BREAKING NEWS: Villone to take Clemens’s Spot October 8, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Humberto Sanchez, Postseason, Roger Clemens, Ron Villone.
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According to the great Peter Abraham, Roger Clemens is out and Ron Villone is it.
Well, I called it, so I can’t complain. But if only the Yankees had a healthy Humberto Sanchez…(no chance he would have made the postseason roster at all).
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Had the midges not attacked, we would be leading this series. But let’s not talk of what might have been.
Had the Yankees lost last night, we would be eliminated and Joe Torre out. Again, though, let’s not talk of what might have been.
Roger Clemens started last night, lasting a mere 2.2 innings while giving up a run in all of them. His hamstring flared up, and there is some likelihood he’ll never pitch again (if he doesn’t, at least he struck out some one to end his career.) Phil Hughes then came in, and after allowing a fly ball double to Jhonny Peralta in the third, he threw a very solid 3.1 innings, striking out 4 and walking none, and allowing only one other hit. If Clemens doesn’t pitch in the ALCS, should the Yankees get that far, count Hughes for Game 3 and Ian Kennedy (remember him?) for Game 4.
However, the momentum changed in the fifth. With the Yankees cutting the Indian lead to 3-2, Johnny Damon steps up to the plate with Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera on base. He homers, and, seemingly out of nowhere, the Yankees have a 5-3 lead. Then, in the next inning, with the bases loaded on a questionable IBB for Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano singles to right, but Trot Nixon lets the ball gets past him and all runners score. With the score then 8-3, the Yankees all but won the game.
Chien-Ming Wang will start tonight, and Andy Pettitte will likely start on Wednesday. However, with Clemens likely out for the rest of the postseason, the Yankees can add another pitcher to take his spot? The four candidates are Ian Kennedy, Chris Britton, Edwar Ramirez, and Ron Villone. It seems, after the first two games, the Yankees needed a long reliever, so that goes for Villone. Joe Torre’s preference for AAAA arms whom he tries to ride out, plus his changeup, states Ramirez’s case. Ian Kennedy gives them another starter, but he has never relieved, shouldn’t relieve with his finesse stuff, and we really don’t need a starter until the ALCS. Britton…well, I have previously written about him. The best bet is for Villone to make it, as he is a lefty, anyway.
George Steinbrenner on multiple topics:
On Joe Torre: “His job is on the line. I think we’re paying him a lot of money. He’s the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don’t think we’d take him back if we don’t win this series.”
On A-Rod: “I think we’ll re-sign him. I think he’s going to have a good run the rest of the (postseason). I think he realizes New York is the place to be, the place to play. A lot of this (postseason) is laying on his shoulders, you know, but I think he’s up to it.”
On his health: “I’m doing all right. I’m fine.” (Courtesy of Peter Abraham)
Yankees Eliminated from East, ALPicture Set September 29, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alex Rodriguez, Baltimore Orioles, Edwar Ramirez, Jay Payton, Johnny Damon, Jose Veras, Mariano Rivera, Mets, Phillies, Ron Villone, Ross Ohlendorf, Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
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The Yankees won 2 of 3 from Tampa Bay, but lost a very winnable game yesterday to the Baltimore Orioles. Mo Rivera (him?) allowed a triple to Jay Payton (his second of the night) to tie what was once a 9-6 lead. Then Edwar Ramirez all but completed his pitching himself off a playoff roster, as Ross Ohlendorf is picking up on him and Jose Veras, despite Veras getting the save on Wednesday (I called it first, here at YLF!). His spot on the 40-man eligibility for the postseason will substitute Carl Pavano, although Pavano would still get a ring if the Yankees get so far.
In other news:
- Ron Villone has all but made the postseason roster.
- A-Rod homered #54, and Johnny Damon was the first player this season to hit a ball out to Utah Street. Not a bad season for him, eh?
- The Mets lost last night but won today, and, looking at the Phillies right now, probably will tie it again.
- The Yankees are debating whether to take 5 bench players or 7 relievers. The seven would probably include various options of Britton, Veras, and Igawa, while the fifth bench player would likely be Alberto Gonzales (at least this one doesn’t lie!)
To let you faithful readers know in advance, on October 8th (my next off day) I will start a segment of top 10 Yankees prospects.
Split With Jays, But Won the One that Counts in Tampa September 27, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Brian Bruney, Chris Britton, Doug Mientkewicvz, Edwar Ramirez, Jason Giambi, October 2007, Ron Villone, Ross Ohlendorf.
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After a wild, wild series with Toronto (too many details to recount!!!) the Yankees went to Tampa to clinch in front of the ailing George Steinbrenner. He witnessed Jeff Karstens blow another one on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, the Yankees hammered Tampa Bay, 12-4, and have a clinched a playoff spot. Detroit has been eliminated from contention, and the American League, depending on whether Boston wins two of the next four games, is all but set.
Based on the recent bullpen implosions, I hope that the steady Ross Ohlendorf makes the roster and that Brian Bruney and Edwar Ramirez are left off, because they don’t deserve it based on performance. Ron Villone will probably make it (arrgghh), but we can’t do anything about that. Does Britton take the last spot? I hope so.
Does Jason Giambi make the roster? I hope not.
Doug Minky will start in the postseason–mark my words.
Post-Season Roster September 22, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Brian Bruney, Doug Mientkewicvz, Edwar Ramirez, Ian Kennedy, Jason Giambi, Jose Veras, Mike Mussina, Phil Hughes, Postseason, Ron Villone, Shelley Duncan, Wilson Betemit.
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Joe Torre has some interesting choices for his postseason roster. Mike Mussina has dominated his last two outings, but they have been against lesser teams that won’t be seen in the postseason. Ian Kennedy has dominated as well, but that was against Tampa Bay (decent lineup, really), Kansas City, and Toronto. Phil Hughes has had a resurgence of late as well, and he is in the mix.
Relievers: At this point, the remaining reliever spots will be two of Jose Veras, Ron Villone, Brian Bruney, and Edwar Ramirez. My gut tells me Veras is the only guarantee here, because he has impressed Torre a lot in September and is one of those no-namers that Torre rides out as long as he can (Tanyon Sturtze, Jeff Karstens, anyone?). The other three have serious flaws, so it will probably be the second-place finisher between that of Hughes, Mussina, and Kennedy. Kennedy, a finesse guy, probably won’t make the roster unless he is a starter, leaving Hughes and Mussina. Joe Torre always like experience, so I’ll say Mussina starts game 4 and Hughes is the long man. If you wonder why I don’t mention Chris Britton, it’s because he hasn’t exactly dominated outside of his 3 innings of long relief back in May, and Torre and Brian Cashman have held him back so much this season I don’t think he really has a shot.
Bench: There is one juicy debate here. The main point is which three of Jason Giambi, Doug Mientkewicvz (did I spell that right?), Shelley Duncan, or Wilson Betemit make the postseason. Without Betemit, the Yankees have no utility infielder, so I’ll assume he makes it despite his BA since coming to NY. Besides, he was the return for the best non-Mo Rivera reliver they had at the time, Scott Proctor, and Brian Cashman & Joe won’t give up on him that quickly. In the postseason, with groundball pitchers like Wang and Pettitte, fielding is important, so I’ll pick Doug Minky for this one. Last, we have two slumping DH/1B types, Shelley Duncan and Jason Giambi. Giambi is the veteran, but he has done much lately. On the other hand, neither has Duncan, but he has been around the postseason as a kid with his dad Dave Duncan and Tony LaRussa with the A’s (coincidentally, with Giambi). However, Duncan plays hard and can also play the corner OF spots, and he is a RH hitter, so I will pick Duncan to make it over Giambi.
This means that the Yankees have four bench players (13 batters) and 12 pitchers. In the postseason, idyllically one would have 13 pitchers and 12 batters, so maybe if one of Villone, Ramirez, or Bruney outshine Giambi/Duncan in the last few days, a pitcher could be taken. However, Ramirez gave up a home run to Alex Rios yesterday in the 8th inning, severely hurting his chances for a roster berth.
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The Yankees lost a long, bad game to Boston, 10-1, effectively ending their division hopes as it reminded them that there are some bullpen members who continue to struggle.
In the 7th inning, when the Yankees let up 4 runs to break open what was a 5-1 game, this was the line of the pitchers that inning (not including their performances in previous innings):
Edwar Ramirez 0.1 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Ron Villone 0.0 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
Brian Bruney 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Sean Henn 0.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
Ross Ohlendorf 0.1 IP 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K
(Courtesy of ESPN.com)
According to the FOX telecast, the Yankees threw 45 pitches in a 25 innings. Sad, isn’t it, that the Yankees continue with AAAA arms like Henn and Villone. Bruney can be fixed, I think, but Sean Henn, in 33.2 IP, has allowed 43 H and 26 BB, a WHIP of 2.05. A WHIP of 1.50 isn’t great, forget a WHIP that high. In August and September, in 8 G and 9.1 IP, he has allowed 21 H, 18 R (16 ER), 2 HR, 10 BB, and 9 K’s. He should be DFA’ed for a better pitcher (T.J. Beam? Darrell Rasner?). However, the most telling stat is that he has thrown 214 pitches, laboring a lot through his innings.
The bright spot was Derek Jeter’s homer to center, a good sign his knee is getting better. There were some flashes of rivalry, as Kevin Youkilis was hit in his wrist (day-to-day with a contusion) and Jason Giambi was hit in his elbow. Moreover, Eric Hinske totally barreled into Jorge Posada…at least he was out.
Another brightspot, though, was Ross Ohlendorf. All his 4 outs were on K’s, and he should a live fastball and sinker. I think he did a nice job, sans the homer to Hinske, and he should be a good arm to come out of the bullpen.
Overall not a very good game, and they must hope Roger Clemens goes 6 innings today because the bullpen has been taxed.
Mike Mussina’s Rotation Spot in Danger August 24, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Bret Prinz, Brian Bruney, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chris Britton, Ian Kennedy, Jeff Karstens, Kei Igawa, Mike Mussina, Pittsburgh Pirates, Ron Villone, Sean Henn, Steven White.
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Mike Mussina may not be a rotation member if he struggles in his next start, according to the NY Daily News and the NY Post. Mussina has been blitzed in his last two starts, allowing 14 earned runs in his last 6.2 innings pitched. “After his next start, we’re going to talk,” Joe Torre said. “If he feels good, the ability to pitch and pitch well is in there somewhere. I think he just needs to trust his stuff.” Finally, this has come to light, as the Yankees now have the gall to bring in younger players to replace washed-up veterans, the first time I have ever seen this as a Yankee fan.
Some candidates: Steven White, Ian Kennedy, Jeff Karstens, Kei Igawa
Steven White–I must be honest, I don’t know much about Steven White. However, he has done a great job for the Yankees, and was a top-10 prospect for them in 2004, according to the Baseball America. He should be the left-handed longman, and has better control than Ron Villone. However, he doesn’t strikeout many batters, but his GO/AO ratio is only .92, which may lead to trouble. Moreover, he allows just under a hit per inning (79.2 IP, 72 H), which also may lead to trouble. However, he has not responded well to a promotion mid-season throughout his minor league career. Please note, however, that 2004 was his “top-prospect” year, and that his start in Tampa was a rehab assignment. I’m not sure on what the injury was, but his lack of K’s this year may have something to do with it.
Ian Kennedy–We have talked about him before. Just click on the label below and you’ll see all I’ve written about him. However, bringing up a kid who throws 100mph is easier than bringing up a kid who throws 88-91, so there’s a chance he may struggle a bit.
Jeff Karstens–I’m sick of this guy. Last season, he had a decent year, and he has a great minor league track record, but this year it hasn’t translated into success. However, you can tell me about the Monday morning quarterback feeling, but this guy struck out only 3.37/9 innings, or roughly one every three. That’s embarassing, and he has only a .064 GO/AO ratio this season, so stats can make sense of his season with a 11.20 ERA. I think he’s not coming back to the Bronx, especially for an extended stay.
Kei Igawa–Inconsistency has followed this guy to the minors. He has been good, bad, great, and God-awful all in 54.2 IP. The Yankees should have just shipped him out to San Diego for Clay Hensley and ended it at that. But no, not even the immortal Nardi Contreras can fix this one. He’s screwed, and he’s the spot start guy for the rest of his Yankee tenure, until some West Coast team with a huge ballpark (Seattle, San Diego?) can take him.
In other news
BRUNEY BACK–According to Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees blog, Brian Bruney is back with the Yankees, probably at the expense of Ron Villone or Sean Henn. He was ineffective for Scranton, and my guess is that they just want a fresh arm from which they know what to expect after the horror series in Anaheim. Since this is probably just a one or two day move, I would guess it’s Henn. However, Villone has been so ineffective, and Henn is a young pitcher with a future with the Yankees, Villone could be DFA’ed as well. My question, though, is WHY CAN’T THEY JUST BRING UP CHRIS BRITTON!!!
BRET PRINZ UPDATE–This probably goes under useless info, but I’ve always liked this guy’s stuff, so I’ll just post this. According to Wikipedia (yes, you’re open to question my sources), after he was DFA’ed by the White Sox, he signed a minor-league deal with the Chicago Cubs to pitch at AAA Iowa. However, he was released and has signed on to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pretty sad that this is what we got for Raul Mondesi, though.
Yankees Get Crushed by Angels August 22, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alex Rodriguez, Chris Britton, Garret Anderson, LA Angels, Mike Mussina, Ron Villone, Sean Henn, Steven White.
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We should be calling for Mike Mussina’s head by now. He has allowed 7 earned in back to back appearances, except he taxed the bullpen by only pitching 1.2 innings. This is the third of the last four years he has had a bad year. Hang up the cleats? How ’bout a nice DFA–I don’t know, I just think Steven White or IPK should replace this guy presto.
Ron Villone–you’re only supposed to walk dogs, not batters. Five earned in .1 innings. Let’s DFA him.
Sean Henn–same crap like yesterday–option him and bring up Steven White or Chris Britton.
Yeah, A-Rod hit two homers, but Garret Anderson, the declining slugger, had 10 RBI. At least Andy Pettitte’s pitching tomorrow.
Yankees Get Crushed; Roster Moves August 15, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Chris Britton, Edwar Ramirez, Jeff Karstens, Jim Brower, Kyle Farnsworth, Luis Vizcaino, Ron Villone, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees, Sean Henn.
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The Yankees were crushed by the Baltimore Orioles yesterday, 12-0, on the night that Phil “Scooter”
Rizzuto passed away. The “Bombers” only managed an infield single by A-Rod and a clean single by Hideki Matsui. I was half-right, in that Jeff Karstens, Jim Brower, and Ron Villone were slugged upon. Kyle Farnsworth is recuperating Torre’s trust with a 9-pitch inning last night, and Luis Vizcaino had an 11-pitch ninth. The latter two should be available.
However, Brower and Karstens won’t be available for Scranton tomorrow. That’s right, both have been demoted, and Edwar Ramirez (THANK GOD!) and Sean Henn have been called up. It’s best that both should stay for a while in New York, and the bullpen is missing one more piece–Chris Britton.
Yankees Stink Up the Joint in Toronto August 9, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Blue Jays, Chien-Ming Wang, Hideki Matsui, Jeff Karstens, Kyle Farnsworth, Robinson Cano, Ron Villone.
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Man…the Yankees were just overmatched against their best starting pitcher, Chien-Ming Wang. In case you haven’t heard, the Yankees lost 15-4 last night to the Toronto Blue Jays, with Wang giving up 8 runs (5 earned) in 2.2 innings. His ERA went up to only 3.94, which shows you how well he has pitched. Yet, Jeff Karstens had another bad long relief outing and Ron Villone (1.1 IP, 2 ER) and Kyle Farnsworth (perfect 9th…wow) finished up the job.
Robinson Cano and Hideki Matsui continued their hot hitting, with Cano belting two HR’s and Matsui one.