Friday, May 21, 2010

Game 41: Don't Tell Me Your Troubles

The Yankees are embarking on a road trip tonight, but only by the strictest baseball definition of the term. They'll be sleeping in their own beds this weekend but showing up to play over in Queens against the Metropolitans.

Javy Vazquez again gets a road start in a spacious ballpark, circumstances under which he has posted his two best performances of the year. His seven inning, two run effort against the Tigers was especially encouraging despite the fact that he was tagged with a loss. That part wasn't his fault as the Yankees got shut out by Rick Porcello and two Detroit relievers. In the meantime though, enabled by the fact that he was again skipped in the rotation, he evened things out by picking up a cheap win in relief after facing just one batter in Monday's game against the Red Sox. While he did pick up a victory, he had another extra long layoff. It didn't seem to bother him last time and hopefully that will be the case again tonight.

It seems like every start has been a big one for Vazquez this year, but tonight feels like an important game for the team as well. Given the skid they've found themselves sliding in, the Yanks could really use a win to right the ship.

The trouble the Yankees are having pales in comparison to what the Mets are going through, however. The Yanks might have lost eight of their last twelve but the Mets have dropped nine over that same span and are now two games under .500 and six behind the Phillies.

Rumors are flying about Jerry Manuel after he removed John Maine from last night's game against his will after just five pitches and the feeling is that he could be axed as early as this weekend if things don't go well against the Yankees. The Mets won last night, despite leaning on their bullpen for all nine innings, and just in case the 'pen wasn't depleted enough after that, they are pushing one of the relievers who has done a good job for them this year into starting duty.

Because of the injury to Jon Niese last Sunday, Hisanori Takahashi will be making a spot start tonight. Although he hasn't been stretched out yet, he is apparently good for 100 pitches. Since being acquired in February, the Japanese import has filled the role of long man if necessary, pitching up to three innings at a time, with seven appearances of two innings or longer. He's been effective over that span as well and given up just nine runs in 26 innings (3.12 ERA) while striking out 33. The left hander only throws about 88mph, but employs four pitches (fastball, curve, slider & change) and has a bit of a hitch in his delivery, which hitters say throws off their timing.

Although this is his first start in the Major Leagues Takahashi has actually faced the Yankees before. Back in 2004, he started an exhibition game between the Bombers and Yomiuri Giants in Tokyo, a contest that the Yankees went on to win 6-2.

Both teams are currently going through their own struggles and you can't expect one team to have much sympathy for the other. Thankfully for one the teams, somebody has to win tonight.

video
Leave me alone,
Go on home,
Tell it to a friend,
I got troubles of my own,
Troubles of my own.

It happens to the best of us,
That's a what they always say,
Take it baby like a man,
Don't throw it away.
[Song Notes: Since you can't tell the title by this video, this is Don't Tell Me Your Troubles by Ronnie Hawkins with Duane Allman sitting in and playing some nasty slide guitar. It's on The Duane Allman Anthology (which is incredibly awesome) but was originally recorded for Hawkins creatively titled album The Hawk.]

-Lineups-

Yankees:
Matt here with the lineups. Kevin Russo gets his first Major League start and it doesn't come at his primary position of second base, his secondary position of third base, or even at shortstop. He'll be in left field tonight, where he's made seven minor league appearances, but just one this year. Upon his demotion just over a week ago the organization said he'd be getting the Jerry Hairston Jr super utility treatment and it appears that's what they're doing. Two things of note: first it'll be interesting to see how the inexperienced Russo handles the spacious Citi Field outfield. And secondly, I would have figured that the start still would have gone to Randy Winn with the versatile and speedy Russo held in reserve as a weapon off the bench in an NL park.

Francisco Cervelli gets his fifth straight start behind the plate. Just for the hell of it, Javier Vazquez is a career .207/.238/.247 hitter in 620 PA, which is halfway decent for a pitcher.
Derek Jeter SS
Brett Gardner CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Kevin Russo LF
Javier Vazquez P

Mets:
If the Yankees are going to win the Subway Series opener on dropped pop up, like they did last year, they're going to have a bit of a tougher go of it this time around. Mets second baseman Luis Castillo, who had the infamous error last year, has been scratched with a sore foot. He's replaced by super-overpaid-but-really-friendly utility guy Alex Cora. During Cora's final season in Boston, he happened to enter the bar I was in, the same night the Red Sox clinched the Wild Card and officially eliminated the Yankees from playoff contention. I found him to be quite obnoxious. But that's a story for another time.
Jose Reyes SS
Alex Cora 2B
Jason Bay LF
Ike Davis 1B
David Wright 3B
Angel Pagan CF
Rod Barajas C
Jeff Francoeur RF
Hisanori Takahashi P

1 comment:

  1. Great song choice. The Hawk had great choice in sidemen; he essentially launched the career of The Band as well.

    The Duane Allman Anthologies are outstanding. Vol 1 is one of my favorite album covers ever.

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