Monday, March 31, 2008
Aside from the obvious dissapointment to those who skipped school or work to go to the game this is probably a good thing for the Yanks as it gives Pettitte an extra day.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Number One Starter- Chien Ming Wang/Josh Beckett- Wang emerged in 2006 as the Yankees ace using a brilliant sinker at an average of 93.1 mph. Over the offseason he drew a lot of criticism from people that pointed to his low K/9 and K/BB totals and said his performance in 2006 was due to luck. So how did 2007 happen? Wang continued using his sinker ball which kept home run totals down, which was a big factor in his 2006 success, but during spring training he improved his slider and his changeup. He started using those more and got more K's as a result. His walks increased as well but it was worth it. His K/BB shot up .3 points and his K/9 by 1.56 (his BB/9 also went up). If he can continue to improve his strikeout totals without giving up more home runs he can take it to the next level. Wang is going to be under a lot of pressure this year with all the innings limits on the younger pitchers and we have to hope he can deliver. Josh Beckett on the other hand has never had a problem with strikeouts. Beckett beat his first problem in 2006 of injury but he got murdered by HR`s and ended up with an ERA just over 5.00. The deal was crticized as a disaster but Beckett came back with a brilliant 2007 just missing a CYA. Everything that could possibly improve did improve in 2007. His K/9 went up by 1.75 points, his BB/9 went down 1.46 points, his K/BB went up 2.71 points, and his HR/9 went down .82 points. So how the hell did this drastic a change happen between two years? His GB% didn't really change but his HR/FB% went down from an extremely unlucky 2006 (15.4%) to a slightly lucky 2007 (8%). That explains the incredibly change in HR/9. Where did those strikeout and walk numbers come from though? His curveball improved hugely and Beckett started relying on it more. He used his curveball 3.9% more of the time. So which Beckett is the real Beckett? For years we`ve known Beckett had a ton of talent and were just waiting for him to emerge so I think that its 2007 Beckett. Obviously, he won't repeat 2007 but he`s a very very good pitcher.
Conclusion- Josh Beckett- Wang is a good pitcher who had a solid RCA of 4.34 but he isn't really a true ace. Ideally he should be a #2 or maybe even a #3 guy. He was still a little lucky despite lowering his dependance on his sinker ball. However, Beckett was unbelievable and earned his reputation as one of the best pitchers in baseball last year. He had a staggering 2.96 RCA and he will be a threat to the Yankees for the next few years.
Number Two Starter- Andy Pettitte/Daisuke Matsuzaka- Petttitte made his return to the Yankees and silenced all critics who thought he was to old to contribute in the American League. He was decent but his K/BB did fall off which is a big problem. His K/BB fell by .5 points. This was not due to loss of control (his control actually improved) but his K/9 fell off terribly. This was noted during the year and his continued success was attributed mainly to getting more GB's. However, this wasn't true. While, I don't think the steroid/HGH scandal will affect him he is getting older and will continue his decline. Matsuzaka had a solid season to back up his big deal. His 2.51 K/BB was very good although his GB% was a dissapointment to Red Sox fans. Although he had a good year many of the myths about him were debunked. For example, he never used the gyroball in a game. Also, his FB wasn't quite as fast as most people expected. If this is all Matsuzaka is he`s a good player and the market he`s given Boston in Japan is worth his deal. However, he could well be better next year after an adjustment.
Conclusion- Daisuke Matsuzaka- Matsuzaka had an RCA of 4.02 last year and is in his prime years. He could improve after an adjustment year like I mentioned above as well. Pettitte had an RCA of 4.43 and as he is aging. He`s only getting worse.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Yankees- Hideki Matsui- I`m assuming that Giambi will be at first base which is what it looks like at this point. Matsui came back well last year after missing a few months due to a wrist injury in 2006. He fell off a little bit from past years but that`s to be expected since he was still not completely recovered until a few months into the season. Matsui's a pretty inconsistent player but by the end of the year he usually comes pretty close to his career numbers. Even in a slight down year he still managed to get a .286 EQA (.290 career average). His defense was never great and he had definitely become a liability by last year. The move to DH should help him, he`s said he enjoys DH'ing and should be all right.
Red Sox- David Ortiz- While I think a lot of the credit Ortiz gets for being a clutch hitter is exxagerated and largely because of randomness he is without a doubt a very good player. He`s a hitting machine and shows no signs of slowing down even slightly. Last he had what is probably his best year yet. He had the best EQA of his career, .337, and the best BA and OBP as well. His SLG% was the second best of his career. Without him their no way that Boston could have won the World Series in 2004 or 2007. His baserunning is worthless but all in all he`s one of the best pure hitters in baseball.
Conclusion- Red Sox- Matsui is a good player but this one isn`t even close. Even without the clutch argument Ortiz is one of the best players in baseball and he doesn't even play the field.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
at Bradenton, Fla.
Wednesday, March 19
Yankees at the plate: With 13 hits through the fourth inning, the Yankees had five starters with a multihit game by the end of the night. Jorge Posada finished with three hits and three RBIs, two of which came courtesy of his second-inning homer. Bobby Abreu had a 2-for-4 night with two RBIs and two runs scored, while both Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui had two hits and one RBI apiece. Infielder Nick Green put New York ahead to stay in the eighth with a towering two-run homer over the left-field wall.
Pirates at the plate: With the wind steadily blowing out to left field, Nate McLouth began a 2-for-3 night with a leadoff homer in the first, his second of the spring. McLouth later led off the third with a double and scored on Freddy Sanchez's one-out single. Ryan Doumit and Chris Gomez each knocked a solo homer as well.
Yankees on the mound: Yankees starter Phil Hughes didn't fare so well for the second straight appearance, leaving Wednesday's game after allowing seven hits and seven runs (six earned) in four innings. And after surrendering just one homer in his previous three games, Hughes gave up three in his first time through the Pirates order. Lefty Billy Traber gave up one hit and two unearned runs in an inning of relief, while LaTroy Hawkins made his sixth straight scoreless spring appearance.
Grapefruit League records: Yankees 10-7-2; Pirates 8-13.
Up next for the Yankees: Right-hander Ian Kennedy will get the call as the Yankees head to Dunedin, Fla., for a 1:05 p.m. ET game with the Blue Jays at Knology Park on Thursday. The heart of the Yankees lineup -- Derek Jeter, Abreu, Rodriguez and Jason Giambi -- will remain behind with the day off. Toronto will counter with right-hander Brett Cecil. This game will be broad casted on the YES network.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
For the long man I prefer Rasner and for the MR spot I`m unsure but I`m leaning towards Ross Ohlendorf
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Yankees- Johnny Damon- Damon is expected to get most of the time here. His move to left is long overdue. In recent years his arm has fallen to Bernie Williams levels. He reported to camp last year out of shape and his range definitely appeared to suffer. However, he will probably be an upgrade over Matsui defensively who was in left most of the season. Damon's hitting also declined last year. After having a year with his second highest career SLG% he posted the fourth lowest of his career with it dropping almost 90 points. Keep in mind two of the three years worse than that happened in his first and second full years. His BA suffered greatly, although his OBP only fell a few points. His EQA was a nearly average .264. Supposedly this year he came into camp in great shape and hopefully this will help him reverse his decline.
Red Sox- Manny Ramirez- We all know who Manny is. He`s a future hall of famer and one of the best right handed hitters of all time. Manny also declined last year. His defense has always been terrible. Manny`s OBP of .388 is a lot lower from either what it was the year before or his career numbers. His SLG% was even worse. Last year it was .493 which is exactly a 100 point drop off. Its tough to say if its a one year anomaly or the start of his decline. Its probably a combination. He has one year left on his contract and then an option. Manny is stil a very good player.
Conclusion- Red Sox- Manny is clearly better. Damon has an edge in baserunning and fielding but Manny's advantage at the plate is just to huge to overcome.
Friday, March 14, 2008
UPDATE: It turns out Melky and Shelly both got 3 games. Gomes gets 2. Ridiculous. Melky apparently punched somebody on the Rays.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
at Tampa, Fla.
Monday, March 10
Reds at the plate: Jay Bruce reached base in his first three plate appearances, getting aboard on a throwing error in the first inning before singling in each of his next two at-bats.
Yankees at the plate: Alex Rodriguez showed few ill effects from the upper right lat soreness that slowed him last week, doubling in Bobby Abreu for the Yankees' first run in the third inning. Hideki Matsui, playing his second game of the spring, also drove in a run with a single to center, one of two hits for the designated hitter.
Reds on the mound: Homer Bailey had a mixed outing, blanking the Yankees over his first two frames before running into trouble in the third. Bailey allowed two runs on six hits over 2 1/3 innings, walking three and striking out three while also hitting a batter. Gary Majewski (two-thirds of an inning) and Mike Stanton (one scoreless inning) kept the Yankees off the board, while Edinson Volquez allowed two runs in four innings, striking out eight.
Yankees on the mound: Joba Chamberlain didn't have his best command, but he held the Reds scoreless through 2 1/3 innings, walking none. His 49-pitch, 31-strike effort included a 14-pitch at-bat with Edwin Encarnacion in the second inning that ended on a swinging strikeout, Chamberlain's only of the night. Billy Traber, looking to make the Yankees' roster as a lefty reliever, continued to succeed by recording two outs to end the third. Mariano Rivera made his second appearance and remained efficient, retiring the Reds on two groundouts and a strikeout in the fourth. Ian Kennedy struck out two in four innings.
Up next: The Reds will play a pair of split-squad games on Tuesday. Aaron Harang will start a 1:05 p.m. ET game against Brandon Backe and the Astros in Sarasota, Fla., with Francisco Cordero and David Weathers also scheduled to pitch. Also at 1:05 p.m., Matt Maloney will start for the Reds against Dontrelle Willis and the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. Todd Coffey and Jared Burton are slated to follow Maloney.
The Yankees will be home at Legends Field again on Tuesday, welcoming the Blue Jays to Tampa for the first time this season. Chien-Ming Wang will get the start for New York opposite Gustavo Chacin. Darrell Rasner, Kyle Farnsworth, Heath Phillips, Jonathan Albaladejo and Ross Ohlendorf are also scheduled to pitch for the Yankees.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
YANKEES 6, TWINS 4
at Fort Myers, Fla.
Sunday, March 9
Twins at the plate: Minnesota was held hitless until the seventh inning, when Tommy Watkins led off with a single to center field off Alan Horne. Eli Whiteside hit an RBI double with two outs in the eighth inning, and the Twins' second run scored on an error by Yankees right fielder Colin Curtis. Randy Ruiz added an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. Denard Span went 0-for-1 but drew four walks in the leadoff spot for Minnesota.
Yankees at the plate: Jose Molina belted a double to center field in the second inning, driving in two runs. Jose Tabata delivered an RBI single in the fourth, and Morgan Ensberg doubled in a run in the fifth. Shelley Duncan went 1-for-1 with two walks in his three plate appearances.
Twins on the mound: Starter Boof Bonser pitched three innings, allowing three runs on two hits and walking four. Left-hander Randy Keisler gave up two runs on four hits and issued three walks in two innings. Matt Guerrier gave up a run in the sixth, and Joe Nathan issued a leadoff walk in his scoreless seventh inning.
Yankees on the mound: Phil Hughes pitched four no-hit innings in his start, issuing two walks and striking out one. Hughes retired the first nine batters he faced. Left-hander Kei Igawa continued the no-hit bid as he threw two innings and walked three. Horne gave up the first Twins hit in the seventh inning.
Grapefruit League records: Twins 7-4; Yankees 4-4.
Up next: The Twins will make their first trip to the east side of Florida on Tuesday, traveling to Jupiter to take on the Marlins in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest. Right-hander Kevin Slowey will make his second start of the spring, facing right-hander Rick VandenHurk.
The Yankees will host the Reds on Monday at Legends Field at 7:15 p.m. Right-hander Joba Chamberlain will start for the Yankees, with righty Homer Bailey going for Cincinnati.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
ASTROS 9, YANKEES 5
at Tampa, Fla.
Friday, March 7
Astros at the plate: Victor Diaz blasted an 0-1 offering from starter Andy Pettitte out of the park to put the Astros up 2-0 in the first inning. Houston would strike twice more in the fifth, on a groundout from Jose Cruz Jr. and a single off the bat of Hunter Pence. Lance Niekro scurried home on a fielder's choice for the Astros' seventh run.
Yankees at the plate: Alex Rodriguez's sore shoulder didn't hold the designated hitter back from drilling a double to left for the first hit of the game in the second inning. Jason Lane and Brett Gardner also doubled in the frame to tie the game at 2. Gardner added a leadoff triple in the fifth to finish perfect (2-for-2) at the plate. Wilson Betemit smacked his second homer of the year in the sixth inning to tie the game at 5.
Astros on the mound: Starter Shawn Chacon kept his former team grounded in his first inning of work, but he surrendered three doubles in the second inning, which, combined with a follow-up single, allowed the Yankees to score twice. Righty Chris Sampson relieved Chacon in the fourth and scattered five hits over the next three innings, allowing three earned runs and fanning two to hit the showers with a no-decision.
Yankees on the mound: Steven White took the loss after he allowed three runs (two earned) over the sixth and seventh innings, walked two and fanned one. Mariano Rivera worked an inning for the first time this spring and did it with pizzazz. The closer retired the side on just eight pitches in the third inning, which included a first-pitch groundout sandwiched between two punch outs. In his second start, Pettitte sat the Astros down in order in the first frame, but he hit Geoff Blum with a pitch to start the second and served up a homer to Diaz two pitches later to dig himself a hole. Pettitte earned a no-decision, and he was hooked in favor of Edwar Ramirez after he reached his pitch count midway through the second.
Grapefruit League records: Astros 4-6, Yankees 3-3.
Up next: The Yankees remain at Legends Field, where they'll face the Rays in a Saturday matchup at 1:15 p.m. ET. Right-hander Mike Mussina (0-0, 18.00 ERA) is scheduled to toe the bump for New York, and Tampa Bay will counter with righty Matt Garza (0-0, 10.80). This game will be televised on the YES Network.
The Astros have a split-squad day on Saturday. Righty Felipe Paulino (0-0, 0.00) will lead Houston's charge at home against Washington at 12:05 p.m. CT. Southpaw Wandy Rodriguez (0-0, 8.31) and the remaining Astros will hit the road to take on the Braves at 12:05 p.m. at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.http://mlb.mlb.com/news/boxscore.jsp
Friday, March 7, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
at Tampa, Fla.
Wednesday, March 5
Twins at the plate: Delmon Young blasted a long solo homer in the second inning off the black batter's eye beyond the 408-foot mark in center field. Garrett Jones slugged a two-run homer in the fifth inning off the party deck in right field, his first of the spring. Alexi Casilla singled to tie the game at 4 in the seventh, and with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, Alejandro Machado broke the tie with a two-run double down the right-field line.
Yankees at the plate: Robinson Cano and Wilson Betemit smacked back-to-back doubles to center field in the second inning to drive home New York's first run. Melky Cabrera and Bobby Abreu also had run-scoring hits in the frame, and Cano drove home Jason Giambi with the Yankees' fourth run in the third inning. Cano finished the day 3-for-3, raising his Grapefruit League batting average to .700. Shelley Duncan hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to increase his Grapefruit League RBI total to nine.
Twins on the mound: Kevin Slowey allowed three runs in the second inning and five hits in his 41-pitch, 28-strike outing, walking two and striking out three while throwing a wild pitch. Minnesota's Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2007, Slowey has allowed six runs and nine hits in two Grapefruit League appearances. Julio DePaula allowed a run on two hits in the third inning.
Yankees on the mound: Ian Kennedy allowed one run -- the Young home run -- on two hits in two innings, throwing 33 pitches (19 strikes) in his first effort against big league competition this spring. Lefty Heath Phillips retired the side in his inning of work, but Joba Chamberlain served up a long two-run homer to Jones in the fifth, the only run-scoring blemish on his two innings. Jonathan Albaladejo struck out one in a scoreless sixth but surrendered the tying run in the seventh. Edwar Ramirez got the final out of the seventh inning but surrendered three runs in the eighth to give the Twins the lead for good.
Up next: The Twins will host the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. ET on Thursday at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Outfielder Craig Monroe could make his first game appearance in a week after being sidelined with a strained muscle in his lower left leg. Right-hander Livan Hernandez will get the start for the Twins as he faces off against Orioles right-hander Daniel Cabrera.
The Yankees will hit the road on Thursday to meet the Reds in Sarasota, Fla. Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will make his second start of the spring, matching up with right-hander Aaron Harang. Darrell Rasner, Kyle Farnsworth, Sean Henn, Chris Britton and Jose Veras will also pitch for New York. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
YANKEES 2, BLUE JAYS 0 (five-plus innings)
at Dunedin, Fla.
Tuesday, March 4
Yankees at the plate: In the second inning, Shelley Duncan doubled to left field and scored on a single by center fielder Melky Cabrera, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Duncan added an RBI single in the fourth inning to score Morgan Ensberg.
Blue Jays at the plate: Following a 61-minute rain delay, the Jays pulled the majority of their regular players from the lineup. Toronto managed no hits in the one-hour, 15-minute contest, which was called in the top of the sixth, and had no baserunners.
Yankees on the mound: Thanks to the rain delay in the second inning, right-hander Phil Hughes was able to complete only one inning against Toronto. Hughes set down all three batters he faced -- two via ground-ball outs. Left-hander Kei Igawa threw 18 pitches (13 strikes) in two shutout innings.
Blue Jays on the mound: Jesse Litsch, who is vying for the fifth spot in Toronto's rotation, made his second start of the spring. In two innings, Litsch allowed one run on three hits, with one strikeout and one walk, finishing with 44 pitches (25 strikes). Litsch was scheduled to pitch three innings, but he was forced to complete his work indoors due to the rain delay.
Grapefruit League records: Yankees 3-0-1; Blue Jays 2-4. Yankees are currently 0.5 game back from the Rays who are 4-0
Up next: The Yankees will return home to Legends Field on Wednesday to meet the Twins. Right-hander Ian Kennedy is slated to make his first start of the spring for New York, opposite Minnesota right-hander Kevin Slowey. First pitch is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. ET. This game will be televised on YES. For full box score http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore
Monday, March 3, 2008
Also, I need to mention that I`m not doing a preview or a wrap-up for every Spring Training game. I`m not able to watch most of them.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Yankees- Melky Cabrera- Melky had a disastrous call up in 2005 but got a second chance in 2006 when we were just trying to find a stop-gap for Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui. Melky came through and really showed off his arm in LF. Then, in 2007 another injury opened the door for Melky again. Jason Giambi got pantar fascitis (not fun) and Johnny Damon was banged up forcing him to move to LF. Melky took over in center. His arm was a huge plus and his range isn't bad either. However, his hitting definitely dropped off. His impressive plate discipline in 2006 completely vanished and dropped to Cano like levels. His power didn't really grow either. 2008 is a big year for Melky. Austin Jackson is breathing down his neck and for the second year in a row the Yankees seemed willing to deal him in a trade. He is still very young and could easily break out this season but he needs to be less streaky. He`s exciting and fun to watch, especially in the field, but the bottom line is he needs to improve. I`ve been a big defender of Melky noting that he was on a better pace than stars like Damon, Beltran, and others but he needs to show improvement next year.
Red Sox- Jacoby Ellsbury- Despite being the target of ridicule at It Is High, It is Far, It is.....Caught. I have to admit he is a very good player. He played excellent defense. His line of .353/.394/.509 is also outstanding. He won't repeat that but it really shows his tremendous potential. Unlike most speedy centerfielders he also actually has shown some solid power for a rookie. Coco Crisp has without a doubt lost his job for good to Ellsbury. Ellsbury could be one of the best centerfielders in the league for years. The Red Sox were smart to refuse to trade him for Santana.
Conclusion- Red Sox- Sorry for having such a shorter feature on all the Boston players. I just don't know them as well. Ellsbury is just flat out better than Melky. They have similar ceilings but Ellsbury is more likely to reach it and at the moment he`s better. I`m a Melky fan but Boston gets the edge in this one.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
“The best athlete in the organization is Austin Jackson. He moves better than LaDanian Tomlinson.”
- Reggie Jackson
Jackson always had impressive tools but it wasn't until last year that he put things together. He`s the reason that the Yankees were so willing to deal Melky Cabrera.
“Red Sox Nation? What a bunch of [expletive] that is. That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans. Go anywhere in America and you won’t see Red Sox hats and jackets, you’ll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We’re going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.”
God Bless you Hank