Daily Archives: June 1, 2011
SWB W 1-0
|Mitchell (W, 4-3)||7.0||5||0||0||1||5||0||2.78|
|Flores, R (H, 3)||1.0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|Whelan (S, 16)||1.0||1||0||0||0||1||0||1.88|
Written by Bob Klapisch, columnist at NorthJersey.com. Overall, very good article from Bob Klap. He brings up some very interesting and also very true points.
Instead of just linking the article, I’ll give it you right here:
The cynics, doubters and haters are speaking with one voice these days about Bartolo Colon. It’s a chorus: no man shaped like a watermelon should be throwing 96-mph on the black.After all, just look at Colon – try matching the waistline to the nuking of the A’s lineup on Monday. Not only did Colon throw his first shutout since 2006, a whopping 86 of his 103 pitches were fastballs, a lopsided total even for a young, fit hurler.
Crazy, right? Colon isn’t young (soon to be 38) and he isn’t fit (Joba Chamberlain looks like a greyhound in comparison.) So what gives? Major League Baseball is asking that very question, continuing to probe Colon’s medical treatments in the Dominican Republic 18 months ago.
The Yankees pitcher, who was out of baseball at the time, was administered a stem cell injection in his shoulder and elbow – a desperate procedure to resurrect his career. It’s a stirring comeback, except that the commissioner’s office suspects there’s more to this story.
The doctor who treated Colon, Florida-based Joseph Purita, admits he’s used HGH on his other patients. One industry official says, “it’s hard to believe” either Purita or Colon drew the line at stem cells, although investigators have been unable to prove a thing.
At the very least, the commissioner’s office believes Colon should’ve disclosed these treatments when he signed with the Yankees, which he did not. In fact, GM Brian Cashman had no idea Colon had undergone stem cell treatment until the New York Times broke the story last month. The higher-ups at Major League Baseball believe the Yankees have the right to void Colon’s contract, although such talk is purely theoretical, dismissed by the Bombers as corporate hot air.
Anyone who thinks the Yankees are going to punish or investigate Colon hasn’t paid attention to the mini-emergencies they face – from Phil Hughes’ injury to Ivan Nova’s chronic under-achievement. Colon isn’t just throwing better than at any time since 2005, he’s become the No. 2 starter in the Bronx. So whatever he did or didn’t do, the Yankees have no incentive to dig for an answer.
For all their posturing, MLB knows that Colon is beyond their reach, as well. There is no rule banning the use of stem cells, since it’s considered a medical procedure. And even if Colon did use HGH, he was out of the game at the time, not part of the Players Association, not bound by the Basic Agreement.
“[Colon] was a private citizen, free to make whatever choices he wanted,” said one person close to the pitcher. “Baseball can’t do a thing to him. It’s a loophole that’ll have to be addressed in the next [Basic Agreement].”
Fair point: Bud Selig will be looking for ways to govern players on hiatus or in semi-retirement, especially those living in other countries. Currently, there’s no way to stop anyone from loading up, whether it’s HGH or steroids.
Colon, then, would fit neatly into the Yankees’ PED culture of the early 2000s. There was Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Jason Giambi, Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice – and now Colon. But Purita is protesting any loose logic that indicts his client.
Not only does the doctor swear Colon never took HGH, he’s willing to take a lie-detector test. And for those who object to stem cell usage on ethical grounds, Purita has a separate rejoinder: Colon harvested the cells from his own body (his hip). No embryos were used.
That means Colon is in for the long haul, although the Yankees aren’t greedy enough to think his second golden era will last forever. Cashman, for one, says: “I can’t sit here and tell you how Bartolo is going to be pitching later on this summer. It’s been a long time since he’s been this good. So, honestly, I don’t know where this is going.”
It’s both a thrilling and terrifying proposition for the Yankees, knowing Colon’s mirage could end at any time. The realists in the front office are more like fatalists, half-expecting Colon to blow out his arm again – a partially torn rotator cuff is what drove him out of the big leagues and into Purita’s office.
What’s more likely is that Colon loses his elite-caliber velocity. Logic says it has to happen, although there was no sign of decay against the A’s. According to BaseballAnalytics.org, Colon ran most of his best fastballs away from righties and lefties, effectively creating a “donut hole” in his computerized pitchchart. The hole was the middle of the strike zone, where Colon rarely visited.
Ninety six is as hard as any Yankees starter has thrown this year, a full 6-7 mph better than his spring training radar reading. It hasn’t hurt Colon, either, to be throwing 67 percent first-pitch strikes – his best ratio since ’05 – and that his fly ball ratio is just 34.9 percent, his lowest since 2002.
The numbers hardly need a translation. For whatever reason, pure or diabolical, whether it’s good chemicals or good luck, it’s hard to square up on Colon’s moving four-seamer this year. The pitcher isn’t about to reveal his secret, although Purita is first in line to defend him.
“We gave [Bartolo] the means, but he has the focus and desire, the killer instinct,” the doctor told the Times. “He worked his tail off to get back in the game. That is something stem cells cannot fix.’’
From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
OAKLAND — Nick Swisher’s three-run homer supported A.J. Burnett’s strong effort as the Yankees completed a series sweep of the Athletics with a 4-2 victory on Wednesday.
Swisher’s fourth-inning blast off Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez was all Burnett needed in his back pocket as the right-hander allowed just three hits, winning for the second time in three starts.
The Yankees have won 10 straight against the A’s, their longest winning streak against the franchise in more than 50 years.
New York sparked the output toward their fourth straight win in the first inning, as Alex Rodriguez ripped a run-scoring double off Gonzalez that chased home Derek Jeter, who doubled for career hit No. 2,984.
Burnett got off to a rocky beginning, as Josh Willingham touched him up for a two-run homer in the first, but Burnett then settled in and pounded the strike zone against Oakland’s offense.
After the first inning, Burnett held the Athletics to one hit — Coco Crisp’s fifth-inning triple — and tossed six scoreless frames, finishing his workload with a perfect seventh inning at 103 pitches. He walked three and struck out five.
The Yankees then turned it over to their rested bullpen, which has enjoyed several days without the phone ringing much thanks to a string of good starts by CC Sabathia, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and now Burnett.
Gonzalez has had plenty of success this season pitching in the pitcher-friendly confines of the Coliseum, but he couldn’t hold the scant lead his offense provided against Burnett.
In the New York fourth, A-Rod led off with an infield single and Gonzalez walked Robinson Cano to set up Swisher, who slugged his fourth homer of the year and second of the road trip.
Coincidentally, Swisher and Gonzalez were once involved in the same trade. The Athletics dealt Swisher to the White Sox in January 2008 for a three-player package that included Gonzalez.
The Yankees’ 10-game win streak against the Athletics is their longest since a 14-game winning streak from Sept. 13, 1956 through July 12, 1957.
|Rodriguez, Al, DH||4||1||2||1||0||0||1||.292|
|Jones, An, LF||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||.230|
|Nunez, E, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.224|
|Burnett, AJ(W, 6-3)||7.0||3||2||2||3||5||1||3.86|
|Rivera, Ma(S, 14)||1.0||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.01|
The NEW Weekly Great Yankees Moment has been posted. Just click HERE.
It is Game 5 of the 2001 World Series. Scott Brosius is up.
From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
OAKLAND — Out of habit, Curtis Granderson still checks the lineup card every day when he walks in to the Yankees clubhouse, but the days when his name disappears due to a left-handed starter are long gone.
His struggles against southpaws a thing of the past, Granderson homered and drove in four runs to lead the Yankees’ charge as they pounded the Athletics, 10-3, on Tuesday at Oakland Coliseum.
“I knew it was there, it was just a matter of getting it back,” said Granderson, who has hit nine of his team-leading 17 homers off lefties. “I had to do it to get to the big leagues, I just ran into a couple bumps in the road.”
Granderson got the Yankees started right out of the gate with a two-run blast in the first inning off Brett Anderson, who would leave rocked for career highs in runs allowed (10) and hits (11) by the sixth inning.
Alex Rodriguez had three hits and collected another three RBIs, while Robinson Cano also slugged a two-run homer, providing more than enough support for New York starter Freddy Garcia.
“We have a good lineup,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We have a deep lineup and we have patient hitters that know how to work the count and foul pitches off. When guys make some mistakes, they get to them.”
The Yankees’ third consecutive victory was credited to Garcia, who held the Athletics to three runs over seven innings, posting a win for the second straight start.
David DeJesus drove in all three of Oakland’s runs with a third-inning single and a two-run homer in the fifth, his fifth.
Other than that, the soft-tossing Garcia showcased a knack for getting out of trouble, including stranding the bases loaded in the fourth by getting Andy LaRoche to bounce into a fielder’s choice.
“I’m not really surprised,” Garcia said. “I’ve been in this game for a long time. I know how to go out there and do my business and get people out.”
Not to say that Garcia didn’t have his close calls. In the sixth, Kevin Kouzmanoff blasted a rocket back to the mound that Garcia barely saw.
It somehow landed in his glove, and Garcia nonchalantly tossed the ball to second base to double off Mark Ellis and end the inning.
“I was lucky. I almost got hit in my face,” Garcia said. “I don’t know how I caught that ball. But I did. It scared me.”
After Granderson’s first-inning homer, Rodriguez drove in his first run with a third-inning bloop single. Granderson added a two-run single off Anderson in the fifth, knocking in Andruw Jones and Brett Gardner.
“The big thing is just trying to use what we’ve been working on, [hitting coach] Kevin Long and myself,” Granderson said. “It’s just being in there ready to hit, being down and consistently in position to attack the baseball.”
Granderson’s nine homers off lefties are the most of any big leaguer, and Girardi has marveled that he’d ever been tempted to bench his bat against southpaws.
“It’s hard to believe,” Girardi said. “The adjustment that this guy has made is remarkable.”
Cano clubbed his 11th homer, a two-run shot, in the fifth, and the Yankees pulled away in a three-run sixth that featured a rarity: Mark Teixeira’s first stolen base of the year was a steal of home.
“It seems you face one guy, then another guy that’s an All-Star, a potential Hall of Famer comes up,” Anderson said. “It’s tough.”
Anderson’s last duty in the game was to walk Teixeira intentionally to set up a bases-loaded spot for Rodriguez, and the gamble didn’t work for Brad Ziegler, as Rodriguez laced a two-run single.
Oakland then exacerbated the issue as catcher Kurt Suzuki threw down to first base, hanging up Rodriguez between the bases. Conor Jackson flung wildly as Teixeira charged home with what would be scored a double steal.
“When things are going right, they’re going right,” Girardi said.
The Yankees had plenty of bullpen help at the ready, having enjoyed long efforts from CC Sabathia on Sunday in Seattle and Bartolo Colon on Monday against the A’s.
They’d barely need it, as Garcia scattered nine hits, walking two and striking out five. Luis Ayala and Lance Pendleton finished up with a pair of scoreless innings.
Approaching Oakland, the Yankees had some reservations about the solid starting pitching they’d be facing, but thus far it has proved to be no match for their big bats.
Consider that the tag team of Granderson and Teixeira has already hit 33 homers, outslugging the entire A’s roster, which owns 31 round-trippers this season.
Yet as they showed on Tuesday, the Yankees have more than one weapon to make sure the job gets done.
“We’re trying to do it any way we can,” Granderson said. “The fact that we’re getting it from more than just one source is always a good thing.”
|Rodriguez, Al, 3B||4||1||3||3||0||0||1||.287|
|a-Nunez, E, PH-3B||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.244|
|Jones, An, DH||4||1||1||0||1||2||2||.237|
|Garcia, F(W, 4-4)||7.0||9||3||3||2||5||1||3.34|