Is history on New York’s side?

With Friday the 13th not that far in the rear view, superstitious thoughts are on the mind.  When aren’t superstitious thoughts on the mind when it comes to baseball?

Only two times during New York’s eleven pennant years since 1969 have the pinstripes possessed the best record in baseball on July 15th.  In five of the eleven pennants seasons since 1969, the Yankees had the third best record in the Major Leagues.  Maybe the Rangers and Dodgers recent fades are not exactly welcome by the Yankees (would the third best record be better than the top record?).  Despite the frequently talked about issues regarding hitting with runners in scoring position, the Yankees have the fifth rated offense in all of baseball.  They also have hit nine more homers than any other team (on a franchise record pace).  Besides, the Yankees supposedly crippled pitching staff still possesses the fifth best ERA in the game.   As everyone knows, pitching wins championships in the end. … Click here to read the rest

Battle for New York? More like Battle of Cy Young Frontrunners

Here is the tale of the tape:

CC Sabathia has gone seven or more innings in each of his last six starts.  Consequently, his ERA during this recent stretch has dropped from a mediocre 3.78 to a much more respectable 3.55.  In addition, CC threw his first complete game of the year the last time he took the mound on Monday against the Braves.  During his first eight starts this season, Sabathia failed to last seven innings on six different occasions.  A big time outing this evening would bode very well for CC in locking down the AL starting position at the All-Star Game in 16 days.  Plus, the Yankees have not had a Cy Young Award winner since Roger Clemens took home his sixth Cy Young Award in 2001.

R.A. Dickey is rapidly turning into baseball’s most heart-warming story of 2012.  The 37-year-old knuckleballer is having a year for the ages.  No matter your fan allegiance, you have to be happy for the guy who went through so much hardship as a child. … Click here to read the rest

Eight-run seventh propels Yanks to Subway Series win

More of this, please. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

A crisply pitched 3-1 game by Mike Pelfrey quickly snowballed into a nightmare for the Mets in the 7th inning, as the Yankees — who up to that point had put men on in 5 of the previous six innings against Pelfrey but failed to capitalize — finally came through with men on base in a big way, loading the bases with no outs en route to what would be an eight-run outburst, their most productive frame of the season, and ultimately coming back to beat the Mets 9-3.

I don’t blame the Mets for sticking with Pelfrey (though I imagine some Mets bloggers might), given that he never put more than one Yankee on in any prior inning and the only blemish on his day had been a Curtis Granderson solo shot in the first that put the Bombers up 1-0. However, a Brett Gardner single up the middle, a big Chris Dickerson walk and a Francisco Cervelli hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Derek Jeter.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees too-many-home-run Mets to death in 7-3 win

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

For those of you not on Twitter, one of the more popular memes of the 2011 season has been the ongoing ridiculing of the mainstream journalists that continue to assert that the Yankees’ home run-hitting proficiency is somehow detrimental to the offense (also known as #toomanyhomeruns).

Whether or not you feel the Yankee offense is too one-dimensional — and while I of course love all of the home runs, the team’s ongoing frustrations with RISP remain troubling — no one should be complaining about the Yankees going yard, as they did precisely that many times in a 7-3 win over the Mets Saturday night to knot the Subway Series at one game apiece.

A.J. Burnett was serviceable, throwing 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball (four strikeouts, three walks), and the Yankee end-game of David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain were lights-out, combining for 1 2/3 perfect frames. Also, Luis Ayala somehow threw a perfect ninth. On the offensive side of the ledger, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin all homered.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees snap three game win streak; lose 2-1 to hapless Mets.

(Photo c/o Getty Images)

I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time with tonight’s recap. Frankly, there isn’t a much to say at this point. The Yanks enjoyed another fine pitching performance but still managed to lose thanks to some very timely non-hits. The lone run came in the bottom of third on a Mark Teixeira solo shot which was definitely assisted by the short porch in right field (and almost snagged by a leaping Carlos Beltran).

That’s not to say that there weren’t an abundance of opportunities though. In the bottom of the second, the Bombers had bases loaded but couldn’t capitalize. In fact, by the end of the game, the Yankees ultimately went 1-10 with runners in scoring position (exasperated by the team’s 11 strikeouts). R.A. Dickey (1-5, 5.08) allowed one run on four hits. His wholesale knuckleball (which has a -10.1 pitch value according to Fangraphs) was good enough to warrant six strikeouts.  I don’t care who’s pitching; that’s entirely too many fruitless at bats.… Click here to read the rest

Game Thread and Series Preview | Yankees vs. Mets I: Die Interleague Play, die

I was at this one; good times.

Longtime readers know I am no fan of Interleague Play, and to me nothing is more emblematic of how pointless it is than the six games the Yankees and Mets are forced to play against each other each year. No offense to the Mets, but in the majority of seasons since the first regular-season interleague games began in 1997, the Yankees have simply been a better team. However, the nature of baseball is such that the Mets are almost always going to wind up swiping a handful of games — only twice in the 14-year history of this series has either team won a decisive five (Yankees in 2009) or all six games (Yankees in 2003) — but considering the New York teams aren’t fighting each other for a playoff spot (and the same of course goes for all AL teams facing NL teams), the corresponding loss of ground in the AL East division race feels that much more annoying.… Click here to read the rest

Cashman: Feliciano Abused By Mets

In one comment made to the media yesterday, Brian Cashman managed to upset the Yankees’ crosstown rivals as well as a portion of his own fanbase. Marc Carig has more:

“He was abused,” Cashman said this afternoon. “Listen, I don’t know, the concern is based on the MRI. The use pattern was abusive, but the MRI itself shows what he’s got. And that leads us to believe all that is resolvable and that it’s not a major issue, just a timing issue.”
[…]
Dan Warthen, the Mets’ pitching coach, said that this is all information the Yankees knew when they signed him and that none of the innings Feliciano pitched was forced.

“He volunteered for the baseball every day,” Warthen said. “He was asked whether he was able to pitch. He said ‘Yes’ every day. Every day. And wanted to pitch more than we even pitched him. So I feel badly that someone feels that way. But that was part of the reason that we decided not to re-sign him, because we knew we had used him 270-some times in the last three years.”
[…]
“It’s a thin market when you’re out there looking for lefties, and he’s one of the better ones out there,” [Cashman] said.

Click here to read the rest

On the Mets and Castillo

As you’ve likely heard by now, the Mets officially released second baseman Luis Castillo. Since Spring Training started, there have been a lot of hints at this and since Spring Training started, I’ve been against such a move; here’s a quick run down of why:

Money for Nothing

The Mets, considering their financial situation, should not be in the business of paying a player NOT to play for them. Though the cost for Castillo will be only $6 million in 2011, that’s still $6M the Mets are going to be paying and $6M from which the Mets are going to get nothing.

Where’s the Upgrade?

Via this piece from the Daily News, we can see that the other options at 2B for the Mets include: Brad Emaus (a Rule V pick), Justin Turner, Daniel Murphy, and Luis Hernandez.

Emaus came from the Blue Jays’ system and has a career minor league line of .276/.364/.426, so he’s showed some decent contact ability and a good eye (11.32 unintentional BB%).… Click here to read the rest

Players to Watch: N.L. East

Let’s end our week with an eye towards the Right Coast and the N.L. teams that inhabit it. You know the drill.

NL West
NL Central

Starting, as we so normally do, at the top with the Phillies. Let’s go with t3h 4 @ce$! shall we? No. The obvious choice here is Dominic Brown. He’s the Phillies’ top prospect and is the likely replacement for the departed Jayson Werth. Brown struggled in a brief 70 PA stint in the bigs last year, wOBAing just .259 and striking out 38.7% of the time. Brown will be 23 when the season starts and won’t be 24 until September so time is still on his side. Can he cash in on his big prospect status in 2011 or will fans think he’s not WERTH it?!

Atlanta Braves: No more Bobby Cox. That phrase alone is enough to shake my baseball-self to its core. I haven’t known a time in my baseball-life that doesn’t include Bobby Cox.… Click here to read the rest