Texas Rangers v New York Yankees, Game 3

Joe Girardi considers a six-man rotation

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I consider a lot of things.

Ordering organ meats at a fancy restaurant. Growing a mustache. Driving to a natural disaster site and throwing my wallet and cell phone into some burnt or flooded-0ut rubble in order to provide sufficient cover for me to fake my death and start anew in some strange but carefree land.* Doesn’t mean I’m going to do any of those crazy things.

Likewise, Joe Girardi said he’s considering something, though I kind of doubt that he’d really do it:

Bartolo Colon has been cleared to come off the disabled list and start tomorrow at Citi Field. Phil Hughes feels healthy and is anxious to be activated himself. Meanwhile, the Yankees have four starting pitchers all throwing well lately. That leaves six pitchers for five spots.

Or does it?

Yankees manager Joe Girardi left the door open yesterday to going with a six-man rotation.

“It’s something we’re going to think about,” he said.

In the end, it seems like there’s little percentage for a Yankees manager to go with a six-man rotation. It takes innings away from some pitchers who are doing pretty well right now. It smacks of indecisiveness. If either the number five or number six guy have a bad outing, Girardi would get killed.  Yes, he’d get killed if the guy he chose as his definitive fifth guy in a five-man rotation got lit up too, but at least that would have been a conventional choice, thereby limiting the avenues of criticism.

In the end, though, fear of media criticism is not a good basis for decision making.  I’d avoid the six man here simply because it seems like something you should do if and only if you have a lot of similar, unspectacular pitchers, several of whom would benefit from extra rest.  That’s not the Yankees’ situation, though.

 

*Note: I may have considered this a lot more seriously about four or five years ago than I do now.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.