The two teams of intrigue in the AL East were idle Thursday night. What was this baseball fan to do? What Would Jeter Do?
Friday, July 28th, 2006
I will not be buried! (Even if it is by my own post). Reposting this so everyone can see…
I pulled this card earlier this week from a pack of 2006 Upper Deck Series II. It made me chuckle, mostly for all the half-formed punchlines that ran through my head.
Rather than inflict my sense of humor upon you, however, I figure we have enough witticists at YFSF to come up with a suitable caption for this picture. Multiple entries are allowed; all are eligible, including my co-moderators.
After a couple days, I’ll repost with the winning caption. Enjoy
Sitting around last night talking ball with the ever insightful Alex Belth, conversation inevitably came around to those great 1998 Yankees, and the outsized role of luck in our favorite pastime. Everything seemed to go right for that team, fate was riding their shoulder, and no player better exemplified that run of good fortune better than Scott Brosius. It was hard not to love Brosius then, just as it’s hard not to love Melky Cabrera now, even as those who look closely at his stats fear that his value as a corner outfielder in minimal, and that he is not the player that he might appear to be to the casual observer, who remembers primarily the big hits he’s had, and discounts the power he hasn’t shown, or the defensive range that is, apparently, lacking. Is our perception of Leche skewed? Should the Yankees be searching out an outfielder? It’s worth noting that Leche’s Win Probability score (as calculated by the mad geniuses at Fan Graphs) is at a respectable 90.8, fifth on the team, and well above Alex, who clocks in at 49.6. (Jeter—remember him?—leads the team at 361.4). What conclusions can we draw from this information, if any? Is Melky our Pocket Papi? An intriguing thought.
Thursday, July 27th, 2006
- Kevin Youkilis is slightly above average at first — just ahead of Doug Mientkiewicz (0.48 runs above average to 0.27). Jason Giambi is dead last in the majors, costing the Yankees nearly 12 runs — or more than one game per season — defensively on average.
- Mark Loretta actually is subpar defensively, with a -4.81 ZRate. Robinson Cano fares quite well here.
- Best defensive third baseman in the league, far and away, without a contest? Mike Lowell, who gives the Red Sox nearly 15 runs over your average third baseman (David Bell). Dead last? "Gold Glover" Alex Rodriguez, nearly nine runs in the hole.
- Gonzo is the No. 3 shortstop in the majors (+7.05), second in the AL to Juan Uribe. "Gold Glover" Derek Jeter lands in 29th place (-8.17). Incidentally, Hanley Ramirez and Edgar Renteria both fare poorly here as well.
- Manny’s not winning that Gold Glove this year (although maybe he will, considering the A-Rod and Jeter wins), finishing second-to-last among left fielders with a -16.83. Melky Cabrera is better, but still below average (-5.00) — and worse than Alfonso Soriano.
- Johnny Damon far outranks Coco Crisp, who I’lla dmit has been disappointing this year in center, let alone at the plate. Crisp does beat out Andruw Jones, though.
- Trot Nixon is a tad below average, while Bernie Williams is dead last among right fielders.
For the record, that’s four Yankees and one Red Sox in the Bottom 3 defensively at their respective positions, and two Red Sox and zero Yankees in the Top 3 in their respective positions. Just, you know, pointing that out.
(Disclaimer: ZRate is widely considered the best measure of defense, although many argue with its ability to differentiate between positions, and sabermatricians acknowledge that defense remains the last frontier for baseball statistics.)
The year 2006 has seen a rough couple of months for Álex Rodríguez, or at least as tough as it can be for someone who will gross $25,680,727 playing baseball this year before incentives and endorsements. With no game to play today, here´s hoping he stays far away from the newspapers and the TV and enjoys the day-off on the first day of his 31st year on the planet. He has earned it, hitting his 451st career home run last night, more than anyone else in the history of the game by that age.
The Babe hit 405 home runs after turning 31. What’s the over-under on how many ARod will get from here on out? Will most of them be as a Yankee?
Peter Abraham, who is becoming ever more indispensible, offers a portrait of Joe Torre today at the equally indispensible Baseball Analysts site. This is essential reading, and a reminder, even after last night’s bullpen fiasco (not really Joe’s fault), of why the Yankee manager is the best in the business, period. And if you’re looking for further evidence of this fact, we might direct your attention to the American League standings, where our depleted Yankees have somehow managed to move within 1.5 games of the Sox in the East, and are now leading—leading—in the wild card race.
Actually, if you read this site with any regularity, then you really need no introduction at all to the newest member of the YFSF masthead: The Attackgerbil. It’s safe to say we’ve all come to appreciate his insight into the game and this rivalry, and of course no game thread is the same (not to mention long) without his presence. And what with our newest BFF Curt S. chiming in regularly with the Sox perspective, it only seemed fair that we even up things around here. We fully expect you to treat the Gerb with all of the reverence and dignitude shown to the likes of SF, Nick, Paul, and myself—that is, none. But we do hope you’ll join us in celebrating our latest acquisition. (Eat your heart out Theo.) Heck, we feel like dancing.
YF & SF
Wednesday, July 26th, 2006
In their last of three against Texas this evening, the Yankees throw Jaret Wright, who was torched for 4 runs before achieving an out in his last start in Toronto. We assume the Ranger hitters are salivating. But the Yankee hitters have reason for their own bit of optimism: they’ll be facing rookie lefthander John Rheinacker, who’s 1-2 with an era over 6 in his last four starts. Not clear whether the newly acquired Sal Fasano will be in the field, but rumor is that Johnny Damon will return to the lineup. Thegame preview on the official Yankee website suggests that the player to watch tonight is, um, Miguel Cairo, which does not exactly inspire confidence. The folks at MLB.com can focus on him. As usual, we’ll be keeping an eye on Derek and Alex, among others, as the Yanks go for the sweep tonight.
Some additional good news: Scott Kazmir, whom the Yankees were scheduled to face on Friday, has been sidelined by the DRays. And from the sublime to the ridiculous: Dusty Baker pulled Mark Prior this afternoon, nevermind that he was pitching a no-hitter in the seventh against the Mets. Much to discuss. Do it here.
The Red Sox’ postseason aspirations took a big hit today, what with the Yankees’ acquisition of backup catcher — and ugly Italian — Sal Fasano. Nevertheless, we must soldier on and trust our newfound ace, Kyle Snyder, to keep us on the right track and sweep Oakland in their house.
OK, I kid. The move isn’t a bad one for the Yankees, and an upgrade at any position is an upgrade. Likewise, Snyder has been surprisingly serviceable as a Royals castoff, much like Aaron Guiel has for the Yanks. All he needs to do is keep the runs relatively low and let the suddenly smokin’ Sox bats (.364 for the series, up to .295 on the road trip, even higher when you remove being four hit by the M’s in Game 2) knock around Dan Haren, who is 0-4 in seven starts and was shelled his last time out.
It’s another weekday-afternoon game for the Sox, so risk your jobs and comment away!
Loyal readers of YFSF are familiar with SF’s frequent use of the well-timed Ron Jeremy reference. Well, you have to think he loves Brian Cashman’s most recent acquisition. There’s no longer any need for comments like "I haven’t seen a ball go flying like that since my last Ron Jeremy viewing…" Because Sal Fasano is coming (your minds are in the gutter) to the Bronx. He’ll get to watch the Ron Jeremy of baseball everyday. Phillies fans loved him due in large part to the fact as a fanbase they watch more porn than any other, and because it’s truly incredible that someone who looks like Ron Jeremy is a major league player. It gives the common man hope that anyone can make the big leagues if they try hard enough the same way the portly Jeremy gives the common man hope that the average Joe can sleep with many attractive women (on camera) as long as he has at least one major talent.
About the move’s value in baseball terms: This strikes me as a reasonable acquisition given Kelly Stinnet’s putrid performance at the plate and in the field. He made me yearn for the days of John Flaherty which says a lot. Sal Fasano should be an upgrade, albeit a minor one.
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006
He’s got the hippest threads and the bad boogaloo
And a big ol’ bag of tricks
We’re going back to Oakland, and have finally figured out what is hip. Tonight YFSF’s resident celebrity fireballer Curt Schilling takes the mound — only time will tell if he can match Josh Beckett’s 13 wins. The Sox can extend their streak to a funkified 2 games tonight, so knock yourself out on this game thread.
(with apologies to Tower of Power)
As Peter Abraham reports, this afternoon the clubhouse TV in Texas was afixed to ESPN, and Steve Phillips prattling on about how Alex should be traded. This, mind you, with Alex standing right in front of the tv, and nevermind that everyone in the universe has said this isn’t going to happen, and by the way shouldn’t. Also, according to Abraham, “Carl Pavano has accelerated his rehab program. He now goes down to the lobby to get the pizza instead of having it brought up to his room.” Yuk Yuk Yuk. Damon remains out and on Doans, which means your lineup tonight will look like this:
The Giambino DH
On the hill, it will be Mike Mussina (11-3, 3.39) vs. Adam Eaton, late of the San Diego Padres, and longtime resident of the Texas DL. We’re hoping for the best.
Actually, we kid. A-Rod-The-Player remains pretty damn valuable, even as he’s tossing balls all over the place and swinging like a 70s rock star (that is, often and indiscriminately). But this story explains why baseball cards (including that prize A-Rod rookie I have stored in some dark closet) have gone and lost almost all of their value since their financial glory days of the early 1990s. And don’t miss this rumination on the sweet-smelling contents of the wax pack by Jason Kottke.
Don’t worry Alex. You’re still the Topps with us.
Way back at the All-Star Break—seems like eons ago, now, doesn’t it—it was pretty well universally agreed that the AL Wild Card team would come from the Central Division. Well, a sweep here, a series win there, and a couple of days later things seem awfully close. Think about this:
Boston: 38 losses
Chicago: 39 losses
New York: 40 losses
Minnesota: 41 losses
Toronto: 44 losses
LAA/Oak: 48 losses each
Detroit is once again looking safe as a division winner and early playoff departee. That means at least 3 of the above teams (and perhaps Texas) have a legit playoff shot. Minnesota has made a might run to return to the race. Their ace-filled pitching staff is no team to face in a short series. This one might not be resolved until the final day, if then. Hoot.
Monday, July 24th, 2006
Our SFs have once again left you in the lurch—alas!—but you can rest assured that they will return shortly. In the meantime, this is your place to comment on all the action emanating from Oakland. Beckett vs. Zito. Heat vs. Curves. Should be a douzey. Spam away…..
The Yanks are playing in Texas tonight. I didn’t have a title for the gamer, nor an idea of what to write. So I put up the name of one of my favorite Pavement songs. And now I’m lost in a nostalgic trip back to high school when I first heard a Pavement record. And I’m wondering what did any of Stephen Malkmus’ lyrics mean and what does this song title specifically mean? Let me apply it to the Texas Rangers. Their bats are always loud. Their pitchers always give up loud hits. Nothing ever whispers in Arlington. Ergo, tonight’s game should be a slug fest. And that’s factoring in tonight’s decent pitching match-up of Randy vs. Millwood… So, yeah, that’s what it could mean. When you’re down on your team, the ideas just aren’t there. I hope the Yanks turn my mood around. This is your thread for comment.