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Bounce Into The Break
2008-07-13 08:00
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

With the Yankees offense scuffling, Joe Girardi finally made a meaningful tweak to his lineup yesterday, dropping struggling rookie leadoff man Brett Gardner to ninth in the order and moving everyone else up a spot. That meant Derek Jeter, who has hit a Jeter-esque .311/.385/.444 since June 1, leading off, Bobby Abreu batting second, Alex Rodriguez batting third, etcetera. His team responded by scoring nine-runs in the first four innings of the game, kick started by Jeter's leadoff home run on the second pitch of the game. Tucked away at the bottom of the order, Gardner reached base four times in four trips, with a pair of singles, a pair of walks, a pair of runs scored, and three RBIs.

It worked so well, he's doing it again today, though with Jorge Posada catching, Jason Giambi playing first base, and Wilson Betemit slipping into the eighth spot in place of yesterday's catcher, Chad Moeller.

That lineup will look to give the Yankees a series victory heading into the All-Star break with a win against A.J. Burnett in today's rubber game. Burnett is something of a Yankee killer. He beat them back on April 2, his only start against the Bombers this season, and is the only Blue Jay pitcher other than Roy Halladay to have defeated the Yankees this year. In fact, the only time the Yankees have beaten Burnett since he joined the Blue Jays came in September 2006.

The good news is that Burnett enters today's game with a 6.91 ERA in last seven starts, has allowed 15 runs (13 earned) in his last two starts, and is pitching on three-day's rest for just the third time in his career. He'll face Andy Pettitte, who has a 1.82 ERA in last six starts (5-1) and is coming off eight shutout innings against Rays in which he looked absolutely dominant, allowing just four hits, three of them singles, and walking none.

Comments (104)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-07-13 09:39:17
1.   monkeypants
Rumors of Jeter's demise have been, I believe, greatly exaggerated. Maybe Posada behind the plate signals the near end of our long three catcher nightmare!
2008-07-13 09:49:49
2.   JL25and3
1 Yeah, who was this Moeller guy they had catching yesterday? When did he join the team?
2008-07-13 10:17:23
3.   weeping for brunnhilde
1 Yeah, but man, his arm.

I guess we'll have to live with it, but it's kind of on the painful side.

2008-07-13 10:22:43
4.   Mattpat11
This lineup isn't very good.
2008-07-13 10:22:54
5.   weeping for brunnhilde
Nice inning, Andy, and decent throw, Jorgie!
2008-07-13 10:25:07
6.   Mattpat11
INFIELD SINGLE FOR THE BIG G
2008-07-13 10:28:01
7.   monkeypants
I would love for the Yankees to trade for Rod Barajas--there's a third catcher I wouldn't mind on the team. Unfortunately, he's playing above his head this season and the Jays wouldn't give him up cheaply. I wonder if Cashman could swing a reasonable multiplayer deal for Barajas/Zaun and Burnett, with the Yankees taking over Burnett's 5+ ERA and $13 million contract.
2008-07-13 10:30:48
8.   Mattpat11
7 Burnett does seem like the so-so, injury plagued pitcher Cashman loves.
2008-07-13 10:31:35
9.   monkeypants
Nice play by Rolen.
2008-07-13 10:33:07
10.   monkeypants
8 Indeed he is. But he is probably no worse than Rasner or Ponson. Plus, if it can get the Jays to give up one of their two decent hitting catchers, the Yankees could be in business.
2008-07-13 10:34:45
11.   Mattpat11
What was that?
2008-07-13 10:35:28
12.   monkeypants
Abreu does not seem to like playing OF in this stadium, no matter what they call it.
2008-07-13 10:35:53
13.   Mattpat11
10 Do you really want this for another two years?
2008-07-13 10:36:30
14.   monkeypants
13 Do I want what?
2008-07-13 10:37:45
15.   OldYanksFan
It seems we can't go a single game without a defensive faux pas. It's getting very tirersome.
2008-07-13 10:39:12
16.   Mattpat11
14 AJ. Through 2010.
2008-07-13 10:43:48
17.   monkeypants
16 I think that it is irrelevant. He is injury prone, as you say, so he'll likely not pitch more than he pitches. In the meanwhile his spot would be taken by CC (signed as a FA) and the young pitchers. If the only question is whether AJ or Rasner or Sir Sidney fill in as the 6th starter, I'm not worried.

You are ignoring the main thrust of my original post: for the Yankees to get a decent hitting C for this season, they may have to give up a lot OR take on someone else's bad contract. They can afford the latter.

2008-07-13 10:46:51
18.   Mattpat11
Andy Pettitte is getting rocked by THIS lineup?
2008-07-13 10:47:04
19.   monkeypants
It's not good if Marco Scutaro beats you like that.
2008-07-13 10:48:18
20.   cult of basebaal
wow ... guess andy's already enjoying his all-star break.

lovely.

2008-07-13 10:54:01
21.   weeping for brunnhilde
19 No. It is not good.
2008-07-13 10:54:04
22.   OldYanksFan
Jeez... Andy at 53 pitches.
2008-07-13 10:54:54
23.   weeping for brunnhilde
This is what a .500 team looks like.

We've been spoiled, but believe it or not, there are teams out there even worse.

2008-07-13 10:56:05
24.   monkeypants
Now the batters are in a hurry too. A-Rod must have tipped the team off on all the really good strip joints in Toronto.
2008-07-13 10:56:52
25.   OldYanksFan
I at least like this lineup. Jeter leading off. Brett batting 9th (double leadoff), ARod up in the 1st inning.
2008-07-13 10:57:32
26.   OldYanksFan
Jesus. 6 pitches that inning. What the hell is the matter with Betemin and Jeter? Mad at Andy???
2008-07-13 10:58:20
27.   monkeypants
25 Agreed. Girardi is making the most of his limited options right now. Let's hope he sticks with this lineup after the break, at least until JD gets back.
2008-07-13 10:59:12
28.   monkeypants
I'm glad Melky caught that long fly from Overbay...if that went out Mattpat's head might explode.
2008-07-13 10:59:15
29.   Mattpat11
17 I'll be honest. I don't want AJ Burnett on this team because I don't think Brian Cashman is a smart enough or good enough general manager to acquire someone like Burnett in that way.

I think he'll insert him into the rotation for all three seasons. (08-10) I think he'll be caught completely off guard when AJ SHOCKINGLY gets hurt and we'll be back to signing the Miltons and Ponsons of the world.

I think we'll be saddled with him for all three years, because Cashman will stubbornly refuse to even consider trading him, lest Brian Cashman look bad for making yet another bad pitching move and having to get rid of him.

This has Carl Pavano written all over it.

2008-07-13 11:01:22
30.   OldYanksFan
29 Dude... you are off the wall.
2008-07-13 11:01:59
31.   Mattpat11
27 I'm interested to see just how utterly useless Betemit will have to get before we stop using him.
2008-07-13 11:05:04
32.   Mattpat11
29 Right. Its so unlike Brian Cashman to make a stupid pitching acquisition and refuse to get rid of him to the detriment of the team.
2008-07-13 11:05:34
33.   ms october
well at least andy and abreu are trying to make up for the 3rd inning a bit
2008-07-13 11:06:18
34.   cult of basebaal
look at the fat hamster motor, take that william! "lethargic", my ass!
2008-07-13 11:07:00
35.   monkeypants
29 That doesn't even make sense based on the internal logic. If he doesn't trade for someone like AJ (eg), he will have to continue to use the likes of Ponson.

If he signs AJ and immediately inserts him into the rotation, then he keeps Ponson and Milton out of the rotation. Moreover, when AJ pitches, which is admittedly rare, he has been for his career a solidly above average pitcher.

But, in the worst case scenario--which you define as Carl Pavano--he would be hurt all the time ANYWAY, so he wouldn't pitch in any case. And even in that case, he would--in your scenario--sign the Ponsons and Miltons of the world...which he's already done in any case.

So no matter what, they would be no worse off, by your own logic.

And you STILL ignore the main point of my first post, which is that the team might need to take on a bad contract in order to get a decent hitting catcher for the rest of this season.

2008-07-13 11:07:21
36.   ms october
33 er the 2nd inning - guess i am ready for the asb too
2008-07-13 11:09:19
37.   monkeypants
29 And by the way, Burnett v. Pavano is a pretty weak comparison--just look at their career numbers.

Come on, you can do better than that.

2008-07-13 11:11:21
38.   weeping for brunnhilde
I hate this fucking team.

Nothing like failing even to advance, let alone score a lead-off double with your four, five and six guys.

(Or three, four and five or whatever it was.)

2008-07-13 11:11:52
39.   monkeypants
31 Yawn.

So who would you have play all the positions on the current one man bench? Anyone at AAA in mind? Any particular trade you would make?

2008-07-13 11:12:21
40.   OldYanksFan
31 Betemin is a UIF who plays 4 infield positions (however poorly) and has a .700 OPS. How about listing which of the 30 teams have better ones? I will tell you there are 6 STARTING 2nd basemen, 8 STARTING shortstops and 2 starting 3rd basemen with sub .700 OPS.
2008-07-13 11:13:19
41.   Mattpat11
35 I'm looking to the next two years. I don't WANT to be searching the trash heap again next year and the year after because we were so stupid we thought AJ Burnett might pitch all year.

If we acquire AJ Burnett, I PROMISE you he will be the game three starter next April. And when he gets hurt, I guarantee there will be no plan B, because there never is. And we'll probably get Ponson back, because Cashman apparently sees something in him that isn't apparent to mere mortals.

Its bad enough we had to do this again this year. I really don't want to do it again next year. Barajas and Zaun aren't worth screwing us up for the next two years.

2008-07-13 11:18:28
42.   cult of basebaal
LEMMIWINKS!
2008-07-13 11:19:26
43.   Mattpat11
39 I'd be more than happy to replace him with Alberto Gonzalez. At least I can point to some skill that man has (pop ups excluded) which I can't do for Betemit.

Rather than have a bench player than can't field, can't pinch hit and can't pinch run, I'll take a bench player than can field, run, but can't pinch hit.

2008-07-13 11:19:38
44.   monkeypants
41 I still don't see how one pitcher (Burnett) would screw up the entire team for the next two years even using your own logic.

Now, I am about the least in favor of signing Sidney Ponson. But you are creating a bogus narrative when you claim that signing Ponson resulted from a lack of a "Plan B."

Ponson was signed only because Hughes and IPK were ineffective AND hurt, Wang got hut in a freak play, Horne in MiL was hurt, and there was an unscheduled DH.

Ponson was not the result of no plan B, he was the result of no Plan E.

2008-07-13 11:19:56
45.   OldYanksFan
WOW!!!!!!!! The guy who is afraid of the wall makes a perfect throw to the guy who's afraid to block the plate, and we get a DP!
Holy Jumpin' Jeters Batman!
2008-07-13 11:21:55
46.   monkeypants
43 Fair enough. You would go with AG for your one-man bench. I would go with WB because he can also "play" 1B and has a little more pop in his bat. And he actually has a very measurable skill, the ability to hit RHP.

Of course, my team would not have a one man bench.

2008-07-13 11:22:28
47.   OldYanksFan
44 Your problem MP is you are trying to use logic. Try using entitled, hate-filled emotion.
2008-07-13 11:23:10
48.   Jeb
I'm glad we're helping AJ Burnett work out his issues.

This just in: We suck

2008-07-13 11:23:39
49.   Jeb
Good patient at bat by Melky
2008-07-13 11:24:46
50.   cult of basebaal
HACKY!!! you are teh awesome!
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-07-13 11:26:14
51.   monkeypants
47 The thing is, I was trying to use the opposing logic, not even my own. Yet the results are the same. You speak words of wisdom, OYF.
2008-07-13 11:27:11
52.   monkeypants
50 Did I see you use the nickname 'Hacky McHeadfirstslide' on another blog? Hysterical! ; )
2008-07-13 11:27:43
53.   cult of basebaal
51 i just figured you were bored beyond belief at the quality of today's game and figured you'd tilt at some windmills to pass the time ...
2008-07-13 11:27:49
54.   Jeb
47 I'd like to sign Burnett just so we don't have to face him again.
2008-07-13 11:28:58
55.   Jeb
But I can tell our team is giving its maximum effort and in no way mailing it in for the ASB.
2008-07-13 11:29:44
56.   Jeb
Burnett is a 52 pitches through 5. Complete game alert.
2008-07-13 11:30:40
57.   cult of basebaal
52 yeah, that's my current nickname for melky ... although a new one came to me last night ... "meekly" cabrera
2008-07-13 11:31:42
58.   monkeypants
53 I get pulled in too easily. I can usually resist but only for a while.
2008-07-13 11:31:59
59.   Mattpat11
46 I'm sure Gonzalez can play first base just as well as Betemit can. Putting aside how awful he is at the position, Wilson's entire major league career at first base comes in the last two years with the Yankees. I'm sure you can teach Gonzalez to field first at least as well as Wilson.

And Betemit's .267/.341/.461 line against righties isn't so fantastic that he should force his way into the starting lineup at the expense of someone, which means it would be coming off the bench, and pinch hitting is yet another skill he doesn't have.

2008-07-13 11:34:57
60.   cult of basebaal
59 why don't we just bring back miguel fucking cairo while we're at it ...
2008-07-13 11:35:27
61.   OldYanksFan
51 Ahhhh Grasshopper... there is good AND bad is all men.
2008-07-13 11:36:27
62.   monkeypants
59 What starter is Betemit forcing out of the lineup with his own start?

With the current pile of injuries, he will either play 1B or DH, whatever Giambi is not playing.

You COULD argue that Christian should DH with Giambi at 1B, but you would have a hard time convincing anyone that Christian would out hit Betemit v. RHP.

So again, within the current constraints of the roster, Betemit is the logical option. Now, if the team added a decent bat (like, say Greg Zaun), we could have a meaningful discussion.

2008-07-13 11:39:02
63.   monkeypants
Goddamn lazy Abreu...
2008-07-13 11:40:07
64.   OldYanksFan
62 Ohhhh Grasshopper... you can not push the river. Rather, it will find it's own way in it's own time. This is simply the nature of life.
2008-07-13 11:42:09
65.   cult of basebaal
64
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146
2008-07-13 11:44:09
66.   monkeypants
OK, I'm not paying a ton of attention to the game. Do all of the Yankees batters start with an 0-2 count? Does this have anything to do withy metric conversion or something?
2008-07-13 11:47:01
67.   cult of basebaal
66 exchange rate. blame bernanke for not supporting a strong dollar!
2008-07-13 11:47:30
68.   Jeb
Burnett just fist-pumped as he K'd Jorge. I hope all the Joba-haters will get upset over that.
2008-07-13 11:47:31
69.   Jeb
Burnett just fist-pumped as he K'd Jorge. I hope all the Joba-haters will get upset over that.
2008-07-13 11:50:21
70.   monkeypants
69 Posada certainly looked upset.
2008-07-13 11:53:01
71.   OldYanksFan
65 Was this Friedrich Nietzsche guy on Kung Fu? The blind guy maybe?
2008-07-13 11:56:16
72.   Mattpat11
62 I used the hypothetical starter because he has to start to be at all affective with the bat. When he's not starting, he's used as a pinch hitter, pinch runner, and defensive replacement, which I'm sure is some kind of rib aimed at me.

Since they won't DH Betemit, because they like his defense for Christ knows what reason, I have no problem with splitting Poaada and Giambi until Damon comes back.

2008-07-13 11:57:28
73.   monkeypants
Andy hasn't pitched that bad of a game except for his mini-meltdown in the second inning. That's probably his last inning, no?
2008-07-13 11:57:33
74.   Jeb
Peralta just hit a 2 run homer for Cleveland. The Tribe's beating the Rays 4-2
2008-07-13 12:07:07
75.   monkeypants
72 Splitting Giambi and Posada at DH only works if Molina gets a ton of ABs. Betemit will outhit Molina, and I am not convinced that Molina's one skill (the CS throw) is worth it in the long run.

By the way--

Betemit v. RHP: .267/.341/.461/.802

Ave MLB 1B: .268/.352/.449/.801
Ave MLB DH: .245/.330/.411/.741
Ave MLB 3B: .267/.337/.439/.776
Ave MLB RF: .787 OPS
Ave MLB LF: .771 OPS

Worth thinking about.

2008-07-13 12:10:54
76.   Mattpat11
75 Those are the averages for this year?

Because then I think you have to factor in that Betemit's numbers against righties this year are .247/.273/.411/.684

I'll take Molina's one skill over Betemit's no skills.

2008-07-13 12:11:04
77.   monkeypants
72 85

Frankly, looking at those numbers again, and conceding that you are partially correct (Betemit needs to start more often to be effective), I am more and more convinced that he should start at DH against RHP, which is about 70% of the time.

This only reinforces the team's need to find a decent RH bat to platoon with Betemit, preferably someone who can play some corner OF (for roster flexibility).

2008-07-13 12:15:00
78.   monkeypants
76 Even his lower numbers this year, a partial product of his infrequent starting (as you yourself imply) are much, much better than Molina's .226/.263/.311/.574 (54 OPS+).

Thank you--with every post you convince more an more of Betemit's value to the team, especially if used more consistently in a platoon.

2008-07-13 12:16:47
79.   weeping for brunnhilde
66 Yeah, it's kind of like in slow pitch softball.
2008-07-13 12:20:12
80.   monkeypants
79 And lots of close check swing calls for strikes. The umps obviously plan to follow the Yankees to all those strip clubs after the game.
2008-07-13 12:26:07
81.   Mattpat11
78 Well, hell, play him every day then. He's hitting lefties just as well.

If the difference between Molina's level of not hitting and Betemit's level of not hitting is so striking to you that you want to see the clusterfuck that is Betemit in the field, fine. You win. Betemit can play every day. This team is fucked anyway if they can't hit Burnett, especially with our specialty righty hitting machine in the lineup.

2008-07-13 12:31:34
82.   Jeb
what a FUN way to head into the break. This game is in no way symbolic of the entire season thus far.

We have no runs, 4 hits, and we're being made to look like little leaguers against a guy with an ERA of 5.23 this season (ERA+ is 78), who's pitching on short rest!

Meanwhile, our pitcher gives up a 3 run homer to a guy with an 83 OPS+

This is in no way frustrating. This only makes me love an admire our collection of players more. I can see grit, hustle and determination in everyone's eyes. We're running through walls today. I may go outside an have a victory cigar for this fine performance.

2008-07-13 12:34:17
83.   monkeypants
81 RLYW calculated that Betemit has been -1 defensive runs scored above average for the season--in other words, he has been essentially an average defensive 1B (based primarily on range factor, I believe).

But if it makes you feel better to shout about how bad he is defensively at the position, I won't stop you.

2008-07-13 12:35:19
84.   cult of basebaal
82 you could go get a lapdance from a mannish stripper, arod would approve!
2008-07-13 12:35:57
85.   monkeypants
The 'stache refuses to go quietly...
2008-07-13 12:36:43
86.   Jeb
84 Should I go to Sammy's on Valley Avenue or head on over to Wesley's Booby Trap in Dora?
2008-07-13 12:39:20
87.   monkeypants
Wow, this is almost like an old-fashioned pitching change: the starter worked into the ninth, then ran out of gas, and the reliever is coming in with one out.
2008-07-13 12:41:45
88.   Mattpat11
Damnit. A lefthanded pitcher. If it gets to Betemit, his numbers go down rapidly!
2008-07-13 12:42:33
89.   Jeb
88 after Cano GIDP it won't matter
2008-07-13 12:42:38
90.   monkeypants
Perfect ending.
2008-07-13 12:42:54
91.   Mattpat11
Yankees punt another series against a terrible team.
2008-07-13 12:43:03
92.   Jeb
89 wow I called that.
2008-07-13 12:48:37
93.   monkeypants
88 That would have been a strategic conundrum. Of course, Girardi could have PH Christian, or even thought outisde of the box by PH Molina (career .721 OPS v. LHP), then move Giambi to 1B (losing the DH wouldn't matter at that point).
2008-07-13 12:48:55
94.   Mattpat11
Its probably fair to give them a break today because of Murcer, but that doesn't excuse Friday's performance. We HAVE to beat these bad teams at some point.
2008-07-13 12:52:38
95.   nick
horseshit ballclub.
2008-07-13 14:15:45
96.   williamnyy23
What a surprise...another sleepwalk game from the Yankees. I guess the All Star break started early. It seems like team really embraces its mediocrity.
2008-07-13 15:16:17
97.   JL25and3
I hate the All-Star break, which I see as three days - now extended to four - without real baseball, right when the season's getting interesting.

Except, of course, that this season isn't getting interesting. It's getting tedious.

2008-07-13 17:47:22
98.   weeping for brunnhilde
97 I think it's maybe good for us.

Time to remember what it's like not to be in contention so that when we're back in, we'll appreciate it a little more.

To everything there is a season.

2008-07-13 17:56:47
99.   monkeypants
Last year the team scored 968 runs and allowed 777. This season they are on pace for 742 runs scored (according to Pete Abe) and 702 runs allowed (by my calculation).

Given the total meltdown of Hughes and IPK, the season ending injury to Wang, and the signing of Sidney Ponson, that the team is on pace to allow fewer runs this season is a bit of a surprise.

However, the massive decline in offense is also a surise. Yes, I know--too many players older than 32, regression to the mean by A-Rod and Posada, major injuries to said aging players. Still, a nearly 25% decline in runs scored is shocking, especially when one considers the pleasant surprises on offense (Giambi, Damon before injury, to some degree Matsui before injury).

2008-07-13 20:03:20
100.   weeping for brunnhilde
99 What's the story with Hideki, anyway? When's he supposed to return and what's his injury, exactly?
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-07-13 20:35:05
101.   monkeypants
100 Was he supposed to return? i don't know--do you ever believe the Yankees when they say a player is "day to day" or "needs a few days to rest"?

I believe he had his knee drained (again), and may require knee surgery, either during the season or (hopefully) after it.

2008-07-13 21:07:08
102.   cult of basebaal
100 from petey:

The AP in Tampa is reporting that Hideki Matsui took BP again today and will soon start a running program. Girardi is hopeful of getting him back on Friday.

that probably means sometime next week, if thing continue to progress ...

2008-07-13 21:11:11
103.   monkeypants
102 As the team lumbers (slumbers?) into the all star break, what are your thought: should they be buyers or sellers?

What does everyone else think?

I'm just curious, and since I'm not much of an AS game fan, I need some good baseball banter and musings to get me through the next few days.

2008-07-14 09:10:32
104.   weeping for brunnhilde
Cheers, guys.

Mp, I'm not much of an AS game fan either (least of all, you might imagine, the Derby, Herby, which (predictably) ruined David Wright's swing, among others), but I have no opinion on buyers v. sellers.

Keeping track of the team's doings on a structural level is just too much for me to jam into my brain.

I will say, though, that if Damon can be shipped off for something worthwhile, I'd do it.

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