Friday, September 30, 2005

The Final Weekend

It was almost another "here we go again" night last night. I walked out when the Junkees were winning and the Sox were losing, and felt like things were over and done. If the Sox lost three of four to the Jays, I thought, they don't deserve to even make the playoffs. But Big Papi showed once again why he, not A-Schmuck, ought to be MVP. A-Rod's been good, but aside from the homer off Schilling in July, has not had too many moments like these. And how many times has Ortiz done this?

So it's a one-game gap between the Sox and the Yankees heading into the weekend. Best-case scenario: obviously, a Red Sox sweep. That would clearly give them the division, and if the Indians win a couple of games (very possible now that the White Sox have clinched), that would mean a Yankee-free October.

And let's say the Red Sox take 2 of 3? So then the season would end with the two teams tied, and lead to a one-game playoff at Yankee Stadium. Aside from home-field, the Yanks would have a big edge in pitching. The Red Sox will have already used Wells, Wakefield, and Schilling, so who's left? Arroyo? Clement? Not good. The Yanks have Chacon (whom the Red Sox have hit hard in the past) and Small (on 3 days rest). And if they're desparate, Jaret Wright. I don't like the Sox' chances in a one-game playoff.

And if the Yanks take two of three, forget it. The Sox might be able to make it if the Indians screw up, which is unlikely.

As for the pitching matchups: Wang vs. Wells: Wang hasn't been great since coming off the DL; he's got a 4.44 ERA with batters hitting .291 off him. Then again, batters are hitting .304 off Wells since the All-Star break. And he's got health issues. But he's had some good starts against the Junkees this year.

Key stat with Wells, though: 7-1, 3.00 at home this year, 7-6, 5.56 away.

Saturday: Wakefield vs. Johnson: Both teams play their hot hand: Wakefield has a 1.99 ERA in September, while Johnson has a 2.17 mark in the month. And in September: .167 BAA. Johnson's got a big home/away differential too, though: 11-2, 3.13 at home, and 5-6, 4.71 away.

Sunday: you really don't know what you'll get out of either pitcher. Mussina had a good first start after coming off the DL, but was bombed by the Orioles. Schilling has been a mixed bag lately, but has done well against the Junkees.

I'd love to see a sweep here, but I think the realistic prediction is Boston taking two of three.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

It Ain't Over....

You know it's a crappy night when you title a Yankee Despiser piece with a quote from Yogi, of all people. But yeah, it was that kind of night. Yanks and White Sox win, Red Sox and Indians lose. Yanks up by one in the division. Small pitching tomorrow, against a Baltimore lineup that went back to dead tonight.

Those damn Jays have been to the Red Sox like the Rays were to the Junkees: an annoying thorn in the side. Frank Catalanotto turned into David Ortiz and hit like crazy. Arroyo stunk it up. And the Red Sox couldn't buy a friggin' hit with runners in scoring position. So many opportunities wasted.

And Arroyo once again proved why a Red Sox repeat looks damn near impossible right now. Last year, the pitching was much better. Pedro, Schilling in top form, and Wakefield. And in the clutch, Derek Lowe stepped it up. This year, aside from Wakefield, there's nobody you can really trust in a big game. Wells? The same guy that bailed out in the '03 World Series? Come on. Clement has stunk it up in the second half. Arroyo is still inconsistent. You never know what to expect from Schilling these days. And don't get me started on the middle relief. Then again, a Red Sox championship looked damn near impossible last October, after that infamous 19-8 thrashing. But with Dave Roberts no longer on the team...

And I think Mark Shapiro has pulled ahead of Theo Epstein in the young-Jewish-neophyte GM category. But that's a whole piece in and of itself.

Anyway, there are still four games left. Anything can happen. The Sox can win a few, the Yanks can lose a few. But things are not looking too good right now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Baltimore Comes Alive!

How about that, 17 runs against Yankee pitching? Never thought I'd see the O's do that without Roberts, the other Juice Man, and Sammy Sosa. (Although the way Sosa was this year, they probably wouldn't have scored all those runs with his bat in there.) Too bad it had to happen on a night where the Sox and Indians lost. Guess they can't win 'em all.

A few things to ponder, after tonight:

- How will Moose fare against the Sox, in a lineup not littered with the Newhans and Bernie Castros of the world? Will he step it up when it really counts? Or will he be even worse than tonight?

- Now that the O's are alive, will they do anything in the last two games of the series? Or will they just revert to old ways, and get clobbered once again?

- The Yanks and Red Sox have no middle relief. Nothing. The Yanks have Rivera and Gordon, and nothing else. The Sox have Timlin and Papelbon, and nothing else. This weekend's series just might come down to which team's starters can stay in the game the longest.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Should've Been Gone Long Ago

Interesting hearing the Yankee fans serenade Bernie in what hopefully is his last home game with the Bombers (At least things are still tied). Unless the Yanks are dumb enough to bring the guy back for another year, that is.

But that said, even a Yankee hater can't discount Bernie's contribution to the Junkees' dynasty. The guy was humble, played hard, and got his fair share of clutch hits. And yes kids, once upon a time, Bernie could actually play a half-decent center field.

But Bernie should've gone out on top, like Paul O'Neill and Scott Brosius. And Mattingly, to an extent (who of course was never the same after '89). Those guys knew when to leave, before they would start embarrassing themselves. Heck, Brosius hung 'em up a week after hitting the biggest homer of his career. And O'Neill even swiped a career-high 22 bases in his final year, although his .267 mark led to a lot of slammed helmets and smashed water coolers.

But Bernie didn't do so, for whatever reason. Even after hitting in the .260s in '03 and '04. Was it for the love of the game? For the love of the money? I don't know. But Bernie will go out like Robbie Alomar and David Cone, leaving us with a bunch of forgettable moments. Instead of the big HR in '96, or the batting title in '98, Bernie's legacy will be filled with all the botched fly balls of the past few years. Filled with all runners who weren't afraid of that arm. Filled with all of those frustrating slumps of '04 and '05, and, perhaps worst of all, being benched for Tony Womack back in May.

Many Yankee fans out there are saying goodbye to Bernie. But many of them ought to be saying good riddance, especially to a .251 hitter with a .696 OPS making $12 million per year.

Calm Down, Junkee Fans

So as always, Junkee fans get all horny that their team is hot, and having surpassed Boston in the standings, they told the Red Sox to have a nice life.

Not so fast.

The Red Sox win, the Junkees lose, and all of a sudden, they're tied. And as it stands, the loser would go home, as there would be no wild card for the AL East runner up to fall back on.

Admittedly, I'd give the advantage to the Junkees. Yes, I know that the BoSox are really good at home, and after Sunday, their remaining games are at Fenway Park, whereas the Junkees play in Baltimore and then Boston. Still, the way the O's have been reeling, Old York has a better chance of knocking them off than Boston does of Toronto, who can be pesky at times.

And the weekend showdown can go either way, so for me to be really confident, the Sox have to win all their games until then, hope the Junkees lose a couple, and then I'll be okay.

Speaking of okay, that is not how Jaret Wright has been, as he continues to be this year's Kevin Brown. He's stunk up the joint, and the fact that the Junkees leave him in the rotation to justify his $21 million salary is just gleeful.

Robinson Cano continues bungling the plays, and more often than not it costs his team. Let the good times roll. And the Juiceman Giambi was back to April form with 6 left on base, including his bases loaded strikeout in the eighth.

Manny Ortiz wrote about the Red Sox, and their ability to turn in on when they have to. Let's hope that they've done just that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Well, Now They're There, Dammit!!

Thank God for football. Otherwise, I don't know what I'd do. Both Sox teams seem to be having a "who can choke faster?" race, and the Red Sox have officially pulled ahead. There are still 10 days to go in the season, and anything can happen. But I sure as hell didn't want THIS to happen. Awful.

Gotta give the Junkees and their $200 million payroll some credit. They always find a way to win. If their pitching gets rocked, they'll just put up 12 runs. And if the hitting is shot, the pitching is stepping it up.

But I don't want to hear about how the Junkees are incredible for coming back from the abyss, for their remarkable turnaround, and what a great job Snorre and Ca$hman did. $200 million teams are supposed to lead the division. (Unless the Yanks go 162-0, they don't impress me.) Especially with top-caliber years from Jeter, A-Rod, Matsui, Rivera, and the Juice Man. Sheff contributed, and lately, RJ has had some very good outings, like tonight.

Especially the Juice Man. The turning point to the Yankees' season was when the Juice Man returned to old form, in more ways than one. He had quite a few big home runs, and added a lot to the Yankees lineup. If the Juice Man stays healthy and (more importantly) juiced, perhaps the '05 Yankees are a better bunch than the '04 version of the team, which featured Tony Clark at first. Bringing up Cano was a good move, and Wang also contributed, but the Junkees' turnaround was all about Juice.

And don't tell me about all the injuries. Yes, a $200 million team can afford to take a few hits, like this team did. Heck, they can take a lot more hits than most other teams out there.

Anyway, a lot can happen in ten days. There's still hope for a Yankee-free October. But with 5 more games against the pathetic O's and 3 against the hapless Jays, the hope looks rather dim.

Did I mention, thank God for football?

Small is Small Again

I know, I'm the one who cringes at every New York Post-style cheesy baseball headline. So why I am putting up such a groan-worthy pun as a title? Well, after seeing "Small Wonder," "Small Comes Up Big," and every other nauseating line out there, I think it's nice to see one with a negative connotation towards the guy.

After a bad outing last time, Small was hit hard again last night. Seemed like the O's had 2 runners on in almost every inning. But like the Junkees early in the year, Baltimore could not get that big hit when they needed to. And with the game's close outcome, that's definitely what cost them in the end. Small pitched 5 decent innings, but with a Leiter-esque 102 pitches.

Amazingly, the Junkees' pen nearly blew the game after that. Heck, the one good thing about that is that Gordon and Rivera are gonna be exhausted by the end of the year. Where have I seen this before?

If the Junkees ruin my October and make it to the postseason, they'll have to get 7-8 innings from every starter to get anywhere. Embree makes Felix Heredia look good. Sturtze is exhausted, and Proctor can't do much. So much for $200 million.

So, do Yankee fans still want Aaron Small in there in a big game? Or Chacon, against a lineup with more than just Wells and Hillenbrand? Looks like AL batters might finally have their number.

--- Watched White Sox-Indians last night, and what a thriller it was. Too bad the Tribe lost. I love how Harrelson refers to the White Sox as "we" and "the good guys." John Sterling ought to start doing that. I don't care if it's unprofessional. "The Giambino" and "Theeeee Yankees Win!" are also unprofessional. Besides, what better way to kiss King George's fanny than, "after 7, good guys up by 2"?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

September 20th, and Still Not There

Like I said the other day, I'm taking this season one day at a time. Sure, the Junkees gained some ground on the struggling BoSox. And yes, they remain a game and a half behind the Indians for the wild card. But the bottom line is that they're still not in the playoffs if the season ends today.

I'm pissed off because it looked like Wang didn't have it, but the Orioles offense is just pathetic. I'm sorry, but Luis Matos doesn't put a scare in me.

There's not much else to say. You can't rely on the Red Sox to do anything because their pitching has been in the toilet. Aaron Small is on the hill tonight for the Junkees, while Shilling starts for Boston, and I bet some people would rather have Small pitch for their team than Curt. I wouldn't, because Small has to have his butt handed to him on a platter one of these days, and I wouldn't be shocked if today is that day. Oh, well. If the Junkees pull it off and make the postseason, I'll just become a soccer fan.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Embree Helps Weekend End on a Good Note

So, the Yankees finally lost. I was just waiting for the day, tired of praying for the Sox and Tribe to keep winning and maintaining their leads.

Wright's injury might have been a good thing for the Junkees today, considering he had nothing. If he would've stayed in the game any longer, things might have really gotten out of hand. Leiter and Sturtze ended up doing a decent job filling in.

For the first few innings, the Yankees looked like the bumbling buffoons we saw in April. A baserunning mistake here, a wild pitch there, and not being able to string anything together against Lilly. So early on, it seemed like an easy win for the Jays. The Junkees made 'em sweat in the 9th, putting the tying run on board for Derek Jeter. But DJ wasn't quite as clutch as he was against the Rays, whiffing to help the Jays salvage one in the series.

The big difference-maker? Embree giving up the insurance run to the Jays in the 8th. That silly PR move is coming back to bite the Yanks, and I think that's great.

With Boston getting whipped today (gotta start worrying about Clement), the AL East lead stays at 1.5. But the biggest difference is the wild-card lead. At 1.5, the Junkees still have a shot to win it, but at least there's now some breathing room for the Tribe. And with the Junkees playing four against the hapless O's, the Indians sure could use that extra game.

-- It's gonna be real interesting to see what happens in that AL Central. I hope Chicago wins some more games, because if they keep stinking it up, the Tribe will take over the Central lead and the White Sox will be left fighting the Junkees for the wild card. And I would take the Junkees in that battle. So the White Sox have to do well the rest of the way, but not too well. Especially with 6 left against Cleveland.

But if it all ended tomorrow, we'd have ourselves a Yankee-free October. Let's hope it stays that way.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Small Gets Rocked

Like I said before, the Junkees are still out of it, and even though that could end by Friday, enjoy it while it lasts.

That said, Aaron Small stunk up the joint on Thursday. He allowed five earned in six and two-thirds innings. Now I know the Junkee fans were getting horny about the guy's eighth win, but come on. Had they not been facing AAA pitching, and the Junkees lose 5-0, nobody's getting too excited. But they beat up on a guy who came in with an ERA over 6.00, so what do you expect? Now I know that Small's been pretty good overall, so for that, it's fair to get horny (although Snorre yanked him from the rotation at one point!), but be a little fair.

- I know the Red Sox have scuffled, and they better hang on to win, because you know that if they blow it, you'll hear about 1978 all over again.

- Things could still turn around because Toronto is somewhat decent, but at times they've also looked like a AAA team.

- In the series, it's RJ, Chacon, and Wright. So I'll sign up right now for two of three. Then again, you're likely to see a few 11-9 contests. Yankee haters, pray hard!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Still Not There

I know it's an annoying cliche, the kind you used to hear from Fred Hickman when he did the pre-game shows on YES, but this is how I feel - you have to take it a day at a time. Right now, on September 15th, the Junkees are still not in the playoffs. I know, they've been hot, they've got the players who can turn it up (a $208 million payroll will do that for you - how much the Red Sox could do with another $60 million or so), and I'll be very pissed if they make it, but the bottom line is that right now, they're out of it. The Sox won, the Indians won, so the Junkees are not there yet.

I can't fret too much about Thursday, although a Yankee win and a Red Sox loss will tighten the gap. The Indians are off, so even a Bummer win will leave them in second place. Fine with me. I'm just going to enjoy each day.

And you know I never count them out. I know that if they sneak into the postseason, they can win it all. If that leads to a salary cap, I'll sign up for it right now, because without the big money advantage, they have no hope of ever winning anything, the way the buffoons run the team.

But I've said enough about the need for a salary cap, so in order to not be a one-trick pony, I'll shut up and enjoy the moment:

Red Sox -
Yankees 2.5

Indians -
Yankees 1

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Yankee Fans Can't Get Too Excited

So, another laugher of a game. Yanks killing the Rays, just like old times.

But there was a game like this in June, where the Yanks won 20-11. After that? They lost two straight to the Rays, including Hendrickson beating Wang. So have the Yanks figured out the Rays yet? We'll find out.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Trop Time Coming Up!

A tough weekend for Junkee-haters, as the Yanks won two out of three. Randy finally decided to show up, and the Juice Man's homer made all the difference yesterday. But I can't complain. At least it's a 3-game spread, rather than just 1. Those two games make a big difference. And Saturday's game was sweet.

It's amazin to me how the Rays can do so well against the Junkees, and the Sox can't quite match up. Maybe they should get Waechter and Hendrickson in the rotation, and get Wells out of there. Put Cantu at second base, Jonny Gomes in the outfield, and Carl Crawford instead of Manny. And just for Randy Johnson, get Eduardo Perez. Then again, if they had that team, the Red Sox probably wouldn't be in first. Go figure.

But my favorite series of the year comes to a close over the next three games. The Yanks and Rays go for 3 more, and then the Junkees play the O's and Jays for about two weeks straight. Spoilers, anyone?

But as long as the Indians keep on winning, things are in good shape. They play the A's next, which won't be an easy matchup. They have 10 games remaining against the Royals and Rays, though, which definitely works in their favor. The 6 against the White Sox might be tough, but Chicago has slowed down quite a bit over the second half. They're 30-26 since the All-Star break, and their once-huge AL Central lead is down to 5 and 1/2 games. As Jon Miller pointed out last night, by the time the Indians-White Sox series comes around, it may be a battle for the division title.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Ca-no Can't Field

After Friday's Red Sox disaster, the Junkees returned the favor yesterday. The usually reliable Shemp booted a ball, Lawton screwed up again, and Cano did his best Chuck Knoblauch imitation.

Cano's hitting prowess has long since died down, though he quietly had a good week this week (7 for 13). In today's Post, Joel Sherman points out that Cano has the lowest pitches seen per plate appearance in the league (a mere 3.03), which explains his awful OBP (.313). No wonder the guy was awful at the #2 hole. This guy makes Jose reyes look like a patient hitter. At least Snorre eventually saw the light and bumped the guy to the 9 hole, but waiting so long to do so might have cost his team a few wins.

And Cano is looking like a disaster in the field. He has two errors in the series so far, and a costly error in the 9th recently cost the Yankees a game. And something similar happened in August, though I can't remember exactly which game. Cano's fielding % is the second-worst among AL 2B, right ahead of Soriano. Add Cano to the Yankees' list of awful fielding 2B, joining the likes of Sax, Sori, and of course, Knoblauch. As the Despiser pointed out, it seems like the last decent-fielding Yankee 2B was Willie Randolph. Or, back when Felix Hernandez was 3 years old.

So the days of Cano being the next Derek Jeter seem as far gone as the days when Tino was crushing the ball every night. Yankee fans are too busy going crazy over Aaron Small to talk about this guy anymore. The truth is, Cano is probably the next Mariano Duncan. Maybe.

-- Best thing about yesterday's win: Schilling finally returning to form. And not a moment too soon. If Curt can keep this up.....

-- And did anyone notice Andy Pettitte notching his 15th win yesterday?

-- Go Indians!!!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Lawton and Bellhorn: Useless

Chalk up another two for Brian Ca$hman. His new acquisitions are batting a combined .103, with Lawton at 3 for 28, and Bellhorn at 1 for 11. The Junkees thought they were smarter than everyone else, which is what they always think. Their recent dive in the standings is largely thanks to the two clowns they picked up.

I was actually a little nervous about Lawton, because he's always been a decent hitter. Never great, but good enough, and certainly better than Tony Womack (who isn't this year?). I even considered it a this-is-it moment, meaning that this move would push them over the top.

Bellhorn, on the other hand, was a win-win pickup, kind of like Leiter, Small, and Chacon. Because there are no expectations, if they do great then Ca$hman is a genius, and if they're lousy, we didn't think they'd do anything anyway, so the buffoon is safe. For some reason, though, we don't hear about Tim Redding or Darrell May, or Buddy Groom, or Melky Cabrera.... Or even Robinson Cano and his .307 on base percentage. Or the biggest bust of all, Randy Johnson. Should have kept Pettitte....

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Tribe Back on Top

Last night's game was one of those that just leaves an awful taste in your mouth. Tampa Bay was leading, 4-3, and you figure, okay, the Junkees will lose another one to the Rays. Then the Juice Boy comes up, and it's another Yankees classic. And on a night where the Sox and the Indians win, the Yanks come out unscathed.

So tonight's game was a lot better. Wang was not in top form, and Proctor and Franklin (no law firm lines, please) gave the Rays all the runs they needed. So the Junkees come into the weekend series against Boston a half-game behind the Indians in the wild card. Nice.

It's a big weekend on both fronts. While the Yanks play division rival Boston, the Indians have a tough opponent in the Twins. As I said before, I don't have much faith in Schilling, but hopefully the Sox can pull out the other two games.

Friday night is Wells vs. Small. After Opening Night, Wells has done nicely against the Junkees. And I think the Sox offense might be the one to finally send Small back down to earth.

As for Saturday, much as I dread Schilling being out there, I like the Sox' chances against Chacon.

And Sunday might be the best pitching matchup of the series, Wakefield vs. Johnson. Aaron Boone aside, Wakefield is usually very good against the Yanks. Question is, though, which Randy Johnson will show up?

And the biggest X-factor of them all: can the Sox play as well outside of Fenway?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Gotta Love Those Rays

Once again, this was one of those nights where I thought the normal order of the universe had been restored. Eduardo Perez didn't hit any dingers off Randy, and when RJ got out of the jam unscathed in the 6th, that 'ol dreaded "here we go again" came to mind.

But enter the 7th, and things changed. Johnson gave up a couple of hits, and Flush Gordon gave up a sac fly to tie things up.

When the Junkees put a couple of runners on against Orvell in the 8th, I thought they were gonna win it. But Bernie hit into a DP, so we could all relax.

And between the hits off Mo and the Cano error, the 9th was sweet. I'm offically a D-Rays fan. Time for me to get my cap and my Jonny Gomes jersey. Nah, I've gotta go with Jorge Cantu.

-- It was a sweet night overall, with Boston winning on a Big Papi walk-off shot and Cleveland winning as well. And as I write this, the A's are winning.

The only bummer is, since I said I was rooting for the Mets in the wild-card race, they've gone 1-6. Awful. Well, there's always the Astros. And the potential sight of Clemens and Pettitte playing October ball while their ex-teammates play golf. That would be sweet.

Small and Chacon Do It Again

I don't care about how nice the "feel-good" stories are about these guys. I don't care if Small was in 15 million organizations till now. I don't care about the fact that Chacon suffered through all those years in Coors Field. Right now, I can't stand these two guys.

In a way, I hate them more than A-Rod or Sheff. While A-Rod might be an arrogant jerk, the guy is still one of the best players in the game. So you expect the guy to do very well, though you always hope he has an off-year like last year.

But Chacon and Small? These guys are supposed to stink! They're supposed to give up 6 runs a game! Small is supposed to be a downgrade, not an upgrade from Mussina! What the heck is going on!?

I guess the only thing more irritating than an arrogant Yankee is an overacheiving Yankee.

-- After Friday night, I thought the A's had the series locked up. But it seems like the A's aren't the shoo-in they were just a few weeks ago. The injuries are starting to catch up to this team, as is the less-than-impressive offense. When it comes down to it, the offense is still about Eric Chavez and a few decent others. As in years past, the A's chances will hinge upon dominant starting pitching.

-- I don't know about you, but I'm dreading the Schilling game vs. the Junkees coming this Saturday. I've kinda given up on Schilling doing anything this year; though it would be something if the guy could step it up once again come October.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Did Snorre Overuse Mussina?

So, the latest injury to hit the Yankees' pitching staff has been to Moose. Mussina, of course, was the only one in the original rotation not to miss any starts. Until yesterday, that is.

And Mussina's injury is no big surprise. Heck, the guy's 36 years old, and had a stint on the DL last year, too. So while perhaps we could've expected Moose to make all his starts, no one should be surprised that the injury bug hit him again.

And I have a feeling that Snorre might have burned the guy out. His 101 pitches-per-game average is a bit lower than his career average (104) (although Moose only averaged 96 per game last year), so he hasn't been used more than in other years. But again, this is a guy who's not getting any younger, and who has had injuries in recent years. The guy can't do what he used to do.

This year, Mussina is 6th in the AL in pitches thrown. And most of the guys on that list are a lot younger, like Zito, Buehrle, Haren, and Freddy Garcia. The only other people Mussina's age or older in the AL's top 10 are Randy Johnson and Tim Wakefield (who, as a knuckleballer, doesn't really count).

Not surprisingly, Mussina is also 7th in the AL in pitches per inning, with 16.6. With a .282 BAA (a career high), the guy has had trouble getting out of innings quickly, which is taking a toll on his arm. So perhaps it's Mussina doing it to himself, in a sense. But again, Snorre, as manager, has to realize when to pull the guy out of the game.

And the guy has been used a lot in recent games. In 3 of 5 starts in July/August, Moose had 115, 122, and 115 as his pitch count for the game. These days, that's a heck of a lot for any pitcher. Especially for a 36 year old.

Who knows? Maybe Moose was bound to break down no matter what, no matter how much or how little he was used. But there's always room for speculation. Especially here.

--- Looks like Moose's injury was a blessing in disguise, at least for one game. If Small keeps this up, I'll be praying for Mussina to get back in there. When is Small gonna finally crack, like Chacon did in Safeco?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Seattle Split for Yanks

I said before this series that I would be very happy if the stinky M's got a split in this series. And so I am pleased with where things stand right now. Boston built up some breathing room in their lead over the Junkees, pulling 2 games ahead in the standings to their current 3 1/2 game lead. And now we have a three-way tie for the wild card.

I was surprised by the way things turned out this series. I figured the Junkees wouldn't score much against King Felix, but I thought they would hit like crazy against Seattle's awful pitchers, the same way they did back in May. But aside from the Juice Man's big game in game one, the Junkee bats were uncharacteristically quiet the rest of the series. Shemp in a little slump, which is why Snorre DH'ed him last night. Perhaps the big X-factor here is Robby Cano's struggle: the guy added some depth to the lineup, and his performance, along with Bernie and Posada's subpar performances, has caused the Junkees' lineup to become very top-heavy. It has also caused some annoying Yankee fans to shut up about their "incredible" farm system.

And I think it's safe to say that Tanyon Sturtze has officially turned into the '05 version of Paul Quantrill (who just got dumped by the Padres, BTW). I think Snorre is to blame for burning out his relievers. It cost him last year, especially when Gordon was awful in the ALCS. And so far, the guy hasn't learned much from his mistakes. And if you want to give Snorre a pass and say, "it's not his fault that the starters have stunk and that he had to go to the 'pen a lot," then you've got to pin the blame on Cashman. A $200 million team should not have to burn out their relievers.

So now we have a great series coming up: Oakland and the Junkees. The A's didn't fare to well against the Angels, but they are certainly a different team than the garbage the Yanks faced in May. The big question though is how much Crosby's injury will affect the A's. Someone on ESPN said that the turning point for the A's early in the year was when Crosby came off the DL. Then again, the pitchers are more locked in now than they were back then. And Eric Chavez wasn't hitting back then, either. Let's see what happens, and hope the A's, Angels, and Indians all win.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

RJ Beats Up on AAA Team

This is from an ESPN chat:

Seymour, Brooklyn: So what do you think about the Yankees chances at the title with a dominant Unit?

Rob Neyer: (11:28 AM ET ) He looked great last night, albeit against what was, with the exception of Richie Sexson and Raul Ibanez, essentially a Class AAA lineup. Even if RJ's healthy, though, what about the rest of the rotation? Right now it's Wright, Leiter, Chacon, Small. The Yankees always have a puncher's chance, but considering their rotation they could also 13-17 down the stretch and watch the postseason on TV.