Friday Afternoon Open Thread: 7/18/14

Here is your Friday afternoon open thread.

Some things to discuss and/or watch:

In keeping with the David Cone lovefest from this morning, here’s a video of all 27 outs of his perfect game.

A big stir was created on Tuesday night during the All-Star game festivities when MLB and Fox both neglected to mention any of the former players who have passed away this year. People were outraged by the omission and even more outraged by MLB’s half-assed apology so Paul Sullivan of Sully Baseball made his own “in memoriam” video.

Enjoy your afternoon!

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The 2014 Curse of Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium

The Yankees begin a 10-game homestand tonight, and normally that would mean a good chance for them to gain some ground in the playoff race at the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium. But this isn’t a normal season and Yankee Stadium has hardly been a friendly place.

The Yankees are a mediocre 18-23 (.439) at home and 29-24 (.547) on the road this season. A winning record on the road is not atypical of a Yankee team, but their poor performance at home is nearly unprecedented.

Since the original Yankee Stadium opened in the Bronx in 1923, the Yankees have had only five losing seasons at home.

The 2014 team is on pace to finish with the second-worst home win percentage of any team in franchise history at either version of Yankee Stadium, behind only the 1966 squad which went 35-46 (.432).

You can’t blame the difference on playing harder opponents at home. The combined current win percentage of the teams they have played on the road (.505) is nearly identical to that of those they have faced at home (.507).…

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Happy Anniversary, David Cone!

15 years ago today David Cone threw a perfect game.

Here are some stats about that game:

  • It was the first regular season interleague perfect game in MLB history – The Yankees beat the Montreal Expos.
  • It was the 16th perfect game (14th in the modern era) and 247th no-hitter in the MLB.
  • It was the third perfect game and 11th no-hitter for the Yankees. And the last to date. It came only 14 months after David Wells‘ (May 1998)
  • The game took two hours and 16 minutes to complete.
  • There was a 33-minute rain delay in the bottom of the third inning.
  • The temperature at first pitch was hot: 92 degrees.
  • There were 41,930 fans in attendance including both Don Larsen and Yogi Berra who were battery mates for the Yankees’ only perfect game in postseason history. It was Yogi Berra day at Yankee Stadium and Larsen threw the ceremonial first pitch to Berra.
  • Cone struck out the first batter, Wilton Guerrero, and rolled from there striking out 10 total for the game.

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Cash’s Options To “Reinforce” The Rotation Are Limited

Cash Presser

Courtesy of Getty Images

Cue up the Cashman hate train!

Less than 2 weeks from the trade deadline and on the eve of his 47-47 team getting their 2nd half underway against the Reds, Brian Cashman spoke to Andrew Marchand yesterday about the team’s plans for said deadline.  It’s been over a week since the Brandon McCarthy and Jeff Francis acquisitions and the trade front has been very quiet since.  The discussion of whether the Yanks will or even should be buyers or sellers has grown louder in that time, and Cash gave some insight as to which way they might be leaning with his comments.  It’s exactly what you’d expect:

“I have to reinforce our pitching, in my opinion.  I have things that I feel I have to try to do, that I’m trying to do, but it is easier said than done…

“We have to try to improve, reinforce and upgrade, certainly.  We certainly we would love to have some significant upgrades but when you lose four out of five starters, it is hard to re-materialize the same type of abilities with the guys you lost.

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Things to do while waiting for baseball to start up again

I’m bored.

I’m not sure who came up with the four day All-Star break but I’d like to smack them with something. Not too hard but hard enough for them to know that I hate it. And while I’m sure it’s great for the players to have that extra day, it is torture for me and for many others.

This extra day is slow, laborious and have I mentioned it’s torture? I mean, sure, there are minor league games but – and no offense to the people who play in them and watch them – I prefer to watch the big boys.

Anyway with that said, here is a list of things you can do while you wait for this break to come to a merciful end:

  • Crochet something.
  • Bake a cake.
  • Read a book!
  • Take a walk (weather permitted, of course).
  • See a movie!
  • Set up a brand new cellphone! Okay, fine, everyone can’t do this but I did it today.

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Judge makes Law’s Top 50 prospects list

Keith Law released his Top 50 prospects list for ESPN Insiders and the Yankees had an entry: 22 year-old Aaron Judge, who is currently with Tampa in High A, was listed at #45.

This is what Law had to say about him:

“The hype that’s going to Yankees right-hander Luis Severino should at least be shared with Judge, who’s done nothing but hit for power and get on base all year, forcing the Yankees to do what they should have done to start the season and send him up to high-A. Judge is a beast at 6-foot-7 and 230 (or more) pounds, but with a surprisingly short path to the ball for a guy his size and plenty of loft in his finish for power. He’s also quite mobile for someone his size and should be an above-average or better defender in right, with plenty of arm to stay there as well. I like Severino, who has a loose, easy arm and a chance for three above-average pitches, but Judge is higher probability and could be the middle-of-the-order bat the Yankees have tried to develop for years.”

Judge didn’t make Law’s preseason list so his appearance on this list was nice to see.…

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Should the Yankees Fire Rob Thomson?

Jacoby Ellsbury is tagged out at home on July 12. (Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon/USA TODAY Sports)

Jacoby Ellsbury is tagged out at home plate on July 12 against the Orioles. (Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon/USA TODAY Sports)

In the top of the seventh inning last Saturday afternoon against the Orioles, Brian McCann stepped to the plate with two outs and two men on base. Jacoby Ellsbury stood on second with Mark Teixeira on first, and the Yankees seemingly had all the momentum in the game after scoring two runs in the frame to take a 3-0 lead.

McCann ripped a 2-2 pitch up the middle that was fielded cleanly by center fielder Adam Jones, who then made a nice two-hop throw to Nick Hundley at the plate, easily tagging out Ellsbury as he tried to score. Inning over, rally over, momentum gone. The Yankees ended up winning the game 3-0, but it could have been a lot less stressful if not for that ill-timed out.

Rounding third and heading for home…
If you think you’ve seen that play happen more than once this season when watching a Yankee game, you are right.…

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Is David Phelps Starting To Settle In?

Phelps vs MIN

Courtesy of Getty Images

For the third straight year, David Phelps opened the season as part of the Yankee bullpen.  For the third straight year, injuries to multiple starters have pushed him into the rotation.  Phelps took a spot in the rotation on May 5th and has been a fixture there ever since.  With Sabathia’s knee a mystery and Tanaka’s elbow a huge concern, the odds are good that Phelps will remain in this role for the rest of the season.

Phelps’ performance as a starter this time around has been pretty good.  In 13 starts he’s pitched to a 3.96/4.08/4.22 slash line with 60 strikeouts and 29 walks in 77.1 innings pitched.  It’s a sizable improvement from the near 5.00 ERA he posted in 12 starts in 2013, a performance that halted some of the momentum he’d made for himself in a strong rookie year and probably got him slotted behind Michael Pineda in this spring’s 5th starter competition.  With new guys like McCarthy and Greene adjusting to their new environment, Phelps has become a much more important piece of the rotation along with fellow holdover Hiroki Kuroda.…

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