Friday, April 16, 2010

Game 10: Wilson

The Yankees welcome the Rangers to the Bronx tonight for the first of a three game set. The weather isn't looking too promising, but if/when action gets under way tonight, the pitching match up will feature a duo of of double initialed left handers.

CC Sabathia is fresh off an excellent start against against the Rays in which he flirted with a no hitter but had to settle for it's still attractive younger sister, 7 2/3 shutout, one-hit innings. Joe Girardi is looking to keep the magic alive from that last outing as Francisco Cervelli is scheduled to be back behind the plate. It's too early to tell if Girardi is planning on making this a "personal catcher" situation but Jorge Posada is going to need days off and Cervelli and Sabathia have had considerable success together. Now that Burnett and Posada are working together, it might make sense to ride the CC-Frankie wave as long as it will take them.

For the Rangers, famous Twitterer C.J. Wilson will be starting his second game of the year. Wilson was originally supposed to start against the Indians on Wednesday but came down with a case of food poisoning and was pushed back to today.

Wilson has been a reliever for the majority of his Big Leauge career, and a pretty decent one at that. He's thrown 259 innings to a 3.65 ERA out of the 'pen, which is pretty good but certainly not jaw-dropping. Wilson saw his strikeout rates jump over one per inning last year, his ERA and FIP drop to around 2.90 and the Rangers decided to give him a chance to start this spring.

The move was justifiably met with some scrutiny but Wilson shined in his first outing of the year, throwing seven shutout innings against the Blue Jays, allowing just five hits and two walks while striking out nine. Wilson saw a notable decrease in velocity during the start but some of that could be attributable to the fact that the season has barely begun and he obviously found a way to make his diminished stuff work for him. Will he enjoy the same success against much better offense tonight?

You got me back thinkin',
that you're the worst one,
I must inquire Wilson...
Can you still have fun?

Marcus Thames is in the lineup again after going 2 for 3 last night against Scott Kazmir but he will be playing left field instead of DHing. Nick Johnson gets the start after drawing a walk in his pinch hit appearance last night. Cervelli gets the 9 slot, pushing Granderson up to 8th.
Jeter SS
Johnson DH
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Thames LF
Granderson CF
Cervelli C
Julio Borbon CF
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton LF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Nelson Cruz RF
Chris Davis 3B
Joaquin Arias 2B
Taylor Teagarden C
Elvis Andrus SS

Calcaterra & Carton Clash Over "Classless" Comment

The distinguished gentleman on the left, levitating a baseball with only the considerable powers of his mind, is Craig Calcaterra of NBC's Hardball Talk. The douchetastic brotard on the right is something commonly referred to as "Craig Carton". Those of you who live in the NYC area and hate your jobs so much that you can't help but fill your ears with obnoxious and nonsensical sports-related soliloquy to dull the pain may be familiar with him.

What do these two lifeforms, separated by about 70 IQ points have in common? Not much, aside from a first name, last initial and a short and highly entertaining radio segment.

The catalyst was the infamous Javier Vazquez post that Calcaterra wrote on Wednesday, which prompted a wholly non-sensical rebuttal from Carton which can be heard at around the 6:00 mark in the first audio clip on this page. Lisa from Subway Squwakers transcribed some of the quotes:
"I don't like it when people write columns attacking the integrity of the fan base," Carton complained, saying it was "open season on us Yankee fans," and promised to "defend New York fans to my death."

"How dare anybody tell Yankee fans" not to boo Vazquez, Carton griped, saying "Vazquez sucks, I'm gonna boo him."
If you listen to the segment, you might also notice that Carton pronounces it "Vass-Kwez" instead of "Vaz-kez", which might be excusable if he didn't, you know, get paid to say athletes names all fucking day long.

Naturally, a NYC radio host is going to pander to his audience railing against a blogger accusing them of being "classless and ignorant". But you might not expect a humble Midwestern gentleman such as Mr. Calcaterra to call up and defend his point.

Oh, but he did. The caption for the clip on the WFAN website (which spells C-a-l-c-a-t-e-r-r-a's name wrong) claims that "Craig and Boomer [Esiason] had him on and took the guy to task for his stupidity", which, as you might expect, is wildly inaccurate. See for yourself.

Carton does the typical egomaniac talk radio host and shouts down his guest to the point that his co-host Boomer Esiason has intervene to let Calcaterra get a word in edgewise. Predictably, the call ends as Carton calls Calcaterra "a nobody" and "a clown" and emphatically hangs up on him.

This interaction tells you pretty much all you need to know about the current state of sports talk radio vis-à-vis the blogosphere. Typically, you can comment on a blog and debate the relative merits of your arguments with the author, but if you try to call into a sports talk radio show to make a point, you'll get ridiculed, shouted down and hung up on if the host doesn't agree with what you're saying. Not to mention that the level of analysis and discourse found on blogs is several light years beyond what you are likely to hear on most talk radio shows.

Now if you'll excuse me, my acute case of Bill James Disease is flaring up and I need to get that taken care of.

Double Triples

Good morning, Fackers. We're going to start off this Friday with some fun stuff we found by digging through Baseball-Reference's Play Index. Basically, we are going to go Jayson Stark on your asses for a moment.

Last night, Curtis Granderson notched the first and second triples of his young Yankee career, the first down the right field line off Scott Kazmir in the 4th inning and the second a deep fly to right center off of Brian Stokes in the following inning.
They say triples are the most exciting play in baseball and I can't argue with that. Granderson is going to have a tough time legging out too many of them in Yankee Stadium but if he can pick up 10 of them, he'd be the first Yankee to do it since Jerry Mumphrey in 1982. Keep chuggin', Curtis.

Game 9 Recap

1. After sitting the top of the Angels' order down in dominant fashion in the first inning, Phil Hughes faced Hideki Matsui to lead off the second. Hughes threw two consecutive fastballs, the second one breaking right over the middle of the plate and Matsui smashed it into the Yankees bullpen to put the Angels up 1-0.

2. Leading off the bottom of the 2nd inning, Robinson Cano leveled the score at 1-1, redirecting a 90MPH fastball that Scott Kazmir left over the inner half out into the right field seats.

3. In the bottom of the third, Derek Jeter joined the lead off home run party, taking two fastballs from Kazmir before smashing a line drive to right that gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. After Nick Swisher flied out to center, Mark Teixeira and A-Rod worked back to back walks, but Cano and Posada grounded out back to back to end the inning.

4. Marcus Thames came to the plate to lead off the fourth, but instead of jacking a home run he managed only a lowly single. It was okay as Curtis Granderson followed him with a triple down the right field line. Randy Winn grounded out to second without scoring Granderson from third, but Jeter got the job done with a single in the next at bat. 4-1 Yanks.

5. Kazmir gave up yet another lead off hit to start the 5th, this time a double to A-Rod. Cano followed with his second homer of the game, sending Kazmir to the showers and putting the Yankees ahead 6-1.

6. After expending 26 pitches to get through just four hitters in the top of the 5, Phil Hughes came back out for the 6th inning, having already thrown 97 pitches. He had Torii Hunter 1-2 but ultimately surrendered a single and then walked Matsui on 6 pitches. That free pass ended Hughes night and bought in David Robertson, who gave up the inherited runner before getting out of the inning. 6-2 Yanks.

7. The Yanks' bullpen came together to close down the game from there. Robertson got two outs in the 7th before turning it over to Damaso Marte, who retired Abreu. Marte gave up two straight singles to start the 8th before getting one out and passing the baton to Joba Chamberlain. It only took 3 pitches for Joba to get Howie Kendrick to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Chamberlain came back out for the ninth inning but Mike Napoli worked a walk and Eric Aybar singled with two outs, bringing on Mariano Rivera for the ol' one out save. Four pitches later, Mo retired Bobby Abreu and the Yanks won 6-2.

IFs, ANDs & BUTs
  • It was quite poetic that Robinson Cano (who was named after Jackie Robinson) had two home runs and Mariano Rivera (who is the last active player to wear #42) nailed down the save. Of all the games played in the Majors last night, the Robinson's surviving family chose to attend this one. That's pretty cool.

  • Hughes struck out 6 batters but also walked 5 in 5 innings. The only of the three hits he allowed that went for extra bases was the homer to Matsui. A respectable sixty six of his 108 pitches went for strikes but the Angels extended a lot of at bats by fouling good pitches off. Hughes might not have been efficient, but he was effective. His fastball seemed extra live in the first inning, getting two swinging strikeouts, but lost a little life as the game progressed. Hopefully that will change as we get deeper into the season and he develops a little more stamina.

  • Hughes had a balk in the 4th. Hideki Matsui was on first, and it wasn't like Matsui forced him to make a mistake; it appeared that Hughes just forgot he was there.

  • Mike Napoli lined a single up the middle that very nearly scored Matsui but Curtis Granderson gunned him down at the plate.

  • Curtis Granderson added a second triple with two outs in the 5th inning, that one standing up. The ball bounced around against the wall in right center for a moment and by the time Abreu had fielded it, Granderson was already around second.

  • Randy Winn went 0-4, rapping three groundballs and striking out swinging once.

  • Girardi pinch hit Nick Johnson for Marcus Thames against right hander Matt Palmer in the 6th inning with the Yanks already up 6-2. During a game with a four run lead might have been a good chance to give Thames an AB against a righty, but Girardi was unwilling to sacrifice that potential advantage. That's fine, but what happened to the philosophy of using these early season games to find out what guys are capable of doing?

  • Bringing in Rivera for the save was probably equally unnecessary, but it was a nice moment considering his uniform number and the occasion.

  • The Yanks won their third straight series via a third consecutive rubber game and now sit at 6-3.
The homestand continues tomorrow at 7:05 as the welcome C.J. Wilson and the Rangers to town.