Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
As the Yanks prepare to take on the defending World Champs tonight in Chicago--the start of a tough three-week stretch--the local papers cover two of the Bomber's newest players: Bobby Abreu and Craig Wilson. In addition, there are two stories on tonight's starter Chien-Ming Wang: one in the Bergan Record, the other by our pal Pete Abraham in The Journal News. Don Amore reports that Hideki Matsui will be re-examined by doctor's this Friday. And there is a good story on Yankee pitching prospect Phillip Hughes over at MLB.com.
Meanwhile, Mike Plugh takes an early look at the AL MVP race and compares Derek Jeter with David Ortiz.
Finally, tonight gives the return of second baseman Robinson Cano, who has been sidelined since June 25th with a hamstring pull. Welcome back, Robby, we missed ya.
In the next 3 weeks, I'll be begging for an off-day as will the players.
Is Ron Gardenhire the worse manager in baseball? How does he leave Liriano in there with a sore/hurting arm?
Gardenhire and the doctors/trainers...they say it's muscular and not structural, so it's not serious. Even so, you can't play with the health and future of the best young pitcher in baseball.
Alex, I'm real excited about seeing Cano back. Even if he somehow doesn't hit a lick for a week or two, he is going to get hot and no one will beat us. Probably have him really cooking by the time either Matsui or Sheffield comes back. Then it'll be their turn.
According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Francisco Liriano, Minnesota's rookie All-Star, is out indefinitely with what appears to be a left elbow injury.
In a quiet postgame clubhouse, Liriano, 22, seemed on the verge of tears, and his voice crackled as he described the pain, pointing to the inside of the elbow this time, beneath the muscle and possibly in the joint.
"I couldn't even throw the fastball, slider, changeup anything," Liriano said. "It bothered me every pitch I threw."
And yes, Gardenhire is one of the worst managers in baseball. For all the griping done here about Torre's lineups, at least he doesn't take Gardenhire's approach and set it by POSITION (i.e. when Mauer sits, Redmond bats in the 3 hole). I'm not saying Torre is perfect, but it could be a LOT worse...
Running Liriano out with his arm already bothering him is unforgivable.
I'm a big Torre supporter and would never say a bad word about the guy. Too much analysis is done game-by-game, as opposed to looking at the entire body of work. Torre has his flaws, as does everyone, but I don't think there is a better man for the job.
Is anyone else salivating at the the pitching matchup on 08/10? I hope Javy gets rocked. I hope the Yanks beat on him like like the Indians did back in 2004. Now imagine what I would say if I actually didn't like Javy? I just hated the fact that he became such a bust and he was replaced with an even bigger pu**y named Carl Pavano. Javy left a bad taste in my mouth in 2004, but I also had a soft spot for him. Now I want the Yanks to club dinger-after-dinger. Wouldn't it be great to see Damon hit a grand slam off of him? I can't wait for that game.
ofcourse, we donno whether he wud have recovered from the grand slam if he was here in 05..
but the first half of 04 he was decent.. he went to ASG for good measure..
but its all past.. just hoping we tread .550 over the next 21 games.. that wud b good for us.. for september..
Tonight we get Freddie "Jimmy Smitts" Garcia. I think we scored 6 runs off him last time we faced him, so lets hope we can give Wang Dang Doodle the same run support.
i donno how bad it was, did any of u listen to Kay's show yest evening..
1 I don't know if you get SNY (the Mets channel) but they aired yesterday's SI Yanks - Brooklyn Cyclones game. Not the same as the real thing, but we could be cheering on a few of those guys in a few years.
Kinda irritated about it since when I bought the tickets last week Lidle was listed as the Yankee starter. I figured I could handle watching him go. Now I get the Big Enuch.
And my seats are nearly directly behind home plate, so I'll have a perfect view of his patented frisbee slider as it floats into the kill zone of Konerko and Dye. Ugh.
Speaking of pitching matchups, how bout this coming Sunday -- Wang vs Weaver (the one who doesn't suck).
I think Kay is one of the best announcers in baseball, it would be a travesty to lose him over something like this.
Tim Marchman of the New York Sun recently wrote an article where he compared Mets and Yankees announcers.
He claimed Kay fans didn't exist. I guess there is at least one Kay fan.
by my dumb math that equals a stupid price for a mediocre pitcher. The Yankees could be in real trouble next year. It almost looks like a good idea to exercise Moose's option (and Wright's).
4 Lirianio is indeed hurt and likely going on the DL in the next couple of days. We'll know more after he gets his elbow reexamined on Wednesday. On the one hand I'm really sorry to see this happen, he's a good kid and a phenomenal talent. On the other, its just more distance the Yankees can put between them and a very dangerous contender.
Lastly, it now appears that Houston was the team to claim Jones, but Atlanta has already pulled him back, both as anticipated. Relax, he's definitely not going to the Sox now.
But the Big Bang was a little more subdued than his HR call.
Exactly. There isn't a single talk show that I can stand listening to for more than 30 seconds.
"I'm Brash! I'm in Your Face! I'm Extreme!" ... just like every other no-talent ass-clown.
Overall I like Michael Kay, especially when you compare him to the other announcers out there (McCarver, Hawk, Palmer, Pacoriek, Sutcliffe, Morgan, etc...). He's no Scully or Costas (but who is?).
Kay says some stupid stuff sometimes and probably should just remain silent more and let the pictures do the talking, but I have grown to like some of his calls (my two-year-old son has even started saying "There it goes" like Kay does).
I like the way the YES announcers are not "homers" and never say "we" when referring to the Yankees. I do wish they would not be so excited when the other team does something good (I guess I really hate that because I'm usually mad about what just happened).
I suppose you can put me down as a Kay fan and even though I agree with him that he should be able to tell the fans about a no-hitter or perfect game whenever he wants, going off on that caller was over the line in my book.
We have the toughest part of the Yankees schedule coming up and a lot of people are quite calm around these parts of the wood. Nobody calling for Torre or CASHman to be fired, nobody seems angry about the rotation, lack of key hits, the lineup, Cairo, GoB, Andy Phillips, Proctor's appearances, Farnsworth inability to work 2 days straight, Dotel coming/not-coming back, etc, etc.
Are we too confident? Anyone concerned?
It's the White Sox, Mother-F'ers, and you f'ers swept us the last time and you are now in our home turf and we want some revenge.
I think we pissed off the White Sox and they want Jeter's face on platter. I want to be concerned
.but Wang has instilled in me this confidence that hasn't been there for a very long time - as far as a starting pitcher is concerned. Should we as Yankee fans be concerned?
While his voice is forever linked to some of the greatest moments in team history (and maybe I give him too much slack for that), the act is wearing thin.
Wish I could have heard Kenny's one-man show the other night. He is a pleasure to listen to. He and John Flaherty could very well be the best two-man booth in the game.
That sounds a bit tight to me. If we play light outs and end up 16-5, I'd say we're getting close. A 1978-style 'Boston Massacre' sweep (or 4-1 result) in Fenway would definitely but the Sawx on the canvas, but you still couldn't count 'em out. I'm down with Yogi when it comes to them.
Also, completely agree with your take on Mr. Torre in post #6.
35 I was in NY visiting the folks and had the pleasure of hearing Singleton's one-man show Friday, and then the Kenny-O'Neill combo on Saturday. It was fantastic. I would like to see that pairing more often, or the Singleton-Flaherty combo.
we will be good if we can do that..
and how the 70s team was not configured that way..
the funny thing is.. if he is scheduled to chat at 11am.. he only arrives at 11:30 am..
but oh he leave by 11:55am.. hes a busy man u see..
and the 4 qns he takes.. 2 will be abt the 77 reds team and the final qn on his back to back MVPs
There's worse out there but they toe the company line in my opinion.
the trend setting part has to do with the awards being announced well ahead of regular season so these talks dont distract the actual season
and also as chairman of awards Joe Morgan said " these 2 guys are great in the clubhouse, they help keep the clubhouse loose and often crack jokes.. they remind me of the 1970's team the way they play with their socks tucked in their shoes.. they also hit the occasional Home Run.. and not always.. to me they are the MVPs not because of their on-field excellence but because of their dugout humour and candor.. and their wives make great pancakes too.."
"what sets them apart is that they bring it to the table everyday.. u cant see those things in the numbers... actually this year the awards are a good example u dont have to have the numbers to win the awards.."
"we also were confident that they are not PED users as their smile and teeth color have remained intact even after MLB started the testing program..
ladies and gentlemen ur MVPs..
Video Asst: Joe..
Joe M: yes
Asst: I think ESPn switched over to WSOP when u startaed that second sentence..
"This is the greatest day of my life! I met Phil Rizzuto!"
Gotta love my family.
I realize that most of the announcers that we get on MLB.TV and Extra Innings during the opposing team broadcasts are from regional networks and that when the network is more of a national broadcast (YES, NESN, TBS and others with the exception of Hawk Harrelson on WGN) the announcers try to sound impartial. But now that these regional networks are being broadcast nationwide through MLB.TV and EI the announcers should at least try to seem more impartial IMO.
BTW, I agree that the YES crew "toes the company line" but can you blame them? Most of them probably like the job and would like to keep it.
This is why the media stinks. We dont actually have freedom of speech in this country. He broke no rules, and did nothing wrong, you just "don't like" his analogy. Maybe hes a D**CHEBAG maybe hes not, but he shouldnt lose his job for saying what he did. Mel Gibson ostracized, im with ya. Kay was just bein less than smart, not a racist.
as much as i think ortiz is a lock, i can't even come up with nominees for the NL. wright seems to be the front runner, having a great season on a team running away with the division. pujols is putting up his usual numbers, but he really seems to be doing in relative anonymity. ryan howard? anyone?
I remember back in the late '80s looking forward to Hawk Harrelson coming to the Yankee announcing team - boy was I wrong.
I know it's 18-20 years ago but I never see Yankee fans mention Harrelson's time with the team. I know I've tried to put it out of my memory.
"Red Sox look to unseat Royals in set opener"
As near as I can tell, this means that after going 3-4 against Cleveland and Tampa Bay, the Sox just want to play up to the level of KC.
It's a start.
a) Rationally, his argument makes perfect sense. But in the real world he lives in, most sports fans (especially BB fans) consider that sort of statement by an announcer to be a jinx. Like say Marbury is at the line, 0.1 seconds left in the game, shooting two, and the announcer says, "Stephon has made 30 consecutive FTs, so he should make these two and we'll win." Tell me you wouldn't groan as soon as he said that? The rational listener knows that it doesn't affect anything, but if I hear that and Marbury misses two, the announcer's a dead man. :-) Rational don't have anything to do with it, and if Kay knows anything about sports, he should realize that.
b) His analogies don't even make sense. Baseball Ettiquette = Slavery in America fails the standard analogy test, as does that rant about the Holocaust. A better analogy would be something along the lines of: "You can't wear white after Labor Day" or "Don't put your elbows on the table." That would be an ettiquette situation -- killing six million people because of their religious affiliation isn't contrary to ettiquette, it's effing genocide. That's like comparing setting off an M80 in your neighbor's yard to 9/11.
Let's face it -- Kay is an idiot. He knows very little about BB, and we now know he failed the analogies portion of the SAT. ;-P Personally, I would root for him to be fired except his replacement will likely be just as stupid as he is.
In related news, has anyone else realized that the Yanks are 2nd in the AL in Defensive Efficiency - and 3rd in all of MLB? Anyone else think that might have something to do with Wang's success, despite poor K numbers? Anyone else think it might have something to do with the pitching staff's overall success?
That is why defense matters, and a DH should win MVP ONLY if his offensive contributions outweigh everyone else's by a huge margin. Ortiz's counting stats (esp. HR and RBI) are superb. But his numbers aren't so great compared to everyone else's that you can overlook his lack of playing defense.
I bet Starbury misses the shot...no matter how many he's hit in a row. Starbury is the jinx, not no annoucer.
That said, what Kay said on ESPN was very dumb, and you make a good point with alternative analogies. Luckily, students of the future won't be able to repeat Kay's SAT performance, as analogies have been removed from the test.
Finally, the reason is now clear why there hasn't been a no-hitter for over two years: Michael Kay.
C Belt is not putting astronomical stuff.. he is putting good numbers..
i would go with Pujols tho..
BTW, who was the last switch hitter to win an MVP?? by exposing one of their weak sides for a few ABs do thry hurtt themselves??
I read this blurb on benmaller.com, which was written by Ed Price of the Star-Ledger. (Put it in your bookmark section, as benmaller.com is the best sports link site on the web.)
Chien-Ming Wang's rate of 2.77 strikeouts per nine innings pitched is last among the 90 pitchers in the majors who qualify for the ERA title. Yet despite the lack of strikeouts, Wang -- scheduled to start tonight as the Yankees open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox -- is 13-4. With 48 strikeouts so far, Wang could become the first pitcher in 17 years to win 15 games but finish with fewer than 75 strikeouts.
I've been blasted here in the past for not valuing strkeout ratio, enough, but I really think it's an overvalued commodity for starting pitchers. The approach I would take in building a team would be to try to build my staff with starting pitchers who have great control. These pitchers are generally cheaper buys and hold up better, as they have lower pitch counts per inning. By having lower pitch counts, they generally go longer into a game, minimizing the importance of the bullpen. I know this isn't revolutionary thinking, but I still read too many people I have a lot of respect for in the sabermetrical world who rate strikeout ratio too highly.
As I have said before, I always thought it was strange that my homeboy Mel Allen (from Birmingham, Alabama) was the "Voice of the Yankees" for all those years and that the current voice of the Alabama Crimson Tide football broadcasts (and the voice of NASCAR) is Brooklyn born Eli Gold...
Maybe Bama Yankee is not such a contradiction after all...
I'd also rather have a pitcher who doesn't give up the longball- you can keep your K's if it means every 10th or 11th batter jacks one out on me...
A good counterexample to this is actually Chacon. For awhile, his BABIP was much lower than expected and he was winning a lot of games. Unfortunately, Chacon turned out to just be lucky and when the hits started falling in he was killed.
Wang throws so few pitches per plate appearance (3.38) that he rarely gets the opportunity to strike batters out. That sinker is apparently so tempting that guys can't lay off it before they get into two strike counts.
He probably is capable of posting a better strikeout rate. Wang has great command with his sinker even with all the movement he gets on it, so he rarely has any difficulty throwing for strikes. Also, the 93-96 mph sinker translates into an excellent 4-seamer; he's hit 98 on the gun when he's been content to throw the ball straight. Mixing that with his slider could be very effective.
Frankly, since the sinker is that good, I'd rather see the long outings and low pitch counts. It would be nice to know for certain, though, that he could strike people out if he wanted to. All I'm doing is guessing that he could based on stuff.
I don't think he's as vulnerable as a "control" guy like Maddux. Yes, he relies on his defense, but that dip in his power sinker results in a lot of bad contact: foul balls, choppers and rollers, not much that gets hit hard on the ground. Consider that he's looked very good with some questionable defense already behind him. Robinson Cano is the only Yankee infielder with a good Rate this year.
That he's succeeded in front of those guys suggests that his balls in play may be rather easy to convert into outs.
This seems to be the case. PECOTA has him near the 75th percentile in balls in play, but his DERA is still very good this year at 3.66 (4.50 is average), which is very close to his NRA at 3.58 (4.50 is also average).
The higher DERA would suggest that he's playing in front of a decent defense, but our infielders' Rates put the lie to that:
Uninspiring, isn't it? And Wang actually makes them look good with the differential he has between his NRA and DERA. Maybe he is, as one headline put it, "a magic Wang".
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