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The Great Flydini
2007-08-26 15:51
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

For the second straight start, Phil Hughes allowed five runs in six innings despite allowing only four hits. In Anaheim last week it was because he walked five and Luis Vizcaino allowed both of Hughes' bequeathed runners to score. In Detroit yesterday, Hughes walked only one, but allowed three home runs which plated all five baserunners.

Only two of those homers were really Hughes' mistake, however, as Curtis Granderson led off the game by slicing a pitch down the line in left where Hideki Matsui made a vain attempt to make a running catch, allowing the ball to skip by him and ricochet into the roomy depths of Comerica Park's left field as Granderson came all the way around with an inside-the-park home run. The two-run homers by Carlos Guillen later that inning and Marcus Thames in the third, however, were simply a case of Hughes throwing a couple of fat fastballs right over the plate. Hughes, who allowed just six home runs in 275 career minor league innings, has now allowed five in 38 2/3 major league innings. Of course, Granderson's homer was a fluke, but those homers have called attention to the fact that the ground-ball tendencies Hughes showed in the minors (2.35 groundouts per flyout in his eight minor league starts this season) have decreased in the majors (0.84 GB/FB).

That last stat is a bit misleading, as Hughes has really been all over the map, showing strong groundball tendencies in his first two starts before his hamstring injury (2.14 GB/FB) as well as in his last start in Anaheim (3:1), but occasionally extreme fly ball tendencies in his other four big league starts, topping out with his 1:11 GB/FB ratio yesterday. It could be that Hughes has been a bit tentative since coming off the DL and isn't getting on top enough on his pitches to get them low enough in the zone (his splits before and after his DL stint are rather telling, with him posting a 0.61 GB/FB ratio since and the above 2.14 ratio before). Or, given his strong groundball rate in Anaheim, there could be something else going on. Either way, it bares watching as Hughes' dominance is tied to the fact that he keeps the ball in front of his outfielders.

As for the game, despite the fact that Detroit's rookie starter Jair Jurrjens (whose name, it turns out, is pronounced exactly like it's spelled) had to leave due to a sharp pain in his shoulder after giving up a solo home run to Jason Giambi with one out in the second inning, the Yankees couldn't overcome those five runs allowed by Hughes. Robinson Cano added a three-run dinger off emergency reliever Chad Durbin in the fourth, but over the last 4 2/3 innings Bobby Seay, Joel Zumaya, and Todd Jones held the Yanks to just an opposite-field Giambi single in the ninth.

And so the Yankees lost 5-4 and have to somehow win tonight's matchup between Mike Mussina and Justin Verlander to leave Detroit with a split.

Comments (86)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-08-26 20:55:44
1.   Orly Yarly NoWai
We won the day there were late-80s to early-90s metal references on here, so here goes.

We played like a Girl with a Watering Can last night, and I think we might be Buried by Time and Dust. Hopefully, when The Drapery Falls, we can all stop Sweating Bullets, and take a Champagne Bath.

2007-08-26 21:05:17
2.   fansince77
Fear not folks. Everyone stay calm. Just ran some numbers and figured it out...

Yankees = 90 wins
Seattle = 88 wins
Detroit = 88 or 89 wins

Besides double ee's over double tt's. We're using Delacroy System Statistics this year.

Feel better. Now sleep.

2007-08-26 21:08:29
3.   yankz
You can totally see Pete Abe in today's Jeter interview:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=vLBFlGx2uLY

Also, I'm not worried about Phil at all. The young pitching in the organization has just been too good the past couple years for me not to trust that the people in charge will turn it around.

2007-08-26 22:34:22
4.   brockdc
3 I hope you're right regarding Hughes. I know I foolishly bought into the hyperbole before ever watching him pitch and now feel as though I felt on many a Hannukah night as a child: Hoping against hope for a Shogun Warrior or Imperial Tie Fighter only to be given a package of Hanes plain white briefs.
2007-08-26 22:41:10
5.   monkeypants
Age W L ERA ERA+
21 6 14 5.61 77
22 7 17 4.56 81

The first full seasons as starters by Maddux and Glavine. Relax about Hughes--he's 21 y.o. and he's been hurt this year. He'll take some lumps. He'll be fine.

2007-08-26 23:05:04
6.   Zack
Bloggers and posters around the net are really starting to panic about Hughes, which really is silly. The velocity argument is getting out of control, as Phil's injury and lack of innings can very easily sap power, besides the fact that Hughes has ALWAYS sat 90-94. Then there is the mechanics argument spearheaded by those Gomez articles, except that the mechanical changes, according to Phil, wee made before AA, so that doesn't really work.

I think with Hughes having been built up into a "Phil Hughes has no weaknesses" prospect, people were expecting Johan Santana of 2006 instead of Johan Santana of his first season etc.

The GB/FB issue does trouble me, but not on a long term level. It seems like the game planning has him only throwing 4 seamers and curve balls, and Hughes just doesn't seem to be able to confidently control them...

2007-08-27 05:16:39
7.   rbj
I was at the game, and it seemed to me that all three home runs Phil gave up came with 2 strikes on the batters. To me, that signals that he's a young pitcher trying to figure out how to put away better hitters than he's faced before. It was a good learning opportunity for him, as he did pitch better later in the game. The problem is, the Yankees cannot afford these types of games anymore.

This game is probably a metaphor for the season: dig a big hole, and mount a comeback that fall just short.

And that Cano shot. Day-um! I lost the ball and was watching Granderson, so I figured it was an out to CF. 431'! Wowzaa.

2007-08-27 05:52:22
8.   ny2ca2dc
Off topic, but FireJoeMorgan.com made the NY Times! In reference to the Andy Rooney article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/27/business/media/27rooney.html?ref=baseball
"The column drew immediate criticism in the blogosphere. One sports blog, www.foulballs.net, called Mr. Rooney a "senile idiot," while another, firejoemorgan.com, blasted both "the racism" and "the wrong-ness" of what he wrote. Mary Elson, managing editor for Tribune Media Services, said Mr. Rooney's editor did not think the comment touched Imus territory. "We try to give our columnists a great deal of latitude. This just wasn't considered going over the line," she said."

2007-08-27 06:00:46
9.   monkeypants
8 Do people still listen to Andy Rooney? For that matter, do people still watch 60 Minutes?
2007-08-27 06:28:32
10.   Cliff Corcoran
7 You know you can look those things up. The Granderson inside-the-parker was on a 1-2 count, but the Guillen was on a 3-1 pitch and the Thames was on an 0-1 pitch.

Hughes said after the game that with Guillen he was just trying to get a second strike with a fastball and made a fat pitch as a result. With Thames he said that despite Thames reputation as a good fastball hitter, he didn't appear to do well against his fastball in his first at-bat (four swings: miss, foul, foul, miss = K), so he tried to throw one by him on 0-1 the second time up, but he didn't miss that one.

2007-08-27 06:32:11
11.   Cliff Corcoran
10 Second to that, if you check out Hughes' splits, hitters have dreadful numbers against him in all two-strike counts except for full counts. He has no problem putting major league hitters away, as his 36 Ks in 38 1/3 IP prove.
2007-08-27 06:44:46
12.   Bob B
After bringing all their considerable talents together to get back into the pennant race, the dream of a division win (which I never seriously thought once they could overtake the Redsox who had an unbelievable start and had enough to tough out any losing streaks) and their chances of getting the WC are slipping away fast. If Mussina has another bad outing tonight I think we'll be dreaming of next April and the Yankee's last season at the House that Ruth Built very shortly. There's just not a lot of baseball left to have games like yesterday or Friday night (the one run games statistics are going to look very bad if they don't make the playoffs). Not that I'll give up hope-I'll be at all the Yankee Redsox games screaming til I'm hoarse.
2007-08-27 06:51:52
13.   Yankee Fan In Boston
12 i agree. after this last series against the angels, i took my division championship hopes out to the river, put some concrete flippers on 'em, then pushed them in.

so long.

while the wild card is technically still a possibility, they're going to need to start winning series again. soon. the clock is ticking.

go get 'em, boys.

2007-08-27 06:51:53
14.   Count Zero
I'm not worried about Hughes long term -- I think there have just been too many factors messing with him in a season where he's still figuring out how to pitch in the bigs. I was more concerned by the Angels game than yesterday's.

I am however concerned that if we don't get three out of the next four, the season's going to slip away from us. If we get five back of Seattle in the L column this late, it will take an unbelievable run or a collapse. Given that Moose pitches against Verlander today, and the Sux are rolling, three out of the next four seems a difficult task. Here's hoping an extended offensive outburst is on the way...

2007-08-27 06:54:04
15.   rbj
10 Oh sure, use facts. It did seem like he had a bunch of two strikes on hitters who then got on base. Maybe it was sitting in the sun for a few hours that fried my brain.
2007-08-27 07:16:45
16.   pistolpete
3 >>The young pitching in the organization has just been too good the past couple years for me not to trust that the people in charge will turn it around.>>

The past couple of 'years'...? Who, Wang? That's the only guy I can think of who's come through our system in he past couple of 'years'.

And being from Taiwan, he doesn't really count!

2007-08-27 07:20:26
17.   rsmith51
I like the fact that the Yanks are trying to win with what they have, rather that trading Hughes or Chamberlin or Kennedy for some Aaron Boone type to get them to the playoffs.

I think they still have a very good shot at the WC, but the division doesn't look promising at all. The Angels and Mariners will beat each other up a little or one will take control. The Tigers and Indians the same. I am looking forward to this last month.

2007-08-27 07:20:31
18.   pistolpete
16 Never mind, it's early for me - I thought you meant guys that had actually come up and pitched in the majors..
2007-08-27 07:21:47
19.   Cliff Corcoran
16 Why doesn't Wang count? He signed as an undrafted free agent at age 20 and spent four full years in the Yankees' minor league system before reaching the majors.
2007-08-27 07:29:44
20.   pistolpete
19 He wasn't a 'traditional' prospect is all I meant.

Still, he's the only decent starter out of our system who's spent any significant time in the majors (with the Yankees, anyway) since, well, Andy Pettitte.

I certainly hope Hughes & Joba amend that, though.

2007-08-27 07:31:15
21.   monkeypants
13 "while the wild card is technically still a possibility, they're going to need to start winning series again. soon. the clock is ticking."

Man, people really are panicking about the WC. Stop and take a deep breath. The Yankees are two (2, two) games back in the WC, though three (!!!) in the loss column. The Angels and Seattle play each other seven times. The Yankees play the Mariners three times. If the Mariners continue to win every game they play, they will knock the Angels out of the playoffs. Thye will not continue to win every game (as in, they just lost two to Texas).

2007-08-27 07:32:54
22.   monkeypants
12 "...and their chances of getting the WC are slipping away fast."

See above, 21 .

2007-08-27 07:34:27
23.   Cliff Corcoran
20 What does that mean? How does he differ from a Latin American player?
2007-08-27 07:39:32
24.   monkeypants
Sort of off topic, but maybe returning to the topic of Hughes...does anyone know where (if anywhere) to find pitch counts for games dating back to the older days (ideally at least the fifties)? Humbug mentioned the record for a nine inning game, which was in the 1950s, so presumably somewhere these totals are on record.

There has been much hand-wringing on various Yankees' sites about Hughes performance, with some commenting on how the team has 'babied' its young pitchers. We tend to focus on innings or CG when comparing pitchers in different eras, but has anyone charted pitch totals for starters in different era?

2007-08-27 07:53:40
25.   Yankee Fan In Boston
21 i'll take that breath if moose can toss a solid game tonight. we need more than just pettitte and wang pitching well. (if wang can replicate his last start or something similar.)
2007-08-27 07:57:56
26.   OldYanksFan
Andy Rooney said: "I know all about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but today's baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me"

Is this the horrible, racist thing he said?
There are indeed many latino players in MLB, especially compared to 25 years ago.

We are getting VERY 'sensitive' as a society. I see ethnic comedians making fun of their own ethnicity, and people in the audience are crying with laughter.

It seems to me that ANYTHING that is said that references a persons race/ethnicity is up for being considered racist.

Remember when Dusty said he thought black players tolerated the heat better? He, a black man, was questioned as being as racist.
Aren't people who originate from hot climates black, as a natural, evolutionary defense against the sun?

I don't get it. There is still REAL racism in this world. Real hatred. People who honestly want other people dead or gone. Why are we so focused on such innocuous statements? Is this to avoid a real dialog about real racism?

2007-08-27 08:01:01
27.   monkeypants
25 Things will be much clarified in about a week. Yeah, I know that's obvious on one level (more games played, fewer games left, more clarity). Still, by next Thursday the Yankees will have faced the Sox and the M's, and the Mariners will have faced the Angels and the Yankees.

Then we can panic (or not).

2007-08-27 08:04:34
28.   Yankee Fan In Boston
26 "Aren't people who originate from hot climates black, as a natural, evolutionary defense against the sun?"

actually, if i recall a lecture i attended last year correctly, an argument has been made that the melanin that carries pigmentation can block certain UV rays that would be harmful to pregnancy.

2007-08-27 08:06:57
29.   ChrisS
It's the inherent racism in the statement by an old crotchety white guy. He doesn't like baseball, but he liked it more as a kid, now it's just a bunch of ethnics that he can't relate to.

It's not something to hang him for, but it reinforces many peoples' belief that Andy Rooney isn't relative to any kind of conversation these days.

It's not overt racism by any means, but it's just as there.

2007-08-27 08:09:32
30.   monkeypants
26 Now you've done it...
2007-08-27 08:21:12
31.   KJC
26 I'm no Rooney fan, but I read his "all guys named Rodriguez to me" comment simply as a play on "it's all Greek to me."
2007-08-27 08:21:29
32.   pistolpete
23 Please stop trying to bait me. You know what I mean.
2007-08-27 08:35:07
33.   Chyll Will
26 ,30 Yawwwn... Andy Rooney is, like a good number of Americans, old and set in his ways. The difference being that he has a long-standing platform to espouse his views; by this time his age, target demograph and mostly his reputation (crochety old geezer) have taken much of the seriousness out of many (if not all) of his statements.

The racism that makes a difference is from people who effect policy and hold a strong influence on a large segment of public opinion, who are therefore held to a standard of responsibility. If anything, we should be getting on advertisers and network programmers who promote sexist or racist images in segmented neighborhoods (proliferation of alcohol ads featuring sexually suggestive models located in minority neighborhoods) or the subliminal suggestion that minority environments or minority citizens either endure or are largely involved in crime (everyday evening news).

Andy Rooney has as much authority on various opinions as those people who rant on call-in radio shows, only he's able to do it on TV and most people at least chuckle. I say, let that pass; otherwise you give him more veracity than he deserves.

2007-08-27 08:35:17
34.   OldYanksFan
28 Which is why only African WOMEN are black? And why when a white man moves to a sunny climate, his skin darkens?

However, that study may well be correct. Mother Nature is very complex is her design. Possibly some climates don't have enough sun to cross that threshold, but some do... so it is yet another marvelous environmental/evolutionary protection.

However #2: There is still so much we don't know. Since we have recently 'broken' the gene, we will be learning lots of interesting new things soon. Based on what we observe and know now, you can't always make a definitive statement. At the same time, you can't necessarily rule out said definitive statement.

29 I will confess, that as a Jew, I probably take a little more pride in the accomplishments of Israel, and Jews throughout history, then I do other cultures, and non-Jews.
Does this make me a racist?
Does 'rooting' for your 'own tribe' make you racist?
Does prefering the company of your 'own tribe' make you racist?
Is is possible that these feelings are evolutionary/instinctual, and simply part of the grand design?

2007-08-27 08:38:37
35.   monkeypants
34 Can we stop? I second 33 's yawn. We've had this discussion with Sheffield, and we've had it with Bonds. Let's not go down this path with...Andy Rooney?

How about this:

Hughes sucks. His velocity is down. I say he's a bust.

2007-08-27 08:41:24
36.   tommyl
I'm not so worried about Hughes yet, but as Cliff said the only real thing that has me worried is his tipping towards flyball/HR tendencies. Is minor league track record says he'll turn that back around, and I have to believe the velocity will come back a bit (I mean he's only 2-3mph off what he was throwing last year) and can easily be explained by injury/lack of pitching.

As for the team's prospects, against the Angels they performed about how I expected them too. Look the Mariners had Minnesota and Texas, and we had the Angels and Tigers. You have to expect the possibility of dropping a game or two in the standings. As for the Red Sox, well I think I could single handedly beat the ChiSox right now. Lets see how they are after the Sox/D-Rays series.

2007-08-27 08:44:53
37.   Yankee Fan In Boston
34 i am not an expert. i am still studying these things. the study took into account populations of people who were somehow known to have lived in the same areas for centuries. this had little to do with migration. and yes, the trait was shown to protect a foetus, but most genetic traits are passed to both sexes from their parents, so men would carry this in their genes as well.

my only point was only that dusty baker's theory wasn't supported by at least a portion of the scientific community. the selection pressure is believed to be on the success rate of pregnancies, as opposed to exposure to heat. (but i'm sure that there could be another study that stands in exact opposition to this... that can happen.)

i didn't mean for that to be taken as scientific fact, though. just a theory.

2007-08-27 08:45:41
38.   tommyl
BTW, funny as hell post at FJM. I heard that Kay comment and was also like, "You sir, are a moron!"

The gist of it, is that Kay pointed out how much lower Wang's ERA was out of the windup versus the stretch. Whereas any idiot can see the only earned runs Wang can give up out of the windup are solo home runs. Sooo...Kay basically pointed out that Wang gives up way fewer runs on solo HRs than all other methods combined. Who woulda thunk?

2007-08-27 08:51:46
39.   JohnnyC
Why are we worried about Hughes? Let's be real, he's 21, has missed 2+ months due to leg injuries which have affected his base and possibly his mechanics subtly, and he's not helped by the coaching or lack-thereof at the major league level. He will regain the 2-3 mph on his fastball and will revive his changeup (which hinges on the first item) next season if not by the end of this season. All's well. He will be as good as advertised.
2007-08-27 08:57:12
40.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Who's worried about Hughes?
2007-08-27 09:12:52
41.   Cliff Corcoran
38 Yeah, that was amazing. The actual stat he quoted was Wang's ERA with the bases empty vs. with runners on. And boo on Al Leiter for not pointing out what was wrong with that.
2007-08-27 09:14:45
42.   pistolpete
40 I am, kinda. Although time will tell.

He's no Jeff Karstens, that's for sure. But he definitely needs a better pitching coach than Gator, IMO.

2007-08-27 09:14:59
43.   Cliff Corcoran
32 I'm not trying to bait you. I honestly have no idea what you mean, because there is no developmental difference between Wang and, say, Mariano Rivera, who signed with the Yankees at the same age.
2007-08-27 09:15:23
44.   tommyl
41 Maybe tonight he'll tell us how much better a hitter Derek Jeter is with runners on base, since he has way more RBIs with people on base than with the bases empty. Then he'll say Derek is clutch.
2007-08-27 09:16:11
45.   tommyl
42 Maybe he just needs Nardi to show up during a few of his throw days. Conteras really seems to know his stuff.
2007-08-27 09:19:06
46.   OldYanksFan
35 Is correct. I will leave 37 et al, with a simple thought.
Maybe it's true.
Maybe it's not.
Maybe Dusty was 'right'.
Maybe Dusty was 'wrong'.
My point is: WHO CARES?
My real point is that whether he is wrong or right (whatever that is), why does taking one of those 2 positions make him (or anyone else) a racist?

Hughes will be a #1 or #2. His velocity is fine for his age and situation. I say he's a big part of our future.

2007-08-27 09:20:27
47.   rbj
The funny thing is, players like DiMaggio and Rizzuto -- from way back when, when Andy Rooney kinda liked baseball, caught grief for being Italians. I didn't really think he was being racist, there is A-Rod, I-Rod, K-Rod, -- can we please stop with the -Rods now. What gets me is Rooney's "I never cared about baseball." OK, then don't write about it at all.

Hughes will be fine. The first homer I'll put down to Matsui not being a particularly good fielder. He gave up four hits, one walk, and had six strikeouts in six innings. Really, just two bad pitches. Not the first guy to do it, and won't be the last.

2007-08-27 09:23:28
48.   OldYanksFan
44 Well said.
Seattle lost last night. So the end is just a little nearer...
or a little farther...
depending on how Seattle plays from here on out...
or how the Yankees play from here on out...
or maybe a combination of both...
Jeez... I can't figure this stuff out.
Can someone who knows help me out?
Will the Yankees make the PS?
2007-08-27 09:30:08
49.   OldYanksFan
Re: Lohud on Melky sliding into first base -
"Sliding headfirst is both dangerous (broken fingers, jammed shoulders, etc) and inefficient. The sooner Melky Cabrera stops, the better off he and and the Yankees will be.

"Strangle him," Joe Torre said with a laugh when asked what he could do to get Melky to stop. Well, I think it was a laugh.

Anyone notice that, especially on stolen bases, both Jetes and ARod almost always go into 2nd head-first?

I do wish they would stop. Aside from being more dangerous to them, sliding feet first is more dangerous to the defender.

2007-08-27 09:32:15
50.   pistolpete
43 Latin players' recruitment & development is also 'non-traditional',IMO, but it's quickly becoming the norm.

I compare it to Asian player recruitment because the bottom line is that these players don't come from within the country's borders and they're not drafted out of a school.

For the most part, anyway.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-08-27 09:45:05
51.   monkeypants
49 Sliding (headfirst or otherwise) into 1B is slower than running through the bag. But sliding head first into 2B or 3B is faster than sliding feet first, no? Or maybe it just seems so.
2007-08-27 09:59:15
52.   pistolpete
51 It's not faster, but I suspect a lot of people would overrun the bag and be tagged out if they didn't slide... ;-)
2007-08-27 10:02:41
53.   monkeypants
52 Did you ever wonder where the overrunning 1B rule came from? It's one of those ineligences of the game that I take for granted but inevitably have to explain to European friends who ask about the rules.
2007-08-27 10:07:04
54.   Kered Retej
52 That makes sense for 2nd and 3rd, but I'm always curious why sliding into home doesn't bother people as much as sliding into first base. You can "over-run" home the same way you can at 1st. I suppose it makes sense if it isn't a force play (a la the Jeter-A's relay play), but when the bases are loaded, shouldn't the same logic apply at home as it does at first?
2007-08-27 10:07:41
55.   ny2ca2dc
50 "I compare it to Asian player recruitment because the bottom line is that these players don't come from within the country's borders and they're not drafted out of a school."

So what? What's where they're drafted from have anything to do with their development? The draft is not the only way players are developed, and the draft isn't really all that dominant anyway (anyone got the numbers?). I mean, if Pettite's the only drafted pitcher the Yanks have brought up recently, well fine, but same goes for Jeter vs Mo, Po, Bernie, Melky, Cano, etc. I guess your point is that "normal" development is a guy taken from the draft, but i don't think that's a worthwhile definition of 'normal' because the counterexample is so frequent.

2007-08-27 10:10:17
56.   alterity
As others have said: sliding into second and third is about stopping, not about speed. The secondary reason, as with sliding into home, is to be in a position below the defender to avoid a tag. The latter reason is also known as the "Jeremy Giambi Corollary."
2007-08-27 10:11:21
57.   monkeypants
54 But players only ever slide into home to avoid a tag--which is the only time they should slide into 1B. Since more plays at home are tag plays, not force plays, there are more slides. I think we see fewer headfirst slides into home b/c the catcher wears so much armor, and also because of the related and unfortunate acceptance of the "crash into the catcher" play.
2007-08-27 10:12:52
58.   monkeypants
56 But on a SB, the slide into second/third is also about speed AND avoiding the tag.
2007-08-27 10:14:23
59.   JL25and3
41 It would make a little more sense if he compared hitting stats v. Wang in those two situations:

Bases empty: .260/.316/.362
Men on base: .294/.340/.408

Some difference, but definitely not a 'uge one.

Even more to the point, perhaps: of course Wang pitches better from the windup than from the stretch. Almost all pitchers do; otherwise, why would they use the windup at all? Also, infield defense is more constrained with men on base, which means more base hits.

2007-08-27 10:17:28
60.   Cliff Corcoran
54 Ask Jeremy Giambi.

Sliding serves two purposes:

1) avoiding a tag

2) rapidly decreasing momentum so as to keep players from overrunning second or third base

When you don't need to do either of those things, keep running.

As for head-first vs. feet-first: walking is really a perpetual fall, you tip your center of gravity forward then move your feet to prevent your fall. Running is a more extreme version of the same, you lean forward even further to achieve greater speed. Thus, sliding head first makes the most sense in terms of speed as your upper body is already out ahead of your feet, but poses greater injury risk. In terms of avoiding a tag, however, feet first might work best as you can see the play unfold in front of you better and can employ the old hook slides that Joe DiMaggio, for one, did so ingeniously. Sliding feet first also sends you spikes first into the defender, which can also be to your advantage. At second or third base, either is fine, it depends on the tag and the runner. Sliding into home, however, should always be feet first as you're usually sliding into a heavily armored catcher and there's less risk of injury going feet first.

2007-08-27 10:18:42
61.   Chyll Will
50 I vote for Martian recruitment next; they have a Hilton Hotel, why wouldn't they have a few prospects waiting to be signed?

In regards to the Asian w/ Latin recruit and develop, I'm under the impression that there are more barriers to direct recruitment on the Pacific Rim versus Central/South America (not South-Central) and the Caribbean. Both hold baseball in very high regard, but one is more "regimented" than the other perhaps politically, with more obligations socially (perhaps? I'm treading lightly here since it's not my forte) than the other. From a MLB team standpoint, it's much easier to recruit players in Venezuela or the D.R. as opposed to Japan or Korea and even Taiwan to an extent.

What's interesting to me is that there is a concerted effort by some involved in baseball to explore other countries that are certainly not traditional hotbeds for baseball talent (Minaya & Co.'s trip to Ghana, Cashman's foray into Mainland China for example) and plant seeds for development. If baseball were to truly develop into a global sport like soccer without either diluting the talent or interest during my lifetime, I'd be a heppy ket >;)

2007-08-27 10:19:56
62.   monkeypants
59 There may also be a cause/effect/correlation thing going on. Pitchers tend to have lots of baserunners and give up lots of runs when they are pitching poorly. They also use the stretch when they have baserunners. Ergo, pitchers tend to use the stretch when they are pitching poorly. That's just a roundabout way of saying a pitcher's ERA is higher when he is not pitching as well. Which is, of course, what everyone else has been saying!
2007-08-27 10:20:28
63.   Cliff Corcoran
59 excellent use of "'uge" Now you just have to work in "fift" and "Rojreegis."
2007-08-27 10:23:14
64.   Bama Yankee
49 & 51 Michael Kay likes to point out that "if sliding into first got you there faster, then sprinters in the 100M dash would slide across the finish line". Even the Detroit announcer used that line yesterday.

This analogy has always seemed a little silly to me (even for Michael Kay) because even if sliding got you there faster wouldn't the sprinters be unable to break the finish line tape? Not to mention the injuries that would result from a sprinter diving and sliding down the track.

2007-08-27 10:31:43
65.   Marcus
64 Yeah, I think it's a poor comparison. In track, you cross the finish line when your torso crosses the finish line. You may notice some sprinters will stick out their chests as they cross the finish line, although some also bow their heads. They aren't trying to touch the finish line on the ground, they are trying to break the plane with their torso.

But the other problem is that sliding on a track would hurt!

2007-08-27 10:58:49
66.   tommyl
50 You find prospects where you find them. I'm not discounting any international FA signing just because it didn't come through the draft. If there's a great player out there, he's great, wherever we find him. Anyone who comes through our farm system is our prospect.

The one thing I could see you arguing is that players like Soriano, who played professionally in Japan before signing with us might be a bit different. Still, that's even a stretch.

2007-08-27 11:03:13
67.   tommyl
65 Reminds me of the old trick in ski racing, where we'd lean back and try to flick our tips in the air to break the laser. I'm pretty sure it never worked.
2007-08-27 11:03:55
68.   ny2ca2dc
66 Right, I think the only real wildcards out there are the fully-formed Japanese players, Nomo, Hideki Matsui, Ichiro, DiceK et al.

61 I think, save Japan per above, that it's more of a lack of talent/interest/baseball infrastructure on the pac rim vs Latin America, not so much barriers.

2007-08-27 11:26:41
69.   Andre
64 Kay's analogy is ridiculous.

The difference between sliding into 2nd/3rd and sliding across the finish line in track is that in track, you don't have to stop. It would be stupid to slide across the finish line because you'd get there quicker if you just kept running.

Sliding into 2nd/3rd only gets you there faster than running because you have to stop on the bag. It's easier to stop your body from a slide (by grabbing the base) than running to a dead stop. MythBusters did a great analysis of this on one of their recent shows (featuring Roger Clemens).

As to sliding head first/feet first, I have nothing new.

2007-08-27 11:43:03
70.   tommyl
69 The one thing that might be faster is to basically fall forward (almost a dive) so that you are perfectly horizontal in mid-air as you cross the finish line. Your center-of-mass remains in the same motion, but how you've distributed it has changed (now its front to back as opposed to top to bottom). However, even that's not totally right because you'll be losing some extra speed in mid-air so you'd have to adjust for that.

Now, for baserunning that's useless because you don't get called safe for diving over the bag, and for sprinting, well, you'd likely land on your head, on concrete.

2007-08-27 11:48:26
71.   monkeypants
69 Uh, Kay was talking about first base, and while his analogy is certainly flawed, the basic point is correct: Melky should quit sliding into first base because it's faster to run through the bag (and there is less chance of injury).
2007-08-27 11:51:47
72.   ny2ca2dc
71 And it doesn't look so stupid
2007-08-27 12:11:47
73.   Chyll Will
68 You wouldn't include South Korea and Taiwan in the 'lack of talent/interest/infrustructure' columns, would you? As far as those things are concerned, the NY teams at least have expressed an interest in getting involved in developing those. I don't think it's a total waste of time to explore those areas; basketball and American football being examples of where talent has broken through to develop a burgeoning interest. Baseball is a different animal economically to develop, but why not try? If the World Games proved anything, it's that talent and interest can develop in areas where you didn't think they would.
2007-08-27 12:17:15
74.   ny2ca2dc
73 Hell ya It's worth a try, my point was just that it ain't there yet. Years ago it wasn't there in the Dominican, Venezuela, etc, but we'll agree those places worked out pretty OK!
2007-08-27 12:21:00
75.   ny2ca2dc
74 That was something of a lazy post; there was of course history & grassroots baseball in Latin America long before the academies & stuff, so it's not a perfect comparison, but what I'm trying to say is I totally support stuff like the China trip & more investment abroad to spread the sport. Because I think that's good on it's own, and as a farm for the Yanks. More seeds = better.
2007-08-27 13:11:22
76.   Jersey
64 The image of a bunch of sprinters diving and sliding down the track made me laugh out loud. Ha!
2007-08-27 13:19:56
77.   Chyll Will
76 It only made me think of "Risky Business".
2007-08-27 13:20:11
78.   Zack
I'm pretty confident that if there is an issue with Hughes' mechanics or some other fixable/consistency type issue, it will be fixed/worked on in the off season if it is detrimental to where Nardi sees him going. That doesn't really help much for this season, but on the other hand, Hughes' peripherals don't seem to really justify his unwieldy era of the moment, as already mentioned
2007-08-27 13:21:25
79.   yankz
78 Fucking Luis Vizcaino.
2007-08-27 13:29:33
80.   Chyll Will
79 That's neither the problem nor the solution, I would imagine...
2007-08-27 13:30:45
81.   yankz
80 I know, Phil shouldn't have walked those guys. But Vizcaino's ineffectiveness hurt Phil's ERA.
2007-08-27 13:35:36
82.   Chyll Will
81 True. BTW, thanks for keeping a straight face with that response >;)
2007-08-27 13:50:24
83.   Chyll Will
(cricket, cricket...)
2007-08-27 14:12:59
84.   yankz
83 I'm guessing everybody's reading the new thread that's up.
2007-08-27 14:39:05
85.   JL25and3
78 Perhaps, as you suggested earlier, the biggest problem with Hughes is unrealistic expectations. Never mind his can't-mis status, his stuff, his poise, his domination of the minors - he's still a 21-year-old kid facing major-league hitters for the first time.

Sometimes kids can dominate at that age; more often, there's a whole new learning curve once they get to the majors. That's why Earl Weaver saw long relief as the correct place to break in rookies.

I think the unrealistic expectations go beyond Hughes - and Chamberlain's instant (if limited) success probably hasn't helped. Here's one prediction I'll make, and you can hold me to it: out of Hughes, Chamberlain, Kennedy and Horne, at least one will take a substantial step backwards within the next year or two. I don't know if it will be injury, or running into a first slump and having trouble regaining command, or just getting clobbered for a stretch - but development rarely happens in a straight line, especially not with 4 young pitchers (cf. Van Poppell, Peters, Zancanaro, Dressendorfer).

2007-08-27 15:48:10
86.   bob34957
85 Agree, some or possible a majority of our prospect will make a minor or moderate step backwards.

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