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Fumblin' with the Blue(Jay)s
2008-08-31 13:03
by Emma Span
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

As Tom Waits put it so succinctly, "it's hard to win when you always lose."

New York has emptied out for Labor Day weekend – every year at this time I wish I had a car, just so I could park it - and judging from the game thread, outside of the Stadium there were about 17 people watching the Yankees play Sunday afternoon. This is probably for the best. In a performance that wasn’t so much lousy as just listless, the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays 6-2.

It was a fairly gutty outing from Andy Pettitte, but not a good one. He recovered from an ugly three-run first inning (not helped by Xavier Nady, who lost a fly ball in the sun) to allow just a solo shot in the second and nothing else until the seventh, going deeper than expected. But then he ran out of steam all at once, and Jose Veras couldn’t pick him up; in the end Pettitte was charged with all six earned runs. Meanwhile, the Yankees’ only scoring came on solo shots from Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi, and while they had several promising opportunities with runners on base… stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

The game’s only silver lining was the long-awaited appearance of Alfredo Aceves, scourge of the Mexican Leagues -- and of Toronto, apparently. For some reason, I was expecting him to be some scrawny kid, but instead Aceves is brawny and tough-looking, with a shaved head, wearing #91 in honor of childhood hero Dennis Rodman. He threw two perfect innings, with three strikeouts.

Comments
2008-08-31 16:50:02
1.   The Hawk
I wish I'd been wrong but I told my friend before the season started that '09 seemed like it would be more exciting. Since 2008 is a lost cause, I hope I was on the right track.

I also wish they could get rid of Alex Rodriguez, the curse-reverser, but we're stuck with him.

2008-08-31 16:51:52
2.   williamnyy23
Last year's Labor Day Sunday game thread had 290 posts, so I am not sure the holiday is keeping people away. Rather, I think with the realization that the 2008 season is over, most people have descended into apathy. I was watching the game today, but simply have lost the passion to express myself about the team's listless play. This is kind of the acceptance stage...we are all coming to the conclusion that all the countless debating is irrelevant because this team isn't any good. Once the page officially turns, however, I am sure the passion will be back, but instead with a focus on 2009.
2008-08-31 17:21:16
3.   Cliff Corcoran
Aceves was very impressive. Beyond throwing 95 mph strikes (per the Stadium scoreboard, that is) and working in cutters and changeups, when he struck out David Eckstein looking on a curve, you could see Eckstein flinch from the bleachers, the old jelly leg.
2008-08-31 17:33:45
4.   rufuswashere
I'm still here ... didn't expect to win this one, but confess I followed the whole game via various media (MLB extra innings, faint 880 reception up here in New England, Blackberry). Guess I'm hooked.

For the record, in the "late season painful loss" category, two have come in the past two series with the Jays: yesterday's game and last Tuesday's 2-1 game

To quote Charlie Brown ... Arggghhhh!

2008-08-31 18:02:09
5.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
not nice to wake up and see another loss...damn you Doc Halladay, damn you to hell!!
2008-08-31 18:04:41
6.   Jen
You know things are nearing the end when the Tom Waits quotes come out.

"well you're high on top of your mountain of woe...
well you know you should surrender but you can't let go."

2008-08-31 18:07:37
7.   OldYanksFan
Normally, if we heard that both ARod and Giambi hit HRs off of Halladay, it would have boded good times. How did we give up 13 runs in 2 games to this team?

This will be a humbling experience for this team. So many questions for this winter:
Big mnoney and contracts for CC and/or Tex?
Giambi for one more?
Moose for one more?
Andy for one more?
Bobby is probably gone. I can't see 2/3 more years.
Melky tradebait or another chance?
IPK tradebait or another chance?
Is Phil still our hope for the future?
Will we keep Cano?
Will Po catch next year? He ain't that great as a DH.
Do we hold onto IRod as Po insurance?
Is Jeter in decline, or does he have an attitude problem?
Is Matsui or JD traded?
Will Cashman, a 'True Yankee', leave NY?
Will ARod be blamed for every Yankee loss for the next 9 years?

Has this team had this many questions since 1995?

2008-08-31 18:38:53
8.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
Hey OYF,
Vig money for CC, say NO to Tex
Giambi for one more at $6mil
Moose for one more at $6mil
Andy can go back to Texas, please.
Adios, Bobby A
Melky..one more chance!
IPK..Sears is looking for sales people in the vacumn department..
Phil is still the Franchise
Keep Cano! Keep I-Rod at 2-years, 8mill, platoon with Posada
Jeter in slight decline, but will rebound
Matsui & JD stay!
Cashman leaves for Seattle
A-Rod- splits with Kabbalah and signs up with the Raelians, still hits 45hrs and 1.000 OPS
2008-08-31 19:02:14
9.   nick
winter coming early this year, folks--"colder than a welldigger's ass..."
2008-08-31 19:12:16
10.   williamnyy23
7 I'll play too:

-Sign C.C. and hope the Brewers didn't toast him, but let Tex go elsewhere unless he'll take 5-6 years (can't touch 10 years). I know a lot of people think it is easy to find a 1B, but the Yankees have shown otherwise. Tex is in his prime and also plays good defense. There would be something settling about having a 29 year old 1B whom you can simply write in the line-up and not have to worry about on the field. Also, Tex has put up an excellent OPS+ in three different cities over the past 2 years...I think he can hit everywhere.

-NO Giambi and Abreu. The Yankees need to move away from DH's (they currently have 5 or 6 on the team). Matsui and/or Damon can already do what Abreu does. No need to commit to three more years and see Abreu continue his decline. Also, Abreu has been dogged by a lazy reputation. Maybe some of that rubs off? As for Big G., I really like him personally, but his inconsistency, one-dimensional offense, and poor defense simply don't rate another year.

- Moose or Andy, but not both. The Yankees rotation should be C.C, Wang, Moose/Andy, Hughes and Joba. I guess in a worst case, you could bring back both, but well, that wouldn't be a good thing. If you do choose between the two, it would be tough. Something tells me Mussina is more committed to pitching.

- I think Melky will be traded for cents on the dollar. I have a feeling we have seen his last games in pinstripes (unless he gets a recall).

- Like Melky, I think the Yankees will look to deal IPK in the off season. If they can't find a taker, I can see IPK winding up with a Tyler Clippard-like fate. I simply do not see him the Yankees future, nor do I think he will be an impact MLB pitcher.

- Phil still has lots of promise. He is back to topping out at 94-95 and seems to be benefiting from his time in the minors. He will start next season at 22, so the sky is still the limit. If the Yankees could still wind up with Joba and Phil in their rotation, a return to October will come soon.

- Cano has to stay unless you can trade him for another impact, young position player. What the Yankees need to do is come up with a game plan for Cano. They either have to find a way to ensure that he is motivated (ranging from how he works in the early part of the season, his approach at the plate and who influences him in the clubhouse), or try to trade him for Matt Kemp, Jay Bruce, etc.

- Po has to catch at least 81 games next season.

- No Irod…he probably doesn't want to be a back-up and his defense is clearly in decline. If you don't think Posada can catch, you need to find another a catcher or suck it up with Molina. Too many other holes to fill, so that's why Posada is important.

- Jeter is in decline. He doesn't have an attitude problem, but I do think he needs to some serious rededication to his craft. In other words, maybe this winter should be spent working out more and doing fewer commercials, nightclubs and supermodels. Arod is a physical specimen…you can see that. Jeter is not. Maybe he needs to be?

- Matsui's knee is troublesome. If you could guarantee he'd be healthy, you might be able to trade Damon, who would be coming off of an above-career average year. At 1-year, $13mn, both men would have trade value. Of course, without a proven CF'er and a whole in LF and DH, the Yankees may need both (assuming Nady goes to RF and Abreu is gone). Perhaps if you sign a Manny or a Dunn or make a trade for an OF, you could trade either Matsui or Damon. If the Yankees don't add an impact OF'er, however, they probably have to keep both.

- I think Cashman will stay. I can't see him jumping ship after the first playoff miss. Also, not getting Santana has nudged the Yankees on the current course, and Cashman is the hand on the wheel. I can't see him leaving unless salary and control become an issue.

- Yes…it's all Arod's fault.

- The Yankees have had a lot of change before, but this season might have more than most. Then again, there could be many familiar faces. I can see it going both ways.

2008-08-31 19:23:08
11.   dianagramr
Regarding the Brewers riding CC hard ...

This might be a little perverse, but perhaps they don't care how hard they work him, knowing they won't sign him in the off-season, and some other team will spend big bucks on a then possibly sore-armed "ace".

2008-08-31 19:24:30
12.   williamnyy23
11 I don't think it's perverse...I think it's exactly what they are doing.
2008-08-31 19:25:41
13.   williamnyy23
Every time I watch the Joe Girardi show, I come away liking him less and less, and believing that he shouldn't return in 2009 more and more.
2008-08-31 19:33:23
14.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
13 I've never seen the Joe G show, what is it abotu him that makes you say that?

I am a superficial person, so am put off by his marine-like hairstyle and Crash Davis cliche-a-thon interviews..

2008-08-31 19:43:44
15.   dianagramr
12

well, I meant from a PR standpoint, the Brewers will take a short-term hit by not re-signing him, but they can turn around in a year or two (assuming CC comes up lame) and say "seeeee?"

my only concern for them is what happens if CC comes up lame in the playoffs THIS year?

2008-08-31 19:58:29
16.   williamnyy23
14 He pretty much answers every question with "I believe in my guys". Such transparent optimism is either disingenuous or ignorant. Sometimes, a manager needs to point a finger at the team's deficiencies and offer some constructive criticism. Girardi, however, can't bring himself to be critical of a play like Cano's the other day.

15 I don't think they had any intention of signing him when they made the deal, so I am sure they aren't concerned about the ramifications. Whether CC is great for 10 years or breaks down is irrelevant. Your second point is valid though, especially because it definitely looked like Sabathia tired a bit at the end of last season after pitching over 250 innings.

2008-08-31 20:21:11
17.   dianagramr
BP.COM's Pitcher Abuse Points
2008 YTD rankings

# NAME
1. Tim Lincecum
2. C.c. Sabathia
3. Roy Halladay
4. Justin Verlander
5. Matt Cain
6. Carlos Zambrano
7. Gil Meche
8. Ben Sheets
9. Jake Peavy
10. Jon Lester

2007 Final
1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
2. Carlos Zambrano
3. A.j. Burnett
4. Roy Halladay
5. Aaron Harang
6. Bronson Arroyo
7. Livan Hernandez
8. Matt Cain
9. Justin Verlander
10. Oliver Perez

2008-08-31 21:56:08
18.   JL25and3
16 I don't watch the postgame, but I read his comments and I think I know what you mean. Being optimistic and positive is a good thing, but after a point it only works if you're also talking realistically. If a player's doing badly or screws up a play, you can talk about that while still being supportive.

But Joe repeats those slogans like a pet-store owner praising the beautiful plumage on the Norwegian blue.

2008-08-31 23:29:01
19.   Emma Span
18 Heh.

The Yankees aren't dead -- they're probably pinin' for the fjords!

2008-09-01 05:19:16
20.   RZG
16 18 I can understand people being frustrated by Girardi's post-game spiels but I can agree with him keeping one face public and hope he addresses things privately.

If you were disappointed in one of your children would you berate them in public if you're asked how your child is doing? If you wouldn't why would you expect Girardi to?

2008-09-01 07:43:10
21.   weeping for brunnhilde
19 Right, right, just, you know, resting their eyes.
2008-09-01 08:32:59
22.   williamnyy23
20 Because professional athletes should not be treated like children (even though they sometimes act like them, just as we all do). Besides, no one is asking Girardi to berate anyone, but simply recognize what is happening. When Jr. keeps touching the shiny glass in the expensive store, Mom or Dad should gently slap his hand and loudly tell him to stop. Girardi simply wont slap hands, nor will he give an honest assessment of the team. I believe in my guys and I strongly believe we will make the playoffs are nice sentiments, but they are exagerations at best. Why can't Girardi say things like "if we keep playing like this we wont make the playoffs"? Maybe it doesn't matter anyway, but if I was a player, I would tune out Girardi's transparent optimism.
2008-09-01 08:50:40
23.   The Hawk
I hope if they land Sabathia, they make sure his heads on straight. All this stuff I keep reading about being a West Coast guy makes me nervous.
2008-09-01 09:06:34
24.   williamnyy23
23 I am not comparing the two, but Tom Seaver was the ultimate West Coast guy and he did OK in New York.

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