Good morning, Fackers. It's going to be another slow one around here today so here are a couple things of interest for your perusal:
There will be a preview for the game later but in the interest of full disclosure, Matt is traveling today and I'm not sure I'll be able to get to anything else before then. Let's face it, the Yanks have lost 4 out of 5 and there aren't too many exciting things to talk about anyway.Something I forgot to include in last night's recap: when sitting in the dugout during the 5th inning, Javier Vazquez nearly got hit with foul ball by Nick Markakis. It ended up narrowly missing him, but he still caught got on the ricochet and said that it's going to leave a mark.Here's hopeful forecast for Javy from Paul Bourdett at FanHouse:Even his FIP -- which assumes he'll continue to give up more than two homers per nine innings -- is almost three runs lower than his current ERA. That's still not very good, but it does go to show that in addition to being off the mark, Vazquez has been exceptionally unlucky. His strand rate sits around 57 percent (about 15 percent lower than the league average) and his BABIP is an inflated .342 (career .309). Javy's always given up his fair share of homers, but his HR/FB percentage (18.5 percent) is more than seven points higher than his career mark (11.2 percent). In short, he couldn't be this bad over his next four turns if he tried.An interesting tidbit from George King in the Post:Once in each of the three games against the Angels, hitters in the lower part of the order bunted with runners on first and second and no outs. Brett Gardner popped up, Nick Swisher was successful and Curtis Granderson was, too, but he was hitting eighth and that left it up to No. 9 hitter Francisco Cervelli, who walked.It was kind of surprising to me that these were the player's decisions. We've been conditioned to think that players want to swing when they are at the plate so I had assumed that, for whatever reason Girardi had the sign on. It's good news that he didn't, because that means there shoud be fewer stupid bunt attempts in the future.
"There is a time and place for it," said Girardi, who explained the bunt sign wasn't on in any of the three cases. "We discussed it."Tim Brown at Yahoo had an interesting conversation with Jorge Posada about the different pitchers he's caught over the years and singled out guys who did things particularly well. Two of the more interesting answers:Best curveballNick Johnson changed his number from 26 to 36, the one he wore during his initial go-round with the Yanks and most recently donned by the legendary Edwar Ramirez.
Hideki Irabu had a very good curveball. Just a straight up and down, swing-and-miss curveball. John Wetteland had a very good curveball. He threw it for a strike, too, in any count, any situation. But, he really didn’t use it much. He didn’t want to throw it. He wanted to throw fastball-slider. I would say Irabu. El Duque had a very good curveball.
Scariest guy when he went to the mound
David Cone. I was just intimidated. I would not even go to the mound. I was, like, scared, you know? He was the nicest guy in the world, but when he pitched, oof, don’t get near him. He was scary. He gave up a home run to Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) in Seattle once. I wanted him to come in and he didn’t want to. He gave up a home run on a split. Probably hung in there and Griffey hit a home run. So, I go out there and he says, ‘How the hell would you pitch him?’ I said, ‘I think we gotta come in.’ Next time, Griffey comes up, we go in and he hits a double.’ I go back out and Cone says, ‘How the hell you gonna pitch him now?’At the Wall Street Journal, Darren Everson wrote about Johnson's unwaivering patience even in the face of his dragging batting average.More interesting visuals from Kevin Dame at the Harball Times.Navin Vaswani made his way up to Fenway and back down to the National's Capitol as #TBRTOAL rolls on.Joel Sherman has identified the reason that the Yankees late inning relief has been lackluster: they traded Tyler Clippard, who Sherman claims "might be the best set-up man in the Majors".Here is Jonah Keri's extended take on the Ryan Howard signing that tries to balance the perspective of the fan and the organization with those of people less involved with the team.All the credit for this one goes to my buddy Cliff. Read the first three paragraphs of this article wherein Phil Sheridan explains that Ryan Howard hustling out one ground ball on Opening Day explains everything you need to know about who he is. Now check out what happens starting at the 15 second mark of this video.Yesterday, Gleeman heard that the MLB was cracking down on their beat writers for using Twitter for non-baseball topics. The league has since denied the claim but Aaron thinks that the actions and tweets of the writers speak for themselves.The Mets have won 8 of their 9 games since Ike Davis was called up and are now in first place. Let your Mets fan friends gloat but be sure to file it away for when they inevitably fall apart down the stretch.