Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
Darks days in both Cincinnati and the Bronx. Both teams are second to last in their divisions, and seem a bit lost about what to do about it.
I think part of the problem is that both teams made some big changes in the off-season, and are still trying to adjust. New managers, new coaches, new players. It's going to take awhile for it all to jell.
Cincinnati's new young guns are pitching well, but they aren't getting much run support. And the veteran pitchers are struggling. There has been muttering about roster moves for days now, and by Monday, at least one will be made. Josh Fogg is moving to the pen, and Matt Belisle will be called up from Louisville to take his spot in the rotation. No word on what the roster move will be. They may be hoping to trade somebody.
The Reds also need a right-handed power bat off the bench. They had trouble against lefties last year, too, and this year, it's even worse. They've lost Conine and Cantu, and did not replace them. They have too many lefty pinch-hitters: Hatteberg, Votto, Valentin (who is a switch-hitter but so much better from the left side that everyone considers him a lefty). There's been talk of signing Mike Piazza. Or they could just call up Jerry Hairston, who has been en fuego down in Louisville.
For the Yankees, it's their young guns who have been struggling. Phil Hughes had a rough outing Friday; he's now the proud owner of an ERA pushing 9. Ian Kennedy was worse yesterday, failing to get out of the third inning. He seems to be afraid to throw strikes, which drives managers crazy.
Girardi is far more blunt and emotional than Torre, that's for sure. He was visibly angry at losing, and gave a pretty detailed criticism of his team's performance. But he also stood by his young players. Kim Jones asked him if he was losing patience with them, and he replied that he will never lose patience. He said the game is hard. He remembers how hard it was for him, and so he will never lose patience with his young players.
He may not lose patience, but the fans and the rest of the Yankee organization might. I think the bats will be all right. It was even worse last year, and they recovered. That's how it is with hitting. Sometimes batters go into slumps. Sometimes they all go into slumps at once. Nothing much you can do, really, except ride it out. In a long season, it will even out. (The short post-season is another story, as the Yankees sadly know.)
But the pitching...in Cincinnati, they might be willing to go through a rebuilding year while their young arms adjust to the big league. In New York, they're expected to win now...every year. Yesterday, Michael Kay suggested calling up Kei Igawa. Uh, boy.
On the bright side, Joba Chamberlain is back with the team. His father is doing much better. Edwar Ramirez, recently called up to replace Jonathan Albaladejo, was sent down again.
Melky Cabrera is playing much better defense than he used to, but he still doesn't handle balls hit over his head very well. He made one flashy catch yesterday...and misplayed two others. He can't seem to tell when to go against the wall, and when to play it off the wall. Twice, he went halfway, and the ball bounced off the wall and over his head.
Meanwhile, in Louisville...Paul Janish hit another two-run homer last night, his second of the season. And manager Rick Sweet said Andy Phillips might return to the lineup today.
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