Apparently, no one told the Texas Rangers or the New York Yankees that they were supposed to hit tonight.
Two line ups--one with this year's best offense, and one with last year's best offense (nearly all returning this year, too)--could not manage more than three combined runs in tonight's game.
While Texas had the misfortune of running into a stellar Mike Mussina, the Yankees have no excuse for their utter lack of hitting since Friday evening.
Yesterday the only run they managed came off of the bat of Wilson Betemit, and today they managed just four hits against a Texas team known for everything but their pitching. While Alex Rodriguez had (yet another) mammoth home run and Jason Giambi had his first triple since 2002, the utter lack of offense from the top and bottom part of the line up is astounding, frustrating, and extremely hard to watch.
On most teams, if your starter can go six innings while yielding just two runs, he is usually in line for the win, but Mike Mussina seems to be cursed in his quest for 20 wins--He has not won since the series in Houston, taking the loss against Edinson Volquez and having his start rained out in Pittsburgh (when the Yankees were actually winning the game).
Mussina and the Yankee bullpen ought to be credited for keeping the most potent offense in the league to just two runs, though that won't happen because of the loss.
In the seventh inning there was an exceptionally scary moment as Jose Molina was crossed up on a pitch by Jose Veras and a fastball hit him...well, let's just say he's probably worshipping at the alter of athletic cup makers tonight. As a true testament to the amazingness that is a Molina brother, Jose Molina stayed in the game.
Brett Gardner also had his much awaited major league debut today, and while he did not get a hit, he worked a full count twice and reached on a Fielder's Choice before promptly stealing second. He might not hit for much power, but the kid can fly and was adequate, though largely untested, in left field.
Joba Chamberlain will pitch for the Yankees tomorrow--with luck he will recieve a little more support than just one run.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Apparently, no one told the Texas Rangers or the New York Yankees that they were supposed to hit tonight.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Some things in the universe are unexplainable.
George Mason in '06. The Beanie Baby phenomenon. Why the Knicks took Danito Gallinari over Alexander, Augustin or the good Lopez.
Oliver Perez pitching against the New York Yankees.
Oliver Perez has shown flashes of greatness, but, for the most part, has been such a disappointment that a bad start would have likely gotten him demoted to the bullpen or even AAA. Today, however, he pitched so well that the Yankees did not have a realistic shot at winning the game.
Perez was perfect through three and a third, and allowed only three hits through seven while striking out eight. Even if Darrel Rasner had pitched the game of his life, it would have been hard for the Yankees to win the game with Perez pitching the way he did.
Rasner wasn't actually horrible--he yielded two runs in five innings, escaping a bases loaded jam in the second while yielding only one run--but it was, as they say, good enough performance to lose.
The Yankees' offense did not do much of anything today, though Wilson Betemit did hit a monster home run that cleared the left-field bleachers at Shea to provide the Yankees with their lone run. Alex Rodriguez twice came inches from a home run, hitting one mammoth shot that just went foul, and another in the ninth inning that sent Endy Chavez to the warning track.
The Yankees now head home to face the offensive juggernaut and pitching not-so-juggernaut that is the Texas Rangers.
In other sports news, Spain has just defeated Germany for the European Championship. Vamos España!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
What better way to follow two blowouts (one bad, one good) than with a 3-2 nailbiter?
Today's game was without question the marquee pitching match up of the series, with Andy Pettitte and Johan Santana as the starters, and one way or another, the game had added significance as there are many (this blogger not among them) that believed the Yankees missed a chance to acquire Santana in the off season.
For his part, Santana did not pitch all that poorly--in fact, he even struck out the side in the second--but he got burned by the Yankees capitalizing on walks, and an utter lack of capitalization from his own offense.
Andy Pettitte pitched like Andy Pettitte, getting himself into trouble, and then almost effortlessly working himself out of it. He had his trademark double play, as well as a game-changing pick off of Jose Reyes to end the fifth.
The Yankees' offense looked silly the first three innings, but were able to scratch out the three runs when the opportunities arose, which was more than enough support for their pitchers.
Kyle Farnsworth kept paramedics everywhere busy with fly outs that flirted with disaster--the second out of the inning, caught by Johnny Damon, was about a foot shy of being the tying home run--but pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Farnsworth is probably the King of Relieving Dangerously.
Jose Veras continues to pitch well, and is fast becoming the most reliable arm in the bullpen outside of Mariano Rivera.
Speaking of Mariano Rivera.
Today he threw twelve pitches--ten of them strikes.
On the season, he has 42 strikeouts, three walks.
That's a K/BB ratio of 14.
His ERA on the season is 0.74.
Somebody, please get this guy a Cy Young?
Darrel Rasner will take the mound tomorrow, looking to rebound from a poor start in Pittsburgh. From the You-didn't-really-need-to-know-that files: In the four game series the Yankees are playing this weekend, he, Johan Santana and Dan Giese were the only starting pitchers not to have a first or last name begin with the letter "P"
Friday, June 27, 2008
I don't know why my karma is so bad, but I am now 0-5 at Yankees games I have been to this year. One had the sense after the Mets took a 3-1 lead that there was absolutely no way the game was going to end at that score.
It just didn't end in a score to the Yankees favor. It wasn't that the Yankees didn't hit...they did...but each pitcher they had was progressively worse than the one before. Dan Giese threw too many balls, Edwar was not sharp, and Ross Ohlendorf was bad enough to get himself optioned back to Scranton.
However, there were a few bright spots (and the part where I was on the DiamondVision doesn't count)...like, as shown in the picture above, when a fan came out of the right field bleachers and ran onto the field.
I'm not quite sure it was worth the getting arrested part, but it was the highlight of the first game (at least from the Yankees' point of view).
What a difference a...bus ride (?)...makes!
Everything the Yankees didn't do in the first game, they did in this one.
Poor pitching with men on base in the first game?
The Yankees escaped bases loaded, less than two out jams twice in the night cap without surrendering a run.
Poor hitting in the first game?
Every Yankee starter--yes, even Sidney Ponson--contributed offensively in the second game.
Speaking of Sidney Ponson...
...The first few innings were certainly a roller coaster, but in an old Sports Illustrated article I have hanging on my wall, New Jersey Devils' goalie Martin Brodeur is quoted as saying that a roller coaster ride is okay, as long as you end on a high, and Ponson certainly ended on a high.
Six innings, five hits, no runs and four strikeouts certainly qualifies.
While he certainly can't expected to escape bases loaded situations without surrendering a run every time, Ponson has earned himself another start.
Do Not Go Gently...
The Yankees have Andy Pettitte on the mound tomorrow, against Johan Santana, without question the marquee match up of the series. He's working on a streak, of sorts.
Also of note--Hideki Matsui has been placed on the 15 day disabled list, though that is not exactly a surprise.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Two months ago you were calling for the DFA'ing of Jason Giambi. You couldn't wait for his money to come off the books. Actually, you probably still can't wait for his money to come off the books, but that's not the point.
Two months ago Giambi was done; a shell of his former self, a shell of what he had been able to do while in Oakland.
Two months ago, Giambi was hitting .164 with a .315 OBP and an OPS under .800.*
Two months ago, Jason Giambi was dead weight.
Then came the mustache.
A .315 May and a .324 (so far) June. An OPS this month of 1.071. Suddenly, Giambi has 17 home runs (among the league leaders) and 44 RBI.*
Suddenly, Jason Giambi is no longer dead weight.
Joke all you want about the 'stache. It's hideous, it mysteriously darkens, it makes Groucho Marx look like Johnny Depp, and it works.
There's no other plausible explanation as to why Giambi, on a team known for their strict grooming code, has been allowed to keep it.
Okay, so Giambi's renaissance (of sorts) can not be entirely blamed on the mustache, but that's not the point.
Perhaps you saw Giambi's numbers coming--after all, when he was making outs in April, they weren't strike outs, but simply hitting into the wrong side of the shift, and he was working his walks. More importantly, the hits he did get tended to count--of his twelve April hits, eight of them were for extra bases.
If you did see it coming, however, you would have been in the minority. After all, former steroid users don't suddenly have a mid-Spring renaissance.
Then again, how many players can boast of the 'Stache?
*Statistics from Yahoo
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
What a difference a day makes.
Twenty four hours after the Yankees had what was arguably their worst loss of the season, they came out and played like a top-tier team beating up on one that hasn't had a winning season in sixteen years.
Every Yankee starter, with the exception of Joba Chamberlain, had at least one hit, and even Joba had a walk and a well placed sacrifice bunt.
While the game was an offensive display for the Yankees, the true player of the game was easily Joba Chamberlain, who pitched brilliantly and got his first win as a starter. He allowed six hits through six and 2/3ds innings, with seven strike outs and only one walk.
Joba continues to get better with every start he makes. It's no longer a question of whether he should start, but if, in Wang's absence, he can mount the role of 'Yankees' ace', and thus take some of the load of of Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina.
While his pitch count was a little high for the innings pitched, he made the important pitches when he needed to, and did not at all look uncomfortable.
He won't pitch this well every start, but on a night where the Yankees really needed a good start, they got it.
The offense, of course, helped.
Robbie Canò had his first home run since May 8th (!), Bobby Abreu had a three run home run, his second home run in as many nights, and Derek Jeter had two doubles.
They scored in six different innings, including the first and the ninth, with both the regulars and the bench, and they did so without the services of Johnny Damon (who is expected to be okay) and Hideki Matusi (whose knees must be a source of real concern).
Justin Christian, who was just called up yesterday, has hit to the tune of .375 over the two games, proving a viable solution while Damon and Matsui are out.
If you didn't catch it, Fresno State won their first ever NCAA championship at the College World Series. They are the lowest seeded NCAA team to ever win a championship.
If you get a chance, watch the highlights and their celebration. The joy on the kids' faces?
That's why you play the game.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Of all the Yankee losses this season, tonight's has to rank as one of the worst. It's not that Pittsburgh is necessarily is a bad team (they are), but that the level of play from the Yankees was just flat-out embarrassing.
They didn't pitch. They didn't play very good defense. They didn't hit when they needed to.
Someone needs to send the Yankees a memo that the idea of the game is to score more runs than the other team. Or something.
Seriously, when Darrel Rasner is arguably the best hitter of the evening? Yeah, there are some issues there.
The bats have gone ice cold. In their past four games they have scored nine runs--not as bad as it could be, but nowhere near what the offense is capable of doing.
In fact, this offense has not hit a home run since the second game of the Padres series (though Melky missed a grand slam by inches). Okay, Bobby Abreu homered, but the point is still the same.
That the Yankees will have clunkers is a given.
The problem, however, is that the Yankees are having too many of them, and against the wrong teams.
Losing to Pittsburgh is bad enough on its own.
Getting blown out? Getting blown out against a starting pitcher with an ERA over seven?
That's not a performance from a team that wants to be considered a playoff contender. That's not even a performance from a third place team.
Again, the Yankees have some serious issues with their bullpen, especially now that Rasner's magic seems to have worn thin. With the trade deadline approaching sooner than you think, look for Brian Cashman and the Yankees to make some moves. They might be as simple as promoting David Robertson or Mark Melancon, or they might me more complex, but either way, the Yankees need help.
If you want some good news, though, Fresno State is winning--their Cinderella story looks like it might live on one more night.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The New York Yankees looked as though they had finally turned things around, and then they ran into Edinson Volquez and offensive apnea on Friday and Saturday.
So today the Yankees were left to attempt to avoid being swept by the Cincinnati Reds. Fortunately for them, the one pitcher that they would have wanted on the mound--Andy Pettitte--was, in fact, on the mound.
Pettitte had to labor--through six innings he threw 97 pitches, giving up four hits and walking two, but he had four strike outs and did not surrender a run. Had it not been for an hour rain delay during a nasty thunderstorm--if you can get a chance to see the replay, watch the wind pick up on this one--Pettitte may have pitched into the seventh as well.
The Yankees' offense seemed to come out of its slumber after the rain delay. They scored one run in the fifth inning, before the delay, which was important--as the completion of the fifth inning made the game official--but had their best inning in the bottom of the sixth, when Giambi and Posada each had doubles to drive in a total of three runs.
Edwar Ramirez pitched a brilliant 7-pitch seventh inning. He is a wild card in the Yankees' bullpen--either unhittable or horrible, and today the Yankees had the unhittable version today.
Kyle Farnsworth, however...
Farnsworth breezed through the first two outs, throwing as high as 101 mph on the gun. However, he gave up a solo home run to Ken Griffey, Jr. (because it's not a Farnsworth appearance without a HR) and then made a stupid--reflexive, but stupid--move when he attempted to barehand a line drive off the bat of Brandon Phillips. He missed the ball, and injured himself on the play. Apparently, he cut the webbing between his fingers and needed stitches (which, all things considered, would be a really lucky break), but I'm not positive so don't quote me on that.
Mariano Rivera had to come on for a four out save. He got the first out with ease, but did not look particularly sharp by his standards, as he gave up two hits with only one strike out. However, as he's, well, Mo, he did not surrender a run and earned his 21st save of the season.
The Yankees get to head into the off day tomorrow on the heals of a win, and they will fly to Pittsburgh, a place they have not been since of 1960. Speaking of the 1960s, today's win was the first time the Yankees have beaten the Reds at Yankee Stadium since that 1961.
Meanwhile, Boston and St. Louis are in extra innings. If St. Louis can find a way to sweep the Sox (in Boston) the Yankees can cut their deficit in the division to four games.
Not that you're paying attention to these things.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I must be cursed. Or something.
Three times I've had tickets to a game at Yankee Stadium this year, and, now, three times they've lost.
Granted, the loss today was different than the Sunday 5/18 game against the Mets or the 6/3 "Joba Game" against Toronto, but alas, a loss is still a loss.
Dan Giese pitched great. It's hard to see that from a 6-0 score, but through six innings, Giese had yielded just two hits (okay, two I remember, anyway) and had thrown only 62 pitches. He gave the Yankees everything--and, of course, the Yankees gave him nothing back.
In the seventh inning, Giese made an error on a throw that should have started a double play, and things got out of hand from there.
However, the truth is, the Yankees lost the game in the second inning, when they had the bases loaded, with no one out, and could not bring a runner around to score. Every inning, it seemed, the Yankees would get a runner, or runners, on base, and every inning they failed to get the big hit.
Anyway, the part you're all interested in, pictures!
Myself and Jon, with whom I went to the game. I know I look horrible, but, yeah, it was 85 degrees out and we were sitting in the sun!
Our view. Some people don't like the screen; I don't mind it.
Babe Ruth's daughter, grandson and great-grandchildren presenting Alex Rodriguez with an award for the most home runs hit last season. A-Rod was shocked by how heavy the thing was.
Robbie taking warm up tosses.
Exchanging line up cards.
Alex at bat.
Laura Posada with the two Posada children. The daughter, Paulina (I think?), kept shouting 'da-da' or 'da-ddy' until Jorge would turn around and wave. It might have been the highlight of the game.
Anyway, the Yankees will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow, and hey, as I'm not going to the game, they'll actually have a shot!
Friday, June 20, 2008
Sometimes, the forces conspire.
Tonight, for example, it wasn't just that Edinson Volquez was a stud on the mound for Cincinnati, or that Johnny Damon made what should have been scored a costly error, or that Mike Mussina decided to walk Jay Bruce and pitch to Jolbert Cabrera, who was already 2-2 that evening, but rather, it was a combination of all of these things.
A four-two loss can not be considered a clunker by any means, though the deficit seemed to loom larger just because of how well Volquez has been pitching.
So while a bad decision and a bad play doomed the Yankees tonight, in the long run, it can not be considered a terrible loss.
For one thing, Mike Mussina pitched into the eighth inning, sparing the bullpen on a night when Mariano Rivera, Jose Veras and Kyle Farnsworth were all likely unavailable. He threw 110 pitches, 76 of them strikes.
Despite the loss, it cannot be considered a poor outing from Moose--merely an unlucky one. Had he pitched to Jay Bruce, or had Johnny Damon caught a fly ball, the entire complexion of the game changes, and he very well may have picked up his eleventh win.
That said, the Yankees were sloppy on defense and ran themselves out of innings on a few occasions. They seemed to have forgotton that they weren't playing the San Diego Padres any more, and not every catcher is Michael Barrett.
Hideki Matsui, and, surprisingly, Robinson Canò had multi-hit games, but the Yankees were not able to do much else offensively.
Still, there's little to complain about--the Yankees are still six games over .500, the pitchers they face tomorrow and Sunday will not be named Edinson Volquez.
Also---I don't know if any of you are soccer fans but the Turkey-Croatia match today might explain why it's such a popular sport.
Apparently, as of about ten minutes ago, I'm going to the game tomorrow, and have seats second row behind home plate.
So, uh, if you see me on tv, holler.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
There's a pitcher on the 2008 New York Yankees that's having a Cy Young season, but you'll never hear his name mentioned in contention as a serious candidate.
You know him--he's been pitching on the team since 1995, he's kind of skinny, and he seems to rely on a cut fastball.
Oh, and he's also the last remaining active player, ever, to wear 42.
Mariano Rivera has long since been headed to Cooperstown. He's got four World Series rings; not to mention he's also an eight-time All Star. He pitched three shut out innings in Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS and though it was Aaron Boone that officially sent the Yankees to the World Series, it was Rivera that did most of the work.
He's had a career most major leaguers could only dream of, and he's never had a season like this.
In 34 innings, Rivera has allowed three runs. That's it. Three. To put it in perspective, that's throwing three complete games and seven innings of a fourth while only allowing three runs. That's an ERA of 0.79. (while Joba's ERA last year was lower, he also threw considerably less innings).
It's not just that Rivera isn't allowing runs (okay, except in those Kansas City games), however.
Rivera has struck out 39--which is impressive on its own given his innings total--and walked three.
So it sinks in: Rivera has struck out 39, while walking 3. That's a K/BB ratio of 13.
One walk every thirteen strikeouts?
Even All Star pitchers don't have ratios like that.*
In thirty-four innings, Rivera has allowed just fifteen hits--for most pitchers, less than a hit an inning is good; but Rivera is allowing less than a hit every two innings.
Rivera's current WHIP (walk/hits for innings pitched)? It's 0.54. 0.54. To put this in perspective, even Rivera, MVP votes and All Star spots and all, has never had a WHIP over the course of a season lower than 0.86 (which he did in 2005).
Most importantly, however, he has converted twenty of twenty save opportunities. When the Yankees have needed him to keep a lead, he has--and as he recently pitched in four games out of five and now has pitched in three straight, he has become the Yankees' workhorse as well.
Not that he'd ever complain about it.
While the Yankees have issues with almost everyone else in the bullpen (with the possible exceptions of Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez, if it's a Good Edwar day), Rivera has not just been dependable, but has become something other than human.
The Yankees of 2008 don't have much in common with the Yankees of 1996--only four players from '96 remain on the roster. Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada (who was not, of yet, a regular), and Mariano Rivera.
Ten years later, one of them is having the season of his life.
*Brandon Webb, 29, 82 K/25 BB= ratio of 3.28, Johan Santana, 29, 91 K/26 BB = ratio of 3.5, Roy Halladay, 32, 86 K/13 BB= ratio of 6.6
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and ESPN .
Oh, Joba be good.
If there were any questions, at all, still left, about where Joba Chamberlain belongs on the Yankees, he answered them with oomph in the second inning of today's game.
In the second inning, Joba loaded the bases with no one out.
In most instances, pitchers will consider themselves lucky to get out of such a jam if they give up just one run. If they get a double play, they'll consider themselves to have caught a lucky break. Many pitchers will fold entirely, giving up two or three runs--more if they're facing a line up like Boston or the Yankees.
Joba, however, did not break.
He didn't even bend.
Instead, he struck out Scott Hairston, blocked the plate on a passed ball to Khalil Greene to nab Adrian Gonzalez (who tried to score from third), and struck out Khalil Greene.
In that one inning, Joba showed every inch of the grit necessary not just to make it as a starter, but to make it as a front of the line starter as well.
Though he threw too many pitches and the game was tied when he left (so he could not pick up the win), Joba surrendered only one run and struck out nine. The Yankees are 3-1 in his start, having lost only his first start (and even that score was close when he left).
The injury to Wang doesn't loom so large with Joba pitching the way he is.
The bullpen, again, was excellent. Kyle Farnsworth continues to defy expectations--after a shaky outing last night, he allowed only one base runner in the eighth, and Jose Veras continues to make his case for pitching in the eighth inning. Mariano Rivera was...well, there's a reason he's going to Cooperstown. Also, striking out the side doesn't hurt.
It was far from a great display of power for the Yankees, but they were able to run on Padres' catcher Michael Barrett, and manufacture themselves the two runs it took to win the game. Melky Cabrera stole second and third before scoring on a sacrifice fly off of the bat of Jose Molina. In the sixth inning, Derek Jeter stole second and went to third on a sacrifice fly, before scoring on an RBI single from Alex Rodriguez.
The two runs were not a lot, but they were enough for the Yankees to win their seventh in a row, and now they are seven games over .500. As Boston does not play today, the Yankees will pick up a half game in the standings as well.
The Yankees have now completed sweeps of the Astros and the Padres, and while the Reds (arguably) offer considerably more offensive talent (not to mention Edison Volquez), they have to be a little nervous.
The Yankees are, after all, red hot.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
It certainly wasn't pretty, but it was still a win.
After scoring three runs in the first two innings, the Yankees played a see-saw game with the Padres, letting the Padres get close--on two occasions, within one run--but never to tie or take the lead.
While Darrel Rasner cruised through the first two innings, striking out four in that span, he labored through the third, and threw so many pitches that, although he did not surrender the lead, he was done pitching after the fifth inning.
Still, it was enough for Rasner to get his first win in his last five tries, and even his overall record at 4-4.
While Darrel Rasner will never be Joba or even a #2 or #3 starter on the Yankees (he might have a shot at a #3 spot on a pitching-poor National League team), he does eat innings, and with the exception of his poor start in Oakland, he has always kept the Yankees in the game--certainly he can't be blamed if there was a lack of run support in many of his outtings.
Tonight, however, there was no lack of run support. Every Yankee starter except for Jason Giambi had at least one hit; Johnny Damon, Wilson Betemit and Alex Rodriguez each had three hit games.
Alex Rodriguez now has homered in four consecutive games, and tonight's home run was a no-doubt-about-it moon shot that nearly made the left field bleachers. He has supplemented his all-powerful bat with terrific defense that has likely saved the Yankees' countless runs over the past six wins.
Derek Jeter continues to befuddle--though his average is only in the .270-.280 range, he has a seven game hitting streak, and has a knack for making the hits matter.
Wilson Betemit, starting at first base, had perhaps his best offensive game of the season, easily atoning for an error he made in the first inning. Though he's not the best defensive player on the Yankees, he can still hit for some power from the left side.
The Yankees bullpen was not shut-down, but it never surrendered the lead. Instead, after an easy 6th inning, Edwar Ramirez and Kyle Farnsworth both flirted with danger before giving the ball to Mariano Rivera in the ninth, and even then, Mo (uncharacteristically) gave up a lead off double before retiring the side).
That said, the Yankees have now won six in a row. Though they haven't been able to make up much ground on Boston and Tampa, as those teams keep winning, they've made up some, and that they've been able to do this while missing three of their five starters on Opening Day is all the more remarkable.
These are not the eternally .500 Yankees you are watching any more.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The Yankees seem to have discovered the perfect instant jolt for a win streak: the National League.
The San Diego Padres tonight played as though they were a Triple-A team, and the Yankees, believe it or not, played like the Yankees.
While Randy Wolf couldn't make it into the fifth inning for the Padres, Andy Pettitte had one of his best games of the seasons, striking out nine, while surrendering only five hits and one walk. Pettitte had no double-plays, but he did have one of his patented pick-offs in the first, which seemed to set the tone for the entire game.
The Yankee offense looked stellar. Alex Rodriguez homered on the first pitch he saw from Randy Wolf, and two batters later, Jason Giambi sent one into the right field stands. Giambi would homer twice in the game.
In the fourth inning, the Yankees were the Yankees--they capitalized on errors by the Padres, and ended up scoring five runs in the inning. It originally looked like they would have only scored two, from Giambi's second home run, but the Padres botched what should have been a double play off of Derek Jeter's bat, and the floodgates opened.
In the past two games, the Yankees have combined for 21 runs, while allowing 0. In fact, they have not allowed a run since Ross Ohlendorf allowed one in the 14 June game in Houston.
The injury to Chien Ming Wang has detracted from one simple truth--the Yankees, of late, have been playing good baseball. They've won five in a row, six of seven and ten of thirteen (if my math is right).
That they're currently playing under-performing teams in the Astros and Padres, one can't chalk up this streak to an easy schedule--the Yankees took two out of three in Oakland, a surprising team second in the league in the Wild Card race.
Though one can't say for sure that the Yankees have utterly turned the corner over the past week until the end of the season, it's looking more and more like the Yankees have finally figured out how to, well, be the Yankees.
They certainly played like it tonight.
I'll admit it--even on a good day, there are few nice things I'm going to say about the Mets. Sure, I wanted them to win the NLCS in 1999 and 2000 so I might be able to appreciate the spectacle of a Subway Series, but, in truth, rooting for the Mets, for me, would be like rooting for the Rangers--and I'm a die-hard Devils fan.
However, what happened last night---or, if you want to be specific, at 3.19 AM this morning--defies common decency in every sense.
While there is no question that someone on the Mets was going to get fired--when you had the worst September collapse in baseball history and still aren't playing .500 baseball despite acquiring Johan Santana, someone's going home--the way in which they handled Willie Randolph's firing is atrocious.
It reminds me a bit of a boyfriend and girlfriend trying to end a rocky relationship, and then one partner doing all the dirty work over IM while the other slept.
The Mets' problems, however, go far beyond Willie Randolph. For one thing, concerned members of the Mets front office might want to look at how Omar Minaya has handled his job. Sure, the Santana trade was a blockbuster, but look at the rest of the team--largely aged and expensive--and look at the state of the farm system--depleted. At a time when most teams are concentrating on building their farm system to build talent from within, the Mets are notably lagging.
I am no Mets fan, but to see a team embarrass itself as the Mets have, should make any baseball fan unhappy.
Meanwhile, Willie, best wishes--you deserved so much better than this.
Monday, June 16, 2008
From Pete Abraham:
"RHP Chien-Ming Wang was examined today at New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia Medical Center by Yankees Team Physician, Dr. Stuart Hershon and Dr. Jason Greisberg, Foot and Ankle Specialist.
Imaging studies revealed a mid-foot sprain of the Lisfranc ligament of the right foot and a partial tear of the peroneal longus tendon of the right foot.
Wang will be on crutches and wear a protective boot for a minimum of six weeks."
The earliest Wang could return is August, which means the Yankees have a serious issue to figure out.
They have two options--trade for a number 1 type pitcher, or bump everyone else in the rotation up a spot and look for a four or a five. My guess--and it's just that, a guess--is that they'll chose the latter, as the cost for someone like CC Sabathia right now would likely be the entirety of the Yankees' farm system.
If they choose to bump everyone else up a spot, they might be looking at Dan Giese as a spot starter or perhaps promoting Alan Horne or Dan McCutcheon, though that would involve tooling with the 40 man roster.
The silver lining, however, is that Ian Kennedy is throwing off of a mound, and, more important, that the Yankees converted Joba when they did--and won't (well, hopefully) need Giese to piggy back Joba's starts.
It's not much of a silver lining, but it's something.
Don't look now, but there's a team that's just won nine of twelve games to move to four games over .500. In the past three games, they gave up a grand total of five runs while scoring 23 themselves. In the past six, they've given up 15 runs while scoring 34.
With the exception of one bad start in Oakland, the starting pitching has been exquisite--even going back to the last game of the Kansas City series, despite the Yankee loss.
Mike Mussina deserves a spot on the All Star team. Whether or not he gets it is, of course, up in the air, but if there's any Yankees' pitcher not named Mariano Rivera that deserves a spot this year, it's Mussina. He has been the Yankee stopper, on pace for twenty wins this season, which is all the more amazing when one considers that at the beginning of the season, most of the fan base (and even the experts) figured he'd be lucky to win ten games all year.
Joba Chamberlain's transition to starter has not been flawless, but he's improved significantly in each start, and in his next one, he will not have a pitch count limit. In his last start he allowed just one run over six innings while throwing 88 pitches--and hitting 97 MPH on his last pitch.
Andy Pettitte looked more like his old self in his most recent start, getting both the ground balls and the double plays, and Chien Ming Wang looks as though he has emerged from his pitcher's slump, though it may be a while before he makes his next start.
While Darrel Rasner faltered in his last start, it was most likely fatigue after having thrown 110+ pitches in his previous outing. With the exception of that start--one clunker in seven starts--he has given the Yankees a chance to win every time he steps on the mound.
The bullpen, too, has stepped it up a notch. Kyle Farnsworth recorded a save in the Yankees' 2-1 victory on Friday, and then pitched the eighth in Saturday's game, which, at the time the Yankees lead by only two runs. Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez have been excellent; after pitching in five games out of six, Mariano Rivera has not pitched now in four games, so he should be available in the upcoming Padres and Reds series. Though he has given up a couple ninth inning home runs, he has not blown a save opportunity.
The offense, it seems, has finally figured out a way to score runs. Johnny Damon has been utterly on fire--currently hitting over .330, he is perhaps the Yankees' most valuable offensive player of the moment.
Derek Jeter's average isn't quite as high as he'd like, but his eighth inning home run on Friday illustrated why he has been dubbed Captain Clutch.
Alex Rodriguez has also been on fire since coming off of the disabled list; he's had two home runs in the past two games--a sign that he is utterly locked in--and, in other just-off-the-dl-news, Jorge Posada gives an added punch to the Yankee line up.
The rejuvination of Jason Giambi also continues--whether because of the 'stache or thong, though, is a question best left unanswered, and Hideki Matsui is still among the league leaders for batting average.
What does this all mean?
The Yankees have climbed to four games over .500, and while there's no guarantee, it feels like the Yankees have finally broken through the .500 barrier. There's still a while to go before they can catch Boston, but it's not quite time to worry about that just yet.
Currently, the Yankees are only 3.5 games back in the Wild Card--trailing only Oakland (from whom they just took two out of three) and Tampa Bay.
So while you're sitting there waiting for news on Wang, perhaps it will cheer you up to remember that these are the Yankees, and no season is ever over before July 4.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Everything good you can say about the Yankees after today's game--and, in a 13-0 blowout win to complete a sweep of Houston and climb to four games over .500, there's quite a bit of good--has to be tempered with what looks like a serious injury to Yankees' pitcher Chien Ming Wang.
In the sixth inning, Wang, an AL pitcher who was 0-8 with 6 strikeouts in his career before today, attempted to bunt over runners on first and second with one out. The bunt--which looked like it came off the bat of someone who had never been taught how to bunt--was such that the Astros could make a play to nab the lead runner at third base, but not in time to get Wang at first.
Thus, after Johnny Damon reached, Wang was at second with Derek Jeter at bat and two out. At the time, the score of the game was 3-0 Yankees, a lead that would be hardly be insurmountable, so when Jeter laced a single to right field, there was little doubt Wang would try to score from second. As he hit the midway point between third and home, however, he pulled up lame, and while he was able to score, he had to be helped off the field and could not make it down the dugout stairs on his own.
Even though the Yankees would go on to score eight runs that inning and send eleven men to the plate (all with two outs), it was hard to be able to truly enjoy that inning because of how important Wang is for the Yankees. What's worse, is that the injured foot is the push off foot, which likely means more recovery time.
That said, despite the injury the Yankees did have an excellent game, as a 13-0 blowout would suggest. The offense was clicking on all cylinders--even the struggling Robinson Canò had a bloop double, and the team combined for seven walks and 16 hits. Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada had long home runs, and the Yankees' bullpen--Ross Ohlendorf, Edwar Ramirez, LaTroy Hawkins and Dan Giese all combined to complete the shut out.
UPDATE: On the postgame, Joe Girardi has stated that Wang sprained the top of the foot and will need more tests. He said he did not know about the DL, though it seems highly unlikely Wang will avoid it.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
In the last fourteen innings he has pitched, Mike Mussina has given up runs in just two of them.
While the two home runs total five earned runs, it also means that in his last fourteen innings, over two games, Mussina has pitched twelve shut out innings.
After last season, you would have been hard pressed to find any Yankee fan that expected Mussina to win ten games this season. If you were on the lookout for a fan who thought Mussina would win ten games before Father's Day, you would have probably spent an eternity waiting for Godot.
Yet, here we are, two hours before Father's Day, and Mike Mussina has ten wins--most of them not flukes, either.
If one subtracts the starts against Boston, Mussina's record would sit at 10-2, not that 10-4 is anything to be ashamed of, either. In fact, by having ten wins already, Mussina could theoretically win 20 games this year--something he has never done in his long career.
That the Yankees are averaging over four runs a game when Mussina starts doesn't hurt, either--and tonight they scored double that.
After Carlos Lee hit a three run home run for Houston in the bottom of the first to give Houston a 3-0 lead, things did not look all that encouraging--Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez entered the game with an ERA of 1.99 and no earned runs allowed in his last thirteen innings.
However, Alex Rodriguez, who lead off the top of the second, hit a solo home run (with a little help from a fan knocking Hunter Pence's glove out of the way), which Jason Giambi followed with a double and Melky Cabrera an RBI single.
In the next inning, Alex Rodriguez was intentionally walked for Giambi, who worked a two out walk to load the bases. Cabrera followed Giambi with a four-pitch walk of his own, to bring in the game's tying run and the Yankees never looked back.
Catcher Jose Molina followed with a two run single, and, in the later innings, the Yankees padded their lead with pinch hits from Robinson Canò (who this season is 2-3 as a pinch hitter with 2 RBI) and Wilson Betemit, whose two run double in the top of the ninth missed being a three run home run by inches.
The Yankees made it interesting when Ross Ohlendorf turned the game into a one run affair with the tying run at third base before getting out of the seventh and when they had Kyle Farnsworth pitch the eighth on back to back nights, but for once, the stars seem to be aligned in the Yankees' favor as they are now a season high three games over .500 (alas, since both Boston and Tampa won today, the Yankees did not pick up any ground in the division, but it's a little too early to be worrying about the pennant quite yet--six games in June is hardly out of reach).
It might be worth noting, that last year, the Yankees had their first extended winning streak of the season when they started interleague play--sweeping Pittsburgh and Arizona while on their way to winning nine in a row.
Maybe a little National League is all the Yankees need to get rolling.
Friday, June 13, 2008
When Kyle Farnsworth came in to pitch the ninth inning of a 2-1 baseball game on Friday the 13th, you could hear a collective groan from Yankees fans world wide.
Kyle Farnsworth, normally so ineffective during high leverage situations that he gets booed at Yankee Stadium, could not possibly handle the ninth inning of a one run game.
Not so fast. It took the help of a great throw to second from Jose Molina, but Kyle Farnsworth worked around a hit batsman to lead off the inning and recorded his first save since 2006.
Despite the miracle performance from Farnsworth, however, the real story of the game was Joba's third start.
Though Joba did not get the win--the game was tied at one when he left--it was easily the best of his three starts so far. He went six innings, gave up six hits, one (earned) run and while the walks were a little to high, he left with a pitch count of 88--7 of those pitches intentional balls--cutting way down on his pitches per inning. His last pitch, in the sixth inning hit 97 mph.
While there still might be some arguing that Joba should still be in the bullpen, if only for lack of other options, Joba is well on his way to proving he belongs in the rotation. Whether or not he can make it as a number one starter will take a few more seasons to know for sure, but the progress he has made in his three starts so far is remarkable.
Coming out of the bullpen, Jose Veras looked possibly the best he's ever looked at the major league level, and for the seventh and eighth innings, it looked like he got better with each pitch.
The Yankees were lucky the pitching was as good as it was, because, as has become common this season, there was not much offense. An RBI single from Alex Rodriguez in the first and a solo home run from Derek Jeter was all that the Yankees got.
However, for the first time since April, the Yankees are two games over .500, the high water mark of the season, and for that reason, as much as the pitching, tonight's win was one of the most satisfying of the season.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
To the 2008 New York Yankees--
Hey. How's it going?
It's not been an easy season for you guys, I imagine. I get that it's a transition year. I get that things haven't gone according to script. Certain pitchers have gotten hurt or lost the strike zone. Certain hitters have missed over a month with injuries. I get that certain bullpen pitchers have not lived up to expectations.
Dude. Guys. You should know more than anyone else here that you can't write a season off on June 11th. 12th. Before the All Star break. I mean, you all know better than anyone else, that it's just a bad idea to give up on a season so early, so, for the love of all that's holy, can you please stop playing like that?
Look. I don't expect you to win 100 games. At this point, I don't expect you to win 90 (though you'll have to if you want to play in October). The thing is, though, I expect you to not give up on a game just because the other team has a lead.
I thought maybe we had gotten over this after last weekend. At least, that was my hope. Maybe we have and I'm just overreacting...but I can't stress how frustrating it is for a fan.
See, there are two ways to play .500. There's the way where you're like the Orioles--a team everyone expected to lose 100 games this year (okay, so technically they still can), a team everyone thought was the only one in the AL East to regress in the off season, and you go on and defy all expectations. It's the .500 where you fight every game, even the losses, and say, 'hey, maybe there's something here'.
Then there's the 2008 Yankee .500. That's the .500 where the effort looks lackluster, barely above minimum. It's where the games you lose are the ones you lost the second the other team scored their first run. It's where you don't get those extra insurance runs with RISP. It's the .500 where you keep waiting for that big run of 10 straight wins to come, to push you firmly over the edge...
...but if you keep waiting, it will never come.
I'm not saying everyone has to play like an all star (though it'd be nice). What I am saying, however, is that you guys have got to remember is that if you play good, sound, fundamental baseball, you'll win some games. If you play each game with heart--if you refuse to give up outs or remember to work each at bat to its fullest--you'll win some more. When you finally figure out that greatness (and a long win streak) comes to those who take it, and not those who wait, for it, you'll find yourselves above .500 for good.
What struggles for Chien Ming Wang?
Tonight, Wang looked every bit the ace that he is supposed to be for the Yankees. It was a vintage Wang performance, with a working sinker and four double plays in 7.1 innings, the last one coming while Oakland had the bases loaded with only one out.
Wang tonight looked as though he had never had a bad stretch or even a bad game; the Yankees staked him to a 2-0 lead in the first, and he never relinquished it. Even though the first seven lead-off men were able to reach base, Wang did not run into an inning with more than one man on base at a time until the seventh inning. In some sense, it seems fitting that Joe Girardi pulled him after retiring the lead off man in the eighth.
Wang threw only 83 pitches all game, which makes Girardi's move to Veras in the 8th inning questionable, though one can argue either side of the issue.
Mariano Rivera found himself pitching for the fourth game in a row, and outside of a hit to Carlos Gonzalez, he looked as though he was pitching on five days' rest.
The Yankee offense showed some vestiges of the offense that lead the league last year with a plethora of walks, but outside of the first inning, they were unable to drive in any of the runs--Melky's home run in the top of the ninth came with no one on base.
Still, the Yankees were able to score enough to win the game plus one, which was more than enough for Wang.
One pressing issue, though, has to be the bottom of the Yankees' line up--after Jason Giambi, the Yankees had Wilson Betemit, Robinson Canò and Melky Cabrera--the first two of whom played (offensively, at least) as though they were automatic outs. While Betemit is not expected to be a great offensive star, Canò is, and the longer Canò's struggles continue, the more worried the Yankees have to be. When Canò is hitting, the entire complexion of the line up changes.
Still, the Yankees are back to over .500 and in a three-way tie for third in the division (okay, so technically they're tied for last, but that's not the point).
I understand that West Coasters need their evening games as much as us East Coasters, but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy the ten pm start time. At least it happens a maximum of what, nine times a season?
Monday, June 9, 2008
After the dramatic wins on Thursday and Saturday, that today's game should have come down to the ninth inning should not be a surprise.
Alas, despite having the bases loaded with the tying run on third, the Yankees could not even the score, and once again fell back to .500.
The Yankees' loss today can in no way be put on the shoulders of Mike Mussina. Mussina was excellent--beyond, excellent even. Usually, when you pitch eight full innings and surrender only two runs (on one bad pitch), you will win the game.
Like Rasner's performance on Saturday, Moose was excellent, but done in by a lack of run support (which might be more a tribute to Luke Hochevar's pitching than anything else). If it's any consolation (and I'm not sure it is), Moose, at least, was not saddled with the loss.
In what was an uncannily similar performance to Saturday's, Mariano Rivera surrendered the solo home run before getting three quick outs. It is probably only fitting that the hitter of that home run was Jose Guillen, who has been killing the Yankees all weekend. Simply put, the Royals figured out that to win they had to pitch around Jason Giambi and the 'stache in the ninth. The Yankees forgot to do the same with Guillen.
The Yankees did not have a good offensive performance--only four hits--but Alex Rodriguez's home run in the seventh kept them in the game, and they had the bases loaded in the ninth, when Melky Cabrera just missed beating out the relay throw to first.
In the eighth inning, a blown call by first base umpire Ed Montague on a bunt by Melky Cabrera should be noted. Although the Yankees did not lose the game on the call, it may be argued that it took away the best chance the Yankees had at winning the game. Melky threw his helmet off in disgust, and was lucky not to get thrown out.
There's one thing that you can say about the Yankees' recent play--they've begun to show emotion, and life. When Rivera gave up the home run to Jose Guillen, the television replay showed him screaming in disgust (looked like a four letter word, but I don't lipread), before remembering that he was Mariano Rivera, the King of Cool.
When you show emotion like that, and remember to play all twenty-seven outs (as the Yankees have at last seem to be able to do), the wins will not be far off.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Don't look now, but the Yakees are beginning to fall into place.
Today's game was just the type of game we'd hope the Yankees would play this season--solid pitching, timely hitting, and more than five runs. If not for some stellar outfield defense from Kansas City's Joey Gathright, the Yankees would have at least had another two runs; probably closer to another three or four.
Anyway, to start at the beginning, coming off of yesterday's improbable win (I'm not quite sure how I managed to keep my car on the road while listening to the game on my way to Scranton), the Yankees were once again at .500 and with emotion on their side.
It was Joba's second start, and while he certainly wasn't perfect, Yankee fans (and management) have got to be pleased with his performance today. He threw 78 pitches, mostly strikes, going 4.1 innings. He did give up three runs, but two of those came on one mistake pitch to Jose Guillen and the third was unearned, on a passed ball.
Dan Giese, the Designated Reliever on Joba days, was excellent. In 2.2 innings, he allowed exactly one baserunner--and even that baserunner technically struck out. Jose Veras pitched a very good 8th and Mariano Rivera was, well, Mariano Rivera.
As for the offense, well, it was only the third time all year the Yankees had their Opening Day line up, but the line up performed as expected.
Johnny Damon continued his hot hitting (what is he eating for breakfast, and where can I get some?) despite going only 2-4...
Bobby Abreu had a two-run home run, adding to his RBI total, and the renaissance of Jason Giambi continued as he hit the home run to break the three-three tie.
If not for Joey Gathright, Jorge Posada would have had a two-RBI hit as well.
Right now, the Yankees look like they are finally beginning to figure out this season. Once again, they are above .500--and this time, they've gotten there with energized line ups and actually playing all 27 outs of the game.
Looks like the sleeping beast is beginning to wake up.
Had a tremendous night in Scranton last night with some of the fellow LoHud readers. A special thanks goes to Ron H. for putting it all together. It was wonderful to be able to meet so many people--here's hoping we can do it again next year!
Friday, June 6, 2008
Two walk off wins in a row.
Could it be?
Twice in a row, the ninth inning came with the Yankees down and two outs before anyone reached base. Twice down to their final strike. Could they repeat the feat and walk off again?
Alas, they could not.
It's a little weird. Yesterday's game could not have been more different than tonight's--a slugfest against a good ole' pitcher's duel. Yesterday, Chien Ming Wang had another shaky outing. Tonight, Darrell Rasner had, possibly, the pitching performance of his career. Yesterday had costly errors; tonight had (mostly) solid defense.
Yet, at the end, in the ninth inning, it was the same scenario: down a run, two outs and no one on.
Momentum was clearly on the Yankees' side yesterday--having been down at one point 7-2, while, tonight, a very clearly botched call by home plate umpire Ed Montague in the eighth stole much of the momentum that the Yankees had in that inning.
That said, the Yankees lost tonight's game because of a total lack of offense.
Rasner did not just what he was supposed to do but more, and the offense reverted back to what they've been doing in stranding runners and not getting the big hits.
Rasner should be satisfied with his performance (though I'm not sure any pitcher would be when his team is on the losing end), but the offense needs to figure this not-getting-the-big-hit thing. A-Rod's healthy and Posada's healthy. They're out of excuses at this point.
Headed up to Scranton tomorrow for the LoHud gathering. Since I won't be able to catch the Belmont, I'd go ahead and put money on Big Brown.
The Yankees are once again at .500.
Sooner, rather than later, they will have to figure out a way to get over the .500 hump--and stay there. Last year, this didn't happen until July, but the team had to stretch in the second half just to make the post season.
Last year's turning point, almost anyone will tell you, was the "hah" game.
This year's turning point may very well have been yesterday's game. I didn't catch it--I was at the shore with a close friend--but I read the recaps and saw the highlights. Games like that don't come along often, and when they do, they can be a springboard.
Hopefully, the Yankees will use the springboard to their advantage.
More after tonight's game.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
So there's a really goo reason this post is so late: I was at the the game. I have pictures, but am having a bit of trouble getting them online so they'll have to wait.
Joba's start tonight is certainly not, one hopes, going to be the best one of his career. However, at the same time, it is important to remember that the Yankees did not lose tonight because of Joba. The Yankees lost tonight because of an ineffective bullpen--and yes, I'm looking at Edwar Ramirez and LaTroy Hawkins.
Joba was wild in the first inning, but that might just has easily been from nerves as from an inability to locate off-speed pitches--he set the side down in order in the second. He did throw as fast as 101 miles an hour.
Joba easily got the loudest ovation when the starting line up was introduced--and indeed, as unremarkable as tonight was, there is no telling where Joba's career might go from here.
For the Yankees' offense and bullpen, however, it was another, almost typical, frustrating evening. There was some excellent defense from Bobby Abreu and Derek Jeter, as well as a throw home from Melky Cabrera that was a close play (at least from section 43), but little else.
OPTIMIST TAKE: Joba only went 2.1 innings, but improved in his second inning--something relief pitchers don't normally do. Johnny Damon had a great game, including a lead off triple. Jason Giambi had a hit the other way.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Of all the types of baseball games one can play, ones like tonight's are by far the most frustrating to watch.
Every inning (or almost every inning), it seemed, the Yankees took the lead, only to lose it in the bottom half of the inning. Both the pitching and offense are to blame--as neither could pick up the other--even if, on the surface, it looks like the offense had a good showing.
As seemed to be the case for the entire month of April, the Yankees were able to get runners on base without a problem, but then unable to bring them in to score. Multiple innings they had runners in scoring position with less than two outs, and they could never build a lead larger than two runs.
Andy Pettitte, who has built a career around being a "stopper", is not having the best season of his life. While he is a second half pitcher, it can't be ignored that Pettitte's inability to provide some stability in the rotation is hurting the Yankees.
Kyle Farnsworth, simply, did not have a good outing. If the Yankees are looking to make any move in the coming days, one has to hope that they can find someone that can fill the bullpen void that Farnsworth seems to be unable to do. An 8th inning pitcher does not have to be Joba-good, but he has to be able to get three outs before giving up the tying run. It doesn't seem like it should be a hard thing to do...
OPTIMIST TAKE: Alex Rodriguez looked great at the plate; Jeter looks like he is finally coming out of his slump.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
When Derek Jeter hit the solo home run in left center field after the Twins had only managed to score one run with the bases loaded and no one out, it looked like the Yankees might have had a chance to win the game.
When Justin Morneau hit a home run, while that ball didn't leave the ballpark, the Yankees' chances of winning the game did--or at least, that was how it felt.
It wasn't exactly a horrible loss--the Yankees were in the game until the later innings--but they were never able to muster much of anything offensively, and looked lifeless on that end.
Darrell Rasner had his worst start while in pinstripes this season. It wasn't a horrendous start--in fact, he went deeper into the game than Chien Ming Wang last night--but he received almost no offensive support.
There was a scary moment in the game when Twins' pitcher Nick Blackburn was hit in the face on a line drive off of Bobby Abreu. He fell down backwards and laid there almost lifeless for a moment before getting up. Fortunately, he seems to be okay, but it does remind you just how dangerous that the sport of baseball can be.
OPTIMIST TAKE: The Yankees are still at .500. Chris Britton finally got a chance to pitch--and sat the four Twins he faced down in order.