According to Ed Price, the Yanks are set to play against the NL East next year during Interleague Play. While the full 2009 schedules are still be finalized, Price reports that the Yankees will host the Mets, Phillies and Nationals at the new Yankee Stadium. In return, Chien-Ming Wang will attempt to run the bases more successfully next year in CitiField, Atlanta and Miami. This whole Interleague Play thing is getting a bit boring.
I know what you’re thinking: How is it news that the Boss will bring down Yankee Stadium? It’s always been his plan to build a new playground for the Yankees. Well, I’m not talkin’ about this Boss; I’m talkin’ about New Jersey’s own Boss. According to a completely unsubstantiated report by Rush & Molloy, the Steinbrenners want to top the Billy Joel Shea Stadium send-off, and the family is hoping to get Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney on board for a musical extravaganza. If this happens, I’m so there.
Early this week in the Daily News, Ian Begley wrote an extensive article on the issues surrounding the new Yankee Stadium and displaced parkland in the South Bronx. While Begley’s piece doesn’t touch on anything new that I haven’t covered — the RAB Yankee Stadium archive is available here — the article is a succinct summary of the issues surrounding the land grab and broken promises. The Yankees and the City should make good on their parkland promises sooner rather than the later. The longer this issue drags on, the worse the Yankees look.
I knew the Yanks were in trouble tonight when, in the top of the third inning, Ivan Rodriguez struck out swinging on one of the nastiest pitches I’ve ever seen.
The fastball from Roy Halladay started over heading toward the middle of the plate. A few feet short of home plate, the bottom literally dropped out of this pitch, and it bounced in the dirt in front of home plate as Pudge swung over the top of it. I couldn’t fault Rodriguez for swinging there. By any account, that pitch should have been right over the heart of the plate. But Halladay’s sinker was just that good tonight, and by the time he tired enough to leave one up to Hideki Matsui, it was far too late for the Yankees.
While tonight’s game belonged, from start to finish, to Roy Halladay, it was also the day when Sidney Ponson’s chickens came home to roost. I’ve long harped on Ponson’s inability to keep runners off base, and while he had shown some improvement over his last few outings, his Yankee WHIP prior to tonight stood at 1.50. Pitchers who allow that many baserunners per inning simply cannot sustain success, and it all came crashing down tonight.
Ponson allowed eight hits and a walk as he pitched into the third but couldn’t record an out that inning. He gave up seven of the Blue Jays’ 14 runs before giving way to the equally ineffective tandem of David Robertson and Billy Traber. Games like this one really make me miss Chien-Ming Wang.
Meanwhile, the Yanks continue to lose their grip on any sort of October hope. They’re 10.5 games behind Tampa and six behind Boston. With 35 games left, the Yankees will have to game for every five they play just to tie Boston in the Wild Card. With six games left against their archrivals, it’s not impossible, but they’re going to have to make this run trotting out Ponson, Darrell Rasner and perhaps Carl Pavano for three out of every five days. Don’t hold your breath.
Game Notes: Why is Billy Traber still a member of this organization? He’s been terrible all year…Since acquiring Ivan Rodriguez, the Yankees are 8-11, and Pudge is hitting .229/.270/.343. That trade sure seemed better at the time…Derek Jeter has 2499 hits. With his next base knock, he’ll become just the 88th player in baseball history to amass at least 2500 hits.
Phil Coke was named to the Eastern League postseason All-Star Team. Well deserved.
Triple-A Scranton (8-7 win over Rochester)
Justin Christian: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
Melky: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 CS – 6 for 12 (.500) with a 2-4 K/BB ratio since being send down
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K – Chad Jennings says he hit one of the farthest homers he’s seen this year
Shelley: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 E (fielding)
Ben Broussard, Eric Duncan & Chad Moeller: all 0 for 3, 1 K – Broussard was hit by a pitch … E-Dunc & Moeller each drew a walk
Nick Green: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 SB
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 WP, 4-3 GB/FB – 66 of 93 pitches were strikes (71.0%)
Steven Jackson: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1-1 GB/FB – 19 of 35 pitches were strikes (54.3%)
Mark Melancon: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K – 10 of 18 pitches were strikes (55.6%)
Phil Coke: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP – allowed both inherited runners to score, hence the earned runs charged to Melancon
Scott Strickland: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 2 K
It’s a match-up for the ages. One man is a fat Aruban; the other is a nasty sinkerballer from Colorado. One of them will emerge victorious.
Okay, so perhaps tonight’s Yankee game — pitting Sidney Ponson against Roy Halladay — isn’t quite the dramatic match-up for the ages, but this game could be closer than anyone would expect. On the season Ponson is 7-3 with a 4.19 ERA, and in his middle age (for a baseball player), he’s become a ground ball specialist. Call him Chien-Ming Wang Lite. Roy Halladay meanwhile is 14-9 with a 2.64 ERA. He too is a ground ball specialist.
The rub here is that Roy Halladay has not allowed a run to the Yankees since the first inning of a start he made on June 3. That’s a streak of 14 scoreless innings. Yikes.
As it is everyday, tonight’s game is one the Yankees need to win. Tampa and Boston enjoy a night off, and the Yanks have to make up ground whenever they can. Easier said than done.
A. Rodriguez 3B
I. Rodriguez C
Game Notes: In case you missed the news, Carl Pavano is starting on Saturday. Pavano has made two starts since June 27, 2005 and is in the final year of a four-year, $39.95-million contract.
It’s official, PeteAbe’s got the news. I’m kinda excited, actually. Imagine if he goes like, 6-0, 1.50 ERA down the stretch and the Yanks make the playoffs. All would be forgotten, no?