Friday, May 19, 2006

Call Up Shake Up

Bad managing? Slow start? Injuries? Schedule? Weather? World Baseball Classic? No Yankee excuse of the week... gas prices. Apparently gas prices are even too high for the Yankees A-game, who hasn't been attending many games.
Jaret Wright's game was there. He started off beautifully. He was throwing a shutout until the 7th, getting himself out of sticky situations more than once. He gave up 3 runs, but he had control and confidence in his fastball. Scott Erickson came in in the 7th inning. He pitched 2 innings and faced 12 batters. Erickson didn't do so hot. He walked the first batter he faced. After that he walked 3 more batters and in the ninth gave up a homer to the leadoff man. When Villone came in and started off with 2 walks I turned the game off. But, alas, the game stayed Texas 6 New York 2.
Offensively our bat were slow and our eyes were bad. 10 strikeouts 5 hits. Damon briefly showed up at the game to bring in the only runs for the Yankees with a 2-out 2-RBI single.
Bubba Crosby was injured. Who know when? It was either in a attempting diving catch in the 5th or the at bat in the bottom of the same inning. Either way he was pulled out with a strained hamstring. So nothing too serious but still injury #1796. In comes, Kevin Reese to PR for Crosby. In his season debut he committed a fielding error and went 0-for-2. It must be the nerves. Excuse #796. Melky Cabrera played solid defense. He came up with two great plays and went 1-for-3 and scored a run. He was one of the only four Yankees not to strikeout.
Posada pinch hit for Stinett in the 7th. Joe Torre assumingly brought him in to homer again. Surely baseball does not need to be explained to the skipper.
Our pitching. Our outfield. Our infield. Our pride. They've all gotten picked and bruised and some even tattered. This is a chance for the Yankees to really stand up and show that it's the team that wins and not the players. So after a classic Tuesday, a winning Wednesday, the Yankees fell short on only their 2nd day game loss of the season.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Kazmir Bright Light in Tampa

Scott Kazmir, of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, continues to shine. He currently shares the top spot for most wins with the likes of Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine and Curt Schilling. He's tied for 9th with a 2.73 ERA. He's averaging a strikeout an inning. Last night he pitched a beautiful 7 innings allowing only 1 run and striking out 8. Though you would never know from the score becuase the Rays' bullpen nearly gave up the win. Kazmir is only 22 years old. He was drafted by the Mets but traded with Jose Diaz for Victor Zambrano and Barolome Fortunato. He's currently earning a little over $300 K on a one-year contract with the Rays. If he continues to dominate the Rays may have some trouble holding on to him. For young Kazmir playing for the Rays this season is actually perfect. In another contending team he may still be considered a prospect, but in Tampa he's their ace. He's got a better record than Randy Johnson and Johan Santana, more strikeouts than Curt Schilling and Tom Glavine. He sports a better ERA than Pedro Martinez and . He has allowed less walks than Barry Zito and Matt Clement. His fastballs are clocked at the mid-90s. He also throws a pretty good changeup and a great slider. He shows great confidence and not even just for a young pitcher. In 12 2/3 innings against the Red Sox he allowed 2 runs and struck out 17. Kazmir is definitely a player to keep an eye on this season and in the offseason to see where he goes or if he stays.

Around the Majors

So with baseball nearly a quarter way in, major league standings are figuring themselves out. Though about 40 games cannot be a true ruler. In fact 81 games standings don't matter either. The only standings that matter are the ones after game 162. But regardless let's see what's going on. In the AL East the Rays continue to claim the #5 spot. Tampa and Baltimore the two teams in the division to be under .500. Blue Jays are continuing to fight, but as always, it the Yankees and the Red Sox up top. The Red Sox dominating the #1 spot. In AL Central, last years WS Champs White Sox are at the top, but the Tigers aren't far behind. The Tigers are having a great season so far. After 38 games, they're .658. And the Indians who started the season off hot are 6 1/2 games away from the Sox and under .500. The Twins are having a hard time in 4th and the Royals are sporting the worst ML record at 10-26. In the West, the Rangers and the A's are above .500 and taking turns at first. The Mariners and the Angels taking turns at last. In the National League, the Mets continue to rule the standing. The Philles are benefiting from Gordon who leads the NL with 13 saves. The Braves are finding themselves in the unfamiliar spot of third. Their pitching is just not where it should be. The Nats and the Marlins share the basement spot in the East. The Cardinals and the Reds lead the Central. Houston and Milwaukee the other teams over .500 in that division. The Cubs and the Pirates under. In the NL West every team is over .500, with the Dodgers and the Giants even. The Rockies and the Padres are tied in second, half a game away from the Diamondbacks.

Bonds hasn't hit *the* homer. Clemens hasn't announced anything besides his family is warming up to the idea of him pitching again.

Jorge Cleans Up

When I first saw the lineup I was confused. Posada batting cleanup!?! Phillips DHing!?! So, of course, I wasn't too surprised when the Rangers started off well. They were 9-1 in the second, 10-3 in the third. I thought it was over. I made a cardinal mistake. I seemed to have forgot what the great sport of baseball is. The Yankees came back with a hot 6th, they were up 10-11 at the end of that inning. But then the Rangers responded, 12 up in until the ninth. When the Rangers scored off of Rivera in the 9th I held my breath. I didn't exhale until, with two outs and a man on, Posada hit a 2-run walk-off homerun. What a game, what a game. Chacon was HORRIBLE! He allowed 6 hits and gave up 2 walks, all men on base able to score only one of those runs unearned. Oh and that was in 1 1/3 inning. Yeah... Small came in and pitched 4 1/3 innings allowed 6 hits and 2 runs. The one pitcher that did amazing was, yet again, Farnsworth. He came in the eighth and went 3 up 3 down with two strike outs. Jeter looked good. He went 4-for-5, a walk, scored 3 runs and 4 RBIs. Damon seems to have found his bat, 3-for5, a walk and able to score 4 times. Posada had a good night. On top of an amazing defensive block of home he was 2-for-3 with a couple sac flies, 5 RBIs and a walk. The Yankees are #2 in the AL East, one game away from the Red Sox. The Yankees continue their series versus Texas tonight with Wang starting against Kameron Loe.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Homeruns, Double Plays, Pitching

Wang played a full 8 innings. 8 innings. That is one away from a complete game. That is one away from a shutout. He only had thrown 85 pitches. 85 pitches! Let's use a comparison A's starter Barry Zito threw 110 pitches. He played 6 innings. But Wang, New York Yankee Chien-Ming Wang, threw 85 pitches in 8 innings. Nice job. He allowed only 3 hits and a couple walks. Not at all bad. Let's hope this continues. Rivera was able to get in there and steal Wang's shutout, I mean get save #7. I love Rivera and we won the game. The Yankees were way down at the bottom of the majors with the least amount of douple plays but they were able to pick up 5 in tonight's game. ARod and Williams both took pitchers deep, home runs providing the only runs of the game. Our defense looked good, our pitching looked good, our offense... Well 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Matsui's surgery was successful. Trade rumors are flying everywhere. I've heard Shannon Stewart, Aubrey Huff, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Alfonso Soriano, and the list goes on. I'm thinking maybe give those kids a try. You know the ones that you bring up in the farm system to possibly play in the majors. Melky Cabrera, Kevin Thompson, Kevin Reese. I had the oppurtunity to watch the guys play in Spring Training. The only one I really remember for what he did is Reese. Matsui proved to be a class act Yankee. He issued a statement that was full of remorse and regret. He really proved to be a team player. Not at all like that other outfielder on the DL. Though Sheffield is missed and the word is that his 'injury' might be more serious than thought. Damon's banged up too. So between our outfielders and pitchers we're playing with a team of cripples and insecure players. Matsui is slated to be out for 3 months, minimum. I've heard some places taking him out for a year. I have to stop...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Yankees On Their Knees

Blown game by the New York Yankees tonight. So not only did they lose but Matsui is out with a broken left wrist. When I saw him holding that wrist several things crossed my mind: his game starting streak, which was 518 games, how the lineup would change and whether Cabrera or Bernie would come in for him. Well, game streak was officially over tonight because he didn't play a full side, Bernie batted fifth but was brought in to play right, moving Bubba to left. Up until the 7th, the Yankees had a defensive gem, key plays by Bubba who robbed Lowell of a homerun, Damon who robbed Mirabelli of a homerun, Cano made a stopping catch. But none of it mattered because two runs scored in the seventh after a quick throw and dropped ball. Jeter looked better at the plate, didn't matter. Our pitching did not allow a hit to Ramirez or Ortiz, didn't matter. Bubba had an amazing night, didn't matter. Hell What did matter was that Damon, Giambi, Cairo and Cano all went hitless. This may be an excuse but I have to blame the wind for the Red Sox win tonight. With two outs Alex Gonzalez hit a ball to right looked like it was going foul but it made its way back into fair territory. Bernie couldn't get to it in time and when it bounced back into the stands, ground rule double. I was very glad to see the fan who caught the ball throw it back.

Matsui was out of the game on the second batter of the night. He made a diving catch and his wrist went under him. He suffered a broken wrist. His 518 consecutive game streak ended tonight. It's sad to see a good guy like Matsui get injured like this. He's going in for a 'surgical procedure' on Friday, no word on when he will return. So we will be playing without Matsui and without Sheffield, who is on the DL for wrist injury until the end of May. That lineup that everyone talked about has disappeared. Funny to think that most people were concerned with keeping our pitching healthy. Baseball's a funny sport.

I have to tip my hat to the Red Sox (but I will not call them my daddy). They took advantage of everything the Yankees screwed up. They played hard and proved that they are going to be a tough win. Papelbon continued to impress. The Red Sox definitely have something going with their Timlin/Foulke/Papelbon set up. The Red Sox win it 5-3.

Around the Majors:
Bonds still hasn't caught Ruth and Clemens still hasn't decided.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Yanks Play Long Ball

Tonight Moose came out of the cages and gave me a little jump. He let up a homerun to Ortiz in the first and to Lowell in the second. He didn’t come out pitching his best game but somewhere in the second he found his rhythm and regained control. Everything I complained about last night seemed to work itself out tonight. The Yankees won it, 7-3. ARod scored a solo homerun, and Giambi and Posada each hit a 2-run homer. This is a game I like to win. We went up against good pitching and our offense proved that we have it. Besides Giambi’s fielding error in the third our defense looked sharp. I’m with Joe Morgan though I would have adjusted the shift for Ortiz. But what the hell do I know? Cabrera did quite well. He got all the balls he should have and collected a walk. I don’t know how good it was to replace him by Bubba. He lost an at bat and maybe some confidence. Though I don’t know if it did anything for Bubba either backing up a rookie. Posada was gorgeous. He went 2-for-4 with big at bats. Our 1-2, Jeter and Damon, continue to watch their batting averages lower. I was going to say something about Steinbrenner’s comments, but apparently he was misinterpreted. MmmHmm. But just like ARod said: He signs the checks, so he can say whatever he wants. And what would our Yankees be without money? Speaking of Yankee money, Pavano was at the stadium tonight. Why? Maybe moral support? Maybe motivation? Maybe it got to warm in Tampa and he was getting a sunburn? He’ll be pitching for AA Trenton on Friday; I’ll let you know how that goes.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Embarrassing Yankee Pitching

First game of the Yankee-Red Sox series was tonight. The Yankees were blown away, 14-3. Villone, who let 4 men on in two innings, was the best pitcher. He had two hits. He forfeited two walks, one was actually a HBP to Trot Nixon. The second walk came next to Pena; that loaded the bases. But Villone got himself out of trouble and no runs were earned. So what's Torre do? He puts Sturtze in. This would be the same pitcher who's neck he wanted to wring in the previous game. I just hope that this was the final nail in Sturtze's coffin. I'm not even going to talk about the other pitchers. Even though only 2 of Johnson's 7 runs were earned, he shouldn't have give up that many bases. That is all I will say on that. ARod was hitless in 2 at bats but did manage 2 errors. Other hitless Yankees? Damon, Matsui, Cairo, Stinnett and Bernie. Bernie actually showcased much of what Yankee fans were feeling when he threw his batting helmet back to the umpire. Very uncharacteristic. He got ejected. Oh and another managing error, calling Melky Cabrera up in a series against Boston. If the Yankees really want to use him they should have waited until the Baltimore series. Current Yankee MVP, Giambi, homered. Didn't do us much good besides that run to 1000. The only numbers I care about are under the win column. I just hope that tomorrow Schilling will falter and Mussina will continue to shine. Game's being broadcast nationally on ESPN for those of you unfortunate enough to have a baseball package.

Around the majors: The Royals upset the Indians, 10-7 (!) The Pirates shutout the Diamondbacks 3-0. Braves beat the Marlins, 10-2. Orioles edged out the Tigers in a close game, 7-6. A Mets error let the Phillies go to a 9-game winning streak, 4-5. Despite 2 runs in the ninth the Jays lose to the A's, 6-5. The Nats beat the Reds, 7-1. Three homeruns help the White Sox beat the Angels, 9-1. Twins score early beating the Rangers, 15-5. Pujols' 3-run homer in the eigth help the Cardinals quiet the Rockies. Mariners beat the Rays 8-1. It's tied for the Brewers and the Padres in the 7th. Another tie game for the Astros and the Dodgers in the 6th. And it's the Giants over the Cubs, 6-1 in the top of the eighth.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bonds One Away From Ruth

There's more than a ten year difference in these pictures.

The MLB has already decided that no celebrating would be done when Barry Bonds hits his next two homeruns. The first will tie him in second with Babe Ruth for career homeruns; the second will settle him behind Hank Aaron. Are there even Bonds fans out there? I've caught a few seconds of a few Bonds on Bonds. He was crying in all the clips I saw, so apparently steroids don't take all the wussy out of you. Though I am one of the baseball fans that won't believe it until there's proof.
1986-1997 SLG: .552
1998-2006 SLG: .791
Hmm...that's a big difference.
1986-1997 HR/AB: 374 HR/6069 AB. AVG: HR/ 16.2 AB
1998-2006 HR/AB: 339 HR/3136 AB. AVG: HR/ 9.3 AB
Hmm...that's also a big difference.
Can I just ask one question? Has MLB even tested him since all the speculation started? Because I know at my job if they suspect I'm drugging it up, they can test me. How is it that retail America is ahead of the major league organization?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Series of the Week

It's only May, yet somehow I have Octoberesque feelings about this upcoming series (bit dramatic, no?). Both the Yankees and the Red Sox are tied for first in the AL East, though the Yankees are ahead by percentage points. They're carrying impressive winning streaks, Yankees 5, Red Sox 4. Randy Johnson and Josh Beckett are set to lead the series off. I'm more excited about Wednesday matchup of Schilling and Mussina. Moose's 2.35 beats Schilling's 3.02 ERA, and Moose will definitely get more run support. But last season ARod went 1-for-11 against Schilling. The one hit was a homerun. Schilling throws lots of strikes too so we more than likely will not see many walks. Schilling's only issued 7 in 47.2 innings this season and last year he issued only 4 walks to Yankee hitters. Another late inning matchup that may be interesting to watch will be Papelbon and Rivera. I love Rivera and, after last Yankee/Red Sox game, I hate Papelbon. I will say that there are a few Sox players that I dislike simply because of their talent. Papelbon would be one of those. I don't think we'll see the two in the same inning though. Not unless Rivera goes in for a save and then gives up runs to put the Red Sox ahead, and then Papelbon comes in to 'seal the deal'.

Oh captain, my captain... Jeter was RED HOT. The key word there is was. In April he was hitting .398, so far this month .154 with three hitless games in the past week. Matsui, however, seems to be improving. He's hitting 9 points over his April average. Cano is also doing well; he's on a 7-game hitting streak. Bernie's also on a hit streak and batting over .400 for the month.

Recapping the past series against the Rangers. I only need to say two words: straight sweep. But... pitching wasn't consistent and we had to rely on too many big ab's. That is all.

Around the majors, the Braves surprised the hell out of me. 13-3 over the Mets!? Impressive. I didn't watch the game but Smoltz looked like he pitched a nice one. But it's the Braves offense that the game belonged to. Tampa beat Oakland, 3-2 and took the series. The Rockies swept the 'Stros. The Padres beat the Cubs, protecting their 7-game winning streak and continuing the Cubs 5-game losing streak. So the Astros contacted Clemens agent. They offered him $12 million for 4 months. If I was him I would play in Houston. But I'm me and I want him to retire or put on the pinstripes again. His agents say that he'll make his decision before June 15. Hmmm...why am I having visions of Favre dancing through my head?

Let me just end by bidding Torre congratulations for his 1,000th win as Yankees manager. Even if the man doesn't always make the wisest moves, he apparently knows something. Congrats, Torre.
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