Phil Hughes is a bad young man. His dominance of minor league hitters continued on Wednesday as he earned a victory against New Hampshire 5-3.
If you read my last post on Hughes, you'll know that there are crazy ideas floating around in my head. His latest win has me thinking funny again. 1 hit and 1 walk in 5 innings of work to go along with 3 Ks. He retired the first 14 batters he faced. Not sure what the story is with taking the kid out after only 5 innings, but it doesn't appear anything was weird about it. With no pitch count numbers available, I'd have to imagine that they had him on a ceiling for pitches for some reason. With only 3 Ks, he couldn't have thrown more than 70-80 pitches or so. 15 outs, plus 2 base runners, 4-5 pitches per batter....
Anyway, in his last 5 starts at AA he has thrown 33 innings, with 14 hits and 8 walks for a WHIP of 0.67 and with only 3 earned runs allowed in that same timeframe his ERA is a clean 0.82! 36 strikeouts in 33 innings is beautiful, and three of the five starts have been 1 hitters. Time to move him up to AAA, you think?
Friday, June 30, 2006
Phil Hughes is a bad young man. His dominance of minor league hitters continued on Wednesday as he earned a victory against New Hampshire 5-3.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Since the Yankees will be enjoying a day off before beginning the latest edition of the Subway Series (is it played out yet?), I thought I'd take the chance to do a little scouting for you on the top hitters in Japan.
There are a whole host of talented hitters playing in Japan. Japanese and foreign-born players are producing some big numbers and making highlight reel plays nightly, but they are almost anonymous for the most part in the United States. Names like Ogasawara, Zuleta, Fernandez, Woods, LaRocca, and Nioka take the field for Japanese professional ballclubs every night, and win ballgames for their teams. The style is different at times, but the game is essentially pitch, hit, run, score, celebrate. I'm going to introduce 4 players in this post, all hitters, and talk about the seasons they've had so far during the 2006 campaign. I'll allude to their past performance, but links will take care of any background information you may care to read up on yourself. I'll work on pitchers another day. Today is for the hitters. 4 guys you may wish were in your Major League organization.....
To begin, I selected the two players I consider to be the best hitters in the Pacific League. Their Central League counterparts will follow.
1. Nobuhiko Matsunaka, LF/DH - Fukuoka Soft Bank Hawks
Matsunaka represented Japan in the World Baseball Classic and hit cleanup for Oh Saddaharu's team. He hit .433/.528/.567 in 8 games for Japan and posted the highest OPS of any regular Japanese player at 1.094. He is a former league MVP (2000, 2004), and one of only seven men to win the Triple Crown(2004)in Japan.
Playing most of his time in left field this season, the former 1st baseman is having perhaps the best year of any player in Japan. The Hawks are tied for 1st with the Seibu Lions in the Pacific League and for the best record in Japan. Matsunaka is the engine for this powerful ballclub and has posted the following line on the year (rank among all Japanese players in parenthesis):
In 74 games: 47 runs, 18 2B, 14 HR, 51 RBIs, 52 BBs, 19 Ks
That's a 154 game pace of: 98 runs, 37 2B, 29 HR, 106 RBIs, 108 BBs, 40 Ks
Matsunaka recently signed a record 7 year deal with his ballclub that keeps him with Soft Bank until he's 39 years old. The team could decide to "post" him if significant financial offers are to be made from US ballclubs, but I'm guessing he's with the Hawks 'til the end. Great for Japan, but unfortunate for Americans who won't get the chance to see him play everyday.
2. Alex Cabrera, 1B/DH - Seibu Lions
The 35 year old Venezuelan, Cabrera, has been nothing short of legendary in his 5+ years in Japan. A former farmhand in the Cubs and Diamondbacks systems, Cabrera has slugged his way into the hearts of Japanese fans to the tune of 235 round trippers in 2365 ABs. That's a home run every 10 at bats. He was the 2002 MVP in the Pacific League when he tied the single-season home run mark of 55, held by Oh. It was controversial that Oh's Hawks ballclub pitched around him at the end of the year to avoid the record falling.
Cabrera is having another otherwordly season for the 1st place Lions. He and Daisuke Matsuzaka are as potent a 1-2 punch as there is in baseball anywhere. Let's take a peek at Cabrera's line so far:
In 69 games: 43 runs, 12 2B, 20 HR, 59 RBIs, 38 BBs, 57 Ks
That's a 154 game pace of: 96 runs, 27 2B, 45 HR, 132 RBIs, 85 BBs, 127 Ks
At his advanced age, it's unlikely we'll ever see Cabrera in a Major League uniform. If it happens, I imagine it will be next season, but I bet it's more important for Cabrera to light up the record books in Japan, and make top dollar doing it, rather than share time in the US, or risk going back to the minors again.
Now, on to the Central League stars.
3. Seung Yeop Lee, 1B - Yomiuri Giants
Seung Yeop Lee, 29, is a household name in Korea. He's become a household name in Japan, and probably the rest of East Asia as well. While playing in Japan, Lee broke the single-season home run record by smashing 56 for his Samsung Lions. I guess there was no Oh to pitch around the Korean superstar. While dominating Korea, the US remained a dream for Lee. No Major League team would give him a guaranteed deal, and he refused to settle for a stint in the minors, so to Japan he went. After a couple of successful seasons playing for Bobby Valentine's Chiba Lotte Marines, Lee decided he could get more money and name recognition playing for the world famous Yomiuri Giants.
It was Lee who took Korea to the brink of victory in the World Baseball Classic. In 7 games, Lee blasted 5 homers and 10 RBIs. He hit .333/.414/.958 to lead all regular players (not named Ken Griffey, Jr.) in the tournament with a 1.372 OPS!
Now batting cleanup, in Matsui's old spot, Lee is absolutely destroying Japanese pitching. In his third season in Japanese professional baseball, Lee is on his way to an MVP award. If only the Giants weren't 1-9 in their last 10 games, and 8.5 games out of 1st. That doesn't matter in the end because the US is "The Lion King's" final destination, and the numbers he's amassing for "Kyojin" should do the trick. So far, Lee has produced:
In 72 games: 60 runs, 13 2B, 25 HR, 54 RBIs, 26 BBs, 67 Ks
That's a 154 game pace of: 135 runs, 29 2B, 56 HR, 122 RBIs, 59 BBs, 151 Ks
As you can see, The Lion King is on pace to break the single-season record for home runs. His strikeout total is enormous, but so is his power. A .397 OBP is nothing to sneeze at, but imagine if he exercised a little better eye at the plate and turned some of those Ks into BBs. Look for Seattle, Los Angeles, and Anaheim to make a serious play for this guy in the offseason.
4. Kosuke Fukudome, RF - Chunichi Dragons
Fukudome, 29, is a fearsome hitter, who has an uncanny combination of both patience and power. In the World Baseball Classic, it was a pinch hitting Fukudome who finished off Byung Hyun Kim and Korea with a 2 run shot in their 3rd and final meeting. Unlike his teammate Matsunaka, however, the Dragons slugger did not produce for Team Japan during the tournament, finishing with a disappointing .182/.240/.455 line over 8 games.
No matter though. Japan won, and now Fukudome is back to doing what he does best. Terrorizing Japan League pitching to the tune of:
In 66 games: 56 runs, 26 2B, 15 HR, 49 RBIs, 31 BBs, 43 Ks
That's a 154 game pace of: 131 runs, 61 2B, 35 HR, 114 RBIs, 72 BBs, 100 Ks
Considering that the single-season record for doubles in Japan is 45, and that in most years anything approaching 35 is a major accomplishment, 61 doubles would absolutely shatter the records books in the way that Babe Ruth's 54 home runs in 1920 demolished the record books in the US at that time. Fukudome is a trancendent talent. Any Major League club that could pry him away from the Dragons would have a staple outfielder hitting in the middle of their lineup for several years to come. His plate discipline fits the modern US game perfectly, and he would likely become an on base machine for some lucky club. I can't say I see him heading West, but we can dream.
There. That's it for today. Next time I do this, I'll focus on pitching. If you want to know more about the otherworldly and ultra-unbeatable Daisuke Matsuzaka, check my blog at www.matsuzaka.blogspot.com
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Okay. I'm going to complain a little today. I feel generally optimistic about the Yankees most of the time, or at least I try to, but today I feel like bitching. I will never boo A-Rod, and I'm willing to forgive Torre his various idiosyncrasies. I get pissed when an overrated and overused Scott Proctor makes a mess of things, just like Sturtze before him. You may read an occasional post on this subject. Still, I try to remember that the season is long and the Yankees Pythagorean Win number is 4th in all of baseball. Still, I'm going to bitch.
1. Miguel Cairo has played in a total of 967 games over his career. That's basically 6 full 162 games seasons, give or take a head cold or two. In that time he sports a stupifying .269/.317/.362 line, which pans out to a .679 OPS. Tony Womack, who has been ridden out of more than one town on a rail has a career line of .273/.317/.356 with a .673 OPS. See my point. Why on God's Green Earth would you turn over an everyday American League position to a guy this bad? It may only be for 2 weeks, but that's 13 days too long. On a team with a payroll hovering around $200 million, how is this guy our best bench option in the infield? Nick Green isn't a good answer either. His career numbers at A ball total up to a .765 OPS. At AA he posted a career .744 OPS. At AAA he was .732, while he has done little more in the Majors at .655 in 621 ABs.
2. Who the F is Kyle Farnsworth to get all huffy with Jorge Posada? All year long his Gameday pitching chart has looked like Dick Cheney's target practice bullseye, and he's given up 10 hits and 5 runs in his last 6.1 innings of work. Yeah, he's struck out 8 batters in that time, but maybe taking a little something off your pitches every once in a while would help to keep the ball on the ground a bit. He's got a 0.41 GO/AO ratio. With a 5-ish ERA and a whole lot of attitude maybe he needs a meeting with Mr. Left and Mr. Right. I'm just about sick of him already.
3. Roger Clemens signed with the Astros. At the time they were like 400 games out and had the 20-somethingth ranked offense in baseball. Whatever. His choice. It stings to watch him open the year with two good outings, giving up 9 hits and 3 earned runs over 11.1 innings, and get two losses. He has a 2.38 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP and he's 0-2 on a team in 4th place, 5 games out of 1st, 2 games under .500, and 20th in runs scored. The Astros have scored a total of zero runs while Clemens has been the pitcher of record. What an F-ing waste.
4. I've defended A-Rod enough at Canyon of Heroes that I think I can level a little criticism his way too. I won't kill him for any phantasmic anti-clutch crap, or for failing to live up to what people think he should be. I will only criticize him for being a bit of a pussy. Excuse the terminology, but it fits. C'mon A-Rod. Stop hiding behind the "thinking too much" or "pressing" excuses. It's just as bad as people cheering for Posednik, Eckstein, and Edmonds for being "gritty", "heady", or "mentally tough". You're not "thinking too much" and you're not "pressing". You're "not hitting" and "not driving in runs". It happens. The shit gets in your head when you start to listen to the idiot "know-it-alls" who tell you to "stop pressing" and that you need to "stop thinking and just hit the ball". Relax. You're a Hall of Famer in the making and the reigning AL MVP. Trust yourself and "just hit the damn ball".
That's it for today. We're going to win tomorrow. I guarantee it. Go Yanks.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
You may wonder what the title of this post means, other than an obscure reference to the collection of 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, and Tony Yayo.
The "G" is for Giambi, who slugged two home runs against Atlanta, driving in all 5 Yankee runs on the day. He is now at .271/.432/.624 with an OPS of 1.056 for 2006. He has 22 home runs and 61 RBIs, and is .304/.512/.804 with runners in scoring position, which equates to a 1.315 OPS. Yowza!!
The "Unit" is for Randy Johnson, who dominated the Braves in a 5-2 victory, giving up 4 hits and no walks, striking out 9 over 7 innings of brilliant work. Over his last 3 starts, the Big Unit has posted a 1.77 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP. He's posted a 9.7 strikeouts per 9 inning ratio in those games and the Yankees are benefitting from his dominating presence again. He's doing his part to shore up the top of the rotation, and we can only hope he's back in black.
The "Soldier" is Mariano Rivera, who keeps on coming strong even when he deserves more rest. Scott Proctor has a 5.34 ERA spanning the months of May and June. He also sports a 1.344 WHIP during that same time, which isn't a disaster, but also isn't anything I want to see from a key reliever. Rivera has been the victim of a shaky bridge and has earned more multi-inning saves this season that in recent years, that I remember. With a 5-0 lead, we should have been able to put the whole thing to bed without the Sandman, and perhaps Proctor could have retired the final two batters, but with 27 pitches under his belt and a statistical save waiting for Mariano, Torre did what any manager in the Majors would do these days and yanked him.
Last thing today. A few people have been asking where the Matsuzaka Watch feature has gone. The fact is, I just got too busy to write about the Yanks and post about Japanese baseball for a little while.
I'm back, and better than ever with an entire blog dedicated to Matsuzaka Watch. You can find the link in the Japanese Baseball section of the linkroll on the right. Check back at Matsuzaka Watch for updates on his weekly outings and his plans for next season. Hopefully, pinstripes are in his future. Enjoy.
Go get the Braves fellas. No mercy. See you tomorrow.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Before you read this, know that it's simple lunacy. It's so far fetched as to end up on the floor of a digital birdcage somewhere. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain kind of stuff.
Call up Phil Hughes to play with the big boys now. Check out what guys like Francisco Liriano, Jered Weaver, Cole Hamels, Boof Bonser, Chad Billingsley, and others are doing and tell me that Phil Hughes isn't better than Shawn Chacon and Jaret Wright right now.
The Yankees are always followed by rumors about possible trades and player moves, especially these days with all the injuries our outfield has experienced. Names are floated in potential transactions and it seems that every underachieving team with a high priced slugger is a target for beat writers in the quest to drive readership with Rumor and Speculation....the ugly stepchildren in New York to Destiny and Mystique. The asking price invariably includes Hughes. Need a hitter...give us Hughes. Yankee arms look mighty mediocre this season....give us Hughes. I'm not buying. There isn't a single player out there right now that would convince me that giving up our best young arm is the right thing to do. Maybe Johan Santana or the aforementioned Liriano. You might sway me with Peavy or Kazmir. Willis and Zito don't do it for me. We can get Zito for nothing but cash in a few months and Willis is a crap shoot at this point.
Phil Hughes was compared to Roger Clemens in Spring Training, and while I can compare Aaron Small's 2005 campaign to Roger Clemens, I think you see the difference. One is clearly a wonderful fluke that we'll fondly remember long after the fact, and the other is a striking commentary on a live arm that has all the potential in the world. You don't need me to spell that one out. Remember when I said that this idea was lunacy? Check this out.
Cole Hamels pitched 3 games at AA this year before getting the quantum leap call to the Majors. He dominated hitters at A ball for 3 years posting a 1.42 ERA over 25 games with a WHIP of a ridiculous 0.96 over 133 innings. He struck out 12.8 batters per 9 innings during that same stretch. The Phillies braintrust gave him a 3 game cup of coffee at AA Reading where he posted a 2.37 ERA and a 1.158 WHIP over 19 innings. It seems that was enough to launch him to the Bigs where he's flashed signs of brilliance amidst a few rocky moments. His numbers aren't quite there, but he showed guts and a very high ceiling in a loss to the Yankees in which he only gave up 2 runs over 7 innings with 6 Ks. The Phillies seem pleased with the work he's doing, although they have to be concerned with his injury history.
Francisco Liriano pitched in 91 minor league games over the last 5 years. He did most of his work in A ball, where he was impressive in striking out 9.7 batters per 9 innings. He also went 9-14 with a 4.00 ERA and a WHIP of 1.297 over 40 games. The Twins weren't bothered by all that and bumped him up to AA and AAA like a a bat out of Hell. The front office wanted him to spend the start of this season at AAA, but Ron Gardenhire managed to convince the powers that be to keep him with the big boys to get some experience out of the pen. He's arguably one of the best pitchers in the entire sport right now and is being compared to a young Johan Santana. So much for the minors.
Jered Weaver pitched in a total of 15 minor league games before debuting with the Angels this season. He'd pitched for Long Beach State over a 3 year period as well, giving him 70 games below the Major League level prior to his first Big League appearance. In his cup of coffee with the Los Angeles Heavenly Angels of West Hollywood and the Wuthering Heights of Anaheim he impressed just about everyone on the planet, not in the front office of that club. After winning his first 4 decisions and sporting a neat 1.36 ERA over 26.1 IP, the Angels sent him back down to make room for struggling Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon. Weaver's WHIP of 0.76 over those 4 games didn't save him from the bus back to nowheresville, but we're sure to see him back any day now. Did I mention that he only pitched in 15 minor league games? I know I didn't mention that of those 15 games only 8 were at AA, and none were at AAA.
I'll give you one more. Chad Billingsley was just called up by the actual Los Angeles team, the Dodgers, and has been reasonably good in 2 appearances. So far, he's not knocking anyone's socks off with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP, but he's held his own. Time will tell what kind of impact Billingley will have on the Dodgers fortunes in 2006, or if he'll even finish out the year in the Majors, but he's here after 65 minor league appearances at the raw young age of 21 (he'll be 22 next month). His minor league record is very nice with a AA level ERA of 3.39 over 36 games, and a WHIP of 1.168 in the same span. He also struck out about 10 batters per 9 in that service.
That brings us to Phil Hughes. At 20 years old (happy birthday June 24th) Hughes has pitched at Rookie ball, Low-A, A ball, and AA for the Yankees. He's appeared in a total of 35 minor league games and owns a combined 2.40 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and 9.6 K/9 ratio. His most recent work at AA has included 10 games of work at a 3.18 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and 9.2 strikeouts per 9 innings. The numbers from level to level remain fairly consistent and he has quickly adjusted to AA after a few so-so starts early on. His most recent game was a dominating 8 inning start in which he gave up 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 10. In June he is a freakish 2-0 in 3 starts with 22 innings pitched, 8 hits, 6 walks, 29 strikeouts, and 2 runs allowed. That means his June ERA is 0.82, his WHIP is 0.64, and his strikeouts per 9 is 11.9 large. You could say he's figured out AA.
The other pitchers spent a bit more time in the minors. Hamels was limited to 25 starts due to a few injuries, both real and freakish. The Yankees will probably find a way to promote Hughes to AAA by the end of the year, and start him off there in 2007. I suppose it makes sense to move him along slowly, but I can't help wonder what he's got in his bag of tricks that would tip the balance for the Bombers in the tight AL East. The Red Sox have Johnathon Papelbon lighting the world on fire as their closer after only 21 games above A ball. They also have John Lester in their rotation after 73 minor league appearances, and only 26 above A ball. He seems to be winning his permanent spot in their Major League rotation with a 2.75 ERA over 3 starts and a 1.347 WHIP. His 10.4 strikeouts per 9 looks pretty good too. The Yankees have turned to Small and Erickson so far for pitching help. They have Ramiro Mendoza in line for a callup at some point. Why not roll the dice? Bring up Phil Hughes and watch him do his thing. I'm insane, and you shouldn't pay attention to anything I say, but I said it anyway.
UPDATE: Two pitchers made their Major League debuts today. Chuck James of Atlanta won his first game by going 8 strong innings of 1 run ball, striking out 8, while walking 4 and allowing 3 hits. He's 24 years old with only 22 games above A ball. The other pitcher was Anibal Sanchez of the Marlins, who threw 5.2 innings against our beloved Yankees in the second game of a split double header. He earned the win by shutting out the Bombers on 7 hits and no walks. Sanchez is barely 22 years old, and was a premium in the trade between Boston and the Marlins that exchanged Beckett for Hanley Ramirez. Sanchez pitched 26 games above A ball with the Red Sox and Marlins farm clubs, and was far less impressive than Phil Hughes. More fuel for the fire.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Just a quick one today.....
Welcome back Joe Girardi. He was always one of my favorite Yankees, and when he returned to the bench last year, I hoped it was for good. I still dream that one day he'll be Yankee manager. The Marlins are the best team in baseball over the last month or so. Congrats Joe.
Welcome back Andy Phillips. After being banished to the bench during the road trip in NL ballparks, A-Phil went 3-4 today and should get plenty of face time at the Stadium. In the end, he may just be more important than Melky.
Welcome back Chien Ming Wang. Not that he really went anywhere, but he could easily have let the 9th inning loss the other day stick in his head and snowball into something negative. Nah....actually he couldn't have done that. It's not in him. He's ice cold and ready to take the ball everytime out. To quote Method Man and Redman, "He's a KILLAAAAAH!!!!"
On note from Columbus: Erubial Durazo is currently batting .304/.410/.471 in 16 games with a couple of homers, 9 RBIs, and heating up by the day. See you soon big fellah.
That's it today. More tomorrow. Go Yanks.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Canyon of Heroes has ecllipsed the 10,000 hit mark in just under 4 months. The pace has quickened significantly over the last 45 days and I anticipate that the next 10,000 will come even faster. Thanks to all the people who have stopped by to read. Thanks to the many people who have linked to me and supported me as this blog has rolled along. You can find many of them in my linkroll on the right, but a special "big up" goes out to Cliff and Alex at Bronx Banter. It took a move to Japan to meet Alex, whereas he lives in my old building in the Bronx. Funny world.
As for the Yanks....an off day means that we have a little time to get home, lick our wounds, and prepare for a nice 9 game homestand. I have a feeling that the see-saw battle with the Red Stockings for first place in the AL East is going to swing our way during this homestand. Following that, I'd love to think we'll be close to a deal for some pitching before the trade deadline.
Go get 'em Bombers. See you tomorrow.
Now that's domination baby. 5-0 victory. 11 hits, 4 walks, and 1 HBP against 3 hits, 5 walks, and 1 HBP. Wright and Hamels dueled nicely, but.....
Villone was nasty.
Proctor was gritty.
Farnsworth was bullish.
Philly has a good core of young players and we were lucky to escape from that series with a win (thanks Rhodesie). The thing is, I bet that WIP 610 Radio was wall to wall with doomsday Philles "fans" trying to sort out why the 665 layer of Hell is not deep enough for the team, and why they belong at 666. I would so enjoy hearing that again. It's been awhile.
It's encouraging to see the team win this way. Cabrera and Cairo did the heavy lifting by getting on base while Damon and Jeter did their part in driving them home. Giambi, Posada, Bernie, and A-Rod went a combined 0-15 and we still scored 5 runs. We don't need any other bats. The offense is fine. What we need is a starting pitcher that can go 7 innings, and Dotel. Once those things are in place, we are off to the races.
My last comment for today is right along those lines. Keep the offense as is....the youngsters are mixing and matching just fine. Slide each of the bullpen guys back an inning with Dotel returning, and their workload should decrease a bit. Hopefully Octavio can slow Mariano's IP pace as well with a few saves here and there. Mariano had no business being in that game today. The starting pitcher that could be a fantastic short term fix for us could be available soon. He's a veteran (to say the least) and he knows how to pitch. He's not a front of the rotation guy anymore, but in a pinch he should win some ballgames with our lineup behind him. We won't have to give up the farm to get him probably, and he's a guy that Steinbrenner should relish bringing into the fold for his character and post-season success (15-4, 2.66 ERA, 1.137 WHIP). You know how he loves that.
Go get John Smoltz, Cash Money. I repeat...John....Smoltz.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I used to live in Philly. I spent a few years among rabid dogs. I mean foaming at the mouth, sharp canined, hounds. That's how I describe Philadelphia sports fans. New Yorkers are loud, obnoxious know-it-alls (I'm proud to be one) but Philly fans, boy......look out. The Eagles could be 7-0 and coming off a 56-3 annhilation of the Cowboys, but lose a close game 20-17 on a late fourth quarter 63-yard field goal against a random AFC team and the fans are looking for blood.
I don't want to say that Philadelphia folks have fair-weather tendencies, but after the magical 1994 run to the World Series the team slipped a bit and in 1996 I found myself at a mid-summer ballgame at Veterans Stadium among a whopping crowd of 4000 people watching Curt Schilling pitch. Ouch. I can't say I blame them, when Curt threw to a 3.19 ERA and a 1.085 WHIP only to get a 9-10 record out of it. Fact is, I learned that baseball and basketball are the ugly stepchildren of the Philadelphia sports market, and that unless either of them looks like a title contender they may as well not exist.
On to the ballgame last night.
Oh, Bernie Williams. How we love thee.....let us count the ways. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 hits last night raised your batting average to .294 on the year and an OPS of Lucky .777 looks mighty fine considering you're hitting .362/.371/.672 in June for a 1.043 OPS. Bern Baby Bern.
Hip Hip Jorge!! Posada hit his 10th home run of the year and simultaneously raised his season average to .300 all in one night. In 59 games this season, Jorge is sporting a .300/.419/.505 line that is mind boggling when considering that his .924 OPS is 3rd among catchers who have caught a majority of their teams' ballgames (Mauer/McCann). Right now, Jorge is on pace for 24 homers and 94 RBIs if he goes a typical 142 games. That would be his best output since his 30 homer season in 2003. AL All Star voting leader Jason Varitek has a lovely .764 OPS and posts a .258/.345/.419 line with the second most GIDP among all catchers (V. Martinez). Keep stuffing those ballots Red Stockings fans.
While Mussina continues to struggle a bit, we had a Ron Villone sighting!! Villone threw 1.2 very effective innings and was charged with an earned run on no hits and no walks. After hitting Chase Utley in his second inning of work and then retiring Bobby Abreu, Torre called on Scott Proctor who promptly walked Pat Burrell on 4 pitches to bring up the blazing hot Ryan Howard who had hit two homers earlier in the game to tie Albert Pujols for the Major League lead. Nice work Scooter. Of course, then Howard laced a triple down the line off Mike Myers to score both runners and smear filth all over Villone's otherwise perfect pitching line. Gotta like what you saw though, and his appearance deserves the patented "'Bout Time!" award.
There were other great storylines in the game from the Yankees side. Melky, Damon, Jeter, A-Rod, and Kevin Reese all produced nicely, and T.J. Beam vultured a win with a one out appearance in the 7th. Mariano worked two nice innings to get the save and keep us even with Boston who won in Washington. Hats off to the Giambino for home run #20. Go get yourself a steak at Jim's on South Street Jason. If the line's too long head on down to Pat's. Don't forget to order a Whiz wit'out. Put a lot of hot sauce and think about mushrooms. You can't go wrong. See you tomorrow. Go Yanks. (By the way, the Giambi Cheesesteak graphic you see isn't my best work, but I didn't have a whole lot of time to put into it. The actual cheesesteak eater in that photo is John Kerry.)
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Yup. The Yanks are in the doldrums these days. Actually, I don't know exactly what "doldrums" are, so I'm going to look it up and link to it earlier in this sentence. Only on a blog will you see a convoluted sentence like that.
I use the Matsui injury as a convenient benchmark for examining the Yankees this season. May 11th is probably a completely arbitrary day in the long run, but somehow it seems like the most significant event in the season to date and something that will force us to alter the strategy for success on a daily basis. The Sheffield injury has had an equally devastating effect on our ability to dominate opponents, but the lingering nature of the injury is less ideal to use as a milestone for Yankee failures and successes. May 11th it is then.
Before May 11th the Yankees had come out scoring 6.2 runs per game while allowing only 4.4 in posting a 19-12 record(.613). After May 11th, the Yankees are averaging a run less at 5.3 runs per game while giving up 5.1 and have posted a 19-18 record(.514). As I said, the date is generally an arbitrary point in time, but it shows that we've been on a downward trend in runs scored and an upward trend in runs allowed. Our +/- for runs during the post-Matsui portion of our current season is +.2 which tells you that we should be hovering at .500 (which we are).
A-Rod is tied for second among all third basemen for errors(11), Robinson Cano is tied for second among all second basemen(7) and first among those in the AL. Giambi and Andy Phillips are tied for 3rd and 4th among first baseman respectively, at 5 and 4 errors. Their combined 9 errors would rank them second among all players at that position. The Yankees as a team are tied for 24th in fielding percentage at .981 and have comitted 49 errors placing them 9th in baseball in that department.
As a team we're 3rd in average (.284), 1st in OBP (.368) 7th in SLG (.450), and 2nd in overall OPS (.818). The OPS has been high all year with a 1st place .890 in April, 14th place .764 in May, and a 6th place .812 so far in June. Our 390 runs ranks 1st in the Majors. With runners in scoring position we go .284/.394/.471 as a team (7th/1st/5th) and with runners in scoring position and two outs we go .264/.408/.433 (11th/1st/5th). It doesn't appear there's anything wrong with our hitting. Let's look at pitching.
As a team the Yanks post a 4.33 ERA which puts us in a tie for 11th place in the Majors and 5th in the American League. Our 1.36 WHIP puts us in 8th place in the Majors and 4th in the AL. We are 25th out of 30 teams in strikeouts at 404, and post a 24th place 6.01 K/9. They are tied for 19th in the Majors with 58 induced double plays, although the middle of the pack is so close that a good week would vault the team into the top 5 or 6 teams in baseball. Our OPS against is .717, which is good for 4th in baseball and 2nd in the AL. We've found ourselves struggling as the season has gone on however as teams have begun to hit us harder. In April the OPS against was .668 (3rd overall, 2nd AL). In May it increased to .723 (6th overall, 2nd AL), while June has seen another jump to .774 (19th overall, 12th AL).
What you see by looking at these numbers is that the hitting remains strong, while the pitching is middle of the road and the defense is awful. What to do? What not to do?
What to do...stabilize the pen. I have no data to back this up, so I'm going to talk out my ass for a second. My impression is that the starters have been decent for the Yankees. Johnson has been good and bad. Mussina continues to be good. Wang has been terrific. Wright is fair. Chacon is a disaster. We could use a solid upgrade near the front of the rotation to become a dominant staff, but a fair #4 would help a lot. The pen has given up the majority of the killer runs (again, out my ass) and we haven't found a single consistently reliable pitcher in the middle innings yet. Dotel will help a lot, and maybe we'll see Farnsworth, Villone, Proctor, and Myers drop into roles they are more suited to filling. No need to give up the farm on anything, but if a decent trade is out there, maybe we should look into it.
What not to do....no trades for high priced sluggers. I've said it before; I have a great love for Alfonso Soriano. It's not a numbers thing, or I'd be looking at some other guys, but I loved watching him play. Don't trade anything valuable for him. We don't need a big bat. If we can swing Reggie Sanders for some middle of the road minor leaguers maybe I do it. He's a good player, worth adding at the right price. Again, nothing significant should leave the farm for him.
What the hell CAN we do....the worst defenders on the team are the most reliable offensive weapons. A-Rod, Cano, Giambi, and even Jeter to some extent have been kicking the ball around in the infield, but they aren't going anywhere. We have to solve our defensive problems with our bats, and much better pitching. We have the bats, the defense is what it is for better or for worse, and the pitching remains the main concern. Will the Yankees make a move? Only Cash Money knows for sure.
Monday, June 19, 2006
There's a ripple effect to not using Ron Villone that I'll spell out here. I'm not talking about using Ron Villone to close out the final game in the Washington series, because Chien Ming Wang is fully capable of going 9 and bringing it home. He just threw one bad pitch and we lost. That's not something to second guess.
The thing to second guess is why Torre didn't use Ron Villone in Game 2. Think about it for a second. By mixing and matching Proctor and Rivera with other relievers in that game he overworked two arms that need to be spaced out more. Mariano had pitched two innings the previous night, and Torre was going to ask him to do it again. He coughed up the game and it's no wonder. Proctor had surrendered another of the 9 unanswered Washington runs, and didn't look too good in his brief appearance. What if Ron Villone had come into that game? Let's re-examine what happened.
T.J. Beam came into Game 2 in the Bottom of the 6th. It is his first Major League appearance after dominating AA Trenton this year and having a cup of coffee(9.2 IP) in Columbus. He records three outs with only a tough Soriano at bat resulting in a single against his record. Nice work. He's up in the Top of the 7th. Pinch hit, right. The kid's done his job. He leaves the game with a quality inning of work in his first ever big league game, and his 10th inning above AA. Nope. Torre lets him hit to "give his overworked bullpen a break". Problem is, Ron Villone has thrown 2.1 innings after his June 5th appearance, and probably could give you a couple of innings before the pitcher's slot comes up again.
You can't assume that Villone would have pitched well. For all we know he may have choked and given up 5 runs all by his lonesome. Let's just assume that he pitched well though. Let's assume that his .198 BAA/.319 OBA/.260 SLGA held up and he goes a scoreless 7th and 8th. The Yankees would have been up 9-6 with only the 9th inning to go. You would have never blown T.J. Beam's confidence. You would have never needed Mike Myers. You would never have needed Scott Proctor. Mariano could have earned a one inning save that also clinched the series and kept the pressure on Boston.
That's a big "IF" because Torre didn't use Villone. Beam wore out. Myers was brought in. Proctor threw 20 more pitches. Mariano came into the game in the 8th looking for consecutive 2 inning saves. Tell me what part of that makes sense. To bring Game 3 of the series back into the picture, maybe Wang pitches the 9th anyway and loses the game. We would have likely had the series in the bag already and you could shrug the whole thing off as an unfortunate turn of events. Maybe you even ask Mariano to pitch 3 days in a row with the plan to sit him against Philly on Monday. Maybe you ask Proctor to close out the 9th. The point is, you may have had additional options to think about had you just used Ron Villone for a change. Is that so wrong?
Saturday, June 17, 2006
1. F Scott Proctor
2. F Joe Torre for continually using Proctor over Villone
3. F Joe Torre for trying to squeeze another 5 outs out of Mariano on back to back nights.
How is it that we can't hold a 7 run lead these days. If we score 9 runs, we win right? Washington scored 9 unanswered runs against us after our 7 run Top of the 5th. I had high hopes for T.J. Beam, but after his solid inning, and a hell of a battle with Soriano, he gave it up in the 2nd inning of work. Awful.
Chacon...awful. Bullpen...awful. Torre...awful. Yankees lose 11-9.
For the record, here's Ron Villone's numbers so far:
I'm not saying he won't get lit up too, as his career numbers are about league average in many categories, but how is it that these pitchers have so many innings pitched, and he is rarely used in important situations? Just asking.
Scott Proctor (45.2)
Kyle Farnsworth (29.2)
Aaron Small (27.2) UPDATE: SMALL DFAed with 8.46 ERA
Sturtze/Erickson (23 combined)
No pictures today. I encourage you to look away. For the sake of the children.
Friday, June 16, 2006
This post is about Bernie Williams. I'm not going to talk about anything else, although the Yankees win against Washington featured a number of other subplots. Nope. Bernie gets this post all to himself. Well...perhaps with the help of Damien "Jr. Gong" Marley. Check it out.
It was written, up in the book of life That man shall, endure forever more And it was written, up in the book of life That man shall, endure forever more
Bernie Williams bucked the advice he was being given to hang it up in the offseason. He wanted another shot to play. The Yankees made the right move by giving him a deal, because it's virtually inconceivable that a guy like Bernie, who has meant to much to this franchise, would finish out his days playing for someone else. All of us knew that Bernie would probably be better off calling it a career and making the rounds at nightclubs and jazz spots with his guitar. I'd pay top dollar to see him do his thing, if only because he's Bernie Williams. Bernie came back, and he has quietly helped this team more than any of us may realize at this point.
Well did you know the pen is stronger than the knife They can kill you once but they can't kill you twice Did you know destruction of the flesh is not the ending to life fear not of the Anti-Christ
A lot has been written about what Bernie should do. Pens flowed ink from alpha to omega about the reasons why Bernie would hurt the team by playing in the field and that his lack of bat speed would produce more outs than results. They had Bernie dead and buried. You can't kill the man twice. Write the real story. Tell the people that the second coming of Bernie Williams is upon us. The destruction of his flesh is never the ending of his Yankee life....fear not the nonsense they write.
Your bodies just a vehicle Transporting the soul It's what's inside people Is beauty to behold Fear not of evil Every day dem flesh it grow old Changes of the time take toll
Bernie may not be what he once was. Every day him flesh it grow old. Changes of time take their toll...But what's inside of Bernie's a beauty to behold. Since Hideki Matsui went down, when Bernie was hitting .264/.303/.330 and drawing fire for his weak bat and arm, #51 has quietly hit .306/.353/.537 in 31 games and is now hitting .286 on the year. Over that stretch he has 5 home runs, 20 RBIs, and 19 runs scored. The Yankees are 17-14 since the Matsui injury and a lot of praise has been heaped upon the young guns brought up from AAA, but the Reincarnation of Bernie Williams has as much to do with it as anything. Hail de man. One Love.
Hey COH fans. I've been a bit busy the last few days, so I wasn't able to stay on top of the last two Yankees contests. A few things to address. Buckle up.
Randy Johnson was dominant in shutting down the Indians. He had everything working, and while he has a lot of work to put in to salvage a bitterly disappoiting open to the 2006 season, he looks like he's got his fire back. After Posada was hit by Indians starter Jason Johnson and took offense, the Big Unit threw way inside to nemesis Eddie Perez prompting tempers to flare and ejections were issued. In my opinion, that should have been the end of it. That kind of business is part of the game, and while ejections for such encounters are a relatively new addition to the game, suspensions for pitches that didn't even hit a player are virtually unheard of. That's exactly what Torre and Johnson are dealing with now, pending appeal.
That makes me want to punch someone. The Yankees among the top 5 teams in baseball for "being hit by pitch", while they rank DEAD LAST in the pitching statistic "hit batsmen". Giambi (9), Posada(6), and Jeter(4) rank among the games most hit players in 2006. In 2005, Giambi was 4th in the Majors with 19 HBP, and A-Rod was tied for 7th at 16. In 2004, both Jeter and Miguel Cairo were tied for 6th in baseball with 14 apiece. Giambi led the AL with 21 HBP in 2003 and was 3rd in all of the Majors. How many times over the last few years have we watched guys get drilled in the hands and back by opposing pitchers, and nothing has been done to settle the score? I'm not talking about settling the score in terms of macho posturing, but rather as a way to keep other pitchers honest. If they know they have to face the powerful Yankee lineup and feel the need to intimidate our players by keeping their feet "light" in the batter's box, we're going to get beaned a bunch. It's either the result of nervous pitchers with control issues, or veteran guys trying to "alpha male" their way to a looser strikezone. If we can't buzz a couple of chins in response to the latter, we're going to keep seeing our star players wearing casts on their hands and icing bruises on their backs.
The other thing I want to say today is, "Any Yankee fan who boos Alex Rodriguez in our home park can piss off." All you're doing is showing your abject lack of knowledge about the game, your team, and civil human etiquette. Just to set things straight, I booed the hell out of Hideki Irabu after he signed his $13 million contract and proceeded to bloat his way to mediocrity. That's a guy you can boo. A guy who just helped you win the division in a tight battle with the Red Sox, broke the Yankees single-season record for homers by a righty, took home the American League's Most Valuable Player award for 2005, won the Player of the Month award for May 2006, sports a 1.117 OPS with runners in scoring position and 2 outs, and who you desperately need to play well to win the division again DOESN'T NEED TO HEAR YOUR SIMIAN VOCALIZATIONS AFTER EVERY AT BAT!
There. That feels much better. Let's go get 'em Yanks. See you tomorrow.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Chien Ming Wang is the man. He's become such an important part of this team, it's hard to imagine where we'd have been without him over the last season, plus. He sports a 2.74 GO/AO ratio, which is 5th in the Majors and 2nd in the AL (Westbrook). He's also 10th in the Majors in SLG against at .348, which is good for 5th in the AL. Pitchers 5-10 on that list are separated by a mere .007 and the names are telling. Wang is in the same company as Pedro Martinez, Roy Halladay, and Mike Mussina in that bunch of pitchers. He's 15-7 in 31 starts as a Yankee, with a 1.28 WHIP and a 4.08 ERA. His 31 start-2 relief career in the Majors is also blessed by a stellar 2.92 GO/AO ratio. Impressive. I think it's fair to say that he's Hard Boiled.
The other hero of the game is the magnificent Robinson Cano.
Cano is still only 23 years old and the ceiling for him appears to be incredibly high. Torre and a few other "old timers" have thrown the name Rod Carew out there when speaking of our young second baseman, and I'd love to think that he will one day live up to that. They are both lefties. Both sport the initials RC. Both can rake with the best of them. Carew was a career .328/.393/.429 hitter, and it looks like Robbie has a shot at those kind of numbers one day. The power may be slightly better than Carew, but the speed will be a bit less. Time will tell, but you'd have to be hard pressed to trade either one of these players as of today. I love Soriano, but honestly....don't sell the young guys off.
The pen did it's job nicely in this game. Wang went deep into the game and Myers did his LOOGY work, followed by "Wild Thing" Farnsworth. Each reliever got an out and passed the rock to the Terminator. Gotta like that efficiency. Gotta like that start to a series after our struggles recently. Jeter back at SS, Phillips back at 1B, Thompson and Melky in the outfield, and a tie atop the AL East. Go get 'em Yanks! See you tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Since the Yankees had the day off today, various idiots took the opportunity to spew their mental ineptitude onto paper or into binary digits. I'm generally a good diplomat and, while I speak my mind, I always try to stay open to other facets of an argument. After reading the Daily News crap today, I threw that open-mindedness out the window for a minute to write this.
Taking the source into consideration, I still feel the need to recap certain points in Mr. Raissman's column today. The source in question, the same paper that still employs "Mr. Whine" Mike Lupica, often does little to distinguish itself from the putrid journalism found in the New York Post. Both tabloids feature dense sports sections, thick with inflammatory punditry, that offer little more than the raving lunacy of sports radio. I still check in to see what's going on, but far too often I'm annoyed. I gotta kick the habit one of these days. Let's take Assman's "musings" one by one shall we?
...it is highly doubtful A-Rod would have concocted the kind of excuses Al Yankzeera's crew did during - and after - the Bombers' 6-5 loss.
The analysis was so dubious, the voices - Michael Kay, Bobby Murcer and John Flaherty - would have been better off saying nothing, allowing the booing fans' critique to stand on its own.
Yup....it's one of these articles. I can just see Raissman maniacally grinning to himself as he sat in front of his keyboard with his meatball sub and Diet Coke, ready to rip into A-Rod.
At least none of the TV guys reacted sarcastically to the boo birds. That's what their radio colleague John Sterling did. After Rodriguez popped out in the fifth, with one out and Derek Jeter on second, Sterling said: "All he (A-Rod) has to do to stop the booing is get a hit every time up."
Sterling's sarcasm ignored the fact the booing would stop if Rodriguez would ever produce some timely hitting, especially given the Bombers' current banged-up state.
As much as I hate to side with John Sterling on anything, is he wrong? Fans have booed A-Rod virtually from opening day this year. He won the MVP last season for Christ's sake. In a Yankee uniform he sports a .300/.398/.559 line which caluclates to a .957 OPS. He hit the most home runs by a right hander in Yankees history last year. With runners in scoring position THIS SEASON he is .319/.467/.609 and with runners in scoring position and 2 outs he is .333/.511/.606, if you care to check the numbers before you puke this garbage into your computer Bob. How about with the bases loaded. .500/.556/1.000.....But I guess that's not "timely" enough for Assman.
Sterling's anti-fan spin was not surprising. The fact that Murcer decided to offer cliche rather than analysis after A-Rod's fifth-inning pop fly, was. When it comes to breaking down hitting problems, Murcer usually gets creative. Not on Sunday, when he basically told fans, who are all too familiar with Rodriguez's primary deficiency, not to worry.
"Fans all to familiar with Rodriguez's primary deficiency"...you know he was orgasmic over typing that. So we can just ignore the aforementioned contributions and achievements because the drunken idiots who occupy the cheap seats think they're entitled to see A-Rod perform something superhuman during every at bat? What should Murcer have said? "There he goes again. Geez....could A-Rod suck more? How 'bout a hit sometime A-Hole." What did he say anyway?
Murcer said Rodriguez was "obviously" struggling. "But you know, all your good hitters always struggle. They go through periods where they don't hit the ball that well," Murcer said. "... I'm talking about Ted Williams and all the good hitters. But they don't stay in slumps that long."
I love how he puts "obviously" in quotes for that extra smugness. What the hell is wrong with that? Isn't it true? A-Rod slumped at the start of the year and then responded to the Boss' rant in the papers by winning the AL Player of the Month for May. He raised his average 50 points, and his OPS by 100. He's sliding a bit over the last week or so, but he'll charge back and finish the year with typical A-Rod numbers. By the All Star break, I expect that he'll be where he should be.
Any realistic Yankee fan was already feeling queasy after hearing Kay say in the first inning that Rodriguez may have returned to the field too early after being down with a stomach virus.
This information provided Flaherty (who otherwise was impressive in a rare YES booth appearance Sunday) with another tailor-made excuse for A-Rod on the postgame show. "We have to remember that the guy came back early from a virus, and that he wasn't feeling good," Flaherty said. "His bat felt a little sluggish."
Next time Assman has a stomach flu from too many post-expiration date 7-11 nachos I'll be sure to write something about what a hack he is. I'll call him a pussy for compromising the "quality" (my version of Assman smugness) of his writing because he wuz a wittle sick...boo hoo.
A-Rod's bat tired? Kind of like all these excuses.
Ooooooh. Clever ending. Tired, "kind of like your column."
Saturday, June 10, 2006
I'm gonna get a little Dennis Miller on you here. The Yankees may as well have fielded George Eliot tonight, babe. He's about the only one who could figure out that stingy miser on the mound.
Those are the breaks. Moose pitched well. Saarloos was better. The Yanks left 14 men on base, but the A's also left 13. It came down to execution with runners in scoring position, and the Athletics got their hits today. No real shame for the Yankees. The thing is, after averaging 7 runs between the start of the Mets' series on May 19th, and the 13-5 win against Josh Beckett on June 5th (17 games), the Yanks have turned around and put up 3 runs a game over the last 4. It's a minor blip in a long season and quite understandable given the rash of injuries we've had. Still, the bats are ice cold. We should be eating the A's for breakfast. The young players are being asked to do a lot and have performed nicely, but we still need the big sticks to produce. Thompson's homer shows why he should be in right field everyday, while Bernie is planted on the bench. Giambi is hot, but Damon and Jeter have gone 1-18 in the last two games and the offense has stalled.
Jeter's struggles are quite understandable, and may be the most deciding factor in the scoring slump. Think about it for a second. Without our .340 hitter in the lineup you lose one of the top bats in the Majors. You also replace him at shortstop with a guy with a negative WARP rating and a 13 runs below average defensive rating at SS, in Miguel Cairo. With Derek in the lineup as the DH, Giambi has to play the field, which is an adventure. That means red hot Andy Phillips sits on the bench, while Cairo gets to piss away at bats. That shows something about the value of our own Little Derek Horner and his thumb.
If Jeter can't throw, it stands to reason that he can't grip a bat very well. I wonder if his attempt to play through the injury is the best thing in the long run. We're missing a chance to get Andy Phillips in there everyday to accomodate Jeter, but at what cost. Let's keep an eye on it. Another 0-fer may define the cost of Jeter's DHing.
Not a problem. With the Red Sox loss, we're only a half game out of first. All the injuries haven't seen us lose ground in the AL East, and it seems the youngsters have helped us to gain ground. Barry Zito hasn't fared well against the Bombers in the past, and maybe we can salvage the series against him with a big win tomorrow. The Stockings have to play a split double-header tomorrow against the Rangers because of all the rain in Boston, which sounds like a terrible experience. Is the weather going to be any better for that one? Have faith. Go Yanks. See you tomorrow.
Friday, June 09, 2006
June 9th, 2006
742 Evergreen Terrace
Maybe it's the beer talking Randy, but you've got a slider that won't quit. They've got these big chewy pretzels here that are [drunken rambling] Five dollars? Get outta here.
Here's the Unit's line against Oakland:
4 IP, 6 H, 5BB, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 Ks, 3 HOMERS
Two other notes on this game. Aaron Small pitched very well in "relief" of the Big Obit. He came in and threw 3 straight pitches out of the strike zone...not even close....and walked the first man he faced. Then he seemed to find his groove and produced his best outing of the year. Too bad it was wasted.
The other note is about Torre's decision to leave in Miguel Cairo to face A's reliver Chad Gaudin in the bottom of the 6th. With the bases loaded and 2 outs, the Yankees had their best chance to get back into the game. Down 5 runs you need to work the count, get your pitch, and drive it somewhere. Cairo has had his fair share of big moments for the Yankees, but he's really just a singles hitter with a career OBP of .318 and twice as many Ks as BBs. Andy Phillips is sitting on the bench sporting a .370 OBP and a .769 SLG in June. He has 3 home runs and 5 RBIs in his last 5 games. I'm not saying he wouldn't have struck out swinging like Cairo, but there is no hotter Yankee at the moment and what do you have to lose? He's showed in his AAA and AA days that he's capable of doing good things with a combined OPS in those days of about .900. If you're worried about defense after the pinch hit, I hear A-Rod plays a decent SS and Phillips filled in at 3B against the Orioles on the 4th. Go for it. Why waste the chance on a career journeyman with a light bat?
After a lengthy rain delay, Jason Giambi and Robinson Cano did their best to make it a game, but it was too little, too late. Cairo got another at bat and struck out. In a one run game, when a home run ties it, how does he get another at bat? Yanks lose 6-5.
That's it. Let's get 'em tomorrow. Go Yanks.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
After taking the first two games against the Sox with impressive hitting, pitching, and defense the Yankees proceeded to abandon their recent success by turning to the tandem of Proctor and Erickson to piss Game 3 away.
I was on the Proctor bandwagon to start the season, so I'm not going to pretend that I knew it all along, but he has no real track record of prolonged success, and it appears his status as a flash-in-the-pan hurler is being confirmed nightly before the eyes of incredulous Yankee fans everywhere. Erickson on the other hand is as big a has-been (or rather "never-really-was") as there in the the entire Major Leagues. Why he's pitching in Yanks vs. Sox games is stunning to say the least. The way I look at it, the Yankees bullpen minus Mariano has done nothing to instill confidence from Day One. Some of the guys we have on the team have shown flashes of ability, but more often than not they have coughed up the game late. Farnsworth's mistake to Manny was erased by a highlight reel play by Melky Cabrera or else we'd be including him in this latest tongue-lashing as well.
This is about Proctor and Erickson. If you're going to waste the late innings of ballgames on these two clowns, why not bring up Colter Bean, or even T.J. Beam for goodness sake. They couldn't possibly be worse than Proctor and Tom Selleck. In fact, I'd rather see T.C. get a shot at a relief appearance before either Rick or Magnum. I know Beam is just up to Columbus from AA Trenton, but he has been dominant and may stick at the Major League level given a chance. The Yanks probably want to save him from a confidence shaking experience in the Bigs if he gets rocked, so I can understand it if he stays at AAA. Both Proctor and Erickson have had their chances and have shown that their careers are generally a wash, so it's better to make some kind of move.
The rest of the game was interesting. Schilling was dominant. He kept the Yanks off balance, and there were more oh-fers on the night for talented guys than can be expected if the Yanks hope to win. With Schilling that good, the Yanks pen has to be even better. By the time Schilling had cruised into the later innings, our guys were playing Red Sox Merry Go Round on the bases. Matt Smith made an appearance, but it was a little late to read anything into his 1 inning of work.
The A's come to town with one of the worst offenses in the Majors, ranking in the bottom 25% in virtually every category. Their pitching is middle of the road, and the Yanks should take at least 2 of 3. The X-Factor is whether we see a regular lineup that features Damon, Jeter, Giambi, A-Rod, Cano, Posada, Phillips, Bernie and Cabrera. Jeter should be back soon. Any day now. With that team on the field and sensible bullpen choices (Free Ron Villone) winning this series should be easy. Go get 'em fellas. See you tomorrow.
I'm back from Tokyo, and ready to rock and roll. Did you miss me?
George Herman "Buddha" Ruth guarded the Temple COH well and worked his magic on the visiting Red Sox. I'm almost afraid to replace him at the top of the blog with this post, but he's still there watching. Did you hear that Papi? Manny? Who do you think gave Melky the extra burst he needed to steal that game tying homer? Yup. The Lotus of Swat.
It seems the Yankees have a good plan these days for the draft. I don't know jack about any of the guys they picked to be honest, but why not pick a billion pitchers (especially college pitchers) and hope that just one of them works out? We're going to buy whichever big name is on the market, and try to fill in a slot in the rotation or two with homegrown talent. That's what we always do, and it works. If we can get two or three of our draftees to be worthy of a starting spot with the Big Boys, we hit '777' and should be on top for another decade at least. It sounds like 1st Round Sandwich pick Joba Chamberlain is a well regarded player....
Jeter's thumb and wrist seem like they're getting better and I think we were lucky to get the rain out when we did. It gave him a chance to rest another day and play in a larger number of games down the road. Last year we won the division by a hair with a tied record. If Jeter plays in one extra game thanks to that rainout, and gets a game winning hit, we can thank the weather.
Rumors continue to fly about the Yankees' pursuit of a big name outfielder. Personally, I don't see the need unless we suddenly start to slide. We score plenty with Damon, Jeter, Giambi, A-Rod, Posada, and Cano. The young guys are clubbing the ball around the park and have injected some life into a dreary squad of veterans. Keep it going. The names I hear are nice to think about from a fantasy perspective, but not really in reality. Ken Griffey, Jr. would probably cost too much and end up on the DL with our other guys. Soriano is a personal favorite (I still have a #12 home jersey because of him) and I'd even think about trying to grab Livan Hernandez in a package, but what would they ask for? Cano and Wang. Cano and Phillips? I don't really think we need him or Livan enough to give away our young guys. As much as I worship the ground Soriano walks on, he'll have to come back as a FA if he wants to wear the pinstripes again.....and play the outfield.......and hit down in the order. Does any of that make sense financially or logistically or statistically? Stick with what's working now.
A couple of other random notes. Mike, over at In George We Trust, has finally had it with Blogger and is revamping his blog at a new location. It's almost fully operational, and can be found at Baby Bombers, or at the link found in the right hand column.
I run a wise-ass NBA blog with my buddy over at East versus West, and generally write profanity laced diatribes about the NBA and the Knicks. I've been on a campaign to start a Matt Millenesque chant at Knick games "Sell the Team". Sell the Team", and it seems that someone has picked up the same banner and is running with it. You probably know the story already, but build some momentum behind this movement. Dolan and Isiah are the worst things to happen to the Knicks since their inception and need to be run out of town on a rail. You can make it happen. Power to the people!
See you tomorrow. Go Yanks!
Sunday, June 04, 2006
As I will be in Tokyo at a conference during the first half of this week, Canyon of Heroes may or may not be updated daily. I'm sorry for the lack of new posts during this period, but I will be back just after the Boston series to give my thoughts.
In the meantime, keep the faith. I've left a good luck charm to guard the fort. Go Yanks!!