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I Rock Ruff and Stuff with my Aubrey Huff
2008-07-29 18:47
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

After winning eight straight, the Yankees can't seem to get out of their own way.  They lost again to the Orioles, this time 7-6.  This one was a heartbreaker.  Not because it was such a well-played game.  But because the Yankees came back and had their chances to win but couldn't get over the hump.  This game was a hump.  And so was Aubrey Huff. 

Darrell Rasner wasn't that bad.  He gave up two runs through the first six innings.  But Brian Roberts led off the seventh with a base hit and then Rasner plunked Adam Jones.  Damaso Marte came in and Rasner was last seen cursing at himself in the dugout.  Nick Markakis fought off a fastball for a cheap hit. Bases juiced.

Then Aubrey Huff wacked the first pitch deep to right, but it hooked foul.  He swung through the next pitch, a fastball, then crushed the next pitch, another fastball that caught too much of the plate, into the gap in left center field, clearing the bases.  Melvin Mora doubled Huff home off the first base bag to put the Yankees down 6-1.

Daniel Cabrera pitched well...again.  But in the bottom of the seventh, he plunked Alex Rodriguez--who homered in his previous at-bat--and was thrown out of the game.  (There was no further incident).  Couple of batters later, Robinson Cano singled with the bases loaded and nobody out, scoring two and the Yanks were in business, down 6-3.  But Wilson Betemit whiffed, then Melky Cabrera lined out to center (the ball almost took off on Jones, who did a late little leap to snag it), before Xavier Nady struck out looking at a nasty breaking ball to end the inning.

In the top of the ninth, the YES cameras showed a red lady bug on the right side of Mariano Rivera's hat as he warmed up. Then freakin Aubrey Huff blasted the first pitch he saw from Rivera deep into the upper deck.  It went foul but it was closer to a homer than his shot against Marte.  Two pitches later, Huff cranked another lousy fastball over the wall in right for a dinger.  Got-to-be-kidding-meSomehow, Huff should be credited with more than just one homer, don't you think?   

It prooved to be the difference.

George Sherrill, Baltimore's All Star lefty, gave up a single to Johnny Damon to start the bottom of the ninth. He got ahead of Jeter 0-2, but walked him.  Bobby Abreu laced the first pitch he saw into left scoring Damon and putting runners at second and third with no out.  Rodriguez got a good hack on a breaking pitch but hooked it foul and struck out on a fastball in his kitchen.

Giambi fell behind 0-2 and then lined a 1-2 pitch up the middle.  It bounced off the mound, right past Sherrill, into left field.  Two runs in, Yanks down by one.  The "Yanks are showing some guts showing some grit," Michael Kay said on on TV.  

Justin Christian replaced Giambi and stole second on the first pitch, a strike, to Cano.  "See that, see Michael," Paul O'Neill said, as if he was showing Kay the goose bumps on his arm, "That just gives me a thrill."  Then he talked about guts as Cano struck out on three pitches.  Leaving it all up to Betemit.  Ah, Betemit.  Right-handed, no less.  What happened?

Betemit struck out and so did the Yanks.

A tough loss. Sox fell too, almost got no-hit. But the Rays won.

Joba needs to stop the bleeding tomorrow afternoon.

Comments
2008-07-29 20:13:03
1.   Noam Sane
0 Rock on wit' ya bad self. (unfortunately)
2008-07-29 20:21:35
2.   spudrph
Throwing Daniel Cabrera out of the game for hitting ARod implies he knows where the hell the ball is going.
2008-07-30 00:12:14
3.   Cliff Corcoran
2 Agreed, that was a ridiculous call by the home plate ump.

Wither Sexson against the lefty with the game on the line? You can't lose the DH if you don't get to the 10th inning.

2008-07-30 03:26:21
4.   OldYanksFan
PeteAbe hits the nail on the head:
"Get this, the Yankees are 4-10 at home against the Orioles, Indians, Tigers and Reds.

Those teams are 74-124 (.374) against everybody else on the road. If the Yankees don't make the playoffs, it'll be because they didn't take care of business at the Stadium.

They play 32 of their final 54 games on the road. You can't lose so many games to bad teams at home. It makes your job so much tougher when you go away."

2008-07-30 04:43:12
5.   Shaun P
3 Say Sexson pinch hit, but the Yanks tied and it went to extra innings. So A-Rod goes to 3rd and the Yanks lose the DH. What spot in the lineup does the pitcher fill?

In any case, even with Melky-Molina-Damon the 1st 3 hitters in the 10th, I'd take my chances against the crappy O's pen that the Yanks could score before the pitcher came up. And I'd never let Betemit bat vs a LHP - career .231/.277/.360 vs LHP.

Isn't this the kind of thing Girardi is supposed to be good at, knowing the matchups, utilizing all his personnel, etc? Very frustrating.

2008-07-30 04:46:56
6.   JL25and3
5 The pitcher takes Sexson's spot.

Fortunately, thanks to Girardi's foresight, the Yankees didn't have to face that situation.

2008-07-30 04:58:45
7.   rbj
Eh, feh. Yanks need to stop playing like H.R. Pufnstuf.
2008-07-30 05:11:44
8.   Sliced Bread
Total horseshit loss. Series lost.
I try not to let skids like this ruin my mood but they do. My wife called me on it last night.
Let's go Joba.
2008-07-30 06:28:00
9.   mehmattski
Hey, look who's now atop the career ERA+ leaderboard:

http://tinyurl.com/64chul

2008-07-30 06:32:03
10.   ms october
1 rage!
this was a tough one.
let's hope joba prevents the sweep.
2008-07-30 06:55:14
11.   Bob B
9 Excellent blog. I am curious how John Smoltz fares since he has been both a starter and reliever. I would assume he was up there near the top but I think this supports the theory that Rivera is the greatest pitcher of his generation. The other night when he struck out Manny on three pitches looking I thought"now heres one of the great hitters of our time just shaking his head and taking his lumps against Rivera".
2008-07-30 07:06:42
12.   Shaun P
6 That makes not pinch hitting Sexson for Betemit even less credible.

9 Damn.

2008-07-30 08:31:36
13.   mehmattski
11 Thanks! Smoltz has a career ERA+ of 127 in 3395 innings. I don't know how the ERA+ breaks up by starter/reliever, but his career splits page on Baseball-Reference show that he has kept batters down at about a 25% better rate as a reliever than as a starter. This is measured by tOPS+, which compares his OPS allowed within a split to his overall split:

Starter: .295/.360/.655, 102 tOPS+
Reliever: .215/.254/.318, 76 tOPS+

So clearly a reliever can prevent runs more effectively than a starter, because the innings are reduced and effort is more concentrated. Smoltz's 2003 gives an ERA+ of 383, although with just 64 innings pitched Still, Rivera ranks much better over a longer period.

2008-07-30 08:40:37
14.   pistolpete
3 >> You can't lose the DH if you don't get to the 10th inning. >>

Hello, exactly!

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