Note 1: Yeah, yeah, I saw it. Roy has built himself a national title favorite. Flopsy Z and Ken Doll and Baby John and Prince Harry will be pretty good. However, I offer this thoughtful counterpoint: go to hell, Carolina.
Note 2: Over the next two weeks, posts may be abrupt and colorless. Fair warning. We're running a skeleton crew around here. A quick update on our writing team:
Mandigo LeValenz: Revolutionary instincts got the better of him; he ran off to North Africa to fight where he's needed. Managed to watch El Clasico on Saturday in an improvised 'tent bar' with the Libyan rebels. Says the Mediterranean is beautiful this time of year.
Friendly Ted: Still trying to break into the church newsletter business. Got some good feedback from an arch bishop in upstate South Carolina last weekend, who told him there's a place for humor in the genre, but it has to be very, very tame. Like it or not, the target audience still trends old, and old people don't like to be shocked.
Yasmine Ferrinseaux: Focusing on a lumber jack story that's been in the works for 2.5 years. She hopes to pitch it to The Atlantic when it's finished, but in some ways there won't be a resolution until there are no more lumberjacks or no more trees.
Cliff the Shameless: Seeing how long he can stand naked in the window of his apartment before some action is taken.
Maximilian the Fearless Terrier: Just barkin' away!
Ergon 7-U: Visiting his home planet for the X4T holiday. Still hates when earthlings call him 'Argon,' which is a totally unrelated noble gas.
Shane: So much school work over the next two weeks it's making him blush (school work is embarrassing).
In two weeks, this blog will undergo a severe identity crisis. Seth Curry Saves Duke will be transitioning to SethCurrySavesDuke.com (go there now to see rudimentary site design and a pretty amateur tennis graphic I made for class!), and there will be ANOTHER, SECOND blog that sort of "buds" from this one. The new one will be all about the Yankees. I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that cracking the Yankee internet world with a blog called "Seth Curry Saves Duke!" is a non-starter. So I've basically decided to split this blog in two. SCSD! will be operational all year round, but only updated daily during basketball season. The new Yankee blog (name suggestions welcome) will run daily during baseball season. Lucky for me, the seasons don't really overlap. Each blog will include the usual smorgasboard of thoughts and ideas and departures into other sports.
Hopefully that all made sense. Now, vamos to baseball!
This was a very, very, very good series win against a strong team. Especially since the Yanks somehow won the Freddy Garcia-Derek Holland match-up on Saturday. I personally hate Texas so much that I feel the urgent need to post this picture:
*Freddy Friggin' Garcia, who somehow went six innings and only gave up two hits on Saturday. He only elicited 3 swinging strikes in 84 pitches, and his fastball peaked just below 88mph, but he got himself some outs against a very strong hitting team. Michael Kay and Ken Singleton kept praising his meticulous, obsessive style on YES, and maybe they're right; maybe the attention to detail paid off. Maybe we've got a Greg Maddux/Jamie Moyer on our hands. Maybe he's going to win 20 games. Probably not, but hey, for a fifth starter he looked damn good.
*Robbie Cano, who hit a big home run in each of the Yankee wins. It's been an interesting start for Robbie, who has a very nice .403 wOBA due to some extreme power, but who, despite hitting .310, is only getting on base at a .322 clip. That's largely due to impatience; he's walked just one time this season, a 1.7% rate that's down from last year's career high water mark of 8.2%. He's swinging at more pitches, especially ones in the strike zone, and that's resulting in quite a few ground-outs. In some ways, this is the old Robbie; no plate discipline, and you either get a hit or an out every at-bat. But in other ways, this is something entirely different- we haven't seen this kind of power from Cano. It's early, but his slugging percentage is about .100 points higher than it's ever been. We could be witnessing a strange transition. A singles hitter becoming a power hitter, but without the attendant rise in walks. Bears watching.
*CC. The guy clearly doesn't love pitching in cold weather, and he's had no luck getting wins this season, but he's got that wonderful quality of grinding out decent performances when things don't start out magnificently. Last night was quintessential cold weather CC; struggled in the early going, never looked dominant, but lasted into the 7th and left with a lead. In a perfect world, CC would be the best #2 starter in baseball. As it is, he's an indefatigable ace.
*Rafael Soriano, who did this last night:
The biggest concern with him was the velocity, but he appears to be recovering the mph he lost. Everything else should start to fall in place. This is not, thank God, a Hughes scenario.
*Russell Martin, who continues to be the best positional pick-up the Yanks have made in a long, long time.
*Jeter. 3-11 on the series, more ground outs, and a general blah performance. I won't believe he can hit line drives consistently until I see it.
*Joba. Looks like a world beater in some games (Saturday), and then comes out in pressure situations and walks people in 4 pitches and gives up huge runs (Sunday). There's no consistency to the guy. He's hitting 96 on the gun, but I still don't feel good when he enters a close game. It might be time to recognize the fact that he'll always be something of an enigman, and always a bit unreliable.
*Brett Gardner. Spike sent me this analysis from FanGraphs, which shows that Brett the Jet is a compulsive non-swinger. It's a really good statistical portrait of a guy who takes an average of 1 strike per at-bat before strike 3. He's excellent at making contact, but in 2010 he let 55% of strikes go by without swinging. 55%! That is simply not sustainable, and it's no small wonder he's seeing 70% first pitch strikes from pitchers this season, compared to 56% last year. Time to get the bat off the shoulders, Brett.
*Phil Hughes. Girardi's move to put him on the DL says it all; his arm is dead. Hopefully his career isn't soon to follow.
Off day today. In other news, I hate Boston more than ever after yesterday's game Knicks-Celtics game, and Oklahoma City seems like the most fun place to play basketball in the NBA. And now, Monday is here.