Game 29: Taking the Good with the Bad

The Good

  • Nick Swisher will be manning right field this evening for the first time in what seems like a lifetime (likely due to the lifetime’s worth of errors and miscues by made by Raul Ibanez and Eduardo Nunez in the outfield) – weather permitting, of course.
  • Andy Pettitte will toe the rubber against the Mariners this Sunday. The southpaw was slated for an additional start at Triple-A, but the combination of a Sunday afternoon debut at Yankee Stadium and the hapless Mariners offense was far too appealing (and sensible) to pass up.
  • Joba Chamberlain is playing catch and working out without a walking boot. Brian Cashman stated last week that it was possible we would see Chamberlain on the mound later this season, and this, at the very least, suggests that it isn’t an entirely delusional statement.

The Bad

  • Brett Gardner is still out and a righty will be on the mound for the Rays … which means Eduardo Nunez is your starting left fielder this evening.
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Hughes improves by cutting out the cutter

Phil Hughes has been a mystifying and at times infuriating pitcher to watch throughout his Yankee career.  As a prospect, he was viewed as very unlikely to bust because he had good command to go along with a fastball that could touch the mid-90’s and a legitimate plus curveball.  In the majors, Phil’s raw stuff, command, and approach have been consistently inconsistent, leading to periods where he flashes dominance, and other times where he is hittable and inefficient.

Unfortunately, the latter scenario has been the case for much of 2012, despite improved fastball velocity compared to 2011.  So far this season, Hughes is 2-4 with an ugly 6.67 ERA and a 5.67 FIP, and a ridiculous 2.54 home runs per 9 innings.  Phil has made it to 5 innings in just 3 of hits 6 starts, with only one quality start (his most recent outing, where he last 6 2/3 innings and gave up 3 runs).  Needless to say, this is not exactly what Yankee fans were hoping to see from Hughes this year, which was supposed to be decisive in determining his future in pinstripes.… Click here to read the rest

Previewing Yankees Vs. Rays: Vengeance Is A Dish Best Served, Well, At Home, Apparently

In other impressive streak-related news (and I do think that this should be a required drop-down menu on any major baseball website), with a win tonight, James Shields would tie Scott Kazmir’s record for consecutive wins as a Ray (and the magic number is…6! Come on down!). And while I’m all for watching history being made, there are a good number of reasons why I don’t think this will happen want to witness this: (1) James Shields has a lifetime 2-6 record, with a 5.05 ERA in Yankee Stadium (2) I don’t want the Rays to win (3) I want the Yankees to win (4) the Rays have, despite “their recent dominance of New York,” only two wins in their last eight games in the Bronx (5) after being chronically underappreciated in the offseason, the Rays are now over-hyped (in this author’s exceedingly un-humble opinion) and (6) Ivan Nova has been good against the Rays, holding a 2-0 record in four starts with a 3.47 ERA (his last outing against Tampa was a 7 and two-thirds inning shutout gem).… Click here to read the rest

Mickey Mantle’s 500th homer

On this Mothers Day in 1967, Mantle was stuck on 499 career home runs. It had been eleven days since he had belted 499 in Minnesota. It looked like it took an act of will for him to even step on the field at that point and so we wondered how long it would take.

For once, we boys were not sitting glued to the television watching the game. Choosing between watching the Yankees and having one of those Emerson steak dinners would have been an impossible choice. But it was Mothers Day and that trumped the decision. So we missed the game. Mel Stottlemyre got the start for the Yankees and Steve Barber, a left-handed pitcher who lost eighteen games in 1967, started for the Orioles. Barber would later pitch for the Yankees. With Barber pitching, the switch-hitting Mantle would bat from the right side and reached on an error in the first by Brooks Robinson. That didn’t happen often!… Click here to read the rest

On Mo’s Injury/Comeback

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

The roughly 24-hour period of time from last Thursday night to last Friday night was right up there with the most emotional moments I’ve had as a Yankee fan.  The initial breaking story of Mariano Rivera being carted off the field prior to Thursday’s game and follow-up video of Mo crumbling to the ground in pain were so shocking that I actually had trouble falling asleep on Thursday night, and by the time I woke up on Friday morning, they still didn’t quite seem real.

I spent the majority of my day at the office on Friday in a confused haze and was finally coming to terms with the fact that Mo’s career was really over when I got home from work, fired up the computer, and starting reading tweets and reports that he was coming back.  Once I saw quotes from Mo himself and a video clip of him speaking to Pedro Gomez, you could have burned my apartment to the ground in front of me and it still wouldn’t have wiped the smile off my face. … Click here to read the rest

WAR is Better, Healthier, More Supportive of Ryan Braun, Ben Zobrist

Last November, much ado was made, I mean a heck-of-a-lot-of-ado was made, about Matt Kemp’s WAR. So much ado that Jonah Keri was still making much ado about it last week. According to the old bWAR, Kemp had posted the best single-season from a hitter since Barry Bonds “preposterous ’04 campaign.” Kemp’s 10.0 bWAR was so abundantly better than Ryan Braun’s 7.7, Sport’s Illustrated’s Cliff Corcoran could go so far as to claim “MVP voting continues to defy logic or reason” because the BBWAA had the audacity to choose Braun over Kemp (by the slimmest of margins). (To be fair, Corcoran was hardly alone in his outrage, he merely mainstreamed a widely-held position.)

While it’s hardly true that everybody made their MVP arguments based upon WAR alone, nor was Kemp by any means an illogical choice, this type of reductive brow-beating has been an unfortunate side effect of WAR’s popularity. The inconclusiveness of arguments based solely on single-season discrepancies in WAR is reinforced by the Baseball-Reference update.… Click here to read the rest