The final BA Hot Sheet of the season highlights the players who had the best overall seasons in the minors this year (as opposed to the best week). IPK & Joba come in at numbers 4 & 5 respectively, which is just insane. Yankee farmhands had 2 of 5 best seasons in all of minor league baseball. Ridiculous.

Evan Longoria (#6) & Wade Davis (#12) of Tampa Bay are the next highest ranked pair of organization-mates. As a bit of gravy, Red Sox prospects had 2 of the most disappointing years.

Triple-A Scranton was off, and will take on Richmond tomorrow in Game 1 of their first round, best-of-five matchup. Chad Jennings has the potential pitching matchups, and notes that Austin Jackson & Eric Hacker were sent down in favor of Frankie Cervelli (that’s one hell of a surprise) and Sean Henn.

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We pick up the action in the top of the 5th…Wang’s on his game and Georgie’s already juiced one for a 1-0 lead.

Michael Kay’s currently blabbing about how Wang’s ERA is so ridiculously low when he pitches from the windup compared to when he’s pitching from the stretch. Read this to unstupify yourself.

Comment ahoy!

That sounds about right to me

By: Ben K.

Forbes.com has named Curt Schilling as one of the ten most despised athletes around. Using such phrases as “a mouthy, attention-getting self-promoter who brags about his work ethic,” the article offers up a profile of the Curt Schilling we know and hate. With a passion. (5)

When the Yanks, with the help of the City of New York, grabbed the Macombs Dam Park and appropriated it for their new ballpark, they agreed to pay back the Bronx through money that will go toward new parkland. Seventeen months later, the Yankees and the Bronx have yet to fulfill that promise.

Metro has a little bit more:

Central to [the new Yankee Stadium] deal was the promise of an annual $800,000 for Bronx nonprofits over the next 40 years. Critics labeled this a “slush fund,” because the money would be doled out by a new not-for-profit staffed by representatives of Bronx elected officials, and it didn’t have to be spent in the affected community. The funds were to start flowing, the agreement said, “upon the commencement of the construction.”

So imagine the surprise of Geoffrey Croft last week, when he discovered — one full year after the stadium’s groundbreaking — no such not-for-profit has been registered with the state yet, and no funds have been disbursed.

While I may object to the new stadium on the grounds that it’s simply not necessary - and an average home attendance of 52,645 would bear me out - the Yanks have continually stiffed the Bronx community on this deal. As the article notes, the city gave up the parkland to the Yanks with no public hearing.

Now, you may fault community silence, and it does seem that these Save Our Parks folks haven’t gotten nearly the attention they deserve. But the Yanks owe it to the city to make up for the missing parkland. At a deep discount, they’re taking public lands. They should replace it sooner than 17 months after construction started on the new stadium.

Moose offers up some perspective

By: Ben K.

Peter Abraham has a few choice words from Mike Mussina:

“We’re leading the wild card now and we want to stay after it. The last four days we haven’t played very well. We’ve been flat it seems like. We’ve got to get our heads on right and play with some energy.”

I was all set to write a post on this tonight, but Mussina summed up my feelings in fewer words. After dropping three of four this weekend, panic has set in a bit among Yankee fans. But the Yanks still lead the Wild Card, and they will win games. I think we’re see a re-energized Yankee team take the field behind Chien-Ming Wang on Tuesday night. Time to go for the kill. (11)

Clemens undergoes MRI

By: Joseph P.

After giving up five runs in four innings, Roger Clemens left the game today. His first stop: New York-Presbyterian Hospital for an MRI. Even if it comes up completely clean, he’ll miss his next start. Mike Mussina, who didn’t look very impressive but at least was hitting 88 and 89 on the YES gun in his 3.2 innings, will start in his place. (1)

Today was the last day of the regular season for the 4 full season affiliates, who finished the year with a combined 329-236 record. As I said the other day, that record shows not only how much depth & talent the Yanks have in the minors, but it’s also a testament to the quality of coaching and instruction they have in place.

DotF will of course keep you updated on all the minor league playoff action.

Triple-A Scranton (8-5 win over Pawtucket) Scranton will take on Richmond in the first round of the AAA playoffs, which kicks off on Wednesday…Chad Jennings reports the that postseason rotation could be Steven White in Game 1, followed in order by The Ghost of Kei Igawa, Mighty Matt DeSalvo & Jeff Karstens
Brett Gardner: 4 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3 SB
Austin Jackson: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 SB - even if it was just a 1 game cameo, how many of you had Ajax finishing the year in AAA?
Bronson Sardina: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 SB - his year was a lot better than it appears on the surface
Mike Kinkade: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 2 for 2, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB - finished the year on a nice little 26 for 100 streak with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 24 RBI, 10 walks & 23 K
Andy Cannizaro: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B
Anthony Claggett: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HB - 41 of 63 pitches were strikes (65.1%)
Eric Hacker: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Ben Kozlowski: 1.1 IP, zeroes

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Andy Van Slyke will not pay that subway fare

By: Ben K.

When the Tigers were in town a few weeks ago, Andy Van Slyke tried to jump the subway turnstiles at Yankee Stadium. As any astute fan knows, the transit cops lie in wait at the ends of games, and Van Slyke was slapped with a $60 ticket at the time. Read more about it at Second Ave. Sagas. (2)

Roger Clemens is starting with Mike Mussina ready in the bullpen. Sound familiar?

Meanwhile, to address a point that Rich raised in the comments to this post, at some point, Joe Torre simply has to go with someone else from the bullpen. Sure, these guys won’t be consistent, but they will get outs. Edwar Ramirez had one great inning yesterday, and he could have done that in the 7th with Joba in the 8th.

No one has a sure-fire bullpen anymore, but other managers trust their relievers enough to go to them in close games. If Torre is willing to use only two people when the Yanks are fighting for a game, the rest of Septembe — not to mention the playoffs — could be problematic too. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than watching Andy Pettitte, who has a history of elbow problems, throw 119 pitches in back-to-back starts.

The lineup that will face King Felix today:

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Giambi 1B
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF

At the end of the 6th inning during Sunday’s painfully long loss to the Devil Rays, Andy Pettitte had topped the 100-pitch mark. His 103rd pitch of the day resulted in an inning-ended force-out off the bat of Josh Wilson. At that point, the score stood at 2-1, and there was no way Joe Torre would let Andy Pettitte come back for the 7th. Right?

Well, not quite. Joe Torre sent Andy Pettitte to the mound, inexplicably, in the 7th. Before the start of that ill-fated inning, six of the last 10 batters to face Pettitte had reached base, and only a great throw by Johnny Damon had kept the game close. So with a very well-rested Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen, Torre opted to have Pettitte throw 16 more pitches.

Following an eight-pitch strike out of Akinori Iwaumura and a two-pitch single off the bat of Carl Crawford, I announced to Emma that Carlos Peña was due for a home run. So instead of going with a well-rested right-handed strike out artist, sleeping Joe left Andy Pettitte in. Peña obliged my prediction by crushing a ball about 700 feet over the right field wall. Finally, Joe came out of the dugout, but it was too little too.

Two innings later, he left the one-inning Edwar Ramirez in for a few batters too many, and by the time we looked up, much of the 54,000 fans at Yankee Stadium had left because the score was 8-2. Ouch.

Now, I know we dump on Joe Torre a lot, but why in the name of Phil Rizzuto would you have Andy Pettitte throw 119 pitches in a 2-1 game when he hadn’t been particularly effective since striking out the side in the 4th inning? Why not use your bullpen? Why not employ the ace-in-the-hole?

Earlier in the day, Joe Torre opined to the New York media that he wanted to return to manage the Yanks next season. With the team getting younger, I can’t think of a worse idea right now. Torre’s inept pitching management killed the team today. Who knows what it will do to the likes of Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and others who may come up through the system? We need a manager that knows what to do in a 2-1 game against the Devil Rays. Joe today proved that he isn’t necessarily the right one for the job. And it cost the Yanks a chance to widen their Wild Card lead on the eve of a series against the Mariners.