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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wang struggles again

Chien-Ming Wang turned in another sub-par start tonight against the Minnesota Twins.

In 5 1/3 innings, he was charged with five earned runs, while giving up nine hits, striking out four and walking three. He was given a 3-2 lead in the third and gave up a run in the bottom half of the inning. After he was given a 6-3 lead, he struggled again, and the lead shrank to 6-5.

In his last five starts, he has given up 21 earned runs in 33 1/3 innings (5.67 ERA). The team is winless in his previous four starts (this game remains in the balance).

I've never thought Wang was an ace, but that doesn't mean he's a bad pitcher by any means. He has a great sinker, but when that doesn't work, he struggles mightily. He has shown flashes of a slider, but he still depends on the two-seam fastball.

Whether you feel he's an ace or not, he obviously needs to turn this around. In his young career, he's never had a stretch as poor as the one he's currently in.

Game 55 Preview: Yankees at Twins

New York Yankees (27-27)
Minnesota Twins (28-26)
Johnny Damon LF
Carlos Gomez CF
Derek Jeter SS
Alexi Casilla 2B
Bobby Abreu RF
Joe Mauer C
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Justin Morneau 1B
Hideki Matsui DH
Michael Cuddyer RF
Jason Giambi 1B
Jason Kubel DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Delmon Young LF
Jose Molina C
Mike Lamb 3B
Melky Cabrera CF
Nick Punto SS

Chien-Ming Wang (6-2, 3.82 ERA) vs. Boof Bonser (2-6, 6.16 ERA)

Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: YES
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Yankees vs. Bonser
  • Damon: 2-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Jeter: 2-6
  • Abreu: 2-6, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Rodriguez: 1-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Matsui: 0-3
  • Giambi: 0-2
  • Cano: 3-4, 1 2B
  • Molina: 0-2
  • Cabrera: 4-5, 1 RBI
Twins vs. Wang
  • Gomez: 0-2
  • Casilla: No experience
  • Mauer: 1-4
  • Morneau: 4-6, 1 2B
  • Cuddyer: 0-5
  • Kubel: 1-3
  • Young: 5-12, 2 2B, 2 RBI
  • Lamb: No experience
  • Punto: 0-2
Pregame concerns: Despite being a sinkerball pitcher on the turf, Wang is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two career starts the Metrodome. ... Bonser is 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA in two career starts against New York.

Posada throws, targets Wednesday return

In this latest Jorge Posada update, he threw to second base twice and said he felt fine in doing so.

He will have a day off tomorrow and play in two more extended spring training games - Monday and Tuesday - and should rejoin the Yankees after.

He also went 2-4 at the plate and is 8-22 overall in his series of extended spring games.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Props to the Moose

I thought tonight would be reminiscent of the miserable 12-2 loss against the Orioles last week.

However, Mike Mussina was able to put together a very nice start after the first inning Friday night at the Metrodome. All in all, he gave up two earned runs and six hits over six innings while striking out three and throwing 109 pitches. And despite being over 100 pitches to start the sixth inning, he pitched his best inning of the night.

Mussina now has eight wins on the year, which puts him in the four-way tie for the league-lead in victories.

Who would've thought that at the beginning of the year?

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Time to end the great Farnsworth experiment

Most Yankees fans have known it's a bad idea to give Kyle Farnsworth the title of "the eighth inning guy." While he had a decent run earlier this season, he has proven time and time again to be unreliable.

Tonight, with the Yankees leading 6-4 going to the bottom of the eighth, Joe Girardi went to Farnsworth to set up for Mariano Rivera.

Good thing it was a two-run lead, because Farnsworth promptly served up a solo home run to cut the lead to one.

Edwar Ramirez, who has not given up a run all season, recorded the final two outs of the seventh inning to clean up Jose Veras' mess. Throwing only five pitches, he easily could have pitched the eighth too.

Girardi cannot be tied down to specific roles, especially in this "feeling-out" post-Joba Chamberlain period.

Farnsworth has given up four home runs in his last 5 1/3 innings pitched. Overall, Farnsworth has surrendered eight home runs in 24 1/3 innings this season. That is not who you want coming in to pitch the eighth inning in a close game. Hopefully Girardi will remember that the next time the Yankees have a close lead late in the game.

When you're 9-55 at the plate...

...you better be able to throw to second base with ease.

That is now Shelley Duncan's third error of the season and the Yankees' early lead has vanished.

Meanwhile, Mike Mussina is falling apart after the error once again. It is now 3-1 with only one out.

Game 54 Preview: Yankees at Twins

New York Yankees (26-27)
Minnesota Twins (28-25)
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Gomez CF
Bobby Abreu RF
Alexi Casilla 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Joe Mauer C
Hideki Matsui LF
Justin Morneau 1B
Jason Giambi DH
Michael Cuddyer RF
Shelley Duncan 1B
Jason Kubel DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Delmon Young LF
Jose Molina C
Mike Lamb 3B
Melky Cabrera CF
Brendan Harris SS

Mike Mussina (7-4, 4.39 ERA) vs. Glen Perkins (2-1, 2.77 ERA)

Time: 8:10 p.m.
TV: MY9
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Yankees vs. Perkins
  • No Yankees have faced Perkins
Twins vs. Mussina
  • Gomez: No experience
  • Casilla: 1-1
  • Mauer: 0-6
  • Morneau: 4-11, 2 2B, 1 RBI
  • Cuddyer: 2-13, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Kubel: 1-7, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Young: 2-11
  • Lamb: 6-16, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Harris: 1-4, 1 RBI
Pregame concerns: Johnny Damon is sitting against the lefty Perkins. ... Duncan is 9-55 this season. ... Mussina is 10-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 16 career starts at the Metrodome. He is 20-6 against the Twins overall.

Joba to start Tuesday

According to Mark Feinsand, Joba Chamberlain will start Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Various writers have suggested that the Yankees may have him start Monday to avoid the pressure of having his first start at the Stadium, but apparently the Yankees feel he'll be ready.

Chamberlain's last appearance was on Wednesday when he threw 28 pitches in the game and 27 more in the bullpen afterward.

Andy Pettitte will get the start on Monday.

More Posada recovery

As reported by the Associated Press, Jorge Posada will be able to catch and throw to bases in tomorrow's extended spring training game for the first time since his shoulder injury.

Posada was the designated hitter today and went 2-5 with a walk against a team of Tampa Bay minor leaguers.

He says his shoulder feels fine but is unsure how many more games he will need to play in to test his shoulder.

Meanwhile, here is an update on an injured starting pitcher from the same article:

Carl Pavano, who is rehabbing from surgery to replace an elbow ligament, threw 40 pitches in his latest half-mound session. The right-hander could work off a bullpen mound next week.
I haven't mentioned Pavano in so long that his name hasn't been added to my Firefox dictionary (his name still gets caught by spellcheck). It's good to see that he is, uh, doing something with the team.

The series ahead

The New York Yankees (26-27) begin a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins (28-25) at the Metrodome tonight. The pitching matchups are:

Tonight - 8:10 p.m., MY9
Mike Mussina
- RHP (7-4, 4.39 ERA) vs. Glen Perkins - LHP (2-1, 2.77 ERA)

Tomorrow - 7:10 p.m., YES
Chien-Ming Wang
- RHP (6-2, 3.82 ERA) vs. Boof Bonser - RHP (2-6, 6.16 ERA)

Sunday - 2:10 p.m., YES
Darrell Rasner - RHP (3-1, 1.80 ERA) vs. Nick Blackburn - RHP (4-3, 3.39 RA)

Monday - 7:05 p.m., YES/ESPN
TBD (could be Joba Chamberlain) vs. Livan Hernandez - RHP (6-2, 4.60 ERA)

Posada showing more progress

Jorge Posada had another long day of rehabilitation today, making throws to second base and catching seven innings, according to the AP.

At the plate, Posada singled and grounded into a double play (shocker) in two at-bats.

“It feels good,” Posada said. “The more I throw, the better it feels. It’s coming along. I’m happy with the throwing today. I think I’m going to DH (Friday) and then Saturday go full-bore.”
The article goes on to say that Posada made five throws both to second base and third base and played long toss. He hopes to be back by the end of next week.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yankee Stadium Legacy cards

I received an email from Marty Appel, the Yankees' former publicist, about Upper Deck's Yankee Stadium Legacy card set.

Here is what he wrote:

As you probably know I was the Yankees publicist for many years and remain close to the team now…..and have also gotten “seasoned” enough to be considered a bit of a historian when it comes to the Yanks.

So I wanted to make your readers aware of an Upper Deck card product called Yankee Stadium Legacy – a 6,661 card set, with one card representing every Yankee home game ever played in Yankee Stadium (plus a few extras for Papal visits, boxing, etc.).

It is the largest card set ever produced (Guinness Book worthy), and an amazing research project.

The cards are inserted into various Upper Deck baseball products, and will continue into next year so that the 2008 MLB season is included.

More information is at www.OwnTheLegacy.com. Is it impossible to collect the full set? It’s certainly a challenge. Also, fans can register the codes on the back of the cards at the website to be included in a Yankee Dream sweepstakes for a chance to win tickets to the All-Star Game, the last regular-season game and the first 2009 home game.
Sounds like an interesting concept. Happy hunting.

'Voice of God' hopes for summer return

It's nice to wake up to good news every once in a while.

In an interview conducted by BustedHalo.com (via Peter Abraham), Bob Sheppard said he hopes to return by July 1 and announcer the All-Star Game later that month.

He also said he wants to keep doing his job so he can announce the lineups at Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium.

Sheppard is so highly regarded that Derek Jeter still walks up to a recording of Sheppard announcing his name at Yankee Stadium.

He is as much a part of Yankee Stadium as anyone.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Game 53: Yankees win 4-2

Last night's game was knotted at 9-9 after five innings. Tonight, the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles only combined for six runs. But the Yankees came out on top, salvaging one game in the three-game trip to Camden Yards before traveling to Minneapolis for a weekend series.

Andy Pettitte added much-needed stability to a pitching staff that had to cover for Ian Kennedy's abbreviated start last night. Pettitte (5-5) pitch 6 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs and surrendering eight hits while striking out three and walking one.

The Yankees got out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning. With one out, Hideki Matsui doubled to left. With Jason Giambi batting, Orioles' starter Jeremy Guthrie threw a wild pitch. The Orioles then brought the infield in, and Giambi promptly served a single in between the shortstop and second baseman.

Guthrie (2-6) gave up three earned runs and six hits over seven inninigs.

After a scoreless bottom of the second inning, Pettitte ran into trouble in the third. Brian Roberts led off with a single. Melvin Mora followed that up with a two-run home run to give his team a 2-1 lead. Mora, who went 3-6 with a home run and two RBI last night, went 3-4 with a home run and two RBI tonight.

The Yankees weren't down for long. Giambi hit a two-out solo home run onto Eutaw Street for the second-straight night. He went 2-3 with a walk and two RBI on the night. In his last 47 at-bats, Giambi has 19 hits, five home runs and 12 RBI.

They would add runs in the fifth and ninth innings. Derek Jeter hit a sacrifice fly and Johnny Damon had an RBI single.

The story, however, was Joba Chamberlain. Scheduled to throw 50-55 pitches, he came into the game with two outs in the seventh inning. He gave up a single and a walk before recording the third out of the inning. He retired the side in order in the eighth. He fell behind 3-0 to Aubrey Huff to start the inning, but he was able to strike him out.

With the game remaining a save situation, Chamberlain came out of the game after the eighth inning. He had only thrown 28 pitches. When Mariano Rivera came into the game, Chamberlain went to the bullpen where he reached his pitch count.

Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth for his 13th save of the season.

Mike Mussina will face Boof Bonser Friday night at the Metrodome.

(AP Photo/Rob Carr)

Game 53 Preview: Yankees at Orioles

New York Yankees (25-27)
Baltimore Orioles (26-25)
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
Aubrey Huff DH
Jason Giambi 1B
Ramon Hernandez C
Robinson Cano 2B
Jay Payton LF
Chad Moeller C
Adam Jones CF
Melky Cabrera CF
Alex Cintron SS

Andy Pettitte (4-5, 4.27 ERA) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (2-5, 3.62 ERA)

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

Yankees vs. Guthrie
  • Damon: 3-9, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Jeter: 3-9
  • Abreu: 2-8, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Rodriguez: 2-8
  • Matsui: 2-8
  • Giambi: No experience
  • Cano: 1-8, 1 RBI
  • Moeller: No experience
  • Cabrera: 3-7, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI
Orioles vs. Pettitte
  • Roberts: 9-43, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Mora: 7-27, 2 2B, 4 RBI
  • Markakis: 6-18, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Millar: 8-28, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Huff: 4-23, 1 2B
  • Hernandez: 7-21, 1 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI
  • Payton: 6-30, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Jones: 1-3
  • Cintron: 3-8, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Pregame concerns: Pettitte threw seven shutout innings against the Orioles on April 20 in the Yankees' 7-1 victory. ... Guthrie is 1-0 with a 4.74 in four career games (three starts) against New York.

Britton and Joba

Chris Britton has been called up as Ian Kennedy was officially placed on the disabled list, according to Peter Abraham. Despite the the fact that Britton has repeatedly been called up and sent down, he's only appeared in two games and 4 2/3 innings this season.

Meanwhile, Joba Chamberlain is supposed to throw 50-55 pitches today in relief. That may not happen with Andy Pettitte on the mound. If need be, he'll throw more pitches in the bullpen to get up to the requisite number of pitches.

Are the Yankees just a bad team?

It took a five-game winning streak just to get back to .500. Since, the Yankees have lost two in a row and are back to a familiar position this season - last place and under .500.

This has been a season of ups and downs so far. In April, the Yankees had two three-game winning streaks, only to lose three in a row immediately after.

Part of that can be attributed to poor starting pitching. Peter Abraham crunched the numbers and noticed that the Yankees are 3-12 in games that Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes started and 22-15 in games started by others. Kennedy and Hughes also didn't start in any of the six wins against Seattle.

Another problem was the lack of hitting. Since Alex Rodriguez has been back, the offense has started to click. However, despite scoring nine runs last night, they still lost. That is just unacceptable.

June hasn't begun yet, so there is plenty of time to make the proper adjustments. Kennedy's trip to the disabled list can be a blessing in disguise, as Joba Chamberlain will presumably jump into the rotation. The Yankees will also get to experiment with the bullpen, because as currently constructed, it is miserable. Chamberlain made the bullpen look better than it really is when he was in it. Now that he is in his transition phase®, it is back to being mediocre.

Am I concerned? Of course I am. This team looked so good against Seattle and is now looking awful against Baltimore. However, all of that being said, they are only six games out of first place. On this date last year, they were 13.5 games out of first place. They were also seven games under .500.

On the other hand, they are 19-27 against teams not from the state of Washington. That is eight games under .500.

Kennedy to DL

Ian Kennedy will be placed on the disabled list with the lat injury.

The Yankees have an off-day on Thursday, so they can get by without a fifth starter for this turn in the rotation. One has to figure that the Yankees will call up a reliever after the bullpen was burned today.

With Joba Chamberlain tentatively scheduled to throw 50 or so pitches tomorrow night, the Yankees could probably get him to start and throw about 70 pitches when the Yankees next need a fifth starter.

Why Hawkins?

LaTroy Hawkins in a 9-8 save situation in the 11th inning? Really?

Where's Jose Veras? He's certainly better than Hawkins.

This was a terrible move by Joe Girardi, and it cost the Yankees the game. The Yankees deserved to lose this game anyway by blowing two four-run leads, but they still somehow had a chance to win despite burning the bullpen.

I'm a proponent of the Joba Chamberlain transition, but not having him tonight killed them.

I hope Hawkins is cut in the near future because he is absolutely lost.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ridiculous

A 4-0 lead becomes 4-4. An 8-4 lead becomes 8-8. Derek Jeter gets picked off second base with Alex Rodriguez up. The Yankees' defense commits three errors.

Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy left the game after three innings with a slight right lat strain. It's a shame he was pitching so well.

This game is really testing my patience.

So much for improvement

Ian Kennedy's start on Thursday now seems like the exception and not the rule. There is no way the Yankees can keep him on at this point.

Unfortunately, they began the Joba Chamberlain transition process a day too late. It would have been great to match him up with Kennedy, because it's almost guaranteed that he'll be out by the fourth inning.

Andy Pettitte will likely give the team six or seven innings tomorrow, while Chamberlain is supposed to throw 50 pitches.

At least we know who will get jettisoned from the rotation once the transition phases® have been completed.

Yankees sign Broussard

The Yankees have signed first baseman Ben Broussard to a minor-league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, according to Chad Jennings.

Broussard, a lefty, hit three home runs and drove in eight runs in 26 games and 82 at-bats for Texas this season. He was released earlier this month.

Jennings suggests that this is a move to give Scranton extra offense and to provide the Yankees with some depth in case Jason Giambi gets injured.

Game 52 Preview: Yankees at Orioles

New York Yankees (25-26)
Baltimore Orioles (25-25)
Johnny Damon CF
Brian Roberts 2B
Derek Jeter SS
Melvin Mora 3B
Bobby Abreu RF
Nick Markakis RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Aubrey Huff DH
Hideki Matsui LF
Luke Scott LF
Jason Giambi DH
Kevin Millar 1B
Wilson Betemit 1B
Ramon Hernandez C
Robinson Cano 2B
Adam Jones CF
Jose Molina C
Freddie Bynum SS

Ian Kennedy (0-3, 7.27 ERA) vs. Brian Burres (4-4, 3.16 ERA)

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

Yankees vs. Burres
  • Damon: 4-11, 1 RBI
  • Jeter: 3-15, 2 3B
  • Abreu: 0-10, 1 RBI
  • Rodriguez: 3-14, 1 RBI
  • Matsui: 4-11, 2 HR, 2 RBI
  • Giambi: 1-5
  • Betemit: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Cano: 2-11
  • Molina: 3-10
Orioles vs. Kennedy
  • Roberts: 0-3
  • Mora: 1-2
  • Markakis: 0-4
  • Huff: 1-3
  • Scott: 0-3
  • Millar: 1-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Hernandez: 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI
  • Jones: 1-4
  • Bynum: 1-1, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Pregame concerns: The two starters faced each other last Thursday. Kennedy gave up four hits and one run over six innings and Burres gave up one run over 7 2/3 innings. ... Melky Cabrera takes a seat against the lefty Burres. He is batting .177 from the right side.

Michael Kay/YES Network drinking game

Many of us have a negative opinion of extremely predictable Yankees' play-by-play announcer Michael Kay. I've decided to create a drinking game based on the YES Network's coverage on Yankees' baseball. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know.

  • Kay says, "Fallacy of the predetermined outcome" – 1 drink
  • Kay laughs like a maniacal moron, and then is joined by the others in the booth – 1 drink
  • Kay says, "Put a bow on it" – 1 drink
  • Kay gets on his soapbox – 1 drink
  • Kay mentions that Kyle Farnsworth was caught by Joe Girardi – 1 drink
  • Kay says, "We thank you for joining us" – 1 drink
  • Kay says, "If you’re just joining us" – 1 drink
  • Viewer notices that the YES cameras cut off the top of Kay's head – 1 drink
  • Kay talks about baseball strategy, and is probably incorrect – 1 drink
  • Kay mentions how Mike Mussina locked himself in his hotel room in Japan with peanut butter and crackers – 1 drink
  • Kay says a player is "like the little girl with the curl" – 1 drink
  • Kay uses a word you have to look up in the dictionary – 1 drink
  • Kay says, "Hey!" (i.e. "Hey, Yankee fans!" or "Hey, check out…" – 1 drink
  • Kay says, "Tough league" when a pitcher throws a changeup or breaking ball when down in the count – 1 drink

  • Kay says, "Pretty play" – 2 drinks
  • Kay says, "Oh, what a play!" – 2 drinks
  • Paul O'Neill makes fun of Kay for having too many shows on YES – 2 drinks
  • Kay says, "Aforementioned New York Yankees" – 2 drinks
  • Kay mentions that O'Neill's trophies are behind his couch – 2 drinks
  • Kay says, "The awards you love so much" – 2 drinks
  • Kay mentions Don Mattingly and the bat-shaped weather vane – 2 drinks
  • Kay says, "If you’re scoring at home" – 2 drinks
  • Kay says, "Joe Girardi is the man with the mission on his back" – 2 drinks
  • Kay explains the benefits of the staggered lineup – 2 drinks

  • Kay screams, "See ya!," "there it goes," and/or "looking up" – 3 drinks / If he says all three in the same call, finish drink.
  • Kay refers to Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy as "Generation Trey" – 3 drinks
  • Kay calls "The Joe Girardi Show" a variety show – 3 drinks
  • Kay says, "Martini Glass defense" – 3 drinks / Chug one beer if it is illustrated on the telestrator
  • Kay mentions how Chien-Ming Wang runs the Taiwanese economy – 3 drinks
  • Kay refers to a past conversation he had and says "he said" at least three times – 3 drinks
  • Kay says, "Most people don’t know Jason Giambi came up as a third baseman" – 3 drinks
  • Kay says that Giambi learned how to scoop well because of Oakland's immense foul territory – 3 drinks
  • Kay says he ties a Major League record with three assists in one inning – 3 drinks

  • Kay says, "Looking up" after the ball has already reached the stands – Finish drink
  • Kay asks his analysts a ridiculous question and is promptly debunked – Finish drink / Take an additional drink for each time he responds with a "don’t you think..." question
  • Kay talks about Kevin Mench's enormous head – Chug beer
  • Kay says, "Hit DEEP to left/right/center" and the ball is then caught well in front of the track – Chug two beers
  • Kay says, "Deuces wild" – 22 drinks
  • Kay isn't calling the game – Spray champagne
Please drink responsibly.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Still love the Raz

Nick Markakis' sixth-inning solo home run aside, Darrell Rasner had his fourth-straight solid start. In his six innings, he allowed that one run, while striking out three, walking run and allowing five hits. He also threw over 69% of his pitches for strikes. Despite this, he lost his first decision of the year.

However, unlike the last few games, the offense was shut down by Garrett Olson and the Baltimore Orioles. Five days earlier, Olson gave up six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings to the Yankees. This afternoon, he pitched seven shutout innings despite throwing 56% of his pitches for strikes. That's baseball for you.

LaTroy Hawkins and Jose Veras ruined any chance of a comeback. They quickly turned a 1-0 deficit to a 6-0 mountain. The Yankees were able to score one run in the ninth, but that was it, as they lost 6-1 and snapped their five-game winning streak.

Shelley Duncan was miserable, going 0-4 on the day, including a pop up in the ninth inning after Hideki Matsui had led off with a double. He now has nine hits in 55 at-bats this season.

Ian Kennedy and Brian Burres will face each other tomorrow night in a rematch of last Thursday's game.

(AP Photo/Rob Carr)

I guess that's why Hawkins isn't used in close games

Wow. This game turned for the worse rather quickly.

Jose Veras isn't that great either.

Game 51 Preview: Yankees at Orioles

New York Yankees (25-25)
Baltimore Orioles (24-25)
Johnny Damon LF
Brian Roberts 2B
Derek Jeter SS
Melvin Mora 3B
Bobby Abreu RF
Nick Markakis RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Aubrey Huff DH
Hideki Matsui DH
Luke Scott LF
Shelley Duncan 1B
Kevin Millar 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Ramon Hernandez C
Chad Moeller C
Adam Jones CF
Melky Cabrera CF
Freddie Bynum SS

Darrell Rasner (3-0, 1.89 ERA) vs. Garrett Olson (3-1, 5.19 ERA)

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

Yankees vs. Olson
  • Damon: 1-2, 2 RBI
  • Jeter: 0-2, 1 RBI
  • Abreu: 1-2
  • Rodriguez: 1-2, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Matsui: 0-1
  • Duncan: 1-2
  • Cano: 2-2, 1 RBI
  • Moeller: 1-2, 1 RBI
  • Cabrera: 1-1
Orioles vs. Rasner
  • Roberts: 1-7
  • Mora: 0-5
  • Markakis: 7-8
  • Huff: 0-5
  • Scott: 0-3
  • Millar: 3-6, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Hernandez: 1-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Jones: 0-3
  • Bynum: 1-2, 1 2B
Pregame concerns: The two pitchers faced each other on May 21 when the Yankees won 8-0. Olson gave up eight hits and six runs in 2 2/3 innings, while Rasner pitched seven scoreless innings. ... Jason Giambi is getting the day off against the lefty Olson. Giambi didn't face him on the 21st.

Betemit back

My favorite player, Wilson Betemit, has been activated. He had been on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. In three rehab games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, he had three hits in 10 at-bats, with one home run and three RBI.

Alberto Gonzalez has been optioned back to Scranton, meaning that Morgan Ensberg is safe for the time being.

Happy Memorial Day

I'd like to take this time to thank all of the men and women of the Armed Forces for all the sacrifices they have made to protect this great country.

Be back soon with the game preview.

The series ahead

The New York Yankees (25-25) begin a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles (24-25) at Oriole Park at Camden Yards this afternoon. The pitching matchups are:

Today - 1:35 p.m., YES
Darrell Rasner
- RHP (3-0, 1.89 ERA) vs. Garrett Olson - LHP (3-1, 5.19 ERA)

Tomorrow - 7:05 p.m., YES
Ian Kennedy
- RHP (0-3, 7.27 ERA) vs. Brian Burres - LHP (4-4, 3.16 ERA)

Wednesday - 7:05 p.m., YES
Andy Pettitte
- LHP (4-5, 4.27 ERA) vs. Jeremy Guthrie - RHP (2-5, 3.62 ERA)

Sunday, May 25, 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

Tampa Bay Rays30-20
--
Boston Red Sox
31-22 0.5
Toronto Blue Jays
27-25
4.0
New York Yankees
25-25
5.0
Baltimore Orioles
24-25
5.5

Wild Card
Boston Red Sox
31-22
--
Oakland Athletics
28-23
2.0
Toronto Blue Jays
27-25
3.5
Texas Rangers
26-26
4.5
Minnesota Twins
25-25
4.5
New York Yankees
25-25
4.5
Baltimore Orioles
24-25
5.0
Cleveland Indians
23-27
6.5
Detroit Tigers
21-29
8.5
Kansas City Royals
21-29
8.5
Seattle Mariners
18-33
12.0

Since the last look at the standings, the Yankees went 5-1. They gained one game in the AL East standings and gained a half-game in the Wild Card standings.

Thank you, Seattle

The Yankees are 6-0 against the Seattle Mariners this season. This means that the Yankees are 19-25 against the rest of their opponents.

They next play Seattle Sept. 5-7 at SAFECO Field. Hopefully the Yankees will have a better record among their non-Seattle opponents by then.

Rally time

The Yankees finally had a late-inning comeback this afternoon. They picked a great time to do it, as they were able to sweep Seattle and extend their winning streak to five games.

Trailing 5-2, here's how the bottom of the eighth inning went:

With Sean Green in the game, Derek Jeter walked. Lefty Arthur Rhodes then came in to face Bobby Abreu, who doubled to cap off an extended at-bat to drive in Jeter. Before today's game, Rhodes had given up 31 runs in 46 2-3 innings at Yankee Stadium in his career.

Rhodes was taken out right after for closer J.J. Putz. Alex Rodriguez walked and Jason Giambi struck out. Hideki Matsui, pinch hitting for Shelley Duncan, bounced a pitch back to Putz who had to field it on his stomach. He threw the ball away, which allowed Abreu to score and advance Rodriguez to third with one out. Robinson Cano hit a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at 5 and advance Matsui to second. With two out, Jose Molina doubled to right-center to give the Yankees a 6-5 lead.

Mariano Rivera retired the Mariners in order in the ninth for his 12th save of the season.

Chien-Ming Wang struggled (6.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HRA), but the Yankees were able to overcome his start in the later innings for the first time this season. They had been 1-23 when trailing after seven innings, but they hadn't come back from a three-run deficit.

Edwar Ramirez recorded his first victory of the season, as he pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings, striking out two and surrendering two hits.

The Yankees are now back to .500 at 25-25 and will travel to Baltimore for a three-game series that starts tomorrow afternoon.

Game 50 Preview: Mariners at Yankees

Seattle Mariners (18-32) New York Yankees (24-25)
Ichiro Suzuki CF
Johnny Damon LF
Jose Lopez 2B
Derek Jeter SS
Jose Vidro DH
Bobby Abreu RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jason Giambi DH
Kenji Johjima C
Shelley Duncan 1B
Richie Sexson 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Wladimir Balentien RF
Jose Molina C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Melky Cabrera CF

Jarrod Washburn (2-6, 6.99 ERA) vs. Chien-Ming Wang (6-2, 3.51 ERA)

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

Mariners vs. Wang
  • Suzuki: 5-23, 1 3B
  • Lopez: 2-10, 1 RBI
  • Vidro: 1-7
  • Ibanez: 4-20, 2 2B, 4 RBI
  • Beltre: 3-18, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Johjima: 2-10, 1 RBI
  • Sexson: 4-15, 1 2B
  • Balentien: 0-2
  • Betancourt: 3-12, 1 RBI
Yankees vs. Washburn
  • Damon: 8-34, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Jeter: 11-34, 3 2B, 3 RBI
  • Abreu: 1-13, 1 RBI
  • Rodriguez: 14-45, 6 HR, 10 RBI
  • Giambi: 7-38, 1 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI
  • Duncan: 0-2
  • Cano: 2-13, 1 2B
  • Molina: 3-7, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Cabrera: 0-12
Pregame concerns: Wang was scheduled to start yesterday's game but was eventually pushed back a day to give his injured calf more time to heal. He defeated the Mariners on May 2, pitching six innings and allowing one earned run. ... Washburn is 1-4 with a 2.78 ERA in five career starts at Yankee Stadium. ... Despite swinging the bat well, Hideki Matsui is getting the afternoon off. Against Washburn, he is 2-14 with one double, one home run and two RBI.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mad Dog going nuts

Remember this game? Turn the clock back to April 19, 2007, when Alex Rodriguez hit his second walk-off home run of the month to propel the Yankees to an 8-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Browsing around Wikipedia just now, I found this gem of a clip from the "Mike and the Mad Dog" radio program.

Apparently Chris "Mad Dog" Russo felt that update man Bob Heussler jinxed the Indians, allowing the Yankees to come back.

This clip has everything, from Russo screaming to a bonus John Sterling home run call. This is probably the best thing I've ever heard.

Offense delivers again

25 runs in two games, huh? Last week, I would've signed up for about seven runs in two games.

The Yankees have now won a season-high four games in a row and now sit at a record of 24-25. They will look to sweet the Mariners for the second time this season tomorrow afternoon.

Hot Yankees:

Hideki Matsui: Matsui has seven hits in his last 12 at-bats, scoring eight runs.

Jason Giambi: Giambi is 8-14 with one home run, two doubles, three RBI and five runs scored. In today's game, he had two hits to left field.

Robinson Cano: Cano is 9-17 with five doubles (three in today's game) and six RBI. In today'g game, he had three hits to left field.

Bobby Abreu had a four-RBI game, including a two-run home run in the sixth inning.

On the other hand, Derek Jeter is hitless in his last 15 at-bats.

Mike Mussina wasn't great this afternoon, as he blew a four-run lead in the third inning. However, the offense continued to support him, and he won his seventh game of the season. Mussina gave up four earned runs and surrendered seven hits and two home runs in five innings. He also struck out four and walked one.

Today was also "Phase Two" of Joba Chamberlain's transition to the rotation, as Michael Kay reminded us time and time again. He threw 40 pitches - only five more than he did on Wednesday - in two innings, striking out two and walking one. He first inning was smooth, but he threw more pitches in his second inning and was unable to come out for a third.

Despite pitching well in the tie game on Thursday, Kyle Farnsworth gave up four hits and two earned runs in his one inning of work. The two runs came on a Richie Sexson home run.

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Game 49 Preview: Mariners at Yankees

Seattle Mariners (18-31)
New York Yankees (23-25)
Ichiro Suzuki CF
Johnny Damon LF
Jose Lopez 2B
Derek Jeter SS
Jose Vidro DH
Bobby Abreu RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Adrian Beltre 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jeremy Reed RF
Jason Giambi 1B
Richie Sexson 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Kenji Johjima C
Jose Molina C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Melky Cabrera CF

Carlos Silva (3-3, 4.91 ERA) vs. Mike Mussina (6-4, 4.11 ERA)

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

Mariners vs. Mussina
  • Suzuki: 14-35, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Lopez: 1-2, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Vidro: 3-9, 2 2B, 2 RBI
  • Ibanez: 11-26, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI
  • Beltre: 0-7
  • Reed: 1-4
  • Sexson: 2-15, 2 RBI
  • Johjima: 2-4
  • Betancourt: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Yankees vs. Silva
  • Damon: 5-16, 1 RBI
  • Jeter: 7-11, 1 2B, 2 RBI
  • Abreu: 8-10, 4 RBI
  • Rodriguez: 5-12, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Matsui: 2-11, 2 2B, 1 RBI
  • Giambi: 2-7, 2 RBI
  • Cano: 3-9, 3 HR, 4 RBI
  • Molina: 3-3
  • Cabrera: 3-7, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Pregame concerns: Silva lost to the Yankees on May 4. In three innings, he gave up eight earned runs and 11 hits. Cabrera and Cano hit back-to-back home runs in the six-run third inning in that game. In three career starts at Yankee Stadium, Silva is 0-3 with a 12.41 ERA. ... Mussina defeated the Mariners on May 3, pitching six innings and allowing only one earned run. He is 5-1 in his last six starts. ... Joba Chamberlain should pitch two or three innings this afternoon.

It's spelled "Shelley"

Shelley Duncan is a first baseman/outfielder for the New York Yankees. Sean Brennan of the Daily News will have you believe that someone else wears No. 17 for the Bronx "Bombenrs."

Friday, May 23, 2008

It's déjà vu all over again

Last night, Robinson Cano drove in Hideki Matsui with a single to left field to score the winning run in the ninth inning.

Tonight, with the Yankees already up 7-0, Cano hit a single almost to the exact spot to score Matsui.

Cano also hit a bloop double to left field earlier in tonight's game to give him a 2-4 evening. In total, his last three hits have gone to left field.

It's great to see him going to the opposite field, and maybe it's a sign that he's finally coming out of his early-season slump.

Since May 3, Cano is 20-60 (.333) with two home runs and 10 RBI.

A hot Cano deepens the lineup, as he adds power and (usually) average to the lower third of the order.

Last season, Cano was hitting .274 at the All-Star break. He hit .343 afterward. While his average wasn't nearly as low as it is now (.214), it does show that Cano is a slow starter. Hopefully his turnaround has started.

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Game 48: Yankees win 13-2

Start spreading the news: the Yankees have won three games in a row. The Yankees, behind an offensive explosion, defeated the Seattle Mariners 13-2 Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees fell behind by one run early, but after five innings, they were up to 13 runs.

Shelley Duncan started the Yankees' offense off with a three-run home run in the second inning to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Hideki Matsui singled and Jason Giambi walked to set up the threat. They would score two more in the fourth on a Robinson Cano opposite-field two-run bloop double.

However, the game was broken open in the fifth when the Yankees scored eight runs. Matsui, Chad Moeller and Bobby Abreu each had two RBI in the inning, while Cano and Alex Rodriguez drove in the other two runs.

Mariners starter Erik Bedard was unable to survive the inning, leaving after pitching only 4 1-3 innings. He gave up nine earned runs and eight hits, while striking out three and walking one. Sean Green relieved him, but did not provide much relief. He gave up four earned runs while only retiring one batter.

Andy Pettitte recorded his first home win of the season and broke his personal four-game losing streak. He gave up eight hits and two earned runs over six innings. He also struck out a season-high nine batters and didn't walk any.

The hitting stars: Abreu, Jason Giambi and Cano had two hits apiece, and Matsui had three hits. Matsui and Giambi each scored three runs. Duncan and Cano both drove in three runs. Abreu, Matsui and Moeller each chipped in with two RBI. Each Yankee scored at least one run and every starter recorded at least one hit except for Derek Jeter. The eight-run inning was their highest-scoring inning of the season. Six of the runs scored in the inning were with two outs.

LaTroy Hawkins and Edwar Ramirez combined to pitch the final three innings. Hawkins struck out a batter and gave up one hit in his two innings of work. Ramirez walked two and struck out two in his inning.

The Yankees and Mariners return to action tomorrow afternoon. The Yankees will be bringing back Mike Mussina on short rest to start. Carlos Silva will replace injured Felix Hernandez.

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Game 48 Preview: Mariners at Yankees

Seattle Mariners (18-30)
New York Yankees (22-25)
Ichiro Suzuki CF
Derek Jeter SS
Jose Lopez 2B
Bobby Abreu RF
Jose Vidro DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Raul Ibanez LF
Hideki Matsui LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jason Giambi DH
Richie Sexson 1B
Shelley Duncan 1B
Wladimir Balentien RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Jamie Burke C
Chad Moeller C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Melky Cabrera CF

Erik Bedard (3-2, 3.24 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (3-5, 4.42 ERA)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MY9, MLB.TV
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Mariners vs. Pettitte
  • Suzuki: 10-23, 1 2B, 5 RBI
  • Lopez: 0-2, 1 RBI
  • Vidro: 5-19, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Ibanez: 5-12, 1 2B, 2 RBI
  • Beltre: 0-2
  • Sexson: 4-12, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Balentien: No experience
  • Burke: 0-3
  • Betancourt: 1-3
Yankees vs. Bedard
  • Jeter: 6-30, 1 3B, 2 RBI
  • Abreu: 4-20, 1 RBI
  • Rodriguez: 10-24, 2 HR, 6 RBI
  • Matsui: 6-19, 2 RBI
  • Giambi: 3-15, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Duncan: 1-5
  • Cano: 3-14, 1 2B
  • Moeller: No experience
  • Cabrera: 2-14, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Pregame concerns: Bedard lost to the Yankees on May 2. He gave up one three runs (one earned) in seven innings. The three runs were scored in the first two innings. He is 1-2 with a 3.05 ERA in seven career games (six starts) at Yankee Stadium. ... The Yankees are winless in Pettitte's last five starts. He is 0-4 with a 6.26 ERA during that time. He has given up 35 hits and 20 runs (five home runs) in 27 1-3 innings.

King Felix scratched

Felix Hernandez, tomorrow afternoon's scheduled starter, has been scratched with a leg injury, according to Peter Abraham.

Carlos Silva, Sunday's starter, will start tomorrow and Jarrod Washburn will start on Sunday.

Washburn had a terrible start on Wednesday against Detroit, allowing nine earned runs and 12 hits in 2 1-3 innings. Against the Yankees, however, he is 5-5 with a 2.52 ERA in 11 career starts. He is 1-4 with a 2.78 ERA in five career starts at Yankee Stadium.

This also give the Yankees another lefty to face.

Girardi suspended

Manager Joe Girardi has been suspended one game as a result of last night's tirade, according to WFAN.

Girardi kicked dirt on umpire Chris Guccione, and apparently that was enough to warrant a suspension.

If memory serves me correctly, managers cannot appeal their suspensions, so Girardi will serve it tonight.

This is pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Bob Watson really seems to have it out for the Yankees.

The series ahead

The New York Yankees (22-25) begin a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners (18-30) at Yankee Stadium tonight. The pitching matchups are:

Tonight - 7:05 p.m., MY9
Erik Bedard
- LHP (3-2, 3.24 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte - LHP (3-5, 4.42 ERA)

Tomorrow - 1:05 p.m., YES
Felix Hernandez
- RHP (2-4, 3.34 ERA) vs. Mike Mussina - RHP (6-4, 4.11 ERA)

Sunday - 1:05 p.m., YES/TBS
Carlos Silva
- RHP (3-3, 4.91 ERA) vs. Chien-Ming Wang - RHP (6-2, 3.51 ERA)

Rotation shuffle

Due to Chien-Ming Wang's calf injury, Mike Mussina will pitch on short rest on Saturday. Wang will start on Sunday to get an extra day of rest.

Wang threw a bullpen session before Thursday's game and reported no adverse affects.

Mussina threw 42 pitches in his abbreviated start on Tuesday. He gave up seven runs (one earned) in 2-3 innings in the Yankees' 12-2 loss.

Improvement

Ian Kennedy showed signs of improvement Thursday night against the Orioles. He struggled with control at times, but was able to get out of jams while limiting the damage.

In total:

6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K

With the effort, he lowered his ERA by more than a run, as it now sits at 7.27.

His pitch count was high (97 pitches for 57 strikes), but many of those were thrown in the third inning even though he only allowed one run. After Alex Rodriguez spoke to Kennedy in the middle of the Orioles' rally, he seemed to settle himself down.

This was a very encouraging start and it gives Kennedy something positive to build on. If he can continue to pitch like he did tonight, the Yankees will be in much better shape.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Just what we needed

If the Yankees go on to make the playoffs, remember to look back at this series against the Baltimore Orioles as the point in which the season turned for the better.

Last night, the offense showed up, scoring eight runs while shutting out the Orioles.

Tonight, Ian Kennedy finally pitched well and the Yankees were able to survive the later innings without Joba Chamberlain as the bridge to Mariano Rivera. The bullpen obviously won't always pitch as well as it did tonight, but this was a positive.

Joe Girardi finally exploded in a Billy Martin/Lou Piniella-esque fit of emotion. The beginning to the season has been frustrating to the players and management alike, so you cannot fault Girardi for wanting to blow off some steam. Girardi also pointed to right-center field, possibly referring to the blow call last night.

Robinson Cano delivered with the clutch, two-out walk-off single in the ninth inning to propel the Yankees to their first series win since sweeping Seattle at the beginning of the month.

Last year Piniella fired up his Cubs when he had one of his fits. Maybe that is what went through Girardi's head tonight. He fired up both his team and the fans.

A win like this was desperately needed. The Mariners limp back to Yankee Stadium after getting swept at the hands of the Detroit Tigers. The three-game series will begin tomorrow night.

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Game 47 Preview: Orioles at Yankees

New York Yankees (21-25)

Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Hideki Matsui DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Shelley Duncan RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Jose Molina C
Melky Cabrera CF

Brian Burres (4-4, 3.47 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy (0-3, 8.48 ERA)

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

Yankees vs. Burres

  • Damon: 1-7, 1 RBI
  • Jeter: 3-12, 2 3B
  • Matsui: 3-8, 2 HR, 2 RBI
  • Rodriguez: 3-11, 1 RBI
  • Giambi: 0-2
  • Duncan: 0-3
  • Cano: 2-8
  • Molina: 2-7
  • Cabrera: 4-11
I'll be headed to the Stadium shortly, so that explains the lack of an Orioles lineup. Bobby Abreu (0-10) is sitting against the lefty Burres.

Hawkins to be suspended three games

According to the Daily News' Mark Feinsand, LaTroy Hawkins will be suspended three games and fined $2,000 for throwing at Orioles' outfielder Luke Scott twice.

Derek Jeter was hit on the hand earlier in the game, and Scott felt this was retaliation. The benches cleared, but no punches were thrown.

This was the same penalty Kyle Farnsworth originally got for throwing at Manny Ramirez. Farnsworth was not ejected and eventually talked down his suspension to one game. Hawkins was ejected.

Hawkins will appeal the suspension.

Joba's transition has begun

Why would Joba Chamberlain throw two innings and 35 pitches in an 8-0 game? Because tonight was the first night of his transition into the starting rotation.

This move obviously makes sense. While watching Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy struggle, many Yankee fans noticed that their best pitcher was just sitting in the bullpen twittering his thumbs.

Chamberlain is on a 150 innings-limit this season, and he probably would not reach that total if he spent the entire season as the eight inning guy. As a result, his innings would be limited next year, setting him back a year in his development.

He will also not have to go to the minors during this process as previously thought.

The question now is who will take his place in the eighth inning? Kyle Farnsworth has shown signs of reliability, but he has also shown signs of...well...Kyle Farnsworth. Either the Yankees will promote in-house (J.B. Cox and Mark Melancon) or they will make a trade.

It's a risk to take Chamberlain out of the eighth inning, but it's definitely one worth taking. Six or seven innings is much more valuable than one inning is in the long run.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wang has mild calf strain

I don't want to alarm the good folks from Taiwan, but Chien-Ming Wang has come down with a mild calf strain stemming from covering first base Sunday night against the Mets.

Wang will throw a bullpen tomorrow night to see if he can make his scheduled start on Saturday against Seattle.

"I'll be fine," said Wang. "It's gotten better. I'm happy. I'm good."

Said Cashman: "If the doctors feel this is not an issue, then you move forward. If it is an issue, then you don't. Our doctors have told me if he gets through the bullpen, this is not an issue. But let's get through the bullpen (tomorrow)."
It's good that they aren't too concerned with this. Losing Wang for a couple of weeks would have been devastating.

Game 46 Preview: Orioles at Yankees

Baltimore Orioles (24-20)
New York Yankees (20-25)
Brian Roberts 2B
Johnny Damon LF
Melvin Mora 3B
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Markakis RF
Bobby Abreu RF
Aubrey Huff DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Kevin Millar 1B
Hideki Matsui DH
Luke Scott LF
Shelley Duncan 1B
Ramon Hernandez C
Robinson Cano 2B
Adam Jones CF
Chad Moeller C
Freddie Bynum SS
Melky Cabrera CF

Garrett Olson (3-0, 3.47 ERA) vs. Darrell Rasner (2-0, 3.00 ERA)

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

Orioles vs. Rasner
  • Roberts: 1-5
  • Mora: 0-4
  • Markakis: 5-5, 1 2B
  • Huff: 0-2
  • Millar: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Scott: No experience
  • Hernandez: 1-2, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Jones: No experience
  • Bynum: No experience
Yankees vs. Olson
  • No hitters have experience against Olson

OK, it's time to panic

You know things aren't good when Mr. Sunshine himself, John Sterling, feels that his Yankees are not a good time.

From Neil Best's Watchdog blog:

"The Yanks make a lot of mistakes; bad teams do,'' he said during the top of the first Tuesday, referring specifically to the 0-2 pitch from Mike Mussina that the Orioles turned into a three-run double.

"Bad teams really lose all kinds of games. They lose 'em close, they lose 'em big, they lose high-scoring games, low-scoring games. They lose for different reasons."
Not good, Yankees fans.

Rock bottom

Tuesday night's game has to be rock bottom. It just has to be. As bad as this team has looked recently - and they've been awful - there is no conceivable way they can play as worse as they played in the series opener against the Baltimore Orioles.

It was supposed to be a night of new beginnings. While the weather was awful, Yankees fans saw a ray of hope in Alex Rodriguez. He hit a home run in his return...while the score was 10-0.

The most frustrating part of the night is that if Derek Jeter threw the ball four inches lower, the seven-run first inning would have only been a one-run first inning. But it happened, and Mike Mussina should have buckled down and not let it get to him. He's been on a great run recently, and it's a shame that stretch had to end in this fashion.

All told, the 20-25 Yankees have lost four in a row, six of their last seven and nine of their last 12. The duplication of their low point last season - 21-29 - is looking like a grim reality.

I'm not the most optimistic of fans but there is no way they will play this badly consistently. They could very well miss the playoffs, but the hitting and pitching will come eventually. And if they do miss the playoffs it won't be by much. While the Yankees are faltering, no team in the American League, especially the early wild-card contenders, has run away with anything.

The best part about a "rock bottom" scenario is that there is no where to go but up.

Going back to the game, Derek Jeter was hit on the hand and was removed from the game. X-rays came out negative and he is listed as day-to-day. Given the way the season has transpired thus far, it's shocking that there was no fracture. If Jeter had to miss an extended period of time, this season obviously wasn't meant to be.

Darrell Rasner will take the hill tonight to attempt to put an end to this nonsense. His turn in the rotation was skipped when Friday night's game against the Mets was rained out. Instead, Andy Pettitte started on his normal day on Saturday and blew up in the fourth inning. Rasner has given up four earned runs in his 12 innings this season.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The season starts tonight!

Yup. The season sure starts tonight.

Derek Jeter's costly error eventually lets in (at least) five unnecessary runs.

While Mike Mussina has done a bad job by letting the error affect him, it should still only be 1-0.

It's great that Alex Rodriguez is back. It's too bad Jeter and Mussina are spoiling his return.

Game 45 Preview: Orioles at Yankees

Baltimore Orioles (23-20)
New York Yankees (20-24)
Brian Roberts 2B
Johnny Damon LF
Melvin Mora 3B
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Markakis RF
Bobby Abreu RF
Aubrey Huff DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Kevin Millar 1B
Hideki Matsui DH
Luke Scott LF
Jason Giambi 1B
Ramon Hernandez C
Robinson Cano 2B
Adam Jones CF
Melky Cabrera CF
Freddie Bynum SS
Jose Molina C

Daniel Cabrera (4-1, 3.58 ERA) vs. Mike Mussina (6-3, 3.99 ERA)

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

Orioles vs. Mussina
  • Roberts: 18-39, 6 2B, 2 RBI
  • Mora: 14-42, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI
  • Markakis: 4-12, 2 2B, 2 RBI
  • Huff: 14-49, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI
  • Millar: 16-38, 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI
  • Scott: No experience
  • Hernandez: 5-19, 2 2B, 4 RBI
  • Jones: No experience
  • Bynum: 0-2, 2 K
Yankees vs. Cabrera
  • Damon: 4-24, 5 RBI
  • Jeter: 7-31, 2 RBI
  • Abreu: 6-20, 1 2B, 2 RBI
  • Rodriguez: 10-29, 2 2B, 2 HR 6 RBI
  • Matsui: 12-31, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI
  • Giambi: 2-10, 12 BB
  • Cano: 6-25, 4 2B, 1 RBI
  • Cabrera: 3-15, 3 2B, 4 RBI
  • Molina: 0-4
Pregame concerns: Yes, Rodriguez is in the starting lineup. This is his first game since April 28 against Cleveland. ... Cabrera beat the Yankees on April 18. He gave up two earned runs and six hits in six innings. He is 2-3 with a 3.79 ERA in six career starts at Yankee Stadium.

Wet Bronx (again)

The forecast is calling for another rainy night at the Stadium. I was in Queens and the Bronx earlier today, and the weather was not pretty.

It appears the rain will let up a bit as the night progresses, but it also looks like the game could be delayed if this forecast holds true.

The series ahead

The New York Yankees (20-24) begin a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles (23-20) at Yankee Stadium tonight. The pitching matchups are:

Tonight - 7:05 p.m., YES
Daniel Cabrera
- RHP (4-1, 3.58 ERA) vs. Mike Mussina - RHP (6-3, 3.99 ERA)

Tomorrow - 7:05 p.m., YES
Garrett Olson
- LHP (3-0, 3.47 ERA) vs. Darrell Rasner - RHP (2-0, 3.00 ERA)

Thursday - 7:05 p.m., YES
Brian Burres
- LHP (4-4, 3.47 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy - RHP (0-3, 8.48 ERA)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lester throws a no-hitter

Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox has just no-hit the Kansas City Royals.

This is a great story. The man was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and he came all the way back.

By the way, to those listening on ESPN's bonus coverage: How bad was Don Orsillo's call of the no-hitter? It sounded like he was just screaming into the microphone. There's a difference between getting excited and sounding like a buffoon.

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Through 44 games

Through 44 games last season, the Yankees were in second place with a record of 20-24. However, they were 10.5 games behind the future world champion Boston Red Sox.

This season, the Yankees sit at the same record they did a year ago. While they are only six games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox, they are also in last place.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

The Yankees cannot rely on beating up the lesser teams in their division like they have the last decade. Every team in the division, especially the Tampa Bay Rays, seems to have improved.

The schedule does appear to lighten in the coming weeks, but as we've seen so far, nothing has been easy for the 2008 Yankees. They continue this homestand with three games against Baltimore (23-20) and three more against Seattle (18-27). For some reason, the Mariners return to New York after having been there three weeks earlier.

They then travel to Baltimore for three games and Minnesota (21-22) for four games. The Yankees then return home to face the great pitching of Toronto (23-23) for three games and Kansas City (21-22) for four games.

With Alex Rodriguez set to return tomorrow, the lineup will get a much-needed boost. Jorge Posada will also begin his rehab games in the near future. However, the starting pitching cannot put the lineup in an early hole. They have shown no comeback ability thus far. It seems that once they fall behind, they start swinging for the fences early in the count.

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 27-19 --
Tampa Bay Rays 25-19 1.0
Baltimore Orioles 23-20 2.5
Toronto Blue Jays 23-23 4.0
New York Yankees
20-24
6.0

Wild Card
Tampa Bay Rays 25-19 --
Baltimore Orioles 23-20 1.5
Oakland Athletics 24-21 1.5
Toronto Blue Jays 23-23 3.0
Cleveland Indians 22-22 3.0
Texas Rangers 22-23 3.5
Kansas City Royals 21-22 3.5
Minnesota Twins 21-22 3.5
New York Yankees
20-24
5.0
Seattle Mariners 18-27 7.5
Detroit Tigers 17-27 8.0

Since the last look at the standings, the Yankees went 1-5. They lost two games in the AL East standings and lost 2.5 games in the Wild Card standings.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

No words

Good thing Alex Rodriguez should be back on Tuesday.

However, it's tough to blame all of the offensive struggles on the fact that he and Jorge Posada are hurt. Scoring 12 runs in six games is absolutely inexcusable.

If the Yankees aren't at rock bottom yet, they are extremely close.

Game 44 Preview: Mets at Yankees

New York Mets (21-19)
New York Yankees (20-23)
Jose Reyes SS Johnny Damon LF
Marlon Anderson LF Bobby Abreu RF
David Wright 3B Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran CF Hideki Matsui DH
Ryan Church RF Jason Giambi 1B
Moises Alou DH Robinson Cano 2B
Carlos Delgado 1B Melky Cabrera CF
Brian Schneider C Alberto Gonzalez 3B
Luis Castillo 2B Jose Molina C

Oliver Perez (3-3, 4.61 ERA) vs. Chien-Ming Wang (6-1, 2.90 ERA)

Time: 8:05 p.m.
TV: ESPN
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Mets vs. Wang
  • Reyes: 1-4
  • Anderson: 1-1
  • Wright: 0-4
  • Beltran: 1-4, 1 RBI
  • Church: No experience
  • Alou: No experience
  • Delgado: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Schneider: 0-1
  • Castillo: 1-3
Yankees vs. Perez
  • Damon: 1-4
  • Abreu: 0-6, 4 BB
  • Jeter: 4-12, 2 2B
  • Matsui: 2-7, 2 HR, 4 RBI
  • Giambi: 1-1, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Cano: 4-8, 1 RBI
  • Cabrera: 0-7
  • Gonzalez: No experience
  • Molina: 1-3

A-Rod still set to return Tuesday

Alex Rodriguez played in another simulated game in Tampa this afternoon, according to the AP.

Facing Yankees' minor leaguers, Rodriguez hit a grand slam - his second home run during the rehab process - and had four other hits as well as five walks.

He also fielded 54 grounders at third base and ran in the outfield.

“It’s the best I’ve felt since the injury,” Rodriguez said.

He will play in one more game on Monday before returning to New York.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What happened to taking pitches?

Andy Pettitte throws 40 pitches in the fourth inning to surrender the Yankees 2-0 lead.

Johan Santana, sitting for a half hour, goes out there right after and throws only six pitches. SIX!

This has been a common trend this season. Once the Yankees fall behind, they start swinging early in the count looking for the long ball. There's a reason why they're only scoring two runs per game.

Here are the pitch counts for Santana's last three starts:

  • 114 pitches in 5 2-3 innings on April 29.
  • 116 pitches in six innings on May 4.
  • 116 pitches in six innings on May 10.
Through four innings today, Santana is at 55 pitches.

Wave 'em home Bobby

Johnny Damon does not need to be waved home with no outs. It would have been second and third with no outs, leading 2-0.

While the umpire seemed to blow the call, Damon should never have been sent in the first place. The team is struggling to score runs, so every out is precious. Ignoring the fallacy of the predetermined outcome (thanks, Michael Kay), Derek Jeter's lineout probably would have scored Damon anyway. Ryan Church had to slide to make the catch.

Of course, Bobby Abreu is stranded at second base. A two-out hit with a runner in scoring position is way too much to ask for.

A-Rod goes 1-4 in rehab game

Alex Rodriguez played in an extended spring training game in Florida this morning. He faced left-hander David Price, the first-overall selection by Tampa Bay in last year's draft.

Lisa Kennelly tells us how he did:

First AB: strikeout swinging
Second AB: first-pitch home run to right center
Third AB: flyout to right
Fourth AB: walk on five pitches
Fifth AB: strikeout looking on a curveball down and in

He also fielded three grounders at third base, two to his left.
All that really matters is if he made it through the game with no setbacks. We should have an update on how he feels after this afternoon's game in New York.

Game 43 Preview: Mets at Yankees

New York Mets (20-19)
New York Yankees (20-22)
Jose Reyes SS Johnny Damon LF
Ryan Church RF Bobby Abreu RF
David Wright 3B Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran CF Hideki Matsui DH
Moises Alou LF Jason Giambi 1B
Carlos Delgado 1B Robinson Cano 2B
Damion Easley DH Melky Cabrera CF
Brian Schneider C Alberto Gonzalez 2B
Luis Castillo 2B Chad Moeller 3B

Johan Santana (4-2, 3.10 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (3-4, 4.40 ERA)

Time: 1:05 p.m.
TV: YES, SNY
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, WFAN-AM 660, XM Radio Channel 176

Mets vs. Pettitte
  • Reyes: 4-16
  • Church: No experience
  • Wright: 5-13, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Beltran: 12-34, 3 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Alou: 1-4, 1 HR, 4 RBI
  • Delgado: 21-60, 3 2B, 5 HR, 17 RBI
  • Easley: 16-56, 4 2B, 1 3B, 8 RBI
  • Schneider: No experience
  • Castillo: 1-9
Yankees vs. Santana
  • Damon: 5-23, 3 2B, 4 RBI
  • Abreu: 0-1, 2 BB
  • Jeter: 5-17, 3 2B, 1 RBI
  • Matsui: 6-15, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Giambi: 3-12, 1 2B, 2 RBI
  • Cano: 4-9
  • Cabrera: 1-3
  • Gonzalez: No experience
  • Moeller: 0-6
Pregame concerns: Santana is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in four career games (three starts) at Yankee Stadium. ... Pettitte is 7-3 with a 3.42 ERA in 16 career starts against the Mets. ... Pettitte has struggled recently. In his last four starts, he is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA. The team has also lost each of those four starts. He has given up 28 hits and 16 earned runs in 21 1-3 innings.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Makeup to be played in June

The Yankees announced that the makeup for tonight's rainout will be held in June as part of a likely two-stadium day-night doubleheader and not tomorrow or Sunday.

This would be the third time such a doubleheader will occur.

As a result, the Yankees will skip Darrell Rasner's scheduled turn in the rotation. Andy Pettitte will start tomorrow afternoon's game, weather permitting, of course.

Postponed

Peter Abraham, the man at the Stadium, is reporting that the game has been postponed with no announced makeup date.

I can't believe they sent everyone to the Stadium only to call the game less than 10 minutes after the scheduled first pitch.

We have a delay

The tarp is still on the field and the rain is still coming down.

The Yankees want to try to get this game in tonight, so I'll give an update should the game start.

If anything, the Yankees got some extra money from concessions and parking.

Wet Bronx

The weather in the Bronx does not look good for tonight's Subway Series opener. Looking at this, I'd be shocked if they played.

It is expected that there will be a day-night doubleheader tomorrow if tonight's game is rained out.

Idea stolen (allegedly) from The 'Ropolitans.

Game 43 Preview: Mets at Yankees

New York Mets (20-19)
New York Yankees (20-22)
Jose Reyes SS Johnny Damon LF
Marlon Anderson DH Bobby Abreu RF
David Wright 3B Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran CF Hideki Matsui DH
Ryan Church RF Jason Giambi 1B
Moises Alou LF Robinson Cano 2B
Carlos Delgado 1B Melky Cabrera CF
Brian Schneider C Alberto Gonzalez 3B
Luis Castillo 2B Chad Moeller 3B

Johan Santana (4-2, 3.10 ERA) vs. Darrell Rasner (2-0, 3.00 ERA)

Time: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MY9, SNY, MLB.TV
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Mets vs. Rasner
  • Reyes: 1-1
  • Anderson: No experience
  • Wright: No experience
  • Beltran: No experience
  • Church: No experience
  • Alou: No experience
  • Delgado: 0-1, 1 BB
  • Schneider: No experience
  • Castillo: 1-1, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • For some reason, Billy Wagner is 0-1 against Rasner with a strikeout.
Yankees vs. Santana
  • Damon: 5-23, 3 2B, 4 RBI
  • Abreu: 0-1, 2 BB
  • Jeter: 5-17, 3 2B, 1 RBI
  • Matsui: 6-15, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Giambi: 3-12, 1 2B, 2 RBI
  • Cano: 4-9
  • Cabrera: 1-3
  • Gonzalez: No experience
  • Moeller: 0-6
The forecast isn't looking good. As of press time, the game is still on.

Rodriguez set to return Tuesday

According to the AP, Alex Rodriguez said his right quad felt fine this morning after running the bases yesterday afternoon.

He will play in three extended spring training games starting tomorrow before returning to the team on Tuesday. The Yankees will be at home against Baltimore.

To say the Yankees are desperately missing Rodriguez would be an understatement. They're coming off a four-game series where they only scored six total runs.

Some news

Joe Girardi has been named to Terry Francona's coaching staff for the All-Star game to be held at Yankee Stadium. He will be joined by Detroit Tigers' manager Jim Leyland as well as the rest of the Red Sox's coaching staff.

Meanwhile, Jason Giambi passes around a thong to those who are in slumps. I hope he has nine of those, because the whole team should be wearing one.

This was in the paper and the blogs yesterday, but a student at NYU's graduation at Yankee Stadium tried to steal home. He was stopped by security guards, unfortunately..