In this acutely annoying lull known as the All Star Break, guest blogger "His Dudeness" has stepped into the pitch,* giving us another gem of a post for us to imbibe while we anxiously count the minutes til Friday.
I'm not the best at analysis devoid of manic subjectivity. In fact, I'm probably closer to the "worst" end of the spectrum. But "His Dudeness" is that rare hybrid of lunacy-meets-brilliant sports acumen. I've found that a lot of Mets fans are actually like this. It makes sense, when you think about it.
This week he's written a rundown of the pitching staff, as a follow-up to his previous piece on the offense. Cheers, HD. You hit it out of the ballpark once again! Or got on base to lead off the inning in a clutch moment when we really needed baserunners and then a few base hits plated you to win the game, and now that lead off walk† to start the inning is really looming large now, Suzyn.
*Let the record show I am making an aggressive push for this expression to replace "stepped up to the plate." If you just joined us, my contempt for this phrase knows no bounds, as players who step up to the plate aren't brave or taking initiative. They're just next in the freaking lineup. Stepping into the pitch, however..that's courageous and helps the team and is a true example of getting the job done when it needed to be done. Alternatively, we can replace "step up to the plate" with "stepped up to the plate as the go-ahead run and eventually scored." Acceptable, yes. Pithy, no.
†Why do annoucers say "lead off walk to start the inning"? Isn't that like saying "walk off homerun to win the game"?
Yankees Rundown, Part II: PITCHERS
A couple weeks ago I cranked out a nice little synopsis of the Yankee bats, and after a decent amount of procrastination I present you the CYC pitchers rundown. However before we get down on some sexy analysis, I must spew a bit more bullshit.
Business was pretty damn good in the month of June, but after a couple speed bumps it felt as if the grip on that meaty division lead was about to loosen.
To put things lightly, sheet was in the process of hitting the fan as hours after CC Sabathia was placed on the DL with a strained groin on June 27th, Andy Pettite took a line drive to the shin and suffered a fractured left ankle.
While the Yanks are one of the few teams who possess enough veteran firepower to keep grinding it out after taking those blows, they ended up giving away two of three to both the White Sox and Tampa Bay.
Fortunately our boys righted the ship, and now head into the All Star Break on the upswing after winning three out of four against the Red Sox. The entire AL East is still in the rearview mirror, although the Bronx Bombers have built a bit of separation with a 7 game lead over second place Baltimore.
Building upon those bragging rights, the Yankees currently have the best winning percentage in the game, largely in part to their top ranked slugging percentage.
So everybody gets a little R and R besides the cream of the crop ballers, The Captain, Grandy Man, and Robbie. CC also got his 6th all-star selection, but he is basically just chilling out with the rest of the studs as he continues to rest in hopes that he can get back to the mound shortly after the break ends.
The festivities began on Monday with the Home Run Derby, but Mr. Cano was a dud and a half. Even though his father was lobbing up meatballs, Robbie started it off with 5 straight outs. Big Papi fed the struggling second baseman some Gatorade but he tallied up three more outs.
The last attempt at a spark came as Granderson and Sabathia had a word with the soft tossing Jose Cano, but that still didn’t do the trick. The kid finished up without a single yahtzee.
Moderately embarrassing, but whatever. The bitter home town Kansas City fans shucked it up but the Royals are 10 games below .500 so they could just hop on their bikes if you know what I mean. (disclaimer: Even though they have a weak staff, KC ain’t as bad as the record shows due to a gaggle of real solid young bats with pedigrees. Yanks are 4-3 against them this season).
Anyway, Prince became the only player besides Ken Griffey Jr.to win multiple derby crowns and if I were a betting man I’d put the house on the AL.
Well not the best call but who knew that Verlander was going to just throw the rock as hard as he could with no regard for the strike zone. Dude ripped a 101 MPH ball in case you missed it. And yeah I was one of the people who missed it because I don’t personally enjoy watching the lions of the baseball jungle giggling and skipping about.
One more thing…I generally appreciate a product that tries to promote patriotism, Muricah’ and what not. The Budweiser commercial where the veteran gets home healthy as can be and walks into the barn to find all his friends and family sipping on some ice cold brews makes my eyes drizzle a bit. It is a fairly mild subconscious brainwashing, but I do enjoy the occasional Bud so I’ll go with it.
However Chevrolet needs to stop telling me that their brand is as synonymous with the stars and stripes as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. I am a consumer who has become self-aware, and I’d appreciate it if you got out of my head.
If I could afford a therapist I’d vent to her but until then thanks for the cyber pat on the back. And although my buddy who proofread this monstrosity of a baseball article said I shouldn’t crap on Chevy, I had to say it in case there are any others out there who feel my pain and need to know they are not along.
Without further ado, let’s see exactly what is going on with the staff and bullpen. Might as well keep it nice and loose and rock out to some Doors on the way.
C.C. Sabathia – The big man threw a successful bullpen session this past Tuesday, and Girardi announced that he will return on July 17th to face the Blue Jays. "I'll be ready. I feel pretty good….My arm feels great, I haven't felt the injury. I would assume that I'll go out and be ready to go."
Although it hasn’t been the case in the past couple years, CC usually kicks it into second gear after the break. The guy is an overpowering workhorse whose numbers this season are hovering right around his career averages, and he should tear it up in the second half as long as this groin injury doesn’t linger.
Andy Pettite – We were witnessing an absolutely gorgeous comeback until that old left ankle shattered on us. Andy won’t be eligible to come off the DL for another month and change, and you have to be a bit pessimistic that he will be able to pick up where he left considering he is on the wrong side of 40. The injury doesn’t require surgery, but at this point there is nothing to be besides cross your fingers.
Hiroki Kuroda – The one year $10 million deal for Kuroda was shadily perfect for this team. The Japanese hurler may be 37, but he has never had an ERA above 4 in the majors. Also, he is another guy who possesses a little extra pop in the second half of the season (Yes, he doesn’t have any playoff experience but there is value in knowing he won’t crap in September).
Mr. HK has been feast or famine this season. However besides a couple duds he has been more than serviceable, rocking a 3.5 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.
Phil Hughes – After last year’s debacle it is quite nice to see Hughes start to pull it together again. The stats aren’t that sexy, but he is a respectable 9-7 so I’ll take it even though his last start against Boston on July 7th was pretty ugly. The issue with Hughes is his propensity for giving up the long ball. He has given up 19 bombs this season, the 5th most in the game (my boy Ivan Nova is right behind him, dishing up 17 taters thus far).
On a more positive note, Hughes also owns a very legit 8.25 K/9. His downfall the past couple years coincided with a huge drop in strikeout rate so perhaps that statistic hints at a brighter future.
Ivan Nova – How do you not love this kid? Nova continues to eat up innings while staying cool as a cucumber. All he does it grind it out, strand runners, and win games. He has only allowed more than 5 runs once this season and is sitting at 10-3. After a big W against Boston, Ivan finally brought his ERA below 4. The big surprise here is that Nova is striking out a boat load of dudes, surpassing last season’s total K’s in 55 less innings.
Freddy Garcia – The Chief had a rough God awful April, but pulled it together in a handful of 1-2 inning relief appearances. He just got the nod due to injuries, and put together a couple gems against Tampa Bay and Boston.
Maybe they weren’t gems, but for Freddy it sure felt like it. The Yankees are in the process of stretching him out a bit as he will probably stay in the rotation unless something crazy happens. This holds true even though David Phelps just K’d 11 in 6 2/3 shutout innings in double A. Most likely Phelps will be used as a long man out of the bullpen after he gets called up again.
Well that was fun, but all I know is I am jonesing for some more baseball. Hold tight ladies and gents, as the second half kicks off this Friday with Hiroki Kuroda taking the mound against the Angels.
Frankly I can’t fear any team whose translated name means The The Angels Angels.
The Bullpen rundown will be coming sooner rather than later, and feel free to say hi/tell me to go eat my own sack @HisDudenessOfNY .