Heh, it’s nearly 11 a.m., and there’s no recap of last night. D’oh. So, since it’s later in the morning and the draft is rapidly approaching, I’ll keep this short and sweet.
There are three men upon whom I’d like to heap some praise: Chien-Ming Wang, Alex Rodriguez, and Johnny Damon. While nearly everyone played a role in last night’s win, those guys are really stepping up when the Yanks needs wins the most.
How huge of a break was it to not use the bullpen at all last night? Of course, you have 13 guys in there because you plan on using some of them every game, but when you can give the corps the night off, you’ve just done them a great service. Now you can go Proctor-Bruney-Mo tonight if Moose holds up through six. Hell, you could go Britton-Proctor-Bruney-Mo if he only goes five.
Wang pitched the game in his traditional manner, recording 15 groundballs (for 16 outs counting a double play, of which he has had at least one in every game), four strikeouts, allowing five hits and walking just one. The dude is on right now. I know it’s been mentioned in just about every outlet imaginable, but his slider is really working for him this year. And it’s showing in his strikeout totals: 4.16 per nine. That may not be stellar, but it’s an improvement for Wang. He could probably whiff more, too, if he worked his four-seamer and change more often.
You’ll be lucky to see even a handful of balls hit as hard as Alex’s single last night. I’m surprised it didn’t put a baseball-sized hole in the left field wall. Even Alex looked surprised at his own strength, straggling behind a moment (probably because he thought he had jacked it for a salami) before being tagged at second. Officially, he was out. But it was pretty clear that the Yanks got hosed on yet another call at second base. It’s not just me, right? We have been getting hosed on an inordinate number of calls this year.
And then we have Johnny Damon, who doubled in each of his first two at bats. It sucks that Vazquez came back to strike out the next three hitters in the first. But his RBI double in the third started the rally that won it. Both he and the captain have been hitting over the past couple of days, so maybe they won’t be at the bottom of the “Last 7 Days” section yet again.
That’s a wrap, folks. It’s always so much easier to write a recap of a game like this, because it was just a solid win. I always try to pick the three most remarkable aspects of the game to focus on, and when those are pretty straightforward, well, it makes my job a little bit easier.
Moose vs. Contreras tonight. Let’s keep rollin’, boys!
Last 7 Days
Abreu: 476/607/810 — like a snap of the fingers, he’s turned it around
Jeter: 207/207/379 — Okay, so they’re still at the bottom…
Are ya ready for the draft? 2pm EST on ESPN2; Karl Ravech hosts, Peter Gammons and Steve Phillips (erg) will be in the house, RAB fav Keith Law will be on from Bristol via satelitte, as will BA’s Jim Callis from Chicago.
Just like every year, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning, except today the rich kid’s presents may fall due to signability.
- The Yanks first pick comes at #30, the last pick of the first round. They didn’t pick up any sandwich picks as compensation for losing a free agent, so they don’t pick again until number #94, the last pick of the second round. The new CBA changed compensation for FA losses, so the sandwich round is a record 34 picks long this year. The Yanks are basically losing out on 2 rounds of action between their first and second selection.
So who leads professional baseball in RBIs this year? A-Rod? Nope… Magglio Ordonez? Nope… Prince Fielder? Ha, not even close… How about former Yankee farmhand Mitch Jones, who’s got 60 RBI in 53 games for Triple-A Las Vegas (Dodgers). This is the same Mitch Jones that struck 602 times over the last 4 years with the Yanks organization, a span of 522 games. Â Funny game, ain’t it? · (2) ·
Fabian says Tabata is out with minor bumps and bruises. It seems like every minor injury this year ends up being…well…anything but minor.Â
Triple-A Columbus (7-2 loss to Buffalo)
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 4, 1 K
Andy Phillips: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Eric Duncan: 0 for 4, 1 K – 19 K in his first 18 games, only 7Â K in 26 games since…
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 4, 2 K
Bronson Sardinha: 0 for 4 – 7 for his last 36…
Jamal Strong: 2 for 3 – picked off first
Tim Lavigne: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 10-4 GB/FB
Ben Kozlowski: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K – he really deserves a Sept. callup, he’s been a HORSE for Dave Miley…
You need an Insider subscription to read the latest from Law, but I’m going to pick a few bits to discuss as they relate to the Yankees.
Law says that the Tigers, holding the 27th pick, aren’t hot an Matt LaPorta. Teams are stuck on where to take the righty/righty University of Florida first baseman because of injury concerns. I’m guessing he won’t even make it to Detroit’s pick. He’s a senior, so he has no leverage to demand more than slot value. A smaller market team could definitely swipe him. If for some reason he falls to 30, it’d be tough for the Yanks to pass on him.
The White Sox look to be jumping in on Brackman’s impending fall from the top. Mike and I have made no mistake about our adoration for Brackman’s superb potential. Can’t blame the White Sox if they want to assume that risk.
In the same paragraph, he mentions Rick Porcello slipping to the Yanks. With the new rules in place for this year’s draft*, it seems unlikely he’d free-fall through the first round. Still, the possibility is quite exciting.
For some additional (Insider only, unfortunately) reading, check out Law’s article on the 2002 draft, aka the Moneyball draft. Specifically, look at the best high school players taken and the best college players.
* If a team fails to sign a player by August 15, he re-enters the draft next year and the team receives the pick directly after their pick in the current year. For example, if Kansas City drafted Porcello at No. 2 and failed to sign him, they’d get the No. 3 pick in the 2008 draft. This means there is much more incentive to take the top talent rather than take someone on signability.
We love the draft here at RAB, and strive to provide you with some of the best amateur draft coverage on the blogosphere (let’s face it, we can’t compete with the great writers at the Scout.com network). We’ll have plenty of scouting reports, links, photos, analysis, opinions, and just some random musings leading up to the big event, which kicks off Thursday at 2pm EST. Just as I did last year at IGWT, I’ll be liveblogging the Yankees picks, and probably chiming in on some of the other picks as well.
Here’s the links to some of our more substantial draft features from this year, but you can access all our draft coverage by clicking here.
Looking at some College Players
Looking at some High School Players
College Q&A (featuring Brian Foley of the College Baseball Blog)
Mock First Round (featuring DA Humber)
Interview with ESPN’s Keith Law
Here’s a poll question to sort of “kick off” the draft festivities:
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) ·