The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Archive for September, 2010

Some off day news and notes09.30.10

I’m about to head out on a late-night drive to Boston. Before I leave, here are a few notes and links. We’ll start with Major League Baseball’s official announcement of some changes to the offseason.

During both the 2008 and 2009 off-seasons, the Major League Baseball Players Association raised with the Commissioner’s Office certain concerns regarding the operation of the free-agency market. Although the Commissioner’s Office found no evidence that any Club violated the collective bargaining agreement, or otherwise acted improperly, the parties agreed to discuss the concerns of both Players and Clubs to determine whether the process could be improved for both sides.

As a result of those discussions, the parties agreed to make certain procedural changes to the free-agency process for the 2010 and 2011 off-seasons that address the concerns of both parties. The changes include allowing free agents to negotiate with all Clubs at an earlier date, earlier dates for contract tenders and free agent arbitration offers, new protocols regarding public comments regarding free agent negotiations, improved procedures for the transmittal of free agents’ medical records, and a prohibition on including “most favored nations” provisions in Player contracts. Specifically, for the 2010 off-season, the new dates that have been agreed to by the parties are as follows:

- Free agents may negotiate with any Club on midnight of the fifth day after the World Series rather than after 15 days as provided for under our current agreement.

- Clubs must offer salary arbitration to free agents by midnight on November 23 in order to preserve their right to draft pick compensation. Free agent Players must accept by November 30.

- Clubs must tender contracts to Players under reserve by December 2.

The parties intend to evaluate whether these changes improve the process for both Players and Clubs, and discuss them in connection with their upcoming collective bargaining negotiations.

Some links…

• An important part of getting Kerry Wood: The Yankees simply outbid the Red Sox. “It ended up being a great move for them and cost us,” Theo Epstein said during a WEEI interview.

• If the Yankees do end up with the Twins in the first round, it’s possible but unlikely Justin Morneau will be back.

• If the Yankees end up with the Rangers in the first round, it’s all but certain Josh Hamilton will be back.

• Buster Olney says there is speculation that this winter’s market for Carl Crawford will come down to the Red Sox and Angels, not the Yankees.

• Possibly helping Robinson Cano’s MVP chances: Miguel Cabrera is finished for the season.

• I wrote a little bit about momentum this morning and wrote a little bit more for tomorrow’s paper. Be sure to check out the 2005 report from The Hardball Times about momentum. I don’t think I’m the first person to cite it when writing about the momentum myth lately.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 252 Comments →

World Series schedule announced09.30.10

At some point between my flight taking off in Toronto and my flight landing back in New York, the World Series schedule was announced by Major League Baseball. I still wish there were one day game in the World Series, but that’s probably a pipe dream. This is at least a step in that direction. Here’s the announcement.

Major League Baseball and FOX announced the start times for the 2010 World Series with Game Three scheduled to start at 6:57 p.m. ET/3:57 PT on Saturday, October 30. The remaining World Series games are scheduled for first pitch to take place at 7:57 p.m. ET with the exception of Game Four, which will take place following the conclusion of the NFL on FOX, as in years past.

The 6:57 ET/3:57 PT start time for Game Three will be the earliest start to a World Series game since Game Six of the 1987 World Series and is one hour earlier than the scheduled start time of the 2009 World Series game on Saturday.

“I am extremely pleased we are able to provide our fans the earliest World Series start time since 1987 with Saturday’s Game Three,’” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “The changes we made with FOX last year to start the World Series games earlier helped increase viewership including more young fans and we are optimistic that the earlier start time for Saturday’s Game Three will keep us moving in the same direction.”

Key to the earlier scheduled start time for Game Three is an additional level of advertising support from Chevrolet, the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, and a perennial sponsor of MLB on FOX.

“Starting the game earlier will allow more families to watch together,” said Chris Perry, vice president U.S. marketing, Chevrolet. “This fits perfectly with our commitment to baseball which stretches from youth teams across the country to MLB.”

“We’ve said over the years that if advertisers were willing to support earlier starts at prime time levels, we’d be able to begin games earlier,” said FOX Sports president Eric Shanks. “We’re excited to be working with MLB and Chevrolet, along with our FOX-owned stations and affiliates to make this happen.”

Date

Game

Host League

First Pitch/Pre-Game on FOX (ET)

Weds., Oct. 27

Game 1

National League

7:57 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Thurs., Oct. 28

Game 2

National League

7:57 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 30

Game 3

American League

6:57 p.m./6:30 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 31

Game 4

American League

8:20 p.m./8:00 p.m.

Mon., Nov. 1

Game 5

American League

7:57 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Weds., Nov. 3

Game 6

National League

7:57 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Thurs., Nov. 4

Game 7

National League

7:57 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 77 Comments →

The Cy Young and the MVP09.30.10

The Yankees have legitimate candidates for the top individual honors in the American League. Robinson Cano is among the MVP front runners and Cy Young is at the forefront of a heated debate about the Cy Young. Not surprisingly, Joe Girardi thinks his guys should win.

Girardi on Cano: “There might be guys who have better offensive numbers than him, but I don’t think they bring that same defense that he does. He’s excellent on both sides of the ball.”

Girardi on Sabathia: “I’m not taking anything away from the American League West, but those ballparks are going to play bigger… (For) what CC has done in this division, I think he’s the Cy Young.”

Could the Yankees actually win both?

ph_429664MVP
Top Yankees candidate: Robinson Cano (.314/.374/.524, 28 HR, 106 RBI)
Other favorites: Josh Hamilton (.361/.414/.635, 31 HR, 97 RBI), Miguel Cabrera (.328/.420/.622, 38 HR, 126 RBI)
Four more: Adrian Beltre (.323/.367/.556, 28 HR, 102 RBI), Paul Konerko (.310/.390/.581, 38 HR, 107 RBI), Alex Rodriguez (.272/.342/.514, 30 HR, 123 RBI), Carl Crawford (.309/.359/.492, 17 HR, 88 RBI)

Rodriguez has no reasonable shot at the MVP, but he might have put himself in the top 10 with that huge RBI total. He could have run away with the league lead if he hadn’t been hurt. One thing that surprises me is how similar Cano’s numbers are to Beltre’s. If you could only pick one Ray for the Top 10, would you go Crawford or Longoria? Would you consider Soriano ahead of them? Prediction: Hamilton wins it. Cano finishes second.

ph_282332Cy Young
Top Yankees candidate: CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18, 237.2 IP, 197 K, 74 BB)
Other favorites: Felix Hernandez (13-12, 2.27, 249.2 IP, 232 K, 70 BB), David Price (19-6, 2.73, 207.2 IP, 187 K, 79 BB), Jon Lester (19-8, 2.96, 204 IP, 220 K, 78 BB)
Four more: Jeff Weaver (13-12, 3.02, 217.1 IP, 229 K, 53 BB), Clay Buchholz (17-7, 2.33, 173.2 IP, 120 K, 67 BB), Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.29, 205.1 IP, 177 K, 18 BB), Trevor Cahill (17-8, 3.08, 189.2 IP, 112 K, 61 BB)

Like Rodriguez in the MVP voting, Cahill has no chance to win the Cy Young, but he has to be the least likely Top 10 candidate. That’s a terrific second year in the big leagues. This vote could come down to the way voters think. I tend to believe there are a lot of traditionalist out there who want to give the Cy Young to a guy who really carried a team and got them somewhere. That’s why… Prediction: Sabathia wins it, and I think Hernandez might finish outside of the Top 3 because some voters will have him much lower than expected.

Just for fun…

Rookie of the Year
Top Yankees Candidate: Is Austin Jackson still with the Yankees? No?
Favorites: Neftali Feliz (4-3, 2.81, 38 saves, 70 K, 17 BB), Austin Jackson (.298/.349/.407, 26 SB, 181 H, 102 R), Wade Davis (12-10, 4.14, 161 IP, 107 K, 60 BB)
Four more: Brennan Boesch (.260/.325/.424, 14 HR, 66 RBI), Brian Matusz (9-12, 4.40, 169.2 IP, 134 K, 61 BB), Danny Valencia (.323/.362/463, 7 HR, 40 RBI), John Jaso (.266/.377/.384, 59 BB, 39 K, 40 RBI)

The Yankees don’t have anyone remotely in the converstation for Rookie of the Year. MLB.com has a top rookie tracker that lists more than 40 American League players, and there’s not a single Yankee on the list. Instead, the award seems be between Feliz and former Yankees minor leaguer Jackson. Boesch was an early favorite, but his second-half numbers are terrible. Davis, on the other hand, came into his own in the second half. Prediction: I’d love to say Jackson because I like the guy, but I think Feliz will win by a lot.

Manager of the Year
Top Yankee candidate: Joe Girardi (Got his team into the wild card lead and in the hunt for the best record in baseball)
Favorites: Ron Washington (ran away with the AL West), Ron Gardenhire (lost his closer and his MVP and still had one of the best teams in the league)
Four more: Terry Francona (so many injuries he used 30 different position players this season), Joe Maddon (right now he has the best record in the AL), Cito Gaston (Might have won any other divison), Buck Showalter (turned the Orioles around from last-place team to dangerous late-place team)

Washington was the early favorite, but Gardenhire might have taken that spot in the last month or so. Without Joe Nathan or Justin Morneau, the Twins have been outstanding. They’re good every year, so it’s hardly a surprise, but this might be Gardenhire’s best season. Prediction: Gardenhire in an insanely close vote. I’ll guess Girardi finishes fifth.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 149 Comments →

LoHud Yankees Blog Live Chat09.30.10

Posted by: Sam Borden - Posted in Miscwith 82 Comments →

Let’s chat this afternoon09.30.10

I’m getting better at this traveling thing. 

My flight out of Toronto was cancelled this morning. Not delayed. Cancelled. I was at the airport a little before 7 a.m., and the next American Airlines flight to New York left at 1:25 p.m. Not a good situation.

The veteran move? Convincing American Airlines to rebook me on an Air Canada flight that left at 9:15. All’s well that ends well and I’m sitting in my apartment with enough time to do some laundry, write some off day stories and finally decide whether I’m driving to Boston tonight or in the morning.

Meanwhile, the one thing less predictable than flying seems to be raising children.

Sam has a little girl at home, and because he’s tending to some fatherly responsibilities — raising, nurturing, that sort of thing — we’re pushing today’s chat back to 1:30. It’s a half hour delay. Not cancelled. Just delayed.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 471 Comments →

Feinsand: Pettitte dealing with back issue09.30.10

ph_120485Interesting stuff from Mark Feinsand this morning.

Mark is reporting that Andy Pettitte felt some back stiffness during his previous start in New York. There doesn’t seem to be extreme concern about it, but given the state of the Yankees rotation, it obviously adds a little weight to Friday’s start in Boston.

“The next day, I knew I was going to be fine,” Pettitte told the Daily News. “But you don’t want to have anything going on, especially after what I’ve been through with my groin.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 39 Comments →

Get there and see what happens09.30.10

Yankees Blue Jays Baseball

This is the last day of September, and the Yankees are off today. That means their worst full month of the season is over.

“I’ve been on teams that have scuffled in the last week of the season and won, and I’ve been on teams that have been hot in the last week of the season (and didn’t),” Derek Jeter said. “I think it’s just a matter of, you’re hot when the playoffs start. It doesn’t always work with how you played the last week of the season. But you want to be playing well.”

The Yankees went 12-15 in September. The last time they had a losing record in the final full month of a season was 2000. That year they won the World Series. From 2001 and 2008, they had double-digit losses in September only once, but they never won a championship in those eight years.

There are three games left, all of them in October. For peace of mind, I’m sure the Yankees would like to play well and build some confidence heading into the division series. Whether they need to play well, I have no idea. The October games that matter start on Wednesday.

“I don’t really think you can explain things sometimes,” Jeter said. “Just get there and see what happens.”

Associated Press photo of Alex Rodriguez

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 57 Comments →

Postgame notes: Missed opportunities09.30.10

Yankees Blue Jays Baseball

Javier Vazquez seemed to realize the weight of tonight’s game. He knew what it meant for the team, and he knew what it meant for himself. Tonight was a chance for the Yankees to take the lead in the American League East, and it was a chance for Vazquez to make one last case for the postseason roster.

Vazquez accomplished neither.

“Obviously today didn’t help,” he said. “I thought today was an important day for me personally, but it didn’t go well.”

The Yankees need some help if they’re going to win the division, but as Derek Jeter said, all the help in the world does no good if the Yankees don’t win their games. Vazquez didn’t give them much of a chance to win tonight. Spot-starting so that Andy Pettitte could be lined up for the playoffs, Vazquez allowed seven runs on 10 hits, three of them home runs.

“If I would have thrown the ball better, that would have helped my case. That’s not the case tonight,” he said. “I just got hit. I had nothing. I didn’t feel like my pitches were sharp at all today. They just hit me good.”

And that’s not good for Vazquez. The Yankees have room for at least one long man in their postseason bullpen, and they have a long line of candidates. Dustin Moseley pitched well two nights ago, Sergio Mitre pitched a hitless inning tonight, Ivan Nova has been the team’s No. 5 starter, and Chad Gaudin has clearly won some of Girardi’s trust in the past month.

Then there’s Vazquez, who has struggled since the all-star break.

“I wish I knew the answer because I felt great those couple of months that I pitched well,” he said. “I just didn’t get it done late. I wish I knew.”

Yankees Blue Jays Baseball• Girardi said he will try to give Vazquez an inning of relief on Sunday. As you would expect, Girardi said he has not ruled out carrying Vazquez in the postseason.

• The Yankees haven’t always rallied to win, but they’ve regularly come back to get themselves into ball games. Tonight they did that with their three-run sixth, which ended on Nick Swisher’s bases-loaded double play. “You feel like you’re going to get right back in the game,” Girardi said. “Swish hit it right on the barrel of the bat, he just hit it right to the second baseman.”

• Alex Rodriguez has reached 30 home runs, which seemed impossible not so long ago. No. 30 came off Brett Cecil to start that sixth inning. Rodriguez has 13 consecutive 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons, which is the longest such streak of all time.

• Rodriguez has a total of 14 30-and-100 seasons, which ties Barry Bonds for the most all-time.

• Marcus Thames went 1-for-4 tonight and in 11 games against Toronto this season, he hit .441 with three home runs and seven RBI.

• Jazquez has now gone without a strikeout in two of his past three outings. Before that, he had a strikeout in 349 consecutive games.

• Three more hits from Francisco Cervelli who seems to have rediscovered some of that early season magic.

• Two more hits from Derek Jeter who’s hitting .316 in his past 18 games.

• If Greg Golson is trying to make an impression to make the postseason roster, I’m sure an RBI single didn’t hurt his chances. Ultimately, though, he didn’t have many chances to show of his arm or his speed, and those are his best assets in the playoffs.

Associated Press photos of Vazquez and Jeter

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 551 Comments →

Yankees can’t take advantage in Toronto09.29.10

Tampa Bay lost today, giving the Yankees an opportunity to climb back into first place in the American League East. Joe Girardi used nearly all of his regular hitters, but after clinching a spot in the playoffs last night, he started Javier Vazquez instead of Andy Pettitte. It was Vazquez who allowed three home runs and left the Yankees with a hole they couldn’t escape in an 8-4 loss to the Blue Jays. The only bright spot: Alex Rodriguez reached the 30-home run, 100-RBI mark for a 13th straight season.

Yankees Blue Jays Baseball

Associated Press photo of Vazquez

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 445 Comments →

Game 159: Yankees at Blue Jays09.29.10

YANKEES (94-64)
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Marcus Thames DH
Austin Kearns LF
Francisco Cervelli C
Greg Golson CF

RHP Javier Vazquez (10-9, 5.07)
Vazquez vs. Blue Jays

BLUE JAYS (81-76)
Travis Snider LF
Yunel Escobar SS
Jose Bautista RF
Vernon Wells CF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Aaron Hill 2B
Adam Lind DH
John Buck C
John McDonald 3B

LHP Brett Cecil (14-7, 4.20)
Cecil vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:07 p.m. / YES Network

UMPIRES: HP Jeff Kellog, 1B Larry Vanover, 2B Jeff Nelson, 3B Mark Carlson

WEATHER: The roof is actually open right now and it feels nice. A little chilly, but not too bad. This place is infinitely better when it’s open.

SEE YOU IN OCTOBER: The Yankees have secured their 49th postseason berth, the most of any franchise. This will be their 15th playoff appearance in the past 16 years. Tuesday was the latest the Yankees had clinched a spot since 2005, when they clinched on October 1.

HITS ARE OVERRATED: Last night the Yankees scored six runs without a single RBI hit. According to Elias, they are the second time to score six or more runs without a hit this season. The Mets did it against Florida in April. The biggest difference between the Yankees and the Mets: The Yankees won their game, the Mets lost theirs.

NUMBERS DON’T LIE: CC Sabathia’s win last night marked the 11th time in the past 20 years that a major league pitcher recorded 21 wins with a winning percentage of .750 or better and an ERA below 3.20. Eight of the previous 10 pitchers to do it won the Cy Young. The only exceptions were Curt Schilling in 2001 and Mike Hampton in 1999.

UPDATE, 7:38 p.m.: Starting a little late after the Cito Gaston tribute. The Blue Jays, by the way, have drawn mustaches on themselves in honor of their manager. It’s pretty hilarious.

UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: Here’s Vazquez for his second inning of work after a rocky first inning that could have been much worse than one run. Before the game, Girardi said Vazquez could pitch his way onto the postseason roster. I have to think he could also pitch his way off it.

UPDATE, 8:11 p.m.: Two innings. Two Blue Jays home runs. It’s a 2-0 Toronto lead.

UPDATE, 8:34 p.m.: Double play gets Vazquez out of the third inning — one that started with a crazy catch by Joe Carter of all people — and it’s 3-0 Blue Jays. Vazquez has thrown 50 pitches.

UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: Another run for Vazquez. The Yankees have had Albaladejo up in the bullpen. With a day off tomorrow, I wonder if they would pull Javy after just four innings. It’s already 4-0.

UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: Alex Rodriguez just hit his 30th home run of the season, and the guy who caught it threw it back. The home run extended Rodriguez’s record of 14 seasons with at least 30 homers and 100 RBI. I’m not sure the ball was worth a ton, but it was probably worth something, and the guy who caught it must have been kicking himself when he saw the Blue Jays throw the ball into the Yankees dugout for safe keeping.

Meanwhile, the internet has been very hit-and-miss tonight, but Javier Vazquez might have thrown his last pitch of the season. He left after a three-run home run in the fifth. It’s now 7-1 Blue Jays.

UPDATE, 10:13 p.m.: Joba Chamberlain allowed an unearned run in the seventh and it’s now 8-3 Blue Jays. Rodriguez made his first error since July 17.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 737 Comments →

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