• Almost perfect

    It is incredibly tense to be sitting at Yankee Stadium during the 8th inning of a perfect game. When Ben Broussard launched that home run, the Stadium collectively sighed in disappointment and then gave Chien Ming Wang one of the best standing ovations in a long time. Why Joe Torre uses Brian Bruney in the 9th inning of a six-run game but not in the 5th yesterday is well beyond me. · (2) ·


One-way ticket to Scranton

By in Rants. Tags: · Comments (7) ·

So how about that $47 million investment, Cashman? It was looking all bright and cheery on Saturday, when he appeared in an emergency situation and ended a losing streak. Last night, though was just a reminder that Blower-san* is going to have plenty of outings like this if you keep allowing him to start games. True, there aren’t many alternatives. But there has to be something better than this.

It’s pretty obvious that Igawa won’t succeed in the bigs given his stuff and current approach. His stuff ain’t gettin’ any better, so the only thing he can work on is his approach. Wouldn’t Scranton be a better place to hone that skill? Yeah, you can work on it in the majors, but you’re going to be killing your team every fifth day in the process.

Unfortunately, there are roster issues standing in the way. I would hope Darrell Raner’s start on Sunday is his audition for a second chance. If he throws well — and I’m not talking about results, I’m talking about throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters — Igawa could then be sent down on Monday to make room for DeSalvo. But, if Rasner flops, it would appear that the Yanks are still stuck with Igawa.

There is, however, an alternative. But it would involve juggling a few spots on the active and 40-man rosters. If Rasner doesn’t look good, you send him down for DeSalvo on Monday. So the rotation looks like this:

Monday – DeSalvo
Tuesday – Pettitte
Wednesday – Mussina
Thursday – Wang
Friday -

There is simply no reason to plug in Igawa there, especially considering that Seattle will be the opponent once again. As I said, if Rasner is good or even okay on Sunday, he could get the nod. If not, why not Tyler Clippard?

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Categories : Rants
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Games like tonight’s really piss me off.

I was out, having a Friday night. I saw Spider-Man 3 with my friends, enjoyed a burger at the Burger Joint behind the curtain at Le Parker Meridien, and then settled in for a beer at a nearby bar before my friends and I scattered for the night. And then along comes the end of the Yankee game, and this breathtaking sight of the Yankees scoring 11 runs against the Mariners — the Mariners! — and still losing. Why? Because Joe Torre can’t manage a bullpen, and Brian Cashman can’t construct a pitching staff.

The last time the Yanks had a viable pitching staff, the calendar read 2003. Mike Mussina, David Wells, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens led a dominant staff all the way to game 6 of the World Series. Now, we have Kei Igawa and Carl Pavano draining precious resources. We also have a bullpen run in the worst possible way. No joke.

Let me draw up a situation for you: It’s 8-6 in the 5th inning of a game that is clearly going to a slugfest in which the bullpens play a clear role. You know your bullpen will have to pitch a bunch of innings. So to start the 5th, your overpaid pitcher (who isn’t really underperforming but is just living up to his scouting report) starts off the inning by by giving up two hits and up to the plate strides the opposing team’s most fearsome power hitter.

By no stretch of the imagination, I can confidently say that this is a situation in need of an out. It may be early yet, but it is the time to go to the guy you know will retire this batter. Stop the bleeding before it gets too late, and worry about the 6th inning in the 6th inning and the 7th inning in the 7th inning.

What does Joe Torre do in this situation? He goes with Brian Bruney, the strikeout guy who’s been great out of the bullpen.

No, no. Wait. He doesn’t. He doesn’t go with any reliever that would get a key out in this situation. Instead, he goes with Colter Bean, the last guy out of the Yankee pen, and someone who’s been returned to the Yanks after a Rule V selection and cleared through waivers within the the last two and a half seasons. He goes with someone who shouldn’t be on the team.

So of course, Bean gives up four runs, and Torre then turns to the second worse guy in the pen who also gives up two runs. Yanks lose. End of story. Nothing new here.

Down at AAA, the Yankees have Chris Britton, a bona fide Major Leaguer with a season of success under his belt. Hell, they even have Ron Villone, the last guy — outside of Bean and Vizcaino — I want to see come out of the pen in any situation ever.

I hate to blame Joe Torre for this loss because Brian Cashman, who was told that Kei Igawa would be this bad, should shoulder some of the weight. But putting in Colter Bean in a two-run game with Richie Sexson representing the go-ahead run at the plate is inexcusable.

If the Yanks shut down the Mariners in the 5th, momentum is on their side. And if Torre was worried about the 6th, 7th and 8th innings, well, he had to get there first. In those situations, you have to go with the guy who will get the out. I don’t know how many times Joe Torre will go with the Colter Beans and Jeff Weavers of the world when the Brian Bruneys and Mariano Riveras watch from the bench. But once again, it cost the Yankees and lead to one of the most embarrassing games of the season.

Categories : Game Stories
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Down on the Farm

By in Down on the Farm. · Comments (1) ·

Let’s get you caught up on the standings… 

Triple-A Scranton (6-4 loss to Toledo) 12-14, 4th place in the International League Northern Division
Kevin Thompson: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 3K
Kevin Reese: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B
Andy Phillips: 1 for 4, 1 BB – 11 H in last 22 AB with 4 XBH and 5 RBI
Bronson Sardinha: 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – right at the Mientkiewicz line…
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K – half his 22 H have gone for extra bases…
Eric Duncan: 0 for 3, 1 BB
Alberto Gonzalez: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B
Chase Wright: 6.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 3 K, 1 WP- has pitched for 3 different teams in his last 3 starts (Yanks, Trenton, and now Scranton)
Ben Kozlowski: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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It’s a good ol’ fashioned sweep, folks. Here’s the WPA. I’ll quickly recap (bullet points, of course) once I get to work.

Player WPA Pitcher WPA
Giambi .218 Rivera .218
Matsui .151 Pettitte .169
Melky .076 Farnsworth .150
Jeter .044 Vizcaino -.122
Cano -.028
Alex -.065
Posada -.076
Damon -.101
Abreu -.133

Player WPA Pitcher WPA
Matsui .110 Mussina .195
Jeter .084 Proctor .112
Minky .071 Bruney .048
Posada .029 Rivera .047
Giambi .019 Farnsworth .014
Melky .013 Henn -.008
Damon -.020
Nieves -.028
Alex -.031
Abreu -.056
Cano -.099

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Categories : Game Stories
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Three in a row! That’s a winning streak. And hey, the Yanks are now in a virtual tie for second place.

It was bound to happen really. Their run differential suggests a team that should be 15-11 instead of 12-14. So now that the luck is evening out, the Yanks will begin their rise through the standings. But the outfield better start picking up the slack.

Tonight marked the Yanks’ 26th game of the season. We’re 16 percent of the way through the season, and here’s what the Yankees’ outfielders have done as a group. They’ve had 317 at-bats and are hitting .230 with a .319 OBP and a .261 slugging. They have 3 HR, 42 RBI and a whopping 16 extra base hits. Alex Rodriguez, by himself, has 22 extra base hits.

With Doug Mientkiewicz sucking up at-bats as the first baseman, the Yankee lineup basically has four spots giving them no offensive production. And in game 2 of the double-header, Wil Nieves, now 0 for 17 this year, played. It was a veritable train wreck.

But the Yankees keep on scoring runs. Their 150 runs scored is second overall to the Florida Marlins. So Derek and Alex and Jorge and Jason are picking up the slack. Right now, that’s ok, and I have to belief that Matsui and Melky and Damon and Abreu will start hitting again. When that happens, look out. This Yankee lineup will become a juggernaut.

Of course, in the meantime, I wouldn’t be opposed to trading Bobby Abreu, but that’s a discussion we’ll have tomorrow.

Categories : Offense
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Down on the Farm

By in Down on the Farm. · Comments (4) ·

I sure hope you don’t have plans on Sunday, because it’s goin’ down. National TV mofo!

Triple-A Scranton (7-5 win over Toledo)
Kevin Thompson: 0 for 4, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Andy Phillips: 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – .318-.394-.568-.962 this year, just imagine if he had some protection in the lineup
Bronson Sardinha: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 2 K
Eric Duncan: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
Alberto Gonzalez: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 3 RBI – only 28 total bases this year, about 60 fewer than A-Rod
Andrew Beattie: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Steven Jackson: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K – first time he’s gone more than 3.2 IP since April 16th…
Ron Villone: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 5-1 GB/FB – ya know, he could have opted out of his contract if he wasn’t on the 25-man big league roster by May 1st…
TJ Beam: .1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K – I guess Chris Britton’s shoes are too big to fill…

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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Keith Law chat on ESPN

By in Minors. · Comments (5) ·

Lots of Yankee stuff today, including two questions (draft related) from our own Mike A.

Jesse G. (Bourne, MA): How much of the Yankees injuries so far can be attributed to their now fired coach for “performance enhancement?” How important are the stretching routines that players use from team to team?

SportsNation Keith Law: I do believe that most hamstring/groin injuries are preventable with proper conditioning and stretching. Whether the Yankees had that or not, I couldn’t say, but I do believe that there is some responsibility on the coach when there’s a run of similar injuries like this.

brendan, providence: after the first month who do you think is the best team in baseball? i gotta say the red sox. and with the yankees finally having some bad injury luck is this the year their playoff run ends?

SportsNation Keith Law: Yes, I’d say the Sox are the best team in baseball right now. I wouldn’t count the Yankees out this early. Too much season left to be played, and their offense is still outstanding.

Brian Cashman: Hi Keith. Who should I dip into in my farm system in the short run for Hughes’s spot? Clippard? Please tell me the best available pitcher for a month or so and why. Thanks.

SportsNation Keith Law: If you’re staying internal, Clippard isn’t just the best option, he might be the only one. And I’m not very confident in him either – fringy stuff guy who survives on command, the type of pitcher that doesn’t usually succeed right away in the majors.

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Categories : Minors
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  • 367 at bats

    That, according to Kenny Singleton, is how long Jerry Hairston, Jr., went between home runs. Can someone tell me why Luis Vizcaino is pitching in a one-run game with four better righty arms in the bullpen? This is why Joe Torre should not be managing the Yankees. · (5) ·

File this one in the too-little, too-late department, but dismissed coach Marty Miller’s running program is coming under fire today.

Over at the excellent Baseball Musings, David Pinto asked Bob Sikes, former assistant trainer to the Mets and Getting Paid To Watch blogger, his take on the Miller controversy. Sikes had some interesting points to make:

The hamstring has its own unique role in biomechanics. Running involves the hamstring to fire both types of contractions-concentric and eccentric. Or in laymen terms, shortening the muscle and then lengthening it under stress. Weight room activities are designed to supplement and athletes ability to run. If Miller desired to decrease the amount of running in favor of something else, he made a decision that’s ended up burning many professionals.

Yanks’ GM Brian Cashman has taken some heat for hiring Miller from a health club to join a professional baseball team, and Miller was fired when the players practically revolted and refused to partake in his program. There’s more than meets the eye to this situation.

I have to wonder just what was going through Cashman’s mind when he brought Miller on. He messed with players’ work-out programs right at the start of Spring Training, and now the Yanks are paying the price. They’ve seen four hamstring injuries since the middle of March.

It’s too late now, and Miller is gone. But Brian Cashman should be questions about this guy. What made the Yanks turn to Miller in the first place anyway?

Categories : Injuries
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