Yankees win 4th straight, set to get even better

The Yankees downed the Brewers once again tonight, taking the second game of a three game series 5-2 from the Brew Crew. Russell Martin and Jorge Posada hit home runs for the Yankees, and A.J. Burnett was what we’ve come to expect from him as often as not in 2011, allowing 7 hits and walking 2 while striking out just 4 batters, but pitching 7 innings and allowing just 2 runs. The victory is the 4th in a row for the Bombers.

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Game 78: I Believe in A.J. Burnett

I’m not sure how much I believe that, but what the hell? For the visitors: 1. Rickie Weeks, 2B (Kay just called him “Richie”) 2. Nyjer Morgan, CF (Over/Under: 1.5 falls in the OF tonight) 3. Ryan Braun, LF (Can’t knock him) 4. Prince Fielder, 1B (Same) 5. Corey Hart, RF (Insert sunglasses at night joke here) 6. Mat Gamel, DH (People who spell “Matt” or “Matthew” with only one “T” should be executed) 7. Casey McGehee (Can’t just spell it McGee like a normal McGee? Jeez.) 8. The Yuni Bomber, SS 9. Jonathan Lucroy, C (Who?) Shaun Marcum: 2.95/3.16/3.55 Continue reading Game 78: I Believe in A.J. Burnett

Hughes looks strong in latest rehab outing

After a solid rehab outing in class A Staten Island, Phil Hughes took the next step toward returning to big leagues by pitching for the Trenton Thunder (the Yankees’ AA affiliate) today against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays). While Hughes showed inconsistent velocity in his first outing, his overall performance was much stronger today. Hughes threw 88 pitches across 6 1/3 strong innings, 61 for strikes. He allowed a run on three hits and one walk, while striking out 8 Fisher Cats. Most importantly, Hughes had good velocity throughout the game, sitting constantly between 92-94 (according to the Continue reading Hughes looks strong in latest rehab outing

A Look Back at Past “World Series Previews”

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog). Even though the Yankees’ series against the Brewers is the only interleague matchup featuring two teams in first place, the showdown between the Phillies and Red Sox is the one being indentified as a “World Series Preview”. Such an oversight likely roles off the back of the Yankees, but you can’t blame the Brewers if they feel just a little bit slighted. Of course, the “preview” distinction shouldn’t be too much of a cause for concern, at least not if history is a barometer. Since interleague was established in 1997, there have Continue reading A Look Back at Past “World Series Previews”

One more look at wOBA and AVG/OBP/SLG

Yesterday on RAB Joe Pawlikowski wrote a post asking if Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher were of equal offensive value because prior to Tuesday’s game they both had an OPS of .779. The post is excellent, and worth reading in its own right, but to summarize here the answer is that Swisher is the better offensive player because of his power. It is just a coincidence that Gardner’s and Swisher’s lines had aligned to that point in the season. To dig into the numbers, Joe also pointed out that Nick and Brett had produced similar wOBA’s to that point in the Continue reading One more look at wOBA and AVG/OBP/SLG

Yuniesky Betancourt is truly the worst.

There are many good reasons to partake of this week’s series with the Brewers.  Milwaukee is among the most entertaining clubs in the league.  They have an incredible power-hitting tandem in Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun.  They’ve got a stable of power pitchers, both in the bullpen and the rotation.  They’ve got two of the most rangy outfielders in the game.  And they are rich with boisterous personalities (Nyjer Morgan may become baseball’s version of Chad Ochicinco or Metta World Peace).

But there is one incredible curiosity in the Milwaukee clubhouse which you are unlikely to find in their promotions or highlights.  Nearly every day, they trot out the worst player of the era.

In 2005, after a harrowing and complicated defection from Cuba, 23-year-old Yuniesky Betancourt signed an amateur free agent contract with the Seattle Mariners.  The Mariners rushed Betancourt through the minors, despite mediocre numbers, perhaps in part because they were seduced by whispers of his exploits in the Cuban leagues, but probably mainly because their incumbent shortstop was Wilson Valdez.

Betancourt was hardly exceptional in his first two full seasons as Seattle’s everyday shortstop, but he hit for a solid average (.289), showed a little power (.410 SLG), was quick and durable, and drew some rave reviews for his defense, even though the advanced metrics judged him to be basically average.  It was enough to convince Seattle to extend him for four years and $13.75 Million, perhaps foreseeing how scarce middle infield talent was becoming.

Since signing that contract, Betancourt has posted a slash line of .258/.283/.379 and has made the most errors of anybody in baseball.  And that’s just the beginning.

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Way to go, Wyers

Every so often, something speaks to me and I hear it better than I hear most things. In high school, it was the beautiful prose of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Truman Capote, the wit of Kurt Vonnegut. In college, it was the rhythm of Shakespeare and Chaucer as well as the cinematic grace of Douglas Sirk and Paul Verhoeven (I hope you’re reading, Joe). Yesterday, something spoke to me as a baseball fan. Colin Wyers of Baseball Prospectus wrote a rebuttal to a post on Bill Simmons’ new site, Grantland. The last two paragraphs are what connected with me most: Continue reading Way to go, Wyers

The Jesus Montero Catch-22

I’ve been unhappy with the way the Yankees have handled top prospect Jesus Montero of late, and have been abundantly clear about it. This fantastic interview NoMaas did with Mark Newman, the Yankees’ vice-president of baseball operations, only furthers my opinion that the Yankees really don’t have any idea what they’re doing at the moment with Montero, and likely don’t have a solid plan for the near future with regards to what to do with him. This is a really complex question at the moment and tends to be rife with a lot of deeply held feelings and charged opinions, so I’m going to try to be as detailed as I can in my case for what the Yankees should do with Montero.

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