Baseball Digest Daily sat down with Yankees Double-A pitcher Brett Smith recently. My favorite line:
BDD: Did you feel any extra pressure maybe during your first few professional seasons after being such a high draft pick? Smith: Um, no, I certainly didnâ€™t.(hat tip to TPA) · (0) ·
As you probably already know, the Double-A Trenton pitching staff is having a ridiculous year. Currently manned by Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Brett Smith, Jeff Marquez and Alan Horne, theÂ team has also seen the likes of Chase Wright, Jason Jones, Mike Gardner, Scott Patterson, Tim Lavigne and some guy named Clemens take at least 1Â turn through the rotation. The bullpen’s also undergone a facelift, as Zach Kroenke (promoted from Tampa), Justin Pope (demoted from Scranton)Â and Lavigne have replaced KevinÂ Whelan, Gerardo Casadiego (both now with Tampa) and the great Edwar Ramirez (now in Scranton).
To give you an idea about just how dominant this pitching staff has been, here’s some numbers:
I ended up turning off the Red Sox/Mariners game in the third last night, with the Red Sox having taken a 2-1 lead. With Jeff Weaver on the mound, it was only a matter of time before the Red Sox lengthened the lead, right?
Much to my surprise, though, that was all the Red Sox would get from him. Now I wish I had kept it on the rest of the way, or at least through the fifth, when the Mariners roughed up Julian Tavarez and Kyle Snyder (who walked in two runs) for five runs. Watching the seventh would have been more fun, as the M’s hit up Mike Timlin for three runs — two homers.
(Aside: If the Sox release Timlin this year like they did Alan Embree in 2005, do you think Cashman picks him up? Not “do you think Cash should pick him up (because the answer is a vehement “no”), but will he do it? I think he will. And I will be pissed.)
Keep it tuned to Lookout Landing for updates on the series. I don’t know why, but I just see the Sox leaving Seattle without a win.
By the way, best image ever on LL:
Guy in the rally cap: “With guns like these, I should be playing for the Sawks.”
Meanwhile, we’ve got our work cut out for us, as we face Jeremy Guthrie. He’s rollin’ this year. Thankfully, the Yanks have seen him, but certainly not everyone has. He pitched two innings, facing seven hitters, in 2004. Fifty bucks says Cairo gets the start tonight because of that.
While researching this comment, I came across some interesting information that makes me believe the Yanks were duped into giving Mike Mussina a contract longer and for more money than he deserved. Now, I don’t think Mike Mussina himself was responsible for that duping. Rather, the Yankees were simply blind to Mussina’s performance.
One year ago today, Mike Mussina was 9-3 with a 3.28 ERA. He had an 8.0 K/9 IP ratio and was averaging 6.2 innings per start. Since then, Mussina has gone 9-9 with a 4.32 ERA. His K/9 IP is down to 6.8 and he now averages fewer than 5.2 innings per start. That is an across-the-board decline that shows no indication of letting up. Moose is, obviously, one year older today than he was a year ago, and old pitchers don’t get better.
The Yankees paid for the Mike Mussina that pitched for them from April through June of 2006. They are stuck with a declining Mike Mussina for this year and beyond. For those of you expecting Mike Mussina to be Mike Mussina of old, you should probably just expect an old Mike Mussina instead.
Joba Chamberlain didn’t make BA’s Prospect Hot Sheet for the second time in 3 weeks, but do not fret, the Yanks were well represented as Ian Patrick Kennedy made the list at #11. Another well deserving Yankee farmhand made the cut, check out who’s at #17.Â
Triple-A ScrantonÂ (4-0 win over Syracuse)
Justin Christian: 0 for 2, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
Shelley Duncan: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 SBÂ - in other news, Andy Phillips is still on the 25 man roster
Bronson Sardinha, Angel Chavez & Eric Duncan: all 1 for 4 – Sardinha drove in a run, Duncan K’ed
Juan Francia: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B – 13 hits in his last 24 AB
Steven White: 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 HBP – plunked Super Mario twice
Jimmy Brower: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 4-0 GB/FB – first hits allowed since June 11th
Earlier today, Joe wrote an excellent post summarizing what we think the Yanks should do in the short-term to shore up this bumbling team. I wanted to take a look at a more drastic question: Who on the Yankees should the team consider trading?
So here is my version of “Should I stay or should I go?” for the 2007 Yankees roster. Now, keep in mind, I’m not advocating outright dumping any of these guys; the list under the headings They Could Go are people I would consider trading if the price is right.
When someone — a blogger, a mainstream pundit, a random schmuck in a forum — suggests immediate moves for a team following a harsh string of losses, it seems like a knee jerk reaction. This is especially true in New York, where panic sets in at the first sign of trouble. Those among the outraged may embrace these change-driven thoughts. Those who consider themselves “level-headed” and “reasonable” might write off these ideas as unreasonable reactions from emotionally-driven people.
To the latter group, I say: what about this Yankees season has gone well? Very little (I answer my own rhetorical). So what makes you think that just standing still will magically make things better?
Ben touched on these problems earlier. I’m going to expand upon them. With the day off today, I have to think that Cashman is going to do something. Then again, I thought he’d do something weeks ago.
Problem: The outfield
Coming into the year, we thought we had a solid tandem. While not the most powerful outfield in the world, we expected plenty of production from Matsui, Damon, and Abreu. There was little reason, other than their age, not to.
From The Post:
The White Sox have had a scout looking at Yankeesâ€™ Double-A pitchers Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain. Chicago general manager Kenny Williams has vowed to make changes, and if he wants to deal Mark Buehrle or Jermaine Dye, expect the Yankees to be interested. Williams talks regularly with Brian Cashman. Dye has been out since Friday with a quad injury.Brian Cashman should give full authority to his secretary to tell Williams “Get bent” if he calls with a Buehrle-for-IPK/Joba proposal. Don’t get me wrong, Buerhle’s a very nice, very consistent pitcher (save the second half of last year), but young controllable starters do not get dealt for pitchers with impending free agency. Can’t blame Kenny for tryin’ though. And for those of you that stillÂ worry that Cash may jump at such a deal, do not fret: players can not be traded until the 1 year anniversary of when they signed, which is something in mid-to-late August for Kennedy and mid-September for Joba. All that “they can be PTBNL” garbage is just that;Â garbage. AÂ guy can’t be the PTBN for a deal that is retroactive to their 1-yr anniversary. Williams will get a better offer for Buehrle before those dates. Rest easy. · (3) ·
The Yanks left the Bronx on a tear, and there was every reason to believe the tear would continue. The Rockies and Giants, after all, were hardly quality teams. The Rockies’ run differential makes them out to be a below-.500 team, and the Giants had been riding an eight-game losing streak.
Well, so much for that.
The Yanks, after their pathetic 7-2 loss today at the hands of Noah Lowry and the Giants, are no better off than they were a few weeks ago. They are 36-37, 11.5 games behind Boston. That 7.5 game difference? Long gone. They also find themselves in sixth place in the Wild Card race, 6.5 games behind the Indians.
And once again, we find ourselves pointing fingers at the usual culprits. Mike Mussina seemed completely uninterested in pitching today, allowing five stolen bases to go with the eight baserunners he surrendered in five innings. It’s a wonder he gave up only three runs (two earned). He also managed to throw 102 pitches in five innings.
Kyle Farnsworth was terrible out of the bullpen. He retired just one batter while giving up three runs (two earned). It’s really time for the Yanks to explore trade options there. Some team somewhere needs the bullpen help. He sure isn’t getting the job done in New York this year.
Meanwhile, offensively, Alex Rodriguez can take the team only so far. Hideki Matsui is 5 for his last 28 (.179), Bobby Abreu is 8 for his last 45 (.177), and Miguel Cairo is 4 for his last 18 (.222). Cairo simply isn’t an adequate solution at first base, and Joe Torre seems adverse to playing Andy Phillips for more than five innings at a time.
So, as much as I hate to be all dire about it, the next two weeks of baseball are vital for the Bombers if they want to salvage this season. They play three against the hapless Orioles before taking on three playoff contenders in back-to-back-to-back series. Heading into the break, the Yanks draw 10 games at home against the A’s, Twins and Angels. They better snap out of this funk; they better make their move. It’s getting late early.