After dominating AAA for three starts (3-0, 1.86), Phil Hughes dominated the FIRST PLACE!!1!!!11!! Detroit Tigers last night. Through six innings Hughes surrendered only two hits and no runs, holding out long enough for the Yankees to explode for ten runs in the seventh inning.
This window of oppportunity for Hughes looks to be three-to-five starts at a minumum, which should provide ample time to prove himself as big league ready. The uncertainty surrounding CMW gives Phil Hughes a chance to step up and take a spot in this rotation. Don't say we didn't warn you, but any success from Hughes will no doubt start the "Joba-to-the-bullpen" idiots back up in full force. That should be fun to read in every paper, every morning (again).
In PeteAbe's piece, he actually quotes one of the most respected baseball on the planet in Jim Leyland, and then proceeds to contradict him. Although Abraham paints a horrific picture of the decrepid Yanks, Leyland had more positive things to say. On to the blockquote...
“He’s a great pitcher,” Leyland said of Sabathia. “It’s just a matter of time
before he starts racking up wins. They’re a tough team to manage against.
They’re about to get a lot tougher in three weeks from what I understand.”
While Abe agrees that the referenced return of Alex Rodriguez will benefit the lineup, he continues by saying that "(b)ut bringing back a 33-year-old former steroids user with a bad hip isn’t going to solve the problem of the Yankees looking like a company softball team at times. When you see Jacoby Ellsbury steal home or Curtis Granderson lay down a perfect bunt to start a rally, it’s a reminder of how old and slow the Yankees can look." First of all, let's not all talk about Alex Rodriguez like he is Jose Canseco coming out of retirement. He is still one of the most well rounded players in all of baseball, and the article makes it seem as though he will be in a walker for the rest of the season. I agree on the Ellsbury stealing of home (as I referenced yesterday) being a clusterfuck, but Granderson's bunt? Correct me if I am wrong, but Curtis Granderson will be safe on that bunt against any team in the league, no matter how "young and athletic" they are.
Look, the newspaper industry is circling the drain; you know it, I know it, and Pete knows it. Taking strong positions is the way to create controversy and , in turn, generate traffic. That doesn't mean that this "doom and gloom" variety of sports writing is accurate. This article actually references the rate of success at which Robinson Cano has stolen bases. Stolen bases are not exactly a tell-all statistic in measuring the athleticism of a player, especially in the case of a 26 year old second baseman that has started the season off with a 1.052 OPS. Do you think that the Phillies are worried about Chase Utley swiping bags?
At the end of the day, I will take Leyland's word over Pete. Call me crazy.
I have received numerous emails reprimanding me for not having done a write up on the series, and maybe the readers have a point. Facts being facts, though, The Fowl Balls has never been a "news driven" site, and if you don't know how/why the Yankees got their rectums impacted this weekend, then maybe you have stumbled upon this site by accident. Without further adieu, here is the Official TFB review of this weekend's series.
Game 1 -
Mariano Rivera caught the "suck flu" from others in the locker room, and blows a two run lead with two outs in the ninth by giving up a home run to Jason Bay. In all fairness, it should have never come to that situation as the Yanks blew a bases-loaded, none out opportunity just two innings before.
Game 2 -
It was A.J Burnett's time to crap himself as he let up 8 earned runs, including a grand slam to Jason Varitek, who proceeded to sprint around the bases like like a Little Leaguer. Speaking of Little League mannerisms, Mike Lowell and his 10 year old bat wiggle helped pound the Yankees into submission as well, plating like 47 runs all by himself. Robinson Cano continued his early domination of the league, albeit in a losing effort.
Game 3 -
This marked the third consecutive game that the team blew a lead. Andy Pettitte battled, but looked like a rookie as Jacoby Ellsbury stole home on the aging lefty. Justin Masterson had the Yankees sputtering all night, followed by two pitchers that nobody has ever heard of shutting down what is supposed to be a dominant offense.
I hope that this makes you all happy. The Yankees look awful, and not only am I forced to watch the games, now I am expected to write about it? My readers suck.
With the injuries to Alex Rodriguez and , now, the offensive force that is Cody Ransom, the Yankees decided to bring Angel Berroa back into the fold to cover third. Last night, Berroa proved that his on-third-of-an-inning experience at the position just doesn't translate to the big league diamond, as he looked lost at Fenway making two errors. Plus, he actually looks like he could be Kenny Lofton's father.
Meanwhile, the 24 year old Duncan is off to a hot start at AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre while having the ability to play a serviceable hot corner. This is the shot that Eric Duncan has never been afforded by the Yankees after having pushed him through their minor league system way too quickly. He has shown the ability to hit the ball deep in his minor league career, and plays a decent third base. This, to me, is a no brainer. Maybe he fizzles, or maybe he plays well enough to become a trade chip as a left handed bat with power. After investing a much lauded first round pick on him, it is time for the Yankees to find out.
In the minor leagues, Anderson was a speed demon. Over his last three minor league seasons, Anderson has averaged 44 SB's. With six so far, he could certainly reach that amount given 500+ AB's.
The Blue Jays’ second baseman broke out in 2007 at the age of 25, cracking 17 homers and 47 doubles while posting a .792 OPS, not bad for a middle infielder. A nasty concussion took a toll in 2008, but he looks to be back on track this season, banging out 23 hits in only 14 games. Four homers and a .365/.388/.603 line are very nice things to see out of your second baseman.
What do we know about Hill? Well, prior to 2007 he looked like a solid contact hitter but little else. Then he simply started swinging more, and started swinging with more authority. He struck out a good deal more in 2007, but that was more than countered by a big spike in power. That looks to be the approach he is sticking with, as he hasn’t really developed much in the way of patience at the plate, but he has been able to get on base just by hitting the ball well.
But while he can hit, Hill’s power is rather limited. He hasn’t hit one past the 380 mark this season, and only hit a handful over 400 feet in 2007. Not that you have to be able to hit a ball 400 feet, but the only way a right-handed pull hitter with limited power gets 20 homers is if he hits in Fenway, like a certain 2008 MVP winner.
Luckily for Hill owners, he should be quite productive without prodigious power. Jays skipper Cito Gaston likes hitting him in the two-hole, which will lead to a good amount of runs and RBIs. It’s not out of line to expect 90 or more runs scored, and 70-plus RBIs is within reason given the depth of the Toronto lineup.
All that considered, it looks like we will be seeing the Aaron Hill of 2007 again, and hopefully for years to come. Those who drafted him should give themselves a pat on the back. He’ll never be ranked alongside Chase Utley or Ian Kinsler but he is really not far off from Dustin Pedroia minus a few steals. Needless to say he will not keep his current pace up all season, but he is flashing the skills that made him fantasy gold a couple years ago.
This article also appears on Fantasy Phenoms - be sure to take a look as they will help you pummel your opponent into submission week after week.
The good news is that Alex Rodriguez appears to be ahead of schedule (though Joe Girardi refuses to admit it), and that Chien Ming Wang could not POSSIBLY be this bad all season. The Elias Sports Bureau says that he is the first pitcher in Major League history to allow 7 or more runs in three consecutive starts, so I am guess that a shaved ape would get decent odds to have some sort of rebound in their fourth start.
For now, the Yankees have the option to skip Wang's turn in the rotation and maintain regular rest for the rest of the staff, but that won't last forever. Since starting pitchers in modern baseball throw complete games about as often as Lindsay Lohan spends a day sober (ZING!) , the five man rotation is obviously a necessity. Luckily, the team has a capable stable of arms in Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh-Intercourse tthat should be able to pick up slack. Perennial prospect Phil Hughes has been solid in AAA thus far, and Ian Kennedy is back to form as a dominant starter in the minor leagues. Throw in names like Alfredo Aceves, Jason Johnson, and Kei Igawa (God, it was painful to write that), and the Yankees have the ability to hold down the fort while Wang figures out what the hell is going on.
As for the offense, the return of Alex Rodriguez will obviously provide a large boost to the lineup, especially with the seeming inability of the New Yankee Stadium to keep the baseball within the confines of its walls. The level of suckitude provided by Cody Ransom is almost astonishing. Nick Swisher will not ride this high all season, and the thought of seeing lineups that include both Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera has actually forced me to contemplate suicide. This is now a very thin team, and Brian Cashman has his work cut out for him to find some depth (Oh, wait, it looks like this guy is available!).
All of that being said, it is the third week of the season, and despite the cloud of uncertainty, the team has managed to keep its record over .500 (7-6) and keep pace with a Boston team that will be around when the smoke clears and the Blue Jays start being the Blue Jays again. So, no, don't panic.
Thanks again for reading The Fowl Balls.
With the offense devoid of Alex Rodriguez, and employing the artist formerly known as Hideki Matsui, Jeter is being counted on more than usual to make the offense 'go'.
Jeter and Johnny Damon will need to spark an offense that can not afford to wait around for the three-run homerun, at least for now. With the return of Rodriguez and a healthy Mark Teixeira returning to mid-season form this will be a very different offense. But for now, the fort will be held down by scoring runs every which way possible.
Burnett dominated the defending AL Champion Ex-Rays over eight strong innings, showcasing no-hit stuff throughout.
Though he didn't give up a hit until the seventh inning, Burnett showed his value while pitching a three-up, three-down inning in the eighth. After struggling in the seventh and letting up two runs, AJ came back with a much-needed shutdown inning. That type of swing-and-miss stuff is special to witness, and I look forward to seeing it over the 20-25 healthy starts that Burnett will provide this year.
Anyways, I was reading some 'tweets' today, and came across one that made me want to leave the oven on in Barry Zito's apartment while he was sleeping:
BarryZito - Off day in LA, so many options!...Malibu lunching, Fred Segal, Dukes beakfast, Pooling in the hills, Drumming in my house, what a town
The fact that this ass helmet is so embarassingly bad at his job, yet has a $126 million contract and days like this to galavant around L.A. makes me so mad that I can barely sit here and type quietly while my boss isn't looking. FML.
With Brett Gardner proving day-in and day-out that he is not able to hit major league pitching, and Melky Cabrera having proved as such over the entire 2008 season, how long will it be before the Yankees kick the tires on Edmonds?
The Yankees centerfield tandem has combined to go 7-30 (.233) with one extra base hit so far this season. Edmonds, though advanced in age, still provides solid defense and above average pop, as he proved by hitting 19 home runs in just 298 at bats for the Cubs last year. Maybe he isn't the ideal move, but eventually Brett Gardner's act will get old.
Zach has been quoted this spring having said things like "I feel right now" and "I have more control of my pitches." Manager John Russell said, "Duke has showed a renewed committment." Quotes of this nature are certainly positive ones and Duke is no stranger to success.
What is it? Well, if you love sports blogs, and live in and around New York and want to learn more about it, it’s the place to be. BwB will include speakers/panelists like SI’s Jeff Pearlman & Jimmy Traina, along with Deadspin’s AJ Daulerio and many other blogging luminaries. If you care, I’m planning on attending, if that’s an actual draw.
You can get discounted pre registration tickets to the event - while they last - at blogswithballs.eventbrite.com. Jimmy Dugan will be holding an autograph session during the event - bring your Sharpie's!
"Teixeira never was really an option," Cashman said. "It was something I kept
pushing, but it was not really being accepted by above me . . . I guess
persistence paid off. I knocked on that door, I guess, just enough that someone
finally answered. Hal really gave me the OK to pursue it over a few-day period."
"I remember telling ownership this is a guy that is the all-around,
All-American- type boy that he is talented but he will never make a mistake with
the media with a soundbite. He'll always represent himself and the organization
in the right way. If you could take them all like that, that's the way you would
First, all of the content seen on The Fowl Balls will now be republished on the National Sports Review as part of their Yankees page. NSR is a site that utilizes a multitude of blog sources to deliver as many opinions as possible on happenings in the world of sports.
Second, The Balls will be teaming up weekly with Fantasy Phenoms to present a "Fantasy Player of the Week", starting on April 13th. Fantasy Phenoms, in their words, provides "objective insight into sabermetric analysis. They look at stats, we readbetween the lines". That's real impressive speak for "they know a hell of a lot more than you about fantasy". You will also be able to read a weekly column written by yours truly over at fantasyphenoms.com.
Be sure to check out both NSR and Fantasy Phenoms, and keep reading The Fowl Balls (obviously).
We at The Fowl Balls send our most sincere condolences to the Adenhart Family, as well as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. (hat tip to With Leather for the pic that we stole)
We all know that if the Yankees offense ends up relying on Gardner to be an offensive force that there is something seriously wrong. But in the 30-50 games that Jorge Posada is out of the lineup can the team afford two automatic outs? Up until this point, there has been no evidence that Brett Gardner can hit at this level. Given the small sample size, there is a chance that he makes me eat my words (and please believe that I am hoping that he does), but the "Gritty, Gutty" centerfielder looks a lot more like the overachieving prick that lapped teammates in high school practice than he does Brett Butler.
Opening Day does not a season make. We can all agree that with CC and Tex making their big debut and all, it would have been nice to win the first one. But they didn't. And to me, that's not a story.
The Metropolatinos, on the other hand, Showed that the bullpen that cost them a playoff spot last year is not the same as it was a year ago. Sean Green, J.J. Putz, and K-Rod combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings to preserve a 2-1 Mets victory. There's your back cover, Daily News. K-Rod doing his ridiculous pointing-to-the-sky-and-showing-up-hitters pose. Now stop trying to create a mutiny with the fans of the Varsity team.
As I noted April 3rd, this move really has little to no bearing on the team's success in 2009. Whomever was chosen to be the 25th man would only be on the roster for a short time, pending the return of Alex Rodriguez. The position will not see many at bats (if any), and it will be a cold day in hell before the slick fielding Pena serves as a late inning defensive replacement for Derek Jeter.
However, I have to say that I was hoping to see then Yankees send Pena to Scranton to get at bats rather than serve as dead weight on the end of the bench.
We are talking about a player who will be on the big league squad for roughly 3-5 weeks before Alex Rodriguez comes back. When that happens, Cody Ransom will become the utility infielder and Berroa or Pena would be gone. Berroa would have to be DFA'd as he is out of options while Pena could be sent to the minors.
My pick is Berroa, because I feel that Pena could get more use out of minor league at bats than rotting on the bench at the New Stadium. I reiterate, though, that this means absolutely nothing. Whether it is Pena or Berroa, they will see about as much burn as I will.
Editor's Note - By the way, the player pictured above is Ramiro Pena. Don't act like you knew.
This coming Saturday, April 4th, will be a momentus occasion in Yankees' history. Jimmy Dugan will take his first steps inside the New Yankee Stadium, as the Bombers will be taking on Lou Piniella's Chicago Cubs in a game that means less than nothing.
The good part is there will be a ton of pictures to be taken, and A.J. Burnett will be taking the mound for a final tune-up. Keep an eye out for a post on Saturday night with all of the info.