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You are currently viewing archive for August 2006.

Posted by: James
Today's matinee matchup featured aging lefty Randy Johnson facing off against the 23-year old veteran Jeremy Bonderman.

After RJ cruised through the first, the Yanks looked like they would strike early after a single by Damon and then a hit and run single by Jeter. With first and third and no one out, Bonderman got Abreu to pop out (Bobby barely missed hitting a 3-run homerun in the at-bat). He then walked Posada but got A-Rod to pop out and then struck out Robbie Cano. A deep fly would have been all that was necessary to score one run and the heart of the order can't come through. Amazing.

That missed opportunity immediately came back to bite the Yanks as Magglio Ordonez started the top of the second with a homerun. 1-0 Detroit.

The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the third. After a Jeter groundout, Bobby Abreu hit a long double off Bonderman. Posada then flied out to left but A-Rod came through with a dink RBI single that barely cleared the shortstop. It wasn't pretty but it got the job done as Abreu scored and the score was tied. After A-Rod stole second to put himself in scoring position (one of 3 stolen bases against Pudge today), Cano ended the inning with a ground out to third. Bonderman is at 53 pitches through the third but with the Detroit bullpen being as strong as it is, getting him out of the game doesn't guarantee more scoring.

However, the Yankees would take the lead in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out rally. After a Bernie ground-out and a Guiel (no sonic boom so far) strikeout, Melky got aboard with a dink single. Damon followed with another single and Derek Jeter worked out a walk bringing up Bobby Abreu, who was looking to atone for his earlier at-bat. This time, Bobby came through, singling to right and scoring Cabrera and Damon. 3-1 Yankees. Posada would ground out to end the inning but Bonderman has hit 76 pitches through 4 innings so far.

Randy on the other hand is cruising along in one of his better outings this year. So far, 5 innings, 1 H, 1 ER and 5Ks on 57 pitches (42 strikes!). He must really like facing this Tigers team.

The Yanks scored their fourth run after A-Rod legged out a double to start the bottom of the fifth. After Robbie Cano struck out for the first out, Bernie came through with a RBI single to give the Yanks a 4-1 lead. He was promptly erased and the inning came to an end when Aaron Guiel hit into an double play. The Tigers got the run back pretty much immediately as Omar Infante (yes, the Omar Infante who had 2 HRs so far this year) took Johnson deep to lead off the 6th. After that blip, Johnson got back in his groove and sat the next three Tigers down (2 of them by strikeout).

Through 7 innings, Randy has given up 2 hits (both homeruns but that's to be expected from him at this point), walked none and struck out 7. He's also only thrown 83 pitches through 7 (you see that how that works, Jaret?!)

The Yanks helped themselves to a bigger cushion in the 7th against lefty Jamie Walker. A-Rod led off with his 27th home-run of the year and the crowd was very appreciative. They even gave him a curtain call which hopefully made him feel pretty good. Robbie Cano followed with a fly-ball that Marcus Thames misplayed into a double and with Cano in scoring position, Bernie notched his second RBI of the day with a clean single that brought Robbie home. 6-2 Yankees. Bernie was erased from the bases on (another) double play off the bat of Aaron Guiel and Melky closed out the inning with a ground out.

A great 8 innings from Johnson today and with a 4 run lead and RJ up to 94 pitches, Torre should go to the pen (and I don't mean Scott Proctor!) to close out this game. With the rosters set to expand tomorrow and the Yankees cruising towards the AL East title, there's no need to risk Johnson going out for the 9th and hurting himself.

Apparently Joe Torre didn't get my memo. Perhaps I should have put that new cover sheet on top of my TPS report. Inexplicably, Johnson starts the 9th...and proceeds to walk Craig Monroe. And now Marcus Thames takes him deep. Wow. 6-4 now and here comes Mariano (who is scheduled for an MRI and reports that his elbow has been bothering him for a while now). Just wow. It's like Joe hasn't watched Randy pitch this year...he should have seen this coming a mile away and he should have had Dotel, Bruney or Farnsworth (yes, he was ready to go) warming and ready for the 9th.

It turns out not to matter much (today) as Mo gives up a double to Magglio Ordonez but gets out of the inning by getting Carlos Guillen, Sean Casey and Brandon Inge to all ground out. He's still the best at what he does...but still, I can't help but worry about that elbow.

Still, the Yankees win 6-4 and another game gets knocked off the magic number so it's a good day!
Posted by: James
Kevin Goldstein over at Baseball Prospectus checks in with a positional breakdown of the top 20 right-handed pitching prospects in the minors. Not surprisingly, Phil Hughes tops the list, just slightly ahead of the Reds' Homer Baily.

1. Philip Hughes, Yankees
Age: 20.2 H/9: 5.74 BB/9: 2.17 K/9: 10.40

Really, you are looking at 1a and 1b here. If I ranked them tomorrow I might take Bailey. The next day I might go back to Hughes. The two are remarkably similar. Bailey was born about 50 days earlier than Hughes and both were 2004 first round picks out of high school. They both have classic power-pitcher builds, with Bailey at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds and Hughes a little bigger at 6-foot-5, 220. Both have electric stuff; while Bailey has a little more juice, Hughes has better command. Both began the year in the Florida State League, both dominated there, and both have had no problems adjusting to Double-A, holding opposing batters to a sub-.200 average while striking out more than a batter per inning. Both have made 25 starts, and their total numbers are nearly mirror images. Bailey has faced 560 batters, Hughes 542. Bailey has given up 96 hits, 46 walks and recorded 156 strikeouts, while Hughes has totals of 90, 34 and 163, respectively. Their immediate futures, however, couldn't be more different. Rumors in Southern Ohio have the Reds calling up Bailey to fill a rotation slot down the stretch as the Reds gun for a playoff slot, while Hughes will enjoy a peaceful offseason and is more than likely beginning next year at Triple-A Columbus. Bailey is expected to be the savior of a Reds rotation in desperate need of an ace, while Hughes will be eased into a star-studded lineup, with only the unique pressures of playing in New York on his shoulders. Flip a coin here folks, but my gut gives Hughes the wafer-thin edge.

Tyler Clippard also made the list as a honorable mention.

Tyler Clippard, Yankees: He gets better every year, and could give the Yankees a second rookie option after Hughes by late 2007.

Looking at the projected 2007 pitching staff, both of these guys would be greatly appreciated...and probably very needed.
Posted by: Jason
Pardon the recap delay, my friends, I was embroiled in a conference call that started at 11AM Paris time...My day began well before dawn and I've now had enough caffeine to resuscitate an elephant.

In game one, Chien-Ming Wang demonstrated that he will be the centerpiece of the Yankees' rotation for at least the next two seasons. His 95 sinker (with movement) was baffling. Wang exploited the Tigers' well-known lack of plate patience and the first 25 feet of grass in front of home plate took a beating...The Yankees' ace induced at least a dozen ground ball outs.

I have heard Craig Wilson referred to as a "drop and drive" hitter. I was not sure what that meant until I saw Craig drop the sweet spot onto a Nate Robertson fastball and drive it 20-25 rows over the LF wall. The Yankees' other run came on a sacrifice fly by Giambi.

Two runs was all that was necessary. Proctor relieved Wang for a relatively uneventful 8th and Mariano did his thing in the 9th. 2-0 Yankees final.

The nightcap had all the atmosphere of game two of the ALCS. Jaret Wright surprised with an above average outing, pitching 6.1 innings while allowing 2 runs. As for the Yankees offense, on-base machine Sal Fasano cleverly arranged to be hit by a pitch and moved to third after a Melky double. Jeter drove them both in with a double of his own. Eventually Alex drove Jeter in from 3rd with a sac groundout.

In the 9th, with Mariano not available due to his game 1 save, Torre called on Scott Proctor, who walked two and then missed with either a curve or a slider. I could not specifically identify the pitch, because Craig Monroe tried to hit it to the International Space Station. The revived Todd Jones closed the Yankees out, 5-3 Tigers final.

The fun part is that they crank it up again at the Stadium for the rubber match in about 60 minutes.

Posted by: Patrick
From The New York Times:

Mariano Rivera and Jason Giambi played in yesterday’s doubleheader, so their health status is not alarming to the Yankees. But the team was concerned enough about them to schedule magnetic resonance imaging exams.

Rivera has experienced inflammation in his right elbow and will have a precautionary M.R.I. on the elbow soon, perhaps today. He earned the save in the first game yesterday but did not pitch in the second. ...

Giambi had an M.R.I. on his left wrist between games of the doubleheader, after he went 1 for 3 with a sacrifice fly as the designated hitter in the opener. He missed a start Sunday in Anaheim because of cramping in his hands, and he has had his wrist wrapped lately.
Posted by: James (and several other sources) are reporting that Red Sox rookie Jon Lester is dealing with more than just a bad back. Although Red Sox officials are being tight-lipped about the matter (as they should be), reports are that Lester has been undergoing an array of exams in Boston for internal medical issues, including cancer.

The Boston Herald reported on its Web site Wednesday night that rookie left-hander Jon Lester, who was sent back to Boston earlier this week to have his ailing back examined, is also being tested for far more serious matters, including the possibility that he has cancer.

Reporter Tony Massarotti wrote that Lester "was diagnosed with enlarged lymph nodes, according to sources. Such a symptom can be caused by an array of issues, from infections to cancer."
The 22-year-old Lester was rear-ended in a car accident on Storrow Drive while on his way to pitch at Fenway Park on Aug. 18. Before and during his next start at Anaheim -- a win -- his back locked on him as he was dealing with an apparent case of whiplash.
When the Red Sox went to Seattle last weekend, Lester, a native of Tacoma, Wash., wasn't seen in the clubhouse during media access hours for the entire series. A source confirmed to that Lester spent much of the weekend in a Seattle hospital undergoing, among other things, a CT Scan.

At this point, no one knows for sure if Lester has cancer or not but whatever it is, our little corner of the blogosphere wish him well. The same applies to David Ortiz, who is still at Massachusetts General Hospital being examined after he, on multiple occasions over a 10-day span, experienced a rapid heartbeat. Hopefully, both these cases turn out to be minor but even so, these aren't baseball related injuries, these are life-threating ones and so, we wish you the best and a speedy recovery.
Posted by: James
My (and Ben Kabak's) dreams were dashed today as Peter Abraham has reported that Pavano's been shut down (probably for the year).

Carl Pavano has been shut down again after being examined by team doctor Stuart Hershon. He will be sent to Tampa for two weeks and not allowed to pitch off the mound.

According to Brian Cashman, Pavano called him and said he wanted to pitch through the injury. But the organization doesn't seem to want much to do with him.

Oy vey. I was really hoping that Pavano could have stepped up and taken the spot from Jaret Wright.

Well, Darrell Rasner just had a good AAA start and I think he'll be called up once the rosters expand. With the AL East division title sewn up (yes, I said it), maybe Rasner can get a shot or two. Who knows, maybe the kid can impress enough to bump Wright out of the rotation (hey, it could happen!) and as Joseph P. from the Sporting Brews pointed out, Rasner is on the 40-man roster so he's postseason roster eligble already.
Posted by: Jason
Posted by: Patrick
From the official site:

Hideki Matsui was cleared to take full batting practice for the first time on Tuesday, a big step in his hopeful return to the Yankees' lineup this season. Matsui is scheduled to hit indoors on Wednesday.

Matsui had no problems with soft-toss hitting drills on Sunday, but he hasn't taken live batting practice yet. The Yankees originally thought Matsui wouldn't be ready until some time later this week.

"In terms of being pain free, that's something I definitely feel good about and very satisfied," Matsui said through his interpreter. "I'm still working on my mechanics and things like that."
Posted by: Seamus
Tuesday night's series opener between the Yankees and Tigers has been postponed due to rain and will be made up as part of a doubleheader Wednesday. Chien-Ming Wang will start the first game (1 ET) and Jaret Wright will be moved up from his scheduled start on Thursday to pitch the night game (7:05 ET). Randy Johnson's next start has been moved back to Thursday. The second game can be seen on ESPN for those of you outside the New York market.

The Yankees open the series four games behind the Tigers for home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs.
Posted by: Jason
...from the Yankees universe, who this morning collectively realize that Carl Pavano has managed to become a bigger recent Yankees in-house joke than Hideki Irabu and Kevin Brown combined!!
Posted by: Jason
...with the day off, let's review the remainder of the Yankees schedule:

3 w/Detroit
3 w/Minnesota
3 w/Kansas City
7 w/Baltimore
7 w/Tampa Bay
6 w/Toronto
4 w/Boston, including a doubleheader.

If the Yankees play as we know they're capable of playing, (i.e., 3 or 4 series sweeps in the remaining 33 games) 100 wins is a realistic goal.

4 of 6 from DET and MIN is an important start.
Posted by: David
The bats came alive for the Yankees on Sunday afternoon in Anaheim and Mariano Rivera closed the door on a potential late inning rally as the Yankees completed a 7-4 road trip with an 11-8 victory.

Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter were the hitting stars each hitting two home runs as the Yankees catapulted out to an 8-0 lead after three innings. Jeff Karstens in only his second major league start was the winner for the Bombers. He pitched six strong innings allowing only three runs with two unearned due to another A-Rod error on a potential inning ending double play.

In the first Damon led off with a double over the head of center fielder Chone Figgins. Jeter followed with a home run to right center to put the Yankees up 2-0. Bernie Williams' first home run in the second inning made the score 3-0. In the third inning the Yankees put the game potentially out of reach with a five spot highlighted by a two run single from Cano and a three run homer from Bernie.

The Halos fought back with two runs when A-Rod fielded a potential inning ending double play ball but his throw to Nick Green at second pulled him off the bag and the runner was ruled safe. Green's relay throw to first was in time. The error opened the door for the Angels as Vladimir Guerrero doubled up the gap in left center to score two runs. The Angels added another run in the next inning and the score was at 8-3.

Bernie Williams added a two run double to his day and concluded the day with at 4 for 5 with two homers and six RBI. Jeter added his second homer for the Yankees eleventh run. Jeter also made a web gem type defenseive play when he went deep into the hole at short and made his patented jump throw to first to nail speedster Chone Figgins. Karstens pitched economically in the fifth and sixth and Scott Proctor took over in the seventh. Proctor was ineffective and was followed by Kyle Farnsworth who couldn't find the plate. Farnworth didn't get anybody out, walking three and surrendering a two run single to Adam Kennedy to make the score 11-5.

Mariano Rivera hadn't pitched in a week and was summoned for the final two innings. He faced Chone Figgins with the bases loaded and induced a perfect double play grounder to Green which bounced up over his glove for an error allowing two runs to score and pull the Angels to within 11-7. Rivera got Maicer Izturis to bounce to A-Rod and Mike Nepoli was called out after a rundown for running out of the base line. Rivera struck out Orlando Cabrera and got Guerrero to ground to Jeter at short for a force at second to end the inning.

Rivera gave up a run in the ninth when after two outs, he hit Howie Kendrick. He took second on defensive indifference (DI) and scored on a bloop single over second basemen Cano off the bat of Adam Kennedy. Kennedy also took second on DI but Rivera retired the next batter to end the game.

The Yankee win coupled with another Red Sox loss puts New York in front of Boston by 6 1/2 games. The Yankees head home for a three game series with the Detroit Tigers starting on Tuesday night after a much needed day off on Monday. Chien Ming-Wang takes the mound vs. Detroit lefty Nate Robertson.
Posted by: James
Update: Peter Abraham reports that Pavano is in fact injured but from reading his comments, it might not be too bad of an injury. As always with Pavano, it will be wait and see.

Carl Pavano has what is being described as muscle pull on the right side of his rib cage near his armpit.

Joe Torre said the injury wasn't considered serious and that Pavano was scheduled to throw a side session tomorrow in Columbus. His next start is supposed to be Wednesday. The Yankees had been talking about bringing him to the majors to start Thursday or Friday. Those plans seem on hold now.

At this point, I'm fairly certain that everyone on the planet doesn't expect Carl Pavano to ever pitch again for the Yankees. Still, this is getting ridiculous as Pavano might have messed up his oblique in his latest start (and if that's the case, that's an injury that you don't come back quickly from):

Carl Pavano is running out of body parts to break down.

Following his rehab start for Columbus (Triple-A) Friday night, Pavano talked of a problem with an oblique muscle, and there is the possibility he will be shut down.

Asked to confirm the problem before yesterday's game, Joe Torre said he couldn't until he talked to GM Brian Cashman. After the 12-7 loss to the Angels, Torre said he still hadn't gotten in touch with Cashman.

Pavano, a $40-million investment who hasn't pitched in a big-league game since last June due to back, buttock and elbow troubles, threw six innings for Columbus. He allowed two runs, eight hits, walked one and fanned five. After the 89-pitch outing, Pavano said he felt he was ready for the big leagues.

Now, that's in jeopardy.

Well, if this proves to be accurate, there go any ideas of getting the bullpen killing Jaret Wright out of the rotation.
Posted by: Seamus
I have to admit, the only time I ever go into a game NOT automatically expecting the Yankees to win is when they play the Angels. There's a reason for that it turns out: going into yesterday's game the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim of the United States of Earth of the Solar System were 54-51 against the Yankees in the Joe Torre era. That makes them the only A.L. team with a winning record against the Bombers since 1996. That record improved to 55-51 yesterday as the Angels took another one from the Yanks by a score of 12-7.

Cory Lidle struggled a bit, allowing 5 runs and 9 hits in only 3 and 2/3. The Yankee offense was able to pick him up however and tied the game at 5 in the 6th via a sac fly by Jorge Posada. Howie Kendrick homered off Brian Bruney, who received his first Major League loss in the 6th to put the Angels back on top. Los Angeles of Anaheim (is that proper?) would add 3 more in the 7th and 3 more in the 8th. A two-run homer by Johnny Damon in the top of the 8th would be the last of the Yankee offense, although they did load the bases for Melky Cabrera in the 9th to get the tying run on deck.

I got nothing but love for A-Rod and I've been trying to stick up for him all year, but his performance today didn't help my case. 0-5 for the second straight day and has now struck out 7 times already in this series. One thing I must say is that maybe it would help just a little to get some of that anger out when he starts to get aggravated with himself. Not that little tossing the bat stuff, I want to see some fire. Everyone knows you're frustrated, Alex. I want to see you go back into the dugout and knock over some Gatorade coolers or something. Spill it all over the dugout. Let it all out. Just don't break your hand on the wall.

The Yankees will finally finish up this long stretch of 21 games in 20 days this afternoon as they'll try to salvage a game from the Angels before coming home for a series against Detroit starting Tuesday. The Yanks have gone 10-10 in the last 20, but thanks to that 5-game sweep in Boston, they managed to gain three games on the Red Sox in that span (since August 8).

Today's pitching matchup will feature a battle of rookies, as Jeff Karstens will make his second Major League start against Tony Saunders. Saunders is off to a good start, going 4-1 with a 3.06 E.R.A. in his first 6 starts in the bigs. He had a good start at Yankee Stadium on August 11, allowing 2 ER in 6 IP. Karstens was decent in his Major League debut in Seattle on Tuesday, leaving the game with the Yankees up 5-3 before the bullpen failed to hold the lead. Hopefully the Yankees can make something of this trip. 2-4 on a 6-game west coast swing and losing only .5 to a 1.5 games in the standings to the Red Sox is acceptable to me. Game starts at 3:35 E.T.
Posted by: James
The negotiations are over. Mark Melancon, drafted by the Yankees in the 9th round of this year's draft, has signed on. He made his first appearance as part of the Yankees organization last night for the Staten Island Yankees and pitched an inning in relief, giving up one hit and racking up one strikeout.

Melancon put up some great numbers in college. Mark is the University of Arizona's career saves leader with 18 but was limited to a career-low 39 1/3 innings last season. He missed the last seven weeks of the season with an elbow injury (on his throwing arm). Still, before he went down, he was arguably the best college reliever in the country. He fell in the draft due to those injury concerns but the Yankees were quick to scoop him up. Let's hope he continues to be healthy and that we see him promoted as aggressively as J.B. Cox.

Given the chance, he (ERA: Mid-2008?) & Cox (ERA: 2nd half 2007) will be a great luxury for the Yankees bullpen and though I don't want to think about it, there's a good chance one of them will be the successor to Mariano.
Posted by: David
The Yankees battled back on Friday night in Anaheim to take a 5-4 lead but couldn't hold on and lost in the bottom of the ninth on a sacrifice fly 6-5.

The Angels took an early 3-0 lead when they were aided by a two run double from Vladimir Guerrero. The Yankees struck back for two off of Angels starter John Lackey. Anaheim extended the lead later to 4-2 but the Yankees took the lead late at 5-4.

Jaret Wright was awful and lasted only in to the fourth inning. Ron Villone releived him and gave up an additional run. Villone was relieved by Scott Proctor after the Yankees took the lead and he gave it back as the Angels tied the score in the seventh at 5. Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless eighth and Octavio Dotel was summoned for the ninth.

Dotel gave up a leadoff double to Garret Anderson to start the inning. Juan Rivera then singled to left and the Angels had runners on first and third with no outs. The next batter was walked intentionally to load the bases. Adam Kennedy popped out to short for the first out and then Mike Nepoli was up next. Dotel worked him hard and got to two strikes and didn't get the call on a 2-2 pitch. On the 3-2 pitch the ball was out over the plate and Nepoli hit it to left for a sacrifice fly to end the game.

A-Rod was simply awful all night. He struck out four times in critical situations and grounded out his last time up. Aaron Guiel contriubuted an RBI single but the Yankees missed scoring opportunities all night long.

The series resumes on Saturday afternoon with Cory Lidle facing Erwin Santana in a 4pm start.

08/26: Pavano Ready?

Posted by: Patrick
Well, according to the New York Daily News:

Carl Pavano allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings for Triple-A Columbus last night in what might have been his final rehab start.

Although Pavano has only thrown 16-2/3 innings in the minors since May surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow, the Yankees are considering bringing him up to make his season debut.

Well, I know pretty much everyone has low expectations for this, but with the injury to Moose, it seems like as good a time as any to get him a couple (2) of starts and see if he might be able to help us in September or (dare I say it) October (don't hurt me).
Posted by: James
There's a quick little article over at ESPN from the AP about Chien-Ming Wang and how loved he is at home (Taiwan). Most people have gathered that from the Taiwanese flags and supporters that show up for Wang's games (both in the Bronx and on the road) but the article repeats the point.

...Twelve year old pitcher Nien Wen-Fang explains what it means to have Wang as a role model.
"I absolutely idolize him," he said. "I want to be just like him."
The team practices five days a week, two hours a day under the watchful eye of coach Liu Yong-Song, a personable 53-year-old who has been at the school for 20 years -- including the time in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Wang was on the squad.
"Wang donated the statue in the courtyard," Liu says. "He comes here during the offseason to give our players tips. He's a big presence in our program."
"From the time he was in third grade I knew he had talent," he said. "But even more important was his personality. He was quiet, self-contained and he didn't horse around with other kids." Still, Liu says, he had no idea that Wang was destined for stardom in the major leagues.
"The truth is," he said. "I've coached better players."

Coach, if you can remember where these players that are than Wang let the Yankee brass know!

I'm just glad that the guy is on our team. He's young, confident, funny and stays out of trouble. Throw in the fact that he's a huge figure in a foreign country (meaning increased international merchandise sales and more importantly, a better talent pipeline into Taiwan) and things certainly have come up roses for the Yanks and Wang so far.
Posted by: Patrick
Wagner: Winning the most important:

Wagner also likes to take a jab or two at the cult of Mariano Rivera worshippers. Any time Rivera blows a save, which doesn't happen often, Wagner will make some sort of comment within earshot of reporters. It's not a rip on Rivera, just the aura of infallibility that surrounds him.

"I'm jealous," Wagner said. "As a player, that's where you want to be, to be put in his situation. He's been great and winning cures a lot of things. I mean, if you win, it's awful hard to get criticized very much, and he's won championships and he's proven himself like nobody else in the game has besides Trevor [Hoffman].

At the end of the day, that just seems really lame to me. I know the reason for the lack of criticism, though. Postseason numbers:

Mariano Rivera: 24 postseason series (team record: 17-7, 4 world champions), 72 games, 111.2 IP, 8-1, 34 saves, 0.81 ERA.
Trevor Hoffman: 5 postseason series (team record: 2-3, 0 world champions), 11 games, 12 IP, 1-2, 3 saves, 3.75 ERA.
Billy Wagner: 4 postseason series (team record: 0-4, 0 world champions), 5 games, 4.2 IP, 1-0, 0 saves, 7.71 ERA.

Yes, I realize there are team factors, but regardless, when your that good, most criticism is short sighted.
Posted by: James
Both teams were without their starting third basemen as A-Rod continued to recover from a throat infection and Adrian Beltre had to sit out due to a stiff-neck.

Jarrod Washburn looked like he had his good stuff going last night as after a leadoff walk to Damon, he struck out both Jeter (who's slumping right now), Abreu and got Giambi to fly out to center. Facing a Seattle line-up that was depleted of one of their better hitters in Beltre (say you what you will but Adrian had been pretty hot since the break...and his replacement was Willie Bloomquist), Randy got into trouble early allowing a leadoff double to Ichiro. After a groudout advanced him to third, a Jose Lopez single brought Ichiro in with the first run of the game. That run was actually the first that Randy had ever given up at Safeco. Luckily, Johnson was able to settle down and get out of the first without any further damage.

Still, the fact that Johnson gave up a run so quickly was enough to scare me a little bit. The Seattle line-up is hands-down one of the weakest in the majors, though they do play at a pretty extreme pitcher's park. Still, even in any context, this is a pretty bad lineup and then when you take Beltre out of that line-up - well, it hurt me physically looking at it. It reminded me too much of the Alvaro Espinosa, Pat Kelly and Kevin Maas days (though that was the first time we all got to see Bernie).

After cruising through the first two innings, the Yanks got to Washburn in the third with singles by Craig Wilson and Johnny Damon. With one out (a Nick Green K), Derek Jeter's single tied the game and put runners on first and second. However, Washburn was able to right himself and struck out both Abreu and Giambi.

The bottom of the third started off much like the first for Randy. The leadoff man in the inning, Chris Snelling, led off with a double and advanced on a goundout by Ichiro. A swinging bunt by Willie Bloomquist put runners on first and third (the runner didn't come home as the hit was a very slow dribbler to first). A RBI single by Jose Lopez (he was down in the count 2 strikes) put the Mariners back on top and a Richie Sexson double (also, down in the count 2 strikes) cleared the bases, put Sexson on second with one out and gave the Mariners a 4-1 lead. Randy got out of the inning at that point thanks to an Eduardo Perez strikeout and a Kenji Johjima groundout.

In the top of the 4th, Posada was hit by a pitch followed by a single by Cano (who's hitting quite a bit better with runners on since he came back from his injury) put runners on first and second with no one out. Washburn was able to strike out Melky (his 8th strikeout of the game) to get the first out and was gifted the second out as Robbie Cano was picked off first by a snap throw by Kenji Johjima. That was a huge out in the game as it seemed to let all the air out of the rally. Still, the inning wasn't quite over as Craig Wilson worked out a walk and Nick Green was hit by a pitch. This loaded the bases with 2 outs for Johnny Damon who lined out to left. It was a disappointing set of events for an inning that had started out well but at the least, Washburn's pitch count had hit 80 after 4 innings.

However, that lost opportunity would be it for the Yankees as Washburn ended up pitching two more solid innings before allowing a second Yankees run on a solo home-run by Damon (who is making a serious push for player of the month) in the seventh. The home run would have been more meaningful had Nick Green been on base but Ichiro, playing center, made a really good grab on Green's shot to the wall. The Seattle bullpen then came in and contributed 3 scoreless innings of work to seal the win at 4-2. For his part, Johnson did end up settling down and pitching a complete game for the Yanks, giving a tired bullpen some much needed rest. Still, the Red Sox who beat the previously unbeaten Jered Weaver, did gain a game in the standings so the Yankees go into a series with the (always troublesome) Angels on a sour note, having lost 2 of 3 and with only a 5.5 game lead in the standings.
Posted by: Patrick
Steve posts some interesting numbers in support of the Derek Jeter for MVP campaign. Basically, it contrasts Jeter's and David Ortiz's OBA when down by 1, 2 or 3 runs. Jeter is ahead in all 3 of those categorizations (.489 vs .298, .516 vs. .476 and .500 vs. .324).
Posted by: James
The always interesting Dave Studeman checks in with weekly "Ten Things I Didn't Know Last Week" and the Yankees show up twice on the list. The first point is about how the Yankees have pulled away from the Red Sox (I love looking at that graph and seeing the two teams diverge). The second point refers to Obi-Wang and what he might accomplish this season:

I found out that he's (Wang) on track to do something that hasn't been accomplished for 17 years: finish the season with fewer than three strikeouts a game and an ERA under 4.00.

The last pitchers to pull off that feat were two lefties: Baltimore’s Jeff Ballard and Toronto’s Mike Flanagan in 1989. Ballard had a classic “fluke” year in 1989, when he finished with a record of 18-8 and an ERA of 3.43, despite striking out only 62 batters in 215 innings. He never approached that level of success again. Flanagan was a 37-year-old crafty lefthander at the end of a fine career, relying on guile, control and placement. Freakishly, he had as many walks as strikeouts in 1989 but he still managed to post a 3.93 ERA.

Of course, it was harder to score runs in the 1980s than it is today, so I doubt that there are many valid comparisons in recent baseball history to what Wang is doing this year.

Hmmm, neither of those guys bear much resemblance to Chien-Ming's pitching profile so it will be especially interesting to see how Wang develops.

Finally, Dave points over to TriplePlay's blog where he's compiled how each team in the majors has put together their 25-man roster. Ben Kabak of Off the Facade did this a little while ago as well for the Yanks and is one of the sources for TriplePlay's Yankees page.
Posted by: Jason how Joe Torre described Chien-Ming Wang to the media yesterday after another strong performance into late innings at Safeco Field. Really, Joe? Perhaps 2 months ago he was still a surprise, but now we must expect performances like this. Wang's best will be necessary to sustain a run deep into October.

Wang's fine effort was complemented by the Yankees offense, who spread 9 runs around the lineup with the now familiar on base + hit for power formula. Cano, Damon, Giambi and Posada all contributed RBIs. What was not expected was the ease in which the Yankees solved the Mariners' young gun Felix Hernandez. He lasted into the 4th inning and was bounced by Mike Hargrove with the Yankees holding a commanding 7-0 lead. A disappointing start for the Seattle faithful given Hernandez's past performances.

I don't know about you, but the low-pressure atmosphere of the famously relaxed Safeco crowd has been great for my nerves after pacing around for most of the 5 games in Boston. Hopefully the players/coaches feel the same way.

During this game, I was also reminded that SEA and NYY are the 2 major players in the Daisuke Matsuzaka sweepstakes that is already underway. (and his famous, mysterious "gyro" pitch that's freaking everyone's like the secret "Caterpillar drive" in the Hunt for Red October) Hopefully Jean Afterman and her Yankees Asia/Pacific colleagues are successful. The Yankees pitching staff is solid right now. In 2007-2008, it could dominate the AL...(Wang, Matsuzaka, Hughes, Zito?...oh my)

The ex-Angels hand Washburn faces the Unit tonight in the series finale. One more night of relative relaxation (I hope) until the team goes into the Angels' lair...always a tough place for Torre's Yankees.
Posted by: Patrick
Some pitchers moving around today. Moose hits the 15 day DL, Brian Bruney is brought back up for his spot and Sidney Ponson has been released.

Via Jim Baumbach.

08/23: Stan the Man

Posted by: Jason
In 1952, 11 years into Musial's solid gold career, he had a "down" year:

1949 36 123
1950 28 109
1951 32 108
1952 21 91 you think in STL they thought that Stan was in trouble, and perhaps should be traded?

1953 30 113
1954 35 126
1955 33 108

I'll let you draw your own conclusions.
Posted by: James
Not much more to say than that. After a exceptionally strong series against his old team, Johnny Damon won AL player of the week.

In fact, the center fielder rose to more than one occasion this week, torching his former team for two home runs, three doubles, a triple and eight RBIs and hitting .435 (10-for-26) as New York swept Boston in five games to take a commanding 6 1/2-game division lead over its American League East foe.

Perhaps the storied rivalry inspired him, but the 32-year-old Damon was just as strong at the beginning of the week as he was at the end. During the week ending Aug. 20, he hit .390 (16-for-41) with four doubles, two triples, four home runs and 12 RBIs, collected 36 total bases and bragged a slugging percentage of .878. For his efforts, he received American League Player of the Week honors, as presented by Bank of America.
Also considered for the award this week were the Yankees' Bobby Abreu (.483 batting average, four doubles, thee RBIs, 10 walks) and Robinson Cano (.306, three doubles, two homers, 13 RBIs) and Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero (.407, three doubles, one home run, nine RBIs).

You know it was a good week when 3 out of the 4 offensive candidates for the award were Yankees!

08/22: Happy Day

Posted by: Patrick
Today is no doubt a happy day for Yankees fans everywhere. Yesterday we completed a 5 game (in 4 days) sweep of the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park. It's incredible and I have a hard time believing it. I think the Yankees (players, manager, coaches, organization) deserve a congrats for this. I mean, it's the regular season, yes. And the end goal is to win the World Series, yes. But, you can't miss the importance (or freaking coolness) of this. You have to enjoy the moment. And if we do happen to make the playoffs and win it all... it is likely that people will look back at this series with importance. So, thanks and congrats guys.

Of course, we of are walking around with an extra bounce in our steps this morning, but I thought I'd highlight some of the happiness from around the Yankees blogosphere:

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
No matter what happens, Scott Proctor deserves credit for his performance this year. Not everyone can be Mariano Rivera - you need those guys who go out there, pitch regularly, get some outs and keep their ERA below 4. This year, Proctor has been one of those guys. While watching yesterday's game, his numbers flashed across the screen and his ERA was 3.47 and I thought "when did it get down that far?" The last time I looked (which was apparently July), it was over 4. But, Scott is 5-3 in 81.2 innings over 64 games with a 3.53 ERA. 73 K and 28 BB.

He's been an important part of this bullpen and he's outpitched big free agent signing Kyle Farnsworth. Of course, Ron Villone deserves credit, as well. But, I'm more happy for Proctor just because of the way he was criticized by many Yankees fans, writers, etc. Happy for him and I hope he can keep doing it. But, if he can't, you can't take what he's done this year for us away from him.
Posted by: James has a pretty glowing article about Melky Cabrera's season so far and some history on the young man. There are some interesting points in the article so it's worth a look, especially since it gives us a quick look into how the rest of the clubhouse reacts to him.

"He's a young man, just a kid, but he has been a big help for us," Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said. "I think sometimes people forget he is only 22 years old because the way he plays. He has a good career in front of him, but remember, he is young. He has a lot to learn."

That's where Cabrera's teammates come in. Whether he is following Robinson Cano around the clubhouse or chatting with Bernie Williams about the finer points of being a Major Leaguer, Cabrera is absorbing the experience. It's not rare to see him watching video with Alex Rodriguez or sitting at his locker picking the brain of Derek Jeter. Cabrera says he wants to be the best, so he listens to the best. He says he learns by asking questions. He is also advised by his veteran teammates before questions arise.
"When I go on the field, I ask God for strength to go forward and help this team," Cabrera said. "I'm young, but I'm not afraid. That is how I was raised, not to be afraid." (With quotes like that, it's real hard to dislike this kid.)

More than anything, I'm glad to hear that the veterans of the team are being pro-active and taking the kids aside and trying to help them better themselves. Hopefully, that way, we can see the same professionalism and character in the future that we've come to expect from Bernie, Mariano and Jeter.
Posted by: Jason
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Fenway Park for Game 5 of the "Big Series."

I live and work in Boston, and as you have undoubtedly heard: The mood has grown increasingly somber in "the hub" over the last 72 hours. Sit back with the beverage of your choice, and enjoy the game!!

The facts: Lidle vs. Wells. Neither Posada nor Giambi in the lineup.

We join in progress:

Top 2nd, 0-0
Alex pops to Pena in right, slamming his bat down
Robinson SAFE!!! with a 2b
This is a huge strike zone today
Craig out on a deep fly ball
(An overcast sky and Bernie shows a good eye)
Bernie grounds out to Loretta

Bottom 2nd:
In case you're wondering, my boss is on vacation, it's an MLB TV festival!!
Lowell with a big fly...foul!!!
Lowell K's swinging
Wily Mo K's swinging...Lidle tries to channel Maddux
Javy L. harmlessly pops to Lidle...nice inning

Top 3rd:
Sal K's on a sweeping curve
Green grounds to short
Melky grounds to short
Wells has an 86mph fastball and a 72mph curve...I don't believe that this will take him very far today.

Bot 3rd:
Cora K's on a ball in the dirt, Sal guns him at 1st
Crisp pops to Melky...Lidle's confidence grows with every pitch
Loretta flies to Melky, who makes the out on the medium-run...nice inning again!!
(In fairness to Crisp, the expectations placed on him this year were massively unrealistic, i.e., to fully replace Damon)

Top 4th:
Jetes smashes a curve past Lowell, 1B
Boston announcers showing Jetes huge couldn't you??
Bobby A. walks (shocking, I know)
Come on Alex...he promptly hits into a DP, Jetes to third
Cano grounds out

(I remain a believer in Alex, he will make us forget his relative struggles)

Bot 4th
After 2 excellent pitches, Lidle covers 1st and gets the throw from Craig...nice, Ortiz is out
Ramirez walks...but like Ortiz, Lidle dealt with him in a very crafty manner
Mirabelli grounds to Wilson who gets Manny at 2d, no DP
Lidle walks Lowell
Pena walks on a curve inside...
Conference on the mound...
Unit in the dugout...looking stern as usual
YES...Javy Lopez grounds to Cano, bases loaded comes up empty for the Red Sox.

Top 5:
Full count to Craig, he grounds to short
Bernie bounces out to short
Sal grounds to Lowell but almost beats out the throw...I'm kidding...

Bot 5:
Between Lidle and Wells, there's enough junk being thrown to top off a landfill
Cora reaches out for a curve just over Craig's glove, a single
Crisp sac bunts Cora to 2nd...
Alex makes a diving stop on Loretta, nails him at 1st, Cora to 3rd.
Torre decides to IBB Ortiz.
Kapler in for Manny???!!!?!
Alex stabs a sharp grounder and beats Cora to third...
Well done all around!

» Read More

Posted by: David
It looked like the Red Sox would salvage a game from the series on Sunday night. Curt Schilling pitched effectively for seven innings and left with the lead 5-3. However, he was replaced by Mike Timlin and the Yankees rallied.

The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs as Damon, Jeter and Abreu got on. Francona then brought in his ace rookie closer Jonathan Papelbon. Giambi almost took him deep but the ball was caught on the warning track in right for the first out. However, a run scored to make the score 5-4. A-Rod worked a walk to reload the bases and Robinson Cano was next. Papelbon got tough and struck out Cano and then Posada to end the inning and preserve a one run lead for Boston. Scott Proctor retired Boston without allowing a run in the eighth and Papelbon came out to close the game in the top of the ninth.

Melky Cabrera led off with a double up the gap in right center. Papelbon got tough again and struck out Bernie Williams and Johnny Damon. Cabrera had moved to third on a passed ball. It was up to the captain and DJ came through as he fought off a pitch and blooped it to right to score Cabrera and tie the game.

In the bottom of the ninth, Rivera came on and faced David Ortiz to lead off the inning. He got him to ground to first but Giambi let the ball play him and it bounced over his glove and into right field. Ortiz hustled it into a double. Ramirez was intentionally walked. Youkillis attempted to sacrifce but Rivera forced Ortiz at third for the first out. With Lowell batting Posada committed a passed ball and the runners moved up. Lowell was also walked intentionally and the Yankees moved the infield and outfield in. Rivera got really tough and after missing to pinch hitter Eric HInske with a cutter inside he blew him away with three straight fastballs for the second out. Mirabelli then grounded back to the mound to end the inning.

In the tenth, the Yankees scored three runs aided by home runs from Giambi and a two run shot from Posada. Rivera closed out Boston in the bottom of the tenth only allowing a two out single to Mark Loretta and was credited with the win to move his record to 5-5.

Boston had taken an early two run lead off of Mussina in the first inning and they connected on four consecutive hits from Loretta, Ortiz, Ramirez and Youkilis. After the second inning the rain came and the game was delayed for fifty seven minutes.

In the fourth, Jason Giambi connected for his first homer of the night a three run shot off Schilling. The Red Sox tied the game when Doug Mirabelli blooped a single to right to score a run. Ortiz homered in the fifth to put the Red Sox up 4-3 and they added another run in the seventh to make it 5-3.

The win for the Yankees extends their lead over Boston to 5 1/2 games with the series finale tomorrow afternoon. Cory Lidle faces David Wells with the Yankees looking for a five game sweep.
Posted by: Seamus
After struggling badly in his return to Fenway earlier in the season, it now looks like Johnny Damon wants to play against the Red Sox everyday. The CF went 3-6 for the third straight game against his former team and helped the Yanks clinch a series victory over the Red Sox as they defeated their rivals 13-5. The Yankees have won all three games so far in this series, have scored at least 12 runs in each of the three games and have outscored the Sox 39-19 overall (19 runs in three games is not a small number so the fact that the Yanks still have outscored them by 20 is pretty amazing). The Yankees now lead the Red Sox by a season-high 4.5 games and the Red Sox are starting to look desperate, as they are also 4 games behind the White Sox for the wild card.

The Yankees scored first in the 2nd on Bernie Williams' solo shot to right, and scored again in that inning on a double by Damon that scored Melky Cabrera. Randy Johnson looked good through 3, not allowing a hit until the 4th. However, that first hit was a three-run homer by Manny Ramirez that tied the game at 3. The Red Sox would go ahead later in that inning on a base hit by Willy Mo Pena.

Boston's glory would end there. A-Rod tied the game with a base hit in the 5th and Jorge Posada scored Jason Giambi on a fielder's choice to put the Yanks up 5-4. David Ortiz tied the game at 5 with a sac fly in the bottom of the inning, but the Unit settled down. When he left the game after 7, his line was an acceptable 4 runs on 5 hits. The Yankees went ahead for good in the 6th with consecutive bases loaded walks by Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano that put the Yanks up by a score of 7-5. Jorge Posada followed that up with a triple to that gap/corner/whatever you want to call it at the wall out in centerfield, clearing the bases and putting the bombers ahead 10-5. Cano would add 3 more with a round-tripper in the 8th to put the Yanks up 13-5. Jaret Wright pitched out of the bullpen after his short performance on Thursday and gave us a scoreless 8th and T.J. Beam pitched a scoreless ninth to close it out.

Even with the 13 runs scored, Cano and Damon were the only Yankees with more than one hit. The Yankees' patience and the Red Sox inability to hit the strike zone is what doomed the Sox as the Yankees drew a total of 13 walks in the game (9 by Josh Beckett).

Robinson Cano has been showing more power since coming off the DL. His home run yesterday was his third since coming back after hitting only five the first three months of the season. He also has his average up to .330 and could compete for the batting title along with his middle infield partner Derek Jeter once he has the required amount of at-bats to be eligible.

I wonder what the record is for the most runs scored in a five-game series. Anyway, tonight's game should feature the best pitching matchup in the series, with Mike Mussina going up against Curt Schilling. The Yankees can really pound the Red Sox into submission if we take the next two, as it would put the lead at 6.5 games. Of course if the Sox take the next two however, the lead is down to 2.5, so the next two games are still huge even with the Yankees taking the first three. Game starts at 8 E.T. and will be on ESPN.
Posted by: David
After looking horrible on Thursday afternoon against Baltimore, the Yankees rebounded by scoring twenty-six runs to sweep the day-night doubleheader from the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Friday. The two wins put the Yankees up by 3 1/2 games in the AL East.

In the opener Chien Ming-Wang struggled but was able to pitch effectively with runners on base and held Boston to three runs in six innings. Johnny Damon was the hitting star with a triple to lead off the game and a two run homer to give the Yankees the lead. Bobby Abreu had four hits and Cano also added to the offense as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 12-4 in the afternoon game. Jason Johnson started for the Red Sox and for the most part was ineffective. After the game he was designated for assigment.

The nightcap turned out to be a slugfest. The game took 4 hours and 45 minutes and became the record for the longest nine inning game in baseball history.

The Red Sox scored a run in the first on a double from Ortiz and a single by Manny Ramirez. However, the Yankees came right back in the second scoring five runs to take the lead at 5-1. Sidney Ponson could not hold the lead and gave it right back in the next two innings. Johnny Damon hit his 20th homer of the season and second of the day to put the Yankees back up but Boston came right back to tie the score at 7.

Ron Villone relieved but was ineffective due to overuse. The Red Sox took the lead 10-7 and were able to hold it until the seventh inning. The Yankees batted around and scored seven runs in the inning. The highlight of the inning was a two out bases clearing double from Derek Jeter to give the Yankes the lead at 11-10. The Bombers added three more runs and batted around during the inning.

Mariano Rivera was the seventh Yankee pitcher and closed out the win for the Yankees. He did allow a home run to David Ortiz and Ramirez reached on an error from A-Rod. The Rodriguez error was his 22nd of the season.

The series resumes on Saturday afternoon with the FOX game of the week. Randy Johnson takes the mound for New York vs. Josh Beckett for Boston.
Posted by: Patrick
According to Greenwich Time, we've signed Frank Menechino to a minor league deal.

Via Steve.
Posted by: James
I was going to recap yesterday's game but it's just too painful to remember. It was sloppy. Sloppy pitching, sloppy hitting, sloppy fielding - man, it just stunk to watch the game. Jaret Wright couldn't get on track and the bullpen, including Octavio Dotel, came in and poured gasoline on the fire. The only pitching bright spot was the first appearance of Brian Bruney who came in for the 9th and struck out the side. In the end, the Yankees ended up splitting the 4 game set against a team that they are clearly better than. It's especially hard to take when Detroit was kicking Boston around.

Here's the thing; in a season where we've needed pitching, more often than not, Jaret Wright has actually come through. Yes, it's been often painful to watch but there is something to be said for giving your team 5 solid innings of work and while it taxes the bullpen (i.e. Scott Proctor), he's given the Yankees good chances to win. Of course, just when you start thinking you can count on the guy, he goes out and serves up a stinker. It's maddening...but here's a possible silver lining. After each of his bad outings, he's always been very capable in the next start so that bodes well for his next game (against the Red Sox). I might be reaching here...but after that game, it's all you can do. Also, if any of you get a chance, check out Patrick's post with the full matchups for the Boston series and post your thoughts on how you think things are going to play out.

For those wondering who Brian Bruney is and why he was on the team, here's the lowdown. Corey Lidle was put on the bereavement list after his 98-year-old grandmother died earlier this week. According to the MLB rulebook, a player on the bereavement list cannot play for at least three days, but has to see action after seven. which makes Lidle still eligible for his start on Monday against the Red Sox. Bruney was called up to take Lidle's spot on the roster. He's gone 1-1 with three saves and a 3.14 ERA in 11 relief appearances at Columbus and Steve L. over at WasWatching checked him out earlier this season when the Yankees signed him.

Finally, a hearty congrats to my favorite prospect, Tyler Clippard who pitched the first no-hitter in Trenton Thunder history. His numbers are actually even better than his ERA indicates. Take a look at the numbers after June 9 when his ERA was 5.29. My boy is becoming a man...I'm so proud!
Posted by: Patrick
Today at 1:05 ET, we'll begin a 5 game series with Boston in Fenway. 3 games is stressful enough, 4 is even worse. But, 5? You know what they always say, "these games could determine the outcome of the division." We've got 2 today and then 1 for the next 3 days.

We could end today up 3.5. We could end today down .5. We could end the series up 6.5 (a boy can dream) or we could end it down 3.5. Predictions? At the end of the day, I'd be happy winning the series and gaining a game in the standings.

Here is how the probable starters match up (first numbers are for this season, second numbers are career in Fenway):

Game 1
Chien-Ming Wang (13-5, 3.84 ERA/0-2, 6.62 ERA)
Jason Johnson (3-11, 6.26 ERA/4-5, 5.99 ERA)

Game 2
Sidney Ponson (4-5, 5.82 ERA/2-4, 6.46 ERA)
Jon Lester (6-2, 4.09 ERA/4-1, 3.73 ERA)

Game 3
Randy Johnson (13-9, 4.92 ERA/7-2, 4.89 ERA)
Josh Beckett (13-7, 5.02 ERA/6-3, 4.13 ERA)

Game 4
Mike Mussina (13-5, 3.54 ERA/10-7, 3.48 ERA)
Curt Schilling (14-5, 3.83 ERA/24-8, 4.10 ERA)

Game 5
Cory Lidle (9-9, 4.64 ERA/1-0, 5.11 ERA)
David Wells (2-2, 6.06 ERA/20-12, 4.54 ERA)
Posted by: Patrick
From the official site:

Tyler Clippard made history on Thursday, tossing the first no-hitter in team history as the Trenton Thunder blanked the Harrisburg Senators, 9-0, at Commerce Bank Park.

Clippard (10-10) struck out nine and walked four on the way to his seventh straight win.

"Surreal, it didn't settle in at first" were the 21-year-old right-hander's thoughts immediately after Richard Lane took a called third strike to end the game. "It is unbelievable, an unforgettable night, something I will always remember.

Congrats to him.
Posted by: Patrick
From RealGM Baseball:

"I would love to pitch in the new Stadium," Rivera said before last night's game against the Orioles at the Stadium. "I could retire after that." ...

"Maybe after the season, we will see what comes up," Rivera said about an extension that would take him through the 2009 season.

I'd love to see it.
Posted by: Jason
I really don't want to dwell on this irritating game for very long, except to point out that:

The Yankees have squandered a game in the AL East race. Now the largest possible lead going in to Friday is 2.5 games. Is one game make-or-break at this point? Probably not, because we know that the Yankees can effectively decide the AL East race if they play to their potential this weekend.

Adam Loewen sparkled again last evening (as he did in his last start vs. NYY), demonstrating that Baltimore has something special in this rookie. His fine location on off-speed pitches was complemented by "sneaky" 91-93 fastballs. With a few exceptions, the Yankees lineup was throttled.

Of course we must applaud and appreciate Bernie's impressive achievement last night, i.e., passing Mattingly on the all time Yankees 2B list. BTW, does anyone else feel strange when someone calls Mattingly "Donnie Baseball?" Donnie? In 7th grade, when I did a statistics project in math class following Mattingly, the term rubbed me the wrong way even back then.

Cory Lidle also deserves mention. After escaping serious jams with only 3 runs allowed (Trust me: It could have been hideous) in the first three innings, his rebound was impressive, stabilizing the deficit at 3 and allowing the offense a chance to come back, which they almost did, thanks to RBIs by Melky and Cano. Torre installed drag parachutes on the lineup last evening by sitting G'bombee (thanks Bronx Banter) and throwing out a sub-optimal 6/7/8 of Bernie, Craig and Sal.

You say that Giambi and Posada needed the rest? Then you're willing to concede a game in the standings for the abstract concept of "being rested for the weekend."

To those who believe Rodriguez is fragile, not mentally tough, et al....Did you witness his 11 pitch walk from down 0-2 in the 6th? Fouling off 5 straight tough pitches? I'm thanking you in advance to cancel that nonsense.

Posted by: Patrick
Dotel was activated and got his first Yankee action last night. He started out by striking out Melvin Mora, then allowing a single to Miguel Tejada. He walked Jay Gibbons and was relieved by Scott Proctor, who bailed him out by walking Jeff Conine and then inducing an inning ending double play off the bat of Kevin Millar.

From the official site:

"I feel like it's the first time I got to the big leagues," Dotel said before the game. "The way I feel is it's a big time to come back. It's something where you have to work hard; you've got to earn it to come back after elbow surgery."

To make room for Dotel, the Yankees optioned right-hander Jose Veras to Triple-A Columbus. ...

"I'm happy to be back," said a smiling Dotel, who admitted to being a little too pumped up during the outing. "I know it wasn't a nice day today, but I feel good to be back. Finally, I made it."

"First time," Torre said. "I expect him to be more comfortable after that. His stuff was quality."
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees erased a 3-0 defecit and beat the Orioles 6-3 to increase their A.L. East lead to three games over the Red Sox, who lost at home to Detroit. The win also ties them with the White Sox in the standings, who lost to Kansas City (still too early to overlook the wild card situation).

Mike Mussina wasn't bad, but couldn't get any run support. When Moose was done after the 6th inning, he had left with the Yankees trailing 3-0. Alex Rodriguez brought in a run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 6th after making what could've been a costly error, allowing a run to score on what should've been a double play groundout. The Yankees' offense exploded once Orioles' starter Erik Bedard left the game, with Johnny Damon Going deep for a two-run shot to tie the game in the 7th. Robinson Cano scored Bobby Abreu on a double to left to put the Yankees ahead later in that inning. The Yankees added two more insurance runs in the 8th, courtesy of an RBI triple by Damon and a sac fly by Derek Jeter. Mariano worked another 1-2-3 ninth to record his 31st save.

Scott Proctor recorded his 5th win of the season in what was a great performance by the Yankee bullpen, allowing only one baserunner in three scoreless innings. Melky Cabrera and Bobby Abreu also had good nights, recording two and three hits respectively.

The Yankees will send Cory Lidle to the mound tonight and the offense will take another crack at rookie Adam Loewen. Loewen has struggled this year (2-4, 6.41) but pitched 6 and 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed only one hit in the Orioles' shutout victory over the Yanks on August 5. Game starts at 7 E.T.
Posted by: Patrick
The official site has an article on Derek Jeter's MVP chances:

Although the Yankees captain doesn't possess the gaudy power numbers of some of the league's other top candidates, Jeter may find himself in the mix when it comes to this year's American League's Most Valuable Player race.

"I think they have to consider him," Joe Torre said, referring to MVP voters. "I don't see why he shouldn't be able to win it. I think it's how valuable someone is to their team and where that team goes."

In a guest shot at Off the Facade, Dan Benton makes a case:

In the end, it all depends on what you consider clutch. But I have made my case. As a hitter/slugger there is no comparison. But as an overall player, there is no doubt in my mind who is better.

What you do not see in these stats is that casual ground ball to second base where Jeter is running full speed to the bag – another thing to keep in mind. Not to mention the most important stat of all. Wins. And while that may change by seasons end, as it stands now, just another category where Jeter is slightly out ahead.

I would love - love - for Jeter to get an MVP. What other award does he have yet to win, outside of that?
Posted by: Jason
Knowledgeable sources in the Yankees Universe warned us of John Lackey, the lanky Texan with an excellent July record. Last evening he was opposed by the towering old bullfighter, who has been nicked (and sometimes gored) by his share of horns this season but has managed to return to good form.

As I read the game previews for last night at other Yankees blogs/media outlets I noticed a sense of collective apprehension about RJ, as if tonight would be a Waterloo that marked the end of his career. Thankfully, that was not the case. In the parlance of the great arenas of Spain and Mexico, Randy "knew his bull" on the mound Monday. The Unit scattered 4 harmless hits through 6 innings before allowing 2 runs (thus tying the game) in the top 7th on three hits to Molina, the relentless Figgins and Kendrick. A weak O. Cabrera grounder back to the mound ended the threat. A huge out.

RJ recorded his 4,500th strikeout last night. Considering that he has been in the majors for a relatively short time (compared to Clemens and Ryan) and his K/BB ratio, this achievement is stunning.

The Yankees began the scoring in the bottom 3rd with a Melky double into the gap, followed by Jeter displaying power by sending the ball over the dead CF wall.

In the bottom 7th, with the game tied 2-2, Damon's single was followed by Jeter's perfect bunt, less than one foot from the foul line and with exactly correct speed for a hit. If he plays golf, I'll bet Jetes has a good short game after showing that kind of touch. Abreu's sac bunt (!!??!??) and Giambi's intentional walk left the bases loaded for Alex. His opposite field fly ball backed Guerrero to the wall but the speedy Damon scored after the tag, 3-2 Yankees. Cano lined out to end the inning.

Then a terrifying, malevolent force emerged from the bullpen. That entity (who we previously knew as the above average but somewhat disappointing Farnsworth) threw the majority of his pitches above 100 mph. Liquid, blazing heat. Farnsworth really should not be allowed to fly commercial as he will set off the explosive detectors. Plus a 90mph slider to add insult to injury...and then as I was becoming really frightened, the carnage was suddenly over, 1-2-3.

Bottom 8: Jorge pulls a crisp line drive over the RF wall, 4-2 Yankees. After Craig Wilson and Melky both reached with singles (Damon also with a walk), Wilson was thrown out at home on Jeter's groundball. Fear not: Abreu's single with the bases loaded made it 5-2. Giambi's sac fly added another, 6-2. I must add here that Vladimir's throw (on a line) from medium-deep right was right on the money and almost in time. That's talent.

Alex plated another run, 7-2. He was responsible for the winning run and also made 2 stellar plays in the field. Do I even need to tell you how Mariano closed out the game? OK: The dangerous Figgins (batting LH) broke his bat on a weak grounder to Cano. We've never seen that before....

BTW, the Tigers beat Boston.
Posted by: James
As an aside, if you get a chance, head on over to Off The Facade where they're having a a week of guest bloggers, including yours truly.

I was going to make this a full length post about the starting pitching on all the Yankee minor league levels last night so naturally, Mike A. over at Baby Bomers beats me to the punch. Head over over to read his post but here's the part that I was particularly excited about:

Christian Garcia is next in line, and he may have been the day's best, twirling 7 innings of 5 H, 1 R, 11 K ball for the Low-A Fightin' Tabata's (he's still out with a hand injury). Eight of the ten outs he recorded that weren't via a punch-out came on the ground. The lone run he gave up was an a fielder's choice, and otherwise he worked perfect innings in the 2nd, 5th and 7th. That's a classic dominating start by the ex-catcher.
Last on the list is a guy coming back from injury: Darrell Rasner. In 4 rehab innings for the GCL Yanks, Rasner allowed 3 baserunners (all hits), 1 R, no walks and struck out 3. He's not as flashy as the other guys, but he gets the job done. What more could you want from a number 5 starter?

I have something of a prospect crush on Christian Garcia so I'm especially glad that so far he seems to be coming back well from his injury. In other positive news, Octavio Dotel has progressed all the way to the AAA level, pitching another scoreless inning for Columbus in a day game today. He's now made 2 appearances in Columbus (with a day of rest in between) so we'll have to wait for word to hear if he experiences any pain. Hopefully, he won't and can keep progressing to the point where he can join the big club in the near future.
Posted by: David
Rookie sensation Jered Weaver moved his record to 8-0 on Sunday afternoon as he stymied the Yankees by allowing only one run on three hits in six innings. Chien Ming-Wang got off to a bad start and allowed three runs on six hits in the first inning.

The Angels were able to add to more runs during the game. The only Yankee run until the ninth was from a solo home run by Craig Wilson.

The Yankees were behind 5-1 entering the ninth. Scott Shields retired the first two batters before A-Rod and Giambi connected for solo homers to pull the Yankes two within two at 5-3. K-Rod relieved and got Posada to end the game.

With the Red Sox winning 11-9 against Baltimore the Yankee lead was reduced to one game (two on the loss side). The wrap around series continues tonight with the Big Unit facing John Lackey as the Yankees try to even the series.

The Red Sox start a series vs. the Tigers tonight in Boston.
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees evened their weekend series with a 5-2 victory over the Angels. The Bombers remain 2 games ahead of the Red Sox, who defeated the Orioles. And just for the heck of it, I'll throw this out there as they moved to within 6.5 games of the Tigers for the top seed in the American League. The game was pretty entertaining to watch, as it included two Yankee home runs, a couple questionable calls on the bases, Jorge Posada and Jose Molina both picking off runners to end their halves of the 6th inning, a couple questionable calls on the base paths, and a baserunning mistake by Guerrero as he was gunned down at 3rd by Bobby Abreu and some good pitching out of both bullpens.

All Yankee runs came in the 2nd inning, courtesy of a three-run homer by Robinson Cano and a two-run shot by Johnny Damon. Alex Rodriguez hit two doubles into the right-centerfield gap and Bernie Williams recorded two hits as well. The Yankees hit safely in each inning except the 1st and 8th, but failed to score again after the 2nd inning.

Jaret Wright was brilliant for the 5 and 1/3 that he stayed in, giving up a run on only two hits. The bullpen was effective from there on, allowing only one run on a sac fly by Jose Molina off of Scott Proctor in the top of the 7th. Mariano Rivera worked another 1-2-3 ninth for his 30th save of the year.

The Yankees will wrap up this three-game set this afternoon at 1 E.T. The pitching matchup should be one of the most interesting that we'll see this season, as it pins rookie phenom Jered Weaver (7-0, 2.20) against a great second-year pitcher who somehow has been able to kind of fly under the radar despite being perhaps the best pitcher in New York this season in Chien-Ming Wang.

EDIT: My mistake, the Yanks and Angels will be finishing up on Monday, not today. Thanks to KAnst for correcting me.
Posted by: James
Well, since the Yankees now have 3 first basemen on the team, I thought it would be interesting to see how each of them have been doing lately, starting with the newest Yankee, Craig Wilson.

Well, suffice it to say that Wilson is something of a streaky hitter and right now, he's in a funk (and what a funk it is). Since the beginning of July, Wilson hasn't hit a lick. In that time, his line so far is .239/.250/.388/.638 in 67 ABs with 4 2Bs, 2 HRs and 9 RBI. He's only walked once while striking out 25 times. 25 Ks in 67 ABs is a 37.3% K ratio, just in case you were wondering. However, keep in mind that this includes his time with the Pirates and while I'm no psychologist, constant trade rumors and inconsistent playing time could certainly be a partial cause of this. He has started to turn it around of late and since the beginning of his tenure with the Yankees, he has hit .276/.276/.483/.759 in 29 ABs with 3 2Bs and 1 HR (interesting that 4 of the 6 XBHs he's had in the last month and a half have come as a Yankee). He still hasn't drawn his first walk as a Yank but he has struck out 10 times (34.5% K ratio) and at least once in each of the 7 games he's played in. As I said before, Wilson has a bit of a reputation as a streaky hitter so hopefully last night's 2-for-4 performance was the start of a hot streak.

For you Andy Phillips supporters out there (I like the guy myself but not over Wilson), he hasn't played well either. Over the same course of time (beg. of July until now), he's actually had quite a few more at-bats than Wilson and has performed even worse with a total line of .177/.218/.292/.509 in 96 ABs with 5 2Bs, 2 HRs and 10 RBI. He's walked 5 times and K'd 17 times. Eeep. Were it not for the Cairo injury and the Yankees need for an infielder to replace him, Phillips might have been on the DFA train back to Columbus or parts unknown.

Our last first-baseman (and I use the term loosely) is Jason Giambi, who is starting to heat up again. So far this year, he's been on a pretty regular monthly cycle in terms of power and production. Don't take that as any sort of insinuation - it is simply a statement of the facts. He had been sporting a decidedly weak(-er) bat during the whole month of July but that seems to have changed as the calendar shifted into August. Including last night, his numbers for the month are pretty impressive. In only 20 ABs, he's hitting .350/.536/.900/1.436 with 2 2Bs and 3 HRs (8 BBs and 3 Ks). Honestly, I have no idea why his numbers have been on a roller-coaster ride for the whole season but if it works out according to plan, the Giambino should have a killer August and hopefully carry the Yankees through the rest of this gauntlet. (Oh, and the cycle puts him on pace to have a good October...knock on wood.)

Finally, and this is something that I had meant to do a little earlier in the year, but it's better late than never. I've maintained that Giambi began his turnaround on 6/14/2005 vs. the Pirates. from that point, Giambi reached the 162 game mark on July 1, 2006. I just wanted to showcase the numbers that he was able to put up in that time. The final tally is: .280/.450/.630/1.081 with 23 2Bs, 52 HRs, 135 RBI and one SB just for good measure. That works out to be a HR every 9.83 ABs. Throw in these other stats, 139 BB, 5 IBB and 22 HBP! (against 127 Ks), and that's one heck of a way to come back from injury (physical and psychological)/disease/PEDs/etc. etc.

As an aside, the first-baseman of the future should be returning to action soon as Eric Duncan will return to the AA Trenton line-up in an upcoming road trip to New Hampshire.
Posted by: James
Carl Pavano to the mound, please. Carl Pavano, please report to the mound.

In his first rehab start in a while, Carl Pavano didn't fare too well pitching for the Hi-A Tampa Yankees tonight as he went 2.2 innings, giving up 5 hits and 3 ER (1 BB (intentional), 1K).

Hey, at this point and the way his Yankee career has progressed, I'm just amazed he didn't somehow hurt himself by tripping on his way up the steps or on the way out of the dugout. Hopefully, he can put something (anything!) together to finish out the year on a positive note and possibly help the Yanks recoup their investment next year.

On a more positive note, Octavio Dotel also pitched tonight in his rehab stint and fared quite a bit better. Dotel pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Jason Jones and gave up no hits or walks and struck out one. Hopefully, he feels no pain or soreness tomorrow and he can keep working his way back to the big leagues. There probably aren't that many people left who expect him to help the big club any time but I'm still holding out hope that he can make some sort of impact (preferabbly positive) on the bullpen this year. If nothing else, even a couple of weeks of Dotel could reduce some of the wear on Scott Proctor's arm.
Posted by: James
There's an interesting piece over at The Baseball Analysts today by guest blogger Jeff Albert that breaks down the mechanics of A-Rod's swing and how it has changed in the last couple of years. It's a very interesting analysis and is accompanied by swing captures, graphs and video - head on over and check it out.

Since I had not heard much detail about any kind of physical changes relating to A-Rod's swing, I put together an initial analysis where I was able to measure and actually quantify some changes from just a year ago. What I intend to do here is provide an excerpt from that video analysis in order to simply and narrow in on what appears to be the culprit to A-Rod's "off" season.

Jeff Albert is owner and operator of, which is a site dedicated to baseball training and analysis.

Hat Tip to Mike A. over at Baby Bombers for the link. Also, if you haven't already and want to wish him well, head on over and congratulate Mike on his engagement (and no, he didn't propose to Phil Hughes).
Posted by: Jason
Tonight's game was the equivalent of a doubleheader:

Game 1 (The first 6.5 innings) featured Randy Johnson in his best form of the season, except perhaps his start in Detroit. A 93-95mph fastball, slider and great command held the daunting Chicago lineup hitless through 6.

The Unit's first 6 innings were embodied by Thome's K in the 4th. He went down looking on a 95mph fastball that was perfectly placed on the outer part of the plate. I don't think that Thome's subsequent growl at the umpire was a gripe about the 3rd strike call. It seemed to be an expression of frustration that he, such an excellent hitter, was so confused by the towering lefty.

Offensively, the Yankees depleted John Garland with their familiar approach of going into deep counts, getting on base, and hitting for power.

Top 1: Damon's triple was converted into a run by Abreu's single, Yankees 1-0.
Top 5: Melky guessed right on a low change-up and crushed it, 2-0. Then after a Jeter walk, Abreu mashed a change-up over the CF wall, 4-0.

That Abreu trade was a pretty good deal. In the same way that the Louisiana Purchase was a pretty good deal.

Top 6: Welcome back, Robinson. He hit a ball into center that would have cleared the fence of any park in the major leagues. No doubt when it left his bat, 5-0 Yankees.

Top 7: Alex's 1B scored Andy Phillips from 3rd, 6-0. Jorge's ground ball scored Jeter on a FC, 7-0. Shockingly, this turned out to be the winning run.

In Game 2 (the last 2.5 innings) the White Sox came almost all the way back. Randy's no hitter was broken up by Iguchi in the 7th and he was quickly touched for 2 runs. Torre called on Villone, who walked the bases loaded and then got 3 straight outs to keep the score 7-2.

In the bottom 8th, Farnsworth took a step backward after his strong recent performances. Iguchi and Crede combined for 2 home runs and 4 RBIs, Yankees 7-6.

Bottom 9: Mariano issued a walk and a single, but in the end a harmless ground ball insured that the Chicago comeback was "a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

The Red Sox lost their second in a row to the Royals, giving the bombers a 3 game lead in the AL East. Watching the end of the Red Sox game and the hearing the shock of the Boston announcers, I was reminded of when the Yankees were broomed in Kansas City last season and the generally sick, depressed feeling that gripped the Yankees Universe.

That was then, this is now.
Posted by: Seamus
The Yanks dropped a back-and-forth affair in Chicago last night, losing 6-5 to the White Sox in 11 innings. Fortunately for the Bombers, the Red Sox couldn't hold off the Royals, so the Yanks' lead in the A.L. East race remains at 2 games.

The Yankees jumped ahead early with an RBI single by Bobby Abreu in the 1st and a solo shot by Craig Wilson in the 2nd to put the Yankees up 2-0. The White Sox scored three runs in the 2nd, highlighted by a two-run single by Alex Cintron. A-Rod countered in the next inning with a two-run homer to put the Yanks back ahead, only to see Joe Crede tie the game in the 4th with a solo homer of his own. The score would remain tied at 4 until the 8th, when Jason Giambi was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to put New York up by a run. The White Sox tied the game at 5 in the 9th with a home run off the bat of Paul Konerko, slapping Mariano Rivera with his 3rd blown save of the season. Scott Proctor worked an ineffective 11th, recording only one out before allowing a walk-off single to Jermaine Dye.

Chien-Ming Wang struggled throughout the game, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits in only 5 innings. Robinson Cano was great in his return, going 3-5 and making a great relay throw to rob Scott Podsednik of a triple, although Podsednik was probably safe. Bobby Abreu was great yet again, recording another two hits and Craig Wilson hit his first home run as a Yankee. The bullpen was phenominal until the homer off Rivera in the 9th, but hey, he's not going to get 'em every time, just like the Red Sox aren't going to beat the Royals every time.

The Yanks will try to even this series at a game apiece tonight as they'll send out Randy Johnson to face Jon Garland. People want to talk about Johnson's record being masked behind big run support, and Garland's record is 12-3 with an E.R.A. of 4.99 and a BAA of .298. Game starts at 8 E.T. and can be seen on ESPN for those of you not in the NY market.
Posted by: James
This time from ESPN. It's the front page lead this morning and part of ESPN's e-ticket program.

But although a ring would put A-Rod in a familiar category, the more interesting, and more likely scenario (the Yankees are an aging, pitching-weak team) is that things continue on the track they're on now. He's only 31, and we've had Bonds and Clemens to concentrate on these past 10 years, but if A-Rod stays healthy and productive in the years to come, it will become increasingly clear that he is hands-down the best player in the game, and is very likely the best all-around player any of us will ever have the privilege to see in person. Even without a title. Even with what we think is a sensitive heart. Even with what we perceive to be a scripted tongue.

The article even has it's own poll about A-Rod. The article itself is worth a look if you're not past the point of annoyance with the whole thing. The only thing that really annoyed me was that I wished they would have found some rational Yankees fans than the guys they did use.
Posted by: Jason
Many Yankees fans (me included) have decried Torre's penchant for tactical small ball in the face of many compelling SABR studies to the contrary. When you add that the Yankees lineup demands an Earl Weaver style approach (i.e., big ball in the 70's, before it was cool) it has been particularly difficult to watch Jeter bunt Damon over in certain situations this year.

However, today's Bob Klapisch column on demonstrates that Torre fully understands the direct relationship between OBP and run creation. An excerpt:

And Torre is pleased to see the Yankees becoming more selective.

"[We] have what it takes to go through a pennant race," he said. "You're going to be facing the best pitching. This type of approach will serve you better than waiting for a mistake to hit. I feel very comfortable with this ballclub."

I can definitely live with the random bunt and hit-and-run now that I understand that plate discipline/OBP is a Torre principle.
Posted by: David
The Yankees used home runs from Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera and Jason Giambi to beat the Orioles on Sunday afternoon in Baltimore. They also used the first Yankee RBI from Bobby Abreu to add to the score.

Jaret Wright started for the Yankees and as usual put himself into trouble. He put the leadoff runner on in the first four innings. However, he was able to pitch out of early inning jams and give up only one run. With runners on first and third and only one out, Wright was able to strike out Yankees killer Miguel Tejada and then end the inning without giving up any runs. In the second he was in trouble again but struck out Kevin Millar looking with a runner on third and only one out.

Rodrigo Lopez was the starter for the O's and as usual for him he got hurt by the gopher ball. Jeter's shot to right center was in the first inning and was followed by three more home runs during the game. Bobby Abreu also hit a double to deep right to setup another run.

Wright gave way to Scott Proctor in the seventh and he pitched until two outs in the eighth. In the eighth he allowed the first two runners to reach base but then was able to get the next two outs without any runs scoring. Mariano Rivera was then summoned to end the game since he would be entering with the tying run on base and a save situation was at hand.

Mo was Mo as usual and retired all four batters he faced for his 28th save of the season. The Yankees win coupled with another Red Sox loss extended the Yankees lead to two full games in the AL East. Jonathan Papelbon blew his fourth save of the season when he gave up a home run to former Yankee Dioner Navarro to tie the game. Morton hit a walk off homer in the tenth to win the game for Tampa Bay.

The Yankees have tomorrow off and then face the White Sox in Chicago for a three game series starting Tuesday night. The Yankees will throw Wang, Johnson and Mussina vs. Garcia, Garland and Vazquez for the White Sox.

08/06: Bobby Abreu

Posted by: Patrick
The New York Daily News has a writeup on Bobby Abreu:

Under a warm Caribbean sun, a 19-year-old Bobby Abreu stretches and throws. He is doing what he loves, what he feels he was born to do - getting ready to play baseball.

On this day in 1993 in Caracas, his family sits in the packed ballpark in baseball-crazy Venezuela, eager for the start of a winter league game and to see the best of the four Abreu boys, the one who is only 19 but already spends his springs and summers in the United States, striving for the major leagues.

Miles away, in Cuba, the man who started it all for Bobby and his brothers lies on an operating table. Nelson Abreu, the man who taught Bobby and his brothers to play the game, to love the game, is all alone - the family could not afford to send anyone with him while he has the surgery everyone hopes will help him walk again.

While Bobby warms up, his mind sifting through pitching matchups and reminders to himself to stay patient at the plate, a phone rings with a call from Cuba. Moments later, a crushed Bobby Abreu has to tell his siblings, "Daddy is dead."
Posted by: David
The Yankees took a 3-0 lead early in the game thanks to a game starting home run from Johnny Damon and a double from Miguel Cairo. Randy Johnson struggled for most of the game and gave back two runs when the bottom of the order got three straight singles and the O's scored two runs before the inning was over.

The O's took the lead later in the game. Fernando Tatis homered off of Johnson and they added another run to take the lead at 4-3. The Yankees battled back when newcomer Craig Wilson hit a double down the right field line with runners on to tie the score.

Johnson was relived by Ron Villone who pitched 1 and 1/3 inning of scorless relief. Scott Proctor was next and struggled before the got an inning ending double play in the eight to keep the score tied at 4.

Jorge Posada homered to deep right in the top of the 9th with the ball landing out on Eutaw Street to give the Yankees the lead at 5-4. Rivera closed out the O's in the ninth to give the Yankees the win.
Posted by: James
Yesterday, Robbie Cano started as the DH for the GCL Yankees and went 2-for-5. Tonight, Cano went 3-for-3 with a 2B and a walk for AA Trenton. He was also able to play the field so it looks like he is on his way back (repeated knocks on wood as I throw salt over my shoulder). He was replaced for a pinch-runner in the 7th but that might have just been as a precaution (at least, I hope so - no official word). Cairo has certainly played a great defensive 2B since Robbie went down but there's certainly something to be said for getting a left-handed 2B who just happens to be a .325 hitter with power back in the line-up.

Also, Octavio Dotel has started pitching again and his second appearance came last night as he started the game for the GCL Yankees. He went one inning and didn't allow a hit while he walked one and struck out one. At this point, his rehab has stopped and started so many times that I'm not sure that even the Yankees brass know if/when he'll be able to make it back. Obviously, we all wish him the best.

Finally, Christian Garcia made his first start of the season for the Low-A Charleston Riverdogs after working his way back from what was originally an oblique injury. Apparently, the Yankees felt that he had put in enough work in the GCL and was ready to make his return. Happily, he made it a triumphant one as he went 6 strong innings, giving up 4 hits, walking none and striking out 4. Garcia (21 in 3 weeks) is a very promising prospect (regard lower than Hughes, higher than Clippard) so it will be interesting to see what he can accomplish before the season is over and just how much of his luster he can recover. Honestly, I'll be happy if he can close out the season without injury or incident and then start off next season as strong as possible.
Posted by: Seamus
YES announced during the Yankees' pregame show that Bubba Crosby has been designated for assignment and the Yankees have called up Jose Veras. Joe Torre said the move was made simply because he was not comfortable with only 11 pitchers on the roster and wanted to add a 12th.

Obviously if Crosby ends up going to Columbus he will be recalled when the rosters expand in September. However, although I highly doubt that the Yankees will need 12 pitchers on their postseason roster if they go that far, it might be a stretch to think that we'd take Bubba along depending on the return of Matsui and Sheffield.
Posted by: James
Even before the Yankees took the field for today's game, Joe Torre took time out of his day to make me a happier man. He put Abreu in the 3 hole and slotted Giambi in the 5th spot (followed by Craig Wilson). I know both Abreu and Giambi have great OBP numbers but I'd much rather see Abreu in front for two major reasons. First, with Abreu's speed, you would have 4 straight players who have very good speed and have great base-running instincts. All 4 guys can can get on and steal if the need arises but more importantly, they can take the extra base, which is something that Jason Giambi simply can't do. Secondly, for as good of a hitter as Abreu is, his diminished power (real or not) does not give him the same presence in the on-deck circle as Giambi does. If you have Abreu on deck, you can tip-toe past A-Rod and take your chances with Abreu singling or doubling the runner over. Well, hopefully, these guys do well today because the more this line-up scores, the more Torre will use it.

As the game started, the Yanks made my smile even wider in the bottom of the first as they scored 3 quick runs. With one out, Derek Jeter singled and after a long fly-out by Bobby Abreu, A-Rod worked a walk to put runners on first and second. Jason Giambi strolled to the plate and launched a long home-run off the first pitch he saw from Shaun Marcum. 3-0 Yankees...exxxcellent. So far, so good - score first to give the new guy some support so he can relax on the mound (he's doing well so far, 3 IP, 1H).

In an interesting move, the Jays go to the bullpen in the third inning with two on (Jeter & Abreu singles). Perhaps the heat started getting to Marcum (or perhaps the Jays didn't want a repeat of the first inning) but he's gone after 2.2 innings. It's not his pitch count either as he's gone about 5 innings and 90+ pitches in his last two outings. Unfortunately , the move works out for the Blue Jays as Giambi works a walk to load the bases but Craig Wilson flies out to right to end the inning (after a very good at-bat).

The Blue Jays got on board in the 5th when with 2 out, Ryan Roberts hit a solo homerun to make the score 3-1. Reed Johnson followed with a double and Frank Catalanotto walked to bring up Vernon Wells with the tying runs on base. However, Corey Lidle was able to induce a groundball and get out of the inning having given up only one run.

The Yankees recovered in the bottom of the inning when Jeter and Abreu led off with singles. A-Rod then hit a ground-ball that pitcher Brandon League misplayed into an error, allowing Jeter to score. League then gave Giambi the free pass to load the bases (with NO ONE OUT), struck out Craig Wilson but allowed a bloop single to Melky Cabrera which plated Bobby Abreu. Two ground-outs from Fasano and Green ended the inning without another run scoring and the score at Yankees 5, Blue Jays 1.

The Yanks piled on some more runs in the bottom of the 6th when with 2 out, Bobby Abreu doubled to left. Scott Schoeneweis intentionally walked Alex Rodriguez to get to Jason Giambi who promptly hit a ground-rule double deep over Vernon Wells' head in center, scoring Bobby Abreu. Craig Wilson followed up with a 2-run single to push the score to 8-1 Yankees before Melky grounded out to end the inning.

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick

Derek Jeter
25 G, 18 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 6 SB, .412 AVG, .431 OBA, .569 SLG

Kyle Farnsworth
11 G, 1-0, 10.1 IP, 0.87 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, .200 BAA

Chien-Ming Wang
5 GS, 4-1, 35.2 IP, 3.03 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .265 BAA

Ron Villone
11 G, 1-0, 17 IP, 2.12 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .219 BAA

Melky Cabrera
25 G, 19 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 SB, .313 AVG, .358 OBA, .475 SLG

Mariano Rivera
11 G, 0-1, 12.1 IP, 8 SV, 2.19 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, .273 BAA

Johnny Damon
20 G, 15 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 SB, .329 AVG, .392 OBA, .500 SLG


Andy Phillips
25 G, 12 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, .165 AVG, .208 OBA, .275 SLG

Jaret Wright
5 GS, 2-1, 21 IP, 6.43 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, .341 BAA

Miguel Cairo
23 G, 10 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 11 RBI, 5 SB, .253 AVG, .256 OBA, .320 SLG

Randy Johnson
6 GS, 2-3, 38 IP, 5.68 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .265 BAA

Sidney Ponson
2 GS, 0-1, 9 IP, 10.00 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, .278 BAA

Jason Giambi
25 G, 16 R, 2 2B, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 1 SB, .186 AVG, .327 OBA, .419 SLG

Bubba Crosby
20 G, 4 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB, .152 AVG, .176 OBA, .273 SLG

Mike Myers
8 G, 0-0, 4.2 IP, 9.64 ERA, 2.14 WHIP, .364 BAA
Posted by: Patrick
From the official site:

... Jeter is a candidate for this year's American League Hank Aaron Award.

Since 1999, the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, Major League Baseball has recognized the best offensive performer from each league with the Hank Aaron Award presented by CENTURY 21.

Posted by: Jason
...because just 7 days ago Toronto was lurking, a constant threat on the Yankees horizon. Last night at the stadium they looked suddenly less potent, falling almost 8 games back.

It was our old friend Ted Lilly, once the future of the back end of the Yankees rotation. Lilly is one of the few ex-Yankees that triggers nostalgia, perhaps because he's virtually the same "upside" pitcher now as he was then: almost untouchable for 4 to 6 innings, then suddenly an open book.

His counterpart continues to fulfill Guidry's grandiose predictions. On this track, Wang will be recognized as one of the 5 best pitchers in the majors. Mid-90s sink with added late movement. Still in his mid 20's. A tribute to the Yankees' minor league & talent selection system.

Wang pitched into trouble in the second, walking the bases full. Thankfully he pitched out of the jam unscathed, and after that Toronto's offense was a ground ball festival. Wang surrendered no runs and the shutout remained intact until the 9th.

The Yankees offensive output was clustered in the 3rd and in the 6th. "The deuce" (Jeter) went over the opposite field wall in the 3rd for a 1-0 lead.

In the 6th, Alex began the inning with a line drive and a "here I am/no I'm not" slide at second base. After the ball beat him to the bag by 10 feet, Alex wriggled (headfirst) around the infielder's glove. Posada rewarded the effort with a long HR into Toronto's bullpen. 3-0 Yankees.

Still in the 6th, after a Wilson single, Melky ground rule double and a Cairo walk, John drilled a line drive to score another run, 4-0. Jeter's walk with the bases loaded made the game 5-0. Abreu k'd (but he had 2 hits) and then Alex's ground ball shot deflected off the shortstop's glove to score 2 more runs, 7-0.

Alex has 4 hits and 4 RBIs in the last 2 out.

Glaus's irrelevant HR in the 9th (off of Villone) made it 7-2. It was encouraging to see Villone shake off the embarrassment and prevent a rally by quickly inducing the next 3 outs.

Hang in there, Cory...the offense predicts to score more than a few runs today.
Posted by: James
But you don't see any of the big A-Rod detractors cheer when someone who doesn't have to bother continuously does charitable things.

"You know when players win championships how they always say, 'It hasn't hit me?'" 17-year-old Jonathon DeLeon said. "Now that I've experience it, it's true. I still can't believe I met A-Rod."

Although he never went to college -- he was drafted straight out of high school -- Rodriguez said he wouldn't have made the money he did without getting a good education. Rodriguez talked about his dedication to staying away from negative influences such as drugs and his obsession with working harder than everybody else.

"I never wanted to look in the mirror and say, 'What if?'" Rodriguez said. "What if I tried harder? What if I didn't try drugs? What if I didn't drink? I never wanted to do that."
"Just his presence is dominant enough in terms of his influence on me that I don't think he even had to say anything," DeLeon said. "I'll never forget his message about hard work and what it takes to be successful in life."

Passing along the lessons you've learned in life: good for him. Keep up the good work.
Posted by: Seamus
Bobby Abreu went 0-3 with a walk in his Yankee debut, but he did score a run in the Yankees' 5-1 victory over Toronto. Coupled with a Red Sox' loss to Cleveland, the win for the Yankees puts them in a virtual tie for first place in the A.L. East (Yankees are percentage points ahead). The White Sox also won, so the wild card race is still tied between them and Yanks/Sox.

Jaret Wright struggled a bit as it took him over 100 pitches to go 5 innings, but as he's done quite a bit this year, he worked himself out of a few jams and allowed only one run on a John McDonald double in the 2nd. The 4th inning was where all the damage was done, as the Yankee offense was quiet throughout most of the game. Alex Rodriguez swung at a 3-0 pitch and lined in to right center field for a double that scored Jeter and tied the score at 1. Abreu followed that up with an almost Paul O'Neill-esque walk to load the bases for the guy who's spot in the outfield he just took away. Bernie Williams followed with a bases clearing double to left to put the Yankees ahead 4-1. The double tied Bernie with Don Mattingly for 2nd on the all-time doubles list. A-Rod scored Jeter on a groundout to short to make it 5-1 in the 7th, and that's how it would end.

So not a bad night I suppose for a guy like Abreu. He got a lot of work out there in RF and although he was 0-3, he worked a pretty impressive walk in the 4th, pretty much persistently fouling off every strike no matter what until Burnett threw four balls. The fans were into it and he was able to get a taste of the Yankee atmosphere on his first day, not to mention helping them move up to first place. I mean not to take anything away from Philadelphia, but how many guys get to play in front of a crowd of 54,000 against the Blue Jays on a Tuesday night?

The Yankees will send Chien-Ming Wang to face former Yankee Ted Lilly tonight at 7 E.T. Wang is coming off a complete game shutout on Friday against Tampa Bay. Joe Torre said yesterday that Craig Wilson will start tonight. I don't think he said where, but either way it looks like another new Yankee will make his debut tonight.
Posted by: Patrick
Right now Sheff is saying all the right things:

Gary Sheffield welcomed Bobby Abreu with open arms figuratively and literally in their first meeting on Tuesday.
With Abreu now manning Sheffield's usual right field, Sheffield's role, if and when he returns from injury in September -- at the earliest -- will alter. But that didn't stop him from hugging Abreu when he first saw him. ...

"I'm hurt. I can't help this ball club right now," Sheffield said. "They've got to do whatever they have to do to help this ball club, and I'm all for it. When I signed on to come here, the first thing they said was they would do everything they could to help get me a World Series ring and I'm all for it." ...

Sheffield worked out at first base with Don Mattingly before Tuesday's game, trying to learn the proper footwork. Sheffield said he would be fine with a position change, and Torre felt the veteran would have no trouble making the adjustment. ...

"They don't owe me anything," Sheffield said. "I earned everything I got in my 18 years. I never was given anything."