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Pittsburgh Pirates 1.1: Kiss and Makeup Edition
2008-07-10 10:37
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Pity the poor Pirates. A year ago it appeared that the Bucs were building a strong young rotation with Tom Gorzelanny and Ian Snell on top and Zach Duke and Paul Maholm in the middle. They then overhauled their management both in the front office and on the field in the hope of building around that quartet of young starters. This season, their offense has surged to become the fourth-best attack in the NL thanks to a career year from Xavier Nady (.321/.379/.537), breakout seasons from 27-year-old catcher Ryan Doumit (.318/.362/.568) and 26-year-old All-Star center fielder Nate McLouth (.286/.361/.540), and Jason Bay's rebound from a 2007 season hampered by leg injuries. More recently, first baseman Adam LaRoche, a second-half performer to rival Robinson Cano, has joined in, hitting .365/.455/.662 since mid-June.

The problem is that their good young rotation has gone belly-up. Gorzellany lost his ability to throw strikes (6.26 BB/9 vs. 5.34 K/9) and has been sent back to the minors for reeducation sporting a 6.57 ERA, and Snell has been only mildly better (5.84 ERA, 5.34 BB/9, 6.55 K/9). That has more than erased the improvements made by Duke and tonight's starter Maholm, and undermined the strong showing of both the offense and the back of the bullpen (which itself has been hurt by the recent injury to closer Matt Capps). Altogether, the Pirates pitching staff has the worst ERA in baseball.

Worse yet, of those breakout performers on offense, all but Bay stand a good chance to regress to their past level of performance as McLouth is the youngest of the quartet at 26. Just look at Freddy Sanchez, who won the batting title at age 28 in 2005 and is hitting .226/.253/.307 thus far this year. Oh, and Bay will be a free agent after the 2009 season.

So despite the new administration's willingness to think outside of the box (witness rookie manager John Russell using Doug Mientkiewicz as a four-corners utility man and becoming the third NL Central manager to bat his pitcher eighth), any hope for a meaningful improvement in Pittsburgh has once again receded into the future.

Tonight's game makes up for one rained out exactly two weeks ago after the Yanks and Bucs split the first two games of a three-game set and, neatly, rematches the two pitchers who started the game that was rained out with the Yankees leading 3-1 in the third inning. Having had that outing erased from his ledger, Paul Maholm has posted a 2.57 ERA in his last four starts and a 2.74 mark over his last seven, and hasn't taken a loss since May 20. Mike Mussina is coming off his six crucial shutout innings against the Red Sox and has a 2.70 ERA in his last six starts with 30 Ks against just six walks and three homers in that span.

Jose Molina, who starts his sixth straight game behind the plate, continues his personal catching duties for Mike Mussina. Righty-hitting Justin Christian starts in left field over lefty Brett Gardner against the lefty Maholm. Christian bats eighth with the entire order shifting up a spot and Derek Jeter leading off. With no DH, Jorge Posada starts at first base with Jason Giambi looming as a late-game pinch-hitting option.

For what it's worth, the Yankees outscored the Pirates 15-12 in the first two games of this broken three-game series, with the Pirates scoring all of their runs in Game One.

Pittsburgh Pirates

2008 Record: 42-48 (.467)
2008 Pythagorean Record: 39-51 (.436)

2007 Record: 68-94 (.420)
2007 Pythagorean Record: 68-94 (.422)

Manager: John Russell
General Manager: Neal Huntington

Home Ballpark (multi-year Park Factors): PNC Park (98/98)

Who's Replacing Whom:

Nate McLouth inherits the playing time of Chris Duffy (minors)
Ryan Doumit takes the starting catcher's job from Ronny Paulino (minors)
Raul Chavez replaces Doumit on the bench
Doug Mientkiewicz replaces Jose Castillo and Josh Phelps
Chris Gomez replaces Cesar Izturis and Matt Kata
Jason Michaels replaces Nyjer Morgan (minors)
John Van Benschoten is replacing Tom Gorzelanny (minors)
Phil Dumatrait replaces Matt Morris and the starts of Tony Armas Jr. and Shane Youman
Tyler Yates replaces Shawn Chacon
Sean Burnett replaces Salomon Torres
T.J. Beam replaces Jonah Bayliss
Romulo Sanchez is replacing Matt Capps (DL)

25-man Roster:

1B - Adam LaRoche (L)
2B - Freddy Sanchez (R)
SS - Jack Wilson (R)
3B - Jose Bautista (R)
C - Ryan Doumit (S)
RF - Xavier Nady (R)
CF - Nate McLouth (L)
LF - Jason Bay (R)

Bench:

L - Doug Mientkiewicz (3B/1B/OF)
R - Jason Michaels (OF)
R - Chris Gomez (IF)
R - Luis Rivas (IF)
R - Raul Chavez (C)

Rotation:

R - Ian Snell
R - John Van Benschoten
L - Paul Maholm
L - Zach Duke
L - Phil Dumatrait

Bullpen:

L - Damaso Marte
R - Tyler Yates
L - John Grabow
R - Denny Bautista
L - Sean Burnett
R - T.J. Beam
R - Romulo Sanchez

15-day DL: R - Matt Capps, R - Franquelis Osoria

Typical Lineup:

L - Nate McLouth (CF)
R - Freddy Sanchez (2B)
S - Ryan Doumit (C)
R - Jason Bay (LF)
R - Xavier Nady (RF)
L - Adam LaRoche (1B)
R - Jose Bautista (3B)
X - (P)
R - Jack Wilson (SS)

Comments (132)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-07-10 15:34:13
1.   Cliff Corcoran
By the way, check out the way the Pirates have been going through the Yankees' leftovers:

Mientkiewicz, Raul Chavez, and T.J. Beam are on the 25-man roster. Earlier this year they released Kevin Thompson and Jaret Wright. They've brought Craig Wilson back in the minors, and last year they had Josh Phelps and (admittedly from the Wilson trade) Shawn Chacon.

Curiously, watching the 1977 All-Star Game on YES the other night, I noted that two of the three Pirate All-Stars were future Yankee pitchers (Goose Gossage and John Candelaria).

All of this is meaningless, but that doesn't make it any less fun to notice.

2008-07-10 16:01:34
2.   Chyll Will
2 It's like the two teams are connected by a unique wormhole through which players are dumped into an alternate roster, where their presence has virtually no effect! (Goose being the only one to somehow escape its negligible effects...)
2008-07-10 16:12:22
3.   OldYanksFan
Am I wrong, or is ARod whiffing a lot lately.
2008-07-10 16:14:33
4.   Chyll Will
3 That depends on what media source you adhere to >;)
2008-07-10 16:18:58
5.   williamnyy23
Man this is a bad lineup today.

Hopefully, the Yankees will realize that Maholm's curve is never a strike and stop flailing at it.

2008-07-10 16:23:59
6.   Eirias
5 I'm curious. What exactly is bad about today's lineup. Given our options and the lack of a DH, I think it is pretty good.
2008-07-10 16:24:45
7.   williamnyy23
6 Melky as a right hander, Molina, Christian and Mussina. They are all pretty bad.
2008-07-10 16:28:28
8.   williamnyy23
6 I should also qualify my remark by saying that Girardi doesn't have many options. Having said that, I don't see how you can sit Giambi. Considering that the Pirates don't steal bases, it seems as if this would be an ideal game to start Posada behind the plate. If not now, then when?

I wonder if Cashman has called Sexon's agent yet?

2008-07-10 16:31:10
9.   randym77
No Minky tonight, eh?

They love him in Pittsburgh. He's playing first, third, and corner outfielder. Hitting pretty well. And providing leadership in the clubhouse:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08191/895776-63.stm

2008-07-10 16:31:49
10.   tommyl
Woah, did Derek just make another great play?!
2008-07-10 16:42:19
11.   randym77
Good grief. Is the entire NL central going sabermetrical? First the Cards, then the Brewers, now the Bucs, batting the pitcher 8th?
2008-07-10 16:42:58
12.   williamnyy23
It looks like they can't give away those HR Derby tickets.
2008-07-10 16:43:42
13.   williamnyy23
Dont swing at the curve!
2008-07-10 16:44:43
14.   williamnyy23
Maholm has thrown four curves...all of them would be balls low.
2008-07-10 16:46:44
15.   williamnyy23
Use the opposite field, Alex.
2008-07-10 16:47:18
16.   nick
11 With this lineup we could hit Moose 6th...
2008-07-10 16:51:56
17.   williamnyy23
Don't let this run score Moose.
2008-07-10 17:02:02
18.   OldYanksFan
16 Nice
2008-07-10 17:03:35
19.   OldYanksFan
18 comments after 3 innings? Another party I wasn't invited to?
2008-07-10 17:11:45
20.   Eirias
8 Sexson? Of the lowest BA of all AL regulars since last year? Why would Cashman want his agent's phone number, except maybe to put it in an "ignore" list.
2008-07-10 17:12:47
21.   Eirias
19 It is a No Pants Party.
2008-07-10 17:14:54
22.   cult of basebaal
20 because he can hit lefties.

something that melky, jose and wilson can't.

2008-07-10 17:17:02
23.   williamnyy23
20 Look up his lefty splits.
2008-07-10 17:20:32
24.   nick
if Molina walks we win...
2008-07-10 17:22:50
25.   randym77
16 We should have!
2008-07-10 17:23:07
26.   Eirias
Moose is more dangerous at the plate than Gardner! (I kid, kinda)
2008-07-10 17:23:09
27.   williamnyy23
This is really a pathetic performance by this team. They are being dominated by a lefty who bounces curves and throws 90mph fastballs.
2008-07-10 17:23:51
28.   cult of basebaal
MOOSE!
2008-07-10 17:24:11
29.   williamnyy23
OK...I am saying this ahead of time...Meacham...do not send Moose home on a line drive single right at the right fielder.
2008-07-10 17:25:38
30.   cult of basebaal
uh oh, pitcher on second ... quick! someone tie bobby meacham's arms!
2008-07-10 17:25:46
31.   williamnyy23
Another awful AB by a Yankee flailing at a curve nowhere near the plate.
2008-07-10 17:27:04
32.   nick
the "classic" 90s lineup would've figured out not to swing at the curve two innings ago...
2008-07-10 17:32:21
33.   randym77
Posada's really gotta work on his footwork if he's going to be our first baseman.
2008-07-10 17:32:47
34.   williamnyy23
That's more Posada's fault, but it would be nice if Jeter could complete a throw on a double play.
2008-07-10 17:34:56
35.   williamnyy23
Yikes...if Molina is going to do that, it really hurts to park Giambi's bat on the bench.

When you watch this team flail at the plate and play defense like a little league team, it gets very hard to believe that this team is a contender. Also, poor managing isn't helping either.

2008-07-10 17:35:13
36.   randym77
Poor Moose.

And that McLouth kid has some wheels.

2008-07-10 17:36:56
37.   OldYanksFan
Posada's D at 1st base leads to a run. It could be the first time in history Giambi is brought in as a defensive replacement.
2008-07-10 17:38:49
38.   williamnyy23
37 Posada misplayed the throw, but it wasn't exactly a great one either. Jeter had all day to turn the double play and yanked yet another throw. The Yankees are playing like all those teams they used to romp.
2008-07-10 17:39:00
39.   OldYanksFan
We have a third catcher. Giambi needs to PH for Molina and then go in and play 1st base. His bat is now more important then Molina's arm.
2008-07-10 17:40:44
40.   williamnyy23
39 He should have been in the game to begin with. If anything, Giambi wouldn't be swing at bouncing curves.

This game could get away fast and you can't blame Moose. It has to be frustrating to play behind such crappy defense, which always seems to be in full force when Mussina is on the mound.

2008-07-10 17:40:56
41.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
Ohayo Gozaimasu. umm..we're playing Pittsburgh AGAIN? sorry to be slow but this is the make-up game right? and losing again...
2008-07-10 17:41:37
42.   williamnyy23
Posada had no clue on that pop...Girardi is not very good utilizing his personel.
2008-07-10 17:42:16
43.   williamnyy23
41 Yes...this is the make up game, but the Yankees offense hasn't skipped a beat.
2008-07-10 17:42:39
44.   Travis08
37 Giambi came in as a defensive replacement for John Jaha in this game:

http://www.bb-ref.com/boxes/ARI/ARI199907100.shtml

Randy Johnson was the Arizona starter.

2008-07-10 17:44:06
45.   williamnyy23
Meanwhile, Cleveland is beating the Rays and the Yankees are sleepwalking through a game you figured they'd be geared up for.
2008-07-10 17:45:08
46.   williamnyy23
At least Arod's swing seems to becoming around. Hopefully his last AB will yield results.
2008-07-10 17:46:39
47.   OldYanksFan
Molina gets 2 more ABs. It is not too late to put in Giambi.
2008-07-10 17:47:06
48.   williamnyy23
I guess I should be used to this by now, but I still can't believe how awful this ABs are. This looks like the same kinds of teams I used to scoff out as the Yankees cut through them like butter.
2008-07-10 17:48:34
49.   Shaun P
I came to the Banter and though, wow, 45 comments, what's going on?

Then I read them, and now I understand.

2008-07-10 17:49:05
50.   Max
Crap, we're not exactly making the other guy work, are we.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-07-10 17:49:33
51.   williamnyy23
49 And 3/4 of them are mine, venting my frustrating at what really is a pitiful offense.
2008-07-10 17:52:03
52.   williamnyy23
I wonder if Sexson will clear waivers?
2008-07-10 17:52:03
53.   williamnyy23
I wonder if Sexson will clear waivers?
2008-07-10 17:54:10
54.   OldYanksFan
Wow... Bedard in now on the DL. Seattle could lose 100 games. Go after Ichiro. Seattle needs to rebuild from the ground up.
2008-07-10 17:54:36
55.   williamnyy23
54 But they just traded for Craig Wilson, so everything will be ok.
2008-07-10 17:56:04
56.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
55 and Cairo is back in the lineup too!
2008-07-10 17:56:41
57.   williamnyy23
That is maddening! You are leading off with a 3-1 count...why would you not take a strike!
2008-07-10 17:57:19
58.   williamnyy23
And no Giambi for Molina...so Girardi is comfortable giving away another of his remaining 8 outs? Incredible.
2008-07-10 17:59:32
59.   Shaun P
53 I don't know. The two dumb orgs outside of Seattle - Houston and SF - don't need the 1B help. The other 27 teams are reasonably smart, and off the top of my head, outside of the Yanks, no one else is really in need of a lefty-masher.

Meantime, cross Craig Wilson off that former Yankees on the Pirates list!

http://tinyurl.com/58prc5

I wonder who will win the battle for the first base job between him and Cairo?

2008-07-10 18:00:14
60.   nick
this offense is why we need Sexton--we don't even have a PH who could hit versus a lefty...
2008-07-10 18:01:27
61.   williamnyy23
The Yankees desperately need Jeter to come through here.
2008-07-10 18:01:39
62.   nick
prove me wrong, Wilson..
2008-07-10 18:01:45
63.   williamnyy23
Sit on a curve up in the zone!
2008-07-10 18:02:37
64.   williamnyy23
Just missed that fastball. Damn.
2008-07-10 18:03:06
65.   williamnyy23
Great job to lay off that low curve.
2008-07-10 18:03:21
66.   Shaun P
54 The M's Nintendo owners aren't likely to trade Ichiro. And as good as he is, do you really want the Yanks to take on his remaining 4 years and $68M? With Giambi and Abreu gone, Jeter's power vanishing, Posada's maybe too, Melky showing no power, Cano not showing enough power . . . the Yanks need some juice, not a speedy singles hitter approaching his late 30s.
2008-07-10 18:03:29
67.   williamnyy23
but not that slider :(
2008-07-10 18:04:07
68.   williamnyy23
Come ON Jeter...this is a huge AB!
2008-07-10 18:05:11
69.   williamnyy23
Ah...I had much more confidence in Jeter than Abreu, who has looked lost against Maholm.
2008-07-10 18:06:01
70.   williamnyy23
That pitch was not a strike.
2008-07-10 18:06:23
71.   bobtaco
I'm rooting for a wild pitch.
2008-07-10 18:06:27
72.   Eirias
54 Go after Ichiro? No, go after Ibanez.
2008-07-10 18:06:49
73.   williamnyy23
Huge hit Bobby...now it's time for Arod to cash in on his great swings!
2008-07-10 18:06:50
74.   nick
Bobby baby!
2008-07-10 18:07:08
75.   williamnyy23
72 No more lefties, please!
2008-07-10 18:07:42
76.   williamnyy23
Stay to the opposite field, Alex. A hit is coming.
2008-07-10 18:07:50
77.   nick
If I manage the Pirates I don't let A-Rod face this guy again...
2008-07-10 18:08:38
78.   williamnyy23
Damn it...I was so confident Arod would come through. The Yankees need Alex to snap out of his funk. They simply can not win enough ball games without him doing damage in the middle of the order.
2008-07-10 18:09:49
79.   williamnyy23
Abreu looked lost against Maholm, but gets a huge hit. Alex has two great swings to the opposite field, but pulls off badly on a pitch he could have lifted. Go figure.
2008-07-10 18:12:03
80.   williamnyy23
Why can't they get Jack Wilson out?
2008-07-10 18:13:09
81.   williamnyy23
Lead off walks suck, but so does never having a margin for error because your offense can score runs.
2008-07-10 18:14:14
82.   tommyl
dang it
2008-07-10 18:14:46
83.   williamnyy23
The bullpen was so good for so long, that a blip was bound to happen. This game remains on an anemic offense, and today at least, Arod, who really needed to get at least one big hit against the lefty.
2008-07-10 18:15:38
84.   OldYanksFan
After we lose Giambi and Abreu, and a year later, Matsui and JD, of our 4 remaining bats, ARod, Jeter, Po and Cano, we have R,R,S,L... so I'm not worried about L/R.

SHITFUCK!

2008-07-10 18:16:09
85.   williamnyy23
I really hope Arod doesn't go into a 2006-like funk. That's all this season needs to get to make it even more depressing.
2008-07-10 18:16:32
86.   OldYanksFan
That takes some of the shine off Veras.
2008-07-10 18:16:34
87.   tommyl
83 Yeah this one is definitely on the offense. We are simply awful against anything close to a decent lefty starter. I'm still shocked we beat Kazmir.

Joe, Veras doesn't have it tonight. Robertson or Edwar please.

2008-07-10 18:17:23
88.   Max
83 What william said. At some point, you can't expect pitching to be superhuman every evening, especially with distinctly non-superhuman pitchers.
2008-07-10 18:17:25
89.   Shaun P
83 Fortunately, the Pirates' bullpen sucks. Blows. Stinks. Is really bad, even.

Game isn't over yet!

2008-07-10 18:18:26
90.   williamnyy23
87 The Yankees have needed a RH bat for so long now, that Cashman's failure to get one is inexcusable. The Yankees shouldn't have had the lineup they fielded tonight.

Cashman's complete inaction really makes you think he doesn't view this team as a contender.

2008-07-10 18:19:00
91.   bobtaco
At least Tampa is losing
2008-07-10 18:19:47
92.   williamnyy23
89 It does, but so does the lineup. The rally in the 7th was exactly inspiring. Besides, who says Maholm is done anyway.
2008-07-10 18:20:30
93.   williamnyy23
91 That isn't a consolation when you are the team 7 games behind in the loss column.
2008-07-10 18:20:53
94.   51cq24
wasn't that 3-1 pitch to wilson right down the middle?
2008-07-10 18:22:14
95.   williamnyy23
Why is Posada swinging at the first pitch leading off an inning down by two runs?
2008-07-10 18:23:40
96.   williamnyy23
OK...I give up. If Yankee hitters feel free to hack away late in games when the team is trailing by multiple runs, it must be a new management philosophy. The Yankees deserve to lose because they aren't playing to win.
2008-07-10 18:24:30
97.   tommyl
His power hasn't really been there this year, but I wonder if Tony Clark could be gettable. Then again, he's another 1B/DH/PH.

What other righty power/on base bats are available?

2008-07-10 18:26:20
98.   williamnyy23
I am not suggesting the Yankees aren't trying or that they don't have moral fortitude, but it seems as if this team completely abandons any semblance of an approach when it gets behind.

It's like when you play chess and make a bad move. The gaff is so discouraging, that you start getting careless and before long it's checkmate. Well, this Yankee team seems to be unable to remain focused when it gets behind. Instead, it just starts wildly moving pieces until time runs out.

2008-07-10 18:26:25
99.   nick
95 think Jorgie is guessing more b/c he knows he's losing bat speed?

if Jorgie is a DH with a 110 OPS+ next year, as looks awfully likely, things are not gonna be pretty...

2008-07-10 18:28:44
100.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
97 why Tony Clark? is Gerronimo Berroa not available?
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-07-10 18:30:07
101.   williamnyy23
97 There has to be one. Righty bats are one of the few commodities in abundance. Kevin Millar stands out; maybe Casey Blake; Wigginton would work as well. There has to be someone.
2008-07-10 18:31:25
102.   williamnyy23
99 Jorge's bat speed looks fine. Besides, there is no need to guess on 0-0. You are leading off and desperately need a baserunner. You also want to get that starter out of the game. The Yankees approach in the 8th was horrible.
2008-07-10 18:34:02
103.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
please don7t let Molina bate here..please...i beg you...
2008-07-10 18:34:33
104.   williamnyy23
I didn't mention it at the time, but why on Earth didn't Betemit stay in the game, with Posada shifting behind the plate. Who the hell is going to bat now in the 9th. You have Giambi, but you now have to save him for the pitcher (no double switch either with Melky making the last out). That means Christian and Molina to start a rally. Does Girardi really think that's a great formula for winning this game.

There is enough talent on this roster even with all the injuries. I am starting to think that poor management is more of the problem.

2008-07-10 18:35:04
105.   williamnyy23
Another first pitch wail...this is a disfuntional team.
2008-07-10 18:37:20
106.   williamnyy23
TAKE ANOTHER!
2008-07-10 18:37:44
107.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
it's a schizo team..take two from first-place Tampa, lose to Pittsburgh..just maddening...
2008-07-10 18:38:10
108.   williamnyy23
Aaron Boone is raking against lefties too. I am sure the Nats wouldn't want much in return.
2008-07-10 18:38:19
109.   nick
nice approach from Christian, on the other hand...
2008-07-10 18:38:26
110.   williamnyy23
A walk after taking pitches...what a concept.
2008-07-10 18:38:39
111.   OldYanksFan
104 Agreed. Except Betemin should have been Giambi. Seems Giardi likes to try and win with our 'B' list.
2008-07-10 18:40:07
112.   OldYanksFan
Fucking Girardi. Even if we tie, we have no bench left.
2008-07-10 18:41:15
113.   williamnyy23
Damn it!
2008-07-10 18:42:59
114.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
GameDay not smooth! says Giambi pinch-hit, but skipped straight to Jeter..what is happening????
2008-07-10 18:44:01
115.   nick
GAME OVER
2008-07-10 18:44:36
116.   williamnyy23
Ugly swing by Jeter to end it...very fitting. When you can count the good ABs (not hits) on one hand, you know just how putrid this offense has become.

The Yankees either need to fire a coach, pick up a legitimate right handed bat or try to trade someone to the Phillies or Dodgers for prospects. What they are doing now is useless.

2008-07-10 18:46:14
117.   bobtaco
Let.
Down.
Game.
2008-07-10 18:49:58
118.   OldYanksFan
Just ugly. Girardi has no sense of urgency. Inexcusable to leave Molina's bat in the entire game.
2008-07-10 18:53:19
119.   williamnyy23
If the team continues to sleepwalk through the season, I would like to see Cashman and Girardi exit together. It's time for the Yankees to conduct a talent search befitting the best organization in sports.
2008-07-10 18:55:34
120.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
120 Girardi dserves more time. Cashman is over-rated..don't care if he goes. Bring back Stick!
2008-07-10 18:58:28
121.   williamnyy23
120 Honestly, Girardi has been so bad, I don't see the point in giving him more time, but that's just me. I'd sign up for a Buck and Stick reunion in a heart beat.
2008-07-10 19:01:09
122.   monkeypants
104 Posada behind the plate???!!! What is that kooky talk. Not with three catchers on the roster.

Maybe Cliff and Alex can start some sort of Traber/Moeller watch in the sidebar.

2008-07-10 19:03:26
123.   williamnyy23
Fire Nancy Newman too file you're at it!
2008-07-10 19:07:57
124.   monkeypants
121 IMO, Girardi has handled the staff pretty well. His lineups and in-game tactics on offense are perplexing, however.
2008-07-10 19:09:55
125.   williamnyy23
Girardi thinks the Yankees approach is good. That's a huge problem. He also said it's tough to work the count when the pitcher is ahead all night...he didn't mention anything about the Yankees being behind in the count because they flailed all game.

If Girardi doesn't see the problem, it wont get fixed and that's why the offense still sucks 90+ games in.

2008-07-10 19:18:56
126.   williamnyy23
I have to admit, this Yankee team takes losing very matter of factly.
2008-07-10 20:02:30
127.   Shaun P
125 No, the offense still sucks 90+ games in because this is probably as good as it gets, and I think Girardi knows that. Cashman too; maybe the hitters themselves.

Hitters peak at 27 or 28, and are in their primes between the and 32.

The Yanks have one regular hitter in that range, and only 13.31% of their PA (not including tonight) have gone to such hitters (mostly A-Rod).

Guys before their primes have only 25.76% of the Yanks' PA (mostly Cano and Melky).

Meanwhile, 60.93% percent of the Yanks' PA go to guys 33 or older (out of their primes). 53.8% are to guys 34 or older.

So where does the improvement come from? A-Rod is likely to hold steady. But the Yanks' next 5 best hitters - Giambi, Matsui, Damon, Posada, and Abreu - are all in the 34 and older group. So they are likely to decline.

Jeter is likely to get a little better, just because he's been so bad compared to his norms. But he's 34 and seems to be slowing down.

That leaves Melky and Cano . . . but even if they both rake for the next 3 months (say .900+ OPS for Cano, .800+ for Melky), that's probably just enough to offset the decline of the 34-and-up crowd.

I don't see a significant improvement in the offense without Melky AND Cano AND Jeter all turning it on, AND two out of Matsui, Damon, and Giambi raking all year. (Or the Yanks getting .900 or better OPS out of 300 PA by Bonds.)

I just don't see improvement as likely, and I think Girardi and Cashman know it. They can't ever say it out loud, of course, but its not likely to get better AND there's no easy fix (not even Bonds is enough). Given that, I can't blame them for not losing it, particularly with a veteran clubhouse.

2008-07-10 20:32:35
128.   3rd gen yankee fan
Dammit, I didn't watch the game because I assUMED we'd win tonight. I can't believe we lost! UGH!
2008-07-10 21:24:15
129.   flycaster
I'm pretty much a lurker here but it's a regular stop for me because in general I love the level of the discourse. And there are some pretty fair writers among you. But I have to say, there's a bunch of you I sure wouldn't want to be in a foxhole with. Every time we lose, talk about the glass half empty! Jeezus. And the ex post facto criticism of the manager (you would have thought from this bunch there wasn't a human on earth stupider than Torre, but apparently we've found him) gets SO old.

FWIW I still think this team will be there in September. Tampa has overachieved (BP predicted, what, 82 wins?) and Boston has issues. The Yanks are far from a perfect team (as you guys point out incessantly!) but they're good enough to be in it at the end and what more can you really ask for?

2008-07-10 21:48:38
130.   Raf
127 If what you say is true, you would think that Girardi would deploy his players better.
2008-07-10 21:52:02
131.   monkeypants
127 "I don't see a significant improvement in the offense without Melky AND Cano AND Jeter all turning it on, AND two out of Matsui, Damon, and Giambi raking all year."

I generally agree with your comment, but I don't fully grasp the above statement. Jeter has hit .800 OPS since the beginning of June, and Giambi and Damon have raked all year. Even Cano has hit pretty well the last month.

You are correct that Melky has been a problem. But Molina has also been a black hole in the lineup; the bench is a disaster, and the injury to Damon has meant lots of ABS for Christian/Gardner, who have not been productive at all.

2008-07-10 22:22:01
132.   Mattpat11
Anyone keeping track of gimme series against terrible baseball teams that the Yankees punted?

So far, I have Pittsburgh, Kansas City (twice)Cincinnati and Baltimore (twice)

Am I forgetting anything?

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