Yankees face inexperienced pitcher for the first time; inexperienced pitcher wins

In his series preview, Larry suggested that the unknown Chicago starter, Philip Humber, whom the Yankees had never faced before, would no-hit the Bombers over nine innings. Larry is prone to exaggeration. Instead, Humber limited the Yankees to one hit over seven innings. If not for a seventh inning single from Alex Rodriguez, Humber probably would have no hit the Yankees. On the surface, Humber didn’t seem like the kind of never-before-seen pitcher who shut down the Yankees so routinely last season. For one thing, he’s right handed. For another, he can top 93mph on the radar gun. But, he Continue reading Yankees face inexperienced pitcher for the first time; inexperienced pitcher wins

Jeter should have had A-Rod’s back.

I’m not going to write too much about the new book Ian O’Connor has written about Derek Jeter until I get a chance to read the whole thing, but this defense of Jeter from William J. of The Captain’s Blog/TYA struck me as really weird:

In a blog post for Newsday, Ken Davidoff epitomizes the hypocrisy that has defined so many people’s reaction when he writes, “The book will help fans get a better read on the real Jeter, as opposed to the myth that has been manufactured throughout the years and to which Jeter happily agreed to spread.”

[…]

O’Connor has made a name for himself by fanning flames, so his hypocrisy can be dismissed. However, the thousands of fans who took great pleasure in booing Arod don’t deserve the same latitude. In reality, Jeter’s lack of acceptance was the least of Rodriguez’ problems when he joined the Yankees. Rather, what likely stunted his acclimation was the lack of acceptance from a large part of the fan base. If not for all the boos and blame, Jeter wouldn’t have needed to stick up for Arod. So, if any fan out there wants to blame someone for mistreating Arod, they’d better start by looking in the mirror.

First of all let me agree with William’s larger point about hypocrisy in general here. Though I’ve certainly never been slow to call bullcrap when the cartoon version of Jeter comes up, I’ve never actually blamed Jeter for that, simply because it’s not his fault (and even if it were, it’s hardly like it would be something worth faulting him for). To the extent the media is now trying to bring down a mythological creature, it’s a creature they were almost solely responsible for birthing in the first place.

That said, as someone who’s never bought into the caricature Jeter became at times, and who never thought of booing A-Rod, I’m just not sure what the second paragraph has to do with anything. Whether Jeter “accepted” A-Rod or not (and the notion that Jeter didn’t really want A-Rod on the team to begin with could serve as a good basis for a future post on “The Captain”, by the way), as the nominal captain of the Yankees, a fan favorite, and a teammate of Alex Rodriguez, Jeter should have stuck up for A-Rod at some point. Whether he liked him or not, sticking up for a teammate is just part of being a professional. Especially when there’s supposedly so much value stemming from your leadership qualities.

And just to give a quick word on what’s leaked of the book so far; what we’ve seen are a bunch of excerpts that, frankly, make Jeter look like something of a bad person. That’s not totally surprising, because we’ve heard a lot of the same things for years, even in the profiles of Jeter that fall over themselves to praise him. Indeed, sometimes it almost seems like the authors describing Jeter as petty, jealous, prone to holding grudges for an inordinate amount of time, etc. are spinning those as positive qualities. And a large number of people have chosen to willfully ignore these tidbits for the sake of pretending Jeter is some sort of saint.

It also has absolutely nothing to do with Jeter’s value as a baseball player, and probably doesn’t make him that much different than the vast majority of other professional athletes, most of whom I assume wouldn’t seem like very good people if we knew everything about them. It’s just that the media and a certain subset of fans have so vociferously insisted that Jeter was so very different for so long that creates any semblance of an issue here. Continue reading Jeter should have had A-Rod’s back.

Game 19: White Sox 2, Yankees 0

The Yankees returned to the Bronx on Monday, but their bats were late arriving, as White Sox pitcher, Philip Humber took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. A.J. Burnett gave New York one of its best starting pitching performances of the season, but it was not enough as the Yankees fell to the White Sox 2-0.

After a quick first inning, Burnett threw a lot of pitches in the second.  He walked Paul Konerko to start the inning. Adam Dunn lined a single to right, but Burnett battled back and got Alexis Rios, A.J. Pierzynski and Gordon Beckham to go down in order, without giving up a run.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Game 19: White Sox 2, Yankees 0

Hughes ends bullpen session early, having MRI.

Phil Hughes had a bullpen session yesterday and, well, it didn’t go very well. In fact, the session was shut down after just 20 pitches due to Hughes complaining about his arm. To state the obvious, that’s not a good sign. The most worrisome quote came from pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who characterized this as a “kind of new territory for everybody.” That matches the reactions of myself and most of the Baseball Tonight crew, who all noted that this doesn’t sound like a typical dead-arm issue, but rather a more serious arm issue for Hughes.

To that end, Joe Girardi said Hughes will be getting an MRI done. I’m not sure if anyone asked him why that wasn’t done two weeks ago. Continue reading Hughes ends bullpen session early, having MRI.

Game Thread and Series Preview: Yankees vs. White Sox I

Programming note: Please use this as your game thread for tonight. The reeling Chicago White Sox (8-14, last in the AL Central), losers of nine of their last 10 games, come to the Stadium this week for a four-gamer against the first-place Yankees (12-6). The AL Central has certainly been one of the stranger stories of the early 2011 season, with Cleveland spending way more time than it has any right to in first place, while Kansas City is currently tied for second. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins and the ChiSox, two teams that many expected to be contend for the Continue reading Game Thread and Series Preview: Yankees vs. White Sox I

Phil Hughes Set Back

  Bryan Hotch reports today that the Yankees cut Phil Hughes bullpen short after about 20 pitches when something was clearly not right. Here’s the quote from Hotch: Phil said he “felt like there was nothing coming out of his arm on the pitches”… “It’s just the same as before,” Hughes said. “It’s dead, nothing coming out. I didn’t bounce back odd that long bullpen session like I would have liked. It’s just a lot of deadness.” Phil also stated he felt like he was around 120 pitches instead of 20. Not good. Hughes will report to see Dr. Chris Continue reading Phil Hughes Set Back

Hypocrisy Overwhelms Pending Jeter Bio and Initial Reaction to It

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog). Derek Jeter is a human being. That seems to be the lesson derived from the New York Post’s preview of Ian O’Connor’s forthcoming book about Jeter, which will focus on the Captain’s relationship with Alex Rodriguez. Weaving Arod into the narrative has almost become a prerequisite for publishing a baseball book, so it’s not surprising that O’Connor would go that route. What is difficult to understand, however, is why so many people seem to be regarding the excerpts as groundbreaking news. Just about anyone who has followed the Yankees over the Continue reading Hypocrisy Overwhelms Pending Jeter Bio and Initial Reaction to It

Cano’s concerning swing data

Image Credit Michael Kay and Ken Singleton briefly touched on Robinson Cano and his free swinging ways during the weekend series with the Orioles, but from what I remember, it was only in passing and only after the even more free swinging Vladimir Guerrero was mentioned as well. Even though Cano’s hitting well, I’m starting to get worried about just how much he is swinging. Though it’s anecdotal (and subject to confirmation bias), I remember Cano swinging at at least three or four pitches each game that he shouldn’t have swung at. Have we already lost the patient version of Continue reading Cano’s concerning swing data

My expanded thoughts on expanded playoffs

Last week, it became clear that baseball was moving towards expanding the playoffs to ten teams, adding one from each league. The details have yet to be hammered out, but we know that the two wildcard teams would play each other in some format, whether it’s a best of three or a one game, winner take all playoff. I don’t love either idea, or the big idea for that matter. A one game playoff for teams that aren’t competing for the same spot just seems silly. Aren’t you basically negating the entire season at that point? As for a three Continue reading My expanded thoughts on expanded playoffs