Monday, May 07, 2007

The weekend round-up...

Ready for launch...
So the Rocket Man has ended up in pin-stripes...big whoop. The Yankees biggest problem right now is getting quality starts out of the front five in the rotation, so they go out and sign 45-year old Roger Clemens to a deal to shore up the starting rotation.

Clemens was good last year, averaging 6 innings per start and a 2.30 ERA in the National League. Clemens will be starting about five starts earlier this year than last, so he could feasibly have 25 starts on the year (although I'm guessing the number will be closer to 20). He's unlikely to have that ERA or last six innings per start in the American League where line-ups tend to be deeper.

Yankees fans who think this is going to be your savior, take note - when Clemens left the AL to pitch with the Astros, his ERA dropped nearly a whole run per nine innings (3.91 to 2.98) and he lost five fewer games. During his stint with the Yankees he averaged a 4.01 ERA and was only as low as 3.51 once. Is he really going to relieve the pressure on the bullpen? Maybe, but I have my doubts.

For that, they need to hope that Mike Mussina can come back and stay off the DL, Andy Pettite doesn't break down from being another year older (and the Yankees needing more out of him and Clemens than the Astros did), and rookie Philip Hughes can fulfill some of the promise he showed before the hamstring injury, they might have a shot at the post-season. And all of that assumes that the stop-gap solutions they currently have in place are able to alleviate some of the bull-pen's current work-load before Clemens is even ready to pitch in the majors, otherwise injuries will begin occurring there. They have already pitched 112+ innings this season to Boston's 75. To put it another way - they've pitched four extra games.

If this pace keeps up, the Yankees bullpen will have pitched 21.6 more games than the Sox pen. That is not a winning formula.

From the "sucks to be him" department...
On Saturday Julian Tavarez had his best game of the year, giving up only two runs to the Twins. Unfortunately he was going against Twins' ace Johann Santana who only gave up one run.

To compound issues, rumors have begun to surface that the Sox are shopping Tavarez to make room for the rehabbing cancer survivor, John Lester, in the hopes of bringing Lester back to the majors by early June.

All of this kind of makes Schilling a cautionary tale. I'm not comparing Schilling to Tavarez. Even at this age, Schilling is a more talented pitcher than Tavarez. What I'm talking about is that you have an older, veteran pitcher on staff, but waiting in the wings are a number of prospects that the Sox have been unwilling to part with. All of those younger prospects have more of that magic term "upside" attached to them than either Schilling or Tavarez, and it's only a matter of time until each are replaced.

I'm not saying that it will happen this year for Schilling...but with three major pitching prospects simmering on the back-burner in Pawtucket, taking his contract negotiations public might not have been his wisest move in recent years.

Taking a couple for the team...
This year's Aussie Rules season got under way with a friendly match against North Carolina in Raleigh. If that was friendly, I'd hate to see how they play teams with whom they were unfriendly. Of course it didn't help that I drove the five hours there and five hours back on the same day.

In all honesty it was one of the more physical games of footy I have been involved in since I started playing back in 1999.

On the plus side...we won by 2, we beat a division one team, we were playing with a bench of three for the first half and an injury reduced that to a bench of two against a team that was sporting about a dozen reserves. The final was 68-66. Still, there was a lot of room for improvement.

On June 9 we will face them on our home turf in a game that will actually count towards the standings in the Eastern Australian Football League (Us, Philly, NC, NY, and Boston).

Anyone who is local, come on down we can always use the support (for directions, click on the Baltimore/Washington Eagles link on the right).

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