Friday, August 14, 2009

Game 116: Fire

It's a Friday night west coast game. I suppose as far as west coast games go, that's about the best you could ask for. Watch it from the bar. Or watch at home and stay up for the end of it, knowing you don't have to worry about getting up for work the next morning.

Line ups are not posted as of this time. My guess is that amongst the walking wounded, Jeter will still be in the line up, Posada will return, and A-Rod will be given an additional day off. At least that's what I would do - Hairston's been hot; give A-Rod the extra day to rest up, they'll need him at full strength with at least one of the Sergio Mitre/Chad Gaudin tandem starting this weekend. But knowing Girardi, A-Rod will DH, giving him a half night off to rest his elbow, and sitting Hideki Matsui against the lefty. As we've discussed in the past, this is a poor maneuver. Matsui is hitting lefties to the tune of .266/.346/.638 with 10 HR in just 94 ABs. Plus, he was on fire last night; play the hot hand.

The lefty in question is Ryan Rowland-Smith (sounds like he should have his own childrens' song). The Aussie is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in 5 starts this year. In 185 career IP over parts of three seasons, he has an impressive ERA+ of 118. However, he's benefited from a low BABIP against and his strikeout, walk, and HR rates are all worse than the league average. Like other Seattle pitchers, he's likely benefited from his pitcher friendly ballpark and outstanding defense. In 5 career appearances (1 start) against the Yankees, RRS has pitched 10 innings to a 7.20 ERA and a 2.10 WHIP. I'll sign up for more of that tonight.

Opposing him will be the Yankees' own southpaw: Andy Pettitte. Pettitte has seen Seattle plenty of times through the years. He's recorded a decision in every one of his starts against them, going 10-11 with a 4.58 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. In three post-season starts between the 2000 and 2001 ALCS though, Pettitte was 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA. Andy picked up a win against the M's on July 1st this year, going seven innings and whiffing five while allowing just seven baserunners and two runs. Since the All-Star break Pettitte has made five starts, covering 33.2 IP. He's posted a 1.87 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, and a 3.67 K/BB in that stretch while holding opponents to a .210/.264/.269 batting line. He too has been on fire of late.

With an all lefty match up on the mound tonight, we'll go with a lefty guitarist whose mother's maiden name happened to be Jeter. Born in Seattle, James Marshall Hendrix preferred a Fender Stratocaster to the Gibson Les Paul, but he could sure play the hell out of it. Here he is with Gypsy Sun And Rainbows at a certain festival from fourty years ago.


  1. I'm lovin' the Woodstock clips you're inserting. I really like this version of "Fire" primarily because Hendrix stretched the solo out a bit. To me, analysis of the greatest rock guitarists is book-ended by Jimi and Stevie Ray, with all others following them, though I admit I'm biased. I frequently run to them on the MP3.

  2. Thanks Jason. It's not easy to get a song to match up to a game 162 times a year - this Woodstock thing is making it a bit easier to narrow things down and offers a wealth of outstanding performances.

    You may be able to find a pair of guitarists as good as Jimi and SRV, but you'd be hard pressed to find a pair that's better.