Some Post-Game July 4th Thoughts

CMW appears headed to the DL with shoulder soreness with bursitism which he characterizes as less severe in pain compared to what he experienced in 2005.  We’ll see,  but CMW was very good through five before surrendering the mistake in the sixth to Lind.  I’d strongly prefer to see a bit more of CMW, when healthy, pitch at or near the capability he showed tonight, when he was in control for most of the game, got 10 ground ball outs in 5 1/3 IP and, while not throwing quite as hard (92) as before (94), Wang was more in control of his stuff than before.  He also left few of his pitches up, a good sign, and batters clearly struggled with his sinker.  It was as good as he has been all year, honestly.  That’s the Wang the Yanks need for the so-called second half–if he’s available.

Cano has been nothing short of brutal in RISP situations and, while I respect Girardi’s patient approach with Cano, in allowing him the chance to work through his travails with runns in scoring position, it’s long past time to move Cano out of the five-spot.  On any good offensive team but, especially on the Yanks, the five-spot is a delivery slot in the lineup.  The person who is there must plate runs, no two ways about it.  Cano is not doing that and, in fact, is struggling mightily to score runners this year, barely over .200. Worse, it is woefully obvious that teams are maneuvering past A-Rod to face him, for A-Rod walked three times today and once yesterday.  The Yanks need someone batting fifth not so easily, or readily, encountered.

What a good feeling it is to know that, after the Yanks had Coke, Hughes, and Mariano work in the seventh, eighth, and ninth, they had not exhausted all their options.

I hadn’t quite expected five runs off Halliday, but I awoke with the unexpected expectation that the Yanks were going to be in the game against him.  I am awfully glad they were, that they belted three homers off him, and that, as Frank the Sage opined on the horn, that the Yanks took advantage of it when Halliday was not quite at his best.  I knew somebody would eventually deliver, and who better than Posada to show his continued importance to the team.

Lots of excellent defense from the Yanks today.  Brett the Jet made two very good catches, Melky the Clutch had another, JD had one in left center, and the team turned three DPs.

Matsui is hitting well again, going 2-4 with a double and his 12th homer and 124th of his terrific Yankee career.  It’s hard to believe that Posada is down to .269 after going 2-4 with his 13th homer and game-winning single in the 12th, with 35 RBI in all.  Teixeira was 3-6, batting .279, and A-Rod was 2-3 with 3 walks, batting .244.  JD’s 16th homer tied the game at five in the seventh, and was his 199th of his impressive career.  His 49 RBis put him firmly ensconced in second on the team’s list this season.

The team was 2-10 with RISP today, stranding 11 and, combined with yesterday’s 1-6, the Yanks are all of 3-16 (.188), stranding 18 thus far this series.  Yet the Yanks have won twice, including a big victory over Halliday.

Jobs needs to do more than go 5 1/3, especially considering that most of the bullpen has been used today.  Thrice this season has Joba gone more than six innings (April 29, June 1, and June 24), and in the last five starts, Joba has only worked 27 2/3 IP.  It’s time for him to work more efficiently and start lugging the ball into the seventh more regularly.  Cut down on the walks too, Joba.

With Boston’s loss, the Yanks are but a game behind the Red Sox despite going 0-8 thus far against Boston.

Compare these numbers:

  • Hughes, 2009 reliever: 0-0, 1.23 ERA, 14 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs earned, 3 walks, 16 K’s, .659 WHIP.
  • Joba, 2007 reliever: 2-0, 0.38 ERA, 24 IP, 12 hits, 2 runs earned, 6 walks, 34 K’s, 0.750 WHIP.

Not too bad for Hughes in relief thus far this season.  In comparison to the standard-bearer for young, hard-throwing relieving starters, Joba, Hughes has a lower WHIP, comparable K/BB and K/IP ratios and, despite not Joba’s relatively unhittable ERA two years ago, a tremendous ERA.  He has much to do with the fact that, although the Yanks have only the eighth-best ERA among AL bullpens, they have the second-best BAA at .230; impressive, especially when logging the fourth-most IP thus far.

Last year, the Yanks were 43-37 after 80 games, six games behind first; this year, 47-33, 4 games better.  On July 4, 2008, the Yanks were 45-42, nine out of first.  This year, they’re one behind Boston.  Darrell Rasner got the loss last July 4, Dan Giese in last season’s 80th game.

Melky the Clutch and Brett the Jet combined to go 1-11 in the 8 and 9 spots today, and Cano was 0-6, stranding 10 in his at-bats–yet the Yanks still won.  That the bullpen pitched 6 2/3 straight scoreless innings, allowing but three hits and two walks, went a long way toward today’s win.

Today, I wondered if this could be a season-making game, facing a great pitcher in Halliday, being forced to value every at-bat, working the counts, and showing forethought in good at-bats.  The game was not a letdown and, after taking the first two from Toronto and closing to within one of Boston, the Yanks need to renew their previous streak, considering they’ve won nine of their last ten.  Now is the time to overtake Boston, if at all possible.

On this happy occasion, I’ll leave you with the full Lou Gehrig speech on this day, the seventieth anniversary of his day, July 4, 1939:

“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

“Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky.

“When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies – that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter – that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed – that’s the finest I know.

“So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”

Published in: on July 4, 2009 at 10:01 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The last 2 weeks Cano has been brutal the game the other night I think it was the Mets were he hit 3 or 4 DPs.

    Joe made another questionable call last night Mo had pitched 3 out of 4 days, Hughes had only pitched 8 pitches, its a tie game and he brings in Mo. To have Cano bat 5th the way hes hitting look at his OPS.

    Jason what do you think of trading Melky me and Mike were talking about it. I really think Cash should look at it he doing exacly what he did last year good start great then fall way off trade him while he still has good value.

  2. It had been true about Cano Nick, no question about it. The last few games, he’s been better, but I like that they moved him down to sixth and seventh in order–which is no shame on this team.

    On trading Melky, I am against it now. You’re right that he has dipped, hitting just .225 in June and just 4-21 thus far in July. But I am convinced that he has been bothered by a sore shoulder after he hit the wall, which was about the time his slide began. I do think he still has some bad at-bats, but right now the Yanks simply lack viable outfield options. Nady will have surgery, Swish is decent in the field, and JD has had problems simply catching the ball, either from too much caffeine, difficulties in left, or perhaps post-concussion syndrome, which can have lingering effects as recent studies have shown. That is, there are multiple reasons why I think the Yanks need Melky still. It seems as though Austin Jackson is still developing and, while his numbers are good (4 HR, 32 RBI, .317/.385, 14/15 SB, hitting righties [.311] and lefties [.338] well), he strikes out too much (76 in 77 games). I think the outfield defense has been fairly strong, especially because of good range, but the arms on the whole are just decent. Melky helps improve that. The Yanks need more out of Melky, but I wouldn’t consider trading him yet–unless there is some package for Halliday in the works. 🙂

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