7/11/09

Barcalounge Skipper - PN 2.3 - Yankees at Angels

Yankees (51-35) at Angels (47-37)
Fox Sports Broadcast – July 11, 2009


Here's the view from the chair. . .

The game of the week is a fairly obvious choice for Fox: two contending teams from big markets, a decent pitching matchup in Pettitte versus Washburn, young manager Girardi versus mastermind Scioscia, Abreu going from the Yankees to the Angels, Teixera moving from the Angels to the Yankees. This matchup is a likely ALDS preview, though nothing is guaranteed, of course.

The night before, the Angels won a game in which Joba Chamberlain struggled. In the seventh, when the wheels came off for the Yankees, there was some curious fielding from the Yankees when Jeter dropped a popup, but Posada caught a popup without his glove, biatch. The Angels mashed the ball pretty well, but they also used six pitchers to get through the game.
Today, as announcers Dick Stockton, Eric Karros, and Chris Rose (who?) let us know over and over, it is hot – very hot – in Anaheim. Plus, to make the 4:00 broadcast time on the East Coast, they’ll be starting the game in the midday Southern California sunshine.

On a side note, I’m not sure I like the commercials Fox is running for Tuesday’s All-Star Game. So, to distill the visual analogy: giant magnet is to St. Louis Gateway Arch as iron shavings is to baseball fans. I suppose. Very middle school science project.

Top of the First
I haven’t seen much of the Angels this year, and I’m noting the “34” patch on the jerseys in honor of Nick Adenhart, whose death in April seems so very long ago. The Angels have a bunch of guys on the disabled list – recently including Torii Hunter and Vlad Guerro– so it looks like we’ll see some newer faces from the Halos. Jeter flies out, Damon walks. A-Rod pounds a home run, Yankees 2-0. Matsui, who’s not good for much these days but standing at the plate and maybe hitting – and not consistently – strikes out looking.

Bottom of the First
Pettitte walks the leadoff hitter, Chone Figgins, who has speed. And although Pettitte is the all time leader in pickoffs, Scioscia always makes sure his baserunners are a pain in the butt for opponents. Sure enough, there’s a hit-and-run on, but Aybar’s hit stayed up, and Figgins had to hustle back to first. Figgins was also out, but the umpire missed the call. First base coach Alfreo Griffin was no help. Still pestering Pettitte, Figgins steals second, then goes to third on a productive out by Abreu. Nicely done: a runner 90 feet away from scoring. And then, shamefully, Mike Napoli swings AT THE FIRST pitch and flies out.

Top of the Second
Neat play from Posada in faking out everyone by staying put on a fair ball he bounced off the plate, getting another pitch or two, although he struck out in the end. Eric Hinske, Official Good Luck Charm of the American League East, hits a solo home run, Yankees 3-0.

Bottom of the Second
Pettitte settles in with another one pitch out and works an inning by letting his fielders do their jobs.

Top of the Third
Weaver also settles in a little bit with a hitless inning, including two strikeouts, but he’s up to 50 pitches already. It is a hot day, Dick Stockton – you said it!

Bottom of theThird
A leadoff walk by Pettitte sets up a double play. I meant to do that, he tells himself. Close call, but he finishes the inning at 47 pitches. It’s looking to be a long day.

Top of the Fourth
A-Rod leads off the inning with a walk, and then the game starts to slow down. An errant throw to first allows Rodriguez to go to second, but Posada doesn’t advance the runner, which is not like him. The Angels pitching coach comes out for a conference with Weaver, presumably about how to pitch to Cano, a good contact hitter. And Cano hits the second pitch of the at bat, bringing home A-Rod, Yankees 4-0. Weaver gets out of the inning, but his pitch count is 73.

Bottom of the Fourth
Scioscia appears to be concerned about the game getting out of hand, and so you see an aggressive hitter, Aybar, lead off and square to bunt on the first pitch. Then he hits the next one for a solid double. Next up, Abreu, takes a pitch the opposite way and scores Aybar. Pettitte, who appears to have been pitching to contact, is giving up better contact to the hitters. Mike Napoli strikes out on a high high pitch, and he has not looked good in two at bats. Pettitte finishes the inning with no more damage, and he may have a little gas in the tank. Next inning may tell.

Top of the Fifth
Aside from the double from Jeter, Weaver moves through the lineup. Get those Angels hitters back up there.

Bottom of the Fifth
Pettitte looks to be running out of gas. Single, homer , fielder’s choice, single. Yankees, 4-3. Pettitte comes out after four and a third innings and, surprisingly, just 61 pitches. David Robertson comes in for the Yankees, a fairly generic right-handed reliever, and gives up a big double to Mike Napoli. Where did that come from? Napoli, who didn’t look good at all in his first two at-bats, might have delivered the key hit of the game, giving the Angels the lead. And there’s the second out of the inning. Oh, and a walk to Matthews, who then steals second. Kendrick singles to score two more runs, so the lead goes to the Angels, 8-4. Going for the throat, the Angels send Kendrick to second, but he’s thrown own. A brutal inning in which the Yankees give up seven runs.

Top of the Sixth
Weaver, who’s been working deep counts and striking out batters, seems to have gotten his wind and strikes out the first two Yankees, although one of them is Matsui. Posada flies out. Weaver’s thrown 110 pitches, but with the All-Star break coming up, we still might see him in the 7th inning. In the Angels bullpen, only Matt Palmer and Rich Thompson haven't pitched the night before.

Bottom of the Sixth
It appears to me that something’s gone out of this game. They’re in the third hour of this game. Strikeout, then another strikeout but the runner advances on a wild pitch. Then a strikeout and a stolen base. Interesting: Will Robertson get one of those rare four strikeout innings. Ah, no. Aybar triples and scores and Willits scores, Angels 9-4. Here comes the Yankees’ Brett Tomko.

By the way, here’s a great statistical page from DailyBaseballData.com that presents a very clear record of each club’s bullpen usage from the previous four days.

Top of the Seventh
Weaver can earn a win, but he’s out of the game. Lefty Darrin Oliver, who pitched for just one out last night, comes in to face Cano, hitting from the left side. Cano singles, and here’s Hinske, also hitting lefty. Wha-BAM. I know the numbers say you should do it when you can, but do these matchup moves really work when you’re throwing Darrin Oliver out there? I guess Oliver’s been okay this year, but still. Oliver gets out the two guys batting from the right hand side, and then left-sider Johnny Damon. Not a great inning, but the lead still is with the Angels, 9-6.

Bottom of the Seventh
Tomko versus Napoli. Mike Napoli – he’s awful, he’s great, he’s awfully great! Damn, he hit one out. Angels, 10-6. I’m going to shut up now. I’m curious: is Brett Tomko just happy to be out there on the mound? One hit, two hits. There’s a double play. Thanks, Derek!

Top of the Eighth
It appears that Just for Men hair coloring is taking advantage of the recession to encourage all those out-of-work middle aged guys to spruce up their look with an awkwardly dark dye job. Anyway, Jason Bulger, who pitched a full inning last night, gives up a home run to A-Rod. Hideki Matsui manages to avoid a strikeout and hits one over the fence, back-to-back dingers. That’s five homers for the Yankees today, and the Angels lead has been cut to two runs. The game is now going into its fourth hour, and it’s 91 degrees in Anaheim. With the walk to Cano, Scioscia goes to the bullpen for George Jetson – I mean Kevin Jepson, who also worked last night. Man, those last two guys in the Angels bullpen must be scratching their heads. Jepson’s arm appears to have been made by Spacely Sprockets. Here’s Hinske, the tying run at the plate, to hit again. It would be very cool to see Hinske hit a third homer, but I’m getting tired of this game. Howie Kendrick’s brilliant snag of a line drive ends the inning, Angels 10-8.

Bottom of the Eighth
It’s refreshing to see Phil Coke come in to pitch for the Yankees; he’s a strong lefty, and should make quick work of the inning. In fact, Coke is so strong, he threw it away on a pickoff move. There’s the pressure of the running game even when you don’t steal a base outright. The announcers have beaten me this point. Wild pitch, runners now at first and third. Coke is insanely powerful – too strong for his own good. Abreu manages a sacrifice fly to score Willits, and then Figgins steals second. Scioscia is just relentless. I like the intentional walk here, which sets up the force out, provided Coke can keep his composure. But Morales pulls a pitch to left field and plates Figgins. And, brother, would you believe Gary Matthews Jr. singles to left to score two more runs. Coke is overthrowing at this point, but he manages to get a ground out for the final out. The inning ends with a commanding lead for the Angels, 14-8.

Top of the Ninth
Does Scioscia go with All-Star Brian Fuentes to shut the door on the game, or does he save his closer to work tomorrow or Tuesday in Philadelphia? Me, I’ve got things to do tonight, so I’m a little disappointed to see Matt Palmer in there, especially when he gives up a leadoff single. Hey there, double play. Thanks, Derek! All that stands between me and getting away from the keyboard is Johnny Damon, and he conveniently strikes out. Matt Palmer is very happy, and gives a little hop on the mound. I give a little hop, too.

That was 22 runs, 9 pitchers, and 3 hours and 28 minutes. Everybody find a place to cool off and get some liquids in you. We'll see you next week and do this again. Hopefully, we can get a nice brisk pitchers' duel next time around.

Reader's Notes - PN 2.2 - Giving it Away

Virginia Postel's review of Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson pretty much sums up my attitude about almost anything I plan on writing or producing these days. After eight years of watching freelancing opportunities dwindle and the payment-per-piece remain largely flat, the age of free creative content is upon us. This is no earth-shaker, I know. But it is an adjustment for those of us trained way back in the 20th Century.

I'm happy to write all kinds of things for all kinds of people, and I always have been. Moving to the free content model has required a little bit of technological savvy -- but at least I get to own the shop. The learning curve hasn't been that steep, and it's well worth the trouble to end up with complete creative control. These days, the ease with which I can publish in any number of media and reach any number of people means that, with the proper advertising program and retail partnering, there's even money to be made -- if only pennies at a time. But 10,000 pennies is still $100, and that'll buy me more server space. Of course, this approach is based on trends Anderson wrote about in his previous book, The Long Tail.

To be honest, I already have a day job ("Don't quit it!" Thank you, wiseguys.), and I'm just happy to have readers. Or listeners. Or even a reader or a listener. (Yes, you're the one.)

Postel's piece is in the New York Times Sunday Book Review.