Monday, May 24, 2010

Off Day Linktacular

Mark Teixiera put his beautiful 7,000 square foot house in Vaquero, Texas on the market for the second time, for the princely sum of $4.55M, down from $5.75M. I doubt too many of you have an extra five mil laying around and feel like picking up and moving to Texas but that link is good for some serious house porn. The game room on the right with a pool table, card table, big TV and a bar looks like an ideal place to kick it with several of your closest homies.
According to Bryan Hoch, someone apparently sent Nick Swisher a plush tan bathrobe with #33 and his initials embroidered on it and he was rocking it in the locker room. You know you've got a good job when people send you stuff for free and you can wear a robe around the office.

Hoch also got a great story about the late Jose Lima from Yanks' bench coach Tony Pena. Lima was certianly a character and Joe Posnanski captured the enigmatic hurler's quest for the spotlight beautifully. Walkoff Walk directs us to this video of him ad libbing to Sweet Home Alabama and Craig points us towards a eulogy from his former teammate C.J. Nitkowski.

Has Derek Jeter lost his fade? During last night's game, they showed this shot of him in the dugout and as you can see, it appears as though he has opted for a cut of a more uniform length all around instead of having it longer on top. Is this a recent development?

Although it certainly hasn't hindered his love life, he's caught a fair amount of flack for having an outdated coiff in the past from various haters. Ladies (or metro dudes), care to offer an opinion on the new look?

Katie Sharp of ESPN's TMI (sub. required) blog thinks that the Yankees should move Derek Jeter out of the leadoff spot and notes that he has zero walks in 78 plate appearances when he's leading off an inning. We already discussed why the move not going to happen, but that's a troubling stat.

Hey look, someone crossed the mound forty years ago without the pitcher throwing a temper tantrum.

The WSJ profiled Kevin Russo and talked about what it feels like for him to finally make his Major League debut on the team his father (who passed away in 2007) rooted for.

Austin Jackson's eye was swollen almost completely shut after getting hit by a pitch on Saturday. The ball hit his helmet but in turn forced the helmet down on to his eye. He wasn't seriously hurt but missed yesterday's game and might be out of the lineup for another couple of days.

Carson Cistulli digs up some purple prose used to describe an extra innings, walkoff grand slam by Babe Ruth.

Joe Girardi did an interview with the Harvard Business Review and talked a lot about his approach to managing.

Baseball-Reference now features photographs of almost every player who made their debut before 1960. It's a pretty cool addition that really brings the site to life.

It appears as though the Roy Oswalt sweepstakes is heating up. David Golebiewski at THT asks how much he's really worth and Aaron Gleeman wonders whether the Twins should make an effort to acquire him but ultimately rules that it's not work the prospects plus salary.

And finally, a bit of whimsy from the Sports Pickle.
Like the Yanks, we are going to take it easy today. If anything comes up, we'll try to get to it, but chances are we won't have anything until tomorrow.

Wrapping Up The Weekend

Good morning, Fackers. After Friday night's game, it really seemed as if the Yankees had righted the ship. Javier Vazquez came up with a terrific performance and covered up the offense's difficulties cashing in all the baserunners they had accumulated. A narrow 2-1 victory seemed like it was a step towards taking the first installment of the 2010 Subway Series and an escape from the malaise that they had spent the last two weeks in. To boot, both the Red Sox and Rays had lost against the Phillies and Astros, respectively.

However, Saturday and Sunday did not go according to that plan. The Mets got excellent performances from Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana and although their bullpen gave the Yankees a glimmer of hope in the late innings, the final two games of the series went to the team from Queens.

Outside of the two pitchers that picked up wins against the Bombers, the Mets rotation is in a state of disarray. Oliver Perez has been moved to the bullpen due to his ineffectiveness while John Maine and Jon Niese are both sidelined with injuries. It just so happened that the Yanks drew both of the Mets healthy and effective starters in a three game series and were on the losing end of two strong performances. It just seems like that's the way things are going for the Yanks as of late.

The Bombers have now dropped five of their last seven games and ten of the last 15. Even the excitement surrounding weekend's most notable bright spot, Vazquez, has to be tempered because he had to be taken from the game with an injury to his right index finger that he got while attempting to lay down a bunt. The Yankees pushed his bullpen session back until Tuesday and he is expected to make his regularly scheduled start against the Twins on Thursday. Still, there should be concern that the injury could affect his stuff when he takes the mound again.

While the Yankees were getting beaten by the Mets, the Red Sox and Rays both salvaged the last two games of their respective series, moving Tampa six games ahead of the Yankees and Boston just two and a half games back. Down in Philadelphia, the Sawx got eight shutout innings both from Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield in the final two games of the series to eek out a victory. The Rays did what they should have and came up with consecutive victories of 4-2 and 10-6 against the Astros.

No story of the Yankees current struggles would be complete without talking about the injuries they've suffered and for a while the bullpen was blowing every lead they got their hands on, but over the past week, their starting pitching has been the real culprit. The last time through the rotation, Burnett, Hughes, Pettitte and Sabathia have combined to give up 22 runs in 22 1/3 innings pitched.

Couple that with the fact that the Yanks are a combined 19-76 (.250) with runners in scoring position over the last seven games and went the entire series in Flushing without hitting a home run and you've got a recipe for a tough stretch of baseball.

As a frame of reference, the Yankees are still tied with the Twins for the second best record in the American League and have as many wins as any team in the NL, a testament mostly to how well they were playing early in the season. But between the bullpen implosions, the constant flow of injuries, the RISP struggles and the late inning comeback teases the last 15 games have been really tough to watch. Luckily, we know that none of those problems are going to last forever. It's just hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now.

Today is the team's first scheduled off day in two and a half weeks and hopefully they can collect themselves before they head out to Minnesota for yet another tough series against the Twins.