5% Down

Amazing isn’t it, but with today’s win the Yankees are 5-4 and nine games equals just over 5% of the season.  That seems fast.

I have been on vacation since last week, but thanks to the Yankee Radio Network and the MLB At Bat IPhone app, I heard almost every game.  Here are a couple of random thoughts before I try and get some sleep to prepare for Opening Day at the new place.

1- Girardi got way too cute with his bullpen on Sunday.  I know the book may say bring in a righty, but Bruney and Marte are the guys who have to pitch in close games.  Veras and Coke haven’t prepped for that role yet.  

2- I heard someone say that the Nady injury (whatever it exactly is) is a blessing for the Yankees because they will play the superior player (Swisher) in right now.  That’s stupid because as they showed over the first eight games, having both of them gave Girardi the luxury to mix and match some things.  Swisher may have been better than Nady, but Nady is a whole lot better than Melky.

3- With this injury, I wonder if they call up Shelley Duncan?  You could do some interesting things with Duncan like sit Gardner against a tough lefty and move Swisher to center.  Looking at the 40-man, Francisco Cervelli and Juan Miranda are the only hitters on it not already on the DL or in the majors and I don’t think either of them would be much help right now.

4- Just wondering, but how many empty $2,500 seats are we going to see on TV tomorrow?  

5- Huge hit for Ransom today, he really needed that.  I was beginning to wonder if the Yankees were going to go with Pena until A-Rod returned.

6- I really like Brett Gardner, but he has to walk more than once every nine games to be effective.

7- Four losses this year and three of them are when the starter didn’t give them a chance (Wangx2 plus Sabathia Opening Day) The fourth was the bullpen implosion Sunday.  Not sure why I find that interesteing, but I do.  

About 12 hours to first pitch at the new place.  See you then! 

Matsuzaka

Another game, another body.  Daisuke Matsuzaka was put on the DL today with general arm fatigue and shoulder soreness.  Great.

I love the WBC.

So things look a bit bleak for the Red Sox but we are in just the 2nd week of the season, no need to get worried.  But you can get annoyed.  Have at it…

The Red Sox return from this awful road-trip to an off-day Thursday and then an extended home stand starting with the Orioles.

Beckett – 6 games for Roughing

Josh Beckett was suspended for 6 games for throwing at Bobby Abreu this past Sunday.  If you saw the game, there is no question the pitch would have hit Abreu in the head had he not moved.  At the same time, it was a dead ball because time had been called.

Beckett was looking at 2nd base and then turned to home and immediately started his delivery.  It seems like it would be hard to look towards home and start your delivery at the same time, realize the umpire has called time and alter your aim towards Abreu’s head all in a split second.

I have to balance that with the fact that Beckett seems to get himself into these situations more often than others.  He seems to like confrontations.  So I have decided that Beckett did indeed try to throw at Abreu, but keep out hope that he didn’t mean to aim for the head.

Either way, Beckett pitched like crap on Sunday and needs to show his teammates that he can pitch and keep the Red Sox in each and every game.  No mental breakdowns.  Just do what Jason Varitek says.

The rough start continues for Boston.  Funny, Tampa Bay, New York and Boston are 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively thus far in the AL East.

Lowrie Shelved

Jed Lowrie was put on the DL today with a sore left wrist, the same wrist that caused him trouble last year.  This move came out of no where and is a major disappointment.  Gil Velasquez was called up to replace Lowrie.

Now this means I can’t wait for Julio Lugo to make it back.  I can’t believe I just said that…

West Coasta’

Do you realize that after the Red Sox finish this current road trip this Wednesday in Oakland, they return to the West Coast only one other time during the regular season?  And that happens May 12-17 with another stint in Anaheim and then to Seattle.

After that?  Nothing, no more 10:05pm starts.  That’s amazing.  I guess the MLB schedulers are giving them a break for their 2008 start in Japan.

Either way, the trip back to Anaheim should prove interesting giving Sunday’s fireworks.

Week 1 in the books and the Red Sox are in last place in the AL East.  Small sample size and nothing to worry about, right?  Right.  That said, the Red Sox are trending into some worrisome areas.

First off, where’s the beef?  The Red Sox, through Sunday, have sported a .242/.329/.434 (avg/obp/slg).  Where’s the filth?  Red Sox pitchers have posted a 5.02 ERA and a 1.54 Whip (That’s 1.54 hits and/or walks per inning pitched).

Above represents a bad combo.

Not to ring any alarms, but a few thoughts:  Jacoby Ellsbury had a somewhat disappointing year in 2008.  So far in 2009 he is off to a…dud.  Ellsbury has 2 types of swings, the just get my bat on the ball so I can run like crud or the swing for the fences cut.

The latter swing is slow, that is to say it is a more deliberate swing and seems to result in balls being fouled off to the 3rd base side.  His former swing is more like a reactionary swing.  That’s the swing I want to see.  Ellsbury should just try to put the ball in play and use his legs to get on base.  Keep it simple.  If Ellsbury cannot figure out a way on base at least 35 % of the time (so far at 26.9% i n2009), the Red Sox will need to either consider moving him to 9 in the order or finding an alternative.

Pedroia is off to a very slow start, as is Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, Jed Lowrie (1 hit) and JD Drew.  The good news is that’s only 5/9 of the line-up…um…

As for the arms, let me give them all another turn in the rotation.

But let me rant of a moment.  Josh Beckett, the Red Sox opening day starter, has posted a 4.11 ERA since joining Boston.  4.11.  The MLB average ERA from 2006-2008 (he joined the Red Sox in 2006) is 4.43.  I guess my point is that despite the fact that Beckett has enormous talent, he is frustratingly inconsistent.  I don’t have too much more to say about Beckett at present other than I expect my #1 starter to not be inconsistent.  Be good far more often than not, ok.

Off to Oakland for 2 late night starts and a late afternoon start.  In other words, 3 games you’ll struggle to watch live.

Shudder

As I watch today’s Yankees game and see Sidney Ponson followed by Kyle Farnsworth I can’t help but think how having both those guys on your team at the same time might make you nuts.

Oh wait…. 

Just A Question

Hey, I loved today’s win and I loved A.J. Burnett, but I have a couple of questions from it.

First, why did Jeter lead off?  The only reason I ask is because Nady hit cleanup.  Nady had been hitting 7th and his promotion to cleanup was interesting. I would assume it was because Girardi wanted to keep a left-righty balance in the lineup, but think about this.  Today’s lineup was:

Jeter-R

Damon-L

Teixeira-S

Nady-R

Cano-L

Swisher-S

Ransom-R

Gardner-L

Molina-R

Now, swap Jeter and Damon and you have perfect balance throughout the lineup.  Girardi had to know that, but he chose to go with Jeter first.  Why did he do that?  I have to assume that maybe he thinks Jeter is a better hitter than Damon (I agree).  

Next question is what does Swisher have to do to start?  Granted, today was a special day for Swisher, but he has shown flashes of this potential before and if the Yankees are truly about the #’s, Swisher needs to be the rightfielder.

Finally, does anyone else find it odd that Marte didn’t pitch in that game?  The Yankees are on a pace to burn out the bullpen and Marte has a total of 1/3 of an inning this season?  Strange and something I hope they rectify soon. (if needed) 

Awful

August 2nd, 1979, I can still recall the moment on that day when I heard that Thurman Munson had died in a plane crash.  I thought of that a lot this morning when I heard about Nick Adenhart of the Angels being killed in a car crash. It is always a tragedy when someone dies young and this is much worse because it sounds like it could have been prevented because the person who crashed into Adenhart was under the influence.   

It’s sadly ironic that less than 24 hours after Joba Chamberlain talked about how badly he had screwed up driving under the influence this happens.  Hopefully, between this and Joba’s experience more people learn that you just have to turn the keys over to someone if you have been drinking.  Sadly, it always seems that the innocent person gets hurt when someone drives drunk.  It was certainly that way for Nick Adenhart. 

Maybe It’s Him

I never understood why the Yankees didn’t give Chris Britton more of a chance.  Sure he was, um…"big", but the guy seemed to get a lot of outs when they gave him a chance. I used to wonder if he had personally offended someone in the Yankees organization because of his lack of opportunities.

Now comes word via Chad Jennings that Britton has been sent to AA by the Padres!   The Padres have to be one of the worst teams in baseball and they don’t even have room for him to resume his AAA career?  I don’t get it at all. 

One Game

That was bad on so many levels, but the fact remains that it was only one game.  Yes, Sabathia and Teixeira sucked, especially when it counted, but again it was one game.  I am amazed at the papers this morning and all the fur flying about how badly CC and Mark played.  Did I mention it’s only one game?

Now, if Sabathia gets pounded Saturday and Teixeira comes into his Yankee Stadium debut with a .127 average, you might have the start of something to talk about, but for now let it be.  I found some other things in the game far more interesting.

Posada looked good at the plate and miserable with the glove.  Maybe he forgot how to catch while he was hurt, but some of those wild pitches should have been passed balls.  

Bruney and Coke had rough games, but Albie looked good.

Matsui hitting that home run was good to see.  They will need his bat this year.

Cano walked twice, a very good sign and turned a nice double play when they needed it.  

Anyway, one game down, 161 to go.