Much like Barry Bonds before, Jason Giambi, according to reports in today’s Daily News, failed an amphetamines test last year. With the recent controversy over his comments in U.S.A. Today, this revelation means either Giambi was apologizing for failing this speed test or he’s in more trouble than we first thought. Meanwhile, yesterday, Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus, in a piece viewable for everyone, issued an eloquent appeal to MLB to leave the past in the past. Only time will tell what Giambi’s future on the Yanks or in baseball holds. Update by Joe P.: I wanted to put this up yesterday, but I was running out the door when I heard it. Peter Gammons is reporting that the Daily News report isn’t necessarily true. Then again, since it was an unconfirmed report in the first place, we should have just assumed that. · (3) ·
I’m not gonna put together the whole schabang for last night’s action, but if you wanna check out all the stat lines, go here. In an otherwise uninteresting night, here’s the most notable performances:
Alan Horne: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 8-4 GB/FB – 48 H, 66 K in 53 IP
Mitch Hilligoss: 2 for 5, 2 R – my math sucks, NOW the streak is at 28 games…seriously…I mean it this time
Check out the Joba Watch for his update.
Well, look at that. The Yankees were held in check by a shitty pitcher. What a surprise. I should be more outraged right now — I sure was last night. But the truth is, the Yankees did not deserve to win that game. Not after Mussina’s first inning, Not after they failed to register a hit the first time through the order.
When they needed a big hit, they got a groundball. Sure, a run may have scored, but that’s not always a huge consolation. It was okay when they were down 4-1 and needed a boost in the fifth. It wasn’t okay when they were down 7-2 and needed a big inning in the eighth.
And then there was the ninth. Yeah, you can’t expect that they’ll score four to tie it, but dammit, when Papelbon walks the first two guys, you gotta get something started. But Melky swung through ball four. Damon grounded out. And then Cap’n Clutch went down looking at three straight pitches. Yeah, Derek, we get it. You didn’t think those balls caught the plate. You were wrong. But you’re an asshole for not swinging.
(Yeah, the overhead replay showed that the last pitch could have easily caught the black. It was by no means a bad call. I’m sure Derek arguing with the ump about his strikezone all night didn’t help that call.)
So what, are the Yankees just going to turn the bats back on like a light switch tonight? Or are they going to come out lifeless again?
Pettitte vs. Schilling. It’s tough to say “must win,” but, uh, the Yanks kind of have too many losses for this point of the season. Every game that goes by (and they lose) is another game they can’t make up later in the year.
Last 7 Days
That one word summarizes tonight’s game which I had the distinct pleasure of watching from the Upper Deck at Yankee Stadium. If the Bombers can’t find it within themselves to beat Julian Tavarez, what does that say about the team? This evening’s game against Curt Schilling is about as big a must-win as a team can have at the end of May. More later today. I’m quite discouraged. · (2) ·
Some hack of a journalist has been spreading rumors about the Angels being interested in Jason Giambi. We here at River Ave. Blues try not to acknowledge this person, so his name will not get a mention. Just know that he probably made this up, as he has plenty of trade rumors in the past. Some things to consider: 1) Giambi has a full no-trade clause. His option for 2009 is freaking insane — $22 million. That’s usually the condition of a player waiving his NTC, and that goes especially for a player like Giambi, who would be leaving a team for which he likes to play. 2) Who’s going to fill his role at DH? 3) The reported return — Chone Figgins and Jose Molina — is laughable, and that’s being generous. Even if Bill Stoneman uncharacteristically included a C prospect like Dustin Mosely, it’s still not worth it. This is nonsense. Update: You know, the last [unnamed hack] rumor I remember creating a swirl like this was Humberto Sanchez and Melky Cabrera for Dontrelle Wilis. Yeah. Mike remembers Spring Training 2005, when it was Cano, Wang, and Eric Duncan for Ben Sheets. So that’s how much stock you should put in this. · (30) ·
After weeks of waiting we finally hear good news about Phil Hughes. The Yankees’ young stud made 25 throws off of a half-mound yesterday. The Yanks will see how he responds to throwing over the next few days before setting a timetable. While E.J. at Pending Pinstripes sees an optimistic return date of June 6 for Hughes, it looks like June 16th is more likely. · (0) ·
Despite the outcome, last night was scary. It seemed that there was a potential disaster around every corner, with Wang stranding five men in the first two innings — both times after easily recording the first two outs of the respective inning. He threw just 57 percent of his pitches for strikes. He gave up seven hits and three walks in his six and a third innings.
Such is the cost of a new approach. And for the Red Sox, against whom Wang had piled up a 5.05 ERA prior to last night, it was a necessary adjustment. That didn’t make the torture of sitting in the stands any less, but in the end it paid off.
He used over 18 pitches per inning last night, as opposed to a hair under 14 per inning last season. Even more against the Wang norm, he recorded nine ground outs to five fly outs (1.80 ratio), whereas last year his ratio was 3.06. He still has a 2.42 ratio this year.
The night wasn’t all about Wang, though. It was about Giambi hitting a monster blast. It was about Alex giving the Yanks an early lead. It was about Cano putting together a hitting streak. It was about Damon not looking washed up. It was about getting two-out hits with men on. It looks like the offensive wheels are turning again.
This is nice, because the pitching is ready, too. Roger will be back in a week (hard to believe), and Phil Hughes officially began his rehab stint yesterday, meaning we’ll see him back in roughly four weeks, give or take a few days. Until then, the Yanks have Tyler Clippard and/or Matt DeSalvo to plug the dam.
Mussina vs. Tavarez tonight. Hey, A-Rod, listen up: Tavarez is going to go high and tight on you. Don’t freak out like a little girl when he does.
Last 7 Days
Mini-Moose is your FSL Pitcher of the Week:
Florida State League
Ian Kennedy, Tampa
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13.2 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 20 SO
Kennedy, the Yankees’ first-round draft choice in 2006, was dominant in each of his two starts this week. The USC product struck out 11 over 6 2/3 scoreless innings against Dunedin on Tuesday and followed that up by whiffing nine over seven shutout frames in Jupiter on Sunday. Kennedy’s 1.24 ERA is the league’s best, and his five wins are tied for the most in the circuit.
Cool part is he hasn’t even been the Yanks best pitcher in the minors…Â
Triple-A Scranton (3-1 win over Richmond)
Kevin Reese: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB
Andy Phillips: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Eric Duncan: 0 for 2, 2 BB, 1 SBÂ - has reached base 7 times in last 3 games…
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 3B
Eric Junge: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 7-4 GB/FB – in case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced “Young”
Everyday Kozlowski: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K – he probably won’t be with the organization next year, but he’s done a heck of a job and it hasn’t gone unnoticed
Jim Brower: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB,Â 2 K
After weeks of negotiations, the City and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reached a deal on the Metro-North hub planned for the new Yankee Stadium. For more on this piece of good news for Yankee fans and pictures of the plans, check out my post on this story at Second Ave. Sagas. · (0) ·
From the Daily News: “I’ve been here for five years and we don’t need to worry about nobody right now. Everybody needs to worry about us.” -David Ortiz If that’s not a bulletin board quote, I don’t know what is. But wait, there’s more. From The Boston Globe: “…the Red Sox pretty much have cemented themselves in a position where I don’t think they can be caught.” -John Smoltz Gee, sounds like Smoltzy is starting to sound like CHB. Hat tip (begrudgingly so) to The Joy of Sox. · (8) ·