Uh-Oh

The Yankees are saying it is tightness in his bicep and he is day-to-day, but seeing CC Sabathia get taken out in the second inning is very concerning. Since he got his footing near the end of April, Sabathia has been great.  Now the Yankees have to hold their breath. 

Thankfully, tomorrow is a day off because the bullpen is going to be used a lot tonight and Wang is pitching on Tuesday.  It should be a fun week! 

What Is The Manager Doing?

I read this piece by Jon Heyman and it made me really question what Joe Girardi was doing.  We know A-Rod had hip surgery and we know it was said when he came back that he would need to be given time off.  Yet, for the first 38 games back he was put into the lineup every day.  And 35-of-38 of those games had him at third and not even at DH. 

In June Alex couldn’t do anything with the bat, but it took until this weekend for the Yankees to do something and that only happened after the team’s exexutives ordered it.  What exactly is Girardi thinking here?  Why does it take the owner, GM and other executives to tell Girardi what everyone can plainly see?

I don’t get it at all. 

What To Do?

Daisuke Matsuzaka was so bad Friday night I thought he might be trying to be bad in order to get his release.  It was that terrible.  His first inning was a joke and to his credit, he pitched well in the 2nd and 3rd only to give it up again in the 4th and 5th.  After further evaluation, I think Matsuzaka wants to be here and pitch well, he is just struggling.

With John Smoltz here, ready and willing, the Red Sox can go with a 6-man rotation.  A 6-man rotation risks extra stress on the bullpen and certainly will annoy any starter with incentives based on innings pitched, strikeouts, etc.  More importantly a 6-man rotation just doesn’t make sense.

I’m hoping the Matsuzaka accepts either a minor league assignment (he has to give the ok per his contract) and/or a DL rehab assignment.  That will give management time to evaluate Smoltz and Matsuzaka at the same time.

With Brad Penny showing some serious pop on his fastball, he has apparently become the top pitching trade target of teams in need.  The good news is that the Red Sox have this supposed glut of pitching, but if Matsuzaka can’t figure it out, perhaps not.  Let’s not forget Clay Buchholz.  He and Michael Bowden are knocking on Boston’s door and will probably start to get wordy in their respective desires to get a promotion.

A good problem to have…right?  Right.

BTW, notice David Ortiz’s move from 6th to 5th in the order the past 2 games?  Slight, yes, but a sign of improved confidence from Tito?  Yes.

Awful

You just can’t lose that series. What I saw on the field these past few nights is a team that took its opponent lightly and got its ass kicked because of that.  Seriously, did the Yankees look ready to play any of these games?  (Yes, I give them some excuse for today’s game since it started five+ hours late, but Washington didn’t seem to have a problem.)

So far in June the Yankees are 8-8. Would it shock you to know that coming into tonight the bullpen had a 2.91 ERA for the month?  You can’t blame the pen.  Starting pitching, lack of hitting, take your pick they both have victimized this team. 

Now, it’s on to the NL parks with nine games.  Considering the level of the competition, they should win a bunch of them.  But, as we just learned, records mean little when the teams meet on the field.   

Not A Shocker…

We have another name off the list of players who tested positive for steroids in 2003 like A-Rod and it is…drumroll…SAMMY SOSA!  Yeah, who would have thunk it?  Well only 102 more names to go off that list.  Who will be next?  Stay tuned to the next edition of "Who Else Can Disgrace Baseball!!"

Ok, on to Yankees news.  In something I would call a minor shock, the Yankees DFA’ed Veras to activate Bruney which means they kept Tomko.  I know Veras has been bad, but isn’t he better than Tomko?  Doesn’t he have more value?  I don’t get it at all.

Anyway, three with the Nats, three they should sweep.  We shall see.   

Glut O’ Pitching?

For those of you worried the Red Sox would have to shell out $16mm a year to re-sign Jason Bay, relax, he isn’t going to hit .400 this year.  I predict a 4 year, $44mm deal sometime before the end of the year.

I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy Dennis Eckersley as an analyst.  He is blunt, raw and very funny.  I appreciate his every-fan approach, something the Red Sox tried with billionaire Jack Welch (perhaps sub-billionaire given GE stock over the past year) a few years back.  Eck says what’s on his mind.  He is far more open to letting you know when a Red Sox has not done the right thing.  Surely this kind of candor will catch up with him as the players might start giving him heat, but until he is named the everyday analyst, I suspect he’ll get away with his honesty.

More than anything, Eck just cracks me up.

I wonder if when Jerry Remy is ready to return NESN will consider a 3-man booth or a rotation of sorts?  I like Eck in the booth.

Without getting too excited, David Ortiz has been showing a bit more of late.  He is hitting .289/.372/.579 over his past 12 games, but what I like most is that every ball he has hit, including outs, have been hit hard.

With Jed Lowrie semi-close to returning, I think Nick Green will hold the SS position until Lowrie returns.  As for Julio Lugo, I expect a release (or a swap of cruddy salaries with another team).  The Red Sox have not properly addressed the SS position since, well, quite a few years.  Lugo has been creaming the ball of late, but that won’t last, right?

The Red Sox drafted a familiar name last week selecting Michael Yastrzemski with the 1098 pick in the 2009 amateur draft.  Carl’s grandson was taken out of St. John’s Prep (Danvers, MA).  He has committed to Skidmore College, er, wait, Vanderbilt University, so the Red Sox have a somewhat slim chance of landing him (ok Michael, here’s $10,000 from us, the Red Sox, or a full-ride to Vanderbilt worth 4 x $37,005 annual tuition, room and board and a good education equaling $148,020.  Your call).

The Red Sox badly need some power to percolate through the minor leagues.  AAA Pawtucket Red Sox Aaron Bates is making a name for himself with his new low/no-kick stance and Lars Anderson at AA Portland could be a late season helper, but there is no definitive power hitter just waiting to break through.

Lastly, the Red Sox face a decision with John Smoltz set to return this Thursday.  A NESN interview suggested he was ok with one more AAA start, but beyond that the Red Sox have to either decide who to send to the bullpen (Beckett, Wakefield, Matsuzaka, Penny or Lester) or they need to trade someone.

Most feel Penny is the odd man out as he really doesn’t represent a long-term commitment and doesn’t figure into the Red Sox long-term plans.

Until David Ortiz can convince Red Sox brass that he is all better, I bet we might be see a 6-man rotation for a few weeks.

At home at Fenway for a stretch starting Tuesday.

Seven Innings!

I was beginning to wonder if a Yankees’ starter could pitch into the late innings, thank you AJ for reminding me it was possible.  Now, AJ almost blew up in the third and he was helped by a bad call on that punchout of Alex Cora, but overall you have to like the start. 

The thing that bothers me is how different the offense looked today compared to yesterday.  Maybe it’s just me, but didn’t it look like the Yankees had early dinner plans yesterday the way they kept swinging?  And today they looked locked in and ready to play.  Why the difference?

But, they won and they won the series (thanks Luis Castillo)  With three at home against Washington coming up, they need to take advantage of that scheduling and start a win streak before they play nine-straight in NL parks.

AJ Burnett’s suspension hearing is tomorrow.  He is scheduled to start Saturday, but wouldn’t be able to make that start if the suspension is not reduced.   

Nice Win?

I can’t ever think of a win like that.  I mean seriously, a dropped popup?  Kudos to Mark Teixeira for busting it from first on the play.  Luis Castillo, it’s simple, TWO HANDS!  Youth coaches everywhere should show that play as a great example of what to do and what not to do.

As for the game it showed us once again that the Yankees have an awful bullpen.  Now, let’s leave Phil Hughes out of this discussion, we won’t know what his role is until Wang pitches on Wednesday.  But, for the remaining six guys we can review each one.

Start with Brett Tomko, a guy who should really be DFA’ed today.  Tomko had an ERA over 6 last year and an ERA well over 5 the year before that.  He is 36 and while I have no idea how he pitched so well in spring and at AAA earlier this year, I am certain he won’t do it again.  The Yankees need a guy in the pen who can eat up innings, Tomko isn’t that guy.  Let’s dump him and bring up Casey Fossum.  Fossum is not going to contribute much, but he can give them innings and he is lefthanded.  Maybe you catch lightning in a bottle with him, maybe you don’t- what’s the harm in trying?

Jose Veras- Believe it or not, Veras looks a little better recently.  I wouldn’t give him much room, but let’s send him out there a few more times and see what happens.

David Robertson- Robertson keeps striking guys out and I hope the Yankees give him a chance to pitch some meaningful innings in the pen sometime soon.

Aceves- Let’s face it, he flunked his first test in a big spot.  But, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get more chances.  The guy reminds me a lot of El Duque, inventing as he goes along.  He clearly belongs on the staff, it’s just a matter of finding out what his best role is.

Coke- Phil has his ups and his downs.  One thing he does not appear to be is a lefty specialist.  For his career, Coke has been tougher on righties (.526 OPS) than lefties (.665 OPS)  Now the samples are small, but I think Joe Girardi needs to stop brining him in automatically to face a tough lefty. 

Rivera- It is clear that something is bothering Mo.  Somedays he is dominant, somedays he is bad.  Perhaps it is the shoulder surgery, maybe it is the fact he is 39, I don’t know, but the Yankees need a backup plan and they are only going to find it on the trade market.  They have time, this doesn’t need to be done today, but they are going to need to get someone like Street or Qualls- closers on teams that aren’t very good and then they need to hope.  They need to hope that Mo becomes Mo again and they can use that closer for the 8th inning instead of the 9th.  

Bruney’s return will defintiely help the pen.  Using Aceves and Robertson in big spots should help it, but they will need some more help as well.

One other note, actually two.  When the Yankees put Garnder in center and use Swisher and Melky in the OF, why not put Melky in right and Swisher in left?  Melky has the better arm.  And, Melky has hit the skids, .647OPS the last 28 days.  Why not give Gardner a shot in center and see if he can do something?

 

1001001101

There was a great SNL spoof on Bill Gates a long time ago and in it he starts talking in binary.  I always think of that skit when I hear about John Henry.  It amazes me that the Red Sox owner doesn’t take more crap for his desire to only interact with the world from behind a computer.

So, it should not have surprised me that Henry has a Twitter account.  What did surprise me is that he decided to take a shot at Mark Teixeira last night with it.  It seems Henry sent the following Twitter last night after the Red Sox finished off the Yankees- "The MT curse?

Can you imagine the howls we would be hearing from Boston if one of the Steinbrenner boys had done something like that to a Red Sox?  But apart from that, what exactly is Henry thinking here?  Does he expect Mark Teixeira to laugh this off?  If so, I think he is going to be disappointed

Henry is certainly allowed to say whatever he wants, but this seems like a silly one to me.  Why would you rile up a player who is going to be your opponent for the next eight years?  We shall see how this plays out, but I imagine Tex will be on a mission to prove Henry wrong.  That’s ok by me.

Let’s Talk

Ok Yankees’ fans, is there a team you hate more than the Red Sox?  I didn’t think so.

Is there a team you want to beat more than the Red Sox?  I didn’t think so.  

Does it make you crazy that the Yankees are 0-8 against the Red Sox this year?  I thought so.

Do you think the Yankees are doomed this year?….Ah, now we have something to talk about.

I don’t care how big a Yankees’ fan you are, if I asked you which team is better right now, you would answer Boston.  Now, does that really matter? 

Here’s what I know.  The Yankees cannot beat the Red Sox right now.  I have no idea if that will change in the upcoming months, but if the playoffs started today and both teams were in them, I would pick Boston 10-out-of-10.  

But, they don’t start today, they start in four months and a lot can happen between then and now.  Most importantly, if the Yankees are three games better than Boston and the rest of the AL East from this day forward, they make the playoffs.  That may sound stupid, but that is truly the reality of all of this.  The Yankees have 102 games left and 10 of them are against Boston.  If they lose all of those games against Boston and win their remaining games at the same percentage they have this year against everyone else, they win 95 games.  I think that makes the playoffs. 

Sure, I don’t feel good about facing Boston in the playoffs, but that only happens if we reach the ALCS.  If we get to that point, I am more than willing to roll the dice on everything.   Let’s not give up on the pennant just yet.