Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
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Like I Said . . .
2008-06-30 23:25
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Rangers have the best offense and worst pitching in baseball, so naturally they beat the Yankees 2-1 in their series opener in the Bronx last night. Alex Rodriguez's mammoth fourth-inning home run into Monument Park off accounted for the Yankees' only run. By then, the Rangers already had their two runs, plating a one-out Ian Kinsler double in the third and a lead-off walk to David Murphy in the top of the fourth. Mike Mussina struck out eight, including Milton Bradley four times, and took the hard-luck loss. Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, and Dan Geiese each pitched a scoreless relief inning to keep the Yanks within a blast. The Rangers bullpen countered that by retiring all ten batters it faced over the final 3 1/3 innings.

The Yankees had just four hits all game, all off Feldman, but three of them were for extra bases. After Alex Rodriguez's homer in the fourth, Jorge Posada doubled with two outs, but Robinson Cano grounded out to strand him. With two outs in the sixth, Jason Giambi hit a legitimate triple to right field, his first three-base hit since 2002 and just his second in his seven seasons with the Yankees. That hit drove Feldman from the game and Frank Francisco came on to strand G-bombs by K-ing Posada. Giambi would prove to be the last baserunner the Yankees would have all game.

I discovered at last night's Baseball Prospectus event that it's difficult to meet and great my readers when none of them know what I look like. Fortunately, Pete Abe was kind enough to post a photo of me over on his blog.

Comments
2008-07-01 03:39:21
1.   OldYanksFan
I'm pissed. Moose has an outside chance at 20 Wins but the offense is screwing him.

Time for Jeter to call a team meeting.

Melky is down to a .665 OPS. I guess we have 2 headcases on the team, as we all know he ls much better then this.

Detroit is on the move in the WC and will be competition... that is if we can finish at least 2nd in the AL East.

I thought Japanese players held up pretty good physically, but Mats seems to be having lots of problems. They didn't rule out surgery on his knee, which seems to make it a done deal. If he needs surgery, I think it's minor? How long would he be out for? We have lost an important bat in our already flawed offense.

Abreu isn't terrible at .814 OPS, but I expect more, especially hitting in front of ARod/Giambi/Po. If Derek refuses to get onbase (.344 OBP), we need Bobby to pick up the slack more (.353 OBP).

Our team is 8th in the AL in walks. TERRIBLE!

Brett IS fast. When he learns MLB pitching he will be a tremendous threat to steal. While I don't see an OPS that much better then Melky, I expect a higher OBP.... and at this point, I'd sit Melky on put Brett in CF, especially against LHP (Melky as a RHB, .198 BA, .585 OPS)

We have 2 1/2 holes in the lineup with Melky, Cano and Jeter. Cano is certainly picking it up, but it's like if we don't score with our first 5, we don't score. A big part of our 'devastating lineup' was that the bottom of our order could produce runs. Not now. We are going to need 8 guys who can hit/get on base to win anything.

VERY FRUSTRATING TEAM these days.

2008-07-01 04:20:22
2.   ChuckM
I guess you're the one in the black dress with the fake cans, Cliff.

Melky is beyond frustrating these days. It seems that when he's going good, he just tries to make solid contact and may walk into a HR or two. Then he gets a little TOO confident and thinks he's got 40 HR power and all of a sudden he's doing nothing but hitting weak ground balls. I know you can probably say that about 1/2 the hitters in the league, but his slumps are just too prolonged for him to constantly fall into.

2008-07-01 06:31:52
3.   OldYanksFan
Like many players and like his brother Cano, Melky is best when he slaps liners the other way. As a manager, you can NOT allow Melky to try and pull pitches middle to outside.

Cano and Mats are also guilty of this, but at least they (usually) hit well, and can get around outside pitches. But Melky MUST slap outside pitches the other way, as he has shown he can do in the past.

The problem is not talent, but approach. Somehow the coaches need to do 'tough love' on Melky and make his job dependent on this.

2008-07-01 06:43:01
4.   vockins
I think I might be the only person on Earth to have seen, in person, a bird get killed by a batted ball in an MLB game and a Jason Giambi triple.
2008-07-01 07:12:02
5.   Shaun P
So Cliff, is that you behind PeteAbe's right shoulder, or behind Will's left shoulder? =)
2008-07-01 07:27:53
6.   horace-clarke-era
Tough loss, as Cliff (of the pneumatic body) says. Who'd a thunk Rangers would outpitch us with a converted reliever? Oh. Wait, we have one of those going tonight.

I have to assume Gardner was not called up to be a pinch runner, OYF, though he can arrive at that if he doesn't do anything. Despite Joe G's line about Betemit being his DH, I'd expect to see Damon doing that a bit, and both Melky and Gardner in the OF. I hope you are right and Melky sits vs lefties at least till we see if Gardner can or cannot hit in the majors (spring doesn't count).

I was talking up/worrying about the Tigers a long way back. Central is way easier to play in, they have their bullpen back. The irony is they STILL have major injury issues (Ordonez, obviously).

Two final words: Brian Fuentes. Maybe, Cash? Think about it?

2008-07-01 07:35:42
7.   ms october
2 3 i was really hoping this would be a major step forward year for melky - i still am hoping so, but starting to lose some faith.
anyway, probably since i like him and want him to do well i have been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about his batting.

in light of what oyf said about melky needing to hit the other way, which i mostly concur with, here are some splits for melky based on where he hits the ball, (batting average; slugging; babip).
i don't necessarily know what to make of this, but by and large he doesn't have much success hitting the ball back up the middle, and when he does manage to pull the ball both as a rhb and lhb he hits and with fairly decent power.
i think it still boils down to him needing to get a better understanding of the strike zone and cutting down his strikeouts.

2008 ba slg babip
rhb
pulled 348 565 318
middle 143 224 122
opposite 273 273 273

lhb
pulled 429 881 351
middle 261 284 258
opposite 333 333 323

2007 ba slg babip
rhb
pulled 407 667 385
middle 250 303 247
opposite 241 241 241

lhb
pulled 321 641 270
middle 335 451 324
opposite 295 361 274

2006 ba slg babip
rhb
pulled 250 250 238
middle 310 431 298
opposite 371 457 371

lhb
pulled 420 860 356
middle 304 374 300
opposite 299 403 299

2008-07-01 07:39:22
8.   monkeypants
7 Tough to know if those numbers show cause or effect. In other words, does he have bad numbers going the other way because he tries to pull everything (bad approach)? Or, does he try to go the other way but fails, meaning perhaps he should focus more on pulling the ball.
2008-07-01 07:51:59
9.   tommyl
I always wonder about players that come from the DR (Cano, Melky) and their strike zone discipline. Its been said before you don't "walk off the island" or something like that. If they are taught from an early age that walks aren't that important I can see them having the ingrained idea that they should swing away.

What I see when I watch them isn't so much that they don't walk (they don't) but that they seem to have a very rudimentary approach at the plate. Its not about taking the first pitch, or taking x number of pitches to work the count, its about trying to get a good pitch to hit and spoiling anything else you get. You watch hitters like Damon, A-Rod and Giambi. Not only do they have great eyes but they foul balls off and wait for something they like, and when they get to two strikes they become more defensive. I've seen A-Rod for example swing with 1 strike if the ball is where he wants it and sometimes he gets fooled and just lets it go by.

Cano and Melky on the other hand seem to come up and say, well, we'll take a strike or two, then swing away so we're working the count. That's not really the idea. What's so frustrating about it is that Cano could so easily be that hitter. He has such great bat control and hand-eye coordination that he could hit very well with two strikes on him. I wonder if anyone has tried to explain that to these guys. Then again, Melky is still sliding headfirst into first base, so who knows.

2008-07-01 07:58:40
10.   tommyl
9 Following up, what I said is one reason I loved Gardner's postgame interview last night. Kim Jones asked him if he was trying to get to 3-2 in his first two ABs and Brett replied that was just a function of what the pitcher threw. He was just trying to either work a walk or get a ball to hit and get on base. He said it could have just as easily been 0-2 or 1-2 or whatever, the point was that Brett shows a very advanced approach at the plate. He knows what his strengths are (speed, walks and contact) and what his weaknesses are (power) and plays to them. Cano and Melky just seem to see ball, hit ball.
2008-07-01 08:09:27
11.   monkeypants
9 10 I'm not sure that your evaluation of Melky stands up, or that he fits the old stereotype of "can't walk off the island." His walk rates have been pretty good, in both MiL and MLB, and in fact they have improved slightly in the big leagues.

Moreover, he has averaged this season 3.74 P/PA, which is really not that bad. I don't know what the league average is. Famed patient hitters this season Giambi (4.11 P/PA) and Abreu (4.28 P/PA) do of course see more pitches, but guys like Damon (4.00 P/PA this season, 3.87 P/PA for career) are much closer. Jeter's P/PA is almost identical.

Cano is a total hack (3.33 or so), but I suspect that Melky is just about league average in terms of patience and working the count. His problem is not that he does not take pitches, but that he doesn't seem (this season) to hit very many of them hard.

2008-07-01 08:27:26
12.   long time listener
4 Ironically, 12 pigeons died of shock after witnessing the Giambi triple.
2008-07-01 08:48:51
13.   Chyll Will
12 No jury would ever convict him! >;)
2008-07-01 08:59:51
14.   JL25and3
1 Actually, Melky's now down to .659 overall (.244/.309/.350). Since April 24 - that's 215 AB - he's at .223/.285/.298. And still Girardi puts him out there every. Single. Day. This is getting ridiculous.

I know it's a small thing, but I think it was a mistake to send Christian down. It doesn't hurt anything to have another option in the outfield, especially against lefties. He doesn't have to be especially good, just a little better than Melky. And they wouldn't lose anything in terms of roster space because they could just DFA Moeller fer cryin' out loud. Speaking of ridiculous...

2008-07-01 09:16:20
15.   cult of basebaal
14 tonite will be the telling game, damon will be playing. will he be in left with gardner in center and betemit at DH/1B, or will it be melky and gardner in the outfield and damon at DH.

let's hope we see the former.

2008-07-01 12:53:18
16.   cult of basebaal
15 ah ... evidently, i underestimated the power of JOE ... jeter sits tonite, while betemit gets short ... BRILLIANT JOEY JOE JOE, BRILLIANT!!!
2008-07-01 13:29:09
17.   Chyll Will
16 Tact & The Power of JoJo >;)

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