Series Preview: Yankees vs. Athletics III

Photo c/o Babes Love Baseball

The Athletics (65-64, 2nd place in the AL West) come to Yankee Stadium for the first and only time this season for a four-game set starting tonight. The teams have already seen each other twice before, and the Yankees (80-50, tied for first in the AL East) have had little trouble dispatching the A’s this season, having gone 5-1 in six games at Oakland, the only loss coming in the infamous Dallas Braden game back in April. The Yankees didn’t see Braden last month, but they’ll get another shot at him this week, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can shut them down again — this time on the road.

The story for the A’s in 2010 has been their stellar pitching staff, which leads the American League in ERA by 0.25 and is third in FIP. Their starters also lead the AL in ERA with a 3.36 mark, nearly 0.50 better than the second-best Mariners (3.75 ERA).… Click here to read the rest

My night at Petco Park

As batted balls would be caught or fielded by the outfielders, if you were lucky and asked nicely, they’d toss the balls over the fence. We managed to get two baseballs this way, one by me and one off a tip and a bounce, fielded by my son.  And again, if you asked nicely and didn’t interrupt the guys who were talking, they’d sign everything. They signed the baseball for my son, as well as his hat. What was curious to me was that the beach area wasn’t packed with people.  Maybe 20 or so people, so there wasn’t a crowd issue and the odds of getting a baseball was exponentially higher than other places.

Baseball #3 came as a result of another toss-over. Last year, we wrangled two baseballs during two BP sessions, but here we were, halfway through one BP session and we already had three! Last year, there were a bunch of batted balls hit into the beach area and lemme tell ya, they make a sound when they’re hit that far.… Click here to read the rest

Weekend Thoughts

Happy Monday, all. If you’re reading this before 3 PM, I’m stuck in “professional development” for middle school English teachers, even though I’m not technically a teacher. Such is life. Anyway, here’s what was running through my head during the weekend.

Friday night’s game was just embarrassing to watch. I’ve umpired Cal Ripken League games that were cleaner than that “game.” That’s back to back ugly starts on Friday nights for Burnett, and he’s starting to get me concerned. Obviously, he can turn it on at any time and has done so this year (six starts of at least five innings with zero earned runs allowed), but I’m not gonna hold my breath. It looks as if that sharp drop in strikeout rate is biting A.J. now in the second half. “At least CC is starting tomorrow,” I said to my girlfriend before we fell asleep.

Then CC started on Saturday night and it frankly wasn’t great. He didn’t pitch horribly, but he was getting hit hard and gave up two homers.… Click here to read the rest

Discussion: Rooting For Red Sox or Rays?

Over the last few days, while the Red Sox and Rays battled in Tampa, Yankee fans grappled with an interesting dilemma. With the Yankees tied for first place with Tampa and with Boston attempting to make it a 3 team race for two playoff spots, fans of the Bombers were unsure of who to root for. Most of the opinions that I heard on the matter fell into one of three camps:

Rooting for the Rays: Those rooting for the Rays felt that although the Rays were much closer to the Yankees in the standings, the Red Sox posed a more dire threat. Falling behind the Rays would cost the Yankees a home playoff game or two, while falling behind Boston would likely mean that the Yankees miss the playoffs. Additionally, many found it impossible to root for the hated Red Sox, while few felt as strongly about the Rays.

Rooting for the Red Sox: Those hoping for a series victory from Boston felt that Boston was buried enough in the standings to make the Rays the more relevant “opponent.” The Yankees are tied with the Rays and have a more difficult schedule going forward, so these folks wanted the Red Sox to help the Yankees take the division.… Click here to read the rest

Secrets and Lies (Part 2 of Why Revenue Sharing Is Dead)

Stark also reports that baseball teams do not share their financial data, so that teams paying into baseball’s revenue sharing system – teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Cubs and Angels – were surprised to learn the extent of the profits being earned by the Marlins and Pirates.  According to Stark, the Marlins and Pirates are accumulating revenue sharing money to such an extent that their profits exceed those being earned by teams required to pay into the revenue sharing system.

The survival of baseball’s revenue sharing system depended on this secrecy.  The secrecy allowed major league baseball to portray teams like the Pirates and Marlins as struggling for their very existence: they were “poor” teams being crushed under the monetary weight of teams like the Yankees.  Thus revenue sharing was painted as a kind of economic justice – Bud Selig was baseball’s Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  But with the veil of secrecy removed, the system appears to take money from rich people, and give it to other rich people. … Click here to read the rest

Yanks beat ChiSox 2-1 as Nova picks up first career MLB win

Photo c/o Getty Images

A day after a contest that saw 30 combined hits and 21 runs scored, the Yankees and White Sox engaged in a classic pitcher’s duel, with the Yankees emerging victorious 2-1. If you’d told me prior to this weekend that the Yankees were going to lose the game started by Freddy Garcia and make losers out of both John Danks and Gavin Floyd I’d have called you a liar, and yet that’s exactly what happened.

Ivan Nova was everything the Yankees could have hoped for in his second career start, throwing 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball while striking out seven. Given the somewhat alarming state of the current Yankee rotation, Nova seems likely to stay in the rotation at least until Andy Pettitte comes back, and even then if he remains successful could stay in the Majors a bit longer than expected.

The only inning Nova really faced any significant trouble was the fifth, in which he surrendered an RBI single to Juan Pierre (grrrr) but managed to escape further damage by striking Omar Vizquel out.… Click here to read the rest

Game 130: Yankees 2, White Sox 1

Nova was dealing through the early innings, limiting the White Sox’s opportunities.  He got a quick two outs in the bottom of the fifth before Gordan Beckham doubled to left.  Juan Pierre followed with a RBI single, pushing Beckham across the plate to make the score 2-1.  Pierre stole second, but Nova struck out Omar Vizquel to end the inning.

The Yankees got in trouble in the bottom of the sixth.  Paul Konerko walked and Boone Logan came in with two outs.  A.J. Pierzynski singled, moving Konerko to second.  Kerry Wood replaced Logan and walked Alexei Ramirez to load the bases.  He was able to get Mark Teahen to ground out, however, to end the inning.

In the top of the eighth the Bombers had a chance to add some insurance.  Derek Jeter worked a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch.  Robinson Cano single to third to put two on, and Curtis Granderson reached on an error with two outs to load the bases. … Click here to read the rest

Things Can Change Quickly

[image title=”alg_aj-burnett” size=”full” id=”21006″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ]
Imagine the following situation:

There is a team with the best record in the major leagues. Their ace is pitching incredibly well, with 2 consecutive months of ERA’s below 2.31. He shows no signs of tiring, and actually seems to be getting better as the season moves into the dog days of summer. Their aging veteran #2 is having a fantastic season, but recently hit the disabled list. However, he is confident that he will be back soon, and there is little doubt among the team’s fans that they will have him on the hill when he is needed most.

The team’s mercurial third starter is having another inconsistent season, but is in the midst of a good stretch of pitching, having pitched to a 2.00 ERA over the last month. While he is unpredictable on a start by start basis, he can usually be counted on to have solid numbers by the time the season wraps up, with a career 3.96 ERA to show for his efforts.… Click here to read the rest