Game 23: Battle of the Fallen (Potential) Aces

Baseball America is in the business of prognostication, or, perhaps more accurately, semi-scientific soothsaying (which is a fine explanation of ‘SSS’ to those you’d like to mock). Their projections, not unlike those of most any prospect analyst or scout, are inaccurate far more often than not – meteorologists may well scoff at the B.A. Handbooks of yesteryear without a hint of irony.

Regardless, despite the inherent flaws associated with gazing into one’s prospecting crystal ball, few argued with Baseball America’s assessments of Messrs Hughes and Matusz, both of whom peaked in the outlet’s top-five – Hughes at number four in 2007, and Matusz at number five in 2010. Over the course of their respective Major League careers, the duo has combined to throw just over 750 IP … while posting a 4.99 ERA and 5.8 bWAR (4.6 of which, it must be said, belongs to Hughes).

The 2011 season represented rock-bottom for both (though, that may be optimistic given Hughes’ performance thus far), with questions of talent, dedication, and most everything involving the human condition flying in from all directions. Spring Training, however, resulted in renewed hope for the duo, with reports of improved velocity and command flowing for both, and “best shape of his life” sentiments being expressed with gusto. Neither has fulfilled the promise of early Spring, but both remain 25-years-old … and tonight represents a snapshot into the perils of prospecting. For those of us who concern ourselves with such efforts, this is nothing short of intriguing.

Onto tonight’s line-ups:

Baltimore Orioles New York Yankees
Endy Chavez, LF Derek Jeter, SS
J.J. Hardy, SS Curtis Granderson, CF
Nick Markakis, RF Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Adam Jones, CF Robinson Cano, 2B
Matt Wieters, C Mark Teixeira, 1B
Chris Davis, 1B Andruw Jones, RF
Wilson Betemit, 3B Russell Martin, DH
Nick Johnson, DH Eduardo Nunez, LF
Robert Andino, 2B Chris Stewart, C
Brian Matusz, SP Phil Hughes, SP

The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm, on YES – let’s go Yankees!

Domenic is a staff writer for It's About the Money, and the host of the It's About the Money Stupid podcast. By day, he is a mild-mannered real estate attorney on Long Island, and an aspiring intellectual degenerate.

65 thoughts on “Game 23: Battle of the Fallen (Potential) Aces

  1. smurfy

    I likee Phil. He’s pitching real well. Confidence in fb and curve.

    Jones had to challenge that. But alls well so far (fingers crossed).

  2. SER

    This game has ugly written all over it, which means we should expect a pitching duel.

  3. Phil C

    I’ll bet 5 HRs. O/U On Hughes 5.05 innings? I’ll go under.

    • Professor Longnose

      Aw, heck. I’ll take the over and hope.

      • smurfy

        I have no idea what that means. Hope like a vulture does?

    • Professor Longnose

      That’s 1.

  4. Professor Longnose

    Say goodbye to Phil. He’s outta here.

    • smurfy

      No, not yet. You can only rub your hands, and wait.

  5. Professor Longnose

    3 now.

    • Phil C

      The next 2 will be the Yanks!

  6. Professor Longnose

    Over/under on number of HRs tonight?

  7. Professor Longnose

    I like Icterids because then their fans become Icteridiots.

    • smurfy

      loverly, for someone from Bal’mer.

  8. smurfy

    Way to smack it, Curtis. Wish we coulda heard it.

  9. smurfy

    Blew Weiters away, nice K.


    • smurfy

      Ken said Phil shoulda thrown the fb upper right to Davis, but he put it down in the wheelhouse. He oughta cut the wheelhouse pitch a bit.

  10. Phil C

    1 1/2 innings and 2 HRs. I might be low with a guess of 5.

  11. smurfy

    Gee, right nice curve, Phil.

  12. oldpep

    I surrender. No change ups and poor command with his endless parade of 4-seamers.

    • smurfy

      How about a steady diet of curves?

  13. smurfy

    See, Nuney is really a hero.

    The Yankees were determined to lose this, evidence the relief of Phil by the previously successful, but on an unfortunate night, hit hard, Booooone. Nuney decided since he needed to boot one, he would draw fire for the lads.

    • Professor Longnose

      This is ugly. They need a big rally.

    • Professor Longnose

      Nunez is angry at himself.

      • smurfy

        I didn’t watch the perp walk closely, but I figured he was thinking, That one won’t fool me next time.

  14. Phil C

    How many games can the Yanks win with a rotation of CC, Kuroda, Nova, Phelps, & Mitchell? I’m worried about Andy, he giving up a lot of hits.

    • Professor Longnose


    • smurfy

      Garcia will probably get velocity back, unless they figure out where it went. Phil may figure it out. I think we could try two rookies, but I expect one at a time.

    • Phil C

      I am looking forward to see what Phelps can do with a start. I wonder if we’ll see Garcia in this game?

      • smurfy

        probably only after five days’ rest, maybe four. Besides, apart from recovery, he needs to discover where it went.

        Phelps looks quite sanguine for thursday’s(?) start. He accepted the hard contact he experienced, and plans to continue his approach. It worked for several innings since.

        I think his straightforward approach is courageous, and his stuff is good.

        • smurfy

          I haven’t watched close recently, but he reminds me of Bartolo’s scissors moves. He maybe needs to experiment with location. He keeps it laudably low, but it seems like they will focus unless he breaks it up. I dunno, Bartolo used the letters zone pretty heavily, but he was 93 – 95 with a ton of movement.

  15. Professor Longnose

    Come on, some RBIs. (Or should I say RBI, to tick off Mike Greenberg?)

  16. Professor Longnose

    I think the Yankees should change their uniforms to a camouflage outfit. Then maybe the hitters wouldn’t see the baserunners, and they wouldn’t be so bad with RISP.

  17. smurfy

    This inning, no curves, only fb/cutter.

  18. smurfy

    I dunno the count, but I don’t think Nuney had two strikes. They should tell him it’s better to miss what turns out to be a curve in the dirt. He popped it up, as one would usually do.

  19. Professor Longnose


  20. smurfy

    Attaboy, Jete, let’s give them another chance at RISP>

    • Professor Longnose

      All they need is a bloop and a blast, but Rodriguez, Cano, Teixeira are up next.

      • smurfy

        Grandy was thinking line drive, but Matusz jammed him. We’re the elexir to a sick pitcher.

  21. smurfy

    Ataboy, Phil. Good effort. Keep wingin’, keep thinkin’.

    • smurfy

      Satisfied, Vulture? Is 5.2 the over?

      • Professor Longnose

        Hey, I won!

        I would rather Hughes had been great. But I’m tired of waiting for it.

        • smurfy

          well,,,…,,, we certainly can’t have that.

    • Professor Longnose

      He did himself a little good, but I don’t think it’s enough.

  22. Professor Longnose

    I crave toaster pastries.

    • smurfy

      think they popped Phil a little too early. Hell, 100 pitches? His ain’t good fer nothin’ anyway.

  23. Professor Longnose

    The Space Travelers are beating up on the Urbanites.

    • smurfy

      Now, you’re talking. That one is good: accessible, but, maybe due to prior imbibement, it took me a several guesses to discover each.

  24. Professor Longnose

    I’m ill.

  25. smurfy

    Good move, Alex. Strike up the band.

    Robbie had the beat, but he beat it just a bit high.

    Sh —ucks, boys, where you hitting it?

  26. smurfy

    What does the ump want, butter on the bread?

  27. smurfy

    Nuney had the right idea there. He could never get to Jones’ drive.

  28. Professor Longnose

    Consecutive 7-run innings would be nice.

    • smurfy

      indubitably. Nice bingle, Derek!

  29. smurfy

    I saw the ball bounce.

  30. smurfy

    shoulda bunted.

  31. Professor Longnose


    • smurfy

      Nice coverage, Curtis.

      Soriano threw some nice pitches, besides those that the Icterids liked. He was dominating Nick Johnson till Nick went all over one.

  32. smurfy

    Alright, unless it’s the O’s turn, Robbie snap to!

  33. smurfy

    DJ Mitchell!

  34. smurfy

    Propitiously elusive!

    Get that ball! First hit.

    Ooh! Feel the breeze from that whiff. — oh, the lads haven’t seen enough, no double on the play.

    • smurfy

      boy, Weiters must be slow, that was a double almost sure. Andruw, then Cano, and he was out by three feet.

  35. Professor Longnose


    • smurfy

      ah, wonnerful, wonnerful!

  36. smurfy

    See? Michael and Ken decided Nuney is the goat of the game.

  37. smurfy

    Only the 58th manager in baseball history. And the Yankkees beat his Baltimore butts bloody plenty, too. (History by YES)

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