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All's Well
2005-07-07 21:26
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

A two-run Alex Rodriguez homer in the first inning of last night's gave the Yankees an early lead they would never relinquish as they rolled to a 7-2 victory behind a solid outing from Mike Mussina (7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 BB, 5 K), running their current winning streak to five games.

The one homer Mussina gave up came off the bat of Jhonny Peralta in the top of the second, but Jason Giambi got the run right back on Kevin Millwood's second pitch of the bottom of the inning with a solo shot of his own. Actually, Giambi's shot would have hit off the top of the wall in right, but Cleveland right fielder Casey Blake managed to catch it, only to have it pop out of his glove and over the wall for a home run.

Amazingly, both Giambi's deflected home run in the second and Rodriguez's opposite field shot in the first were touched by the same fan in the right field stands. A sturdy fellow in his late 30s/early 40s with black gelled hair and a blue-gray t-shirt bobbled Rodriguez's shot eventually knocking it back onto the field, then had Giambi's ball scoot right through his hands altogether. He didn't wind up with either ball.

The Yankees fifth run also came on a bizarre play. Following a Cano infield single, a Sheffield fly out and a Rodriguez walk, Hideki Matusi singled to score Cano for the fourth run and put runners at the corners. Then, with a 1-0 count on Giambi, Millwood caught his front spike on the mound while attempting to pitch from the stretch. Rolling his ankle slightly, Millwood had to kick his foot toward first to avoid injury, eliminating the momentum of his delivery completely. However, with a runner on third, Millwood didn't want to stop his motion and get called for a balk, so he sort of flipped the ball home with a flick of his wrist. Unfortunately for the Indians, the throw went wide of Victor Martinez behind the plate and both runners advanced anyway.

Giambi then singled home Matsui from second to make it 6-2 Yankees (the Indians scored their second run on a pair of singles and a groundout in the fifth). Derek Jeter added a solo homer leading off the seventh against Fernando Cabrera to cap the scoring.

Speaking of Cabreras, Melky (suggested at-bat music: "Moulty" by the Barbarians) went 1 for 4 in his major league debut, the one hit being a ball he sliced over third base for a single. Cabrera took the first three major league pitches he saw to run his first at-bat to 2-1, then sliced a pitch foul before Millwood came at him with a high inside strike that he missed completely for strike three. He singled on the first pitch he saw in his second at-bat, then, with two on and two out, grounded to second on a 0-1 count to end the Yankee rally in the sixth. In Cabrera's final at-bat, he sliced the first two pitches from Bobby Howry foul, then sliced the third to Aaron Boone at third for the final Yankee out of the game.

All totaled, the strike-out pitch in his first at-bat was the only time Cabrera swung at and missed on the night, but the ground out in the sixth was the only time he was able to pull the ball past the third baseman (all of his at-bats came from the left side).

In the field, he caught every ball hit to center including a bloop that was well within Robinson Cano's range behind second. He also had a bead on Peralta's homer in the second, but ran out of real estate. The one time I saw the Indians test his arm (Peralta going to third from first on a single to shallow center by Boone in the fifth), Cabrera uncorked a remarkably strong throw, but one that was too far off target to get the runner.

The one other item of note from last night's game is that Tom Gordon, in to protect a five run lead from Victor Martinez, Ben Broussard and Ron Belliard (ugh), left the game after three batters (four-pitch walk to Martinez, three-pitch K of Broussard, five-pitch K of Belliard) due to tightness in his shoulder. After the game, Gordon said that the sensation was simply that he was unable to get his arm loose during his warm-ups and that it likely resulted from sleeping on his arm wrong. The pain dated from no earlier than yesterday morning and, though the Yankees will send him for a cautionary MRI today, neither Gordon nor Joe Torre appear overly concerned. The good news here is that between last-night's scare and the upcoming All-Star break, Torre will likely be forced to avoid using Flash in any other unnecessary situations for a solid week.

Scott Proctor finished the game, allowing just one hit (a Boone single) while recording the final four outs.

Incidentally, Tanyon Sturtze was seen warming up in the bullpen during last night's game. Before the game, Joe Torre--clearly having realized the folly of having asked Sturtze to start last Monday despite his not having pitched more than 2 1/3 innings all year, in turn robbing the team of its third best reliever for several games--told YES that the player who will start on Saturday was not currently on the Yankee roster, implying that the Yankees will call up a minor leaguer to make that start (my money is on Darrell May, who came over from the Padres in the Quantrill trade).

Meanwhile, Carl Pavano's MRI was negative (he was diagnosed with tendonitis in his pitching shoulder) and he will be eligible to come off the DL immediately after the All-Star break, though the Yankees won't need him until at least the 17th. Torre has said that he hopes to have both Brown and Pavano back after the break, which would be nice as the Yankees are down to three starters at the moment.

Incidentally, it's worth noting that the Yankees' two free agent pitching signings are currently on the DL with shoulder problems (this after one of them failed his physical prior to the finalizing of his contract). Their intended second baseman was bumped from his position by a 22-year-old minor leaguer after a month and has now been (miraculously) benched in favor of a 20-year-old kid who spend all last year in A-ball. Their utility infielder is also on the DL, as is one of their two bullpen acquisitions, the other of which they designated for assignment last week and will have to release this weekend if they cannot deal him in a trade. Other than Randy Johnson and Tino Martinez, the only off-season additions that are currently on the Yankees 25-man roster are spring training non-roster invitees Russ Johnson and Buddy Groom, and Wayne Franklin, a free agent signed to a minor league deal who wasn't even invited to spring training.

The 2004-2005 offseason has to go down as one of the worst winters in Yankee history. And despite all that, they're now just 3.5 games out of first in the AL East thanks to a rain-shortened Oriole victory over the Red Sox in Baltimore last night, and just two games behind the Twins in the Wild Card race. If the Yankees and Red Sox both win tonight, the Yankees will move into second place in the East and will tie the Indians for second in the Wild Card race, leapfrogging the nose-diving O's (3-11 in their last 14 games with last night's win) in both cases.

Comments
2005-07-08 04:47:32
1.   Alex Belth
Robert Marchese, of Flushing, Queens, was the fan who saw two home run balls go through his paws.

Here's the Newsday article: http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-spybox084335321jul08,0,2261698.story?coll=ny-yankees-print

Here's my favorite bit:

Marchese's two errors prompted his mother to call him on his cell phone. "She asked me why I didn't bring my glove," he said.

Maybe he dropped it on the way to the park.

...As Nelson would say, "Ha-Ha."

2005-07-08 05:06:39
2.   joe in boston
You know, when I was a kid...we would take a couple trips a year to the Stadium (from Schenectady NY where I grew up) and my dad would NEVER let me or my brother take our gloves. He was afraid we'd lose them - of course it broke our hearts not to have it. And of course, no balls ever made it near us. We'd have a blast making and bringing in a huge sign though. Gotta love this streak - let's keep it going. Let's go "Giambino !"
2005-07-08 05:22:09
3.   Shaun P
Nice bit of forecasting, Cliff - the Times says May will start on Saturday:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/08/sports/baseball/08pins.html

2005-07-08 06:25:20
4.   unpopster
nice win last night...now let's just cross our fingers and hope that Gordon is 0kay.

A couple of things of note...the injuries to Pavano and Gordon couldn't have come at a better time. With the short layoff for the ASG, the extra days rest might just prove to be both a godsend for these two ailing pitchers and some much needed rest for a drained team. They'r eplaying well now but you know that the emotional roller coaster of the first half is effecting guys like Shef, Woe, The Unit, Tino, and ofcourse the coaching staff. Let's hope the rest let's the whole team recharge in time for what is sure to be an exciting and tight race in the second half.

Also, I am thouroughly enjoying the circus that the team just north of us has turned into. Foulke is a miserable failure, Curt is now too weak to start so he moves into the closer role, Damon is unhappy with that developement, Millar is unhappy about his role and is whining publicly, Payton is released after a run-in with the manager, and the whole team is upset with Francona for his All-Star picks.

For now, on Friday July 8th, 2005, I am a VERY happy Yankee fan.

2005-07-08 06:29:55
5.   tommyl
You know I still remember the foul ball I caught at the stadium when I was in college a few years back. Everyone I was with made fun of me for bringing my glove like a 10 year old. We were sitting near the dugout, first row, first base side and a grounder was sliced foul. I dove partially over the wall, snagged it and got a nice ovation from the crowd. One of the best moments of my life, and no one made fun of me for bringing a glove from then on.
2005-07-08 06:30:13
6.   unpopster
and just to add to the circus, it seems that the players' wives are getting into it now:
http://thetrack.bostonherald.com/moreTrack/view.bg?articleid=92989
2005-07-08 06:51:51
7.   Simone
It just goes to show, when someone says that they are Idiots, you should take them literally.
2005-07-08 06:55:24
8.   Knuckles
Glad to hear that Melky had a decent debut, since I was unable to watch the game...Now leat's beat on the Tribe for a few more games.

The one good buddy of mine that's a Sox fan has unraveled quickly this week along with his team's psyche. Let's hope a corresponding drop in the standings is soon to follow.

2005-07-08 07:28:25
9.   Murray
Re: the problems of Messrs. Millar, Damon, Foulke etc.: I think they need to cowboy up.
2005-07-08 07:44:59
10.   joe in boston
" I am thouroughly enjoying the circus that the team just north of us has turned into."

Unpopster, I agree. It's great to see the wheels falling off the wagon up here. Hopefully the Yanks can keep it up. I'm loving the Foulke/Wives/Schilling/Millar drama....

2005-07-08 07:46:21
11.   Jen
Does this mean that the Sox fans that used to post here will be back again soon? They only seem to come around when things aren't going so well up there.
2005-07-08 07:51:06
12.   joe in boston
Interesting reading from the Idiots :

http://www.bostondirtdogs.com/

2005-07-08 07:52:07
13.   ChrisS
All I can say is "whew."

I was sweating bullets thinking that someone was going to pull the trigger on a ridiculous Kotsay trade.

If the kid plays solid defense and doesn't strikeout a ton, color me impressed.

Who was the last <21 year-old to start for the Yankees?

2005-07-08 08:12:48
14.   Jen
Do you mean start with the intention of becoming a full-time player or just to be in the starting line up?

Navarro was 20 last year. Jeter was less than a month shy of 21 when he debuted.

2005-07-08 08:29:40
15.   unpopster
re: the Boston circus, it just shows you how quickly the good feelings and "clubhouse chemistry" lasts after the team wins their first WS in 86 years. Sheesh, they couldn't even hold on to the happy vibes for a full year?

As for Melky, I'm not sold on the collective theory around here that his call-up is a sign that the Yanks have committed themselves to fixing their CF problem from within. As much as I would LOVE for another homegrown kid to come up and make it on the big stage, the cynic in me sees this as a bargaining ploy by Cashman.

My gut tells me that the Yankee FO was being asked for a king's ransom for a CF like Kotsay because teams believed that the Yanks were out of options for their CF position. I think bringing up Melky is the Yankees way of saying: "okay, you want to rape our system for a CF, well then we'll just solve the problem without you!"

Cashman and Co. may be hoping that now that that the Yanks have shown their willingness to hang with a homegrown CF, other teams will come down with their asking prices for a veterna CF.

2005-07-08 08:35:21
16.   Cliff Corcoran
Unpopster, that's a very good point about Melky's promotion, though the idea that the Yankees are not showcasing Melky for a trade as he would have had more value tearing up AAA, and the idea that they're using him to lower other team's demands need not be mutually exclusive. Both can be true.
2005-07-08 08:54:49
17.   Marcus
Tying to two topics in this thread together, the rumors I've been reading about have the Red Sox trading Jay Payton to the A's, likely for Chad Bradford. The deal is supposedly done, but Bradford isn't coming off the DL until after the All-Star Break, so the deal can't be consummated until then. That leaves Oakland with 5 outfielders, and notably 2 CFs with Payton and Kotsay. The SF Chronicle says Kotsay is getting closer and closer to a contract extension, so there's a possibility the A's ship Payton to the Yankees for much less than what they were asking for Kotsay.

I don't know enough about Payton to have a strong opinion, but I hear he's good defensively, and not that great of a hitter. And who knows how realistic these rumors are anyways. I'd be happy to stick with Melky personally, because it's not like Payton is going to be such a huge improvement, but acquiring Payton would add a bit of intrigue into the Yanks-Sox rivalry.

Joe in boston - I grew up in Schenectady as well, but unfortunately my dad hated driving to NYC, so I had to hitch rides with friends or go on school field trips mostly. I saw quite a few Albany-Colonie Yankees games with my dad though.

2005-07-08 09:04:54
18.   ChrisS
To be in the fulltime lineup. Navarro was called up last year at 20, but he only started the last game of the season and he wasn't going to be taking Posada's job. I thought Jeter was 21 when he got his first start, but you're right.

Melky kinda makes me excited for the team. His brief minor league numbers suggest a kid that can handle a bat enough to not be overwhelmed at the major league level. And, really, with the Yankee offense, all he has to do is not embarass himself. Defense counts more for this time, especially with the shakey pitching.

I'd much rather have a young kid getting a shot than a destructive trade for an overpriced centerfielder that is only marginally better, if at all.

2005-07-08 09:29:20
19.   Dan M
Is anyone else excited to see Payton off the Sox solely for the reason that he won't get to face Randy Johnson anymore (or at least not as Sock)?
2005-07-08 09:43:19
20.   joe in boston
Marcus, we used to take bus trips - usually sponsered by a church group. I recall them as being fun and cheap. Once in awhile we'd drive (from Burnt Hills). I too saw many A-C Yanks games. I remember seeing that Yankee pheenom, young pitcher, who blew his arm out in a barroom fight - what was his name ???? I also saw Ron Guidry, one of my all time favorite Yanks pitch on a rehab assignment there.
2005-07-08 10:03:56
21.   Marcus
Joe in boston -

That Yankee phenom you speak of is Brien Taylor. I laugh every time I say that guy's name. He's a running joke with my friends who follow the Yankees. Former #1 overall pick, I don't even think he made it to AAA.

2005-07-08 10:04:39
22.   Cliff Corcoran
Brien Taylor
2005-07-08 10:41:57
23.   JohnnyC
Taylor was ultimately the reason for George relieving Stick of his GM duties. This was vintage Bad George: blaming Stick for a regrettable but unpredictable event. At the time, Taylor received the highest draft bonus ever given (like $1.5 million). Considering that George had squandered hundreds of millions through the '80s on rosters that couldn't get him into the post-season even once, holding a bad investment of $1.5 million against Stick was pathetic.
2005-07-08 10:42:30
24.   bp1
Yo guys - what's the weather like down there in the Bronx? Any chance of baseball tonight?

BP

2005-07-08 11:01:56
25.   KJC
unpopster - You know you're in trouble when you start to take your sports news from the Herald's Inside Track...

"I am thouroughly enjoying the circus that the team just north of us has turned into."

I think this is just getting blown out of proportion by the media, which just loves to do that kind of thing. NY and Boston both do it all the time: has everyone already forgotten the "this is the end of Rivera" and "Steinbrenner is gonna fire everybody" stories?

"acquiring Payton would add a bit of intrigue into the Yanks-Sox rivalry"

I don't think it would ... Payton isn't really a core Sox member. It'd be like a half-year Yankee like Womack going to the Sox (which I know NY fans would LOVE).

2005-07-08 11:13:35
26.   unpopster
If ever you needed a picture to accompany the phrase "Million Dollar arm, 2 cent head," the photo of Brien Taylor should do.

How does anyone dubbed the "next Dwight Gooden" get into a bar room brawl? How stupid does one have to be?

If I had an arm that could hurl a ball 95+ mph and was just starting my career, I'd walk around like the boy in the bubble, only I'd just stick my arm in the bubble.

2005-07-08 11:16:12
27.   Marcus
KJC-

You're right, I should stress "a bit", because at least for the players, they probably couldn't care less who Jay Payton plays for. I'm sure the media would hype it, though. The story about Terry Francona ordering Payton off the team plane to Baltimore the other night would probably get repeated to no end.

2005-07-08 11:18:41
28.   rbj
I think it was Taylor's brother who initially got into the fight, with Brien just backing him up. Come to think of it now, IIRC, they went to the trailer home of the guy they'd gotten into an argument/fight/whatever earlier, and that is when the career ending fight started.
His mom did get a nice house out of it, though.
Anyone know what he's doing these days?
2005-07-08 11:23:15
29.   unpopster
Not to beat a dead horse, but I am REALLY enjoying the Boston tabloids these days. This is a summation of the "Boston Zoo" (that's right, I've just dubbed the 2005 Red Sox team that):

http://www.boston.com/sports/nesn/wilbur/sports_blog/blog/2005/07/08/fight_club/

2005-07-08 11:30:43
30.   KJC
"You're right, I should stress "a bit", because at least for the players, they probably couldn't care less who Jay Payton plays for."

I don't think most Sox fans care who Payton plays for, either. (Of course, ask me again if Yankee Payton pulls an Aaron Boone this fall...)

"I'm sure the media would hype it, though."

You got that 100% correct!

2005-07-08 11:39:57
31.   uburoisc
I don't think Payton is a terrible idea; he very well might have a very good season or two left in him. He also seems to be better in the 2nd half. Have him and Melky compete for position.

Griffey talks are swirling again; I'd never sign him to anything but 1/2 season and I doubt Griffey wants such a deal. Who would pay to get Griffey for a multi-year deal? What kind of idiot FO would....oh, no, please no.

2005-07-08 11:46:44
32.   sabernar
One of my first thoughts when the Yanks promoted Melky was that they were doing it in order to reduce the leverage of the teams trying to trade their CF to the Yanks. If the Yanks can say, "No thanks, we don't need to trade half our farm system for your suspect CF because we're going to give Melky a chance," then maybe they would be able to get someone much cheaper. I hope that's not the case, because any of the CFs on the market are really that good.
2005-07-08 13:57:58
33.   Dave D
Hey Joe (in Boston) - being from Schenectady, did you ever go see the Albany-Colonie Yanks when they used to play at Heritage park? I'm from Saratoga but live in Boston now too. I think there are more of us around than will admit.
2005-07-08 14:10:18
34.   Dave D
whoops, finally finished reading all the comments. Looks there are a few upstaters here, nice.
2005-07-08 16:42:15
35.   brockdc
I'm from Niskayuna (now living in CA) and actually remember when they were the Albany-Colonie A's.

Grabbing Payton's a decent idea, providing the Yanks don't give up more than a journeyman prospect for him (Bubba, perhaps). Also, I'd actually prefer for Cabrerra to split time with a COMPETENT vet at this point.

2005-07-08 22:17:58
36.   NBarnes
Re: Sox

Yeah, it's been just awful being a Sox fan ever since we took over first place in the East. It's a nightmare, I don't know what we were thinking.

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