Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Farns ain't Worth What it Used Tah

Sorry for the bizarre pun in the subject line. I don't want to get on any of the Yankees too much, because those games happen. There was no mystery madness, or botched plays that cost the team the game. There wasn't a particularly poor move by the manager that precipitated our loss. It was just one of those games. The Yankees are going to lose a few 4-2 ballgames without their big bats, but there were a few encouraging things in the game as well.

1. Mike Mussina posted his 9th quality start of the season. His ERA is a cool 2.56 and he's sporting a nifty 1.01 WHIP. Now that's a "speecy" meatball!

2. Robinson Cano found himself in the 5th spot, where he belongs, and continues to rake the ball. He's at .321 on the season, and while the power is not there yet, he shows every night that he can make contact and drive the ball to the gaps. Higher up in the order, you should see his runs and RBIs climb as well. (Did you hear that Fantasy Baseball fans).

3. Scott Proctor continues to impress. Not bad so far this season for a guy that sports a career 4.64 ERA in 72 games. That's about a full season's worth of pitching by which to judge a guy, but it seems that he's figured something out. In his 3rd season with the Yankees, Proctor has lowered his batting average against each year. In 2004 he pitched to a .284 BAA, and in 2005 it dropped to an almost respectable .257, falling to a stellar .187 in this young campaign. Let's hope he keeps it up.

Now for the bad stuff:

1. I wrote in my post for the last Yankee game that Kyle Farnsworth's "Gameday" pitching chart looks like a drunk at a shooting range. Everyone's entitled to a shaky outing, but I worry that he has far too little control to be trusted long term in late inning situations. Last night he gave up 3 hits, a walk, and a wild pitch in 1 inning of work. Granted, it was pouring at one point and pitchers are affected the most under those conditions, but my previous observations about his control lead me to believe the poor showing had more to do with his ability than the weather. He walks between 4 and 4.5 batters per 9 innings for his career, which is worrisome.

2. Derek Jeter is struggling mightily. After a red hot April, in which he hit .398, the Captain is putting up a dreadful May at .226/.293/.283. That's horrendous. He's too good to keep that up much longer, but it sure would be nice to see him get hot again and carry the ballclub until Sheff gets back. He's also bringing his trouble with the bat into the field with him. He's had 3 errors in the last 5 games (one every other game). The same can be said for A-Rod, who seems to be suffering from Roberto Duran disease as well lately.....manos de piedras. Someone please tell Derek that your supposed to hit like Duran, not field like him.

3. Jason Giambi strained his neck playing the field. At this point, I think we've seen enough of Andy Phillips to know he's a pretty good fielder. His bat is icy cold, but I think we can weather a cold bat to keep Giambi in the DH hole for a while. Without Matsui and Sheffield, we need to rely on a bit better defense to support our pitchers and I think it makes sense to play Phillips in the field every night. I'd go with Giambi at DH, Melky in left, Damon in center, and Bubba in right. Bernie can ride the pines for a while. The only time he should play right now, is as the DH when Giambi gets the occasional start at 1st.

One final note. It seems that our boy Tanyon Sturtze may be done for the year. The Daily News reports that Sturtze may have a small tear in his rotator cuff, which could cost him the rest of the season. I've taken my fair share of shots at the guy recently, so I want to balance things a bit by wishing him the best with any physical problems he may have. Playing professional baseball is a dream and you never want it to end....or have it jeopardized. I will say, however, that it's a bit of window dressing to suggest that a guy with a career ERA of 5.21 was bad because he was injured. Otherwise, he'd have come out like Bob Gibson, right?

I also like this part of the story:

"Sturtze hadn't pitched well all season and admitted on Saturday, after another bad outing, that he had been hiding his condition from the team. The Yankees don't think he hurt himself further by pitching in pain.

'He felt bad. He apologized to me,' Joe Torre said. 'I care for this guy dearly because he has a big heart.'"

That speaks for itself. Tragically comedic. See you after the next game. Go Yanks!