Replays slowing the pace of baseball games; is it worth it?

Replay was used in Thursday’s Yankees game to check if a count was accurate.

New York’s Yangervis Solarte was at-bat in the ninth inning when there was discrepancy if the count was 3-1 or 2-1. The umpires initiated a review, got on the headphones and went over the count with the replay center.

Yankees.com’s, Bryan Hoch wrote: “The challenge was initiated after Astros catcher Carlos Corporan asked home-plate umpire Brian Knight about the count.

“I asked the umpire, ‘What’s the count?'” Corporan said. “And he said, ‘I don’t know, I’ve got 2-1.’ I said, ‘I’ve got 2-1 as well.’ I kind of forgot about the pitchout that we made. [Solarte] was like, ‘No, it’s 3-1,’ and [the umpire] said, ‘Of course you’re going to think it’s 3-1.’ They wanted to make sure, so they took a little time.”

Replay was expanded this season to incorporate many aspects of the game, and has been used a handful of times during in this season’s infancy.… Click here to read the rest

NL Central Race Could Be Important To Yankees Season

The Yankees probably have just enough starting pitching right now to make the postseason. They have 3 starters who should give them reasonably good performance and a few options who could surprise out of the last two slots, which should give them enough to contend for a playoff spot on the strength of their offense and bullpen. That said, I am sure that Brian Cashman will spend much of the year looking to add at least one more starter, as this team likely needs another quality arm to succeed in the postseason. While the market looks barren right now, plenty of decent options are certain to become available as the year progresses, which brings us to the N.L. Central.

The N.L. Central is the perfect storm of good but not great teams, with three clubs likely to vie for the division title (Cardinals, Brewers, Reds) and another two that behave more like contenders than their talent or track record warrant (Cubs, Astros).… Click here to read the rest

Jeff Keppinger a possible trade target

Word came from Ken Rosenthal this morning that the Yankees were talking to the Astros about a possible trade for Jeff Keppinger, to which my initial reaction was “why?” but upon closer inspection it may make some sense given the current abysmal state of the Yankee bench.

While the Yankees aren’t a team that requires outstanding production from its bench, outside of the 2009 championship year the team’s reserves have been pretty rough, underscoring the utility of having at least a somewhat competent bat to spell a starter. The bench was decent in 2010, given that oftentimes it had one of Marcus Thames or Lance Berkman riding pine, but the continuing atrocity that is Ramiro Pena (.233 wOBA, -0.2 fWAR) has become pretty intolerable.

Turns out Keppinger’s actually a pretty serviceable utility player. He was a full-time player with the Astros last season, putting up a respectable .332 wOBA over 575 plate appearances, good for 2.4 fWAR. His 2008 and 2009 seasons were pretty rough (.291 and .307 wOBA, respectively), though he did wOBA .385 in 2007 in roughly half a season, and seems willing to take a walk (.351 OBP last season; .339 career).… Click here to read the rest

Yankees sweep Houston; pull into tie for both first place in the AL East and best record in baseball

The Yankees won 9-5 on Sunday, completing the sweep of the sad Houston Astros this weekend and pulling into a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for both first place in the AL East and the best record in baseball.

The Yankees appeared to be on their way to another rout on the strength of Jorge Posada‘s second grand slam in two days, although Phil Hughes came slightly unraveled in the bottom of the sixth after cruising through the first 5 2/3 innings. Only needing one out to secure another quality start, Hughes gave up three straight hits (including a two-run blast to Kevin Cash of all people) that led to four Houston runs scoring in the span of maybe 90 seconds. All of a sudden a comfortable 7-1 lead was a bit tighter at 7-5, although it still seemed unlikely that Houston would be able to continue to claw back.

Fortunately the Yanks got two of those runs back and the bullpen shut the door, receiving scoreless frames from Chan Ho Park, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera.… Click here to read the rest

History doesn't repeat itself on June 11 as the Yanks beat Houston 4-3

The Yankees disposed of the Astros 4-3 in what was easily the fastest game I’ve ever been to — as Mariano Rivera threw the last pitch of the night to ring up Jason Michaels, the clock barely struck 9:30pm. A Yankee game that was over before 10pm? Suzyn, you can’t predict baseball!

The Yankees went to work early on Brett Myers, scoring three runs in the first — thankfully ensuring they wouldn’t get no-hit by Houston again — and it’s a good thing they did because they could barely touch him for the remainder of the game. Barely anything else at this game stood out to me, primarily because we were celebrating my buddy Dave’s bachelor party so I was certainly more sauced than usual at the Stadium.

In pitching 7 1/3 innings of two-earned-run ball, Pettitte picked up his 200th win as a Yankee and managed to lower his ERA by 0.01.

And in more good news, apparently Alex Rodriguez‘s hip injury isn’t terribly serious, and it sounds like he’ll return to the lineup no later than Tuesday against Philadelphia.

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Yankees vs. Astros series preview and historical results

Interleague play is back, and the Yankees continue their tour of the dregs of Major League Baseball this weekend with what feels like a gift three-game set against the Houston Astros.

I am attending tonight’s game, and in an absurdly bizarre twist of fate, happened to be at the Stadium for a game the one and only time the Astros previously visited the Bronx for a three-game set, back in 2003. The game I attended? The six-pitcher no-no, which was the last time a no-hitter took place at Yankee Stadium. The date of that game? June 11, 2003, which means today is the 7th anniversary of that game!

However, I think it’s safe to say that despite all of the eerie coincidences, I will not personally bear witness to the 2010 version of the Astros tossing another no-hitter against the Yankees this weekend, or anytime soon.

On a personal level, I find it a bit disheartening that the Astros are so bad this year.… Click here to read the rest