Sunday, May 4, 2008

Quick Note

Just a quick note about the lack of recent updates...there has been a death in my girlfriend's family that has tied up most of my time recently. I'll be back to a normal schedule when things calm down a little.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Games 23 and 24

Game 23:
A lone rough inning
Doomed Ian Kennedy's start
Offense still struggling

Game 24:
Wang was tremendous
Erases playoff demons
Melkman delivers

It was an interesting weekend of games. On Saturday, Ian Kennedy labored through a terrible 2nd inning, but was otherwise pretty good. I still think he has the kind of stuff to succeed in the majors, but right now he's really nibbling instead of attacking hitters. I think he's reading the papers and letting the mediots get in his head, despite the fact that they have a total of three braincells between them.

Yesterday's game was a candidate for game of the year. Both Wang and Sabathia were fantastic, with CC's mistake to Melky the difference (the big lefty seems to be over those early struggles though - 19 k's his last two games). Wang pitched one of the best games I've ever seen from him, deftly mixing in his slider and splitter/change to keep hitters off balance. He finished with 9 k's, 2 BB, and 4 hits allowed, all of which were to lead off innings. If he can keep pitching like this, he may yet win the Cy Young award.

Following Wang were Joba and Mo, who were equally as nasty. Chamberlain struck out 2 in his inning, including Travis Hafner on a 98 mph fastball on the black to end it. Rivera breezed through the 9th on 11 pitches, freezing Peralta with a cutter on the black for the final out. For those scoring at home, Mo now has 10 scoreless innings to start the year, a welcome change from his early season struggles the last few years.

The Yanks have one more in Cleveland today, with Moose squaring off against Aaron Laffey. Hopefully this is the one that gets the offense rolling because, for all the talk about the pitching, the offense has been pretty terrible to this point.

Friday, April 25, 2008


can we release Billy Traber? I hate LOOGYs to beging with, and he can't get out lefties or righties right now. Give Ohlendorf Bruney or Farnsworth's spot and call up Rasner to be a long man.

Game 23

Hughes looked amazing
Until the skies exploded
Win 1 evasive

I'm pretty sure that the baseball gods hate Phil Hughes. He was off to an amazing start last night - hitting 94, according to game day, and looking crisper than he has since the first start of the year. Then the rains came and the Yankees wisely didn't send him back out to continue. Had that not happened, I have complete faith that he would have calmed the worries of fans. I guess he'll just have to do it next time instead.

In other news, Bruney is on the DL and may miss the rest of the season. Just when it was starting to look like he'd break out, he's gone. Joining him will be Professor Farnsworth, allowing the Yanks to call up Britton and Albaladejo. Hopefully they'll actually use Britton in this stint. He's got the stuff to be a key cog in a big league bullpen. I like Albaladejo as well...he could end up being another key player this year. Waiting in the wings is Scott Patterson, whom I'd like to see at some point this season. He really impressed me this spring, and he's not going to learn much in AAA. At this point, he is what he is.

Besides Edwar and Veras, who most people already know about, there are a few other potential big time relievers waiting in the farm system, should the Yankees decide they need help or that LaTroy Hawkins is toasted garbage. Former second rounder JB Cox, who took over for Huston Street as Texas's closer, is currently rehabbing from TJ surgery at class A Tampa (*just found out he was called up to AAA today*). Joining him in TJ rehab in Tampa is Mark Melancon, whom the Yankees grabbed in the 8th round in 2006. He was widely regarded as the best closer in that draft, and fell into the Yankees' hands solely because of injury concerns. Cox reached AA in 2006, so he could be a fast mover when he completely recovers. He throws a heavy moving fastball in the upper 80's to low 90's and features and excellent slider that BA rated as the best in the system before his injury. Malancon could also move quickly once he completely recovers, as he features a fast ball in the 91 - 94 range and an explosive power curve. My guess is that we won't see either of these guys this year, but they could be important pieces of the pen in the future.

The guy I really wanted to write about is David Robertson, who the Yankees grabbed in the 17th round in 2006. Don't let the draft round fool you, he was pretty highly regarded after posting k/9 ratios of 12.77 and 10.90 in his two years of college. He fell largely due to signability concerns; as a sophomore, he had all kinds of leverage, and teams didn't want to waste a pick on a player they didn't think would sign. I remember at the time most thought the Yankees had no chance of bringing him aboard and that he was a backup in case Melancon didn't sign.

Since joining the Yankee system, Robertson has flat out dominated, earning himself a callup to AAA today. In 84 innings across 3 levels last season, he pitched 84.1 innings and allowed 45 hits, 12 runs, 9 (!) earned, 0 homers, 32 walks, and 113 (!) strikeouts. Batters hit just .154 against him, and he had a nearly 2 outs on the ground for every one in the air. His ratios of 4.82 H/9, 3.42 BB/9, and 12.09 K/9 are nearly other worldly, especially considering he was just 22 years old. He's continued to dominate this year, throwing 14 innings and giving up 7 hits, 1 earned run, 6 walks, and 21 strikeouts. He doesn't throw particularly hard, sitting 89 - 93, but he's supposedly got good sink on the fastball,an excellent curve, and a good change. His lack of velocity and 5'11", 180 lb frame limit his upside and give some reason to doubt him, but it seems that he's pretty close to a finished product, and he's experienced nothing but success at every level at which he has pitched. He may never be a dominant closer, but in a best-case scenerio he could end up like Rafael Betancourt, a reliever who has similar fastball velocity and similar breaking stuff, along with a career 2.80 ERA and 9.14 K/9 in the majors. We could very well see Robertson this season.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Game 22

Slow, slower, slowest
Moose may not be finished yet
Finesse his new game

Unfortunately, other commitments prevented me from watching last night's game, but it was a good one, with a few exceptions. Moose was able to keep Chicago off balance and get through 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on 2 homers. He's going to give up the longball as any mistakes he makes are going to be punished, but if he keeps runners off base, he'll be able to get by. He's actually done a fairly good job of preventing baserunners; his WHIP currently stands at 1.21.

On the offensive side of things, Damon continued to heat up, collecting two more hits, and Posada turned in a huge 4 - 5 effort, with 3 of those hits going for doubles. Don't look now, but Damon is now hitting .254/.360/.480. He's not done yet.

On the bad side, Cano continued his early season funk, going 0 - 4. I did read, however, that he hit into some bad luck, which is a good sign. He also walked again, his third and 4 days. Like last year, I expect Cano to heat up with the weather.

In additional bad news, LaTroy continued to suck. He gave up 2 more runs while recording just one out, raising his ERA to an almost comical 11.17. He's not that bad, but it's looking like he's not very good either. At this point, I'd rather just cut him and let one of the many solid relievers in AAA have a chance. Britton, Edwar, Patterson, Albaladejo, and maybe even Veras are all probably capable of besting Hawkins at this point.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Game 21 recap

Wang was good enough
Johnny started to break out
Abreu was grand

The Yankee offense continued to mediocre its way through the season until the 7th last night, when Bobby Abreu's grand slam gave the Yankees the lead and Damon's three-run blast added the insurance. Robinson Cano, who I thought would bust out after the pinch homer against the Devil Rays a while back, doubled and walked. Even the ghost of Jason Giambi hit one out against someone not named Mike Timlin, lifting his average to a robust .120.

Wang wasn't great, but he was just good enough to hold down the Sox. He had a fairly typical outing, giving up 10 hits and 3 runs in 6 innings while getting 8 outs on the ground vs. 5 in the air. Though he recorded 5 strikeouts tonight, he still pitches to contact more than many pitchers, which has led (at least in my memory) to a bunch of games like the one he had tonight. Fortunately he can often survive giving up a lot of hits since he doesn't walk many people and doesn't give up many XBH.

Quick hits-

Even though it's still really early, I'm beginning to get just a little concerned about Hughes, Kennedy, and Cano. I'm still really confident in all of them, I'd just like to see each have a good game soon. That may be all it takes to get them turned around.

Moose has to start pitching the Jamie Moyer. The fastball is gone, Moose. Pitch off the breaking stuff.

Joba should start this year. Having a dominant 8th inning guy is meaningless if you can't get to the 8th.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Games 18, 19, and 20

Game 18:
Phil Hughes was hammered
Cabrera shut down the "O"
Another game dropped

Game 19:
Kennedy's command
Was as steady as a swing
A terrible game

Game 20:
Pettitte helped the Yanks
Out of their doldrums on a
Sometimes rainy day