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Monthly Archives: July 2010

Dustin Moseley picks up the win

After a first inning during which he threw 30 pitches, it looked like Dustin Moseley’s start had disaster written all over it. Yet Moseley showed some grit – granted, he wasn’t facing the most powerful offense in the league, but he bounced back and turned in a line of 6 IP, 4 H and only 1 ER. If Moseley can keep the Yankees in the game Sergio Mitre can get back to some of he form we saw earlier in the year out of the bullpen, the Yankees should be able to weather the Andy Pettitte injury storm just fine.

Then there’s the Yankees offense – what a strange game. The Indians had to use seven pitchers, including a position player, to get through last night’s contest. After Talbot left in the top of the third with an injury and was replaced with Perez, the Indians proceed to parade out a seemingly never ending cornucopia of ineffective pitchers. Still, the game was tied at 1 until Derek Jeter’s RBI single in the 6th, which finally injected some excitement in between Alex Rodriguez quest-for-600 at bats. The pace was awful, with tons of walks and the Yankees failing to execute – leaving 14 runners on base! Still, the Yankees finally opened a can of whoop-there-it-is-ass on the Indians bullpen in the seventh inning – by dropping a seven spot, and then two more runs in the eighth. Suddenly, it was 11-1, and I was moving on with my evening…

Until Chan Ho Park came into the game. His first inning was fine, but the 9th was another story. Park lost the plate; he looked like Guy Pearce in Memento. Three walks in the ninth inning… if you can’t throw strikes with a ten run lead, I’m not sure there is any place for you on this team. Francisco Cervelli went out to check on Park – he seemed to be asking him if he was OK. Let’s just say he’s not OK and DL him and bring up Jonathan Albaladejo again. He can’t be any worse than Park, right?

The Yankees are in Tampa this weekend for what will surely be an epic battle for control of 1st place in the AL East. After Matt Garza’s no hitter in his last start, I’m predicting the Yankees will CRUSH HIM. Just watch.

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the box score says it all

There is not a ton to say about last night’s romp by the Yankees over the Indians – the box score says it all.

Oh never mind – here’s a bunch of crap I’d like to talk about for a sec:

AJ Burnett threw 6.1 innings of no run ball with 7 Ks.  The Indians offense isn’t exactly equivalent to the Red Sox, but after Burnett’s June, I’m more than pleased with this outing.

Fausto Carmona took a beating at the hands of the Yankee offense and say his ERA bloom from 3.51 to 3.92; I guess 7 ER in 2.2 IP will do that.  Carmona is a great pitcher, but I missed the beginning of the game, so I don’t know what went wrong – my guess is he was up in the zone.

Joba Chamberlain had a perfect .2 IP outing.  I think this demotion away from the pressure of the 8th inning is just what he needs; the break from the stress, and the kick in the butt of losing his job will right his ship.

A-Rod didn’t hit his homer, so he’ll go for number 600 again tonight.  I’m sure no one wants this over with more than A-Rod, but I’m sick of everybody saying, “He failed to hit his homer again.”  The guy was 2-5 with an RBI.  Sure, he left 5 runners on base, but it’s not like he’s slumping.  I just can’t get over the A-Rod phenomenon:  he’s a MLB player with all the talent and money in the world and half the time, I feel sorry for the guy.

I always felt he would, but now that Mark Teixeira has turned the corner (two more RBI last night on 2 hits, his average is up to .262), I can’ t help but be amazed.  I always rationalized that Teix would come around, even if he didn’t have a great year, he’d still have a good one – because the alternative was – well, I don’t know what it was.  He’s not, he’s not hurt, and he doesn’t seem to have lost his mind, so I figured it was only a matter of time, and it was.

I just noticed last night when the game was coming on the radio that John Sterling is a bit greedy with his Teix home run call; he’s got two for him:  “Mark sends a Teix message!  Oh Teixeira, You’re really on the Mark!”  Does anybody else have two?  If Metallica is the master of puppets, surely John Sterling is the master of puns.

Yankees Universe Membership

I got one of those “buy Yankees Universe membership” emails today, which I always enjoy reading. They advertise two packages: the pinstripes pack, and the infinitely less coolly named blue pack, and what the two packages include. However, the email doesn’t include pricing – you have to click through to the website, landing here. The pinstripes pack is $99. For the rest of this season. That seems a bit excessive – can’t they cut the price as the season wains? The blue pack is $19, but probably isn’t worth that unless you go to a lot of games and spend a lot of money on Yankees merchandise in general.

I have no problem with the Yankees making money – I salute their business skill as they continue to find new avenues of revenue in troubling economic times. Not that they’re doing poorly, mind you; the Yankees are the third most successful sports franchises in the world (that’s some list, by the way – every NFL team is on it, but no hockey teams… the Manchester United Football Club is first, and the Dallas Cowboys are second), so they don’t need to do this. But they are, and that’s cool. But $100 seems excessive, and for less than half a season, it’s border line criminal… and if this is the price for half a season and the full season is $200, then it is criminal.

Yankees versus minor league pitchers

Everything you need to know about last night’s game is in the box score – but really, it’s far simpler than that: the Yankees faced Cleveland Indians rookie Josh Tomlin, just called up from triple A – so of course, they barely got one run off him in 7+ innings. I didn’t see anything especially awe inspiring in Tomlin, this just seems to be the way it goes when this situation comes up. The Yankees seem to lose this game, every single time. If the Yankees opposition brought up rookies for every game, it feels like the Yankees would lose 100 games. You can see more of my frusteration with this game at Twitter.

On the other hand, CC Sabathia was not sharp, giving up 9 hits, 4 ER in 7 innings. Still, It’s not like he got blown out, and the real story for this lose is the Yankees stagnant offense against inferior pitching – when you only score 1 run, you’re probably not going to win the game.

You can see more of my frustration with this game at Twitter. You can also catch my contributing post at TheFowlBalls.com.

Umpires, warnings and rules 2.1

Now these are the kind of blown calls I can live with. With one exception…

With Mark Teixeira on first, Alex Rodriguez hit a ball that dropped in front of Trevor Crowe – or so everybody with a pair of functioning eyes thought. But the ruling umpire said he caught it on the fly for an easy double play, as Teixeira, who has excellent vision, went to second as the ball was trapped, not caught. The Yankees argued, but the umpires never huddled to at least confirm that all of the umpires saw the same thing. I don’t want to hear that they didn’t huddle because of the, ‘it slows down the pace of the game,’ argument. That argument is ASS. The Yankees would have stopped arguing sooner if all of the umpires convened and said they all saw the same thing.

Curtis Granderson hammered a ball off the top of the wall and was thrown out at second… accept his foot was clearly on the base before he was tagged. The Yankees didn’t argue.

I can live with these blown calls – they should have convened on the A-Rod/Teix call, but whatcha gonna do? These calls happen and aren’t a result of a strict interpretation of the rules, just humans making errors, which is part of the game. I can live with that.

Otherwise, there isn’t much to tell about the Yankees 3-2 victory of the Indians. Nick Swisher hit a towering solo home run, as did Curtis Granderson, but with a man aboard. Jake Westbrook pitched a great game, but those 2 homers to the bombers were all the Yankees needed to win against Cleveland’s offense. Javier Vazquez had about everything working from the 2nd inning and going forward: fastball command, a good curve ball and change, and that put a lot of the Indians off balance, particularly some of their younger hitters. Speaking of the Indians and young players, they’ve got so many on their 25 man roster right now because they’ve given up on 2010, which means Westbrook is available, and he’s expensive, so the market for him isn’t that big. I’m not saying the Yankees need him, but you never know… As far as starting pitching goes, I think they’re waiting for the off season to throw money at Cliff Lee instead of surrendering prospects. David Robertson, the champion of pressure situations, pitched well in relief, coming into yet another game with runners on base and getting two outs in the 8th before giving way to Boone Logan, who retired the only batter he faced. Mariano Rivera came on for the save – he’s 21 for 23 so far this year, and his numbers are outstanding. That guy is like… uhm, somebody that grows old but continues to perform at a high level in almost the exact same way as he did when he was young. Can’t think of a good metaphor for that… I don’t think Joe Girardi has any interest in using Joba Chamberlain in the middle of an inning; that’s definitely Robertson’s job. Robertson is the Yankee fireman – you ring the bell, he runs out of the pen, puts out the flames and heads to the showers. Rivera might get the saves, but it’s Robertson’s holds of the last few weeks that makes a lot of those saves possible. I don’t want to speculate on what the Yankees record would be without him. They’d probably be tied with Tampa Bay.

Umpires, warnings and rules 2.0

If you didn’t catch last week’s post on Umpires, warnings and rules, the intended message was:

Umpires and rules are all well and good, but sometimes, the umpires need to impose the rules while using their common sense. We’re not in court, no one’s life is at stake – a strict interpretation of the rules is not always necessary. Let’s just play ball.

I think that might have gotten lost a bit in the rules I was ranting against, so I just want to reiterate that. I’m not anti-umpire; for the most part, they do a great job, but I do believe they should be seen and not heard. Well, I guess the, "Strike!" screaming is OK, but let’s keep the Leslie Nielsen performances to a minimum.

Today, I’d like to call attention to yesterday’s interference call against Jorge Posada during Chan Ho Park’s disastrous ninth inning. When the ball got away from Posada, he through away his mask, which spent a lot of time bouncing around on the ground. The ball was slowing down, and, by chance, his mask landed on top of the ball. The umpire called interference, meaning that the catcher’s mask/equipment can’t be used to retrieve the ball, and awarded the runner at 3rd home plate, making the score Yankees 12, Royals 6.

It’s really important to understand that Posada’s mask was not intentionally used to slow the ball down – he didn’t through the mask at the ball. The ball was already moving very slowly, hence the mask, which bounced several times before hit landed on top of the now virtually stopped ball, was able to catch up to it. Posada didn’t use his mask to scoop up the ball, or deliberately throw his mask at the ball. This is what the spirit of the rule is intended to guard and punish, and that’s not what happened on Sunday. Some common sense needed to be exercised in that situation, and it wasn’t. It didn’t change the game, as the Yankees still won, and it’s not worth deliberating ifs, but this was a bad call by the umpire. This didn’t help the Royals, it certainly didn’t help the Yankees, I don’t see how any baseball fan benefited from this call. MLB needs to modify this rule so the umpires can use their own judgment and determine if the catcher’s action was deliberate and if it would have altered the course of the ball. In Sunday’s case, there was no way the ball was traveling fast enough to get far enough away from Posada to allow the runner on 3rd to score. I believe the umpires can use their judgment to determine this.

I feel that this year, more than any other year, the umpires have injected themselves into the game in a way that is not necessary. I think the Rays at Blue Jays game was probably the best example of this, during which Angel Hernandez called strike three on Carlos Peña after Peña asked for time out and Hernandez, being one of those ‘up the game tempo’ guys, didn’t grant it. Ah, Hernandez and Joe West – my favorite umpires! Those guys just can’t seem to keep their mouths shut. Having these two guys on the same crew is just begging for problems.

NOTES:

Robinson Cano got his 1000 career hit!

Joba Chamberlain let up 2 ER in the 8th inning. It’s time to give somebody else a shot at the eighth inning – Joba needs a kick in the butt!

Chan Ho Park gave up 2 walks and 1 hit in a horrendous 9th inning. If you can’t throw strikes with a 12-5 lead in the ninth inning, well, I don’t know what to say. You just suck. I know I stuck up for this guy early in the season – well, that’s because it was still early – and he had a great outing against the Red Sox. It’s not so early anymore, and when you walk guys the way Park did on Sunday, I can’t have your back.

The Kansas City Royals suck. More than half the time, they don’t seem to be trying; or they’re trying to hard. Not sure which is worse.

The road trip begins with 4 games in Cleveland against the Indians (41-57) and 3 in Tampa against the 2nd place Rays (59-38). The Yankees need to fatten up against Cleveland – they stink. The Indians have scored 403 runs and allowed 472 this season – compared to the Yankees 533-405.

The Good Burnett

Last night against the Royals, the good AJ Burnett showed up and delivered 5 scoreless innings – he didn’t come back after the hour+ rain delay. Jorge Posada racked up his 1,000 career RBI, which is quite the accomplishment for a catcher and really, in my mind, cements his case for the hall of fame.

So the good AJ Burnett showed up last night – as opposed to the bad AJ Burnett – or the ugly AJ Burnett, for that matter. How’d he do it? Not exactly sure – I missed most of the game, but you can’t argue with 4 hits, 3 Ks and 1 BB in 5 IP. I guess his control has returned. I tried to get up in time for the encore, but it just didn’t happen. But with Andy Pettitte on the DL, Burnett picking it up is a really good sign. Since Dave Eiland’s return, Burnett’s improvement has been nothing short of remarkable. Now if he could only get some improvement out of Joba Chamberlain

Jonathan Albaladejo pitched a scoreless 9th inning with 2 strikeouts, but was sent down to make room for Sergio Mitre, who is subbing for the DL’d Andy Pettitte. I know he’s probably the only relief pitcher on the roster with options, but seriously? He’s burned the Yankees in the past, but his numbers at triple A are outstanding, and if they aren’t going to keep him at the big club, they might as well trade him for somebody they trust to help out at the MLB level, because that bullpen is clearly hurting.

Ralph Houk’s passing

If you’re not familiar with former Yankee backup catcher, manager, general manager, then manager again Ralph Houk, take a couple of minutes and read his wikipedia page. Mr. Houk had a pretty amazing life that should be celebrated by Yankee fans, baseball fans and well, pretty much anybody that doesn’t care for the Axis Powers. Yeah, Mr. Houk didn’t play that. He was 90 when he passed – amazing considering he had to deal with Nazis, Casey Stengel, Mr. Steinbrenner at the hieght of his craziness, the Boston Red Sox fans and Boston media… amazing.

My condolences to his family, friends, and indeed to the world – we’ve lost a great man.

Yankees put up a 10 spot

The Yankees scored a ton of runs, so that’s good… but if you’re trying to figure out what’s going with the Yankees pitching (and their opponent’s pitching, for that matter) since the All Star break, let me advise you to not try. Last night’s game was especially perplexing.
CC Sabathia gave up a zillion hits (that’s 11hits in 6.1 IP for fans of reality) to the Kansas City Royals offense, which isn’t the worst thing in the world – it’s not like they’re Baltimore – and 4 runs, 3 earned. It felt worse, but it’s probably because he gave up like 6 hits in the first two innings. CC’s 9 strikeouts is probably the only thing that kept the Royals from getting out of hand. David Robertson came into the game in the 7th and did a good job again, and then Joba Chamberlain entered the game for another roller coaster ride, but after loading the bases, he managed to wiggle his way out of trouble for what at least feels like a rare scoreless outing. 2 hits, 1 walk in 1 IP. Dave Eiland, your mission is clear.
On the offensive side, Derek Jeter dropped his first in the park homer since his rookie year – David DeJesus almost made a great catch – well, did make a great catch – before his collision with the wall made him drop the ball, and Jeter was off to the races. It looked like DeJesus jammed his wrist pretty good on the wall – I’d be surprised to see him in tonight’s lineup. Alex Rodriguez delivered home run number 599 of his career, along with 3 other RBI. There were also RBI from Posada, Thames, Swisher (2 on the night), and Teixeira.
I know the Kansas City Royals aren’t exactly build for success, but Bruce Chen? Really? I know his numbers are decent this year, and you don’t have to throw hard to get guys out, but Chen isn’t exactly Jamie Moyer – and that’s saying something, isn’t it? And this is the America League, so any success Chen has had this year I would, for the most part, throw up to catching lightening in a bottle. I think the Royals would be better off letting a young guy get some experience in that spot – they’re not going anywhere with Chen in that roll, I don’t care how good his curve ball is this year. It’s a miracle he got through 6 innings. I guess there is some value in having a well traveled veteran on the team in terms of talking to the kids on the team about ‘been there, done that,’ but whatever. I just get sick of teams like the Royals taking revenue sharing money and then they roll out players like Chen. Sheesh!
Oh, and don’t to harp on the umpires again after my last post, but Wilson ‘Can’t find a Better Man’ Betemit was clearly safe at 2nd in the 1st inning. That momentum might have, in some ways, cost the Royals any chance they had in that game. Oh and who got thrown out and home? He was safe, too.
And on to the adventure that is Jorge Posada at home plate. I think Posada is going to have to warm up a bit more to the idea of being the DH on this team, because wow. That snap throw to third was awful. And why did he try to throw over the runner on that dropped strike 3 instead of stepping to the side and throwing to Teixeira? Why did he try to pick the runner off at third in the 1st place? It didn’t look like he had a chance… I feel like I’m missing another one of his moments from last night’s game… Oh well. It’s best not to think about it. I like Posada a lot; in my view, he’s the captain of the Yankees, not Derek Jeter, but I’m ready for him to DH his way into the sunset. The Yankees have at least 3 young catchers in their system that are looking good, and one of them looks like he’s going to hit the ball to the moon (or Queens) on a regular basis, so lets get the Posada to DH transition going.

Umpires, warnings and rules

Umpires and rules are all well and good, but sometimes… the umpires need to impose the rules while using their common sense. We’re not in court, no one’s life is at stake – a strict interpretation is not always necessary. Let’s just play ball.
Here goes: My understanding is that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw hit San Francisco Giants Aaron Rowand and was ejected from the game because both benches had already been warned about bean balls. I hate it when the umpires warn the pitcher and both benches. I know they think they’re going all Minority Report on us, but I feel that they’re just taking away the inside of the plate from both teams for the rest of the game. I think this warning-then-bean-ball-ejection-system needs to be removed from the rules – I doesn’t work. Also, Joe Torre was suspended for 1 game for this. Which leads us to…
Don Mattingly managing in his place. He goes out for a mound visit with Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton before an Andres Torres at bat. After Mattingly left the pitcher’s mound and started back to the dugout – now this is really incredible – he turned around and advised first baseman James Loney at what depth he wanted him to play. Giants manager Bruce Bochy knows the rule; once you leave the mound, the visit is over and you have to go back to the dugout. Since Mattingly turned around again and spoke to the first baseman, this constitutes a double visit, and Broxton had to come out of the game.
I read about this on SI.com. They’re worried about the mound visit issue, which I do agree is ridiculous, but the circumstances that led to this instance is a way bigger problem and should never have happened in the first place.
This is the dumbest shiz-ight I’ve ever heard. How often do you see coaches and mangers yelling and gesturing from the dugout railing to position their fielders? Does it really matter if Mattingly stopped for a second and said one more thing to the first baseman that he could have legally told him from the dugout in just a few seconds? The umpire needs to exercise some common sense and tell Bochy that while he appreciates his fortunate turn of memory, he needs to relax and go sit down. Rules are all well and good, and you could say that my argument opens up a Pandora’s box of which rules to ignore and which rules to follow… but really, it doesn’t. So Mattingly advised Loney how to position himself. Big deal. Get over it. It’s just baseball, and this rule shouldn’t exist anyway. I think the umpire could have easily ignored Bochy on the grounds that Mattingly didn’t speak to the pitcher and the fact that, again, the bench positions fielders all the time, so what’s the difference if he did it on his way back to the dugout? No one plopped down their hard earned cash to see Broxton get removed from the game on a lame technicality.
This is dumb. This strict interpretation of Rule 8.06 (d) is totally unnecessary, just like the warnings about pitching inside. Both of these rules need to go.

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