DON’T DRINK THE DETROIT KOOL AIDE

O.K. ….
So I know that I said I was going to find the time to blog more frequently and
I didn’t.

But this time I really, really mean it…

I’ve got several topics to tackle before opening day and
I’ll start out with my opinion of the 2008 Detroit Tigers.

I’m just not drinking all of the Kool Aide just yet here.

Why?

Because what about the pitching?

Every sportswriter and every broadcaster and every
blogger already has the Detroit Tigers going 132-30 next season, handily winning
the American League Central, winning the ALDS, winning the ALCS, and then
sweeping whatever team happens to represent the National League in the 2008
World Series.

There’s just one problem with that for me.

And that problem is that there is still a beast
slumbering in their own division out in Cleveland.

Because as much as I keep hearing about the vaunted
offense of the Detroit Tigers – Nobody seems to want to talk about their
pitching.

And the fact of the matter is that the bottom three
starters for the 2008 Detroit Tigers went 30 and 37 with an ERA of about 4.99
last season.

And that was WITH Joel Zumaya.

Now with the best relief pitcher on their roster out of commission
until at least the All Star Break they are going to be counting on Kenny Rogers
and Nate Robertson to go deeper into games than they did last year (under 5.9
innings per start) and you’re going to be counting on Dontrelle Willis to give
you something.

Willis_d
And when I say give you something — I mean something
more than his 10 and 15 record last year with an ERA of about 5.17.
And when I remark that he needs to give the Tigers something — I mean
something more than his 87 base on balls and his 29 home runs from a year ago.

I mean, apart from Justin Verlander (a legitimate stud
who is 35-17 with an ERA of 3.74 in his first three major league seasons) I don’t
see anybody on that pitching staff that’s going to go better than 12-5 next
season.

Did you know that nobody on the 2008 Tigers pitching
staff won more than 11 games last year other than Verlander and that the other
four starters for the 2008 Tigers averaged 8 wins each ?

I don’t care how much offense that they have — If their
pitching performs at last year’s level and if Joel Zumaya is really out for the
majority of the season they are going to struggle against good pitching.

Jake
And when I say good pitching I mean good pitching in
their own division where the Cleveland Indians starters average 13 wins per
starter and where they have two starters sitting atop their rotation who are
both under 28 years of age and who both posted 19 win seasons last year.

The Tigers are going to really lean on 43 year old Kenny
Rogers as their number two starter and really depend on their resident 40 year
old homophobe Todd Jones to close games.

I think that the Detroit Tigers will be a fun team to
watch in 2008 and they may set club records for long balls and for runs scored.

But they won’t set any records for pitching and I think
Dontrelle is just broken.

And if it comes down to a three game series in September
to decide the winner of the division with Cleveland_indians_2

Cleveland sending out Sabathia (19-7,
3.21 ERA and the 2007 AL Cy Young award), Fausto Carmona (19-8, 3.06 ERA and
4th in the 2007 AL Cy Young voting), and Paul Byrd (15-8, 4.59 ERA) to face
Verlander (18-6, 3.66 ERA), 43 year old man Kenny Rogers (3-4, 4.43 ERA), and
Dontrelle Willis (10-15, with a 5.17 ERA) — I would take the Indians to win
that series two games to one or maybe a clean sweep.

I was watching the Baseball Tonight Fantasy Baseball
preview show and at the end each of the broadcasters got to make one "bold
prediction".

I agreed with some and disagreed with some others.

But here’s mine…

The 2008 Detroit Tiger will come in second in the NL
Central and will fail to make the 2008 post season.

There I said it.

I could be easily proven wrong.

But that’s my theory for today.

AWOL – Return – Spring Training Tix On Sale Tomorrow

Spring

 

 

 

 

O.K. Guys and Gals,

I’m really sorry to those few people out there who enjoyed reading my Yankees blog last summer for going AWOL on you.
I had some family health issues as well as being extremely busy with work and school.
I’m trying to finish up my masters degree and if all goes well and I get all my work done — I should be wrapping that up by April or May of this year.

Anyway, I’m back again and hopefully can get a few of my readers back.

I’ll write more soon and in the weeks between now and the first Spring Training game I’ll give you my thoughts and ideas about the end of the last season and what’s been going on this off season so far.

In the meantime — New York Yankees Spring Training 2008 tickets will be going on sale on Friday, January 11 at 10:00 AM EST.

Stsched I have added the Yankees 2008 Spring Training Home Schedule for the games that the ‘Bombers will be playing at Legends Field in Tampa here.

If you’ve never been to Spring Training before, I highly recommend the trip if you can spare the time this Spring.

I had always wanted to go and went for the first time last Spring and really did have a blast.

If you have any questions about going to Spring Training for the first time (or if you think you might be going to Tampa around the middle of March and might like to meet up at the Stadium and chat with your erstwhile MLBlog host about the Yankees or baseball in general) then feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

I’ll write a blog confirming my Spring Training 2008 plans sometime in the coming days, but at the moment it’s looking as if I will be in Tampa around the 10th or the 11th and will go to three Yankees home games in Tampa and take in one Tigers game in Lakeland.

Last year I went to three Yankees home games in Legends field in Tampa, one Tigers home game in Lakeland, and one Phillies home game in Clearwater.

One good thing about Spring Training is that so many clubs have home parks so close to each other and it’s easy to go back and forth between them.

Anyway, I’ll catch up more later and I’m sorry it’s been so long with no blog.

Until next time ….

P.S.

I just read on the Yankees website that the Yankees might now be out of the running for Johan Santana (again).

Hank Steinbrenner had this to say on the subject:

Hank_1

"What it comes down to right now is giving up a lot [in a trade] and
then having to do the big contract, as well. If
[Santana] was just a free agent, we could just go ahead and do it.
There’s a big difference this way. We have to sign him as if he’s a
free agent, plus you have to give up major talent. That’s a tall order."

Now, this is going to be a separate blog for a later time but I think that this is probably for the best. We would have to part with Melky Cabrera (and either Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy) along with two other strong prospects to get Santana and then be prepared to extend his deal for 7 years at 140 million dollars as soon as the pact is consummated.

Anyway, Like I said, I’ll blog more of my thoughts on the Santana situation in the coming days …

Floundering in Maryland

OriolesNow after getting swept by the Rockies and losing two games out of three to Colorado we come into Baltimore with no bats and no offense and drop the first two games of this series without even a whimper.
We lost 4-3 on Tuesday and then were shut out last night.
Pettitte and Clemens pitched pretty well respectively — but received almost NO run support of any kind.
And to make matters worse in the first game of the series I sat and watched Joe Torre go and call for Scott Proctor instead of Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 9th when the score was tied two to two.
What does Proctor do?
What does he do to justify Joe Torre’s uncanny confidence in him?
He allows one hit and walks THREE batters.
THREE BATTERS.
He WALKS THREE BATTERS.
In one third of one inning.
In a tie ball game on the road in the NINTH INNING.
Unreal.
I would have actually prefered to see him throw a strike that was a pretty good pitch and see it get Davidwellsperfectionc10006973_1tatooed to center for a walk off grand slam.
Either way we lose.
At least we would have kept them honest and made them hit something.
We have a pretty good infield.
We may have even gotten an inning ending double play and then won the game in extras.
We’ll never find out because Proctor couldn’t keep the ball in the zone.
That’s what I loved about David Wells.
Love the man or hate the man he went at people and made them beat him fair and square.
In his 4 years with the Yankees (1997-1998 and 2002-2003) he gave up a total of 139 free passes at a rate of about 34 per year.
That was as a starter.
Right now Proctor is averaging 22 walks a season in his four seasons with New York and he’s a relief pitcher.
He’s already walked 22 this year and the season isn’t half over.
In two of Boomer’s four years as a Yankee he had 20 walks per year.
As a starter.
Now as a reliever Scott has put on 22 and we’re a week away from the Home Run Derby.
It’s time for him to go and I he can’t be gone soon enough for my tastes.
He got one out and walked Ramon Hernandez with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th to give the Orioles a three to two win over the Yankees.
Torre_joe2
What possible reasoning can there possibly be where you would choose Proctor or Rivera in a situation where if a run scores you lose the game and then drop two games below .500?
What possible reason for that is there?
Why would you do that?
I love Joe Torre and have been defending him against any and all detractors for the past several years but that was just insane.
I don’t understand that move at all.
This has been something that he’s been doing for far too long and until I get an intelligent response as to why, I’ll call it what it is…
Very poor decision making concerning the use of Mariano Rivera and the Yankee bullpen in crucial games by Joe Torre.
These are games we really can’t lose.
We don’t have any padding to rely on because we started out so poorly.

At the start of each season under the Joe Torre era we’ve had a certain number of games to squander.
If you win 100 games and the closest competition in your specific division wins 93 games, then you had a few games to squander.
And at the start of the season we had a certain number of games like that as a pad.
But we started using them all up right out of the box.
Now we don’t have any close games that we should win left to squander if we still expect to make the post season as either the AL East division champions or the AL Wild Card champions.
We can’t afford to be giving these games away like this at this point in the game.
We can’t afford to lose games like this right now.
And yet we are losing them.
And now as I watch this game tonight we have the bases loaded and one out for Alex Rodriguez and a two run lead in the top of the 7th.
And after being forced to watch on as Alex hits into a double play to end the top of the 7th I then had to sit uncomfortably in my easy chair and watch on as Nick Markakis singles on a soft line drive to left field and that gets followed up by a RBI triple by Kevin Millar.
A triple?
Millar
By Kevin Millar?
How is that even possible?
So now the lead that was 4 to 2 is trimmed to 4 to 3.
And of course getting that run in from third is easy as saying A La Peanut Butter Sandwiches for any current opponent of the New York Yankees and before you know it the score is tied 4-4.
But getting out of that inning 4 to 4 would be too easy on us.
So before I can go get a coke and sit back down we’ve served up another couple of runs and trail 6-4 with Luis Vizcaino reliving a Chien Ming Wang who is probably back in the club house making plane reservations back to Tawian right now.
The way this team is playing he would probably rather be cooling his heels back playing Sudoku than dealing with all of this.
A sweep at the hands of the Orioles will give us two sweeps in the past ten days and give us a record of 8 losses and 1 win on this most recent road trip.
I was going to do more analyzing of this series but why bother?
We stunk up the joint and to add insult to injury — thanks to MLB and their black out policies I was forced to watch all three games on MASN and get the Orioles broadcasters.
Thorne and Palmer have to be near the top of my list for annoying broadcast combos.
An ugly ten days for the Yankees and their fans.
When will the rain end and is it too late to avoid the flood?
Now it’s in a rain delay and since it’s been long enough for it to be an official game I almost hope that it just gets rained out and so the team can get a few extra minutes of rest before they come back home to play Oakland.

Anyway, I’ve been away from the CPU for the past few days so I just rattled off three new blogs in a row for anybody that’s interested.

Classes and work keep me busy these days…

The Heart Breaking Marathon

MISSING YANKEES GAMES

I didn’t get to see the game this past Saturday against
the San Francisco Giants for two reasons.
Firstly, I was out of town in Dallas watching the Texas Rangers take on the Houston Astros in game 4 of their Lone
Star Series in Arlington Texas.
I’m not sure how many of you know about this but each
year for the past seven years the Astros and the Rangers have been playing for
a Silver Boot.
And for people that may not know — the Texas Rangers
and the Houston Astros play each other six times a year in interleague.
Three in Houston
and three in Arlington and they
call it the Lone Star Series.
It is an outgrowth of the "natural rivalry"
established by MLB as part of interleague.
The winner of the series (best-of-6) will be awarded the
Silver Boot. A 30-inch tall display of a size 15 cowboy boot cast in silver,
complete with a custom, hand-made spur. If the series is split (3-to-3), the
winner will be determined by which club scored the most runs over the course of
the series.
They had the boot there in Arlington on display a couple of weeks ago when I went to see the Rangers/Brewers game in
anticipation of the series.
Here are a few photos of it that I took at that game …
Boot_1

Boot2_1

You can see the boot in the photo to the right and in the
photo to the bottom you can see a close up of the plaque portion of the trophy
that has an engraved name plate for each year of the history of the boot and
which Texas team won each of the
years.
Texas won
the game on Saturday that I went to and since the Rangers had won the series in
Houston two games to one last month
and then had won the first game of this series in Arlington Friday night — they won the boot this year.
The other reason that I couldn’t watch the game this past
Saturday is that it was on a Saturday.
For some reason Major League Baseball has decided that
out of market Yankees fans will be screwed out of watching ANY Yankees games
that take place on a Saturday that do not have a start time after 6:30 PM local
time or do not air on ESPN.
It used to be that if a Yankees game aired on FOX
Saturday baseball it wasn’t available to out of market fans because of the
exclusive arrangement that Major League Baseball has with FOX.
I didn’t understand this when I was younger because I
thought if a game was on a national television station like FOX — it was
available to everyone in every location.
Sort of like if an NBA game is available on ABC, CBS, or
NBC — I thought everybody got the same game.

But, as we all came to find out if a game is a Saturday
day game on FOX — You’ll get one of 3 to 6 possible games depending on your
area.
In my area I generally get a game that involves either
the Rangers, the Astros, or the Cardinals.
Not only are you not able to get the game on FOX, But
since FOX has an exclusive agreement for those games you can’t watch them on
MLB.TV (Which I have) or MLB Extra Innings (Which I have).
I hate this, but I understand it.
But now — even if a game is not on FOX — You still
aren’t able to watch it on MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings if it’s a day game that
starts between 11 AM and 4:30 PM.
And I just don’t understand why.
The Saturday June the 9th game against the Pirates was on
YES instead of MY9 or FOX and yet it was unavailable on MLB.TV or MLB Extra
Innings.
I have the YES Network in my DirecTv package and that game
was blacked out on my version of YES and it just said it wasn’t available in my
area.
Then the Mets game this past Saturday the 16th was also
on YES instead of MY9 or FOX and yet it was unavailable on MLB.TV or MLB Extra
Innings.
I have the YES Network in my DirecTv package and that
game was blacked out on my version of YES and it just said it wasn’t available
in my area.
Mlb_large_2
I don’t understand why this is.
On MLB.TV it just says it’s not available in my area.
I can listen to them on MLB radio but I don’t have a lap
top and I don’t have XM radio or anything so it’s only available to me in one
room of my home.
I pay close to 100 dollars a month for MLB.TV and radio
and about 150 dollars for MLB Extra Innings and another 40 for DirecTv’s HD
baseball channels and super fan package.
I don’t understand why I can’t see these games.
I know that the people that put together MLB Extra
Innings would opine that since I get about 135 or 140 games per team that I get
over 2000 games a year for my money so that’s not much to complain about.
But the thing is — I don’t watch 2000 games.
I want to watch 162 Yankees games, I want to watch the
Astros and Rangers games that are blacked out in my area — even though they
don’t air on TV in my area, and some other games here and there.
You don’t make it up to me that every single Saturday I
miss crucial Yankees games by letting me watch 140 Nats games and 140 Pirates
games.
Know what I mean?
Anyway, enough of that rant…
I’ve been AWOL from the blog for a few days so let me
briefly offer my thoughts on the final two games of the San Francisco
series…

GAME 2 : SATURDAY  06/23/2007
YANKEES 5, GIANTS 6

O.K., I didn’t see this game — as I said — but I kept
track of it via Verizon wireless’s version of GameDay or GameTracker as well as
text alerts that I get sent to my cell phone.
Canmfvoz_1
This game just seemed painful though…
Wang didn’t seem to have his best stuff but he battled
thru to pitch 86 pitches in six and a third innings and left the game with a
lead.
A lead that the bullpen promptly surrendered.
Still I had hope.
It seemed like we could come back and win the game.
Especially after Alex hit the homer to give us a tie in
the 9th to send us to extra innings on the road.
When he hit that bomb (his 28th of the year off of
Hennessey) I just knew we’d fight our way back into it and win the game in the
bay.
We had our chances.
Like in the 11th when we had the bases loaded with one
out for Matsui.
That’s when I just knew we were going to take the lead.
I mean, there’s nobody that I trust more to get a run in
from third with less than two outs than Hideki Matsui.
But he struck out and soon that inning was over without
us scoring a run.
That was a motif for the game as the Yankees had 17 base
hits and only 5 runs to show for it over 13 innings.
We left a small army of men on base and squandered
numerous situations with a runner on third (or runners on second and third, or
the bases loaded) in the game only to come up empty.
And the way that we were hitting, or actually the way
that we were not hitting, it may not have actually ended up mattering…
But why Scott Proctor was allowed to throw 40 pitches
over 3 innings and why we used every available relief pitcher at our disposal
and somehow not use Rivera is just beyond me.
Rivera should have pitched the 13th and 14th and if there
had to be a 15th then it would have fallen on the shoulders of one of the
starters.
I think Torre made a very questionable decision to not
use Rivera and to extend Proctor to 3 innings.
Especially when Proctor got into the jam in the 13th and
is on fumes.
Like I said, It may not have ended up mattering the way
we were hitting — but I don’t think he gave us the best chance to win.
And I’d love to hear a explanation of why that actually
makes a modicum of real sense.

GAME 3 : SUNDAY  06/24/2007
YANKEES 2, GIANTS 7

Now, unlike the second game of the series this was a game
that we were never actually even really involved in.
You know how when a pitcher pitches in a game and his
innings don’t factor into the decision directly and when he doesn’t get saddled
with the win or the loss?
Moose_6
Sometimes you’ll hear people say or write that that
pitcher wasn’t involved in the decision or something like that?
That’s how I felt about the team as a whole in this game.
Our offense is sputtering again and we didn’t muster up
any help for Mussina who had his own woes to deal with as he had to throw over
100 pitches just to scratch and claw his way through the 5th inning after
giving up 2 runs and 5 hits and walking three batters.
The Giants did well and were very aggressive on the base
paths all day and we just didn’t seem to be into the game.
So we ended up dropping the series to San Francisco by
losing two consecutive games and 5 out of our last 6.
Which wouldn’t be quite as bad had we not had such a
tremendously awful April and May.
This is where the first fourth of the season really
becomes an albatross.
It’s sort of like those games that Pettitte pitches where
he knows if he gives up even one earned run it might be too many and so he’s
pitching on a tight rope all night.
We’re playing a season on a tight rope.
Boston lost Curt Schilling to the DL until after the ASB
and they got swept by the Mariners.
He’s the time we could have gained ground.
But we didn’t and since we have so much ground to make up
for losing these games is like falling into quick sand or getting stuck in a
tar pit…

Sad…

Now it’s on to Baltimore to face the Orioles …

Yanks take game one in the Bay

The Yankees earned a win against the Giants tonight in San Francisco tonight by a final score of 7 to 3.
GiantsVizcaino earned his fourth victory of the season as he came in with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning after Yankees starting pitcher had walked Ray Durham to load the bases and then walked in Barry Bonds to force in a run and make the score at that time 5-2 in favor of the Yankees.
Vizcaino came in to try and get the last out of the inning before the Giants were able to bring the Giants even closer to tying the game as a hit by Bengie Molina could have cut the lead to two or even allowed San Francisco to tie the score.
Molina hit a fly ball to straight away left field off of Vizcaino but, Hideki Matsui made a spectacular catch in deep left field at the wall to collect the third out and end the inning.
It might have been the most important defensive play of the game because if that ball had gotten by Matsui it would have probably have cleared the bases and tied the score.
In relief of Kei Igawa the Yankees brought in Luis Vizcanio to pitch the last out of the 5th and the first two outs of the 6th, Mike Myers for the last out of the 6th and the first out of the 7th, Scott Proctor for the last two outs of the 7th and the first out of the 8th, and then Mariano Rivera for the rest of the 8th and the 9th to record his 9th save of the season.
Bonds
The Giants scored twice in the 5th off of Igawa and added a third run in the 8th when Scott Proctor allowed the 749th home run of Barry Bond’s career (a solo shot) in the bottom of the 8th.
Igawa actually looked pretty good in the first four innings of the game as he allowed only two hits and struck out five batters in those four innings.
One at bat was particularly impressive when he struck out Barry Bonds with three pitches in the bottom of the 4th inning with one on and one out.
He just looked like he got a little rattled when he got into a jam in the 5th and couldn’t seem to navigate his way out of it.
But when he was lifted from the game he’d allowed two runs and then walked Durham to load the bases and walked in a run to make what was a 5-0 ballgame with nobody on base a 5-2 ballgame with the bases loaded.
Torre sort of had to make a move.
The Yankees had just lost three games in a row to Colorado and were in a position to win this game.
I think had the Yankees just swept the Rockies and had the score been different, Igawa might have been allowed to try and work his way out of it.
Hopefully he’ll do as well in his next outing as he did in the first four innings of this one.
The losing pitcher for San Francisco was Matt Cain who had an uncharacteristically mediocre outing as he gave up 7 hits, 4 walks, and 5 earned runs in just 5 innings of work to bring his season record to 2-8 with a 3.46 ERA.
To put that in perspective he has only given up 5 earned runs in his past three starts for San Francisco before tonight and that took twenty and one third innings.
Key offensive players for the Yankees tonight were Alex Rodriguez (who went 4 for 4 with a walk, a double and 2 RBI’s), Melky Cabrera (who went 2 for 5 with a triple and 2 RBI’s), and Derek Jeter (who went 2 for 4 with a triple, a walk, one RBI and a run scored).
The only real complaint that I have is that some of the dumb base running from the Colorado series seems to have carried over as Jeter got himself picked off in the top of the 7th and it didn’t look like heads up base running at all.
Then in the 8th inning Cario is on second base with a double and after watching Scott Proctor getting struck out trying to bunt he then inexplicably takes off to go from second base to home on a line out to first.
He gets caught in a sort of run down and is out easily.

These three plays that resulted in outs were really sloppy:

  • Jeter getting picked off in the 7th
  • Proctor tying to bunt with two strikes with a runner on 2nd base and striking out
  • Cario trying to come all the way home from 2nd base on a line out to the first basemen

These three plays didn’t hurt us that much in a game where we never led by less than 3 runs after the top of the second when it comes to the winner and loser of the game.
And all the Yankees players were all smiles.
And that’s good.
I want them to be in a positive and confident frame of mind.
But these types of blunders are part of the reason that we lost the game yesterday to Colorado 4-3 and part of the reason we seem to be so much less successful in one run games than the Red Sox are.
I hope tomorrow is a good game for the Yankees offense and for the Yankees pitching staff and hopefully a game without some of that sloppiness.

Tomorrow’s Yankees/Giants game is going to be to be an afternoon game televised on FOX.
Matt_morris_giants
Game time is officially at 3:55 EST and the game will feature a pitching match up of Chien Ming Wang (7-4, 3.33) against Matt Morris (7-4, 3.21).
Wang has been pitching well as of late and has been a winner of his last 4 games in a row and has been the winning pitcher in 6 of the last 7 games that he has started.
Morris has been solid this season and has earned consideration for the NL All Star Game pitching staff.
Matt Morris has gone up against the New York Yankees during interleague twice before as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff and has a record of 0-1 a 6.75 ERA.
Well, that’s all for now…
Until tomorrow afternoon —- LETS GO YANKEES !!!

Mike

Rocked in Colorado, Getting ready for San Fran, and Giambi goes on the record…

ROCKED IN COLORADO SWEEP

I’m starting to re-think my opinion of the Colorado Rockies franchise right about now.
They’ve just got done polishing off a three game sweep of the Yankees and just two weeks ago they Rview
won 2 out of 3 against the Red Sox and came an eye lash away from a sweep there.
They might be on to something out there in Denver and this went from a series that I couldn’t wait to play to help pad our record to a series I couldn’t wait to put in our rear view mirror as we leave Coors field and head to off to San Francisco.
Why our hard luck Yankees couldn’t muster up any significant offense against the ‘Rox is beyond me, but I’m going to go on record here and now as suggesting that this Rockies team will be one that could contend in the NL West sometime soon.
They are 3.5 games out of the NL Wild Card and 3.5 games out of first in the NL West.
I don’t know if Arizona can hang in there all year and if they don’t — I could easily see the Rockies either pushing past them and LA and taking the division or playing the role of spoiler.
That’s one of the positive things about interleague for baseball fans.
It allows you, or maybe forces you, to take a closer look at teams that you really never paid any attention to before.
The Rockies have some very good hitters and their pitching staff managed to go 5 for 6 against the Red Sox offense and the Yankees offense.
Not to shabby.
I’m happy to leave Colorado and leave it to the NL West…


THE SAN FRANCISCO TREAT

Continuing the theme that was started with the Diamondbacks and the Mets last week, the Yanks will see another former World Series rival in the form of the San Francisco Giants.
The Yankees met the Giants (the New York Giants at that time) 7 times in the World Series (1921-1923, 1936, 1937, 1951, and 1962) and won five of the Fall Classics and lost two.
This time there won’t be any Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays.
No Babe Ruth, or Carl Hubbell, or Mel Ott.
No Bobby Thompson and the ‘Shot heard ’round the world’.
Just the 2007 Giants and the 2007 Yankees and a little interleague action by the bay…

Yankees fans get to see their favorite team play the San Francisco Giants this weekend in the Bay Area and we’ll get to see Barry Bonds and Barry Zito at AT&T park.
Well, they’ll get to say "hi" to Zito and they’ll get to "see" him, but they won’t be facing him in this three game set.
The pitching match ups are set to be Kei Igawa (2-1, 7.63) against Matt Cain (2-7, 3.15) tonight, Chien Ming Wang (7-4, 3.33) against Matt Morris (7-4, 3.21) tomorrow afternoon on FOX, and Mike Mussina (3-4, 5.10) against Noah Lowry (6-6, 3.74) Sunday afternoon.
468892958_442c5a3205
Tonight will be Igawa’s first game back as a New York Yankees starting pitcher since his outing in at Yankee stadium against Seattle on May the 4th where he gave up 8 earned runs on 9 hits in just four innings.
Since that time he’s been down on the farm working on his control and mechanics and Joe Torre seems satisfied with his progression.
This will be the first time anybody from the Giants has faced Igawa but it should be noted that Giants outfielder Randy Winn is batting over .340 off of lefties.
The hitters for the New York Yankees may not be too familiar with Cain and Lowry, but Bobby
Abreu seems to have tomorrow’s Giant’s starter Matt Morris all sorted out as he is hitting .348 (8-for-23) with two home runs and five RBIs against
Morris.
And don’t let Matt Cain’s win/loss record fool you.
He’s a very good pitcher and has pitched very well so far this season.
As a matter of fact this is what Jayson Stark had to say about him recently on ESPN.Com:

Here’s the question we should be asking about Matt Cain:
Is he the best 2-7 pitcher in history? Hey, he just might be, as a matter of
fact.

We couldn’t find a single pitcher in the expansion era
who had an ERA as good as Cain’s (3.15), or a hits-per-nine-IP rate as good as
Cain’s (7.02 per nine IP) who wound up a season with a winning percentage as
lousy as his is now (.222). But even 2-7 doesn’t do justice to how crummy the
Giants have played behind him. Their record when he starts is an
incomprehensible 2-12.

So how do we explain this? Just about every way possible.
He has lost two 1-0 games and a 2-0 game. The bullpen has blown three saves for
him. And the offense has scored two runs or fewer in nine of his starts. It’s
been so ugly that he has allowed three hits or fewer five times — and won one
of them.

"To me, he’s a lot like Justin Verlander," says
one scout. "It’s easy to think he could throw multiple no-hitters. That’s
how good his stuff is. And he’s 2-7. Now that doesn’t make a whole lot of
sense."

GIAMBI TALKS

Well, Jason has finally broken down and decided to speak with Bud Selig and the Mitchell Investigation about his use of anabolic steroids.
What impact this will have on his career as a New York Yankee for the remainder of the 2007 season or the 2008 season is yet to be determined.

Here is his official statement:

Today, I have agreed to commissioner Selig’s request that I meet with Sen.
George Mitchell. In a direct conversation the commissioner impressed upon me the
idea that the game of baseball would be best served by such a meeting. I will
continue to do what I think is right and be candid about my past history
regarding steroids. I have never blamed anyone nor intended to deflect blame for
my conduct. I alone am responsible for my actions and I apologize to the
commissioner, the owners and the players for any suggestion that they were
responsible for my behavior.

I’ve come to this decision for a number of reasons. I did not want to put my
family through a lengthy legal challenge in support of my position. In addition,
the uncertainty of my playing status could detract from the efforts of our team
to win the American League East. My focus at this time needs to be on rehabbing
my injury, getting back on the field, and contributing to the goals of my team.
To be embroiled in a legal battle could undermine all of this and I would never
put my family, my teammates, or the Yankees in that position.

Accordingly, I have agreed to this meeting. As I have always done, I will
address my own personal history regarding steroids. I will not discuss in any
fashion any other individual. My hope is that this meeting will serve as a
positive step, as all parties involved seek the best approach in dealing with
the issue of "drugs in sport." That has always been the intent behind all of
the comments I have made on the subject and it remains so to this day.

Myself, I sort of wish that he had not said these things and sort of wish that he not decided to cooperate with Senator Mitchell and Bud Selig.
Jason_giambi_29
I just don’t know what good can come from this or will come from this.
People in major league baseball had to have known that a significant number of players used some form of steroids or performance enhancing drugs from the years of 1986 to 2006.
They must have known.
I don’t think any of these people are stupid men.
I don’t think that they are exceptionally gullible men either.
These are highly educated men, for the most part, with years of experience dealing with professional sports.
I might be more inclined to believe that they didn’t know what was going on with these things at the start of it.
I might be more inclined to believe that they didn’t know about it in the 1980’s or the early 1990’s.
I might be more inclined to believe that they didn’t know about it before 1997.
But after the home run chase and the home run boom from 1997 through 2001 — I just can’t understand how anybody with an ounce of common sense to go along with their education and experience with professional baseball and professional athletics would not suspect that at some of these players had dabbled with supplements, steroids, and other performance enhancers.
That type of naivete just defies description.
I just don’t believe it.
I’m sorry — I just don’t.
I mean, prior to 1998 only two players had ever hit 60 home runs in a single season (Babe Ruth and Roger Maris) in the previous 100 years and only Roger Maris had hit more than 60 (he hit 61 to set the home run record with the New York Yankees in 1961).
Babe Ruth’s home run record of 60 home runs stood for 34 years until Maris broke it.
Maris’s home run record of 61 homers stood for 37 years until McGwire brook that.
Big Mac’s record of 70 stood for all of 2 and a half years until Bonds smashed that one.
Also while all of this was going on — in the four years from 1998 to 2001 Sammy Sosa averaged 60 Mm
home runs per year and hit at least 63 home runs three times in that span (66 home runs in 1998, 63 home runs in 1999, 50 home runs in 2000, and 64 home runs in 2001).
In addition there are 18 players to hit 500 home runs or more that joined the 500 club prior to 1998 but since 1998 there have been 3 new members to the 500 club…
And there will be at least 3 new members this year and perhaps 4.
By the end of next season there will be 1 or 2 more.
That means it took 100 years to get 18 members of the 500 club and we’ll get 7 or 8 more in a matter of 10 years?
If anybody looks around they can see it.
Baseball turned a blind eye to what was going on as long as it helped the turnstiles start spinning again after the strike and they didn’t care how things got done to help to restore baseball to prosperity as long as they got done.
Well it worked.
Home runs flew out of the ballpark and tickets got sold and money got made and records got broken.
And then got broken again.
Now almost ten years later ticket sales are at record highs and attendance at the ballparks is going up each year for the past several years and everybody got what they wanted.
But now, almost ten years later, there’s finally a fuss being stirred up about steroids in baseball and that we need to "clean it up".
So now, after a decade of doing almost nothing about the issue, the league decides it’s time to get tough on the problem and the players they look at as the worst offenders.
And now, almost ten years later, they want to strong arm one of the few guys that actually admitted doing anything wrong and had the temerity to suggest that they were other people besides just him that knew what was going on and maybe if baseball wanted to clean itself up that lots of different people should speak up this time.
Such as coaches, GM’s, trainers, owners, sports writers, broadcasters, doctors, club house people, and more.
I don’t see anything wrong with that and I don’t know why Giambi has to wear the scarlet A for everybody else.
Especially while Sosa, Bonds, Sheffield, and dozens of others get to act like nothing happened…

Anyways, that’s the odds and ends for today…
Tonight’s game is at 10:15 EST on YES…
Until later tonight lets all get ready to stay up late and cheer for the boys in pinstripes…

LETS GO YANKEES !!!

Until after the game,
Mike

 

P.S.

It was just announced today that the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League Central division have claimed first baseman Josh Phelps off of waivers from the New York Yankees.
Josh Phelps was designated for assignment by the Yankees on
Tuesday after hitting .263 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 36 games this
season.
So far in his  career he’s played in 388 total games and has a career batting average of .268 with 59 homers and 224 RBI’s.
Ph_150482
In addition to his time with the 2007 Yankees, Phelps has played with the Toronto Blue Jays from 2000-2004, the Cleveland Indians in 2004, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2005.
When he was selected by the Yankees from the Baltimore Orioles in the Major
League phase of the 2006 Rule 5 Draft in December of 2007 he became the first
Major-League Rule 5 Draft selection by the Yankees since Marc Ronan
from the Milwaukee Brewers in the December 1995 Rule 5 Draft.
His best season was probably with Toronto in 2003 when he hit 20 homers, drove in 66 RBI’s, and had 186 total bases in 119 at bats.
The 29 year old Anchorage, Alaska native and wife Eleanor have one daughter named Hannah who turned two this year.
Phelps graduated from Lakeland High School in Idaho in 1996 and
was named the Most Valuable Player in baseball while graduating fourth
in his class.
He has been added to the Pirates minor league roster and it remains to be seen if and when he’ll be brought up to Pirates major league roster.
My thanks go out to Josh Phelps for his time and effort this season so far and in Spring Training.
He always worked hard and did his best to be the best player that he could be for the New York Yankees and I appreciate that.
Good luck in the National League with the Pirates Josh.
I hope you find happiness and both personal and professional success there !

This and that… Under the ‘Rox…

Well, I will have to go ahead and admit that I vastly underestimated the Colorado Rockies.
RoxWhen I saw the three games on the schedule for the Rockies at the end of June earlier in the season I picked this for an easy series win and perhaps even an easy series sweep.
But that’s not how it’s shaken out and right now we have already dropped the series and are on the verge of a sweep.
Not only that, but Colorado Rockies pitching has held the Yankees offense to just 1 run over 18 innings.
That’s just not what I thought that I would be seeing here for these three interleague games this week.
Then I looked back at the calender and the schedule for the Rockies and saw a couple of interesting things.
Firstly, they played the Boston Red Sox for three games a few weeks ago and walked out of that series winning 2 out of 3 ballgames and outscored the Red Sox twenty runs to five in those three games.
Secondly, the Rockies actually have a better won/loss record than we do and they are only sitting 5 games out of first in their division and 4 games out of the NL Wild Card race.
The Rockies seem to actually have foundations of a good ball club out there in Colorado and if the Yankees offense doesn’t get it’s act together behind Roger Clemens tomorrow afternoon at Coors field we could be looking at a sweep.
And if that happened — I would have to say, at least in the context of these last three days, that Mattholiday

the Colorado Rockies were the better team between themselves and the New York Yankees.
And that they were the better team between themselves and the Boston Red Sox a few weeks ago.
And those games that they played against the Red Sox in interleague were in Fenway Park.
In any event, Tomorrow’s day game will feature Roger Clemens — who is coming off of two consecutive quality starts to begin his 2007 season facing former Baltimore Oriole Rodrigo Lopez who is coming off his fifth quality start of the season and his third victory of the season.
He has started 7 games this season and is 3-0 with a 2.90 ERA
In his starts at home, Lopez is 3-0 with a
3.29 ERA and his ball club is 6-1 in his seven starts so far this year.
This will be another tough test for Yankee hitters as they try to avoid a sweep in Denver before heading out to the Bay Area to take on Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants this weekend.
Good luck to the boys…
The way that they have been hitting, they’re going to need it !

Mike

LETS GO YANKEES !!!

P.S.
Andyp_1
Here’s wishing a warm New York Yankees "Welcome back to Andy Phillips" !
Josh Phelps was called back up to the big league club last night after spending more than two months playing for the
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the organization’s Triple-A affiliate in
Moosic, Pennsylvania.
Andy has been batting a cool .301 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs down on the farm and has spent most of his time there playing second base.
Andy has been playing well and it looks as if he has been able to put his assorted off-field
issues, like his wife’s battle with cancer and this spring’s critical
car accident involving his mother, Linda, behind him.

So please join me, my fellow Yankees fans as we sing this few bars to the tune of Welcome Back Kotter…
Welcome back….
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back….

P.P.S.
600
Congrats to Sammy Sosa tonight for clubbing his 600th home run at home in Arlington, Texas against his former team — the visiting Chicago Cubs.
Somehow it seemed very appropriate that he was able to get his history making homer off of the Cubs and with the Ballpark in Arlington loaded to the gills with Chicago Cub fans.
Congrats to Slammin’ Sammy…
Truly a remarkable accomplishment.
500 may not mean what it used to, but 600 is still a pretty big number for me.