Archive for August, 2009
Damon takes a break • 08.30.09
Johnny Damon left the game with tight calf muscles.
He gets this occasionally. Not a big deal.
Here in Scranton for the outing. Beautiful day.
Game 130: White Sox at Yankees • 08.30.09
Pitching: RHP Joba Chamberlain (8-4, 4.34).
WHITE SOX (64-66)
Pitching: RHP Freddy Garcia (0-1, 6.75).
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., YES/TBS.
STATE OF THE ‘STRIPES: The Yankees took the first two games of the series and are 3-2 on a homestand that ends today. They leave after the game for Baltimore. The Yankees have won 19 of their last 25 games and maintain a six-game lead on Boston in the AL East.
THE CHASE FOR HOME FIELD: Thanks to Oakland beat the Angels, the Yankees now lead Los Angeles by 4.5 games for best record in the AL and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Yankees have 33 games left, the Angels 34. The teams meet four times head to head.
Why is this important? The Yankees are 2-10 at Angel Stadium over the last three years, 5-17 in the last five.
THE JOBA RULES REVISITED: Don’t be surprised if Joba Chamberlain only pitches three or four innings today. The Yankees plan to restrict his innings now and then build him back up near the end of the season. Chamberlain has pitched poorly of late, going 1-2 with an 8.55 ERA in his last four starts.
HOME COOKING: The Yankees have won 18 of their last 22 games at Yankee Stadium.
THE JETER METER: The Captain is now 14 hits away from passing Lou Gehrig for most hits in franchise history. The Iron Horse had 2,721. Jeter has reached base in the Yankees half of the first inning in eight of the last 12 games. He has 43 hits in August, marking his most for any calendar month since August 2001. He also is two steals away from 300 in his career.
VALUABLE RESERVE: Jerry Hairston, Jr. has hit safely in nine of his 11 starts since joining the Yankees.
I DON’T WANT TO FADE AWAY: The White Sox have lost six of their last seven games and are now in third place in the Central, five games behind Detroit.
FREDDY’S BACK: This will be the third start for Freddy Garcia as he makes his latest comeback. Garcia is 2-7 with a 5.70 ERA in 16 starts over the last three years. He is 4-3, 4.19 against the Yankees in his career.
A-Rod owns Garcia: 12 of 32 with seven extra base hits including five homers.
HINSKE WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: Wondering why Eric Hinske is playing? He is 6 of 13 against Garcia with two extra-base hits. The Masher from Menasha has not homered since July 31. But he does have five jacks in 47 ABs for the Yankees.
SEE YOU IN SCRANTON: I’m off to PNC field in Moosic, Pa., in a few hours to see the Pawtucket-Scranton doubleheader. The second annual LoHud Yankees Blog Outing is today and we have 75 or so readers gathering in a suite down the left field line. Should be a lot of fun. Thanks to Ron for organizing it.
I’ll update the blog from that game later on today. For now, enjoy the Yankees game.
UPDATE, 12:03 p.m.: Via Mike Ashmore comes news that Dellin Betances has had Tommy John surgery. The Yankees must get a group rate from Dr. Andrews.
So add Betances to the list of pitching prospects who have had setbacks of one form or another. That group includes Andrew Brackman, Ian Kennedy, Alan Horne, Chris Garcia, etc. That’s why teams gather so many, the odds are against these guys from the start.
Today in The Journal News • 08.30.09
Joe Girardi was impressed with Sergio Mitre back in spring training and that faith paid off again yesterday as he combined with Chad Gaudin on a one-hitter in a victory against the White Sox. Josh Thomson has the story.
Jorge Posada is expected back behind the plate today. This notebook also has an updates on Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and an angry Ozzie Guillen.
The Mets are the subject of the Baseball Beat. Does Fred Wilpon need to fire Omar Minaya?
Yankees win 10-0, move 33 over .500 • 08.29.09
As I blogged earlier, thanks to a heads up from Pete, the Yankees are now 81-48, putting them 33 games over .500 for the first times since Sept. 26, 2006. That isn’t all that is of interest from today. Here’s the rest:
— Sergio Mitre left the game in the seventh inning with a one-hitter. A.J. Pierzynski lined a ball off his right forearm with one out and a runner on first. X-rays were negative, but Mitre and Joe Girardi said they didn’t know whether or not Mitre will make his next start. “I want to. I hope so,” Mitre said. If he feels better, Mitre will throw a bullpen on Monday.
— After playing catch today for the first time since re-injuring his bruised left index finger, Girardi expects Jorge Posada to play tomorrow. “We think he’ll be good to go tomorrow,” the manager said. “He did play catch today. The one thing that’s really hard to predict, and you can’t practice, is foul tips. He’s going to catch the balls cleanly, but both times it’s happened it has been foul tips. That’s not something I’d recommend we practice. You just kind of hope it doesn’t happen when he plays.”
— Derek Jeter said he elected to bunt for a base hit during the Yankees’ four-run rally in the second inning. He figured it would turn into a sac at worst. “It was the right thing to do. We had a couple guys on base. With nobody out, you move them over and you have a lot of different ways to score a run with guys on second and third as opposed to first and second. I’ve done it before and I’m sure I’ll do it again,” Jeter said. “I don’t care who knocks ‘em in. I’m just trying to win games. At that point, it was, what, 2-0. We’re trying to get some runs for Serg.”
— Mark Teixeira on the Jim Thome smash that broke up Mitre’s perfect game with one out in the fifth: “I tried to kind of put a glove on it — maybe knock it down or something — but that’s a play that if I make it, it’s probably a miracle.”
— With Chad Gaudin having pitched 2 2/3 innings today, Alfredo Aceves and David Robertson will serve as the long men for Joba Chamberlain tomorrow.
Guillen: “I’m embarrassed” • 08.29.09
This is Josh again. I’ll have a postgame wrap later, but here’s what Ozzie Guillen said after watching Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin one-hit his fading club:
“I’m embarrassed. I think that everyone in that locker room should be embarrassed. You have to start second-guessing yourself when you go out and have more errors than hits in a game. We have veteran players and I have respect for them and appreciate what they have done for me in the past, but this is Major League Baseball. We’re better than this. Right now it feels like we’re stealing money from Jerry (Reinsdorf). I’m stealing money from Jerry. The mountains only get higher every night.”
“I feel like I am the one that should be blamed. And I know that I am the one’s who’s going to get the blame, but you have to give me some ammunition. Give me something that I can use to defend you. Right now that’s not happening.”
On Jose Contreras: “Jose threw another bad game. It feels like we have been watching the same movie with him for three months now. And I love Jose, but he is pitching bad. But we had no choice other than to go to him today. I keep giving him chances and giving him the ball every fifth day, but he is not pitching well.”
Game 129: White Sox at Yankees • 08.29.09
Pitching: RHP Sergio Mitre (2-1, 6.82).
WHITE SOX (64-65)
Pitching: RHP Jose Contreras (5-12, 5.09).
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., YES.
WEATHER UPDATE: The Yankees had a late report time today and will not take batting on the field. There is rain in the area and we’ll keep you posted on the state of the game. They’ll likely do all they can to play.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees beat the White Sox 5-2 in 10 innings last night. They maintained a six-game on Boston in the AL East. They still lead the Angels by 3.5 games in the chase for home-field advantage. Los Angeles rallied to beat Oakland 11-7. They were down 6-1 after five innings.
SHADES OF THE 70s: The Yankees recorded their 12th walk-off win of the season last night. That’s their most since 1978, when they had 13.
LEADING MAN: Derek Jeter hit his third leadoff homer of the season last night, and the 22nd of his career, breaking a tie with Alfonso Soriano for sole possession of second place in franchise history. He trails only Rickey Henderson, who had 24.
BRING HIM BACK: Johnny Damon hit his 23rd home run of the season last night, leaving him one homer shy of tying his career high set in 2006. He has multiple hits in eight of his last 13 games.
HUUUUUUUUUUGHES: Phil Hughes struck out the side in the eighth inning. He has a 1.23 ERA in 29 relief appearances and has fanned 48 in 36.1 innings of relief. His 1.47 ERA since the All-Star break leads all qualifiers currently in the American League.
BRONX SHAKE DOWN: The Yankees have won nine of the last 11 games against the White Sox in the Bronx.
JORGE WAITS Girardi said he is going to give Jorge Posada one more day to rest that bruised left ring finger. He will catch in the bullpen today to test it out.
A TITAN NO MORE: Jose Contreras — once known as the Titan of Bronze in Cuba — is 1-5 with a 6.16 ERA in his last eight starts. He has lasted only 38 innings in those eight starts and out 68 runners on base via it, walk or it by pitch. When Contreras got rocked by the Red Sox on Monday, Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said he was out of the rotation. But here is is, the other options deemed unappealing.
BACK IN THE BRONX: Contreras was 15-7, 4.64 with the Yankees from 2003-04 before he was traded. He is 2-5, 4.20 in seven career starts against the Yankees since.
MITRE MATTERS: Mitre is starting for the first time since Aug. 15 when he allowed one earned run over 5.1 innings at Seattle. He pitched two innings in relief at Fenway Park on Aug. 21 and got lit up, giving up four runs on four hits.
MILESTONE WATCH: Mariano Rivera is six strikeouts away from 1,000 in his career. He also is two appearances away from tying Denton True “Cy” Young for 20th place in career appearances with 906. Can anybody explain why I failed Spanish miserably in college yet I know the full name of every Hall of Famer? I have serious issues.
PINCH HITTING: Thanks to my Journal News colleague Josh Thomson for texting in the lineup. I have some non-game duties today and he is in the Bronx. Josh will be back later to update the blog.
Enjoy the game.
UPDATE, 12:10 p.m.: Josh here. A few quick items to report…
As Peter wrote, Posada will be given another day to rest his injured left ring finger. He does finally have a contraption (as Girardi called it) to protect the finger, so we should know more later on how effective it is playing catch. “He wants to play,” Girardi said. “I feel like the extra day is going to help him.”
Girardi said he wouldn’t have used Posada last night because the game was tied and theoretically could’ve been played deep into the night. “If we were down I would’ve used him,” Girardi said. Of note: Jerry Hairston, Jr. is probably the emergency catcher. He went into the bullpen last night to catch a reliever.
— Brett Gardner will take the day off from hitting after hitting off a tee the last two days. He will throw today. Gardner said the finger is still sore, and he is being somewhat cautious rather than pushing through the pain (and possible making it worse). At any rate, he will hit tomorrow off a tee and possibly try soft toss. He remains optimistic he could begin a rehab assignment at some point this coming week. “Everything feels OK, but still a little sore,” Gardner said. “No swelling. It’s getting better every day, and hopefully closer to feeling 100 percent.”
— Girardi on Kazmir: “I thought he was a fixture in Tampa’s rotation. I know he still has a couple years left, but I think he’s a good pitcher.”
More here later. For updates when I’m not at the computer, follow me on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jthomson22/.
UPDATE, 12:20 p.m.: Also, I must say, I think this game will be played today. The tarp is off and the field looks perfectly fine.
UPDATE, 1:28 p.m.: I know you all have a reason to hate the sight of Contreras, but you saw in the first why he remains so tantalizing — and so eternally frustrating.
His results have been among the worst in baseball this year. Watching him pitch disgusts his own manager. Yet there he was, striking out Teixeira on a nasty splitter, blowing away A-Rod on a heater at 95, and forcing a lazy fly ball off the bat of Matsui with a letter-high split.
Few pitchers in the last decade have done less with more.
UPDATE, 1:45 p.m.: Jeter absolutely cannot bunt there. I’m sorry. He’s batting over .330 and Contreras hasn’t come close to recording an out in the second inning. (And he had just walked the No. 9 batter with Jeter on deck.)
People at the Stadium clapped because fans clap for bunts. Damon’s two-run double will only confirm in their minds that the bunt was the right play there. Anyway, it’s now 4-0 Yanks.
UPDATE, 2:05 p.m.: Posada just warmed up Mitre while Molina put his gear on. That must be a positive sign.
UPDATE, 2:25 p.m.: Matsui in August — .300, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 16 R.
UPDATE, 2:37 p.m.: Mitre may’ve lost his perfect game, but at least it wasn’t on a cheapie. Jim Thome still hits the ball like a grown man.
UPDATE, 2:44 p.m.: Is that Sergio Mitre out there or Brandon Webb? Of the 18 outs so far, 13 have come by way of strikeout of ground out. He has been helped by outstanding defensive plays by A-Rod and Cano, who may’ve just snared tonight’s No. 1 web gem.
UPDATE, 3:03 p.m.: Mitre was hit by a liner off the bat of A.J. Pierzynski (I believe in the right arm) and is now out of the game. Chad Gaudin is on the mound. It was definitely Mitre’s best start as a Yankee: 6 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K.
The last time Mitre pitched scoreless ball this deep into a game was May 10, 2007 against the Dodgers (8 IP, 0 R, 3 H).
UPDATE, 3:07 p.m.: Also, Pete reports that if they Yanks win they will be 33 games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 26, 2006.
UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.: Mitre left the game with a right forearm contusion. Precautionary X-rays will be taken here at the Stadium.
UPDATE, 3:44 p.m.: Aside from the performance of Mitre, this has been a pretty uneventful game. But check out the scathing comments Ozzie Guillen made after last night’s game. What might he say today?
Yanks win 10-0. Nary a rain delay in sight.
Today in The Journal News • 08.29.09
Robinson Cano finally got a hit with runners in scoring position last night and it won the game for the Yankees. His three-run homer was the difference in 10 innings.
The Joba Rules were revised a bit. This notebook also has updates on Brett Gardner, Jorge Posada and a wild pitch from Serena Williams
Wrapping it up from the Stadium • 08.28.09
A few postgame notes:
Robinson Cano got a slider and he obviously crushed it. He also knew his numbers with RISP. “I try not to think about it in the game,” he said. “But I know. Some of it is bad luck but it seems like I hit better if somebody is on first or nobody is on. I don’t know why.”
CC Sabathia said he felt fine in the seventh and gave Chicago credit for good at-bats. Given how he has been used this season, suggesting he was worn out at 113 pitches is a little silly. He had earned the right to try and get out of that inning.
Jose Contreras (5.09 ERA) starts tomorrow for Chicago.
Nick Swisher on his throw: “It was like throwing a bar or soap.”
It is pouring now at the Stadium. Good thing they won when they did.
Thanks to everybody for reading tonight, it was a lot of fun.
UPDATE, 12:14 a.m.: I’m going to be on WFAN sometime in the next hour with Lori Rubinson. So check that out.
Journalism at its finest • 08.28.09
TV “reporter’ to CC Sabathia: “So, first 16-game winner?”
CC, none too pleased: “No.”
TV reporter, now scrambling: “Well, you would have been.”
CC, still none too pleased: “Yeah.”
Kazmir to Angels is official • 08.28.09
This from the Angels:
The Angels today acquired left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor leaguers Alex Torres (LHP) and Matt Sweeney (INF). The Rays will also receive a player to be named later. Kazmir, 25, is signed through the 2011 season after signing a three-year contract with Tampa Bay on May 14, 2008. Today’s transaction was announced by General Manager Tony Reagins.
“We are excited to have a pitcher of Scott’s caliber,” said Reagins. “He has excelled at the Major League level since he came into the league and we like his competitiveness. This move also provides us with some depth in our rotation.”
A two-time All-Star (2008 & 2006), Kazmir joins the Angels with a career record (through 2009) of 55-44 and a 3.92 ERA (834 IP – 363 ER) in 145 games (144 starts). He has 874 career strikeouts in 834 innings pitched and led the American League with 239 strikeouts in 2007.
This season, the Houston native is 8-7 with a 5.92 ERA (111 IP – 73 ER) in 20 starts. He returned from the 15-day DL June 27th after missing 33 games with a right quad strain. In 2008, the lefty posted a 12-8 record with a 3.49 ERA in 27 starts.