Though I have to wonder why. After he exercised his opt-out clause with the Red Sox, the Yanks picked up pitcher Runelvys Hernandez. Dude had some mildly impressive minor league numbers in his early 20s, but his milb.com profile makes that look a bit inaccurate. It has him at 29 years old, while The Baseball Cube has him at 26. I’m guessing the former is correct, which would mean he put up decent numbers in the low minors in his mid-20s. I’m going to throw a brick through my bay window if he makes the MLB roster. · (3) ·
On Monday, we were frustrated because the Yankees couldn’t put anything together between the first and ninth innings. Last night, they strung together 17 hits for seven runs, and wiped out the White Sox 7-3. We’re back to six games under .500, which really is as bad as it sounds. However, with two games left against the uninspiring White Sox, we could hit the four-games under mark by Friday. And then we get some sweet National League action (remember how the Red Sox plowed through the NL last season? We’re going to have to do it this year).
Clippard got quality results through five innings last night, striking out four and allowing just one earned run. The three walks are concerning, but he managed to work around them and the five hits he surrendered. He threw 60% of his pitches for strikes, which isn’t great, but it’s also not DeSalvo-esque. I really wish Torre had let him pitch the sixth with a four-run lead; he had only thrown 89 pitches, and could certainly use the extra work. If he keeps hovering around 85 to 90 pitches per outing, he’s really going to be gassed later in the season if he’s called on for extended work.
The night did not go by without disappointment. Farnsworth did his best to blow the four-run lead he was handed, loading the bases in the eighth. That said, there are worse things than walking Jim Thome. Yeah, we discourage leadoff walks, but Thome is the only true threat in the lineup. Everyone else is struggling mightily or just plain sucks, so you stand a much better chance against them than Thome. The single to Pierzynski didn’t look like a bad pitch (Gameday had it as a 98 m.p.h. heater that maybe caught a little too much of the plate — but certainly not down the ‘pike). The first pitch to Konerko was a little too perfect, so you can kill him for that one if you want.
Looking at Gameday again, Mackowiak’s at bat wasn’t bad, either. He missed with the first pitch, but every other pitch was on or near the edge, and it resulted in a dinky grounder that would have been wonderful…had the bases not been loaded. For some reason, the pitch tracker died in the middle of the Uribe at bat, but the first three pitches were all sliders (and the third was a 90 m.p.h. slider with some nasty break). Apparently, Uribe doesn’t do so well with the bendy pitches. Only one pitch was off the edge, so it was another good series of pitches. It’s easy to kill Farns because of the results, but looking at his pitches (speed, break, and location) seems to mitigate him a bit. I wouldn’t put him out there in high leverage situations right now, but I’d certainly find ways to get him in the game.
The top four guys in the lineup combined for 10 of the 17 hits. Cano had two hits and hit the ball hard on at least one other occasion. Looks like both he and Abreu were in prolonged slumps. Yeah, it sucks, but it’s sure nice to have them back. Now, if Melky can find that stroke he had last year and Joe gets Phelps in there four or five days a week, this can once again be a threatening lineup 1 through 9. Maybe, just maybe if Rocket can pitch fractionally as well as he did the past three seasons, we can turn this thing around come August — when there’s the possibility of getting Hughes and Giambi back.
Wang vs. our old pal Vazquez tonight. Winning last night was satisfying, but it will feel quite empty if we can’t rattle off the next two.
Last 7 Days
Cano: 524/600/952 — We’re not worthy!
Abreu: 500/625/722 — Jermaine who?
Alex: 348/464/696 — been said a hundred times, but it can’t be coincidence that he’s heating back up with Abreu in the 3 slot
Matsui: 333/357/370 — he fits much better in the 6 spot
Jeter: 172/200/345 — still have our Nos. 1 and 2 hitters at the bottom…
More tomorrow about tonight’s excellent win â€” and man, did Alex crush that ball in the 9th or what? â€” but for now, let’s look at the much-maligned Bobby Abreu. When last we saw SeÃ±or Abreu, he was struggling mightily. And then the calendar flipped from May to June. This month, Abreu has come to the plate 24 times. He’s been on base 15 times. He’s 9 for 18 which, for the mathematically challenged among us, is .500. His four doubles gives him a slugging percentage of .722. So about that Jermaine Dye-for-Bobby Abreu rumor? Yeah, let’s not do that, ok? · (1) ·
Jose Tabata is either on his way to Trenton, or he’s hurt again. I’m guessing on the latter. More info when I get it.
Triple-A Scranton (15-4 win over Buffalo)
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 6, 1 R, 1 RBI
Kevin Reese: 1 for 5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Andy Phillips: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB – 2 for his last 15
Eric & Shelley Duncan: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – Shelley doubled
Bronson Sardinha: 3 for 4, 3 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 BB
Angel Chavez: 3 for 6, 1 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 K – 12 for his last 25 with 3 doubles and a homer
Omir Santos: 1 for 4, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Chase Wright: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Edwar Ramirez: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K – probably his worst outing of the year
As was rumored this morning, Chris Basak has gotten the call-up in place of Matt DeSalvo. This gives the Yanks flexibility, as Basak can play all infield positions and the outfield corners.
However, they have also optioned Kevin Thompson back to AAA to make room for the return of Sean Henn. In the Yanks bullpen earlier this year, Henn struggled, walking as many as he struck out (11) and surrendering 10 earned runs in 17.1 IP. He fanned 11 and walked 5 in 12.2 AAA innings, givig up six earned runs. I’m guessing he won’t fare any better this time around.
So that’s still 13 pitchers. I guess they needed it again after last night.
The Star-Ledger’s Dan Graziano penned a piece on managerial outbursts today. It’s a fairly unremarkable piece except for this one quote by Joe Torre:
“I haven’t had the energy to do stuff like throw the bases into the outfield,” Torre said. “I haven’t gotten to that point. There’s a pretty good chance I’d hurt myself if I did that. (Don Zimmer) will tell you some stories about taking the tobacco out of his mouth and throwing it down and realizing his teeth were in it.”It just speaks for itself. · (3) ·
It turns outÂ that LeBron James does have something on David Price: a chance to play for a championship.Â There were upsets galore in the NCAA Regionals this weekend, none bigger than top seeded Vanderbilt – #1 team in the country for 9 consecutive weeks, and the home of the nation’s best pitcher (Price), best hitter (the Bronx’s Pedro Alvarez) and best closer (Casey Weathers) -Â getting bounced from the postseason by an upstart Michigan team in extra innings last night. VandyÂ threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Wolverines, bringing in Price, #2 starter Brett Jacobsen and sometimes #3 starter Mike Minor out of the pen.Â Price was hung with the L after giving up a homer to pinch hitter Alan Oaks in the 10th. Here’s the box score.
My pick to win the CWS – #4 ranked Texas – lost to UCÂ Irvine to end their season. I’m shocked just like many other poeple, but I give Irvine their props – they’ve been a good team all year and just flat out-pitched the ‘Horns. Here’s that box.
Louisville is this year’s cinderella team, advancing toÂ a Super Regional matchup with Oklahaoma State after beating Miami and Kent State twice in the Columbia regional. Beating Miami twice is quite a feat, they’ve been to Omaha 10 times in the last 14 years by anything but accident.
Only 3 of the top 8 nation seeds are still alive, with #2 Rice, #3 UNC and #5 Arizona State winning their Regional matchups. You can view the updated brackets here. If you care to mock me, you can check out my pathetically wrong picks hereÂ - only 6 of my Super Regional teams are still alive, although that could still end up 7 with a Virginia win over defending national champs Oregon State in today’s Regional finale (weather pushed a couple games back).
There’s really not a clear cut “this is the team to beat” school still out thereÂ in my eyes; Rice has some pitching questions, UNC had trouble getting past Western freakin’ Carolina, and Arizona State is a team that has to bludgeoning their opponents offensively to win. If Oregon Stae wins today, they could make run because they’ve been there before, but they really backpeddled into the tourney, so they’re far from aÂ lock for Omaha. My de facto pick is Clemson because of their pitching staff, but they reallyÂ need to get theirÂ lineup going to have a chance – their best hitter, Brad Chalk, hasÂ 12 XBH this season. That’s not a typo.
For more college baseball info than you could possibly get your head around,Â check out the The College Baseball Blog.
Does anyone particularly want to relive last night’s game? It was simply excruciating. As much as we’ve advocated Mighty Matt on this site, even we can’t avoid the glum conclusion that he’s never going to start a game for the Yankees again. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him DFA’d to make room for whomever will be called up today. It’s sad to see such a hard-working, smart kid bite the dust, but that’s baseball for ya. Here’s to hoping he catches on with another team.
The problem, apparently, was his inability to throw strikes — which has been his problem all season. He threw just 44 pitches last night (though that was through an inning and a third), 23 of which were strikes. A starting pitcher just isn’t going to get by with that kind of performance. He only walked one batter, but it was only a matter of time before he issued more free passes. Some may say it was a quick hook by Torre, but it’s tough to argue with it.
What you can argue (and by all means should) was his decision to replace DeSalvo with Ron Villone. Remember this: Ron Villone also doesn’t throw a high percentage of strikes. This is why many of us had no desire to see him return this season: beyond his abused arm, he walks too many guys for a reliever. He hit a nice string last summer of stellar performances, but that’s looking more and more like luck at this point. Jim Thome’s home run is a great example. Having trouble throwing strikes, he just kind of laid one in there. According to Enhanced Gameday (which does have its flaws), that pitch was a straight fastball right down the middle. Of course Jim Thome’s going to take it deep.
Finally, though, we saw Chris Britton. The dude may be fat, but he sure can pitch. He threw three full innings, retiring the first nine batters he faced before Paul Konerko took him over the wall. Now, consider this: when was the last time he pitched (Mike, this one is for you)? Not all weekend, certainly. And now he’s called on for a third inning. I’d say that’s pretty impressive. He walked no one, and the only hit he surrendered was the homer. Oh, and he threw 63% of his pitches for strikes. There is no reason for him to return to Scranton.
Lastly, it’s time to complain about the offense. Jon Garland allowed seven hits and issued three walks, and the Yanks still couldn’t put anything together. Josh Phelps’s two double plays didn’t help — though he certainly hit the ball hard on at least one of them (didn’t see the other). Hey, sometimes you hit it hard and it’s right to someone — like Konerko’s drive to left center that landed in Matsui’s glove. So yeah, the two DPs and the error hurt, but he also drove in one of the team’s runs. Give him time to settle into an everyday role, and he’ll be just fine at first. Well, that, and hours and hours of fungoes from Larry Bowa.
T-Clip vs. Mark Buehrle tonight. We just need six innings from Clip. Proctor is rested, so you can hand him the ball for two or give Bruney an inning before Mo. Or we could just blow them out and not need the top guys. No word yet on who will take DeSalvo’s spot. Rotoworld is saying it’s Basak. We’ll keep you posted.
Last 7 Days
Sorry about yesterday’s lack of an update. The database wasn’t updated nearly in time to get it in.
Melky: 444/476/722 — Melky man, raking!
Cano: 429/520/810 — three walks in seven days. It’s a modern-day miracle!
Abreu: 389/522/611 — I’m loving the top 3
Phelps: 312/389/312 — keep him in the lineup and watch that slugging percentage rise
Jeter: 111/143/259 — not good to see our Nos. 1 and 2 hitters at the bottom