Let me get this straight: the Yankees are basically in must-win mode for the rest of the season, right? So PLEASE explain to me how Melky Cabrera, aka the worst every day player in any pennant race, is getting the start in center field.
Upon further review, I must retract my previous statement. Among AL center fielders with more than 400 at bats this season, the Melk Man is only second to last in VORP, coming in marginally higher than Carlos Gomez, but still representing negative value. For those unfamiliar with VORP, or Value Over Replacement Player, it represents the number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances. VORP scores do not consider the quality of a player's defense. (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/). And before everyone jumps on the "Melky is a great defender" bandwagon, let us put that in perspective. According to this calculation, he has cost the Yankees 3.4 runs in his 430 plate appearances. His spectacular arm has thrown out just 6 runners trying to advance this season, and his range is just not as exceptional as the YES Network would have you believe.
Meanwhile Johnny Damon, a .292 hitter against left handers, sat and watched this evening as the Yankees were shut out on only four hits, wasting a gutsy performance by Sidney Ponson. Luckily, he looks to have enough gut to go around.