Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 9/14

It's the annual company outing tomorrow, and for the 3rd year out of 4 my company is doing a big tailgate at the Brewers game.  The company outing is always a bit of a minefield.  It's supposed to be fun, supposed to be a time when everybody can put their professional guard down and just enjoy each other's company for a day, but at the same time you know you're being judged by everybody in a position of authority while you're there and you're judging the fuck out of everybody else too.  Tomorrow's event could be especially entertaining because not only are we having beer, the powers that be decided not to limit it.  I know there are plenty of people who I work with who can DRINK, and I am fully prepared to witness some legendary drunken shenanigans.  And when it's all said and done we all get to go in and watch the Brewers and the Mets continue their epic battle for the top spot in the "middle of the pack" group of NL teams.  Riveting.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Jimmy Kraft of Yanks Go Yard wondered if we were starting to see the beginning of CC Sabathia's decline.  It's not a comforting question to ask, but one that's fair to after watching him pitch since coming off the DL.

- Lisa Swan of Subway Squawkers weighed in with her opinions on the "Joe vs. Joel" dustup from last weekend.  Hers is decidedly pro-Girardi and anti-Sherman, and I can dig a lot of what she's saying.

- Josh Kramer of IIATMS put Russell Martin's season in the context of salary and concluded that Martin hasn't been worth his $7.5 mil this year.  Hard to argue with that, and even harder to comprehend how screwed up the Yankee catching situation has gotten.

- Chad Jennings of LoHud went position-by-position through the best 2012 MiL performers in the system.  With all the injuries down there, it's easy to forget that there were plenty of players who had really good years.

- On Tuesday, Matt Keegan of Pinstriped Bible examined Nick Swisher's approach and spray charts to try to explain his sudden and extra-slumpy slump.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog checked the remaining schedules for the playoff contenders to help set some confidence for the Yankees' chances and ID who they should be watching.

- On Wednesday, Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily compiled and unveiled his list of the top 10 greatest rookie seasons in Yankee history.  No surprise that there isn't one season on there since '96.

- George S of Gutty Gritty Yankees discussed the team's failure to implement and execute the hit-and-run as another way to generate runs with their current watered down lineup.

- Brian D. of Yankees Fans Unite offered up his 9/11 tribute by looking back at the Yankees' 2001 postseason run.

- On Thursday, Mike Axisa of RAB broke down how the rotation would line up for the rest of the year if Nova and Pettitte rejoin soon as planned.  Assuming they stay healthy and pitch well, that rotation order inspires a lot more confidence.

- Mike Eder of TYA looked at Andruw Jones' struggles against the fastball recently to see if he's losing bat speed.  That would certainly explain his non-existent second half.

- On Friday, Robert Casey of Bleeding Yankee Blue mused on the legitimacy of Derek Jeter's MVP case.  He won't win it, we know that, but I'm intrigued to see where Jeter ends up finishing on the ballot.

- Last but not least, I'm throwing the link up to my buddy's Tunnels to Towers 5K donation page again.  If you aren't already donating and supporting someone doing the run, here's a great chance to help a great cause.

For this week's jam I'm going with "Unsung" by Helmet.  It's catchy, it's got a great guitar riff, and it doesn't get nearly enough play on the radio out here despite being an awesome 90s song.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

Sour Puss To Opt Out? I'll Take It

(He's actually smiling!  I would be too if I was looking at getting another huge deal)

Get your grain of salt ready, considering the source, but Jon Heyman reported yesterday that Rafael Soriano is considering opting out of the final year of his contract after this season.

"There is a good chance Rafael Soriano will invoke his opt-out clause following a season in which he has been a savior for the Yankees, people familiar with the situation say."

Can't really say I blame Raffy if he does make that decision.  $14 mil is a lot of money to walk away from, but Soriano has had a monster year (2.14 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 9.31 K/9 in 59.0 IP, 38-41 in save opps) and there are going to be some deep-pocketed teams in the market for a closer.  He capitalized on his big year in Tampa to get this Yankee contract, why wouldn't he do the same thing after this season?

And from the Yankees' standpoint they really wouldn't be dead in the water without Soriano.  They'll likely get Mo back next season, they'll still have D-Rob, Joba, Boone Logan, and Aardsma out there, and they could use part of that extra $14 mil to fill any leftover bullpen holes.  If Soriano wants to test the FA waters, let him.  Make him a qualifying offer and when the Dodgers throw 3 years/$48 mil at him, take the extra draft pick and walk away.

Game 143 Wrap-Up: NYY 2 BOS 0

(Phil Hughes: Rotation Life Raft.  Courtesy of the AP)

It's good to know that the ESPN trolling of the Yankees and Yankee fans hasn't lost any of its zing now that the Fraud Sawx are less than an afterthought in the AL East.  I'm sitting in Hooters last night with a couple guys from work (classy) watching SportsCenter, and they're going on and on and on about how the Orioles "just seized control of the division with another dramatic walk-off win."  Ummm, they didn't "seize" anything.  They were up by 1/2 a game and the Yankees hadn't even played their game yet.  Let's wait for the outcome of that game before we just declare Baltimore the AL East champion for the day, huh?  Oh, and then Phil Hughes came out last night and shat all over ESPN and Baltimore's little 1/2 game lead party.

Game Notes:

- After being blanked through 3 innings, the Yankee offense did one of its patented "good but not enough" scoring innings in the 4th, loading the bases on an A-Rod single and a couple of walks but only scoring a single run on an Andruw Jones sac fly.

- The good news for them was that Hughes was locked in last night.  He sat the first turn of the Bahhston lineup down in order, managed to pitch a shutdown inning after the Yanks scored in the 4th (yay!), and dominated with mostly his fastball.

- He was in the lineup at DH after aggravating his bone bruise the other night, and Derek Jeter came through with a big RBI single in the 7th to tack on an insurance run.  That's leadership, folks.

- Hughes mixed in some more changeups and sliders in the later innings, and pitched into the 8th before coming out after getting an out and giving up a double to the dreaded Pedro Ciriaco.  7.1 innings of shutout ball is damn good, no matter how crappy the opposing lineup is.

- Joe played matchup with his bullpen A-team to finish the 8th, got the ball to Soriano for the 9th, and it was untuck time in a hurry.  Sorry to spoil your celebration, Baltimore, but you're still tied for first place.

- Lotta good milestone notes from last night.  Hughes made his 100th career start, Jeter's RBI single tied him with Willie Mays for 10th on the all-time hits list with 3,283, and A-Rod's 1,888th career run tied him with Lou Gehrig for 9th all-time.