Aug 31, 2006

I Left Halfway Through...

...tonight's game, due to a severe stomach ache. But I'm kind of glad I didn't stay now, what with the heart-wrenching ending...

A couple fans around me said some interesting things about Arod. When he first came up, he received a warm reception, to which the guy next to me said, 'Have these people been watching the same guy that I've been the past 3 weeks?' and after he popped out, a guy behind me described him as a 'delicate little butterfly.' Anyway, he went 0-4. But hey, he did have an rbi groundout!

Those damn walks. Oh, how I wanted Proctor to get his first career save. The scouts are catching on to Proctor's MO of throwing a slider for strike 1 (which he did in his .1 ip in game 1), because Monroe jumped all over it. Detroit's lucky to have this one. If Rivera comes in, it's over. If Kyle comes in, it's (probably) over - he's been a closer before. It's tough to get on Proctor, because he leads baseball in appearances, and has been so good most of the year. Chalk this up as one of his (few) poor outings.

How clutch is Jeter, hitting that 2-run, game-tying double down the line? Too bad it was wasted. I didn't think so earlier this season, but he has a legitimate shot at the MVP now. When was the last time a 'table-setter' type won the MVP? (I looked it up: Ichiro, 2001.) And look at our boy, Jaret. Going beyond 6 innings for the first time year. Congrats!

5-3 Detroit, but the impact was lessened by the game 1 win and Boston's 7-2 loss.

2*: Wright, 6.1 ip, 2 er
1: Jeter, 1-3, 2b, r, 2 rbi, sb

Phil Hughes' line: 5 ip, 2 h, 0 bb, 5 k. It's exciting, thinking he could be the ace of the staff in a few years. We'll probably see his ML debut next season. I predict Mussina or Randy or Jaret will pull something mid-May, prompting the Yanks to promote either Clippard or Hughes. Stay tuned...

Another Wang-derful Outing

What would we do without CM Wang? He's been our most consistent starter this season.

Nate Robertson didn't seem to have any real special stuff, but he stifled the Yanks lineup save for the 5th where they broke through for 2. Craig Wilson finally contributed with the bat, hammering his 3rd Yankee HR. Giambi later followed with a sac-line-drive scoring Damon.

It's ironic that the one pitch that Proctor threw to record an out, and hold the lead, was the same pitch that Craig Monroe connected with on his first pitch in the nightcap to lose the game. I guess he (or hitting coach Don Slaught) was paying close attention.

Some fine infield D - notably from Arod and Cano - helped Wang earn his 16th win - now tied for the lead.

2-0 Yanks

3*: Wang, 7.2 ip, 0 r
2: Wilson, 1-3, HR, hbp
1: Jeter, 3-5

Aug 30, 2006

Best Defensive Players

To continue my examination of the free-agency era Yanks, I'll next look at who've been the stellar glove-men since 1974. Look further down to see the best hitters of the era.

Defense is a particularly tough one, because stats are not nearly as helpful in determining defense as they are for pitching and hitting. Since I was born in 1980, I wasn't able to watch - or at least remember watching the Yanks until the late '80s. I'll use fielding %, zone rating, range factor, comparisons to others at the position, and general reputation to determine the best.

Defense (min. 100 innings)
Fielding %: 1b Wilson, 2b Cairo, 3b Arod, SS Jeter, LF Melky, CF Bernie, RF Bernie, P Wang, Rivera, Mussina
Range Factor: 1b Phillips, 2b Cairo, 3b Arod, SS Jeter, LF Matsui - Melky, CF Bubba - Damon, RF Abreu, P Rivera - Wang
Zone Rating: 1b Phillips, 2b Cairo, 3b Arod, SS Jeter, LF Matsui - Melky, CF Bernie, RF Sheff - Abreu, P Mussina - Rivera - Wang
Rate 2: 1b Phillips, 2b Cairo, 3b Arod, SS Jeter, LF Matsui - Melky, CF Damon, RF Abreu, P Rivera
RAR 2: 1b Phillips, 2b Cano, 3b Arod, SS Jeter, LF Melky, CF Damon, RF Abreu, P Wang
RAA 2: 1b Wilson, 2b Cano, 3b Arod, SS Jeter, LF Melky, CF Bubba, RF Abreu, P Wang
My own Spectacular Play Reps: Phillips, Jeter, Cano, Melky, Damon, Posada

Arod is on these lists by default. No one else has played more than 44 innings at third. Bernie shouldn't be mentioned: he's slower now, and has no arm. Abreu has an arm but little range. Damon has very good range but no arm. Jeter has made many great plays, but also has 11 errors. Posada is having his best defensive season: he's gunned down 38% of would-be base stealers (2nd in the AL). Comparing a pitcher's D to position players' D is difficult, but the best is clearly Wang (who also has double the number of chances as any other pitcher), followed by Mussina and Rivera, and Lidle if he had more Yankee innings.

In order:
1. Melky, improving everyday, 12 assists! (leads league), several highlight grabs
2. Phillips, if only he could hit a bit more. He made some spectacular plays
3. Posada, beside gunning down thieves, has made several great blocks of home-plate

Remember, this is 2006, not career. I'm going to attempt that next.

Yankee Gold Gloves:
2004-05: SS Jeter
2001: P Mussina
1997-2000: OF Bernie
1994-95: 3b Boggs
1991-94: 1b Mattingly
1985-89: 1b Mattingly
1982-85, 1987: OF Winfield
1982-86: P Guidry
1977-78: 3b Nettles
1978: 1b Chambliss
1973-75: C Munson

Mattingly, 9
Guidry, 5
Winfield, 5
Bernie, 4
Munson, 3
Nettles, 2
Jeter, 2
Boggs, 2
Chambliss, 1
Mussina, 1

It's pretty clear Donnie is #1, but let's see who'll follow.

[Work in progress]

Two Off Days?!

What's a fan to do for TWO whole days without Yankee ball, when they've been playing every single day for the last 20?...

I wanted to see if I could determine who's been the best offensive and defensive Yankees over the last 35 years - roughly the Steinbrenner/free agency era. So here we go:

Runs Created: Derek Jeter leads with 101.3 total, 2 Giambi, 3 Damon.
RC per game: Bobby Abreu leads with 10.73 (but he's only been with the team for 27 games), 2 Giambi, 3 Jeter
On-base + Slugging (OPS): Jason Giambi leads with 1.014, 2 Abreu, 3 Jeter.
Win Probability Average (WPA): Jeter leads with 4.87, 2 Giambi, 3 Damon.
VORP: 1 Jeter, 2 Giambi, 3 Damon.
RARP: 1 Jeter, 2 Giambi, 3 Damon

If you negate Abreu because of his sparse time with the Yanks so far, it becomes clear that the 3 best offensive players this year are:
1. Jeter
2. Giambi
3. Damon

I wouldn't argue with that.

Offense Total (with Yanks)
OPS adjusted: 1 Arod, 2 Giambi, 3 Reggie, 4 Rickey Henderson
RC total: 1 Bernie, 2 Mattingly, 3 Jeter

Baseball-Reference uses a too simple version of Runs Created for me to rely on it.

Offense Single Season
OPS adjusted:
Oneil 1994, 177
Giambi 2002, 174
Reggie 1980, 172
Arod 2005, 167
Mattingly 1986, 161
Jeter 1999, 161
Bernie 1998, 159
Rickey 1985, 157

No WPA that I can find before 2002.

'Bona-fide Wins':
Rickey 1985, 7.0
Oneil 1994, 3.9 (103 gms) projects => 6.1
Arod 2005, 5.8
Mattingly 1984, 5.4
Posada 2003, 5.2
Randolph 1980, 5.0
Mattingly 1986, 4.6
Munson 1975, 4.5
Giambi 2002, 4.4
Bernie 1999, 4.2
Reggie 1980, 4.0
Bernie 1998, 3.9
Jeter 1999, 3.4

VORP (ML rank that year):
Mattingly 1986, (1)
Jeter 1999, (1)
Arod 2005, (2)
Rickey 1985, (2)
Mattingly 1984, (4)
Giambi 2002, (4)
Reggie 1980, (5)
Mattingly 1985, (5)
Randolph 1980, (6)
Bernie 1999, (6)
Winfield 1988, (7)
Rickey 1986, (8)
Oneil 1994, (8)
Jeter 1998, (8)
Bernie 1998, (9)
Munson 1975, (17)

Very tough. The top 5 could almost be in any order, but since I said I'd do it, here goes. The best offensive Yankee seasons of the last 32 years:

1. Mattingly 1986 .352 ba, .394 obp, .573 slg, 117 r, 53 2b, 31 HR, 113 rbi, 53 bb, 35 k, 0 sb, 0 cs
2. O'Neill 1994 what a shame :( .359 ba, .460 obp, .603 slg, 68 r, 25 2b, 21 HR, 83 rbi, 5 sb, 4 cs, 72 bb, 56 k - on pace for: 107 r, 39 2b, 33 HR, 131 rbi, 113 bb, 88 k
3. Rickey 1985 .314 ba, .419 obp, .516 slg, 146 r, 28 2b, 5 3b, 24 HR, 72 rbi, 80 sb, 10 cs, 99 bb, 65 k
4. Arod 2005 .321 ba, .421 obp, .610 slg, 124 r, 29 2b, 48 HR, 130 rbi, 21 sb, 6 cs, 91 bb, 139 k
5. Giambi 2002 .314 ba, .435 obp, .598 slg, 120 r, 34 2b, 41 HR, 122 rbi, 2 sb, 2 cs, 109 bb, 112 k
6. Jeter 1999 .349 ba, .438 obp, .552 slg, 134 r, 37 2b, 9 3b, 24 HR, 102 rbi, 19 sb, 8 cs, 91 bb, 116 k
7. Reggie 1980 .300 ba, .398 obp, .597 slg, 94 r, 22 2b, 4 3b, 41 HR, 111 rbi, 1 sb, 2 cs, 83 bb, 122 k

This took a long, long time. I'll try to get to defense & pitching tomorrow.

Aug 28, 2006

Bernie to the Rescue

Torre certainly picked a good day to rest Melky, for Bernie had his best game of the year: 4-5, 2 HR, 6 rbi! It was his offense that really sparked the team to a (relatively) easy win. Of course, you can't forget Damon's leadoff 2b followed by Jeter's HR.

The Yanks figured out Joe Saunders this time, nailing him for 8 runs on only 2.1 ip. Saunders beat the Yanks in New York 2 weeks ago, going 6 ip, allowing 2 er.

I hope Jeff Karstens is a sign of things to come from the farm system. Another solid outing from him yesterday. Of his 3 pitches, he actually had the best control with his curve, the worst control with his fastball, and his change was somewhere in the middle. If he had located his fastball better, he may have allowed only 1 run. Karstens threw only 14 pitches in the 5th and 6th innings combined, but with an 8-3 lead, Torre pulled him to insure he got the win. His best pitch is his change, followed by his curve; if he can spot his fastball consistently, he'll be a very good pitcher.

Is Howie Kendrick a great hitter or what? He was 6-10 with 4 bb in the series!

Arod got a hit somehow yesterday. First pitch swinging. I think we're going to see a lot more of that for the time being. He clearly doesn't have enough confidence to swing with 2 strikes because he knows he won't hit it; that's why he took 2 called 3rd strikes yesterday, he knows he can't hit them so he's hoping they're called balls. Until his slump is over, he'll be swinging at the first pitch a lot, and looking at strike 3 a lot.

Maybe Bernie should be the DH everytime there's a lefty pitching because he destroys them, to a .950 ops (vs. .706 against righties).

Isn't Nick Green a defensive replacement? His 2-run error allowed Anaheim to get back in the game. Of course, Farnsworth had perhaps his worst outing of the year and was responsible for loading the bags in the first place.

This team deserves the day off. I hope they all sleep in.

11-8 Yanks

3*: Bernie, 4-5, 2b, 2 HR, 2 r, 6 rbi
2: Jeter, 3-5, 2 HR, 2 r, 3 rbi
1: Cano, 4-5, 2 r, 2 rbi
1: Karstens, 6 ip, 3 er, 1st ML win

PS: props to Brian Bruney on Saturday for sticking up for Jeter. He gets hit way too much without any consequences. Bruney's pitches were a small measure of payback - and he looks like a tough mf-er; he could hold his own in a brawl.

Aug 26, 2006

An Exhausted Team

This team is just tired; everyone outside of Damon and Giambi seem exhausted. The bullpen is exhausted, the hitters are exhausted. They desperately need time off. And hopefully than can go into the off day with a win.

Today was atrocious from many angles. Lidle was bad, Dotel was bad, Myers was bad, Villone was awful and Arod was worse. It's hard to blame Villone though, because he's been pitching nearly everyday. And maybe Arod's slump is a result of his illness. (We can only hope.) The Yanks have a legitimate chance of being swept with the rookie Karstens going tomorrow. And with Arod swinging like a blind-folded kid trying to hit a pinata, they might as well put him in the 9 spot, or play Nick Green (although Anaheim is sending a lefty tomorrow). But please Joe, don't put him in the 2 spot again.

12-7 Angels

2*: Damon, 2-4, HR, 2 r, 2 rbi, bb (having maybe his best season ever)
1: Giambi, 1-2, r, 2 rbi, bb

L.A. Fans

What a surprise: the game has begun and the stadium is half-full.

Another tough loss. Plenty of chances squandered. 13 runners left on base.

Special Goat Awards to:
Arod, 0-5, 4 k
Wright, 3.2 ip, 9 h, 3 er

6-5 Angels

2*: Posada, 2-3, r, 2 bb
1: Melky, 2-4, r, bb
1: Damon, 1-4, r, rbi, bb, sb
1: Farnsworth, 1 perfect inning, k

Lidle Completes A Perfect Weekend

Finally a pitching duel. Who thought it would be between David Wells & Cory Lidle? Two guys who look like they just woke up from their nap on the couch.

2-1 Yanks

3*: Lidle, 6 ip, 0 r
2: Abreu, 1-3, 2b, rbi, bb
1: Farnsworth, save, 1 perfect inning, k

Giants D Dominates Jets

Aside from perhaps two long passes by the Jets, the Gints D dominated them, even when their 2nd team was going against the Jets 1st team. The D swarmed to the ball all night, the linebackers played great, the safeties stuffed the run well, and Tim Lewis was able to generate a lot of pressure on the green QB. They had 2 picks, 5 passes deflected, 5 sacks and 1 fumble forced.

Their offense, however, was unimpressive. The only reason they did score a TD was because of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Jets CB Justin Miller that gave them 1st & Goal from the 4.

Aug 25, 2006

One Bad Inning

Oh, if it wasn't for those single bad innings... outside of the 3rd, Randy only allowed 1 run in 8 innings. In that 3rd inning, he really made only 2 bad pitches, both of which accounted for the 3 runs. At least he went the distance to further rest the pen.

The Yanks had lots of chances, and Cano getting picked off 1st with none out may have been the turning point. Later in the inning, with the bases full and 2 out, Damon hit a liner to left, but Chris Snelling ran it down.

Or the turning point could have been Bloomquist's squibber that couldn't be rolled any better that allowed him to reach first. Johnson should have escaped unscathed, because he had both Jose Lopez and Richie Sexson 0-2 before allowing their hits.

Ichiro may have saved Seattle 2 runs. The first instance came when he tracked a deep fly off Abreu's bat to just left of center, holding Jeter at second with a strong throw and 1 out. The second instance came in the top of the 7th, when Nick Green lined a ball deep to center, Ichiro ran straight back at full speed and caught it with his arm extended. Damon followed with a solo HR (which set a new season high for him with 21 by the way).

How do we go from taking 5 straight from Boston to dropping 2 of 3 to Seattle? I was worried about a let-down. Hopefully it's out of the system now, and they'll win the series in Anaheim.

4-2 Seattle

2*: Damon, 2-3, HR, bb
1: Jeter, 2-4, 2b, rbi
1: Randy, CG, 8 ip, 4 er - marred by one poor inning

Phil Hughes went tonight: 5 ip (his limit), 0 h, 1 bb, 9 k! Trenton won 18-0! I can't wait to see him in the Show.

Aug 24, 2006

Love for Cano

I know this may sound boastful and even conceited, but when I watched Robbie Cano in his first month in the show last season, I predicted he would win a batting title before his career was up. His swing is picture perfect, he's hit the other way from day 1, and he rarely looks overmatched. Then during a game the other day, Kay or someone was saying that Mattingly said the exact same thing, that Cano would win a batting title in his career. I called that over a year ago!

Anyway, he's not going to have tremendous power, but I do see him developing into a 20 HR, 100 r, 100 rbi, 20 sb, .330 hitter. He hits good pitches, bad pitches, & hits them everywhere. He's a lighter-hitting Vlad Guerrero.

Cano actually has an outside shot at the batting title this year. His .328 ba would tie him for 4th if he hadn't missed 35 games with a bad hammy. But by the end of the season, his AB total should qualify him for the title. The leader is currently Joe Mauer at .357! However, his ba has been dropping steadily, and he is a catcher, for which the wear & tear may cause an accelerated drop in ba. Cano on the other hand plays second, and with the injury, he kind of had a break in the middle of the season. His August ba is .343, and his ops is 1.037!

And his defense - spectacular. He makes the difficult look routine. How many times this year has he scooped a short hop, or made a ranging stab in short right, & fired a bullet to first, or deftly turned a double-play? And he's improving every day.

The only problem I see is his plate discipline. It's just a minor problem really, because he usually hits the ball hard, but taking a few more walks would only help him & the team. 338 AB, 37 K, 15 BB this year. However, his walks per k has improved from last year, .24 vs. .41. His OBP is .359, up from .320 last year. And I expect the influence of Abreu and Melky will help in the short term, and in time he'll develop a keen eye and become an even more dangerous hitter.

Wonderful Wang

If the ump didn't blow that call on Robbie Cano's fine play in the 7th, Wang would've pitched 7 shutout innings on only about 80 pitches! As it was, he gave up 2 runs on an infield single and a blooper. He had his A stuff tonight, and it seemed like he threw strike 1 every time. No walks and 5 Ks. 57 strikes, and he only threw 90 pitches. Of course, the aggressive Seattle hitters helped him out some, but it was mostly just great stuff by Wang.

Great to see all those 2-out rbi; 5 in total.

Jeter has really been slumping lately. Hitting only .242 the last week & .258 this month. Fortunately, he had 2 huge hits in Boston. Are you listening Arod? Even if you're not hitting well, you'll be forgiven for clutch hits.

King Felix got hammered: 3.2 ip, 7 er! Maybe the 'King' prefix should be removed for now. He's only 20, and he clearly has control issues. In reality, he should probably still be in AAA. You could see the dominating potential in the 3rd, when he k'ed Giambi & Posada. But he is wildly inconsistent. If he can master his control, he will be dominant.

A good win for the Yanks, 9-2.

3*: Wang, 7 ip, 2 er, 0 bb, 5 k
2: Cano, 2-4, 2b, r, 3 rbi, bb
1: Abreu, 2-4, 2b, 3 r, 2 bb
1: Posada, 1-3, 2 rbi, bb
1: Damon, 2-6, r, 2 rbi

Aug 23, 2006

Typical Arod

A tough loss, but I must say I knew it would happen when Arod struck out to end the Yanks half of the 9th. When Johjima went out to talk to the pitcher with a 1-1 count on Arod, I knew he was saying, 'breaking ball, then fastball.' Mateo complied and easily k'ed Arod with 2 on.

In the bottom of the 9th, when Villone got Beltre to miss 2 fastballs, I said 'He's baiting him to throw one down the pipe.' He threw a third one and as soon as Beltre connected, I knew it was over.

This was a typical Arod 2006 game. A 2-run HR and 3 strike outs. Feast or famine. When he was hitting in the 9th with 2 men on, I was begging him to stop trying to pull everything and hit it the other way, like he's known for. Posada's bases-loaded GIDP was also a killer, as was Wright's poor performance. By the way, why was Farnsworth warming up if he wouldn't be brought in to face two righties, Beltre & Sexson? And Torre lets Villone, the lefty, pitch instead? I know, it's because he only wanted to use Farnsworth with a lead, but having Seattle's two best righties coming up to hit, I dont want the lefty pitching, I want the flame-throwing righty.

That slide by Beltre was dirty in my opinion. He went specifically for Nick Green's knees. Most takeout slides are just regular slides that start a bit late. But this one sent Green tumbling onto his head. And it was Sexson running of all people, one of the slower guys in baseball. They had a good shot to turn 2. I wanted to see Green or Torre at least argue with the ump about it. There are takeout slides and there are injury-inducing slides. I would take exception to it if I were on the team.

Didn't Jeff Karstens, a rookie, start this game? His outing feels like it was last week. Considering it was his ML debut, he did quite well, 5.2 ip, 3 er. If you discount the 2-run first inning, which can be attributed to debut nerves, he threw 5.1 ip, 1 er after that! His fastball never topped 90, but he controlled it well, had a nice little curve, and a pretty good change. Basically a Jamie Moyer type.

At least the Sox lost too.

6-5 Seattle

2*: Abreu, 1-4, HR, 3 rbi, bb
1: Karstens, 5.2 ip, 3 er, and recovered from a shaky start.
1: Damon, 2-4, 2b, r, bb

Killing Time Before the Late Game

Any chance of swinging a trade for Miguel Cabrera? You want Arod? No. What if the Yanks pay half his salary? Still no. How about some kind of 3 team trade?

Arod 2006 (31 years old) salary: $25,680,727
.287 ba, 25 HR, 22 2b, 91 rbi, 87 r, 11 sb, 4 cs, 72 bb, 111 k, .389 obp, .502 slg, 19 gdp
.285 ba risp, .916 ops risp, .721 late-inning-pressure ops, .847 ops vs. Boston
Fielding: 22 errors, 2.55 range factor, .719 zone rating

Cabrera 2006 (23 years old) salary: $472,000
.339 ba, 20 HR, 42 2b, 89 rbi, 84 r, 7 sb, 6 cs, 67 bb, .429 obp, .570 slg, 81 k, 16 gdp
.373 ba risp, 1.150 ops risp, 1.069 late-inning-pressure ops
1.483 ops vs. Yanks, .969 ops vs. Boston
Fielding: 13 errors, .959 fielding %

edit: to give a fair shake to Arod, I'll also give the last 3 seasons (2 MVPs)
Arod 2003-5
.302 ba, .972 ops,
.273 ba risp, .863 ops risp,
.276 ba close & late, .945 ops c & l

Cabrera 2003-5
.323 ba, .946 ops
.322 ba risp, .895 ops risp
.190 ba close & late, .459 ops c & l

Average Arod season (10.5 years):
.305 ba, 43 HR, 34 2b, 125 rbi, 126 r, 22 sb, 6 cs, 76 bb, 130 k, .385 obp, .572 slg
Fielding 3B:
.958 fielding %, 2.52 range factor, .747 zone rating

Average Cabrera season (3.3 years):
.309 ba, 30 HR, 42 2b, 116 rbi, 101 r, 4 sb, 3 cs, 69 bb, 134 k, .380 obp, .534 slg
Fielding 3B:
.965 fielding %, 2.55 range factor, .759 zone rating

Ok, so looking at the overall picture, Arod does appear to be the better hitter right now. But Cabrera has been improving each year, is 8 years younger, and plays in the NL - no DH - in a huge ballpark. He's also the superior third-baseman.

What if the Yanks trade Proctor or Eric Duncan to Florida & Arod to Anaheim, LAA gives Aybar & Santana also to Florida, and Florida sends Cabrera here? I wouldn't think twice about it. What a player he is!

Yanks give: Arod & Proctor OR Duncan
Receive: Cabrera

LAA give: Aybar & Santana
Receive: Arod

Marlins give: Cabrera
Receive: Proctor/Duncan, Santana & Aybar

Aug 22, 2006

Beckett Burns Up

This was actually a close game for a while, but then Beckett got completely out of whack in the 6th. Are the Sox regretting giving him a 3-year extension, considering this is his first full healthy season and he's getting rocked to a 5.35 era, leading the league in HR allowed?

13-5 Yanks

3*: Cano, 2-3, HR, 2 r, 5 rbi, 2 bb
2: Damon, 3-6, 3 2b, r, rbi
1: Arod, 1-3, 2b, 2 r, 2 rbi, 2 bb

Aug 21, 2006

Stats From The Sweep

New York:
Damon 10-23, 6 r, 6 xbh, 2 HR, 8 rbi, 0 bb, 2 k, cs
Jeter 7-24, 5 r, 2b, 5 rbi, bb, 5 k
Abreu 10-20, 5 r, 4 2b, 3 rbi, 7 bb, 7 k, 2 sb
Arod 7-21, 5 r, 3 2b, 5 rbi, 5 bb, 4 k
Giambi 6-12, 6 r, 2 2b, 2 HR, 8 rbi, 6 bb, 2 k
Cano 8-24, 4 r, 3 2b, HR, 10 rbi, 2 bb, 3 k, sb
Wilson 1-11, 3 r, 2 bb, 3 k
Bernie 3-13, 3 r, 2b, HR, 2 bb, 4 k
Posada 4-14, 3 r, 3 xbh, HR, 6 rbi, 3 bb, k, sb
Melky 5-19, 7 r, 2b, 2 rbi, 4 bb, 3 k, 2 sb

Crisp 1-19, 2 r, bb, 4 k
Loretta 9-22, 3 r, 2b, 4 rbi, 3 bb, 3 k
Ortiz 6-20, 5 r, 2 2b, 2 HR, 4 rbi, 3 bb, 3 k
Manny 8-11, 3 r, 2 2b, 2 HR, 7 rbi, 9 bb, 0 k
Hinske 3-13, r, 3 2b, 0 rbi, bb, 6 k
Lowell 6-17, r, 0 xbh, 3 bb, k
Pena 3-18, HR, 2 rbi, bb, 3 k
Lopez 2-12, r, 2b, 0 bb, k
Youkilis 5-18, 3 r, 2 2b, 4 rbi, 3 bb, 0 k

A few things jump out. Damon, Giambi, Posada & Cano all had more rbi than hits! Surprisingly Damon didn't walk once. Melky lead both teams in runs scored - from the 9 spot mostly. Craig Wilson did nothing. Crisp did nothing. Abreu hit .500 with a .630 obp. Giambi hit .500 with a .667 obp. And Manny was a monster, hitting .727 with an .850 obp without striking out!

The Marathon Game

(aka, Friday doubleheader game 2)

I did not see this whole game, for I was driving upstate (see my earlier posts) that night. We left about 9:00, the game had already begun an hour before. We listened on the radio and arrived in New Paltz at 10:15, and ate in a pub. When we left the car, the Yanks were up 7-5, but I knew Ponson would give it back. In the pub, the game was on, and as I predicted, it was 10-7 Sox when we left. It was while we were going to my parents house that Jeter hit the bases loaded double off Timlin. When we turned on the TV, it was 14-10, and I did a double-take. My is set DVR to tape all the games for 4 hours, to account for extra innings, long games, etc. Who knew a 9-inning affair would take nearly 5 hours?! Unfortunately I missed the time between the Yanks 7-run inning and the 9th when Rivera came in.

I'm almost glad I didnt see this whole game. It would've given me chest palpitations several times throughout, and possibly cause me to get something soft to punch.

Great job by Villone getting out of the bases-loaded, no out jam by only giving up 2 runs on 1 hit (by Ramirez). He nearly got Ortiz to hit into a DP on a weak grounder, struck out Hinske, and got Pena on another weak grounder.

14-11 Yanks

3*: Melky, 3-3, 2 bb, 3 r, 2 rbi, 2 bb, outfield assist
2: Damon, 3-6, HR, 3 rbi
1: Cano, 2-6, 3 rbi, 2b
1: Abreu, 2-4, 2 bb, 2 rbi, 2 r, 2b
1: Jeter, 1-6, 3 rbi, bases loaded 2b
1: Proctor, 1.1 perfect ip

And Out Come The Brooms

I know I said 'Wow!' last night, but Wow! I never imagined the Yanks would win 5 straight in Boston! Like I said, I would've been content with 2 wins, happy with 3, overjoyed with 4, and ecstatic with 5. I was only hoping that if Boston DID win today, that it wouldn't be in some dramatic fashion. 8-3 would've been better than 3-2. And I thought Torre was making a mistake by not even warming Mariano, but Farnsworth did the job. Thank goodness Cano caught that liner to end the game, because watching Ortiz represent the winning-run in the 9th against Kyle would have likely stopped my heart.

Who knew Nick Green of all people would score the eventual winning run? And that Cory Lidle would pitch a gem, the best outing by a starter in the whole series?

For an MVP of the series, it's tough to say. I wanna say Boston pitching, but disregarding that, I'll go with Johnny Damon. He got us off to a great start, played solid defense, and generally punished his old team. It was everything Coco Crisp didnt do. Honorable mentions to Abreu, Giambi, Melky, Jeter & Proctor.

2-1 Yanks

3*: Lidle, 6 ip, 0 r
2: Abreu, 1-3, bb, 2b, rbi
1: Melky, 1-3, r, sb
1: Farnsworth, 1 perfect ip, save

Now I look forward to watching 23-year-old Jeff Karstens go tomorrow night after Mussina is out with a groiner, pushing Wright into his spot.

Boston Misses Damon

Damon sparked the Yanks to a win Friday in game 1. And after watching Coco Crisp these past few days, I think they're dying to have Johnny back. The leadoff triple set the tone for the game, and he was only a 2b away from the cycle! He also made a great run-saving catch in the 6th.

Wang pitched just well enough, and the offense finally got through and clobbered Boston's pitching.

12-4 Yanks

3*: Damon, 3-6, HR, 3b, 4 rbi, 3 r
2: Giambi, 2-4, 2 bb, 3 rbi, r
2: Wang, 6 ip, 3 er
1: Abreu, 4-5, 2b, r, sb

Saratoga Race Track

On Sunday, we went to Saratoga Race Track to bet on some horses. It cost $6 to park, $3 to get in, then we bought reserved seating in the grandstand for $8, the program for $2, and we were ready. We did NOT have a lucky day there. We stayed through the first 8 races, and didnt pick one winner. The closest we came was when my wife picked a horse to place and it won - so we won something, but not as much as picking it to win. Anyway, we probably placed about $40 of bets total, and won back $15, making it a loss of $25 on the day. :( The people sitting in front of us did great; the wife was up $60, and the husband was up $500 when we left. They were already planning a nice dinner out. We never gamble hoping to win money; we only do it for fun and entertainment, so in that sense, we had a good time. But next time, we gotta remember to bring a cooler of food & beer. It was $12 at the track for a sausage & a beer!

Giants Training Camp

My wife & I went upstate this weekend, first to Giants Training Camp at SUNY Albany on Saturday afternoon. It was mostly relaxing. It happened to also be autograph day, but until that time, it was a nice, easy-going day. We bought a Giants cap and football to get signatures on.

They use two adjacent fields for camp. The four QBs - Manning, Hasselbeck, Lorenzen & Johnson - all wear red of course, and they kept going back & forth between the fields. Most of the time, the offense (wearing white) was on one field, while the D (wearing blue) practiced on the other.

QBs: lost of passing drills, sometimes just throwing to a waterboy, and sometimes to the actual WRs.

DBs: half ran routes like WRs while the other half practiced their coverage skills.

Linemen practiced blocking skills.

The back-up punter, Travis Dorsch, got a lot of practice, while K Jay Feely caught most of the punts. He even caught one behind his back, eliciting applause from the fans watching.

The last practice set was scrimagging, O vs. D. Manning made some nice throws, and Tim Carter especially looked good. On one play Shockey got upset over something (I think he wasn't thrown to) and kicked the shit out of a cone representing the goal line. It was pretty funny (to me).

We lined up for autographs, but didn't get any of the superstars - Manning, Shockey, Barber, Plaxico, Arrington, Strahan, Osi - to sign for us. We did however, get David Diehl, Mathias Kiwanuka, Michael Jennings (whose every tooth is plated gold), Sam Madison, Eric Moore, and several others who I didnt recognize, nor can I read the autograph. Most of them, I must say, were very nice, especially to kids. Manning would take the footballs from kids, walk away, sign it, and throw it back to them.

I overheard some fans saying that Shockey was signing autographs, but then when he didn't sign for one guy, he cursed him out. Shockey got upset and left. It really sucks when someone will curse out a player just because he didnt get an autograph, ruining it for everyone else.

I didnt see Tom Coughlin anywhere, but I did see Tim Lewis and Mike Sweatman, and they seemed to be doing fine jobs, getting on the players, yelling instructions, etc.

Jason Goes Off Tonight

Another great win for the Yanks! It feels awesome. I would've been content just winning 2 of 5 this weekend, but we now have a chance to sweep, with eternally 'chubbulent' David Wells, owner of a 6 era going tomorrow.

Giambi had 5 rbi tonight, as many as the whole Boston lineup. And he almost hit a Slam off Papelbon, but got jammed slightly; it was still enough for a sac fly. I thought the rbi single off Proctor making it 5-3 would come back to haunt us - I hate when our pitchers get to 0-2, and then throw a hittable pitch. Luckily it didnt, as Melky keyed the 9th inning comeback with a leadoff hustle double. And how clutch has Jeter been this series, the 3-run double off Timlin, then tonight the game-tying single?!

Is Papelbon as good as his numbers, or is the league finally catching up to him? I hope the latter. Rivera should've had an easier 9th inning, but Giambi was handcuffed by a bad hop, and Youkilis laid down a poor bunt. Brining in Hinske scared me, but Rivera came through, getting the K on 4 pitches.

Posada's 10th inning blast just sealed it, and Hansen has been getting his ass kicked recently. Wow! Just an awesome win.

8-5 Yanks

3*: Giambi, 3-4, 5 rbi, 2 HR, 1 2b
2*: Rivera, 2 ip, 0 r
1: Jeter, 2-4, 1 r, 1 rbi, game-tying 1b
1: Abreu, 2-4, 1 bb, 1 r

Aug 18, 2006

Giants Kill KC

An easy 17-0 win over Kansas City tonight, with the first teams looking much better than they did against Baltimore. Manning led the team to TDs on his only 2 drives, while the D never let KC get past the NY 40.

The linebackers especially looked good. Pierce, Blackburn & Wilkinson were everywhere making plays. Even the DTs - the weakness of the D - looked good. DEs Kiwanuka & Tuck played well, and Mike Jennings ('one-five') continued to impress, with some nice catch 'n runs. Tim Carter also had a sweet reverse for 20 yards, and Eli did one great thing that he'll need to do more of this year: he read the blitz, and hit Plaxico on a short hot route for 5 yards. If he can do that consistently, opponents will think twice about blitzing.

QB Jared Lorenzen, quite frankly, should be the #1 backup. He's looked better than Tim Hasselbeck so far, and has a strong, accurate arm.

My wife & I will be going up to Giants training camp in Albany this weekend, and also spending a day at Saratoga Race Track. I'll have a long report I'm sure when I return.

Aug 17, 2006


How embarrassing today. The O's just get swept by Boston and they come in here and take 2 of 3?! Wright didn't have the magic today, and all those runners he routinely puts on finally came back to hurt him. Mostly he's been able to strand them. You couldn't pick a worse time for a starter to last only 3 innings - going into a 5 game, 4 day stretch against Boston.

Here I was after Cano's HR thinking it might be an easy win, but not so. The turning point was Jay Gibbons 2-out, 2-run single to make it 4-2. There was also Abreu lining out to center with the bases full and 2-out. :( But the humiliation really set in when Jeter & Arod both tried to take a pop-up and neither did. The error was rightfully charged (later) to Jeter who hit Arod's glove as he was about to catch it.

The only positives to take are that Damon's hot, Mike Myers pitched well, and newcomer Brian Bruney also pitched well. The Yanks also tend to play great after they get hammered.

12-2 O's

2*: Damon, 3-4, HR, 1 2b
1: Myers, 2.1 ip, 0 er, 3 k
1: Bruney, 1 ip, 0 r, 3 k

Wang really needs to win game 1 tomorrow, because Ponson is going in game 2, which means an automatic 4-5 runs he'll allow. Unfortunately, Wang's ERA is more than double on the road, and he gave up 13 hits, and 4 er in 5 ip his last outing (at home).

Bad Luck Strikes Back

I went to last night's game. My wife & I got there in the 3rd inning, just in time to see the O's add their third run. And it was against Adam Loewen, he of the 6.5 era who shut down the Yanks last time. Anyway, I had a feeling the Yanks would come back, and Lidle DID pitch well after the 3rd. But the Yanks had SO many chances, and hit the ball hard many times that were caught that I could only shake my head and throw up my hands. Of the Yanks 7 hits last night, only 1 could be considered a 'gift,' Melky's 2nd infield single. There were at least 4 other shots hit on the nose that were caught, most notably Damon's hot shot with 2 on right to 1b Millar, and especially Bernie's shot also with 2 men on right to 2b Roberts for a DP! The Yanks could have scored 5 runs instead of the measly 2.

The 2nd & 3rd innings didnt seem so bad when Lidle gave up a run each, but looking back, it's frustrating: if Abreu catches that ball instead of trapping it (with 2 outs), the O's dont score; in the 3rd, Lidle had 2 outs, none on, and ended up walking in a run. How big each of those runs turned out to be.

Damon & Jeter's 0-9 really hurt too.

The first loss I've attended this year, and what a disappointing one...

3-2 Baltimore

2*: Melky, 3-4, 1 rbi
1*: Abreu, 1-2, 2 bb, 1 r

Aug 16, 2006

Questec & umpires

I've thought about this topic for a long time. I think Questec is a good thing. (For those who dont know, it's a computerized system that measures ball & strikes, and compares it to what the umpire actually called.)

One of the biggest and most frustrating problems in pro sports are the bad calls by umps/refs. What I'd like to see is the steady removal of 'human errors' from sports; I'll talk specifically about baseball:

When umps are unsure when a ball is fair or foul, why can't a system be installed like they use in pro tennis? They use technology to determine whether balls are that, fair or foul.

Also, on disputed HRs, they must use instant replay. There's no other fair way. An ump should be stationed in the park somewhere near a TV, like in the NHL. He should have the final word, since he'll have the replay.

On balls and strikes, why not use Questec or ESPN's 'K-Zone' to actually call the strikes? The only problem is that strike zone height is different for every hitter, but width is exactly the same, 17 inches. Rickey Henderson had a smaller up/down zone because he was short and crouched, and Richie Sexson's up/down zone is bigger because he's 6'8". But their side-to-side zone is exactly the same. Therefore, computers/technology should be used to tell an umpire when a ball hits the plate or just misses. For the time being, umps will still need to call the up/down pitches (because every hitter is different), but will know for sure when a pitch crosses the corner or not. It also sucks when a pitcher throws a strike, but it's not where he meant to throw it, so the ump automatically calls it a ball. It doesn't matter where the pitcher MEANT to throw the ball, it only matters whether it's a strike or a ball.

For out/safe calls, when the closest ump feels the play is too close to call, he could send it to the 'booth ump.' TV technology is such today that it could be done in 30 seconds.

These steps would help legitimize the officiating, and would make for less arguing from players and managers. You can't argue with Questec strikes, because it's 100% consistent and 0% prejudiced (for star players, or against rookies). Instant replay would also ensure the right call, and isn't that worth waiting 30 seconds for - especially in close and/or playoff games?

Comeback Kids

What a range of emotions tonight! I was down when Arod made another big error, then up when Arod hit the bases full single, then I was so down when Cano struck out, Posada lined out, and Wilson grounded out with the bases full and no outs. Oh yeah, very up when Damon came through with a huge 2-run shot to tie the game at 3 in the 7th. And then down when Arod popped out with a chance to take the lead. But wait, Cano stepped up and singled in the go-ahead run with 2 outs. Then up even more when Damon tripled in Cabrera from first for an insurance run.

Mussina was sort of forgotten, but he did a fine job, despite being let down by an Arod error again. Proctor was the pitching hero, after letting the bases get loaded with 1 out, he escaped without allowing a run. He went 1.2 scoreless.

Dont forget Boston blew a lead tonight, and Detroit scored in the top of the 9th to win 3-2.

Yanks 6-3

3*: Damon, 2-5, 2 r, 3 rbi
2*: Abreu, 3-4, 1 bb, 1 r
1*: Proctor, 1.2 ip, 0 r

Wednesday August 16, 2006 - 12:50pm (EDT)

Giants Edge Out Baltimore

It was nice to get the dramatic 17-16 win, but that's not really important. The first line D played poorly when they allowed Baltimore to score a TD on an 80-yard-drive. The drive consisted of 3 big plays: 2 long catches by Todd Heap, and a 6-yard TD run by McNair. The Giants scored a TD on their 3rd drive, but neither first unit (O or D) looked very consistent.

Sam Madison broke up a pass nicely, and made a nice open-field tackle. Chase Blackburn continued where he left off last year after his injury by playing well. Manning looked ok, but was still susceptible to the blitz. Michael Jennings may make the team because of the athletic ability he showed returning a punt 57 yards for a TD. The Gints 1st rd. pick, Mathias Kiwanuka had one great series, where he made 3 tackles, including 1.5 sacks.

It's too bad Sinorice Moss has been so banged up in training camp, because he'll be exciting to watch. They host KC this Thursday, and Barber, Shockey & Strahan are expected to play.

I'd like to see the first teams play better, and see the run D improve. My wife & I are planning to visit Giants training camp in Albany, and spend a day at Saratoga race track this weekend. :)

Tuesday August 15, 2006 - 06:00pm (EDT)

Johnson on a Roll

Hey, look at Randy, he's won 2 straight. Another strong performance last night. I thought for sure it would be a loss, with Lackey being the Angels best, and Randy being so inconsistent.

Jeter's shot was huge, and gave the team a lift it needed. Posada's was great too, on the first pitch off Donnelly. Also nice to see Arod get a clutch rbi, even if it was a sac fly. (I dont know how they gave him a hit on that error by Cabrera in the 8th.)

Boston losing is sweet too, as the Yanks' lead jumps back to 2 games.

7-2 Yanks

3*: Randy, 7 ip, 2 er
2: Jeter, 3-5, HR, 2 rbi, 2 r
1: Melky, 3-4, 2B, 2 r
1: Posada, 3-4, HR

Tuesday August 15, 2006 - 02:47pm (EDT)

I Called It Re: Ortiz & Wang Lasts Only 5

I'm watching Sunday's 5-3 loss to LAAA (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), and Kaat just said how the Yanks looked at 75 pitches they threw to Ortiz last year, and Kay guessed that 10 were thrown on the inner third of the plate. Kaat said there were only 3! Kay then said how Ortiz has never had to 'move his feet.' If you'll refer to my post a few weeks ago, I say exactly this. The Yanks NEED to brush him back. What a ridiculous stat: 3 of 75 pitches were thrown inside! He has no fear up there, of course he's going to hit well.

As for this game, Wang had bad luck. Figgins' HR was surprising, but it fell apart when Cabrera hit a ball at his shoulders the other way, right to the spot where Cano was, EXCEPT that he went to 2nd because Kendrick was stealing. If Jeter went instead to cover, it would've been an easy out, and maybe no more runs score. Most of the time, these grounders find infielders, but Sunday they found holes. Just one of those days for Wang.

As for Jered Weaver, he looked like a nice pitcher. He only seemed to have 2 pitches, a decent speed fastball with good control, and a very good little slurve. His delivery is also deceptive, but I dont think he'll be an ace once ML batters see him a bit more.

Angels 5-3

2*: Jeter, 1-2, 2 bb, 1 sb
2: Giambi, 2-4, HR
1: Villone, 2.1 ip, 0 r

Tuesday August 15, 2006 - 06:08pm (EDT)

Wright Gets Right

Wright's might be our hottest pitcher right now. 3 starts, 16.1 ip, 3 er!

Cano's HR was huge too, as it turned a deficit into a lead. He's been tearing it up since he came back. It's a good thing the team pounced for 5 in the one inning, because Escobar was great besides that.

3*: Wright - 5.1 ip, 1 er
2: Cano 2-4, 3-run HR
1: Damon, 1-3, 2-run HR, BB

Tuesday August 15, 2006 - 02:55pm (EDT)

Bad Luck Strikes Again

There were many breaks that went against the Yanks in this one. Arod's shot to center with 2 men on that Figgins caught, Green's pop-up-bunt/double-play, & Ponson giving up 2 singles on balls hit off him, to just name a few.

Jeter and Posada's slumps arent helping either.

7-4 Angels

2*: Arod - 2-4, 1 rbi, 2 r
1: Fasano - 2 rbi
1: Cabrera - 2 bb, 1 r

Monday August 14, 2006 - 04:55pm (EDT)

The Natural - by Bernard Malamud

I just finished this baseball classic. I wouldnt say it was excellent, but it was certainly enjoyable. I'd seen the movie many times, but the book is different in many ways. I'll go into the ending later.

It is a mythic baseball tale, about Roy Hobbs, a 20-year-old farm boy who wants to be 'the greatest there ever was at the game.' And he has the talent to do it as he strikes out the reigning MVP on 3 pitches. Him and a scout are heading to Chicago on a train for a tryout with the Cubs. However, he's too greedy and too much of a womanizer and it turns out to be his undoing. A lady seduces him to come to her hotel room, then she shoots him. He eventually recovers and gets back into the game for the New York Knights at 34 and starts killing the ball. He rallies his team to first place, all the while trying to 'get' a girl named Memo, who's the niece of the manager.

Near the end of the season, he gets sick and while he's in the hospital, the Knights lose 3 games to finish in a tie with Pittsburgh.


He reluctanly accepts a bribe to lose the game because: he's making very little $, he thinks it will impress Memo, and he might never play ball again anyway.

This is where it gets mythic. He hits the shit out of a ball with 2 men on but it goes foul. His special bat, Wonderboy breaks ('it sounded like thunder') and he has to use a different bat for the first time. Then, as he's trying to hit a foul ball at an annoying fan, he accidentally hits a woman who loves him (who he had a one-night stand with and got pregnant). She tells him he has to win the game. After that he tries his hardest, and gets ahead of the pitcher 3-0, 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, down by 1, with a runner on. The pitcher is so nervous he actually faints on the mound (Hobbs hit 4 HR in an earlier game off him).

The Pirates carry him off the field and bring in a rookie, 6 feet tall, 158 lbs. The first pitch is a called strike bullet, Hobbs barely sees the ball. Then a gust of wind picks up and surrounds the pitcher in dust, the pitch flies out of the dust for strike 2. Hobbs is so eager to hit a HR (to redeem himself for his past) that he swings at ball 4 and Ks.

Afterwards, he binds Wonderboy together and buries it in left field. When he opens his locker, only half the bribe money is there, with a note saying he didnt fulfill his end (because he tried to win).

Then he gives the bribe back, and humiliates his 3 main enemies, Memo, the owner, and a bookie. On the street a newspaper reads that Hobbs may have taken $ to throw the game and that he may be banned from baseball. A kid asks him if its true, and he just puts his face in his hands and cries.

The ending would have been very depressing if Hobbs had been a likeable guy, but he wasnt. They made him far more likeable in the movie. The young pitcher who Ks him is obviously meant as the antithesis to Hobbs. Instead of a farmboy who wants to be a baseball player, the pitcher is only playing ball to get enough $ to buy his own farm, his dream. His purity stands against the selfishness of Hobbs.

If you like baseball or the movie, I'd definitely recommend this. A short read too, only 230 pages.

Monday August 14, 2006 - 12:30am (EDT)

Friday vs. Angels

What the hell are the Angels called now? They're like an eastern European country. They change their name every few years.

Ok, so I'm watching Friday night's game, and Kay just gave a dubious but unsurprising stat on Arod: he's 2nd to last in all of baseball in getting a runner in from 3rd with less than 2 outs (40%). Only Michael Cuddyer of the Twins is worse (38%). You cant expect to beat good teams when the cleanup hitter cant drive runs in (and leads the league in errors).

Is it too early to think about trading Arod this offseason? If he has another poor October (if the Yanks make it), why not trade him? Maybe for some young pitchers?

Who would take him? Maybe the Dodgers, Angels, Giants, Cubs, Cards perhaps? The only teams that could afford him (outside of Boston, the Mets, Seattle & Texas for obvious reasons).

I've had the idea of signing back Soriano to play 2nd, moving Cano to 3rd (his position in the minors) or even Sheffield (also his former position), and trading Arod for help elsewhere, i.e. pitching.

Even my father-in-law, a huge Yankee fan, who's about as even-keeled as sports fans go, is getting very down on Arod. After Thursday's 5-4 loss to Chicago (when Arod made that huge error, and failed twice at getting the guy home from 3rd with less than 2 outs) he said that you can never blame a loss on one player, but that's as close to it as he's ever seen. He's been watching since the 50s, so he definitely knows. And he's dead on.

Another dominating outing from Phil Hughes: 5 ip, 0 r, 2 h, 2 bb, 9 k!

Why is he still in AA?

Sunday August 13, 2006 - 11:27pm (EDT)

Barcelona vs. Red Bulls

My wife, myself, and two friends of ours joined about 79,000 others to watch this exhibition game. It featured probably the best soccer club in the world, FC Barcelona, who apparently are like the Yankees of soccer. They feature Ronaldinho - the best player in the world, whose real name is Ronaldo Assis de Medeira. More than half the fans it seemed wore Barcelona or Brazil jerseys. They also have Lionel Messi from Argentina, and Samuel Eto'o from Cameroon.

The parking situation is FUBAR. It took about an hour from when we arrived in our car until we actually entered the stadium. We sat 5 rows from the very last row of the stadium. The minimum ticket package was 4, at $35 each, so we got our friends to come. It was about 70-30 in favor of Barcelona. The security wouldn't let us bring in soda, so I told him that Yankee Stadium lets us bring in anything. He said 'Well, the Yankees suck.' I told him they're in first place, how bad can they be.

It was really an electric atmosphere. People were waiting breathlessly to see Ronaldinho. He was, for the most part, the best player on the field. For the first 10 minutes, every time he touched the ball the crowd went nuts. Barcelona got a penalty kick about 5 mins. in, and Ronaldinho blasted it past Tony Meola (who single-handedly kept the Bulls in the game). Ronaldinho made some cool, trick passes, kicking the ball backwards with his heel, & showed off some other instinctual cleverness. There was nothing that amazing about his dribbling skills that set him apart from the other players, but the most exceptional part of his game was the accuracy of his passes. He made at least 3 long passes during the game that were truly perfect: placed only where his teammate could reach it, but out of the reach of the defenders.

The Bulls played well the first half, and on some sloppy D by Barcelona, put in a goal. Barcelona had many good scoring chances, but only converted on the PK. The Bulls keeper, Tony Meola, was brilliant. Besides nearly blocking Ronaldinho's PK, he made several other spectacular saves. One was a ball hit low on the ground, he barely touched it, but it was enough to deflect it out-of-bounds. Another time, the Barca player came down the side near the goal and would have made a nice centering pass, but Meola dove outwards punching the pass way out of the box. So it was tied at 1.

Barca put in all their backups (save for Ronaldinho), and the Bulls put in 3. The key was that the backup goalie was put in. Not that Meola would have down so much better, with Barca's offensive show in the 2nd half, but it would've kept it closer.

Anyway, Ronaldinho scored a sliding goal on a centering pass from Messi. There were many chants of 'Messi!' in the 2nd half. So Barcelona won 4-1. Ronaldinho was taken out in the 75th minute to a resounding ovation.

Going to a soccer match is far better than watching on TV. The atmosphere was great. We had a lot of fun, and the sellout shows that if MLS had the talent of European leagues, they would draw good crowds also. Soccer has a chance to be popular here.

Sunday August 13, 2006 - 10:17pm (EDT)


I've been very busy the last few days, so I've only seen about 4 total innings of Yankee ball. I'll post about those probably tomorrow after I get the chance to watch the replays (I love DVR). Also the Giants first game, and the FC Barcelona - Red Bulls game I went to last night.

Sunday August 13, 2006 - 01:34pm (EDT)

One Atrocious Inning

10:30 pm
Why do Arod's errors always seem to allow big innings? When other players make errors, there a chance nothing will happen... but not with Arod. First he strikes out with men on 2nd & 3rd, with only 1 out. Then a huge error. It should have been a guy on 3rd with 2 outs. Instead it was 1st & 3rd with 0 outs. And that throw to Cano wasnt even close!

And the K in the 1st - that was a given as soon as Vazquez got 2 strikes. Why even pitch? Arod should just go back to the bench when the pitcher gets 2 strikes with men on base.

Moose really only should have given up 1 run. A hit batter and some bad luck allowed 4 runs to score.

Update 10:35
Isn't that Arod's MO: a deep flyball to the warning track.

And Giambi picks him up. Great baserunning by Abreu. I know it was a HR but as soon as it was hit Abreu was running full speed, thinking it was a double. He was right, it was a hit, but over the wall.

ok, Wilson is obviously lost against vazquez. 2 k, 2 ab. I would pinch hit for him next time if Vazquez is still pitching. At least we cut the lead in half. Now Mussina's gotta hold it there (or should I say the defense?).

Boston lost again to KC! Wheeew... that makes the Yanks game much less pressing. Wow! Getting swept by the worst team in baseball. Thank you KC. Image

Good abs by abreu & arod, but giambi's first 2 pitches were hittable. When he's on, that first pitch is a grand slam. 9 guys lob already through 4.

so Arod again fails with 1 out, guy on 3rd. If he had come through both times, as any ML hitter (nevermind the cleanup hitter) should, the game would be tied. Like I said earlier, I have more confidence in Miguel Cairo coming through with 1 out, guy on 3rd than I do with Arod. Giambi's K didnt help either. 13 lob through 6.

Thanks to that goddam 2-2 call on Anderson, Chicago puts up another run... What a gun by Posada!

Nice shot Melky! That was crushed. Lesson for Arod: That's how you atone for a costly error.

If not for that one horrible inning, the Yanks might be celebrating a win tonight. Chicago got lucky. The Yanks hit 3-14 with risp. What stands out the most? Arod's 0-4 with an E (& stranding 2 runners at 3rd w/ 1 out), and Posada's 0-5. I can lay off Jorge a bit because he crushed the ball his 1st ab (right at the CF), and threw out a baserunner.

Chicago 5-4

2*: Abreu, reached base 3/5 times, 2 sb
1: Giambi, 2-run HR & BB
1: Melky, 2-run HR, reached base 3/5 times, demoted 1* for the error

Thursday August 10, 2006 - 10:33pm (EDT)

Yanks Almost Blow It

This seemed like a nice, easy win after going up 7-0, but then Randy lost his stuff and Farnsworth got hammered (with a little bad luck), and they had to hang on by their fingernails for a one-run win. Every run was important tonight. Abreu was huge, getting 3 rbi, including his first Yankee HR. Cano also had 2 hits and made some fine defensive plays. That backwards, Mays-esque catch was phenomenal. He made it look routine. And the last play wasnt easy either. An in-between hop with a runner bearing down, backhanded and flipped to Jeter. And it was great to see Melky and Cano chatting it up in the dugout like they did before Cano got hurt (and they also hit a HR each). All 3 HR were on offspeed pitches. They were great at bats. The hitter waited, saw the break, and took a nice easy swing, connecting with the fat part of the bat to send if flying.

Johnson went 6 no-hit innings, but it fell apart very quickly when Chicago scored 2 and loaded the bags with 0 outs. Villone came in after walking Crede, found a groove and escaped with no more damage. The Yanks could have easily been down 8-7, and it was scary when Brian Anderson hit that long drive, but that's why he's hitting .210 (& in the 9 spot) - it was a medium fly ball to left.

It seemed like Michael Kay was purposely trying to avoid saying 'no-hitter' but coercing his co-hosts to say it instead. (Kay had a screaming fit on the radio recently because a fan criticized him for not using 'baseball etiquette' by saying 'no-hitter' during one.) Kay was saying everything but 'no-hitter,' and Al Leiter finally bailed him out by saying it.

Farnsworth looked exhausted, and barely hit 97 mph (slow for him). I dont think Torre wanted to use him, but he couldnt use Proctor or Rivera there, so the only choice left really is Kyle - maybe Veras will get a look next time. Of course, Dye got lucky to reach on the infield single which would have been the 3rd out.

Unfortunately, Damon had to leave again. It's probably the same ankle (EDIT: strained groin), but they were able to win without him. I'm glad Rivera got another chance for the save and came through.

7-6 Yanks

3*: Abreu - 2-5, HR, 3 rbi
2: Randy - 6 ip, 2 er
1: Cano - 2-4, HR, great D
1: Villone - escaped bases loaded, 0 out jam

PS: Great to see the other Sox blow their game. Not just to KC, but in walk-off fashion with a 9th inning lead! It's now 3 games in the East. :)

Thursday August 10, 2006 - 02:05am (EDT)

Rivera Blows It

There were many culprits at blame in this game. Posada & Melky went 0-10. Wang only lasted 5 innings. They hit into 3 DPs. There were several bad calls (missed strikes and Wilson out at first). But the bottom line is this: the team has done it's job when it gives the lead to its closer in the 9th frame. Rivera put a pitch down Broadway, and Konerko hit it just enough to send it over the wall.

1: If Giambi doesnt GIDP? Garcia's weakest inning.
1b: If Cintron doesnt get that 2-out, 2-run single?
2: If Posada doesnt GIDP with the bases full?
3: If Wilson is rightfully called safe?
4: If Giambi doesnt get hurt and gets to hit instead of Bernie with Arod on 2nd, who's now about 0-11 in PH sits this year?
5: If Melky doesnt hit a weak grounder on 2-0, Cano on third, 1 out?
6: If Rivera puts that pitch where he wants to?
6b: If Jeter gets the 3 hits he deserves?
7: If Cano fields that ball cleanly? If Proctor finishes guys when he's up 0-2 on them? If the 3-2 to Thome is called a strike (which it certainly could have). If Arod catches that pop-up?

A tough loss. The only positives I see are that Arod, Abreu & Cano look good at the plate, Posada made 3 perfect throws to stop SBs, that Farnsworth continues to pitch well, Jenks will be unavailable tonight, and that the lowly Royals topped the other Sox, so we didnt lose any ground. Beating the defending champs on the road shouldn't be expected necessarily, but Boston beating KC should be, so all is not bad.

6-5 Chicago

3*: Arod, 3-3, 2 bb, 2 rbi, 1 r
2: Abreu, 2-4, 1 bb, 1 rbi, 1 r
1: Cano, 3-5, 1 2b

PS: (AA) Hughes yesterday: 5 ip, 1 er, 2 h, 0 bb, 6 k. :) I know he shouldnt be rushed, but next year, with Johnson & Mussina older, Pavano a big ?, Wright's inconsistency, and Wang being the only sure thing, is it too much to ask for him to get a chance in the Spring to make the team? I'd rather have Hughes learn up here than have Randy continue to post a 5 era. Tonight's a big start for Randy.

Wednesday August 9, 2006 - 04:05pm (EDT)

Homer Barrage

Jared 'Houdini' Wright flashed his magic. More leadoff hits, and more stranded runners. Houdini would be tied up inside a box and thrown into the river. He escaped. That's what Wright did through 6 innings yesterday.

It was good to see Jeter get the early HR, so we can all feel ok about his left shoulder. What a jump Abreu got on his first steal. Giambi could've stolen 2nd with that jump!

fyi, Papelbon has blown twice as many saves (4) as rivera.

6-1 Yanks.

3*: Wright, 6 ip, 1 er
2: Giambi, '3-3, 1 bb, 2 rbi, 1 r
1: Abreu, 2 sb, 1 rbi, 1 r

Monday August 7, 2006 - 05:39pm (EDT)

Adam Loewen?

A 1-hit shutout by a rookie with seemingly average stuff? Of course, several balls were hit well but caught. Just one of those days... Mussina wasn't his usual great self, but I'd rather lose 5-0 than 1-0. He just had some control issues, which is very abnormal for him.

Boston lost too fortunately. I was in Framingham, Mass for the weekend (visiting relatives) and watched Saturday night's game with them. It was 5-2 Tampa Bay, then Ramirez hit a 2-run shot. That scared me. When Boston is within a run, they have a good chance of coming back. However, Craig Hansen entered and promptly allowed 3 runs. :) As bad as TB is, they can definitely hit. My relatives kept complaining how Boston could never beat TB. Anyway, Ortiz drove in a run in the top if the 9th, making it 8-5 (which was followed by my cousin complaining about how if Hansen could pitch, it'd be a tie game). They loaded the bases (on some very questionable balls called) and Javy Lopez came in to pinch hit with 1 out. My cousin predicted he would ground into a DP and break his heart again. I wasn't so sure. But he did, to mine & my wife's delight.

To pick stars from the Yanks game is tough, but here goes:

5-0 O's.

1*: Abreu (for the hit) & Veras (for 2 scorless innings; his first in the bigs)

Monday August 7, 2006 - 05:32pm (EDT)

Posada to the rescue

Another disappointing outing by Randy. Isn't it strange when the worst pitcher on the staff is Randy Johnson? It seems like he will always give up just enough runs to lose a game. If the Yanks score 1, he'll allow 2. If they score 8, he'll allow 9. Fortunately the Yanks came back. I feared that a night like tonight - when the Yanks dont hit with men on - would happen eventually. But with enough weapons, even with all those runners LOB, they scratched across enough to win. The score could have easily been 10-4.

5-4 Yanks.

3*: Posada, 3-5, HR
2: Melky, 2-3, 2 bb
1: bullpen - 3 ip, 0 er

Saturday August 5, 2006 - 12:12am (EDT)

I was right, who knew...

... i'd be. Beckett DID get bombed tonight. 6 ip, 3 HR, 7 er. He added to his ML leading HR allowed total and is up to 31 now! Some 'experts' (on ESPN) picked him to win the AL Cy Young. I was afraid Cleveland would bring in Carmona in the 9th again, but Eric Wedge went with Jason Davis, who had to face Ortiz, Ramirez & Mirabelli to end the game. But there was no magic in Boston tonight as he shut the door.

What a performance by Jake Westbrook. The most hits allowed by a winning pitcher (15) since 1988. He got hit early, but Wedge was so disgusted with his pen from the last 3 days that he let Westbrook go 8 with 6 er. By all rights, Cleveland could have & should have swept the 4-game series. Oh well, a 1-game lead is still a lead. :)

Friday August 4, 2006 - 12:35am (EDT)

Surprising Lidle

I was not expecting this from Cory Lidle. It was a largely impressive 6 ip, 1 er outing. He escaped a couple jams when Jays hit hard grounders right at the fielders. He had trouble getting his breaking ball over, but got better later in the game.

The pen again pitched well, but I was curious why Torre brought in his 2 main horses: Proctor & Farnsworth in an 8-1 game. Why not use Myers & Ponson for as much as they're worth, and then if they put up a few runs, bring in Proctor/Farnsworth. I suppose Torre wanted to guarantee that Mo wouldnt have to enter the game. And now that Kyle took a ball off the finger, who knows if that will keep him out. I hope it's just a bruise.

All the offense was provided by the 2-7 hitters. 8, 9, & 1 went 0-13! Giambi's 3-run shot was huge because it gave an immediate lift to Lidle who could relax and afford middle-of-the-plate pitches. Great game also by Abreu with 3 hits. Keeping Abreu 3 and Giambi 5 seems great for the lineup. Abreu is much faster, and hits the other way, while Giambi can almost relax in the 5 spot and worry more about driving in runs rather than getting on base (and he WAS kinda slumping). And Giambi wont clog the basepaths so much in the 5 hole.

Cano is supposed to be back Tuesday. :)

Now we'll hope Beckett gets bombed tonight up north.

8-1 Yanks

3*: Lidle, 6 ip, 1 er
2: Giambi, 2-2, 2 bb, 4 rbi, 1 2b
1: Abreu, 3-5, 2 r, 1 2b

Thursday August 3, 2006 - 05:45pm (EDT)

Wang Works Wonders

What a roll this guy's on. Another dominating performance. He's clearly our #2 pitcher, after Mussina. He got squeezed in the 2nd inning and even stared at the home plate ump (which he never does), but escaped with (what else?) a ground ball. With electric stuff like his, how did he not hit the show until he was 25? And then it was only because of injuries and ineffectiveness. I know he had some injury problems, but isn't it odd that he's been pretty damn healthy since joining the club last year? Hopefully with Cashman in full control now, we wont rely so much on FAs & trades and try to build more through the system (it's worked wonders the last 1.5 years, e.g. Wang, Cano, Melky, Proctor).

The turning point was Posada's 2-run shot. What strikes me is that he kinda stood there admiring it, which he never does. Anyway, it's amazing that his bomb (and it was) would have been a likely double or triple in the old Stadium. I'm 25, so I have a hard time imagining how hard it must've been to take one out to left center. It makes you really appreciate Joltin' Joe. He hit 361 HRs with a 461 ft. left center field. What if he played today? He'd certainly eclipe 500.

Arod has looked great the last 2 games: good defense, timely hitting, everything we came to expect. He just looks comfortable out there. It seems his swing is a bit longer (in a good way). He's starting it early enough to hit the fastball yet keeping it in the zone long enough to still drive an offspeed pitch. I dont know if it's his usual August streak, or if it's a newfound Arod, or if it's because the acquisition of Abreu has taken some of the spotlight off him. Whatever it is, just keep it up.

Too bad we didn't gain a game on Boston. I want to choke this Indians closer - if you can even use that term to describe him. Tonight & the other night, he serves up gopher balls down the heart of the plate. Boston scored twice on 1 freaking hit! What a gift for them.

Anyway, fortunately the other Sox lost (to the lowly Royals) so that gives the Yanks more room in the Wild Card.

It'll be interesting to see Lidle go tomorrow. I always get a bit hesitant when a NL pitcher comes over to the AL. Look at RJ & Beckett: they've had rude awakenings coming over. And Clemens never seems to do so well in interleague matchups.

I had tix to tonight's game, but I had to look at a possible house to buy so I gave them to a friend. He's a SF Giants fan, but enjoys going to The Stadium too.

7-2 Yanks

3 stars: Wang, 8 ip, 0 er
2: Posada, 2-4, HR, 2 rbi
1: Arod, 3-5, 2 rbi, 1 2b
1: Jeter, 3-4, HR, 2 rbi

PS: Phil Hughes went tonight. 5 ip, 0 r, 8 ks. :)

Thursday August 3, 2006 - 01:44am (EDT)

Bernie & Wright

Watching Jaret Wright pitch is like watching a magician. He throws a lot of pitches, he nibbles, gives up a lot of hard hit balls, but (this year) usually finds a way to escape with minimal damage & put together a fine outing. Tonight it was 5 ip, 1 er. The pen came in and reminded me of '96: 4 ip, 0 er. Catalanotto's drive to the right field wall stopped my heart for a moment, but The Stadium has a surprisingly deep right center. People only think of the short right field porch, but that's right down the line. Going out toward center it increases considerably.

The turning point was of course Bernie's huge bases loaded double. I was holding my breath to see if Reed Johnson would catch it. Bernie hit the ball well his 1st time up but was robbed by Vernon Wells. He made up for it the 2nd time.

Also in that inning: Arod had a good at bat. I wasn't expecting him to swing on 3-0, but he hit a frozen rope into right center off a 97 mph fastball down the middle. Abreu had a great at bat too (although I think Burnett got squeezed on a couple pitches, but I'll chalk that up to Abreu's rep). I cant believe Burnett is only 2-5 with a 4.99 era. His stuff his just awesome: he averages 97, with a nice curve. The problem I see is that his control is off, his fastball is straight, and he feels that with his great stuff he doesnt have to conern himself much with location.

Abreu: I was largely impressed; he has the rep of a great eye, and certainly showed that tonight, especially in the 4-run inning. He also showed his speed in his first at bat when he nearly beat out a easy grounder to 2B. He made a few plays in the field too, with a nice running catch and then showed no nerves in catching a fly against the wall in the 8th.

5-1 Yanks

3 stars: Wright, 5 ip, 1 er
2: Bernie, 1-3, 1 bb, 3 rbi
1: Arod, 2-4, 2 rbi

Tuesday August 1, 2006 - 10:40pm (EDT)


Unbelievable. At this point, just pitch around him and take your chances with Ramirez. By the way, hasn't anyone ever thought of dusting Ortiz? Jeter gets one of those every damn game! I dont think i've EVER seen a fastball up & in backing Ortiz off the plate. Back him off, then see what he does.

Tuesday August 1, 2006 - 05:07pm (EDT)

Craig Wilson Deal

I don't care about giving up Chacon. Whatever magic he had last year is gone; at least we got something out of it, instead of plain out releasing him. Unfortunately, this deal will also take away from Melky's PT. Wilson plays corner OF & 1B. 2006 stats: 255 AB, .267 BA, 13 HR, 41 RBI, 38 R, 1 SB.

Until Matsui returns, we might see:
1B: wilson
DH: giambi
LF: melky
RF: abreu

When he returns, we might see him replace Melky in LF. :(

There'll also be many interesting roster moves in August. If Matsui comes back before the 40-man team in september, who's sent down? Philips? Crosby? Guiel? Beam? Ponson?

One thing I know: when Cano returns, Nick Green is gone. I just read that Guiel will be sent to AAA, so that leaves Philips & Crosby. Cashman said "Philips has a place on this team." So Bubba is sent down too.

That leaves Beam & Ponson. Ponson has apparently agreed to pitch in the bullpen (something he refused to do in STL) which probably means Beam will be sent down again. the problem is: I dont want him in the bullpen. I'd rather have the young but promising Beam than the 'experienced' but poor pitcher.

I'm glad to have the 40-man roster because this team has far more than 25 useful players (including AAA).

Monday July 31, 2006 - 07:09pm (EDT)

Bronson Sardinha

Promoted to AAA Columbus a few weeks ago, hitting .272 on the year in AA & AAA. But since coming to columbus, he's tearing it up: 19 games, .358 BA, 4 HR, 1.091 OPS!

I watched Columbus play on YES last Thursday when the Yanks were off. He went 1-4, but easily could've gone 3-4. He hit 2 line drives, one for a single, the other was right at the 2B. He looked bad striking out once, and he hit a long drive to the RF warning track that was caught, but which would've been a 3-run HR in the stadium, what with the short porch and all (Cooper Stadium is 330 to RF). He also has a very strong arm, the reason he plays RF.

The only cons are his speed (0 SB this year) and his age, 23. He's almost to the point where he becomes a caree minor leaguer. I do think he'll get called up to the show in september, but if he's not with the Yanks within 2 years (and I dont see it, with Matsui, Melky, Abreu), he might as well be traded, to at least give the Yanks something they CAN use, instead of another corner OF.

Monday July 31, 2006 - 06:39pm (EDT)

Tabata & Hughes

My thoughts on the top 2 prospects.

Jose Tabata
will turn 18 in 2 weeks. I haven't seen him play outside of the Futures Game, but what I saw matched what was being said about him on various sites. He played CF, but his normal position in A ball is RF. He has a super strong arm. He did misplay a ball in center - he dove but couldn't reach a line drive. One of the commentators said he's got to learn to run, THEN stick out the glove; he was running with his arm extended. He went 1-3. The 1 was impressive, albeit scary. It was a bullet up the middle on a 94 mph fastball that almost took the head off Phil Hughes...

... who had a rough outing in the futures game. Outside of that game, I saw some video of him pitching in high school. Good fastball and devastating slider. In the futures game, he was inconsistent with his control. His fastball ranged from 92-96 (with largely good control). His curve looked great, fast with a lot of movement. I think he threw one changeup, which sailed high; it must've hurt his confidence, so he didnt throw any more. I didn't see him throw his slider (unless i confused his slider for a curve). Also, he didnt throw one fastball inside. I dont know if this is his m.o., or he didnt want to risk injuring someone in an exhibition. To succeed in the show, he has to throw inside & get a bit more control & use the offspeed stuff more. He's being kept on a 80 pitch/5 inning limit now in Trenton, to keep stress off his arm. This bothers me a little: won't he get so used to only going 5 innings, that in the Bronx he'll subsconsciously throw his arm out for 5, not saving anything more. I know it's to prevent injury, but I just feel he'll be in for a rude awakening when he's asked to go 7 in the bigs. Of course, when he first comes up, the Yanks might limit his innings too, gradually increasing them.

Despite his outing, he's still #3 among all MLB prospects, the #1 pitcher. Tabata is #17. I'm very glad cashman held on to them. Hughes could be in the show next year sometime, and tabata likely 2008-9. If Hughes reaches his potential, he'll be an ace for 15 years.

Tabata has been injured on & off this year, and he's currently out with what seems to be a hand injury. He's supposed to be back in the lineup this week.

Monday July 31, 2006 - 06:15pm (EDT)

Jeter & Damon Provide Enough

You're not going to win many games when the 3-5 hitters go 0-11, but the Yanks did that yesterday when Jeter & Damon provided all the offense they would need. 2 rbi a piece. 4-2. Damon is excellent at turning on that inside fastball and hammering it. Yet he's also adept at hitting singles the other way. I noticed that the last few years as well, when it seemed like there was no where you could pitch him that he couldnt hit it.

Again, Mussina pitched well (and has a chance to win 20 games for the first time), and easily could've pitched a shutout, but the umpire - of course - squeezed a lot of pitches in his one bad inning.

Again, Arod K'ed with a runner on third and 1 out. The Yanks didn't score in the inning. I expect that from him more often than not now. Miguel Cairo seems to get that sac fly far more often than Arod. How fucked up is that?

On the plus side, Farnsworth looked great; 3 Ks/1 ip. He was hitting 101 mph! One pitch was 99 on the inside corner. If he could throw that every pitch, he'd be unhittable.

4-2 Yanks

3 stars: Mussina, 7 ip, 2 er
2: Damon, 3-4, 2 HR, 3 rbi, 2 r
1: Jeter, 2-4, 2 rbi

Monday July 31, 2006 - 04:11pm (EDT)


What a breath of fresh air this year! He's the Robbie Cano of this year. What I like the most is that he hits the other way, and has steadily improved into a Plus OF over the course of the year.

Look at all the pros:
21 years old
hits a lot of line drives
hits the other way
rarely Ks
good eye, takes walks
fast (OF play, SBs & infield hits)
great arm (9 assists, leads league)
very good OF (and improving)

little power (so far)
occasionally has very weak at bats (2-hoppers to short or 2b)

This is why I was a little disappointed by the Abreu deal. It most likely means Matsui's return will signify the PT demotion of Melky to a part-time OF, pinch-hitter/runner.
Of course, Torre can DH Abreu when Matsui returns, and put Melky in RF and Giambi at 1B. But when Sheff returns, it will probably mean the full demotion of Melky. Then he'll only be a defensive replacement/pinch-player.

Whatever happens, I hope Melky stays with the club, because he has clearly helped - I might say he has more big hits than Arod - and is very young, and should only improve with PT (which I hope he receives often). Might he take over RF full-time after 2007 when Abreu is gone?

Monday July 31, 2006 - 03:55pm (EDT)


I've been reading other blogs bashing Bernie Williams for his poor offense & defense. And I have to take exception to it.

Bernie has been playing part time, making some very nice plays in right. Yes, he's lost a step in the last 5 years, but I would classify him above average in RF. He's batting .280, higher than Giambi, Arod, or Abreu. He has 8 HRs, as many as Abreu and more than Jeter. And with only 304 ABs, less than Abreu, Giambi or Arod. His OBP is low at .326, but he's still being productive. He shouldn't take all the criticism he's getting. He was supposed to be the 4th OF, and he's been very good at that.

Monday July 31, 2006 - 03:41pm (EDT)

Abreu Deal

This deal should certainly help this year. I rarely like giving up prospects, but CJ Henry has been disappointing so far, Matt Smith is already 27, and the single A players are unknown, and going by their stats, nothing too special (so far).

I honestly dont know much about Abreu (aside from his stats). I know he leads the NL in BB, 3rd in OBP, and has 20 SBs. That sounds very nice, and should fit in well with the lineup. The short porch should provide him easy HRs, but a feeling i've got watching the yankees acquire power-hitting lefties over the last 5 years is that they see that 314 RF and try to pull everything, e.g. giambi (who used to hit all over). i hope this doesnt happen to Abreu, who i've read has become far more pull conscious since last year's HR derby.

He's supposed to have a strong arm, but is shy of running into the wall. I've hardly seen him play so I cant attest to this. It will certainly provide better offense than Aaron Guiel and Bubba Crosby though (who've been surprisingly helpful).

The only downside is that Melky, who I like a lot, will see less playing time when Matsui comes back. For the record, I would have been fine with a Matsui, Damon, Melky OF this year (and next).

Cory Lidle seems like a throw in, just for the Yanks to hope he can be better than Ponson or Chacon. Hopefully he can. Torre said (before acquiring Lidle) that Ponson would get at least one more start (after his bad Toronto outing). I doubt this is still true. Who's going to be sent down with getting Abreu & Lidle? Beam? Ponson? Chacon? Guiel? Crosby?

Monday July 31, 2006 - 03:27pm (EDT)


Somestimes I feel bad for him. I'm watching the replay of the 19-6 game. The Yanks were making a comeback, down 12-5 in the 6th, bases loaded, 2 out, and Arod grounds out. Many boos proceeded.
He squints every time there is a pressure situation, as if he's REALLY concentrating, but it doesnt seem to do anything. At least this time he made contact. I'm so used to him striking out. e.g. 1st inning, the yanks score 2 and threaten for more, and everyone has a good at bat against Jae Seo (which they should) except for Arod. He struck out. Damon hit a hard groundout, jeter & giambi homered, K, posada walked, and bernie hit what i thought would be a gapper but was run down by crawford. why does this stuff always happen to Arod? perhaps the most talented player in MLB.

it seems like he guesses way too much. that's why he takes fastballs down the middle for strike 1, but swings & misses at 89 mph fastballs at his elbows. he's so talented he should forget about guessing and go up there and just react. he's fouling off or taking pitchers that he should be hammering. he also seems too pull conscious. what happened to that opposite field power?

if sheffield comes back healthy, i want him cleanup, matsui 5, arod 6, & abreu 7.

by the way, i have never once booed Arod. i've been to many games and seen him disappoint many times, but i've never booed him. he is a Yankee who plays hard. in the upper deck, many of the guys in the nosebleeds boo him i've found. it comes partly from the drinking, partly from sitting way up there and kind of watching the game, partly sitting with their buddies and wanting to fit in/feel tough/cool, and certainly from the money & expectations that Arod have.

i'm afraid sometimes that he'll never have the success here that he did in Texas & Seattle, but all it takes is one good October (or one playoff game-winning hit) to erase any ill feeling. And Arod is certainly capable of that.

Monday July 31, 2006 - 03:15pm (EDT)

First Entry

My first post! This is going to be dedicated to the NY Yankees, my #1 team. (I may also occasionally post about other sports ongoings.)

I live in Queens, and my family's had season tickets since 1989. I only go to 2-4 of those a year, but me and my wife buy the $5 tix also, so I go to 10-15 games a year. Because of the season tix, I've gone to a number of playoff games (2 stand out the most: 96 ALCS game 1 & 98 WS game 1).

To sya my favorite (current) player is very tough: i like Jeter, Cano, Melky the most.

My favorite all-time is Donnie (I grew up in the 80s).

So anyway, this blog will just be a collection of my thoughts on the Yankee games, players, trades, fans, etc.

Feel free to share your thoughts as well.
Monday July 31, 2006 - 02:59pm (EDT)