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You are currently viewing archive for May 2006.

Posted by: James
... you sicken us all."

Don't get annoyed just yet, that's just the teaser on ESPN's main page for this article on A-Rod's clutchosity by DJ Gallo. It's actually a pretty humorous satire on some of the arguments made against Rodriguez and worth the minute a lot of the

My favorite part:

His blast would prove to be the game winner because the Red Sox stormed back to make the final score 7-5, but A-Rod hitting a home run when his team already has the lead? Classic A-Rod. Or should I say A-Fraud. (Get it? I changed the Rod part to Fraud. It rhymes and everything.)

Thursday, no game: A scheduled off day. Typical A-Fraud -- the Yankees manage to win back-to-back games against the Red Sox and he needs a day off. Pathetic.

What can I say, I'm easy to please.
Posted by: James
For Mets fans, Yankees fans and just people who have rooted for Doc, this interview in Newsday with Gooden is just sad to read.

He spent 10 days in that one-man cell, never permitted to go outside. He had no contact with his family. He would tell time only by when he was fed.

"I still haven't recovered from that," Gooden said. "That was torture. It was like you're an animal. It was horrible." ...

Gooden was transferred to Gainesville on April 27, not a country club but more humane. The campus of one-story, red and white cement buildings does not look like the penitentiaries portrayed in movies other than the high barbed-wire fences surrounding it. In an unbelievable twist, it is the same prison that once housed Darryl Strawberry, Gooden's longtime teammate. ...

Gooden could be released as early as November. He is unsure what he will do when he gets out. His first priority is reconnecting with his children and repairing some of the damage he's done. Before his relapse, George Steinbrenner had spoken with Gooden about returning to his role as a special assistant with the Yankees once his probation officer said it was OK. After his latest embarrassment, Gooden said he would not even ask Steinbrenner for a job.

"I respect him too much to go back to him and ask for a job after all this stuff has gone on," he said.
Posted by: Patrick has an interview with Robinson Cano:

On Derek Jeter's impact

My first experience was when I did [a TV] interview with my shades on. Jeter told me, "Next time don't do that. People will think you're cocky." This year he told me to remember that no one is secure in this game. He said, "I have to keep working too. Nothing is certain."

On his nicknames

They call me Ray Charles because they say I've got a big smile like him. And Jeter doesn't call me Canó; he calls me Canoe.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
Yankees shut down Sheffield:

"I don't know what's going on," Sheffield said. "I felt like it was getting better, but it's in a different spot now. It's right on the wrist, right on the bone. It's really painful. ...

"I thought it was nothing, but as soon as I came back today, I couldn't even swing a bat," Sheffield said. "I just played in the game. I don't know what's going on. I don't know what to tell you."

That doesn't sound too good.
Posted by: Jason
"You didn't get me down, Ray."
-Robert De Niro, "Raging Bull"

In his last start, Randy Johnson showed his first signs of life in more than a month by striking out 8 and battling through 5 complete innings against Boston.

In today's matinee start, he took a substantial step toward restoring the confidence of the Yankee universe. RJ was a only few degrees short of perfection as the veteran southpaw dominated a good Detroit lineup. His fastball was improved (recall Ivan Rodriguez blown away swinging in the 4th) and the trademark slider cruelly sliced down-and-in on righties like, well, a Randy Johnson slider!!

Yankees offensive highlights included 2 runs in the 3rd on hits by Robinson, Melky and John Damon. In the 5th, Alex plated Sheffield with a characteristically non-clutch line drive with 2 outs. Did you catch his little bat flip as he left the box? MVP swagger in the face of unjustified criticism...I applaud it and I demand more, Alex. Posada followed with a broken bat RBI to finish the scoring at 4-0.

(Joe Torre lineup criticism du jour: The decision to DH Terrence Long was mind-boggling).

The bullpen was excellent: Torre inserted Villone in the 7th and he shut down the Tigers for 2 innings. In the 9th, Farnsworth did what he does best, that is, push hitters around with his fastball.

The overarching story of this game was the resurgence of RJ. His no-hit bid was unfortunately halted by Pudge Rodriguez (or perhaps Rodriguez's little brother?) in the 6th. One more hit in the 7th ended his stellar outing.

Clearly, major questions hang over Johnson. A warning: Remember that as a boxer gets older, his knockout power remains intact. Underestimate him and the doctor will be breaking the smelling salts under your nose.
Posted by: Patrick
Over at our sister site,, we've added a box in the homepage that will be dedicated to counting down until Mo reaches the magical number of 400 saves. If he continues on the pace he's on now, he'll end up with 37 saves this year, which will give him 416 career saves.
Posted by: David
The Yankees got off to a great start by scoring five runs in the first inning. Johnny Damon led off with a home run off Runelvys Hernandez. The Yankees kept on their hitting shoes and scored four more in the inning highlighted by a two run single from A-Rod. The last run of the inning was the result of great baserunning by Melky Cabrera and a great send from third base coach Larry Bowa. Cabrera was on first when Terrence Long hit a drive to right which bounced off the fence. Cabrera picked up Bowa as he headed to third and since the throw came into second and not the cut off man at first Bowa sent Cabrera and he scored for the fifth run of the inning.

The Yankees added a single run in the second to take a commanding 6-0 lead. However, the KC bullpen pitched great and only faced the minimum amount of batters the rest of the way. They got back into the game as Wright tired and left with the Yankees leading 6-3. Scott Proctor entered and is still not right - he gave up two runs, one scoring when Farnsworth relieved him and gave up a run scoring single to Emil Brown on a hanging slider.

Farnsworth gathered himself in the eighth and pitched a perfect inning. It all led up to Rivera who had a chance for his 390th career save. He entered in the ninth and did not disappoint the sellout crowd. He retired KC in order and preserved the victory for Jaret Wright and the Yankees.

The Yankees now head to Detroit who currently has the best record in MLB. Tomorrow afternoon on Memorial Day, Randy Johnson goes against Jeremy Bonderman in a 1 pm start. Johnson was a little better last outing but still can't get past five innings and at least five runs.
Posted by: Patrick's toy section (Toys 'R is having some clearance deals including some on current Yankee figurines, for those interested:

MLB Series 12 Figure: Mike Mussina #35 New York Yankees Pitcher Grey Jersey - $5.29 plus tax.
MLB Boxed 3 Pack Toys 'R Us Exclusive - Yankees - $9.98 plus tax.

Shipping is free.

The second pack - a 3 pack - includes Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Hideki Matsui. I actually have the Moose figure as I just bought it recently because they ran this promotion awhile back. It's pretty neat although his eyes are a little funky. :)

If you were a big Alfonso Soriano, then you might want MLB Series 8 Figure: Alfonso Soriano with Gray Yankees Jersey, which is $5.29 plus tax shipped.

Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees bounced back from Friday's poor bullpen showing yesterday as the Yankees defeated the Royals by a score of 15-4 thanks to some solid hitting all around the lineup and a good performance from Chien-Ming Wang although he did eventually allow four runs in 7 innings. Ron Villone and Scott Erickson each pitched a scoreless inning. Kelly Stinnett's bat finally woke up, going 3-4 with a double, a home run and 4 RBI. The win keeps the Yankees within two games of the Red Sox for the A.L. East lead.

Alex Rodriguez was 2-3 with two walks and two homers. He's now got 13 home runs (7th in the A.L.), 39 RBI (6th in the A.L.), and he has raised his average to a respectable .291. However, yesterday's home runs don't count because they were hit against the Royals with the Yankees way ahead. Ugh, why can't he just hit 50 "clutch" home runs, all against first place teams like every other great player does!?

On another note, what usually gets lost in blowout games like these where the winning team scores a lot of runs is the performance of the pitching staff. Wang gave up four runs, but he pitched 5 shutout innings before he started to have to wait a half hour between innings and allowed two runs each in the 5th and 6th. Ron Villone was great again, striking out two in the 8th and lowering his E.R.A. to 1.83.

Today the Yankees will send Jaret Wright to the mound to face Runelvys Hernandez. Wright comes in with a record of 2-3 but has pitched well lately. Hopefully the Yankees can take two of three in this series before heading into Detroit for a tough four-game set.
Posted by: Patrick
Sheffield plans to play two more years:

Veteran Yankees slugger Gary Sheffield said on Saturday he plans to play two more seasons after this one and then retire from baseball. ...

"I'm playing for the love of the game now and I need two years to do that. I feel like I never really looked around and paid attention to things on my right or my left. And now it's time to pay attention to things I never paid attention to." ...

"Getting closer to the fans, letting people in a little bit more," said Sheffield, who gave a big wave and wide smile to a small group of fans who had gathered outside Yankee Stadium at about noon on Saturday. "I can't sit there as Mr. Laugh on the field because I don't feel I can smile too much on the baseball field and get the job done. That's just not my personality."

Personally, I love Sheff. Love watching him. Great player. He has a certain swagger. As Seamus once said, "he's like somebody who will pummel someone into the ground for you." Plus, if Alex says you're the Yankee he'd want up when you are backed into a corner, that has to mean something. :)

He's getting up there in years, but I don't really have any problems with him being a full time player for the next two years with the Yankees. We could do a lot worse. That should be just about the time he needs to get to 500 homers, as well. He's a decent defender and I'd look for him to get more DH time in 2008. Not too much time, though, because we'll still have Giambi (what is likely to be the final year of his contract). But, in the end, I'm all for him finishing up his career with the Yankees. Plus, there will be less controversy around him if we all know when he's going to hang them up. i.e., in 2008, there won't be contract issues because everyone knows that it is his last year. Unless, of course, he changes his mind. Which is a possibility. :)
Posted by: James
Oh my!

Phil Hughes had a pretty effective start last night against Binghampton Mets. He went six very strong innings before faltering a little bit in the seventh. He left the game with two runners on base and having given up 1 earned run in 6 innings. T.J. Beam allowed both runners to score bringing Hughes' final line to 8 hits, 3 ER, 1 BB and 7 Ks in 6.3 innings. I'm very happy to see the walks come down and the strikeouts rack back up and the K:BB ratio is down to 25:10 (for the season - 29.3 innings),

Over In Columbus, Darrell Rasner continued his string of good starts, getting the win last night by going 6.6 strong innings. He's putting up very good numbers at AAA using his Tiger Wang style, i.e. lots of groundballs and the occasional strikeout. In other news, Kevin Thompson is back in the lineup and he's responded well, hitting a home run and knocking in two. Give the man a couple of days to get back in the swing of things and get him up here for Terrence Long. I say this because a Thompson usually takes two shots to succeed at a level. Let's get him his first shot now or this year and next year, he'll be ready to go as a great option for an outfield spot. While we're doing that, why not call Rasner up and let him take Erickson or Small's place soon? Let's really get this Columbus shuttle going because right now, they offer the best bang for those roster spots.

05/27: Fun for Hours

Posted by: James
Not really Yankees related but hey, you can have alllll kinds of fun with this one (and if you look at the other ones people have already done, lots of people def. have!).
Posted by: David
After beating the Red Sox two out of three in Boston, the Yankees returned to the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium against the worst team in the majors and possibly the worst team ever and couldn't get it done. They came back from a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead but Scott Proctor gave it right back in the seventh.

The real goat however was Kyle Farnsworth who gave up a two out three run homer to Angel Berroa on a hanging slider to give the Royals a three run lead at 7-4. The Yankees fought back in the eighth when Giambi and A-Rod got on to lead off the inning but the Yankees were only able to score one run. Giambi singled hard to right and A-Rod double up the gap in right center to put runners on second and third with no outs. Robinson Cano then swung at the first pitched and popped up. Bernie Williams grounded out to score Giambi but then Melky Cabrera was retired to end the inning.

After the top of the ninth was played in a downpour, the tarp was put on and an almost two hour delay ensued. In the bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter Terrence Long singled, Johnny Damon flew out for the first out before Derek Jeter walked. Sheffield then singled to center to score Long and push Jeter to third. However, Andrew Sisco got Giambi to ground into a game ending double play.

The Yankees really should be embarrassed to play so poorly against an awful team like KC. The Royals ended a current thirteen game losing streak and had also lost their last fourteen games at the stadium. The game was highlighted by Derek Jeter getting his 2,000th career hit in the fourth when he hit a swinging bunt down the third base line which catcher Paul Bako fielded but threw wildly into the stands. Jeter was credited with a single and took second on the throwing error.

It appears that the confidence of Scott Proctor is really shot. After his terrible performance in Boston, he has become very hittable and his control is suspect. The series resumes this afternoon with Chien Ming-Wang taking the mound for the Yankees.
Posted by: James
That'll put a damper on any good feelings, right? It turns out that Posada's knee problems are a result of a torn tendon in his hamstring.

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada has a torn hamstring tendon in his left knee and will be sidelined at least a few days.

Posada wasn't placed on the disabled list following his MRI exam that revealed the injury, but the club said Thursday that it planned to call up a catcher from the minor leagues on Friday. Posada is scheduled to be evaluated in the next few days.

Did someone on the team kick a black cat? I mean, I know it's a old team...but come on, this is getting ridiculous! Posada is vital part of this team and not having any sort of suitable replacement exacerbates the situation. Hopefully, this turns out not to be a lingering problem but when I hear the words torn and tendon, it nevers seems like an easy injury to recover from.

Update: The NY Post has a more detailed story about the tendon. Here's the highlight:

"Hopefully, we can avoid the DL," Cashman said. "We'll see in the next few days. Jorge said he felt better [yesterday] than he did [Wednesday]. If the swelling and pain don't dissipate, it could be a DL. I can only tell you what I have been told, and it's short term, but I can't define short term."

Working in the Yankees' favor is the tendon isn't a big part of the knee's function.

"It's the one they use for transplants," Cashman said. "It's one you don't need. It's an unusual injury."
Posted by: Patrick
Just some quotes that I felt were worth repeating.

"People who care about the Yankees should be thinking about wins or losses, not just Alex, not one guy," Derek Jeter said. "Alex is a great player; there are lot of great players on this team. For some reason in my 10 years here, we've all gotten booed, myself and Mo and Bernie included." ...

"The thing about Alex is that he believes he should drive in every run, which is unrealistic," Sheffield said. "In a way, he brings it on himself. But the fans who get on him should be thankful they have a player who's that driven. Not many guys care as much as he does."

On some level, the continual need to defend A-Rod gets tiring, doesn't it? I've done it, other bloggers here at YB have, several other bloggers at other sites have. To me, it's all kind of funny. A-Rod is a clean cut professional who plays everyday, produces and is terrific at every aspect of the game, on and off the field.

I think that one thing that we, as fans, should not delve into is defending A-Rod at the cost of other Yankees. For instance, I have heard people say "A-Rod did this, but Jeter did this - why didn't Jeter get criticized?" You don't need to slam Jeter to boost A-Rod, that defeats the purpose. Jeter is a New York legend and rightfully so. So, I think we can safely stay away from that. Back on subject, I've always thought that most of the criticism I have heard of A-Rod was kind of fickle. Make no mistake, we're lucky to have him. There is a reason the Rangers offered him that contract, there is a reason the Red Sox wanted him, there is a reason we wanted him. He's great. Rare great. I mean, don't kid yourself, the Red Sox would be loving - loving - him if they had him. He won the MVP last year for pete sake! Personally, I want him to be a Yankee for life. Give me Jeter and A-Rod on that side of the infield for the rest of their careers and I will be a happy man.

Another funny thing, as I was writing this, I went to look up A-Rod's numbers with RISP, etc. He's hitting .273 with a .397 OBA with RISP. He's hitting .280 with a .455 OBA with RISP and 2 outs. This is what all the hullabaloo (I used that word - nice) is about? So, in other words, with RISP and 2 outs, he only makes an out a bit over half the time. OH MY GOSH, HE'S TERRIBLE! lol. Last year, hit .290 with a .410 with RISP and .302 with a .429 with RISP and 2 outs. That's excellent. So, I'm still looking for numbers I'd truly consider bad. I finally found them, in 2004. He hit .248 with a .346 OBA with RISP and .206 with a .308 with RISP and 2 outs. There we go. But that was 2 years ago. So, I don't know, but I just don't see it.
Posted by: Patrick
Now, I imagine most know that Derek's next hit will be number 2,000. He'll be the 8th Yankee to do so. But, another one to watch for is Mariano's next save, which will be number 390, placing him in a tie for 4th all time in saves with Dennis Eckersley (thanks David).

Looking at their career numbers is a joy - the level of consistency that these two have demonstrated is incredible.
Posted by: James
While they weren't tremendous for the entire series, the Yankees bullpen has, for the most part, performed very well. So when in his latest article, Bill Simmons said mentioned the Yankees pen somewhat disparagingly, I couldn't just let it go at that.

Mike Myers, Scott Erickson, Ron Villone, Colter Bean, Scott Proctor and Kyle Farnsworth.

(I don't even have a joke to add. Just thought I'd list the set-up guys for Mariano Rivera right now.)

Oh, you mean Mike Myers of the 0.93 ERA who struck out David Ortiz last night (.200 BAA), Scott Erickson & Colter Bean - pass - Bean's gone and Erickson soon will be, Ron Villone - 2.04 ERA (.206 BAA), Scott Proctor - 3.16 ERA (.211 BAA), Kyle Farnsworth - 3.66 ERA (.224 BAA). The Yankees relievers have done a better job than most of the pens in the league (3.83 ERA and .711 OPS allowed) and this is with Farnsworth rounding into form and without Octavio Dotel.

Surely you can't be chuckling at the state of the Yankees pen when the current Red Sox bridge to Papelbon reads like this; Keith Foulke (4.62 ERA and .253 BAA), Julian Tavarez (4.26 ERA and .301 BAA), Rudy Seanez (5.82 ERA and .269 BAA) and Mike Timlin (0.96 ERA and .221 BAA). Oh and by the way, every one of those guys outside of Timlin has a SLG allowed of .500 and over. The Red Sox reliever corps has an 3.84 ERA and .762 OPS allowed and that's only due to Papelbon's 23 innings of 0.39 ERA and .345 OPS allowed.
Posted by: Jason
It is a pleasure to write this recap for Add another game to the list of memorable tilts between these AL East powerhouses. That the Yankees took 2 of 3 given their depleted condition is gratifying. In the immortal words of WW: Let's go to the videotape!!!

Top 2: Cano walked and Bernie hit a liner off of Clement. I mean literally off of his leg. Canadian comedy duo Terrence (and Phillip) Long drew a walk(!!) and Kelly took one in the arm to cut the Sox lead to 2-1. Melky pulled an inside pitch to drive in Long and Bernie. "The deuce" (DJ) then drove Kelly in with a wall ball and the Yankees led 4-2.

Bottom 2: Randy Johnson was again disturbingly erratic in the early innings, surrendering a homer to Youkilis to tie the game 4-4. Even though he would surrender one more run, this outing was different for the towering lefty: RJ decided to fight. He made a few strong pitches in the 3rd, 4th and 5th, and clawed his way through 5 complete. Like Jake LaMotta, if RJ must go down this season, he showed us tonight he will go down swinging.

Top 5: After Alex and Robinson both singled, Bernie's single tied the game at 5-5. Terrence (and Phillip) Long's single give the Yanks the lead 6-5. After a wild pitch, Melky's single gave the Yankees the lead (for good) at 8-5.

Just a moment: Melky leading off? Bernie and Terrence Long as back to back offensive machines? Scott Erickson shuts Boston down in the 6th??!?!? Torre is a genius with his lineup and bullpen moves.

(I apologize to my colleagues, all Yankees fans and other Yankees blogs for that offensive joke, forgive me Sensei Kreese.)

Bottom 7: Myers was at his LOOGY best, fanning Ortiz. Scott Proctor threw a little batting practice to Ramirez, 8-6. Thankfully, he regained his composure and erased Varitek and Lowell, thanks to a superior catch in right by Melky.

Bottom 8: Farnsworth on the hill. A breathtaking turn of events beginning with the hit that wasn't. Pena's foul ball did not touch Kelly before shooting foul. The home plate umpire missed the call. Nixon impeaches himself with a popup. Alex Gonzales loops a single on a curve ball: Kyle throws plasma fastballs and he's throwing a curve to a weak hitter? Youkilis K'd and then Loretta drew a patient walk.

Bases loaded for Ortiz. Given that KF had walked Loretta with a ball that was 64 feet high of the strike zone, I was worried. After several fastballs, a Medusa curve turned Ortiz to marble for strike 3. One hopes that delivering under that pressure will strengthen Kyle for the future. Overall, this is why baseball is the best spectator sport.

Bottom 9: Mariano knows that when a hitter is in a groove, some uncomfortable smoke can upset that groove. Result: Ramirez flies harmlessly to Bernie. DJ ended the game with a marvelous, Brett Favre jump throw to first.

Resume breathing. 26 wins, 19 losses.
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees tied this three game series at a game apiece last night, although it turned out to be closer than it should've been, as they defeated the Red Sox by a score of 7-5. The victory brings the Yankees to within a game and a half of Boston for first place. The game was somewhat closer than was probably expected after A-Rod's three run homer that made the score 7-1 in the top of the 7th, but the Red Sox scored three runs in the 7th and one in the 8th to cut the defecit to 7-5. Mariano Rivera was brought in with one out in the 8th and did a superb job, recording five outs to record his 9th save of the season.

Jaret Wright pitched 5 solid scoreless innings, allowing four hits before being pulled after 5 with a "tweak in his groin." Most of the damage done by the Red Sox was at the expense of Scott Proctor, who allowed four runs in an inning and a third, including a monster home run to center by Manny Ramirez. The other run was given up by Kyle Farnsworth, who struggled by walking 3 in an inning pitched.

Manny's showboating in the 7th is a good example of why I cannot stand him.

It was good to see A-Rod's three-run shot become the difference on a day the papers and ESPN were especially destroying him about only hitting when the game doesn't matter anymore. Is it his fault alone that the Yankees were down 8 runs in the 9th last night? It was also good to see Damon wrap one around the Pesky Pole to lead off the game after he's struggled so much in his first few games at his former home.

Randy Johnson and the Yankees will try to take the rubber game of this series tonight as they will face Matt Clement at 7:05 ET. Johnson has struggled lately, but has a good track record as a Yankee against the Red Sox. Let's hope the latter holds up.

05/24: Quick Hits

Posted by: James
Just wanted to throw some things out there and don't have nearly enough time to make a more coherent post, so here goes.

First, John Sickels over at posted a Prospect Smackdown recently comparing two of the best pitching prospects in the minors, Mike Pelfrey of the Mets vs. Phillip Hughes of the Yankees. No new information but it's interesting to see that John's got them very evenly matched even though Hughes is 2 years younger. Both pitchers have dominated A ball this year and have scuffled a little bit in AA (Pelfrey more than Hughes so far). Still, a Mets-Yankees arms race would certainly be fun to watch (probably would have been even more interesting had a certain power lefty not been traded...not to address old wounds but OUCH).

John has also posted a prospect retrospective on Mr. Bernabe Williams Figueroa. I thought it was worth a read just to go back and remember where our borderline HOFer came from. It was certainly interesting to read how much he progressed and how long it was before he finally broke out (at the age of 26 in 1995).

Peter Abraham over at the LoHud Yankees Blog mentioned the following:

Joe Torre said they would bring up a pitcher for the last game of the series. I suspect it will be Ramiro Mendoza, who has pitched well for Columbus. Best of luck, Kevin Reese. They should dump Terrence Long (0 for 8, two balls out of the infield), however.

First off, Amen to the waving bye-bye to Terrence Long. Secondly, the Post is speculating that Matt Smith will be called up rather than Mendoza. Honestly, I don't mind either of the two at this point. I like Smith - he's young (27 in a couple of weeks), he's a lefty, this is his second year of performing well and he can get the K every now and again. With Mendoza, it's not just the nostalgia talking - he's been very good in the minors so far and has even started the last two games (12 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks). I'd love to see what he can do back in the majors again. If he can still pitch, great. If not, what have you really wasted other than innings that would have gone to Scott Erickson or Aaron Small. Heck, it'd be great to see Erickson sent down and Ramiro take that role and if Small continues to struggle, there looks to be a young (25) and seemingly more than serviceable option in AAA just waiting for a shot.

» Read More

Posted by: Jason
Dear Octavio,

Did you watch the game last night?

How's the elbow?

Are you feeling pitbull nasty?
Posted by: Patrick reader Christopher Pesce is our winner. Congratulations to him. He will receive a copy of Birth of a Dynasty by Joel Sherman. Thank you to everyone who entered.
Posted by: James
The following is just a simple before and after of what each batter has done before and after Matsui's injury (5/11/06). I'll be the first to say that this means very little. It's only been a 2 weeks worth of games and everyone goes through their slumps during the season but I thought I'd throw it out there as an illustration of who's been picking up the slack. I gave Damon & Sheffield passes because of the injuries but I'll include them when I revisit this again in a couple of weeks or so. In any case, make of the following whatever you will.

Jeter: Before: .349/.450/.524/.973 with 3 HRs, 27 Runs and 24 RBIs (32 GS and 126 ABs).
After: .348/.388/.522/.909 with 2 HRs, 7 Runs and 8 RBI (11 GS and 46 ABs).

Giambi: Before: .297/.511/.736/1.248 with 12 HRs, 21 Ks and 34 RBIs (31 GS and 91 ABs).
After: .129/.317/.161/.478 with no HRs, 12Ks and 1 RBI (10 GS and 31 ABs).

A-Rod: Before: .269/.389/.479/.868 with 7 HRs and 25 RBIs (32 GS and 119 ABs).
After: .295/.367/.545/.913 with 3 HRs and 7 RBI (11 GS and 44 ABs).

Posada: Before: .286/.402/.449/.851 with 4 HRs and 18 RBIs (26 GS and 98 ABs).
After: .381/.464/.857/1.321 with 3 HRs and 9 RBIs (8 GS and 21 ABs).

Cano: Before: .319/.342/.431/.773 with 2 HRs and 12 RBIs (29 GS and 116 ABs)
After: .279/.319/.326/.645 with no HRs and 6 RBIs (11 GS and 43 ABs)

Bernie: Before: .264/.303/.330/.633 with 1 HR and 12 RBIs (22 GS and 91 ABs).
After: .270/.341/.486/.828 with 1 HR and 6 RBIs (10 GS and 37 ABs).

Thanks to David Pinto's DbD Database for making this information easily accessible.
Posted by: James
Hughes pitched the Thunder to a win last night but didn't perform exceptionally well, going 6 innings while giving up 5 hits and 3 earned runs. He walked 2 and struck out 5. He's still learning as he goes and I'm generally happy with the slow and steady way that the Yankees have treated him so far.

Also, if you want to see the kid sit down and be interviewed, there's a link up at the MiLB site (in the videos section). I was interested to see how he comes across to the media and I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised. While young, he certainly seems to be poised, focused on pitching and intelligent. I especially liked his answer to the point that a lot of Yankees (including Joe Torre) have said that he has the goods, "They're great compliments. It feels good to hear those things but at the same time, I've done nothing at the major-league level."

Also, Sheffield is back and will be in the line-up tonight if his left wrist continues to show no ill effects. Of note in the article is that Sheffield recieved something other than cortisone to reduce the swelling in his wrist. Finally, if you'd like to see how Sheff looked in his rehab start last night, David Pinto over at Baseball Musings has the video.
Posted by: Jason
Chapter One: Innings 1-2: A tight, well pitched affair highlighted by John driving Melky in from 2nd base. (IMO, Melky's walk last Saturday against Wagner was a massive step in his maturation and portends a very good season. Please give him more at bats Joe.)

Chapter Two: Innings 3-8: Wang's troubling inconsistency swerved from inning to inning last night as the Red Sox created an insurmountable lead. The most concerning moment was in the 3rd on an 0-2 count against Ramirez. Jorge wanted a "waste" pitch letter high or higher. Wang threw a meat pitch approx. 18-24 inches lower than Jorge's target, which ended up in the centerfield seats for a 4-1 Red Sox lead. Three innings later, (bottom 6) Wang appeared to toy with Ortiz and Ramirez before putting them away. Puzzling.

Wang and Colter Bean combined to surrender 5 more runs for a 9-1 Sox lead going into:

Chapter Three: The Cruel Tease. I quickly switched back from Jack Bauer being chloroformed by Chinese intelligence and missed Alex's shot fly into the seats by about 15 seconds. Sadly, the remainder of the Yankees offensive output was:

"A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." -Macbeth.

24 wins, 19 losses.

Do not worry excessively over this team. A big offensive weapon will return soon in Sheffield, and I believe that an Aaron Small circa 2005 performance is around the corner from Jaret Wright, who has been solid in his last 3 starts.

Time is not yet short for this season...Cashman's restructuring of the Yankees senior hierarchy (and reduction of backchannels to Mr. S) was widely reported in the offseason. I believe he forced those changes to have better control in a situation like this. In 30-45 days, we'll know if it was effective.
Posted by: Patrick
For all intensive purposes, the 2005-2006 Interviewing the Yankees Blogosphere interview series has come to an end (unless the 2 or 3 other people that didn't get back to me happen to get back to me). So, with that in mind, I just wanted to take a quick look back at all of the people that we interviewed this time around, for your enjoyment (right?):

Alex Belth, Bronx Banter
Steve Lombardi,
Patrick O'Keefe,
Cliff Corcoran, Bronx Banter
Michael Black,
SG, Replacement Level Yankees Weblog
Jennifer Muller,
Seamus Molloy,
Dave Nekoukar, Pride of the Yankees
Sensei John Kreese,
Brian MacMillan, Off the Facade
Posted by: Patrick
I just wanted to mention that the entry deadline for our giveaway is tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1:00 PM Eastern. Get those last minute entries in!

05/22: Chacon to DL

Posted by: Patrick
Notes: Chacon heads to 15-day DL:

Shawn Chacon has not showed as much progress recovering from the hematoma on his left leg as the Yankees thought he would, so the right-hander was placed on the 15-day DL following Sunday's game. ...

Chacon suffered the injury on May 11, taking a Mark Loretta comebacker off his left leg, just below the inside of his knee. Chacon's DL trip was backdated to May 17, making him eligible to return on June 1.

Not good news for my fantasy teams, but I'm glad it's not too long. So many people injured...
Posted by: David
The Yankees had twenty-one baserunners including twelve hits, a few hit batters some walks mixed in but could only manage three runs and lost to the Mets on Sunday night 4-3. They ended up leaving fifteen runners on base and were the victim of three double plays turned by the Mets.

The Yankees took an early 2-0 lead when David Wright could not field a sharp grounder off the bat of Derek Jeter and two runs scored. However, the very next inning the Mets got to Aaron Small and scored four runs on a three run homer from Carlos Delgado and a mammoth solo shot from David Wright.

In the eighth inning the Yankees got the bases loaded with no one out when Miguel Cairo led off and worked a walk, Damon followed with a single and Jeter reached when his bunt attempt was trapped by a diving effort from the Mets pitcher. Jason Giambi hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3 but A-Rod who is not good in the clutch, hit into an inning ending double play.

In the ninth Robinson Cano struck out to lead off the inning, Bernie followed with a bloop single to right and Melky Cabrera bounced one through the hole on the left side to put the tying run in scoring position. Kelly Stinnett struck out for the second out and Miguel Cairo grounded out to end the game.

With all the injuries the Yankees have, A-Rod has to start producing in the clutch, the Yankees really need him. Jeter has been awesome for the whole year. Gary Sheffield took batting practice last night and looked good. He should be sent down for a rehab assignment as early as today and could be back as early as this weekend which is good news for the Yankees lineup.

Tonight the Yankees go on the road to Beantown for a three game stint with the first place Red Sox. Chien Ming-Wang takes the hill against Curt Schilling in the series opener.

05/21: Minor Move

Posted by: James
According to Rotoword, the Yankees have signed Erubiel Durazo. So far, I haven't found a second outlet for verification (never mind - it's all over the web this morning) but if this is the case, I think that this is a pretty astute move. The guy can definitely hit and he is only about 2 years removed from some nice seasons for the A's. Basically, doesn't hit for a high average but gets on base and when he hits it, he hits it hard. Think Giambi-Lite with more injuries...and even worse in the field.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out between Phillips, Durazo & Carlos Pena who has really started hitting down in AAA.

Update: The NYT is now reporting that the Yankees will probably offer contracts outfielder Richard Hidalgo and infielder-outfielder Jason Romano, who are both working out in Tampa. (What is it with Texas Rangers castoff?) Interesting move with Hidalgo who hits for power when he can actually make contact. Still, historically, he's provided very good outfield defense and has a very good arm. I'd be far more excited to see him than Terrence Long who offers nothing on both offense or defense.

It was nice to see Colter Bean get called up and get in an inning. He can now be sent down or be buried in the pen by Joe. ;)
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees mounted their second comeback in less than a week on Saturday, as they scored 4 runs in the 9th to erase a 4-0 defecit against Billy Wagner. Pedro Martinez shut the Yanks down for 7 innings, striking out 8 in 7 innings while allowing no runs on four hits. He outpitched Mussina, but not by much, as Mussina also went seven and gave up two runs on five hits. Mariano Rivera pitched two scoreless innings to record his second win of the season, while Billy Wagner recorded only one out in the Yankees' four-run 9th inning rally.

Jason Giambi started the rally with a leadoff single. Alex Rodriguez walked, and Robinson Cano brought Giambi home with a base hit to center. Wagner then completely lost control, as he walked the next two batters to bring in another run and then hit Bernie Williams to make it 4-3. The Yankees tied the game against Pedro Feliciano when Johnny Damon beat out a double play ball that allowed Melky Cabrera to score. In the 11th, Andy Phillips came up with the big hit, scoring Miguel Cairo with a single.

The Yankees will send Aaron Small to the mound tonight to face Tom Glavine in the rubber game of this three-game set. Small has struggled so far, going 0-1 with an E.R.A. of 8.71 in 10 innings pitched. Hopefully he is more valuable to the Yankees as a starter as some have said, as he will be making his first start tonight.
Posted by: David
Mariano Rivera was tagged with the loss on Friday night when David Wright hit a ball over the head of Johnny Damon in center with runners on first and second and two outs. The pitch got too much of the plate and it was down where Wright could handle it. As a result the Mets beat the Yankees 7-6 and Rivera falls to 1-3 on the season.

The Yankees started out great in the first inning by scoring four runs off of Mets starter Jeremi Gonzales. However, Randy Johnson was ineffective again and gave back three of those runs in the bottom of the first on a home run to Carlos Beltran. The Yankees extended the lead to 5-3 but the Big Unit gave it up again when Xavier Nady homered to right center with one on to tie the game.

The Yankees fought back and scratched a run against Darren Oliver to take the lead at 6-5, but Johnson couldn't hold it. He got the first two outs in the fifth but then the Mets got a runner to second and Kaz Matsui singled him home to tie the score again.

Aaron Heilman pitched three strong innings for the Mets and had the Yankees fooled with his great changeup. Billy Wagner struck out the side in the top of the ninth and was credited with the win.

Tomorrow afternoon the series resumes on national television with Mike Mussina vs. Pedro Martinez.

05/19: Surprise!

Posted by: James
Carl Pavano - out for the year.

Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano will need surgery for a bone chip above his right elbow, an injury that could finish his 2006 season before it ever started.

Pavano, who has not pitched in the major leagues since June 27 because of a variety of injuries, left a rehab start for Double-A Trenton after only nine pitches Wednesday because of forearm soreness. Tests Thursday revealed the latest injury, and Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., will operate next week.

Is there any way we can just cut the guy lose and perhaps get some insurance money or perhaps a bag of balls? Seriously...Worst. Signing. Ever.

Oh, and in case that wasn't enough injury news, Jorge Posada left the game tonight after that first 1½ innings with tightness in his upper back (back injuries don't usually heal quickly either). They think this is a result of the collision at home plate with Mark Teixeira the other night.

Hat tip to singledd over at Bronx Banter for the tip.
Posted by: James
The Yankees have placed Bubba Crosby on the DL and brought up Mitch Jones as his replacement.

Honestly, my first instinct is to say that this is a mistake, just like bringing up Erickson was a mistake. You're bringing up the wrong player and in both cases, the exact opposite of the player that you need right now.

With Jones, you're bringing up a player (no longer a prospect at age 28) who has mediocre plate discipline and has struggled to even make contact in the minor leagues. In his defense, Jones does drive the ball when he does hit it and over the course of his minor-league career, 50% of the hits he has have been of the extra base variety (48% at AAA). However, do you really think that major league pitchers aren't going to be feasting on this guy? He might get a few XBHs every now and again when he guesses right but other than that, I see a lot of Ks in his future.

Secondly, Steve Lombardi puts it best. 'In the OF, he plays like a 1B." Is that what we need on the team right now? When Damon and Jones share the outfield, he now has to compensate for the range limitations of Jones. Who knows, that added stress might be the straw that busts that hurt foot of Damon. Granted, this is just speculation on my part but I don't think it is very far-fetched. Why even risk it? Mitch Jones just isn't what was needed at this time. Kevin Thompson would have fit the bit quite a bit better. Thompson's speed could have helped him beat out a few grounders, kick up the Yankees running game and also get a few more balls in the outfield. Wouldn't that have made more sense or is that just me?

That being said, I hope Jones can channel Shane Spencer for a week or two.

Credit to Steve L. for the link.
Posted by: Patrick
Our final interview (unless one of the others I e-mailed that hasn't got back to me happens to do so) is with Alex Belth of Bronx Banter. He's also the author of Stepping Up: The Story of All-Star Curt Flood and His Fight for Baseball Players' Rights. Alex was the first Yankees blogger that I recall reading much of. Without further ado...

When you're not blogging about the Yankees, thinking about the Yankees, talking about the Yankees, reading about the Yankees or watching the Yankees, what are you doing?

That doesn't leave too much spare time, does it? This spring I've been consumed with promoting my first book, "Stepping Up," the first ever biography of the late Curt Flood. Other than that, first and foremost, I'm spending time with my girlfriend, who, as fate would have it, watches the games with me and loves the Yankees. Go figure that. I would have never expected something like that to happen. If we're not watching ball games, then we are watching cooking shows (Jacques Pepin and "America's Test Kitchen" being our favorites) or movies. I used to work in the film business so I still get a lot of pleasure from watching movies, but I generally catch up on what's going on during the off-season. I also listen to a lot music, too. I also used to DJ some and although I don't buy records like I used to - that budget has been diverted to the baseball book fund - I still check in with my boys in the record scene to hear what's what these days.

I've found myself going to museums and art galleries regularly this year after a long layoff. I grew up drawing and painting and was very serious about it. Writing about sports has been the bulk of my creative output over the past four years which hasn't left much time for the fine arts. And part of me just doesn't want to even go and look at anything in fear that I'll be so inspired that I'll be depressed ‘cause I'm not drawing or painting right now. But, I'm getting over myself and realize that no matter what I'm doing creatively, it's important to be open to all kinds of creative arts, because they all inform you and keep your mind active.

Mostly though, I spend my downtime cooking, thinking about what I want to cook, reading cook books and shopping around Manhattan for the freshest and cheapest ingredients I can find (and sometimes, I indulge by buying one or seven expensive items, too).

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Posted by: James
I'm at work so I doubt I'll be able to make a long post regarding the game so feel free to chime in on the comments if you see something exciting/annoying/etc.

-I'll start: WHY ON EARTH is Bernie in CF today? I don't have a problem with his being in the lineup - with the Yankees depth being what it is, it's understandable. However, if you're gonna run Bubba Crosby out there as well, why not put Bubba in CF and Bernie in left (or right for that matter - anywhere but center). Bubba is the best fielding outfielder on the roster so why not actually use him where it provides the most leverage!?! This absolutely drives me nuts (of course, having said that, Bernie will make a game saving catch and the local papers will laud Joe for his brilliance :)).
(Top of the third:) What was that I said about Bernie? ;) as he makes a very nice sliding catch.

-Regardless of what Jaret did against the hapless A's, I remain deathly afraid of some sort of implosion whenever he takes the hill.
(Bottom of the fourth:) Well, shut my mouth! He's pitching pretty well so far - 4 IP, 2 H, 40 pitches!
(Bottom of the fifth:) Not too shabby once again as he pitched out of a two on, no out jam - 5 IP, 4 H, 2 K, 58 pitches - get this man some RUNS!
(Bottom of the seventh:) The only guys who hit him all game hit him again - Mench with a single & Wilkerson with a home run, 2-0 Texas. Wright's final line is still encouraging: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 K, 82 pitches (62% strikes) and an ERA under 5 for the first time in a while.

-ARRGGHHH!!! It looks like Bubba is hurt - I can't see the play so if someone has the game on, let me know how bad it looks. Also, if Bubba is out for a while, bring up Kevin Thompson immediately as Kevin Reese is not going to cut it. Vote NO on Terrence Long!
(Top of the sixth:) I bet KT makes that play ;) as Reese misplays a Texiera fly into a 2 base error.
(Top of the seventh:) Still no word on Bubba other than it looks like it could be a groin pull.

-After a Wright HBP, Torre brings on Erickson and I'll start right here by saying I'm not a fan. I can understand Joe wanting to see what he has in Erickson. I just don't like bringing up a washed up veteran when there are other options for the bullpen (ex. Matt Smith). A Cano miscue allows 2 more runs (only one charged to Wright) to score before Erickson gets Young & Nevin out - 4-0 Texas.

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05/18: Quick Facts

Posted by: James
Here are a few things from today's Press Pass that I thought were interesting (any emphasis added is mine). If you haven't checked out these daily Press Passes, you're missing out as they are chock full of interesting information. See Page 2 for the Yankees' winning percentages in various situations (both this year and last) and Page 3 for a HR breakdown for each player as well as all the lineups (both offensive & defensive) used this year.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tuesday’s 14-13 victory vs. Texas—in which the Yankees tied the franchise record for the largest deficit overcome in a game (nine runs)—was the highest scoring one-run game in Yankee Stadium history.
-The Yankees have now overcome a nine-run deficit four times in their 104-year history (also on 4/18/50 at Boston; 7/25/53 at Detroit; and 6/26/87 vs.Boston).
-Tuesday’s win marked the first time in Major-League history that a team won a game that it trailed by nine or more runs with a walk-off homer.

Since falling to 11-19 on 5/6/05, the Yankees are 107-63 and have the best winning percentage (.627) of any team in the Majors.

Point: The Yankees lead the American League with 13 sacrifice bunts this season...
Counterpoint: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees lead the Major Leagues with 14 home runs with at least two men on base (12 three-run home runs, two grand slams).

The Yankees have made 15 errors in their last 10 games after making only 10 in the first 28 games of the season.

The Yankees are 19-6 this season in games in which their starter pitches at least 6 innings.

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Posted by: Jason
As the YES logo swept across the screen at 7PM, I was a bit worried. Last night seemed:

a) Anticlimactic after Tuesday's victory, and
b) A perfect time for the Yanks to have the "emotional" letdown following a rare, thrilling game like yesterday.

Thankfully, another solidly above average performance by "Tiger" Wang (Sadly, I believe that nickname is taken on these shores) combined with key at-bats allowed the Yanks to gain a share of first place and pull to 8 games over .500 at 23-15.

Interesting points:

The Yanks broke a 1-1 tie open in the 5th, beginning with an opposite field double by Jason Giambi, who like Edmond Dantes, a.k.a. The Count of Monte Cristo, has returned from turmoil that had apparently ended his career to wreak havoc. Don Mattingly (on principle, I will never call him "Donnie") must be delighted to see JG hit the ball the opposite way with authority, as are we all.

JG's hit was followed by Alex reaching on an error, and then three singles by Posada, Cano and the man taking "The Journey Within."

By the way...Posada also drove DJ in for the first run earlier in the game...does anyone recall the "Let's pull the trigger and sign Piazza" crowd last offseason?

Also notable were the 3 errors by Cano (2) and Andy Phillips last night.

We might question Joe's decision to leave Wang in the game after he gave up a 2 run HR to Mathews Jr. that appeared to just glance the top of the wall in right. Wang thankfully remained relaxed, and Mariano made no mistakes in a strong 9th.

The Yanks go for the series win today at 1PM with Jaret Wright, who is showing signs of life.
Posted by: James
But Carl Pavano only pitched one inning in his rehab stint at Trenton tonight. I don't know the specifics of what happened just yet...but with Pavano, you'll forgive me if I'm just a little pessimistic. Honestly, would anyone be surprised at this point if he slipped on some wet grass on the way to the mound and broke something? I know I wouldn't...

Update: Pavano reported tightness in his right triceps and will be evaluated Thursday at Yankee Stadium by team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon.
Posted by: James
Not Jackson, mind you.

Tom Verducci has a very interesting look at Randy Johnson and his continuing problems over at While somewhat inconsistent with Will Carroll's take (that Randy has a bum knee), Verducci makes some good, reasoned arguments about Johnson and what he is facing.

The Yankees may like to think of that kind of trouble as a mechanical flaw, but it's more related to physiology and age. Johnson knows he has to stay on top of the ball -- just as he knows he has to keep his front shoulder closed and not let it fly open toward third base, as happens often now. It's not a secret. But his body isn't allowing him to do it consistently. Think of a senior golfer. Same basic swing, but because of age, the repeatability of the swing is diminished. The ability to repeat mechanics is the key to a pitcher's command.

This is not a matter of a few bad starts. Johnson and the Yankees are staring at a trend, just as Tom Glavine was last year when he reinvented himself by throwing more curveballs and by throwing his changeup on the inside corner to right-handers. Both developments allowed Glavine to reestablish his money pitches, the sinking fastball and changeup off the outside corner.

Mike Celizic over at MSNBC has the same type of story up and reiterates the point that Randy no longer has the same stuff that he once did. That's not to say that he can't become a very good pitcher again (see Mike Mussina/Greg Maddux/Tom Glavine). Of course, Johnson is a completely different animal...and it will interesting (to say the least) to see how he deals with this, the signs of his own mortality (pretty gloomy, huh?).
Posted by: Seamus
With the way the Yankees' bats looked the previous night, and considering that Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, and Gary Sheffield were out of the lineup, a 9-run defecit seemed a bit out of reach. But the Yanks were not giving up that early, as they inched (ok, I don't know if that's the word) their way back and matched the largest comeback in team history with a 14-13 victory over Texas.

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Posted by: James
That's probably one of the best home runs that I've seen Jorge hit. There's a reason he's on the banner up top. :)

With tonight's win, the Yankees have overcome a 9 run deficit for only the fourth time in their illustrious history.

This would have been a heartbreaker of a loss but now, this can hopefully be the foundation of some good things to come. Thanks for the turnaround Jorgie. Get that ghetto booty around the bases! I've got no real insight right now and a fellow blogger will have the recap up soon but I couldn't help myself... what a game!
Posted by: Patrick
We're giving away a copy of Birth of a Dynasty by Joel Sherman. If you'd like to win, check the rules and put your name in! As simple as that. Good luck.

Just don't expect to win and then be asked to be a blogger here, like James did. hehe. ;)
Posted by: Patrick
We randomly gave away a copy of Birth of a Dynasty by Joel Sherman to reader Christopher Pesce.

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Posted by: James
Phil Hughes' third start for Trenton was somewhat inconsistent. He pitched 5 innings and ended up walking 4 men. Prior to this start, he had only walked three in total in his previous 2 starts and 2 in total in his 5 starts at Tampa. He also gave up a solo home run, only the third that he's given up in his professional career (he gave up the second in his last start).

There are still some postives there. Outside of the homerun, Hughes only gave up 2 other hits and did strike out 5 while lowering his AA ERA to 3.71. It'll be interesting to see how he does in his next couple of starts at AA as he continues to make adjustments. Naturally, Yankees fans everywhere watch with baited breath as we would love to see our own version of Francisco Liriano/Cole Hamels/Matt Cain/etc.

T.J. Beam then came in for 4 shutout innings and continued his dominating work so far this year. He hasn't given up a run since his first appearance of the year on April 7th. If you add in J.B. Cox's relief work this year (1 ER, 10 H, 5 BB, 14 K in his last 17.3 innings), Trenton has had one heck of a 1-2 punch in the bullpen this year and a promotion to AAA shouldn't be too far off for either player.
Posted by: Jason
Last night's game featured questionable lineup and player moves, offensive atrophy and a superior performance by Rangers pitcher Kevin Millwood, who looked for my money like the best pitcher the Yankees have faced this year.

The highlights:

1) Bottom 2: Cano, (on third after a single and a strange baserunning play that took him from 1st to 3rd on a fielder's choice) is driven home by Bubba Crosby's single.

2) Bottom 4: Alex hits a 2B that could have been a 3B due to CF Gary Mathews Jr.'s speed. Cano drives him home with a single.

3) Mussina: Ceteris paribus, Mike pitched well enough to win. However, a mini-breakdown in the 5th began with Wilkerson's close eyes/swing bat opposite corner HR. The Rangers tied it 2-2 on a sac fly to Bubba, who made a jumping, turning, spectacular catch.

4) Jim Kaat/Ken Singleton: I understand the announcing weaknesses of these guys and that they are purveyors of the Joe Morgan school of conventional baseball wisdom (manufacturing runs and all that). However, I like them a lot. Kaat's style and pitching insights are great and I would like to play a round of golf with Singleton, because he would likely be relaxed and in good spirits for the entire round...I can't stand uptight people who swear, throw clubs, et al.

5) The irony of my place filled with layers of cigar smoke while the "stop smoking" promos run on YES.

Lowlights (an abridged version):

1) Bernie and Bubba in the lineup? That's an obstacle to the offense.

2) Rangers score 2 to take the lead 4-2, top 8. Jim Kaat (correctly, in my view) sees Guidry's frustration with Farnsworth's pitch selection, i.e., becoming too cute with the slider when his primary weapon is overwhelming gasoline.

3) The Phillips for Giambi substitution is being called "neck stiffness." This is worrisome in that we can't afford 3 sluggers to go on the DL in a 7 day span.

4) Millwood: Excellent performance. Baffled the Yankees most of the night with clinical pitch location.

That's it...21-15.
Posted by: Jason
(Given the cogent analysis below by my colleagues since Thursday's events, please bear with this emotional appeal).

Dear Alex,

The following was written about 2,050 years ago by the Roman orator and statesman Cicero:

Cura nihil aliud nisi ut valeas
-Pay attention to nothing except that you do well.

After your performance on Friday and Saturday, this quote applies to you.

Disregard the media. Forget the vulgar, fickle crowds.
The last 72 hours has given you the opportunity to do what you do well.

All that is required is to let your immense talent take over.
Posted by: David
Chien Ming-Wang and Barry Zito were both pitching great, however Chien Ming-Wang was a little better and was helped by four double play balls during the time he was in. He left after eight with the Yankees leading 1-0 due to an A-Rod homer off of Zito. Bernie Williams connected in the bottom of the eighth off former Yankee Randy Keisler to put the Bombers ahead 2-0.

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth and held on without giving up a run. He got Dan Johnson on a ground ball for the first out, but then walked Scutaro and Ellis followed with a single to right to put runners on first and third with only one out. Mo beared down and got Nick Swisher to bounce to Andy Phillips at first which he turned into a slick game ending double play.

Wang was very impressive from the start, getting most of the outs on the ground and using only 85 pitches in eight innings. The Yankees lineup is not quite as potent with Sheffield and Matsui being absent. They were replaced by Bernie Williams in right and Melky Cabrera in left. However, I look upon this as an opportunity for the Yankees not to have to rely on the home run. They will now have to hit and run, steal bases and move baserunners along with productive outs.

The series resumes tomorrow afternoon with Jaret Wright facing another ex-Yankee in Brad Halsey. Halsey had replaced injured A's pitcher Rich Harden in the rotation. On Sunday afternoon Randy Johnson goes to the mound in a much anticipated start to see if he can straighten himself out after the disastrous outing on Tuesday against Boston.
Posted by: James
Patrick made a comment on the earlier post that "any assemblance of players on the roster is not really going to cause me to bat an eyelash, with near certainty" and I tend to agree with him, to a certain extent. I believe that there is enough on the Yankees 40-man to weather a short-term (month or so) lull in outfield production from two outfielders. If Sheff comes back and plays to his ability, then this becomes less of an issue because nearly all the options (save for Bernie) could probably provide good defense and some could added adequate performances with the bat.

Keep in mind that to this point in the season, Hideki Matsui has only put up an .261/.353/.454/.807 and the Yankees have still won at a .600 clip (they have played better than that recently if you discount the initial 1-4 start) so hopefully, his bat won't be missed as much as most of the the main-stream seem to be insinuating. Also, there are quite a few names on the Yankees staff (Mussina, Proctor, Chacon, Farnsworth, Villone, etc.) who have been flyball pitchers this season and a better, faster outfield defense would certainly help them (I was tempted to throw stronger in there just for the $6 Million Dollar Man reference).

However, it is when you combine the Matsui loss with the Randy Johnson issues, the continued (and absurd) use of Tanyon Sturtze in high-leverage situations (or any situations for that matter) and other questions about the pitching staff that the real problems appear. With Matsui in the lineup, there is always a chance that the Yankees can simply bludgeon their opponents with offense. With him out, the chances of that (as well as 1,000 runs) diminish and the Yankees are forced to rely a little more on their pitching to stay strong and win some games outright. Will that happen? I'm not sure but I think that this will be much more important than the question of how to and who will replace Hideki. Mussina has to remain as good as he's been, Randy Johnson has to revert back to form (or at the very least, be an above average pitcher), Wang has to get some defensive help behind him, etc. etc. In addition, the Yankees can no longer waste roster spots on pitchers who give them negative returns because night after night, the offense simply won't be there to bail them out (I'm looking at you Tanyon - Small and Wright are next on the list).

Winning ballgames will be harder but is certainly doable for a team with the sheer amount of talent that the Yankees have. It will just take a somewhat different approach and hopefully some shrewd maneuvering of the roster by both Torre and Cashman.
Posted by: James
With Damon banged up as well, Steve L. over at WasWatching suggests the following,

The Yankees should move Damon to LF, call up Thompson to play CF, and use Melky Cabrera in RF (until Sheffield returns).

Now, the Yankees have already brought up Kevin Reese so working with what the Yankees have, swap Reese into Bubba's backup spot and play Crosby instead of Thompson so that you go Damon, Crosby, Cabrera across the outfield. Now, this makes a ton of sense to me as it would mitigate the amount of ground that Damon would have to cover which could perhaps help him to heal faster. It would also be a pretty fine defensive outfield, right? Here's a question though, would he be in more of a injury risk playing out of position? (I'm asking for opinions here - I'm not sure how this would play out) Personally, while not ecstatic about that outfield (I'd still like to see Thompson), it does keep Bernie off the field and they wouldn't completely embarass themselves at the plate (esp. if Bubba can show a little flash like last year).

Finally, how long before the old G.O.A.T. Rickey Henderson volunteers to join the Yankees and help out?
Posted by: Patrick
Alex has a nice interview with Joel Sherman, who just wrote a new book on the 1996 Yankees (we'll have a review of it in time).

BB: What did you learn in the process of writing the book that you did not already know? Were there any surprises?

JS: I was surprised many times over, which is why I say that my love of reporting was reinvigorated during the process. Instead of telling you about hundreds of little surprises, let me tell you about a revelation that I hope comes out in the book: Just how cosmically aligned stuff needs to be to win a single championship, much less four in five years. I hope the book does a good job of showing all the areas that the construction of that team could have gone off the rails. The example I have used most to explain the concept is this: The Yankees had the sixth pick in the 1992 draft. That means five teams had a chance to take Derek Jeter. The Astros and Reds had every intention of doing it and didn't, and the Expos almost always drafted the highest-ceiling high school player (which was Jeter), but were scared off by how much players such as Todd Van Poppel and Brien Taylor had received in the recent past. Well, what happens if one of those teams takes Jeter and the Yankees end up drafting Jim Pittsley, which was their alternative? Would it matter how much money they spent after that? It is hard to imagine that there would have been one title, and certainly no chance of conceiving four in five years.
Posted by: Patrick
With his injury, Matsui's consecutive game streak of 518 games (1,768 if you count his Japanese playing career) comes to an end. Didn't want it to pass without mentioning. Very impressive. Sad to see it end so abruptly - and in a manner that will have us missing Matsui for a while.


"We have to take it day by day," Torre said. "Cabrera will play most of the time; Bernie will DH a lot of the time and play some outfield, also. Bubba has certainly given us a reason to play him; he does a lot of good things out there."
Posted by: James
Last night's game was...not good. I'm surprised that the Yankees didn't get blown out as the Red Sox stranded 13 runners over the first six innings. Shawn Chacon pitched into and out of trouble all game, giving up some fly balls that would have been sure homeruns in Coors. Still, the Yankees remained in the lead until Mark Loretta gave Boston the lead. At that point, and I feel bad saying this, but I knew that the game was over. It might have been that Tanyon Sturtze had come into the game at some point (that's the kiss of death for me) but really, all that negative energy had just steamrolled from the first inning when Hideki went down.

X-rays revealed a fractured left wrist, which will require surgery, which to be performed on Friday at Columbia-Presbyterian. Originally, there were optimistic reports but after some time has passed, the news has taken a decidedly negative turn. The consensus seems to be almost 3 months with a few articles positing the loss of a full season. In my mind, even if it is a quick "recovery", it will take a lot longer for Hideki to get back to the point where he can swing a baseball bat with the authority that he used to. Wrist injuries are not trivial, especially for baseball players (see Nick Johnson, Dustin Pedroia, etc.). There's a lot of talk this morning on who the Yankees will try to get with some major names such as Soriano, Torii Hunter, Reggie Sanders, Shannon Stewart, etc.

Cashman has come out and said that he isn't interested in a trade (but at this point, what else can the man say?)

For now, Cashman said, he is not interested in pursuing a trade.

"My hope right now is to make sure we assess what we have first," Cashman said. "If you go out on the trade market, you're going to have to sell from your system right now. Let's see what we have first.

"I don't think, in early May, there's going to be too much that makes sense right now. What makes sense and what's most likely is we're going to fight through it with what we have until circumstances dictate otherwise."

For now, they have brought up Kevin Reese from Triple-A Columbus today. Reese sports a career .281/.345/.448/.793 line in 921 ABs in Columbus and has shown more doubles power than anything else. I don't know much about his defensive ability but I would have rather seen them bring up Kevin Thompson instead as Thompson handles the bat just as well but Thompson adds a lot of speed (he's an excellent basestealer) to the equation. However, I wouldn't doubt that Torre will give Bubba Crosby and Bernie Williams a lot more at bats in the stead of whoever they bring up. Gary Sheffield cannot come back quickly enough.
Posted by: James
Will Carroll gives his take on the Randy Johnson injury situation in his latest installment of Under The Knife.

From the very first pitch, Johnson was not extending, appearing instead to shorten his stride to reduce stress on that damaged front knee. Watch Johnson’s leg--it’s nearly straight. He’ll either “pop up” on his follow-through, getting taller, or rotate to the third base side. Both actions take the energy that normally heads to the plate in a delivery and redirects it. While this is taking some of the pressure off the knee, it’s taking velocity off of the ball, and adding stress to the elbow and rotator cuff. Adding insult to literal injury, Johnson’s changed mechanics are also inconsistent, leading to his newfound control problems. It's notable that his release point seems to change, at least according to the video. Video obtained from scouting sources and then seen through the Dartfish program makes this even clearer. Johnson’s release point is more than inconsistent--it's almost random, adding stress to the shoulder. Fastballs from the normal slider release point and sliders from a higher ¾ point are consistent only in their ineffectiveness.

The key here is the knee. Johnson isn’t complaining about it, but it seems that Johnson is either due for a refill on his Synvisc, or the treatment is no longer effective enough to keep him effective. He’s too crafty and talented to write off without another couple of starts, but you don’t have to be an expert to see when Johnson’s on. You probably saw it last night in your own way, but I’ll give you an easy key--watch the front of his jersey. When it pops out hard, as shown on the cover of “Saving The Pitcher,” Johnson is okay. Surprisingly, the gloveside shoulder seems to be okay, despite previously reported problems.

Will has mentioned this earlier and I commented on it then. Of course, the last few outings would seem to add credence to Carroll's theory. Hopefully, those knees are being considered as a source of the problem and if he's not healthy, put him on the DL. I would rather have a healthy Randy for the second half rather than an inconsistent Randy all year.

There are other interesting points in the article about other players including pointing out that Coco Crisp has been bedridden for several days with an illness and that Carl Pavano will get a start in Double-A Trenton on Friday.

Credit to Dave Pinto from Baseball Musings for the link.
Posted by: James
Just a quick note but outside of Pavano, the most major-league ready option for starting pitching help in the Yankees system right now is Darrell Rasner. He's aquitted himself pretty well to AAA so far and he pitches today for Columbus as they take on the Richmond Braves.

Update: Rasner's day is done and he did well, going 6 innings and giving up 6 hits, 1 earned run while striking out 5 and walking none. He threw 105 pitches.
Posted by: James
Here's an interesting tid-bit...for as good as Ortiz has been, as big a Yankee-killer as he has been in his career, want to know who's been just as good (better, in my oipinion)? A-Rod.

David Ortiz in his career against the Yankees: 74 Games, 274 ABs: .325/.400/.602/1.002 with 17 Hrs and 59 RBIs. 37 BBs, 49 Ks and 1 SB.
-Just with the Red Sox: 56 games, 211 ABs,: .336/.409/.654/1.063 with 16 HRs and 50 RBIs. 28 BBs, 38 Ks and no SBs.

A-Rod against the Yanks: 74 Games, 308 ABs: .347/.398/.692/1.090 with 28 HRs and 72 RBIs. 29 BBs, 58 Ks and 14 SBs.

What does this prove? Nothing. Just like A-Rod's current travails with the Red Sox prove nothing about his worth as a player. He has hit them in the past to a tune of .290/.377/.539 /.916 with 20 HRs and 52 RBIs. But wait, you say, he doesn't hit them when he's with the Yanks. Oh, is that right? .285/.386/.530/.916 with 10 HRs and 21 RBIs would say differently. This is actually somewhat diminished since he started off his Yankees-Red Sox career with a 1-for-17 performance. Take away that those 4 games and voila, .313/.414/.590 /1.004 - MVP numbers.

He has, is and will continue to hit the Red Sox but people will continue to focus on the times that he fails rather than the times that he comes through (including a few moonshots off of self-promoter extrordinaire Curt Schilling). Of course, no one has even mentioned Jeter's numbers against the Sox in the same time period but that's a story for another time and it probably wouldn't matter if they did. The people who keep booing A-Rod are the same folks who were booing Jeter when he started off the 2004 season barely hitting .200, the same people who dared to boo Mariano after he blew a save early last year.

What can A-Rod do? Nothing really. It's simply the burden that he must carry because of
a) the contract that he signed (and I swear that anyone who says that they wouldn't have done the same thing should get a swift boot to the head - you don't pass up a quarter of a BILLION dollars),
b) the fact that he has (somewhat unfairly) become the face for the new Yankees (more than Giambi, Mussina, Johnson, etc.) and
c) he just hasn't had his defining Yankee moment yet.

However, if he keeps hitting to his ability, he'll have his big games against the Red Sox, just like he has in the past. Hopefully, they'll come on a big enough stage that they actually get remembered this time. So, call me an A-Rod apologist but I will continue to root for him whether or not anyone else does...and if A-Rod keeps putting up these numbers, he'll certainly give fans like me even more ammunition.

05/11: Pink Bats

Posted by: Patrick
For charity, Jeter will be swinging a pink bat:

Major League Baseball granted special permission for players to use the colorful bats – baby pink, at that – for Mother's Day. They're part of a weeklong program to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Via Brian.
Posted by: Jason
An extremely satisfying effort from the men in pinstripes last evening. A few interesting developments:

Top 1: Moose serves Ortiz an 88mph BP fastball with Loretta on, 2-0 Sox. However, as would be the case all game, Mike demonstrated trademark composure and immediately struck out Ramirez with an outside fastball. Nixon pops out to end the inning.

Top 2: In an otherwise dominant innning, Moose gives up a mistake to Lowell, 3-0 Sox.

Bottom 2: Bernie's sac fly plates Posada 3-1. Ramirez makes an improbable catch on a John Damon line drive. Highly improbable. Roughly as improbable as Schilling saying the words "no comment."

Top 3: Moose's finest moment...with 2 outs, Ortiz gets a leaking hit from the Yankees' patented "Shift for Ortiz but when he hits it to the right he's somehow safe" shift. Ramirez doubles. Nixon walks to load them. Coolly, Mike ends the inning with a Varitek grounder.

Bottom 3: Like a skilled craftsman, Jeter works Schilling from an 0-2 count to a single the other way. Giambi's bomb to right center ties the game. Is it acceptable for me to say what is creeping into all of our minds re: Jason? It is? Fine: MVP.

Bottom 5: Alex takes Red Light (Jim Fregosi's nickname, not mine) so deep to left that the guys in the first row of the upper deck try to catch the ball. 4-3 Yankees. Say what you want about Alex: I want him to hit 800 in pinstipes. Following a walk by Matsui-san, Posada makes it 6-3 with a moonshot to right.

Bottom 6: After a double by Bernie and a Melky sac bunt, John Damon scores our favorite guitarist from 3rd with a single. Just a moment...the Yankees lead the American League in sac bunts? With the best lineup in the game? I'm no Clay Davenport, but that is confusing.

Top 7: Proctor makes the Sturtze decision easy by blowing some "country hardball" (as Jim Kaat might say) by Ramirez with Ortiz and Loretta on base to end the innning. Ortiz again was the beneficiary of the strange shift described above.

Top 9: Off to never-never land...Mariano is overpowering as the Yankees win their 19th of the season.

Very satisfying.

Posted by: Patrick
Elliott Kalb at FOX Sports names the 10 biggest games/moments of the Torre era, making for a nice look back:

2. 1996 World Series, Game 3: Following two defeats at Yankees Stadium (by a combined score of 16-1), Joe Torre faced a huge game in his career. Torre won this game with his decisions. He ordered rookie Derek Jeter to sacrifice Tim Raines to second base in the first inning. It paid off, as Bernie Williams scored Raines with a base hit. And later in the game, the manager faced an even more crucial decision. Yankees starter David Cone nursed a 2-0 lead through five innings, but Atlanta threatened in the bottom of the sixth. Glavine walked, and Grissom singled. Lemke moved the runners over with a bunt. Chipper Jones walked. The Braves had the bases loaded and one out with the heart of the order (left-handed hitters Fred McGriff and Ryan Klesko) coming up. Torre, who had managed for years in the National League, could have made a double-switch and replaced Cone (due to bat third in the 7th inning). He had lefty Graham Lloyd and reliable Rivera ready in the pen. Instead, Torre let Cone continue to pitch. McGriff popped to short. Klesko walked in a run. Javy Lopez popped to the catcher. Rivera retired the Braves in the seventh. Bernie Williams hit a two-run homer for insurance in the eighth. The Yankees were back in the World Series. ...

4. 1998 A.L.C.S., Game 4: The Yankees won 114 games during the season, but their season could have ended for the second straight season in Cleveland. The Yankees won Game 1 in New York, but the Indians took the next two games. Torre could have panicked, and gone back to ace David Wells (18-4). Wells had beaten the Indians in Game 1, and was at that point 12-3 lifetime against the Tribe. He even offered to pitch on three days rest. Torre refused the offer. Instead, he selected Orlando Hernandez, a 32-year old rookie (and no one believed his age) who had fled Castro's Cuba and had never before pitched in the freezing Cleveland temperatures. "El Duque" shutout the Indians, and pitched the Yankees back into the series.
Posted by: James
Phil Hughes took the mound today after his start last night was rained out. He fared quite a bit better than in his first start at AA Trenton, going 6 innings and striking out 5 while allowing 5 hits and one walk. It's good to see him showing off his spectacular combination of strikeout stuff and precision control.

Also, Baseball America profiled the amazing Jose Tabata. It's a quick read and pretty much summarizes all the stuff Mike A. and I have been spouting about him since the season began. He is definitely one to watch.
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees' pitching staff got knocked around last night as the Red Sox teed off on Randy Johnson, Aaron Small and Tanyon Sturtze en route to a 14-3 victory over the Yankees. The Big Unit was pretty ineffective, giving up 7 runs (only 2 earned, however) and walking five batters in only 3 and 2/3. Aaron Small accounted for 4 runs allowed and Sturtze for the other 3 in the 9th inning. The loss puts the Yankees a game back of the Red Sox for first in the A.L. East.

The only positives for the Yanks last night were Giambi launching his 11th home run of the season and Melky Cabrera going 2-3 with an RBI single in his 2006 Yankees debut. I've got nothing but love for Tanyon Sturtze and Aaron Small, and I've wanted to defend them from the people who say that Torre plays the loyalty cards too much or just uses them too much, but they certainly didn't make it easy for me last night. I guess my best argument for now would be something like "Hey, well wouldn't it be nice to have guys like this around who can eat up meaningless innings?" Still though, I'd give Small a chance as he's just come back from injury and he hasn't gotten enough reps in yet to make that judgement about him (extended spring training doesn't cut it).

Tonight's matchup should hopefully feature better pitching (at least on our side) as Mike Mussina will take the mound against Curt Schilling in a battle of 5-1 pitchers.
Posted by: James
Update: It looks like he'll be starting in RF tonight. Not that it's news to anyone at this point but the Yankees have placed Gary Sheffield on the DL and called up Melky Cabrera. Sheffield's transaction was retroactive to May 6.

Part of me was hoping that the club would call up Kevin Thompson instead. (Actually, I wouldn't have minded Kevin & Melky while sending down Bubba as I doubt there are any teams that would claim Crosby). I would rather have had Melky continue to work on his game at AAA without having to deal with the NY & Colombus transition. Also, not knowing how Torre will use the new guy, I just want to see Melky get solid playing time until a later call up. Yes, I'm aware of how Torre said he would use the call-up but what is said and what will happen might not be the same thing. I still think there might be a chance that Torre will just end up trotting Bubba or Bernie out there. Also, I'm a little worried about the expectations that the general Yankee fan might be placing on Melky due to both his blistering start at AAA. Still, suffice it to say that I wish Cabrera nothing but the best in his latest stint with the big club. Hopefully he sticks this time and the graduation of the younger players from the system becomes a consistent theme for the Yankees.

(Speaking of prospects, Phil Hughes starts tonight for Trenton followed tomorrow by another one of my favorite prospects, Tyler Clippard.)
Posted by: Jason
Most of you heard Al Leiter's bottom line comments on YES during RJ's last start, (I'm paraphrasing) that he can be an effective, but not dominating, pitcher until he wins 300 and hangs up the cleats.

When RJ has been on this year (i.e., last start v. Baltimore) he reminds me of Andy Pettite circa 2000: Murderous on LHB and effective vs. RHB. Ca$hmoney would no doubt gladly accept RJ to settle down and pitch like this from now through October.

And yet: We all recall that start in Fenway late last season, when he did dominate. Remember that he threw a perfect game less than 2 years ago. Did he lose the ability to dominate that quickly, or has time forced him to pick his spots?

I can't escape the feeling that tonight's game will tell us if Clemens is a "nice to have and let's prevent BOS from getting him," or an "absolute must-have."

05/09: 714 or 715?

Posted by: Patrick
Not of any real importance, but interesting anyway:

On July 8, 1918, while playing left field for the Red Sox, Ruth hit a ball into the Fenway stands with Amos (Lightning) Strunk on first in the bottom of the 10th inning against Cleveland. Under baseball's rules at the time, once Strunk scored from first the game was over, the Red Sox won 1-0, and Ruth was credited with a triple. The rule was changed in 1920 so that a home run is a home run no matter when you hit it (unless Todd Pratt tackles you and prevents you from rounding the bases, a la Robin Ventura's "grand single" in 1999).
Posted by: James
Melky Cabrera continues to open eyes in AAA where he was awarded International League Batter-of-the-Week for May 1-7.

Columbus outfielder Melky Cabrera entered this past week hitting .355, and actually managed to raise his average by over 20 points thanks to a stellar six-game stretch. For the week of May 1-7, Cabrera led the International League in hits (11), home runs (3), RBI (8), and slugging percentage (.833), and finished second in batting average (.458). His best effort came Sunday afternoon at Cooper Stadium, going 2-3 with a home run and 3 RBI in a 4-1 Columbus victory. It marked the 14th time this season Cabrera has collected multiple hits in the same game, a major reason why he is second in the IL with a .376 batting average. Melky finds himself at or near the top of the IL in several other offensive categories, including hits (1st, 44), RBI (T-1st, 24), slugging percentage (4th, .564), and on-base percentage (5th, .423).

C.J. Henry has been placed back on the RiverDogs active roster. He had been on the DL since April 17 for precautionary reasons, due to leg tightness.

The outfield trio of Brett Gardner (22 years old, A) Austin Jackson (19, Low A) and Jose Tabata (17, Low A) continue to rake.

Marcos Vechionacci's (19, A) struggles at bat this year have apparently been due to the coaches working to fix some issues with his stance & swing. He's hit a little better recently so this bears watching as the season progresses.

Finally, T.J. Beam (25, AA) & J.B. Cox (21, AA) have been lights out in Trenton so far this season. Beam looks to be experiencing a little bit of good luck as his hits allowed are way down even while his K rate has dropped off quite a bit. Cox's stat line looks just about right based on the numbers he put up in college. The manager also looks to be stretching their arms out a little bit as both have averaged a a little over 2 innings per appearance.
Posted by: Patrick
With Sunday's win, Joe Torre has reached 1,000 wins as manager of the Yankees. He sits fourth on the all time list, behind Miller Huggins (1,067), Casey Stengel (1,149) and Joe McCarthy (1,460).

I met Mr. Torre before the 1996 season (along with Derek Jeter, Jim Leyritz and either Jim "Catfish" Hunter or Ron Guidry, I forget which one) at Yankee Day at the Florida State Fair. He signed a ball for me. I was just 11 at the time and I don't really remember what, if anything, I said. Other than, perhaps "thank you." The only thing I really knew about him was that he had managed the Cardinals and that his career record wasn't that great. I didn't know what to expect. Would he be any good?

Manager's a tough spot. All managers are criticized heavily, even the best of them, even the ones that win the most. That's what being a decision maker buys you and Torre is no exception. But, as I think back through the last 11 years or so, I really would not have wanted any other person. I'm glad we had him and I'll take 4 in the hand over 10 in the bush. Congrats Mr. Torre! And thank you.

Benjamin Kabak, Mark Feinsand and Pride of the Yankees weigh in.

05/08: Free The Bean

Posted by: James
I know that it won't happen...but in light of the ongoing (and amazingly frustrating) Torre-Sturtze lovefest/man-crush/whatever it is, I find myself drawn again to Colter Bean and those tantalizing numbers that he keeps putting up at AAA. I'm certainly not alone on the Bean bandwagon and it turns out there is actually a! Props to Mike Plugh from Canyon of Heroes for finding that one. (apparently, Tanyon Sturtze has a fan site as well!) Oh, and if you look at the latest post at the site, it looks like Mr. Bean is grateful for the support.

Well The Big Righty from 'Bama had some really nice words for yours truly and of course all of the Beaners out there:

"I can now walk away from the game a happy man knowing there are people out there that care. I appreciate everyone who writes in and is supportive. Maybe one of these days I will get a chance (emphasis mine) but if not this website has made all worthwhile."
He added:
"Just tell them I appreciate everything and keep writing and posting stuff."

Way to go, Colter. Keep the great work (0.46 ERA, 19.2 Innings, 12 H, 9 BB & 24 Ks so far this year) and hopefully, you'll get your shot here with the Yankees. However, I think that unless Cashman actually takes away Torre's toy, we won't even see this being considered. Despite several rough (and I'm being kind) outings dating all the way back to last year, Joe simply can't quit Sturtze. Tanyon will probably stay on the roster until Dotel is ready and by then, the Bean window will have closed.

Looking back, if there was ever a year to have given Bean a legit shot to see if he could handle the bigs, last year was the year. With the Yankees pitching situation being what it is this year, it really doesn't look like he'll have an opportunity this year - there's just too much depth. In fact, Scott Erickson or Ramiro Mendoza will probably get a shot before Bean gets another sniff of the major leagues.

Canyon of Heroes summarizes the point nicely.

This is Colter's 4th year in Columbus. He's appeared in a whopping 243 innings in 180 games for the Clippers in 3+ seasons...Bean is 19 and 12 with a 2.53 ERA, and 284 K's. His WHIP is 1.174 during that run of minor league service and, at 29, NEEDS to be in the Majors, either with the Yankees or in some kind of trade for a veteran Major League player.

I refuse to believe that in a league where there are a number of teams in need of bullpen pitching, you can't get something for this guy, if only to reward him for his service to the Clippers and to give him a shot at the show. Free Colter Bean.
Posted by: Jason
Bottom 1st: Give John an ovation that he deserves. Make him step out of the box and acknowledge you. Salute the grand slam. Salute that he is on this team.
Posted by: David
The Yankees made a sweep of it in Arlington on Sunday afternoon by registering an 8-5 victory over the Texas Rangers. The win for Joe Torre is the 1,000th of his Yankee managerial career and now he is only behind Miller Huggins, Casey Stengel and Joe McCarthy for number of career wins as a Yankee manager.

Bernie Williams started off the scoring by hitting an RBI groundout to score the first run. The Yankees added five in the 4th inning highlighted by a three run homer from Hideki Matsui. Kelly Stinnett added a two run single. Bernie Williams also chipped in with two RBI on the day for the Yankees.

Chien Ming-Wang pitched in and out of trouble but left after six innings. Tanyon Sturtze continued to have trouble coming in for the seventh but not being able to retire a single batter. He gave way to Scott Proctor who got the Yankees out of the jam. Texas was able to add another run to make it 8-4 entering the ninth inning.

Even though it was not a save situation Torre didn't want to take any chances and called on Rivera to close the door. He surrendered a leadoff single to Mark DeRosa but he was eliminated on the bases when the next batter, Gerald Laird hit into a double play. Adrian Brown should have been the last out, but Andy Phillips booted his bouncer and he reached first and then eventually second. Michael Young bounced a single up he middle to score an unearned run. Mo got Teixeira to bounce to second to end the game.

With the Red Sox winning the Yankees stay in first place just percentages points ahead of the Red Sox who come to the Bronx starting on Tuesday night for a three game series. Randy Johnson will take the mound for the Yankees against Josh Beckett for Boston.
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees extended their winning streak to four games last night as Shawn Chacon, with some pretty defense from Johnny Damon behind him, pitched a solid 6 and 1/3 as the Yankees defeated the Rangers by a score of 6-1. Jason Giambi hit his 10th homer of the season in the first inning, and Alex Rodriguez blew the door open with a 3-run shot to center in the 6th inning for his 6th homer of the season. Robinson Cano also had two hits as the Yankees kept pace with Boston. The Yankees are currently percentage points ahead in the A.L. East.

Chacon, who is now 4-1, finally got his E.R.A. below 4 but only with some help from Damon, who made a great catch in the 1st inning after losing sight of the ball, which left Phil Nevin and Michael Young stranded to end the inning. Damon made another good catch in the 5th to keep the score tied at 1 before the Yankees lit up the scoreboard for 5 in the 6th. Derek Jeter knocked in Damon with a single and A-Rod went deep after a walk by Giambi to make it 5-1. Bubby Crosby singled in Jorge Posada to cap off a 5-run 6th. The bullpen got the job done last night after a debacle the previous night as Tanyon Sturtze and Scott Proctor combined for 2 and 2/3 scoreless innings. Proctor has allowed only 3 runs so far in 19 and 1/3 innings pitched this season.

The Yankees and Rangers will finish this three game set today at 2 p.m. ET before coming home for a three game series with Boston starting on Tuesday. Chien-Ming Wang will take the mound later today against the Rangers' Robinson Tejeda.
Posted by: David
At the start of the eighth inning it looked as though the Yankees had a laugher on their hands. Mike Mussina was sailing with an 8-1 lead. He surrendered a single to the first batter and was replaced by Aaron Small. Small gave up three hard hits while retiring only one batter and left with the score 8-3. Kyle Farnsworth entered next and was able to strike out Mark Teixeira with the bases loaded for the second out but walked Phil Nevin to make the score 8-4. Rivera replaced Farnsworth and was immediately greeted with a two run single from Hank Blalock and then a RBI single by Kevin Mench to make the score 8-7. Rivera hit Brad Wilkerson with an 0-2 pitch but then retired Rod Barajas on a bouncer near the bag at second which ended the inning. Rivera held on in the ninth with the aid of a slick fielding play from Derek Jeter to save the game.

The Yankees got two runs in the first when Vicente Padilla was wild and threw 39 pitches. A-Rod got an RBI force out and Posada drew a bases loaded walk for the second run. The Rangers came back with a run from a triple by Brad Wilkerson and an RBI groundout from Barajas. The Yankees opened it up with a five run fourth inning which featured a two run single from A-Rod. Jeter added another RBI single later to extend the Yankees lead to 8-1.

Mussina was brilliant through seven innings allowing only two hits and one run, but left after the leadoff single in the eighth. The Yankees bullpen imploded but as stated above got the huge outs when they needed it most. The series resumes tonight with Shawn Chacon on the hill for the Bronx Bombers.
Posted by: Patrick
Last year, on May 5 (05/05/05), launched. So, I wanted to take a moment to make mention of us being one year old and also I wanted to thank David, James, Jason, Seamus and Michael for their efforts which I am very appreciative of in addition to everyone who has been genuinely supportive. We appreciate it.

Thank you for visiting
Posted by: Patrick
Microsoft asked A-Rod what his favorite places were in New York. You can find the results at He only lists one sports venue (Yankee Stadium, which he also places under Landmarks).
Posted by: James
I started thinking about Sterling's home run calls, if only because a couple in particular were annoying the heck out of me, and I tried to remember all of Sterling's bombastic calls for each player. I couldn't get all of them but these are the ones that sprang to mind.

C: Jorge Posada - Jorgie Juiced One! (I like this one)
1B: Jason Giambi - The Giambino! (Not bad)
2B: Robinson Cano - Robbie Cano, Don't You Know! (Is this current?)
SS: Derek Jeter - ?
3B: Alex Rodriguez - An A-Bomb from A-Rod! (Laaaaame!)
LF: Hideki Matsui - A Thrilla From Godzilla! (Thanks to Joe P. for this one)
CF: Johnny Damon - Absolutley, Positively Damonic!
RF: Gary Sheffield - ?
DH: Bernie Williams - Bernie Goes Boom! (My personal favorite)

How about some calls from the earlier days? I can remember Tino Martinez's call; The Bam-Tino. The rest...are a blur. What can I say? I'm getting old. If you guys can remember some of the current ones that I've missed or some blasts from the past, post them in the comments.
Posted by: James
On a night where the Yanks won despite Randy Johnson's pitching not because of it, they find themselves still in first place in the AL East (percentage points) and not too far off the pace for last year's 95 wins.

It was also a night where Randy reached a major milestone in his career as he became just the third pitcher ever to reach the 4,400-strikeout mark. He's behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Roger Clemens (4,502) on the career list and will probably pass Clemens to take the #2 spot sometime next year (depending on what Clemens decides to do this year). While Randy did get the win on this special night, he certainly didn't pitch well enough to deserve it as he was bailed out twice after after giving up the lead. First, a LONG single by Bernie plated Jorge and Cano in the fifth gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead, which Johnson gave up on a Ty Wiggington 2-run home run. In the seventh, a walk to Giambi and a A-Rod HBP both plated runs before Johnny Damon took Dan Miceli (who had to be removed from the game due to injury) deep for a grand slam to effectively put the game out of reach.

By the way, John Sterling's home run call for Damon, "absolutely, positively Damonic" is absolutely, positively stupid. It's embarrassing, annoying and needs to stop. The same goes for the A-Bomb from A-Rod. Is there a petition I can sign somewhere? Please, John, I beg of you, just stop.

I could go on to mention the "interesting" use of Sturtze again but I think that it would be overkill, especially since he did get Johnny Gomes out. Granted, it was a line out but hey, he did get the job done. I could posit on what's wrong with Randy Johnson but Steve Lombardi has already done a fine job of comparing RJ's 2006 start to his 2005 numbers and SG looks at what RJ's done so far. At this point, after last year and considering Johnson's age, I am more or less in line with Mike Plugh from over at Canyon of Heroes; "This is the Randy Johnson we have. Let's learn to live with it." I think at this point, that's all we can do.

Oh, as a side note, the ESPN recap points out that after attracting the two smallest home crowds in franchise history (7,295 and 7,147) against Texas on Monday and Tuesday, the Devil Rays drew 17,059 and 22,164 for the Yankees series. Bad for baseball, indeed.

05/05: "John"

Posted by: Jason
Torre has a habit of calling Damon "John." It's meant to signify that he has graduated to a more professional clubhouse (and organization), and deserves a suitable moniker.

IMO, the combination of the Boston game this week and the GS last night was important for JD, and for Yankees fans: It completely destroys the link between Boston and Damon.

1) Fenway spits on the man who, just 18 months ago, was arguably the most important link in the WS run.
2) The timing of last night's GS was critical. just hours after Fenway, JD finishes a game that was unstable just 2 innings before. Better yet, he finished this game (and this week) with the most emphatic event in baseball.

When he looked in the dugout camera with that grin after his salami, he became ours. Embrace him properly at the stadium on May 9th.

Any prefixes referring to his status as a former player from another team are dead.

Call him "John."

Posted by: Patrick

In a Sports Illustrated poll of 470 players, Jeter was named on 9 percent of the ballots as the most over-rated. Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran was second with 7 percent and Alex Rodriguez was third with 6 percent.

"I don't care, I guess anything I do now is a plus," Jeter said with a grin. "At least I am in good company.''' ...

"Alex doesn't surprise me because there is a lot of jealousy about the money he makes and his talent, but to say Derek is over-rated, that is surprising," Torre said. "I have had players traded here and after six weeks they come to me and say, 'I knew Jeter was a good player but I didn't know how good.'"

I always kind of smile myself when I hear someone say Jeter is overrated. I find the term overrated to be a joke, anyway. Everyone rates him differently and that's... how he's rated. Overrated... underrated... whatever. Various people can spend time debating such a thing, while I'll just enjoy having him. For a lot of people, if player X and player Y are the same, but player X gets more media attention, player X is "overrated" and somehow less a player, as if he somehow has control over what the media reports.

A-Rod doesn't surprise me, either. When people say A-Rod is overrated, they're really saying A-Rod is overpaid. And when they're saying he's overpaid, they're really saying no one in baseball deserves the contract A-Rod got. I always think of it like this: does any player deserve that contract? Uh... I don't know. But, if anyone deserved it and has delivered on it, it's A-Rod. I mean, look at his numbers since he's signed it. He's missed 8 games since he signed it (5+ seasons). He has not had a single "bad" year. His weakest statistical year was his first with the Yankees, 2004: .286 AVG, 36 HR, 106 RBI, .375 OBA. Beside that year, he's had 47 or more home runs in every one. He's off to a slow start this year (on pace for 32 homers at the moment), of course. Did I mention he's no slow poke, either? 96 stolen bases while being caught just 23 times since the deal was signed. So, offensively, he's there.

Then you add in the gold glove caliber defense at both shortstop and third base. Add in the off the field stuff. "Off the field stuff," you say? Yeah, the fact that he doesn't get into trouble. That's worth something. "Everyone should do that," right? I agree, but not everyone does. A-Rod knows he has a responsibility to the Yankees and I believe he takes it very seriously. Since signing the deal, he's been an all-star every year, won 2 MVPs (and finished 2nd in voting once), won 4 gold glove awards and led the league in numerous statistical categories. How do you have that sort of resume and still be considered overrated? The point I'm trying to make here is that A-Rod is just about as "perfect" and well rounded as a position player comes. He literally does it all very well. If he didn't deserve that contract - no one did. But, because he got it, he's overrated. That's bogus, but it's the way it is.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Michael
In my last game recap I made mention of how I feel that anytime A-Rod comes to the plate with RISP I'm thinking strikeout. Did he prove me wrong last night! A-Rod actually came up clutch and singled in Damon. The Yankees took the lead 3-2 against Tampa Bay in the top of the 10th. Matsui, who is in a slump of his own, singled in Jeter to give the Yanks a 4-2 lead, and eventually a win against a feisty Devil Rays team.

It was a pitching duel for most of the night. It seems the Yanks struggle against Fossum, and I would suppose he is one of those pitchers that seems to give the Yankees a tough time. Wright pitched another great game, and kept the Yankees in it as he only gave up 3 hits (although one being a 2 RBI Home Run) I was pleased with the results from our #5 pitcher. Villone came in next for a scoreless 7th (where was he the other night in Boston??) Followed by Myers, Farnsworth (Farnsy, you are showing me something!!) and Rivera to close the game in the 10th. I'll also make note that Bernie had a great game at the plate last night going 3 for 5 and accounted for one of the Yankees runs.

Tonight the Yanks take on the Devil Rays as Randy Johnson (4-2, 4.71 ERA) takes on Doug Waechter (0-1, 5.95 ERA) in what I feel will be another dog fight. Let's see if A-Rod and Matsui can keep their bats HOT and knock this Waechter guy out of the game early! Game time is 7:05pm ET.
Posted by: James
I have to link to this from Peter Abraham's blog over at LoHud. Here's the blurb from Monday's game.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was just in the dugout talking about assorted baseball subjects. He said he sat in the stands last night and to block out the jeers from obnoxious Red Sox fans, he kept his iPod in.

I had to ask, what was Cashman listening to?

Turns out Cashman was grooving to the sounds of Nelly, Eminem, Notorious B.I.G. and some other rap.

It turns out that was dead on when referring to Cashman as CashMoney. Well, you know what they say, he does love it when you call him Big Poppa.
Posted by: Patrick
Congrats to Jason Giambi on being named AL Player of the Month. It reminded me to check out who was hot and cold in the first month.


Jason Giambi
22 G, 61 AB, 17 R, 21 H, 4 2B, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 26 BB, .344 AVG, .554 OBA, .852 SLG, 1.407 OPS

Derek Jeter
23 G, 88 AB, 19 R, 35 H, 9 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 19 BB, 2 SB, .398 AVG, .505 OBA, 1.142 OPS

Mike Mussina
6 GS, 4-1, 39 IP, 2.31 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, .230 BAA

Mike Myers
10 G, 0-0, 6.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, .158 BAA.

Gary Sheffield
22 G, 91 AB, 13 R, 31 H, 4 2B, 4 HR, 18 RBI, .341 AVG, .390 OBA, .516 SLG, .906 OPS

Johnny Damon
23 G, 93 AB,22 R, 29 H, 9 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 7 SB, .312 AVG, .400 OBA, .505 SLG, .905 OPS

Scott Proctor
9 G, 1-1, 16 IP, 1.69 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .167 BAA

Ron Villone
9 G, 0-0, 9 IP, 2.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, .182 BAA


Jaret Wright
3 G, 2 GS, 0-2, 10 IP, 7.20 ERA, 2.30 WHIP, .395 BAA

Bernie Williams
20 G, 60 AB, 8 R, 13 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, .217 AVG, .262 OBA, .283 SLG, .545 OPS

Tanyon Sturtze
11 G, 0-0, 8.1 IP, 5.40 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, .281 BAA

Mariano Rivera
8 G, 0-2, 9.2 IP, 4 SV, 3.72 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .270 BAA

Chien-Ming Wang
5 GS, 1-1, 30 IP, 4.80 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, .277 BAA

Andy Phillips
15 G, 26 AB, 3 R, 4 H, 1 HR, 1 RBI, .154 AVG, .214 OBA, .269 SLG, .484 OPS
Posted by: Patrick
The Pinstriped Bible has some quotes from Larry Bowa on Jeter's D:

On Jeter's Defense:
"I think he's a very good defensive player. This kid has a great work ethic. When he goes out there for pregame, he just doesn't take grounders to get loose. He goes right, he goes left. He asks me every day, 'If you see something, let me know.' Or if there's a play, he'll ask, 'Did I play that wrong?' This guy's a professional. He's a leader out there. It seems like the tougher the situation, he thrives on that. He's a great player." ...

Where Jeter can improve:
"One area we've talked a little bit about is playing more to his right on some ground balls. But for the most part, he follows our game plan. When we say straight away, he's there. When we say, 'Pull,' he's there. I think what happens is people, they're used to him making every single play, and if he just misses a ball, it could be the pitch. A lot of times when you're playing shortstop, and location's away, you're mentally saying, 'Okay, the pitch is this way, it's going to be hard for this guy to pull.'

I've always been happy with Jeter's defense. When a ball is hit to Jeter and the game is on the line, I fully expect him to make the play. If there is anyone on the field I want the ball hit to, it is Derek Jeter. I think that's probably one of the biggest complements you can pay to a fielder. It doesn't get hit to Jeter and I think "Oh no, we're screwed!" And not once during Jeter's tenure have I wished that we had some other shortstop for the life of Jeter's career. How many teams would kill/would have killed to have Jeter as their shortstop? I'm just glad he's on our side.

Via Alex.
Posted by: Patrick
There is an article on that discusses the possibility of Jeter and Mo playing for the Red Sox and both of them being unable to fathom it. It's a good read.

"I can't imagine it," he said a day after Red Sox fans had to swallow the sight of Johnny Damon in a Yankees uniform. "I never even thought about it. It never crossed my mind." ...

"I can't imagine that," Rivera said. "I can't put myself in that situation." ...

"New Yorkers would chase me all over New York state," he said. "Oh, forget about it." ...

"Why?" Jeter said, when told he could have at least tested the free agent market before signing a 10-year deal in 2001. "I didn't want to go anywhere."
Posted by: Michael
Boston fans let Damon know what they thought of him last night, constantly booing Damon anytime he was at the plate, or was running down fly balls in the outfield. Damon went 0-4 for the night, and perhaps the BoSox fans did get to him a little. Who knows for sure?

The end result was a Yankee loss clearly from their lack of hitting with a team total of 4 hits for the evening. In fact, the entire offense for the night came in the fourth inning alone. Bases loaded, Matsui hits a weak RBI producing grounder to first to tie the score. Posada tries the same move, but this time we have Giambi on third who always looks like he has weights tied around his ankles. Then Cano, who is batting in the 7th slot hits a grounder right up the middle to add an addtional 2 more runs. That was all the offense for the evening folks.

Fast forward, tied in the eighth with men on second and first for Boston, Torre decides to yank Small and insert none other than Tanyon Sturtze. Sturtze then proceeds to give up a grounder up the middle from Loretta and giving the Red Sox the lead for good. Sturtze is yanked for Mike Myers to face Big Papi who then puts the game out of reach stroking a three run homer to seal the deal. Papelbon comes in an closes the door. Did we really expect a rally with that homer from Ortiz?

Some thoughts:

Does anyone have the feeling of strike out rather than home run when A-Rod comes to the plate now? Clearly a non-clutch hitter. I still admire his fine defense in the field, and hopefully the home runs will come to reverse my thinking.

Has Sturtze lost it? Does he have what it takes to be our guy in these situations? I believe so. In as much I was actually asking the TV...why not Proctor? Why not Villone? Then the run scores to put the Sox in the lead.

In the news this morning it is all over about how Big Papi continues to haunt the Yanks. Does he? I didn't think the Yanks could come back even from one run down. Did anyone watch the game to see that when Ortiz hit that home run in the 8th that the Sox were already in the lead???

Lastly, I disagree with Torre last night playing Cairo at first. Now, I'm not slamming Cairo and his abilities, but I'm a big fan of Phillips and giving him a chance. Give the guy a chance to get some ABs. Please!!! Crosby looked good in right defensively and made a remarkable sliding catch in the first. But at the plate he looked horrible. Another sign that lack of ABs will diminish your plate skillz.

We are back at Fenway tonight at Shawn Chacon (301, 4.56 ERA) takes on Josh Beckett (3-1, 4.50 ERA) in what will amount to another intense game decided upon pitching, strong defense, and come on guys...a few more hits would be ideal! Game time is at 7:05pm ET.

05/01: Minors Report

Posted by: James
Mike A. over at In George We Trust has the minor league report for April up. Check it out for an good overview of the Yankees system and an in-season top 10. Def. worth the read.