• Curt Schilling validates my opinion

    I’ve been saying that the cold weather, the bone-chilling cold weather we’ve had, isn’t good for pitching in particular. I think Phil Hughes’ subpar start tonight had a lot to do with the weather. And words from the keyboard of Curt Schilling, of all people, support my theory. Said Curt earlier this week: “I hate cold weather from a feel standpoint.” As I’ve said, in the cold, pitchers have no feel for their pitches. Don’t judge one bad Phil Hughes start because it was 40 degrees with a threat of snow. Baseball is a warm weather sport for a reason. · (8) ·


Down on the Farm

By in Down on the Farm. · Comments (5) ·

Triple-A Columbus (5-0 loss to Richmond in 8 innings) game wrapped up early due to rain
Andy Phillips: 0 for 1, 2 BB
Bronson Sardinha: 2 for 3, 1 2B
Shelley Duncan: 0 for 3, 2 K
Eric Duncan: 1 for 2, 1 BB
Phil Hughes: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 9-4 GB/FB – 53 of 89 pitches were strikes (59.6%)
Ben Kozlowski: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HB

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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In theory, Communism works. In theory.

Phil Hughes tonight: 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 1 K

His control looked a bit off. He was falling behind guys and using his best fastball to catch up, but eventually guys are going to wise up to that. I still don’t think he has much, if anything, left to learn in the minors. I just think he’s having some control issues right now.

Not that it really matters, anyway. Pete Abraham is reporting that Mike Mussina won’t hit the DL. This, of course, means that we’ll be seeing Darrell Rasner once more. I’d be less concerned about that if the start wasn’t coming against the Injuns.

So it’s Igawa, Pavano, and Pettitte against the A’s, followed by an off-day, then Rasner, Igawa, and Pavano against the Indians. Hopefully, this means Pettitte, Moose, and Wang against the Red Sox. For that to happen, though, Wang would have to make his one rehab start on Tuesday, and everything would have to go perfectly thereafter. Not looking too good…

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  • Josh Beckett sucks at something else besides pitching

    Seriously, how many people are going to keep calling this guy an ace before they open their eyes? Anyways…

    And speaking of the Reebok party, Red Sox hurler Josh Beckett had eight strikeouts earlier in the day at Fenway. But unfortunately his K-streak continued at Underbar, where one striking young redhead didn’t buy his pitch! We hear Beckett homed in on the party gal and opened with his best line: “Hey, you.” Blown away by his sparkling repartee, Big Red responded by saying “hi,” and then walked away. “She knew who he was, but she’s from Michigan and doesn’t have the hero worship for the Red Sox,” said our spy on the scene. “Plus she doesn’t care about him being a pro athlete.” “He then comes up to her again – now on the other side of the bar – and starts whispering sweet nothings into her ear,” said our source. “She can’t really figure out what he’s saying, so she says, ‘Great game today. Congratulations.” He responds with “Huh?” So she repeats it. And receives yet another, “Huh?” “You. Pitched. A. Great. Game,” she said. His response: “Are you wasted?” Her response: “No, I just got here.” “He then looked at her funny and wandered off,” said our source.

    “Hey baby, are your parents retarded? Cause you’re a pretty special girl” might have worked better. Maybe Beckett should stick to what David Ortiz does best and…ahem…bring men home.

    (hat tip to The Feed)

    · (3) ·

An in-house rotation fix

By in Pitching. Tags: · Comments (13) ·

First it was Obi-Wang. Then it was Joba Chamberlain down in the minors. Now it’s Mike Mussina, the supposed rock of stability that always seems to be one little tremor away from a landslide. Hamstring injuries have run rampant through the Yanks organization in 2007, and they’ve been on the rise in all of baseball the last couple of years. Maybe guys are slacking off during pregame stretching, maybe their muscles are deteriorating from PED use, maybe they’re all just fluke injuries. No matter what’s causing them, the Yanks have to deal with ‘em.

Looking at the schedule, I figure the rotation shakes out like this:

Thursday: off
Friday: Igawa
Saturday: Pavano
Sunday: Pettitte
Monday: off
Tuesday: Rasner
Wednesday: Igawa
Thurday: Pavano
Friday: Pettitte
Saturday: TBD

That TBD guy is what I’m here to talk about.

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Player WPA pLI Pitcher WPA pLI
Jeter .034 1.01 Henn .221 1.65
Damon .033 0.94 Vizcaino .092 1.18
Alex -.018 1.26 Moose .007 0.93
Posada -.032 0.68 Myers .005 0.09
Melky -.076 0.97 Proctor -.015 1.96
Minky -.080 1.03 Farnsworth -.375 1.40
Cano -.088 1.07
Abreu -.100 1.18
Giambi -.107 0.96

And the Yankees fail to complete the sweep. Winning two out of three obviously isn’t bad, but when you have a chance at a sweep, you’d like to see them come storming out of the gates. That goes doubly when Ramon Ortiz is on the mound, hef of the 5.57 ERA last year in Washington.

Focusing on the positive for one fleeting moment, Sean Henn has been stellar in this young season. He’s allowed just one run over eight innings, and his work in long relief has eased the burden on the rest of the pen. I could go on and note that his peripherals to this point don’t add up — just one strikeout to one walk and a 6/7 groundball to flyball ratio) — but I’ll stick with this positive while the positive is going.

As Ben noted, Moose may only miss one start, which could work under the current schedule. After the off day today, Igawa will start Friday at Oakland, followed by Pavano and Pettitte on Saturday and Sunday. Another off day on Monday helps, though it won’t keep Darrell Rasner from taking the ball Tuesday at the Stadium against Cleveland, Mussina’s scheduled start. So the Cleveland series will be Rasner, Igawa, and Pavano, lining up Pettitte to start Friday at Fenway. The hope from there would be to have Wang available for Saturday afternoon’s affair, and Moose ready to go on Sunday.

If Moose does end up hitting the DL, though, I’m going to come right out and advocate Phil Hughes for the job. I know many of you want to see him develop more in AAA, but I have to wonder how much that’s going to help. He looked more than solid in his first outing, and he pitches again tonight. If he’s dominating, I don’t see a reason not to challenge him at the big league level, especially since there’s now an excuse to do so. Give him the ball against Cleveland on Tuesday and then again against the Sox in Fenway on Sunday. That would also put him in line to start the following Friday night in the Stadium against Boston. Seriously, I cannot think of a better way to start off Phil Hughes.

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Categories : Game Stories
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Someone really ought to teach the Yanks how to stretch. First, Wang, then Hideki and now Mussina all go down to a hamstring bug. Mussina claims he’ll only miss a start, but that’s what everyone said last year about Robbie Cano before he missed 35 games.

Meanwhile, as Peter Abraham points out, you’ll be hearing Marty Miller’s name a lot over the next few days. He’s the new director of performance enhancing, and as The Times noted over the weekend, his new strenuous routine may be responsible for this rash of injuries. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, Marty.

(In case you’re wondering, Moose was a participant in Marty’s program. That voluntary involvement may have ended in the third inning tonight.)

Meanwhile, A-Rod went 1 for 3 with an RBI and continued his hot hitting. But outside of a 2 for 4 night for Johnny Damon, the Yanks’ bats were silent. A few nice plays in the field concluded the Bombers’ part of the highlight real. Derek Jeter turned a nifty double play on an over-the-shoulder catch, and Doug Mientkiewiczi made a nifty dive on a shot down the line.

The story tonight though, which Joe and I were discussing during the game, was the Big V: Velocity. Proctor didn’t have it, and Krazy Kyle — he of the leadoff walk, loss and 4 ER in 0.1 IP tonight — didn’t have it either. The gun readings showed these two power pitchers reaching the low 90s instead of their usual upper 90s. Maybe it’s a dead arm period after Spring Training; maybe it’s Marty Miller’s fault; maybe we could find a way to blame A-Rod. But it’s a concern.

Anyway, as long as Ron Villone doesn’t show up in the Bronx, and Fransworth and Proctor rediscover their heat, we’ll be ok. Two out of three in Minnesota is the way to go.

Image of Mussina leaving the field with Gene Monahan from The New York Times.

Categories : Game Stories
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Down on the Farm

By in Down on the Farm. · Comments (5) ·

Yo, Felix flat schooled the Sawx tonight, in the Fens no less. Whaddya think, Hughes-Clippard-Tabata for The King? I’d do it, but I dunno if the M’s brass would…

Triple-A Scranton (10-3 loss to Richmond)
Alberto Gonzalez: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 E (fielding)
Bronson Sardinha: 0 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Andy Phillips: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 K, 1 E (fielding) - played second…
Eric Duncan: 0 for 3, 1 RBI, 2 BB
Andrew Beattie: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB – meet the new career minor leaguer on the block…
Tyler Clippard: 4 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K – 61 of 92 pitches were strikes (66.3%)
Colter Bean: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HB – lowered his ERA to 6.35

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