Monday, July 31, 2006

Talk about an old fashioned straight salary dump...

The Yankees got a huge offensive upgrade and gave up scrubs as the so called 'Evil Empire' flexed their evil muscles once more. Bobby Abreu along with team mate Cory Lidle were traded to the Bronx for a set of four prospects, two no names, one nice bp guy and a former first round pick who'd had a poor year down in Class A.

Clearly the main part of this deal was saving money, actually stratch that, the only part of the deal was saving money. The Phillies will save $15m next year on Abreu and $4.4m for the rest of 2006. They'll also save just over $1m on Lidle meaning overall they'll be saving around $20m, giving them more flexibility to go after Barry Zito or Jason Schmidt in the off season.

It isn't a move that tips the Yankees over the top, although it is a good move by Cash. We've added a very nice player without giving up any of our first or second tier prospects. I'm not overly keen on Lidle but to be honest, I'm willing to give anyone a shot the way our fifth starter situation is currently.

If everyone comes back and is healthy then the Yankees late season line-up should look something like this...

Damon, CF
Jeter, SS
Giambi, 1B
A-Rod, 3B
Abreu, RF
Sheffield, DH
Matsui, LF
Posada, C
Cano 2B

Looks half decent on paper doesn't it?

No word on who'll make room for Abreu and Lidle as yet, I'm guessing Bubba and Ponson but I'll update when this is confirmed.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The all-purpose trade rumor post - and a post-deal update

From my Sunday morning reading it seems that the Yankees are interested in these guys, and some of these guys, while the Red Sox are definitely interested in trading him, and are looking to get him in return.

Seriously, you can get useful MLB wide trade rumor updates here, and here, but it does seem that it is that time of year when a baseball reporter can scribe anything with no verification in the hope that one, just one, might stick that makes them look like a genius - after all who looks back to see who wrote the most rubbish?


Updated 4.45pm

OK, so a few hours later, the Yankees make a big move - Abreu (although that link might break sometime soon) and Lidle for four prospects - shortstop C.J. Henry, 20, left-handed reliever Matt Smith, 27, catcher Jesus Sanchez, 18, and right-handed pitcher Carlos Monastrios, 20, or more realistically, Abreu and Lidle for serious cash savings for the Phillies. None of the prospects traded cracked the top 5 list in John Sickels pre-season ranking of the Yankees system, and given that none cracked the crucial 7 - 20 spots either I think we can see the Phillies motive.

While this doesn't change the face of the AL East the way it would have 18 months ago, this is a major pick up for the Yankees, and having another left handed bat in the lineup, taking field time (if not AB's) away from Bernie has to help this team, while the pick-up of Lidle presumably means the end of Ponson and / or Chacon's time in pinstripes.

As I said to Neil M online - I don't think this changes the motive for the Red Sox - I think they needed an upgrade in the rotation before the deal, they need an upgrade in the rotation after the deal, but given the apparent lack of quality available at SP, I really wouldn't be surprised to see the Sox making nothing other than a minor bullpen move if they can't get the quality they are looking for - despite the lurid tales of 3 and 4 team trades that Stark and Olney are whispering about on ESPN.

The moral of the story

Well today's blog could have been about my attendance at today's game between the Sox and the Angels... I could have been raving about witnessing my first Ortiz walk off hit... but business took me to Chicago...

But that was ok, I was going to use the opportunity to tick off Wrigley as #23... no new stadiums in 3 months then two in two weeks... that would have been ok... I could have written about Greg Maddux's 327th career win...

Except... American Airlines flight 1181 never took off on Thursday, although the airline only came to that conclusion at 11pm... 5 hours after the planned departure... and it never took off on Friday either, although this time American made that decision at 4pm... and the next available plane was at 5.25... pm today, which would have made making a 3pm start in Chicago difficult, to say the least...

But I did make 4 people happy, I hope... two people from Vermont went to Fenway as a wedding gift, two people from Chicago who were next to me at the airport went to Wrigley this afternoon - there was no point in no-one going...

So as I sat at home this afternoon, again enjoying the benefits of a Fox imposed blackout on the Sox game so that we could watch the Mets beat up on the NL East the way the Sox did when they were given the chance, the little, self-pitying, voice in my head repeated phrases about good deeds going unrewarded...

and then...

someone delivered!

Thank you!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Yanks rally again, sweep Rangers

The New York Yankees were staring down the barrel of a disappointing loss in Arlington when Shawn Chacon trotted out of the pen. The bases were full of runners, the scoreboard told you that there were still three outs to go in the bottom of the eighth and the Rangers already had a one run lead. One strikeout and one nicely turned double play later and the Yankees felt good knowing that victory was in sight.

Jeter singled and Giambi would launch one deep into the seats in right to propel the Bombers to good 8-7 victory. The Yankees DH had been slumping since the A/S break but he got his pitch and this time he didn't miss it and the Rangers announcers as I've already blogged about slumped into their chairs.

The Yankees pulled this one out of the bag despite having BP troubles. Ron Villone pitched two innings and was taken out with Farnsworth and TJ Beam warming up in the pen, however this is where the problem came, Farnsworth's back couldn't get loose and therefore he couldn't go. With no-one else warming up it was down to Beam and he didn't exactly do the job. Proctor had pitched in both games in Texas already prompting Torre to say he wasn't available, but he was called upon and what we know about Proctor is when he's rested he's great, when he's not, he's very hittable. He couldn't get anyone out and the Rangers took the lead before Chacon came in and did a superb job.

Mariano nailed down the save in the ninth but I don't think Joe could've played his hand any differently. He gets a lot of stick for his management but tonight he did all he could, the injury to Farnsworth really hurt and he just had to hope Beam could do the job, sadly for both he and Joe, he couldn't.

After the win the Yankees took sole possession of the W/C lead with a half game advantage over both the ChiSox and the Twinkies, and they trail the Red Sox by just one and a half games in the AL East. If the playoffs started tomorrow then for the first time in a long while, the Yankees would be playing, and they would be playing the Tigers. That'd do me I tells ye.


This is the quick post before the main game wrap-up post.

I just wanted to say one thing.

Thank (enter expletive here) that I don't have to listen to the Rangers TV announcers again this year. I thought the Jays ones were terrible (well they were), we all know about DJ & the Hawk in ChiTown, but these two morons were the worst homers I have ever heard, and in baseball you get to hear some quite bad ones!

On Giambi's 2 run HR, this was all they could muster up.


Apart from that, a good win, I shall go shower now which should leave me with plenty of time to write about the game, and the sweep, and the fact that if the season ended today, then the Yankees would start the playoffs in Comerica Park before I leave for work.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

So what happened at ESPN?

This is a strange one?

The story, and like articles posted elsewhere on the web offer little color to the story, but you can't imagine this was a planned move. I guess they may address the lack of Reynolds at some point on one of the broadcasts this evening, but given the inferred tone in the ESPN press release you would think not.

So what has he done that would get such an instant fate - read Moneyball... stated that John Kruk knows nothing about baseball... who knows?

...but Deadspin knows, or doesn't as the case may be!

Given Neil M and I's chats this week about the best SS on the Yankees roster, you have to hope it is the end of the story that contains the truth!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Yanks win, A-Rod struggles

When you have one of the best players in the game on your bench, you need to find a spot to use him. Last night with two on and one out in the 7th down by a run, Joe Torre put Jason Giambi in just that spot and the Yankees 1B/DH duly stepped up to the plate and smashed an RBI double down the first base line into right field.

Giambi, who has poor career numbers (2/13) against Ted Lilly has been in a bit of a funk since the All Star break so was benched against the tough lefty to give him a bit of a rest, but when he was out of the game Giambi came in to face another lefty, but this one without a blistering fastball and good curve and that was the all important difference.

Of course the big story of the night was A-Rod moved into the DH spot following his recent fielding troubles, not that it helped him at the plate with the reigning AL MVP picking up The Golden Sombrero going 0/4 with 4K's but I won't say anything more than report the facts, as someone said to me yesterday, 'he's trying his best, I cheer A-Rod not boo him like some fairweather fan' so following that I now resolve to cheer him wildly at every opportunity and never criticise the Yankees 3B, well for today at least, well for the rest of this blog anyway.

Personally I find it difficult when I am informed that I'm both a fairweather fan and that I infact hate A-Rod because I am not happy with his fielding. I have never booed a player of the team I root for in my life, and I never intend to, but if I feel that they aren't living up to the standard I expect, and what they expects of themselves then I think I have the right to pass on my thoughts and comments, if I don't then there is little room for journalism in the world.

The media as a whole get bitched at, I'm not talking about bloggers like me, I'm talking about your NY Posts, NY Times, ESPN's of this world for focusing on Alex Rodriguez's struggles, however it is a legitimate story, if it wasn't then editors wouldn't run with it as no-one would read/watch. I remember talking to the editor of my local newspaper in Portsmouth, England a couple of years ago and he told me that if they had a story about the local football club on the back page then they would sell 30% more copies that day. Just goes to show that sports stories to sell newspapers and the most talented player on the planet struggling is certainly fair game.

However, I sense that I'm probably wrong and as a fan you have to cheer whatever they do and show no frustration, if that is the case then there is little point watching or supporting a team as you'll never experience any lows, and its the lows that make the highs worthwhile.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I want to cheer you A-Rod I really do but...

...You make it so damned hard.

My old mucker Neil H blogged whilst I was far away in the land of nod, he said 'Neil M vented about E-Rod's play yesterday, and I think when he watches the condensed game later today, he won't be that happy with him again.'

Now lets see if he's right...

I watched the Condensed game this morning, and first of all, what an awful condensed game, not sure if someone at MLB does them or someone at the host broadcaster but it was the worst I've seen all year, far too many replays, not enough action. I want MLB to return to the former way of showing the final pitch of every AB, it makes for a longer condensed game but more enjoyable and you do not miss any action. Maybe they should do a short and a full condensed game, anyway I am going away from the A-Rod bit.

He hit his 2000th base hit and trotted around for his 450th Home Run, the younger ever to achieve the latter of the two stats. I have to say that is great achievement and I do really mean that, his hitting qualities are something I have never questioned, every player has slumps and I can deal with that, his fielding however I am struggling with (so is he) oh man I'm funny...

People are saying A-Rod is a SS and are therefore shifting the blame on NY bosses for not shifting Jeter to CF or blaming DJ himself for not offering to move. What crap. This is the third season of A-Rod at third base and whilst he didn't win a Gold Glove in 04 or 05, his defense was certainly good enough to have him in the discussion, so there is no real reason behind his almighty drop off in defense in 06 apart from the fact that it is a mental thing.

Bloggers like me don't help that is for sure, the NY media and ESPN probably help far less focusing on every little thing. Moose threw A-Rod under a bus on the post game on Thursday, Posada also didn't exactly defend his 3B. A lot of people have had a go at JoPo for not moving off the plate to take that throw from A-Rod but I think that is very harsh, it was an absolutely terrible throw and he would of had to react like a soccer goalie (I feel dirty for writing soccer but I am writing to a predominately American audience) and dived full stretch to his left to take in that throw and with his weight not shifted on to his left foot as he was expecting a straight throw home then I can't blame JoPo whatsoever.

I do feel for A-Rod, however he signed that contract (like every single one of us would) but with that around his neck, it makes it far easier for the Press and even for bloggers like me to shoot him down. I just don't know what to say anymore, A-Rod is the single most frustrating player since Lomano Lua-Lua and I bet none of you know who he is, but if you do then you'll know just how frustrating that is.


A win in the West

A more descriptive blog tonight - not sure how many people stayed through to the 1.30 finish.

The Sox had Lowell out again tonight, so Youkilis played at 3rd, Ortiz worked on his 2007 position eligibility over at 1st, and Gabe Kapler played LF, with Manny DH'ing. I guess I was a little surprised that Wily Mo wasn't playing RF given the lefty starter (Moyer) for the M's, but Francona stated that the Sox are easing him back in gently.

The Red Sox did their scoring early... and a little late - and you have to question the bums hitting in the 2, 6, 7 and 8 spots that weren't able to get a shot out of the park in the first five innings... ;-)

After Ortiz's solo HR in the first, it seemed that the Sox decided to take steady aim at their own bullpen in left field, and ball after ball ended up in that location - Alex Gonzalez continues his torrid run of hitting, delivering a 2 run shot in the third, Varitek dumped a solo shot in the 4th, before Youkilis and Manny added two run shots in the 5th.

I doubt that I will ever be fully comfortable sitting down to watch any Kyle Snyder start, but he again looked... ok (damning him with faint praise..!). He again ran into trouble on his third pass at the lineup, although he wasn't helped by two errors in the bottom of the 5th. Then, during warm-up pitches for the 6th, he pulled up and quickly waived to the dugout for medical help - it is a sign of how thin we are that his loss is a worry - however, the FSN Northwest announcers passed on that it was a muscle cramp - if that is all it was (and that is a big if) he should be ok to take his turn in Oakland next week.

Both Hansen and Delcarmen made things interesting in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings - but while Hansen was charged with 2 runs, no one was hitting either of the guys hard, it was more a case of ground balls finding holes, or plays that fielders just couldn't make.

The Sox added another run in the top of the 9th as Coco slapped a ball to LF and Manny slid home ahead of the ball, and Timlin came in to finish the game in 1-2-3 fashion - a nice win, and the lead in the East climbs back to 3.5, and the Sox own the 2nd best record in the majors all on their own as the White Sox fell to the Rangers.


One aside to explain the difference between UK baseball watching and US baseball watching - FSN Northwest played a highlight clip from the Sox - Mariners game from 6 years ago that finished in the 19th inning - a game that I was able to follow the end of in the office the day "after" UK time.

I guess like many UK baseball fans the first thing I always did was switch on the PC in the morning to catch up on the overnight action - when I saw that the Sox game wasn't a final, I just assumed that there was something wrong with the Yahoo scoreboard, until I saw movement in the count! In then typical Sox style though, I started watching, and they lost within a few minutes!


Neil M vented about E-Rod's play yesterday, and I think when he watches the condensed game later today, he won't be that happy with him again.

He will enjoy the 450th HR, and the simultaneous 2,000th hit, but again his defense hurt his team. I wouldn't criticize him at all for failing to get the foul pop up in the 1st, the sky was tough at that stage, but I was surprised that he didn't get to Johnson's grounder earlier in the inning that started things off. Clearly he is going to catch more flack for the 4th inning throwing error that pulled Andy Phillips off the bag - and helped switch the momentum again to the Jays after his HR had appeared to pull the Yankees back into the game.

As anyone that reads this blog will know, I am no E-Rod fan, and certainly no A-Fraud apologist, but I do think the criticism of E-Rod is getting way, way over-blown... not that that makes it any less funny in a schadenfreude kind of way. Without question, he is being held to a materially different standard from other Yankees, and I really don't understand the relish that the NY and national (read ESPN) media are chasing his blood.

There seems to be no leeway offered for his gaudy hitting, and more importantly, no leeway offered for the fact that the best SS in baseball agreed to move to a position that he had never played professionally to help his new team - if he was making all these errors at SS having forced Jeter to 3rd or CF then I would have more sympathy for the critics - but he is still playing out of position for the benefit of the team and just has nowhere to hide at the moment.

I am sure that the response to that argument will be "he is getting paid $252m" or "he effectively forced the trade out of the Rangers", but I just don't buy it - I really don't like the guy, but I would never accuse him of not busting his ass on the field, or doing everything he could to help the Yankees, but that doesn't seem to be enough - but keep booing Yankee fans, it is music to Sox fans ears!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Fuck you A-Rod, Fuck You

I know my language isn't the greatest, I do apologise. I have defended A-Rod against those who have attacked his hitting slump but I cannot and will not defend a guy who has Gold Gloves when they can't throw the ball 90 foot in a straight line.

I know he gets his $252m for being a great hitter, and he is one of the best whose ever lived but for that money I wouldn't mind someone being able to throw in a straight line. I can't hit a lick but I can throw in a straight line, therefore I am better than A-Rod in one aspect of the game.

I'm pissed.

Neil H says never blog angry, I disagree, at least this way I can excuse my language.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Game 93 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

Posted by Picasa

Well #22 is crossed off the list, and I have to be honest and say that I enjoyed the HHH Metrodome more than I thought I would. After my experience at the Marlins, my brain is pretty set against combined football / baseball stadiums, but this didn't have the same feel. There was a decent crowd (25,000 or so), who were into the game, and the Twins continued there hot streak by knocking off the Rays 7-2.

One interesting feature - the Metrodome is pressurised, so when you leave, you are 'pushed' out of the stadium by the wind, as the air from inside rushes to meet lower pressure air outside - very strange. You could tell the regulars from the visitors - anyone taking off, or holding on to their baseball cap, was a regular!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A combined 1 hitter

Well that was a very nice effort by the Sox pitching tag team - 8 innings of 1 hit ball from Lester, followed by a 1-2-3 9th from Papelbon - that would do just fine every 5th day! And given the Sox pitching hadn't produced a shutout this season before Saturday, 2 in 4 days isn't the worst effort.

And incredibly, the Sox pitchers needed to produce that second shoutout, and their first one hitter since May 25, 2001 (thanks NESN) as the Royals heralded pitching lineup restricted the Sox to 1 run, 6 hits and 2 intentional base on balls - presumably our bats will get back to pre-All Star break form sometime soon.

Lester moves his record to 5-0 on the season, and while he was facing one of the weaker lineups in the AL, he is showing that he can be a valuable contributor to this team down the road. I still think it is too much to ask him to produce at say... Philip Hughes* levels this year, but given Wake's breakdown, we may need him to perform at a higher level than should be reasonably expected / predicted if we expect to maintain our lead in the East.

Another highlight tonight - Captain J became the Sox record holder for games caught, overtaking Carlton Fisk - not sure if players care about these types of 'record' but well done V'tek!


Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to post the next chapter in my tour of Major League parks - #22 will be the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the first new stadium I have managed to get to this year - trips to unusual cities with work sometimes have a silver lining! Given the matchup tonight was Kazmir v Liriano, my trip is a night late, but hopefully some interesting pics from the park tomorrow!


* a stunningly cheap shot at my writing partner, I should be ashamed!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Yankees and Daisuke Matsuzaka

Neil H knows I love this kid, and I don't think he'll mind me saying that he isn't convinced that a Japanese pitcher can come over to the Bigs and be an ace. However it now seems likely that the Seibu Lions ace will be posted in the off season and the New York Yankees are the firm favourites along with the Seattle Mariners to sign the pitcher.

If you haven't seen the kid then before you read on then watch this video of him pitching in June .

He has a fastball that sits at 94 but goes up to 97, yes it looks pretty flat which is my only concern. However he also possesses a nasty slider and change and of course that gyroball. He is a superstar in Japan and helped them win the WBC in March. He seems to have a good make up and his stuff is certainly A+.

Now there are question marks, the obvious is how will his performance in Japan translate into the Major Leagues. That is a question that will linger until he comes over, also the fact that he once threw a 250 pitch game and is an innings eater and workhorse. You have to wonder whether all those innings will take something out of him and whether he'll be 100% throughout the rest of his career.

One thing does seem clear though and that is the Bombers are very much interested. They have hired a scout who is watching all his starts and with the owners saying they would post him should he have a good year, his 10-3 record with a 1.95 ERA seems to indicate that he is holding up his end of the bargain.

He probably costs in the region of $15-18m just to win the posting bidding and then with Scott Boras as his agent then you are looking at probably Carl Pavano money in the 4yr/$40m range, possibly with a big 5th year option. So the main question is with the FA's available this off season, Zito, Schmidt, Mussina is also a FA, who represents the best value?

Yankee fans seem split on whether to go after Zito or Matsuzaka, well let me tell you this, I want the gyroball kid, and if that means no Zito, then so be it.

My position has nothing to do with already owning Matsuzaka in a keeper league.

Curt Schilling rising

Yes, the older, more mature, richer and the Neil with a good looking wife has shamed me into blogging. I could've been with a lady tonight but I couldn't be bothered with the hassle. So anyway you don't want to hear about my (lack of) social life do you?

So the title, Curt Schilling is rising in a big way in my estimations. The former co World Series MVP has been on the forums over at NYY Fans and I just want to say just how cool it was that a player takes time out to talk to fans. My colleague tells me he does it quite often over at SoSH, but still to go on a rival site and do it shows a lot of class in my book.

In brief some of the things he said, Clemens was the greatest starter of all time. Mo is the best closer of all time, Giambi is one of the nicest guys in the game, period. Vlad and Soriano cover the plate better than anyone. Jeter is going to the Hall. He was only willing to leave Arizona for the Red Sox or the Yankees. Working with runners in scoring position requires a lot more effort and concentration and finally he was in trouble with the wife for being on the laptop.

I have an arguably more interesting NYY based blog in my head, I shall see if I can transfer it from my brain to the keyboard within the next few minutes.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Belated end to the All Star Break

A slow start after the All Star break by the 2 Neils (look out for a 2 theme throughout the post...). Some observations to get me started again -
  • The Red Sox enigma continues... 14 games over .500 against the NL, 4 games over .500 against the AL... but it really was an ugly series against the A's. Poor pitching, poor hitting, poor fielding... perhaps we shouldn't have gotten so high after the inter league series...
  • the Sox lost two games in a row in extra innings to bookmark the ASB - and should have won both.
    • In the White Sox game you can live with Papelbon blowing the save in the 9th, these things happen, but when you score two runs in extra innings, your bullpen has to be good enough to hold that.
    • In the Athletics game... Loretta has to make that play, and 99 times out of 100, he will - why did that one time have to be then...
  • Why are the Athletics such pi$$y whiners? They were upset in '02, in '03 Varitek upset them enough that they forgot how to run the bases in the playoffs and Lowe upset them inGame 5 with his "inappropriate celebration", in '04 the fans threw bottles at the field from the top deck at the NAC to complain about umpiring decisions (that were both correct) during a labor day game against the Sox (as I hid my head in the bottom deck), and then yesterday they took offense as Curt hit Swisher the inning after the A's tried so hard to hit Varitek they almost missed behing him... what did they expect...
  • But it was good to see that Milton Bradley has his anger management issues under control... and really good to see anyone on the Athletics bench trying to cool him down...
  • How good is the AL Central really? The Sox took 2 of 3 from the Tigers, the Yankees took 3 of 4 (and from memory should have swept the Tigers - didn't Farnsworth blow the game that was lost...?); The Sox took 2 of 3 against the White Sox (and should have swept them), while the Yankees just finished a sweep of the reigning World Champs... I realize they both get to play another 9 or so against the Royals, but one of these teams is going to fall away in the second half... aren' they?

Well if the 6th inning of tonight's early ESPN Sunday night game doesn't make you want to write about baseball, nothing will!

The abbreviated play by play...
  1. Woodward flied out (1st out)
  2. Beltran ground out, safe on error by 2b Walker
  3. Delgado singled to center
  4. Wright singled to right
  5. Floyd homered to left (grand slam) (described as deep left on Gameday, but if the 'basket' wasn't there it would have stayed in the park)
  6. Nady walked (pitching change)
  7. Castro ground into fielders choice, safe on error by 2b Walker
  8. Chavez singled to right
  9. Valentin singled to SS
  10. Woodward ground into fielders choice (2nd out)
  11. Beltran homered to left (grand slam)
  12. Delgado doubled to left
  13. Wright homered to right (pitching change)
  14. Floyd walked
  15. Nady walked
  16. Castro flied out to center...
So in summary... Woodward made 2 outs, there were 2 pitching changes, 2b Todd Walker made 2 errors, the Mets hit 2 Grand Slams as well as a 2 run HR... why could this not have happened in the 2nd inning...

But 16 batters and 41 minutes later, ESPN's head of programming was seen taking 2 Advil to account for the ESPY's starting a lot later than planned...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Slam a lam a ding dong baby

Melky Cabrera went and slam a lammed last night as the Yankees beat up on the Indians a night after getting an arse whipping from the very same Indians. This means that the Bombers now have five Grand Slams on the year, two each from A-Rod and Johnny Damon and the one last night from the Melkbino.

Looking at some stats in the AL for batters with the bases loaded, two Red Sox players lead the ABs with the bags juice (Varitek, 20 and Nixon, 16) Varitek has slam a lammed once and Nixon has failed to do so. Damon is hitting .600 for the year (6/10) with 15 RBIs in those situations which is pretty damn impressive I think.

Most hitters are better with the bags juiced as they know they will get a good pitch to hit but Nick Markakis, the Orioles rookie is hitting a lowly .091, only Travis Lee (.000 0/8) is lower with a minimum 8 ABs.

Robinson Cano is only hitting .100 but A-Rod is 5/9 (.556) in these situations. I'm not sure what this blog is aiming at but I just wanted to write a blog entry titled 'slam a lam a ding dong baby'. One thing though that has come out of it, the Sox #5 hitter seems to come up very often with team mates standing at 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sox season so far - June

Well June 2006 will forever be remembered as the month that the AL whupped the NL, and no team took greater advantage of that fact than our Red Sox. A 16-2 record has contributed mightily to our 4 game lead in the East, but it has made it very difficult to truly assess where our team stands relative to our play-off chances.

The winning percentage of our NL opponents was .585, .457, .443, .434, and .429 - and while it would be nice to play another 81 games against teams of that standard, the schedule makers didn't think that was appropriate - as we will find out in three days time when we head to Chicago for three games against the .646 White Sox. However, before we write off that record as just a 'NL thing', remember that of our AL East brethren, the next best record was 4 games over .500 during that same stretch.

As an aside, having watched the Mets for the three games against the Sox, and then in person for two games in the Subway Series, I continue to struggle to believe that the Mets are the best team in the NL - that pitching staff just isn't good enough, and for all that the Mets love Milledge and Pelfrey, I still think at least one of them needs to go to get the type of return that they will need if they are serious about being more than just a play-off team.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a Sox review, not the Mets - what do the Sox need? Sadly, like pretty much every team in baseball... pitching. Our 1, 2, 3 are solid enough, which is what gives us the issue - how much do you really want to give up for a #4 or #5 starter, particularly given that Lester has been good enough to solidly fill that #5 slot at this early stage in his career, and we do have two other guys, in Clement and Wells, that should be able to fill both those spaces... but without giving you much confidence in their ability to do so. Could we persuade someone to take Clement - apparently not - but we continue to pick up 5th starter types off the waiver wire - will Jeff Weaver make that list if he clears the DFA process and refuses the opportunity to pitch in AAA?

I still think that Francona needs to relax more with Delcarmen and Hansen, and I really think we need to find somewhere that thinks that reliever's job is to give up hits galore so that we can trade them Rudy Seanez.

On the hitting side, we are really only talking about what parts of our bench could be improved - a nice problem to have. I appreciate that we all love Gabe Kapler, and that Willie Harris has a ring on his finger, but... neither is really anything other than filler material - at least Wily Mo is back soon as a genuine OF option. And just so I don't bring it up again, I won't mention how our back-up catcher is doing... honest... don't even look yourself, it is just painful...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Remember me Yankee fans?

I used to be the uglier but more amusing member of this blog, but then the World Cup happened and over here in the UK, everything else went out of the window, showers, food, social life, and arguably most importantly, baseball. Whilst I have caught every game via the condensed game facility over at, live games and me have have not crossed paths very often.

So what has been going on in Yankee land in the past fortnight or so?

A-Rod launched a monster game winning home run in the bottom of the 12th to earn the Yankees a walk off win. It seemed like the weight lifted off his shoulders but idiotic Yankee fans started booing him again on the Friday night when he didn't go 5 for 5 with 6 Home Runs. He may of cheated on the inside fastball off Jorge Sosa but who cares, the ball didn't land for a long time.

Away from A-Rod, Robinson Cano went on the DL. This means that Miguel Cairo will be the starting 2B for the next fortnight, not good, not good at all. How about sliding Andy Phillips over to 2nd and calling up Carlos Pena to start at 1st?

Erubiel Durazo was released after spending some time in the minor leagues trying to get fit. He has it in him to be a very good full-time DH in the AL, not for the Bronx Bombers though.

Aaron Small stunned Michael Kay and passed through waivers and has accepted assignment to Triple-A Columbus. I was very open in my opinion on Small over the winter, trade him whilst he had some value, sadly Cash and myself have yet to have a conversation about the future of the ball club and I suspect it's unlikely that we are to do so in the near future, however if you want to talk, my e-mail address is over there *points*

Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang have both looked very impressive and even Jaret Wright has pitched as well as expected. Randy looked like a chump last night but had been turning things around. So all in all the pitching has been good enough to keep the side in games, sadly the offense has been in a long-term slump.

Melky Cabrera has hit the wall that we all expected, the Yankees may now finally be forced to trade for an outfielder, possibly Aubrey Huff of the Devil Rays as they look to play baseball in the fall. It is clear the Yankees are not keen on parting with Philip Hughes or Jose Tabata but other prospects are available. Eric Duncan's recent hot streak at Double-A Trenton is a real bonus for the club as they look to deal him over the next month.

The Red Sox have been hotter than a BBQ on the Sun in the past fortnight but they can't play at a .900 clip for the rest of the season, well I hope not anyway! Our old buddy Jeff Weaver has been DFA'ed and with the Red Sox needing a starter, you never know, he may be back in the AL East soon, and if he does, I bet he throws a CG shutout against the Bombers at some point this year.