Monday, July 19, 2010

Humidity Wave

Apologies for what will be a late and short post this Monday morning. I just finished up my last solo batch of payroll EVER at this place, and boy, was it ugly. But it's done, and I think I'm officially in coasting mode. Or coasting as much as I can in this humid NYC jungle. I leave in two weeks, and I like to think that the miserable weather is New York's way of saying 'don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.' I would expect nothing less.

A lot happened this weekend, and I'm going to trot out a few links and keep things short.

-First, the Yanks took 2 of 3 from the Rays in a big series win. But every rose has its thorn, and this fragrant damask had two.

1) AJ Burnett went apeshit on a clubhouse door, and cut up his hand on the plastic fixtures that hold lineup cards. He had to be removed from the game, and then he lied about the injury to trainers. His story was that he fell while running up the stairs, and before he came out with the truth, Girardi and Cashman had already conveyed the false information to reporters. Pretty embarrassing, but the Yankee management was forgivinmg, as you can see from this chain of quotes.

“I calmed down and realized that’s not appropriate and that’s not the truth and I’m an honest person,” Burnett said.

“I appreciate the fact that he took a step back and stood up to what he did,” Cashman said. “That shows strength. He apologized and I accepted.”

“He told me the truth when I asked him,” Girardi said. “I’ve done some stupid things when I’ve been embarrassed, too. I talked to him and he told me what happened.

AJ has always been a loose cannon, but he seems looser than normal at the moment. Something extracurricular must be happening. To continue the cannon metaphor, he's currently spinning in wild circles and firing backward at his own troops. Hopefully Eiland (ha!) or someone can rein him in. It looks like he won't miss his next start, and he apologized to his teammates, but these things don't just disappear. Right now, I'm just hoping he returns to his usual level of erratic behavior. Please be unreliable in a way we can predict, AJ.

2) Burnett's polar opposite, the steadfast Andy Pettitte, will not be making his next start. In fact, he won't be starting for at least 5 weeks after he suffered a groin injury yesterday.

"I've pitched through a lot of stuff, but there was no way. No way,'' said Pettitte, who at 38 is off to one of the best starts of his 16-year career. "Normally, I can pitch through anything but I was hurting pretty bad."

This is a complete bummer for a lot of reasons. First, I like Andy, and he was on pace to win 20 games this season. That becomes highly unlikely now. More importantly, he's been a dependable centerpiece in a staff that's found itself in a season-long state of flux. When CC struggled in the beginning, Hughes and AJ were fantastic, and Javy was terrible. Then CC started improving, and Javy too, but AJ fell of a cliff and Hughes had a rough month of June. Now CC is dominant, Javy is pretty close, and the other two are nowhere to be found. Throughout it all, Andy was there, pitching deep into games, putting a stop to mini-skids, and accumulating wins. To lose him for a month or more is a really big blow to our stability.

He'll be replaced in the rotation by Sergio Mitre. Unlike a lot of Yankee fans, I like Sergio. When he commands the sinker, he can be highly effective, and the best case scenario is that he'll eventually resemble the "good," pre-ankle injury Chien-Ming Wang. But he's a major step down from Andy at the moment, and his success or failure is almost totally unpredictable, which is an adjective you'd never associate with Pettitte.

But that's life. If Andy can rehabilitate and come back effective in a month, this is a storm the Yanks can weather with relative ease. The emergence of Teixeira and A-Rod is turning the lineup into an offensive powerhouse again, and if Cano can get out of his doldrums, the 2-3-4-5 stretch, beginning with Swisher, is just devastating. D-TOP: Death To Opposing Pitchers.

-Speaking of Swish, it was wonderful to see him get a bit of pie on Friday night.

A lot of people were pumped that it happened after they honored Steinbrenner, so that was nice too. Every clutch hit that Swisher gets goes a long way to erasing the memory of last year's postseason, where his performance was pretty abysmal (6-47). It looks like his offseason work with Kevin Long has paid off. His average is way up, over .300 for the first time in his career, and he hasn't lost power or OBP points. In fact, his OBP is almost at a career high, and his slugging and OPS numbers top anything he's managed in the past. And everyone's estimation of Long continues to rise.

-Louis Oosthuizen, a South African, won the British Open. Unfortunately, aside from brief glimpses on Thursday and Friday at work, I didn't get to watch any of the action at St. Andrew's. But it seems I didn't miss a terribly exciting tourney. Still, good for Oosthuizen; he seems like a good guy, and he pretty much annihilated the field. Gotta respect that. And this is one of the more affectionate trophy photos I've ever seen:

Back for some college football stuff a little later. In the meanwhile, get blown away by Thom Yorke's voice at the 3-minute mark of this video:

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