More Fun With Alex

Hey, remember Alex Rodriguez?  Quite fellow, never stirred the pot, a pleasure to hear about.  Well, the good news is he is playing in a rehab game today which means he should be back in the lineup very soon.  The bad news is Selena Roberts’ book comes out May 12 and the Daily News has a copy and has started to write about it.

Some of the stuff is not the surprising.  It claims A-Rod used steroids in high school and HGH in 2004. (Seriously, at this point can you honestly look at any player in baseball and 100% believe he is clean?  I know I can’t)  What is more distubring to me, is the allegation that he would tip his teams’ pitches to opposing batters in blowouts, hoping that would be done for him in return.  To me, selling out your own teammates like that is unforgiveable.  

As an added bonus, the book on A-Rod comes out the same day that the new book about Roger Clemens comes out.  Should be quite a day for baseball.   

23+22=Good

The last two night’s have provided a glimpse into the ideal Yankee future- Hughes (22) and Joba (23) both in the rotation and both winning games.  It has happened before, September 2007 to be specific, but I wonder when was the last time before that when the Yankees had two pitchers getting wins who were under 25?

Who knows if this is the start of something or a flash in the pan, but the Yankees have a reason to be optimistic.   

Interview With Girardi

YES just played this interview with Girardi about moving Joba to the pen.   

Girardi- I think if you looked at his numbers as a starter and compare him to other starters last year, you would say his numbers are pretty special.  But, it’s it’s always heightened when you come in the eighth inning you’re only going to throw one inning.  I loved what he did in both roles last year and that’s something we’ve talked about we debated over and over.  Threw a pretty good game against Boston.  Threw a pretty good game against Kansas City.  I mean he has thrown some pretty good games for us he hasn’t necessarily been rewarded with wins but he’s thrown pretty well. And it’s hard to have that same presence outworldly as a starter because i think you would wear yourself out.  You can have it inside of you.  But you know this is something we talked about doing and we think he has top of the end rotation stuff and this is something he is probably going to grow and learn.

Question- Has his velocity been where you want it to be and if not will that improve?

Girardi- I think against Boston it was the best it had been and we’ve talked about how power pitchers take a little but more time than other guys sometimes and i think he was consistently 93 and i think it will continue to improve as the season goes on

Question- Can you envision any scenario this year in which he goes back to the bullpen?

Girardi- Well thats not something i necessarily want to get into.  I mean we have five starters now and we will stick with those five starters.  You see what situation you have as the season goes on but right now we are sticking with those starters.  

I don’t know if that will put the rumors to rest, but I hope so.  Joba has 15 career starts with a 2.99 ERA.  If he kept that up he would win multiple Cy Youngs.  Let’s see him start a lot more games this year and then decide where he should end up, the bullpen can be a fallback option and too many starters would be a wonderful problem to have. 

Pinchrunning, Angel Berroa

You can’t argue with the move to pull Pena and hit Posada, but consider what this is setting up.  Berroa is going to play third for the next three innings in a close game. (It’s 2-0 right now)  If something happens to Molina then "insert name here" is your catcher for the rest of the game.  Gardner is the only available bat on the bench. 

I don’t know if there is a stronger case than that for reducing the pitching staff to 12 pitchers, but I hope the Yankees do it soon.   

UPDATE- The Yankees have a way of making me look dumb often.  This game isn’t close, doesn’t change my opinion about cutting down to 12 hurlers though.

Why Blame The Bullpen?

I keep hearing how the Yankees relievers other than Rivera have been a disaster and the Yankees need to make changes.  But let’s look at some facts.  Last week the Yankees were 9-6 and feeling pretty good, now they are 9-10 and feeling bad.

But, Friday’s game squarely falls on Rivera’s shoulders.  If he does his job, that’s a win.

Saturday, A.J. couldn’t hold a 6-0 lead and gave up 8 runs.  You can blame the bullpen for what happened after that, but that game belongs on the starter.

Sunday, Andy Pettitte gave up four runs and Monday C.C. did the exact same. 

So, perhaps we are looking at this the wrong way?

Yes, there are question marks. But, when Bruney comes back things will be a lot better and let’s see what Melancon can do before we try and trade the whole bullpen and bring in new guys.  Better, let’s worry about the offense and things like A-Rod’s hip and why Girardi has given up on Gardner so quickly. 

A Rolling Stone?

The Red Sox have won 11 straight and have virtually erased any concern of their 2-6 start.

What’s working?  Jason Bay.  He’s hit for power while getting on base.  Bay has 5 home runs and has walked an MLB leading 20 times while getting on base at a .506 clip.  Mike Lowell leads MLB with 22 RBI.  An impressive accomplishment considering he was an after thought during the Mark Teixeira negotiations and given his hip surgery.

Kevin Youkilis is hitting .414, getting on base 52.3% of the time and hitting for power with a .709 slg%.  Dustin Pedroia has dragged his average up to .286 and the rest of the line-up has stepped up their game.  David Ortiz continues to struggle, but has done better of late, showing a willingness to go opposite field with a few doubles.  Ortiz has always used all 90 degrees of the baseball field and now that he is back to doing that, I expect better production.  Not vintage Ortiz production, but certainly good production.

And of course a steal of home by Jacoby Ellsbury will always get an offense (or the crowd) fired-up.  Then again, had he been thrown out, with 2 out and the bases loaded, he’d have been demoted…

Tim Wakefield has, for the 3rd start in a row, bailed out the Red Sox bullpen by pitching deep into a game.  Wake has allowed only 16 hits in 29 innings and has managed to avoid the long-ball in 2009 (did I just create a jinx?).

Even the young kids in Hunter Jones and Michael Bowden have done their part.

The Red Sox are playing well as a whole.  The concerns are:  Josh Beckett and his 6.00 ERA and Javier Lopez.  I am thrilled that my biggest bullpen concern is Lopez, but he has been terrible having allowed 14 hits/walks in only 5 2/3 innings.  His 4.76 ERA isn’t reflective of his inability to keep batters off the base paths.  Beckett is just…annoyingly inconsistent.  He is walking too many players and just seems to lose focus.  He is my 2009 downer so far.

I’ll hold off on any further complaints, but I also recognized it is early with only an 1/9 of the season in the books.  The Rays have not played well and the Yankees will have an important player returning soon, so the Red Sox cannot afford to fool around.

Notes:  Julio Lugo is back and should slowly resume his shortstop position, given what Terry Francona said today, don’t expect Lugo to be the starter in the immediate future.  Nick Green has done a great job offensively and will probably get 75% of the innings over the next week with Francona slowly dialing the innings more towards Lugo over time.

I’m still very much looking forward to John Smoltz being an option.

Well, Detroit Has An Ace

Ugh, ugh, ugh.  Not much else to say.  Well a couple of things. 

Pena plays third until A-Rod returns.

Cabrera at home this year OPS 1.555 on the road OPS .666.  In 1600 plate appearances he is a career .711.  I know Girardi thinks he is swinging a "hot bat", but maybe that bat is a creation of the new Yankee Stadium and it is too early to give up on Gardner?  (I will admit, Gardner isn’t doing much, but we know what Melky is)  

Sabathia pitched pretty well, not great, but at least he rested the bullpen.  

Tomorrow the Yankees turn to Hughes.  I hope that besides demoting Jackson, they consider cutting it down to 12 pitchers again.  The Yankees need another bat on the bench, especially with Damon banged up.

 

We Need An Ace

This is why the Yankees gave Sabathia all that money, a start like this.  The team is reeling and it needs someone to lift them on his back and carry them to a win.  It’s a big spot in the young season, can C.C. deliver? 

And guess who is starting at third?  Not Berroa! 

9-9

Not a good weekend in Fenway, but at least Melancon looked good and pitched his way out of big trouble in the 8th.  Fair or not, I think the Girardi death watch starts now and will be in a frenzy if the Yankees don’t take the series from Detroit. I would not want to be Joe if the Yankees come home Thursday under .500. 

With that, I am going to try and get some sleep.   

Disgrace

You simply can’t lose that game.  Up 6-0 Burnett has to find a way to bring it home.  I found the managing by both guys strange to say the least.  Why did Francona keep Beckett in there and why did Papelbon close out a 5-run lead?  More importantly what was Girardi’s bullpen plan tonight?

Veras came in for the 6th and Albe came in for the 7th which makes you think Ramirez or Marte would have been used for the 8th if the Yankees had a lead <gulp> Why was Coke, who has been hot recently, pulled after getting Ortiz out?   

I don’t get it, but the Yankees better figure out a way to win tomorrow.