• Perception is reality

    Michael Kay just infuriates me. Kyle Farnsworth comes on to pitch the eighth, and Kay says that Farnsworth doesn’t pitch well on back-to-back days. I bet Michael Kay never looked at Kyle’s game log from last year. If he did, he would see that Farnsworth pitched back-to-back days 14 times last year. In the second of those games, he allowed zero runs. As in not any. Not one. He did get jacked up once when he pitched three games in a row, in the third game. But he did not allow any runs in the second of that set. Of course, Farnsworth gives up a run on a broken-bat single, a bullshit steal, and a single. He pitched plenty well, but he’s still going to get shit for it. Amazing. Update: I’m wrong, but not as wrong as Kay. I’ve posted my correction above. · (7) ·


Return of the Joba

By in Minors. · Comments (1) ·

Lamest. Title. Ever.

But who really cares. Joba Chamberlain is on the mound for the High-A Tampa Yanks tonight.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better 1-2 punch on one team in the minors than Ian Kennedy-Joba right now.

Update: He’s outta the game, here’s what the big guy did:

4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K – if you haven’t been keeping track, his career K/BB ratio is now 51-3 as a pro…

Categories : Minors
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  • Yanks say sayonara to Igawa, for now

    One day after Darrell Rasner’s 5.2-inning, shut-out performance, the Yanks have wisely decided that he’s a better choice for the rotation than overpriced Japanese import Kei Igawa. As Peter Abraham reports, the Yanks have optioned Igawa to Scranton, and Rasner will keep a rotation spot. So until Hughes comes back and Clemens is ready, the Yanks are going with a rotation of Wang-Pettitte-Mussina-Rasner-Matt De Salvo. · (2) ·

Okay, think quick: who is the NCAA’s all time career strikeouts leader with 603 K’s? What about the career wins leader with 53? What about the single season strikeout champ with 205? It’s gotta be Mark Prior, right? He was the man while at Vandy and USC. Maybe Kris Benson? Paul Wilson? Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. While Prior, Benson and Wilson are widely considered to be the three greatest college pitchers ever, none of them even comes close to any of those records. Every man who has ever thrown a college baseball pitch in the history of the universe is looking up to one man: Mighty Matt DeSalvo. And to think, with all that collegiate success, he didn’t even get drafted.

Born Matthew Thomas DeSalvo, but perhaps better known as Mighty Matt (a moniker I originated at the outset of the season), the 6′-0″, 180 lb product of New Castle, Pennsylvania will become the tenth man to start a game for the Yankees this season when he toes the rubber tonight against the Mariners. That’s right, tenth. And yes, that is a record for the fewest number of games into the season in which a team has used 10 different starters. But unlike Chase Wright and Darrell Rasner before him, the Yanks are giving DeSalvo a chance to be something more than just a band-aid.

What makes Mighty Matt different? Why can he be the guy who stands out from the pack? It’s simple: experience (well, that and talent). Since 2004 Mighty Matt has thrown 318.2 innings at or above the Double-A level, 18 more than Wright (34.1) and Rasner (266) have combined for at this point in their careers. And in those 318.2 innings DeSalvo has run the gauntlet: great success, great failure, mediocrity, adversity, cold weather, warm weather, starting games, coming out of the bullpen, control problems…you name it, he’s been through it at the highest non-big league levels.

Many are quick to point out his disasterous 2006 campaign, which saw him go 116.2 IP, 127 H, 99 R, 83 ER, 93 BB, 82 K, but DeSalvo was caught up in some personal problems (I heard everything from he was getting divorced to he split up with his high school sweetheat and everything in between, but I think it’s safe to say it involved some chick)Â which you can’t just dismiss. He’s a human being after all, and don’t tell me that personal stuff has never affected you at your job.

DeSalvo has gotten himself back on track this year, holding hitters to a .167-.286-.222 line overall. He’s absolutely dominated right handed hitters, limiting them to .109-.226-.152 with fewer walks (3.95 BBper9 against 4.62 overall) and more strikeouts (8.56 Kper9 vs 8.17). After a rocky first start to the year, DeSalvo has gone 22.2 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 11 BB, 20 K in his last 4 appearances. Yes his walks will frustrate you, but he’s been walking alot of guys since college, so it’s not like having all those baserunners on will be foreign to him.

If you’ve never seen him pitch, DeSalvo’s motion is similar to Kevin Brown’s. He over-rotates and shows his back to the hitter before using all that leverage to hurl himself towards the plate, something I’m a big fan of. His repetoire is seemingly endless: he throws a four-seam fastball, a two-seamer, a cutter, a split, two types of changeups (a straight change and one with fade), a spike knuckle-curve, a more loopy curve, a slurvy slider, a forkball and the kitchen sink. Relying on deception rather than overpowering stuff, Mighty Matt throws all of those pitches from about half-a-dozen arm lots. That assortment of pitches and arm slots reminds me of a former Yankee great: David Cone.

Does DeSalvo have Cone’s heart, stomach and brain? That remains to be seen. But for all you statheads out there, man do the numbers stack up mighty well (those are career minor league stats):

Cone:Â 7.85 Hper9, 4.53 BBper9, 6.64 Kper, 1.38 WHIP
DeSalvo: 7.48 Hper9, 4.59 BBper9, 8.40 Kper9, 1.34 WHIP

With the exception of strikeouts, all of the rate stats are within 5% of each other (4.95% to be exact). So, um, wow.

What do I expect from Mighty Matt tonight? When you consider that he’s facing a rather impatient Mariners’ lineup, I think he can do pretty well. I’m sure Joe “I think I’ll try and fuck with fate by pinch running for Giambi in the middle of a perfect game” Torre will have a quick hook tonight, so I’m gonna go with 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HB. I look forward to seeing how he does, he’s for sure the second most talented guy the Yanks have brought up from the minors this year.

What do y’all think?

Categories : Pitching
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From today’s Under the Knife (subscription required):

Here’s the long and short on Carl Pavano–even before he had an MRI or saw a specialist, he’d made the decision to have Tommy John surgery…

Much like Octavio Dotel a few years ago, though, Pavano is simply not willing to pitch through the soreness…

Call him “American Idle” or the “Rajah of Rehab” if you want. In my opinion, he’s gone beyond that, and is simply stealing money.

The gist of the article is that Pavano’s UCL is torn, but not completely, and it shouldn’t necessitate surgery. By having the surgery, he basically ends his tenure as a Yankee, which I’m sure he welcomes.

Notice that I didn’t once mention his name in the Clemens article. The Yanks are certainly better off at this point not having Carl Pavano around. Though, if he just allowed the injury to heal and was willing to pitch through pain, he could be added to that budding bullpen mix. That’s just not happening, though.

This leaves the Yanks in an interesting scenario. They don’t need Pavano; not now, not later this season, not next year. He wants to have surgery that is not necessary — on the team’s dime, for certain — and then rehab — also on the team’s dime. If he continues to insist on surgery against the team’s will, DFA him. Now, I’m not sure if that removes the team’s responsibility to pay for his surgery and rehab. But if it does, there’s no reason for Pavano to stick around. Let some other team deal with him.

Categories : Injuries
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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed those names in succession since the beginning of the season. It was an affirmation — my way of saying, “we may be down now, but look at what we could have by June.” Indeed, on paper, the Yanks will hold the best rotation in the league in the second half of the season. Now it’s a matter of keeping everyone healthy and in the rotation for the rest of the season.

However, many detractors emerged yesterday. “He can’t pitch in the AL East,” they say. “He’s a five or six inning pitcher” they add. All in an attempt to rob Yankees fans of our joy. Some Yankees fans are buying into that line of thinking, too, saying that Roger won’t help the bullpen woes — he might even exacerbate them.

To all of you, I say: look at the numbers.

Yes, my initial joy over the Roger signing was an emotionally based one. A team with pitching questions signs the greatest or second greatest pitcher of our generation (gotta give Pedro his props). Gotta love it. But now, with a day to recover, here’s why Rocket will be just fine with the Yanks.

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Categories : Pitching
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Since we all love Joba Chamberlain around here, I’m not sure how this slipped by our radar. Last week, when the Yankees announced that Matt De Salvo would be starting today’s game, Brian Cashman also let it slip that Joba Chamberlain would be pitching soon for Single-A Tampa.

This story comes from The Journal-News:

Cashman also said that 2006 first-round pick Joba Chamberlain was ready to join the rotation for Single-A Tampa. He hit 97 mph in a recent extended spring training camp. Chamberlain was slowed by a hamstring strain.

So I’m sure we’ll be seeing him in Mike’s Down on the Farm reports this week. And thus ends the mystery of Mr. Chamberlain’s recent whereabouts. Hopefully, one day, we’ll have a Dellin Betances spotting too.

Categories : Minors
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Down on the Farm

By in Down on the Farm. · Comments (9) ·

While the Roger Clemens news is obviously the story of the day, it’s definitely worth mentioning that an MRI revealed that Phil Hughes‘ hammy injury isn’t as bad as originally thought, more in line with a bad Grade I sprain than a Grade II job. The Yanks are still likely to take it easy with the kid an exhaust the 4-6 week time frame, but for some reason, it’s easier to deal with that empty rotation spot now…

Triple-A Scranton (6-5 loss to Syracuse in 12 innings, walk-off style)
Chris Basak: 2 for 6, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI
Andy Phillips: 3 for 6, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI – just raking down there…
Eric Duncan: 1 for 3, 1 R, 2 BB
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 6, 1 RBI, 1 K – 23 RBI leads organization in the non-A-Rod division
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 5
Colter Bean: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K – took 53 pitches to get 4 outs…he’s just as bad at starting in the minors as relieving in the bigs…
Chris Britton: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Ron Villone: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Jim Brower: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 6-1 GB/FB – picked up The Brower Bulldog for some depth…

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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ESPN is reporting the Yanks are paying the Rocket the pro-rated portion of a $28M annual salary. That works out to about $4.5M per month, or $13, 461.54 an hour.

So this whole baseball thing pays pretty well, huh?

(hat tip to Pinto

Categories : Transactions
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Wanted to start a new thread for the huge postgame press conference. Both Ben and Joe were at the game, so I’m sure they’ll chime in eventually. Stick around for updates.

Update 1: Kay just referred to Clemens and Hughes as “Rocket and Bottle Rocket.” Oh haha. Hughes had better be sponge when Clemens is around, and I’m sure he will be.Â

Update 2:Â Cashman gave your basic “we’ve been working on this deal since the winter” schpeel to kick of the press conference.Â

Update 3: Randy Hendricks (Roger’s agent) is talking; he said the Yanks were only team of the 3 that wanted Clemens right now – Houston and Boston wanted him back later in the year.

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Categories : News
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