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Was Anyone Surprised By This?
2005-07-15 22:30
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Concluding my recap of Thursday night's thrilling 8-3 Yankee victory over Curt Schilling and the Red Sox, I wrote:

the Yankees have been in this position before. Their last series against the Red Sox opened with a hard-fought victory to cap a 16-2 streak, only to be followed by a pair of dominating Red Sox victories and a 1-9 slide that saw the Yankees get swept by the AL-worst Royals. The current outlook, with the 46-41 Rangers replacing Kansas City, doesn't appear much brighter. But with the way this team is playing right now, it seems like anything is possible.

I stuck that last line on there because I couldn't bring myself to end the recap of one of the team's biggest wins of the year on such a downer. I should have known better.

After that hard-fought victory back in late May, the Yankees came out the next day and got shelled by the Red Sox 17-1, the most lop-sided Red Sox victory over the Yankees ever. Last night, they repeated the feat, losing to the Sox again by the score of 17-1.

Curiously, the first 17-1 loss was the beginning of the end for Paul Quantrill as a Yankee as he posted the following line in relief of Carl Pavano: 2 2/3 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 HR, 1 BB, 2 K. Last night, the two pitchers aquired from the Padres for Quantrill, Darrell May and starter Tim Redding, combined to post this line:

3 2/3 IP, 10 H, 12 R, 1 HR, 7 BB, 2 K

Those two were replaced by Jason Anderson who actually set down the first four men he faced (Renteria, Ortiz, Ramirez and Nixon, no less), only to load the bases with no outs in the sixth. Anderson then struck out Mark Bellhorn and got Johnny Damon to fly out to shallow left, holding the runners, only to walk Renteria on four pitches to force in the thirteenth run. Joe Torre then brought in Buddy Groom to face David Ortiz.

Do I have to tell you what happened next? After a called strike, Ortiz crushed a grand slam into the Yankee dugout to cap the Red Sox night. Groom and Proctor spaced out two more Red Sox hits through the two remaining frames.

The worst moment of the game came in the second inning. Tim Redding, who completely lost the strike zone soon after striking out Ortiz and Ramirez in the first, loaded the bases on two walks and a Renteria single to start the inning. With the score still a reasonable 3-0, Joe Torre then called on the left-handed Darrell May (taking him out of the running for an upcoming start). May got David Ortiz to hit a weak grounder to third that scored one run, then got ahead of Manny Ramirez 0-2 only to load the count and surrender an RBI double that made the game 5-0. That brought Trot Nixon to the plate with one out and Ramirez on second and Ortiz on third.

May's first pitch to Nixon was a called first strike. His second was looped out to center. The ball had a diving action on it and Melky Cabrera charged in and attempted to make an awkward diving catch only to miss the ball completely as it knuckled away from his glove and rolled all the way to the wall in dead center. With Sheffield nowhere to be seen, Cabrera chased the ball all the way to the wall as Nixon, who was inexplicably loafing out of the box, rounded the bases and scored standing up for what was ruled and inside-the-park home run. Cabrera had barely gotten the ball back to Derek Jeter, who had come out almost to where Cabrera made his ill-advised dive, when Nixon crossed home. That made it 8-0 in the second inning and the route was on.

Today the Yankees play another must-win game, as they have their other starter on the mound. A win behind Randy Johnson today would earn them a split and a chance to pull out a fluke victory to take the series behind Ole Saint Nick (possible true identity: Al Leiter via a PTBNL) tomorrow. Boston ace Matt Clement takes the hill for the Bosox.

In other news, Kevin Brown had a solid bullpen session yesterday and could be Monday's starter if he still feels good today. Brown's activation could coincide with the return of Felix Rodriguez, who pitched two scoreless innings with Trenton yesterday and is scheduled to make one more rehab appearance with the Thunder (possibly on Sunday) before being activated. Further down the line, old pal Ramiro Mendoza has started throwing batting practice as he attempts to come back from the rotater cuff surgery he had back in January.

Comments
2005-07-16 04:09:40
1.   Shaun P
(To borrow from Boston's own Bill Simmons)

If last night's game had actually happened, Cliff, then I would say no, I wasn't surprised at all.

But since last night's game NEVER HAPPENED, I don't know what you're talking about. We can all agree on this, right?

2005-07-16 05:59:57
2.   tommyl
Shaun,

Game? There was a game last night? Hey, while we're at it, I can't wait for the season to start. There hasn't been a season yet, has there?

2005-07-16 06:20:58
3.   JeremyM
Can't Mariano start teaching these guys the cutter? It seems to be Cashman's new strategy since it worked with Sturtze: acquire some piece of crap and maybe Mo can work his magic.
2005-07-16 08:16:11
4.   Chucksax
Paul Quantrill was sitting in San Diego last night, saying "12 runs in 3 2/3? I could have done that JUST as well as those two guys!"

I'm startin' to work out again - the way the season is going, I'm expecting to hear the call from Cashman any minute now!

2005-07-16 09:12:26
5.   Dan-el
And so finally we have an arm for tomorrow ... the Leiter man.
http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-spleiter0717,0,2373420.story?coll=ny-baseball-headlines
2005-07-16 10:00:50
6.   brockdc
There is no longer any reason whatsoever to pitch to David Ortiz, blowout or no.

Do you hear me, Joe?

2005-07-16 11:29:56
7.   singledd
The Yankees have agreed to send about $250,000 to Florida for Leiter... Yankees will send NO players to Florida, who will pay the remainder of Leiter's $8-million salary, minus about $150,000 paid by the Yankees.

Such a DEAL? $400k and NO players!!
At least the guy is a pro and likes NY.

Well, it seems to have worked for A-Rod (who still has done nothing about the energy crisis), so I'M going into therapy.

2005-07-16 12:26:46
8.   uburoisc
Agreed, stop pitching to Ortiz; and can we find someone with the stones to throw at him when he's all over that plate? Get him off the plate with 4 hard, fast inside pitches; walk him or hit him. Maybe Nolan Ryan's available, and I know he'll fight.
2005-07-16 12:31:04
9.   uburoisc
Great deal on Leiter; boy we need any kind of help. Glavine around? He looked pretty good in his last start. I really like Al, though, great guy and I like him in the booth, too. How can he be worse than what we imagined that we saw yesterday?
2005-07-16 12:32:29
10.   JeremyM
My God does Johnson suck. What a waste.
2005-07-16 12:51:30
11.   atc
I don't know if I've ever been more disappointed in a 9 (and counting) strike out game.
2005-07-16 13:07:03
12.   rilkefan
Sometime this season somebody here suggested Giambi should hit a few bunts to third. Whoever it was, let me buy you a beer if you're ever in the Bay Area.
2005-07-16 13:23:07
13.   JeremyM
People used to say that about Ted Williams, and to my knowledge he never tried it. Too stubborn.
2005-07-16 14:04:48
14.   singledd
Giambi is looking pretty good. .283/.916 OPS.
Has anyone read/thought/dreampt/conjured/channeled any info on why RJ is no average (or worse)?Can't breeze through with a 6 run lead.... geez. This deal, in '06 or '07, will look worse then the Brown deal.

Hey... Rivera mows 'em down. A big win.
Be funny if Leiter outpitches RJ.

The FO really needs to earn it's money now. We can't sell the future, but we can't give up on this year either. Did you ever think you would be looking forward to Brown/Wright coming back!!!!!

2005-07-16 14:11:05
15.   uburoisc
A split (at worst) in Boston after a 17-1 slaughter? This team is showing guts. Nice win, guys. Makes my afternoon all that much better.
2005-07-16 14:19:19
16.   murphy
split nothin!!! Big-Game Al is back in town!!!
2005-07-16 14:31:57
17.   brockdc
Some say Johnson is nursing a preexisting injury of some kind. I'm inclined to disagree with such a diagnosis, simply because he still shows flashes of lights-out brilliance. I've mentioned this before, but I still believe that Unit's slider and location issues are a product of poor mechanics. Don't expect this problem to disappear anytime soon, so long as Mel is the pitching coach.

Then again, RJ seems like the type of guy who is borderline uncoachable; so any type of constructive criticism would most likely be met with cantankerous words of resentment and/or denial.

2005-07-16 15:36:57
18.   murphy
may i be the first to say (or am i not?) that i think that same "uncouchable" attitutude that, being completely uncompatible with the general tenor of the core of this team, has been a contributing factor in this years inconsistencies. between that and refusing to pitch to jorge, i am done with this guy.
2005-07-16 23:24:20
19.   Cliff Corcoran
Yeah, screw Randy Johnson, he's only the best starting pitcher this team has (now that Wang's gone). C'mon people, stop comparing Randy Johnson to Randy Johnson and realize that he's going to give you the best chance to win every time out. I was one who very much wanted Matt Clement in pinstripes, but given the Johnson/Clement match-up we got today--the aces of these two teams--I'll take RJ every time.

As for his struggles, I suspect his back is bothering him some, but not enough for him to go on the DL, and thank god for that, we have enough starters on the DL.

Meanwhile, Ted Williams bunted in the '46 World Series, which is where the shift was introduced by Cleveland manager Lou Boudreau. I believe it was the Boston Globe that responded with the front-page headline: WILLIAMS BUNTS!

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