Monday, July 6, 2009

Too Little, Too Late

If you missed the game today and saw the final score, you might have thought this was a tightly contested and compelling game. You would be wrong.

As you can see above, even when the Yanks pulled within one run in the ninth inning, they still had a very slim chance (10-15%) of coming away with the victory. They didn't go quietly on a getaway day, but for a while it looked like that might be the outcome.

Joe Girardi was ejected in the first inning after Derek Jeter was caught stealing at third base with no one out. Jeter walked, advanced to second on a balk and made a questionable decision to try and take third. Although the throw beat him to the bag, replays showed Jeter to be safe and Girardi was tossed when he started wagging his finger at third base umpire Marty Foster. Unlike four out of the five times he's been ejected in his tenure with the Yankees, the team did not end up winning this one.

Andy Pettitte sat the first five Blue Jays down in order, but then issued a walk to Kevin Millar. Jose Bautista and Rod Barajas both added two out singles which in tandem plated the first run of the game. In the top of the third, Pettitte again got to two outs but Alex Rios lofted a three run homer just out of the reach of Melky Cabrera into the left field seats to put the Jays ahead 4-0.

Ricky Romero wasn't dominant today (6.1IP, 7H, 3BB, 5K), but he held the Yankees down admirably with some help from his defense, namely Jose Bautista. Leading off the bottom half of the third, Brett Garnder sliced a ball out to left field line which looked like it would drop in. However, Bautista sprinted and barely made the catch, saving what would have surely been a triple by the speedy Gardner. In the fourth inning, Robby Cano took a pitch deep to left-center, but Bautista made the catch against the wall and threw the ball back to the infield to double off A-Rod.

The Yanks didn't get on the board until this 5th inning when Eric Hinske yanked a ball of the fencing of the right field foul pole in his first game as a Yankee. Starting in RF, he went 2-4 with an RBI and a HBP. Not a bad debut at all.

Pettitte came out for the seventh inning having thrown 96 pitches. He faced two more batters, gave up his second homer of the day, walked Marco Scutaro and didn't both to record an out in the process. Brian Bruney replaced Pettitte but only added to the fire, giving up two doubles, a walk and two runs before being replaced by David Robertson. Robertson threw 1 1/3 perfect innings, lowering his ERA on the season to 2.66 in causing me to wonder why he has only 2/3 IP in high leverage situations this year.

The leverage got progressively higher in this game as the Yanks added two runs in the seventh inning to bring the score to 7-3. Ricky Romero was pulled in the 7th with one out and the bases loaded. Brandon League came on and allowed two inherited runners to score before finally getting Mark Teixeira and A-Rod to strike out on a grand total of six pitches. League might have cost Romero a few points on his ERA, but left him with a chance to win the game.

The Yanks had a chance to pull closer in the 8th. Derek Jeter walked with two outs and the bases loaded to make it 7-4, but Nick Swisher swung at the very next pitch and popped it up to end the threat.

Jonathan Albaldejo added a scoreless inning in the 9th which kept the Yanks within striking distance. Teix and A-Rod once again recorded quick outs, but the Yanks mounted a two out rally. Jorge Posada singled, Cano doubled and Matsui drove them both in with a single that dropped in front of Vernon Wells, who had been playing deep in CF.

The game was in the hands of the newest Yankee, Hinske. Facing Jason Frasor, the Jays' closer, he ran the count to 3-1. The fifth pitch of the at bat was well out of the strike zone, but Hinske fouled it off. The sixth was a high slider, even further out of the zone, but this one resulted in a swing and a miss. Game over. 7-6. Close but no cigar.

We didn't get the 4 game sweep we had hoped for, but 3-1 is nothing to complain about. The Yanks head to Minnesota having distanced themselves from the Jays (6.5 games up) and the Rays (5 games up). They trail the Sox, who welcome Oakland to Fenway tonight for the first of a three game series, by a game and a half.

Game 82 Live Chat

Welcome to the chat. When you make your first comment it might take a moment to show up since we have to approve them and it doesn't always refresh instantly. Hang in there, we'll let you in. If you are having problems, my email is on the side of the site.

Game Chat Reminder

Just a quick reminder that we will be chatting live from the internets during the game today. It's the Monday after a holiday weekend, do you really feel like getting things done? Of course not, you've got the rest of the week for that.

We are going to use Cover It Live, which enables us to import the Twitter feeds of the beat writers who are too cool to actually chat with us and upload pictures among other cool stuff. Should be fun. Stop back at 1:00. It will be 10 times more entertaining than Kim Jones' chat, I promise.

Game 82: (Only) Halfway To Everywhere

It's a getaway day matinee as the Yanks play their first Monday game since topping the Rays on June 8th. That win put the Yanks up one game in the AL East. Today they enter down a game as they go for the sweep against the Jays. Unfortunately, the Cablevision/Optimum in market live streaming doesn't start until Wednesday; it'd be awfully nice to ease our way back into the work week while watching today's game from the office, cubicle, etc. I have tickets for today, but employment responsibilities will keep me from attending. So once again it'll be GameCast from the cubicle. Commiserate with us as we live chat it starting at one.

Andy Pettitte goes for the Yanks. The thirty-seven year-old lefty is coming off his best start yet at the new Stadium, going seven strong innings of two run ball against Seattle last Wednesday. He beat Toronto on May 13th in one of his bend-but-don't-break starts, giving up two runs - just one earned - over six innings, despite allowing nine baserunners.

Southpaw rookie Ricky Romero takes the mound for the Jays. He's been very impressive at 6-3 with a 2.85 ERA (151 ERA+). Romero's been lights out over his last two starts, a combined fifteen shutout innings, six hits and five walks against fourteen Ks. He's turned in six consecutive quality starts, going 4-1 in that stretch.

Eric Hinske will start in right field, making his Yankee debut. It's a curious choice to start him against a lefty as he's hit .221/.298/.363 against them in his career. Lefty Johnny Damon gets the day off; Teix gets a half day as the DH as Nick Swisher mans first.

The Yanks have won three in a row and seven of eight. They've won three straight series, and are playing with house money in today's game, having already taken the first three of this four game set. They have the third best record in baseball, lead the AL Wild Card by 2.5 games, and despite going 0-8 against the team ahead of them, they are just a game out of first in baseball's toughest division. They lead the league in runs per game and despite some mediocre numbers, the pitching staff is as good as it's been in years.

And while all of that is encouraging, the mathematical second half of the season starts today. There's much still to be done; we're only halfway to everywhere.

I'm thinking positivity
This is possible
They can say right or wrong
Never hear this song
Or look you in the eye
I'm getting rid of negativity
Lose the loss in me
Call it equality
Good luck is a frame of mind
Call it humankind
And say it's destiny

I'm only halfway to everywhere

Joba Attending The Ian Kennedy School Of Media Relations

Yes, I just made fun of Ken Davidoff's column, but if you can get past the "OMG" in the first sentence, he's making a good overarching point. Here's what Joba said after his performance last night (emphasis mine):
"It's a win at the end of the day," Chamberlain told reporters. "I didn't throw well at all, but at the end of the day, 10 to 8, the Yankees win. There's really not much to be mad about.


"I did a good job today [of attacking hitters], I felt like," he said. "They're great hitters. I threw good pitches and they put good swings on it. They've been doing it all year. They're going to continue to do it.
(Until Alfredo Aceves comes into the game, of course...)

Yes, a win is always the bottom line, but there's "not much" to be mad about? How about your shitty performance coming the day after a 12 inning game which had obviously taxed the bullpen? What about being staked to a 4-0 lead and pissing it away? Perhaps the fact that you needed 86 pitches to get 11 outs? No one else on the Yankees has anything to be mad about because they put together a heroic effort to save your ass after you were already in the showers. But you? You should be a little ticked off.

Now here's what Ian Kennedy said last August 8th after getting blasted by the Angels two days before he was optioned back to AAA:
"I felt like I made some good pitches," he said. "I'm not too upset about it. What was it, a bunch of singles and three doubles? I'm just not real upset about it. I'm just going to move on and I've already done that."
As fans, we are disappointed when a starting pitcher has a poor outing, so the natural inclination would be to want the players to be unhappy with themselves as well. We want them to take responsibility for their mistakes or at least acknowledge that they messed up. There's no sign of any of that in either of these snippets.

Mariano Rivera is constantly lauded for his "short memory" and how he doesn't let one bad performance negatively impact his next one. The difference is that Rivera faces the media after a blown save or a loss and owns up to his poorer efforts.

Is it Joba's attitude that's keeping him from turning in quality starts? Is it like a 12-Step Program where you first have to admit that you have a problem before you can address it? I don't know, but his quotes certainly aren't good signs.

I still don't think he's boring to watch. But frustrating? You better believe it.

Like, No, SRSLY!1!!!



Good morning Fackers. It was a nice, long holiday weekend that saw the Yanks go 3-0 (we won't count Thursday night as part of the weekend). Now you're back at work; ain't that a kick in the junk?

Well let's start the week off with some good news. Give yourselves a pat on the back. The All-Star rosters were announced yesterday, and our call to action last week was successful. Mark Teixeira overcame a last day deficit to overtake our friend Youk as the starting first baseman. Youkilis still made the team as a reserve, and deservedly so.

Congratulations are also in order for Derek Jeter, who was the leading AL vote getter for the first time in his career. It will be the tenth All-Star appearance for the Captain, as it will be for the wonder that is Mo.

It's Getaway Day Matinee Monday. Back with the preview shortly.