Bullpen, Ibanez carry Yanks past O’s

Freddy Garcia’s evening started innocently enough as the first batter, Endy Chavez flew out weakly to center. But then J.J. Hardy crushed a fastball that tailed over the plate for a homer to tie the game. Garcia then walked Nick Markakis. Adam Jones flew out and then Matt Wieters singled. Garcia’s first wild pitch while facing Nick Johnson moved Markakis to third and Wieters to second. A second wild pitch plated Markakis for the Orioles’ second run. Nick Johnson grounded out to end the inning.

Chen settled down after the first inning and retired the Yankees in order in the second, third and fourth innings. Garcia surrendered a walk to Mark Reynolds in the second, but Reynolds was thrown out at second on a failed Hit and Run. The Yankees’ starter set the Orioles down in order in the third but ran into further trouble in the fourth.

Adam Jones led off the inning with a double and then wild pitch number three sent him to third.… Click here to read the rest

Game 5 Recap: Yankees 5, Orioles 4

It looked for some time on Tuesday like the Yankees would have to wait another day for a chance to pick up their first series win of the season. But a late rally off Wei-Yin Chen, and a strong performance from David Phelps in relief, led to an extra innings Yankee victory and a 2-3 record on the young season.

Chen, 26, making his first start as a Major Leaguer, was impressive but for two innings. Derek Jeter‘s leadoff home run in the first inning looked like a omen of things to come after Nick Swisher followed it up with a double. But the Yankees let Chen off the hook and he cruised for the next four innings. In the sixth the wheels came off. After a near-two run homer off the bat of Alex Rodriguez the Yankees loaded the bases for Andruw Jones, who drove in the second run of the game with a sac-fly. Russell Martin reached base on an error, scoring Mark Teixeira, and Brett Gardner tied the game with an RBI single.… Click here to read the rest

The Confusing Priorities of Major League Baseball

Earlier today, the Miami Marlins announced that Ozzie Guillen would be suspended for five games for his inflammatory remarks about Fidel Castro (and Bud Selig subsequently rubber-stamped the decision). This comes as no great surprise for two consequential reasons. In terms of general insensitivity and idiocy, there is a very significant Cuban expatriate community within Miami (not to mention the fact that Marlins Park is essentially located in Little Havana). Guillen certainly crossed a line in his praise for Castro, regardless of how back-handed the remarks may have been, and it is unsurprising that such statements would reverberate throughout the Cuban community – as well as the greater Hispanic community at-large, a great deal of which is all too familiar with the perils of unchecked dictatorships. It would be quite difficult to imagine a greater ‘perfect storm’ of offensiveness when considering the locale, the population … and the target demographic of the team’s marketing efforts.

Furthermore, Major League Baseball has reacted strongly to such transgressions in the past.… Click here to read the rest

Game Five: 陳偉殷 Who?

Kathy Willens/AP

Freddy Garcia takes the mound for the Yankees tonight to try for the first winning streak of the year. In his 17.0 innings this spring, the righty held opponents to a 3.71 ERA, but was also able to keep opponents to a low .212 batting average. Garcia’s career numbers at Camden Yards include 46.1 innings and a 2.33 ERA. Against the lineup tonight, the 35 year old has largely been successful, though Markakis has a .385/.471/.615 line (5 for 13 with 3 walks) and Mark Reynolds has a .333/.385/1.000 line (4 for 12 with 1 walk and 2 homeruns).

Pitching for the Orioles will be rookie Taiwanese pitcher Wei-Yin Chen. In the NPB, Chen posted a 36-30 record and a 2.69 ERA with a fastball that sit low 90’s, a mid 80’s slider, and your typical repertoire of breaking pitches out of Japan. He was about as successful as Garcia this spring, going 20.0 innings with a 3.60 ERA.… Click here to read the rest

Contemplating Cano’s next contract

The decision about whether to resign Robinson Cano (for how much money and how many years) will be one of the most difficult decisions to face Brian Cashman in the supposed “austerity budget” era.  With Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in their late-30’s, Cano is probably the core of the Yankees’ lineup for the foreseeable future, along with the possibly-declining Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.  Cano has a $15 million option for 2013, and is due to hit free agency after that season.  He also changed agents to Scott Boras relatively recently, which gives the impression that he intends to hit free agency, and does not plan to give the Yankees a hometown discount.

There is not much precedent for what Cano should and will receive on the free agent market, because none of the other top second basemen in the league have made it to free agency.  Chase Utley signed a 7-year $85 million extension in 2007 after 3 years of service time. … Click here to read the rest

What are the ugliest parks in baseball?

Buzzfeed this week ranked the ugliest ballparks in the MLB. The list:

  1. Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays)
  2. Minute Made Park (Houston Astros)
  3. Marlins Park (Miami Marlins)
  4. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks)
  5. Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
  6. Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals)
  7. Oakland Coliseum (Oakland Athletics)
  8. Rogers Centre (Toronto Blue Jays)

A friend made a great point about this list: MLB really has come a long way. Twenty years ago, a list of the ugliest ballparks would include quite a few clunkers. Basically any stadium built before 1990 was horrendously ugly, except for a few old gems. On that list, only Tropicana Field and maybe the Oakland Coliseum are truly ugly ballparks. Marlins Park has an ugly centerpiece, and Kauffman has an ugly scoreboard, but these are rectifiable problems.

My list would be a little different. Dodger Stadium has not acquired old world charm for its age. Its still the same boring, round, grey stadium that so many of its peers also were.… Click here to read the rest