"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

On the DL

Sorry about this folks, but the Banter is taking the day off on the count of I’m sick at home. I twisted my lower back over the weekend and am in no position to be doing much of anything.

To keep you busy with baseball news, don’t forget to check out these spots:

Baseball Think Factory, Hardball Talk, The Pinstriped Bible, River Ave Blues and Was Watching.

Oh yeah, and check out this piece by Glenn Stout on Josh Beckett’s historically bad season:

How bad has Josh Beckett been? Using ERA and a minimum of fourteen starts as a measure, every other pitcher in Red Sox history – with one notable exception – has been NABAB – Not As Bad As Beckett. Matt Young in 1991? Sixteen Starts and a 5.18 ERA, but Not As Bad As Beckett. Danny Darwin in 1994? Thirteen starts and 6.30 – NABAB. Frank Castillo in 2002? NABAB. Ramon Martinez in 2000, Jerry Casale in 1960, Gordon Rhodes in 1935, Frank Heimach in 1926? You can look ‘em up, NABABs all. Even the immortal Joe Harris, who went 2-21 for the 1906 Red Sox, was NABAB – his ERA was a sparkling 3.52, a number Josh Beckett and Theo Epstein would both kill for. And the list goes on and on and on and on.

Somehow this historic achievement has gone unnoticed. In a season best defined by the disabled list it has been easy to overlook Beckett’s expressionless appearances on the mound. Then again, they’ve often been so brief he’s been easy to miss. The fact is even with all the injuries, if Josh Beckett was pitching like an average starting pitcher, rather than a historically bad one, the Red Sox would be making plans for October.

We’ll have a game thread up tonight for the game…

[Picture by Bags]


1 Diane Firstman   ~  Aug 23, 2010 10:29 am

I wish this kid Nova's last name was Niva, then he'd have a totally anagrammable first and last name "Ivan Niva"

(yeah, I work that way)

2 RIYank   ~  Aug 23, 2010 10:36 am

Oh, hey, this is getting out of hand. Don't tell me we're going to get some call-up who can't write his way out of a paper bag but is, I dunno, very good at HTML...

3 ms october   ~  Aug 23, 2010 10:54 am

get better soon alex.

[2] will the chess master try to insert this good htmler, no writing young'un in the banter line-up frequently?

4 rbj   ~  Aug 23, 2010 11:21 am

[0] Hell, I slipped on the stairs at 12:30 am (thanks dogs who didn't want to go out at 10 pm, but did two hours later) about 3 weeks ago & fell so weirdly and painfully that I wound up calling 911 to take me to the hospital. From being an active guy with zero back trouble, now I'm reduced to lying on my back & only watching tv and walking with a cane. Hope your back gets better Alex.

Back pain totally sucks.

[1] I'va Nova. Well actually it was a Chevy Malibu (1971) not a Nova. And I've since gotten rid of it.

5 RIYank   ~  Aug 23, 2010 11:33 am

[3] Very likely. But maybe Emma can pinch-write the final paragraph or something.

6 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 23, 2010 11:56 am

[0] AB, I hope you feel better soon. Rest up - don't pull a Jeter and DH on the day you're supposed to be "off". ;)

Of course, if you wanted to go that route, you could invest in transcription software, something that types for you as you speak . . . that would be the equivalent of DHing, right?

7 Raf   ~  Aug 23, 2010 12:10 pm

Feel better, Alex!

8 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 23, 2010 12:10 pm

Yikes, feel better, Alex. I've been dealing with a pain in my back since I've been sleeping on this blasted futon mattress since I moved; not the least bit ideal.

Well hey guys, at least we don't have to worry about him being Wally Pipp'd (not unless Pat Jordan or J.K. Rowling were to fill in anyway... >;)

9 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 23, 2010 12:16 pm

(hmm... seems like both the Yanks and Banter are getting hurt after falling off Cliffs...)

10 Diane Firstman   ~  Aug 23, 2010 12:35 pm


well-played Mauer ...

11 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 23, 2010 12:46 pm

2 words:
1) Memory foam mattress (Overstock.com)
2) Quality chiropractor

12 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Aug 23, 2010 1:12 pm

AB, I don't know you beyond the Banter, but I know you because of it. Feel better.
Also, I know the BEST chiropractor in the Bronx (friends since childhood) and I can give you the info and tell him if you're interested.

And... Nova could be a lox, or what it means in Spanish, No Go.

That is why Chevy gave the car a different name in Mexico when it was sold there in the 60s-80s.

13 thelarmis   ~  Aug 23, 2010 1:40 pm

feel better, alex!

my family has a history of back pain. i've had one episode and learned how debilitating it really is. i don't even know what caused it. but i was a wreck for a good 5 days. i still had to somehow lug drums around and play gigs. it was brutal. i feel for ya, man. get well soon!

14 RIYank   ~  Aug 23, 2010 1:47 pm

[13] You had to lug them around and play some rock gigs, and boy was your back beat!

badump - shhhh!

15 thelarmis   ~  Aug 23, 2010 1:55 pm

[14] eh eh eh! actually, i remember - i was playing latin-jazz gigs at a fancy jazz club that week. the manager had the audacity to bother me 'coz i was wearing sneakers and not dress shoes. i was in pure hell...

when i was a kid, i'd head into my parents room tossing a baseball into my richie zisk glove, wanting to have a catch with my pop. he would be splayed across the bed 'coz his back was "out." i never knew what this fully meant & entailed, so i'd get really disappointed and go outside to throw pop-ups to myself. i was so close to JFK, i'd try to hit the planes above me! anyway, after my one - and hopefully, only - back episode, i knew what my dad was going thru and understood...

16 Diane Firstman   ~  Aug 23, 2010 2:39 pm

I've got a bit of a summer cold, fwiw ...

but yeah, cranky backs are NO fun ...

17 RagingTartabull   ~  Aug 23, 2010 2:46 pm

Damon claimed by an "unknown" team

could Johnny II be far off in the Bronx??

18 Diane Firstman   ~  Aug 23, 2010 2:49 pm
19 Sliced Bread   ~  Aug 23, 2010 3:27 pm

I could see Damon returning to the short porch of his youth, um, middle age -- and Cashman does seem to gravitate toward ex Yankees.
We'll see.

20 RagingTartabull   ~  Aug 23, 2010 3:39 pm

Damon claimed by Boston, whom he has a no-trade for

this is, umm...interesting...

21 ms october   ~  Aug 23, 2010 3:54 pm

[20] oh wow, that is interesting.

bos will probably block tampa and the yankees from damn near everyone (except probably manny).

22 Sliced Bread   ~  Aug 23, 2010 3:57 pm

if Damon has any dignity he'll tell the Red Sox to get over him, and that he'd prefer to play for a playoff team.

23 ms october   ~  Aug 23, 2010 3:57 pm

oh and per an earlier thread - check out the bottom three of tonight's lineup:

Brett Gardner LF
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Ramiro Pena 3B
Francisco Cervelli C

24 Jon DeRosa   ~  Aug 23, 2010 3:59 pm

[23] nova will feel right at home w/ so many familiar, minor league-caliber players supporting him.

25 Sliced Bread   ~  Aug 23, 2010 4:02 pm

[23] Somebody must have omitted the Run Support clause from Nova's big league contract.

26 rbj   ~  Aug 23, 2010 4:16 pm

[23] Ugh.

bangs head against wall

27 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 23, 2010 4:17 pm

[23] Again I ask - why wasn't this yesterday's lineup, when the Yanks had their ace on the mound and were facing one of the worst offenses in the AL, instead of today, when the Yanks are pitching a rookie against one of the best offenses in the AL?

Not that I think Nova will do poorly, but don't you want to try to maximize your run scoring potential when you might need runs, versus when your ace is pitching and you can reasonably expect to not need many runs? Sigh.

28 monkeypants   ~  Aug 23, 2010 5:09 pm

Eduardo Nunez SS
Ramiro Pena 3B
Francisco Cervelli C

Wow. Just, wow.

At least Jeter is not at DH.

29 monkeypants   ~  Aug 23, 2010 5:12 pm

27) I don't see any reason for those three players to be in the same lineup ever. Surely there is a way to set up the rotation-of-rest so that not every starter is out of the lineup at the same time.

What worries me the most, though, is that the inflexibility of cervelli's sopt in the rotation means that he starts half of the postseason games...if there is a postseason for the Yankees.

30 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 23, 2010 5:44 pm

With Berkman out and facing a RHP, who would DH if not Posada? Kerans I guess... so maybe this ain't a bad day to give Po a 1/2 day off. Probably better to rest Jeter against a RHP.

Of the 3 day's matchups, which represents our worst chance? Tonight or tomorrow I guess. With Kearns coming alive, do we actually match up better these days against LHP???

31 jjmerlock   ~  Aug 23, 2010 5:49 pm

Feel better, Alex. Working on that guy.

My back is the thing that makes all thing unpossible in my world.

My two recommendations: acupuncture and the REV line of epsom salts. I'm actually sold on the idea that the REV stuff is better than run of the mill epsom salt.

To tonight's game, yikes on the lineup.

And yikes to what's ahead. It is rough that Alex had to go on the DL, because these two upcoming series are, let's just say, very dangerous.

These two series, with a little over 23% of the season left, really represent the beginning of the stretch run, and we're going into them without ARod. The safe bet is that the head to heads will decide everything, but (and I feel like I say this every year), the Yankees' ability or inability to beat Toronto is going to have a huge impact on whether the Yanks finish in first, second, or out of the money.

Although the Rays only managed a split against Oakland, they did wipe four of the tougher games off of their schedule, and currently the Yankees have a markedly harder slate left than their rivals.

Here's how it breaks down:


GAMES LEFT: 38 (17 home, 21 away)

OPP. WINNING %: .523


GAMES LEFT: 38 (18 home, 20 away)

OPP. WINNING %: .496


GAMES LEFT: 37 (18 home, 19 away)

OPP. WINNING %: .511

All percentages calculated using home and away splits.

The main takeaways?

We have 6 away games and 3 home games left against Toronto. Can the Yanks avoid being homered to death by the homer-happy Blue Jays? Or can they outpace the Jays? Scary start, with this lineup.

And when it comes to Tampa Bay, if the Yanks and the Red Sox don't get them, we would need some good breaks to get any help down the stretch. The fact that Rays opponents outside of the Yankees and the Red Sox have a combined .442 winning percentage is a little unnerving.

32 jjmerlock   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:03 pm

And one follow up note - as much as I think home and away splits can be so significantly different for certain teams that I think it is essential to use those records, as opposed to overall records, I see some merit in William's contention that how a team is playing can be an important component of examining who you've played and who you have left. Teams do go through ups and downs. However, I think the idea that a certain team is "playing well" or "playing badly" can lead to significant misinterpretation of reality.

While I would like to add some sort of trailing index to the numbers I run, if I had more computational muscle at my disposal, "how a team is playing" can be as dependent on who they just played as it might be on how a particular team is playing. Facts emerge during a season, and can make one part of a schedule quite unlike another part of a schedule. For example, going into Texas for a road series is simply an unpleasant proposition. Getting Seattle at your home park should be an attractive proposition. Looking at the very recent past, splitting four at Oakland may be a greater accomplishment than taking two of three from Seattle at home.

I'm always afraid that the "who do you have left to play" can be ignored as a frighteningly near-immutable factor in deciding these races. Looking at the Yankees' remaining games, it seems like they have a limited set of options: 1) Win the head to head series left with Tampa Bay 2) Play extraordinarily well to overcome the difficulty of the remaining series on the schedule or 3) hope for miracles like Los Angeles actually giving a damn against the Rays or Kansas City making a four game road set at Kauffman something other than a cakewalk.

33 jjmerlock   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:05 pm

Oh, lastly, Baltimore is lurking. They have 3 home and 3 away left against each of the top three teams in the AL East. Will Buck push them extra hard to beat his old team?

34 The Hawk   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:06 pm

Can someone explain why the Tigers would make this move with Damon? I mean put him on waivers in the first place.

35 jjmerlock   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:14 pm

Don't teams sometimes float guys out there just to see what happens, and if they get a guy through waivers, explore options after that?

If a guy is claimed, it might be by a team that could offer an interesting deal, if the guy clears waivers, all deals can be explored. If they don't want to deal with the team who places the claim, they can just pull the guy off of - what's the term - the waiver wires?

And if they really don't want the player anymore and someone claims him, they can make that team eat the contract.

36 monkeypants   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:25 pm

34) JD is ona one year contract with Detroit, right? The question is whether they think he would be a type A free agent, but I don't think his numbers would warrant that. So, either they pay him the rest of year and let him walk for nothing, pay him the rest of the year and offer him arbitration (which they probably don't want to do given the risk that he accepts), or dangle him on waivers and see what they can get. It makes perfect sense to go fishing.

Actually, don't most teams place many of their players on waivers at this time of the year?

37 rbj   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:29 pm

[34] Lots of guys get put on waivers, even though there may be no intention of trading, but just to see who might claim them & what a potential deal could be. I wouldn't be surprised if Frankie was put through waivers. Tigers aren't going anywhere, this would free up some $ and just see what they could get from a desperate Red Sox team.

Tonight's lineup makes me want to just lie on my back & give it a rest. Still have a couple of Tylenol /w codeine, maybe take one & wash it down with bourbon. That should ease the pain.

38 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:32 pm

One thing in the Yanks favor tonight is that we get the URP edge. Does that work against other teams besides the Yankees?

It is daunting that Nova, Moseley, Hughes are the starters in the Toronto homer dome.

Just win baby, we'll figure out the rest later.

39 randym77   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:33 pm

I'm kind of excited to see Ivan Nova start. Seen a lot of him in Scranton, including the last game of the season last year (lost to the Durham Bulls).

40 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:44 pm

[34] Some (strange) possibilities:

1) Leyland has publicly stated the team is not making the playoffs. A vet like Damon would not take that lying down.

2) Damon and Boras could likely make a "request" that he be waived so a contender can pick him up.

3) Had Tampa or the Yanks put in a claim before the Ded Sox did, he would most likely have been pulled back so they could discuss a trade for some good farmhands.

4) They can save two million on payroll, which for Detroit is not such a bad thing.

5) Leyland may have wanted to do Damon a favor before he leaves; Detroit may have wanted to do Boras a favor. They did a favor for him by signing Damon to a stupid contract in the first place, there might be a little quid pro quo coming their way this offseason, who knows?

Ded Sox did nobody or themselves any favors by blocking Tampa/NY from getting him and would just be kidding themselves if they thought any good would come out of bringing him back for an encore. A little 2004 magic? Lightning in a bottle? A good will gesture to their flighty fans? That all happens when Manny's batting cleanup behind Bit Papi again. This will be interesting if Detroit does give in to the irony.

41 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:50 pm

[34] Salary dump for a team with Zero chance at the PS.

The schedule is not in our favor, but the bottom line is all the head-2-head games with TB and Boston. The bottom line is the best team, or at least the hottest team will win it.

With all their injuries, it's hard to believe Boston is still in this. Makes me think that if healthy, they may be way ahead by now. Youk, Cameron and Pillsbury are out for the year. Mightly Mouse may be also... or a least for a while. Let's hope they can give TB a fight.

42 The Hawk   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:51 pm

Thanks for all the answers. I guess a key to my asking the question is I didn't realize how far back the Tigers are.

43 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:54 pm

[40] JD does make Boston's OF better.

44 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:54 pm

[36],[37] Yes, but what makes this case unique is the bad blood involved. Detroit has the reigns right now and could make a lot of people miserable if they let him go. (How does the no-trade work if he's claimed on waivers and Detroit lets him go?)

I'm sure everyone would put up a brave front if it went down like that, but Damon and Boras would either bolt the first chance they got or demand a somewhat punishing contract extension or request when the time came.

45 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 23, 2010 6:57 pm

ESPN has this headline up:
Idiots reunion? Red Sox put in claim on Damon
Next up is:
Sources: Manny likely to hit waivers this week
For $5m or so, Boston could make it quite a reunion.
Would they have the balls to make a last ditch effort by getting Manny back?

46 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 23, 2010 7:00 pm

[43] Of course he does, but does he make a big difference at this point for them? Their bullpen has pulled them out of the race more than the loss of quality in their lineup. The most sense it makes for them is to block Tampa/NY and pray that Detroit pulls him back.

47 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 23, 2010 7:05 pm

Stephen Strasburg: 68.0 IP, 1.07 WHIP, 2.91 ERA.
Pretty nice, but the guy is on the DL. Hope he's not Kerry Wood II. TCIip with a 3.04 ERA for the Nats.

Just to take a look:
Melky: 88 OPS+
Damon: 105 OPS+, avg D, noodle arm
Matsui: 106 OPS+ for a DH
Tabata: 104 OPS+... not bad for a 21 yr olf
AJax: 106 OPS+, at 23, pretty nice for good D in CF.

All in all, Cashman did pretty good. I do miss AJax but his K rate is alarming. I guess the story will depend on if K-Long really fixed Curtis or not.

48 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 23, 2010 7:07 pm

[46] But why not? for $1.6m or so? Boston has hung on this long and they have enough head-2-head games against us and TB to still have a legit shot at the WC.

49 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 23, 2010 7:09 pm

Game On.... NEW thread up.

50 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 23, 2010 7:09 pm

[45] No, especially not after all the BS they both blew at each other when he finally left. That would be the equivalent of inviting the Joker back to Gotham. The Dodgers would really not be losing much by waiving or releasing Manny this season; he's definitely not coming back and they could get more for him than Detroit could get for Damon. And if he walks or is claimed a second time, so what? I wonder if they might wanna just piss him off so much that he makes it absolutely clear he's not coming back, then on the way out offer him arbitration so they at least get a pick? I don't think Manny's so dumb that he'd spite them and sign up for another season of losing and sitting on his butt.

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver