(Solo) Shots For Everyone, Yanks Beat Red Sox 6-4

If someone had told you that one of tonight’s starters was going to give up four home runs, you would have guessed Phil Hughes, right? Wrong!

Hughes had a strange start tonight. He had six great innings and one not-so-great one.

In the great ones, he set the Red Sox down in order – in the first, second sixth and seventh innings – or only allowed one runner on – in the fourth and fifth innings. That works out to two hits in six innings which would be a fantastic outing. Unfortunately, he had the not-so-great inning  – the third –  in which he committed an error that led to four unearned runs. The big blow came off the bat of Dustin Pedroia who hit a three-run shot to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead at that point.

All in all, it wasn’t a terrible night for Hughes who retired 13 of the last 15 batters he faced en route to his 12th win of the season.… Click here to read the rest

Game 119: Really? 12.5 Games Back?

In 23 PA against the Yankees, Pedro Ciriaco is batting .500/.522/.682 with 7 R and 6 RBI, and I want him to go away.

Onto the line-ups:

Boston Red Sox New York Yankees
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Derek Jeter, DH
Carl Crawford, LF Nick Swisher, 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Robinson Cano, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Andruw Jones, RF
Cody Ross, DH Casey McGehee, 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C Curtis Granderson, CF
Mike Aviles, SS Russell Martin, C
Scott Podsednik, RF Jayson Nix, SS
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B Ichiro Suzuki, LF
Franklin Morales, SP Phil Hughes, SP

The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., on MY9 and MLB Network. Let’s go Yankees!… Click here to read the rest

My two cents on the Red Sox mess

Of course, none of this is really unexpected. In fact, it seems as though just about everyone expected the Bobby Valentine era in Boston to go badly. In retrospect, that’s not really because Valentine is a bad baseball manager, in fact I think it’s pretty hard to argue that he’s made very many mistakes at all in that regard, given the hand he’s been dealt with his current team, but because he was such an odd fit for the organization that had been presided over by Terry Francona for so many years. It was so odd, in fact, that at time this spring I actually wondered if Valentine’s entire purpose in Boston was to serve as a scapegoat for this season before getting fired.

The most striking thing about the hiring of Valentine was how unconvincing it seemed from the get go. The Red Sox made a rather rash decision to scapegoat Terry Francona for the disastrous finish to 2011, and then someone within the organization leaked a lot of embarrassing details and accusations about him to the local press.… Click here to read the rest

The Replacements

All five AL East teams have lost significant pieces, many for a majority of the season. On paper, the Red Sox were supposed to be neck and neck with the Yankees in August. I’ve heard an innumerable amount of injury excuses for teams this year, but 12.5 games now stand between the first place Yankees and the fourth place Red Sox.

At this point, it’s obvious that organizational depth set the two teams apart. As fans joked about the Yankees signing and trading for old players, Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, Freddy Garcia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ichiro Suzuki, Eric Chavez, and Andy Pettitte stepped up and became integral parts of the team. This might be one of the most injured Yankee teams in some time, but thanks to the front office, the team was well prepared. In some cases, the replacements have been better than the allstars they’ve covered.

CL Rafael Soriano (1.71 ERA, 2.42 FIP, 9.13 K/9, 29 SV)– In to replace the almighty Mariano Rivera, and then the injured David Robertson, Soriano didn’t miss a beat.… Click here to read the rest

Does a reunion with Melky make sense for the Yankees?

The obvious rejoinder here would be the assumption that Melky’s breakout over the past two seasons has been a mirage, a bunch of smoke and mirrors attributable to his use of “PE”Ds. As regular readers know, I think that’s roughly 90% hogwash. Even allowing that drug use may have increased his performance at the margins, it’s simply ridiculous to continue thinking of “PE”Ds as magic bullets that could turn one of the worst players in baseball during the 2010 season into one of its best a mere two years later. Whatever the effect of the drugs Melky was using, a huge chunk of his turnaround simply must be attributable to factors outside of juicing.

Consider this illustration by Michael Eder of TYA, comparing Melky’s swing from this year to his swing back in 2009, and you immediately notice a few differences. First, his stance is different. This year he’s slightly more closed, and his body appears to be more coiled as he waits for the pitch.… Click here to read the rest

Jeter in rare territory

Hey, so, remember when we all thought Derek Jeter was pretty much done after 2010 and a weak start in 2011? Well, for at least the time being, Jeter is proving us wrong. Going into yesterday’s game against the Rangers, Jeter was hitting .319/.361/.423/.784/110 OPS+. He was also sporting a .344 wOBA and a 113 wRC+ while leading the American League in total hits. Oh and he’s 38 years old. The last time someone that age (or older) led the American League in hits was Paul Molitor in 1996 with 225 at age 39. That year, Molitor played most of his games (143) at DH; he played the other 17 at first base. Jeter is a shortstop. Whatever we may think of his fielding ability–or lack thereof–the fact that he’s as old as he is and still physically able to play shortstop day-in and day-out is remarkable. How remarkable is it? I went to the Play Index at Baseball Reference and entered a search for players who had 85% of their games at shortstop from age 38 on and only 11 players showed up.… Click here to read the rest