Let’s get to it:
- If the Blue Jays’ hot start has you worried, consider this point from Joe Sheehan:
Finally, there’s the schedule. You can’t hold this against the Jays, who are playing the hand they’ve been dealt, but they have benefited from a schedule that has thus far included none of their three AL East rivals, teams that may be the three best in the league. The Jays have played every team in the AL Central, as well as the A’s and Rangers in the West. They have illustrated a point I think every analyst would agree with: if you put the Jays in any other division, they would be at worst a contender, and often a favorite. The pessimism about their chances this year stems in no small part from their having to play perhaps the toughest schedule in baseball. They haven’t gotten into that yet, and in fact, they won’t see the Red Sox, Yankees, or Rays for another two weeks. They play every AL team other than the Mariners before seeing any of those three, and in fact, the Jays don’t play the Rays at all until June 29. (In a whack-job of a schedule, the Jays play just nine of their first 78 games against the big three, then get them 42 times in their next 71 contests.)
- PeteAbe does his usual wonderful job, this time playing out the “what ifs” of the starting rotation:
. . . let’s say that Wang comes back in early June and Hughes is 4-1, 2.85. What then?
You shake Phil’s hand, thank him for a job well done and send him back to Scranton until he is needed again.
Get this much straight: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte are pitching every five days if they are healthy. That’s a given. There is not going to be a six-man rotation. Those guys are conditioned to pitch every five days and they’re getting a pile of money to do so.
Here is what some people can’t seem to understand: Joba threw 100 innings last season. He needs to throw 150-plus this season so that in 2010 he can throw 180-plus. Then he can throw 200-plus in 2011 and so on. This is a young man with a great arm, four pitches and the makeup to be an ace. The Yankees would be foolish not to give him every chance to be a starter.
If you send him back to the bullpen, you’re starting the process all over again and increasing the risk of injury by suddenly changing his role. Joba has a 2.43 ERA in 15 starts over the last two seasons. That is really, really, very, very good.
Ian Kennedy was examined by a specialist in NYC today because of his numb middle finger.
He has a vasospasm that can be treated with medication. He will be evaluated again Monday and will not throw until after that follow-up.
- If you feel like dropping some serious cash on a steak, you can do so at NYY Steak at the Stadium. Paul Lukas of ESPN.com tried the place out.
- Richard Sandomir takes up the rally cry for the non-Premium seat Yankee fan:
The Yankees’ move Tuesday to slash the price of slower-selling premium seats, including the $2,500 perches, and give away others affects a few hundred seats. It was a cosmetic move to quell criticism and put more bodies in front of television cameras.
There are only 100 seats priced for season-ticket plans at $2,500 — and only 55 to 60 have been sold.
The Yankees’ strategy exacerbates the visible divide between fans in exclusive areas and the tens of thousands outside of club access. The Yankees gave discounts to those who can afford $325 to $2,500 tickets for 81 games, but nothing to fans who might have had to stretch family budgets pinched by the recession to pay $50, $75 or $150 a game.
Those fans — many of whom could once afford box seats — deserve something.
- As you may know, Baseball-Reference.com has undergone a facelift, and is still tinkering with some new formats. But in the meantime, I stumbled upon a cool “game preview” feature.
- John Perrotto lets us in on a kinship between supposed bitter rivals:
. . . Kevin Youkilis and second baseman Dustin Pedroia made no secret of their admiration for Yankees shortstop and team captain Derek Jeter after the three were teammates for the United States in the World Baseball Classic last month. Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell came up through the Yankees’ farm system before being traded to the Marlins, and also doesn’t hide his affection for Jeter. “He treated me exceptionally well when I was a young guy,” Lowell said. “Whenever I see him, I’ll always say hello, but it’s not like I’m going to give him a hug if I’m standing on second base. I wouldn’t do that out of respect for what these games mean to the fans and the media.”
Perhaps the fans and media have puffed up the games between the Yankees and Red Sox to such a degree that the two teams have bonded in an odd sort of way because of it. “It’s two highly competitive teams expected to get to the playoffs every season,” Lowell said. “So that creates two high-pressure situations, which means our games are always going to be intense. As competitors in those similar situations, we also have a lot more in common than people think.”
- Will Carroll chimes in on the ever-increasing speed of Alex Rodriguez’s rehab:
Rodriguez has simply been the perfect model of conditioning and baseball skill getting the benefit of the best medical technology. Most of the errors made by people assessing this injury were caused by their using normal physical therapy protocols, which are almost exclusively based on people more like your grandmother than like an All-Star. Rodriguez has given no sign during his rehab that he won’t step into the lineup and play at his former level.
- On this date in 1988, Dave Winfield drove in his 28th and 29th runs of the season in the Yankees’ 15 – 3 rout of Texas. Winfield tied the (then) major league record for RBI in April.
- On this date in 1989, the Blue Jays acquire pitcher Al Leiter from the Yankees in exchange for veteran outfielder Jesse Barfield. Leiter will contribute significantly to the Jays’ World Championship in 1993, winning nine of 15 decisions as a spot starter and long reliever.
- On this date in 1997, Tino Martinez, who got off to a painfully slow start with the Yankees in 1996, finishes April with 34 RBI to set a new major league record for the month.
- On this date in 1999, about 3,000 fans wearing T-shirts that said, “$hare the wealth” protested baseball economics at the Yankees-Royals game at Kauffman Stadium. The protesters turned their backs when the Yankees batted, then walked out during the fourth inning. The Yankees began the season with baseball’s top payroll at $85.05 million, and the Royals were 25th at $23.8 million.