Thursday, July 31, 2008

Diabolic (Postgame Notes 31 July 2008)

One could have argued that tonight was one of the most important games of the year for the Yankees to win. They had Andy Pettitte on the mound in the most favorable pitching match up of the Angels series...

So, like clockwork, the Yankees get blown out of the water.

Andy Pettitte has one of his worst starts of the season and it could not have come against a worse (for the Yankees) opponent.

He struggled in the first and second inning before giving up a pair of three-run home runs in the third--nine of the Angels runs were scored on three run home runs--a poor performance in a place where Andy usually succeeds.

The offense wasn't good at the beginning of the game, but picked it up in the later innings--problem is, when you're down by nine runs in the ninth, there's not a whole lot that an offense can do.

There was an absolutely HORRENDOUS call in the seventh inning, when Ivan Rodriguez was clearly safe at home plate--on the replay his hand is touching the base and Mathis hadn't even made the tag.

There's no shame in losing to a good team. The shame comes when you get completley blown out at home, with a pitcher who's built his reputation as a 'stopper' on the mound.

The Yankees haven't just lost four of their last five, but they've gotten blownn out in three of those games.

The pitching that had been so good straight out of the break seems to, with the exception of Joba, collapsed completley, and despite the excellent trade deadline, the Yankees still have issues that they need to deal with--and quickly if this run is to be for real.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

El Comedulce (Postgame Notes 30 July 2008)

On a team overloaded with Designated Hitters, the Yankees picked up a new one today: Bobby Abreu.

Getting the start at DH to spell him from the field, Abreu had a mammoth day at the plate, going 3-4 with two home runs, three RBI and four runs scored--he either batted in or scored five of the Yankee runs today--and on two occasions, he did both.

More importantly, he helped the Yankees stop their losing streak at three, and helped them go into their four game series with the best team in the league, the Angels, on a high note.

Joba Chamberlain pitched great (can we say 'as usual' yet?)--six innings, one earned run. Still not as economical with his pitches as the Yankees would like, but also still technically a quality start.

Breaking News

According to ESPN, and confirmed by YES, the Yankees have traded Kyle Farnsworth to Detroit for catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

Lesson learned: When Cashman says the Yankees are content with Molina and Moeller, don't take him at face value.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mail Call

To the New York Yankees--

Hi. So I know you just had an eight game win streak right after the All Star Break. That was a lot of fun, really--everyone was hitting, was great baseball.

I know that you lost on Sunday. That was a bit of a pitching mis-match. It's understandable.

However, I am extremely disturbed by your inability to rebound after a loss. It's never one loss in between wins, but a losing streak of significant length.

It is beyond frustrating to watch. I understand it's probably frustrating to play like it...but dude, this is the Baltimore Orioles. They're in last place in the AL East. There is NO logical reason they should be beating you in two straight games.

Darrell Rasner was great tonight, two runs in six innings...and while the bullpen should have kept it there, it wouldn't have been an issue if the offense had been able to come through at all, and yes, Jason Giambi, I'm looking at you.

At least, tomorrow, will you give Joba some serious run support? Please?

Because getting swept by the Orioles is not what you want to do heading into a series with the Angels.

Though I think you know this. That's why you scored three in the 8th and three in the 9th.

--A concerned fan.

John Lackey--

That was a great try. Please don't do that through 8.1 innings when you see us, or I might cry.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Kyrptonite (Postgame Notes 28 July 2008)

There's no other way to describe it.

How else can you figure that the best pitcher for the Yankees this season loses to the worst team in the division?

The Yankees do tend to play flat after a series with Boston, but tonight wasn't just flat.

They were flat-out dead.

Mussina threw strikes--and got beat. The offense hacked at nearly everything and managed just one hit through the first five innings. David Robertson struggled to throw strikes.

Any way you look at it, it was a depressing game to watch.

The Yankees played a little better in the late innings against the Oriole bullpen, but it was a case of much too little, much too late.

One has to think that playing the Orioles now has become a psychological hurdle for the Yankees--they struggled against Baltimore all year last year as well.

Let's hope that the Yankees play a much better game tomorrow evening.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fenway Fizzle (Postgame Notes 27 July 2008)

Find a comfortable seat and sit down. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and open.


Are you thinking rationally yet? No? Repeat the above until you are.

Thinking rationally now?

Okay. Good. So you will agree with me: yes, that was an ugly loss, yes, Sidney Ponson had me reaching for the first alcoholic beverage I could find, yes the offense seemed to revert back to the way they played in the first half...but in the end, all it is is one loss.

The Yankees weren't going to win every single game after the break, nice as the thought would have been.

Let's consider what the Yankees have done since the break, though, shall we?

1) They won their first eight games, sweeping two teams--Oakland and Minnesota--that have remained in contention in the process.

2) They took two out of three from Boston at Fenway, a place where the Red Sox have won three out of every four games they've played.

3) They signed Richie Sexson for an amount lower than the league minimum.

4) They traded for Xavier Nady and Dàmaso Marte, two of the most sought after players this deadline, while surrendering two AAA and two AA players in the process.

4a) By getting Marte, they strengthened their strength (the bullpen), and they kept the Red Sox from addressing their weakness.

4b) By getting Nady, they ensured that Christian/Gardner can remain in a role in which they are much more useful--pinch runners off the bench.

So yes, Sidney Ponson got absolutely hammered. The offense only managed two runs with the bases loaded and no one out in the fifth (though two runs are better than none). Dan Giese did not have the greatest outing of his career.

It could be a whole lot worse.

Hall of Fame Sunday

Congratulations to Goose Gossage, who today will be inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

(I could say more but sometimes it's best to let the moment speak for itself)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Eight Wins Up (Postgame Notes 26 July 2008)

In the first inning, Andy Pettitte simply could not get a pitch called a strike.

Boston pushed two runs across before the Yankees had their second at bat, and they were looking for more.

...and still, the Yankees won.

In terms of the games that the Yankees have pitched since the All Star Break, it wasn't the prettiest, but Pettitte got stronger as the game went on, and, as a true showcase of how good the bullpen has become, when Jose Veras struggled in the seventh, Joe Girardi went to Dàmaso Marte, Edwar Ramirez and David Robertson. The three did not allow another hit.

In fact, one may look at today's game as indictive of the differences between the Yankees' bullpen situation and that of the Red Sox.

Consider the statistics:

Yankee bullpen: 3 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 0 ER
Red Sox bullpen: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 K, 4 ER

In trading for Marte, the Yankees have made a strength stronger and kept the Red Sox from addressing what is probably the weakest part of their ball club.

More good news about today's win?

Today's offensive effort--ten runs in what is technically a come-from-behind win--means that the Yankees don't have to be concerned about the fact they only went 1-9 with RISP last night.

In fact, Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi and Robinson Canò all had two out RBI (Canò had two and three RBI on the day).

Whatever this Yankee team is, the team it was in the first half is not it.

The starting pitching is giving them a chance to win every game, the offense is, post break, scoring 6.12 runs a game (read: what they were supposed to do all season) and the bullpen is phenomenal.

On July 6, the Yankees were nine games out of the division lead.

Today, on July 26, they are tied in the loss column with Boston for the Wild Card lead.

Everyone has said that if the Yankees were going to make a move, that it has to be now, this month.

That is precisely what they have done.

The Yankees will try to close out the series tommorrow evening. Whatever happens, the Yankees can rest a little easy knowing that no matter what they have taken two out of three from Boston at Fenway.

Friday, July 25, 2008

An Act of Piracy?

Was it pure piracy?

We won't know for sure for a couple of years, when Jose Tàbata should be major league ready, but for now, it sure looks it.

Who the Yankees got:

Xavier Nady: Corner outfielder with pop in his bat.
Dàmaso Marte: Left-handed relief pitcher who was more or less the most sought-after relief pitcher this season.

Who the Yankees gave up:

Ross Ohlendorf: You've seen him before. Hard throwing pitcher who could turn into a starter or a reliever.
Jose Tàbata: Last year, he hit .305 with a broken bone in his wrist. This year, the youngest player at the AA level, he has had some red flags go up with his attittude when dealing with a tougher level of competition.
Phil Coke: AA pitcher who has looked stronger recently, but is already 26 years old.
George Kontos: Potential servicable #5 starter.


Coke and Kontos have been replaced in the deal with Jeff Karstens and Dan McCutcheon.

Jeff Karstens:
Marginal starter.
Dan McCutcheon: Could turn into a very reliable bullpen arm.

So, what does this do for the Yankees?

Well, going into the trade deadline, the Yankees had three needs, viz:

1) A right handed bat, preferably one that could play the outfield corners--left field this year, while Damon's shoulder is still not 100%, and potentially right field next year, if the Yankees decline to bring back Bobby Abreu.

2) A starting pitcher to spell Darrell Rasner or Sidney Ponson.

3) A left-handed reliever.

They have now, pending physicals, filled numbers one and three on their list, and done so without giving up anyone on their twenty-five man roster, without giving up Austin Jackson, Jesus Montero or Mark Melancon, and done so while the combined cost of Nady and Marte is under $11 million.

It's hard to know exactly how everything will play out, but right now, the Yankees could be heading into the latter part of the year with a starting line up of:

Johnny Damon DH
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Robinson Canò 2B
Xavier Nady LF
Melky Cabrera CF
Jose Molina C

Sound a bit longer than the line up currently in place? Thought so.

Now think about what the bullpen might look like:

Mariano Rivera
Kyle Farnsworth
Jose Veras
Edwar Ramirez
David Robertson
Dàmaso Marte
Dan Giese (okay, so Hawkins will probably still be here, but that's not the point).

That is a formiddable bullpen.

For all of the talk of this being a rebuilding year, Brian Cashman and company have made a move that will do that much more to help this team well now.

Joba On the Spot (Postgame Notes 25 July 2008)

While you were busy dissecting one of the biggest trades the Yankees have made in the past three years, you may have missed one of the most dramatic and well-pitched Yankee wins this season.

Oh, and it happened to bring the Yankees to within one game of the Red Sox, as well.

Joba Chamberlain pitched an absolute gem.

Seven innings, three hits, one walk, no runs and nine strike outs.

Any question as to whether or not he belongs in the rotation was moot before tonight's game; now the question of whether or not he can pitch against the game's best starters has been answered with a resounding yes.

Joba didn't just keep pace with Beckett; he out pitched him. He got some great defense in the second inning from Melky Cabrera and Robinson Canò, but for most of the game he simply shut the Boston line up down.

Josh Beckett wasn't bad either--he beared down when the Yankees got runners on base, and the only run scored in the game was scored because the Sox had been playing the shift on Jason Giambi.

Joba Chamberlain was just better.

Kyle Farnsworth didn't have a bad inning so much as he got unlucky. Bobby Abreu played too deep on Lowrie and Lowrie singled, and then made the mistake off trying to field a nubber that would have gone foul off of Cocoa Crisp.

Mariano was, simply, Mariano.

There isn't much to comment about offensively--the Yankees didn't hit with runners in scoring position (1 for 9), but that was more a reflection of Josh Beckett pitching than the Yankee offense.

If the Yankees do a similar thing tomorrow against Wakefield, then there should be some concern.

There will likely be something made of the high pitch Joba threw to Kevin Youkilis in the seventh, which hit his bat (as opposed to his head), but one has to remember that at the time the game was 1-0. The last thing Joba probably wanted to do was give Youkilis a free pass on the bases.

While winning one game doesn't mean that the Yankees will win the series, it is the best way to start.

More to come on the Nady/Marte trade, stay tuned.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

One of These is Not Like the Other

The way it's playing out right now, there are three candidates for Yankees' team MVP.

Two will be extremely obvious. You can probably guess them right now without me saying anything else, and you would be more than justified.

The third, however, will be so outlandish as to make you want to stop reading this blog all together. In fact, if you were to go by stats alone, this player would probably be in contention for least valuable. Curious? Keep reading.

Let's start with the first two blindingly obvious candidates: Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera.

Mike Mussina

This is a guy that was supposed to spend 2008 competing for the five spot in the rotation. The only reason he started in the two spot at all was because Andy Pettitte started the season on the disabled list (remember that?).

He didn't have an exceptional April, either--two starts against the Red Sox will do that to you if you keep pitching to Manny Ramirez--but since then, he has gone 10-3, with just one start, against Baltimore, bad enough to remind one of 2007.

How good has Mike Mussina been this year? Check this out:

Last year, all season, Mussina struck out 91 batters.

This season, on July 24, he has already struck out 81.

Last year, he walked 35 batters; this year, past the all star break, he's only walked 16--and none in his last start.

His ERA? At 3.29 it's the lowest it's been since his first year with the Yankees. In 2001.

You can also look at it this way: if Mussina makes ten more starts this season, and only wins five of them, he'll still finish with 18 wins...and the way he's pitching right now, the Yankees will probably win more than five of his remaining starts

It's not just that Mussina has been so valuable to the Yankees this year; it's that no one expected it--probably not even Moose himself. When the Comeback Player of the Year discussions start, his name will be mentioned, not just because of how well he has done for himself, but because of how much he has meant to the Yankees in 2008.

Mariano Rivera

Let's start with the obvious here: closers are not supposed to have career years at the age of 38, but that is exactly what Rivera is doing.

Rivera might not have the saves that Fransico Rodriguez of the Angels has, but that's because saves are a by-product off wins. As the Angels have the best record in baseball, Rodriguez has more save opportunties. Unlike Rodriguez, however, Rivera has so far converted all of his opportunities.

I've gone over Rivera's crazy stats before, but if you need a refresher:

ERA: 1.21 (career best)
SO/BB: 13.5 (career best) (54 K/4 BB)
BAA: .168
OBP: .198
SLG: .232
OPS: .430

Rivera has always been immensley valuable to the Yankees. For the past 11 years now, if Rivera's healthy and the Yankees are winning after eight innings, you can almost guarantee a win a the Yankee column.

This season, however, he's pitching on another level.

Right now, the rest of the bullpen looks just as untouchable as Rivera, but earlier in the season, when that wasn't the case, Rivera was still the one guy the Yankees could count on to get themselves out of a tight spot.

Closers aren't supposed to have career years at age 38, but Mo's could not possibly have come at a better time.

Right. So those are two of the blindingly obvious team MVP candidates. While it's hard to quantiy value to a team, both Mussina's and Rivera's stat lines give you some idea as to the type of seasons they are having.

The next guy I'm going to suggest is not having a career year. Not even close. He's only hitting .222, has no home runs, no speed and isn't actually supposed to play every day.

At the same time, he's so good defensively, he is one of the few that can change the way another team plays a game.

If you haven't guessed by now that I'm referring to Jose Molina, well, you've not been watching a lot of Yankee baseball this season.

When the Yankees traded for Jose Molina last year, they weren't looking for another starting catcher; they were looking for someone that could spell Posada who hit a bit better than Wil Nieves.

Molina fit the profile, and the Yankees gave up very, very little to get him.

Value is relative--it's based on how much more (or less) you get from someone (or something) than you expect.

The Yankees expected a competent defender that could manage to get on base once in a while, too.

What the Yankees got was a catcher that has thrown out nearly 50% of all baserunners attempting to steal, helped Mike Mussina become the de facto ace of the Yankees staff, worked well with every pitcher in the rotation, and, oh yeah, he's played in 64 of the Yankees 101 games thus far--well on pace to break his career high of 78 games played in 2006.

Granted, he doesn't hit much, but if everyone else in the Yankee line up starts to hit--as they've done during this, their second longest winning streak of the season--Molina's defense more than makes up for his weak bat.

Consider it like this way: Mussina and Rivera are putting up seasons that could make them contenders for league MVP if not for 1) the league's MVP bias against pitching, 2) Cliff Lee and 3) Francisco Rodriguez.

Jose Molina is much more important to the Yankees in terms of suiting their needs right now, than he would likely be to any other team.

Oh, and one more thing:

Molina's tough as nails. In the 2-1 Yankee win over Boston during the July 4 weekend series, Molina was hit by a pitch while catching in a region that, for reasons of gender and anatomy, I will never fully understand what it feels like to get hit there.

He stayed in the game.

In the Yankees 4-3 win over Oakland last Saturday?

Molina stuck his knee out with the bases loaded to take a HBP for the team and win the game.

The next night?

He ended the game by throwing out a runner trying to take second.

The last time the Yankees had a back up catcher that meant as much to the team as Jose Molina currently means to the Yankees? Think 1998, with Joe Girardi and a young Jorge Posada.

So there you have it. My three candidates for team MVP (please do keep in mind this is team, and not league, MVP).

Two of them you probably guessed right off the bat; the third, probably not so much.

Enjoy the day off--exciting weekend coming up!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Six in the City (Postgame Notes 23 July 2008)

Eight shut out innings.

Two clutch hits.

Six wins and two sweeps in a row.

The Yankees can't ask for too much else right now (aside from an effective Hawkins, but even I admit that's pushing it).

The team hasn't just played better out of the break; they've been dominant. Oakland and Minnesota are not bad teams--overachieving, maybe, but certainly not bad. In fact, before the All Star break, the Yankees were trailing both Minnesota and Oakland in the Wild Card Race.


Not so much.

Mike Mussina's ERA is now down to 3.26.

Mussina. ERA. 3.26.

This is a guy that at the beginning of the season was supposed to be competing for the five spot.

He now has thirteen wins, tied for the league lead with Cliff Lee.

Today he allowed six hits over eight innings, struck out seven and (once again) did not walk a batter.

If he is not a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, there is something drastically wrong with the universe.

Also of note: seven different Twins struck out.

As for the offense, the Yankees did not have a dominating offensive explosion as they had in the first game, but they played like the Yankees, exploiting Minnesota's mistakes (Alexi Casilla running off the field as if the inning were over as opposed to doubling up Jose Molina most prominent among these) and getting two two-run hits from Justin Christian and Alex Rodriguez.

They have scored five runs or more in four of their first six games after the brea.

The Yankees have a well-earned off day tomorrow before they head into Boston, and that series now has some added significance. As of right now, the Yankees are only two back in the loss column of Boston; if Seattle can win tonight, they will be just one game out of the wild card spot.

The Yankees have Joba, Pettitte and Sidney Ponson pitching against Beckett, Wakefield and Lester, so it should be a very interesting weekend.

Twin Killing (Postgame Notes 22 July 2008)

So I went to the Yankee game again.

I've had these tickets since the beginning of April--meaning it was the second game for which I actually had tickets this season (the first being the 12 April affair in Boston). So, as you might imagine, I was pretty excited.

Turns out, the Yankees seem to have been pretty excited to play as well--that happens when you've won four games in a row, and two of them by scoring more than five runs.

It was great to see Johnny Damon play again after he got hurt; when he is right all is well with the team and tonight wasn't much different.

Damon was 2-3 with two walks, which will do a lot to help jump start an offense.

The Yankees need his production to keep their offense strong--just look at what's happened in the past two games, 12 runs and eight runs respectively!

Robinson Canò has been absolutely on fire since the All Star break, and tonight was no different.

He went 2-4 with two RBI, and continues to act as though he is the best pick up the Yankees made during the All Star break that you simply did not read about in the papers.

I'm not sure what's in the water in the Dominican Republic, but perhaps the Yankees ought to import some before the start of the season?

If Canò could figure out how to hit in the first half like he does in the second, he'd contend for batting titles every year.

Derek Jeter was only 1-5, but the one hit he did have, in true Captain Clutch fashion, was a two run double down the left field line.

Before the double, the Yankee lead was a modest 4-2---comfortable considering how well the bullpen has been pitching, but not an impossible mountain for Minnesota to climb--so Jeter's hit was not just clutch because it scored two men on base, but because it blew the game open and virtually assured the Yankees would win.

The game was not played perfectly--the Yankees did have two errors in the game--but they were able to get the pitches and the hits when they needed them most.

Darrell Rasner pitched a gem through five, and should have gotten through the sixth with the game still tied if not for a botched call by the first base umpire. That said, tonight was by far the most impressive Rasner has looked in a very long time--it's as though the All Star Break has rejuvanated him just as it has the Yankee offense.

As for the bullpen, well, just take a look at this. Who would of thought that the Yankees could get this out of a bullpen where Kyle Farnsworth is your eighth inning man?

Yankees play a day game tomorow before heading to Boston for the weekend.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sidney Ponson on the mound, Win in the column (Postgame Notes 21 July 2008)

Somewhere, in Yankeeland, apparently, there is a switch.

It's just like a light switch, with an on-off choice, and underneath the switch there is a label that reads:

New York Yankees

Underneath the label, there is a sign that reads:


Someone turned that switch on, again.

Sidney Ponson was not great--5.2 innings, nine hits, two walks, two strikeouts and three earned runs--but he was able to Houdini himself out of a couple of tight spots and after the Yankees re-took the lead in the bottom of the second, he never looked back.

It's almost as if on the days that Ponson starts, the Yankees get an extra urge to win--of the four games he has started so far, the Yankees have scored at least nine runs, and in the one they didn't, they still won the game, anyway.

The Yankee offense was, simply, on fire tonight.

Every Yankee hitter except for Jason Giambi (who needs to dye the 'stache again) had a hit; even late inning replacements Wilson Betemit, Justin Christian and Richie Sexson reached base.

Alex Rodriguez had a two run home run with two out in the first; Robinson Canò and Derek Jeter each had solo shots as well, but perhaps what is more impressive is that eight of the Yankees' 12 runs were scored on hits that were not home runs.

The Yankees bullpen continued their stellar season--allowing just one run in 3.1 innings pitched. Even LaTroy Hawkins had a 1-2-3 eighth inning--as if to put a stamp on how well the bullpen is pitching.

One has to wonder if they add something to the water in New York in July--the Yankees have won four in a row now, eight straight at home, seven of nine, and eight of ten. Even in their last two losses--against Toronto--only one of the losses was really a "bad loss".

It happened last year: the Yankees went on an utter tear to come from 7.5 games out of a playofff spot to take the wild card. They're chasing more teams right now, but if they keep playing like this, it's not a question of if they'll make the playoffs, but when.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sweeping Second Half Start (Postgame Notes 20 July 2008)

If there's any way for the Yankees to start the second half of the season, a three-game sweep of Oakland is certainly up there.

Today's game wasn't the everything-firing-on-all-cylinders win of Friday or the win-in-spite-of-the-offense victory of yesterday, but instead a win because Andy Pettitte simply outpitched Justin Duchscherer.

Andy Pettitte has been known as a second half pitcher, and today he had one of his best starts all season. He went eight innings, giving up one run on four hits and striking out eight without walking a batter. He threw nine pitch innings in both the first and second inning, and finished with 114 pitches.

Mariano Rivera was more like himself in the ninth today, though there was an awkward play involved. With one on and one out, a fly ball was hit to Bobby Abreu, who caught the ball, and then dropped it before the out was called. Abreu overthrew it to Derek Jeter at second, but Alex Rodriguez who was probably in the wrong place at the right time, recovered and threw to Jeter for the force out.

Jose Molina once again proved himself to be one of Brian Cashman's best moves last season, calling a great game and then throwing out Rajai Davis at second to end the game.

Molina doesn't just have a cannon for an arm; he's throwing runners out at such a pace--almost 50%--that makes you forget that the league average for caught stealing is much less than that.

The Yankee offense was not great today, but that was more a product of Justin Duchscherer's pitching than anything else. Where the Yankees needed runs, they got them--and may have had more than two if Alex Rodriguez had not been thrown out at home after the first.

Jason Giambi won't admit it, but with stats like 6-8, four home runs and two doubles, he owns Duchscherer.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Office Correspondance (Postgame Notes


To: Yankees
From: Baseball G-ds
Re: Mariano Rivera

Of six runs allowed this inning, five have come in tie games. You may want to consider this before putting him in tie game situations in the future.


To: Yankees
From: Baseball G-ds
Re: Offense

Look, we can only help so much. If Robinson Canò and Brett Gardner are going to have good days, the least you can do is make sure the rest of the line up, including the "big names" like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi, actually hit with runners in scoring position.

Seriously, we really do want to help. We understand that this is the last year of Yankee Stadium, so it would be criminal not to play baseball here in October, but we can only do so much. If it's on us for allowing free will, it's on us, but really, we help those who help themselves.

And dude, falling down while trying to steal second with no outs in the ninth? Not a great idea.

PS: By the way, someone's going to want to take Jose Molina out to dinner tonight.

To: Baseball G-ds
From: the New York Yankees
Re: Correspondance

Duly noted.

To: Yankees
From: Baseball G-ds
Re: Told ya so!

See what happens when you listen to us? Also, we would like to congratulate Robinson Canò on his best game of the season, and the pitching staff for their 18 strike outs on the day--eight from Joba Chamberlain alone.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight is Amazing. Go See It. (Postgame Notes 18 July 2008)

If only the Yankees could play like this every night.

Good starting pitching, clutch hitting, clean defense and an overpowering bullpen will get you a win almost every time, and that's exactly what the Yankees had tonight.

Mike Mussina was not dominant--he gave up nine hits over six--but he was effective. He allowed one run in the first and did not allow another run the rest of the game. He did not walk a single batter and struck out the side in the second--all looking.

Mussina now has more wins (12) than he had all of last season, and still has a potential, if unlikely, shot at 20 wins. Many agree that one 20 win season would give Moose the boost he needs to be a serious Hall of Fame candidate.

I could gush more about the season that Mussina is having, but tonight's win wasn't just Mike Mussina.

The Yankee offense did something it's not done much of late, and played a good game. It wasn't just one guy with a good night, but the entire team seemed to be playing well.

Bobby Abreu, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Canò and Melky Cabrera all had multiple hit games that included extra base hits (doubles for Abreu and Melky; home runs for Alex and Canò).

More telling, however, was that six of the Yankee runs were scored on two outs--three of those coming on Robinson Canò's home run in the third to put the Yankees ahead. The Yankees never relinquished the lead.

The bullpen, which tonight didn't see Jose Veras, Kyle Farnsworth or Mariano Rivera, was absolutley dominant.

David Robertson struck out the side in the seventh; Edwar Ramirez struck out two of three in a one-two-three eighth, and LaTroy Hawkins had a one-two-three ninth, ending the game with a strike out.

In the last few years, and, most notably, last year, the Yankees have been a second-half team, and tonight, they posted one of their best-played wins this season to start it off.

If you believe in omens t all, consider tonight a good one.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MLB Stands Up To Cancer; and You Have a Chance to Meet Joba

MLB Teams up with Stand Up to Cancer


Selig plans to get teams, fans involved in fight vs. disease

By Barry M. Bloom /

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball took another step on Tuesday in its commitment to team up with entertainers, foundations, businesses, physicians and three of the top four television networks -- ABC, CBS and NBC -- in the quest to find a cure for cancer.

MLB joined the initiative, called "Stand Up To Cancer," on May 28 and pledged an initial contribution of $10 million.

On Tuesday at a press conference attended by singer and song writer Sheryl Crow just prior to the start of the 79th All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, MLB extended that commitment by asking fans attending games for the rest of the season at each of its 30 ballparks to "Stand Up To Cancer" by texting a $5 donation from their cell phones.

"'Stand Up' To Cancer has presented an historic and unique plan to fight this deadly disease, and it is a privilege for me and Major League Baseball to join this magnificent effort," commissioner Bud Selig said. "We have pledged many of our valuable resources in an attempt to assist in every way we can."

"Stand Up To Cancer" will be highlighted by a nationally televised fund-raising event aimed at rallying the public around the goal of ending cancer's reign as a leading cause of death. The telethon is scheduled to be simulcast commercially Sept. 5 on ABC, CBS and NBC from 8 to 9 p.m. ET.

The telethon will feature live performances by legendary recording artists and appearances by stars from film, sports and television. MLB had also previously pledged to take part in this televised fund-raising effort.


Calling all Joba Fans!

Three lucky customers and FDNY hero to receive “Free Iced Coffee For a Year” from Joba Chamberlain, as New York Yankees’ pitcher makes surprise appearances at three Manhattan Dunkin’ Donuts stores on the morning of Tuesday, July 22…but where?


· Where will Joba Chamberlain be on the morning of July 22nd? He could be serving you your morning coffee. In an effort to thank loyal Yankees and Dunkin’ Donuts fans for their support, Dunkin’ Donuts is hosting “Where’s Joba” at three undisclosed Dunkin’ Donuts stores in Manhattan, where Joba will make surprise appearances, serve three lucky customers their order and present them with “Free Iced Coffee For a Year.”

· Joba’s Dunkin’ jaunt will end at FDNY Firehouse Engine 16, (234 E 29th St New York, NY 10016 @ 29th in between 2nd and 3rd) where he will pay tribute to one hero firefighter for serving in the community. Joba will present him with a giant check for “Free Iced Coffee For a Year” and will be available for interviews following the honoring ceremony.

Hey Now, You're an All Star, Get Your Game On, Go Play!

When I woke up this morning, I actually wondered for a few minutes if it had all been a dream.

All Star games aren't supposed to be like that.

Exhibition games aren't supposed to be emotional; they're not supposed to run to the fifteenth inning and they're certainly not supposed to have drama more befitting an October night.

This one, though...

This one was different.

This one, if we pursue the Yankee Stadium :: Cathedral of Baseball metaphor, was supposed to be like the Easter Service at St. Patrick's, and it wasn't just that, but it was the Easter Service at St. Patrick's with the Pope himself leading the festivities.

The pregame ceremonies were emotional on their own; but from the point of view of a Yankees fan, there was nothing more chilling than watching the first pitch, and seeing Reggie Jackson pitch to Alex Rodriguez, Whitey Ford to Derek Jeter, Yogi Berra to Joe Girardi and Goose Gossage to Mariano Rivera.

I don't know how many of you caught it, but it was hitter to hitter, leader to leader, catcher to catcher and reliever to reliever, all of them, the past to the present.

I mean, it even made George Steinbrenner cry, and I'm under the impression that it takes some doing to accomplish that.

The game itself was perhaps one of the best All Star games to have ever been played. Had it ended in the ninth or tenth, and not gone on the extra six innings, we would probably be considering it THE best All Star game, ever.

It felt like a classic October game, with the National League taking a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning, before the ghosts came alive again. I guess it's something about the ghosts--they only come to call in the late innings--and it must have pained them somewhat that the man of the hour, J.D. Drew, wears a Red Sox uniform.

While many Yankees fans were able to cater to their sense of Schadenfreude* in the eighth inning, mocking Jonathan Papelbon with chants of "Mar-i-ano" and "over-rated", the beauty of the entire thing was that the American League was able to tie the game again in the bottom of the inning, rendering the run off of Papelbon irrelevant.

The best moment for Yankees fans, however, had to have been watching Mariano Rivera's entrance in the ninth, followed immediately by a strike out, throw-em-out double play. There's not much more Rivera can add to his resumè, but as 2007 was Alex Rodriguez's year, 2008 has got to be Mariano Rivera's.

Throughout the entire evening, Terry Francona was a model of class.

Say what you want about the Red Sox as a team, or anything you want about the Red Sox players, but Terry Francona should have earned everyone's respect last night. He pulled Jeter and Rodriguez in mid-inning situations so the crowd could applaud, and he let did a similar service by having Mariano Rivera come in the ninth for the last two outs. It's not his fault the AL wasn't leading at the time, and Rivera couldn't get the save.

The game last night was something special. It didn't end at the best possible moment (from a Yankee fan's point of view), but it did end just before it would have turned into a nightmare for Francona and Clint Hurdle.

This is one All Star Game we'll remember for a while, and it's only fitting it happened in Yankee Stadium.

Or maybe it's the other way around.

*Shadenfreude, n, ger. The joy one takes in another's misery.


A few weeks ago, a Red Sox fan with tickets to last night's game asked me if he could do a write up about his experience at the game. I'm not sure when it will be up, but look for it in the next few days.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yankee Stadium, Forever.

I didn't think I'd feel like this.

I didn't think that on a hot and heavy July afternoon I'd be two seconds from having to turn off the song I'm listening to because it's moving me that close to tears.

I didn't think that today I would find myself awash in the memories of this place again.

I thought that maybe, just maybe, I'd have some time left before I'd be thinking about this one more time.

I should have known better.

There's history here, and it's more than history.

Sure there are monuments out by center field, giving testament to some of the best to have ever put on pinstripes; guys that transcend the sport and instead are heroes not just of baseball, but of the best that Americana has to offer, but even so, the monuments can not touch our memories.

Our memory of this place is strengthened because we hold it together. Where one of us falters, another one can fill in the gap and together we share the collective conscience of a team and a city.

Who else can share the memories that we can share?

Pick your decade, pick your team, pick your memory. Whether it's Murderer's Row, Gehrig's Speech, Joe's streak, Yogi's quotes, Mickey and Roger's race for glory, Reggie's October or the way Tino and Scott helped a city heal in 2001, this place thrives on memory.

The ghosts are real. They are the memories that are so powerful they can will a team to its highest point.

There's still time left.

There's still time left to create more memories, to add more to the legend of this place--but it's fading fast. The nights are already starting to get longer, and the countdown to October has already begun.

After tonight, there is no more time to pause and reflect on what this place means to so many until October rears its haunting head, and though we want it, there is no guarantee we will be here then.

If there is any comfort, then, it's that while we might say farewell to the building, we will never have to say farewell to the memories.

We can destroy stone and mortar and metal friezes, we can rip apart the old seats and dismantle welded steel, but we cannot touch the memories.

We can take a bulldozer to the heart of Monument Park, but we cannot take a bulldozer to the memories.

The memories that give this place its life and its soul cannot be taken from us.

They are ours. Forever.

Yankee Stadium

Monday, July 14, 2008

First Half Recap

So now that we've reached the midpoint of the season, it's a good time to take stock of where the Yankees are now, where they are headed and what they need to do in the second half of the season.

I was curious to see what Yankee fans other than myself thought about this season so far, so I set up a short poll here, in a Yankees' fans community.

Some notes on the results:

It's pretty obvious that the biggest (pleasant) surprise of the season has been Mike Mussina.

He won 11 games all of last year, and has already equaled that total this year. He's throwing more first pitch strikes, walking almost no one and giving the Yankees a chance to win in almost all of his starts.

He's even solved the issue of how to pitch to Manny Ramirez--just hit him!

Joking aside, whatever the Yankees expected they'd get from Moose this year, it wasn't this.

Mussina had, after all, pitched himself out of the rotation last August. He was supposed to be competing for the fifth spot, and when he ended up in the two spot because of an injury to Andy Pettitte, you could hear Yankees' Universe holding its breath.

Eleven wins later, there are still doubters, those that think Mussina will fall off, because pitchers in their late thirties aren't supposed to be this good.

The numbers don't lie, though. Without Mussina, the Yankees are under .500 and in last place.

He's stayed healthy all year, and pitched quality start after quality start, even if they haven't all been wins.

In terms of other surprises, the Yankee bullpen has come out of almost nowhere, and transformed from the greatest Yankee liability to the greatest asset. I'm not joking.

First of all, it doesn't hurt that Mariano Rivera is not just having a career year, he's having the type of year that can stand on its own for generations, like a Maris '61 or Pedro Martinez '99, and even then...

While, at 1.06, Rivera's ERA is about the highest it's been all season, it's still the lowest it's been in his career. In 42.1 innings pitched, he's allowed five runs. Five--and only one of those has come in a save situation.

His strike out per nine ratio is over 10; the only season in which he was better in that regard was in 1996, when he worked multiple innings as a set-up man, and his strike out to walk ratio, of 12.5, is by far the best it's ever been in his career. Considering that Mariano Rivera was headed to the Hall of Fame before this season started, that says something.

Never mind that he has converted all of his 23 save opportunities thus far.

Thing is, the bullpen hasn't been successful just because of Rivera.

With the probable exception of LaTroy Hawkins, everyone currently in the bullpen now is pulling his weight.

At the beginning of the season, the bullpen was a serious concern--outside of Joba Chamberlain and Rivera, there was no real confidence in any one of the relievers.

Somewhere along the line, however, the bullpen straightened itself out. Kyle Farnsworth figured out how to pitch and keep the fly balls in the ballpark, and Jose Veras went from being wildly inconsistent to a solid seventh inning guy. While Veras has given up a couple late inning home runs, for the most part he has come through in a big way.

The result of Farnsworth's and Veras' success is that the workload for Edwar Ramirez has been reduced--meaning that his change up is more effective because hitters see it less--and Dan Giese has thrived as a long man, while Dave Robertson has become another solid arm.

Joe Girardi has done a great job of spliting up the workload in the bullpen, but that alone cannot be the explanation to the bullpen's success.

Somewhere along the line--about the same time the Yankees decided to make Joba a starter--the bullpen figured it out.

To put it in statistical terms, considering the following splits, courtesy of Baseball Reference:

1998: 3.76
2008: 3.56

1998: .252
2008: .232

1998: .320
2008: .308

1998: .386
2008: .371

1998: 1.91
2008: 2.39

Granted, there's still a whole half season to go, but if the bullpen keeps this up, then once again we've got ourselves a team that can shorten games to six innings, and we know what happens when that occurs.

On the flip side of things, the most disappointing aspect of the season so far has easily been the offense.

At the same time there are both a million reasons for the fall off from last year, and no reasons at all.

You can look at all the injuries as an excuse--it's hard to manufacture runs when you have Jose Molina, Alberto Gonzalez and Wilson Betemit all with regular playing time, you might say--or, you can say, well, the Red Sox lost Ortiz and they're still scoring something like seven runs a game.

The truth is, the injuries that should have hurt us the most--the loss of Alex Rodriguez in May and Jorge Posada for much of April and May--shouldn't be considered a factor any more (well, at least A-Rod. Jorge is still playing with a tear in his shoulder.)

Instead, the Yankees need to look at other factors. For instance, Derek Jeter is having the worst offensive year of his career. Robinson Canò, who has started slowly every season, has started especially slowly this season, and Bobby Abreu isn't just not hitting, he's not even walking at the pace that he's set for himself in years previous.

Nevermind the offensive contributions (or lack thereof) from Melky Cabrera, Wilson Betemit or any of the other bottom-of-the-lineup guys; when the top and heart of the order aren't producing, it's real hard for the rest of the line up to make up the difference.

So for the second half of the season, if the Yankees want to have a real shot at a playoff spot, what do they need to do?

First, they need to keep pitching as they are. They aren't getting perfect starts, but for the most part, their starters are giving the team a chance to win which is all you can ask for game in and game out. The bullpen is shutting the opposing team down in a way they haven't really done since the late nineties.

Second and more importantly, the Yankees need to get out of this offensive malaise. They need to follow Brett Gardner's lead when it comes to grinding out at bats--if they remember how to work pitchers again, success will eventually follow. They need to be willing to sacrifice an out to move the runner over if they're facing a tough pitcher, and they need to stop acting as though a nine run outburst every once in a while is a substitute for a consistent offensive effort.

So, can the Yankees make the playoffs this year?

They can, but it won't be easy. With both Boston and Tampa Bay ahead of them, the Yankees have even more games to make up and less AL East teams to feed on--even traditional cellar dwellers of late, the Orioles, are exceeding expectations.

The Yankees still have ten games left against Boston, and I think a similar number against Tampa Bay, which is more than enough to make something happen, but they can't sit around and wait for those games to occur.

The Yankees have to start putting together win streaks of four or five in a row, and then not follow them with losing streaks of almost equal length.

The Yankees can do it with the players they have on their team now--after all, they did it last year--but they have got to pick it up and come out of the break flying.

They've been in worse situations before, and made the playoffs, but they have some serious work to do.

First Half Yankee Awards:

MVP: Mike Mussina. The team is nowhere this year without him.
Cy Young: Mariano Rivera. Read above. 'Nuff said.
Rookie of the Year: Joba Chamberlain. Has over exceeded expectations.
Comeback Player of the Year: Mike Mussina

Best Win: 6/5/08 vs. Toronto. Jason Giambi has a two strike, two out, two run home run in the bottom of the ninth to cap a comeback from down 7-2 to win the game.

Most important win: 7/5/08 vs. Boston. Mariano Rivera pitches into a bases-loaded, no one out jam before pitching himself out of trouble and helping the Yankees to a series split with Boston.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Losses Keep Coming (Postgame Notes 13 July 2008)

No excuses.

The Yankees had another lackluster effort today.

Andy Pettitte had one bad inning in the second, and it cost the Yankees the game.

A solo home run by Jason Giambi in the ninth was the only offense the Yankees could muster against AJ Burnett, who was pitching on three days' rest, on a 90 pitch count and pitched into the ninth inning.

It is certainly not the way the Yankees wanted to go into the All Star Break, but, like their entire season so far, the offense is non existent.


Check back tomorrow for some more detailed insight into the first half of the Yankees' 2008 season.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Yankees win game and lose a legend (Postgame Notes 12 July 2008)

In the words of Monty Python's Flying Circus:

And now for something completely different!

Perhaps it was because Halladay last night was so good that Jesse Litsch looked so hittable, or maybe it was that the Yankees were just that determined to bail out Darrell Rasner after a poor first inning, but whatever the reason, the offense scored as many runs today as they have in the previous four games combined.

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, the only two Yankees to have hits last night, each rewarded themselves today with solo home runs and a combined six RBI.

Brett Gardner was not retired today, had 3 RBI himself and had his best game of his career so far.

The bullpen did not allow a hit in four innings of work.

As you may have heard by now, Bobby Murcer has died. It was announced during the postgame, just after the highlights.

I'm numb. really, numb.

I'm too young to remember Phil Rizzuto in the booth, but Bobby, I remember.

As I said, I'm numb. Too numb to write anything coherent, really.

The Yankees won a game today, but it doesn't feel like one now.

They lost too much more.

Friday, July 11, 2008

They Just Look Silly (Postgame Notes 11 July 2008)

The Yankees have had more than their fair share of bad losses, and tonight's certainly fills that category from an offensive standpoint.

I'll get to Joba in a second, but the much, much more pressing concern has got to be the offense.

It's not just that the offense isn't producing like they did last year, but right now, it hardly looks like they're trying.

Roy Halladay is a good pitcher. A really, really good pitcher. He's probably one of a single-digit handful that has the potential ability to throw a no-hitter or a perfect game. Lord knows he throws enough complete games that pitch counts aren't any sort of issue for him.

However, the Yankees have a nine-digit salaried line-up so that they won't be on the wrong end of such a performance.

So their antics tonight? Inexcusable.

Halladay was really good, yes, but this offense should be better than a two-hit performance.

On the other hand, Joba actually had one of his better starts this year. He went 6 2/3 innings, with nine strikeouts, and, more impressive, no walks. He was done in by poor defense and a bad pitch to Rod Barajas, but, while he'll take the loss, it does look like he gained in tonight's performance.

He still needs to figure out his shutdown pitch, the one he can throw on an 0-2 count, but he's young and it should come with time.

Also, it was very clear that Jorge had not caught in a week. I know Jorge's always been more valuable as an offensive player and clubhouse presence than a defensive catcher, but I don't know if it's that Jose Molina is just that good behind the home plate, or if Jorge's defense has gone from adequate to a bit of a liability. I give him credit for playing hurt, but that doesn't mean I'm not concerned.

The good news is that there's a quick turn around before tomorrow so hopefully the Yankees can shake off another wasted effort by Joba.


In other news, FanFest was a lot of fun.

I can report that I can throw a 29 mph pitch (I don't think that can qualify as a fastball), which is actually an improvement over the last time I tried.

I also have myself an American League All Star Rivera t-shirt, and various other knick-knacks. I got a free pennant because I twice made contact off of a video projection of Pedro Martinez. Never mind that they were bunted foul...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

For Love of the Game

You love baseball.

You love it or you wouldn't be reading this.

People love baseball for different reasons. Some love it for the monster home runs, the sight of baseballs thrown at 98 miles an hour, the leaping catches over the outfield wall.

Some love it for the history--the players and the teams that become icons of a city, a year, a decade, a century.

Tonight, I realized that I love baseball for all these reasons--but that there's another as well.

There's something magical about playing catch in any circumstance, just with a baseball and a glove, where the game becomes accessible to everyone, regardless of athletic (or, in my case, lack of athletic) skill.

When you go to play catch with your boyfriend, and the two of you end up doing so with three children barely old enough for Kindergarten, that is something special. That's a game that you can pass on from generation to generation. It becomes something that's not just bigger than any person, but it's bigger than any generation.

You don't need to memorize any plays, learn to skate or find a net to bring baseball to the next generation.


I'm headed out to Fanfest tomorrow.

Tonight's loss was not much fun, but given the line up that Joe Girardi had going in the game, I can't say that I am all that surprised. If anything, it illustrates a) why rain outs suck, and b) how much we miss Johnny Damon's bat.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Power of the 'Stache (Postgame Notes 09 July 2008)

I have a confession to make.

I went to the Yankee game today.

I was at the Yankee game, and for the first time since August 5th, I witnessed a Yankee victory. It was my first win this season (on my sixth try), and I have to say, it was a quality win as well.

I wasn't expecting a whole lot from Sidney Ponson (I mean, dude, he's Sidney Ponson), but he did ore than exceed my expectations in only surrendering one run over six innings. That's not to say Ponson didn't flirt with disaster throughout a couple of those innings, but he was able to reprise his Houdini act from his start against the Mets and give the Yankees what they needed.

It proved to be important as even though Edwin Jackson wasn't anything special, the Yankees again had trouble scoring with runners in scoring position.

It's probably fitting, then, that on Mustache Day, Jason Giambi had an RBI single in the first, and that, after making an excellent catch in the 8th, Bobby Abreu had the double in the tenth to win the game.

Don't look now, but the back end combination of Veras, Farnsworth and Rivera looks unhittable. Granted, Mo's Cy Young season helps, but that's not the point.

Anyway, I've got a few pictures from the day.

Outside Gate 6

My brother, having fun with the 'stache.

My friend Andrea and her friend Alisa 'staching it up.

Ponson walking out to the bullpen to warm up

John Sterling with some more facial decoration. Waldman had one, too.

Brett Gardner warming up. He did successfully steal second the one time he reached base.

View from our seats

The 'Stache after the RBI single in the first

The Spanish language broadcasters pushed the button to 32 home games left.

Well, what are you waiting for?

Jose Veras. The back end of the bullpen has really become something.

Enter Sandman

Exit light, enter night.

Walk off celebration

Mobbing Bobby

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Playing Like It's 1998 (Postgame Notes 08 July 2008)

If there was any way to follow up Sunday's thrilling extra-inning win against the Boston Red Sox, tonight's win was certainly it.

Shut down starting pitching. Clutch hitting. Solid defense. A one-two-three inning of relief.

The Yankees tonight played shades of the type of baseball that helped them three-peat in the late nineties--not flawless, but they hid their weaknesses and took advantage of the opportunities they had.

Andy Pettitte pitched as though he was pitching game seven of the World Series, going eight innings and surrendering just four hits. He had five strike outs, no walks, and only had one inning in which he allowed more than one Ray to reach base. It was easily one of his best starts this season, and had his pitch count been just a little lower, he had a shot at a complete game shut out, as well.

Pettitte is 7-1 in his last ten starts.

The Yankee offense wasn't brilliant, but Derek Jeter had a clutch two out, two run double in the bottom of the third to put the Yankees up 2-0, and the Yankees never looked back.

The Yankees didn't score again until the eighth, but they picked up three insurance runs against a much improved Tampa Bay bullpen. Melky Cabrera had his first home run in nearly a month; he now has more home runs than he did all of last year.

Derek Jeter also helped the Yankees on defense--in the seventh inning with two outs he made a brilliant jump-throw to second base for the force on Dioner Navarro to keep the Yankees' lead at 2-0.

The Yankees now have a chance to get within 6.5 games of Tampa with a win tomorrow--no easy task with Sidney Ponson on the mound--but then again, stranger things have happened.

The best thing the Yankees can possibly do now is to head into the All Star break on a high; the win tonight certainly helps their cause.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Garden Variety Win (Postgame Notes 6 July 2008)

I'll forgive you if you just had a flashback to 17 October 2003.

I mean, sure it wasn't game seven of the ALCS, but try telling that to the Yankees, who played the game as if that was the case.

Down by two in the seventh inning, the Yankees rallied to tie it and then won it with two outs in the bottom of the tenth. It's not just that the Yankees won a thrilling, nail-biting game with not just a few questionable ball/strike calls from home plate umpire Laz Diaz, or that they salvaged a series split with Boston...

...but it's that they played the game as if it was October. Tim Wakefield was good, but Robbie Canò and Brett Gardner--not necessarily the biggest offensive threats--got the right hits in the right situation.

Mariano Rivera, who has been comparatively shaky in tie games this year, pitched two scoreless innings in the ninth and tenth--even striking out Manny Ramirez on three pitches--(Kyle Farnsworth also got the job done in the 8th)--and didn't bother to hide his excitement when Gardner came through in the bottom of the tenth.

Joba cruised through the first four innings, and probably would have gotten out of the fifth with the game still tied if not for a questionable call on what looked like a swing for strike three from Jacoby Ellsbury. Still, three runs through six innings is a quality start, and that's exactly what Joba gave the team.

Without question, though, tonight's win belongs to Brett Gardner, who has as many hits as steals. He worked Johnathan Papelbon as though Papelbon was any run of the mill pitcher, fouling pitches off until he found one he liked and hitting it through a hole in the infield, with just enough on it that Boston could not field it cleanly.

While the jury's still out on Gardner in the long run, tonight belongs to him.

About the All Star selections

Jason Varitek makes the all star team...

and Mike Mussina doesn't?

Doesn't seem fair, does it? More later.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Relieving Dangerously, Part Two (Postgame Notes 5 July 2008)

When I woke up this morning, I did not have a cardiologist.

I think I need one now.

Having lost two straight and four of five, the Yankees needed a win tonight in the worst way. One win can't make or break an entire season but yet, today, that's what it felt like.

Mike Mussina certainly pitched like it was the case, allowing just four hits over six innings and picking up his eleventh win. He has become the Yankee stopper in nearly every way this season and may have saved their season with today's performance. Mussina only won eleven games all season last year.

Jose Veras and Kyle Farnsworth were excellent; they seem to have morphed into a tandom with Veras in the seventh and Farnsworth in the eighth, and they have fit the roles well. With Jose Veras breathing down Farnsworth's neck for the eighth inning role, Farnnsworth has stepped up his performance.

Mariano Rivera in the ninth, however, was...interesting. Perhaps it's just that Mo likes making things interesting with Boston, but he seems to have some special enjoyment of pitching in pressure situations (which would explain why he's Mariano Rivera).

Anyway. Boston was able to load the bases with no one out in the top of the ninth, but Rivera wwas able to come back and get a strike out, a pop out and a strike out.

The Yankees offense was not great, but they were able to scratch out two runs, which, with the Yankee pitching today, was enough.

Anyway, I'm going to go phone for a cardiologist.

Joba tomorrow.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Fourth!

Have a great 4th of July!

Please drink and watch Yankees baseball responsibly.

For the Yankees, please, for the love of all that's holy, play responsibly!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Found in New York (Postgame Notes 2 July 2008)


The missing offense advertised last night has been found today, at the corner of 161st Ave and River Avenue. It was found in a condition healthy enough for 18 runs on 16 hits and 7 walks.

The offense was returned by pitchers L. Mendoza, W. Madrigal and J. Wright and hitters J. Giambi, B. Abreu, A. Rodriguez, R Canò, and B. Gardner.

The reward for the tip will be given to one Hank Steinbrenner, whose pre-game comments were instrumental in the offense's return.

Pitchers Mendoza, Madrigal and Wright have the thanks of the Yankees' pitching staff, and Sir Sidney Ponson would like to offer his own personal "thank you" as well.



On 3 July, a group of baseball players known as the Boston Red Sox will be arriving at Yankee Stadium. Said group of baseballers are known to be unwelcome in the city of New York, and fans of the New York Yankees are asked to exercise all due caution in watching said baseball games.

Known consequences of watching Yankees-Red Sox include: heart arrythmia, hyperventilation, compulsive nail biting, exclamation of vulgar remarks, alcoholic beverage spillage and minor property destruction.

Casual baseball fans are advised not to watch said games unless under proper fanatical supervision.

(actually, you might want to reverse that)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Missing in New York

Offense Capable of Mounting Sustained Attack over Nine Innings


Said offense ranges in ages from 23-38. Mix of American, Latino and Japanese. Can play every position on a baseball diamond, though there is controversy over shortstop, the first baseman doesn't like to throw to second and the right fielder has a phobia of walls.

Third baseman is known for hitting home runs.

First baseman's face may be obscured by garish mustache.

Last Seen:
Offense was last spotted on the evening of 27 June 2008 at Shea Stadium. Previous whereabouts include Pittsburgh, PA and 2007.

Reward includes October Baseball

If spotted, please notify one Joe Girardi, 161st Street and River Avenue, Bronx, New York ASAP.

This notice published on behalf of Darrel Rasner, Mike Mussina, Joba Chamberlain, Andy Pettitte, Sidney Ponson, Dan Giese, Jose Veras, Kyle Farnsworth and Mariano Rivera