Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Green Is Gold, But Eovaldi Is Extracted; Choo-Choo Coleman, 1937-2016

You would think that beating the 1st place team would leave Yankee Fans feeling good. Alas, just a few hours later, we got some bad news.

Chad Green started for the Yankees against those pesky Toronto Blue Jays last night, and he was brilliant: 6 innings, no runs, 2 hits, no walks, 11 strikeouts.

You would think that, with a 1st 6 innings like that, he would be allowed to keep going. Unless, of course, you knew that the Yankees' manager was Joe Girardi. In which case, you'd know that Girardi was going to take Green out after 6 shutout innings.

Luckily for Girardi -- and more so for Green -- the bullpen came through. Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect 7th. Adam Warren, who may just have gotten himself straightened out, pitched a perfect 8th. Dellin Betances was a little shaky in the 9th, allowing a hit and the 1st walk by a Yankee pitcher on the night, but closed it out.

Of course, you have to score, too. And former Met Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey was nearly as good, allowing only 1 run in 5 innings. In the bottom of the 4th, Brian McCann singled, Gary Sanchez did the same, and rookie sensation Aaron Judge doubled to deep center field, to bring McCann home.

That was the only run of the game, but, for once, 1 run was all the Yankees needed. Yankees 1, Blue Jays 0. WP: Green (2-2). SV: Betances (5). LP: Dickey (8-13).

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But that fine performance, needed because the Jays are 1 of the 3 bunched-together teams that we're chasing for the American League Eastern Division title (the others are the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles), was obscured by today's news that Nathan Eovaldi is out for the rest of the 2016 season.

And all of the 2017 season.

As it turns out, he's damaged the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. This means he needs a 2nd Tommy John surgery, having already had it in high school. And he's torn the flexor tendon off the bone in his right arm.

He's 26 now. He has already lost what could have been a prime season this year, and will miss another next year.

In other words, he's become Matt Harvey: A young ace pitcher for a New York baseball team who's injured more than not. Except that, unlike Harvey, Eovaldi really was good enough to be called an "ace."

Oy.

So now, the Yankees' projected 2017 starting rotation, presuming no off-season free agent signings or trades, and no more major injuries between now and next April, is Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Pineda, Luis Severino, and Green. If we can't squeeze one more good season out of CC, then Luis Cessa.

Yeah, we need at least 1 more reliable starting pitcher.

Oh, by the way: Alex Rodriguez officially cleared waivers yesterday. But don't expect any other team, even his hometown team, Don Mattingly's guaranteed-to-not-win-the-Pennant Miami Marlins, to go for him.

The Orioles now lead the Division, tied with the Jays in games behind, but ahead of them by 1 game in the all-important loss column. The Sox are a game behind in reach regard. The Yankees trail by 5 1/2, 6 in the loss column.

The series with the Jays continues tonight. Pineda starts against Marco Estrada.

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Choo-Choo Coleman has died. Born Clarence Coleman (no middle name) in Orlando on August 25, 1937, he was a catcher who debuted with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1961, batting .128 in 47 at-bats. That was the kind of player that was made available to the Mets in the 1962 expansion draft, and they took him.

Manager Casey Stengel said he'd never seen a catcher so fast at retrieving passed balls. But that also meant that he had a lot of passed balls. In other words, Choo-Choo couldn't hit and couldn't field, but he could, sort of, run. Which explains his nickname.
He's best remembered for an interview he gave with those awful '62 Mets. The interviewer asked him how he got his nickname, and he said he didn't know. Then he was asked, "Tell us about your wife. What's her name, and what's she like?" He said, "Her name is Mrs. Coleman, and she likes me."

He hung on in the majors until 1966. After his 1st wife died, he married a Chinese woman whose family owned a Chinese restaurant in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He worked there as a cook, and helped to run the business.

In 2012, the Mets invited him to their 50th Anniversary celebration. He went, and confirmed some stories about him, and denied others. He admitted he got the nickname Choo-Choo because, "I was fast."
He died yesterday, in Orangeburg, from cancer. He was just short of his 79th birthday.

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