Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What to do...

Well the great debate this morning is what is to be done with 21 year old Phil Hughes.

Hughes has been flat out terrible so far in 6 starts, as we all know. Everyone knows the kid has talent and can compete at this level, but it's not clicking yet. So whats wrong?

Well first, hes not consistent at all. He can't throw a few good pitches in a row. Hitters are being more patient and know if they wait a pitch or two, he'll make a mistake.

He also is getting rattled very quickly. You can see it on his face. He gets flustered and can't calm himself down enough to focus on the next hitter.

In my opinion this is pretty understandable. In his minor league career, Hughes was a beast. He dominated and hardly ever ran into trouble or tough situations. Hughes never got knocked around. He has never experienced this kind of adversity.

So what do the Yankees do? They can either leave him in the rotation and hope that a 21 year old kid can develop the mental focus a pitcher needs to succeed, or they can send him down to work the kinks out and bring up someone like Darrell Rasner.

Rasner is pitching like a man possessed in AAA. He's currently 4-0 with a 0.87era.

That might be best for the team, but what does it mean for Hughes? Does he develop any further in AAA? Can you teach a kid to deal with pressure situations in the minors?

It's a tough call, and I'm glad I'm not Yankee management today.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hanging in There...

At 14-13, the Yankees don't look that impressive. However considering what they've been through so far this season, and the trouble the offense has been having, 14 wins is a pretty solid achievement.

Moose looked pretty good tonight, earning his 253rd career win. I wish he could have gone more than 5 innings, but the bullpen did a great job of shutting the door. Even Krazy Kyle looked good.

So, the Yankees sit at 14-13 and are just 1 game behind the first place Rays(!!), Orioles(!!?), and Red Sox.

The pitching of late has been fairly solid, but the bats have yet to come around. Even during last nights 4 run rally in the 6th, the Yankees managed to only get one ball out of the infield. The lineup hasn't truly gotten going just yet.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Solid Outing for Moose

This was an important start for Moose... There were very few people still on his side, and even those people had been quietly backing away from defending him and his pitching ability.

Moose though, answered the call and pitched great.

The biggest difference in this outing was the amount of pitches he threw inside to the Chicago hitters. It's something he's been hesitant to do his entire career, but it worked out tonight. He even broke a few bats.

A pitcher that has been doing this for a few seasons now is Greg Maddux. His fastball is comparable with Moose at this point in their careers, but Maddux has been able to find more success late in his career because he's been pitching inside...

Let's hope Moose sticks to this plan and continues to pitch inside. It'll keep guys guessing and stop hitters from just waiting for that 86 MPH fastball on the outside...

Tonight, all eyes are on the winless Hughes... People are being more patient with him because of his age, but eventually he needs to put together a quality start. Lets hope that's tonight.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Stop Pitching to Manny...


I'm not a baseball expert, and I don't know all the statistics so maybe there is something I'm missing...

But why in the world do the Yankees, and Mike Mussina specifically, continue to pitch to Manny? Can someone explain to me what I'm missing?

Also, I'm ok with pushing hitters back and sending a message, but not with a 97MPH fastball aimed at the head...

If it slipped, then fine.. But I'm not so sure.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yankees Bash Their Way to a Win

Well.. That wasn't pretty from a pitching standpoint, but the Yankees won..

The starting pitching was terrible for both sides, but the Yankees bullpen looked better than the Red Sox.

Ross Ohlendorf got knocked around a bit, but overall he looked pretty good. He was throwing hard and his slider was really moving. Bruney was topping out at 97 MPH, and the ball was moving. Thats tough to hit.

I was also happy to see Billy Traber get Ortiz out with one pitch.. He should expect to be facing Ortiz quite regularaly this season.

The Yankees are now tied for first, which is exciting to say, considering where they were last year in April.

Game two tonight.. Moose needs to show up big and the Yankees need to try and get to Beckett early.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Test for the Yankees..

With the offense struggling and the starting pitching being fairly suspect, the last thing the Yankees need is more bad news..

But right now this is a Yankee team that seems to have a lot working against.

First, they are in the middle of a brutal schedule, which has them traveling all over the country, without a day off in between. They are professional athletes, but traveling so much can take a lot out of anybody.

Second, the injury bug has come into the Yankee club house and begun tossing around a plethora of annoying little injuries. Jeter is scheduled to start tonight, but is he 100%? Posada's shoulder still hurts and Molina has gone down with a hamstring injury. Who knows how long he'll be out. And recently the Yankees announced that Wilson Betemit will have to hit the DL with a bad case of Pink Eye. That explains a lot...

A-Rod and his wive are due to have a child any day now, which would cause the Yankees to lose his bat for at least a few games. Thats the last thing this struggling offense needs. But, somethings are more important.

Finally, Joba's dad isn't doing well, or so it sounds. Everyone remembers Harlen Chamberlain watching his son pitch for the first time in a Yankees uniform. He was so proud of his son, that was easy to see. From listening to Joba talk about his family and his upbringing, it's clear that his father means a great deal to him. I know we're all certainly hoping and praying he pulls through this.

It's easy to forget sometimes that Joba is just a 22 year old kid.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jeter's Injury Opens the Door...

A good game last night by the Yankees was marred only by Jeter leaving the game in the early innings. Moose and the pen combined for a 3 hit, 1 run effort, which is just stellar.

We'll hear more about just how serious the injury is, but the feeling seems to be that Jeter could miss up to a week, although they do want to keep him off the DL.

So, of course everyone wants to know who plays shortstop?

Jeff Passan has an article here, where he suggests that we might see A-Rod take over at short.

Really what other choice do the Yankee have?

If Jeter doesn't hit the DL, then they can't really call someone up to play short. So Girardi would have to pick from whats on the bench, or use A-Rod.

Betemit is technically their utility infielder, but hes a big guy who doesn't have the greatest range. He is much better suited at first or third base. Ensburg could maybe do it, since hes a bit more agile and has played third his whole career so he would be use to throwing across the field. Of course he has played a grand total of 2 innings at shortstop and hasn't really been knocking the cover off the ball. That leaves Shelley and Molina... Right, moving on...

I think A-rod would make the most sense, but I think at least for a few games, we'll see Betemit field the position. Girardi won't make to drastic of a change if Jeter is only going to miss a couple games.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Not as Bad as it Seemed...

But still not all that good either...

A.J. Burnett dominated the Yankee hitters last night, pitching like the #2 starter he is and Moose pitched more like a 5th starter, which is really what he should be on this team. He's not going to give them the amount of innings a team needs out of a #3 starter.

I believe the hitting will come around shortly. It always seems that early in the season, the pitchers have a great advantage over the hitters. Moose was an exception to this rule last night, because it's hard for a batter to not hit a 84 MPH fastball.

I expect Moose to get better once he settles into the regular season routine, but I still don't see him giving this team more than #4 starter numbers.

Phil Hughes takes the mound tonight, and I think all of Yankee universe is excited about that. Hopefully its warmer at the stadium for tonight's game. Everybody looked freezing last night.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Beautiful Start

What a great game.

It was so refreshing to watch Yankees baseball again, and I don't think we could have asked for a better game.

What stood out to me the most, was the energy and the vibe that the team projected tonight. From the first pitch to the last, the Yankees seemed alive and focused. I know I for one jumped out of my seat a few times. Specifically after Melky's catches and after Joba's final K of the 8th.

God I love baseball.