Friday, June 30, 2006

4 Up and Counting

After 1978, it's impossible to get excited about a Red Sox division lead in July, unless they're 20 games up. But they're 4 up, and have a chance to gain a big lead over the weekend.

The Yanks play the NL's top team, the Mets, over the weekend. Boston has a chance to extend its winning streak, playing Florida and then TB. This can get good, very good.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

End of Two Eras?

With the Yankees-Atlanta series in full swing, I've officially started thinking about a Yankee-free October.

It will take a miracle for the Braves to make the postseason this year. The Mets are red-hot, the Phillies are a decent team, and even the Marlins have proven that they're not a $15 million pushover. So the Braves find themselves in a pretty competitive division. Very hard to imagine an October without them, but with the season almost halfway done, they've got almost no shot.

The Yanks are still within striking distance, but this year looks a lot different from years past. First of course is the injury factor, with the Yanks missing so many players and having no bench or farm system. Second, for the first time ever, it looks like the wild card will come out of the AL Central. Detroit has been so hot for so long that everyone is taking them seriously. And the White Sox are as good as ever. Unless the Tigers collapse, chances are both teams are going to October. That would mean that this year would be the first year without both Boston and New York in the postseason since 2002.

- Gotta love how the Red Sox have been playing lately. The Mets series is a big test; if they can beat them 2 out of three, I'll be thrilled.

Hard to take the Yanks-Marlins and Yanks-Braves too seriously. The Yanks are playing two bad teams. It was cool seeing Yankee Stadium empty on Sunday night. I know, I know, it was a makeup game, but with New York turning into Mets town, the Yanks better get used to it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mussina's Lousy, Junkees Still Win

Well, it was one of those nights. But back to the Moose. He's becoming the Melky Cabrera of pitchers. Back on May 31st he handily beat the Tigers 6-1 and led the league in ERA and all over talk radio it was declared - the Moose is back! We haven't seen him this effective in years!

Fast forward four starts:

Red Sox: 4 ER in 6 IP
Oakland: 3 ER in 7 IP (not horrible)
Cleveland: 6 ER in 5.2 IP
Phillies: 5 ER in 5 IP

Works out to an ERA of 6.85.

If the "ace" of your staff is pitching as such, forget it. You're sunk.

Give props to the Junkee offense - yes, Arthur Rhodes is 100 years old, but they got it done, and kept pace with Boston, who looks like they have a better chance THIS YEAR to dethrone the Yanks than last year.

And with the Tigers and White Sox doing great, the wild card is no sure thing.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Melky's June Swoon Continues

After an 0-5 night, Melky Cabrera is now batting .169 this month. Now you might say, so what, his OBP is high. True, his .308 June OBP is not horrible, but come on. That's stretching it a little. Take a look at his slugging percentage. For June, it's .231. Of his 11 June hits, only two have been extra bases - one homer, and one double. And his seasonal slugging average is only .313. I'm sorry, that is just not getting it done, especially if you're a corner outfielder. If you're Omar Vizquel maybe, but .313 slugging is horrendous.

Another Beautiful Night for Farnsworthless and the Junkees

What can I say? I didn't expect a Phillie win and a Junkee loss on Monday night. I turned on YES to see that Abreu and Howard were not in the lineup against Randy (because RJ has allowed only one lefty homerun this season, and that was to Mark Kotsay), and yet, the Phils take this one 4-2.

RJ was better than I thought he'd be in the bandbox, actually pitching decently. And the Yankees drew six walks, outhit the Phils, so on paper, it looked like an easy one for Old York. But it wasn't to be, as they squandered one opportunity after another.

So RJ lowers his ERA to 5.21, Farnsworthless is now at 4.70 after his wild pitch strikeout allows an insurance run to score (not to mention two walks prior), and I know the fans are going to cry injury. Hey, you know what? If the guy can't pitch, DL him! But once he's out there, I don't want to hear it.

So now Snorre is starting to realize that Farnsworthless is no good in a big spot, so watch him come in during the 8-0 blowouts.

Anyway, Red Sox win, Yankees lose, Yankees are two games out of first.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Yankees Get Ousted Out of First

Man oh man, could the weekend have been better? Maybe had the Nationals beaten Old York on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday were incredible wins, the kind we'll be looking back on many months from now.

First, Alfonso Soriano. What a job he did stealing second, stealing third, and coming home on Ringo's throwing error to tie the game. Charlie Brown blew it! Boy, those throws by Ringo - reminded me of Mike Piazza with the Mets....

And Sunday had the making of a here-we-go-again game until Wang coughed up a game winning homer to Ryan Zimmerman.

These past two games were the types of games the Yankees used to win for so many years.

I must say, I am a little jealous, though, because Manny's prediction came true before mine did. He predicted that Aaron Small would be selling cars come July, and I said that Shawn Chacon would be out of the rotation by June. Well, if not for the DL, there's a good chance I'd be right, too, but here's where I think Ca$hman really blew it - he should have put Small in the rotation. Who knows - maybe he's better starting than he is coming out of the pen. I guess we'll never know.

- I know Boston swept the Braves, thus overtaking first place, but the Red Sox pitching is just lousy. I'm not going to sit here and be arrogant (after all, I'm not a Yankee fan) and say that hey, the BoSox are the team to beat. But a win is a win, a loss is a loss, and second place is second place.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

SITYS! The Aaron Small Era Is Over!

Back in April, I wrote a post listing my predictions for the year. Up there on the list? Aaron Small, everyone's favorite Yankee from '05, would be gone by the All-Star break.

Well, as usual, I was right! Small was designated for assignment yesterday. Earlier this year, one of my Yankee fan buddies called Small his favorite Yankee. Tough year for these guys. First, Sturtze goes down for the year, and now this. And with Melky in a slump, who's gonna be the latest Yankee cult favorite? T.J. Beam?


Friday, June 16, 2006

2006: The Summer of the Mets

Whenever the Yankees put together a few good wins, I get paranoid and think that they're not going to lose for the rest of the season. I guess in that sense I'm just as delusional as the Junkee fans who thought that back in '03, after their 18-3 start, they'd win 120-130 games.

And then comes a game like Thursday's, where we think it's a lock with ace Mike Mussina going against a pitiful Indians offense and presto! The Moose stinks, A-Schmuck strikes out in a big spot, and I can finally relax. Nice.

Then you look at the Mets, and they're dominating right now, and after sweeping the Phillies, they're pretty much a lock to win the NL East.

At this point, you don't know that the Junkees will even make the playoffs, especially now that Toronto is right there. Watch George panic. Prediction: Royals trade Reggie Sanders to the Royals for Phillip Hughes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Can We Get Rid of Julian Tavarez, Please?

Nice win by the Junkees behind Wang and Charlie Brown. Ump had a big strike zone, but anyway....

The Red Sox signed Tavarez, and he's been awful. Every time I watch Baseball Tonight and I see him in there I know it's a bad sign. Yes he's a power pitcher, but come on. With his 5.83 ERA, he ought to be in there only in 8-0 blowouts. Comes in last night with a 2-1 and can't shut the door. Gives up a grand slam and goodbye sole possession of first place.

You can't tell me that you'd do worse with a guy from AAA. You might not do better, but you won't do worse.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Good, the Great, and the Awesome from This Past Weekend

My oh my, what a difference a few days makes. After beating Boston 2-1 on Tuesday, I was depressed. I thought, man, they're getting tough to beat. They seem to have worked out their kinks from earlier in the season, and now it's here we go again.

Well, not so fast.

The good: The Yankee starters. Chacon allowed 3 ERs in 5, which I know the Junkee fans are going to say is good, but his ERA is 5.23, which proves that my prediction may be true - that he'll be out of the rotation by June. Mussina is not invincible, as he allows 3 ER is 7, and Randy Johnson has proven that his start against Detroit was a fluke. Finally, Jaret Wright allows 4 in 5 on Thursday, bumping up his ERA to 4.44.

The great: The Junkee bullpen. Snorre's boyfriend Proctor has been hideous. Snorre likes to take a pitcher, use him a hundred times a season thereby blowing out his arm (see Tanyon Sturtze and Steve Karsay for more details), and Proctor has been in there way too much. Farnsworthless is just a pleasure to watch, allowing 29 hits and 18 walks in 29 innings, and now we're seeing some clowns from AAA trying to get the job done.

The awesome: The Junkees in the clutch. They're getting guys on base but not bringing them home. I realize that the Sabermaticians will say that it's all luck, and at the end of the day everything will even out, but a loss is a loss, a losing streak is a losing streak, and that's what they've got on their hands.

Remember when Melky was hitting .328 back on May 30th? Since then he's 8 for 39 with zero homers, which is a .205 batting average. Have the pitchers figured him out? We'll see.

The Junkees face the Indians on Tuesday. Now would be a good time for George to panic and go get a slugger. Prediction: Jeromy Burnitz starts in right field on Tueday.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Worst Night in a While for Junkee Despisers

What a depressing night. First, the Junkees get a measure of revenge against Josh Beckett, then they absolutely clobber Boston, and Toronto loses. It was a night where everything went wrong.

If I want to look at a bright spot, and this is really stretching it here, it's that Mussina broke his string of 3 earned runs per start or less, by giving up 4. Whoopie.

Thank God it's only one game. We'll see what happens Tuesday night.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Good, Bad, and Ugly from Weekend (6/2-4, '06)

Good: Aaron Small. Sorry, but 2005 is long forgotten, and the Junkees made a mistake by letting him stick around. Ca$hman's a fool for thinking that the guy was some undiscovered talent who flew under the radar all these years. With Sunday's incredible performance, his ERA is now a miniscule 9.67.

Bad: Randy Johnson's 4 earned runs in 7.1 innings is now considered a "good" performance. Sorry, but 4 in 7.1 is BAD! (And yes, I know he did well against the Tigers, but with a 5.33 ERA, I wouldn't get too excited.

Ugly: Farnsworthless. Two blown saves over the weekend. Let's face it - he's been lousy.

Yes, the Yankees went 5-2 during their roadtrip, but a lot of those games could have gone either way. Just when they started playing better ball, and I started getting nervous, they show me that I don't have that much to be worried about.

And of course, the Junkee fans will cry injury, ignoring the fact that they still have A-Schmuck, Damon Revere, Giambaby, Ringo, and of course, Bernie Williams. And I bet Cheater comes back. I'm surprised Snorre didn't call the HBP a dirty play.