All-Star Break Reading

The day after the All-Star Game is the worst. So in an attempt to fuel your baseball addiction, here are the hot Yanks- and Sox-related topics:

  • David Ortiz’ knee will "probably" require surgery after the season, but the Herald cites a "close source" saying it is not related to the slugger’s dearth of home runs. Me, I remain concerned that high-rise development near the park continues to turn home runs into doubles.
  • Rob Bradford is going through an interesting recap of the first half tidbits he picked up from various Sox players — great reading — and makes a saliant point that should make any fan of pitching excited: "I think an underappreciated aspect of Matsuzaka’s transition was the difference in the baseballs. The Japanese version is much more pitcher-friendly, as it is smaller and has seams which are raised slightly more." Think of how good Josh Beckett is doing one year after struggling through an adjustment that didn’t involve a change in the composition of the baseballs and the mound, never mind the culture shock.
  • Who’s the sexiest Red Sox pitcher? Kevin Youkilis and Jonathan Papelbon thought you’d never ask.(HT: Beth.)
  • This is one of those stories we may look back at in six years with a smile: Two of baseball’s hottest Dominican prospects squared off for the first time today — Michael Almanzar with the Red Sox and Kelvin de Leon with the Yankees. They’re both 16, and they both just signed for major moulah.
  • Talk about your rough adjustments. A-Rod says it took him three years to get used to playing in New York. What? You mean, it’s not as intense in Arlington, Texas?
  • Speaking of, your AL first-half MVP this year, according to Win Shares (which had Jeter on top last season)? One Vlad Guerrero. A-Rod comes in fourth. Ortiz and Youkilis lead the Sox, tie for 27th.
  • Will the Yanks be buyers or sellers? Bronx Banter picks up on a strange quote from Cashman on the subject: "year’s team earned the right to get reinforcements. This year’s team’s got to still earn that right. Last year’s team showed it was a championship-type situation, fighting through a lot.” Wait, so who put together this team? What has he earned?
  • In case you haven’t grasped how bad Wil Nieves has been, Replacement Level Yankees drives it home. They also note that without A-Rod, the lineup is just five runs above league average — just half a win.
22 comments… add one
  • Twins, Yankees Like Dan Johnson
    There’s a lot of buzz going around that the A’s may become sellers soon, nine games back in their division and eight out in the Wild Card. Typical impending free agent parts like Mike Piazza and Shannon Stewart are candidates to be moved.
    Another player Billy Beane could trade is first baseman Dan Johnson. Johnson is nowhere near free agency, but top prospect Daric Barton is knocking on the door. Having Johnson under contract through 2011 (if my math is correct) would make him especially valuable to a cost-conscious team like the Twins. Makes a lot more sense than Ty Wigginton.
    Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press says the A’s are intent on trading Johnson, and speculates that he’d be a fine fit at DH. Buster Olney adds the Yankees and Red Sox to the mix. However, I think Buster may have accidentally misread the Walters article as far as the Boston part.
    Johnson had an off year in 2006, but corrected double vision in the offseason and is hitting a solid .260/.369/.455 this year. Granted that’s just a hair above average for a 1B/DH, but it’s a lot better than what the Twins have been running out there. If Beane can pry away one of the Twins’ young pitchers – I keep bringing up Scott Baker – I imagine a deal can get done.

    John - YF (Trisk) July 11, 2007, 1:00 pm
  • Here’s a thread for Kazz to post his ridiculous idea.
    Nobody likes the All-Star Game, right?
    Let’s combine the All-Star and Futures games.
    Two six-inning games. One for hitters with minor league pitchers, and one for pitchers with minor league hitters.
    You’ve got the whole David-and-Goliath angle in both games, which is fun. Wouldn’t Joe Nobody love a chance to strike out A-Rod on national TV, even if the other hitters knock him all over the park? You’ve got a high-scoring game and a high-strikeout game.
    The way it is now, having a new ace starter in every inning, the game just drags.
    For extra fun, remove the “once you’re taken out of a game, you can’t go back in” bit.

    Kazz July 11, 2007, 1:41 pm
  • I thought the All-Star game this year was one of the best I’d seen. Well-played, good performances, exciting finish, AL win. What more can you ask?

    Paul SF July 11, 2007, 2:11 pm
  • With my idea, it’d be like that EVERY YEAR!

    Kazz July 11, 2007, 2:16 pm
  • I agree Paul, the game was exciting. You could ask a number of things about it, though. Why did Tony LaRussa end the game with Albert Pujols sitting on the bench? Why wasn’t Okajima, who leads relief pitchers in ERA, brought in when Putz gave up the homer and KRod couldn’t find the strikezone?

    Andrew F (Sox Fan) July 11, 2007, 2:19 pm
  • I think the game was the best it’s been in years. I really enjoyed it from front to back.
    As for Pujols LaRussa is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. If he pinch hits for Rowand, he get’s crap for using one of his own players. He doesn’t and he pisses off Cardinal, NL fans and most importantly his BEST PLAYER. I personally think he should have used him for Rowand and not Hudson because in Rowand’s spot he has to be pitched to. No way he gets anything to hit with 1st base open which it was when O-Dog was up. Managing the All-Star game is an honor and a privilege, but it’s also a big pain in the a** I am sure.
    As for Okajima, I understand he is a Red Sock, but gentlemen he is a RP, not a closer. His chances of seeing action especially with the expanded rosters are slim to none. With all due respect if I had my choice between Putz and K-Rod I am taking one of those guys everytime. For a set up man to make it is an honor, let’s not got overboard with the he should have closed the game stuff or even being upset that he didn’t play. Pujols is top 3 players in the game, that’s the travesty, not a set up man not getting in the game.

    Anonymous July 11, 2007, 2:39 pm
  • That was me….Duhhh!

    John - YF (Trisk) July 11, 2007, 2:40 pm
  • Yeah, Okajima was warming up when Verlander (I think) got himself in some trouble, but he got out of it and that pretty well ended his chances of getting in the game. Ah well. I was surpsied he wasn’t used, just because I would have figured MLB would have put some pressure on Leyland, but I wasn’t surprised from the actual standpoint of the game itself.

    Paul SF July 11, 2007, 3:18 pm
  • No other Sox fans (like me) pleased that Oki was left riding pine last night? I don’t see any reason why we should want our pitchers to get extra usage at this point, considering the second half rotation looks well spottier than the first half rotation.
    I would have been happy if every Sox player had been benched last night; rest is good. The AL won anyhow, so who cares? (Potential) Home field advantage is safe and Hideki got a night off. All is good.

    SF July 11, 2007, 4:37 pm
  • “No other Sox fans (like me) pleased that Oki was left riding pine last night? I don’t see any reason why we should want our pitchers to get extra usage at this point…”
    I’m pissed. Extra usage was exactly the reason I voted 25 times for Oki on the final ballot! Crap.
    This hurts to actually say, but since I believe in giving due credit- Leyland’s mistake was sending in Paplebon BEFORE Putz and K Rod…
    Does anyone else wonder how K Rod has lasted this long with that delivery, which gets more violent every year?

    Andrews July 11, 2007, 5:14 pm
  • You know, I was thinking the same thing, Andrews. He’s just asking for a career-ending line drive to the head — I see no way he could react in time with the way he lands. I also see no way he can continue without destroying one or both knees and his shoulder in five years. It’s one ugly piece of work, but I guess whatever works…

    Paul SF July 11, 2007, 6:12 pm
  • Now Papi’s having an MRI. I assume Yankees fans will give some Sox fans a little bit of a pass on the “damn, we’re so injured” sighs that will probably emanate from Beantown soon…

    SF July 11, 2007, 8:55 pm
  • “Yankees fans will give some Sox fans a little bit of a pass…”
    Not a chance.

    Andrews July 11, 2007, 11:01 pm
  • Nt much news there. That was part of Ortiz’s talk with the Herald, that he’d go back and have an MRI and see what’s wrong and probably have surgery after the season. Not good, but I don’t see a DL stint coming or anything (knock on wood).

    Paul SF July 11, 2007, 11:21 pm
  • Jonathan Papelbon:
    “When I’m out there pitching, it’s not Jonathan Papelbon pitching, it’s Cinco Ocho pitching. I get a little revved up some times, and Cinco Ocho doesn’t know how to control himself when he’s out there. We’ve got a good relationship going on right now with Cinco Ocho, so we’ll try and keep it that way.”
    LOL Cinco Ocho….LOL….LOL…LOL…….

    John - YF (Trisk) July 12, 2007, 10:06 am
  • Just another reason why I don’t go to professional athletes for art criticism, opinions on politics, literature, or history. What a (funny, unselfconscious) pinhead.
    At least he’s OUR pinhead, though.

    SF July 12, 2007, 10:52 am
  • That’s hilarious!
    Reminds me of an Orestes Destrade story on xm: one day before a game, Rickey Henderson told him: “You know what? Rickey’s gonna get 2 hits today. Rickey’s gonna steal 3 bases today.”

    Andrews July 12, 2007, 10:57 am
  • In Contrast….
    Mariano Rivera:
    “Well, i don’t know, everybody has their own thing. I think it works for them … but personally I don’t like it. Personally, I like to give the respect to every hitter. Because every hitter feels like they’re insulted when they do all that kind of stuff. That’s their business and I do not care. But I prefer to stay the way I am.”
    I am a traditionalist when it comes to the game. Being a coach I try to teach my kids the right way to play the game, as well as respect for the game and your opponent. That being said though, I still get a little envious of the way the Sox (Papi and Paps) and guys like K-Rod show emotion.

    John - YF (Trisk) July 12, 2007, 11:05 am
  • Man, I can’t stand the emotional displays by Paps and K-Rod.

    Nick-YF July 12, 2007, 11:10 am
  • I don’t think you need to show people up, but I think the fist pumps and yelling by guys like Beckett, Papelbon and Clemens (all Texans. Heh.) is pretty cool. It shows their into the game, that they care, and if it’s in front of a home crowd, it gets the fans that much more into it. I’ve got nothing against the pitchers like Mo or hitters like Drew who go about their business and internalize their emotions, but I do enjoy watching more those players who wear their emotions a little more on their sleeves. I guess it makes you feel like you know them just a little bit better.

    Paul SF July 12, 2007, 11:19 am
  • Or *they’re* into the game.

    Paul SF July 12, 2007, 11:26 am
  • 6/3/07: Cinco Ocho=Cinco Oucho :)

    Andrews July 12, 2007, 4:35 pm

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