augusta)
Mitch Hilligoss: 0 for 4 – 1 for his last 15
Austin Jackson: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 CS
Seth Fortenberry: 0 for 4, 2 K – 2 for his last 24…speedster is 2 for 5 in SB attempts
Chris Malec: 2 for 4Â
Josue Calzado: 1 for 2, 1 BB
Tim Norton: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 1 Balk, 8-3 GB/FB
David Robertson: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3-1 GB/FB – I’m a huge fan of this guy, 7.1 IP, 2 H, 11 K this year
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