Jun 30, 2007


I am unable to watch today's game (which the Yanks currently trail 7-0), so instead I watched last night's Triple-A Scranton game. I was paying special attention to Edwar Ramirez, the 26-year-old Dominican reliever who's been dominating the minors this year. His 'out' pitch is a nasty changeup that dives down almost like a splitter. He was perfect again last night, going three innings striking out six. He had good (not great) command of his 89-90 mph fastball (good enough velocity - I was afraid that a 26-year-old career minor leaguer meant he couldn't throw hard), but great command of the change (I don't know how much slower it is, but by the swings generated, it can't be above 80 mph). He also seemed to have a little slider. Just marvel at his stats this year: 43.1 ip, .62 era, 80 K, 17 BB, 1 HR, .128 baa, .83 whip.
And it's not just this year, as we see from his career minor league stats (prior to 2007): 211.2 ip, 2.90 era, 11.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, .6 HR/9, 1.11 whip.
Extremely impressive numbers, which makes the fact that he was released twice by Anaheim even more puzzling. Was their farm system so stacked that a guy like this couldn't make it?

Update 10:30 - in Edwar's previous game (June 24), he hit 92 mph with the fastball and 80 with the changeup. I would call that a big difference, but then when you factor in the movement and command of the changeup, it becomes a plus-plus pitch.

Watching Farnsworth, Myers, Vizcaino and Villone is making me sick. This guy has dominated throughout his career, and it's time he gets a shot in the big leagues.
Don't forget about Chris Britton and Sean Henn, also guys that should be pitching in the Bronx.

Jun 29, 2007

More Arod thoughts

Would you rather have half a season of Arod, or years of top prospects? There's NO guarantee the Yanks resign Arod if/when he opts out. And face it, he's having a great year, but is unlikely to repeat it, especially since (historically speaking) he's past his prime. Plus, it's not like the Yanks are 10 games over .500, and assured of a playoff spot. The playoffs look like a longshot at this point. If the Yanks are still just .500 in late July, why not trade Arod for (hopefully) Broxton and Kershaw from L.A.? A flamethrowing 23-year-old, and a 19-year-old lefty strikeout machine. And guess what? When Arod opts out at year's end, the Yanks can sign him just like every other team. So they'd get prospects and keep Arod!

I know about the no-trade clause, but if Arod wants to be on a contender, and in SoCal (who doesn't?), I think he'd approve a trade. These no-trade-clause situations always seem to work out somehow. Remember Randy Johnson?

Jun 25, 2007

What to do?

if the Yanks continue to play .500 ball through late-July (and are 10+ games out of the playoffs), I say become sellers. Yes, the New York Yankees should become mid-season sellers, in order to create a better team for the 2008+ seasons. (Wow, I just noticed that several other blogs are taking on this exact subject, but I swear I didn't do it to emulate them. I've been thinking about this for a few days...)

What moves should be taken between then and the beginning of the 2008 season? I'll try to organize it into a list:

1. Trade Arod.
He is at his very highest value now and will almost certaily opt-out of his contract at season's end to become a free agent. I (and seemingly Brian Cashman) don't want the Yanks signing another overpriced free agent in his mid-30s. And that's what Arod will be, perhaps garnering as much as $30 million a year for the next eight years! There are several teams stocked with prospects looking for offense - notably the L.A. teams, the Angels and Dodgers. Now the question is: what would they give up for potentially half a season of Arod? Maybe Jon Broxton and/or Clayton Kershaw from the Dodgers? The 23-year-old Broxton, in three big league seasons, has K'ed 165 in 127 innings. He has a high-90s fastball with a passable slider, and I watched him utterly dominate the Mets in two games earlier this month. Broxton could quite possibly be Mo's replacement. The 19-year-old Kershaw is utterly dominating the High-A Midwest League, to a 1.72 era in 68 innings with a ridiculous 91 Ks (with 35 walks) and one HR (oh, and he's also a southpaw).
As for the Angels, they have Casey Kotchman, a good young first-baseman, Howie Kendrick, a great hitting utility player, and Mike Napoli, a solid young catcher. The 24-year-old Kotchman is an excellent defensive first-baseman, and despite having a few sub-par years (mostly due to injuries), is having a break out year (and it should only continue - his patience and discipline is telling: a career 53/58 bb/k ratio). The 23-year-old Kendrick is one of those pure hitters, like Robbie Cano and Vlad Guerrero. Through two partial seasons, he has a career line of .290/.321/.423 - not a great OBP, but the fact that he's played 2B, 1B and 3B makes him the best utility infielder in baseball. And with experience his patience will come. The 25-year-old Napoli has a career OPS+ of 114 through two partial seasons. None of these guys will become superstars like Broxton or Kershaw have the potential to be, but perhaps all three of them could be brought back for Arod. But between the two teams, the Dodgers prospects are far more intriguing. And between half a year of Arod and the right prospects, I'll take the young'ins.

2. Trade the dead weight.
That might be a harsh term for Abreu, Mussina, Myers and Farnsworth, but it's mostly true. They're old and overpaid. Abreu is a three hitter getting paid $15 million that regularly bunts and has an OPS of .716. Mussina is 38 and is getting paid $11 mil to have a 4.98 ERA. Farnsy has an ERA of 5.19 and just 19 Ks in 30 innings. And of course Myers, the lefty specialist that can't get out lefties (.794 OPS vs. lefties, .547 vs. righties). The three pitchers shouldn't be too hard to get rid of, everyone's looking for pitching. And Abreu has a good eye (despite this sub-par year), a strong arm and speed.

3. Get these guys.
Sign Ichiro and Carlos Zambrano. The Yanks are probably going to sign one of them (and thereby lose their 2008 first round draft pick), so why not go for both, who happen to be the best free agents on the market?
Ichiro is one of, if not the best centerfielder (and leadoff hitter) in baseball, which would be a huge upgrade over Damon (not that his range is poor, but his arm is weaker than weak), and a slight upgrade over Melky. Now understand, I do think Melky will become a very good centerfielder, but his inexperience has hurt the team several times this year. Let him take over right field (or 4th OFer) for the time being, and perhaps he becomes the everyday CFer after Ichiro's contract runs out. If Damon can't be traded, make him the first-baseman/DH/4th Ofer. And I know Ichiro is 34, but he will age well (having young player skills: batting average and speed) and bring even more popularity to the Yankee franchise in Asia. However, I do not want to sign him for more than four years - despite his young player skills, 39 is too old for an everyday CFer.
Carlos Zambrano is a workhorse who is sure to give the Yanks quality innings. Let's get it out of the way now: he has been overused in Chicago, by the same machine that burnt out Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. So there is the risk of injury. But, he will be 27 next year, and has pitched more than 200 innings each of the past four years. This fact means that he has successfully passed through the most injury prone period in a hurler's career: the 19-21 age seasons (as I believe Baseball Prospectus' TINSAAP states, although I can't remember specifically). And not just passed through them, but throwing 200+ innings every year. You probably have an idea how good he is, but for good measure - careerwise: 1082 ip, 8 K/9, 4 BB/9 (admittedly high), .69 HR/9, 1.6 GO/AO, .670 OPS against, 129 ERA+. He even holds runners extremely well, with 21 basestealers successful against 26 being caught - no one's even attempted to steal off him this year (that's incredible, and the Cubs haven't exactly had Pudge behind the plate all those years). As further evidence of his 'work-horseness,' his OPS against is actually better after his 100th pitch than between pitches 1 and 50. And again, he'll be just 27. Think about 2008's potential rotation: Wang, Zambrano, Pettitte, Hughes and TBD (a lot of good options for the fifth spot - T-Clip, Karstens, Rasner, Igawa, Kennedy, Joba, Marquez, Horne, not to mention any free agents or trades).

4. Let's see what we have.
Bring up Chris Britton, Edwar Ramirez and Shelley Duncan, who are all doing exceptionally well in Triple-A Scranton. Drop Villone, Myers and Phillips. Perhaps Eric Duncan actually is the first-baseman of the future, or maybe Trenton's Juan Miranda, the Cuban refugee signed to a four-year, $2 million deal.

5. Time to go, Joe.
Joe Torre retires gracefully at season's end. Joe Girardi comes down from the YES booth to take his place. Youthful intelligence and prowess pervades the team. Fantastic!

Jun 24, 2007

This is how I felt

After yesterday's loss.

You can't blame Arod though. He's still hitting everything.

PS: This New Jersey dog was crowned 'World's Ugliest.' Why does it not surprise me that it's from Jersey?

Jun 23, 2007

Kei OK

After a disappointing sweep in Colorado, the Yanks were depending on Japanese import Kei Igawa to end the losing streak. He made his (not) much anticipated return tonight and pitched four great innings before a fifth inning meltdown. He started off very well, keeping his fastball low and using his changeup effectively - even striking out Barry Bonds on three pitches, before giving up two runs in the fifth on three hits and two walks. Even though the start lowered his era by nearly half a run, he got away with a lot of mistakes: high changeups, pitches off the plate that the hitters swung at, hard hit balls right at defenders, etc. He did however, look good against lefties so maybe his eventual role will be as a lefty specialist/long reliever. To BR.com for the answer... nope - lefties and righties are both hitting him about equally (to a .900 OPS!).

Hideki Matsui made the play of the game, robbing Bengie Molina of a three-run double. Igawa had been pulled for Vizcaino - Molina lined a high fastball that made my heart jump into my throat (I was sure it was gone), but Matsui ran it down in deep left field to make a leaping catch right in front of the wall. Whew...

Derek Jeter continued his poor baserunning, being picked off twice! (One was technically a caught stealing.)

Arod was the hero though, going 4-4 with 2 rbi, a double and a walk.

Our ace goes tomorrow, so I feel good about taking this series.

PS: Every team ahead of us in the wildcard lost tonight, so we're 5.5 back and tied with Minnesota.

Jun 21, 2007

Two runs

In 18 innings... in Colorado?!

Jun 20, 2007

News Update

- the Yanks were shut down last night by Josh Fogg. As if that's not surprising enough, the game was played a mile above sea level!

- Josh Phelps was demoted to Triple-A Scranton and Andy Phillips was recalled.

- the Short Season Staten Island Yankees and rookie level Gulf Coast League Yankees began their seasons yesterday, both losing. SI's top prospects are three pitchers: Dellin Betances, Zach McAllister and Angel Reyes. The top GCL prospects include infielders Abraham Almonte and Prilys Cuello.

- Phil Hughes will begin throwing within a week. That's very good news. I could see him joining the big club in early August after a few minor league rehab starts.

- the Yanks signed two Chinese teenagers to minor league deals.

- EJ Fagan finished his analysis and ranking of the Yanks top 30 prospects. Definitely worth a read.

Jun 18, 2007

Wang works wonders

Pete Abraham -

The one weakness of Chien-Ming Wang - and it is far more of a minor fault than a major failing - is that he doesn't strike out enough hitters.

Wang won 19 games for the Yankees last season despite averaging 3.14 strikeouts per nine innings. Of the 70 starters in baseball who reached 180 innings, Wang had the fewest strikeouts.

"With him it doesn't matter so much, because he doesn't walk many batters and he gets so many ground balls," said reliever Mike Myers, one of Wang's closest friends on the team. "But he needed something else he could go to."

That learning process, delayed when Wang strained his right hamstring in spring training, was on display last night. The sinker specialist struck out a career-high 10 as the Yankees beat the Mets 8-2 at Yankee Stadium.

Jun 17, 2007

Clippard demoted to Triple-A

And Kevin Thompson was recalled.

I again didn't get to see yesterday's game (due to FOX's Saturday exclusive rights bullshit), but thank god the Yanks won. Friday was a tough loss and despite T-Clip's poor outing, the hitters jumped all over Tom Glavine to give the pitchers a cushion.

- My wife and I attended last night's Trenton Thunder game. The first minor league game of my life. A lot of fun. Very cheap - $10 for the tickets (standing room only - the usher basically told us to take any seat we wanted though), $4.75 for a good beer, $4 for a gigantic soda, and $4.75 for a good cheesesteak. Ian Kennedy pitched and looked dominant save for the second inning when he gave up two runs on three straight hits. He located his fastball well, getting several Ks on it (both looking and swinging), and used a curve to keep hitters off balance. The changeup didn't look too good, and I know the one double he gave up was on the change. He was pulled after five probably due to pitch count. Jeff Kennard relieved him and dominated, pitching three perfect innings. Minor league hitters are far inferior to the major league variety. I can't remember how many times they fished at the high fastball. Major league hitters rarely swing at that, and even when they do, they make contact at a decent rate. Cody Ehlers looked defeated after a hard grounder to second last night. He flipped the bat in front of home plate and stalked back to the dugout after being called out. Perhaps he hears the footsteps of Juan Miranda behind him... Photos from last night coming soon. I expect to be attending several more games this summer.

Jun 15, 2007

Bats go silent

Oliver Perez was what baseball people call 'effectively wild.' The Yankees did him favor after favor, swinging at pitches out of the zone.

Clemens pitched even better than his first time out, going 6.1 innings allowing just two runs, but the bats went to sleep.

Winning streak over at nine. Tomorrow's an important game. The rookie T-Clip vs. the 295 game winner Tom Glavine. The Yanks have to win to have a chance to take the series.

Jun 14, 2007

Do I hear ten?

Pettitte had another stellar outing, allowing just one run in eight innings.

I don't know if Doug Davis couldn't throw strikes or just didn't want to.

Nine and counting...

PS: It's the longest winning streak in baseball this year.

Jun 13, 2007

Moose steps up

Mussina had by far his best fastball of the season, even hitting 91 mph! In past games, it was topping out at 87.

The turning point? Probably when Livan Hernandez failed to field Abreu's weak chopper cleanly, which prevented Arizona from turning two. Arod came up next and destroyed a first pitch slider off the left field facade (a very rare feat) to give the Yanks a lead they would never relinquish.

Eight and counting...

Jun 12, 2007

My heart jumped into my throat

...when Tony Clark hit that liner (that I was sure would tie the game) that landed in Bobby Abreu's glove.

The turning point of the game (after Abreu's three-run shot of course - could he be any hotter?) was something fairly innocuous: Farnsworth's 3-2 pitch that Orlando Hudson swung threw. Arizona's Stephen Drew had already led off the inning with a double, and no one in the stadium thought Farns could throw three strikes, but he did somehow! And that's the biggest reason he got by with a fastball down the middle (and the fact that it was 97 mph).

Wang was just ok against a poor Arizona offense. His slider wasn't as sharp as it has been, but his changeup served to keep hitters off balance. Several nice defensive plays were made behind him - namely two by Cairo (who has to play 1b for every Wang start, at least until D-Mint returns) and a leaping grab by Jeter that saved a run.

This was a matchup of baseball's best groundball pitchers (Webb ranks first in groundball rate, Wang fourth) - and they produced 21 groundball outs between them but surprisingly Wang had more fly outs (10) than ground outs (9). This was the first chance I've had to see last year's NL Cy Young winner, but I wasn't that impressed. His fastball tops out at 90 mph, and he throws a good curve and great changeup. The Yanks pounced on him for three first inning runs but he shut them down after that. If he was in the AL East (and they were familiar with him), I'm confident they would have hit him even better.

Back to .500!
Seven and counting...

- Elsewhere, Joba Chamberlain dominated in his Double-A debut tonight: 5 ip, 3 h, 0 r, 9 k, 2 bb. Yeah, wow.

What is a quality start?

I was thinking about this. The general notion is that a 'quality start' is six or more innings, and three or less earned runs. This seemed fairly antiquated to me, so I started thinking about what it should be. Six innings and three runs is very good for the current era, but it's of rather low quality for the late 60s. A quality start should be defined as an above average start - in terms of innings and earned runs (compared to the league average). And really, it's a more valuable stat than era - era can be over-affected by one game (either for good or bad), but quality starts tells the story of many starts.

So I looked at the AL's average for innings per start and starters era. This year, ip/game started is between 5 2/3 and 6, so the old notion is correct (right now) - a start of six or more innings is quality, and less is not. Starters era is 4.52, so anything better than that (for a single game) is quality. Just looking at the Yanks staff for the leaders, we get:

Pettitte 10
Wang 5
Moose 3
Igawa 2 (counting that first inning relief effort against Boston)
DeSalvo 2
T-Clip 1
Hughes 1
Clemens 1
Pavano 1
Rasner 0

Not surprisingly, Pettitte has been by far the best and most consistent Yankee starter this year.

How about 2006 (ip/gs = 5.25 (roughly the same as 07), era = 4.73):
Moose 23
Wang 18
R. Johnson 16
Wright 10
Lidle 5
Karstens 4
Chacon 3
Rasner 2

This is surprising. I expected Wang to be far and away the best, but Moose turned out to be so.

Source: BR.com

Jun 11, 2007

Six and counting...

The bullpen and the bats gave the Yanks their sixth straight win, the longest streak of the year. Ty Clippard didn't fare well, but in his defense, he got squeezed out of two obvious strike threes - both batters that he proceeded to walk and came around to score. Yes, he should overcome that, but it's still just his fifth major league start, so he's still adjusting.

Abreu and Arod carried the offense, going a combined 6-7 with 3 walks, 8 runs and 8 rbi!

- Elsewhere, pitching prospect Joba Chamberlain was promoted to Double-A Trenton after posting great numbers at Tampa: 40 innings, 2.03 era, 51 strikeouts, 11 walks and a .181 batting average against. He was the 41st overall pick last year, and has a mid 90s fastball with a good slider and an improving changeup.

Jun 10, 2007

Minor league news

- To make room for Roger Clemens on the 40-man roster, Phil Hughes was moved from the 15 to the 60-day DL. Not really unexpected (what with the ankle sprain), so assuming it's retroactive to May 1 (when he pulled his hamstring), he'll come off the DL July 1. It'll probably be at least three weeks (rehabbing and making minor league starts) after that until he's back in the Bronx.

- Prilys Cuello, a highly touted Dominican prospect made his U.S. debut tonight for the Tampa Yankees (filling in because of injuries). He's projected as a middle-infielder in the mold of Robbie Cano, and becomes the second youngest player in all of Single-A baseball. He hit leadoff and went 0-4 with two strikeouts. When the injured regulars return, he's expected to get demoted to the (rookie ball) Gulf Coast League Yankees.

Jun 9, 2007

Clemens returns with a win

I did not get to see the game (thanks to MLB and FOX), only highlights, but Clemens looked solid. A great splitter, diving late at mid-80s velocity.

Bryan Hoch reports -

For weeks, the Yankees have insisted that they weren't waiting for Roger Clemens to prop the team on his 44-year-old shoulders, like some pinstriped savior riding in from the outposts of Tampa, Trenton or Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

All the Yankees desired, as Clemens journeyed to the big leagues and clicked the meter on a lucrative contract, was for him to slot as a productive member of their rotation, promising them a stable effort every fifth day.

Mission accomplished. Clemens' Bronx relaunch was a success, as The Rocket notched a win in his first start of the season, pitching six innings in the Yankees' 9-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.

"It felt like old times," Clemens said. "I've got to take a little deep breath now. I understand the excitement that's there and the expectations that are there. There's a lot of both."

Clemens threw 108 pitches in the start, limiting the Pirates to three runs and five hits in helping the Yankees extend their winning streak to a season-high five games. New York is now two games under .500 at 29-31 and had been showing signs of renewal even before Clemens jazzed things up.

Five and counting...

Some (long) game!

Too tired to write so here's a good read from the Times -

Last night’s 5-4 Yankee v
ictory over Pittsburgh — won on a bases-loaded infield single by Derek Jeter in the 10th inning — was not a flawless game, but it was a delight for those who enjoy good pitching, especially from left-handed starters.

Neither Andy Pettitte of the Yankees nor Tom Gorzelanny of the Pirates got the decision before 54,240 fans at Yankee Stadium. But both starters pitched well enough to win in masterly displays of their art.

The victory came when Jeter “didn’t have a good swing,” he said, on a two-seam fastball from Matt Capps (3-3), the fifth Pittsburgh relief pitcher. The ball bounced slowly to second baseman Freddy Sánchez, who could not make a play while Robinson Canó scored.

“I was lucky,” Jeter said. “It’s not like you try to hit it right there.” But, with a smile, Jeter added that it was all right to write that he tried to do just that. It was his night, from start to finish. On their way in, fans were given souvenir dolls of Jeter, who had two hits and two runs batted in while raising his average to .332.

Hideki Matsui hit a two-run homer in the sixth off Gorzelanny, who is in his first full season and has a 6-3 record. Getting the victory was Mariano Rivera (2-3), who worked the final two innings after Pettitte gave up four runs and nine hits in eight innings.

- Don't forget, Clemens debuts tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Jun 8, 2007

Intriguing pick by Yanks

With the 1345th pick, the Yankees selected switch-pitcher Pat Venditte from Creighton University. Yes, a switch-pitcher! No more need to matchup handedness during the late innings of games, and just having Venditte saves a valuable roster spot. (This is all of course assuming that he ever signs with the Yanks and makes the majors, but I'm pulling for him.) He was second in Division I college baseball in appearances and fifth in batting average against. He also led his team in era (1.88), strikeouts (99), innings (95.2), hit by pitches (13) and wild pitches (8).

For a complete rundown of the Yanks draft, go here.

Pen does their best to blow it

(Remember, this is after Wang gave the entire pen a day off.) From Mike Myers allowing the tying single to a lefty, to Scott Proctor nearly giving up a three-run homer (forcing Melky to make another spectacular catch), to Kyle Farnsworth failing to get just two outs in the 8th, the bullpen tried their damndest to lose the game. Mo and the Yankee offense came to the rescue - Rivera got the last five outs, and the bats exploded for six runs (all with two outs) in the top of the 9th to seal the win. The big blow came from Arod, who muscled an inside fastball over the left field wall for a grand slam. (Ironically, that same fly ball would be an easy out in the vast expanses of Death Valley.)

Mike Mussina pitched his best game of the year, but the offense couldn't do much against Jose Contreras. Speaking of the offense, I have never seen a player line out more often than Josh Phelps. At least once a game he rockets a ball right at the third-baseman or shortstop.

Getting back to the pen, let's look at some scary season stats.
Mike Myers vs. LHB (63 pa) - .350/.413/.475, that's atrocious for a lefty specialist. And for some reason, he has a .60 home era but a 6.10 road era. Why is he still on the team?
Kyle Farnsworth vs. LHB (55 pa) - .283/.400/.500, also terrible, especially for the supposed '8th inning guy.' The only reason he should remain with the team is to face David Ortiz (who has a career .000/.333/.000 line against Farns in nine pa).

I'm afraid to look at Luis Vizcaino's stats. That's sure to be a horror show.

Not to get too down, we have won three straight, six of eight, and our best pitcher goes tonight against a weak hitting team... Things are starting to look up (knock on wood). By the way, Pittsburgh's Tom Gorzelanny is a tough lefty (2.53 era), not a good matchup for the Yanks.

Jun 7, 2007

With the 30th pick of the first round, the New York Yankees

... select Andrew Brackman, right-hand pitcher, North Carolina State University.

I was pleased to hear those words today. Of course, most of what I know about him is from ESPN's draft coverage, which praised the 21-year-old Brackman - he has the 'best fastball in the college class,' and is a 'tremendous pick' according to Jim Callis. When he's healthy, he 'touches 99 mph'! Oh, and he's six-foot-ten!
Why did he fall to number 30 when he's a 'second or third overall talent'? His agent is Scott Boras, he has 'elbow issues,' and may have character issues. Still, that kind of talent is hard to pass up.

You win two in a row, that's called a winning streak

It was a combination of great pitching and a team wide (Chicago) slump that helped the Yanks win tonight. Does it not seem like every White Sox player is hitting .220? Throw in a good effort by Wang, some timely hitting and defense, and you have the Yanks first complete game of the year.

Two things that stood out: 1. Wang's slider is improving with every start. He's got the fastball that moves in to righties and now a great slider that moves away from righties - that's a devastating combo; 2. Wang has begun to throw a four-seam fastball at times - tonight it was on a 1-2 pitch to Juan Uribe which he took high (94 mph), but it set up the next pitch, a low 80s slider that Uribe swung over for strike three.

Melky and Cano might just be the stalwarts of this defense for years. They each made potential game-turning plays tonight: Melky's rocket that nailed Jerry Owens at home (that would've brought Chicago within two), and Cano turning a rocket grounder into a 4-6-3 double play. And the fact that they're good friends makes it all the more fun to watch. After every win, they do a leaping high-five during the post-game on-field 'celebration.' And they smile more than any other players (save for the possible exceptions of Jeter and Damon).

Three wins in their last four games, and four of their last six. Mussina goes tomorrow and a solid start from him would go a long way, especially since he's been the Yanks most disappointing starter (relative to expectations coming into the year).

- Elsewhere, Roger Clemens threw 54 pitches in preparation for Saturday's debut against Pittsburgh - which I won't be able to fucking see because MLB granted FOX exclusive rights to Saturday afternoon games (of their choice - this week it's Mets and Tigers), so no dice for any other games.

- A good little read on how every current Yankee entered professional baseball: either draft (round, team) or amateur free agent. The amateur draft is tomorrow (Thursday) at 2 p.m. on ESPN2. Did you know Ron Villone was a first round pick and Kyle Farnsworth was taken in round 47?

Jun 6, 2007

Bats come alive

The top of the order was the difference tonight - Damon, Jeter, Abreu and Arod (the one through four hitters) went a combined 10 for 19, with a walk, four doubles, a HR and (perhaps most surprisingly) no strikeouts.

Ty Clippard also chipped in with five innings of one-run ball (he escaped a lot of jams and 2-0 counts, which won't happen every night).

The bullpen held the lead until Bruney had control problems and Mo had to be brought in. It was a very solid all-around win for the Bombers, and they need to string together a few games like this - they're taking one step forward and one back when they need to take three steps forward - and get back to .500, otherwise no playoffs this year.

On the postgame show, Paul O'Neill and Michael Kay were saying how the Yanks could have a winning streak going now that Wang and Mussina are starting the next two games - am I the only one who feels utterly un-confident in Moose? I'd rather have T-Clip pitching than him right now - he's getting shelled out there. Unfortunately, there's no one better to take his place (no thanks Igawa, Ohlendorf and Chase Wright) until Phil Hughes returns, and that may not happen until August at the earliest!

- Elsewhere (as in Trenton, New Jersey), Ian Kennedy made his Double-A debut and didn't fare too well: four runs in five innings, but he did strike out six without allowing a walk.

Jun 4, 2007

The Yankee offense ceased to exist

For exactly 7.2 innings - from one out in the first to one out in the ninth, the bats were dead. They made Jon Garland look like Christy Mathewson.

Matt DeSalvo's poor start didn't help much either, as he lasted just 1.1 innings (two earned runs). He was sent down to Triple-A Scranton after the game.

The only good news is that Chris Britton pitched well (one hit in three innings), and Cano and Abreu are finally starting to hit again. Cano had three hits but two were for naught as Josh Phelps grounded into double-plays after each of his first two (with two runners on mind you).

They just can't get a winning streak going. Having Clemens start this game would have helped immensely. Ty Clippard, another rookie, goes tomorrow night.

Arod goes from goat to hero

Two innings previous, Arod popped out with the tying run on third and no outs. In the ninth, he homered on an 0-2 pitch to give the Yanks the lead. Funny how things can change so fast.

Some play by Melky... and some play by Abreu (the one in the eighth inning).

Anyway, it was great to take the second straight series from Boston, but the problem is not having a letdown the rest of the time.

Roger Clemens was set to start Monday's game against Chicago but pulled himself due to a 'fatigued groin.' Matt DeSalvo will start instead, with Rocket's return likely Saturday against Pittsburgh.

PS: I just got a new HDTV, and it was beautiful watching the Sawx fans stream out of Fenway after Arod's bomb. Speaking of which, are they not the most bi-polar fans you've ever seen? If there's a player they don't like (even on their own team), they're completely, utterly merciless - yet if there's a player they deem 'worthy,' he's treated like conquering royalty, e.g. Josh Beckett getting a standing ovation after 6.1 innings and four earned runs. Pay attention New England, that's actually not a quality start (in fact it makes for an era of 5.68).