Friday, June 8, 2012

Why This Subway Series Matters

(Typical Mets front office meeting)

I know I just linked earlier to the story on LoHud about all the "ho-hum"-ness to the Subway Series, and in a way I probably contributed to the seemingly worldwide apathy with my half-assed comment about it being a bummer.  But I can't just sit by as a diehard Yankee fan and Top 5 Internet Personality and allow myself to stoop to that level.  And not only that, I can't let Yankeeland and the rest of the baseball world stoop that low either.

I've massaged and tweaked and refined and matured this blog from a collection of uninformed nonsense to a pretty damn respectable source for Yankee news and insight over the last couple years. But the last time I checked, the banner at the top of the page still read "rabid Yankee homerism," and it's been a hot minute since I've dished out a big dose of that.  So this time, I'm not bringing any fancy sabermetrics or well-thought out logic.  I'm taking the gloves off, sticking a roll of quarters in my fist, and I'm coming out swinging.  Because this series this weekend does matter.  There is a perfectly good reason why this Subway Series matters, and you have to be pretty damn stupid to not realize it.

Rant Mode- "On"

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 6/8

Another week has come and gone in Yankeeland and this one finds the Bombers on the doorstep to the top of the division, where they rightfully belong, again.  I'm hopeful that I can get to watch at least one of the Subway Series games this weekend.  I'll probably get screwed on Saturday with FOX's dumb regional lineup nonsense, and if I can't find anything on the tube on Sunday, some poor bar patrons in my area are going to have to suffer through 3+ hours of me screaming at a silent TV for the final game.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, fishjam25 of Yankees Fans Unite wondered if Phil Hughes' recent turnaround means he's finally started to figure it out as a starter.

- William Tasker of IIATMS looked back at Mel Stottlemyre and his incredible 1964 season.  Definitely a must-read if you aren't familiar.

- On Tuesday, el duque of It Is High... made his case for why the Yankees should jump at the opportunity to sign Jorge Soler before they lose the chance with the new rules kicking in.  He called him "Jose Soler," so that's a problem, but I can dig the logic.

- Joe Pawlikowski of RAB commented on the increasingly frustrating team inability to hit with RISP.

- Next Level Ballplayer scored an interview with Mason Williams and got him to talk about how he's worked on his swing and approach since turning pro.

- On Wednesday, William Juliano of The Captain's Blog looked back through Andy Pettitte's career numbers to show just how good he's been since coming back.

- On Thursday, Lisa Swan of Subway Squawkers commented on the recent anti-StubHub stance the Yankees have taken and how ridiculous it is that tickets for the upcoming Subway Series are being discounted.

- Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily analyzed the different MiL promotional strategies and how they work best for different players.

- Speaking prospects, Suzanne Bange of NYY Universe got a few Twitter Q's & A's in with Cito Culver.

- Andrew GM of Pinstripe Alley mused on David Phelps' role and what the Yankees should do with him.  I already touched on this a couple weeks ago, but it's still a point worth bringing up.

- Mike Eder of TYA, and resident PITCHf/x wizard, broke down Andy Pettitte's brilliant start against Tampa the other night to show just how he managed to be so dominant.

- On Friday, Josh Thomson, subbing for Chad at LoHud, gathered some quotes from players about the lack of sizzle that this weekend's Subway Series has.  That's never good the hear from the guys who are going to be competing, but whatever.

We're getting grimy, gross, and grungy today for the Friday Jam.  When I was sitting around at my folks' house last Friday killing time before bar hopping with my buddy, while the rest of my family worked like suckers, I caught Soundgarden's performance at Lollapalooza 2010 on Palladium (great station, pisses me off that I don't have it), and it reminded me how much I love Soundgarden.  Nirvana gets all the credit, but IMO Soundgarden and Alice in Chains were far superior bands.  So here's a little ditty from Chris Cornell and the boys to dampen your mood if you're having a really good Friday.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

Game 56 Wrap-Up: TB 7 NYY 3

("Double farts!!"  Courtesy of The AP)

Even with the Yankees playing better baseball overall over the past few weeks, their issues with RISP have remained constant.  Last night they had an opportunity to sweep a division rival and take the lead in the division, and had ample opportunities to win a game against a shaky David Price with CC Sabathia on the mound.  Things just didn't add up the way they should have, and the RISP Fail was front and center again.

Game Notes:

- CC came out dealing in the 1st, striking out 2 of the 3 hitters he faced, and it looked like my hunch of a dominant outing was in play, but his fastball command problems that have been a thorn in his side since ST reared their ugly heads again.

- The Rays scored 1 run in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd, and 2 in the 4th on a combination of singles and doubles off of CC.  The 2 in the 2nd were aided by an A-Rod error that would have made it 2 out and nobody on in the inning, but CC couldn't pick his teammate up.

- While this was going on, the Yankees offense was creating plenty of opportunities but cashing in on few.  They put 2 on in the bottom of the 1st but got no runs, 3 on in the 2nd and got 1, and loaded the bases with 1 out in the 5th and got none.

- Price was far from sharp, as his command wasn't much better than CC's.  He threw 109 pitches in just 5 innings, walked 4 batters, and was done after that.  But due to the RISP struggles and CC's fastball struggles, he left with a 5-1 lead.

- CC found it late in the 4th and retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced through 7, 6 of them via strikeout, but the damage had been done.  His stuff was very good again, the slider was devastating, but a handful of bad fastballs did him in.  We're closing in on this being a 3-month issue.  Time to fix it.

- The offense went silent through the middle innings, but came back a bit late.  Raul Ibanez singled in a run in the 8th to make it 5-2, but Clay Rapada and Cory Wade combined to cough up 2 more runs in the top of the 9th to put the game out of reach with an assist from Nick Swisher's error in right.

- Russell Martin hit a garbage time HR in the 9th, his 2nd in 3 games, and was one of the few bright offensive spots as he continued his hot hitting.