Tagged: New York Yankees

The Yanks are coming… Maybe…

*The following is a post taken from The Angry Bench Coach, my new blog. Please visit the site there at www.theangrybenchcoach.com.*


The following piece is a column from one of our guest writers, Geoff, who runs the Bleeding Pinstripes. Visit his site and give him the TABC bump.

geoff
I’ve been promising my boy Reid a piece for a while now on the Yankees’
chances this year, and since I’m waiting for my iPhone to back up
anyway, here goes.

First let’s get up to speed on where we are.
My thought going into the recent brutal road trip, and even the few
series’ before (Boston, Minnesota, Anaheim, Baltimore) was that the
Yankees season would take shape by the time they got back.

Not good news.

And last week I was screaming
for the Yankees to send Melky down to triple A, as I saw his usefulness
solely as an outfielder and a pinch runner; two roles I felt Brett
Gardiner was better suited for. And I was railing against starting
Richie Sexson against lefties, preferring to see him strictly used as a
pinch hitter. So what happens next? Melky gets demoted, Gardiner is
recalled, and Sexson is waived.

Worse news.

I know.
Sounds a bit off. I’m contradicting myself. But the truth is – what do
I know? Nothing. I was the guy screaming for Tony Womack to get more
playing time in ’05; that Robinson Cano was a useless rookie. I was the
guy saying that Posada was going to fade last year and end up at .270.
That David Archuleta was going to get voted off the second week of
American Idol because he was such a drippy little wuss. I shouldn’t be
right. This can’t be good…

So what are the Yanks’ chances? If
you ask me, it always comes down to one key thing. Schedule. It’s huge
before the season even starts. Look at the Yankees. Every year they
play the Angels ten times. And always predominantly on the road. Like
clockwork. It’s a marquee match-up, and the Angels are the one and only
team that have had the Yankees’ number. You think MLB is going to pass
that up? Since the days of the unbalanced schedule, there is only one
team outside of their division that the Yankees have played ten times.
Yup. And it happens almost every year. And it’s not just the Yankees.
The schedule tells a lot of tales before the first pitch on the first
Sunday night. Look at the Mets. Every year they play six brutal games
against the Yankees. They lost the NL East to the Phillies on the last
day of the season last year. Do you think the Phillies still would have
pulled that off if they were forced to play the Yankees six times while
the Mets got to kick around Baltimore and whoever else? How about the
Blue Jays? They were way better than the Cardinals when the final out
was called on the 2006 regular season. Better record, better team, you
name it. They just had the misfortune of being fed to the Yankees and
Red Sox 38 times. So the Jays don’t even approach the playoffs, and the
Cardinals get a shot at upset glory. While we’re at it, the Red Sox
might be the best example. Good enough to win two World Championships
in four years, good enough to elicit whispers of “dynasty?” around the
sports world. Imagine. They’ve only won their own division once in the
last thirteen years. And even that was on the strength of exactly one
swing game with the mighty Yankees. Point is, the schedule is huge. And
it gets more huge as the games get ticked off and teams make moves to
shore themselves up for the stretch run as we hit the last weeks of
August.

So with that said, the theme for the last twenty-three
Yankee games was to simply hang on. This looked to be their most
difficult stretch of the season. Three at Boston, three against
Minnesota, four against LA, three against Baltimore, four at Texas,
three more at LA, and three in Minnesota to close it. Twenty-three
brutal games. And as I said, it didn’t exactly go swimmingly. They were
10-7 in the first 17. Then they needed to grasp and clutch for some
wins while Boston and Tampa played the Royals and Seattle, over and
over. They didn’t. They lost 5 of 6, with the lone win coming in 12
innings. So now they’re a big pile of games behind Boston and a big
pile of games behind Tampa.

So what’s next. Tampa is going to
lose. Probably a lot. Tampa is not a good road team. They’ve been good
lately, but that’s mostly because they’ve played the Royals, the
Mariners, and the recently castrated A’s. They did a great job of
seizing on a bizarre schedule that featured a lopsided number of early
games at home. When they get back East they’re going to lose. They’re
going to lose to the Yankees and they’re going to lose to the Red Sox.
Especially since they’ve been riddled with injuries that aren’t going
to get better. The problem is they’re so far out in front it might not
matter. To the Yankees, anyway. I think the Red Sox are going to catch
them. The Red Sox aren’t going to lose any ground. They don’t play well
on the road either, but they’re a veteran team that has incredible
resilience and knows how to win. They’re loaded with tough outs and
they’re never out of a ballgame. But they’ve also been bitten by
injuries, which is going to keep them from the World Series, but I
think they win the East.

So can the Yankees catch the Rays and
everyone else in front of them for the Wildcard? They could. But it’s
going to be so difficult to make up all that ground. On paper they are
more talented than anybody outside of the Red Sox and the Angels. And
they, too, are a proud veteran team that always seems to find a gear to
get there. I think they need to get Hughes back healthy (I’m not even
going to mention Pavano, because that truly would be hilarious), and
they need to get Joba back healthy. And if they get the Ferocious Lion,
Hideki Matsui, back in any meaningful way, they could make a run. The
schedule includes lots of Boston (always difficult but never scary for
the Yankees this time of year), and three more against the Angels
(0-3). Other than that there are a lot of winnable games against
beatable teams.

Bottom line: unlikely. Not impossible, but unlikely.

We’re
probably looking at the Angels feeding on the hapless National League
to give Mike Scoscia his second piece of Orange County hardware.
Probably. But probably isn’t definitely. That’s why they play the
games, as the old saying goes. What I can say definitely, is that my
boys and I will be waving the flag in section 24 at the Stadium until
the last pitch is thrown. Right until the end.

And we’ll be rooting like hell for the Yankees to win the World Series.

Thanks to Geoff. Again, visit his blog, the Bleeding Pinstripes.

Rocky Road (Bleeding Pinstripes) – August 12th, 2008

Does this really need to be a big deal?

Red Sox and Yankees are fun, there’s no denying that. But is it really as big a deal as ESPN would have you believe? After watching the first 10 minutes of the 6p edition of Sportscenter I had had just about enough. I mean… is there really a bigger non-issue than A-Rod’s slide? First off, look at the play carefully. The dude was way, way, way off-balance. And maybe he intentionally threw himself off. But, the way I see it, he was trying to break up the double play, and somehow or another managed to get his body confused between a pop-up and a take-out slide. That’s why, if you keep watching after he "throws the elbow," as John Kruk so lovingly put it, you’ll see Alex stumble to the ground and fall flat on his backside. Kruk is, not surprisingly, still an idiot. No, the play was not dirty. Alex was not going into 2nd with the intention of giving Dustin an ugly bruise in the crotch.

And, you may say to yourself, "Dustin who? Who is this guy? How dare he talk smack about A-Rod!" Listen. If you actually heard what the little guy said in his post-game, he was not putting anybody down. He said just enough to keep from looking like a coward, but he also went out of his way to say that he was only doing what he had to for the team, etc, etc, etc. Dustin doesn’t care. Alex doesn’t care. Does Curt care? I guess we’ll see tonight. To my knowledge, he hasn’t yet commented on the issue on his personal soap box, the Don Patrick show. But I have this to say – if Curt does drill A-Rod tonight, which he won’t, I will view it as one of the lamest moves in baseball. If you hit the guy, you’re only playing into this whole ESPN-propagated rivalry hype. ESPN loves to make something out of nothing. But there are always a couple guys on every team that like it even more. A-Rod and Varitek fighting down the baseline? That was a heat of the moment, legit fight. Curt drilling A-Rod would just be stupid and childish. Hopefully he has enough sense to know that.

Lets see some comments boys…

The Mariners Payroll is really $107 Million?

Bavasi2The Mariners 2007 payroll amounts to $107 million. That’s the 6th highest in the league. That’s incredible. Now, before you start spouting about how the Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball, and they don’t win the World Series, understand this – I’m not saying that the Mariners should win the World Series. However, it would be nice if they could at least smell contention in one of the weakest divisions in the league. It would be nice if $107 million bought you, I don’t know, a .500 record? One could say that it’s early in the season. You can still turn things around, right? Well… we will get to that in a minute. Next comes the argument that your payroll is your investment. You have to wait for your investment to mature… unless it already is very, (33+ years) mature. I don’t see any of these working out, but for the sake of the previous two points, let’s look at last year. The Mariners had a payroll of $88 million, which was 11th in MLB, (but a mere $11 million from the 6-spot,) and finished 78-84, 15 games back of first place. In fact, the last time the Mariners finished closer than 15 games back was in 2003, when they won 93 games and finished only 3 games back of the A’s. So, with this information in hand, you would expect that the additional $19 million spent by GM Bill Bavasi would be spent on some pretty significant improvements to the club. You should be expecting some pretty good things from this team this year, right? Now let’s dig a little deeper.

For the sake of reference, let’s take a broader look at the 2007 Payroll Standings.
New York Yankees – $195 mil – Good bet to win their division.
Boston Red Sox – $143 mil – Should finish 2nd in a very difficult division.
NY Mets – $116 mil – Should win the division. If not, will win a lot of games finishing 2nd.
LA Angels – $109 mil – If they don’t win, they come close. Colon is making $16 mil.
LA Dodgers – $108 mil – Should take the weak NL West.
Seattle Mariners – $107 mil – Once again, a lock to finish last place in the weak AL West.

Does that $107 million now seem a bit more suspicious? Where, you may ask yourself, is this $107 million going?

Richie Sexson – $15.5 Million
This was a pretty bad waste of jack. Not crazy, but a little messed up. Sexson, who is 32 years old, has never finished with a batting average higher than .279 while playing in more than 60 games. The Mariners signed him after his 2004 season, in which he played 23 games and finished with a .233 average. In 2005, he batted .263, but hit 39 HR and knocked in 121 runs. Not bad. However, the most similar batter to Sexson that year was Paul Konerko, who made just $8.75 million. Even after he carried the White Sox to a World Series title, he was signed in 2006 for $12 million. He is also two years younger than Sexson. Alright, so now you can make the argument that it takes more money to bring a good player into a bad team. Kind of like reverse economies of scale. Maybe so. But still – in the good world, Sexson is signed for $11 million, tops. Make it an incentive-laden contract if you have to, but he simply isn’t worth that much.
Adrian Beltre – $12.9 Million
Wow. If Sexson snuck his hand into the cookie jar, then Beltre robbed the bank. Except, Beltre was coming off a good year in 2004. Well, we looked at why this was a bad decision (halfway down,) a year back. But basically, the Dodgers had been sitting on Beltre, waiting for him to develop for years and years. Finally, he goes nuts and hits 48 HR – nearly three times his previous average. Stats went berserk all across the board for this dude. Then, mysteriously enough, the Dodgers make no attempts to resign him when he demands big jack. Not taking the hint, the Mariners give the guy millions… and he falls back into his typical, .250 average, .300 OBP, 20 homer self. Wonderful. Way to blow the bank, Bavasi. In his defense, Beltre was coming off a huge year. One he has no chance of ever, ever repeating, but big nonetheless.
Ichiro Suzuki – $12.5 Million
No argument here. This team is nothing without Ichiro.
Jarrod Washburn – $9.9 Million
Another Beltre situation. Jarrod had an ERA of 4.43 in 2003, and 4.64 in 2004… but managed a 3.20 in 2005, after which he was promptly picked up by the Mariners. So there are two ways to look at this. Either he had two off years in ’03, and ’04, (and pretty much every year of his career besides 2002,) and the 2005 performance is the real Jarrod Washburn. Or, he had a weird year in 2005, and the other nine years are the real Jarrod. I would go with the second choice. Bavasi, needless to say, went with the first. Last year, Jarrod won 8 games and finished with an ERA of 4.67 for the Mariners.
Jeff Weaver – $8.3 Million
Has anybody, ever, in the history of the world, ever done less to earn more? Weaver had one good year in 2002, where he finished with an ERA under 4. He has been cashing in on that year, and on his supposed upside, or something, ever since. I’m pretty sure he has been making about $9 million everywhere he goes. And he keeps turning in these 4.20+ ERA years. Good going, Jeff.
Jose Vidro – $7.5 Million
$7.5 Million for a DH who has only hit more than 20 HR once, six years ago? A guy who’s only knocked in more than 65 runs twice? Who is also 32 years old? According to baseball-reference.com, the most statistically similar batter to Vidro is this guy, Todd Walker. Todd just got called up from the AAA club to the big league Athletics on April 1st, and is making $450,000 this year. So you over payed by $7 million. No big deal, right? Actually. that’s 7 million dollars. Take Travis Hafner. He’s a great guy to build a team around. Young, good guy, seems like a tough worker, puts up great numbers. He’s making $4.5 million. Of course, when his contract runs out he’ll cash in for at least $12 mill. But if you’re looking for value…
Miguel Batista – $6.0 Million
Yeah. That Miguel Batista. The one with the career 4.54 ERA.
Felix Hernandez – $420,000
Felix is 2-1. He has 18 K’s in 17.1 IP. He has an ERA of 1.56 and a WHIP of .69. However, after pitching just .1 Innings against the Twins and giving up 3 runs, he was yanked… straight onto the DL. Understand that this man was responsible for two of your five wins. So, what happens now?

Now Felix should be back by May 4th. But still… You’ve got J.J. Putz, ($2.7 million,) who has yet to get a save. And by the way, is Putz really the best name for a closer? In fact, he has yet to pitch in a save situation. Furthermore, the Mariners are now on a six game losing streak. They’ve been losing games all week!

Now, how about your boy Igawa? He gave up a monster blast to Baldelli that, "landed 20 rows deep," according to CBS’s Sergio Gonzalez. He gave up 7 runs to an awful Devil Rays team. See guys, this is what I meant when I said that this rotation wouldn’t work out. Seven runs to the D Rays? If there’s a team in the AL that you can just sit back and mail it in against, it’s the Devil Rays and the Royals. When you play these guys, you take your day off. ArodballOr you drop your appeal on your two-game suspension. Or you play around with your lineup. But you don’t send out your scheduled starter and get 7 runs dropped on you. Bright side? A-Rod had two more home runs. Good because that gives him 14 HR and 1,300 RBI in 18 games. Bad because, well, it’s not really bad at all, except that we don’t want him to use himself up. He’s got more HR than quite a few teams do right now. Do you understand, seriously, how insane this guy is right now? It’s like he’s playing a video game. He’s on god mode. And, he is trying to steal Jeter’s boyfriends. Honestly, I could hit maybe 90 HR with A-Rod when I played a full season of MVP 2004 for X-Box. I could also win 30 games with Roy Halladay and a .32 ERA. I was very good, and it was very easy. Alex is on pace to beat those numbers. Now, on pace really means, "isn’t going to happen," in April. But still… I believe he has now broken the record for HR and RBI in April. And there are still six days left! Yes and, regarding the picture… got A-Rod to sign that in 2005. And the lower right is a Woody Williams one. And of course, The Kid (when he was with the Mariners, how fitting) in the left. And in back is a picture of Jeter making a very Jeterian dive into the stands during that Sox game back in July of ’04. I don’t know if I would call it a shrine, but…

Braves v. Mets, Yankees v. Sox

Wow. Watching the new Yankee battery of Karstens and Nieves is just not doing it for me. But more on that in a few minutes.

Anyone see last night’s (Friday) Braves v. Mets? I was excited about this for a long time, for many reasons. First, the fantasy implications. I’ve got Jose Reyes, Brian McCann, and Tim Hudson. Reyes and Hudson are, of course, on fire. They’re both playing out of their skulls. So that was the second reason. The third reason was that, since TBS, ESPN, and FOX are the only channels I get that actually televise baseball, I would be able to watch this game. Now, back to my boys. Reyes is leading MLB with 4 triples, (remember when Steve Phillips predicted Reyes would hit 30 triples, and Corey Patterson would hit 40HR with 140RBI?) Reyes has 2 HR, is 9 for 11 in SB attempts, and has an OBP of .456. Yikes. And Hudson is an even better story. After he left Oakland prior to the 2005 season, he cooled down some. Especially in 2006. Which was disappointing, because he is one of my favorite guys. But this year he is insane – you just have to see the whole line for yourself. The point is, he is 3-0, with an ERA of .62, and 19 K’s in 29 IP. And of course, he was looking even better in person last night. All his off speed stuff was working perfectly. Guy had a perfect game going for 3.2 innings, (almost meaningless, of course,) and a no hitter going till the bottom of the 5th. He left before the 9th inning, (?) with a shutout, having thrown 107 pitches. Personally, I think they could’ve sent him out for one more, seeing as he had a 7 run lead and all. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Beltran, Delgado, and Wright were due up. Yeah, that was probably it. Now, I know that was only his fourth start of the season. And just like A-Rod won’t hit 120 HR this season, Huddy won’t finish with an ERA of 0.62. But a good start doesn’t hurt, and while I’m not going to say that the old Huddy is back, I’m certainly hoping. Anyway, for the 9th inning, the Braves sent out the arsonist Rafael Soriano and his 7.36 ERA. Needless to say, he poured the gasoline, lit the match, and fanned the flames. Braves still come out ahead, 7-3.

Interesting event here. Home Plate ump Bob Davidson, (we’re back to the Yankees v. Red Sox,) who I’m sure we are all familiar with, was miked for today’s game. Davidson went to give this little Bostonian Child a ball, but not before making him raise his hand and take an oath to never yell at an umpire. One fan at a time, eh Bob?

Now, I’ve asked before, but I have yet to receive an answer. When did Mark Teixeira become so bad? He started out last season pretty crappy, but he (almost) made up for it in the 2nd half. Dude is just 27 years old. That’s prime time. Finished last year with 33HR and 110 RBI, which isn’t half bad. Down 10 HR, 30 RBI, and .20 Avg points from 2005, but not a terrible year. Before the All-Star Break he had just 9 HR in 353 AB. After the game, which he did not participate in, he had 24 HR in 275 AB. So far this year, he has 2 RBI and just 1 extra base hit – a double – in 16 games. Dude is batting .214… but his OBP is .343, with 10 walks. Maybe he’ll step it up after the All-Star game again? Who knows… he’s on my fantasy team as well, so any thoughts on this would be welcome.

Back again to the Yankee game. The FOX TV crew is promoting Ortiz’s new book, written with Tony Massarotti, and they claim that the most interesting part of the book are the stats. He hit something like 58 HR in 6 years with the Twins, and was released because of his lack of power production. And then, he comes to Boston and hits 31, 41, 47, 54 HR the following years. Really? You guys think that’s interesting? So do I. Just a little PS – Tony wrote another book with John Harper, called "A Tale of Two Cities – The 2004 Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry and the War for The Pennant." Excellent book, and strongly, strongly recommended. Well, after the FOX crew stopped talking about this, Ortiz went and jerked another out of the yard. This puts the Sox up 7-4. Well, after this Rocky and I took a nice trip to the range to decompress. So that was the last part of the game that I saw. But after looking at the box score it looks like that was pretty much the entire game. Ugh. This is what I meant when I said that we’d have trouble with this rotation.

Leave your thoughts. And another thing. BHGM logged it’s 50,000th hit a few days ago. That’s in about 13 months. And BHGM itself turns 2 on April 28th. So that’s that.

Yankees Pitching – and a freak injury flashback

I started this post a few days ago, so it’s a little behind but it’s still mostly relevant. Finals are up on us in a couple weeks, so it’s getting busy here. So bear with me.

I caught a lot of flak from some of you guys after I wrote about how the Yankees needed to beef up their rotation if they expected to make the Series this year. I’m not going to say I told you so, but seriously. Now that Moose and Pavano are on the DL, the rotation stacks up like this: Andy Pettitte, Kei Igawa, and Darrell Rasner. I guess some kid named Chase Wright just got called up. Now, I don’t follow the Yankees farm system at all, so it’s possible he’s a AAA stud, I would have no idea. But I am going to say that I have never heard of him, and that is because he has yet to make his MLB debut. Now, I know it is ludicrous to suggest that we are going to be riding Chase and Rasner into the playoffs, and I’m not trying to. I know we’ll get healthy at some point. But what I am saying is, even when this rotation does get healthy, is it really that lights out? I’m not sure it is. Furthermore, people keep dismissing these health problems, and saying that it doesn’t count against the rotation, (or the team’s,) strength. If these were freak injuries – a pitcher hit on the elbow with a line drive, etc – they would be correct. However, that’s not what’s happening. These guys are getting hurt just by playing the game as they would normally play it. They’re not getting felled by crashing head first into the outfield fence, (Aaron Rowand.) They’re not getting smashed by their own teammates, (D. Lee.) I would suggest following that link, because it’s hilarious. But here’s the summary, or rather, the lead-in:

Derrek Lee – All-Star and team leader – and last-reliever-standing
Scott Eyre were both injured. In the same week? Yes. Same game? Yes.
Same inning? Yes. Same play? Yes. One thing if they did it to each
other, but they didn’t. Imagine having nearly a quarter of your players
on the field go down within seconds.

That was really one of the saddest moments in Cub baseball. Additionally, simply because I’m in the mood for it, I have to bring up another classic post: "I guess Operation Shutdown also involves Cocaine." There’s no reason at all for this, I just wanted to bring it up.

In any case, I would like some of you guys to explain this to me. How can we expect this rotation – and the rest of the team – to simply hold up forever? I would really appreciate it if someone could give me a good, solid, reason why we shouldn’t trade for some up and coming pitchers. We’ve got offense to give. So why not make a deal that sends, say, Abreu out for two or three promising young arms? I know you have to wait on the development, and it’s anything but a sure fire thing – you may end up getting nothing for your investment. But you’ve got to end the cycle at some point.

Thoughts and suggestions, please. And no quote from the Office today. Sorry guys! Oh, oh. One quick note. So today is apparently the 2nd Birthday of MLBlogs. And I’m going to be a lot nicer on this one than I was last year. The "it’s only one year. Move on, and keep your eye on the prize," line didn’t go over too well. Understandable. I must have been in a bad mood. Tough. Anyway, have a little faith guys! I really appreciate the readers who are still sticking around and reading, despite the dearth of good material of late. Sometime soon, I want to talk about why the heck Mark Teixeira can’t produce. Seriously, what is with this dude? So leave your preemptive comments on that now as well. Hey, comment on whatever you want!

Dude, it’s time for a Yankee post

Rasner_1 Yeah, so we’ve been kinda busy lately. And I haven’t been paying close attention to pretty much anything. I’m pathetically behind, I know. Bear with me. Now, I’ve taken a look at our boys over the last few days, and I think that any realistic fan will admit that we have to make some changes if we are going to get anywhere this year. I mean… seriously. Darrell Rasner? Who is this dude? And I wish you guys could have heard me when I found out Pavano was opening for us this year. I flipped out. And it doesn’t matter that Wang is just waiting to bust out of the gate for us, and you know why? Because he is still Chien-Ming Wang. And he was on pace to open for us before he blew a hammy. And that’s what gets me, and I’m going to say this right now – unless the Yanks make some changes in this rotation, they are not going to the World Series. And maybe some of you guys are going to hit me for that, but you know I’m right. And if you don’t, and you think Wang, Pavano, and Mussina are going to carry you to a championship, you’re an idiot. I say this because fans, and apparently those inside the Yankees organization, need to speak up. All your stars are getting up there on Father Time, so if you’re Cashman, you have to make something happen now.

I think that part of the problem with this team, of late, is the fact that we don’t have a stable of steady horses. And I don’t just mean in the rotation. What we need right now is a sports psychologist. Or maybe just a social psychologist. Someone who can explain to me why a team of stars can perform worse than a team of moderately performing players. Perhaps it has something to do with motivation. If you’re already making tens of millions for a season of play, maybe it’s tougher to set aside all that ego and pull it together as a team. I have no idea. But it’s not a chance thing anymore – the Yankees are not the best team in the American League right now. Either way, this team is not going to shock anyone in the post-season this year. So c’mon guy’s, lets step it up. Unfortunately, the only thing Yankee fans can really do is stop attending games, buying merchandise, etc. And that really makes no sense. So let’s just hope the big guys like to win as much as we do. We need to get some young blood – good, young blood – into this team. That takes time, I understand. So let’s get going.

Meanwhile, enough of that… we all know that. How about last night? 10-1, good guys. Pettitte had a nice outing. I say nice because the guy went 6 innings, that’s good. Four hits, three K’s, one walk. One problem. Dude chucked 96 over the plate in those 6 innings. 36 balls to 60 strikes. But I’ll chalk that up to beginning of the year jitters. And this is what needs to happen more often now – we get a guy to go in there for 6 innings, let the big boys throw a few – or in this case, 7 – runs up on the board, and then you’re straight. You can’t lose if you play like that. Actually, you can. But it’s tough. And how ’bout big man? Dude’s got six shots already, and we’re seven games in. Just for old time’s sake, remember when he went for the Home Run cycle last year? Had a grand slam, 3 run jack, a 2 run jack, and came about 5 feet from a solo shot. I’m tired of hearing about how New York hates Alex. Dude produces. He’s got problems with the clutch, but they’re just confidence problems. How the best player in the world, or at least the former best best player, can have confidence issues is beyond me. But whatever. When he gets on a roll, he really rolls. Or something…

And how about this. As we know, I have a long streak of breaking up no-hitters. And it happened again tonight. This one was uncanny. Followed The Kid’s bid for the no-no against Boston for about 2 hours online, only because he was pitching for my brother’s fantasy team this week. And we get pretty worked up about these family fantasy match ups. Finally, it’s the bottom of the eighth and I figure I have a shot of seeing something happen. So I look at the TV listings online, and I see it’s on ESPN2. I flip it on and I hear, literally, "He’s 21 years old. And of course, you know Felix was thinking about the no-hitter, because it’s human nature. Here’s a look at the hit that J.D. Drew…" That makes me angry, because I know that no matter how long I live, I will never see a no-hitter. Ever. I didn’t even know about the last no-hitter until the day after it happened, when I checked MLB.com during class. It’d just be nice, one day.

THIS JUST IN:
The Moose just popped a hammy. Seriously, what’s the deal? These hamstrings are popping like a bunch of big bright balloons at the fair. At least partly due to the cold weather, we have to hope. Which doesn’t explain The Moose, since that was an indoor pop. Or Wang’s, since that happened in spring training, right? So I guess we can only explain Zilla’s this way. But I tried to justify it. Shoot.

So that’s three posts in a row. I think we’re back on track. Welcome back guys, and now that I’m back, I want to see you back too. Let’s get some comments in here. And we conclude with our quote from the Office:

Abraham Lincoln once said that, "If you are a racist, I will attack you with the North," and those are the principles I carry with me in the workplace.
-Michael Scott

Back – For Now

I just (at 10pm) returned from Chicago. I have spend nine hours in a pickup truck, with 700 pounds of glass in the bed, which was covered by a sail tarp, which was further covered by a light, 5×5 foot piece of wood. And then, riding along the wonderful parking lot that is I-90, we had to stop. Suddenly. Which caused the aforementioned 700lb of glass to come sliding forward, right into the back of the cab. I guess we were lucky that it didn’t go through. Anyway… in the end this whole ‘going to Chicago’ thing just became a 5-day, 55-hour long shift. Anyway, caught some Sportscenter this morning, because instead of going to Denny’s, I… watched TV. It wasn’t that I wasn’t hungry, because I most certainly was. Rather, I stepped out of my hotel room at 6.00am to find that the U.S. Army had invaded Denny’s and established a defensive perimeter surrounding the building. I mean, they really took care of business – HUMVEE’s, deuce-and-a-half’s, guards, the whole deal. I think they were really hungry too.

Now, I heard that the Royals won. Apparently Sportscenter heard this too, because they ran a pretty lengthy piece on it. Hilarious, really. Now, it went something like this. Royals "Starter" Kyle Snyder went 2 innings, giving up 9 runs on 10 hits. Ok, only 5 of them were earned. But by then, you’re splitting hairs. The pot is calling the kettle black. Does it really matter who was worse – the gloves or the arm? No, not really. Anyway, that puts the game at 11-4 in the middle of the third inning. The Royals had lost their previous nine home games. See as they’ve won a total of 6 road games – a marked improvement over the two they had won last time I checked – we can just assume that they hadn’t done a lot of winning of late. In fact, they were 4-21 prior to Thursday’s game. Which was, actually, an improvement over their previous pace – they now have a winning percentage of .271, which is slightly higher than the last time I took note, when it was below .250. Anyway, back to Thursday’s game. It’s 11-4 in the middle of the third, Royals on bottom. Then they score 4 runs. Then one more. Then another. All of the sudden, the Rangers went from up 7 in the third to up one in the 6th. Then, in the bottom of the 7th, the Royals drop a 6-spot on the Rangers. Just like that, the Rangers go from up 7 to down 5. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Hmm. Looks like the Rangers may not have fixed those pitching problems after all. But wait! The Rangers are not done yet. They put up one run in the 8th. Final score, KC 16, Texas 12. Now, there was more to it. Apparently, David DeJesus – him of sorely missed career numbers like a .280 career average, 16 HR in 855 AB’s, etc – went 3-5. Four RBI’s. Congrats, David. Now, I’m going to conclude on the same note that Sportscenter did. Manager Buddy Bell said something along the lines of, "Yeah, I don’t know where that came from." But don’t get too excited – your team is still 15-43.

This is great for me. I’ve talked in length about the Kerry Wood/Mark Prior information problem. Namely, Larry "The Magician" Rothschild, who has apparently sheltered Prior and Wood in some sort of Spring Training limbo/purgatory while the rest of the team struggles through the lost cause of the 2006 Season. Anyway, here’s the good part. Kerry Wood came back from the DL, and before I could even talk about it, he went back on the DL. Now, let me say something very important. Something that I’ve said here before, but that nobody seems to have remembered. Kerry Wood struck out like 20 Astros or something in 1998, right? Ok, great for him. In the last like, three years or so, he hasn’t done a thing. He’s an average pitcher, but he’s never healthy. I’m not saying Cub fan should throw him away, because he’s got gas – if he ever gets better. I’m just saying, you’re going to have to give him, say, a whole season before he gets ‘good’ again. Chances are, he won’t last that long. At least when Prior is healthy, he’s dominating.

The Tigers are something like 3-7 over their last 10. And Todd Jones is still the closer, but mainly because he is being called the closer. It’s one of those weird situations where some pitcher is being paid closer money, so he is getting in on closer situations. Mike McClary at Daily Fungo voiced a good opinion on his 6th Podcast about this issue. He can tell you more than I can, frankly, since I haven’t been able to see a single detailed game account in the last 2 weeks. But basically, Todd is blowing games left and right. He allowed three runs in the eighth to drop the Tigers from a 7-7 tie with the Jays to a 10-7 loss. You can expect that to be one of the last such appearances he’ll make… more on this issue later, I hope.

I said a few weeks ago that, with Gary Sheffield coming back, the Yankees needed to deal for a Pitcher, not an outfielder. Right now, it no longer looks like Sheffield is a lock to come back next year. Therefore, dealing for an outfielder is starting to make sense… and, as usual, we’re not hearing any specific rumors – which means that, any day now, we may wake up to find Barry Bonds trotting out to Left field, or something horrific like that. Remember when Alan Embree came out of the bullpen in a Yankees game last year? Heck, even the guys in the booth were shocked. I mean, no one knew what was going on. Embree was kind of like last year’s Terrence Long. I think Embree described it best, saying that he felt like he had parachuted behind enemy lines. Fascinating… can you imagine that? Anyway, does it make sense for the Yankees to deal for another outfielder now? I think that the two needs are about equal – we should trade for a pitcher or a hitter, whichever opportunity presents itself at a lower cost.

Chris Young has been on fire lately. I wanted to call everyone’s attention to that fact. 5/30: 8IP, 1H, 2BB, 8K’s. 6/04: 8IP, 2H, 1BB, 4K’s. 6/09: 6IP, 5H, 3BB, 12K’s. Let’s review – 24IP, 8H, 6BB’s, 24K’s. Not bad. One problem, however. The opponents. Colorado. Pittsburg. Florida. AAA team. AA team. AA team. But still, as I’ve said a million times here before, a bad pitcher can’t do amazing stuff against a bad team, if he’s still bad. But, you’re also gonna have your mediocre pitchers do amazing stuff against amazing teams. Like Don Larsen. You know how it goes.

That’s it for tonight. It’s midnight, which is about 4 hours later than I would like to be up. Tomorrow is my first day off in 16 days. I’m very happy about that… I’ll see you guys later. By the way… I’m really so tired right now that I have no idea what I’m saying, so I’m sorry about that.