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

Monday, June 30, 2008

Game 83 Preview: Rangers at Yankees

New York Yankees (44-38)

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Jorge Posada DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera CF
Jose Molina C

Scott Feldman (1-3, 4.60 ERA) vs. Mike Mussina (10-5, 3.93 ERA)

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

Yankees vs. Feldman

  • Jeter: 1-1, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Cabrera: 1-1
  • Molina: 0-1
Pregame concerns: Not sure why Johnny Damon isn't playing. It probably is related to his foot injury, however.

Justin Christan, we hardly knew ye

As expected, Justin Christian was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as a result of the arrival of Brett Gardner, according to Peter Abraham.

Christian went 3-for-15 with a double and two RBI in his cup of coffee with the big club.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Gardner is the Yankees' starting left fielder and leadoff hitter tonight against the Texas Rangers. It should be fun seeing what he can bring to the table.

Murcer update

The Yankees released a statement updating Bobby Murcer's cancer recovery:

The cancer treatment over the last 18 months has been intensive and has, as a side effect, somewhat compromised his immune system and made the fight all the more challenging. While he has shown some measured improvement in recent days, this is clearly a major battle, as all who have been through it understand.
All the best to Mr. Murcer and his family. Hopefully we'll get to hear his voice in the broadcast booth as soon as possible.

Gardner called up

According to the Times and Democrat from somewhere in South Carolina (via Greg), the Yankees have called up Brett Gardner.

Just talk to Brett Gardner. Because, Sunday afternoon, Gardner’s big-league dream came true when Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Dave Miley called him into his office and informed him that he had been called up to the team’s parent club, the New York Yankees.

“It really hasn’t set in yet,” Gardner said as his team traveled back from it’s game against Buffalo. “Absolutely, it’s a dream come true. Growing up as a little kid, you get older, and you realize how far away it is. It really hasn’t set in yet, but I think (Monday) when I get there it will definitely happen.”
It's amazing. The one day I have to fall asleep early to wake up early, this news breaks overnight.

I like this move. We haven't seen much from Justin Christian, but it's becoming clear as to why he's 28 and was in the Independent leagues.

Gardner, a center fielder by trade, is batting .287/.412/.429 with three home runs and 29 RBI for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has 61 walks and 34 stolen bases (eight caught stealings). He can step in right away and play left field, allowing Johnny Damon to DH with Hideki Matsui on the disabled list. Or, he can force Melky Cabrera to play better to keep his position, because while he has plays solid defense, .246/.312/.354 just isn't cutting it.

The corresponding move hasn't been announced yet (it's only 7:45), however I'd expect it to be Christian.

The series ahead

The New York Yankees (44-38) begin a three-game series against the Texas Rangers (42-41) at Yankee Stadium tonight. The pitching matchups:

Tonight - 7:05 p.m., YES
Scott Feldman
- RHP (1-3, 4.60 ERA) vs. Mike Mussina - RHP (10-5, 3.93 ERA)

Tomorrow - 7:05 p.m., YES
Kevin Millwood
- RHP (5-4 5.08 ERA) vs. Joba Chamberlain - RHP (2-2, 2.03 ERA)

Wednesday - 7:05 p.m., YES
Luis Mendoza
- RHP (1-2, 5.40 ERA) vs. Sidney Ponson - RHP (5-1, 3.50 ERA)

Sunday, June 29, 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 Rays
49-32
--
Boston Red Sox
50-34
0.5
New York Yankees
44-38
5.5
Baltimore Orioles
41-39
7.5
Toronto Blue Jays
40-43
10.0

Wild Card
Boston Red Sox
50-34
--
Minnesota Twins
45-37
4.0
Oakland Athletics
44-37
4.5
New York Yankees
44-38
5.0
Baltimore Orioles
41-39
7.0
Detroit Tigers
41-40
7.5
Texas Rangers
42-41
7.5
Toronto Blue Jays
40-43
9.0
Cleveland Indians
37-45
12.0
Kansas City Royals
37-45
12.0
Seattle Mariners
31-50
17.5

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

Good-bye, Interleague (for now)

The Yankees, with this afternoon's 3-1 loss to the Mets, have concluded their 2008 Interleague schedule (until July 10's makeup game in Pittsburgh).

The Yankees finished this portion of the schedule with a record of 10-7, helping them get to six games over .500 as they swept Houston and San Diego.

They also lost one of their best pitchers, Chien-Ming Wang, in a freak baserunning injury. Whether or not you want to blame Interleague play for that (I do), it certainly didn't help matters.

After playing Texas for three games, the Yankees play Boston at home for four games and then Tampa Bay for two. This could give Yankees fans an idea of how their team stacks up against the frontrunners in the East at the moment.

Kennedy activated, sent to Tampa

According to Joe Girardi, Ian Kennedy's start in Tampa yesterday was not a rehab start.

“This is him getting right,” Girardi said. “He’s not on the D.L. now. This is earning his way back, just like the other 175 players or so in the minors.”
This is only good for Kennedy, who needs a slice of humble pie at this point. After going 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA last season, he is 0-3 with a 7.41 ERA in nine games this season before going on the disabled list with a lat injury.

With the rotation the way it is, Kennedy could come back in a couple of weeks and have a spot in the rotation if he continues to work hard and pitch up to his potential.

If he can't, his words will come back to haunt him.
“I’m trying to say it humbly, but it doesn’t matter what I say, it’s going to come out cocky,” he said. “You just know. I woke up today and told my wife, I just have a feeling I’m going to make these guys look stupid.”
This "tough love" approach to Kennedy will only benefit him in the long run.

Oh well

If you told me that the Yankees would take two of three at Shea Stadium with Sidney Ponson, Andy Pettitte and Darrell Rasner starting all three games, I would've signed up for that in a heartbeat. And that's exactly what happened.

Rasner wasn't awful, but the Yankees' righty-heavy lineup was dismal against Oliver Perez, who always seems to pitch well against the Yankees.

Bobby Abreu actually hits better against lefties than he does against righties (.316 vs. .272), so I would have started him instead of Justin Christian.

It was strange booing "Enter Sandman" when Billy Wagner came in. It was like bizarro world.

It didn't rain that much at the game, but it absolutely poured during the walk back to the car (through the Worlds Fair park and over the L.I.E.). Long story short, I was drenched.

This was my first Subway Series game, and it happened to be the last one at Shea. All in all, it was a fun game. Too bad the Yankees ended up on the wrong side.

Next is a three-game series at home against Texas.

Live from Shea

I've seen just about enough of Darrell Rasner. Three balls on every hitter is getting old fast. Hopefully the Yankees brass has seen enough as well.

Wilson Betemit batting fifth? Really? The bench is almost as bad as the bullpen is.

Hopefully it starts raining. I'm that high in the upper deck that I'm covered.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pettitte outduels Santana

Andy Pettitte turned in his fourth straight excellent start, battling the weather and Johan Santana en route to the Yankees' 3-2 victory over the Mets.

Pettitte gave up two runs (two home runs), five hits and three walks over six innings, but the offense made that stand up against Santana. The Mets right-hander struck out eight, walked four and gave up three earned runs over six innings. Last night, both teams scored 15 runs. Today, they only combined for 11 hits and five runs.

Pettitte came back after a rain delay in the middle of the sixth inning and allowed a leadoff home run to David Wright, before closing out the inning. He was then done after 88 pitches.

In his last four starts, he is 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 27 innings. This was after allowing 10 earned runs to Kansas City on June 7.

After Pettitte left, Jose Veras, Kyle Farnsworth and Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless inning each. Veras was the only one to allow a hit (one) and none of them walked a batter. Rivera recorded his 22nd save of the season in the process.

Farnsworth is never a given - and he gave up a hard-hit line drive to left that was snared by Johnny Damon - but he pitched pretty well today. His pitch to strike out Carlos Beltran to end the eighth inning was quite possibly the best pitch he's thrown all season.

Robinson Cano went 2-for-4 with an RBI to raise his average to .244. Derek Jeter's 15-game hitting streak was snapped with his 0-4 afternoon. However, he scored one of the Yankees' three runs with a walk in the fourth inning.

Darrell Rasner takes the hill tomorrow afternoon as the Yankees look to sweep the Mets in their stadium. Oliver Perez will counter.

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

This makes sense

From Lisa Kennelly:

Those grounds crew guys just came out to take the tarp off, when it started raining. Riiiiight. So now the estimated start time is 4:20. Stay tuned.

Update: Well now I just have no idea what's going on. It's raining harder, but the tarp is being removed. Makes perfect sense, right?

So if you're just turning on Fox and you're confused as to why the Cubs/White Sox game is on, this is the reason.

Igawa sent back

That was quick. With David Robertson's call-up, Kei Igawa was optioned back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Igawa pitched one inning last night and gave up two hits.

To make room for Robertson on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated Oneli Perez for assignment.

I would have designated LaTroy Hawkins for assignment. But that's just me.

Game 81 Preview: Yankees at Mets

New York Yankees (43-37)
New York Mets (39-40)
Johnny Damon LF
Jose Reyes SS
Derek Jeter SS
Damion Easley 2B
Bobby Abreu RF
David Wright 3B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Carlos Beltran CF
Jason Giambi 1B
Carlos Delgado 1B
Jorge Posada C
Fernando Tatis RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Andy Phillips LF
Melky Cabrera CF
Ramon Castro C
Andy Pettitte P
Johan Santana P

Andy Pettitte (8-5, 4.04 ERA) vs. Johan Santana (7-6, 2.93 ERA)

Time: 3:55 p.m.
TV: Fox
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Yankees vs. Santana
  • Damon: 6-27, 3 2B, 4 RBI
  • Jeter: 8-21, 4 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Abreu: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Rodriguez: 4-19, 2 HR, 2 RBI
  • Giambi: 4-15, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Posada: 2-14, 2 2B, 2 RBI
  • Cano: 4-12
  • Cabrera: 1-5
  • Pettitte: No experience
Mets vs. Pettitte
  • Reyes: 4-19
  • Easley: 16-59, 4 2B, 1 3B, 8 RBI
  • Wright: 7-16, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Beltran: 14-37, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Delgado: 21-63, 3 2B, 5 HR, 17 RBI
  • Tatis: 1-6
  • Phillips: No experience
  • Castro: 0-1
  • Santana: No experience

Robertson called up

David Robertson has been called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and will be with the team this afternoon, according to Chad Jennings. There is no word on who has been sent down yet.

In 33 innings (20 games) for Scranton this season, Robertson has given up nine runs (six earned for a 1.64 ERA) and has struck out 48 batters while walking 16. He began the season in Double-A Trenton and struck out 26 batters in 18 2/3 innings.

We've learned to take minor-league numbers with a grain of salt, but his strikeout total is intriguing. It appears that he can walk batters at times, so that could be a concern. But overall, he deserved the promotion and hopefully he can deliver.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ouch

That looks like the most painful thing ever.

(Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

That's "Sir Sidney" to you

Sir Sidney Ponson gave the Yankees six shutout innings after they got destroyed earlier this afternoon.

He loaded the bases twice (once with no outs) and obviously worked out of trouble. His control was an issue (four walks) but he also struck out four batters and allowed five hits.

Say what you want about Ponson, but it was a lot of fun watching him pump his fist and smiling after getting a sacrifice bunt down. He obviously won't always turn in starts like these, but if he can deliver quality starts, this could be a huge find for the team.

(Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

Game 80 Preview: Yankees at Mets

New York Yankees (42-37)

Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera CF
Jose Molina C
Sidney Ponson P

Sidney Ponson (4-1, 3.88 ERA) vs. Pedro Martinez (2-1, 6.57 ERA)

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

Matsui to the DL, Igawa up

Some roster moves after this afternoon's wonderful performance:

Hideki Matsui has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with the left knee injury. Sidney Ponson is on the active roster in time to make tonight's start.

Also, Ross Ohlendorf (1.1 IP, 6 ER today) has been optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Kei Igawa (7-4, 3.47 ERA and 77 K in 93 1/3 IP for Scranton) has taken his spot on the roster.

I think in the coming days, the Yankees will option Justin Christian and call up Brett Gardner. Johnny Damon can slide to the DH spot and Gardner can man left field. That's what I would do, at least.

The series ahead

The New York Yankees (42-37) begin a three-game series against the New York Mets (39-39) at Shea Stadium. The pitching matchups are:

Tonight - 8:10 p.m., YES
Sidney Ponson
- RHP (4-1, 3.88 ERA with Texas) vs. Pedro Martinez - RHP (2-1, 6.57 ERA)

Tomorrow - 3:55 p.m., Fox
Andy Pettitte
- LHP (8-5, 4.04 ERA) vs. Johan Santana - LHP (7-6, 2.93 ERA)

Sunday - 1:10 p.m., YES/TBS
Darrell Rasner
- RHP (4-5, 4.50 ERA) vs. Oliver Perez - RHP (5-5, 5.29 ERA)

All joking and anger aside...

All joking and anger aside, maybe the Yankees needed a game like this.

This is a major wake up call to the organization, as it shows Brian Cashman and friends that the Yankees can't compete with the pitching staff the way it is.

Whether they make trades and/or promote pitchers from within, changes need to be made. And they will be made.

And, please, Michael Kay. Stop screaming on every fly ball the Yankees hit. You would've thought that Alex Rodriguez's home run actually meant something (it was 11-4 at the time).

So, how about those personal seat licenses?

Coming to a training camp near you this July.

See what happens when they play decent teams?

If the Yankees want to make the playoffs this year, they will have to make at least one trade for pitching. With all of the help they need, that probably won't even be enough.

Is it worth it to mortgage the future to get the playoffs and lose in the first round again? Probably not. But with the payroll that the Yankees have, they shouldn't have to rely on pitchers like Dan Giese, Edwar Ramirez and Ross Ohlendorf to pitch against the Mets.

You know that triumvirate is great when Carlos Delgado goes 2-4 with six RBI (thus far).

I don't know about you guys, but I'm so excited to see Sidney Ponson start tonight. Sad thing is that he can pitch a terrible game and it wouldn't even be as bad as this afternoon's performance.

I'm glad a sell-out crowd got to see Chien-Ming Wang run the bases, though.

Terrible game

This game has been awful so far for the Yankees.

Ill-advised bunts by Derek Jeter and Justin Christian, terrible pitching by Dan Giese and bad managing by Joe Girardi (taking Giese out way too late).

Yet, it's only the bottom of the fifth inning. Anything can happen here.

Game 79 Preview: Mets at Yankees

New York Mets (38-39)
New York Yankees (42-36)
Jose Reyes SS
Melky Cabrera CF
Luis Castillo 2B
Derek Jeter SS
David Wright 3B
Bobby Abreu RF
Carlos Beltran CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Carlos Delgado DH
Jason Giambi DH
Trot Nixon RF
Jorge Posada C
Marlon Anderson LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Fernando Tatis 1B
Wilson Betemit 1B
Brian Schneider C
Justin Christian LF

Mike Pelfrey (4-6, 4.30 ERA) vs. Dan Giese (1-2, 0.64 ERA)

Time: 2:05 p.m.
TV: MY9
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Mets vs. Giese
  • No Mets have experience against Giese
Yankees vs. Pelfrey
  • No Yankees have experience against Pelfrey
Pregame concerns: Johnny Damon will play in Game 2 tonight.

Matsui may be sent to the DL

Hideki Matsui's knee has been acting up, and he is not in the lineup again today.

As such, it is believed that he could be sent to the disabled list when it comes time to add Sidney Ponson to the active roster before Game 2 tonight.

I feel that Matsui's replacement will eventually be an outfielder (Brett Gardner?) but the Yankees are pressed for time tonight.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Game called

The game has officially been called. At the time of the delay, the Yankees were leading 3-1. Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez will all lose their RBI hits. This is especially hurtful to Rodriguez, as he has not had an RBI since June 19.

The game will be made up on July 10 at 7:05 p.m. This was a scheduled off-day for the Yankees. They are off on July 7, play two games against the Tampa Bay Rays at home and then had the 10th off before traveling to Toronto.

Mike Mussina threw 46 pitches tonight. While he probably won't be available tomorrow, I could see them using him in Darrell Rasner's turn (Sunday against Oliver Perez).

But I'm glad that PNC Park will get another sell-out.

Giese still in Pittsburgh

Dan Giese, tomorrow afternoon's starter, was still in Pittsburgh as last as 8:30 p.m., according to George King.

Giese was supposed to fly back to New York earlier tonight to get a good night's rest in preparation for the first game of the doubleheader. Instead, the Pittsburgh airport was closed because of severe thunderstorms.

YES is on their third Yankeeography and the tarp is still on the field.

The Padres got a day game

When the Padres were in town, they got a day game before flying back to San Diego.

But not the big, bad Yankees! Meanwhile, the game is being delayed, Mike Mussina may have to leave the game if play resumes, and there are two games in two stadiums to be played tomorrow.

Lovely.

Game 79 Preview: Yankees at Pirates

New York Yankees (42-36)

Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera CF
Jose Molina C
Mike Mussina P

Mike Mussina (10-5, 3.93 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm (5-5, 4.41 ERA)

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

Yankees vs. Maholm

  • Damon: 1-3
  • Jeter: 1-2, 1 2B
  • Abreu: 3-7, 1 2B
  • Rodriguez: 0-1, 1 RBI
  • Giambi: No experience
  • Cano: 1-3, 1 RBI
  • Cabrera: 0-2
  • Molina: No experience
  • Mussina: No experience
Pregame concerns: Apparently Damon (foot) is well enough to play the field. ... With the afternoon game (Game 1 of the doubleheader), Jorge Posada is presumably getting rest tonight.

A trip back to the circus

Paul Maholm, Pittsburgh's starter tonight, has been involved in two rather large moments in recent Yankees' lore.

Last year, on June 9, he was on the mound when Roger Clemens made another of his numerous comebacks. Clemens and the Yankees won 9-3, and Maholm was shelled over 5 1/3 innings.

With that loss, Maholm fell to 2-9 on the season. He eventually finished 10-15 with an ERA a shade over 5 that year. Clemens, overall, was a disappointment and is now a disgraced former pitcher.

Maholm will also be remembered as the only pitcher to ever face Billy Crystal in an actual game. This came on March 13 of Spring Training this year. Crystal, batting leadoff, actually made contact, lining a ball foul just past first base. He eventually struck out and left to a standing ovation.

Tonight, Mike Mussina is going for his 11th victory of the season. That's a pretty big deal, I guess.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Scott Proctor's arm headed to the DL

It's finally happened: Scott Proctor was placed on the 15-day disabled list tonight.

Apparently Proctor was hiding an injury from Joe Torre and Co. and was going to be optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas before he confessed.

"Having a little history with Scott Proctor, knowing that the guy I was watching was not really what you've seen before and knowing that he would never acknowledge that anything was wrong, you can't just all of a sudden say there's something wrong. So we were going to option him," Torre said. "I just basically told him that he needs to work out what he needs to work out and get himself straightened out."

After some more prodding, Proctor came clean with Torre. An injured player cannot be optioned to the minors.

"You love him for his heart. He has a belly full of guts and all that stuff, but he doesn't always make the right choices," Torre said. "I know the timing sounds to some people like he's just doing that to keep from going to the minor leagues. But I know him better than that. He was even willing to go down to Vegas and pitch with the injury, which made no sense to me. It's all a Band-Aid."
In 33 games for the Dodgers this year, Proctor is 1-0 with a 6.82 ERA. He has struck out 36 batters while walking 22 in 31 2/3 innings. He recorded his first win on June 10 against the Padres. In his last 4 1/3 innings, he has given up 12 hits and 11 runs (eight earned) while walking seven and striking out five.

Joba as starter

Congratulations go out to Joba Chamberlain, as he recorded his first victory as a starter tonight. I wasn't around to watch the game, so I'll just give his numbers as a starter (five starts, four no-decisions) thus far:

25 IP
22 H
7 R
5 ER
13 BB
26 K
1 HRA
1.80 ERA

Not bad for someone who should still be in the bullpen, according to some. The walks have been an issue since the transition, but he only walked one batter in his 6 2/3 innings tonight. He also threw 2/3 of his 114 pitches for strikes tonight.

Derek Jeter had a three-hit game tonight, raising hit batting average to .286. Robinson Cano had his second straight three-hit game and is now over .240. Bobby Abreu, who had been mired in a slump, also recorded a three-hit game. Hopefully tonight gets all three of these players going.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Game 78 Preview: Yankees at Pirates

New York Yankees (41-36)

Melky Cabrera CF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Justin Christian LF
Joba Chamberlain P

Joba Chamberlain (1-2, 2.36 ERA) vs. Zach Duke (4-4, 3.91 ERA)

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

Yankees vs. Duke

  • Abreu: 3-7

Foot still a sore issue for Damon

According to George King, Johnny Damon's sore foot is still a source of concern.

"I hope not," Damon said when asked if the shelf was a possibility. "I don't know, but Sunday it was real bad. Toward the end of the game it wasn't good."

Damon, 34, first felt discomfort in the foot Sunday during batting practice, but with Hideki Matsui's left knee barking, Damon played through the 4-1 victory over the Reds at Yankee Stadium, going 0-for-4.

"I couldn't move," said Damon, who was third among AL batters with a .323 average, 10th in on-base percentage at .390, seventh in hitting with runners in scoring position at .351 and tops against right-handed pitchers with a .328 average prior to sitting out last night's 12-5 loss to the Pirates. "I had no chance swinging the bat or running out there at all."
Damon and Hideki Matsui (knee) are both out of the lineup for the second straight night.

Damon said he was going to test out his foot to see if he was good to go, but it's safe to assume that he's not good to go. It will be interesting to see if Damon or Matsui could be used as the designated hitter Friday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Yeesh

Did anyone else cringe when Michael Kay started screaming about Bobby Abreu's ninth-inning two-run, two-out home run? "SEE YA!, and that cuts the lead to 12-5."

What a terrible, awful game.

Hopefully Joba Chamberlain can restore order to the pitching staff tomorrow night. The Pirates recorded 19 hits on their way to scoring 12 runs against Darrell Rasner and friends.

For those scoring at home, the Yankees have lost three of their last four to the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates.

One of the positives tonight was Justin Christian's performance. Despite having a fielding error, he went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a double at the plate.

Rasner struggles again

Through the first five innings tonight, Darrell Rasner has given up seven earned runs and 10 hits. Since going 3-0 in his first three starts, Rasner has not been the same pitcher. He is 1-4 (tonight pending) with a 6.00 ERA in his last six starts.

At a time when he's needed most, he's pitching extremely poorly. His last start was against Kansas City when he only gave up two runs over eight innings. He then gave up seven runs against Oakland and walked five batters in an 8-5 victory over San Diego.

Part of the blame has to be put on the offense tonight. Tom Gorzelanny has walked five batters at this point but has been able to wiggle out of trouble. Ironically enough, in the sixth inning, he hasn't walked a batter but has given up two runs thus far.

Game 77 Preview: Yankees at Pirates

New York Yankees (41-35)
Pittsburgh Pirates (36-40)
Melky Cabrera CF
Nate McLouth CF
Derek Jeter SS
Freddy Sanchez 2B
Bobby Abreu RF
Jason Bay LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Ryan Doumit C
Jason Giambi 1B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Jorge Posada C
Doug Mientkiewicz RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Jose Bautista 3B
Justin Christian LF
Jack Wilson SS
Darrell Rasner P
Tom Gorzelanny P

Darrell Rasner (4-4, 3.64 ERA) vs. Tom Gorzelanny (5-6, 6.59 ERA)

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

Yankees vs. Gorzelanny
  • Cabrera: 0-2
  • Jeter: 1-2, 1 RBI
  • Abreu: 0-3
  • Rodriguez: 0-3
  • Giambi: No experience
  • Posada: 1-2
  • Cano: 0-3
  • Christian: No experience
  • Rasner: No experience
Pirates vs. Rasner
  • LaRoche: 0-1

Traber down

Updating the previous story, Billy Traber was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre when Justin Christian was called up, according to Ed Price.

Despite Christian not being on the 40-man roster, the Yankees did not need to make a move, as Steven White was taken off the roster on Friday.

Yankees call up Justin Christian

The Yankees called up outfielder Justin Christian, according to George King of the Post.

Christian is 59-for-191 in 55 games this season for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He is also 18-for-21 in stolen bases.

He will likely be used as a pinch runner while he is with the big club.

The corresponding roster move is not yet known.

The series ahead

The New York Yankees (41-35) begin a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates (36-40) at PNC Park tonight. The pitching matchups are:

Tonight - 7:05 p.m., MY9
Darrell Rasner
- RHP (4-4, 3.64 ERA) vs. Tom Gorzelanny - LHP (5-6, 6.59 ERA)

Tomorrow - 7:05 p.m., YES
Joba Chamberlain
- RHP (1-2, 2.36 ERA) vs. Zach Duke - LHP (4-4, 3.91 ERA)

Thursday - 7:05 p.m., YES
Mike Mussina
- RHP (10-5, 3.93 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm - LHP (5-5, 4.41 ERA)

No wonder Cano and Cabrera are both struggling

I stumbled upon this quote from Melky Cabrera, presumably through a translator:

"He's (Robinson Cano) helped me in a lot of things," Cabrera said. "He helps a lot in batting, because he's a star who has all the qualities and many years in the league. I'm rising and want his help, because he has more experience than I do."
Cano is batting a dismal .227/.270/.325 and Cabrera, after a nice beginning to the season, is batting .254/.312/.371. Glad to see Cano's helping him hit.

This would be funny

Brian Cashman spoke to George King and said that Carl Pavano could possibly return before Phil Hughes.

"I haven't asked, but it's possible," GM Brian Cashman said last night. "Pavano should be ready by August and Hughes in August."

Considering Pavano, who is trying to rebound from last year's Tommy John surgery, is throwing curveballs off a mound and Hughes (fractured rib) isn't even on a mound, Pavano would be considered ahead of Hughes.

"The rehabs are different," Cashman said. "Phil Hughes will start throwing from flat ground, but it won't be as long (as Pavano's)."
Imagine that.

While I'm sure Pavano will find a way to delay this even further, I'd like to see him pitch. I've forgotten what he looks like.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Kennedy on the mend

Peter Abraham tells us that Ian Kennedy pitched a three-inning rehab start for the Gulf Coast League Yankees.

In three innings, he struck out seven and allowed one earned run and three hits over three innings.

Abraham suggests that Kennedy will make a few more rehab starts before he is considered as a New York option. While the numbers were good tonight, it was in the GCL. He could use more seasoning in Triple-A.

Sabathia rumors

The Juiced Sports Blog, citing a source close to C.C. Sabathia, is reporting that the Indians would want Joba Chamberlain and Robinson Cano in return for Sabathia's services.

Chamberlain was never even a consideration in the Johan Santana talks, so there's no chance the Yankees would give him up now.

Expect to hear more rumors like these in the coming weeks.

Rock the vote

Despite having one of the worst seasons of his career to date, Derek Jeter is the leading all American League players in votes with almost 1,900,000 votes.

Alex Rodriguez also has a comfortable lead in the third base voting.

The Red Sox have four players leading their respective positions - Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.

Justin Morneau and Ian Kinsler are gaining on Youkilis and Pedroia. Hopefully they'll overtake the Red Sox teammates, because Morneau and Kinsler are much more deserving.

Farnsworth stitched up, mad at fans

Kyle Farnsworth and the battered Yankees' bullpen escaped a major injury, as the right-hander did not seriously injure his hand. He only needed three stitches to close up a cut.

However, according to the Star-Ledger's David Waldstein, Farnsworth was not enamored with the Yankees fans cheering Ken Griffey Jr.'s home run in the eighth inning.

I wasn't either.

Farnsworth is still booed when the Yankee Stadium scoreboard announces that he is warming up and later enters the game. He is still booed when he gives up a two-out single.

When he had to leave the game due to injury, I believe I heard a mixed reaction. The boos were probably because they don't like him, and the cheer were probably because he was leaving the game with what could have very well been a crushing injury.

With the bullpen the way it is, the Yankees can't afford to lose anyone. The Yankees got lucky here, and hopefully Farnsworth will cut down on his home runs allowed total.

I used to wonder why Farnsworth's home/away splits were so eye-popping. Now I'm beginning to realize why.

Sunday, June 22, 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
47-31
--
Tampa Bay Rays
44-31
1.5
New York Yankees
41-35
5.0
Baltimore Orioles
38-36
7.0
Toronto Blue Jays
36-41
10.5

Wild Card
Tampa Bay Rays
44-31
--
Oakland Athletics
41-34
3.0
New York Yankees
41-35
3.5
Minnesota Twins
40-36
4.5
Baltimore Orioles
38-36
5.5
Texas Rangers
39-38
6.0
Detroit Tigers
36-39
8.0
Toronto Blue Jays
36-41
9.0
Cleveland Indians
35-41
9.5
Kansas City Royals
33-43
11.5
Seattle Mariners
26-49
18.0

Since the last look at the standings, the Yankees went 4-2. They gained a half-game in the AL East standings and neither gained nor lost ground in the Wild Card standings.

Pettitte helps Yanks avoid sweep

Since giving up 10 earned runs against Kansas City earlier this month (in 6 2/3 innings), Andy Pettitte has won his next three starts. In those 21 innings, he has allowed only one earned run.

The victory prevented a sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds and snapped the brief two-game losing streak.

Pettitte could have gone longer, but a rain delay cut his start short. He was relieved by Edwar Ramirez, who pitched a perfect inning. Kyle Farnsworth came in for the eighth and gave up a home run before leaving the game after trying to barehand a comebacker. It appeared as if he was cut on the hand.

Jason Giambi was the hitting star, going 3-3 with two RBI and a double. Jorge Posada and Bobby Abreu also had multi-hit games.

After an off-day tomorrow, the Yankees will begin a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Standing ovation for Griffey?

In what could have been Ken Griffey Jr's last at-bat at Yankee Stadium, he hit a home run and proceeded to get a standing ovation.

Why?

After what he said about playing in his last few games at Yankee Stadium, he should have been booed mercilessly. I don't care about how great of a player Griffey was.

These are the same people who boo Alex Rodriguez, so I really shouldn't expect too much from them in the intelligence department.

I hope Griffey gets traded to the American League and plays more games at Yankee Stadium, just to make these people look stupider.

Game 76 Preview: Reds at Yankees

Cincinnati Reds (35-41)
New York Yankees (40-35)
Norris Hopper LF
Johnny Damon LF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Derek Jeter SS
Ken Griffey Jr. DH
Bobby Abreu RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Joey Votto 1B
Jason Giambi 1B
Jay Bruce RF
Jorge Posada C
Corey Patterson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
David Ross C
Melky Cabrera CF

Johnny Cueto (5-7, 5.19 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (7-5, 4.29 ERA)

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

Reds vs. Pettitte
  • Hopper: No expereince
  • Keppinger: No experience
  • Griffey Jr.: 17-48, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI
  • Phillips: 3-12, 2 RBI
  • Encarnacion: 4-15, 3 2B, 4 RBI
  • Votto: No experience
  • Bruce: No experience
  • Patterson: 7-19, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI
  • Ross: 3-10, 1 2B, 1 3B
Yankees vs. Cueto
  • No Yankees have any experience against Cueto

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ponson in Scranton

Sidney Ponson started for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre tonight.

Facing the high-powered offense of the Toledo Mud Hens, he turned in this line: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K. He also threw 78 pitches for 46 strikes.

Not great, but not awful either.

Yanks fall again

I wasn't home to watch the game, but from what I can tell, it wasn't pretty.

The Yankees fell to a pitcher making his Major League debut (typical), didn't score after loading the bases with no outs (typical) and were done in by a defensive blunder (typical).

That's two losses in a row after winning the previous seven in a row, for those scoring at home. Let's hope this isn't the start of another up and down stretch that swallowed this team whole during the first two months of the season.

The seven-game winning streak gave the Yankees some margin for error. But Andy Pettitte needs to pitch another solid game like he has his last two times out.

Props to Dan Giese. Even though he made a bad throw, he pitched better than anyone expected. He and Sidney Ponson will start the Friday doubleheader against the Mets. Should be interesting.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Volquez shines as Yanks' streak snapped

In a battle of leaders (Edinson Volquez leading the National League in ERA and Mike Mussina sharing the American League-lead in victories), ERA came out on top.

Volquez went into the game with a 1.64 ERA and it only went up 0.07 runs, as he gave up two earned runs over seven innings, striking out five and walking one.

Mussina received his fifth loss of the season, but pitched well enough to win, despite giving up 10 hits. He gave up four earned runs in eight innings, but three of those runs may not have scored had Johnny Damon not lost a line drive in the lights.

Edwin Encarnacion led off the fifth with a single. After a sacrifice bunt and a ground it, the Yankees elected to intentionally walk Jay Bruce to face Jolbert Cabrera. Bruce is a rookie and Cabrera was 2-2 at this point in the game. Cabrera eventually doubled down the line to score all three runners.

This gave the Reds a 4-1 lead, and they went on to win 4-2 to snap the Yankees' seven-game winning streak.

Hideki Matsui was in the lineup tonight after missing the previous two games with knee inflammation. He went 2-4 on the night.

The Yankees will look to rebound tomorrow afternoon. Dan Giese will start, replacing the injured Chien-Ming Wang. The Reds will counter with 22-year-old Daryl Thompson who is making his Major League debut.

Game 74 Preview: Reds at Yankees

Cincinnati Reds (33-41)
New York Yankees (40-33)
Jay Bruce RF
Johnny Damon LF
Jolbert Cabrera SS
Derek Jeter SS
Ken Griffey Jr. DH
Bobby Abreu RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Adam Dunn LF
Hideki Matsui DH
Joey Votto 1B
Jason Giambi 1B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Corey Patterson CF
Melky Cabrera CF
Paul Bako C
Jose Molina C

Edinson Volquez (9-2, 1.64 ERA) vs. Mike Mussina (10-4, 3.87 ERA)

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

Reds vs. Mussina
  • Bruce: No experience
  • Cabrera: 1-3
  • Griffey: 7-45, 4 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI
  • Phillips: No experience
  • Dunn: 1-3
  • Votto: No experience
  • Encarnacion: No experience
  • Patterson: 2-8, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Bako: 1-8, 1 2B
Yankees vs. Volquez
  • Molina: 1-2, 1 HR, 2 RBI

White removed from 40-man roster

Steven White, a Triple-A pitcher, has been removed from the 40-man roster, according to the Post's Joel Sherman. He passed through waivers and will remain with the team.

White has struggled this season, going 4-4 with a 6.61 ERA in 64 innings. He has split his time between the rotation and bullpen, and obviously hasn't been successful at either.

Sherman suggests that this frees up a spot for Sidney Ponson who is a candidate to start one of Friday's games against the Mets.

However, they also could have moved Phil Hughes and/or Chien-Ming Wang to the 60-day disabled list to free up spots for someone like David Robertson, who is absolutely taking the International League by storm. I have a feeling that a move involving Robertson will be made shortly.

The series ahead

The New York Yankees (40-33) begin a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds (33-41) at Yankee Stadium tonight. The pitching matchups are:

Tonight - 7:05 p.m., MY9
Edinson Volquez
- RHP (9-2, 1.64 ERA) vs. Mike Mussina - RHP (10-4, 3.87 ERA)

Tomorrow - 1:05 p.m., YES
Daryl Thompson
- RHP (Debut) vs. Dan Giese - RHP (1-1, 1.23 ERA)

Sunday - 1:05 p.m., YES
Johnny Cueto - RHP (5-7, 5.19 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte - LHP (7-5, 4.29 ERA)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I caught my first foul ball

No, it wasn't at a Yankee game, and no, it wasn't on the fly. But I caught my first foul ball tonight and I was very happy about it.

I went to the Hudson Valley Renegades game (Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays). They had a rain delay last night, so they told the people who went that they could get in free tonight if they showed a ticket stub.

My friend and I went and we were sitting on the first base side of home plate.

Around the sixth inning or so, there was a foul ball hit to my left. I wasn't really paying attention, but my friend was, and he ran over and grabbed the ball. It was pretty exciting because I had never been that close to a foul ball before. I almost caught a bat at a Yankee game, but that's a story for another day.

I was pretty bummed because I probably could've gotten the ball had I been paying attention.

However, my luck changed the next inning. There was a pop foul in front of my section. I stood up immediately, anticipating it landing in my hands. However, it wasn't hit hard enough and smacked the concrete 20 feet in front of me. The ball then bounced high in the air, flying right above me. I jumped, using every inch of my 5-10-ness to snag the ball in front of those sitting behind me.

It was an exciting moment, and it's something I'll always remember. Free baseballs have that kind of effect, I guess.

Small ball comes up huge

For the first four innings, the Yankees couldn't do anything against Padres' starter Josh Banks. They had runners at second and third with one out in the first inning but were unable to score.

They eventually fell behind 1-0 in the fourth, but that was until Melky Cabrera walked with one out in the fifth.

With Jose Molina at the plate, Cabrera stole second and third base before scoring on a sacrifice fly to center. The offense was stagnant up until that point, and they needed a boost. Manufacturing a run is the best way to provide a spark.

The Yankees would score again in the sixth. Derek Jeter led off with a single, stole second, took third on a ground out and scored on an Alex Rodriguez single.

That was all the Yankees would need. The bullpen shut down the Padres, winning 2-1 and finishing off the sweep.

Joba Chamberlain struck out a career-high nine batters in 5 2/3 innings, reaching exactly 100 pitches. With the Yankees scoring in the bottom of the sixth, Chamberlain did not figure in the decision, and is still searching for his first victory as a starter.

I would have let him finish the sixth. He struck out the first two batters in the inning and his velocity was not suffering at all. Four or five pitches wouldn't kill him. If a batter reached, then you could have taken him out.

The Yankees pitchers struck out the Padres 40 times in this series. They also outscored the Padres 18-6 in the three games.

The win streak now stands at seven. The Cincinnati Reds come to town for a three-game series that begins tomorrow night.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Jeter voted most overrated by players

In a Sports Illustrated poll surveying 495 players, 10 percent of them voted Derek Jeter as the game's most overrated, according to the Daily News.

“I don’t want to hear about it,” Jeter told the Daily News before trying to help the Yankees extend their winning streak to seven games in Thursday's matinee. “I don’t want to hear about it. I don’t want to talk about it. All negative stuff I don’t want to talk about.”

Ironically, when SI asked MLB players, “Whom would you pick to build a team around?” in a separate survey last week, A-Rod ranked first and Jeter second.
I love Jeter, but I can't argue. He's a very nice player and a great leader, but do you think he'd get as much attention as he does now if he played for Kansas City or Toronto?

What's curious is that Alex Rodriguez garnered seven percent of the vote. Excuse me? Rodriguez won the MVP last year (the third of his career) and will likely chase after Barry Bonds' home run record someday. That sounds like 34.65 players are extremely jealous of Rodriguez and his contract.

Game 73 Preview: Padres at Yankees

San Diego Padres (31-42)
New York Yankees (39-33)
Jody Gerut CF
Johnny Damon LF
Edgar Gonzalez 2B
Derek Jeter SS
Brian Giles RF
Bobby Abreu RF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Chase Headley 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Tony Clark DH
Jorge Posada C
Scott Hairston LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Khalil Greene SS
Melky Cabrera CF
Michael Barrett C
Jose Molina C

Josh Banks (2-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. Joba Chamberlain (1-2, 2.48 ERA)

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

Padres vs. Chamberlain
  • No Padres have any experience against Chamberlain
Yankees vs. Banks
  • Damon: 0-1
  • Jeter: 0-1
  • Abreu: No experience
  • Rodriguez: No experience
  • Giambi: No experience
  • Posada: No experience
  • Cano: 1-2
  • Cabrera: 0-2
  • Molina: 1-1, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Pregame concerns: No Hideki Matsui due to his knee injury.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yankees survive poor pitching

The Yankees were able to get to the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner en route to their sixth straight win.

Jake Peavy only lasted four innings and gave up four runs (three earned) while throwing 93 pitches. Meanwhile, Darrell Rasner struggled again but broke his personal four-game losing streak.

The Yankees right-hander walked five and gave up two runs in five innings. He was inefficient, throwing 96 pitches, but was able to even his season record at 4-4. The bullpen also left much to be desired, as Edwar Ramirez gave up two home runs and Kyle Farnsworth chipped in with a home run allowed. Mariano Rivera was able to restore order in the ninth inning to save the Yankees' 8-5 victory.

Alex Rodriguez continued to hit the ball hard, going 3-4 with a home run and two RBI. He has now homered in four straight games. In his last 111 at-bats, Rodriguez has 41 hits (.369) with 10 home runs and 30 RBI. For some perspective, Rodriguez has 14 home runs and 40 RBI on the season.

Johnny Damon had yet another three-hit game and Wilson Betemit somehow had three hits (two doubles). All of the Yankees' starters had at least one hit except for Jason Giambi. With the way he's been going lately, he can have a pass.

All of a sudden the Yankees are 39-33. Joba Chamberlain will go up against Josh Banks tomorrow afternoon, as the Yankees look for the sweep.

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Tarp's off

The tarp is off the field and the game will begin within the next few minutes.

So everyone can flip to YES and enjoy the game.

Wet Bronx

The tarp is on the field and the game will not be starting on time tonight.

Above is the radar for the Bronx. It looks like they'll be able to start playing eventually.

Game 72 Preview: Padres at Yankees

San Diego Padres (31-41)
New York Yankees (38-33)
Jody Gerut CF
Johnny Damon LF
Edgar Gonzalez 2B
Derek Jeter SS
Brian Giles RF
Bobby Abreu RF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Tony Clark DH
Jason Giambi DH
Chase Headley 3B
Jorge Posada C
Paul McAnulty LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Khalil Greene SS
Wilson Betemit 1B
Luke Carlin C
Melky Cabrera CF

Jake Peavy (5-3, 2.64 ERA) vs. Darrell Rasner (3-4, 3.64 ERA)

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

Padres vs. Rasner
  • No Padres have any experience against Rasner
Yankees vs. Peavy
  • Damon: No experience
  • Jeter: 0-3
  • Abreu: 3-10, 1 RBI
  • Rodriguez: No experience
  • Giambi: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Posada: No experience
  • Cano: No experience
  • Betemit: 1-12, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Cabrera: No experience
Pregame concerns: Rasner is 0-4 with a 5.09 ERA in his last four starts. He gave up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in his last start at Oakland.

Hideki Matsui's knee

Hideki Matsui is out of the lineup for tonight's game due to knee inflammation, according to Peter Abraham.

The inflammation in his left knee is serious enough that it will need to be drained tonight and he may need an MRI. He had surgery on his right knee in the offseason.

Earlier this evening, Joe Girardi said he'd be able to pinch hit, but that's obviously not the case now.

As for the lineup tonight, Jason Giambi will start in Matsui's place at designated hitter and Wilson Betemit will man first base.

Yankees sign Ponson

The Yankees signed ex-Yankee Sir Sidney Ponson, according to Peter Abraham.

Ponson was with the Yankees in 2006, going 0-1 with a 10.47 ERA in five appearances (three starts).

He was recently designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers and ultimately released due to behavioral issues. He was 4-1 with a 3.88 ERA in nine starts for Texas. His last start was on June 4.

Ponson will be assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and will presumably be added to the list of in-house replacements for Chien-Ming Wang.

And, for the record, I was joking when I said this.

(AP Photo/Steve Nesius, File)

Hear that?

No, you can't.

It's amazing how quiet Yankeeland is after an 8-0 victory in the middle of a five-game winning streak.

While there is much more to write about when the team is playing badly, it's nice to just sit back and not have to complain about everything. Hopefully Darrell Rasner can out-pitch Jake Peavy to continue this era of good feeling.

One for the thumb

Solid victory tonight by the Yankees. They hit for power (three home runs) and pitched for power (14 strikeouts) en route to an 8-0 rout of the San Diego Padres. The Yankees have now won five games in a row and are a season-high five games over .500.

Andy Pettitte turned in his second straight solid start, pitching seven shutout innings while striking out nine. He has now given up one earned run over his last 15 innings.

Jason Giambi hit two home runs to add to his team-high total. He now has 17 on the season after hitting 14 all of last year. Alex Rodriguez homered in his third straight game and has been hot the last couple of weeks.

They'll do it again tomorrow night, as reigning Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy will face Darrell Rasner.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Live from the Stadium

I learned how to post from my phone. Technology sure is something.

Quite a game so far. Jason Giambi has been unbelievable, and maybe there really is something to this mustache business. Andy Pettitte looks like he's beginning his run of second-half dominance a little early.

By the way, Wade Boggs pulled the countdown lever and got a nice ovation.

Game 71 Preview: Padres at Yankees

New York Yankees (37-33)

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

Randy Wolf (5-4, 3.83 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (6-5, 4.64 ERA)

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

Yankees vs. Wolf

  • Damon: 1-6
  • Jeter: 0-3
  • Abreu: No experience
  • Rodriguez: No experience
  • Matsui: No experience
  • Giambi: No experience
  • Posada: 1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Cano: No experience
  • Cabrera: No experience
Pregame concerns: I'll be headed to the Stadium shortly, so I just wanted to the Yankees' lineup up early. ... After giving up 10 earned runs on June 7, Posada shut down the A's on June 12, giving up one earned run and five hits over eight innings.

Traber recalled

With Chien-Ming Wang being placed on the disabled list, the Yankees recalled left-handed reliever Billy Traber to take Wang's roster spot, according to Peter Abraham.

Traber appeared in 11 games for the Yankees in April, giving up four earned runs in eight innings pitched. He struck out six and walked five.

Since then, he's been in Triple-A and has amassed a 4.07 ERA in 22 appearances (11 earned runs in 24 1/3 innings). He has also struck out 25 batters while walking eight.

It is likely that Dan Giese will start in Wang's place on Saturday.

The series ahead

The New York Yankees (37-33) begin a three-game series against the San Diego Padres (31-40) at Yankee Stadium tonight. The pitching matchups are:

Tonight - 7:05 p.m., MY9
Randy Wolf
- LHP (5-4, 3.83 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte - LHP (6-5, 4.64 ERA)

Tomorrow - 7:05 p.m., YES
Jake Peavy
- RHP (5-3, 2.64 ERA) vs. Darrell Rasner - RHP (3-4, 3.64 ERA)

Thursday - 1:05 p.m., YES
Josh Banks
- RHP (2-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. Joba Chamberlain - RHP (1-2, 2.48 ERA)

Willie's gone, but he's not forgotten

Waking up at 11:00 this morning (I'm a college student home for the summer, give me a break), I found out that Mets manager Willie Randolph was fired, after a win, at 3:11 a.m.

Omar Minaya had plenty of chances to fire Randolph, and we all knew it was inevitable, but to have him (as well as two of his coaches who were also fired) fly out to California for the fourth time this season and to fire him after a victory is absolutely ridiculous.

This is a cowardly move by Minaya. He tried to escape the late night newspapers, but he'll only receive more criticism for this. You must feel pretty good if you're in Minaya's shoes. He brought all of these players to New York, and yet he's escaping all of the blame.

Not anymore. He now looks terrible by this, and if the Mets cannot make the playoffs this season, he'll be gone too.

And Willie, we'll keep a spot in the dugout warm for you.

Cox begins throwing

Injured reliever J.B. Cox began throwing Monday, according to Chad Jennings who received an email from Nardi Contreras.

He is recovering from a tired shoulder and was placed on the seven-day disabled list last week.

Once he returns, he could be an option for the Major League bullpen.

Jennings also notes that Francisco Cervelli returned to Class-A Tampa Monday. You may remember that Cervelli was injured in a collision at home plate during Spring Training, setting off a brawl later on in March.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hank shoots his mouth off, and I agree with him

Hank Steinbrenner spoke to Ben Walker, an AP reporter, and told him how he felt about the National League's rules possibly ending Chien-Ming Wang's season:

“My only message is simple. The National League needs to join the 21st century,” Steinbrenner said in Tampa, Fla. “They need to grow up and join the 21st century.

“Am I (mad) about it? Yes,” Steinbrenner added. “I’ve got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He’s going to be out. I don’t like that, and it’s about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s.”

“This is always a concern of American League teams when their pitchers have to run the bases and they’re not used to doing it,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s not just us. It’s everybody. It probably should be a concern for National League owners, general managers and managers when their pitchers run the bases. Pitchers have enough to do without having to do that.”
Part of this could be out of frustration, but he is right. If the American League didn't have the DH rule, this wouldn't be an issue. But they do, and their pitchers aren't used to doing batting activities.

Pitchers should be able to run around the bases without injury, but they don't have to in the American League.

My endorsement for Wang's replacement

Who needs a fat, expensive lefty (C.C. Sabathia) when we can get a fat righty for dirt cheap?

Wang out at least 10 weeks

Worse-case scenario.

Chien-Ming Wang has a mid-foot sprain of the Lisfranc ligament and a partial tear of a tendon in his right foot, according to Peter Abraham. Wang will be on crutches and his foot will be in a protective boot for at least six weeks. Add on rehab time and we're looking at at least 10 weeks.

This is the same injury that Brian Bruney suffered earlier this season. The injury is usually more of a football injury, so it's strange to see two Yankees pitchers stricken with it.

The Yankees will not need a starter until Saturday. If they're going to make a trade, I can see them waiting for a bit.

10 weeks from today is Aug. 25, and there's absolutely no guarantee he'll be pitching-ready by then.

This is rough. But at least the Astros sold out three straight games because the Yankees came to Houston for the first time.

The calm before the storm

We're still waiting for the official word on Chien-Ming Wang's foot injury. He probably just finished up his MRI and we may not know anything until later today or tomorrow.

The beat writers are probably flying back to New York as we speak, so the only speculation we have is from Tyler Kepner.

What we do know is that he left the ballpark in crutches and his foot was swollen. We know he'll be out, but the question is, how long?

Wang injury speculation

The amateur doctors are out in full force tonight (and early this morning).

According to Tyler Kepner of the Times, Chien-Ming Wang told teammates that he felt a pop in his foot, almost certainly meaning ligament damage that could the right-hander's season in jeopardy.

The injury is to the top of Wang’s foot, the same general area that reliever Brian Bruney injured when he tripped while covering first base in April. Bruney was found to have a Lisfranc injury and is expected to miss a minimum of three months.

Wang has symptoms of the same injury, including swelling and the inability to bear weight on the foot; he left Minute Maid Park on crutches, in a soft cast. Bruney’s injury was in the middle of the foot, and Wang’s is believed to be in the webbing of his toes, between his big toe and second toe.

“I feel sore,” Wang said in a statement to the Yankees’ media relations director, Jason Zillo. “The doctor says I have to go to get an M.R.I. tomorrow. Of course I’m disappointed.”
With the off-day, we may not hear anything from the team regarding Wang's MRI until Tuesday.

Depending on how severe the injury is, it'll be interesting to see how the Yankees react. Wang will at least miss his next start. People are suggesting a trade for C.C. Sabathia (I don't see that happening). There will certainly be a call-up from the minors (Ian Kennedy, Jeff Karstens and Kei Igawa are the more Major League-ready). Dan Giese could possibly make a spot start or two.

This injury couldn't have come at a worse time. Wang was starting to rebound from a rough couple of week and the Yankees have finally gotten over their fear of getting two games over .500. All we can do now is hope the injury isn't a severe as Kepner suggests it is.

Sunday, June 15, 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
44-28
--
Tampa Bay Rays
40-29
2.5
New York Yankees
37-33
6.0
Baltimore Orioles
34-34
8.0
Toronto Blue Jays
35-36
8.5

Wild Card
Tampa Bay Rays
40-29
--
Oakland Athletics
38-31
2.0
New York Yankees
37-33 3.5
Baltimore Orioles
34-34
5.5
Texas Rangers
35-36
6.0
Toronto Blue Jays
35-36
6.0
Minnesota Twins
34-37
6.5
Cleveland Indians
33-37
7.5
Detroit Tigers
32-37
8.0
Kansas City Royals
28-42
12.5
Seattle Mariners
24-45
16.0

Since the last look at the standings, the Yankees went 5-2. They gained a half-game in the AL East standings and gained 1.5 games in the Wild Card standings.

Girardi: Sprained foot

Manager Joe Girardi said that Chien-Ming Wang sprained the top of his right foot and will go for an MRI tomorrow in New York.

There is no concern regarding the Achilles tendon, as Peter Abraham speculated earlier.

Kim Jones drew a parallel to Brian Bruney's foot injury, and Girardi said that they'll find out more once the MRI is done tomorrow.

Wang is in a soft cast with crutches and was able to put a little weight on his foot. He has not gone for X-rays because there are no X-ray facilities in the ballpark.

It's a shame that a great road trip had to end like that, but the Yankees have now won four games in a row and stand at 37-33.

The extent of the injury will be found out tomorrow. Until then, let's try to enjoy the victory.

Cano had a busy eighth inning

Yahoo! Sports had some fun with this afternoon's game. Apparently the Yankees pushed across 26 runs and recorded 30 hits through 7 1/2 innings.

Let's take a look at what Robinson Cano did in the eighth inning:

In the Yankees' 16-run sixth inning, Cano hit two home runs and also hit an RBI single that scored himself.

That's incredible! Maybe he's not having such a bad year after all. It's also pretty funny that LaTroy Hawkins was listed as the pitcher for all of this as well.

The box score also has Johnny Damon going 6-for-10, Derek Jeter 4-for-8 with four RBI and Alex Rodriguez 4-for-8 with six RBI. Melky Cabrera went 0-for-10. That'll kill the batting average.

In reality, the Yankees won 13-0 and swept the Houston Astros. However, we're still waiting on Chien-Ming Wang's injury update. When I hear anything, I'll pass it along.

By the way, Yahoo! said that the two home runs hit last night (Rodriguez and Carlos Lee) were of the inside the park variety. Not a good weekend for them.

Enough of Interleague Play

I've always enjoyed Interleague Play for some reason. I've enjoyed watching the Yankees travel to new places. I enjoyed watched new faces play the Yankees for a few days.

Never again.

Subway Series? It's bored me since 2000.

Yankees/Pirates? This isn't 1960.

Yankees/Brewers? They should boycott them for leaving the American League.

Yankees/Dodgers? They left New York, therefore they hate America.

The Yankees, as well as every other American League team, should not be put at a disadvantage during the regular season. Their pitchers aren't used to batting and running the bases like the National League pitchers are. They shouldn't have to change their routines and training schedules to take batting practice while they're trying to prepare to face new hitters.

Enough is enough. They Yankees face the Mets as much as they face some of their other American League opponents. Is that fair? Didn't think so.

Did I mention I hate the National League?

Chien-Ming Wang is injured after running the bases. This is exactly what the Yankees need after getting to three games above .500.

Something needs to be done about this. This isn't fair for American League teams to have to have their pitchers run the bases when they aren't used to it.

Note to the YES Network: It's not so cute when the pitchers are taking batting practice now, isn't it?

The Yankees are winning 11-0 right now, and I'm not the least bit happy about it.

Game 70 Preview: Yankees at Astros

New York Yankees (36-33)
Houston Astros (33-36)
Johnny Damon CF
Hunter Pence RF
Derek Jeter SS
Darin Erstad 1B
Hideki Matsui LF
Miguel Tejada SS
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Carlos Lee LF
Jason Giambi 1B
Geoff Blum 3B
Jorge Posada C
Mark Loretta 2B
Robinson Cano 2B
Michael Bourn CF
Melky Cabrera RF
Brad Ausmus C
Chien-Ming Wang P
Roy Oswalt P

Chien-Ming Wang (7-2, 4.30 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (5-6, 5.06 ERA)

Time: 2:05 p.m.
TV: YES
Radio: WCBS-AM 880, XM Radio Channel 176

Yankees vs. Oswalt
  • Jeter: 0-1
  • Rodriguez: 3-5, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Giambi: 0-1
Astros vs. Wang
  • Erstad: 1-3
  • Tejada: 9-23, 4 RBI
  • Loretta: 7-16, 3 2B
Pregame concerns: Last time Oswalt started against the Yankees, they were no-hit in the six-pitcher combined no-hitter. ... Cabrera is starting in right field as Bobby Abreu is given the day off.

Happy Father's Day

Just wanted to wish all the fathers out there a Happy Father's Day.

Hopefully the Yankees will honor their fathers with a sweep of the Astros later this afternoon.

Moose wins 10, Yankees get to three over

Mike Mussina got off to an inauspicious start, to borrow a line from Michael Kay. After the first inning, he was trailing 3-0. This could have been worse if the Astros didn't record another out on the basepaths in the inning.

However, he was able to limit the damage to only that and eventually turned in the definition of a quality start (three runs in six innings). He also struck out four batters.

He is now 10-4 on the season, one year removed from winning 11 games and not recording his 10th win until Sept. 18.

Simply remarkable.

The Yankees have now won three straight and eight of their last 11 to reach their high point of the season thus far (three games above .500 at 36-33).

Other positives: Melky Cabrera, who had one hit in his last 21 at-bats, went 2-2 with three walks and two RBI tonight. Robinson Cano had a pinch-hit RBI single to give the Yankees an insurance run. Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless inning. By the way, he has a 3.11 ERA on the road, compared to a 5.14 ERA at home. Just some food for thought.

Chien-Ming Wang and Roy Oswalt will square off in a Father's Day matinee as the Yankees look for a sweep.

(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)