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Saturday, July 15, 2006


I decided to spend the first game of the All Star break in a most dangerous way- At Fenway Park, in enemy territory, and decked out in green and yellow to show my support of the Oakland Athletics and my hatred and disdain for all things pertaining to Red Sox Nation.

And apparently, it worked. The Red Sox, who hadn't lost a game at home in a month, lost this game to Esteban Loaiza and the A's in the 11th inning. My first Fenway experience was an excellent and memorable one; I've been waiting to watch the Red Sox play in their home ballpark since I was a kid, so this was pretty awesome. I also think I might just have to move to Boston to help the Yankees- I was up there and the Red Sox lost three out of four to Oakland and the Yanks, of course, swept the defending World Champions at the Stadium to pull within .5 game of first place (*Of course, after yesterday's tough loss, the Yankees are now 1.5 games back).

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Mussina one of many All-Star snubs on our list

Michael Lazarus / Special to

As hard as it may be to fathom that a New York Yankee who's a five-time All-Star can be underrated, it's apparent that Mike Mussina has turned the trick -- at least when it comes to this year's All-Star selection process.

If there's one player who should feel completely snubbed, it's Mussina, the second-ranked pitcher in our rankings this week and a mainstay for most of the season.

Ranked among the top 14 pitchers in baseball in all six of our categories (including wins and ERA), Mussina wasn't only left off the original roster – he wasn't even one of the five players added for the ballot for the final spot.

Granted some pitchers – like Mark Redman, Scott Kazmir and Barry Zito – are their teams' only representative so it's understandable why they were selected. But compare the raw numbers of Mussina and another All-Star pitcher. (Stats through Tuesday night's games):

Mike Mussina: 9-3, 3.17 ERA, 116.1 IP, 104 SO, 22 BB, 1.04 WHIP
Mark Buehrle: 9-5, 3.86 ERA, 116.2 IP, 51 SO, 28 BB, 1.31 WHIP

Of course, Buehrle plays for the same team as the AL All-Star manager. Perhaps this is payback for all the Yankees who made the game when Joe Torre managed (remember Mike Stanton in 2001)?

  • The six statistics the rankings are based on:
ERA: The most common statistic to rate pitchers.
WHIP: Keeping batters from reaching base is of utmost importance.
Strikeouts/walk ratio: A big measuring stick for success.
Strikeouts/9 innings: Pitchers who strike out more batters tend to do better.
Opponents' slugging percentage: Limiting the home runs and extra-base hits.
Wins: Yes, wins aren't always "earned" but this is what the ultimate goal is

The 30 top pitchers in each category earn points (30 for first, 29 for second, and so on all the way down to 1 point for 30th place). Those with the most total points top our rankings.

Pitchers must have thrown enough innings to qualify for the ERA title (one inning per team games played) in every category except wins. Ties among wins are broken by number of losses. Rankings are through Tuesday night.

Rk Pitcher ERA WHIP K/BB K/9 SLG% Wins TOTAL
1. Johan Santana 28 30 29 27 21 14.5 149.5
2. Mike Mussina 20 28 26 19 22 17 132
3. Roy Halladay 23 27 25 NR 18 29.5 122.5
4. Pedro Martinez 9 29 23 30 27 NR 118
5. Curt Schilling 6 24 30 20 NR 27.5 107.5
6. Brandon Webb 29 20 28 NR 13 17 107
7. Jason Schmidt 30 23 NR 13 29 NR 95
8.Jeremy Bonderman 5 15 19 25 25 NR 89
9. Bronson Arroyo 27 21 14 1 14 11.5 88.5
10. Chris Young 21 26 1 21 19 NR 88

Next 10:

11. Jose Contreras (86)
12. Brad Penny (84)
13. Scott Kazmir (80.5)
14. John Lackey (79)
15. Justin Verlander (77.5)
16. Chris Carpenter (76)
17. Chris Capuano (74.5)
18. Jake Peavy (68)
19. Carlos Zambrano (6)
20. Aaron Harang (61.5).

Dropped out: Kenny Rogers (LW: 18).

*** Liriano is 2/3 of an inning away from taking over the No. 1 spot ***

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Subway Series: Yankee Stadium Edition

There’s nothing better than a good, clean, well-pitched ballgame, except a good, clean, well-pitched ballgame in which the Yankees shut down the opposition and hold them to one measly little hit, especially when the opposition are their crosstown rivals who have prematurely been touted as “the best team in New York.” The Mets, without question, are having an incredible season thus far. However, facing some of the “big boys” of the American League has exposed quite a few weaknesses like their pitching staff, primarily the number three, four, and five starters. I was not at all pleased to have the Mets coming in having been absolutely pounded in Boston and having lost three games in a row for the first time all season, but then I remembered Moose was starting and that the Yankees are probably all a little sick of hearing about how great the Mets are and looking for a little respect, especially considering the Yankees have ten consecutive division titles and have been playing playoff-worthy baseball for much longer than just a few months.

It was very nice to watch another Moose vs. El Duque duel like the one last season while Duque was with the White Sox. They’re both such finesse pitchers that can throw an incredible arsenal of pitches, in any count and from any angle. I’d rather watch these kinds of guys, with pinpoint control and the ability to change speeds as dramatically as they both do, than some wild flamethrower that gets the ball up there around 100 but gives up monster homeruns and walk the guys they don’t strikeout. The Yankees caught a really bad break tonight when Moose had to come out of the game in the fourth inning with a no-hitter because of the rain delay and they had to go to the much maligned bullpen, but those guys did an incredible job and hopefully this shut out will give them all a little much-needed confidence. Villone did a great job giving them a little length, Proctor was trusted with the meat of the Mets lineup and looked sharp, Farnsworth did NOT give up a hit and looked like last season’s dominant and imposing reliever, and Mariano, the REAL Sandman and the best closer of all time, was, well, Mo. The first inning Giambi homerun turned out to be all the Bombers needed, but Andy Phillips’(Whom I affectionately call George, FYI) basehit in the 4th was a huge insurance run.

Taking a look around the league, Joe Girardi and the Marlins did tonight what Willie Randolph and the Mets couldn’t do in three games: beat the Red Sox. The Mets Fenway fiasco is, luckily for them, in the rearview mirror. However, the D-Train was able to hold the streaking BoSox to two runs and finally stopped Boston’s 12-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory. It’s about time!

Oh, and one last thing, going back to the Mets and Yankees. Why is it that the Yankees, according to the media at least, are inconsistent and struggling this year (45-32) while the Mets (47-32) are sometimes called the “best team in baseball”? Take a look at the records, and keep in mind the Yankees play in a division that is infinitely tougher than any N.L. Division, period. You don’t have to knock the Mets, but let’s give the Yanks a bit of respect, huh? I’m getting kind of sick of the Yankee-bashing.

This afternoon's game will be a match-up of Randy Johnson and Steve Trachsel. Hopefully, the Big Unit can continue pitching as well as he has of late and the Yankees can take the series and give their fans some bragging rights.