Think bad umping is a new trend? Think again!

For those of you (myself included) who are all fired up about the 2009 post-season of UMPFAIL, Wezen-ball reminds us that these guys have been bad for decades:

That was forty-one years ago and, even then, players, managers, and fans were questioning umpires’ calls through instant replay. And people are trying to say that things have changed? That the umpiring has somehow gotten worse? I don’t buy it.

Just go have a read and a chuckle. Then think about Frank Drebin.

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Blanton Lined Up For Game 4

From Brian Costa: The Yankees won’t have to face Cliff Lee again until Game 5 of the World Series. The Phillies named Joe Blanton their Game 4 starter Friday, opting to use a fourth starter rather than bring Lee back on short rest. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he was reluctant to have Lee pitch on just three days’ rest because he has never done it before in the majors. “I don’t think he’s ready to go on three days’ rest,” Manuel said before the Phillies worked out at Citizens Bank Park. “That would be really pushing it, because he’s Continue reading Blanton Lined Up For Game 4

Welcome to the new Stadium, not the same as the old Stadium

New Yankee Stadium will never be like old Yankee Stadium, no matter how badly people want it to be, and those who do would best be served keeping that in mind when trying to quantify “how loud the crowd was” at a given postseason game. It’s already been established that the new Stadium, regardless of how uproarious the crowd may or may not get, will never be able to echo the cacophonous euphoria of the old house, given its construction. From a recessed upper deck as opposed to one that loomed ominously over the field, to the fact that many Continue reading Welcome to the new Stadium, not the same as the old Stadium

The Decision To Sit Swisher

From Dan Rosenheck: In switching Jerry Hairston Jr. for the slumping Nick Swisher, Girardi placed far too much weight on Swisher’s disappointing 38 postseason plate appearances so far — and not nearly enough on the fact that Swisher’s combined on-base and slugging percentages were 159 points higher than Hairston’s in 2009, and 117 points higher over their careers. Girardi chose to sit his powerful right fielder in favor of a player who barely hits enough to play shortstop. Similarly, concerned about Burnett’s supposedly poor synchronization with Jorge Posada, he swapped out his Hall of Fame-caliber catcher for Jose Molina, who Continue reading The Decision To Sit Swisher

World Series Game 2: Phillies 1, Yankees 3

After a disappointing World Series debut at the new Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Bombers looked for revenge as they faced the their old nemesis, Pedro Martinez and the Phillies. Both pitchers started strong, but the Yankee bats caught up with Pedro and Mo closed it out for the 3-1 victory. The series is tied 1-1, as it moves down to Philadelphia.

In the top of the second, Raul Ibanez drove a ball that bounced just fair along the left field line for a ground rule double. Matt Stairs followed with a hard single which Alex Rodriguez couldn’t quite catch up with, driving in Ibanez for the first run of the game. Mark Teixeira tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, when he got all of Martinez’s changeup, sending it to deep right center for a solo home run. The Bombers got their first World Series lead in the bottom of the sixth, as Hideki Matsui drove a solo homer into right to give them the 2-1 edge over the Phillies.

In the bottom of the seventh, Jerry Hairston Jr. singled into right to lead off the inning. Brett Gardner came in to pinch run and Melky singled him to third. Pedro then exited the game when Jorge Posada pinch hit for Jose Molina. Jorge smacked a RBI single to center and the Yankees took a 3-1 lead. In perhaps the most confusing moment of the game, Jeter went to bunt with two strikes, fouling the ball off for the first out of the inning. Damon hit a hard liner to Ryan Howard, who caught it on a bounce and made a bad throw to second, however, the umpires called it an inning ending double play. The officials claimed Howard caught the ball in the air, however, instant replay showed that the ball bounced right in front of the Philadelphia first baseman’s glove.

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Game 2 Notes log

Below are my notes, inning by inning, from Game 2. Just in case you’re interested in or enjoy the quick burst, stream-of consciousness, bullet-point style:

Top 1st inning

  • First pitch strikes
  • Looks like AJ has wicked movement on the FB; could simply be the offset camera angle.
  • Speaking of which, why aren’t we using the over the top camera angle to better see the true strike zone and ball movement?
  • Three up, three down. Quickly.

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Why AJ was The Good AJ

If you are anything like me, this evening petrified you. Certainly not because Pedro was pitching for the Phillies (though, in hindsight, many of us underestimated him). Not because of the Phillies lineup, which is simply inferior to that of the Yankees. I’m not that worried about the struggles of Phil Hughes, or even about Girardi’s lineup calls. I’ve already resigned myself to most of the issues with the Yankees–but then there’s A.J. Burnett. You simply can’t pigeonhole him. There’s no one specific reason he does poorly on any given night. He’s not foreseeable. He terrifies me.

Because how he does doesn’t depend on his fastball velocity, how hot or cold the temperature is, whether it’s a day game or night game, etc. It depends which version of him (and his command) shows up.

Tonight, we got the good version.

Burnett threw 108 pitches over 7 dominant innings, allowing only 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 9 Phillies. He allowed 8 fly balls, 6 grounders and just a single line drive. He registered 10 swinging strikes, 4 of which were in the zone. Of the 26 batters Burnett faced, 22 were greeted with a first pitch strike.

Ryan Howard is one of the best batters in baseball against right handed pitchers, with a slash line of .320/.395/.693/1.088, and Burnett struck him out three times on 15 pitches. Which is good, because I almost lit my TV on fire when Girardi had Burnett intentionally walk Chase Utley to get to him.

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The Good AJ shows up

All that handwringing and consternation and what do we get: The Good AJ and there’s no serious issues with Hairston or Molina. Of course, as I said earlier today, about Molina and Hairston:

Remember this: If it works, that doesn’t make it the right move

So what, exactly, did we witness tonight? Let’s do a quick recap with a full recap to follow later:

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Burnett's best start as a Yankee leads New York to 3-1 Game 2 win over Phillies and knots World Series at 1-1

A.J. Burnett picked one heck of a time to have the best start of his Yankee career, tossing seven strong innings of one run ball as the Yankees beat the Phillies 3-1 in Game 2 of the World Series to even the series at one game apiece. Burnett (9 Ks, 2BB, 4H) and Phillie starter Pedro Martinez (6 IP, 6H, 3ER, 2BB, 8K) locked horns in what wound up being a bit of a surprising pitcher’s duel. I was amazed to see the Yankees flail at a wide variety of significantly off-speed pitches in the early going (the Yankee Stadium Continue reading Burnett's best start as a Yankee leads New York to 3-1 Game 2 win over Phillies and knots World Series at 1-1