Friday, May 12, 2006

Hilarious Read

Bill Simmons keeps a running diary of Mike and the Mad Dog.

Seriously, if you listen to Mike and Chris, read this. Absolutely hilarious.

Red Sox 5, Yanks 3


.150
PlayerWEPitcherWE
Jeter.196Villone
Williams.069Chacon.114
Posada.057Myers.087
Crosby.036Farnsworth.055
A-Rod-.049Rivera-.072
Damon-.175Sturtze-.094
Cano-.189Proctor-.176
Giambi-.193
Cairo-.324


Housecleaning note: I charged Cairo half for that Loretta infield single. I think that was the most fair way to assess it. I also charged Bernie half for the misplay of the Gonzalez ground rule double. This is why the pitchers look so good in the above chart.

But no table or graph can bring back Matsui. Despite his slow start, he still ranked fifth among AL left fielders in OPS. He’ll be replaced by a Bernie Williams/Bubba Crosby tandem that will likely top out at a .700 OPS. It’s shortly after 10 a.m. at the time of this writing, and no official announcement has been made as to Hideki’s replacement, speculation leans towards Kevin Reese. A big thank you to the front office for completely ignoring the fact that Kevin Thompson showed promise this spring. Bringing up Reese over Thompson makes exactly zero sense.

Peter Abraham wants to swing a deal for Soriano, even if it costs Eric Duncan. While this isn’t a terrible idea, I don’t think I want to forfeit prospects for a free-swinging, bad attitude player. It all depends on the price tag, so if Jim Bowden is willing to take a few fledgling prospects and Bubba Crosby, so be it. I just think he’ll end up holding out for more than the Yankees should be willing to offer.

The worst part of the injury is that this places more emphasis on Sheff upon his return. Considering the contract situation, I don’t want to be putting too many eggs in his basket.

You know what? I really don’t want to think about it. Because the more I do, the more pissed I get at the whole situation. And the more I read, the more I realize that we’re not seeing Hideki until August, and even then he probably won’t have enough strength to be effective until late September. There is nothing worse than breaking a small bone; I’d much rather fracture my tibia than my ankle.

Paging A-Rod: now is the time to step up.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Yanks 7, Red Sox 3


PlayerWEPitcherWE
Posada.209Mussina.079
Giambi.132Proctor.052
A-Rod.110Rivera.016
Cano.078Myers-.012
Crosby-.001
Jeter-.011
Cabrera-.014
Williams-.019
Matsui-.038
Damon-.078


In the end, it was only Manny, Ortiz, Lowell, and Loretta that got to Moose tonight. The first two are excusable; Lowell, well, he’s on fire, so we’ll chalk it up to a string of excellent luck. He’d had have to be hitting, like, .339/.398/.557 for me to think his 2005 wasn’t an aberration. And Loretta…no, no excuse for him. But all in all, he completely shut down 5/9 of the Boston lineup. And that, as they say, was enough to pick up the dubya.

[MORE]In addition to another serviceable outing by Moose, there was plenty to be happy about. But despite another Giambi homer, an increasingly rare A-Bomb, and Jorge Juicing one, my favorite part of the night was that we tagged Schilling for six runs in five innings. Well, actually, they tagged him for six runs in two innings, as all the damage against the Loud Mouthed Schnook came in the fourth and fifth frames.

Though it may not have seemed so with a four run lead, Proctor’s strikeout of Manny was a defining moment in the game. Manny is a known breaking ball killer, and Proctor has been showcasing his newly effective curveball this season. This was a disaster waiting to happen. And, with a one and one count, Proctor came inside with the deuce, a move I just can’t fathom. You have Manny – a pure slugger – and you’re throwing him a curveball – his favorite pitch to hammer – on the inside half – the best place to take one for a ride. But Manny looked Sheffield-esque and deposited the ball well foul on the third base side. Then, predictably and correctly, he went with the high heat, which seemingly scared the begeezus out of Manny. One pitch later, and he was jogging to the dugout, his team nearly ensured victory.

It may not have been a must win, but it was sure nice to not have gone 0-3 against the Red Sox. And now they can even someone can figure out Wakefield. You never know what you’re getting with him, so Shawn Chacon had better be at his best. His propensity to allow baserunners can become problematic against a heavy hitting team like Boston, but if he can tame the Rangers I’m sure he’s capable of handling the Sox. Whether he will or not remains to be seen. I have a feeling – and I’m not sure how far out on the limb I am at this point – that he’ll pitch better than Randy.

Notice how I write a lot less after a satisfying victory?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hughes Today

Phil Hughes looked a bit stronger in his second outing for Double A Trenton today.

IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
6.0 5 2 2 1 5 1 4.50


It's an improvement upon his AA debut, which makes us all the more optimistic. Can't wait for his next start.

More on Randy

As he is wont to do, Dave Pinto offers a reasonable look at Randy Johnson's current problems.

Everything in the linked story seems to make sense. Your right shoulder is stiff, you shrug it off because you're a lefty, and you go out there not knowing how it's going to affect your delivery.

It looks like there are two options left at this point. First is to DL Randy, which likely wouldn't happen for at least one more start. The other is to get out there with Gator this week and figure out how to adjust his delivery to compensate for his stiff right shoulder. This, of course, is the riskier of the two, since an alteration in delivery can lead to further injury (see Pavano, Carl).

It would really help if we had a guy like Cole Hamels waiting in Columbus. Alas, we don't, making this whole Randy situation a bit stickier. The Yanks are hitting the meat of their schedule, meaning that a fifth starter will probably be used, well, every fifth game. Carl Pavano is still weeks away from rejoining the team, and something tells me we'll be hovering around the .500 mark if J-Wright and Small are both in the rotation.

The only viable option that I can see is promoting Darrell Rasner. The only problem is that with the Yankees upcoming schedule, they don't have room to juggle and minimize Rasner's number of appearances. He'd likely have to start thrice in Randy's absence, while the ideal situation would be to have him there for two and juggle the off-days around him.

But who knows. Maybe Randy will overcome this injury and figure out how to keep his shoulder from flying open. We'll see on Sunday.

Red Sox 14, Yankees Suck


PlayerWEPitcherWE
Giambi.151Sturtze.000
Crosby.005Villone.001
Jeter.003Small-.041
Stinnett.000Johnson-.279
Cairo-.001
Cano-.009
Williams-.014
Matsui-.015
Cabrera-.018
Posada-.018
Damon-.047
A-Rod-.122


A couple of Win Expectancy house cleaning notes before I really get pissed.
1) I didn’t charge Melky with that dropped fly ball. The scorers may have given him an error, but that’s because it was the only option. Look, Cano was drifting straight back for it, and Damon was coming in. It did something funny in that Yankee Stadium air and unexpectedly drifted towards Melky. It’s amazing that it even hit his glove

2) You may notice that Sturtze’s WE ended up at zero. This is because the Red Sox were at 100 percent win probability when Sturtze entered the game. These late innings situations are bound to be screwed up, also evidenced by Villone being credited .001 for two innings of no-run ball.

3) And, just because they were inexcusable, I fully charged A-Rod for his fielding mishaps. Shame on you, Alex. Shame.

[MORE]You may want to avert your eyes from the above chart; it’s been known to send men into blind rage. The chart is a bit more seeable, but not by much. All in all, a pathetic showing last night. Randy sucked, Small sucked, Sturtze sucked, and A-Rod sucked. The rest of the guys either sucked less or just didn’t show up (see Williams, Bernie).

If you’re at work, you may not want to look at the next chart, as you’ll be tempted to blurt out profanities in rapid succession. Just so you can brace yourself, it’s Randy Johnson’s performance over his last three starts.

IPNPStrikesRERHBBSOERA
15.12931691813181197.63


As you can see, it’s a lot worse than his 7.63 (7.63!!!) ERA would indicate. I didn’t toss many calculated stats into the chart because 1) they wouldn’t fit and 2) it’s much more fun to take a look at abysmal raw numbers and see how badly they compute. But you want to see them, right? Curiosity getting the best of you? Just can’t help but wonder how bad Randy Johnson is at this point?

WHIP: 1.89
K/BB: 0.82
NP/IP: 19.11
Strike %: 58

The worst part of it all is that he was only charged with two earned runs last night, when in fact he earned almost all seven – with a little help from Brother A-Rod. I’ll get to him later.

It was apparent in the third inning that Randy didn’t have his good stuff tonight. But in the fourth, it was clear that he wasn’t even thinking about the game anymore. I mean, just LOOK at that wild pitch to Loretta. Just pathetic. And then the 3-0 pitch to Loretta…well, I’ve got a mouthful about that one.

I flipped by Baseball Tonight later on, and Harold Reynolds talked about how Loretta disrespected Johnson by creaming that pitch, citing that hitters normally have a red light 3-0, and that Loretta was some 3 for 42 (forget the exact number) against Randy lifetime. You know, I used to like and respect Reynolds. Sure, he got tiresome at times, but on the whole he made more sense than his colleagues. This comment, however, is just ludicrous. Loretta hasn’t had a lick of success against Randy, so when he’s ahead 3-0 he shouldn’t be thinking, “gotta respect Big Bird out there and take the next pitch.” He’s thinking, “man, I can’t hit this guy worth a shit, and this is going to be my best opportunity.” So Randy laid one in there, and Loretta swung at opportunity. In fact, I have more respect for Loretta for what he did. It takes balls to swing at a 3-0 pitch when you’re only up a run. He didn’t try to do too much with it, just put it in play and score at least one run.

So that’s three straight horrible performances by Mr. Johnson, and I don’t expect him to get any better in the near future. I just read Pete Abraham’s pre-game update, and I have to say that I’m legitimately concerned.

Torre answered a lot of pre-game questions about Randy Johnson's mental state. The big man needs a good outing tonight or that's going to get worse.

Of course, I don’t think it’s going to get worse merely because a credentialed writer says so. But if Randy’s mental health is a concern, we’re in big trouble. Maybe he could see A-Rod’s shrink. Or maybe he could heed the following advice, doled out by me:

You are Randy fucking Johnson, the Big Unit. Start acting like it. If your mechanics are off, take the time to correct them. Concentrate. Focus. Maybe you’ve lost a few ticks off your fastball, but you’re still a dominating pitcher. Think your shoulder is flying open? Then take at least an hour every day and go through your motions, slowly, and make sure you can correct it. Concerned about your release point? Pay extra-close attention to it in your side session. Ask people if they notice anything. Seek help from Ron Guidry and Joe Kerrigan. This is not a charade. You lack discipline, Randy. And until you can bear down and focus, you’re no good to this team.


I seriously think he’s either dogging it at this point, or letting something non-physical affect him. He’s had three good starts this season, so it’s not like he’s looked washed up since Opening Day (a day on which he pitched rather well). However, if Randy can in fact be rejuvenated, we likely won’t see it until sometime in June.

And for that punk-ass A-Rod – RUN OUT YOUR FREAKIN GROUND BALLS! I don’t care what the flippin’ score is, Mr. $25 Mil. If you hit a ground ball, you run your ass off down to first base no matter what. Too bad Torre is too much of a pansy ass to bench A-Rod tomorrow; I sure as hell would. Torre eventually did remove him last night, but a full inning after his half-assed trot down to first base.

If you commit two errors in a game, if you look generally lackadaisical in an 0 for 3 performance, if you fail to run out a ground ball (and potentially break up a double play), and you play for my team, you’re certainly not seeing time the next game.

Also benched in my mind for tomorrow’s game: Bernie Williams. After looking foolish against Beckett in three straight at-bats, Bernie deemed it appropriate to argue a third strike the was far too close to contest. But Bernie, obviously embarrassed that the only contact he made all night was a foul freakin ball, got himself tossed. The only reason I can think of is that he just didn’t want to play the rest of the night.

Tomorrow’s game can’t come any faster. I need to forget about this disaster.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Here's Melky!

It's official: That pussy Sheffield is headed for the DL.

Since it's retroactive to May 6, Sheffield won't be eligible to return until May 21st, giving Melky Cabrera 13 days (and 13 games) to prove he's coming around. He'll be around for the entire home stand, including the trip out to Shea next weekend. Sheffield will be eligible to come back in time for the next Boston series, scheduled for May 22-24 at Fenway.

Joe Torre is on the record saying that whoever gets the call will play pretty much every day, since that's what they were accustomed to in Columbus. I'm all for giving Melky a 13-day audition, though I doubt he'll be starting tonight. Bubba Crosby needs his playing time, too, and one would figure he would be in right field to begin the series.

Of the 13 games, I expect to see Melky in 10. Best case scenario is that he tears the place apart and is cause for Bubba's ouster. Worst case is that he looks like he did last July. Most likely case is that he gets a hit every fourth time up, draws very few walks, and knocks an extra base hit or two. After the 13 games, he'll head back down to Columbus to continue his dominance.

The only problem I see is that Melky is now down to one option. Should The Melky Experiment, Take Two fail, there won't be any more experiments. It's all or nothing after this.

Hey Gary!

Since the beginning of the 2004 season, I’ve liked Gary Sheffield. I didn’t like him in 2003 when George thought it best to sign him over Vlad Guerrero, but it only took a few screaming foul balls down the third base line to change my opinion of Sheff. In fact, I think I can pinpoint the moment that I moved from “grumble grumble, we should have signed Vlad,” to “man, Sheff rocks!” I was on the phone with my father, and it was right around the time he rhetorically asked, “man, does anyone hit the ball harder than Sheffield?”

And I remember thinking to myself, “no, no one hits the ball harder than this man.” It just kept getting better from there, with Sheff putting up monster numbers, even trumping those of fellow new acquisition Alex Rodriguez, on his way to runner-up in the AL MVP voting. Actually, the downward spiral of Sheff began right there, with his misunderstanding of the meaning of Most Valuable Player.

[MORE]Gary Sheffield had a great season for the Yanks. He provided power, average, and OBP, and basically took over when we figured out Jason Giambi wouldn’t be coming back any time soon. His .290/.393/.534 (0.90 K/BB) was an impressive line, certainly MVP worthy. But in September, he lowered his averages by hitting .265/.336/.422 as the Yankees cruised into the playoffs. Vlad, however, came through in the clutch. With his team fighting for a spot in the postseason, Vlad hit .371/.431/.773 and led his team to the AL West crown, beating out the A’s by a single game.

When Vlad was announced AL MVP, Gary threw a fit. He went so far as to find out who didn’t vote for him and deny those bastards interviews. How could they not vote for Gary Sheffield? THE Gary Sheffield? (Easy; because Vlad was obviously more deserving.)

Fully entrenched in New York, Sheffield wasn’t too much of a distraction in 2005. His numbers dropped off, to the tune of .291/.379/.512, but he’s getting older and this kind of thing had to be expected. And even though he dropped a stink bomb during the first four games of the Angels series, I continued to defend Sheff, even though I knew in the back of my mind what was on the horizon.

And then in March it happened: the contract complaints began. Of course, Brian Cashman was smart enough to see this coming and attempted to preempt Sheff from crying to the media. And that worked, for all of a day. Soon after, Sheffield began his usual round of complaints, talking about ”always [having] to play with my back against the wall, and there’s just one more year of that and then I don’t have to do it no more.”

Why can’t Gary Sheffield just play baseball? Why does it always have to be about something else, about the respect shown him or his contract? Why can’t he be content batting fifth or sixth in the order; why does it have to be third, a spot he’s taking away from more deserving hitters?

This whole wrist injury is only fueling the fire with a bit more butane. I understand that he’s having trouble swinging a bat, and that’s fine. If he needs some more time out of the lineup, he should get it, no questions asked. It’s just his quote about playing hurt that irked me.

"I'm just not going to go out there and play injured anymore," Sheffield said. "Like I said before: Been there, done that, not doing it again.”

Once again, I understand the nature of a wrist injury and realize that he’s not benefiting the team by playing through it. But Sheff’s quote makes it seem like he wouldn’t play through, say, a hamstring injury later in the season. That’s what pisses me off. Part of being on a team is being selfless, playing through pain, and helping your team win games.

The entire Yankees non-personnel staff needs to get together and decide that enough is enough. Sheffield isn’t the hitter he was two years ago, and therefore should not be babied and handed the No. 3 spot in the lineup nightly. In fact, for every disparaging remark he makes about how he’s being treated or about playing in New York, he should be dropped a lineup spot. This isn’t so much to control his mouth, but to drop him in the order so Giambi, A-Rod, and Matsui can see more at bats.

In short, Gary, Fuck You. Acting like this will not push Cashman towards picking up your option; in fact, it will do the opposite. So if you want to see that $13 mil, you might as well shut your fucking cake hole. If you keep acting like this, not only will the Yanks not exercise your option, but you’re going to find it quite difficult to strike a favorable deal elsewhere in the league.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Yanks 8, Rangers 5 -- SWEEP!


PlayerWEPitcherWE
Matsui.273Proctor.115
A-Rod.082Wang.072
Williams.070Farnsworth.030
Stinnett.033Rivera.023
Giambi.015Sturtze-.112
Cano.006
Phillips-.003
Crosby-.019
Damon-.040
Jeter-.044


”The Rangers may be atop the AL West, but there is absolutely no reason the Yanks can’t take all three this weekend. As always, I’ll be happy with two of three.”
-Me on Friday

So I was happy on Saturday and ecstatic on Sunday, as the Yankees actually went out and exceeded expectations. Not only did they complete their second sweep of the season (not counting those two-game series), but they knocked off a first place team on a six-game win streak. And if the A’s hadn’t stumbled against the D’Rays yesterday, we would have knocked the Rangers clear out of first place. But that would have been gravy on top of a turkey stuffed weekend in Texas.

[MORE]This weekend marked the passing of a few stages of the 2006 season. The stage where I complain about Matsui daily? Yep, I think that one has gone the way of the Dodo bird. And remember that stage – it started last year – where I complained of the team’s inability to hit mediocre, unproven starters? That one’s pretty much gone, as the Yanks have now tapped five straight mediocrities. Of course, this is known to be a recurring ailment.

Even A-Rod is in complaint remission, as he’s been taking serious strides in breaking out of his slump. In fact, if A-Rod wasn’t a certifiable head case, I’d say he’s completely out of the slump. But Boston’s in town this week, and A-Rod could psych himself out at any point and hit another 0 for 16 slide.

There is one stage, however, that remains in full effect, which is the DFA Sturtze stage. I think owns the unofficial record for least time to load the bases. I don’t think there’s a sane Yankees fan out there who can continue to defend Tanyon, leading me to an inquiry on Joe Torre’s mental health. I know people are crying for Octavio Dotel, but at this point I think we’d be happy seeing Matt Smith rather than Sturtze.

An uber-sarcastic “thank you” goes to Aaron Small, for sucking it up on Friday night. I understand that he’s only a few games into his season, but he can’t go doing things like that, because if he doesn’t pitch well, Sturtze sees more time in higher pressure situations. Note to Aaron: this is a team, buddy, and if you’re going to be a part of it, you need to do two things. 1) pitch decently and keep your ERA in the mid 3s. 2) pitch decently so Torre doesn’t have to resort to using Sturtze. It’s that simple. I’m not asking for 10-0. I’m just asking that he be trustworthy enough that we don’t have to see Sturtze walk the bases loaded on 12 pitches.

On a side note: Ken Singleton is an idiot. I actually started writing down some of his dumbass comments from Sunday’s game with the intention of lambasting him on this site. However, he makes this comments every game, and I’m sure most of you are already sick of hearing them. But let me have my fun and point out one gaffe. When talking about Rangers starter Robinson Tejada, Singleton said something to the effect that he, “made it all the way to AAA” in the Phillies organization, and now he’s getting “his chance at bat” (stupid fucking baseball cliché). I guess Singleton does zero research before games, since he completely missed the fact that Tejada pitched out of the Phillies bullpen last season. So he made it all the way to the Majors, Kenny, and he already got his “chance at bat.” Idiot.

Wow, I’ve complained a ton over the past few paragraphs. So, to end on a more optimistic note: Damon rocks, Jeter rocks, A-Rod rocks, Matsui rocks, Giambi rocks, and Mussina rocks the hardest.