Ozzy Osbourne, in his final offering with Black Sabbath, sang words that ring so true for the Yankees season:
“Don’t you ever, don’t ever say die.”
It’s easy to give up on the team, to say “the season is over.” But what is accomplished by this? Is it that we’re showing how rational and logical we are? Are we trying to be super-pessimistic, so that if things do turn around we’ll be glad to say “I was wrong”? Or is it the ever-present fear of being viewed as a homer?
Baseball is a funny game, though.
The bats are all cold now, which is always unfortunate. You’ll see a few guys hitting well in the “Last 7 Days” bit at the end, but when the majority of the team is hitting below .260, you’re going to have trouble scoring runs. OBP is great — the most valuable single offensive statistic in baseball — because it means more men on base. But sooner or later, you’re going to need to drive those runs in, and only on rare occasions will a walk do the trick. The guys gotta start hitting; it’s that simple.
But what if the bats all get hot at once? Yeah, Jeter and Posada already lead the league in hitting. What if they go on a two-week tear where they hit .500? What if — God Forbid — Giambi finds his stroke and starts planting homers and gappers? What if Cano stops swinging at pitches at his eyes? What if Bobby finally finds the groove he was in last August?
I’ll tell ya: the bats all getting hot at once is just as likely as the bats all getting cold at once. So if the Yanks can string together two weeks of hot-hot hitting and can mix some down days (three or four runs) in with some solid pitching performances, they can still go on a tear. The Oakland A’s won an AL-record 20 straight games in 2002. Our team is better than that. So who’s to say we can’t rattle off 22 straight? Probable? No. Possible? Certainly.
This happened in 2005, remember? Yeah, people point out that we were 27-23 on May 29, 2005, and that we’re 21-28 this year. Well, on June 7 of that year, we were 28-30, seven games behind the surging Orioles. So it’s not like we were rolling at this point in the season that year, either.
(By the way. On May 29, 2005, the White Sox were 33-17, whereas the Red Sox are 35-15. Chicago ended at 99-63. We ended that season at 95-67. Four games. And we were running around with bottles that year, trying to catch lightning. We should — and yes, anything can happen — but should have a more established and solid pitching staff in the second half.)
In 2005, things weren’t working out at second base. So the Yanks dipped into the minors for Robinson Cano. He had been passed over by the Diamondbacks twice: once at the trade deadline in 2004, once over the winter, both in trade proposals for Randy Johnson. Yeah, he tore up AAA in April, but to think he could sustain that would be silly given the small sample size. But he came up and made a difference.
In 2007, first base isn’t working out. While there seems to be no solution in AAA, why not give Eric Duncan a shot? I know, I know. He’s hitting just .234, and has a .683 OPS. But in his last 10 games, he’s walked eight times to just two strikeouts. For some guys, it just clicks. Maybe we can catch that lightning again with Duncan. Or hell, even give a shot to Shelley Duncan, who is just hammering the ball. We’ve already infused some youth into the rotation — and may have found a useful starter in Clippard. Now it’s time to try the same thing with the offense.
It ain’t over. And so what if it is? Are you going to just stop watching? If you do, we don’t want you back when the Yanks start winning again.
Last 7 Days
When I left New York on Friday afternoon, the Yanks had just come off of a series win against the Red Sox. They had cut their deficit to 9.5 games in the AL East and were beginning to show some signs of life. Well, four games later, things are looking terrible for the Bombers. They were swept by the Angels and lost pathetically to the Blue Jays this evening. They’re as bad as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and sit in last place in the AL East, 13.5 games behind the Red Sox and 7.5 behind the Tigers for the Wild Card with six teams in front of them. What a weekend. · (4) ·
The field of 64 is out; I’m going with Texas as my early pick for the CWS Title, although I’m looking forward to seeingÂ how farÂ Brian MatuszÂ & Josh Romanski (aka the best 1-2 rotation punch in the nation, remember those names for the 2008 draft) can carry San Diego.
Triple-A Scranton (2-0 win over Toledo)
Andy Phillips: 2 for 3, 1 R – only 1 RBI and 1 XBH in last 7 games…
Eric Duncan: 1 for 3
Bronson Sardinha: 1 for 3, 1 RBI – nearly 50 games into the year, and he still hovering near the Mendoza line…
Alberto Gonzalez: 0 for 3
Roger Clemens: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K – they should let him play in the Futures Game
Edwar Ramirez: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K – WHIPÂ skyrockets up to 0.82, Kper 9 plummets down to 16.83…
Jim Brower: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K – he’s been with the organization for only 22 days, and he’s already got twice as many saves (6)Â as Mo (3)…
Triple-A Scranton (8-5 win over Indianapolis)Â
Kevin Reese: 3 for 4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Andy Phillips: 3 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB – dude lives in a Holiday Inn…
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 5, 2 K, 1 E (throwing)
Eric Duncan: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB – 8 walks, 1 K in last 7 games…
Alberto Gonzalez: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 K
Angel Chavez: 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI – 16 for 49 (.410) with 7 doubles, a homer and 9 RBIs in his last 10 games…
Eric Junge: 5 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 2-8 GB/FB
Ben Kozlowski: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K – 6 H and 16 K in last 12.2 IP…
Chris Britton: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Jim Brower: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K – 10 of 13 pitches were strikes (76.9%)
Just a reminder, I’m acting as the Yanks’Â Scouting Director inÂ theÂ 2007 Mock Draft over at John Sickels’ Minor League Ball. If you’re interested in joining the fun by helping me formulate a draft strategy and “scout” players, head over to the diary thread. Â Â
Triple-A Scranton (6-2 loss to Indianapolis) dominated by the #1 overall pick in the 2002 draft…
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Kevin Reese: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 SB
Andy Phillips, Bronson Sardinha & Shelley Duncan (i.e. the 3-4-5 hitters): combined 0 for 11, 1 BB, 5 K – Sardinha walked…
Eric Duncan: 1 for 3
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 3, 1 2B – 4 of his last 7 hits have gone for extra bases
Sean Henn: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Colter Bean: 3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HB
Edwar “Hell, even I’m better than Luis Vizcaino” Ramirez: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HB – 40 K, .110 BAA in 21 IP this year…
Phil Hughes rolled his left ankle while performing conditioning exercises at the Legends Field training complex on Friday, and will have an MRI performed to determine the severity of the injury.
“He was doing his agility drill and stuck a spike; [the] spike caught,” manager Joe Torre said. “They don’t think it’s anything, just rolled it a little bit. It may set him back a couple of days.”
Couple days huh? We’ll see…
(hat tip to Patrick)
Update: Sprain. Probably sets him back a week.
I really like posting this, because you really get a feel for who’s helping the team and who’s killing us over a reasonable period of time. Check out who’s on top today. Cano: 400/423/720 Posada: 375/423/667 Jeter: 346/433/577 Damon: 333/429/417 Matsui: 296/321/519 Alex: 273/429/864 Giambi: 250/471/500 Abreu: 250/423/300 Minky: 235/316/471 So the Yanks are playing their style ball again. Sometimes, you’re going to get games like Tuesday, when you put runners on base but just can’t put it together. Fine. We can live with that. Then sometimes you get games like last night, where the pitching blows it for you. Those are the more disheartening ones. DFA Vizcaino. We’ve been saying it for weeks. · (0) ·
I’ve been busy the past few days, hence no updates. Trust me, you missed very little.
Oh, and what you saw tonight was the real Tyler Clippard. Fastball wasn’t fooling anyone, lots of fly balls, and consequently, lots of extra base hits given up…
Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Indianapolis in 10 innings) Eric Duncan rode the pine…
Kevin Reese: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 CS
Andy Phillips: 1 for 5, 2 K
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 2, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB – 5 game RBI streak…
Chris Basak: 1 for 5, 1 RBI, 2 K – walk-off single
Bronson Sardinha:1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 K
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 3, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Chase Wright: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 WP
Chris “I’m WAY better than Luis Vizcaino” Britton: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Jim Brower: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K – he’s been crazy good since coming on board…
Memorial Day weekend is one of the lightest weekends for computer use and blog reading outside of the Christmas-to-New Years period. As the three of us are going to be either away or outside for much of the weekend, blogging will be lighter than normal. But we’ll be back on Monday night with our regular slate of 35 posts a week. In the meantime, enjoy the great weather and the long weekend. Go Yanks. · (0) ·
When the news came down on Wednesday that Carl Pavano will have season-ending reconstructive surgery on his elbow, no one really blinked. After two-plus seasons of Pavano’s routine, no one was surprised that Pavano would be missing out on fulfilling the remainder of his four-year deal.
It’s hard to believe that things weren’t always like this. Following the 2004 season when Pavano hit free agency, a bidding war erupted. The Red Sox wanted him; the Tigers wanted him; the Phillies and Rangers were mildly interested. It took recruiting phone calls from the Joe Torre and Derek Jeter to lure Pavano to the Bronx. Fans and players alike acted as though it were a big coup.
Well, $39.95 million and 19 starts later, the Yanks hardly got a return on their investment. Pavano won 5 games for the Yanks. He threw 111.3 innings and had an ERA of 4.77.
Since arriving in New York, Pavano has developed a reputation as a whiner, a complainer and a selfish player. The media and his teammates have questioned his desire to play, and if he comes back from this surgery, you can bet he won’t don the Yankee uniform in 2008. When he becomes a free agent in Nov. 2008, he’ll be lucky to sign an incentive-laden deal with a second-tier team. A Minor League deal and a spring training invite could be all that awaits him.
The Yankees, on the other hand, are probably furious with him. This is money that could have spent elsewhere and on a player who wanted to perform. It is safe to say that Carl Pavano did not live up to the terms of his contract. So I think the Yankees should sue Carl Pavano.
I’m not familiar with the standard player contract for Major League Baseball, and I’m sure the contract as an injury clause in it. But it’s really easy to claim that Carl Pavano did not honor his side of the contract and is in breach.
He was paid $39.95 million to play baseball for four years. Instead, he missed all of 2005 to various maladies including a broken rib sustained in a car accident and will now miss the rest of 2007 and most, if not all, of 2008.
Of course, no team would sue a player, but it would certainly be interesting to see how such a suit would play out. And it would be great revenge just to drag Pavano’s oft-injured ass into court.
Image from Da Bronx Bombers.