"Now, what is this site about, how Joe Torre ruined pitchers' arms? Is that it?"
-Michael Kay, August 18, 2009

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Scott Proctor: pyromaniac

Scott Proctor lit a fire following another disappointing outing Saturday afternoon.

His temper already smoldering, Scott Proctor set off an inferno near the Yankee Stadium infield following Saturday's 7-0 loss to the A's, torching various items of his equipment in a smoky blaze.

Perhaps the hot-tempered Proctor hoped to excise some of his recent struggles, lighting a small bonfire a few feet from the top step of the Yankees dugout. He then watched from the railing for several minutes as the contents grew charred and unrecognizable.

Saturday marked the latest of Proctor's continuing struggles, and that of the entire Yankees club as a whole. New York managed just one hit in the defeat, which featured Proctor allowing three runs -- including a two-run double to Nick Swisher -- in one-third of an inning of relief behind starter Kei Igawa, leaving the field to boos.

"I'm just throwing like [junk]," Proctor said after the game in an expletive-laced rant. "I can't expect to throw the ball over the middle and expect to get an out of it" (source).
I still have faith in Proctor. I think his problems can be attributed to his overwork these last two weeks. Between June 21 and June 23, he pitched 5 1-3 innings, throwing 86 pitches. That is simply ridiculous.

I think it's about time for him to throw at someone to get a four-game suspension so he can get some rest.

Three months remaining

For my next column, I take a look at what the Yankees are up against in the final three months of the season.

The schedule in July and September seems rather easy, but there is a tough road towards the end of August that put the Yankees up against the best teams of the American League, Detroit, Los Angeles and Boston.

It will be a very interesting summer.

Yankees lose 7-0

Is there really much else to say?

Oh wait, it's not even July yet!

Game preview: Athletics at Yankees 6/30/07

Lineups

Oakland Athletics (40-39)
New York Yankees (37-39)
Shannon Stewart LF
Johnny Damon DH
Mark Ellis 2B
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Bobby Abreu RF
Jack Cust DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Eric Chavez 3B
Jorge Posada C
Dan Johnson 1B
Hideki Matsui LF
Bobby Crosby SS
Melky Cabrera CF
Mark Kotsay CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Jason Kendall C
Andy Phillips 1B
Chad Gaudin (6-3, 3.14)
Kei Igawa (2-1, 7.13)

Time: 1:05 p.m.
TV: YES
Radio:
WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: Igawa started against the A's earlier this year. In 5 1-3 innings pitched, he gave up two earned runs in a no-decision. ... Chavez went 1-3 with one home run and three RBIs in this game. ... In eight relief appearances, Gaudin has pitched 10 innings against the Yankees. He has given up four earned runs, struck out eight and walked four. ... Damon and Jeter both have two hits against Gaudin in their careers, in five and four at-bats, respectively.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The series ahead

The Yankees will play a weekend series against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium starting tomorrow. The pitching matchups are:

Friday, 6/29/07, 7:05 p.m., my9
Joe Kennedy - LHP (2-5, 3.98 ERA) vs. Mike Mussina - RHP (3-5, 4.98 ERA)

Saturday, 6/30/07, 1:05 p.m., YES
Chad Gaudin - RHP (6-3, 3.14 ERA) vs. Kei Igawa - LHP (2-1, 7.13 ERA)

Sunday, 7/1/07, 1:05 p.m., YES
Dan Haren - RHP (9-2, 1.91 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte - LHP (4-5, 3.24 ERA)

Tonight's game is suspended

With the Yankees leading 8-6 in the top of the eighth, the rains came and never let up. As a result, the game is suspended and will resume on Friday, July 27 (the next time the Yankees are in Baltimore) before the regularly-scheduled game at 7:05 p.m.

The Yankees finish this road trip at an extremely disappointing 1-7.

Game preview: Yankees at Orioles 6/28/07

Lineups

New York Yankees (36-39)
Baltimore Orioles (34-43)
Johnny Damon DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Derek Jeter SS
Brandon Fahey SS
Hideki Matsui LF
Nick Markakis RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Kevin Millar 1B
Jorge Posada C
Aubrey Huff DH
Bobby Abreu RF
Melvin Mora 3B
Melky Cabrera CF
Jay Gibbons LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Paul Bako C
Andy Phillips 1B
Jay Payton CF
Chien-Ming Wang (7-4, 3.51) Daniel Cabrera (6-8, 4.98)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
TV: YES
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: Wang is 2-1 with a 4.19 ERA in five starts and six appearances in his career against Baltimore. He is 1-0 with a 2.40 ERA at Camden Yards. ... Gibbons is 5-15 with one RBI against Wang. ... Huff is 6-12 with two RBIs against Wang. ... Mora is 6-15 with four RBIs against Wang. ... Cabrera is 2-3 with a 3.94 in eight career starts against New York. ... Rodriguez is 8-18 with two home runs and four RBIs against Cabrera. ... Matsui is 8-20 with three RBIs against Cabrera.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Game preview: Yankees at Orioles 6/27/07

Lineups

New York Yankees (36-38)
Baltimore Orioles (33-43)
Johnny Damon DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Derek Jeter SS
Chris Gomez SS
Hideki Matsui LF
Nick Markakis RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Ramon Hernandez C
Jorge Posada C
Aubrey Huff DH
Bobby Abreu RF
Melvin Mora 3B
Melky Cabrera CF
Kevin Millar 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jay Gibbons LF
Miguel Cairo 1B
Corey Patterson CF
Roger Clemens (1-2, 5.09) Erik Bedard (5-4, 3.60)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
TV: YES
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: Clemens is 19-11 with a 3.46 in 44 career starts against the Orioles in his career. He is 6-6 with a 4.21 ERA in Camden Yards. ... Gibbons is 8-27 with two home runs and six RBIs against Clemens in his career. ... Millar is 6-16 with one home run and four RBIs against Clemens in his career. ... Bedard is 3-3 with a 4.79 ERA in eight career starts and nine total appearances against the Yankees in his career. ... Rodriguez is 8-19 with two home runs and six RBIs against Bedard in his career. ... Jeter is 6-21 against Bedard in his career.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Good-bye, Joe

Tonight's game was absolutely disgusting. At The Bronx Block, I explain why Joe Torre should go.

I want to see him gone by the end of the week, at the latest.

Game preview: Yankees at Orioles 6/26/07

Lineups

New York Yankees (36-37)
Baltimore Orioles (32-43)
Johnny Damon DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Derek Jeter SS
Chris Gomez SS
Hideki Matsui LF
Nick Markakis RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Ramon Hernandez C
Jorge Posada C
Aubrey Huff DH
Robinson Cano 2BMelvin Mora 3B
Melky Cabrera CF
Kevin Millar 1B
Bobby Abreu RF
Jay Payton LF
Miguel Cairo 1B
Corey Patterson CF
Andy Pettitte (4-5, 3.28)
Jeremy Guthrie (4-1, 2.42)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
TV: YES
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: Guthrie has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball over the last month. ... Pettitte is 20-5 with a 3.77 ERA in his career against Baltimore. ... No Orioles in the lineup today have exceptionally good numbers against Pettitte. ... Guthrie pitched a two-inning relief appearance against the Yankees in his career. He struck out one and walked one without giving up a run.

Monday, June 25, 2007

This is what a bad baseball team looks like

For my first post at The Bronx Block on MVN, I talk about how the 2007 is over but hope isn't lost in the future.

It may seem a little depressing, but watching this team each night is depressing as well.

A look at the standings

I delve into the standings after all of the Sunday games have been completed to track the Yankees' progress over the week that just ended.

Here is an updated look at the American League East standings and the American League Wild Card standings:

AL East

Boston Red Sox
48-26
--
Toronto Blue Jays
37-27
11.0
New York Yankees
36-37
11.5
Tampa Bay Devil Rays33-40
14.5
Baltimore Orioles
32-43
16.5

Wild Card
Cleveland Indians
43-31
--
Seattle Mariners 39-33
3.0
Oakland Athletics
39-35
4.0
Minnesota Twins
38-35
4.5
Toronto Blue Jays
37-37
6.0
New York Yankees
36-37
6.5
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
33-40
9.5
Baltimore Orioles
32-4311.5
Chicago White Sox
29-42
12.5
Texas Rangers
30-45
13.5
Kansas City Royals
30-46
14.0

Since the last look at the standings, the Yankees have gone 1-5 and lost 3.0 games in the AL East. The Red Sox went 4-2 over that same period.

In the Wild Card standings, the Yankees lost 3.0 games. The Yankees are now chasing the Cleveland Indians, as the Detroit Tigers have taken over first place in the AL Central.

The Red Sox magic number to eliminate the Yankees is 78 (down nine from last week).

The Indians magic number to eliminate the Yankees is 83 (down nine from last week).

The series ahead

The Yankees will play a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards starting tomorrow. The pitching matchups are:

Tuesday, 6/26/07, 7:05 p.m., YES
Andy Pettitte - LHP (4-5, 3.28 ERA) vs. Jeremy Guthrie - RHP (4-1, 2.42 ERA)

Wednesday, 6/27/07, 7:05 p.m., YES
Roger Clemens - RHP (1-2, 5.09 ERA) vs. Erik Bedard - LHP (5-4, 3.60 ERA)

Thursday, 6/28/07, 7:05 p.m., YES
Chien-Ming Wang - RHP (7-4, 3.51 ERA) vs. Daniel Cabrera - RHP (6-8, 4.98 ERA)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Why Scott Proctor is the man

This is what Scott Proctor had to say about not being able to come up with the Omar Vizquel chopper in the 13th inning:

"I jumped as high as I could. If I wasn't white, I might have had a chance of getting it," he said (source).
He's not afraid to risk a Don Imus-like public relations nightmare to make his point.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Call up Britton, Ramirez and Duncan

Watching the bullpen and Johnny Damon melt before our eyes, it is time for changes.

Call up Chris "Great" Britton: Britton is 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA and six saves for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has 40 strikeouts and 11 walks in 33 2-3 innings. In two cups of coffee with the Yankees this year, he has a 1.80 ERA in five innings.

Call up Edwar Ramirez: Ramirez is 0-0 with a 0.83 ERA and four saves for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has 36 strikeouts and eight walks in 21 2-3 innings. In nine games in AA Trenton, he was 3-0 (0.54 ERA) with 33 strikeouts and eight walks.

Call up Shelley Duncan: Duncan is batting .296 (.383 OBP) with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. We already know Andy Phillips can't hit Major League pitching. Why not give Duncan a chance?

Put Damon on the DL. If Duncan shows he can hit, have him be the everyday designated hitter.

DFA Ron Villone: If Joe Torre insists on using Mike Myers every time a left-handed hitter is up then there is no need for Villone.

Game preview: Yankees at Giants 6/23/07

Lineups

New York Yankees (36-35)
San Francisco Giants (30-42)
Melky Cabrera CF
Dave Roberts CF
Derek Jeter SS
Randy Winn RF
Bobby Abreu RF
Ray Durham 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Barry Bonds LF
Jorge Posada C
Ryan Klesko 1B
Hideki Matsui LF
Bengie Molina C
Robinson Cano 2B
Pedro Feliz 3B
Miguel Cairo 1B
Omar Vizquel SS
Chien-Ming Wang P (7-4, 3.33)
Matt Morris P (7-4, 3.21)

Time: 3:55 p.m.
TV: FOX
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: Wang has never faced San Francisco. ... Molina is 1-6 against Wang in his career. ... Winn is 0-7 against Wang in his career. ... Morris is 0-1 in two starts against New York in his career. He has a 6.75 ERA in 6 2-3 innings. ... Abreu is 8-23 with two home runs and five RBIs in his career against Morris. ... Cairo is 3-5 in his career against Morris.

Colin Cowherd rips the Mets

I will preface this post by saying that I have no problem with the Mets. Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio is also a major tool. However, this YouTube video is absolutely hilarious.

Damon/Torre is equivalent to Tejada/Trembley

Following Wednesday's game, Miguel Tejada of the Baltimore Orioles had played in 1,151 consecutive games. In this game, he was hit on the wrist by a pitch.

Because this streak is the fifth-longest in Major League history, he decided to play on Thursday with the backing of interim manager Dave Trembley. In the first inning of this game, he tried to lay down a bunt because he couldn't swing due to his injured wrist. After reaching first, he was removed for a pinch runner, and then went on the disabled list with a non-displaced fracture in his wrist. The streak is now over at 1,152 games.

What does this have to do with the Yankees? Well, Johnny Damon has never been on the DL in his career, a Tejada-like streak of immortality. This season, his body has broken down to the point where he can't play more than six innings in the outfield without his calves cramping up and his abdominal strain preventing him from swinging the bat. Despite all of these nagging injuries, Joe Torre won't do the smart thing and put him on the DL. From the New York Times:

But before the midway point of the second year of the deal, Damon has shown repeated signs of breaking down. He has been bothered by calf cramps since spring training and has also been slowed by back and ribcage injuries. By the time the Yankees start their next series in Baltimore on Tuesday, Damon could be on the disabled list.

“I’m just praying that I’ll be ready for Tuesday,” Damon said before Friday night’s game with the Giants at AT&T Park. “We’ll see.”

Manager Joe Torre said Damon would not start any of the games here this weekend, and Damon said he would not even swing a bat. Torre did not rule out using Damon as a pinch-hitter in a close game, but he said he hoped to rest Damon and see if he feels better Tuesday, when he could serve as the designated hitter.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Wait two weeks,’ ” Torre said. “But at this point in time, even if Johnny isn’t at the top of his game, he’s probably still better than someone we could put out there, especially when we get to the D.H. situation.”

Damon played six innings in center field Thursday in Denver before his calves cramped up on him and he switched to first base, where he made an error.

In center, Damon chased down a long fly ball in the fourth inning, but he also let the Rockies’ Matt Holliday advance from first base to third on a single hit to him in the fifth. Holliday scored on a sacrifice fly, and the Yankees lost by a run (source).

He obviously can't play without a stint on the DL. It is not important that he's never been on the DL. He hurts the team when he's in there, and he's hurting the team when he's sitting on the bench, not playing and taking up a roster spot.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Wait two weeks,’” Torre said.

I know it is, Joe. Wait two weeks.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Reason for mentioning steroids

I was surprised when I heard Jason Giambi mentioned "steroids" in a release last night regarding his upcoming meeting with George Mitchell. Well, now we know the reason.

Although Selig didn't rule out a subsequent suspension for Giambi, the slugger almost certainly sidestepped that possibility by agreeing to meet with Mitchell. And the Yankees, by virtue of this arrangement, will not attempt to void the remainder of Giambi's contract (source).
I guess we're stuck with him until the end of next year. The Yankees can buy him out at the end of 2008 for $5 million. This is after he earns $21 million in 2008, by the way.

Ridiculous article from some Sacramento rag

A commenter at The LoHud Yankees Blog brought this article to my attention.

But at least with the traveling rock stars that are the Yankees, complete with their own soap-opera-quality drama, the focus in the Bay Area this weekend will not be on the woeful Giants. And peeved Giants fans can redirect their anger at a foe more distinguished than those low-down, dirty scoundrels in blue from down south.

Because with the Evil Empire so easy to hate -- even Darth Vader had a few redeeming qualities by throwing the Emperor down the shaft, while Yankees fans continue to worship at the feet of "The Boss" -- only the Yankees can provide distraction from a struggling outfit like Barry Bonds and company.

And really, is there a more heartwarming moment in sports, outside of New York City's five boroughs, than when the final out is recorded to bounce the Yankees from the playoffs shy of ANOTHER World Series title? Maybe when Duke falls in the NCAA Tournament, but that's a column for another day.

A's reliever Alan Embree, who also counts the Giants and Yankees among the nine teams for which he has played, has seen the fear and loathing from all sides.

"You go out for stretch, and you look on their ballpark and it says, '27 World Titles,' or however many it is," Embree said. (Actually, it's 26, but who's counting?)

"There's an aura, and when you win like that, you're allowed to have an aura about you." Yet that aura is easily seen as arrogance.

Cheering for the Yankees is akin to rooting for Big Oil, and as such, only native New Yorkers should be allowed to do so. They're front-runners, anyway, and the bandwagon will dry up.

Take advantage, Giants fans, because when the Yankees leave, you'll only have your team to kick around.

That's the sign of your team having a great year, folks. You circle the three dates the Yankees are in town, purchase those tickets and boo them loudly. When they leave a couple of days later, your team is still awful.

And I love how Alan Embree was the character witness.

An exposé on the American Idle himself

Michel Weinreb at ESPN.com wrote a great article (via WasWatching) on Carl Pavano.

It's rather long, but it's also rather entertaining. I usually never read anything this long, but I did this time. That alone should show you how good of an article it is.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The series ahead

The Yankees will play a weekend series against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park starting tomorrow. The pitching matchups are:

Friday, 6/22/07, 10:05 p.m., YES
Kei Igawa - LHP (2-1, 7.63 ERA) vs. Matt Cain - RHP (2-7, 3.15 ERA)

Saturday, 6/23/07, 3:55 p.m., FOX
Chien-Ming Wang - RHP (7-4, 3.33 ERA) vs. Matt Morris - RHP (7-4, 3.21 ERA)

Sunday, 6/24/07, 4:05 p.m., YES
Mike Mussina - RHP (3-4, 5.10 ERA) vs. Noah Lowry - LHP (6-6, 3.74 ERA)

Giambi agrees to meet with the Red Sox board director

Jason Giambi will discuss his drug use with Sen. George Mitchell.

Jason Giambi will meet with George Mitchell, agreeing right before baseball commissioner Bud Selig's deadline Thursday to cooperate with the steroids investigator.

Giambi, who for the first time publicly admitted he had a "personal history regarding steroids," will become the first active player known to speak with the former Senate majority leader. No date was set for their session.

The New York Yankees star announced his decision after he spoke on the phone with Selig. Lawyers for the players' union and Major League Baseball reached a written agreement that set rules for the meeting.

The former American League MVP said he wouldn't implicate other players and appeared to backtrack on earlier remarks that the sport owed fans a collective apology for the steroids era.

"I alone am responsible for my actions and I apologize to the commissioner, the owners and the players for any suggestion that they were responsible for my behavior," Giambi said in a statement.

"I will address my own personal history regarding steroids. I will not discuss in any fashion any other individual," Giambi said (source).

Oh, wow. He actually mentioned the word "steroids."

I don't know what this accomplishes. I guess it makes Selig sleep better at night, however.

Swept away

Thankfully, I was not around to watch the game this afternoon. You would think the Yankees would be able to score more than five runs in Coors Field, right? They should be able to score five runs in one inning, let alone five runs in 27 innings. The latter is exactly what the Yankees did in the process of getting swept at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.

Peter Abraham did the calculations and noted that the Yankees were 21-94 in this series with one, count 'em, one home run. That won't win you many games. In fact, it won them none in Colorado this week.

The Yankees are now 10.5 games behind Boston in the AL East. They also 6.5 games behind Cleveland and Detroit in the Wild Card.

Game preview: Yankees at Rockies 6/21/07

Lineups

New York Yankees (35-34)
Colorado Rockies (37-34)
Johnny Damon CF
Willy Taveras CF
Derek Jeter SS
Kaz Matsui 2B
Bobby Abreu RF Matt Holliday LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Todd Helton 1B
Jorge Posada C
Garrett Atkins 3B
Hideki Matsui LF
Brad Hawpe RF
Robinson Cano 2BTroy Tulowitzki SS
Miguel Cairo 1B
Yorvit Torrealba C
Roger Clemens P (1-1, 3.65)
Rodrigo Lopez P (3-0, 2.90)

Time: 3:05 p.m.
TV: YES
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: Clemens is 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA in four career starts against Colorado. ... Holliday is 2-3 with one home run and two RBIs against Clemens in his career. ... Helton has homered off Clemens once in nine at-bats. ... Lopez is 7-8 with a 6.02 ERA against New York in his career. ... Damon is 24-60 with four home runs and 12 RBIs against Lopez. ... Jeter is 25-56 with four home runs and 11 RBIs against Lopez. ... Rodriguez is 13-45 with four home runs and 10 RBIs against Lopez.

Girardi to O's: You guys suck

Joe Girardi has turned down the Baltimore Orioles' managerial job.

Girardi has declined an offer from the Baltimore Orioles to become their next manager, his agent, Steve Mandel, told ESPN on Thursday.

Girardi interviewed with the Orioles on Tuesday, and ESPN's Peter Gammons reported that the team offered him their vacant managerial job. And ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reported that as of Wednesday night, the two sides had agreed to work on an agreement that would make Girardi the team's next skipper.

The discussions with Girardi came after Baltimore fired Sam Perlozzo after two-plus seasons as manager (source).
A source on the condition of anonymity (just kidding) has told Scott Proctor's Arm that Girardi was the only one who interviewed for this job.

Mussina doesn't like snakes

RHP Mike Mussina refused to sample the fried rattlesnake when an entourage of Yankees had lunch at The Fort, a local wild game restaurant. "Please," Mussina said. "That's not me" (source).
OK, if fried rattlesnake isn't you, then what is? Crossword puzzles and Ritz crackers?

Oh, wait.

Damon to start in center field this afternoon

From today's New York Post:

Late in the evening, Torre said Damon will start in center field today against the Rockies at spacious Coors Field when the Yankees try to halt a two-game losing streak.

"If he has a physical problem [today] we will have to go get him," Torre said of Damon, who grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth in last night's 6-1 loss.

Damon, who is leaving the DL issue up to Yankee officials, took batting practice on the field and informed Torre he was feeling better.

Nevertheless, before batting practice, Torre said he was concerned about Damon's health.

"If this keeps popping up and keeps him from doing his work [the DL] is something we have to seriously talk about," Torre said of shelving his leadoff hitter who hasn't started since Sunday night against the Mets when he was the DH. "We have to look into this and will take the next couple of days to investigate" (source)
Johnny Damon is 20-64 with four home runs and 12 RBIs against today's starter Rodrigo Lopez, so I can sort of understand Joe Torre's rationale.

However, center field is rather spacious in Coors Field and Roger Clemens is a fly ball pitcher. For someone whose "ribs are shot," I don't know how great of an idea this is.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Game recap: Yankees at Rockies 6/20/07

Coors Light (hitting)

Scoring two runs in 18 innings won't win you many games. Because of the offensive ineptitude at Coors Field, the Yankees have now lost a series for the first time since losing two of three to Toronto at the end of May.

The Yankees and Andy Pettitte (4-5) fell to Colorado by a score of 6-1 Wednesday night.

Jeff Francis (7-5) was able to keep the Yankees bats in check. He struck out a career-high nine Yankees in seven innings and only gave up five hits. Coors Field is supposed to be a hitter's paradise.

The Yankees actually did have the lead at one point in this game. In the sixth inning, Melky Cabrera hit a one-out single, followed by a Derek Jeter RBI double.

This lead quickly vanished. In the bottom half of the sixth, Matt Holliday hit a two-run home run. The damage could have been worse. After a Todd Helton double, Garrett Atkins hit a single to left. Helton was called out at home, but replays showed that he got his hand in just before the tag.

The game got out of hand in the seventh. The Rockies scored four runs with two outs. Troy Tulowitzki hit a one-out single, followed by a Yorvit Torrealba single. After a fielder's choice forced Torrealba out at second, Willy Taveras hit an RBI single. Kaz Matsui then hit a two-RBI triple which finally knocked out Pettitte.

Luis Vizcaino relieved Pettitte. He promptly let an inherited runner score on a Holliday single for the sixth and final run.

One of the problems with the Yankees' offense tonight was Andy Phillips batting in the eighth spot ahead of the pitcher. Three times tonight he made the final out of an inning, causing the pitcher to lead off in the next inning. Phillips grounding into a double play in the second inning also killed a potential rally.

With Boston winning, the Yankees now have themselves a double-digit deficit in the AL East race again. Detroit and Cleveland also both won, increasing their lead over the Yankees in the Wild Card.

Roger Clemens will pitch for the Yankees tomorrow afternoon to try to salvage one game from this series before traveling to San Francisco.

Game preview: Yankees at Rockies 6/20/07

Lineups

New York Yankees (35-33)
Colorado Rockies (36-34)
Melky Cabrera CF
Willy Taveras CF
Derek Jeter SS
Kaz Matsui 2B
Bobby Abreu RF
Matt Holiday LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Todd Helton 1B
Jorge Posada C
Garrett Atkins 3B
Hideki Matsui LF
Brad Hawpe RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Troy Tulowitzki SS
Andy Phillips 1B
Yorvit Torrealba C
Andy Pettitte P (4-4, 2.93)
Jeff Francis P (6-5, 3.61)

Time: 9:05 p.m.
TV: YES
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: Pettitte is 2-0 with a 2.29 ERA in three career starts against Colorado. ... No Rockies in the lineup tonight have much experience against Pettitte. ... Francis has never faced New York. ... No Yankees in the lineup tonight have much experience against Francis. ... Abreu is 0-3 against Francis is his career. ... In Coors Field, Francis is 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA this season. He has given up 25 earned runs and six home runs in 52 1-3 innings.

Schilling to the disabled list

Red Sox starter Curt Schilling has been placed on the disabled list.

Curt Schilling's right shoulder was normal, according to an MRI exam, but the Boston Red Sox right-hander will be put on the disabled list following a cortisone shot.

Schilling will miss at least two starts after he is put on the DL on Friday, retroactive to Tuesday.

The 40-year-old right-hander was sent back to Boston from Atlanta on Tuesday for an exam after he got roughed up in his last two starts.

"I have not felt right this year," Schilling told WEEI-AM earlier Wednesday, adding he believes the problem may be tendinitis.

"Pain is a relative term. There's been a lot of this year trying to discern what's because I'm 40 or what's because I don't feel good," he said (source).

Schilling is 0-1 with a 7.00 ERA against the Yankees in three starts this season. He has given up 14 earned runs and six home runs in 18 innings. He will be missed.

Hunter likes New York

Free agent-to-be Torii Hunter was quoted in the Daily News saying he likes New York.

"I love Yankee Stadium," Hunter said. "The atmosphere and energy there is great. And the fans know the game. When they get on you it can be pretty personal, but it's always about your baseball game.

"When someone screams, 'You just can't hit that slider,' that's someone who knows what they're talking about. You don't hear that kind of informed (chatter) in Minnesota."

Hunter has been in the Twins organization since he was drafted by Minnesota in 1993. The Twins picked up his $12 million option for this season, but negotiations on a contract extension ended in spring training.

"I want to be with the Twins and that's been my main goal, but I'm human and the silence makes you wonder," Hunter said. . . . I think I'm a decent player. I can't believe there hasn't even been a conversation about it. That's tough to swallow" (source).
Obviously, Hunter is no Orlando Cabrera.

I wouldn't be opposed to signing Hunter. However, as bad as Johnny Damon is in center field, the position is not a priority to me this offseason.

The Yankees are facing the grim possibility of not having Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and (gasp!) Mariano Rivera. Because all three will command a lot of money ("a lot" is a huge understatement), there may not be enough money to throw around at center fielders as there normally might have been.

Also, I like Melky Cabrera. While I think he's overrated by many Yankee fans, he can be a solid center fielder with regular playing time. If Bobby Abreu keeps playing well, the Yankees may either pick up his $16 million option or sign him to a smaller deal. They would probably have to trade Cabrera at that point.

If they choose to let Abreu leave, they could move Cabrera to right field and maybe sign Hunter for center. That would then make Johnny Damon a first baseman.

That being said, hammering out deals for Posada and Rivera, and preparing for the looming opting-out situation with Rodriguez should remain Brian Cashman's top priority.

I also prefer other free agent Ichiro Suzuki to Hunter.

Game recap: Yankees at Rockies 6/19/07

After scoring 41 runs in three games the last time the Yankees were in Colorado in 2002, they were only able to score one run in the opening game of the renewal of the storied Yankees-Rockies rivalry.

Their only run came in the top of the second inning. Alex Rodriguez led off with a single. He then went to third base on a Jorge Posada double. Hideki Matsui followed with an RBI ground out. However, with Posada at third base and one out, they were unable to score more runs.

The Rockies were able to tie the game against Mike Mussina and the Yankees in the third. Wily Taveras led off with a bunt single, stole second and scored on a Garrett Atkins single.

They took the lead for good in the fifth inning. Kaz Matsui singled with one out. He followed this with a steal of second base. Matt Holliday and his .364 batting average was able to drive him home with an RBI single. Catcher Yorvit Torrealba added a solo home run in the seventh to give the Rockies at 3-1 lead.

Mussina (3-4) gave up all three runs during his six innings of work. He also gave up seven hits, but struck out six and walked only two.

Josh Fogg (3-5) was able to keep the Yankees' offense in check. He gave up only one run and four hits in seven innings. Manny Corpas, LaTroy Hawkins and Brian Fuentes all came in from the bullpen and shut the door. Fuentes recorded his 19th save in the process.

The Yankees did have their chances to come back, however. In the eighth inning, they had the bases loaded with two outs. Posada then grounded out into a fielder's choice to end the threat.

In the ninth inning, Matsui led off with a double. He then went to third on a Robinson Cano ground out. He would be stranded there, as Miguel Cairo and Johnny Damon both struck out.

The Yankees saw a rather different infield today. Both Posada and Damon saw time at first base tonight. Posada returned to the catcher's spot later in the game. With Andy Pettitte starting tomorrow night, Posada will be the starting catcher.

With this loss, the Yankees lost ground in the AL East and the Wild Card, with both Boston and Detroit winning. They are now nine games behind Boston and five games behind Detroit.

The curse of Josh Phelps

The Yankees are now 0-1 since designating Josh Phelps for assignment.

How much longer will this losing streak go on?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where is the offense?

One run in Coors Field against Josh Fogg? Are you kidding me?

The Yankees scored 41 runs the last time they were in Colorado, and this was before they had Alex Rodriguez.

Phelps DFA'd, Phillips up

As just heard on Mike and the Mad Dog, Josh Phelps has been designated for assignment. Andy Phillips has been called up.

Peter Abraham
also has the story.

Posada will play first base tonight; centerfield situation

Because of the dynamic duo of Mike Mussina and Wil Nieves, Jorge Posada will start at first base tonight because there is no DH in the National League.

Torre also plans to use catcher Jorge Posada at first base tonight in place of Miguel Cairo. Mussina has had success pitching to backup catcher Wil Nieves, and Torre wants to keep that combination intact. To keep Posada's bat in the lineup, he will play first (source).
Posada has played 17 games at first base in his career. He is 16-39 with one home run and seven RBIs. He has only committed one error.

From the same article, Joe Torre has a feeling on who will be his center fielder tonight.
He is leaning toward using Melky Cabrera in center field because he covers more ground than Johnny Damon.

Off-day results and a column

The Boston Red Sox lost to the Atlanta Braves tonight by a score of 9-4. The Red Sox's lead over the Yankees is now down to eight games (seven in the loss column).

The Detroit Tigers beat the Washington Nationals by a score of 9-8. The Tigers' lead over the Yankees is now at four games.



News is pretty quiet on the Yankees' front.

Jack Curry of The New York Times agrees with me that the Jason Giambi injury was rather beneficial.
When Manager Joe Torre was asked Sunday to pinpoint when he thought the Yankees started turning it around, he mentioned Giambi’s being placed on the disabled list with a torn left plantar fascia on June 1.

“You hate to say this,” Torre said. “A big part of it was when Giambi went on the disabled list. At least you knew he wasn’t available.”

Without Giambi, the Yankees are 13-3 and have scored 6.9 runs a game. With Giambi, the Yankees were 22-29 and averaged 5.3 runs. After Giambi went on the disabled list, Torre moved Johnny Damon and his wobbly legs from center field to designated hitter and inserted the energetic Melky Cabrera in center. Also, Bobby Abreu, Robinson Canó and Hideki Matsui, left-handed hitters who were slumping, have contributed more.

The Yankees initially said Giambi would miss at least five weeks. General Manager Brian Cashman said yesterday that there was no new timetable. Giambi said he would have another magnetic resonance imaging test this week, but Cashman said it had not yet been scheduled (source).

It appears to me as if they are stalling. I wonder what will happen if and when he comes back this year. Last year, Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui came off the disabled list and the end of the year, which took playing time away from Melky Cabrera. I hope they milk the Giambi injury for as long as possible. One can't argue with results.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Colorado series

I know I have already previewed the upcoming series, but there is more to the story.

The Yankees were last in Denver in June of 2002. They won two of three games, scoring 41 runs. This is the most runs an opponent has scored in a three-game series at Coors Field.

What is even more interesting is that the Yankees' starters in June of 2002 were Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, in that order. Who are the Yankees' starters in June of 2007? Mussina, Pettitte and Clemens, in that order. With all of the turnover the Yankees' pitching staff has had over the years, it's amazing that all three are back and lined up exactly the same.

Your author is moving up in the world

Today I received an email from the director of baseball at the Most Valuable Network. He asked me if I was interested in writing for The Bronx Block, their Yankees blog, and I accepted the offer.

I haven't been given keys to the car just yet. Until then, I will still be writing here, covering the games and offering my opinions. I will probably start writing at MVN before the weekend, so you can find me there most of the time.

Once I'm in, most of my Yankees' posts will be over at The Bronx Block. I probably won't be covering all of the games there, so my game previews and recaps for the games I'm not covering can still be found here. Anything not involving the Yankees (i.e.: general baseball, off-topic posts, etc.) will be posted here as well, so don't stop reading SPA! My opinion posts will almost exclusively be at The Bronx Block. I will post teasers here that direct you to the full post at The Bronx Block.

Thanks for your support, and I hope to see you all there!

The series ahead

The Yankees will play a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field starting tomorrow. The pitching matchups are:

Tuesday, 6/19/07, 9:05 p.m., my9
Mike Mussina - RHP (3-3, 5.17 ERA) vs. Josh Fogg - RHP (2-5, 4.95 ERA)

Wednesday, 6/20/07, 9:05 p.m., YES
Andy Pettitte - LHP (4-4, 2.93 ERA) vs. Jeff Francis - LHP (6-5, 3.61 ERA)

Thursday, 6/21/07, 3:05 p.m., YES
Roger Clemens - RHP (1-1, 3.65 ERA) vs. Rodrigo Lopez - RHP (3-0, 2.90 ERA)

Orioles fire Perlozzo, may hire Girardi

The Baltimore Orioles fired manager Sam Perlozzo this morning. Bullpen coach Dave Trembley will manger in the interim. However,

Sources told (Buster) Olney that Baltimore has arranged a meeting with former Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi to discuss the job. It is expected that he will be given a chance to accept or reject the job (source).
Girardi is currently an analyst for the YES Network and was the NL Manger of the Year last year with the Florida Marlins. He is my No. 1 choice to replace Joe Torre, so hopefully he doesn't take this awful job.

The Evil Empire extends its tentacles into the Far East

The Yankees have signed two Chinese players.

The New York Yankees on Monday became the first major league team to sign Chinese players with approval of the Chinese Baseball Association after agreeing deals with lefthander Kai Liu and catcher Zhenwang Zhang.

The two 19-year-olds are due in New York in early July, where they will be introduced at a news conference before heading to the Yankees Player Development Complex in Tampa, Florida (source).

I obviously know nothing about either of them. I don't even know what labels to give this post.

A look at the standings

I delve into the standings after all of the Sunday games have been completed to track the Yankees' progress over the week that just ended.

Here is an updated look at the American League East standings and the American League Wild Card standings:

AL East

Boston Red Sox
44-24--
New York Yankees 35-32
8.5
Toronto Blue Jays
33-3511.0
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
30-3713.5
Baltimore Orioles
29-40
15.5

Wild Card
Detroit Tigers
39-29
--
Oakland Athletics
37-312.0
Seattle Mariners
35-313.0
New York Yankees
35-32
3.5
Minnesota Twins
34-334.5
Toronto Blue Jays
33-35
6.0
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
30-37
8.5
Chicago White Sox
28-37
9.5
Baltimore Orioles
29-40
10.5
Kansas City Royals
28-4212.0
Texas Rangers
26-4313.5

Since the last look at the standings, the Yankees have gone 5-1 and gained 1.0 game in the AL East. The Red Sox went 4-2 over that same period.

In the Wild Card standings, the Yankees gained 2.0 games. The Tigers went 3-3.

The Red Sox magic number to eliminate the Yankees is 87 (down five from last week).

The Tigers magic number to eliminate the Yankees is 92 (down four from last week).

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Game recap: Mets at Yankees 6/17/07

Chien-Ming Wang dominated and Alex Rodriguez powered the Yankees to an 8-2 victory over the Mets Sunday night.

Wang (7-4) went 8 2-3 innings, striking out a career-high 10 Mets and only gave up two runs. The Mets didn't score until the seventh inning.

Rodriguez hit a two-out, two-run home run in the first to give the Yankees an early lead off Orlando Hernandez (3-3). This was his 27th of the year, and he is now at 491 for his career.

The Yankees would add two more runs in the second. Miguel Cairo hit a two-out double that scored Hideki Matsui, who got on with a leadoff single. Johnny Damon would then follow with a single to score Cairo.

In the third inning, Bobby Abreu led off with a triple to left. Rodriguez then drove him home on a sacrifice fly, his 73rd RBI of the year.

The Yankees weren't done there. Damon led off the fifth inning with a solo home run. And, for good measure, Jorge Posada added a two-run home run in the eighth inning.

The Mets' run in the seventh never should have happened. Wang had David Wright struck out. However, he reached on a wild pitch. Carlos Delgado then drove home Wright on a double to right.

They got to Wang again in the ninth. Ramon Castro led off with a double, followed by a Carlos Beltran single. After getting Wright to ground into a double play, Wang was taken out. Mike Myers struck out Delgado to end the game.

Wang left the game throwing 113 pitches, one-short of his career most. He only gave up six hits and induced 13 ground ball outs.

The Yankees took two of three from their cross-town rivals. They have now won 11 of their last 12 games. After an off-day tomorrow, they will start a three-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field in Denver on Tuesday.

AP Photo

Skip Caray is a genius

Because the Yankees are on at 8 p.m. tonight, I have to watch some baseball. I see that the Braves are on TBS, so I decide to watch.

I must say, the Braves announcers are terrible. Harry Caray's son Skip and grandson Chip are calling the game this afternoon against the Indians. They are such homers.

Here is what Skip Caray (pictured) just said:

"I think they should make baseball more like golf. It should have water, hazards, and sand traps."

Great insight.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Stay-Rod

Take this for what it's worth:

Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez is eying apartments in a swanky upper East Side building featuring a $16 million penthouse big enough for his wife, child - and friends, real estate sources told the Daily News.

Baseball's richest player has been touring the super-luxurious building under construction at 170 East End Ave., directly across the street from Gracie Mansion, the sources said (source).

This article keeps referring to the Stray-Rod thing, but that's irrelevant. What's important here is that I don't think Rodriguez would be shopping for $16 million penthouses if he wasn't inclined on staying in New York after this season.

Wallace Matthews' moronic opinion notwithstanding, Rodriguez is a very important part of this team and he needs to be back next year.

He is absolutely killing the ball this year. He is already at 26 home runs and 70 RBIs. He didn't have 70 RBIs until the middle of July last year (and he finished with 121 RBIs). He is 10 home runs away from 500. Think of all the records he can break as a Yankee.

I understand that Yankee fans inherently don't like him. I understand that there are Pro-Jeter and Anti-A-Rod factions. I don't know the rationale, but I know how stupid some Yankee fans can be.

My feelings are that he's the greatest player we will ever, EVER see, and we as Yankee fans should embrace him. I love Derek Jeter as much as the next guy, but I root for Rodriguez because he's a Yankee. I realize that Jeter and Rodriguez are two different players, and it is unfair to compare the two. I absolutely hate A-Rod vs. Jeter arguments (I have a feeling that this was what Mantle vs. Maris was like, but I'm obviously way too young). Both are integral parts of what could be a devastating lineup.

Getty Images Photo

Game recap: Mets at Yankees 6/16/07

I was unable to watch the game this afternoon, so here is The Associated Press' game recap. The Yankees won 11-8, and have now won 10 of their last 11 games and 13 of their last 16 games.

Tyler Clippard was sent down to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, according to Joe Torre's postgame news conference. Kevin Thompson will be called up for tomorrow's game. Expect to see Kei Igawa take Clippard's turn in the rotation.

In Scranton, Igawa is 2-2 with a 2.88 ERA, with 27 strikeouts and seven walks in 25 innings.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oliver Perez is who we thought he was

And we let him off the hook.

Oliver Perez gave Yankee hitters five (by my count; I probably missed something) three-ball counts that didn't amount to a walk or a hit.

The best (or worst) example was a Robinson Cano at-bat in the seventh inning. Cano had a 3-1 count and swung at a pitch that was obviously a ball. He popped this pitch up to second. A leadoff walk could have started the rally that, at the very least, could have tied the game.

The Yankees actually led off the bottom of the fourth with two walks by Hideki Matsui and Cano. Josh Phelps then came up and flied out on a full count. A bunt maybe would've helped? They ended up going quietly in this inning.

In the first inning, Derek Jeter was on second base with one out. Both Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez struck out. The Yankees then loaded the bases in the second inning with two outs, but Melky Cabrera struck out to end the threat.

The point is that if the Yankees were much more patient, they could have won this game. Perez could have been on the ropes during his whole outing, but the Yankees' impatience bailed him out. They were chasing pitches out of the strike zone all night.

Game recap: Mets at Yankees 6/15/07

A quality start from Roger Clemens was wasted by the lack of Yankees offense Friday night, as they lost by a score of 2-0 to the New York Mets. They were shut down by Mets starter Oliver Perez (pictured) and three relievers.

Clemens (1-1) got the loss, after pitching 6 1-3 innings, scattering seven hits and surrendering two runs. He struck out eight Mets and only walked one. However, the two runs he gave up would prove to be too much for the Yankees offense.

The Yankees had many chances to score runs. In the first inning, Derek Jeter was on second base with one out, but was unable to score. In the second inning, the bases were loaded with two outs, but again came up empty.

Perez (7-5) reached many three-ball counts but got the Yankees to chase pitches instead of being patient and taking walks. He only allowed three walks in 7 1-3 innings to go along with five hits and six strikeouts.

Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Cairo both his balls to the warning track that would've put the Yankees ahead.

The Mets showed early on that they would be playing small ball. Carlos Gomez bunted twice for singles. Jose Reyes stole three bases, but he also hit a home run off the facing of the upper deck in right field.

In total, the Mets stole five bases, with four coming against Clemens.

Billy Wagner worked an easy ninth inning for his 15th save of the year. This win ended the Mets' five-game losing streak.

Before the game, Johnny Damon was scratched with an abdominal strain. He was originally leading off as the designated hitter. Melky Cabrera moved into the leadoff spot and Josh Phelps was added to the lineup as the designed hitter in the eight-hole. Damon was available to pinch hit, but he never made it into the game.

The Yankees nine-game winning streak was snapped and they fall to only one game over .500. Boston beat San Francisco tonight, so the Yankees fall back to 8.5 games back in the AL East. Detroit also won, increasing their lead in the Wild Card over the Yankees to 4.5 games.

Tomorrow afternoon, Tyler Clippard will go up against Tom Glavine in hopes of getting the Yankees back on track.

AP Photo

Good-bye, Josh Phelps

I want to hear that you were designated for assignment in the morning.

Game preview: Mets at Yankees 6/15/07

Lineups

New York Mets (36-28)
New York Yankees (33-31)
Jose Reyes SS
Johnny Damon DH
Carlos Beltran CF
Derek Jeter SS
David Wright 3B
Bobby Abreu RF
Carlos Delgado DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Paul Lo Duca C
Jorge Posada C
Shawn Green RF
Hideki Matsui LF
Jose Valentin 2B
Robinson Cano 2B
Julio Franco 1B
Melky Cabrera CF
Carlos Gomez LF
Miguel Cairo 1B
Oliver Perez (6-5, 3.21)
Roger Clemens (1-0, 4.50)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
TV: my9, CW11
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, WFAN-AM 660

Pregame concerns: In his last start against the Yankees, Perez went 7 2-3 innings and only gave up two runs. In his career against the Yankees, he is 2-1 with a 4.19 ERA in three starts. ... In his career against the Mets, Clemens is 3-5 with a 5.09 ERA in 10 starts. ... Matsui homered off Perez this year. ... Beltran is 4-16 against Clemens in his career. ... Lo Duca is 4-8 with one home run and three RBIs against Clemens in his career.

Update: 6:59 p.m.: Damon has been scratched with an abdominal strain. Cabrera is now leading off and Josh Phelps is the designated hitter batting eighth.

Giambi vs. Selig

I know I'm a few days late (I was aware of the situation, but I didn't want to comment until now) with the whole Jason Giambi "apology" situation.

Because of his "I was wrong for doing that stuff" admission last month in USA Today, commissioner Bud Selig wants Giambi to fully comply with Senator George Mitchell's investiagation. If Giambi does not cooperate, he is facing suspension, which would most certainly be appealed by the Player's Union.

Giambi is the only one to ever admit to doing something wrong, but instead of being lauded, he is being persecuted.

What Selig is doing here is absolutely ridiculous. By threatening to suspend Giambi, he is scaring away other potential steroid abusers from going out in public and admitted they did something wrong. This goes along with the whole theme of keeping steroid use in baseball on the hush-hush during the 90's.

I am not defending Giambi in this situation because he's a Yankee. I have no sympathy for cheaters. However, Selig is trying to save himself and act like he's tough on drug users. He has no right to suspend Giambi. It is Selig's fault that there was no drug testing in baseball until only recently.

Well, they came and got me out of Texas...again

The following is from YouTube:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Rodriguez is HOT right now

It's not federal grand jury testimony, but the Diamondbacks' scouting report on the Yankee hitters was leaked to The Associated Press.

-- Alex Rodriguez: "HOT right now. ... Chases a lot of BB's w/2-strikes, both away and in dirt. CH is fine when away. ... (vs. left-handers) Hard in, soft away. Ladder FB w/2-strikes."

-- Derek Jeter: "Will bunt and H&R. ... Runs early. ... Struggles w/ball down/in and will chase SL away. ... Get ahead. Fairly aggressive so will need to mix pitches and locations 1st pitch."

-- Bobby Abreu: "HOT right now. ... Good guy to crowd once you're ahead. Hammers 1st pitch FB's away w/RISP."

-- Johnny Damon: "(vs. right-handers) Struggling w/soft stuff. ... (vs. left-handers) Keep honest w/FB up/in."

-- Jorge Posada: "Sits on off-speed when pitcher is ahead. ... Good cripple hitter."

-- Melky Cabrera: "Need to ladder the FB w/2-strikes. Chases up A LOT! ... Hacker throughout count" (source).

In this series, Rodriguez went 5-11 with one home run and five RBIs in this series, Jeter went 4-10, Abreu went 3-12 with one home run and three RBIs, Damon went 0-8, Posada went 2-10 with one home run and one RBI and Cabrera went 1-7.

The Blogosphere is not polluted

If you've noticed, I have reorganized the links on the right. They are now divided into three groups: Yankees Sites and Blogs, General Baseball Links, and Other Blogs.

161st & River, My Pinstripes, and the Best Damn Sports Blog are all written by guys I post with at The Yankee Zone, and I highly recommend them all.

NoMaas is a funny Yankee blog. They do great Photoshops.

The LoHud Yankees Blog by The Journal News beat writer Peter Abraham, Was Watching and YanksBlog are all very informative.

All of the links under "General Baseball Links" are extremely useful. I use The Baseball Cube and Minor League Baseball when I want to check up on past and current minor league players, respectively. Cot's Baseball Contracts and Baseball Reference are great resources as well. Retrosheet allows you to look up old boxscores, which is very fascinating.

The 'Ropolitans is a Mets blog run by my friend Andrew from school. Ballhype gives readers a chance to "hype up" stories that they like from various blogs. This is SPA's specific link on Ballhype. If you like a story of mine, just click the up arrow.

Deadspin is the best sports blog out there. I religiously read it everyday.

If you want to link your site, just email me at drew788@gmail.com or leave a comment on this post. I'll be happy to add your site. We don't discriminate at SPA.

The series ahead

The Yankees will play a weekend series against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium starting tomorrow. The pitching matchups are:

Friday, 6/15/07, 7:05 p.m., my9, CW11
Oliver Perez - RHP (6-5, 3.21 ERA) vs. Roger Clemens - RHP (1-0, 4.50 ERA)

Saturday, 6/16/07, 1:05 p.m., YES, CW11
Tom Glavine - LHP (5-4, 4.15 ERA) vs. Tyler Clippard - RHP (3-1, 5.32 ERA)

Sunday, 6/17/07, 8:05 p.m., ESPN
Orlando Hernandez - RHP (3-2, 2.38 ERA) vs. Chien-Ming Wang - RHP (6-4, 3.49 ERA)

Game recap: Diamondbacks at Yankees 6/14/07

The Yankees were finally able to score runs for Andy Pettitte Thursday afternoon. The Yankees' left-hander won for the first time since May 23 to even his personal record at 4-4, as the team beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-1 to finish off a three-game sweep.

Pettitte pitched eight innings, allowing only four hits and one earned run. He struck out four Diamondbacks and only walked one.

The Diamondbacks' only run came in the second inning, on a Scott Hariston RBI groundout after a Mark Reynolds leadoff double and a Chad Tracy productive groundout.

Pettitte's eight innings were rather trouble-free. He had three 1-2-3 innings and induced two double plays.

The Yankees offense helped Pettitte out from the beginning. They were able to load the bases with no outs in the first inning against Doug Davis (4-8). They were able to come away with two runs, one on an Alex Rodriguez walk and the other on a Hideki Matsui RBI groundout.

They were then able to tack on two more runs in the third inning. Bobby Abreu lead off the inning with a walk. Rodriguez was able to follow with a double to left, scoring Abreu and taking third on a misplay. After a Jorge Posada groundout, Matsui was able to drive home Rodriguez on a double.

The Yankees put the game out of reach in the bottom of the seventh inning, when they scored three more runs. Rodriguez lead off with a single, followed by a Posada single and a Matsui single. Matsui's base hit scored Rodriguez, and a bad throw from center fielder Chris Young allowed Posada to score as well. A single from Josh Phelps drove home Matsui.

Matsui was the team's best hitter this game. He went 3-4 with three RBIs. Rodriguez also added three hits as the designated hitter for the first time this season. Playing third base instead was Miguel Cairo.

A single by Abreu in the first inning extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

Scott Proctor worked a scoreless ninth inning to preserve the victory.

With this win, the Yankees have now won nine in a row and 12 of their last 14. They will begin a three-game series against the Mets starting tomorrow night. Roger Clemens will face off against Oliver Perez.

Game preview: Diamondbacks at Yankees 6/14/07

Lineups

Arizona Diamondbacks (37-29)
New York Yankees (32-31)
Chris Young CF
Melky Cabrera CF
Conor Jackson 1B
Derek Jeter SS
Orlando Hudson 2B
Bobby Abreu RF
Eric Byrnes RF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Reynolds 3B
Jorge Posada C
Chad Tracy DH
Hideki Matsui LF
Scott Hairston LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Stephen Drew SS
Josh Phelps 1B
Chris Snyder C
Miguel Cairo 3B
Doug Davis (4-7, 3.48)
Andy Pettitte (3-4, 3.11)

Time: 1:05 p.m.
TV: YES
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: Pettitte is 1-5 with a 5.01 ERA in his career against Arizona. ... Byrnes is 3-14 against Pettitte, but two of those hits have gone for home runs. ... Drew is 2-3 against Pettitte. ... Davis is 3-1 with a 6.08 ERA in his career against New York. ... Abreu is 4-12 with three home runs and five RBIs against Davis. ... Jeter is 6-12 against Davis.

Breaking news: Scott Proctor doesn't like Britney Spears

I got back from the Stadium tonight, and I am happy to report that Scott Proctor does not like Britney Spears.

They have this thing on the Diamondvision that names an artist and three of their songs. The screen then shows a few of the players saying which song they would like to hear. Well, when it was Proctor's turn, he refused to answer.

That's my boy.

By the way, I was unable to get an umbrella tonight. I apparently don't look like a 21-year-old.

Oh yeah, the Yankees won 7-2. Mike Mussina pitched great (I know, great analysis) and Alex Rodriguez hit his 25th home run of the year (489th of his career). This is now their eighth win in a row, 11th in their last 13 and are now one game above .500.

Boston and Detroit both lost, so the Yankees are 8.5 behind Boston in the East and 4.5 back of Detroit in the Wild Card.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Game preview: Diamondbacks at Yankees 6/13/07

Starting pitchers

Diamondbacks (37-28)
Livan Hernandez - RHP (5-3, 3.66 ERA)

Yankees (31-31)
Mike Mussina - RHP (2-3, 5.63 ERA)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
TV: YES
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: Mussina is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA against the Diamondbacks in his career (one start). He is 12-6 at home during interleague play, and 19-10 overall. ... Orlando Hudson is 6-19 against Mussina in his career with three RBIs. ... Hernandez is 0-2 with a 4.12 ERA against the Yankees in his career (three starts). ... Bobby Abreu is 18-64 with two home runs against Hernandez in his career. ... Alex Rodriguez is 6-10 with one home run and five RBIs against Hernandez. ... Jorge Posada will not start tonight because Mussina and Wil Nieves have worked well together recently.

I am writing the game preview early tonight (the lineups aren't available yet) because I'll be in attendance tonight. Hopefully it doesn't rain. If it does, it is umbrella night at the Stadium. I hope I can pass for a 21-year-old.

Posada wants to test the free agent waters

According to the Bergen Record via Was Watching, catcher Jorge Posada wants to become a free agent at the end of the year.

"I'll treat every team the same," Posada said in his first detailed comments about his contract since spring training. "That's what free agency is. It's my first time as a free agent."

Posada is certain he is headed that way. He's not interested in negotiating during the season, and not because of the potential daily distraction, but because "They had a lot of time to do it already."

Spring training came and went without an extension, and as far as Posada is concerned, that was the hinge that swung the door open to a potentially different future. All he has managed since is to become the Yankees' most valuable player, his .353 average, seven home runs and 40 RBI among league or team leaders. Contract-year motivation? But the Yankees don't mind reaping the benefit.
For starters, he shouldn't be talking about this now. They have just won seven games in a row and 10 of their last 12 to get back to .500. Just shut up and play.

Posada will be 36 before the season is over. That is extremely old for a catcher, although he is showing no signs of slowing down despite having an awful backup and playing six times a week.

I don't know how many years I'd be willing to give him. Two years with an option maybe? If he wants four or five years, Brian Cashman has to let him walk at that point.

I don't think Posada will walk. I'm sure he knows his place and will not ask for more than three years. My guess (which means absolutely nothing) is three years for $45 million. The Yankees will give in to his demands, simply because they have to. There are no catchers close to making the Majors in their system now, and the only interesting free agent catcher is Ivan Rodriguez, but he has an option for 2008. After him, the list is rather barren.

Closer Mariano Rivera is also a free agent at the end of the season, and he expressed his displeasure during Spring Training when he was told the Yankees weren't going to negotiate until the offseason.

I can't see the Yankees without both Posada and Rivera next year. I think (and hope) the front office has learned from the Andy Pettitte debacle in 2003.

Damon's first base escapades

With games at Colorado and San Francisco next week, Johnny Damon will most likely play first base because there is no DH.

"Whatever the team needs, that's what I'll do," Damon said. "There's been lots of guys who've played first base who I think I can move around better than. The number of plays I'd have to look forward to would be tough - getting throws from all angles and being the cutoff man. Those are things I'll have to focus on" (source).
However, he loves being the DH, according to this article. The Jason Giambi injury seems to be the best thing that has happened to this team this year. It gets Damon out of center field, allows Melky Cabrera to take his place and gets Giambi's lack of speed off of the base paths.

The Doug Mientkiewicz injury hasn't hurt the team that much, either. Slick-fielding Miguel Cairo is now able to play first base more regularly. Speaking of Mientkiewicz, he had wrist surgery yesterday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Game recap: Diamondbacks at Yankees 6/12/07

Bobby Abreu continued his hot hitting and Chien-Ming Wang (6-4) continued his hot pitching Tuesday night, as the Yankees beat the Arizona Diamondbacks by a score of 4-1 to win the first game of a three-game series.

After Johnny Damon reached first on a error to lead off the game, Derek Jeter singled. Abreu then hit a long home run to right field to give the Yankees an early 3-0 lead. They never looked back.

Wang was brilliant, as he pitched seven strong innings and only allowed six hits. The only run he gave up was on a Chad Tracy solo home run to right.

Arizona starter Brandon Webb (6-4) settled down after the first inning. He only gave up five hits on the night and struck out four.

Kyle Farnsworth came into the game in the eighth inning to relieve Wang. He promptly gave up a double to Stephen Drew, but he was then able to get out of the inning without giving up a run.

The Yankees added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Hideki Matsui led off with a walk and then Robinson Cano doubled. Matsui was able to score after a Melky Cabrera double play ball.

Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his eighth save of the year.

The Yankees have now won seven games in a row and are at .500 again, with a record of 31-31. Mike Mussina will square off against Livan Hernandez tomorrow night at the Stadium.

AP Photo

Justin Verlander has just thrown a no-hitter

Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers has just no-hit the Milwaukee Brewers. According to the Fox Sports Net Detroit radar gun, he was hitting 102 mph in the ninth inning!

The last out was a fly ball to right off the bat of J.J. Hardy.

This is the second no-hitter this season in the Majors. Mark Buehrle threw a no-hitter on April 17.

Congratulations

Game preview: Diamondbacks at Yankees 6/12/07

Lineups

Arizona Diamondbacks (37-27)
New York Yankees (30-31)
Chris Young CF
Johnny Damon DH
Stephen Drew SS
Derek Jeter SS
Orlando Hudson 2B
Bobby Abreu RF
Eric Byrnes LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Chad Tracy DH
Jorge Posada C
Tony Clark 1B
Hideki Matsui LF
Mark Reynolds 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Carlos Quentin RF
Melky Cabrera CF
Chris Snyder C
Miguel Cairo 1B
Brandon Webb (6-3, 3.13)Chien-Ming Wang (5-4, 3.73)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
TV: my9
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: The only batter in the Arizona lineup with experience against Wang is Hudson. He is 1-4 off of Wang. ... Abreu has the most experience against Webb. He is 4-18 with 1 HR and 5 RBIs. ... Cairo is 2-6 with 2 RBIs against Webb. ... Webb is 0-1 in his career against the Yankees with a 3.60 ERA. ... Wang has never faced the Diamondbacks. ... This should be a very interesting matchup between two sinkerball pitchers.

Vote or die

Two Yankees are leading their respective positions in the American League All-Star voting: Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Both have comfortable leads over the second place contenders. Rodriguez is also the leading vote-getter in the AL.

Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada are in second place in their respective positions. Placido Polanco of the Tigers is leading Cano, and Ivan Rodriguez, also of the Tigers, is leading Posada.

Johnny Damon is seventh in outfield voting, Bobby Abreu is ninth and Hideki Matsui is 11th.

Source: MLB.com

If you like the Yankees, vote Democratic in '08

A commenter over at the Baseball Think Factory noted a very interesting fact (source):

The Yankees haven't won a WS under a Republican President period, since 1958. Since that time:

WS W/L under Reps - 0/5
WS W/L under Dems - 8/2, with the last loss coming over 40 years ago.
Let's take a look at the Yankees' World Series record since winning the World Series in 1958 with a Republican in office.

1960: Eisenhower (Republican), lost to the Pirates in 7
1961: Kennedy (Democrat), beat the Reds in 5
1962: Kennedy (Democrat), beat the Giants in 7
1963: Kennedy (Democrat), lost to the Dodgers in 4
1964: Johnson (Democrat), lost to the Cardinals in 7
1969-1974: Nixon (Republican), didn't get to the World Series during his time as president
1976: Ford (Republican), lost to the Reds in 4
1977: Carter (Democrat), beat the Dodgers in 6
1978: Carter (Democrat), beat the Dodgers in 6
1981: Reagan (Republican), lost to the Dodgers in 6 (and didn't get back to World Series during Reagan's time as president)
1989-1993: Bush (Republican), didn't get to the World Series during his time as president
1996: Clinton (Democrat), beat the Braves in 6
1998: Clinton (Democrat), beat the Padres in 4
1999: Clinton (Democrat), beat the Braves in 4
2000: Clinton (Democrat), beat the Mets in 5
2001: Bush (Republican), lost to the Diamondbacks in 7
2003: Bush (Republican), lost to the Marlins in 6

Yankees' success is much more important than national affairs. But please, don't vote for Hillary.

Add Wallace Matthews to the list of morons

Yesterday in Newsday, former ESPN Radio host Wallace Matthews wrote a diatribe about how Alex Rodriguez is bad for the Yankees and that him opting out of his contract should essentially be cause for celebration.

He says that the Yankees didn't have any sluggers from 1996-2001 and that they barely got production from third base (source).

In 1996, the Yankees got four home runs, 54 RBIs and a .308 batting average out of Charlie Boggs, the two-headed monster that held down third base that year.

In 1998, the third baseman's name was Scott Brosius and the numbers were 19, 98 and .300. In 1999, Brosius again: 17, 71, .247. In 2000: 16, 64, .230.

The Yankees won the World Series in every one of those years and in fact, won 14 World Series games in a row, stretching from Game 3 against the Braves in 1996 through Game 2 against the Mets in 2000.

During the previous three seasons, the Yankees' third baseman has averaged 40 home runs and 119 RBIs and batted just about .300. Two seasons back, he won the AL MVP, and this season he has a great chance to put up the best numbers of a career that already is a first-ballot ticket to Cooperstown.

And with him, the Yankees have won precisely nothing.
That's a very obtuse argument. He obviously doesn't like Rodriguez, and is using oranges to compare apples.

Rodriguez isn't the reason the Yankees haven't gone to the World Series since 2003. Awful starting pitching is. I suppose Rodriguez traded for Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson and Javier Vazquez, and signed Jaret Wright.

Matthews says the Yankees need relief pitching. This is true. However, he also says that allowing Rodriguez to leave would free up money. There will be enough money next year to go around and sign for middle relievers with Rodriguez being on the team.

The Rodriguez criticisms are ridiculous. I don't understand all of the hatred people have for him.