Oh, boy. Right on the precipice of the playoffs, this whole A-Rod/Cubs business is sure to rile more than a few feathers. So as I rub my hands together in glee and anticipation, let’s jump in.

First up is the backstory: In the issue of New York Magazine due to hit newsstands later today, the inestimable Will Leitch pens a piece on Alex Rodriguez. The first 1100 words rehash familiar territory: A-Rod’s contract history; the near-trade to Boston; his playoff flame-outs; his 52-home run, 146-RBI season; the Yankees power structure; and the inevitable use of the opt-out clause.

It’s on the second page where things get really good. Allow me to quote at length:

The team that observers believe has the best shot is the Cubs. They’re up for sale, but a source with knowledge of the situation says Boras knows which group is most likely to be awarded the team. (That’s not loudmouth Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, by the way; he has no chance.) The source says Boras has already been in touch with that group about the possibility of a contract that could reach $30 million a year over the next ten years while deferring a certain portion of money toward an eventual stake in the franchise.

The good stuff continues though. Leitch claims that the left shoulder tic — possibly a source of A-Rod’s recent power outage — and subsequent ribbing aren’t good natured. The teasing is supposedly “the kind of thing that does not speak to an undying attachment between player and team.”

So take a deep breath; suck it all; and let’s tear it apart.

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Categories : Hot Stove League
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The Yanks are having a nice little tribute to the late Phil Rizzuto pregame, but otherwise there’s not much going on.

Oh, Joba turns 22 today, so I guess that’s something. Happy Birthday big guy.

Damon, LF
Jeter, SS
Abreu, RF
A-Rod, 3B
Matsui, DH
Cano, 2B
Melk, CF
Mink, 1B
Molina, C

Moose is on the mound, and the ‘pen could use a rest, generally not a good mix. Comment away. 

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (25)
  • Thanks for nothing, Al Reyes
    By

    After tonight’s meltdown, D-Rays’ closer Al Reyes is now 0-3 with 12.00 ERA & 3.00 WHIP vs the Red Sox this year. Three of his 4 blown saves have come against the Sawx.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised really; Reyes has been released 5 times in the last 6 years, after all.
    · (15) ·

It’s dark and rainy. The Yanks just played a marathon of a game and lost last night. The only guy I can imagine wanting to be here today is Phil Hughes, who was announced as the starter some time in the past 12 hours. Honestly, I think it’s for the best. I’m concerned about IPK surely, but Hughes should be going every fifth day. He’s the one who’s short on innings; Moose, Rocket, and Pettitte are the ones who could stand for an extra day off over the next week. The Yanks magic number is 5, and I’d imagine that over the next nine games there will be a combination of five Yankees wins or Detroit losses.

We’re in a rain delay right now. According to Pete Abraham, Rocket will be able to go Monday. That should help, since he can go again on Saturday, lining him up with plenty of rest to pitch Game 3 of the ALDS. Indulge me while I go through a projected/ideal rotation, assuming IPK can go on Tuesday:

9/22: Hughes
9/23: Moose
9/24: Rocket
9/25: IPK
9/26: Wang (last start of season)
9/27: Pettitte (last start of season)
9/28: Hughes
9/29: Rocket
9/30: IPK

The ALDS begins on October 3 or 4, so here’s what we’d have:

Game 1: Wang (6 or 7 days’ rest)
Game 2: Pettitte (7 or 8 days’ rest)
Game 3: Rocket (7 or 8 days’ rest, with the off-day)

We’re still in a rain delay. No word on a start time. Here’s the lineup:

1. Melky Cabrera, CF — I despise him in the leadoff spot
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, LF
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Jason Giambi, DH
8. Robinson Cano, 2B
9. Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B

And on the mound, No. 65, Phil Hughes.

P.S. So I’m at a recording studio right now with my roommate, who is working on new album with his band. It feels appropriate to then post this picture of a guitar I really want to own:

If you want to check out his band’s music, you can check out this YouTube video. Yes, someone created a Guitar Hero track of one of their songs:

The things that amuse us during rain delays.

Update: 2:30 is the word on the street.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (54)

Joe Torre and Ron Guidry are engaged in the old American dance called the pitching rotation shuffle. Good thing for the Yanks they have pitching depth.

Shortly before tonight’s game — which I’ve decided to chalk up to the “Yanks shouldn’t have won anyway” column — we learned that Ian Patrick Kennedy would be missing his start due to what the AP is calling a strained muscle in his upper back. For what it’s worth, the guys on My9 were saying that Kennedy was, by and large, all right, but the Yanks are being cautious with their young arms. Some sources are calling what Kennedy experienced simply tightness.

But now comes the news that Roger Clemens, he of the $20 million and two September starts, will be pushed back until at least Monday because his left hamstring is giving him some issues. In his stead, Mike Mussina will start on Sunday, and Phil Hughes will toss the game that begins at 1:05 p.m. today. (That means I get to witness yet another Mike Mussina start this year. Save me.)

As the season winds down, the Yanks will try to line up their rotation for their opening playoff series. I think we’ll see Wang, Pettitte, and Clemens, if healthy. The last spot will go to whomever is more effective: Hughes or Mussina. Right now, Mussina is winning the battle. But for now, the Yanks can afford to rest their aching pitchers.

Meanwhile, let’s do some quick notes on tonight’s disappointing game:

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Categories : Game Stories
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  • Introducing a new site at River Ave. Blues
    By

    As part of our effort to take over the Internets expand our blogging reach a bit, we here at River Ave. Blues have launched a new Major League Baseball-focused site called Breaking Balls. The main authors on that site — Tommy and Caleb — are two of my buddies from college. They’ll be analyzing the game from angles. Start with this piece on declining home run rates. And we’ll be bringing you the same pithy asides you’ve come to know and love here.

    Don’t worry; the three of us aren’t going anywhere. We’re just expanding and bringing some new writers into the River Ave. Blues family of sites. So stop on by at Breaking Balls, say hi to the new guys and check back regularly. Onward and upward.
    · (2) ·

Before we start, the Yanks have announced that IPK will be scratched from his Saturday start due to an upper back strain. Everyone slides back. You can never have enough pitching. Hat tip to anaconda.

The Yanks are rollin’, but things aren’t going to get any easier over the next four days. The Blue Jays are throwing four guys at us that we haven’t exactly hit well this season.

Tonight’s starter, Roy Halladay, in 14 innings has allowed 5 runs (3 home runs), walked 4 and struck out 14.

Tomorrow’s starter, Shaun Marcum, in 16.1 innings has allowed 11 runs (2 homers), walked nine and struck out 12. Okay, so maybe we’ve hit him well on the whole. I just can’t forget that May 29th start where he held us to two hits and no runs over six innings. Then again, he walked three that night, and we were playing remarkably shitty ball, so hopefully that doesn’t carry over.

Sunday’s starter, Dustin McGowan, in 19.2 innings has allowed 8 runs (1 homer), walked 7 and struck out 16. However, he did allow four runs over five innings back on September 12, so he’s not invincible.

Finally, Monday’s starter, A.J. Burnett, has been a royal pain in the ass. In 15 innings, he’s allowed just one run (on a solo shot to Johnny Damon), walked 6 and struck out 13.

However, the Blue Jays’ offense isn’t in good shape. Vernon Wells and Troy Glaus, in theory their two best hitters, are done for the year. Lyle Overbay hasn’t started since September 14, after getting screws removed from his wrists. However, he has played in the 8th or 9th for defensive purposes pretty much every game since. Basically, Frank Thomas, Matt Stairs, and Alex Rios are the only players left with remotely respectable numbers. Aaron Hill is okay, but he’s still below league average. Russ Adams has fared well lately, but we know how streaks tend to even themselves out.

Remember, you can still vote in the caption contest. It seems voting has slowed in the past few days. Thankfully, Dane Cook is still in the lead.

1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B
9. Melky Cabrera, CF

And on the mound, No. 40, Chien Ming Wang.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (167)
  • A-Rod a fit anywhere
    By

    In his blog today, Buster Olney lays out a case for A-Rod and the Dodgers. Olney, who has spent the season imaging A-Rod everywhere else but New York, claims that the future Hall of Famer would be “a perfect fit for the Dodgers.” This begs the question: Isn’t A-Rod – one of the best baseball players ever – a perfect fit for any team? · (17) ·