Hank Steinbrenner is upset with the National League for not adopting the designated hitter rule, which the American League has been using since 1973 after losing his ace hurler Chien-Ming Wang due to him running the bases. Wang clearly does not have many base running skills since he has batted only 11 times in interleague play and struck out 8 of those times.
I can understand Steinbrenner being upset about losing Wang probably for the rest of the season, but to blame it on the National League is ridiculous. As far as I am concerned, the rule should never have been adopted when the National League refused to use the DH.
Steinbrenner should be blaming Major League baseball for having the DH in one league and not the other. If things had remained the same without the DH, Wang would have been taught from the Minor League level how to run the bases.
The Yankees clearly have to make a move to replace Wang since three out of their five original rotation pitchers at start of the season are on disabled list. Darrell Rasner, the fifth starter, has lost four in a row after winning his first three starts. His control is superb with only 6 walks in 7 starts, but his ERA has risen from 1.89 after the three wins to 3.64 after the four losses. On Wednesday, he faces Jake Peavy in his next start, so he will have to pitch a great game to defeat Peavy.
Joba Chamberlain is pitching well now as a starter, but still hasn't received a decision in any of his three starts. He is having control problems as a starter with 9 walks in 12 innings, but he still has been effective with an ERA of 2.48. Dan Giese has been mentioned as a starter, but he only has 16 innings of Major league experience at the age of 31. He only has 10 starts in 387 Minor League games and has been in the minors since 1999. He has played for the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, and New York Yankees in their Minor League organizations, except a brief callup by the Giants last season.
Since May 21st, the Yankees have not had a win from their fourth or fifth starters. Still, despite all the bad news about the pitching staff, the Yankees cannot be counted out. They should make a move soon that will strengthen the pitching staff and they have won nine out of their last 12 games. They are only 5 1/2 games behind the first place Red Sox and they host the the Red Sox for a four game home series that starts on July 3rd, so they are in excellent position to gain ground on the Red Sox if they can win at least 3 of those 4 games.
Around the Bases
The New York Mets didn't show much class by firing Willie Randolph after their 9-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Why didn't they fire him before the game if they were going to fire him regardless of whether he won or lost that game? As usual, the manager takes the blame for underachieving players like Carlos Delgado, who is hitting .242 and slugging only .407. Billy Wagner deserves some blame for blowing five saves in less than half of the season. Johan Santana (7-4) could have won more games with better run support. He lost to the Atlanta Braves despite giving up one run in 7 innings, and to the Padres after giving up one run in 6 innings, and received no decisions while allowing only one run in 6 innings to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and against Arizona again when he pitched 7 scoreless innings. So he should have at least 10 wins right now. Santana faces John Lackey (3-1) tonight in Angels Stadium in what should be a great matchup.
The Phillies showed again last night how much better they are when Ryan Howard is hitting. Last night, Howard homered twice and tripled and drove in four runs giving him 62 RBI's for the season which ties him for the NL lead with Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Utley. Howard has 9 hits in his last 18 at-bats to raise his average to .224 and has hit 4 homers and drove in 18 runs in his last ten games. Cole Hamels (7-4) is back on track after giving up 6 runs to the Houston Astros in 4 innings and 7 runs to the Florida Marlins in 5 2/3 innings in his last two starts in May. Since then, he has given up 4 runs in his last 24 innings with a 1.50 in those three starts. In the games against the Astros and Marlins, Hamels allowed 15 hits in 9 2/3 innings, but in the last 24 innings he has allowed only 13 hits.
Chipper Jones was on the brink of hitting under .400 last night, but he finished the game with the Colorado Rockies with a .403 average. Jones has not hit under .400 since April 12th. He has been in a slump in his last six games before last night when he had one hit or no hits in those games. He is hitting .357 this month after hitting .417 in May.
Marcus Thames has been a big part of the Detroit Tigers' resurgence lately. Thames has hit only 113 times this season, yet has 12 homers and 28 RBI's; that is two more homers than Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez have hit, and they have batted 257 and 262 times respectively. Thames has been playing more regularly than usual lately, and in his last ten games, he has hit 7 homers and driven in 11 runs.
When looking for potential 30-30 players this season, I ran across some interesting stats. One of them was that Joey Gathright has 45 hits in 185 at-bats, but only three of them are for extra bases, with two doubles and a triple. Other players with few extra base hits are Juan Pierre, with only 8 doubles in 223 at-bats. Carl Crawford has only 7 doubles this season after having 37 last season. Another player from the Tampa Bay Rays, Jason Bartlett, only has 4 doubles and a triple in 229 at-bats, and has 52 singles.
Jacoby Ellsbury has only been caught stealing 3 times in 36 attempts, while Ichiro Suzuki and Willy Taveras both have been caught twice in 32 attempts. Suzuki who is hitting .293, and has not hit over .300 since April 9th.
The Tigers have the best record in their last ten games in the Majors with an 8-2 mark.
The Astros are the worst team in the last ten games with a 2-8 record.
The Yankees have the longest winning streak at 4 games.
The Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers share the longest losing streak with each time having lost their last 5 games.
30-30 Club Candidates
Hanley Ramirez, with 15 homers and 16 stolen bases, and Grady Sizemore, with 17 homers and 16 stolen bases, are the only players halfway to a 30-30 season in 2008. Brandon Phillips, with 13 homers and 12 stolen bases, could reach the halfway mark before the halfway mark of the 2008 season. Those three players are the only players that have a legitimate chance of reaching 30-30 this season as of today.
What a Difference a Year Makes
On this date last year, the Chicago Cubs were six games under .500, and today, they are 20 games over .500.
The Rays were 7 games under .500 with a 30-37 record on this date last season, and today, they are 11 games over .500 with a 40-29 record.
On this date in 2007, the Tigers were 39-29 (10 games over .500), but in 2008 they are 32-38 (6 games under .500).
The Seattle Mariners were 35-31 on this date in 2007, but in 2008 they are 24-36.