The fat reliever! He lives!

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
Jorge: 346/370/577
Matsui: 346/370/385
Phelps: 312/389/312 — keep him in the lineup and watch that slugging percentage rise
Alex: 238/407/429
Damon: 143/308/286
Jeter: 111/143/259 — not good to see our Nos. 1 and 2 hitters at the bottom

Down on the Farm

Triple-A Scranton (7-2 loss to Rochester)
Alberto Gonzalez: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Bronson Sardinha: 0 for 4, 3 K – promote Kennedy! promote Kennedy! why isn’t everyone demanding Sardinha’s demotion???
Andy Phillips: 1 for 3, 1 K, 1 E (fielding)
Shelley Duncan: 0 for 4, 2 K – 1 for last 7 after 4 for previous 11 with a double and 3 bombs…
Angel Chavez: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K – in case you haven’t been paying attention, he’s been mashin’ this year…
Jamal Strong: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
Steven Jackson: 5 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HB, 7-1 GB/FB

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A poll

In which we ponder the fate of Luis Vizcaino.

What will it take to get Luis Vizcaino off the Yankees?
View Results

Farnsworth’s role, defined

While chatting on the Banter last night during the heart attack-inducing end of the game, I noticed a fellow commenter state that Kyle Farnsworth should be the David Ortiz specialist. The numbers, albeit in limited plate appearances, bear out that statement. Farnsworth has faced Ortiz 9 times. Ortiz is 0 for 6 with 4 Ks and 3 BBs. When you compare those numbers to Ortiz’s .313/.333/.563 line in 17 plate appearances against lefty specialist Mike Myers, it’s clear who should be pitching to Ortiz with the game on the line.

If at first you don’t succeed…

It’s the nature of the draft to give second chances. The Orioles yearned for Mark Teixeira‘s middle-of-the-order bat in 2001, but sat and watched as Texas popped him with the 5th overall pick, 2 spots ahead of the Orioles. Instead of sulking and blowing the 7th overall pick on, ugh, Chris Smith, the O’s could have made up for losing out on Teixeira by drafting Ryan Howard, who the Phillies took 135 picks after Teixeira’s name was called.

Stuff like this happens every year. Twenty-seven teams didn’t even have a chance to draft Red Sox killer Alex Rodriguez in 1993, but all 27 passed on Scott Rolen at least once. Now of course it’s easy to go back and say these teams missed out, but the point is that there’s talent out there, you just have to look for it. Here’s a couple of the guys that could keep you from throwing a chair when some team picks your guy on draft day:

What You Want: An outfielder that profiles as a middle-of-the-order bat and should move quickly.
The Top Dogs: Kyle Russell, Texas &Â Kellen Kulbacki, James Madison
The Alternative: Grant Desme, OF, Cal Poly. After transferring from San Diego State, Desme was monster for the Mustangs this spring, going .405-15-53 with 12 stolen bases and 17 doubles. Alas, Desme’s season came to a premature end when he was hit by pitch that broke his wrist. He’s a solid athlete with a nice arm and good baserunning skills, and obviously, a plus hit tool. For a team looking to land that masher without breaking the bank, Desme’s the guy.

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