Friday, May 15, 2009


I never meant to call you a turdburger, Melky. I take it all back.

Game 35: #3

Don't worry, Phil. They're not booing you, they are just saying

Game 35: #2

Greetings from Section 214a

Game 35: #1

A smattering of boos, but a largely positive reception for A-Rod.

Game 35: This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)

Tonight begins the longest homestand for the Yankees this year. They enter at .500 and play four against the Twins, and three apiece against the Orioles and Phillies without a day off. It seems like a decent time for the Yanks to start racking up some wins because none of these teams are playing particularly well. 

Game number thirty five game pits two young pitchers who not too long ago were absolutely untouchable within their respective organizations. In 2006, Francisco Liriano burst on the scene, pitching 121 innings to a 2.16 ERA and striking out 144 with a WHIP of exactly 1.000. He was seen as the heir apparent to Johan Santana's throne in Minnesota, but was sidelined with Tommy John surgery, missed the entire 2007 season and only pitched 76 innings in 2008. 

He started off this year with four consecutive losses, and was sporting an ERA of 7.06. Two of his last three starts have been solid and he's managed to drop that number down to 5.75. Although he's yet to find stride this year, he's got the potential to be dominant as he showed by striking out 9 in 7 1/3 innings against the Tigers on May 4th

When Liriano was setting the MLB on fire in 2006, Phil Hughes was still in the minors, but considered the best pitching prospect in the Yankees system and near the very top in all of baseball. Coincidentally, Hughes' best outing this year came against Edwin Jackson and the Tigers as well, just one turn in the rotation before Liriano's. 

Hughes has had neither the sustained major league dominance nor severity of injuries that Liriano has, but tonight they find themselves in the same place. 

I'll be up at the Stadium this evening, either picture posting from my iPhone or Twittericizing. It's Friday, so chances are at some point I'm going to Stop Making Sense

Home - is where I want to be,
But I guess I'm already there,
I come home - she lifted up her wings,
Guess that this must be the place,
I can't tell one from another,
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time Before we were born,
If someone asks, this is where I'll be.

A-Rod Is... (Dramatic Pause)

"Keep focusing on my magical three run home run while I proceed to go 2 for 20"

Could you imagine the media vultures circling over his head if he didn't hit that homer back in Baltimore? The stories in the tabolids would be telling us how he came back too early from his hip surgery, or he wasn't mentally ready to deal with the media attention. Instead, with one swing, he bought himself a free pass good for at least six games without intense scrutiny of his performance. 

Tonight is a different story. I'll be at the Stadium and it will be interesting to see how he is received. I didn't boo Chien Ming Wang when he got shellacked and I'm not going to boo A-Rod either. Do you think other people are going to? The Twins are in town, so it's not like they are going to have an overwhelming fan presence. I'm guessing there will be a mostly positive reception in his first at bat and from then on it will be solely based on his performance. If he goes 0-5 like he did last night, they'll be booing him by the 4th at bat. 

Eeeeey, Gino Castignoli...

...You're a friggin' Mush...

Remember Gino? Well, he is the jerkoff who buried David Ortiz's jersey in the New Stadium last April. 

How did that work out for you, guy? It did fetch $175,100 for the Jimmy Fund, but I'm pretty sure that's not what you had in mind. 

It's not to say that the New Stadium has been all cupcakes and ponies to this point, but after yesterday afternoon's performance it looks like Ortiz's jersey being buried in cement is quite the apt metaphor. In 12 innings against the Angels, he went 0-7 with 3 K's and left 12 men on base in a game they lost by one run. He's hitting .220/.333/.317 (67 OPS+) on the season and has fewer homers and a lower slugging percentage than Brett Gardner.

Sorry if I triple un-jinx him by writing this, but we might as well enjoy it while we can.  

By A Thread

Is it possible for a one run game to have been closer than the score indicated? Neither team scored more than one run in an inning, nor did they lead by more than one. It wasn't a protracted, tense affair but there were close breaks in either direction and this one could have easily gone either way. The starting pitchers both turned in solid performances, the difference was that by going eight innings, Sabathia only had to turn the ball over to Mariano Rivera, while Brian Tallet was pulled after allowing a walk and a single in the 7th.

The Jays' starter had only thrown 91 pitches and was in line for the win, but Jason Frasor blew the save and Jesse Carlson was tagged with the "L". Tallet gets an A for effort and a M+ for an excellent 'stashe piece. It looked like someone travelled back into 1986, plucked him out of a truck stop in Decatur and said, "Hey pal, can you throw a fastball?" 

Come on, if someone told you that Brain Tallet had driven some truck is his day, would you be that surprised?

Our own formerly mustachioed lefty ran into a scary moment in the first when Aaron Hill ripped a line drive right back up the middle towards him. Maybe it's just because he is such a large individual, but it seems as though this has happened to Sabathia more than his fair share of times this year. Helped out by an instinctual reaction, CC's glove ended up right in the path of the ball, narrowly missing his pitching hand and elbow.
He had it for a second, dropped it, but still made the throw to first in time.  

Sabathia wasn't exactly sharp, issuing 4 walks, but did a good job of limiting the damage. He allowed a HR to Yankee-killer Alex Rios in the fourth inning, and then ran into some trouble in the fifth. With one out, Sabathia had already walked Scott Rolen, who was doubled home by Rod Barajas. The next batter, John McDonald, hit a bouncing single up the middle, which figured to score a run. Gardner fielded and fired to the plate where Francisco Cervelli made a lunging ass-tag (pictured up top) on the slow-footed Barajas for the second out of the inning.

The play at the plate is one of the most exciting events in baseball. Only if an outfielder robs a hitter of a multi-run homer is there more at directly stake. There was both a run and an out on the line which would have been more than enough to alter the outcome of this game. Sabathia got Marco Scutaro to ground out an end the inning, diffusing the threat and keeping the score at 2-1. 

The Yankees tied it up in the 7th inning on a little squib to right field by Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui hit a home run over a giant picture of Brain Tallet in right center, which would prove the be the game-deciding run. 

Coming into the series, if the Yankees were offered a deal that would have allowed them to take two out of three, I think they would have gladly accepted. It was a respectable (if predictable) showing. They got undressed by Roy Halladay, then rocked Scott Richmond and finally got a solid performance from their ace. They return home tonight to begin a ten game homestand. Their mini-Divisional road trip ended up at 4-2, so I guess that all is well that ends well.