• Futures Game today
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    The 9th annual Futures Game takes place today at 4pm EST. Joba Chamberlain last pitched on Tuesday, so you can go ahead and bet your 401k on him throwing an inning today. As you may remember, Phil Hughes got lit up his inning of work last year, coughing up 3 runs to the World Team and was almost decapitated by Jose Tabata. The game will be on ESPN, so find a comfy chair and watch the best prospects in the game strut their stuff. · (5) ·

Teams that make five errors don’t deserve to be playing in the 13th inning.

Also, why would Joe Torre call for a suicide squeeze when up by three runs on Friday night but not in the most obvious of obvious spots when down by a run in the 13th inning on Saturday? Anyone?

Categories : Game Stories
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Triple-A Scranton (2-1 win over Ottawa in 11 innings)
Justin Christian, Juan Francia & Angel Chavez: all 2 for 5 – Christian doubled, stole a base and drove in a run…Chavez K’ed and drove one in
Shelley Duncan: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 1 for 4 – back after a 2 game hiatus
Matt DeSalvo: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K – while the “true” prospects have their inning count monitored, he gets left in to throw 110 pitches
Sean Henn: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 5-2 GB/FB
Jim Brower: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3-0 GB/FB – 10 of 15 pitches were strikes

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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Triple-A Scranton (20-11 win over Ottawa) too bad Eric Duncan had the day off…
Justin Christian: 4 for 6, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K – hitting .339 with Scranton after hitting .235 with Trenton
Kevin Reese: 3 for 6, 3 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Angel Chavez: 1 for 4, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 K – 11 game hit streak…he’s very quitely been the best hitter on the team not named…
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 6, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 E (throwing) - 66 RBI is second in the organization behind A-Rod
Chris Basak: 1 for 3, 3 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB
Bronson Sardinha: 2 for 4, 2 3B, 4 RBI – 3 of his last 4 XBH have been 3-baggers
Andy Cannizaro: 3 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI – hitting .500 with Scranton
Raul Chavez: 3 for 5, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Chase Wright: 5 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HB – 33-33 K/BB ratio with Scranton
Steven Jackson: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Jim Brower: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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The Cape Cod Baseball League is “it” for amateurs. Each summer the best of the best college players head up to the Cape to strut their stuff for scouts in anticipation of the following year’s draft, and in some cases they are trying to make themselves a few extra thousand bucks if they were already drafted. Many players have headed to the Cape with little hype, but left as top notch prospects; just ask Timmy Lincecum what his 0.69 ERA & .104 BAA did for him last year.Â

One player on the Cape looking to drive up his signing bonus is RHP Chris Carpenter, the Yanks’ 18th round pick out of Kent State in this year’s draft. A second rounder based on talent, Carpenter fell because of signability (as a draft-eligible sophomore, he’s got some extra negotiating leverage) and health concerns (Tommy John surgery and a separate elbow surgery to clean out scar tissue in recent years). In two starts for the Chatham A’s, Carpenter has gone 9 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 13 K, which isn’t as great as it may look when you consider that the CCBL is quite possibly the pitcher friendliest baseball league on the planet.

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Categories : College Ball
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I have made no mistake of my dislike for Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi. He used his pseudo-fame from Moneyball to land the gig in Toronto (Paul DePodesta was their first choice, but turned them down), and further, he lied to get the job. When all the other GM candidates said they needed more payroll dollars to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox, Ricciardi said the Jays were spending too much money. And what did he go and do? Spent a ton of money. Worse: it was in all the wrong places.

The Blue Jays are no better now than they were when Ricciardi took the job. In fact, they’re no better than when Ricciardi dumped the low payroll philosophy and started spending money. He raised the payroll from $45.7 million in 2005 to $71.9 million in 2006 to $81.9 million this year, yet has continued to field mediocre teams. I don’t know how Ted Rogers hasn’t figured out that J.P. isn’t going to get this done — and we’re not even going into the dismal state of their farm system (though they had a decent 2007 draft).

Ricciardi’s latest offense: blaming A.J. Burnett for being constantly injured. Never mind that the guy had a long history of injuries when Ricciardi signed him after the 2005 season. No, J.P. won’t shoulder any of that blame. He’s going to pin it all on Burnett, who is out at least another three weeks with a sore shoulder.

Here’s what Mr. Ricciardi had to say about Burnett:

“I don’t know if it’s psychological, I don’t know if it’s just he gets to a point he feels something and he’s been so scarred by being hurt so many times that he just backs off. But I think he’s going to have to get over that hump at some point and just maybe pitch through some pain or realize what the difference is between really being hurt and not being hurt.”

Plenty of pitchers have played through shoulder pain. And most of them have done considerable damage to themselves. Why in the world would you want a pitcher to play through shoulder pain? I mean, the shoulder is kind of important to a pitcher’s delivery, so it doesn’t seem to make much sense to have him risk serious damage to it. Apparently, Ricciardi doesn’t understand that.

Ricciardi also mentioned that Burnett might be better suited as the team’s fourth or fifth starter. What does that mean, J.P.? That you’re going to try to find pitchers better than him? I don’t get that line of thinking. When A.J. was their No. 2 starter, they didn’t need to find anyone better than him, but when he’s their No. 4 or 5, they do? I thought the idea was to always find better pitchers.

I don’t know why I’m complaining so much about this — having a GM like this in our division should be a blessing. I just hate to see dunderheads like Ricciardi running teams when there are plenty of more competent and qualified individuals to do so. Ricciardi has proven himself wrong for the job many times over, yet still has a job. That he’s calling out a pitcher who he signed is just another demerit on his resume. We all knew A.J. Burnett was an injury risk. Ricciardi is the idiot who gave him $55 million.

Hat tip to MLB Trade Rumors

Categories : Rants
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That win today, it was a good one. Hideki Matsui, batting clean-up, utterly crushed a 3-1 offering from Pat Neshek to give the Yanks a lead they wouldn’t give up. And with that blow, the Yanks took 3 out of 4 in a must-win series for the Bombers.

But the real story of today wasn’t the win or Kyle Farnworth’s fourth 1-2-3 inning of the season. The real story was yet another incredibly bad outing from Kei Igawa. Down 2-0 before the Yanks had a chance to bat, Igawa would later cough up a three-run lead. Torre pulled the Japanese bust after five innings, and for once, going to the bullpen was the right move.

Since returning to the Yankees rotation from Minor League purgatory, Igawa has gone 0-1 with 6.19 ERA. Sadly, that’s an improvement from his pre-demotion tenure on the Yanks. While the Yanks have gone 2-1 in his three starts, the credit belongs to the offense as they’ve scored 14 runs in the two wins (and were one-hit in the loss).

Specifically, Igawa has thrown 16 innings, surrendering 17 hits while walking 9 and striking 12. He’s given up 3 home runs and has retired just 14 batters via the ground ball as opposed to 21 via the fly ball. He pitches like a disaster waiting to happen, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets pounded for an ungodly number of runs in, say, 1.2 innings.

So what should the Yanks do? With Phil Hughes still a few weeks out, the Yanks’ options are limited. They could keep Igawa in the rotation, and they do seem to be leaning toward giving him at least one more start. They could dip back into the farm system and call up Steven White.

What they won’t do, however, is what we would all love to see happen if just for the novelty of it: The Yankees will not call up Joba Chamberlain. This afternoon, I debated whether or not to post a piece calling for his Bronx debut. He is, after all, making mince meat of AA hitters, and he has the psychological make-up to make the most of a Big League call up. But being cautious right now is the right choice. There’s no need to rush a potential top-line starter this season.

For now, then, we’re stuck with our expensive waste of money. While some of us have clamored for Igawa’s release, the Yanks have options on the ineffective lefty and owe him a pretty penny over the next few seasons. He won’t go anywhere, but the team will try to minimize the damage he may do at the Big League level. And with Hughes on the horizon, all we have to do is hold out a few more weeks. It can’t be all that bad, right?

Categories : Pitching
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Remember to Vote for Joba! The poll comes down whenever I wake up tomorrow.

Triple-A Scranton was rained out; they’ll make it up as part of an August 9th doubleheader. I was really looking forward to the scheduled Jon Lester-Chase Wright pitching matchup, but of course the weather interfered. Story of my life.

Double-A Trenton is currently in a rain delay. The Thunder were leading the…uhhh…team from Altoona 5-4 in the middle of the 8th when the rains came. I’m not going to wait around for the game to finish, so here’s what the boys did up to that point:
Brett Gardner: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB – BA went from .213 to .310 since he returned from his broken hand injury just under a month ago
Alberto Gonzalez: 0 for 4, 1 R, 2 E (throwing, fielding)
Cody Ehlers: 1 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 3 for 4, 1 2B, 2 RBI- 10 for his last 21 with 5 XBH… now if they only let him play first
Matt Carson & Colin Curtis: both 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 K – Curtis swiped a bag
Jeff Marquez: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 10-5 GB/FB, 1 E (pickoff) - file this under “completely uninteresting Jeff Marquez starts,” just like the rest of ‘em

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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