Weekend Round-Up – 4/24/2011

Good morning, and a Happy Easter to all of those who celebrate.  I’ve expanded my link-around yet again.  Yes, I’m constantly tinkering, but I’m hoping this is the last one for a while.  I think the new format makes the round-up more complete and easier to read.  (If you disagree, please tell me.)  I may add a few more sites down the road (and if you have any suggestions, please let me know), but for now, I think this might be one of the most complete on the web.

Dig in, and enjoy.

Tales from around the Yankee Blogosphere:

Tales from around the Red Sox Blogosphere:

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Sunday Notes and Commentary

-Unlike many Yankee fans, players and columnists, there was no feigned outrage in my house over Josh Rupe throwing up and in at Russell Martin last night. I had no big issue with the move, just the execution of it. If you want to brush a guy back, you have to keep it away from his head. But I understand what Buck was trying to do. The O’s have become accustomed to getting clobbered by the Yanks year after year, so Buck is trying to get his guys to show some pride out there. Is it the best way to Continue reading Sunday Notes and Commentary

Game Thread-Bombers vs Birds

  Buck Showalter sure got dumb in a hurry, huh? After having the best record in baseball since taking over the O’s late last July and getting off to a 6-1 start this year, the Charm City crew has fallen on hard times, losing 7 in a row and 8 of their last 10.  But that’s just baseball, Suzyn. One thing you know about a team managed by Buck, they will show up ready to play. That hasn’t always been the case with Baltimore in recent years. Is it just me, or does it seem like the Yanks haven’t played Continue reading Game Thread-Bombers vs Birds

Should the Yankees Trade Austin Romine?

Russell Martin‘s strong start to the 2011 season has given Yankee fans some confidence in the short-term security of the catcher position.   In the early going, Martin has posted a .983 OPS and a .435 WOBA, and though his walk rate is down from previous years, his power production more resembles the all-star Russell Martin of 2007 rather than the mediocre worn-down version of the past few seasons.  While Martin is unlikely to continue this impressive offensive production, he is looking more and more like he could catch for the Yankees for at least a few years.  Martin’s defense Continue reading Should the Yankees Trade Austin Romine?

Keeping it Simple: A.J. Burnett

Everything about A.J. Burnett is confusing. For example, consider the circumstances under which his contract with the Yankees was signed. Much of the risk in signing A.J. was tied up in injury concerns; performance seemed a given. However, the exact opposite of these fears seems to have occurred; A.J. has been very durable during his Yankee career, but he has also been quite mediocre. A.J. is also widely viewed as having a disappointing career, with many left pondering the question: “if only he could harness his stuff…” This is despite 1792.2 innings of 107 ERA+ baseball. This juxtaposition of seemingly unlimited potential and unsatisfying results leaves A.J. as an enigma to many. His 2010 season only left us with more questions.

A.J.’s 2010 year began well. In March/April he threw 33.1 innings with a dynamite 2.43 ERA. He continued his hot start in May with a solid 4.03 ERA through 38 innings. He wasn’t just getting lucky either; he posted FIPs of 3.35 and 3.79 respectively in these months. He actually seemed to be pitching to contact in these early months; both walks and strikeouts were down while he was getting more groundballs. It’s not clear whether or not this new style was intentional, but its success did not last long. In June everything fell apart, and 2010 soon became a lost year.  Much of the focus on A.J.’s 2010 season has been directed towards the “loss” of his curveball. This is because the curveball has been the defining pitch for A.J. throughout his entire career. According to Fangraphs‘ run values, since 2002 his curve has been worth 87.1 runs (!), compared to 6.8 runs for his fastball and -1.7 runs for his changeup (where positive is good and negative is bad). The pitch has basically made his career as a starter.

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Unwritten Rules

We’ve written here before about baseball’s so-called “unwritten rules”, a hodge-podge oral code addressing baseball strategy, superstition and common courtesy. Many of these unwritten rules address what might loosely be called “good sportsmanship”: don’t “show up” a pitcher by posing (too long) at home plate after hitting a home run. Don’t stand too close to home plate while the pitcher is warming up.

These rules get discussed so often that there’s a book and web site devoted to them. But as much as we may write about these rules, they’re still “unwritten”. Baseball players learn these rules “through osmosis”: they’re handed down from older player to younger player, like a rite of passage, and these rules are taken very, VERY seriously by veterans of the game.

Near the top of the list of baseball’s unwritten rules is this one: don’t steal a base when your team is way ahead late in a game. Or, the rule might be, don’t steal a base at any point in a game when your team is way ahead. Or: don’t steal a base if your team is way ahead or way behind. (This is a problem with an unwritten rule: you can never be sure exactly how the rule is supposed to work because, you know, it’s not written down anywhere.)

The latest violation of the unwritten rules took place during yesterday’s game between the Cubs and Dodgers. In the top of the fifth inning, with the Dodgers leading 8-1, Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis was thrown out trying to steal second.

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Keeping up with the ex-Yanks-2011 premiere

With a few weeks having passed in the 2011 season, it’s time to take this baby out for another spin. Pretty similar cast of characters from last year, since Brian Cashman had a relatively quiet off season this past year devoid of any blockbuster deals. But I will be adding some guys who made big contributions last year like Kerry Wood and Marcus Thames, as well as some of the more forgettable 2010 Yanks in Javier Vazquez. I’m still debating whether to include Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns and would appreciate some feedback on them. It was a good week Continue reading Keeping up with the ex-Yanks-2011 premiere

Game Thread | Yankees v. Orioles | April 22, 2011 (Update: Rained out)

Update: Game is rained out. The Yankees look to continue winning series tonight in Baltimore, sending CC Sabathia to the hill against Brad Bergesen and the suddenly struggling Orioles. The game starts at 7:05 on the YES Network. Here is the Yankee lineup: Derek Jeter SS Curtis Granderson CF Mark Teixeira 1B Alex Rodriguez 3B Robinson Cano 2B Nick Swisher RF Jorge Posada DH Russell Martin C Brett Gardner LF  

Phil Hughes And The Yankee Prospect Poor Work Ethic Phenomenon

In the oddest blog post I’ve seen in a while, Joel Sherman says that Phil Hughes came to camp too fat, but then lost too much weight, but then had no work ethic, and that’s why he stinks. Or something: I talked to a person with strong ties to the Yankees who threw out a theory I had not yet heard on what happened to Phil Hughes’ velocity: He lost too much weight. This person said that while everyone was focused on Joba Chamberlain’s weight gain and his having to go for individual workouts following the standard spring training workouts Continue reading Phil Hughes And The Yankee Prospect Poor Work Ethic Phenomenon