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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Game 29: Yankees lose 6-2

Despite early struggles, Detroit Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman was able to rebound and beat the Yankees 6-2 at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night.

Bonderman (2-2) loaded the bases with no outs to start the first inning, as Johnny Damon doubled, Derek Jeter singled and Bobby Abreu walked. Hideki Matsui hit a shallow fly ball that was not enough to score Damon. However, Jason Giambi was able to hit a deep enough fly ball for the sacrifice fly and Melky Cabrera hit a clutch, two-out single to score Jeter.

That was all Bonderman would give up on the night. He only gave up five hits in his 7 2-3 innings, and three of those came in the first inning.

Andy Pettitte was not as successful. After retiring the side in order in the first inning, the Tigers were able to scratch across a run in the second. Magglio Ordonez walked and Miguel Cabrera singled. After a sacrifice bunt, Edgar Renteria grounded out to short to score Ordonez to cut the Yankees' lead to 2-1.

The Tigers weren't done there. With one out in the top of the fifth inning, Marcus Thames hit a ball just over a reaching Damon in left for a two-run home run to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.

They scored twice more in the sixth. After Placido Polanco led off with a home run, Sheffield and Ordonez singled. Cabrera then grounded into a 6-4-3 double play that advanced Sheffield to third. Carlos Guillen then hit a ground ball down the third base line that Alberto Gonzalez couldn't bare hand to score the Tigers' fifth run.

Pettitte was done after six innings. He allowed those five earned runs, as well as seven hits and two home runs in his start. He also struck out three batters and walked one. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless seventh inning, throwing 20 pitches while walked one and striking out one.

Kyle Farnsworth was not as successful as he had been in his last three outings. Polanco hit his second home run of the game off Farnsworth in the inning. Farnsworth allowed another hit but struck out two. Edwar Ramirez pitched a scoreless ninth inning to keep the Tigers at six runs.

Clay Rapada pitched the final 1 1-3 innings to close out the game. As with most of the season, the bats obviously didn't show up tonight. With Pettitte allowing five runs in his outing, the bats need to pick up the slack. It hurts that Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada are on the disabled list, but guys like Jason Giambi and Robinson Cano are killing the lineup.

The Yankees fall to 14-15 with the loss, while Detroit improves to 13-15. Ian Kennedy will face Nate Robertson tomorrow night, as the Yankees look to avoid getting swept at home.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Hughes on the disabled list

The injuries keep on coming. Apparently Phil Hughes strained his oblique, which will result in him being placed on the disabled list, according to Peter Abraham.

I don't know if this explains why he's been terrible so far, but I hope it does. Hughes was scheduled to start on Sunday, so the Yankees will obviously need a starter by then.

He joins Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez, Brian Bruney and Wilson Betemit on the disabled list.

This also makes my poll question irrelevant.

Game 29 Preview: Tigers at Yankees

Detroit Tigers (12-15)
New York Yankees (14-14)
Ivan Rodriguez C Johnny Damon LF
Placido Polanco 2B Derek Jeter SS
Gary Sheffield DH Bobby Abreu RF
Magglio Ordonez RF Hideki Matsui DH
Miguel Cabrera 1B Jason Giambi 1B
Carlos Guillen 3B Melky Cabrera CF
Edgar Renteria SS Robinson Cano 2B
Marcus Thames LF Jose Molina C
Brandon Inge CF Alberto Gonzalez 3B

Jeremy Bonderman (1-2, 4.28 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (3-2, 3.23 ERA)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Tigers vs. Pettitte
  • Rodriguez: 16-40, 2 HR, 5 RBI
  • Polanco: 2-4
  • Sheffield: 0-3
  • Ordonez: 12-35, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI
  • Cabrera: 3-9, 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI
  • Guillen: 9-24, 1 2B, 3 RBI
  • Renteria: 3-13, 1 2B
  • Thames: 0-3, 1 RBI
  • Inge: 5-14, 3 2B, 2 RBI
Yankees vs. Bonderman
  • Damon: 14-32, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI
  • Jeter: 5-26, 2 HR, 6 RBI
  • Abreu: 6-9, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Matsui: 10-19, 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI
  • Giambi: 3-15
  • Cabrera: 5-13, 1 3B, 3 RBI
  • Cano: 5-18
  • Molina: 2-8
  • Gonzalez: No experience
Pregame concerns: Chad Moeller was added to the 40-man roster. As a result, Sean Henn was designated for assignment. Chris Stewart was also optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Chris Britton was called up when Alex Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list. ... Bonderman is 1-3 with a 5.54 ERA in five career games at Yankee Stadium.

Hughes has poor night vision

According to the Post's Joel Sherman, Phil Hughes has been having a tough time seeing at night in Yankee Stadium.

Hughes crossed-up catcher Chris Stewart a few times last night, and later admitted that he had trouble seeing the signs.

Apparently Hughes says there is a strong glare from the lights at Yankee Stadium at night and may wear neon glasses to prevent the glare from affecting him.

In two night games at Yankee Stadium this season, Hughes had one good start (6 IP, 2 ER against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 3) and one bad start (last night's awful performance against the Detroit Tigers).

Maybe Hughes is just sitting too close to the computer when he's blogging.

Moeller goes unclaimed

Chad Moeller passed through waivers this afternoon and is back with the Yankees, according to Jon Heyman via Peter Abraham.

Chris Stewart started behind the plate and got crossed-up several times on Phil Hughes curveballs. Jose Molina has also been bothered with a hamstring injury.

In six games and 20 at-bats with New York, Moeller is batting .350 with one home run and three RBI. He also has two doubles and three walks. He was designated for assignment before Jorge Posada was placed on this disabled list, so it's obviously good news that he went unclaimed.

Strawberry writing memoir

Former Yankee and Met Darryl Strawberry is writing a memoir that is scheduled to come out next year, according to publisher Ecco. The book is titled "Straw."

According to Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins, Strawberry’s book “details his life growing up in Crenshaw, Los Angeles, his rise to baseball superstardom as a Met, Dodger, and Yankee, the high life and low life, his brushes with the law, his triumphant battle over cancer, his religious awakening, and his marriage to the love of his life.”
Strawberry has always been an interesting figure in New York sports, so this memoir could be worth reading. Strawberry is currently working as a pre- and post-game analyst on SNY, the Mets' cable network.

Poll: Who should get sent down?

The Yankees' record is 2-9 when either Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy take the ball.

Hughes is 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA on the season. He has walked 13 and struck out 13 in 22 innings. He is averaging 3 2-3 innings per start.

Kennedy is 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA on the season. He has walked 17 and struck out 15 in 19 innings.

As is, the Yankees can't contend with these two in the rotation. Their short starts are extremely taxing on the bullpen, and the reason why the Yankees have been so up and down on the season rests with these two young starters. Something needs to be done before both are crushed mentally.

So I ask you, who should get sent down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre? Hughes? Kennedy? Both? Neither? Discuss your choice in the comments section.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rodriguez to disabled list

Peter Abraham is reporting that Alex Rodriguez will be placed on the disabled list for the first time in his Yankee career with a Grade 2 quadriceps strain.

Rodriguez first injured his quad on April 20 in Baltimore. During that time, he sat out a few games and went to Miami for the birth of his second daughter. He returned to the lineup on April 25 and played in four games before sitting out tonight's game. As a result, the Yankees can't put him on the disabled list retroactively.

With Jorge Posada already on the disabled list, the Yankees' struggling offense takes another huge hit.

Rodriguez has four home runs and 11 RBI through 24 games played this season. The earliest he can return is May 13.

Game 28: Yankees lose 6-4

Phil Hughes once again did not live up to expectations and taxed the bullpen in a 6-4 loss at the hands of the Detroit Tigers Tuesday night.

Hughes (0-4) threw 82 pitches in 3 2-3 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits. Three of those runs came on home runs - a solo shot by Curtis Granderson and a two-run home run by ex-Yankee Gary Sheffield. The Yankees are now 2-9 in games started by either Hughes or Ian Kennedy.

The Tigers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Granderson led off with a walk and advanced to second on a Placido Polanco single. After Sheffield struck out, the two runners advanced on a wild pitch. Magglio Ordonez then drove both home on a single to center.

The home Yankees evened the score against Kenny Rogers (2-3) in the bottom of the second inning on a Robinson Cano two-run home run. It was his second home run of the season.

Hughes pitched a scoreless second but ran into trouble in the third when he gave up those two home runs. He ran into even more trouble in the fourth when he allowed a one-out double, walk and RBI single before being taken out.

Ross Ohlendorf came into the game to relieve Hughes. He gave the Yankees 3 1-3 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit while striking out five and walking one. Edwar Ramirez and LaTroy Hawkins pitched one scoreless inning each to close out the game. Both allowed one hit, while Ramirez struck out a batter.

The Yankees were able to rally with runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but it was too little to late.

They fall back to even on the season - 14-14 - while Detroit improves to 12-15. Andy Pettitte will face Jeremy Bonderman tomorrow night as the Yankees look to rebound.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Hughes throws another clunker

Phil Hughes against the Detroit Tigers tonight:

3.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 82 pitches for 50 strikes

It's getting to the point where it's a guaranteed loss when Hughes or Ian Kennedy pitch. While the growing pains were expected, the Yankees still have a payroll upwards of $200 million - meaning they aren't in a rebuilding year.

I can see a Darrell Rasner call up in the near future because this is getting ridiculous.

Game 28 Preview: Tigers at Yankees

Detroit Tigers (11-15)
New York Yankees (14-13)
Curtis Granderson CF Johnny Damon CF
Placido Polanco 2B Derek Jeter SS
Gary Sheffield DH Bobby Abreu RF
Magglio Ordonez RF Hideki Matsui LF
Miguel Cabrera 1B Jason Giambi DH
Carlos Guillen 3B Shelley Duncan 1B
Edgar Renteria SS Morgan Ensberg 3B
Ivan Rodriguez C Robinson Cano 2B
Jacque Jones LF Chris Stewart C

Kenny Rogers (1-3, 7.66 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (0-3, 7.85 ERA)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Tigers vs. Hughes
  • Granderson: 1-2, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Polanco: 1-3
  • Sheffield: No experience
  • Ordonez: 0-3
  • Cabrera: No experience
  • Guillen: 1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Renteria: No experience
  • Rodriguez: 0-1
  • Jones: No experience
Yankees vs. Rogers
  • Damon: 15-49, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI
  • Jeter: 8-20, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Abreu: 1-5, 2 RBI
  • Matsui: 2-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Giambi: 10-23, 4 HR, 9 RBI
  • Duncan: No experience
  • Ensberg: 1-5, 1 RBI
  • Cano: No experience
  • Stewart: No experience
Pregame concerns: Alex Rodriguez is out tonight with the quad injury. ... In one career start against the Tigers, Hughes allowed five earned runs in six innings. ... Rogers is 14-14 with a 5.48 ERA in 50 career games at Yankee Stadium.

Ramirez up, Britton down

Edwar Ramirez has been called up. The corresponding move sent Chris Britton back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Britton was called up on Friday but didn't appear in a game

Ramirez appeared in one game with the big club earlier this month. He pitched 2 1-3 innings, striking out three and allowing one hit.

Harlan Chamberlain leaves hospital

Harlan Chamberlain, Joba Chamberlain's father, has returned home after being discharged from the hospital. He had been in a Lincoln, Neb. hospital for respiratory failure from pneumonia caused by flu.

The hospital stay caused Joba Chamberlain to be placed on the bereavement list for about a week. He has been back with the team since April 19.

It's great to see that Mr. Chamberlain is back at home. Joba seemed visibly shaken by this turn of events, so hopefully he can finally be at peace.

The series ahead

The New York Yankees (14-13) begin a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers (11-15) at Yankee Stadium tonight. The pitching matchups are:

Tuesday, April 29 - 7:05 p.m., YES
Kenny Rogers
- LHP (1-3, 7.66 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes - RHP (0-3, 7.85 ERA)

Wednesday, April 30 - 7:05 p.m., YES
Jeremy Bonderman
- RHP (1-2, 4.28 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte - LHP (3-2, 3.23 ERA)

Thursday, May 1 - 7:05 p.m., YES
Nate Robertson
- LHP (0-3, 6.91 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy - RHP (0-2, 8.53 ERA)

The "BobCatch"

Let me preface this by saying that Quinnipiac's baseball team is not very good. However, our school has video of this ridiculous catch from over the weekend by Brian Monack in right center field. It was also just named the No. 1 play on SportsCenter for Monday night.

That's my pal Seth Rothman on the call.

This is the second time this year that a Quinnipiac team has appeared as SportsCenter's No. 1 play. During the basketball season, DeMario Anderson hit a half-court shot to beat Central Connecticut St. at the buzzer.

We may not be great at sports, but we do come up with great plays.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ni hao

Hello, readers from Taiwan.

I've been looking at my Site Meter these last few days, and I've noticed that many people from Taiwan have been coming to Scott Proctor's Arm.

You guys must be very proud of Chien-Ming Wang. We all hear from Michael Kay how the stock market does better when your native son is pitching, so I can only imagine what it's really like there when he's pitching well.

I hope you guys enjoy your stay and keep coming back!

Rodriguez aggravates quad strain

Alex Rodriguez, tonight's designated hitter, aggravated his quad injury and was forced to leave the game in the eighth inning. He was pinch hit for by Johnny Damon, who eventually scored a run on Hideki Matsui's RBI double.

According to Peter Abraham, Rodriguez will definitely not play in tomorrow night's game against Detroit, and should sit out a few more additional games.

Mussina's last two starts

Mike Mussina has been more than serviceable in his last two starts.

Against the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians, Mussina has pitched a combined 12 innings, allowing 11 hits and four earned runs while striking out five and walking two.

Those are fine numbers for a fourth or fifth starter. However, with Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy experiencing their expected growing pains, Mussina is expected to give the team innings along with Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte.

That said, I'm thrilled to see Mussina rebounding over these last two starts. Aside from two bad starts against Manny Ramirez and the Boston Red Sox, Mussina has actually had a decent April. If Mussina can continue to pitch the way he has, the offense should be able to pick him up eventually.

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Game 27: Yankees win 5-2

After dropping the first two games of the four game series in Cleveland, the Yankees were able to pull out victories in the next to games to split the series, including tonight's 5-2 victory behind the pitching of Mike Mussina Monday night.

Mussina (3-3) held the Indians scoreless until the fifth inning, when he allowed two runs. He surrendered four-straight hits to start the inning. Jason Michaels had an RBI single in the inning, and Travis Hafner added a sacrifice fly. After loading the bases with two out, Mussina was able to get Jhonny Peralta to line out to end the inning.

In total, Mussina pitched those five innings, allowing seven hits and two earned runs. He also struck out two batters and only walked one.

The Yankees were held hitless by Aaron Laffey until the sixth inning. Melky Cabrera led off with an infield single, followed by singles from Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu to load the bases with no outs. Alex Rodriguez was then hit by a pitch to score the Yankees' first run. They would then score two more runs on consecutive grounds out to first by Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui. Morgan Ensberg hit a ball down the third base line to drive in the fourth and final run of the inning.

Despite holding the Yankees hitless for the majority of his outing, Laffey (0-1) got the loss. In 5 2-3 innings, he allowed three hits and four earned runs.

The Yankees added a run in the eighth inning on a Matsui RBI double.

After Mussina, the Yankees' bullpen pitched four scoreless innings. Jonathan Albaladejo, Kyle Farnsworth, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera each pitched one inning and struck out a batter. Rivera recorded his eighth save of the season in the process.

The Yankees improve to 14-13 with the victory and will travel to the Bronx to begin the nine-game homestand with a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers. Phil Hughes is scheduled to face Kenny Rogers tomorrow night.

(REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk)

Game 27 Preview: Yankees at Indians

New York Yankees (13-13)
Cleveland Indians (12-13)
Melky Cabrera CF David Dellucci LF
Derek Jeter SS Jamey Carroll 2B
Bobby Abreu RF Travis Hafner DH
Alex Rodriguez DH Victor Martinez C
Jason Giambi 1B Jhonny Peralta SS
Hideki Matsui LF Ryan Garko 1B
Morgan Ensberg 3B Casey Blake 3B
Robinson Cano 2B Franklin Gutierrez CF
Jose Molina C Jason Michaels RF

Mike Mussina (2-3, 4.94 ERA) vs. Aaron Laffey (NR)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Yankees vs. Laffey
  • No Yankees have experience against Laffey
Indians vs. Mussina
  • Dellucci: 1-5, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Carroll: No experience
  • Hafner: 2-10, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 4 BB
  • Martinez: 2-19, 1 2B, 3 RBI
  • Peralta: 6-17, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI
  • Garko: 1-3
  • Blake: 6-15, 2 2B, 1 RBI
  • Gutierrez: 0-3
  • Michaels: 0-3
Pregame concerns: Mussina is 4-3 with a 5.88 ERA in 10 career starts at Progressive Field. ... Chris Stewart is with the team, wearing No. 38.

A look at the standings

I delve into the standings after all of the relevant 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

Baltimore Orioles
14-11 --
Tampa Bay Rays
14-11 --
Boston Red Sox
15-12 --
New York Yankees
13-13 1.5
Toronto Blue Jays
11-15 3.5

Wild Card
Los Angeles Angels 16-10--
Oakland Athletics 16-10--
Baltimore Orioles 14-111.5
Tampa Bay Rays
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Cleveland Indians
Seattle Mariners
Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins
Detroit Tigers
Toronto Blue Jays
Texas Rangers

Since the last look at the standings, the Yankees went 3-3 and gained 1.5 games in the AL East standings. They also lost one game in the Wild Card standings.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Posada to DL

Jorge Posada will indeed go on the disabled list for the first time in his career with the torn shoulder. He will also visit Dr. James Andrews sometime this week, which is never a good sign.

To replace Posada on the roster, the Yankees will call up Chris Stewart. Stewart, 26, has 23 games of Major League experience, playing six games with the Chicago White Sox in 2006 and 17 games with the Texas Rangers last season. He has nine hits in 45 at-bats.

In 15 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, Stewart has 12 hits in 40 at-bats. He has three RBI and has walked seven times while striking out only once.

Game 26: Yankees win 1-0

The offense slept through another game, but Chien-Ming Wang was able to out-duel C.C. Sabathia in the Yankees' 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians Sunday afternoon.

Wang (5-0) pitched seven shutout innings, striking out nine, walking only two and allowing four hits.

Sabathia (1-4) was almost as good. In eight innings, he allowed one earned run on four hits. He struck out eight and walked one batter.

The Yankees scored their one run in the fifth inning. Robinson Cano led off the inning with a single but was promptly picked off. On the next pitch, Melky Cabrera hit a solo home run to left. This was his team-leading fifth home run of the season.

The Yankees had a chance to score more in the sixth. Derek Jeter doubled to lead the inning off and advanced to third on a Bobby Abreu ground out to second. However, Alex Rodriguez and Shelley Duncan both struck out to end the inning.

The Yankees left four runners on base, but Wang did not need insurance. He has able to get strikeouts when he needed to, as the Indians left six on base. In total, he threw 113 pitches over his seven innings.

Joba Chamberlain was available to pitch after tweaking his hamstring earlier this week. He struck out two in his inning of work, needing only 10 pitches to do so. Mariano Rivera also struck out two in the ninth inning to record his seventh save of the season.

With the victory, the Yankees even their record at 13-13, while Cleveland falls to 12-13. They two teams close out the four-game series in Cleveland tomorrow evening, as the Yankees once again don't get an afternoon getaway game. Mike Mussina will face left-hander Aaron Laffey as the Yankees look to split the series.

Times: Posada has muscle tear

According to Tyler Kepner of The New York Times, Jorge Posada has a muscle tear and is likely headed to the disabled list.

Posada was a late scratch from this afternoon's lineup, and the Yankees said that they would not announce why until after the game. It appears that we have finally found out why.

Posada had been out of the lineup for a good part of April due to a "dead" shoulder and Jose Molina has caught 39 more innings than Posada has this season.

Chad Moeller was designated for assignment yesterday and can be claimed by another team.

It's great that Posada is in the first year of his new $52.4 million contract and held out for the Yankees to give him a fourth year. Hopefully Moeller does not get claimed and can come back to backup Molina. I can't understand why they designated Moeller for assignment when Posada still wasn't fully healthy.

Game 26 Preview: Yankees at Indians

New York Yankees (12-13)
Cleveland Indians (12-12)
Johnny Damon LF David Dellucci LF
Derek Jeter SS Asdrubal Cabrera 2B
Bobby Abreu RF Travis Hafner DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B Victor Martinez C
Jorge Posada C Ryan Garko 1B
Shelley Duncan 1B Jhonny Peralta SS
Morgan Ensberg DH Casey Blake 3B
Robinson Cano 2B Franklin Gutierrez CF
Melky Cabrera CF Jason Michaels RF

Chien-Ming Wang (4-0, 3.94 ERA) vs. C.C. Sabathia (1-3, 10.13 ERA)

Time: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Yankees vs. Sabathia
  • Damon: 3-14, 1 RBI
  • Jeter: 12-22, 2 2B, 2 RBI
  • Abreu: 1-3, 1 BB
  • Rodriguez: 7-17, 3 2B, 3 RBI
  • Posada: 3-13, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI
  • Duncan: No experience
  • Ensberg: No experience
  • Cano: No experience
  • Cabrera: No experience
Indians vs. Wang
  • Dellucci: No experience
  • Cabrera: No experience
  • Hafner: 1-6, 3 BB
  • Martinez: 2-9, 1 2B, 2 RBI
  • Garko: No experience
  • Peralta: 2-6, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Blake: 1-3
  • Gutierrez: 1-3, 1 2B
  • Michaels: No experience
Pregame concerns: Wang is 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA in one career start at Progressive Field (formerly known as Jacobs Field). ... Sabathia is 1-7 with a 6.84 ERA in eight career starts against New York.

Update - 1:08 p.m.: Posada was scratched late and has been replaced by Jose Molina. The new lineup is:


Molina is 0-8 with two strikeouts against Sabathia. No reason has been given as to why Posada was scratched.

Yankees blogger roundtable

Sean McNally from the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog and the Baseball Think Factory invited me to participate in a roundtable discussion on the 2008 New York Yankees.

Joining me were Steve Lombardi from Was Watching, SG from RLYW and all three writers from River Ave. Blues (Ben, Joe and Mike).

It was fun participating in this discussion. Some questions got me thinking, so it was nice to develop opinions on issues I wouldn't have given notice to otherwise.

Our answers can be found here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Back from Maine

I just got back from Maine, and boy are my legs tired.

The Yankees have lost two games (three-straight overall) and some moves have been made. I was unable to watch the games, so I don't have the right to comment. Here are the moves that have gone down:

Before today's game, Shelley Duncan was called up, as lefty reliever Billy Traber was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Lefties had been hitting .375 against Traber, so he isn't serving much of a purpose if he can't get lefties out. Loyal readers of the blog already know my stance on lefty relievers, so it's not a big deal if the bullpen doesn't have a lefty reliever for the sake of having a lefty reliever.

Before last night's game, it was learned that Brian Bruney has a torn ligament in his foot and will be out for the season. Chad Moeller was also designated for assignment. This resulted in Chris Britton and Jonathan Albaladejo being called up to give the bullpen some extra arms.

Apparently Joba Chamberlain tweaked his hamstring the other day and is receiving treatment. The Yankees are being quiet about the injury, so I'll pass along any information I can get when it becomes available.

After losing three-straight, the Yankees are one game below .500. As evidenced by the record, the team has been very up and down so far. The Yankees have been on two three-game winning streaks and have followed both with a three-game losing streak. Hopefully Chien-Ming Wang can be the stopper tomorrow afternoon. If they can pull out a victory tomorrow, they'll have a chance to split the series Monday night.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The series ahead

The Yankees begin a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians at newly-named Progressive Field tonight. The pitching matchups are:

Friday, April 25 - 7:05 p.m., MY9
Andy Pettitte
- LHP (3-1, 2.45 ERA) vs. Paul Byrd - RHP (0-2, 4.43 ERA)

Saturday, April 26 - 3:55 p.m., FOX
Ian Kennedy - RHP (0-2, 9.64 ERA) vs. Jeremy Sowers - LHP (NR)

Sunday, April 27 - 1:05 p.m., YES/TBS
Chien-Ming Wang
- RHP (4-0, 3.94 ERA) vs. C.C. Sabathia - LHP (1-3, 10.13 ERA)

Monday, April 28 - 7:05 p.m., YES/ESPN
Mike Mussina
- RHP (2-3, 4.94 ERA) vs. Aaron Laffey - LHP (NR)

I will be in Maine all of today and most of tomorrow, so posting will be sparse. Enjoy the games, and I'll check in if the hotel has wireless.

Bullpen injuries

I've already mentioned that Brian Bruney will be in New York sometime today to get his foot checked out. The disabled list remains a possibility.

It doesn't end there. Kyle Farnsworth injured his elbow during the seventh inning of last night's 7-6 loss in Chicago. Farnsworth slipped on the mound after throwing his final pitch of the inning. While he doesn't believe it's serious, Farnsworth would have gone out for a second inning of work. The team will find out more today.

With Ross Ohlendorf throwing 49 pitches in two innings, the team will need to make some sort of move with the four-game series in Cleveland beginning tonight.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rain in Chicago

It's apparently raining hard in Chicago, so it's unlikely that the game with start on time. The Yankees have a night game in Cleveland tomorrow night. For some reason, the Yankees didn't get a day getaway game.

I'll be around with updates if the game is played. Because it's the Yankees' last trip to Chicago, they'll probably wait as long as possible to play.

Update - 8:15 p.m.: Peter Abraham says that the rain is expected to stop in about an hour and they hope to play at 9:30.

Update - 8:35 p.m.: Scratch the 9:30 comment. The tarp is off the field and it looks like they should begin play shortly.

Update - 8:45 p.m.: The game has begun.

Update - 9:35 p.m.: With the Yankees leading 3-0, the game is in a rain delay. Hopefully it's quick so Phil Hughes can continue to be used.

Update - 10:20 p.m.: The tarp is off and the game is set to begin. Hughes is out and is being replaced by Ross Ohlendorf.

It was a small sample size for Hughes, but he definitely showed signs of improvement. In his two innings, he struck out a batter and gave up one hit. He only threw 23 pitches, 15 of which went for strikes.

Game 23 Preview: Yankees at White Sox

New York Yankees (12-10)
Chicago White Sox (11-9)
Johnny Damon DH Nick Swisher CF
Derek Jeter SS Orlando Cabrera SS
Bobby Abreu RF Jim Thome DH
Hideki Matsui LF Paul Konerko 1B
Morgan Ensberg 3B Jermaine Dye RF
Robinson Cano 2B A.J. Pierzynski C
Jason Giambi 1B Carlos Quentin LF
Melky Cabrera CF Joe Crede 3B
Jose Molina C Alexei Ramirez 2B

Phil Hughes (0-3, 8.82 ERA) vs. Gavin Floyd (2-0, 1.40 ERA)

Time: 8:11 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Yankees vs. Floyd

  • Damon: 1-1, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Jeter: 0-2
  • Abreu: 1-1
  • Matsui: 1-2, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Ensberg: No experience
  • Cano: 1-1, 1 2B
  • Giambi: No experience
  • Cabrera: 0-2
  • Molina: No experience

White Sox vs. Hughes

  • Cabrera: 0-2, 1 BB
Pregame concerns: Hughes has never faced Chicago. ... In three innings pitched against New York, Floyd has given up five earned runs. That equates to a 15.00 ERA. He is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in nine career games at U.S. Cellular Field. ... According to Peter Abraham, Brian Bruney has a sprained mid-foot and will be in New York to see a specialist tomorrow. He had a knee-length boot on and will most likely go on the disabled list. ... Alex Rodriguez could return to the lineup tomorrow as the designated hitter.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Game 22: Yankees win 6-4

At least for one night, Mike Mussina (2-3) proved he can still be successful in the Yankees' rotation. The veteran right-hander pitched seven solid innings in their 6-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox Wednesday night.

In those seven innings, he only gave up four hits and two earned runs while striking out three and walking run. The two runs came on solo home runs when the Yankees had already established the lead.

The Yankees gave Mussina support in the second inning. After Jorge Posada grounded into a double play, they put together a two-out rally. Robinson Cano and Jason Giambi both walked and Morgan Ensberg hit a ball off Chicago starter Javier Vazquez (3-2). Melky Cabrera then hit an infield single to the right of shortstop Orlando Cabrera to give the Yankees their first run.

In 5 1-3 innings, Vazquez allowed six earned runs on 10 hits. He also struck out three batters and walked three batters.

It stayed a 1-0 game until the top of the fifth. With Johnny Damon on first with two out, Hideki Matsui hit a single. Both were driven home on a Posada double to center. This was the first of Posada's three doubles on the night. Posada finished 4-5 with those two RBI on the night.

The White Sox made it a 3-1 game in the bottom half of the fifth on a Joe Crede home run - his sixth of the year.

The game was seemingly broken open in the top of the sixth. Damon hit a two-run double and Derek Jeter hit an RBI single to give the Yankees a 6-1 lead.

Mussina then gave up a two-out solo home run to Carlos Quentin in the seventh. Manager Joe Girardi came out to take out Mussina, but Posada prevented him from signaling to the bullpen. Mussina then got Crede for the final out of the inning to end his outing.

LaTroy Hawkins relieved Mussina in the eighth. He walked a batter with one out and then allowed a single. He was then taken out for Billy Traber, who allowed an RBI single to Jim Thome. With runners on first and third, Mariano Rivera was brought in for a five-out save. He induced a sacrifice fly for the second out of the inning to make the score 6-4. He the got the last out in the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth for his sixth save of the season. Both runs in the inning were charged to Hawkins, raising his season ERA to 11.17.

The Yankees, on a three-game winning streak, improve to 12-10 with the victory, while the White Sox fall to 11-9. Phil Hughes will start for New York Thursday night, as they look to sweep Chicago. Gavin Floyd will look to prevent that. The fun begins at 8:11.

Notes: The only Yankees without hits were Bobby Abreu (0-5), the hitting hero from last night, and Robinson Cano (0-4 with a walk). ... Giambi was intentionally walked twice and actually hit a single, his second of the season. ... Damon, Posada and Cabrera all had at least two hits.

(AP Photo/Brian Kersey)

Game 22 Preview: Yankees at White Sox

New York Yankees (11-10)
Chicago White Sox (11-8)
Johnny Damon LF Nick Swisher CF
Derek Jeter SS Orlando Cabrera SS
Bobby Abreu RF Jim Thome DH
Hideki Matsui DH Paul Konerko 1B
Jorge Posada C Jermaine Dye RF
Robinson Cano 2B A.J. Pierzynski C
Jason Giambi 1B Carlos Quentin LF
Morgan Ensberg 3B Joe Crede 3B
Melky Cabrera CF Juan Uribe 2B

Mike Mussina (1-3, 5.75 ERA) vs. Javier Vazquez (3-1, 3.20 ERA)

Time: 8:11 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Yankees vs. Vazquez
  • Damon: 5-17, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI
  • Jeter: 3-13, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Abreu: 18-66, 4 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 12 RBI
  • Matsui: 0-1, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • Posada: 1-8, 1 2B, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Cano: 2-6, 2 2B, 1 K
  • Giambi: 1-2, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Ensberg: 5-13, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Cabrera: 1-4, 1 BB

White Sox vs. Mussina
  • Swisher: 2-9, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Cabrera: 3-19, 1 2B
  • Thome: 13-48, 1 2B, 6 HR, 15 RBI
  • Konerko: 10-35, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Dye: 20-53, 2 HR, 8 RBI
  • Pierzynski: 13-35, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI
  • Quentin: 0-3, 2 K
  • Crede: 5-27, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Uribe: 4-19, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Pregame concerns: Giambi has a sore thumb resulting for a botched grounder last night, but is obviously OK enough to be in the lineup. ... The Yankees are facing another ex-Yankee, so look for Michael Kay to ask David Cone or Paul O'Neill if Posada will have an advantage facing Vazquez. ... Mussina is 8-9 with a 4.22 ERA in 19 career starts at U.S. Cellular Field. ... Vazquez is 1-3 with a 5.25 ERA in four career starts against New York.

Crasnick not worried about Cano's slow start

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick mentioned Robinson Cano in his "Starting 9" column centered around the season's slow starters.

Here's what he had to say about the Yankees' second baseman:

When Joe Torre compared Cano to Rod Carew in 2005, he wasn't necessarily predicting multiple batting titles. But Cano's fluid stroke, quick hands and mature approach have made a lot of baseball people believe there'll be at least one or two in his long-term future.

In the meantime, he's not immune to the occasional slump. Cano starts with his weight on his front foot, then gradually rocks back and loads as the pitcher begins his delivery. If the process is slightly off kilter, the consequences can be profound.

"He's such a rhythm and timing hitter, and his timing is a little bit off right now," said an American League scout. "I think it's just a case of, 'Wait until April is over.'"

Cano is hitting .139 with runners on base, and manager Joe Girardi recently gave him a day off against Tampa Bay. After Cano produced a game-winning pinch-hit homer, hitting coach Kevin Long observed that it might be just the thing to get him jump-started. Not yet.

Concern level: 2. Hey, he's still a decent bet to be hitting .300 by the All-Star break.
Going into tonight's game, Cano is batting .172 with one home run and five RBI. His OBP sits at an unhealthy .212 and he is slugging a dismal .247.

Cano is very frustrating to many Yankee fans. He has all the talent in the world, but he is prone to lapses both at the plate and in the field (especially when he isn't hitting). Larry Bowa, the Yankees' former third base coach, seemed to have Cano's ear, but he fled to Los Angeles with Joe Torre.

He will turn things around, but this negative pattern has developed over the last two seasons.

Game 21: Yankees win 9-5

The biggest hit of the year came off the bat of Bobby Abreu during the seventh inning of Tuesday night's 9-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Down 3-2 with two outs in the inning, the Yankees' right fielder hit an opposite-field grand slam to give the Yankees a three-run lead off Octavio Dotel. Not only was it a clutch hit, it was a clutch hit with two outs and the bases loaded - something that has been rare to Yankeeland this season.

The Yankees had jumped to an early 2-0 lead - including a Jason Giambi solo home run in the second inning - but starter Chien-Ming Wang did not have his best stuff and allowed two runs to score in the bottom half of the second.

In six innings, Wang (4-0) allowed 10 hits and three earned runs.

Jose Contreras (1-2) got the loss. He gave up seven hits and four earned runs in 6 1-3 innings of work.

The game remained knotted at two until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Paul Konerko hit a one-out RBI double.

After Abreu's grand slam, the White Sox were able to tap into the Yankees' bullpen. Lefty specialist Billy Traber walked Jim Thome to lead off the inning. Traber was then removed for Brian Bruney who loaded the bases while only recording one out. Joba Chamberlain came in next and got a strikeout before allowing a bases-loaded walk to cut the Yankees' lead to 6-4.

Chamberlain also pitched the eighth inning. In 1 2-3 innings pitched tonight, he gave up one hit and one walk while striking out one batter. He also threw 24 pitches.

Johnny Damon provided insurance in the top of the eighth with a three-run home run. This was his third hit of the game, as he went 3-5 with those three RBI. He also hit his fifth double of the season.

Kyle Farnsworth did his best to make things interesting in the bottom of the ninth. He allowed a solo home run to A.J. Pierzynski and also walked a batter, but that was the extent of the damage.

The Yankees improve to 11-10 with the victory, while the White Sox fall to 11-8. Mike Mussina will face ex-Yankee Javier Vazquez tomorrow night.

(AP Photo/Brian Kersey)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Game 21 Preview: Yankees at White Sox

New York Yankees (10-10)
Chicago White Sox (11-7)
Johnny Damon LF Nick Swisher CF
Derek Jeter SS Orlando Cabrera SS
Bobby Abreu RF Jim Thome DH
Hideki Matsui DH Paul Konerko 1B
Jorge Posada C Jermaine Dye RF
Robinson Cano 2B A.J. Pierzynski C
Jason Giambi 1B Carlos Quentin LF
Morgan Ensberg 3B Joe Crede 3B
Melky Cabrera CF Juan Uribe 2B

Chien-Ming Wang (3-0, 3.81 ERA) vs. Jose Contreras (1-1, 4.34 ERA)

Time: 8:11 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Yankees vs. Contreras
  • Damon: 5-24, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Jeter: 5-17, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI
  • Abreu: 4-9, 1 HR, 4 RBI
  • Matsui: 4-14, 1 HR, 4 RBI
  • Posada: 3-9, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Cano: 4-15, 1 HR, 4 RBI
  • Giambi: 0-6, 4 BB, 2 K
  • Ensberg: 1-2, 1 2B
  • Cabrera: 1-9, 1 BB, 3 K

White Sox vs. Wang
  • Swisher: 0-2, 1 BB
  • Cabrera: 2-10, 1 K
  • Thome: 2-6
  • Konerko: 1-7, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Dye: 2-9, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Pierzynski: 0-5
  • Quentin: 0-3
  • Crede: 2-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Uribe: 2-6, 1 RBI

Pregame concerns: Posada is catching for the first time since April 8, so the White Sox may try to test his arm early. ... Contreras is 2-4 with a 3.96 ERA in six career starts against New York. ... Wang is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in three career starts at U.S. Cellular Field.

A-Rod out, Posada catching

The news coming out of Chicago is that Alex Rodriguez will sit out tonight's game with a straight right quad and Jorge Posada will catch for the first time since April 8.

Posada was making throws from behind the plate for the first time since the injury earlier this afternoon. I guess Joe Girardi and friends thought he was ready to catch as a result.

I'll be back later with the game preview.

Update - 5:20 p.m.: Mrs. A-Rod gave birth to a baby girl last night in Miami, so that's where Alex is. He probably wouldn't have played tonight anyway. He should be back with the team on Thursday.

The series ahead

The Yankees begin a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field tonight. The pitching matchups are:

Tuesday, April 22 - 8:11 p.m., YES
Chien-Ming Wang
- RHP (3-0, 3.81 ERA) vs. Jose Contreras - RHP (1-1, 4.34 ERA)

Wednesday, April 23 - 8:11 p.m., YES/ESPN
Mike Mussina
- RHP (1-3, 5.75 ERA) vs. Javier Vazquez - RHP (3-1, 3.20 ERA)

Thursday, April 24 - 8:11 p.m., YES
Phil Hughes
- RHP (0-3, 8.82 ERA) vs. Gavin Floyd - RHP (2-0, 1.40 ERA)

Monday, April 21, 2008

A-Rod update

Brian Cashman said that Alex Rodriguez has a "mild" strained quad, according to Peter Abraham.

Rodriguez will go with the team to Chicago, but should get a few days off to fully heal from the injury suffered yesterday afternoon.

Fan fight

We don't condone fighting here at Scott Proctor's Arm, but fan fights are always fun to watch. Via Deadspin, here is the latest Yankee/Red Sox fan fight to hit the Internet.

Off-day Monday

The Yankees will not be playing a baseball game today. This is something that hasn't been said since March 31 when the Opening Day game at Yankee Stadium was rained out. The next day, April 1, was a scheduled off-day, but the Yankees played at 7:05 that night.

Usually, I hate off-days. But the Yankees need one. They have played each of the last 20 days, going 10-10. They have survived awful starts by Phil Hughes, Mike Mussina and Ian Kennedy. They have survived injuries to Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. They have survived an extended team-wide slump. Hopefully they will survive Alex Rodriguez's quad injury and future paternity leave. All things considered, they are extremely lucky to be 10-10. For some perspective, the 2007 Yankees only won nine April games.

The off-day allows for more preparation and more rest. After that, the work picks up again. They will play 13-straight games, with only seven of those coming on the road, a welcome change from the early April schedule.

I'll be around if any news breaks today. Enjoy the off-day. It looks like it should be a nice day outside.

Hank wants Joba starting now

Hank Steinbrenner is getting cranky at the starters' slow start to the season. He told The Times that he wants Joba Chamberlain in the rotation as soon as possible.

“I want him as a starter and so does everyone else, including him, and that is what we are working toward and we need him there now,” Steinbrenner said Sunday by telephone. “There is no question about it, you don’t have a guy with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball and keep him as a setup guy. You just don’t do that. You have to be an idiot to do that.”

“The mistake was already made last year switching him to the bullpen out of panic or whatever,” Steinbrenner said. “I had no say in it last year and I wouldn’t have allowed it. That was done last year, so now we have to catch up. It has to be done on a schedule so we don’t rush him.”

“The starting rotation is not what I would have chosen at the beginning of the year, but that is not a big news flash to anyone,” Steinbrenner said.
The fact that this is coming out isn't a big news flash either.

I think Hank will get his wish pretty soon. The first step in improving the rotation was made yesterday by switching the order. The next step will be transitioning Chamberlain from a reliever into a starter.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A look at the standings

I delve into the standings after all of the relevant 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 13-7 --
Baltimore Orioles 11-8 1.5
Toronto Blue Jays 10-9 2.5
New York Yankees
10-10 3.0
Tampa Bay Rays 8-11 4.5

Wild Card
Los Angeles Angels 12-8--
Oakland Athletics 12-8--
Baltimore Orioles 11-80.5
Toronto Blue Jays 10-91.5
New York Yankees
Seattle Mariners 10-102.0
Kansas City Royals 9-10 2.5
Minnesota Twins 9-102.5
Tampa Bay Rays 8-113.5
Cleveland Indians 7-124.5
Texas Rangers 7-124.5
Detroit Tigers 6-135.5

The Red Sox's magic number to eliminate the Yankees 140.

The Angels' magic number to eliminate the Yankees is 141.

I think there is a lot of season left.

Rotation switch

With the off day tomorrow, the Yankees decided to change around the rotation a little bit, according to Peter Abraham.

Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina and Phil Hughes will start against the Chicago White Sox. Andy Pettitte and Ian Kennedy will start the first two games of the Cleveland series.

Basically, the Yankees wanted to break up Hughes and Kennedy so as to save the bullpen. Kennedy gets an extra day of rest while Pettitte stays on his normal schedule.

This is the right move, although Mussina and Hughes after each other could also pose a problem. They could probably only move one pitcher at a time.

Proctor on TBS

During the rain delay, I'm watching the Braves/Dodgers game on TBS.

Scott Proctor was just brought in with runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Proctor struck out pinch hitter Matt Diaz and induced a fly out to end the inning.

Meanwhile, the Yankees have Wilson Betemit on the disabled list and the bullpen is still a mess. At least Proctor could be counted on to give the team innings when needed.

Update - 4:35 p.m.: Proctor came out for the eighth inning and wasn't as successful. He gave up a one-out double, followed by a two-out triple and a two-run home run by Mark Teixeira. He now gave up a double, but Joe Torre is still sticking with him. He followed up the double with an RBI single. After a visit by Torre, Proctor is remaining in the game.

Pettitte and Kennedy

Andy Pettitte threw 89 pitches through seven innings this afternoon.

Ian Kennedy threw 85 pitches through 2 2-3 innings last night.

Pettitte is a true veteran who isn't afraid to throw strikes. I hope Phil Hughes and Kennedy learned something by watching Pettitte today.

A-Rod leaves game

Alex Rodriguez was forced to leave the game in the sixth inning with the right quad injury.

This was the same type of injury that forced Derek Jeter to miss six games.

Hopefully his wife gives birth tomorrow, because he would be missing those games anyway.

Game 20 Preview: Yankees at Orioles

I have to leave soon, so I only have the Yankees' lineup to give you at the moment.

New York Yankees (9-10)

Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Jason Giambi 1B
Melky Cabrera CF
Chad Moeller C

Andy Pettitte (2-1, 3.37 ERA) vs. Steve Trachsel (1-2, 5.65 ERA)

Time: 1:35 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Pregame concerns:

Hopefully today is the day they finally give up on Giambi.

  • Pettitte is 13-4 with a 4.77 ERA in 20 career games at Camden Yards.
  • Nick Markakis is 6-15 with one home run and three RBI against Pettitte.
  • Ramon Hernandez is 7-21 with one home run and six RBI against Pettitte.

  • Abreu is 14-65 with two home runs and 10 RBI against Trachsel.
  • Jeter is 9-26 with three home runs and three RBI against Trachsel.
  • Matsui is 0-9 against Trachsel.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Kennedy done after 2 2-3

Ian Kennedy's last pitch was smacked off the center-field wall for a Ramon Hernandez two-run double.

This was not in the seventh inning. It was even in the fourth inning. It in the third inning with two outs. However, judging by Kennedy's pitch count (85 pitches), it seemed like it was the seventh inning.

The Yankees are trailing 4-0 heading to the top of the fourth. Four runs this early doesn't seem like a lot, but with the way the offense has been, it seems almost insurmountable.

The Yankees seem committed to going with young starters, but through 19 games, it does not appear to be working. Moves need to be made and moves will be made if the Yankees want to contend.

April 19 or not, something needs to change.

Joba Chamberlain needs to begin the transition process as soon as possible. Darrell Rasner and Scott Patterson need to be called up.

I am shocked

The top of the first inning tonight was probably the most ridiculous inning I've seen in a long time.

Johnny Damon led off with a walk. Melky Cabrera then lined into a double play, as Damon overran first base running back.

Derek Jeter tripled to right center and Alex Rodriguez hit an infield single to third. Rodriguez, improving his numbers with runners in scoring position and two out, was unable to drive in Jeter on the play. Jorge Posada then grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

So let's recap. There was a walk, triple and a single. Yet they were unable to score.

Actually, now that I think about it, I am not shocked - not shocked at all. These are the 2008 Yankees here. The same players that have awful numbers with runners in scoring position.

Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy walked two batters and gave up an infield single in the bottom of the first inning. He was bailed out by a running, jumping catch by Cabrera to end the inning unscathed. He threw 24 pitches for nine strikes in the inning.

The Yankees are going to kill the bullpen if they keep pitching Mike Mussina, Phil Hughes and Kennedy in order. Something needs to be done because pitching five innings each game will get old really fast.

Game 19 Preview: Yankees at Orioles

New York Yankees (9-9)
Baltimore Orioles (10-7)
Johnny Damon LF Brian Roberts 2B
Melky Cabrera CF Melvin Mora 3B
Derek Jeter SS Nick Markakis RF
Alex Rodriguez DH Kevin Millar 1B
Jorge Posada 1B Luke Scott LF
Hideki Matsui RF Aubrey Huff DH
Morgan Ensberg 3B Adam Jones CF
Robinson Cano 2B Ramon Hernandez C
Jose Molina C Brandon Fahey SS

Ian Kennedy (0-1, 8.74 ERA) vs. Brian Burres (1-1, 5.40 ERA)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Pregame concerns:

Interesting lineup tonight. Bobby Abreu (0-10) and Jason Giambi (0-2) both take seats against the lefty Burres. ... Molina is playing for the first time since coming down with a hamstring injury on April 13. ... Joba Chamberlain should be available for the game. Edwar Ramirez will most likely be sent down in favor of Chamberlain.
  • Burres is 1-2 with a 4.64 ERA in seven games (three starts) against New York.
  • Matsui is 2-5 with two home runs against Burres.
  • Cabrera is 4-9 against Burres.
  • Molina is 2-5 against Burres.

  • Kennedy has never faced the Orioles or any of their hitters.

Farnsworth to appeal

Kyle Farnsworth was officially suspended for three games and has decided to appeal.

Until his appeal is heard, he will, unfortunately, be able to pitch.

Joba to rejoin team tonight

Peter Abraham is reporting that Joba Chamberlain will rejoin the team in time for tonight's game in Baltimore.

Chamberlain has not pitched since April 10 and has been in Nebraska attending to his father since the 14th. This obviously adds a much-needed boost to the bullpen. The problem, however, has been getting solid starting pitching the last few games.

It is not known who will be sent down when Chamberlain is taken off the bereavement list.

Farnsworth likely to be suspended

The Daily News is reporting that Kyle Farnsworth will be suspended three games and fined $2,000 for throwing a 97-m.p.h. fastball behind Manny Ramirez's head Thursday night.

Farnsworth claimed the pitch slipped and it wasn't intentional, but Ramirez hit two home runs earlier in the game and Alex Rodriguez was hit the night before.

The only thing that's curious about this is that Farnsworth wasn't ejected after the pitch. Both benches were warned. Usually a player is suspended after being ejected.

Farnsworth has the chance to appeal, but when all is said and done, this will be the third Yankee of the young season to be suspended.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Game 18: Yankees lose 8-2

Phil Hughes (0-3) showed signs of improvement in his start against Baltimore Friday night, but he got another loss, as the Orioles beat up the Yankees 8-2.

Hughes was good for five innings, throwing 80 pitches and holding the Orioles to one run. He also threw a first-pitch strike to the first 15 batters he faced. However, things fell apart for Hughes and the Yankees in the sixth inning.

The Orioles led off the inning with three-straight singles by Nick Markakis, Kevin Millar and Luke Scott, scoring one run. After an Aubrey Huff pop out, Adam Jones singled to score Millar.

LaTroy Hawkins relieved Hughes after Jones' single. Hawkins would allow two more singles - to Jay Payton and Melvin Mora - that scored four runs before being taken out for Edwar Ramirez. Ramirez then allowed an RBI single to Markakis that topped off the Orioles' seven-run inning. When the damage was done, the Orioles were up 8-1.

Hughes was charged with five earned runs in 5 1-3 innings. He also walked two batters and struck out only one batter. Hawkins gave up three earned runs in 1-3 of an inning. Ramirez pitched the final 2 1-3 innings for New York. He gave up one hit and one walk while striking out three.

Chad Moeller hit a solo home run to lead off the seventh inning, but that was it for the Yankees' scoring.

The Yankees left nine runners on base and only had seven hits against Oriole pitching.

Daniel Cabrera (1-0) started for Baltimore. He usually has control issues, but only walked two batters in his six innings. He struck out three and surrendered five hits in his first win of the season.

After winning three-straight games, the Yankees have dropped their last two to even their record at 9-9. The Orioles improve to 10-7 with the victory.

Ian Kennedy will face Brian Burres tomorrow evening.

Game 18 Preview: Yankees at Orioles

New York Yankees (9-8)
Baltimore Orioles (9-7)
Johnny Damon LF Brian Roberts 2B
Derek Jeter SS Melvin Mora 3B
Bobby Abreu RF Nick Markakis RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B Kevin Millar 1B
Hideki Matsui DH Luke Scott LF
Robinson Cano 2B Aubrey Huff DH
Jason Giambi 1B Adam Jones CF
Melky Cabrera CF Ramon Hernandez C
Chad Moeller C Luis Hernandez SS

Phil Hughes (0-2, 9.00 ERA) vs. Daniel Cabrera (0-0, 5.94 ERA)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Pregame concerns:
  • Hughes is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in two career starts against Baltimore. He has never pitching in Camden Yards.
  • Markakis is 2-6 with a double and three RBI against Hughes.
  • Millar is 2-5 with a double against Hughes.

  • Cabrera is 3-6 with a 4.95 ERA in 13 career starts against New York. He has 46 strikeouts and 42 walks in 72 2-3 innings pitched.
  • Rodriguez is 10-27 with two home runs and six RBI against Cabrera.
  • Giambi is 2-8 with 11 walks against Cabrera.
  • Matsui is 11-30 with one home run and five RBI against Cabrera.
  • Cano is 5-22 with one RBI against Cabrera, so Cano's early slump may continue.
Peter Abraham confirms that Jonathan Albaladejo was optioned out. He also reports that Joba Chamberlain has thrown two side sessions while in Nebraska and will not need to go on any rehab assignments.

Edwar up, Albaladejo most likely down

Edwar Ramirez is with the team in Baltimore this afternoon, leading many to believe that Jonathan Albaladejo will be optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Albaladejo threw 48 pitches in last night's 7-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox, so the Yankees want a fresh arm in the bullpen with Phil Hughes going tonight.

Albaladejo was called up when Joba Chamberlain went on the bereavement list. In 5 2-3 innings pitched this season, he has given up two earned runs and has struck out seven batters. The two runs were scored last night in his three-inning outing.

Ramirez struggled last season with the big club. He had 14 walks in 21 innings, but also struck out 31 batters. He also gave up six home runs, leading to an ERA of 8.14. His changeup is a terrific pitch, but his fastball is mediocre.

In Scranton, Ramirez has struck out 11 and walked only one in seven innings. He has also allowed two hits and no runs.

Joba releases statement

The following is a statement from Joba Chamberlain, released by the Yankees.

"After several difficult days, my father is feeling much better. He is still in the critical care unit of the hospital and more tests await him, but he is off the ventilator and breathing on his own. Each day he's acting more and more like himself, and he's even giving people grief-myself included-because the hospital doesn't carry Yankees games on television.

"When things like this occur in life, you certainly take notice of how much your teammates become more like family members. Their unconditional support, along with that of so many fans, has made a very tough time easier to deal with. Everyone's love has been felt by my entire family, and it has brought great comfort to us when we have needed it most.

"I look forward to being reunited with my manager, coaches and teammates so I can thank each of them personally for all that they have done for my family."
There is still no word on when Chamberlain will return to the team, but this is definitely good news.

Chamberlain last pitched on April 10 and has been on the bereavement list since April 14.

The series ahead

The Yankees begin a weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards tonight. The pitching matchups are:

Friday, April 18 - 7:05 p.m., my9
Phil Hughes
- RHP (0-2, 9.00 ERA) vs. Daniel Cabrera - RHP (0-0, 5.94 ERA)

Saturday, April 19 - 7:05 p.m., YES
Ian Kennedy - RHP (0-1, 8.74 ERA) vs. Brian Burres - LHP (1-1, 5.40 ERA)

Sunday, April 20 - 1:35 p.m., YES
Andy Pettitte
- LHP (2-1, 3.37 ERA) vs. Steve Trachsel - RHP (1-2, 5.65 ERA)

Hughes hopeful

Phil Hughes believes he has discovered what has made him lose command of his pitches. He says he is going through his delivery too quickly, as his body moves toward the plate before his arm does. This results in his elbow dropping and the loss in command, according to Ed Price.

"It's a split-second of staying back to let my body catch up," he said. "It will make a big difference with my command. I rely on getting a strike one with my fastball. That's the big key for me."

When Hughes throws a first-pitch strike, opposing hitters are 5-for-27 (.285) with one walk. When he falls behind 1-0, Hughes allows hitters to go 11-for-20 (.550) with seven walks.

"It's such an easy problem to fix," he said, "but it's so hard to do it when you're out there. When you're in the bullpen and you have all the time in the world, (if) you miss a couple of pitches up, you say 'okay, you're going to stay back a little bit longer.' When you're out there (in a game), you're going a million miles an hour, it's hard -- even though it is a simple adjustment -- it's really hard to do it when you're in a game situation.

"Sometimes it's not as easy as just saying it."

At least the problem has been identified. This is why it's great having Dave Eiland around as a pitching coach.

In Hughes' last two starts, he has pitched a combined five innings, allowing 12 hits and nine earned runs. He has also walked seven batters.

Hughes starts tonight in Baltimore, so we'll find out if he's made the proper adjustments sometime this evening.

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

They should combine Hughes and Mussina

If you combine Phil Hughes and Mike Mussina, maybe then you'd get one pitcher that could pitch more than five innings.

Mussina against the Red Sox tonight: 3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2 Manny Ramirez home runs.

Why do they keep letting Ramirez beat them? Why is Mussina so stubborn?

Jonathan Albaladejo is in to start the fourth with the Yankees down 5-0.

Catchers looking at Saturday

Injured catchers Jorge Posada and Jose Molina are both targeting Saturday as their return date.

According to Peter Abraham, Posada is annoyed about getting asked about his health:

“We’re pushing for Saturday,” he said. “So ask me on Saturday. I’m really tired of you asking me everyday, ‘How you doing?’ - ‘I’m fine.’ Same (stuff). I could have played today (but) they didn’t want me to. So I’m pushing for Saturday.”
Nice attitude, Jorge. These people are just doing their jobs. There is no need to be surly.

Molina hopes to do blocking and throwing drills tomorrow. However, with Chad Moeller around, there is no need to rush Molina.

Meanwhile, Manny Ramirez took Mike Mussina deep on a 3-1 "fastball." Why are they pitching to him?

Chamberlain and son update

From Ed Price:

Meanwhile, reliever Joba Chamberlain will stay on bereavement leave indefinitely to tend to his ailing father in Nebraska.

"His dad is continuing to do better," manager Joe Girardi said. "He was up for rehab twice today, moving his arms and his legs. Joba told me he was surprised how strong he felt. So he's doing better. There's still no timetable (for Joba's return to the Yankees). But there is progress, which is good."

Girardi said Harlan Chamberlain could be off a ventilator this weekend.

Great to hear that his dad is doing better.

Game 17 Preview: Red Sox at Yankees

Boston Red Sox (9-7)
New York Yankees (9-7)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF Johnny Damon LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B Derek Jeter SS
David Ortiz DH Bobby Abreu RF
Manny Ramirez LF Alex Rodriguez 3B
Kevin Youkilis 3B Jason Giambi 1B
J.D. Drew RF Jorge Posada DH
Jason Varitek C Robinson Cano 2B
Sean Casey 1B Melky Cabrera CF
Julio Lugo SS Chad Moeller C

Josh Beckett (1-1, 6.35 ERA) vs. Mike Mussina (1-2, 4.15 ERA)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Pregame concerns:
  • Mussina pitched 5 2-3 innings against Boston on Saturday, giving up four earned runs and eight hits.
  • Ramirez is 26-98 with seven home runs and 21 RBI against Mussina. Walk him every time. He homered and drove in three runs on Saturday.
  • Ellsbury and Pedroia were each 2-3 against Mussina on Saturday.

  • Beckett is 2-2 with a 6.86 ERA in four career starts at Yankee Stadium (obviously not including the World Series).
  • On Saturday, he pitched 6 2-3 innings, allowing three earned runs and five hits in the victory.
  • Jeter is 7-23 with one home run against Beckett.
  • Abreu is 9-53 against Beckett, but has two home runs and four RBI.
  • Cano is 9-21 with one home run and five RBI against Beckett.
  • Rodriguez is 6-24 with one home run and five RBI against Beckett.

Ortiz jersey up for auction

The David Ortiz jersey buried in the concrete has been put up for auction on eBay.

The Jimmy Fund, the official charity of the Boston Red Sox, started the auction.

From Jay Lindsay:

“It’s certainly a very, very valuable piece of property,” said Mike Andrews, the chairman of the Jimmy Fund and a former Red Sox second baseman.

“We’re bitter rivals when we go on the field, but there’s one thing we have in common and that’s the fight against cancer,” he said. “I think it was wonderful they thought of us immediately but I’m not surprised.”

It's good to see that something good is coming out of this silly story.

The highest bid as of press time is $13,000. The eBay page can be found here.

Bad starts happen

4 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 2 K

Chien-Ming Wang obviously didn't have it tonight against the Boston Red Sox. Even though he pitched a two-hitter against them last time out, the hitters obviously had an advantage facing him five days later.

Wang will have a chance to rebound next week against the other shade of sock when the Yankees travel to Chicago. He has been excellent this season up until this point, so I'm not worried.

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Game 16: Yankees win 15-9

In what will go down as one of the craziest games of the year, the Yankees and Red Sox combined by 24 runs and 30 hits. The Yankees' bats were able to come out on top, however, as they won 15-9 Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium to even the season series at two games apiece.

The Red Sox took the lead in the first inning against Chien-Ming Wang. Dustin Pedroia walked and then scored on a Manny Ramirez double.

New York was able to respond with some power in the bottom half of the first against Clay Buchholz. Derek Jeter walked with one out and then scored on a Bobby Abreu home to into the right field bleachers. Alex Rodriguez then homered into the Red Sox bullpen to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. The home run, the 522nd of his career, puts him ahead of Ted Williams and Willie McCovey.

The Red Sox were able to tie the score with runs in the second and fourth. The Yankees seemingly gave Wang enough breathing room, scoring four runs in the fourth inning. Chad Moeller had an RBI double, Jeter drove in two runs with the bases loaded and Melky Cabrera scored on a wild pitch.

Buchholz was done after 3 2-3 innings. He gave up seven earned runs on eight hits, while striking out two and walking one.

However, the Red Sox scored six in the top of the fifth to take a 9-7 lead, forcing Wang to leave early. In total, Wang pitched four innings, allowing eight earned runs and nine hits. Wang gave up five-straight hits to start the fifth before being taken out. He was replaced by Ross Ohlendorf who was charged with one earned run in one inning.

The wildness didn't end there. The Yankees scored four in the bottom of the fifth to take an 11-9 lead against Julian Tavarez (0-1). Jorge Posada doubled in Hideki Matsui. Robinson Cano also had an RBI single and Cabrera's ground out into a fielder's choice yielded two runs.

Tavarez gave up four runs (three earned runs) and three hits in 1 1-3 innings.

They added four more runs in the eighth inning on successive two-run doubles by Posada and Jason Giambi against Mike Timlin. He has given up six earned runs in 2 1-3 innings this season since coming off of the disabled list.

LaTroy Hawkins (1-0) pitched two terrific innings out of the bullpen in his first appearance wearing No. 22. He struck out two and only allowed one hit. Billy Traber actually got David Ortiz to pop out, doing what a lefty specialist should be able to do. Brian Bruney pitched the final 1 2-3 innings, allowing two hits and a walk, while striking out a batter. He was rewarded his first save of the year, as the Yankees were able to avoid using Mariano Rivera for the third-consecutive night.

Jeter, Rodriguez, Matsui, Posada and Giambi all had two hits each, and Moeller had three hits. All of the Yankees' starters had at least one hit. The only Yankee starter without an RBI was Matsui.

With this victory, the Yankees have won three games in a row and improve to 9-7, while the Red Sox fall to 9-7. Mike Mussina and Josh Beckett will start tomorrow night's game to close out the two-game series.

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)