Posted on: May 9, 2010 9:55 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2010 10:06 pm
The Yankees have never had a perfect game thrown against them. The Rays have had it happen twice in 10 months.
The Royals have never had a perfect game thrown for them, or against them. The Angels, Dodgers, Expos and White Sox have been on both sides of perfect games.
Some of the best pitchers in the history of the game have thrown perfect games. And some guys who never were and never will be considered for the Hall of Fame.
It doesn't always make sense, just like the Royals' 1-6 record in Zack Greinke's first seven starts this year doesn't make sense.
And whether it makes sense or not, we're tying Dallas Braden's perfect game, the Yankees and Greinke into this week's edition of 3 to watch:
1. The day after they were the victims in Mark Buehrle's perfect game last July, the Rays faced Roy Halladay in Toronto -- and got a hit in the very first inning. Matt Garza was the Tampa Bay starter that day, and Garza went nine innings to get credit for the Rays' 4-2, 10-inning win. Guess who starts for the Rays Monday night? Yep, it's Garza, who will face Joel Pineiro in Rays at Angels, Monday night (10:05 EDT) at Angels Stadium .
2. The Yankees have had three perfect games, the most of any team. You wouldn't figure that they'd get another one this week, since the Tigers' have the second-best team batting average in the game (behind only the Yankees). But their series this week in Detroit, besides giving the Yanks their first look at Johnny Damon in a Tiger uniform, gives us all a great pitching matchup. It's CC Sabathia against Justin Verlander, in Yankees at Tigers, Thursday afternoon (1:05 EDT) at Comerica Park .
3. Greinke, somehow, is 0-4 despite a 2.51 ERA and five quality starts in seven starts. He's the first defending Cy Young Award winner to lose his first four decisions the next year since Bartolo Colon, who was 0-4 with a 5.77 ERA in six starts (wrapped around a trip to the disabled list) in 2006. The Royals bullpen has already cost Greinke two wins with blown saves, and the Royals hitters have hurt him by scoring just one run in his last two starts combined (1-0 and 4-1 losses). They'll try again, in Indians at Royals, Thursday afternoon (2:10 EDT) at Kauffman Stadium . The last defending Cy Young to start 0-5? Frank Viola, who began 0-5 (but then won his next start) for the 1989 Twins.
Posted on: November 1, 2009 5:07 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2009 5:15 pm
PHILADELPHIA -- Somehow, Cliff Lee is supposed to feel bad that he isn't doing what CC Sabathia is doing.
Sabathia started Game 1 of the World Series, and he's coming back on three days' rest to start Game 4 tonight. Lee, who beat Sabathia in Game 1, is starting Game 5 on normal rest Monday night.
So it's a seeming mismatch, Sabathia vs. Joe Blanton, and with the Yankees already leading the World Series two games to one, everyone wants to blame Lee and/or Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
"I think I could do it," Lee said. "But he makes the calls."
Here's the thing: Nearly every World Series manager in recent history has made the exact same call that Manuel did. It's Sabathia and Yankees manager Joe Girardi who are going against the trend, not Lee and Manuel.
In the last 15 World Series, only two Game 1 starters -- San Diego's Kevin Brown in 1998 and Arizona's Curt Schilling in 2001 -- have come back to start Game 4. That's two, out of a possible 30.
Put another way, 93 percent of Game 1 starters don't start Game 4.
I'm not saying Girardi is making a mistake, not at all. Sabathia is the rare pitcher who has proven he can not only pitch on three days' rest, but pitch effectively on three days.
Lee, on the other hand, has never pitched on three days' rest in his entire career.
Manuel asked him that question before the World Series began. Lee said no.
"You're asking Cliff Lee to do something that he has never done before," Manuel said. "You're also asking him to do it in a very big, important place, and that's in the World Series. I didn't have to think very long at all about that, and neither did [pitching coach Rich] Dubee."
The whole concept of a three-man postseason rotation is interesting. It made perfect sense when teams regularly used four-man rotations in the regular season. The postseason three-man rotation even outlasted the regular-season four-man rotation by about two decades. All the way through the 1970s and through much of the 1980s, teams routinely asked pitchers to work on three days' rest in October.
But it's extremely rare now. In the last 23 best-of-7 series played (every World Series and LCS since the start of 2002), only three pitchers have been asked to start Games 1 and 4.
The Red Sox had Tim Wakefield do it in the 2003 ALCS. The Dodgers had Derek Lowe do it in the 2008 NLCS. And the Yankees had Sabathia do it in this year's ALCS.
That's three out of 23, which means -- again -- that 87 percent of the Game 1 starters didn't do it.
More power to Sabathia for being able to. But let's not crush Lee and Manuel too much for not trying it.
Someone asked Lee today about back-to-back starts against the same opponent, as if it was something unusual.
Actually, Lee has made back-to-back starts against the same opponent 16 times in his career, including twice in the 2009 regular season and again in the first round against the Rockies. The last five times he has done it, Lee is 3-1 in the repeat start, with a 1.55 ERA.
Posted on: October 14, 2009 4:14 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2009 7:43 pm
NEW YORK -- The weather forecasters say there’s an 80 percent chance of rain for Friday’s Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
I’m saying there’s a 100 percent chance that the Yankees don’t want a Game 1 rainout.
Why? Simple. With no rain (or at least no rainout), the Yankees can pitch CC Sabathia three times in a seven-game series, which they seem determined to do. If Game 1 gets pushed back from Friday to Saturday, then Game 2 moves from Saturday to Sunday, and the scheduled off day likely disappears.
Since the Yankees would never use Sabathia on two days’ rest, he then wouldn’t be available for Game 4 on Tuesday night. And that means the Yankees would have to turn to either Chad Gaudin or Joba Chamberlain, something they understandably don’t want to do.
The New York Post suggests that baseball could add an off day Monday and then take away the scheduled off day between Games 4 and 5, but says that still would make it unlikely that the Yankees would try to use Sabathia three times in the series (because it would force Game 2 starter A.J. Burnett to also work on short rest in Game 5).
Losing either off day wouldn’t be any problem for the Angels, who already plan to use a four-man rotation in the ALCS. Game 1 starter John Lackey isn’t scheduled to come back until Game 5, which he would still be able to do on normal rest, in either scenario.
The Angels rotation is deeper than the Yankees rotation. They have no problem using Joe Saunders, Jared Weaver and Scott Kazmir, as they plan to do in Games 2, 3 and 4.
The forecasters say there’s a 40 percent chance of rain in New York on Saturday and Sunday, so there could be multiple rainouts. But any rain that postpones Game 1 works against the Yankees, because it’s unlikely baseball would add any off days to the schedule.
Posted on: December 10, 2008 3:52 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2008 9:55 pm
LAS VEGAS -- The Brewers offered more than $100 million for CC Sabathia, but that doesn't mean they're now flush with cash to throw at someone else.
In fact, two sources familiar with their plans said, general manager Doug Melvin can't shift any of that $100 million into other pursuits. So if the Brewers are to sign even a lower-budget free-agent pitcher, as they'd like to do, they'll have to first move one of their other salaries, possibly someone like shorstop J.J. Hardy or first baseman Prince Fielder.
The Brewer rotation has two big holes, with Sabathia departing for the Yankees and Ben Sheets also out the door. The Brewers offered Sheets arbitration last week, but when he turned it down, they chose not to make him any more offers.
There had been speculation that the Brewers would pursue a closer, but the sources agreed that's very unlikely.
Posted on: December 10, 2008 3:51 pm
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Posted on: December 10, 2008 11:47 am
LAS VEGAS -- So K-Rod's going to be a Met, and CC's going to the Yankees.
And the general impression is that while Francisco Rodriguez embraced the big city and the big stage, CC Sabathia had to be dragged there, all but kicking and screaming as he waited in vain for an acceptable offer to emerge from the West Coast.
First off, let's say that the general impression isn't necessarily right. And let's say that just as Sabathia learned to love Cleveland and also Milwaukee, he could well find that he loves New York, too.
Beyond that, though, how important is it that a player wants to be in New York?
"I think that is probably, along with talent, the utmost criteria that you can have," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said, after his team reached an agreement (that they won't yet publicly acknowledge) with Rodriguez.
But Mike Mussina was never a guy who wanted to be in New York, and he thrived there. There are other examples, too.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked the question in a media session the other day, and he pointed out that Sabathia has pitched in New York before. True, but in five career starts at the old Yankee Stadium, he was 1-4 with an 8.61 ERA (although the most recent of those starts was four years ago, before Sabathia blossomed into a Cy Young winner).
"CC's personality, I think, would work very well here," Girardi said. "He's a guy that wants the ball every fifth day. He's a stand-up guy. He's a very honest young man. So I think his personality will be great."
Posted on: December 10, 2008 10:17 am
Edited on: December 10, 2008 9:39 pm
LAS VEGAS -- CC Sabathia has decided to sign with the Yankees, CBSSports.com has confirmed.
Sabathia, the top free agent on this winter's market, will get a seven-year deal for $161 million, a source familiar with the deal said this morning. That's a year and $20 million more than the Yankees' original offer, made last month, and far more than any other team was willing to pay.
The Yankees gave Sabathia an opt-out clause, allowing him to get out of the contract after three years. Because of Sabathia's uncertainty about wanting to play in New York, it's believed that the clause was a key to getting the deal done.
The Yankees knew all along that Sabathia preferred to sign with a West Coast team, preferably one that plays in the National League. They knew their only chance was to overwhelm him with money, while at the same time hoping that none of his favored teams would step up and offer anything similar.
In the end, the strategy worked, in part because the Yankees could offer so much more money than anyone else, and also because the West Coast suitors never really materialized. While the Angels had long coveted Sabathia as well, owner Arte Moreno also loved Mark Teixeira and wasn't prepared to approach the numbers the Yankees were talking about. The Dodgers and Giants thought about it, but never emerged as serious options.
Sabathia did receive an offer from the Brewers, the team that acquired him from the Indians in a midseason trade last summer. But Brewers people always sensed they were a longshot, and Sabathia informed them early this morning that he was going to the Yankees.
As it became clear in recent days that the Yankees could be Sabathia's best option, the pitcher met several times with general manager Brian Cashman and other Yankee officials. Monday, Cashman left the winter meetings to fly to San Francisco to meet with Sabathia again -- and, as it turns out, to get his agreement.
Even though seven years at $160 million works out to a little less than $23 million a year, the source said it's still too early to determine where the contract will rank in terms of average annual value. While it's technically just behind the six-year, $137.5 million deal that Johan Santana signed last winter with the Mets, Sabathia's contract will apparently include less deferred money than Santana's.
The Yankees, whose rotation ranked ninth in the American League with a 4.58 ERA, had understandably focused on starting pitching this winter. They're not done yet, as they'd still like to sign two out of three other big-name starters -- Derek Lowe, Ben Sheets and A.J. Burnett.
It's believed that they have the best chance with Lowe and Sheets, because Burnett has attracted more serious bidders. The Braves have already made Burnett a large offer.
The Yankees' agreement with Sabathia was first reported by the New York Post.
Posted on: December 9, 2008 10:09 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2008 10:11 pm
LAS VEGAS -- Here's one thing the Angels baseball people all seem to agree on: Owner Arte Moreno calls the shots in Anaheim.
So even thought the baseball people have been telling others they'd be happy with either Mark Teixeira or CC Sabathia, it's worth listening when Moreno says that he still strongly favors Teixeira and doesn't consider the Angels as a very serious player for Sabathia.
Moreno just told Jon Heyman of SI.com just that.
"Teixeira's my guy," Moreno said. "There are obviously other people we like. But he's our main target."
As for Sabathia, Moreno insisted: "I wouldn't say we're in the Sabathia picture at all."
If the Angels are indeed going to stay away from Sabathia, that further narrows the field for a pitcher who has expressed an interest in being on the West Coast and/or in the National League.