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You are currently viewing archive for July 2007.

Posted by: Patrick
The Yankees scored 16 runs tonight. With the exception of an Andy Phillips sacrifice fly, every single run scored on a home run. The game started off like that, as well. In the 1st, Damon singled, Jeter singled and then Abreu hit a 3 run shot. Then A-Rod made an out. And Matsui hit a solo home run to cap a 4 run 1st. And that's pretty much how the game went.

Cano and Cabrera (a hot duo, like James said) homered to add 5 more runs in the 3rd. In the 4th, Posada homered to score 2 more. In the 6th, Matsui homered again - this time a 2 run shot - and Phillips had the sac fly. Then, in the 7th, Damon and Shelley Duncan (in his only AB of the game) both hit solo shots.

The guys on ESPN said it was the 2nd time in team history where they've reached 8 homers in a game. The last time was June 28, 1939. It is, however, the first time that they've ever had 7 different players hit home runs in the first game.

Though he had some close calls, A-Rod was 0 for 5 today. Him and Phillips were the only players to go hitless, though Phillips did score a run and drive in a run through that sac fly. Besides that, you've got:

Damon: 2 for 3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB.
Jeter: 1 for 5, 1 R.
Abreu: 3 for 4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Duncan: 1 for 1, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI.
Matsui: 2 for 3, 2 HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.
Posada: 4 for 5, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
Cano: 2 for 5, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI.
Cabrera: 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI.

KA-BOOM. Crazy.

Not to be missed, of course, Moose had a nice outing, allowing 3 ER over 6 innings of work. He struck out 6 and walked none. Farnsworth, Myers and Henn pitched 1 inning a piece, only facing 3 each (Farnsworth pitched a 1-2-3 and the other two got DPs) to end the game.

Ozzie Guillen got tossed in the 1st for arguing balls and strikes as did Paul Konerko in the 6th.

As if that wasn't nice enough, both Boston and Cleveland lost. So, we're 8 games back in the division and 3.5 back in the Wild Card. Tomorrow, we'll get Pettitte (6-7, 4.11 ERA) vs. John Danks (6-7, 4.83).

07/31: Cano Note

Posted by: James
With that HR, Robbie Cano has got his average back at .300 and his OPS back over .800. This is why when he was scuffling earlier on in the season, I didn't really understand the point of the trade talk surrounding the guy.

He's young, he's cheap and apparently people haven't noticed that he's gone from below-average/average in 2005 to very good at playing second base. He has very good range, pivots on the DP exceptionally well and he's got a great arm.

Then you look at the offense and since May 16th, which was the last time his OPS was under .600: .336 /.373/.547/.920 and that's over 68 games and 265 Abs so it's not just a hot streak.

Very good defensive 2nd basemen who hit .300+/.340+/.500+ aren't exactly easy to find, especially ones that are still in their age 24 season.

Update: Thought I would do the same for Melky as well since he just went deep too. More people have been talking about his play recently but most of the focus has (deservedly) been on the great defense he's provided. Here's the offensive side of that story, also from the last time that he was under .600 (May 30th): .335/.388/.490/.878 over 55 games and 200 ABs. Not too shabby, huh? Especially for a kid (age 22 season) with a "4/5th OFer" ceiling.

Update 2: Updated the stats to inlcude last's night homerfest.
Posted by: Patrick
This is my weekly recap of the performance of the teams in the Yankees Bloggers Fantasy Baseball League.

Last Week

In a 1st vs. 3rd place showdown, James came out victorious over Mike (River Ave. Blues) in a 6-4 final. James took 4 out of 5 offensive categories (failing to win stolen bases). Although, runs, home runs and average were all close. Manny Ramirez led James' offense with 7 runs, 3 home runs, 10 runs batted in and a .393 average. Garrett Atkins hit .435. Orlando Hudson (5 R, 2 HR, 7 SB, .286 AVG) contributed the most on Mike's side.

Mike took 3 out of 5 pitching categories with a very impressive week of 6 wins, 5 saves, 59 strikeouts, a 2.45 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Even so, wins, saves and WHIP were all close with James taking saves (7) and WHIP (1.13). James picked up wins from Ted Lilly, Bobby Jenks, Chad Billingsley (10 K), Jake Peavy and Jeremy Guthrie and saves from Bobby Jenks (4), Billy Wagner (2) and Jose Valverde. Meanwhile, Mike's wins came from Yovani Gallardo (9 K), Fausto Carmona, Francisco Rodriguez, Daisuke Matsuzaka (11 K), Felix Hernandez and John Smoltz (10 K). His saves were turned in by Joe Nathan (2), Jeremy Accardo (2) and Kevin Gregg.

I took a 6-4 victory over Seamus. I won the offensive part of the match, taking 4 out of 5 categories with none of those 4 being close. Seamus was able to take stolen bases, though, 4-2. Carlos Lee gave my offense 6 runs, 3 home runs, 6 runs batted in, 1 stolen base and a .385 average while Eric Byrnes (5 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB, .320 AVG) was the primary force on Seamus' side.

Seamus took 3 out of the 5 pitching categories (wins, ERA and WHIP). My pitchers, with the exception of strikeouts, just had a terrible week in general. My wins came from Mark Buehrle (11 K) and Kevin Millwood and my saves came from Manny Corpas (2), Joe Borowski and Octavio Dotel. Scott Kazmir had 16 strikeouts. Seamus had wins from Brandon Webb, Jered Weaver and Mike Mussina to go along with a single save from Todd Jones.

Top 3 teams in the league:

1. Mike (96-69-5)
2. James (89-72-9)
3. Dave (Pride of the Yankees) (87-74-9)

This Week

James (2nd, 89-72-9) vs. Dave (3rd, 87-74-9)
Patrick (6th, 81-83-6) vs. Joseph (River Ave. Blues) (T4th, 84-73-13)
Seamus (10th, 64-96-10) vs. Ben (River Ave. Blues) (T4th, 88-77-5)
Posted by: James
MLB Trade Rumors has the story. Gagne has agreed to waive his no-trade clause and go to Boston to serve as the setup man. That's a pretty good bullpen now with Okajima, Gagne, Papelbon and barring injury, shortens the game for the Sox.
Posted by: Patrick
Mark Feinsand reports that, according to sources, Edwar Ramirez will be recalled and Chris Basak will be sent down.
Posted by: James
ESPN is reporting that the trade is essentially done:

The Dodgers and Yankees have agreed in principle on a trade that would send reliever Scott Proctor to the Dodgers for infielder Wilson Betemit, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

Naturally, the trade made me think of this from Dodger Thoughts last year:

Waitin', watchin' the clock, it's four o' clock, it's got to stop
Tell him, take no more, she practices her speech
As he opens the door, she rolls over
Pretends to sleep as he looks her over
She lies and says she's in love with him, can't find a Betemit
She dreams in color, she dreams of Reds, can't find a Betemit
Can't find a Betemit
Can't find a Betemit
Ohh ...

As for Betemit the player, well, here's some good stuff: After starting off the year .125/.297/.167/.464, he's hit a ROBUST .278/.391/.611/1.002 since May 1st (of course, that's only 108 ABs) and .387/.500/.677/1.177 in July (31 ABs). He just turned 27 a couple days ago, he can play third, short and second (hmm, kind of makes Miggy Cairo redundant, no?) and while he's a switch hitter, he's clearly more dangerous as a lefty.
Posted by: Patrick
Chad Jennings mentions that Joba threw 13 pitches (10 strikes), striking out the side and reaching 99 MPH.

Via Andrew Fletcher.
Posted by: Patrick
Kyle is a funny dude:

And then the erratic reliever may have done with his mouth what his ineffective pitching hasn’t been able to do: Punch his ticket out of The Bronx by complaining about not being used.

“I don’t like it at all,” said Farnsworth, who appeared in three games in 12 days going into yesterday’s debacle when he forced Joe Torre to use Mariano Rivera in the ninth. “I didn’t come here to sit on the bench.”

There are plenty of Joe Torre critics out there (well, among bloggers, anyway). But, even so, I think it'd be pretty hard to find a couple that feel that Farnsworth has been underused. Granted, 4 other relievers on the team have appeared in more games than him. But, he's pitched in 44 games and, of Yankees pitchers that have appeared in 25 or more games this season, Farnsworth has the worst ERA (4.57), the worst WHIP (1.65) and the worst BAA of any of them (.283). Torre has continued to give him the ball and has even spoke publicly about how he doesn't see anything wrong with Farnsworth, etc. etc.

He didn't come here to sit on the bench? What did he come here to do? Not to pitch like this, for sure. Not to complain publicly about Clemens contractual benefits, not to show up his manager or his catcher. His trade value is probably the lowest it has been in a long time right now and, yet, that is what is going to happen, most likely.
Posted by: Patrick
From Ed Price:

Senior VP of baseball operations Mark Newman said Chamberlain will pitch one inning in tomorrow's game in Rochester, then likely have a day off before throwing another inning in Wednesday's game.

"We're going to see how he responds to it and see how he feels," Newman said, "and see if he's an option at the major league level."
Posted by: Patrick
Lisa Kennelly reports on Hughes second rehab start in Scranton. His line? 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 4 K, 3 BB, 91 pitches (57 strikes). His next start should be back in the Majors.
Posted by: Patrick
The Orioles took the lead quickly in the first, as Miguel Tejada doubled in Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis to make it 2-0. No one would score again until the bottom of the 5th when the Orioles made it 3-0 on a Markakis RBI single.

The Yankees would finally get on the board in the 7th, when Matsui hit a solo shot to right. 3-1, Orioles. But, the Orioles came right back in the bottom of the frame, scoring another 3 runs. Again, both of them were driven in by Tejada - this time, on a single. Clemens started the inning and got a ground out before giving up a single to Brian Roberts. Mike Myers was called on to face Corey Patterson. Patterson singled and then stole second, making it 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Myers struck out Marakakis next to get the second out.

This led to Luis Vizcaino entering to pitch to Kevin Millar. He walked him to load the bases and that's when Tejada came up and delivered the single. 5-1, Orioles. Vizcaino retired Aubrey Huff to end the inning. The bullpen was pretty ineffective tonight and that wouldn't be the end of it.

The bottom of the 8th saw 2 more runs score. Brian Bruney came out to start the inning and failed to retire any of the first 3 batters he faced, allowing a single, having a man reach on an A-Rod error and then another single. His first out was Brian Roberts, whose sacrifice fly scored Ramon Hernandez. Corey Patterson singled next, loading the bases with 1 out. Ron Villone came in to relieve Bruney, getting a ground out from Markakis that allowed Jay Payton to score. Villone retired the next batter to end the 8th. 7-1, Orioles.

The Yankees would make it close, though. Facing Cory Doyne in just his 4th Major League appearance, the Yankees put together a rally, started by a Hideki Matsui single. This was followed by a Jorge Posada home run, to make it 7-3. Cano doubled and Andy Phillips singled to make it 1st and 3rd with no outs. A Melky Cabrera single scored Cano. 1st and 2nd with no outs for Damon, down by 3. The Orioles brought in Jamie Walker to pitch to Damon.

Damon, unfortunately, killed the rally. He grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to make the first 2 outs of the inning and move Andy Phillips to third. Ouch. Derek Jeter singled Phillips home and took second on fielder's indifference. Bobby Abreu came up with the tying run at the plate and struck out to end it.

In other relevant games, the Indians lost and the Red Sox won. So, we're back to 9 games back in the division, but only 5 games back in the wild card. We've officially lost this series. But, we can avoid the sweep tomorrow with Chien-Ming Wang (11-5, 3.57 ERA) starting against Daniel Cabrera (7-10, 5.04).
Posted by: Patrick
Update: This situation has been resolved - for now, anyway. Thanks.

I just thought that I would confirm that yes, we're being threatened by SFX Baseball (Mariano Rivera's agent). I've written a post at explaining the situation. Thanks for reading.
Posted by: Patrick
From Michael Ko:

Kenji Johjima and Ichiro both expressed pleasant surprise in the clubhouse after overhearing a TV report about the Mariners' rumored trade interest in Yankees pitcher Kei Igawa, who is also Japanese.

Yeah, right. What could we possibly get for him right now? A kick to the head? I doubt we're going to get anything that makes it worth it after we have to pay a chunk of his salary. It's only been half a season. We're best served just letting him work and seeing if he can get it turned around. Not even talking about this year. Maybe next. We've got him signed for 5, afterall.

From Mark Feinsand:

The Yankees appear to have narrowed their sights to Houston relievers Dan Wheeler and Chad Qualls, though several teams are interested in the two righthanders.

Via PSD.
Posted by: Patrick
The official site reports that Kei Igawa has been sent down to triple A while Chris Basak has been recalled, once again.
Posted by: David
The Yankees started off on Friday night by beating the Orioles, 8-7, in completion of a suspended game from June 28th. Fans will remember then when Derek Jeter hit a two run single off of Chris Ray in a driving rain storm to take the lead and the game was suspended shortly thereafter.

The Yankees could not add any more insurance runs and had to hold on dearly for the win. Mike Myers started the eighth but could register only one out before walking a batter. Rivera came in and quickly got a double play ball to end the inning.

In the ninth, Mo surrendered a run and had two runners on before he got Brandon Fahey to ground to second with Cano forcing the runner at second to end the game.

In the regularly scheduled game which starts soon, Andy Pettitte will be on the hill for the Bombers vs. Jeremy Guthrie for the Orioles.
Posted by: Patrick
From Dan Graziano:

The Yankees have been calling a few teams to see if they'd be interested in taking center fielder Johnny Damon off their hands. One of those teams is the Braves, whose answer (according to an official with one of the teams involved, who requested anonymity because he was talking about deals that weren't completed) was that they liked Damon, "but not at that price." Damon is signed through 2009 at $13 million per season, and if the Yankees were to trade him, which they technically could if they believe Jason Giambi is coming back soon from his foot injury, they'd probably have to chip in a good chunk of that salary. That, along with Damon's limited no-trade clause, makes it unlikely the Yankees would deal him, but it sure is interesting that they've looked into it....

From George King:

According to multiple sources, the Tigers are looking to make a deal that would bring Farnsworth back to the team he pitched 46 games for in 2005. Ideally, the Tigers would like to add Texas closer Eric Gagne but he likely will balk at a deal that sends him to a team where he can't close.

Via Yahoo!
Posted by: Patrick
According to the AP, Jason Giambi will begin a 2 game rehab assignment at single A Tampa on Friday.

"I'm to that point where I really can't do anymore working out, taking BP and running," Giambi said. "Now it's going to be more game activity. I think that will be a gauge to see how I do."
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees came away last night with yet another convincing victory, their sixth in a row and the 12th in their first 15 games after the All-Star break. The Yanks are now 17-5 in their last 22 games and the Red Sox' loss brings them within 6.5 games of the A.L. East lead.

Melky Cabrera was the early hero, driving in the Yankees' first three runs in what was at the time a pretty close game with a two-run homer in the 2nd and a sac fly in the 7th that put them up 3-1. The Yankees blew it open in the 8th with back-to-back long balls by A-Rod (#499) and Matsui, and an RBI double by Andy Phillips.

Mike Mussina was decent, allowing a run on six hits in 5 and 2/3 innings. The Yankees used five relievers, who pitched a combined 4 and 1/3 scoreless innings. The new and improved Luis Vizcaino pitched a perfect 8th and Mariano Rivera finished it off with a scoreless 9th.

Kinda funny how some of the naysayers said that this team wouldn't be capable of coming back because of the clip they'd have to play at to catch the Red Sox or Indians, assuming the teams ahead of them played at the same pace. The Yanks' 12-3 record since the break equates to a winning percentage of .800. Not that I expect them to keep that pace up, but let's put it this way: if you were to say they had to go 52-25 in their 77 games after the break, they'd now have to go 40-22 (.645) in their last 62. That's still pretty good baseball, but I doubt many would argue that this team isn't capable of winning at that pace.

The Yankees will send Kei Igawa to the mound tonight as they will go for their first sweep since sweeping the Diamondbacks June 12-14. A-Rod will be going for home run number 500 against Jorge De La Rosa, who coincidentally is the same man who gave up his 400th homer. Game starts at 8:10 E.T.
Posted by: James
Last night, Hughes set them down. Tonight, Joba Chamberlain dominated them to the tune of 5 IP, 4 hits, 1 walk and 10 Ks in his first AAA start. Yeah, he's good. The only thing that Louisville's got going for them right now is that they missed Ian Kennedy by a couple of nights.

On a related note, Alan Horne shut down Erie over 8 innings giving up 5 hits, 4 walks and 1 earned run while striking out 7, bringing his AA ERA down to 2.36 for the year. If there was room, he really should/would be at AAA right now.

Update: Apparently, this is a screw-up on the part of MiLB - They have Dellin listed and in the box score but it's been stated that it was actually Jason Stephens who pitched those innings.

Finally, another bit of good news - Dellin Betances is actually pitching tonight as well so I guess the elbow injury wasn't that bad. His line for the night was 5 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER and 3Ks (7-5 GB-FB) but the good news is just that he's pitching.
Posted by: Patrick
Cue the drooling. Hughes threw 6 scoreless innings, striking out 7 and working out of a bases loaded, nobody out jam in his first rehab start at triple A. It looks like Phil will probably make another start at Scranton, hoping to reach 100 pitches.
Posted by: Patrick
The offense wasted no time yesterday, hurriedly pounding Scott Elarton and giving him this ugly, ugly line: 1.2 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 0 K. 4 runs were scored in the top of the first as the only out that Elarton recorded of the first 7 hitters was a sac fly by Abreu that scored Damon. A couple batters later, Posada singled in Jeter and A-Rod and Cano doubled in Matsui. Andy Phillips and Melky left runners stranded at 2nd and 3rd to end the run.

The 3 runs in the top of the second were added through an Abreu double (scoring Damon once again) and then through an impressive two out, small ball rally. With 2 outs, and Abreu on 2nd, Matsui singled to score him with Matsui advancing to second on the throw. Jorge Posada was intentionally walked (with a man on second and two outs, down by 6?). Then Cano walked. Then Phillips walked, scoring Matsui. 3 straight walks. For the second straight inning, Melky ended the run.

The Royals answered back in the bottom of the 2nd with 2 runs, thanks to an Alex Gordon double and a John Buck ground out. The Yankees added another run, thanks to a Melky Cabrera sac fly that scored Posada. The Royals added another 2 runs in the bottom of the 5th, with Mark Teahen sacrificing a man in and Russ Gload singling. Melky threw out Billy Butler at 3rd to end the inning. The Yankees would score the final run of the game in the top of the 6th, when a Johnny Damon RBI single scored Cano.

Not the greatest outing for Wang (6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K), but it was plenty good enough tonight and the pen didn't allow it to get close, with Myers, Farnsworth and Bruney each pitching one scoreless inning to bring the game to it's conclusion.

Bobby Abreu was 2 for 5 with a double, 1 R and 2 RBI, Posada was 1 for 3 with 1 R, 2 RBI and 2 BB, Cano was 1 for 2 with a double, 1 R, 1 RBI and 3 BB, Damon was 2 for 5 with 2 R and 1 BB, Phillips was 1 for 3 with 1 RBI and 1 BB and Jeter was 4 for 6 with 1 R. A-Rod and Melky were the only Yankees not to collect a hit, although A-Rod walked and scored a run and Melky scored a run, as well. Tyler Kepner noted that this was the first time, in his career, that Cano has walked 3 times in one game. He has walked more times this year, in 99 games, than he did in either of his first two years (132 games and 122 games). He's actually on pace for 34 walks this year - which is the exact number of total walks of his first two seasons combined.

With the Red Sox beating the Indians, 1-0, we gain a game in the Wild Card to move up to 4.5 games back and remain at 7.5 games back in the division. Tonight at 8:10 PM ET, we'll have Mike Mussina (4-7, 4.97 ERA) against Gil Meche (7-6, 3.63 ERA). It'll be the first time that Meche has faced the Yankees since July 19 of last year. In that game, he pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 earned runs. He got a no decision, but the Mariners (his team last year) won by the score of 3-2.
Posted by: Patrick
If you have one to share, Steve is looking for Yankee Stadium stories.
Posted by: James
That's the title of Mike Lupica's latest story. I can honestly remember a time when Lupica was a decent writer and I looked forward to reading his work. I didn't always agree with it but at least it had a point and a certain validity to it. These days, it's as if he's going through the motions trying to find the most controversial angle on something and then blathering on about it. I would analyze his article but honestly, it's not even worth it - it's just silly.

Update: Ken Tremendous of FJM absolutely eviscerates Lupica for this story...and he doesn't even like the Yankees (which speaks volumes about how out of touch this article is)!
Posted by: Seamus
Look out. Here come the Yankees. The Bombers pulled off another dominating performance, as they routed the red-hot Royals (very possibly the first time that phrase has been used since about 1985) by a score of 9-2. Roger Clemens turned in a great performance, allowing just four hits in 7 innings and every Yankee starter recorded a hit for the second straight game. The win brings the Yankees within 5.5 games of the wild card race as the Red Sox defeated Cleveland.

The Yankees jumped ahead early, scoring two in the first on a two-run single by Hideki Matsui and two more in the second on a two-run double by Johnny Damon. They wouldn't score again until they put up a 5 spot in the 9th, but they didn't need it as the Rocket turned back the clock (well, not really), allowing only two runs, one scoring on a wild pitch and the other on a home run via Ross Gload.

Alex Rodriguez added RBI #100 in the 9th with a base hit that scored Johnny Damon. Kind of odd that I'm mentioning this in July, and more incredible that even through two-thirds of the season, Rodriguez is still on pace for a whopping 165 RBI (165.306 to be exact but that's not possible).

The Yanks will go for five in a row tonight as Chien-Ming Wang will take the mound against Scott Elarton. Elarton is 2-3 with a 9.17 E.R.A. in eight starts this season. Game starts at 8:10 ET.

And lastly, I know this is a Yankee site but kudos to Jon Lester, who won in his first appearance in nearly a year after a battle with cancer. I was kinda hoping he'd pitch an 8-inning shutout performance before Papelbon or someone in the bullpen coughed up the lead in the 9th, but even as a Yankee fan I gotta be happy for the guy. It's a shame but sometimes it takes things like that for people to realize that we're talking about a game here.
Posted by: James
After starting their seasons in A Tampa, Ed Price is reporting that the Yankees promoted Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I'm sure that both Joba and Kennedy will be on inning/pitch counts for the rest of the season.

They take the spots of Chase Wright and Tyler Clippard, who have both been sent down to AA Trenton. Wright had never pitched above A ball prior to this year so that makes sense. He has only 20 AA innings to his credit so far and since he's a lefty - he'll have plenty more shots in the future. Clippard will get more shots too - the kid is only in his age 22 season. He struggled mightily after he was sent back down to AAA and he can take the time in AA to find the control that he lost in the majors. He'll be back soon enough, I'm sure.

So for me, the next obvious question becomes; when does Alan Horne get his shot? Hopefully, soon because if Joba and Mini-Moose show positive signs at AAA, I wouldn't be surprised at all if either makes the team out of spring training next year. Wang, Hughes, Chamberlain, Kennedy and Horne - tell me that doesn't look quite enticing.

Update: Per Mike A., Kevin Whelan gets promoted back up to AA. I'm assuming he goes back to the pen after making 7 starts in A Tampa. With the arrival of two starters to AA Trenton, Brett Smith gets bumped down to A Tampa. Yes, Brett Smith of the 2.97 ERA, .192 BAA and 61 hits allowed in 91 IP. He does need to work on his control though so maybe that was the thinking there.
Posted by: James
Robbie Cano won his second career Player of the Week award and shares the honor with the CFer of the team the Yankees just bludgeoned, B.J. Upton.

Cano hit .500 (17-34) with a double, a triple, two home runs and nine RBI. The 24-year-old slugged .765, had a .528 on-base percentage, and scored eight runs with 26 total bases. In a game against the Blue Jays on July 16th, he went 2-for-4 with a home run. During a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Cano went 11-for-18 with a home run and six RBI.

Who wanted to trade the guy?
Posted by: James
I know they come in 11 games under .500 but don't let that fool you, these guys aren't nearly as bad as they used to be. Yes, they started the season off badly and at the end of April, their record did stand at 8-18. However, things have definitely turned around - just look at their record.

From May 1st until now: 35-36 (.493 winning percentage)
From June 1st until now: 24-19 (.558)
So far in July: 9-7 (.562) and they're coming off series wins against Detroit and Boston and a series loss to Cleveland where the scores were 4-5, 6-5 and 3-5.

Long story short - the team can play and it would be extremely short-sighted for the Yankees (and their fans) to overlook this team.

Still, when you look at the probable pitchers for the series, the Yankees definitely lucked out.

-Clemens vs. Odalis Perez (who has been bombed recently - 7.47 ERA after the ASB)
-Wang vs. Scott Elarton (who is coming off a DL stint and has been bombed in his rehab starts to the tune of 22 ER in 20.6 IP)
-Mussina vs. Gil Meche (I know he's pitched well so far...but sooner or later, he'll have to remember that he's GIL MECHE and looking at his 5.18 ERA in July, I think he has. Also, look at those Home/Away splits.)
-Kei Igawa vs. Jorge De La Rosa, (26 year old lefty had a very good March-April but has been lit up since then, to the tune of a 6.51 ERA in his last 10 games.

The Yankees can hit these pitchers (knock on wood), so it'll come down to the pitching staff (again).
Posted by: James
Pretty much just what the title states. ESPN is reporting that Jason Giambi took 38 swings today in his first on-field BP session since his injury.

The New York Yankees designated hitter also started running the bases and kept up a throwing program. He hopes to rejoin the Yankees by August.

"Everything is great so far," Giambi said. "Better than expected."

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out between Damon/Giambi at DH and Damon/Cabrera in CF. If they're smart, they'll keep playing Cabrera in the OF - the upgrade in defense has been more than worth it so far.
Posted by: Patrick
This is my weekly recap of the performance of the teams in the Yankees Bloggers Fantasy Baseball League.

Last Week

James and Jen ( ended up in a 5-5 stalemate in what was the only tied game of the week. Runs, home runs, runs batted in and wins were all very close in this one. James' offense was led by Chipper Jones (5 R, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB, .444 AVG) and Manny Ramirez (8 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, .391 AVG). Jen's side was led by Robbie Cano, who hit .500 for the week with 8 runs, 2 home runs and 9 runs batted in. Carl Crawford hit .474 (with 5 R, 1 RBI and 5 SB) while Dmitri Young hit .455. Miguel Cabrera (4 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, .423) and Shane Victorino (7 R, 5 RBI, 2 SB, .343) also turned in big weeks.

Jeremy Guthrie gave James a 2 win week (and 9 K) and Kelvin Escobar and Ted Lilly chipped in wins of their own. Jose Valverde had 3 saves while Billy Wagner and Bobby Jenks each had 2. Jake Peavy had 11 K. Jen had wins from Roy Halladay (9 K), Jason Marquis and Pat Neshek and 2 saves from Trevor Hoffman.

I defeated Aziz (Pride of the Yankees), 8-2, sweeping the batting categories while losing saves and ERA. A-Rod continues to astonish, contributing 10 runs, 3 home runs, 12 runs batted in, 2 stolen bases and a .346 average to my side. Hideki Matsui (8 R, 4 H, 8 RBI, 1 SB, .400 AVG) and Dan Uggla (4 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, .462 AVG) were also hot. Aziz's side was led by Ryan Howard (7 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, .700 AVG). Bobby Abreu (8 R, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 2 SB, .313 AVG) was also a major contributor.

My wins came from Mark Buehrle, Andy Pettitte (15 K), Scott Kazmir and Barry Zito while I was given 2 saves by both Mo and Joe Borowski and one each by Octavio Dotel and Alan Embree. Roy Oswalt, Andrew Miller and Oliver Perez picked up wins for Aziz while Francisco Cordero (3), David Weathers (2), Takashi Saito and Antonio Alfonseca helped him to take saves.

Joseph (River Ave. Blues) took a pretty comfortable victory over Seamus, 8-2. David Wright led Seamus' offense with 7 runs, 2 home runs, 9 runs batted in, 2 stolen bases and a .333 average. Eric Byrnes stole 7 bases, more than Joseph's side put together. But, that would be the only offensive category that Seamus would take. Joseph's offense was pretty balanced, but Carlos Beltran (6 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, .321 AVG) made the most damage.

Pitching wise, Seamus failed to record a win, picking up 3 saves - all from Todd Jones. Joseph had wins from Erik Bedard (11 K) and James Shields with his lone save coming from Jonathan Papelbon.

Top 3 teams in the league:

1. Mike (River Ave. Blues) (92-63-5)
2. Dave (Pride of the Yankees) (84-68-8)
3. James (83-68-9).

This Week

James (3rd, 83-68-9) vs. Mike (1st, 92-63-5)

Patrick (6th, 75-79-6) vs. Seamus (10th, 60-90-10)
Posted by: Patrick
While pretty much everyone has hit well this month and Jeter, Posada, A-Rod (more than an RBI a game), etc. continue to do what they've been doing, Matsui, Cano and Abreu have been particularly hot. No coincidence, of course, but here is what they've done:

Since July 4, Matsui is hitting .366 with a .430 OBA and 1.219 OPS with 3 2B, 9 HR, 17 RBI, 8 BB and 2 SB.

Since July 2, Cano is hitting .403 with a .436 OBA and 1.103 OPS with 2 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 4 BB and 1 SB.

Since July 2, Abreu is hitting .386 with a .413 OBA and 1.056 OPS with 6 2B, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 4 BB and 2 SB.
Posted by: David
The Yankees crushed the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the second day in a row with a tremendous offensive output. The Bombers used home runs from Matsui, A-Rod, Cano, Abreu and two from newcomer Shelley Duncan to beat Tampa Bay 21-4.

Andy Pettitte struggled somewhat through about six innings and the bullpen wrapped it up. With the win the Yankees are 9-3 since the All-Star Break and remain 7 1/2 games behind the Bosox in the AL East.

Matsui had a five hit day and Cano is now over .290 after starting the season slowly. The Yankees head on the road for four games with Kansas City starting tonight and then four in Baltimore including the conclusion of a suspended game.
Posted by: Patrick
Yahoo! Sports reports that we've signed Scott Williamson to a minor league contract. He pitched in 16 games for Baltimore this year, going 1-0 with a 4.40 ERA. Last year he was 2-4 with a 5.72 ERA in 42 games, splitting time with the Cubs and Padres. For his career, he's 28-28 in 344 appearances with a 3.36 ERA. A former NL Rookie of the Year award winner, Williamson is 31.
Posted by: James
My God - I knew they were going to win but that was just one heck of a drubbing. 3 games: 45-12. Here are the totals over three games and 24 innings: 45 runs, 53 hits, 15 walks, 12 doubles, one triple (Cano finished a double short of the cycle on Sunday), 10 HRs and a LOT of high fives.

To put the Rays pitching into perspective...James Shields had a game score of -3.

Of course, 3 games does not a playoff spot make...but it sure helps in the momentum department (and losses by Minnesota, Detroit and Seattle...and hopefully Cleveland...didn't hurt any).

07/22: Greinke

Posted by: Patrick

Interest is also spiking in reliever Zack Greinke, although that appears driven in part by erroneous views concerning his current role as a setup reliever. Club officials say other teams seem to believe Greinke can be obtained for little in return.

The Braves, Yankees and Cubs are among those believed to be interested in Greinke.

Via PSD.
Posted by: Patrick
The first game of the doubleheader saw Kei Igawa taking on Jason Hammel in his first start of the season. Hammel had pitched in 10 other games - all in relief - coming into this one. Igawa allowed one run in each of the first two innings on (what else?) two home runs. B.J. Upton was good for one while Ty Wigginton was good for the other.

The Yankees waited until the 4th to score, when A-Rod walked with 1 out and Matsui followed with a homer to right to tie up the game. The Yankees would bust it wide open with a 5 run 6th, led by a great two run rally. Abreu singled to start it off and A-Rod was hit by a pitch to make it first and second with no out. But, Matsui and Posada both struck out and it looked like the Rays might get out of the jam.

But, the bottom of the lineup went on a run with two outs. First, Cano singled, scoring Abreu and putting runners on 2nd and 3rd for Andy Phillips, who followed with a single of his own, scoring both men. Newcomer Shelley Duncan, hitting 9th, took Jae Kuk Ryu deep for a 2 run home run - the first Major League home run of his career. Congrats to him. It was a great moment (watch it here).

Vizcaino had pitched a scoreless top of the 6th, so he ended up with the win. Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless 7th, allowing just a walk. Proctor came out to start the 8th, retiring the first two batters, but then allowing a solo home run to Raul Casanova and a triple to Josh Wilson. But, that would be all as he retired the next banner and was out of the inning.

» Read More

Posted by: Seamus
YES has reported during tonight's game that the Angels have sent catcher Jose Molina to the Yankees in exchange for AA pitcher Jeff Kennard. Molina batted .228 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI in 39 games for the Angels this season.

The Yanks addressed one of their biggest needs tonight but it's a shame it had to come on one of the few good nights Wil Nieves had this season.

Oh well.
Posted by: James
Johnny Damon leading off this year: .232/.339/.318/.657

Where's he in the line-up for this second part of the twin bill? Batting lead-off, of course.

Of course, I'd be ecstatic if both Joe and Damon can prove me wrong starting tonight...but at this point where every single game and win is at a premium - I don't see how you can justify batting Damon leadoff, especially in a game where Wil Nieves is playing and hitting 9th. That's two automatic outs in the line-up and would certainly give most pitchers a nice little break in the line-up.

Finally, I saw these numbers at the top of the splits page and I think I threw up in my mouth a little.

Last seven days: .083/.313/.083/.396 (32 ABs)
Last fourteen days: .103/.321/.103/.424 (53 ABs)
Last twenty-eight days: .190/.337/.241/.578 (98 ABs)

Posted by: James
Both Igawa and DeSalvo go 6 and the Yankees find a way to sweep the double-header. Oh, and Boston loses tonight well as Cleveland, Seattle and Minnesota.

All right - I predicted it...Yankees bats, go get your part done.
Posted by: Patrick
Adam Dunn:

The Reds have tried to get the Yankees interested in Adam Dunn, but so far the Yankees have balked at parting with top talent in return for Dunn because Andy Phillips is playing well at first base, and they might still get Jason Giambi and Doug Mientkiewicz back before the end of the year. Also, if traded, Dunn can opt for free agency at the end of this season, and he's a hardcore Texan who's not a real good bet to sign long-term with a New York team. Radio reports out of Milwaukee yesterday indicated Dunn could be headed to the Brewers.

Ty Wigginton:

Earlier this week the Devil Rays believed it would take more than Scott Proctor for the Yankees to pry utility man Ty Wigginton away from them. Now, according to multiple sources, the Devil Rays would make the trade. And though it's not clear if the Yankees have made an offer, they have been talking to the Devil Rays and have discussed converting stud prospect Joba Chamberlain from Double-A starter to big-league reliever to take Proctor's place.

Kyle Farnsworth:

The Rockies have shown some interest in Yankees right-hander Kyle Farnsworth, but the Yankees would have to pick up a major portion of his $5.5 million salary in 2008.

Via Yahoo! Sports and PSD.
Posted by: Patrick
Don Burke has some thoughts from Willie Randolph on The Bronx is Burning.

A key member of that team team, Randolph said the film was "not realistic'' and he took exception to the way he was portrayed in a scene in which the actor playing Randolph ignored the actor who was cast as Reggie Jackson.

Via Steve.
Posted by: James
Pete A. reports that the Yanks have called up Shelley Duncan and all I can think is that IT'S ABOUT TIME!

Duncan's numbers in the minors this year and his apparent progression at the plate are hard to ignore and at this point, you might as well give him a shot. I don't care if he goes 0-for-whatever - with what Damon provided (or didn't provide), they should have given this a shot a while ago. Still, I do hope he starts hitting immediately though...or he won't make it into Joe's circle of trust.
Posted by: Patrick
From Zac Boyer:

With Thunder pitcher Joba Chamberlain having thrown so well in his first month with the team, rumors have begun to circulate that he might be ready for a promotion.

But rather than simply moving up to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Chamberlain may head directly to New York to take a role as a set-up pitcher for closer Mariano Rivera.

Just rumors, but it's interesting to think about, anyway.
Posted by: Patrick
These are some of the names floating around as potential trade targets for relief pitching. From the Times:

One name to remember as the trading deadline approaches is Octavio Dotel, the closer for the Kansas City Royals, who is attracting interest from several teams. Dotel had a 10.80 earned run average in 10 games for the Yankees last season, but that has not soured the Yankees on the idea of reacquiring him to bolster the bullpen. ...

The problem with Dotel, as with most players in a slow trade market, is the high asking price. The Yankees will probably wait until closer to the July 31 deadline to make a move, believing that prices will fall.

That would not be a good move for my fantasy team.


Such a siren might already have been sounded: Relievers Salomon Torres and Damaso Marte are being shopped in advance of Major League Baseball's July 31 trading deadline, with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees each having inquired. And Shawn Chacon, a pending free agent, could join that category if he and the Pirates fail to negotiate a new contract soon.

As an aside, the Mariners apparently called the Yankees about Pettitte, but got they got a no, of course. Still, can't blame them for trying.

Via PSD and Yahoo! Sports.

Posted by: James
I'm sort of trying to liveblog this game. I want to get as much of it down while it's happening but it's hard to do when they keep trying to make me do "work". Something about the Yankees not paying my salary...

Anyway, we've got Obi-Wang vs. Dustin McGowan today as the Yankees go for the 4 game sweep and Wang goes for win #11. He hasn't actually lost a decision since May 26th. He'll be opposed by Dustin McGowan who has been alternating great and bad starts for the Jays for the last month (he had a bad one last time out so I guess it's time for a good one?). He's got decent stuff and his peripherals and FIP would suggest that he's been better than his 5.05 ERA.

-Top of the first - Wang mows them down - two fly balls (how quaint) and a K.

-Bottom of the first - Johnny Damon leads off the game with a walk. What's that Steve? A walk is as good as a hit? Well, it works out well here as Damon takes second on a passed ball and after a Jeter walk, comes home (along with Jeter) on an Abreu double. Bobby is stranded on second though as A-Rod and Hideki ground out and Melky pops out. 2-0 Yankees.

-Top of the second - another fly out, ground out (that's better), K. Moving along...

-Bottom of the second - Cano, Phliips & Nieves: groundouts times 3.

» Read More

Posted by: James
I'll be recapping the day game today but before all that starts, here are some links from around the interweb that I thought were pretty interesting.

Apparently, there is some sort of campaign to be president of Red Sox nation. I know, I know - I thought it was a joke at first too but apparently it's not, and the "candidates" are getting a little heated. Bill Simmons apparently threw his hat in the ring and NESN Broadcaster Jerry Remy read the app online and tore it up on the broadcast. Oddly amusing stuff and it's certainly an interesting promotion. You couldn't pull that off with Yanks fans though...we all know we all know who the Emperor is.

Also, I wish I had enough time on my hands to shred some of the inane articles that get written and published about the Yankees...but Ken Tremendous of FJM answers the bell with an analysis of an MSNBC article on A-Rod. It's a very amusing post...and it made me want a candy bar at the end.

Finally, I really want to believe that the season has turned the corner and I really hate to be a Debbie Downer...but the Yankees were in the same exact spot almost exactly a month ago. How did they respond then? They went 2-9 over their next 11 and sent many a Yankees fan spiraling into depression...and desperation. This second resurgence, while fun to watch, still makes me wary...and a little annoyed. A simple 5-6 record in those games and just think where the Yankees would have been. I'll tell you: 51-41 and 3 games back of the Red Sox on the loss side and 2 games back of Cleveland in the Wild Card. Nevertheless, I'm still glad to see the run and I really hope to see it continue - all the way to the postseason.
Posted by: Patrick
SI polled 464 MLB players asking them who they considered to be the best and worst owners in the game. Steinbrenner was voted the best owner by a wide margin, taking 41% of the vote. Second was Arturo Moreno of the Angels with 19% and third was John Henry of the Red Sox with 9%.

David Glass was the top vote getter in the worst owner category, with 21%, followed by Jeffrey Loria of the Marlins (19%) and Stuart Sternberg of the Devil Rays (18%). Steinbrenner came in 6th with 6%.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
On Wednesday, the trio of Kevin Whelan (5 innings), David Robertson (2) and Joshua Schmidt (2) combined to pitch a 5 walk no hitter against the Jupiter Hammerheads.

Via Ben.
Posted by: Patrick
In his second rehab start, Phil Hughes threw 57 pitches over 4 innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks while striking out 5. His next start will be on Monday for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Tony Gicas and Joseph Pawlikowski attended the game and press session.

07/18: Stirrups

Posted by: Patrick
Tyler Kepner has a post on stirrups and how hardly anyone wears them anymore.

There are, however, two uniformed Yankees who insist on wearing stirrups. Both are coaches who played in the 1980s, the heyday of stirrups: Ron Guidry and Don Mattingly.
Posted by: Patrick
From Ed Price:

The Yankees are talking to teams about dealing a reliever -- perhaps right-handers Kyle Farnsworth, Scott Proctor or Brian Bruney -- for a utility-type player. One possible fit is the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have Wilson Betemit. The Yankees a year ago had talks about acquiring Betemit from the Atlanta Braves before the Braves sent Betemit to the Dodgers.

Via PSD.
Posted by: Patrick
For the first 7 innings, the scoreboard looked the same for both teams. They both scored 1 run in the 1st inning and then nothing further. In the top of the 1st, Frank Thomas doubled to score Alex Rios. In the bottom half, A-Rod singled home Johnny Damon to tie it up. And then a whole lot of zeroes. Halladay and Pettitte matched each other right down the line until they were both lifted to start their respective halves of the 8th.

Halladay: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
Pettitte: 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K

For the 8th, the Yankees turned to Kyle Farnsworth and the Blue Jays turned to Scott Downs. The inning started with a Frank Thomas single. Howie Clark pinch ran and Farnsworth made a throwing error on a pick off attempt which allowed Clark to advance to second. Lyle Overbay lined out to Phillips for the first out, but Aaron Hill doubled home Clark to retake the lead. Farnsworth was able to get out of it from there, getting Gregg Zaun to fly out, intentionally walking Matt Stairs and, finally, inducing a John McDonald fly out to end the 8th.

In our half of the 8th, after Bobby Abreu and A-Rod made two outs to start it off, Godzilla and Posada put together back to back singles to put the tying run in scoring position. Unfortunately, Cano struck out to end the rally.

In the 9th, Brian Bruney relieved Farnsworth and he was terrific, retiring Alex Rios, Vernon Wells and Troy Glaus in order to keep the Yankees at just 1 run back. The Blue Jays brought in closer Jeremy Accardo to face Andy Phillips, Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon. Phillips led off with a single and Miguel Cairo pinch ran for him. Cairo stole his 8th base of the season, moving up to 2nd. Melky singled to right with Cairo being thrown out at the plate for the first out. Melky moved up to second on the throw home and proceeded to steal third. Damon walked to make it 1st and 3rd for Derek Jeter.

But, Jeter didn't really have to do anything to keep this game going. Accardo did it for him by balking, which allowed both runners to move up a base, making it a tie game. With the winning run in scoring position, both Jeter and Abreu grounded out to short to end the 9th.

Luis Vizcaino was called on to pitch the 10th. Excepting a single, he didn't really have any trouble and the game remained tied. With A-Rod due up, the Jays turned to Casey Janssen. But, he hit A-Rod, putting the winning run on base. And then Alex was allowed to move to second on a wild pitch. Godzilla struck out for the first out and they opted to intentionally walk Jorge Posada to put runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out for Robinson Cano. But, Cano beat them with a walk off single to left, scoring A-Rod and ending the game.

So, in the last full inning (3 outs), the Blue Jays had a balk, a hit batter and a wild pitch. All of which proved costly.

Vizcaino got the win, improving his record to 6-2 and lowering his ERA to 4.53 - the lowest it's been since April 18 (1.08). Melky was the only Yankee with 3 hits, going 3 for 4 with a run. Matsui was 2 for 4 with a walk while Cano was 2 for 5 with that RBI. The top 3 hitters in the order (Damon, Jeter, Abreu) combined to go 0 for 13, though Damon did manage 2 walks and a run. The bottom 6 were 10 for 24. A-Rod was 1 for 4 with 1 run and 1 RBI.

The Royals beat the Red Sox, 9-3 and the Indians beat the White Sox, 6-5 in 11, so we gain a game in the division (8 games back now) and remain at 7 back in the Wild Card. Tonight at 7:05 PM ET, we'll have the Rocket (2-4, 4.20) against Shaun Marcum (5-3, 3.68).

07/17: Durazo Signed

Posted by: Patrick
Chad Jennings reports that Erubiel Durazo has been officially signed and has been allocated to triple A.

Via Dan LaTorraca.
Posted by: Patrick
If only noteworthy for the name.

Via Mike.
Posted by: Patrick
This is my weekly recap of the performance of the teams in the Yankees Bloggers Fantasy Baseball League.

Last Week

This was a short week with the All-Star break putting a 3 day gap in the schedule.

The 3rd vs. 4th battle between James and Ben (River Ave. Blues) ended up being the most lopsided game of the week (barely - see below) with James winning both the offensive and pitching sides. Both offenses were very good with runs, runs battled in, stolen bases, average and strikeouts all being very close. Ben's offense was led by Albert Pujols (5 R, 4 HR, 5 RBI, .429 AVG) and Jimmy Rollins (5 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, .429 AVG). Chone Figgins chipped in 4 stolen bases, as well, which was more than James' side put together. Ivan Rodriguez hit .500.

James also had a .500 man in Mark Teahen, who scored 4 runs as well. But, his offense was led by Brandon Phillips, who scored 4 runs, hit 2 homers, drove in 8, stole a base and hit .438. Chipper Jones hit .455.

Pitching wise, they both had 2 wins but James had 5 saves while Ben had none. James' wins came from Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley with his saves coming from Billy Wagner (3), Bobby Jenks and Jose Valderde. Ben's wins came from John Lackey and Bob Wickman.

Up one week, down another. I fell to EJ (Pinstripe Potentials and Pending Pinstripes) in the second most lopsided game of the week, 7-3. My team actually played pretty good, but that's just it - pretty good. Not, good enough because EJ's team was on fire. They hit .359 with a 2.82 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. The only categories I managed to win were home runs, wins and saves.

My offense was led by Hideki Matsui (4 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, .333 AVG) and Derek Jeter (2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB, .278 AVG). EJ's offense was led by Carlos Pena (6 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, .400 AVG), closely followed by Jermaine Dye (5 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI, .412 AVG). Jhonny Peralta hit .455.

My pitching wins came from Andy Pettitte, Joe Borowski and Justin Verlander with saves coming from Mo (2), Borowski and Octavio Dotel. EJ got wins from Johan Santana and Jeremy Bonderman and saves from J.J. Putz (2) and Eric Gagne.

Finally, Seamus beat Aziz (Pride of the Yankees) in a close one, 5-4. Out of the 20 team stat category totals, there were 3 zeros in this one and 2 ones. The zeros came in stolen bases for Aziz and wins for both Aziz and Seamus. Seamus had 1 home run and 1 save. But, thanks in part to his 11 stolen bases and 2.75 ERA, he was able to win the week. Gary Sheffield led his offense with 4 runs, 1 home run, 4 runs batted in, 4 stolen bases and a .467 AVG. Eric Byrnes hit .413 with 3 runs, 1 run batted in and 2 stolen bases. Bobby Abreu led Aziz's side with a 3 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, .375 AVG week.

As mentioned, the two staffs combined for 0 wins and 3 saves. Those saves came from Todd Jones for Seamus and Francisco Cordero and Takashi Saito for Aziz. Brandon Webb picked up 10 Ks on Seamus' side.

Top 3 teams in the league:

1. Mike (River Ave. Blues) (88-57-5)
2. James (78-63-9)
3. Dave (Pride of the Yankees) (78-64-8)

This Week

James (2nd, 78-63-9) vs. Jen ( (9th, 59-80-11)

Patrick (T7th, 67-77-6) vs. Aziz (T7th, 68-78-4)

Seamus (10th, 58-82-10) vs. Joseph (River Ave. Blues) (5th, 70-68-12)
Posted by: Patrick
Steiner Sports has listed a diary used by Joe DiMaggio's from 1981 through 1993 with a starting bid of $1.5 million. From the AP:

The diaries reflect the demands on the Yankee Clipper and some of the pressures of his 56-game hitting streak.

"If I thought this would be taking place," Joe DiMaggio laments in a diary entry about the public relations frenzy, "I would have stopped the hitting streak at 40." ...

How does [Whitey] Ford think DiMaggio would feel about his diaries being made public? "I don't think he would be too tickled about it."
Posted by: Seamus
There's still a long up-hill battle for them to climb, but the Yankees might finally have something going here as they beat the Blue Jays 6-4 in the opener of a four-game set, giving them victories in 4 of their first 5 games since the All-Star break and 8 out of their last 11 overall. The victory keeps them 9 games behind Boston and brings them within 7 of the Indians in the wild card race (Mariners are one game out, Twins are five behind).

The first 4 runs for each team all came via the home run. Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano each hit solo shots in the 2nd to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Troy Glaus tied it in the 3rd with a two-run homer, and Alex Rodriguez broke the tie with a two-run shot, his 32nd of the season and the 496th of his career. Glaus brought the Blue Jays within a run with another dinger in the 5th and Alex Rios tied it in the 6th.

The Yankees finally went ahead for good with some good two-out hitting in the 6th inning. Posada hit a line-drive single to right, followed by a double off the wall by Cano, putting runners on 2nd and 3rd for Andy Phillips. Phillips was able to get the end of the bat on a low pitch, sending it into shallow center, scoring both runners and giving the Yanks a 6-4 lead. That would turn out to be the final score as the next three innings went scoreless and Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save and his third in as many days.

As for the Yanks' starter in last night's game, Kei Igawa was not great but was good enough to keep the team in the ballgame, which Igawa needs to realize that's all that is really going to be asked of him or any other Yankee pitcher. He walked down into the dugout in the 4th inning looking like he was about to cry, even though the Yanks were still leading by a run. He did give up 3 runs on 7 hits in five innings, but he still pitched good enough to win and if he can't hold his head up high after a game like this, he's never going to gain any confidence.

The Yankees will attempt to do something they haven't done very well this year, which is continuing hot hitting against the game's elite pitchers, as the lineup will be getting another look at Roy Halladay. Andy Pettite will take the mound for the Yanks.
Posted by: James
I was thinking of making a second coming reference or something but I'll leave the one-liners to Mike A. In any case, Jesus Montero made his Yankee debut (outside of extended spring training). The kid (17 years old until December) went 1 for 4 with a homer and 2 Ks for the GCL Yankees. He's now listed as 6' 4", 225 lbs (he was listed 6-foot-3, 230 lbs as of his signing last year). This is from the release when he was signed:

While two scouts from National League organizations said they believed Montero's future lies elsewhere on the diamond, Garrett said the Yankees have confidence he can remain a catcher as he moves up the ladder. And Garrett enjoyed hearing one of the two scouts had touted Montero's raw power as pegging the 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale.

One of the NL scouting directors said of Montero, "He was hitting home runs to center field in Valencia, which is pretty tough to do. The question is where does he play? The body is pretty maxed out. He looks like Travis Hafner at age 16."

This is me praying; please don't turn into Jon Poterson, please don't turn into John Poterson, please don't turn into John Poterson...
Posted by: David
In a wild game on a Sunday afternoon in Florida, the Yankees escaped with a win vs. the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 7-6.

The Devil Rays jumped out to an early 3-0 lead vs. Mike Mussina as he was clearly frustrated with home plate umpire C.B. Buckner. At one time during the game, Buckner went out to the mound to warn Mussina about complaining about ball and strike calls.

The Yankees were able to come back with a four run outburst with the aid of some shoddy fielding by the Devil Rays. Robinson Cano led off with a bloop single and Andy Phillips followed with a hard hit line drive to center which B.J. Upton overran, allowing the ball to get past him for a run scoring triple. Phillips would score and then Derek Jeter put the Yankees ahead at 4-3 with a two run homer to right center.

Tampa Bay struck back against Ron Villone with Carlos Pena bombing a two run homer deep to right to give his team the lead at 5-4. The Yankees struck back for three in the eighth with A-Rod getting the inning started with a double and scoring the tying run on a sacrifice fly from Cano. The Yankees would add two more runs highlighted by a two out single from Andy Phillips to plate the seventh run for New York.

Kyle Farnsworth gave one run back in the eighth with doubles from B.J. Upton and Ty Wiggington but was able to avoid any further damage.

Rivera pitched the ninth and surrendered a bloop single to center to Iwamura and Carl Crawford was awarded first base on catcher's interference from Posada. With the winning run on, the Devil Rays attempted to sacrifice but Brendan Harris failed and eventually hit into a double play. Pena, the hero earlier, was the last hope with the tying run at second but Mo got him to pop to third to end the game.

The Yankees return home tomorrow to start a series vs. the Toronto Blue Jays.

07/14: Saturday News

Posted by: Patrick
Giambi met with Mitchell yesterday:

Yankees slugger Jason Giambi met with former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell and members of his law firm, DLA Piper on Friday, Commissioner Bud Selig announced in a press release. No other details of the meeting were provided.

Also in attendance were Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president of labor relations and human resources; Mike Weiner, the general counsel for the players association; plus Giambi's agent, Arn Tellem, and his personal attorney, Brian O'Neill. The Associated Press reported that no other meetings between Giambi and Mitchell are planned.

Phil Hughes had his second rehab start on Friday night:

Phil Hughes took another step on the road back to the Yankees in a familiar spot -- Mercer County Waterfront Park.

Hughes pitched three scoreless innings Friday for Double-A Trenton, which squandered a five-run lead and had an 11-game winning streak end in a 6-5 loss to New Hampshire.

Finally, it looks like Matt DeSalvo will get the call for one of the Devil Ray games being played next Saturday.

With the Yankees needing an additional starter for one of next Saturday's two games against the Devil Rays at Yankee Stadium, it appears DeSalvo is going to get the nod.

"Right now Matty DeSalvo is pitching the best by far at Triple-A. If we have a need at the major league level, Matty DeSalvo is that need right now,'' GM Brian Cashman said yesterday.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Seamus

"He had a message to get across to the whole team, so he used me to get the message across." Sheffield said Torre didn't use the same method with white players.

"No ... I'd see a lot of white players get called in the office and treated like a man. That's the difference."

Sheffield said he doesn't consider Torre a racist. "No. I think it's the way they do things around there," he said. "Since I was there I just saw that they run their ship different."

Of course there is no place for racism in baseball, and I don't doubt that it might be an issue in some clubhouses, but considering the account of some of the other minority players who've played for Torre, I think I'd give the Yankees' skipper the benefit of the doubt here. I don't sit in the Yankees' dugout everyday, so I could be wrong, but considering the relationships he's had with guys like Darryl Strawberry, Derek Jeter, Tim Raines, and Doc Gooden among others, that just doesn't seem like Torre to me.

I like Sheff, and it is unfortunate if he truly feels that way, but I think it is time for him to move on and just worry about the Detroit Tigers. He is somewhat of a shock jock with his mouth, and considering the amount he talks, I think if this was really an issue he'd have said something already and not waited until 8 months after he was traded.

Also, I like how this is the first story up on ESPN's website as if this guy doesn't open his mouth everyday. Way to go.
Posted by: Patrick
From Mark Feinsand:

According to a source, the Yankees are quietly reaching out to the agents for [Rivera and Posada] in an attempt to wrap up new contracts for the pair before the end of the season. ...

Rivera seemed open to the idea of discussing a new deal during the season, though Posada was firm in saying he wanted to become a free agent for the first time in his career.
Posted by: Patrick
From Joel Sherman:

The language in Rodriguez's record-breaking contract says that for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, A-Rod will receive $27 million plus the higher of $5 million or $1 million greater than the annual average value of the non-pitcher with the largest annual average value package. Thus, Boras explained, even if Rodriguez does the minimum and agrees to give up his free-agent rights to stay with the Yankees for the next three seasons, he would be guaranteed $32 million in each of the final two of those years.

Via PSD.
Posted by: James
The Yankees started off the second half of the season with a win...and not to sound too desperate but boy do they need a lot of those just to make it into contention.

In any case, James Shields took the hill against the Andy Pettitte and the Yankees. Shield had been having a nice little season until June hit and since then, he's been quite a bit more hittable. The Yanks started off the scoring in the second when Bobby Abreu hit a two-out double (good sign for the second half?) to score A-Rod who had started off the inning by getting on base via error. 1-0 Yankees.

Andy gave that right back in the bottom of the third when Johnny Gomes led off with a single and Josh Wilson doubled him home. Not to worry, the Yankees took the lead for good in the fourth when Shields apparently just lost it. He gave up three solo home-runs in the inning including back-to-back jobs from Jeter and A-Rod (who stands at 495 now...and who MLB has deemed worthy of a special page - did Frank the Tank have one of these - will Thome or Manny?). The last solo shot came from Bobby Abreu, who raked in the seventh slot again...and is now hitting .381 with five homers, 43 runs scored and 35 RBI in wins. In addition, with a run of .333/.421/.543/.964 in his last 35 games and 129 ABs, Abreu's finally got himself up to a 100 OPS+, which is certainly not great coming from a $16MM man, but seemed impossible not that long ago.

Andy seemed to be about ready to lose it himself in the bottom of the fourth when he loaded the bases with no one out but thanks to a strikeout, sac fly, strikeout, he was able to work out of it having only given up one run. The Yankees tacked on three insurance runs in the 5th, 6th and 8th to put the game away but it sure seemed like the Rays were done after their inability to score more than one run in the 4th. Andy gave up another run in the 6th on two singles and a sac fly before giving way to Luis Vizcaino. Obviously, it wasn't the best Andy Pettitte performance that we've seen this year but it was enough for the win. Still, as a Yankee fan, you have to be very concerned about what we've seen from Pettitte over the last 8 starts (a 6.99 ERA and a .332/.366/.476/.842 BAA allowed).
Posted by: Patrick
Well, even if the Yankees are willing to negotiate, Scott Boras says that A-Rod won't be listening:

"We are not going to be negotiating during the season," Boras told the Post. "This is Alex's decision. This has been his policy, and I fully expect this to continue to be his policy."

Update: He also says that A-Rod will "assuredly" become the first $30 million dollar player in the game.
Posted by: Patrick
From ESPN:

The Yankees have changed their traditional stance and are now willing to negotiate during the season with their star third baseman on a contract extension, MLB sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

The article also notes that the sticking point for the Yankees is that A-Rod keep his current contract and work with them to add an extension to it. This is important because the Rangers are helping to pay for the rest of A-Rod's current contract.
Posted by: Patrick
Ben points to a nice, quick interview with Mickey Rivers. He talks about the comparison of A-Rod to Reggie.

Is A-Rod the new Reggie Jackson?
No, A-Rod don’t want to be the straw that stirs the drink. He want to be known as a fair guy who goes out and help a team to win a pennant. He’s a great guy. I work with him. Going on twenty years I’ve seen A-Rod getting better in different programs. He’s one of the hardest-working guys there.
Posted by: Patrick
The American League escaped with a victory last night with Francisco Rodriguez, after walking his first 2 guys to walk the bases loaded, getting Aaron Roward to fly out to end it.

Jeter, A-Rod and Posada all saw significant playing time with all 3 recording 3 official at bats. The only other American League player to do that was Ichiro Suzuki. All 3 of them went 1 for 3, as well, with no runs or RBIs and one left one base each. Posada's hit was a double and he had a passed ball while A-Rod had a stolen base.

A-Rod was thrown out at the plate in the top of the 4th to end the inning. None of the Yankees hits came in innings when the A.L. scored. But, hey, we've got home field when we make it to the World Series. (I'm kidding. But, I haven't given up, either).
Posted by: Patrick
So, I'm sick. I've been sick since 3 nights ago and, while I'm getting better, I wasn't feeling all that great last night. So, I thought I'd watch The Bronx is Burning at 10 and get to bed at 11 (even that was kinda stretching it). Oh, wait. The Home Run Derby is on. It delayed the show a full hour, unfortunately. But, I stayed up and watched it.

I enjoyed it. I'm not going to take it as gospel, certainly, more as entertainment. Jason Giambi in the cab was funny. I look forward to watching the other episodes. I'm not much of a critic when it comes to TV and movies, to be honest.

Did anyone here watch it? Thoughts?

If you'd like to read more of a review, Jim Johnson has one.
Posted by: Patrick
This is my weekly recap of the performance of the teams in the Yankees Bloggers Fantasy Baseball League.

Last Week

All of the games this week were fairly close with no one winning more than 6 categories.

I defeated James, 6-4. Even though my offense couldn't make contact to save their lives (.243), I managed to take runs (by 1), home runs and runs batted in with James taking stolen bases and average. My offense was led by Godzilla, who scored 4 runs, hit 3 home runs, drove in 7, stole 1 base and hit .333. James side was led by Garrett Atkins (6 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, .385 AVG) and Brandon Phillips (9 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, .357 AVG).

Similarly, on the pitching side, even though my guys had poor or average ERAs and WHIPs, I was able to take wins, saves and strikeouts to take 3 out of 5 on that side, as well. Saves was a close one with it being decided by a difference of 1. Somehow, Octavio Dotel managed to get 2 wins. I'll take it. I also had wins from Mark Buehrle, Justin Verlander and Matt Cain. Cain gets a win and Dotel gets 2. Weird week. Mo, Borowski and Embree were responsible for my 3 saves with Scott Kazmir pitching in 10 K's. I'm glad he's good for that because he hasn't been helping me with much else. Ted Lilly gave James 2 victories and 11 strikeouts. Kelvim Escobar had his other win while Billy Wagner and Bobby Jenks picked up saves.

Seamus topped EJ (Pinstripe Potentials and Pending Pinstripes), 6-4. It marks Seamus' first victory since week 5. His offense is what did it as it swept the side comfortably. EJ's team hit .213 for the week. Gary Sheffield continued to tear it up for Seamus, hitting .458 with 3 homers, 9 runs, 6 runs batted in and a stolen base. EJ's offensive leader would have to be Mike Lowell with 6 runs, 2 home runs, 8 runs batted in and a .333 average.

On the pitching side, EJ took 4 out of 5 categories. Seamus managed to win strikeouts by a single strikeout. Other than that, he failed to record a pitching victory and had a team ERA of 7.38. Ervin Santana, with an ERA of 14.04, chipped in 13 strikeouts while Brandon Webb had 12. Seamus' 2 saves both came from Todd Jones. EJ's victories came from the great Johan, Ian Snell and Javier Vazquez. Eric Gagne had 2 saves while J.J. Putz had 1. Bonderman struck out 9.

Top 3 teams in the league:

1. Mike (River Ave. Blues) (82-53-5)
2. Dave (Pride of the Yankees) (73-59-8)
3. James (71-61-8)

This Week

James (3rd, 71-61-8) vs. Ben (River Ave. Blues) (4th, 73-64-3)

Patrick (7th, 64-70-6) vs. EJ (Pinstripe Potentials and Pending Pinstripes) (6th, 62-67-11)

Seamus (10th, 53-78-9) vs. Aziz (Pride of the Yankees) (8th, 64-73-3)
Posted by: James
Just like the title says, Phil Hughes made his first rehab start for High-A Tampa and went two innings and gave up an unearned run while walking two and striking out 3. This is just the first step on the comeback tour so we'll see how quickly or slowly the organization moves his back to the majors. Unfortunately, the guy who took over for Phil, George Kontos, didn't have nearly as good of a night but hey, everyone has a bad night now and then, right? One bad start doesn't take too much away from what has been a very good season for Kontos so far.

Still, for me, the story of the night wasn't Phil, it was Austin Jackson continuing his hot hitting. A-Jax is just putting on a show at Tampa. He put up a solid line of .260/.336/.374/.710 in Low-A Charleston (it would have been a better line if not for his slump right before his promotion) but this is just ridiculous. .426/.474/.662/1.135 with 8 XBHs in 68 ABs and 6 walks compared to 12 Ks. He's thrown in 3 SBs to boot as well and best of all, he seems to have gotten Jose Tabata to turn it on as well. Tabata has got his line up to .317/.384/.401/.785 and is now knocking on AA Trenton's door. Not bad at all for a kid that doesn't turn 19 for a month, huh?
Posted by: Patrick
Tyler Kepner has a great article about the top pitchers in the Yankees farm system.

Every team knows the importance of pitching. But under General Manager Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ strategy of taking risks on amateur pitchers and exceeding industry standards for bonuses seems to be working. It suggests that the Yankees may not be down for long, and other teams have noticed.

“He recognized a few years ago the need to fortify his system and has taken advantage of every opportunity possible to infuse talent into it,” Cleveland Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro said.

“The system is now one of the stronger ones in the minor leagues, and at some point, as those players become major-league-ready, the Yankees will have the most deadly combination of depth of young talent combined with elite payroll resources at the major league level.”

Via Pinstripe Alley.
Posted by: Patrick
Updating a previous story, Cashman has said that Erubiel Durazo has not been signed:

General manager Brian Cashman wouldn't comment about the rumblings that the Yankees are after current Mexican League and former Arizona and Oakland first baseman Erubiel Durazo, except to say that they haven't signed him.

Via PSD.
Posted by: Patrick
Bryan Hoch has the ASG lineups. Jeter will hit 2nd and A-Rod will hit 4th.
Posted by: Patrick
Tony Gicas has a recap of Joba's performance at yesterday's Futures Game. He threw 1 inning and, after walking the first guy and allowing a single to score said guy, he retired the next two batters he faced. One by strike out (strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play) and one on a line drive to the first baseman.

Meanwhile, Tyler Kepner has this quote from Roger Clemens on Joba:

“He’s a good kid,” Clemens said of Chamberlain. “There’s four or five of those young kids that got it going on pretty well. The more I was around, the more they relaxed and asked me some pointed questions. He’s got good stuff."
Posted by: David
The Yankees got three run homers from Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez to crush the Angels 12-0 on Sunday afternoon at the Stadium. A-Rod started it off with a bloop RBI single to left center and Matsui followed later with a three run home run to post a four spot in the first inning.

Chien-Ming Wang pitched 6 1/3 solid, scoreless innings and the bullpen followed with 2 2/3 scoreless as well.

Robinson Cano's shot made it 7-0 and A-Rod's league leading 30th made it 10-0. Miguel Cairo added a two run pinch hit double for the last of the Yankee scoring.

With the win, the Yankees moved to within 10 games of the Boston Red Sox at the All-Star Break. The Yankees will resume action on Thursday night in Tampa Bay vs. the Devil Rays.
Posted by: James
Adam Foster over at Top Prospect, which happens to be one of my favorite sites, checks in from the Futures Game. He has posted some interesting tidbits, one of the more interesting ones being about Joba:

The clubhouse was an art show of tattoos. Collin Balester had his MySpace name "Ballllllly Sta®" tattooed on his arm. Cameron Maybin and Colby Rasmus had MLB logos on their biceps. Joba Chamberlain had a few tattoos of his own, too, but he had a much more attention-grabbing display going on.

Both of Chamberlain's nipples had tape covering them. Whittleman shouted across the room, "I still can't believe you did that!"

Apparently, Chamberlain had decided to get his nipples pierced for fun not long ago.

Heh...and ouch.

07/08: At the Break

Posted by: Patrick
Thanks to the Tigers sweeping the Sox (and us taking 2 out of 3 from the Angels), we head into the break at an even 10 games back of the Red Sox. The Indians also lost, giving us a gain in the Wild Card standings, where we now sit at 8.5 games.
Posted by: Patrick
ESPN's 8 week miniseries on the 1977 Yankees, The Bronx is Burning, premiers tomorrow at 10:00 PM. Who's watching it? Me and my brother plan to do so. For whatever it may or may not be worth, it's a dramatic miniseries on the Yankees and we're Yankees fans... so, I'm looking forward to it. Plus, it's got the sneaky guy!

Apparently, Reggie isn't too happy about it (via Steve).
Posted by: Patrick
Steve Serby has a good, long interview with Derek Jeter.

Q: Jorge told me recently that you asked his wife, Laura, to fix you up?

A: She’s always telling me that she hopes I find someone soon, so I told her, “Don’t be afraid to hook me up.”

Q: Has she yet?

A: No, not yet; still waiting.

Q: Does your cologne help you with the ladies?

A: (Laugh) Apparently not ... ’cause I’m going to Jorge’s wife, right?

Meanwhile, Peter Abraham has an interview with Mo, asking questions suggested by readers of his blog.

Seth: There are other closers that are extremely excitable like K-Rod and Papelbon. You’re more calm. What do you think is better?

Mariano Rivera: “Well, i don’t know, everybody has their own thing. I think it works for them … but personally I don’t like it. Personally I don’t like it. Personally, I like to give the respect to every hitter. Because every hitter feels like they’re insulted when they do all that kind of stuff. That’s their business and I do not care. But I prefer to stay the way I am.”

Funny thing, this actually crossed my mind last night as I watched K-Rod scream at the sky after he finished the game. It looked like he was none too pleased with the sky. And, honestly, the thought crossed my mind "I'm glad Mo doesn't do that." A fist pump, cool. But, all of that stuff... whatever.
Posted by: Patrick reports that A-Rod will play in the All-Star Game.

"The game is about the fans, and to get that many votes, you feel like you have the responsibility to go out and play," Rodriguez said.
Posted by: Patrick
I only watched the final half of the 13th inning. Down a run, Cano grounded out to start it off. Cairo came up with a big hit with 1 out and immediately stole second, getting right under Orlando Cabrera's tag. F-Rod then made a wild pitch (he looked pretty bad in the 13th), allowing Cairo to take 3rd. Johnny Damon worked a walk to make it 1st and 3rd for Melky. I don't really care what happened up to this point - Melky needs to just put a ball in the air here. Man on 3rd, 1 out. You have to score that guy. He doesn't and makes a terrible cut on a ball that hits the ground and he's out. It was ugly to watch. And it capped off a really ugly day for Melky where he went 1 for 6 with 5 (FIVE!) strikeouts, tying a Yankee record. Derek Jeter came up with 2 outs and put a ball up the middle, but Orlando Cabrera was in position to field it and ran to second to just beat Damon to the bag for the 3rd out. There goes our chance to go in with a winning record at the midway point.

Our defense put up 5 errors - 3 of which were committed by Miguel Cairo. Remarkably, the first 4 errors didn't help any runs to score. But, you keep making errors and eventually, they're going to get you. Cairo had a good day offensively (2 for 5, 2 stolen bases), but a terrible day with the glove. His final error helped the final run to be scored, making it an unearned run on Luis Vizcaino.

The other Angels run was scored way back, 10 innings ago, in the 3rd. We wasted an incredible start by the Rocket, who matched John Lackey all the way. Both pitchers threw 8 innings and allowed 5 hits and 1 run. Lackey had 11 K's and no walks (to Clemens 3 and 1). Mo came in and pitched 2 scoreless innings and Kyle Farnsworth pitched one after that. Scot Shields threw 3 scoreless for the Angels. After that, Vizcaino entered and pitched a scoreless 12th. He might have been able to get out of the 13th without the error, but who knows - he did allow a double to start the inning. Meanwhile, F-Rod pitched 2 scoreless to end it. Like I said, he didn't look good in the 13th, but he got out of it.

4 Yankees (Damon, Jeter, A-Rod and Cano) went hitless. Matsui was 1 for 4 with 1 run, a walk and a stolen base. Posada was 2 for 5 and Abreu was 1 for 5 with 1 RBI.

Our record in 1 run games is now 6-14. Tomorrow, we'll finish up the first half with Wang (8-4, 3.58) going against Ervin Santana (5-9, 5.35).

07/07: El Leche

Posted by: James
Last year, while Melky Cabrera ended up with a fine line (100 OPS+), he had one 21 game stretch in the season where he was just putrid (.190/.281/.253/.534). The Yankees stuck with him then and from his OPS low point on June 26th, 2006, he went .295/.370/.429/.799 for the rest of the season (88 games).

Fast forward to this season when Melky Cabrera started off the season with a 22 game stretch that was even worse than his bad stretch in 2006 (.190/.235/.203/.438). However, since May 1st, which was the last time his BA was under .200 for the season, here's the line over the last 51 games: .320/.381/.477/.858.

Is he going to hit like that for the rest of the season? Nah, probably not...but looking at how he finished off the 2006 season, any dropoff shouldn't be as drastic as some people might expect. El Leche might only be 23 (24 in a month) but this guy definitely belongs in the majors.
Posted by: Patrick
That's what Notimex (on Yahoo! Deportes) appears to be reporting. He has been playing for the Monterrey Sultans in the Mexican League. From their official site (translated through Babelfish):

From this date, Erubiel Durazo goes to form part of Yankees of New York, this thanks to narrow relation that exists with this organization binds wholesaler, since they are requiring a left-handed batter and the Club of Baseball Sultanes de Monterrey offers to this opportunity of overcoming to Durazo, facilitating the contract and yielding its rights to the New Yorkers, who will locate it in principle, in AAA.

Durazo, 33, last played in the majors in 2005 when he played in 41 games for the Oakland A's. He's a lifetime .281 hitter with a .381 OBA. In his finest season, 2004, he hit .321 with a .396 OBA, 22 home runs and 88 RBI in 142 games.

Via via Dan LaTorraca.
Posted by: Patrick
Peter Abraham points out that there are five people participating in today's Old Timers' Game that are younger than Clemens.

They are Rich Monteleone, Jim Leyritz, Scott Brosius, Homer Bush and Paul O’Neill.
Posted by: David
The Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Friday night 14-9. The contest was the start of a weekend series in the Bronx, the last games to be played prior to the All-Star Break.

The Yankees jumped out to an early lead but Andy Pettitte was ineffective and gave it right back. The Yankees had a huge inning early scoring six times to be leading 8-3 and then added another run to increase the lead to 9-3. The Angels came back against Pettitte and hit him hard and tied the score in the sixth at 9. Edwar Ramirez relieved Pettitte and almost got out of the inning with the lead but surrendered a two run single to Chone Figgins to tie the game.

The Yankees came right back and scored three with two of the runs coming on a homer from A-Rod to take the lead back for good at 12-9. For A-Rod, it was his MLB leading 29th homer and his RBI total increased to 82. His sore hammy was tested all night both offensively and defensively and he came through with flying colors.

The Yankees were able to add two more runs late and finished the game by winning 14-9. Scott Proctor was effective with both his fastball and curve by being able to get strikeouts when he needed them.

Today's game will be played after the perennial Old Timers Day game and will pit John Lackey vs. Roger Clemens.
Posted by: Patrick
The Times-Tribune reports that we've released Runelvys Hernandez who was signed on June 6.

Via Steve.
Posted by: James
The biggest story of the day actually seemed to happen before the game ever started. The starting line-ups were posted and A-Rod wasn't on it. They sat him today and he went and got an MRI (it came back normal) and apparently, he's starting tomorrow. I'm of the mindset that he definitely should not have started the game right after he strained it - that was just dumb. Joe had already put in his house money lineup and losing A-Rod for that one game probably wouldn't have mattered.

In any case, today's game showcased one thing; whatever it was that Kei Igawa learned in the minors, he has forgotten it already. He started the game by giving up the following: walk, single and another single. The only out so far came at second when Melky threw out Michael Cuddyer at second. Another single from Justin Morneau plated another run before Kei worked out of further trouble but even before the Yankees had gotten some ABs, they were already down 2-0.

That didn't last long however as Twins starter Kevin Slowey lost it in the second. After getting two quick outs, he gave up a homer to Robbie Cano, a double to Andy Phillips, a double to Miggy Cairo, walked Johnny Damon and then Melky took him deep for a three run home run. 5-2 Yankees. Just in case it has escaped anyone's notice, Melky has very quietly taken his average back over .270 and gotten his OPS up over .710. It's not a super impressive line right now but considering how low he started the season, it's a pretty impressive (and consistent) run to get back to a decent line.

At that point, most Yankees fans might have felt comfortable with the lead... and they would have been wrong. Igawa pitched into and out of trouble in the third but ended up giving up the lead in the fourth. He gave up a lead-off double but got the next two guys out... and then lost it. A walk to Nick Punto (NICK PUNTO! He of the .205 average) followed by a double by Jason Bartlett and a single by SI poster boy Joe Mauer tied the game up. 5-5.

It would remain that way until the bottom of the eighth. That's not to say that the Yankees didn't have their chances until then - they just didn't capitalize on them. The team actually ended up with a total 10 men left on base. In any case, in the eighth, Pat Neshek came in and sat down both Johnny Damon and El Leche on strikes before walking Derek Jeter. Up came Hideki Matsui who had been 1-4 for the day and deposited a 3-1 pitch deep in the bleachers to put the Yankees up 8-6 (and get his OPS back up over .800).

While all this was going on, the Yankees pen actually did a very good job in keeping the Twins at bay. Vizcaino, Proctor and Farnsworth all pitched an inning and Proctor was the only one who walked a man. Farnsworth even pitched an inning where he didn't put the leadoff man on base (wonder of wonders). In the ninth, it was Rivera time and while Mo made it interesting by giving up a run and allowing the tying run to reach second, he struck out Michael Cuddyer to end the game and get the Yankees back to two games under .500. A sweep of the Angels to go to the break over .500 sure would be nice, huh? It won't be easy - Colon vs. Pettitte and Santana vs. Wang are certainly doable provided the offense shows up but it'll be the middle game, a Lackey vs. Clemens match-up, that could be a beaut.
Posted by: Patrick
Just a couple of notes from Peter Abraham.

Phil Hughes will make a rehab start in Tampa on Monday. A-Rod had an MRI today and it came back normal (whew). He should start tomorrow.
Posted by: James
Old story - missed it by a good two weeks or so but hey, read this story by Kevin Kernan on Joba (pronounced Jah-bah) Chamberlain, his rise to becoming (arguably) the Yankees top pitching prospect and especially his relationship with his dad Harlan.

A top scout from a rival organization who saw Chamberlain pitch last Sunday at Double-A Trenton was blown away, saying of the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder, “He is special, a definite top-of-the-rotation guy.” Chamberlain is 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA in Single-A Tampa and Trenton.

Chamberlain’s fastball tops out at 97. His slider is tight, with a downward tilt. His changeup is developing and he owns the physical and emotional makeup of a No. 1. Considering Joba was the 41st pick of the 2006 draft, his rise has been meteoric. After graduating Lincoln Northeast High in 2003, Joba stayed home to help pay bills. He worked city maintenance, doing everything from taking care of ball fields to cleaning bathrooms. He then made his way to University of Nebraska-Kearney, a Division II school, before going on to Nebraska, where the Yankees discovered him.

I'd definitely recommend this. It's a rosy piece but hey, it's nice to read those some times.
Posted by: Patrick
Brett Smith of the Trenton Thunder threw a 5 inning, 7 walk no hitter yesterday. Not exactly your garden variety no no, but worth a mention, anyway.
Posted by: Patrick
John Helyar has a feature up on talking about the future of the Yankees ownership.

As with all else concerning the Boss' storied, stormy epoch, the transition to a new generation is filled with Sturm und Drang. The subtext to the family birthday party is family upheaval. Steve Swindal, once Steinbrenner's designated successor to run the Yankees and for now still his son-in-law, will be absent. Swindal and Jenny Steinbrenner are getting divorced, causing his dismissal from the Yankees, as well.

That's caused Steinbrenner's sons, Hank and Hal, to take more active roles with the team, which they've previously spent their lives avoiding. Both have shrunk from the spotlight of baseball and skirted the stress of working for their father in that business. Now they have no choice. There's an $800 million stadium to be built. There's an underachieving team to be re-built. There's a patriarch in decline who needs them.

Happy birthday to Mr. Steinbrenner, who turns 77 today.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
That Chien-Ming Wang, what a guy. 7 innings, 4 hits, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts, 0 runs. He's now 8-4 with a 3.58 ERA. The Yankees gave him a little support early in the bottom of the 1st in the form of a Derek Jeter grounder that scored Johnny Damon.

As Wang continued to put up zeros, they added 2 more in the 4th (a 2 run Cano homer, scoring Abreu) and then blasted the game open in the 6th with a 5 run inning, the result of small ball. Posada scored the first run of the inning on a wild pitch. Abreu, Cabrera and Jeter proceeded to string together singles, driving in the other 4 runs.

Proctor was on in the 8th, pitching a scoreless inning. Torii Hunter got himself tossed for arguing balls and strikes. Edwar Ramirez made his major league debut in the 9th and it couldn't have gone any better - he set Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Lew Ford (Hunter's replacement) down on swinging strikeouts, in order. Great to see. You can watch it at the official site.

Abreu was 3 for 3 on the night with 2 walks, 2 runs and 1 RBI. Jeter was 3 for 5 with 2 RBI and a double. The shortstop also made a gem of a leaping stab in the 7th to rob Jason Kubel of a single. Cano was 1 for 3 with his 4th homer of the year, 2 runs and 2 RBI. Cabrera was 2 for 5 with 2 RBI and 1 run. Matsui was 2 for 4 with a double and a run. Damon and Posada also scored runs. Coming off of his injury, A-Rod was 0 for 4 and was the only Yankee starter to come away hitless in this one. But he, apparently feels fine:

The initial plan was for Rodriguez to have an MRI to determine how seriously the muscle was torn. But he declined the test after waking up.

"We caught a break," said Torre, who watched Rodriguez closely during batting practice to make sure he was able to play.

The Red Sox won, but the Indians beat the Tigers in 11, allowing us to gain a game in the wild card. We're now 7.5 games back. Today at 1:05 PM ET., we'll have our work cut out for us facing Johan Santana (9-6, 2.76). We'll need Moose (4-5, 4.63) to have a repeat of his last start.

07/03: A-Rod Starts

Posted by: Patrick
So much for missing time. A-Rod is in the lineup, playing third and hitting clean up according to Peter Abraham.
Posted by: Patrick

The ever-widening gap between Alex Rodriguez and his American League contemporaries is quickly evolving into a chasm. After a torrid June that saw the New York third baseman bat .406 with 39 hits and a league-high .781 slugging percentage, Rodriguez garnered his second American League Player of the Month award in three months, his fifth as a Bronx Bomber and the ninth of his career.

As part of the award, he gets a 52" LCD TV from Sharp.

His injury last night is being called a "strained hamstring". We'll know more today as he's going in for tests.
Posted by: Seamus
The Yankees won their series opener over the Twins Monday night thanks to Roger Clemens' masterpiece and some timely hitting from guys who haven't been getting it done the last week and a half or so as their 5-1 victory kept them 11 games behind the Red Sox in the A.L. East race. Clemens retired the last 15 batters he faced and allowed only two hits in eight innings and Bobby Abreu broke a 1-1 tie with a mammoth home run to the upper deck in right field. Abreu came out of his slump with a 3-4 night while Derek Jeter and Melky Cabrera added two hits each. Mariano Rivera closed the game with a scoreless ninth.

There was a major cause for concern in the game, however, as Alex Rodriguez strained his hamstring after tripping over the ankle of Justin Morneau as he hustled down the first base line. Rodriguez would stay in the game for Posada's at bat which followed, but after advancing to second he surrendered to the hamstring injury and was taken out of the game. Hopefully it's nothing too serious. If it is, though, all the A-Rod naysayers will finally get to see how much better the Yankees will be with Miguel Cairo at third base.

I remember back in 2003 how big a deal was made when Clemens was stuck on 299 wins and attempted to get No. 300 several times. There was the game in Wrigley when Juan Acevedo blew Clemens' 1-0 lead on the first pitch in the 7th, and then there was the 16-inning game in Detroit in which his bullpen blew a big lead late. Every day he pitched he was the story of the night and finally when he got it in a victory over the Cardinals the Yankees showered him with a huge celebration and even gave him a Hummer. I bring this up because it seems not as big a deal was made about his last few starts in which he was going for 350. I don't think people realize what kind of an accomplishment this is. The Rocket is only the 8th person every to do it and Greg Maddux might reach it before his career is all said and done, but after that 350 wins is a number that we may NEVER see again in the game of baseball. Clemens is the ONLY pitcher ever to accomplish this feat since teams started routinely going to 5-man rotations in the mid 70's and reaching a number like that nowadays is near impossible. That's the same as seventeen 20-win seasons plus a 10-win season or twenty-three 15-win seasons plus a year with five. I was at the game last night and I gotta say that's one ticket stub worth keeping (and I thought Tony Clark's 3-home run game in Toronto was special).

Also of note: Last night was the fifth straight day in which the Yankees and Red Sox both got equal results. As New York Knicks' color commentator Clyde Frazier always says, you can ill-afford to trade baskets when you're behind.

Series resumes tonight at 7 E.T. Chien-Ming Wang will be going up against Carlos Silva.
Posted by: David
Andy Pettitte lasted only 1.2 innings and surrendered eight runs including a three homer to Jack Cust and a two run shot to Dan Johnson.

The Yankees cut the lead to 8-5 and had opportunities to cut the lead even further. Ron Villone followed Pettitte and pitched 3.1 scoreless innings. However, the Yankee nemesis of 2007 - the bullpen - eventually imploded or exploded and gave up three more runs. Mike Myers who has been awful vs. left handed batters this year gave up one run and Vizcaino got hit for two more on a single up the middle from Eric Chavez.

With the Red Sox losing again, the Yankees remain 11 games behind the Bosox in the AL East.

The Twins come to town tonight with Roger Clemens again looking for his 350th career win.
Posted by: James
Pete A. over at LoHud points out the absolute worst part of this Yankee slide and what really ticks off me, the wasted opportunity.

The Red Sox are 5-7 since June 18. Had the Yankees managed to go just 5-4 on that road trip and 2-1 against Oakland, they would be six games out and everybody would be talking about a summer pennant race.

7-5 - is that too much to ask? Oh right, I guess it was. I guess it could be worse - the Red Sox could have been on fire during this stretch and the Yanks could be 15+ out. Ugh.
Posted by: Patrick
This is my weekly recap of the performance of the teams in the Yankees Bloggers Fantasy Baseball League.

Last Week

James defeated Seamus, 5-3. The winning batting average in this one was .227. Not much in the way of contact hitting going on here. In fact, each side only had one hitter reach .297 or higher. The newly acquired Lance Berkman went on a tear for James, hitting .286 with 8 runs, 4 home runs and 9 runs batted in. Carlos Delgado (4 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, .308 AVG), David Wright (4 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB, .273 AVG) and Eric Byrnes (3 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB, .296 AVG) lead Seamus' offense. On that side, James and Seamus were split with 2 victories each and a tie.

The pitching side is where it tipped in James favor. He won saves (7), strikeouts (55) and WHIP (0.98!). They tied in wins and Seamus took ERA with a low 2.84. Chad Billingsley (11 strikeouts) and Ted Lilly picked up wins for James while the saves came from Bobby Jenks (4), Jose Valverde (2) and Billy Wagner (1). Jeremy Guthrie added 13 strikeouts. Seamus' victories came from Brandon Webb and Mike Mussina with his 2 saves coming from Todd Jones.

Just when I thought I was making some progress, Dave wiped me out by the score of 8-2. His offense was incredible (38 R, 10 HR, 51 RBI, 14 SB, .322 AVG... holy mackerel) and he swept the side. Dave's hitting was pretty balanced, but Chase Utley put the biggest week together with 7 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 2 SB and a .400 AVG. Juan Pierre had 8 stolen bases! Carlos Lee led my side with 4 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB (i.e. my only stolen base) and a .320 AVG.

Pitching was where I picked up my 2 victories, thanks to 6 saves and 43 strikeouts, but Dave still won that side by taking wins, ERA and WHIP. My pitchers were just bad. Even guys I've come to rely on, like Pettitte and Verlander, killed me. Joe Borowski and Mark Buherle had my victories while Borowski (3), Octavio Dotel (2) and Mo (1) had my saves. Dave's 5 wins were spread around with Dan Haren, Tom Glavine, Matt Capps, Akinori Otsuka and Carlos Zambrano each winning a game. His 3 saves came from Capps (2) and Jason Isringhausen (1).

Top 3 teams in the league:

1. Mike (River Ave. Blues) (77-49-4)
T2. Ben (River Ave. Blues) (70-58-2)
T2. James (67-55-8)

This Week

James (T2nd, 67-55-8) vs. Patrick (8th, 58-66-6).

Seamus (10th, 47-74-9) vs. EJ (Pinstripe Potentials and Pending Pinstripes) (6th, 58-61-11).
Posted by: Patrick
The A.L. all-star team has been announced (save for the final vote, which no Yankees are on, anyway) and A-Rod, Jeter and Posada have been named to the squad.

A-Rod led all vote getters in either league with 3,890,515 votes. Jeter came in second with 3,199,571. Ivan Rodriguez will be the starting catcher for the American League, but Posada was selected as a player's pick. It's A-Rod's 11th, Jeter's 8th and Jorge's 5th.

07/01: Monthly Mo

Posted by: Patrick
With June coming to a close, I thought we'd take a look at Mo's season divided by the 3 months of baseball played so far.

Month  G W L  S BS   IP HR BB  K   ERA WHIP  BAA
April 9 1 2 1 2 7.2 1 3 8 10.57 1.83 .333
May 10 0 1 3 0 10.1 2 1 10 1.74 0.77 .189
June 10 1 0 6 0 12.0 0 1 12 1.50 0.92 .227
Total 29 2 3 10 3 30.0 3 5 30 3.90 1.10 .246
As you can see, he's had 2 awesome months (not his fault he's not being used) and one really, really bad one. That first one was so bad that it's pulled his overall numbers up a ton. But, if he continues to pitch as strongly as he did in May and June, those numbers will continue to come down, as well.
Posted by: Patrick
The blog Keyboard Quarterbacks is running Mustache Madness, a head to head tournament pitting the great mustaches in New York sports history against one another. The first round is over and the second round is now underway. See the full bracket.

Of the Yankees in the tournament, Goose Gossage, Thurman Munson, Tony Pena, David Wells, Sparky Lyle, Catfish Hunter, Willie Randolph, Don Mattingly, Reggie Jackson and Sal Fasano resigned (current or former Yankees account for 10 of the 16 left). Meanwhile, Tom Gordon, Gary Sheffield, Billy Martin and Jason Giambi fell.
Posted by: James
The Yankees are starting to make some moves, the first of which is calling up Edwar Ramirez to take Chris Basak's spot on the roster. The NY Post confirms the call-up.

At 26 years old, he has brought life to a career that was twice left for dead. He’s done it largely on his own, taking it upon himself to overhaul his pitching repertoire and develop a changeup that, in the words of manager Dave Miley, is “almost unhittable.”

In other news, Bill Madden, who apparently knows nothing about player development or the state of pitching in the Yankees system, tries to bury the Yankees minor league personnel. Now, I could understand if this piece was written 2 or 3 years ago but now? Really? When Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein put the Yankees system at #4 at the start of the season and Baseball America even points out the fast rise of the organization, I don't know how you can really write the following line... but Mr. Madden does it, anyway. can't do a worse job than the Yankees' Tampa-based player development department has done.

And because of their incredible incompetence, the check is now due.