Thursday, May 13, 2010

Game 34 Recap

1. On the very first pitch of the game, Derek Jeter poked a ball between third and short that went for an infield hit. Brett Garnder chopped into a fielder's choice and began doing what he does best: pestering the pitcher. Verlander threw over to first twice, and the second one got past Miguel Cabrera, allowing Gardner to advance to second. Mark Teixeira struck out swinging and A-Rod and popped out to first to strand the runner.

2. The Tigers got on the board in the third. Brennan Boesch ripped a double into the gap. Gerald Laird hit a check swing flare into extremely shallow right to put the Tigers up 1-0. Ken Singleton said it was either lucky or the best piece of hitting he's ever seen (it was lucky).

3. Despite that one cheap run, Sabathia was in control through the first three innings, having throwing just 28 pitches. He lost his grip in the fourth inning briefly, however. Miguel Cabrera took a knee high two-seamer over the right field wall. Then, Boesch (damn I've typed his name a lot over the past few days) roped a 1-2 slider down the right field line that just cleared the wall and stayed fair by about fifteen feet. The two solo shots put the Tigers ahead 3-0.

4. The game really got away from CC in the sixth. Damon and Ordonez led off with back to back singles and Miguel Cabrera smashed one off the wall in center field that missed being a home run by about a foot. Still, it ended up as a two RBI double and extended the Tigers' lead to five. Gerald Laird got another soft, two out hit, this time over Jeter's head that made it 6-0 Tigers.

5. Facing Joel Zumaya in the top of the 8th, the Yanks put two men on with one out via a walk by Robinson Cano and an error on a grounder by Jorge Posada. With two outs, Randy Winn sliced one deep into left field but Don Kelly made a running catch up against the wall to rob him of an extra base hit and at least one RBI. That was about as close as they came to scoring all game and they got blanked again in Detroit six to zip.

IFs, ANDs & BUTs
  • If they didn't before, I bet the Yanks are wishing it rained now. However, the game went off on time and finished without so much as a spatter from the sky.

  • Sabathia just didn't quite have it today. He struck out four and didn't walk anyone, but the Tigers just had his number, knocking nine hits - five of them for extra bases. He was efficient, throwing 80 pitches through six innings (55 for strikes), and didn't seem like he was missing his spots too badly. It was just one of those days when the hitters were putting the bat on the ball and the ball was finding places that the fielders weren't.

  • Verlander was the opposite, not efficient but effective. He needed 118 pitches to get through 6 2/3, but didn't allow a run. The Yanks did work four walks but had just four hits, and the only one that went for extra bases was Posada's double in the sixth. Verlander had four K's and 10 outs on the ground.

  • The game was another fairly quick one, wrapping up in just 2:39.

  • I know it might have disrupted the crisp pace of play and Justin Verlander is tough, but would it have killed the Yankees to score some damn runs? I'm kidding, mostly. During this series, the Yankees' injures really caught up to them. The bench wasn't going to keep producing at an above average clip forever and they were dipping deeper into their reserves than ever.

  • Coming into yesterday, the Yankees hand't been held to less than two runs all year. Now they've been blanked twice in two days.

  • In the top of the second we got a glimpse of why Greg Golson might not be a Major League caliber hitter. Justin Verlander threw him three straight curveballs. The first two made him flinch badly and he grounded the third one to short.

  • Jeter got hit right on the hand in the fifth inning. The contact was so hard that the ball deflected and went all the way into the Yankee dugout. He's day-to-day.

  • Jorge Posada hit a ball over Austin Jackson's head in center during the sixth inning that rolled all the way to the wall. If anyone else on the team had hit it, it would have been a triple but Jorge was only able to trot into second. He may never hit a triple again.

  • Ivan Nova made his Major League debut in the seventh inning. He pitched well, throwing two scoreless innings and allowing two hits while striking out one.

  • On the broadcast, it was said that Dave Eiland and Joba Chamberlain thought the firmness of the mound was the reason for the high pitch velocities.

  • Michael Kay was telling a story about how Justin Verlander sold 1% of his signing bonus when he was in 10th grade for a chocolate milk. Verlander's bonus was $3.125M, however, Kay claimed that his buddy's share was about $3K. Try $30K, Kay!
The Yanks dropped three out of four this series and have now lost four of their last five. It happens and hopefully they'll find their groove when they come back to the Bronx to face the Twins tomorrow night.

Game 34: I Wish It Would Rain

It's getaway day in Motown, as the Yankees and Tigers wrap up their four game series. The Yankees dropped the first two games of the set, but rebounded to take the nightcap of yesterday's day-night doubleheader. They'll look to second that emotion today, as they try to salvage a split and avoid just their second series loss of 2010.

Playing their second matinee in as many days, the Yanks will send their ace to the bump. CC Sabathia had his last start spoiled by rain in Boston, with the umps calling for the tarp while the Big Fella was a mere strike away from qualifying for the win. He may not even get the chance to be robbed thusly this afternoon.

There's heavy rain in the forecast for Detroit this afternoon, and another rainout is real possibility. While makeup games are generally an inconvenience, this time around the Yankees may not mind so much if the skies open up. The two clubs have three mutual off days the rest of the way, including one in September that could be easily managed once rosters have expanded. Not only would a rainout today allow the Yanks to miss Tigers' ace Justin Verlander, but the Mother Nature induced off day would also negate the need for a spot starter on Sunday. Given that, and all the nagging injuries the team is currently nursing, a rainout today might be welcomed.

If they do in fact play, Nick Swisher won't be in the lineup. The right fielder was pulled from last night's game with a sore bicep. Knowing Swish, he probably injured it by asking the ladies if they had "tickets to the gun show" one too many times. With Swisher out, and Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson on the DL, the Yankees' outfield and DH situation is fairly punchless.

To that end, it appears Juan Miranda will finally be activated, two days after being summoned from Scranton. Miranda will provide a more palatable DH option, as Ben Kabak at RAB touched upon this morning. Under normal circumstances defacto longman Ivan Nova might be the one to go, but with the possibility of a lengthy rain delay today and the potential need for a spot start Sunday, Nova will stick around. Greg Golson is still needed with the Swisher injury, so for now, it'll be Kevin Russo heading back to Scranton.

Day in, day out, my tear-stained face, pressed against the window pane
My eyes search the skies, desperately for rain
‘Cause raindrops will hide my teardrops
And no one will ever know.
That I'm cryin’, (crying) cryin’ (crying) when I go outside
To the world outside my tears, I refuse to explain.
I just wish it would rain. (Oh how I wish that it would rain)
Oh let it rain, rain, rain

[Song Notes: We can't let the Yankees only scheduled trip to Detroit this year pass by without selecting a Motown song. With acts like the Four Tops, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles to choose from, there is no shortage of excellent options. But instead we'll go with perhaps the most famous of all the Motown groups: The Temptations.

Of course, we did use a Stevie Wonder song on Sunday night, and he got his start on Motown, but I don't think of Wonder as a Motown artist. Part of that has to do with much of Wonder's career, including his best work, coming after the label moved to Los Angeles, which essentially ended the classic Motown era. A bigger part of it though, I think has to do with the fact that Wonder played his own intstruments, creating a sound that was distinct from the other Motown arists. The other Motown acts were strictly vocal groups, but were all connected by the same "Motown Sound" courtesy of the label's session musicians: The Funk Brothers.

The Funk Brothers were as integral to Motown's success as owner Berry Gordy, the hit machine songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, or any of the recording artists, but they didn't have nearly the same level of fame. In 2002, Standing in the Shadows of Motown was released, an excellent documentary chronicling the careers of the Funk Brothers. If you like Motown and you're looking to kill time during a rain delay today, I highly recommend checking it out.]


Miranda makes his 2010 debut not as the DH, but as the first baseman, as Mark Teixeira gets a half day off. With Swisher out of the lineup for the moment, Brett Gardner is entrenched in the two spot. Greg Golson takes Swisher's spot in right field, and combines with Gardner and Randy Winn to produce the outfield with the lowest slugging percentage in Yankee history. I might have made that last part up, but it can't be too far from the truth. On the flip side, virtually anything in the air today should be an automatic out.
Derek Jeter SS
Brett Gardner CF
Mark Teixeira DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Juan Miranda 1B
Randy Winn LF
Greg Golson RF

Austin Jackson CF
Johnny Damon DH
Magglio Ordonez RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Brennan Boesch LF
Brandon Inge 3B
Gerald Laird C
Scott Sizemore 2B

Thursday Morning Linkarooski

As we mentioned a couple of times yesterday, Jay-Z and Eminem were slated to show up in the Yankees' broadcast booth during the second half of the doubleheader, and turned out that they were on air during the only inning during which Phil Hughes' had any trouble - the fourth.

The two renegades were there to announce two shows that they are playing in September - one at Comerica on the 2nd and the other at Yankee Stadium on the 13th. Appropriately, Jay-Z will headline the show in New York - the first concert at the new place and his first show in a stadium anywhere - and Eminem will take top billing for the one in Detroit.

During their time in the booth, Michael Kay said Eminem's new song "Not Afraid" was only the second ever to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts. Um, it's the 16th. No one batted an eyelash at that and surprisingly, the most awkward moment belonged to Ken Singleton. Kenny had apparently been told that Eminem did "poetry" nearby the current location of Comerica Park "back in the day". Em's response, "Um, Poetry?"

Jay-Z attempted to steer the conversation back on track by clarifying that "Rap is poetry" and they eventually changed the subject.

Other highlights:
  • Jay-Z bragged about getting Betty White's number when he met her on Saturday Night Live and said he and Eminem were going on a double date with her and "the othah one". Michael Kay then clarified it was Rue McClanahan he was talking about and Eminem said they actually had to get going and meet up with them.

  • Em said that, in light of what they did in the draft, he can't remember the last time he's felt this good about the Detroit Lions, which is not saying all that much.

  • He then sabotaged any and all of his credibility by saying he was also a Cowboys fan.

  • Michael Kay referred to "Lose Yourself" as "one of the best songs ever" and claimed that he works out to it and it was the reason that "he's the shape he's in",
Like any other guest appearance it totally detracted from what was going on in the game, but as far as these promotional things are concerned, it wasn't that bad. Fortunately, the first time around I was watching without any sound and it didn't make a difference at all.

Now, onto the rest of the links:
Andy Pettitte wanted to pitch yesterday but he still has to throw one more "downhill" session (off a mound) before he can rejoin the rotation.

After six long weeks languishing in the top 5, the Yankees have finally ascended #1 of the Beyond the Box Score power rankings, which are based solely on the team's statistical output this year. Incredibly, the Red Sox, whose Pythagorean winning percentage is a humble .484, have played like the fourth best team in the league, according to BtB.

Via Lisa at Subway Squawkers, here is a ranking of the Yankees' warm up jackets over the years. I like the ones that say "Yankees" across the front as opposed to the ones with the interlocking NY, but I've always felt that wearing a warm up jacket out with casual clothes looks kind of weird.

On the heels of the AP story about teams scouting umpires that we linked to on Tuesday, Jeremy Greenhouse of Baseball Analysts attempted find evidence of pitchers altering their approach based on who was behind the plate.

Navin Vaswami's road trip swung through Chicago this week, first stopping at Wrigley and then the Cell. You can also check out the photo album from his trip right here.

Big League Stew has the video of Dallas Braden's appearance on Letterman, including the top 10 thoughts that were going through his mind when he was pitching on Sunday. Carig has the transcription of that list.

The Wall Street Journal's sports section hasn't been around for very long but they are already cranking out crusty and nostalgic pieces like this one about the good ol' days when batters didn't dare step out of the box, lest Bob Gibson fire one at their head.

Via the Book Blog, here is an incredibly deep analysis of wind effects on baseball parks.

The greatest thing about being rich and famous? People give you shit for free. Reminds me of the end of this Louis CK bit.

Via Jonah, this tumblr site is sheer brilliance. Similarly, so is this shirt.

Also from Mr. Keri, Bloomberg Sports has upped the ante with Mustrash Talk, a series of videos of Keith Hernandez giving you the business about the goings on in your fantasy league.

At Walkoff Walk, Dan McQuade notes that if the Phillies aren't duplicating the oldest trick in the book by stealing signs with binoculars and the bullpen phone, it's pretty damn close. Meech from the Fightins' found visual evidence that the Phils' bullpen coach does indeed have "opera glasses".

What do Mike Sweeney and Carmello Anthony have in common? Neither tolerates snitchin'.

An interesting tidbit about the upcoming season of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Did you know that you can get a DWI on a golf cart? Thankfully there aren't very many cops patrolling the links or we'd all be screwed.

Could the Super Bowl be coming to New York in 2014? The wheels are in motion.

They found a hole in space. Whaaaa? Wrap your head around that one without it exploding.
Amidst all the action yesterday, we neglected to wish Yogi Berra a happy birthday. Happy belated 85th, Yogi, and many more.

Redding To Scranton

Good morning Fackers. As we mentioned yesterday, the recent spat of injuries and Tuesday's rainout have forced the Yankees to ravage their AAA roster. Romulo Sanchez was recalled in advance of his start Friday, forcing Kei Igawa to make a spot start. Ivan Nova was recalled in advance of his start Monday, forcing Amuary Sanit to make a spot start. Like the big club, a Tuesday rainout forced Scranton to play two yesterday, further fouling up the starting rotation, and they had to do it without Juan Miranda and Jonathan Albaladejo, both sequestered in Detroit in the event the Yankees needed them. Since Saturday the Yankees have also recalled Greg Golson and Kevin Russo, the only healthy players on Scranton's roster with experience in center field.

All of which is the long way of saying the Scranton roster is fairly decimated at this point. That knowledge should put the following news in context and soften the blow for you a bit: the Yankees have signed pitcher Tim Redding to a minor league contract.

Before you freak out, remember it's a minor league deal. This should end up little more than a footnote come season's end. Redding will provide some much-needed depth to the Scranton staff right now. That said, it's worth noting that Redding, who was released from the Rockies' AAA affiliate just yesterday morning, not only signed quickly, but passed up offers from the Dodgers (who are having some Major League depth issues) and from Korea. That Redding signed with the Yankees, so quickly and with other offers on the table, leads me to believe that he thinks he has a real opportunity with the Yankees or that he has an out clause.

Redding was Yankee property once before, acquired from San Diego along with Darrell May in exchange for what was left of Paul Quantrill in early July 2005. That season might have marked the low point of the Yankees' mid-decade dearth of quality starting pitching. When Chien-Ming Wang went on the DL with a shoulder injury two weeks after the deal, the Yankees brought up Redding to make a start in Fenway Park. It was an unmitigated disaster.

Redding completed just one inning, facing three batters in the second. His final line included four hits, six runs, all earned, and four walks. About the nicest thing that could be said is that he recorded two of his outs via strikeout. His trade-mate Darrell May relieved him and proceeded to pour gas on the fire, as the game ended a lopsided 17-1 Red Sox victory. Neither Redding nor May would appear as Yankees again; both were removed from the roster within days.

I feel a bit hypocritical even bringing that start up after I've spent the better part of this year railing against those that hold 2004 against Javier Vazquez. The difference, I suppose, is that Vazquez had a very good first half as a Yankee; Redding's disaster start represents the entirety of his Yankee career. Further, Vazquez has been a successful pitcher in the intervening years; Redding hasn't.

Either way, I'm belaboring the point. Redding is a good depth signing for Scranton. If he appears in the Bronx at all this year the Yankees will have far bigger problems than worrying about his start from five years ago.