Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Baltimore Orioles
2008-04-18 12:53
by Cliff Corcoran

Baltimore Orioles

2007 Record: 69-93 (.426)
2007 Pythagorean Record: 70-92 (.431)

Manager: Dave Trembley
General Manager: Andy MacPhail

Home Ballpark (multi-year Park Factors): Oriole Park at Camden Yards (101/102)

Who's Replacing Whom:

Luis Hernandez inherits Miguel Tejada's playing time
Adam Jones replaces Corey Patterson
Luke Scott replaces Jay Gibbons and some of Jay Payton's playing time
Brandon Fahey inherits Chris Gomez's playing time
Guillermo Quiroz replaces Paul Bako
Adam Loewen returns from the DL to replace Erik Bedard
Brian Burres takes over the starts of Garrett Olson, Jon Leicester, and Radhames Liz
George Sherrill replaces Chris Ray (DL)
Dennis Sarfate replaces Danys Baez (DL)
Greg Aquino replaces John Parrish
Matt Albers replaces Rob Bell
Randor Bierd replaces Kurt Burkins
Jim Jones replaces Paul Shuey

25-man Roster:

1B - Kevin Millar (R)
2B - Brian Roberts (S)
SS - Luis Hernandez (S)
3B - Melvin Mora (R)
C - Ramon Hernandez (R)
RF - Nick Markakis (L)
CF - Adam Jones (R)
LF - Luke Scott (L)
DH - Aubrey Huff (L)


R - Jay Payton (OF)
L - Brandon Fahey (UT)
R - Guillermo Quiroz (C)


R - Jeremy Guthrie
R - Daniel Cabrera
L - Brian Burres
R - Steve Trachsel
L - Adam Loewen


L - George Sherrill
L - Jamie Walker
R - Chad Bradford
R - Greg Aquino
R - Dennis Sarfate
R - Randor Bierd
R - Matt Albers
R - Jim Johnson

15-day DL: R - Chris Ray, R- Danys Baez, R - Fernando Cabrera, L - Troy Patton, R - Jim Hoey, R - Rocky Cherry, L - Freddie Bynum (UT)

Typical Lineup:

S - Brian Roberts (2B)
R - Melvin Mora (3B)
L - Nick Markakis (RF)
R - Kevin Millar (1B)
L - Aubrey Huff (DH)
L - Luke Scott (LF)
R - Ramon Hernandez (C)
R - Adam Jones (CF)
S - Luis Hernandez (SS)

The Orioles have split three two-game series, lost two three-game series, and swept one four-game series at home against the Mariners. That M's sweep stands as an aberration on both team's records as the M's are 4-1-1 in series thus far this season, and the O's are 1-2-3. The Yankees, meanwhile, are 2-2-2, all but one of those six series coming against AL East opponents. The Yankees are 8-6 against their own division with a .667 winning percentage against the Jays and Rays. In fact, what separates them from a .667 or better winning percentage against the division as a whole is Mike Mussina's inability to retire Manny Ramirez. The Yankees lost the two games Mike Mussina started against the Red Sox by a combined three runs. In those games, Ramirez went 4-for-5 against Mussina with a double, three home runs and six RBIs. If you count the run Ramirez scored after driving Mussina from the game in Boston, Manny was responsible for 7 of the Red Sox's 11 runs in those two games. Fortunately, the Orioles, the one AL East foe the Yankees haven't faced yet this year and the team against whom they open a three-game set in Baltimore tonight, don't have anyone as dangerous as Manny Ramirez in their lineup. They also won't get the privilege of facing Mike Mussina.

Over the past decade, the Orioles have become a contemptibly bad franchise. They finally made some moves in acknowledgment of that fact last year by bringing in Andy MacPhail, the architect of the Twins' two World Series winners, to head up their baseball operations, assigning him to the task of rebuilding. The grandson of late-40s Yankees general manager Larry MacPhail and son of former Yankees and Orioles general manager Lee MacPhail, Andy got right to work by trading two of the team's most marketable commodities, shipping slugging shortstop Miguel Tejada to Houston and lefty ace Erik Bedard to Seattle for prospects.

Those deals yielded 22-year-old shortstop-turned-center fielder Adam Jones, left-handed closer George Sherrill, and three minor league pitchers from the Mariners, and lefty platoon outfielder Luke Scott, minor league third baseman Michael Costanzo, and another trio of young pitchers from the Astros. Sherrill and Scott are stop-gaps, complimentary players in their early 30s who won't be around for the next Baltimore run at contention. Constanzo is 24, in his first year at triple-A, and has struck out 399 times in 359 minor league games and made 61 errors at third base in the last two years.

Of the six young arms obtained, two are on the O's 25-man roster. The oldest of the bunch, Dennis Sarfate, is a 27-year-old righty who was converted to relief last year and is with his third organization in the last eight months. He has strikeout stuff, but has given up six runs in his last four innings. Matt Albers is a 25-year-old righty who pitched poorly as a swing man in the Astros pen last year after being rushed through triple-A and is back in that role for the O's this year, though with better results thus far. The best pitcher the O's acquired was probably 22-year-old lefty starter Troy Patton, but he's going to miss the entire season following surgery to repair the labrum in his pitching shoulder. The three arms the O's got from Seattle all have potential, but are pretty raw. Twenty-year-old right-handed starter Chris Tillman is the best of the bunch. He's making the leap to double-A this year where he's joined by 24-year-old 6-foot-9 righty Kameron Mickolio, who has closer potential. Lefty Tony Butler is just 20, but also still in the Sally League.

That leaves Jones, who delivered a game-winning single last night, as the best get. He should form a solid two-some in the outfield with 24-year-old right fielder Nick Markakis. The O's also have 2007 first-rounder Matt Wieters at high-A this spring and hope he will move quickly to take the big league catching job from Ramon Hernandez, who's four-year contract runs out after next season. Those three should form the core of the O's rebuilt offense, but they'll need more.

Right now, second baseman Brian Roberts is their most valuable commodity, though MacPhail was unable to work out a deal with the Cubs during spring training. Hernandez could also have value on the trade market as catching is extremely thin around the majors and, at 32, he should retain his value through the end of his contract (which contains an option for 2010). Of course, Hernandez will have to restore his value first after a poor, injury-plagued 2007 season. If Jeremy Guthrie can repeat his breakout season of a year ago, he might be a good chip, as the late-blooming 29-year-old is only a month younger than Bedard and still in his team-control years. The O's could also flip Scott or Sherrill if either is able to build off his hot start.

Whether they cash those players in or not, the Orioles will look very different two years from now. Setting aside kids such as Markakis and Jones, who are under team control, the Orioles don't have a single player under contract for 2010. That opens up a lot of opportunity for rebuilding, but the O's still need prospects to fill those holes. They have Luis Hernandez, a career .250/.296/.325 hitter in the minors, replacing Miguel Tejada at shortstop right now. That sort of thing will only take the Orioles from contemptibly bad to pathetically bad.

Speaking of which, Daniel Cabrera starts tonight against Phil Hughes. Cabrera is now 27 and never did figure it out. He's walked 12 against 11 Ks in 16 2/3 innings thus far this year and his 5.94 ERA isn't out of line with what he did last year (5.55 in 34 starts). The Yanks saw Cabrera a whopping five times last year and walked 17 times against 18 Ks in those five games while Cabrera posted a 6.67 ERA and his team went 1-4. As for Hughes, he faced Baltimore twice last season, but will make his Camden Yards debut tonight. It was beautiful in Baltimore today, with temperatures in the 80s. It will drop down to about 60 tonight, but that's still a big improvement over the mid-40s temperatures Hughes had to deal with in his last two disastrous starts. Hughes is facing a bad team under good conditions, so the stage is set for him to get back on track.

In other Yankee news, here's the latest from Joba. Pete Abe reports that Edwar Ramirez is in the visitors clubhouse in Baltimore. With Scranton thus far this season, Edwar has allowed three baserunners in seven scoreless innings and struck out 11. I won't speculate as to whose roster spot he might be taking.

Joe Girardi is playing the same nine men at the same nine positions as Tuesday, the first time he's repeated a defensive alignment all year. He has, however, swapped Giambi and Cano's spots in the batting order, so it counts as his 18th unique lineup in 18 games.

Comments (204)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-04-18 13:36:14
1.   dianagramr
2008-04-18 13:37:54
2.   Cliff Corcoran
1 Oh no you di'n't
2008-04-18 13:40:11
3.   standuptriple
1 I thought that was "in the past".
2008-04-18 13:43:50
4.   dianagramr
2 3

OK OK .... I'll retract that statement.

2008-04-18 14:24:35
5.   dianagramr

Thomas canned as Knicks coach!!!!


OK .... back to baseball ...

2008-04-18 14:52:54
6.   Just fair
It'll be strange to watch the O's without Tejada playing short and hitting 3rd. He always seemed to be one of those "Yankee Killers." Did anyone catch his interview on ESPN. I never really like Tejada, but even I felt kind of bad for the guy. It was pretty rough.
2008-04-18 15:10:40
7.   standuptriple
I didn't watch the interview, but Miguel A) plays every day (normally) B) gives 100% and C) enjoys playing the game. Those endearing traits make me more likely to overlook his flaws.
2008-04-18 15:16:14
8.   Just fair
I don't thing he very much enjoyed playing in B'more in recent seasons. He was dying to get out. WIsh granted.
2008-04-18 15:22:32
9.   Cliff Corcoran
Man, I gotta say, I never liked Tejada. Not one little bit. He always seemed like a self-impressed hot head and a major crybaby and I'm delighted not to have to look at his Harvey Keitel-lookin' mug any more. Well, to each his own.
2008-04-18 15:31:40
10.   Chyll Will
5 Not good enough. They must conquer Planet Dolan in order to save the universe.
2008-04-18 15:35:17
11.   Cliff Corcoran
It's Alabaladejo who is farmed out to add Edwar. Nice to see the Yankees taking advantage of minor league options to keep the bullpen fresh.
2008-04-18 15:49:32
12.   Bagel Boy
9 11 I agree - twice. Now if only they did the same with position players. No reason not to option Ensberg and Damon ;)
2008-04-18 16:19:16
13.   OldYanksFan
Re: Canseco and ARod steroids, hat tip to PeteAbe.

Sports Illustrated has uncovered the identity of the supposed steroids dealer Jose Canseco says he introduced to Alex Rodriguez.

Joseph Dion confirmed some of Canseco's story but denies giving Rodriguez any steroids.

Reporters from New York just spoke to Rodriguez, who admitted to working with Dion. "A good man, a real good man, actually," Rodriguez. "I had no idea he even knew (Canseco)."

2008-04-18 16:21:33
14.   Just fair
If Nick Markakis or Brian Roberts hit well against the Yanks this year, well, color me displeased. Phil, throw godamn strikes.
2008-04-18 16:23:13
15.   51cq24
well it would be nice if it didn't look like hughes has no idea where his fastball is going
2008-04-18 16:23:59
16.   bartap74
Kay - "Well, if what the stats tell us is true, Hughes is going to win this game."

This after explaining, twice, that in 10 starts where he doesn't give up a run in the first, Hughes has 4 wins.

6 is still larger than 4, right?

In any case, I hope Kay and his flawed math are correct. There's nobody I'm rooting for harder on this roster than Phil Hughes.

2008-04-18 16:31:43
17.   51cq24
i don't see why the home plate umpire should ever make the call on a checked swing. the corner umpires have a much better angle.
2008-04-18 16:36:16
18.   51cq24
someone has to tell phil to keep his left shoulder in
2008-04-18 16:39:59
19.   51cq24
no one has offered at that curve and he's put it in a good spot a few times. where is everyone?
2008-04-18 16:40:10
20.   Just fair
9 pitch walk. Curveball not really close. C'mon Phii.
2008-04-18 16:40:11
21.   tommyl
Um, was that ball too over the plate or something? Looking at it on Gameday, its clearly a strike.
2008-04-18 16:41:41
22.   51cq24
20 21 not a strike where it landed but it could have crossed the plate (curve down and in with a sharp break)
2008-04-18 16:41:48
23.   Just fair
19 Stuffing their mouths with crab cakes. MMMMMM
CRAB CAKES!!!!!!!!!!!
2008-04-18 16:42:24
24.   tommyl
Well, velocity at least seems ok. Gameday is a bit faster than the YES gun. He's sitting around 93 or so.
2008-04-18 16:44:45
25.   51cq24
24 yes has him at 91-92. his fastball always looks harder than the gun says for some reason.
2008-04-18 16:47:04
26.   51cq24
his curve has very good bite today
2008-04-18 16:47:34
27.   tommyl
25 I know, watching on My9 and on Gameday. Gameday has it at 92-93 consistently. He just needs to be a bit more efficient, otherwise, good start so far.
2008-04-18 16:51:47
28.   Just fair
Bobby Murcer is returning to announcing again, soon. That's great. A 5 pitch inning from D.C. is bullocks.
2008-04-18 16:56:11
29.   Just fair
There is little reason, as far as I can tell, why Phil can't make hitters look as confused as Beckett does. Nice grab, Giambi. Boo.
2008-04-18 16:56:35
30.   tommyl
Ah, now that's the cat like Giambi I know and love. Yeesh...
2008-04-18 16:57:35
31.   fansince77
Giambi flashing the stellar leather and guess what this has "taking the lead" written all over it.
2008-04-18 16:59:13
32.   51cq24
29 for whatever reason the hitters are obviously recognizing the curve
2008-04-18 16:59:15
33.   fansince77
2008-04-18 17:00:19
34.   tommyl
Hughes is a bit inefficient, but so far he's answering Girardi's challenge. He's aggressive, challenging hitters.
2008-04-18 17:02:47
35.   Just fair
Hey, look. Cabrera's got a no-no. Hint-hint.
2008-04-18 17:03:42
36.   51cq24
35 good job
2008-04-18 17:04:08
37.   Just fair
Thank you. Thank you, very much. So said Elvis.
2008-04-18 17:04:51
38.   SF Yanks
Hughes so far is looking good; however, I wish he had some more K's and a few less BB.
2008-04-18 17:06:36
39.   fansince77
when does A-rod start to command that "oh shit" quality that Manny does? If I am the other team I am just not that worried that he is at bat.
2008-04-18 17:06:53
40.   tommyl
Larry Bowa he is not.
2008-04-18 17:07:21
41.   51cq24
i'd like to see a better replay of that, but that was some throw
2008-04-18 17:07:29
42.   Just fair
If Cashman was so smart, he'd be able to trade Mussina for Cabrera. : ) DAMN YOU MARKAKIS.
2008-04-18 17:08:07
43.   fansince77
I don't know...looked like Abreu's foot beat the Very close but definately not an out for sure.
2008-04-18 17:10:04
44.   51cq24
can't tell. i wouldn't want to get tagged right in the balls like that though.
2008-04-18 17:10:09
45.   fansince77
Why don't the umpires ever seem to get into position? They have all day to get around that play. HE WAS SAFE!
2008-04-18 17:10:44
46.   Eirias
I can hear Sterling in my mind's (ear) blithely commenting on how often big hits come after big plays.
2008-04-18 17:14:22
47.   tommyl
Gave up a run, but way to get the DP kid. That was Pettitte like.
2008-04-18 17:14:55
48.   51cq24
robby is so smooth on that
2008-04-18 17:16:08
49.   bartap74
28 I've very glad he's recovering healthwise, but I'm very much enjoying the Murcer-free broadcasts. He's on par with McCarver for me in terms of inane chatter. I'll never forget the day he kept asking Singleton if he thought he (Bobby) was physically attractive when they were both players.
2008-04-18 17:16:57
50.   51cq24
santana has 8 ks in the 4th inning. not bad.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-04-18 17:17:09
51.   fansince77
Anyone notice Jeter getting to the up the middle ball soooo much better this ano?
2008-04-18 17:17:30
52.   Just fair
Adam Jones = Orioles jersey on a broomstick.
Can we please light up Cabrera?
2008-04-18 17:17:59
53.   51cq24
49 i think he says some stupid things sometimes, but he's not even close to mccarver's level
2008-04-18 17:18:53
54.   51cq24
51 i was going to say that but it's so hard to tell how fast the ball is moving
2008-04-18 17:21:53
55.   tommyl
So if Giambi sucks at defense and can't hit, exactly what is his value?
2008-04-18 17:22:22
56.   rbj
Just got in. How's Hughes looking tonight?
2008-04-18 17:22:46
57.   tommyl
There's your Melky double!
2008-04-18 17:23:14
58.   51cq24
55 the scoops obviously

56 pretty good but throwing a lot of pitches and not really tricking anyone with the curve

2008-04-18 17:23:17
59.   tommyl
56 Good, very good. A bit inefficient, but consistent first pitch strikes, good bite on the curve. Only been in trouble once and induced a DP to get out of it.
2008-04-18 17:23:46
60.   tommyl
Ah, thank you Melvin Mora.
2008-04-18 17:26:17
61.   rbj
Thanks guys. Maybe he's learning to pitch without his best stuff.
2008-04-18 17:27:57
62.   tommyl
61 Honestly, it looks a lot more like command and pitch selection issues. He's been sitting at 92-93 on the fastball with very good movement and the curve has good bite, but hitters seem to be expecting it. A few more changeups, and some better location/selection and he'd be a beast. That said, he's at 67 pitches through 4 with only 1 run given up. So he's doing pretty well.
2008-04-18 17:28:30
63.   tommyl
Dear lord the Orioles are sloppy. They've gotten like 5 outs this inning already.
2008-04-18 17:33:07
64.   fansince77
55 I am with you...didn't we have Mankceitwz for that?
2008-04-18 17:35:35
65.   SF Yanks
Hughes' curve looks a bit different tonight. It looks more like a 2 to 8 as opposed to his usual 12-6 or 1-7. Anyone else noticing this?
2008-04-18 17:35:38
66.   rbj
62 Hmm, pitch selection. Wouldn't Girardi (& possibly Eiland) be making the calls from the bench? I wouldn't do it for Wang, Pettitte or Moose, but would for the young kids.
2008-04-18 17:37:32
67.   51cq24
65 i was thinking that too. he seems to be throwing a 12-6 for strikes and then a 2-8 down and in on lefties. it's also not as big (doesn't start as high)
2008-04-18 17:37:50
68.   rbj
63 Sloppy baserunning too.
2008-04-18 17:38:40
69.   SF Yanks
67 Yeah, exactly.
2008-04-18 17:39:11
70.   Just fair
Hey Phil, we'll pretend we're crossed up and then gun out Hernandez at 3rd.
On a serious note, they're have been way too many f-ups betwixt pitcher and catcher with a guy on 2nd so far this year.
2008-04-18 17:39:31
71.   SF Yanks
Nice! One more solid inning for Hughes then I can breath again.
2008-04-18 17:42:54
72.   SF Yanks
Could we, ya know, score a few? Give Phil a chance at a W here for pitching well? How bouts it fellas? After all, it is Daniel Cabrera.
2008-04-18 17:44:43
73.   OldYanksFan
Evening all. Not bad for a so-so outing from Phil.
Santana pitching a beauty, White Sox still hot, Red Sox slaughtering Texas and Detroit down by 2 after 5.
2008-04-18 17:47:08
74.   Just fair
A-Rod freakin' dwarfs Millar. Too close for a bad a throw.
2008-04-18 17:48:03
75.   Just fair
Matsui's new bride just winced.
2008-04-18 17:48:08
76.   fansince77
Did Cabrera's grandpa fight in WWII?
2008-04-18 17:48:58
77.   OldYanksFan
Baltimore catcher really grabs the ball and gets out of the box FAST!
2008-04-18 17:49:02
78.   SF Yanks
Time to sack up, Cano.
2008-04-18 17:50:10
79.   Just fair
Hey, Giambi, now might be good time to actually get a hit, you know.
2008-04-18 17:50:11
80.   JeremyM
If Giambi gets up with men on this inning- and I'm only following the game on gamecast so take it for what it's worth- I pinch hit for him.
2008-04-18 17:50:46
81.   fansince77
Time to do something other than ground to the right side Giambi!
2008-04-18 17:51:14
82.   Zack
Just checking in. Really rough day for me. How's Phil looking, as good as the score suggests?
2008-04-18 17:52:05
83.   OldYanksFan
The White Sox have been playing well. I thought they were a bottom feeder. As they for real? Who did they pick up this year?
2008-04-18 17:52:39
84.   Zack
Never mind, just read back a bit!
2008-04-18 17:52:51
85.   OldYanksFan
Jason just missed a meatball!
2008-04-18 17:53:32
86.   SF Yanks
82 Yeah, he looks good. A bit inefficient. See 62
2008-04-18 17:53:40
87.   51cq24
85 2

82 is your dog ok?

2008-04-18 17:54:57
88.   Just fair
Dear Melky,
Break this open for me.
Best Regards,
2008-04-18 17:55:49
89.   SF Yanks
Longoria signs a 9 year deal after playing in 6 games? Yeesh. Could be a good move though.
2008-04-18 17:56:55
90.   Just fair
2008-04-18 17:57:19
91.   Zack
Looks like the O has pumpkined again, huh?
2008-04-18 17:57:47
92.   rbj
Ya know, this game is moving far too quickly for a Yankees - O's game. Are they going to try for another 22 inning game?

Ach, Melky!

2008-04-18 17:58:11
93.   fansince77
Too bad Melk swung at two balls out of the zone...oh well just 2% Melk that time.
2008-04-18 17:58:15
94.   3rd gen yankee fan
The Orioles new caps look stupid.
2008-04-18 17:59:05
95.   williamnyy23
The Yankees have been absolutely pitiful with men in scoring position.

The result looks good so far, but Phil Hughes has been far from impressive. He continues to fall behind early, can't seem to locate his fastball on the inside corner and has rarely thrown a sharp curve. Against a better lineup, this could have been another short night for Hughes.

2008-04-18 17:59:29
96.   SF Yanks
Does anyone know if Hughes was considered a strikeout pitcher in the minors? He sure doesn't seem to get many K's.
2008-04-18 18:00:18
97.   Just fair
I just don't like Nick Markakis.
2008-04-18 18:01:05
98.   SF Yanks
2 crap hits and here we go...
2008-04-18 18:01:14
99.   Zack
87 Good memory. But no, we had to put her down today. She was 13 but we found out she had advanced stomach cancer. We had a vet come to the house and put her to sleep, so she was comfortable and at peace. I highly recommend that to anyone who ever has to go through it...
2008-04-18 18:01:39
100.   williamnyy23
96 Yes, clearly he was.

This is not the same Phil Hughes who threw in Texas. This is inning is a good example of what's wrong with Hughes so far. He doesn't throw enough strikes early and he doesn't miss bats. I was expecting a dominant performance tonight. Needless to say, this is pretty disappointing.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-04-18 18:02:05
101.   fansince77
This is what happens when you don't come up with the big fucking hit....! Another tortuous night of watching the Yanks blow it.
2008-04-18 18:02:17
102.   Zack
95 Baby steps. With someone his age, its truly about confidence and baby steps...
2008-04-18 18:02:21
103.   51cq24
99 i'm sorry.
2008-04-18 18:02:53
104.   rbj
99 My condolences.
2008-04-18 18:03:23
105.   williamnyy23
102 Baby steps is nice, but then maybe he should be taking them in AAA.
2008-04-18 18:03:25
106.   Just fair
2008-04-18 18:04:37
107.   51cq24
105 i really don't see how you can have patience for mussina and get this frustrated with hughes.
2008-04-18 18:04:56
108.   Zack
105 In AAA, they wouldn't be baby steps. Besides, if not him, then its some other crap old journeyman, and I for one would rather Hughes learn now rather than later...

[1-3] 104 Thanks guys, appreciate it

2008-04-18 18:05:22
109.   SF Yanks
100 None of the hits this inning have been on balls over the plate. They all caught the corners or were just missing out (or in). They are not bad pitches. They are just hitting the ball where fielders aren't.
2008-04-18 18:08:39
110.   Zack
Hughes' fastball is definitely enough when its located right. Swings and misses never are in short supply. Its that damn control...
2008-04-18 18:08:44
111.   williamnyy23
107 Because Hughes is an asset and might be better left developing in the minors. Mussina is on the team regardless and the Yankees do not have many other options anyway. I don't think it's a given that a 21 year old is best off getting hard in the minors.

Also, Mussina has actually outperformed Hughes this year.

2008-04-18 18:10:36
112.   Zack
What the hell, why can't this team freaking play defense when Hughes is pitching?
2008-04-18 18:10:40
113.   rbj
Aw jeez, Alex.
2008-04-18 18:10:54
114.   Just fair
99 Sorry, brother man. "He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." - Unknown
2008-04-18 18:10:54
115.   williamnyy23
109 That's what worries me...Hughes seems to be nibbling all year. I keep hoping to see Hughes flat out dominate a hitter, but can't really recall one.

Even that Arod botch right'd like to think Hughes could get some swings and misses off a clearly wild swinger.

2008-04-18 18:11:11
116.   SF Yanks
I effing HATE baseball right now!!
2008-04-18 18:11:18
117.   fansince77
Mr Arod. THere is a runner right in front in you going home. Please throw it to the catcher.
2008-04-18 18:11:18
118.   51cq24
111 "the Yankees do not have many other options anyway"
2008-04-18 18:11:19
119.   Zack
They seriously scored that as a single? Touch luck Mr. Hughes...
2008-04-18 18:11:25
120.   tommyl
So if he can't hit, can't play defense and can't scoop, what is his value?
2008-04-18 18:12:02
121.   rbj
Quiet Riot is now an ad jingle?
2008-04-18 18:12:27
122.   williamnyy23
It also doesn't help to see the Santana line against the Phillies. I was in favor of keeping Hughes, but each start is starting to give me doubts.
2008-04-18 18:13:42
123.   51cq24
115 now i think you're being silly. is there really that much of a difference between a swing and miss and a dribbler? it would have been nice to get a strikeout, but that was not a bad at-bat.
2008-04-18 18:13:46
124.   williamnyy23
118 I realize that...but if Hughes is going to pitch poorly in the majors, I'd rather have someone else pitch poorly and let Hughes develop in the minors.
2008-04-18 18:14:21
125.   51cq24
122 and now you're being really silly. what did you expect?
2008-04-18 18:14:31
126.   SF Yanks
115 I understand the nibbling when he's walking people and getting behind, but he was throwing some quality pitches there that were just being slapped around (not even hard).

Anyways, I'm out, frustrated once again....

2008-04-18 18:16:01
127.   williamnyy23
123 I didn't say it was a bad AB, but Hughes has not had the dominant stuff of a top starter for most of his starts in the majors. In this start, he barely had any swings and misses...and that's against a mediocre offense. The Hughes we have seen since Texas does not resemble a lights out starter.
2008-04-18 18:16:15
128.   Just fair
A-Rod definitley should have went home there. The Yankees definitely should have scored more than 1 run off of Cabrera. Prince Phil should have looked better against such a meak line-up. 5-1, f-me.
2008-04-18 18:19:09
129.   williamnyy23
The comparisons between Hughes and Santana are only going to grow, so you also have to hope that doesn't get in his head. All things considered, I don't the Yankees can be comfortable with what they have seen from Hughes so far.

I said it last start, but I think we all need to accept the possibility that Hughes just might not be ready for the majors.

2008-04-18 18:19:27
130.   51cq24
127 well i agree with that. but if you are willing to wait and see with mussina, how can you possibly start to question the non-trade after 4 starts?
2008-04-18 18:22:44
131.   williamnyy23
130 After this inning, Hughes ERA is going to be over 8! That even makes Mussina look good.

Also, it's not a matter of being patient with Mussina. It's realizing he is the best option to be league average out of the 5th slot. Unfortunately, if Hughes doesn't turn things around significantly, Moose is going to be more like the 4th starter.

Ultimately, the Yankees have to make sure Hughes is a very good starter, or else not gettign Santana could wind up setting them back significantly. I don't think having Hughes toil in the majors is the best way to ensure that future.

2008-04-18 18:22:55
132.   rbj

Oh, an Edwar sighting!

2008-04-18 18:24:22
133.   Just fair
Rays + Orioles = me sticking forks in my face. Bullocks. Good job, LaTroy. At least the meatheads will only boo you now because you're not so great instead of having the #21.
2008-04-18 18:28:17
134.   rbj
Is Cy Young available? Probably a bit old, but that's ok.
2008-04-18 18:29:50
135.   Just fair
Markaksi is the Baltimore Manny. I HATE being blown out by this 2nd rate team. Holy pissed.
2008-04-18 18:30:42
136.   3rd gen yankee fan
We are gittin our asses kicked.
2008-04-18 18:31:48
137.   OldYanksFan
I have more faith in Farnsworth then I do in LaTroy.
2008-04-18 18:32:07
138.   3rd gen yankee fan
I'm sorry about your pup, Zack.
2008-04-18 18:32:35
139.   williamnyy23
137 Hawkins seems to have it or not...Girardi needs to have a quick hook with him.
2008-04-18 18:33:06
140.   Zack
131 You are being incredibly narrow focused and biased. Hughes has proven everything he needs to in the minors. he can dominate minor league players without taxing himself. that doesn't really get you very far. What Hughes needs to be doing is working on his other pitches and figuring out how to get out major league hitters. Much the way that Roger, Pettitte, Maddox, and many many others have. You simply don't get the same experiences in the minors. Period. There are very very few pitchers to seamlessly mark the transition, and those that do, like Verlander, often do so based on an overpowering FB which the league catches up to pretty quickly, case in point.

YOu can pretend that you are being even handed, but you aren't. Hughes is learning and has upside. Moose is regressing and has no upside, and in fact, has negative side. His stubborness and lack of "stuff" will not change, Hughes has a lot to learn by going through what he is. Sure, Moose's #s might be a bit better right now, but by the end of the season? Not damn likely.

2008-04-18 18:33:43
141.   fansince77
The Yankees hitters need to do some real reflection. They have been embarassingly bad this year save a couple of recent games. I hate to say it but if we are going to have a chance the Yankee hitters must pick up the pitching!
2008-04-18 18:35:32
142.   monkeypants
131 I really think that you are overreacting. What did we see from Hughes tonight (coming from the guy who did not actually see him tonight, but followed on gamecast)?

He was pretty good but inefficient for five innings, at which point his line was 5 4 1 2 1, not bad at all. He was over 80 pitches when he ended the 5th, and under normal circumstances that would have been his evening. But the pen is short so they pushed him to 97 and ran out of gas, given up a few more hits (including an infield hit) and runs. Then the BP came in and allowed all of his inherited runners to score.

It's pretty much a replay of the last start, except that he pitched much, much better tonight, at least according to his stats. If the team had a lead (ie, scored more than ONE run), Girardi would have pulled Hughes sooner, and we would all be praising his outing as he waited to see if the BP secured his win. All in all, I find such a night pretty encouraging.

This is exactly what the team needs to do with him. He has to pushed to throw 90, 95, 100 pitches. He has to do so facing big league competition, and he has to learn to be more efficient with those pitches. The team needs to figure out if he is really a future ace or a future #3. But they aren't going to do that by burying him in the minors.

And in any case, who replaces him in the rotation?

Nope. This was the deal with going with young pitchers. They have to be willing to suffer through this season, the same way the Cubs endured Maddux's trying first season.

2008-04-18 18:35:44
143.   tommyl
What's with all the doom and gloom? Hughes pitched good to great into the 6th and the wheels came off a bit. Had A-Rod made that play, the run doesn't score, its man on 1st and 2 outs. He also had to throw more pitches due to the Giambi error. Is he Santana right now? no. But go look up Maddux or Clemens' first year or so in the majors, or even Andy's. Let the kid learn.
2008-04-18 18:37:56
144.   monkeypants
Meanwhile, I see the offense has gone back to the ol' "rely on the BUC as our best hitter" plan.
2008-04-18 18:38:22
145.   williamnyy23
140 Hughes has only 150 innings above AA. He hasn't proven everything he needs to in the minors. Besides, no one is talking about having him prove he can dominate in the minots. I am talking about him working on his location, his other pitches (for nights like this when his curve and fastball are flat), and trying to regain some lost velocity.

I agree that Hughes is learning and has upside, but I don't necessarily agree the best place for him to learn is in the majors. You simply can't let him to pitch to a 9 ERA for much longer. It doesn't help him, nor does it help the team.

The comparison to Mussina is a red herring. If you dump Mussina, then Rasner, Igawa or Karstens will take his place. That isn't a sure improvement. The benefit to demoting Hughes, however, is it might allow the Yankees to restore Hughes to an ace pitching prospect, which he really hasn't resembled since that game in Texas.

2008-04-18 18:38:38
146.   Just fair
Damon swinging like a girl will never, ever sit well with me. I don't care if he hits a game winning hr in a world series game. It could start a rally here, however.
2008-04-18 18:40:47
147.   williamnyy23
142 What you missed on gamecast was poor command of the fastball, a non-existent curve and very few swings and misses.

As for Maddux, the 1987 Cubs went 73-88. I don't think the Yankees are prepared for that.

2008-04-18 18:42:23
148.   Just fair
I just don't like Kevin Millar.
2008-04-18 18:42:28
149.   SF Yanks
147 A non-existent curve with 15-16 inches of break just like in his last few starts. Yup, non-existent...
2008-04-18 18:42:39
150.   williamnyy23
143 The gist of my argument is that Hughes was not pitching well through 5 innings. In fact, my first critical post came before Hughes was knocked out in the 6th.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-04-18 18:43:04
151.   williamnyy23
Did Abreu swing 3-1? If so, that's awful.
2008-04-18 18:43:50
152.   OldYanksFan
I may be wrong, but it seems like EVERY inherited runner Phil has left on, the BP has let score. My guess is he was out due to pitch count, but I'd rather keep him in there then bring in LaTroy.
2008-04-18 18:44:13
153.   williamnyy23
149 Are you watching the game or viewing game cast? Almost every breaking curve was in the dirt. In addition, he left several flat ones up in the zone. Hughes pretty much abandoned the curve because he rarely threw it for a strike.
2008-04-18 18:45:51
154.   weeping for brunnhilde
I just gotta say, I'm sick of this losing.

Sick of it.

I want to be a dangerous team.

2008-04-18 18:47:09
155.   51cq24
153 i've been watching every pitch and you are dead wrong on his curve. it was breaking a little TOO much in the early innings, thus not being called for a strike when it looked like it crossed the plate in the zone. his fastball command was way off, but his curve was very nice. and he never stopped throwing it.
2008-04-18 18:48:39
156.   seattleyank
My biggest concern is not Hughes' results--we knew he would be inconsistent and lose plenty of games this year. My concern is that we have yet to see any flashes of brilliance--whether it be pinpoint command, making hitters beat balls into the ground, filthy stuff that gets strikeouts, whatever. We're not seeing any of that. We're seeing mediocre command of fair stuff. Of course, he could absolutely get it back it, but he isn't showing any signs of it now.
2008-04-18 18:48:53
157.   SF Yanks
150 He was pitching well. What ballgame are you watching?

Because his curve was in the dirt, doesn't mean it was non-existent. He threw plenty of good curves tonight. I'm watching tv while checking gameday, btw. Maybe we are just watching two different angles of the same game... shit I don't know.

2008-04-18 18:48:56
158.   williamnyy23
155 We must be watching a different game. Maybe we can settle this when the pitch data becomes available.
2008-04-18 18:52:11
159.   monkeypants
147 "As for Maddux, the 1987 Cubs went 73-88. I don't think the Yankees are prepared for that. "

Well, that's a different argument then. That has little to do with the benefits of seasoning Hughes in the minors or against MLBers, and everything to do with the Yankees' organization impatience.

2008-04-18 18:52:12
160.   williamnyy23
156 That's my point too. I first made the comment before the 6th, so it isn't a reaction to the bad inning. Hughes fastball and curve (what happened to other pitches?) were both far from dominant today.

157 I've been watching the Yankees versus the Orioles. He threw plenty of curves earlier on, but either hung them or bounced them. I am anxious to see how many swings and misses, or even called strikes, came from the curve.

2008-04-18 18:54:23
161.   williamnyy23
159 This also isn't the Cubs. I am sure the potential scars of imploding on the Yankees in 2008 would be much greater than bombing for the Cubs in 1987.

Again, organizational patience could also mean Hughes getting sent back down to re-work on his craft.

2008-04-18 18:54:28
162.   monkeypants
156 Hmmm...we'll have to agree to disagree. I watched the disaster in Boston and saw plenty of flashes: wicked curves, fastballs pouring in at 94, a couple absolute sick K's, and so forth.

Nope, the flashes are there. It's the consistency that is lacking.

2008-04-18 18:57:19
163.   fansince77
Jeter range much much much improved this year...maybe better than ever up the middle.
2008-04-18 18:57:44
164.   monkeypants
161 Maybe. But I also witnessed the old 80s Columbus Shuttle, where a bat AB or rough start meant banishment to AAA. I'm sick of seeing young players yo-yoed or traded. I would far prefer to see him pitch for the season and take his lumps.
2008-04-18 18:58:15
165.   williamnyy23
162 There were some flashes in that game, but beyond them he was pretty bad. It's kind of stretch to see positives in that particular performance.

I want Hughes to succeed as much as anyone, but I get the impression that a lot of Yankees fans want a hone grown stud so badly, they are blinding themselves to the possibility that Hughes may either not be an ace, or may need more time to reach his potential.

2008-04-18 18:58:21
166.   Just fair
Have you guys been watching the Yanks' batters get shut down by the incredible O's pitching? Man. and Bedard's on the dl for the Mariners. These games BLOW.
And for what it's worth. I'd rather see Hughes struggle and or dominate in the Bigs than do the same vs. the Rochester Red Wings. As they say, driving (playoffs) is a privilege, not a right.
2008-04-18 18:59:41
167.   williamnyy23
164 This isn't the 1980's though. Hughes has had a strecth in the majors. I am sure he'll at least get another 3-4 starts. But, if he continues to struggle, I don't see the point of having him go out to get pounded every 5th day. Not only will that criple the team, but it could seriously stunt his growth.
2008-04-18 19:00:51
168.   Yankees Brasil
161 If we had somebody who could be a little bit better than Hughes has been, I would agree that sending him back to the minors would be the right thing to do0. But since we don't have options for his spot, I think it's best to leave him up with the big club to try and work through this.
2008-04-18 19:01:49
169.   monkeypants
167 Well, let's just agree to disagree. I do not think it will stunt his growth; rather I think it will only help. Moreover, if he is to replaced by Kei Igawa, I will gladly watch him get pounded every 5th day. Especially if getting pounded means giving up one earned run in 5 inning.
2008-04-18 19:02:45
170.   williamnyy23
168 That's's likely that he could perform better than Igawa, Karstens, et al (which basically is an ERA under 6), but again, that ignores the point about whether that is in Hughes' best interest from a developmental standpoint.
2008-04-18 19:04:41
171.   williamnyy23
169 He gave up 5 ERs in 5 IP today, but I get your point. I just don't think getting hammered will help Hughes develop, and, I do think he still needs to develop quite a bit.
2008-04-18 19:04:48
172.   Just fair
Good ab, Giambi.
2008-04-18 19:06:01
173.   OldYanksFan
The Yankees hit 2 screamers that inning.
How many screamers did Phil allow?
How many deep flys/HRs/gap shots?

I saw grounders threw and some soft liners.
It wasn't great, but even without his best stuff, he seemed they were not hitting him hard.

ARod had a play at the plate, lost concentration, blew the play, and the game got away. Up to that point, Phil was fine. Not great, but a decent showing.

2008-04-18 19:07:10
174.   Yankees Brasil
I just wish Hughes would have the command and control he had in the minors. Right now he seems afraid to throw strikes with his FB and he can't control his curve or changeup at all, hanging them up in the zone on several occasions.
2008-04-18 19:07:16
175.   monkeypants
165 "they are blinding themselves to the possibility that Hughes may either not be an ace, or may need more time to reach his potential."

That's interesting. I am perfectly willing to accept that he is not going to be an ace or needs more time to reach his potential. i just feel that he can do this just as well in the MLB.

You on the other hand see a few bad starts and jump to the conclusion that he is either not ready or is not an ace. Such a reaction can only come someone who assumes that he will be an ace. So, in effect, your own rhetoric sounds like the type of Hughes fans that you are criticizing!

OK, now I am yanking your chain a bit. Let's wait those three or four more starts that you say Hughes will get. Maybe I'll come around to you way of thinking by then.

2008-04-18 19:07:42
176.   Just fair
171 Hughes did anything but "get hammered" today. Lack of location, yes, Latroyed, yes, hammered, no.
2008-04-18 19:08:52
177.   williamnyy23
173 There were a few balls hit hard. Roberts lead off the game with a line drive. Markasis his a line drive to Melky at some point and then hit a hard smash up the middle. The bigger point for me, however, is I think you can count the swings and misses on one hand, and that's against a pretty weak lineup.
2008-04-18 19:08:57
178.   Yankees Brasil
173 He hasn't had his best stuff for a while now. And you can't even blame it on the cold weather, because it's not even cold there.
2008-04-18 19:11:31
179.   williamnyy23
175 It's not a few's his entire body of work since he returned from the DL. I am looking for dominant stuff more than results. Right now, Hughes isn't getting either. I am willing to allow him to make 10 starts or so, but if Hughes continues to struggle, I'd much rather have him return to the minors.
2008-04-18 19:12:31
180.   Max
So far things are playing out a lot like last year. Two putative aces (Wang, Andy) and several #5 starters and castoffs desperately striving to deliver a #3 starter-type performance once in a while.

I am with all those that preach patience with the young guys, at least in theory...but I also share william's concern that a rebuilding year in the final year of Yankee Stadium isn't exactly appetizing. But it looks that's what we're getting.

2008-04-18 19:14:12
181.   williamnyy23
Not to pick solely on Hughes, but I think Girardi also need to shuffle the lineup until Giambi, Cano and Damon get going. Matsui needs to play every day, Jeter needs to lead off and Melky needs to move up in the order. I also think Ensberg needs to be playing against lefties for the time being.
2008-04-18 19:14:55
182.   Max
180 sorry, "looks like that's what we're getting".
2008-04-18 19:15:48
183.   Yankees Brasil
The main thing with Hughes is since he came back from the DL, he seems afraid to throw strikes with his FB. He's always working around the plate instead of attacking it. Another thing is, he's been a 2-pitch pitcher, something he wasn't before (if I remember correctly, that game against Texas, before he hit the DL, he threw a bunch of changeups, including a 3-pitch strikeout of a good hitter, don't remember who, throwing only change ups).
2008-04-18 19:16:02
184.   OldYanksFan
"Latroyed, yes, hammered, no."
This could be a much bigger problem. LaTroyed!

Actually, I'm more upset the our O is still very poor. ARod is like 1/16 with RISP. Giambi, my buddy, does appear to have lost some bat speed. I don't think JD has hit the ball hard more then a few times. Cano and Po are off their games.

It is much more our O that is losing games, rather then are pitching.

2008-04-18 19:17:34
185.   williamnyy23
180 Not only am I concerned about having a bad season in 2008, but I am also concerned about the development of Hughes.

I am not trying to make any definitive statements really...just that some serious red flags have gone up, and the Yankees (and their fans) need to be prepared to re-examine their strategy with Hughes.

2008-04-18 19:19:24
186.   williamnyy23
183 That's what I've noticed too. Could a return to the minors allow him to refine his mechanics to add velcoity, improve fastball command and develop the change and slider? I don't know...but all (or maybe most) of those things need to happen for Hughes to be more than an average starter.
2008-04-18 19:19:56
187.   Yankees Brasil
184 We left 9 on base through 8 innings. We had 7 hits and just 2 runs, so yeah, you are right on, our offense has been pretty pathetic so far. And because of that I'd really consider signing Bonds and let Giambi's corpse (or Damon's) sit on the bench.
2008-04-18 19:23:33
188.   Yankees Brasil
186 I don't think velocity is a problem right now. If anything, it's "too much". He's been hitting 92, 93 consistently (per gameday) on his last few starts, and with that velocity came those control issues. So he might even been overthrowing a little, causing him to lose his mechanics and therefore his command and control.
2008-04-18 19:26:51
189.   williamnyy23
188 That's a problem then, because Hughes should be able to command more than 92 mph. In the minors, Hughes threw harder and commanded 92mph. At that speed, he doesn't seem to miss too many bats.
2008-04-18 19:30:41
190.   fansince77
187 I agree with you completely. If Arod guns down ___ at the plate, we might be talking about a 3-2 Yankee win. If Arod or Abreu or anyone for that matters gets a big hit with RISP we could have been looking at a Yankee blowout. Hughes' stuff is good enough but the anemic offense needs to put him in decent positions to get confidence. He can't go down to the minors because he is the third best we got!
2008-04-18 19:36:08
191.   Mattpat11
Someone on channel nine is suggesting calling up the I word.


2008-04-18 19:40:25
192.   Yankees Brasil
189 He did not throw harder in the minors. He's always had 92-93mph on his FB. The only problem he's had is command, which he had in the minors and he doesn't have it right now.
2008-04-18 19:44:50
193.   williamnyy23
192 In a recent chat, Keith Law said topped out at 95mph. Except for a few pitches in Fenway, I haven't seem him go beyond 93mph. In other words, 94-95 should be where he struggles with his command. He should be locked in at 92-93mph.
2008-04-18 21:03:53
194.   weeping for brunnhilde
184 Tough to score runs when three out of nine guys are on the interstate.
2008-04-18 21:04:50
195.   weeping for brunnhilde
190 I wonder when those hits are going to start to come.
2008-04-18 21:08:04
196.   Zack
Again, William, you seem to be under the belief that a return trip to the minors will somehow help him work things out, but clearly the problem is with the majors. Last year after the injury, on his rehabs he dominated the minors but once he hit the majors, he struggled. Hughes has to cut his teeth in the majors, working through his feel to get his pitches back rather than being able to get by on his basic stuff and not be challenged. In the majors, if he doesn't have great control, he'll get hit. In the minors, probably not. He needs to work on his emotions, control, grip, and other pitches, and it needs to be against the best hitters he can face..

You are afraid the Yanks might have a crappy last season in Yankee Stadium. Me? I'll gladly trade that for getting Hughes, Joba, and Kennedy the experience they need. Besides, its freaking April and the Yanks are right in the middle of things. They'll scuffle, but until the offense comes around, its not going to matter at all anyways...The way this team was designed, the offense was/is going to have to carry them anyways, until the rotation could be stabilized. Period.

2008-04-18 21:37:41
197.   monkeypants
I have been preaching patience with Hughes and Kennedy, yet I have also been the first to call for various starters on offense to be benched based on early season sample sizes. I must admit to my own hypocrisy. Still, I cannot shake the feeling that we will not get very much our Giambi this season

I had really hoped, and almost convinced myself, that he would have one last decent season, after which the Yanks would buy him out. How long should the team wait for his production to come around?

In recent days I have ragged on Damon. But the more I think about it, Giambi is really killing the team right now. When do they pull the plug? I would not be opposed to benching him now in favor of Ensberg, and if that doesn't work Duncan is eligible to come back in a few days.

2008-04-18 21:44:24
198.   weeping for brunnhilde
197 What kind of production are you looking for out of him?
2008-04-18 21:56:12
199.   monkeypants
198 I figured a minimum of .250/.350/.450, which would be below average production from 1B. That said, he slugged over .500 four out of the last six years, and was even c. .430 last year, so I was hoping for an SLG somewhere in the .480 range, Anything extra would be gravy. Moreover, his OBP is consistently about .150 higher than his BA, so it's not a stretch to imagine an OBP closer to .400. So, overall, I didn't think that it was unreasonable that he would rebound for something like .250/.380/.480, which would be good enough indeed.
2008-04-18 22:12:41
200.   weeping for brunnhilde
199 I could see him doing that. He's still got his power.

But man, I'm tired of watching him and whatever he does this year, I'll be pleased to see him gone.

Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2008-04-18 22:55:46
201.   weeping for brunnhilde
Btw, Jorgie quietly looks just as good as last year, doesn't he?

He's spraying the ball around and never seems to go very long without hitting the ball hard. His stroke seems pretty compact.

2008-04-19 00:10:02
202.   Schteeve
Sending Phil down would be a bad idea. If his mechanics were all out of whack, I'd be ok with it, but his problems appear to me to be mental. He needs to learn how to pitch to big league hitters. It's gonna take time, but if the organization is patient, I'm sure he'll get there.

As for flashes of brilliance, doesn't anyone remember his outing in the playoffs last year? I recall brilliance.

2008-04-19 00:10:59
203.   Schteeve
199 I say we give him two more weeks.
2008-04-19 04:43:15
204.   OldYanksFan
199 I agree. I had hoped for more, but still expect Giambi to help this team. If you want to find SOMETHING good to say, his OBP is .175 pts higher then his (non existant) BA... so at least he does not appear to be freaking out.

However, one stalled batter doesn't kill a team. See Big Papi, Red Sox. Currently, Giambi's offensive problems are just the tip of the iceberg.

Posada has an OPS of .716. BELOW him are Jeter, Damon, Cano and Giambi. Po and Jeter have stepped it up a bit recently, but that's FIVE guys who's numbers wouldn't crack the DRays lineup.

To hurt a bit more, while ARod has a decent OPS of .900, he is 1 for 16 with RISP. If he simply had his .900 OPS with RISP, we probably have 2 more wins. Not jumpin' on ARod, just sayin.

But again I point out that with a brutal schedule and frigid temperatures, we are just 2 behind Boston, and ahead of Cleveland and Detroit.

So.... we have sucked a bit so far, but if this is (hopefully) the worst of it, we are in decent shape. Let's not forget last year. This is still an excellent team with a GM who WILL do what's necessary to give them every chance possible.

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