Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ten Spot

It's not the most efficient way to allocate 10 runs, but that feels pretty damn good, doesn't it?

I Could Watch This 100 Times

Honestly, is there anything better than seeing an opposing batter jump out of the way on a big inside curve, only to have the pitch called a strike? Jose Veras gets one of those every once in a while because of his spastic motion, but Hughes just did it on stuff alone. 


Really? No one has come up with another product that would work for this purpose? Something that would avoid the effeminate stigma of nail polish and function better than an office supply?

You could just call it "Catcher's Paint" or some shit.

Game 20: Contents Under Pressure

I'm guessing this isn't how Phil Hughes was hoping his first start this year was going to set up. Filling in for a historically bad Chien Ming Wang, the former top prospect is taking the mound, looking to stop a four game losing streak that has got some pretty grounded observers to give some fairly bleak prognoses

Mr. Hughes has pitched 19 1/3 innings for Scranton this year over the course of three starts. He's allowed 4 ER (1.86 ERA), struck out 19 and only walked 3. Overall, in his three stints in AAA, he's struck out more than a batter per inning, only given up 2 HRs, but has an ERA of 4.06 (primarily due to some poor rehab starts last year). 

In 2007, Hughes started 13 games, put together 5 "quality starts" and tallied a 4.46 ERA, which was exactly league average (100 ERA+). Last year was obviously a gigantic dissapointment, in which his only two quality starts were over five months apart, both against Toronto. One was his first start of the season, on April 3rd, and the other was after both teams were officially eliminated from playoff contention on September 24th. Hughes threw 8.0 innings of two run ball in the Rogers Centre, but left with the game tied and still couldn't chalk one up in the win column for the year. 

He's doesn't turn 23 until June, but a lot of fans are running short on patience with the young gun. Phil could really use a competent performance to remind everyone how highly they once thought of him. The Yanks could certainly use a win to stem the tide of the losing streak and salvage the possibilty of taking this series from the Tigers. 

It feels like a pretty big game for both Hughes and the Yankess; as important as a game in April can feel. You can tell, because the media is already foaming at the mouth, ready to overract to it. If Hughes can prove he can be a viable replacement for Chien Ming Wang, it takes a lot of pressure off the Yanks. If he gets rocked, the tailspin continues, with no relief in sight. 

Hey Phil, no pressure... 

I'm in the zone like the Bulls at home,
with mad stains on my shirt from the beer and foam,
Cause the crew with all the brew buries squads like treasures,
With the Hennessey and Coke tryin to deal with life's pressures.

Contents under pressure (contents under pressure),
I hope for the best and expect the worst,
get stress off my chest everytime I bust a verse.

"Empty Seats No Longer?" Yeah, Right...

According to Ronald Blum of the AP, the Yankees have slashed prices on some of their most expensive seats. (h/t Simon On Sports)
The team on Tuesday slashed the price of 48 first-row Legends Suite season seats on the outer half of the dugouts and photo cages from $2,500 to $1,250, and 68 others in the final three sections down each foul line from $1,000 to $650.
They have also decided to compensate those who have already purchased the full priced seats:
Those who bought $2,500 first-row season tickets in the 11 sections surrounding the plate that weren't reduced will receive an equal number of free first-row tickets for the rest of the season. Those who bought $1,250 first-row seats in the first two sections past each photo cage will receive free seats for 24 games.
Empty seats no longer?
Rovell reports that the number of affected seats is around 600, so the short answer to his question? Of course not. The price points are still ridiculous and there are way more than six hundred seats left unsold. It's not just the most expensive seats that are the problem. The $325-$525 seats make up a giant portion of those that sat unoccupied during the last homestand.

The price reduction may get a few more people in there, but that doesn't address the issue that Jason from IIATM,S brought up.
It's a nice gesture by the Yankees, but it's not going to eliminate the issue of empty seats. On the bright side, it once again proves that Randy Levine is either a moron or a liar (possibly both?). Never thought I'd say this, but it looks like Bud Selig was right

Did You Know?

Before tonight, had you considered the possibility that if you bring the tying run to the plate and that batter grounds into a double play, even if a run scores, during the next at-bat, the tying run would no longer be at the plate? When was the last time you saw a pitcher throw an 8 inning complete game?

Thanks to Jorge Posada and CC Sabathia, now you know both of those things.

Not to point to point the finger(s) at those two, of course. The home run Sabathia gave up to Magglio Ordonez literally bounced off the top of the wall. Maggs sliced it off his back foot down the right field line, and left the park by the slimmest of margins. The rest of the offense wasn't too helpful either. Robby Cano and Ramiro Pena were the only ones who could muster than one hit (two apiece) as Verlander racked up nine strikeouts.

It was a swift and brutal affair, a tragic tilt that ended far too soon. After three excruciating Red losses to the Sox in a row, you might have thought the Yanks were due for a bounceback. You would have been wrong. They were were efficiently disposed of in a tidy 2:19.

While the Red Sox series averaged just over four hours per game, this one went quietly into the night. A letdown game after a clash with their arch rivals, perhaps? I'd like to think a team struggling to stay above .500 wouldn't need any extra motivation to win a game coming off being swept by a division foe.

Who knows how much effort actually correlates to success in baseball? I'd venture to guess the connection is not very strong. It's not like football, where strength has a much greater impact upon success. You can hit the gym and the results will translate much more directly to your success on the field.

At a certain point in baseball, no matter what you do (aside from taking steriods), you are pretty much as good as you are going to get. The greatest player of all-time reached base in less than half of the times he came to the plate. Both pitching and hitting have a fickleness and mystique about them. You don't want to give a sinkerballer too much rest and you wouldn't want to disturb a batter's choreographed routine.

I think it has a lot to do with the extremely random nature of baseball. Baseball completely rewrites the concept of confidence intervals. I've never seen a trend player's numbers that made me 95% confident in anything. You are trying to hit a round ball with a rounded bat. Every fraction of an inch affects the outcome. No matter how great of a slugger or hurler you are, you can never hope to control your results that precisely. And that is the reason they need to play 162 games. You just have to stack the odds in your favor, throw it against the wall, and see what sticks.

When things go wrong, who is there to be mad at? The Baseball Gods? The laws of probability? Fate? That's part of the appeal for me as a fan. You don't have to ride the rollercoaster of every up and down. The season lasts forever. It's not like football, where games are ten times more significant in the standings and occur a week apart. If the Yankees were the Giants, the season would have been over already.

It's early in the schedule, and no matter what some anonymous commenters would like you to believe, there is still a lot of baseball to be played and a lot could change over that time. Maybe when September rolls around we'll look back at this time and realize that all the rough patches were actually bad omens. Or perhaps, we'll look back at this stretch and wonder why we were so impatient so as to assume that we could tell the future by the results of 19 games.