Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Yanks Get Pudge

In an effort to shore up the offense in the wake of Jorge Posada's season ending surgery, the Yankees dealt Kyle Farnsworth to Detroit for Ivan Rodriguez. Pudge will instantly improve the offensive production behind the plate compared with Molina and Moeller. Chad will probably be designated again although no one picked him up last time he was on waivers.

The deal makes sense for the Yankees, who have really struggled with the tail end of their lineup. Both Rodriguez and Farnsworth were in the last years of their contracts, so the Yankees didn't really give up a long term player. Kyle had been pitching well lately, but really, how many of you out there really thought professor Farnsworth had turned his game around?

Kyle throws hard and gets hit hard. You never know which Farnsworth is going to show up and he can't be relied on in a clutch situation. Veras and Ramirez have emerged as the core of the bullpen (with Rivera as the obvious closer). Despite a rocky outing recently, David Robertson has been impressive as well. Dan Giese gives another option and can handle the long relief duty. To top it off, newly acquired southpaw Damaso Marte can be extremely versatile, coming in as a situational reliever, or throwing two full innings.

With the bullpen as solid as it is, Farnsworth was easy to let go. Rodriguez should add some instant offense, and should help the team start winning more games right away.

Yanks Drop Another

The Pinstripers certainly looked like a contender back when they were playing Boston, but now that they're facing off against the not-so-good Orioles, nothing seems to go their way. Sure, they had a late rally (that fell short) but the team just seems a little worn out after all that winning.

Rasner wasn't as sharp as he's been in the past, but still pitched about what you would expect from your number five guy. Damaso Marte's honyemoon with the Yanks is over, as he was hit hard. His first appearance in the Yankee uniform was impressive, but the scouting reports on him say that he can be inconsistent at times, which is what we saw last night. I still think he's a good addition to the team, but don't be surprised if he blows up every once in a while.

Girardi continues to rotate players and change the lineup, giving different players a chance to rest. Still, a back end of Betemit, Moeller, and Cabrera certainly isn't striking fear into the hearts of opponents.

It's looking like the Yankees won't be picking up another starter anytime soon. Talks for Washburn appeared to have cooled and there really aren't that many decent starters out there. If Hughes or Kennedy can show something down in AAA, they might make a return, but for now I think we're stuck with what we have. I don't see Wang pitching again this year despite his optimism.

Hopefully the Yankees can get a win against Baltimore this afternoon and avoid the sweep. Tampa won last night pulling another game ahead. If the Bombers have any chance of even getting a wild card, they need to keep on winning, as there are currently two other teams in front of them even for the wild card spot.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yanks Blown Out By Orioles

Mike Mussina is human after all. He'd been on a terrific run of great pitching, surprising most people including himself. Last night, however, Moose wasn't on top of his game, giving up 6 runs in 5.0 innings. His relief didn't fare much better as David Robertson gave up 5 runs on 4 hits while only getting one batter out. Even Krazy Kyle got in on the action by giving up 2 runs in the eighth inning.

Setbacks happen, even against Baltimore. The good news is that Boston and Tampa lost and so the Yankees didn't lose any ground to their competition.

Jorge Posada is going to have season ending shoulder surgery. With his injury, he hasn't been as effective as he could be and getting the surgery out of the way now is probably the smart move. Hopefully he'll be fully recovered and ready to play by the time the season starts next year. For now the Yankees have Molina and Moeller still on the roster to handle the catching duties, but there have been rumors of the Bombers trying to acquire another catcher, possibly Gerald Laird.

There's not much to say about this ugly loss. It's one of those games we'd all rather forget. Tonight is a new game, and a new opportunity for a win. Let's just hope last night's performance was a fluke for Mussina, who's been the anchor of the rotation lately.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Win Streak Ends

Sidney Ponson's luck ran out. He's been a little shakey on the mound but usually received plenty of run support of managed to get out of an inning despite allowing several hits. Last night there was no such magic. In four innings of work, Sir Sidney gave up 7 runs on 10 hits. Dan Giese came in and pitched the remaining four innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits.

This is the first time this season I've seen Girardi actually use a long reliever in long relief. Your starter comes out of the game early and you go to the long reliever. The offense wasn't able to close the gap and so you leave Giese in, saving guys like Rivera for another day when they're needed more.

The offense had hits, but couldn't do much with runners in scoring position, especially with the bases loaded. That's one area that has plagued the team all year and will kill them when crunch time comes at the end of the season.

Damon was back in the lineup and doesn't seem hampered by yesterday's injury. Xavier Nady went 0 for 4. Richie Sexson went 1 for 4. For the Sox, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez continue to be Yankee killers.

The Yanks stay 3 games out of first place and drop to 2 games behind Boston. It would have been a great sweep, but taking 2 out of 3 from the Red Sox is still a very successful trip.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yanks Take Second Game From Sox

10-3 Yankees behind strong pitching from Andy Pettitte and the unstoppable offense of Robinson Cano.

Newly acquired Damaso Marte came in late in the game to face David Ortiz and got the job done, striking out Big Papi. If he can be reliable, the Yankees will definitely benefit from having a lefty in the bullpen. Xavier Nady didn't have any hits, but reached base on a walk and scored.

This was a great win for the Yankees although Johnny Damon appeared to come up lame after running to first late in the game. We'll have to keep our fingers crossed that it's nothing serious; the Bombers need his bat in the lineup.

There have been more roster moves today. Brett Gardner was optioned to Scranton which isn't surprising. He didn't do anything in his big league appearances other than run fast.

Latroy Hawkins was designated. I wouldn't be surprised if another team picked him up.

The earlier players I named in the trade with the Pirates wasn't accurate. Pittsburgh received Ohlendorf, McCutchen, Tabata and Karstens. McCutchen has potential and Karstens is serviceable. Pittsburgh got 3 a prospect and 2 guys with potential. Tabata could work out for them as well if he can behave. The deal sounded pretty one sided yesterday, but the actual details are more reasonable.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Joba Strikes Out Nine

That's right, nine strikeouts in seven scoreless innings. Does anyone out there (other than Goose Gossage) still think Joba is best served in the bullpen?

Kyle Farnsworth had a setback, only getting one out while facing three batters, forcing Mariano Rivera to come into the game early. Rivera stopped the bleeding before any runs could score. Farnsworth has been playing some of the best ball of his career lately, but tonight was back to typical Krazy Kyle.

The Yankees were only able to score one run, but it was enough. The offense could certainly use the help of Nady when he gets here. Brett Gardner continues to disappoint and is really starting to look like he peaked back in triple A ball.

The Yankees are two games behind Boston and if Tampa holds on to win, we'll be three games out of first. For a long time I've been saying that this team wouldn't make the playoffs, but they've been getting the job done lately. It hasn't always been pretty, but a win is a win. With the new additions coming soon, the team might actually be a contender.

Nice Move for Yankees

The Yankees made a trade with the Pirates to acquire right fielder Xavier Nady and left handed reliever Damaso Marte. The Pirates will get Ross Ohlendorf, George Kontos, Phil Coke and Jose Tabata. This looks like a very good deal for the Bombers. Nady adds some much needed power and helps to fill in some gaps created by injuries to Matsui and Posada. Marte solidifies the bullpen nicely adding a lefty to the mix. I liked some of what I saw out of Ross Ohlendorf, but he really had some struggles in his big league appearances for New York. He still could turn into a big league reliever or even a #5 starter. Tabata had too many attitude and discipline problems and while talented, wasn't the kind of guy I'd want on my team.

The deal is pending on physicals by each team, but when completed, will definitely help the Yankees this year.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

TYanks Win Big, Boss Says Trade Prospects

The Yankees had a timely win last night to bring them within 3.5 games of the league leading Tampa Bay Rays. Darrel Rasner was decent, throwing 5.2 innings, giving up 4 hits and 2 runs, although the Bombers were down 2-1. It wasn't until Rasner left that the offense took off and the new wunderkind David Robertson, facing only one batter, got the win.

Rasner got the job done and did what the Yankees needed him to do, and was pitching better than  he had in some prior outings, which is a good sign. The relief crew was outstanding. Jose Veras and Kyle "automatic" Farnsworth allowed no hits and no runs. Professor Farnsworth walked 1 but struck out 3. Dan Giese came on in the ninth and allowed a hit but no runs.

Robinson Cano. Wow. The guy has a .522 batting average over the last 7 games and has an OPS of 1.391. Talk about turning your game around. It's too bad he couldn't have found his swing earlier in the season. Bobby Abreu hit a long overdue homer.

The Yankees didn't get any production from the back end of the lineup, with Melky, Moeller, and Gardner being helpless at the plate (except for Brett's walk). This is an area that needs to be addressed. had an interesting blurb in its Truth and Rumors section stating that Hank Steinbrenner has given the OK for Cashman to trade away any of its prospects. The league would have to approve of any deal involving Hughes who is on the DL and Melancon is rumored to be the only untouchable out there.  With the team playing well and only 3.5 games out, it certainly wouldn't surprise me to see the Yanks do some big time shopping soon. The idea of trading prospects doesn't really bother me all that much because no one has particularly impressed me stats-wise (I haven't had a chance to go and scout any of these guys in person).

There have been quite a few rumors about Jarod Washburn, a lefty from Seattle. This one seems to be getting the most traction right now. The Dodgers' Derek Lowe has popped up on the radar as well. Brian Fuentes has too many suitors at the moment and the asking price is likely to be too high.

Expect to see a move soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Winning Continues

The Yankees managed a 12-4 win over the Minnesota twins last night, continuing the win streak of recently acquired Sidney Ponson. Ponson certainly didn't look all that sharp, but when he pitches, the offense shows up. Sidney lasted 5.2 innings before being relieved by Edwar Ramirez. In the seventh inning, Robertson came in and retired the side in order. Honestly, who saw this guy being on the roster and making a contribution. So far in the appearances he's made, he's been extremely efficient. LaTroy Hawkins came in to pitch the last two innings and held onto the lead.

Alex Rodriguez racked up 3 RBIs, 2 hits and a home run. Robinson Cano continues to show us he's got his swing back, hitting a homer of his own and adding 2 RBIs.

Fellow Yankee Blogger Mark Serio over at the Baseball Hot Corner points out the odd luck of baseball. Beleaguered pitcher Sidney Ponson has a remarkable record with the Yankees despite some not-so-stellar performances. Joba Chamberlain, the Yankee Wunderkind, can't seem to buy a supporting run. I'm still getting over Chien Ming Wang's 1-0 loss much earlier in the season when the Wanger pitched a beauty but the offense couldn't score.

For the most part this season, the key word has been consistency. The team just doesn't have it. The offense is the worse offender, but pitching has fallen prey as well. If the team could figure out how it is doing things when they are playing well and could repeat those performances, they'd be World Series bound but for now with the inconsistent play, even a wild card looks iffy.

The Yanks win is their fourth in a row. With Boston and Tampa winning, they didn't pick up any ground, but they didn't fall any further behind and they kept the momentum going. Maybe, just maybe they'll start to gain a little of that consistency that's been lacking.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yanks Close to 4 1/2 Games

Despite an extremely poor offensive effort yesterday, the Yankees managed to win by getting hit by a pitch. Today, Andy Pettitte threw eight impressive innings and the offense was just barely good enough to beat the A's.

At the end of the weekend, a win is a win and a sweep is a sweep. It hasn't been pretty, but the Yankees have managed to win. The team still needs a lot of work and could use some better hitting. Robbie Cano is officially off my "shouldn't be on the roster" list, but Cabrera, Molina, Gardner and Betemit aren't scaring any pitchers at the back end of the order.

Let's take a look at Gardner,  he hasn't done much of anything offensively, but if he does get on base, he can sure run. Has he had enough time to prove himself at the big league level? No. But has he really shown anything offensively, even in the minor leagues, to make you think he's going to be a star? Not in my book. Granted, the Yankees don't have any better options at this point, but I hope were not clinging to Gardner as a protected prospect we shouldn't be putting on the table for trade negotiations.

The last two wins certainly haven't been overly impressive, but they've been timely, coupled with Boston and Tampa losses, now have the Bombers only 4.5 games out of first and certainly within striking range.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Starting Off Right

The Yankees started the second half of the regular season on the right foot, clobbering the Athletics 7-1. It was an important win because Oakland has been hovering in contention for a wild card spot and every chance you can get a game up on the competition is important.

A-Rod had the most hits while Cano drove in the most runs. Richie Sexson went 1 for 3 in his Yankee debut.

Over six innings, Mike Mussina gave up 9 hits but only one earned run. I was extremely critical of Moose early in the season when his performance was poor, but wow, what an important part of the starting rotation he's been. I'd wouldn't have suspected him of being at 12-6 right now based on some of his earlier outings, but he really did turn his game around.

Robertson, Ramirez and Hawkins all retired the side in order. I'm still hoping some team caught a glimpse of Hawkins, saw something they liked and now is on the phone with Cashman trying desperately to get the Yankees to trade him. OK, not likely, but one can hope.

This win is definitely a big one. A quality, convincing win against a quality opponent at an opportune time. Hopefully the guys can build of this and get some momentum going here in the second half.

Back in Action Tonight

After the all star break the New York Yankees are back in action playing the Oakland Athletics. The All Star game has came and went and was a relatively quiet affair. The game was the longest in history, and certainly had some great moments, but only contained a small amount of controversy.

The trade wheels were still turning as Oakland traded away Joe Blanton to the Phillies, and apparently Greg Smith is scheduled to get the start against the Yankees on Saturday.

Goose Gossage again gave another speech explaining why he thinks Joba belongs in the bullpen rather than in the starting lineup. At this stage, Gossage has slipped into full blown self-ego stroking, explaining to the world why a good relief pitcher is far more valuable to a team than a starting pitcher. To be perfectly clear, this isn't about Joba, it's about Goose, who, despite being in the hall of fame, is still trying to convince people that he was more important to the game of baseball than a lot of other pitchers.

The Yankees have added Richie Sexson to the roster, hoping his right handed bat can give the team an offensive boost against left handed pitching. The Yankees were able to get Sexson dirt cheap and with Matsui out for a while, they could use an extra DH. Sexson's performance this year has been pretty abysmal and I wouldn't expect much out of him, but the Yankees got him for next to nothing and you certainly can't blame them for giving it a go.

After the few days off, it almost feels like a new season. For this Yankees team the next few days should be really telling. Has the time off done them any good. Have they decided for themselves whether or not to show up and play each and every day, or are they going to continue with the mediocre effort, up and down playstyle that's gotten them third place in the division standings so far this season. A good run out of the gate could turn the team around. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Yanks Drop Another Before the Break

Andy Pettitte summed it up best by saying that "We stink right now for the most part". Tampa dropped another game opening a door for the Yanks to move up but the Bombers were unable to capitalize.

Cano, Cabrera, Betemit and Gardner combined to provide one of the poorest hitting back ends in baseball. The Yankees desperately need to get guys like Damon and Matsui back from the DL.

The all star break will hopefully give the guys on the team time to reflect and figure out what they want to do with this year. They've got the potential, just not the drive so far this season. Only six games out of first means that the Pinstripers are definitely in the hunt. There has been talk of picking up another starting pitcher and another closer. At least one team out there is interested in Ian Kennedy, and I can't imagine the Yankees being overly committed to keeping Ike. There are moves the organization could make to turn them into legitimate contenders, but that won't do any good if the current stars continue to wallow in mediocrity.

I think Cashman will make some moves.  The question is will they be moves for the future or moves for right now. The answer, given any New York sports team, especially one run by a Steinbrenner, is that it will be a move for right now. The New York Yankees will never have a fire sale. Those over-paid, underproducing players on the team won't be let go during the season. Off-season, perhaps, but they're here for the duration of this season. Young prospects and struggling guys with potential are fair game, as other teams can get them cheap.

It will be interesting to watch the second half of the season. The Yankees are by no means out of it according to the standings, but anyone who has watched them play might think otherwise. Maybe the Yankees, like the Tin Man, can finally find their heart.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bobby Murcer Passes is reporting that Yankee great Bobby Murcer has passed away, succumbing to complications of the brain cancer he bravely fought since 2006. Murcer has been with the Yankees as a player and announcer and has been an important part of the team in one capacity or another for many years. Murcer may be gone, but never forgotten in the hearts of Yankee fans.

A Rod Moves Up

The Yankees offense showed up in full force this afternoon and Alex Rodriguez hammered his way past Mickey Mantly for 13th place on the all time home run list. Derek Jeter homered early to get the festivities started and had 3 RBIs for the day. Brett Gardner went 2 for 2, bringing his average up to .182. Posada was DHing again and Chad Moeller got the start behind the plate. Variety is the spice of life when it comes to Joe Girardi's lineups.

Congratulations to A-Rod for hitting the big home runs and moving up the list. Alex doesn't seemed too bother by all of the personal turmoil that's been surrounding him lately.

Darrel Rasner earned the win after striking out 6 batters over 5 innings. Rasner allowed 7 hits and 4 runs (3 earned) and threw 108 pitches. Not pretty, but good enough. Ramirez, Veras, Farnsworth and Hakwins eached pitched an inning and gave up no hits.

When they're on, they're on. This Yankee offense can put lots of runs on the board. The problem is they lack any sense of consistency and oftentimes seem to lack a sense of urgency. Games like this one just go to show what this team is capable of offensively.

Boston is off to an early lead today but Tampa is having some troubles early on. There may be a window to move one step closer to the Rays.

Joba Piches Well, Halladay Better

Joba Chamberlain is really flexing his muscle on the  mound, striking out nine batters last nigh. The young chamberlain got a good less from Doc Halladay, however, as the unstoppable veteran shut down the Yankees for nine innings. The Yankee offense was less than anemic last night, as most of the hitters were powerless to touch anything Halladay was throwing at them.

Betemit, Cano and Cabrera are all hitting under .250 and Gardner is still hitting .129. This isn't the kind of lineup the Yankees need if they are going to chase the Sox and Rays. While Cano has been hitting a little better, he's nowhere near the hitter he was last year. Melky has lost his stroke as well and Betemit was, is and will always be a replacement level player at best. Gardner is inexperienced, but hasn't shown much of anything at the plate to warrant his sticking around when Damon gets back, Sure, he's got speed and runs the bases well, but if he never gets on base, what's the point.

Jorge Posada was back behind the plate today and the Yankee faithful were spared his whining for a day at least.

Despite great wins against Boston and Tampa, the Yankees struggle against Pittsburgh and Toronto. The offense only seems to come to life every few days. Injuries are really crippling the team offensively, and relief pitching has a lot of holes in it. This just isn't a championship caliber team. If the Yankees want to try to catch the teams ahead of them, they'll need help. Most of the focus has been on picking up another starter or reliever, but the real attention should be about putting some people in the lineup who can hit. It can't be that hard to find someone hitting .275 can it?

Hat's off to Halladay. He really pitched one heck of a game. Joba - keep your chin up, better days will come.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hitting Goes MIA

Once again the lowly Pirates bested the Yankees, and Jorge Posada does his best to poison the atmosphere in the clubhouse.

Mike Mussina pitched six full innings giving up nine hits but only two runs. Not a bad outing in the end. Jose Veras gave up just as many runs in one inning of work, displaying the typical Jeckyl and Hyde behavior so common among Yankee relievers. A few great outings, then some bad outings. Like Forrest Gump would say, "You never know what you're gonna get."

Jorge Posada played first base last night, apparently still having a bit of trouble with his shoulder. Girardi had Molina starting as catcher every day this week and Jorge was DHing earlier. Being the whiney dirtbag that he's become lately, Jorge made several heated comments explaining how he doesn't like playing first base and how he's a starting catcher. Brian Cashman - we all know Jorge can hit, if you can find anyone out there willing to make a deal to take this guy off our hands, please do! To further solidify his comments on how he's not a first baseman, Jorge missed an off-target throw from Jeter to first. Players who shoot their mouths off too much, start pouting publicly to the media and think their above getting moved around really annoy the heck out of me. I've got zero respect for Posada right now. Shut up and play the game and give your best effort, no matter where you end up on the field. I think the rather large contract you have with the Yankees obliges you to try a little harder.

There wasn't too much else going on with last night's game. The Yankee's just didn't get the job done at the plate.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Winning Continues

Sir Sidney Ponson had his stuff again last night and according to him, working with pitching coach Dave Eiland did wonders for his game. Ponson pitched very well and rebounded nicely from his last, sub-par performance. Veras, Farnsworth and Rivera got the job done in relief and Mo had to eek out two innings before the Yanks could score the winning run.

Little by little, the good days outnumber the bad days for Kyle Farnsworth and his season numbers are actually decent. The Yankees are still looking to acquire a reliever via a trade, but Krazy Kyle might just be better than what's available. The rub is that I still can't trust Farnsworth to deliver in the clutch, no matter what the numbers say. I've seen too many balls go sailing over the wall to ever put my faith in Professor Farsnworth in a critical situation. Mariano Rivera, sure. Kyle, no.

Jose Veras' numbers look even better and other than a couple of bad outings, he's been fairly solid.

Brett Gardner got one hit in five at bats, bringing his average up to .143. The Stache paid off again for Giambi, who had a critical RBI to give the Yankees their first run of the game, allowing Jeter to score. Even Joe Girardi was sporting a fake mustache for his post game interview. That was a very un-Torre like move, but I liked it. It's good to bond with the team a bit and show a little sense of humor.

The Yankees have taken two games from the team with the best record in baseball, and have shown that they can play as good as anyone in the major leagues. Unfortunately, Boston also won and the Yankees moved closer to first, but didn't gain much ground in the wild card race (although Oakland's loss helps).

A big part of the Yankees lack of success this year in injury. Having Matsui back in the lineup would certainly help the offense, and so far, Brett Gardner is no Johnny Damon. Aside from injuries, oftentimes it seems that the team wasn't playing with a lot of heart or with a real sense of urgency.  Being 6.5 games out of first means it's certainly possible for the Yanks to make a run for the pennant, but looking at their performance over the course of the first half of the season, it still seems unlikely.

Making a big trade or acquisition isn't the answer. Bringing in a new face isn't going to suddenly motivate everyone else to elevate their game. I don't know what the exact answer is, but it needs to come from within each player.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Yankees Hang Tough

A great win for the Bronx Bombers tonight against the first place Rays. The Yankees did a lot of things right tonight. Andy Pettitte was a machine, going 8 innings without allowing a run. The offense got some hits, but most importantly got the hits at the right times. The Pinstripers were able to move batters over with bunts and knock them in with hits.

The hitters were patient at the plate today, and worked deep in to counts and wore out Kazmir early.

Derek Jeter had a clutch hit and a nice score, getting a decent jump off of first place and motoring around the bases to score on a double.

Jorge Posada got thrown out at home by a mile, and never should have been waved home. This seems to be a commonality that all Yankee third base coaches share. No matter what the situation, it seems there arms are flailing waving the runner home.

The offense came alive, but Andy's four-hit night really was the story of the game. Edwar Ramirez was sharp in relief, but I wonder if that was just more from the Rays being stunned by Pettitte.

A quality win against a quality division opponent.

In trade news, the Cubs finally got the deal done to acquire Rich Harden, who was mentioned in Rumors regarding the Yankees all season long. with his injury history, I certainly wasn't in a hurry to see the Yankees go after him. CC Sabathia is a likely short-term rent for the Brewers and could be available to the highest bidder next year. At the end of the season, take a good look at his stats and overall performance and then decide how much he's really worth. At this point in time, he's not totally dominating, and it remains to be seen how he'll fare in the second half.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gardner Comes Through in Clutch

The Yankees moved another game closer to Boston in the wild card chase, but are still in 4th place behind Boston, Minnesota and Oakland. Tampa Bay has a nine game lead on the Yanks.

Despite carrying a meager .143 average, Brett Gardner did his best to endure himself to Yankee fans last night, hitting the game winning RBI single in the tenth inning of Jonathan Papelbom. Gardner was 2 for 5 and showed his speed early on. After his first hit, he quickly stole second base of the slow-throwing tim Wakefield. When Derek Jeter hit a single to the outfield right afterward, Garder dashed home to tack on a run. The Bombers definitely could use more of this run manufacturing, doing the little things to tack on a few extra each game. Let's just hope that Gardner can continue to play like he did last night.

Joba Chamberlain pitched fairly well for six innings, but was the victim of an umpire with an erratic strike zone. Joe Girardi finally came out and gave it to the ump, earning himself an ejection but watching the game on TV, I couldn't make heads or tails of the strike zone yesterday.

Despite coming in with a tie game (and not a lead), Mariano Rivera was impressive. In the ninth inning he went after the Sox best hitters and shut them down. Watching Manny Ramirez go down looking without ever swinging the bat was a thing of beauty.

Johnny Damon is heading to the DL and the Pinstripers will definitely miss his bat. Matsui, Damon, Rodriguez, Jeter, Posada - the Yankees have certainly had quite a few injuries hampering their offense at different times during this season. Let's just hope that JD isn't out too long.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mussina is the Rock Upon Which We Stand

It's hard to believe this is the same Mike Mussina we saw get absolutely shelled earlier in the season. The same Mussina that the Steinbrenners had to call out to the media.

Mike pitched like an all star, until he started feeling a little light headed, which is why Girardi went to the bullpen as soon as he did. Joba is pitching OK, Andy Pettitte has his good and not-so-good days, Ponson looks like he had one good game left in him and the glory days of Darrel Rasner are over. Thank god for Mussina.

Seriously, all it shows is how baseball is a game of streaks. Mussina was on a down streak earlier and now is on a tear. The key factor is that he tried to improve his game, tried to change his mechanics a bit and tried to make himself better. It's painful watching some guys do the same old thing day in and day out and fail. It's refreshing to see a guy who puts some time and effort into adapting and evolving his game.

Edwar Ramirez take some notes here. Everyone who's been in the league a while has you figured out. Lots of people say you've got talent but need to work on some of your other pitches and turn yourself into the all-star that you've the potential for.

In an ironic twist, Mariano Rivera came pretty close to blowing things, loading up the bases. Krazy Kyle, on the other hand, had his A game.

The Yankees offense was pretty poor despite eeking out the win. Brett Gardner sacrificed and the internet pundits are already singing his praises on high. With Johnny Damon out, the Pinstripers will need Gardner to step up but I'm not buying into the hype. Pete Abraham over at LoHud does a fantastic job of blogging the Bombers, but I'm just not on the same page with him (and many others) when it comes to Gardner. I hope he turns out to be the player many think he is, but somehow I'm seeing another guy who tries hard, shows good hustle, but just can't hit at the major league level. Please, Brett, prove me wrong!

Despite all of my criticisms, a win is a win. A win is just what the Yankees needed, especially against the Red Sox. At the end of the day, the team did exactly what it needed to do. Sure, Rivera struggled, but he stayed on top of things, threw strikes and got 3 outs. I don't care if every win is ugly, or just barely a win, as long as it's a win. Good job guys!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Will the Real NY Yankees Please Stand Up

Joe Girardi had a closed door meeting after yesterday's game and dressed the team down and called people out. Joe refused to give details, but the consensus was it was ugly.

Ugly and ineffective. Joe hasn't had an easy first year as manager. He's had to deal with a slew of injuries, a host of young pitchers who weren't quite ready. Would Joe Torre have done any better? Who knows. I've been critical of a lot of Joe Girardi's moves and play calls, but until now I haven't really questioned his ability to handle players. At this point, I'm starting to wonder.

This is the second time Girardi has had a meeting and called out the team, and once again, there hasn't been any sign that the message got through or did anything.

A few bloggers have said that the team looked a little sharper today, that they played with some purpose but I say hogwash. Today the Yankees lost to the Red Sox. They fell further out of first place and further away from a wild card. Almost beating the other team doesn't count in baseball.

Johnny Damon is injured and will miss a few days at least. Alex Rodriguez is spending time with Madonna while his wife has left him for a rock star. Joe Torre is famous for being able to handle distraction and getting a team to perform. So far, Joe G hasn't filled those shoes particularly well.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Yankees Win Wild One

Sir Sidney Ponson got shellacked. Things looked fine early on then the wheels came off. Given the Pinstripers recent offensive performances, all looked lost. In the end, Rangers manager Ron Washington (ironic isn't it, considering the Rangers used to be the Washington Senators) turned his pitching situation into an utter fiasco, bringing in a rookie to face off against some of the Yankees' best hitters.

The Bomber bats took off and plenty of walks helped run up the score. Not even Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins combined could blow this lead. Brett Gardner finally got a hit and added another stolen base. Melky Cabrera had the night off and was unable to further his hitting slump.

The numbers on Sidney Ponson were bad, 5.0 innings, 9 hits and 7 earned runs. Is Giese available to jump back into the starting rotation?

Earlier in the day, Hank Steinbrenner was complaining that the offense wasn't living up to it's potential, and implied that some of the players were getting a bit soft. At this point in the season, I have to agree. Injuries continue to take their toll on the team, however, and the loss of Matsui hurts dearly.

Another Ugly Loss

The Yankees couldn't get anything going at the plate. Melky Cabrera has turned into another Robinson Cano with a bat. He never could bunt, and it hurt the Yankees in the ninth inning when he grounded into a double play.

Internet minor league phenom Brett Gardner remains hitless in the big leagues this year, but was able to lay down a sacrifice bunt.

Derek Jeter sat out the game, and wasn't even called in to pinch hit in the ninth, when the Pinstripers had a man on first.

To confuse things even more, Girardi pulled Joba Chamberlain after 4.0 innings. Joba was pitching reasonably well, but had a 91 pitch count. In his last outing, the pitch count was well over 100 and it seems as if Girardi wanted to keep it lower today.

Long reliever Dan Giese was brought in again to pitch one inning. That's right, one inning. Girardi clearly doesn't believe in the concept of a long reliever. Except perhaps Ross Ohlendorf, who had a proven track record of failure with long outings.

Does this make sense to anyone? The purpose of a long reliever is especially for those instances when your starter comes out early and you now have a guy who can go three or four innings.

Instead Dave Robertson came in, pitched two solid innings followed by Veras, who threw a scoreless eighth.

Unforunately, Mariano Rivera had a bad night, giving up 3 hits and 1 run and giving Texas the go-ahead run.

Girardi baffles me sometimes with his roster moves (no Derek Jeter) his in game calls (leaving the slumping Melky in in the ninth) and his handling of pitchers. Despite all of that, I expect better from the offense. These guys need to score more runs plain and simple. They're just not getting the job done these days.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No Hitting = No Winning

A decent outting by Mike Mussina was wasted by the Yankee bats last night. Moose threw 6 innings giving up only two runs and the rest of the bullpen, including recently roughed up Veras, Ramirez and Giese, all threw scoreless innings.

The Yankees only put together 4 hits on the night. Brett Gardner went 0 for 3 and wasn't exactly smashing in his debut.

Here's the problem with this year's Yankee team. They just don't have it. Whatever "it" is, the Yankees are lacking. Some days it's pitching, other days it's hitting. They just can't put together the total package for more than a few days in a row. Their last big win streak had people thinking that maybe the team could make a late season charge. With Joba moving up to the rotation, starting pitching suddenly looked a lot better. The fact is, this year's team just stinks. They haven't found themselves, found a good team chemistry and they haven't found a way to win.

Starting pitching is decent. Wang, Pettitte, Mussina, Chamberlain, Ponson, Rasner and Giese are all capable of quality outings. That's 7 guys who, when healthy, are capable of pitching at a decent level. Relief pitching is a roll of the dice, with just about every reliever you never know who is going to show up on the mound. Hitting is the same way. Guys are capable of hitting .300 and sometimes will go on a tear for a game or two, then you won't see any offensive production for days.

It all comes down to a lack of consistency and an inability to string hits together for runs.

Giese pitched as a closer today, but if he's not going to start, I hope Girardi can manage to use his long reliever as, well, a long reliever. Don't expect Joe to do anything the conventional way, however.

The team could use another decent set up man. I've been thinking Veras and Ramirez could fit the bill but they just can't be counted on. Farnsworth and Hawkins are way too prone to blow ups and Veras and Ramirez seem to be learning their ways. Ohlendorf looked good at times but looked bad more often and earned his demotion back down to AAA. I don't think there are going to be any answers on the market, as quality relievers are rare these days. Look for promotion within, but not until next year. I think management realizes the guys need a little time to develop and the team isn't going anywhere this year.