Friday, June 12, 2009

Game 61: Comin' Home

It might be an elitist, corporate bandbox, but the Yankees come home to it tonight after a short but wildly unsuccessful trip to Beantown.

Trying to get the Yanks back on track tonight will be Joba Chamberlain. His ERA has been hovering in the upper 3's since the beginning of May and he enters tonight at 3.79 with a 3-1 record. He's made 11 starts this year, meaning that in 7 of them, he's earned a no decision. Much of that can be attributed to the fact that he doesn't go very deep into games, but he's put up three quality starts in which either the Yanks bullpen has let him down or the offense has picked him up. The momentum from his 8 inning effort in Cleveland was slightly dissipated by his six inning, three run outing against the Rays, but he allowed one baserunner or fewer in each of those outings.

On the offensive side of things, Johnny Damon is out of the line up for assorted reasons, one of which being, wait for it... his eyesight. We just might be back tomorrow with another eye chart. This means that Nick Swisher is starting in RF again, and hopefully he won't be making ridiculous and unnecessary dives into the stands, getting doubled off of second or just straight up missing catchable balls.

The Mets are sporting a somewhat diminished line-up tonight with Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes on the DL, but the DH slot allows them to put Gary Sheffield in the batting order while starting Fernando Martinez in LF.

The Metropolitans send Livan Hernandez to the hill tonight, who has been surprisingly, scratch that, "Amazin'ly" good so far this season. After a rocky first four starts left him with a 6.75ERA, that number has been steadily declining to where it sits now, 3.88. He's given up only 5 runs in his last four outings, averaging over 7 innings per. Never one to shy away from contact, Livan strikes out only 5.3/9IP and is giving up over a hit per inning with a WHIP of 1.369. He doesn't give up a whole lot of long balls either, only 7 in 67 1/3 innings. For a guy who had an ERA of 6.05 in 31 starts last year, he's doing pretty well for himself. That said, if I was a Mets fan, I'd be a little nervous about him pitching in the New Yankee Stadium.

As a quick illustration of the differences between the two teams this year, the Mets have hit only 37 homers this year compared to 95 by the Bombers, but they lead the ERA battle 3.94 to 4.85. This could be the accumulation of park effects, the difference between the leagues, but mostly it boils down to roster construction. The Yanks have gotten more out of their sluggers while the Mets have leaned more on their arms.

It should be interesting to see what wins out tonight, the pitching or the bats. Will the Mets' offense awaken at the New Stadium? Can the Yankees bust out of their terrible RISP slump? Will El Duque's brother be able to borrow some of his brother's Bronx magic? Can Joba take it deep without being taken deep? Tune in to find out, as Robinson Cano might say, "Honly on JES".

Hitchhiking on the turnpike all day long.
Nobody seemed to notice, they just pass me over.
To keep from going crazy, I got to sing my song.
Got a whole lot of loving and baby, thats why
Im comin home to your love.

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