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Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda . . . Didn't
2005-07-19 23:11
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

There were just two run scoring plays in last night's 2-1 Yankee loss to the Rangers in Arlington, both coming in the eighth inning.

In the top half, Robinson Cano (now hitting .305 on the season) singled Bubba Crosby home for the lone Yankee run (Bubba, starting in center, walked on five pitches to start the inning and was bunted to second by a slumping Derek Jeter--2 for his last 19--Crosby also singled earlier in the game, going 1 for 3 on the night).

In the bottom half, Hank Blalock hit a two-out, two-run homer to right center off of lefty Wayne Franklin to provide the Rangers with the eventual margin of victory.

The latter provoked many questions as to just what exactly Wayne Franklin was doing pitching to the heart of the Rangers order in the eighth inning of a one-run game. I'll get to that in a moment, but first it's worth mentioning that the only inning in which the Yankee batters were retired in order was the first. Thirteen Yankees reached base, yet they only managed to plate one run against Texas starter Chan Ho Park (5.64 ERA) and were unable to break through against relievers Kameron Loe (4.77 ERA) and Francisco Cordero (4.02, five blown saves). The Yankees as a team left eight men on base, a number artificially lowered by the fact that they hit into three double plays and ran in to one unnecessary out on the bases.

In the second inning Alex Rodriguez lead off with a single and with one out was singled to third by Jason Giambi, but Giambi tried to stretch his hit to a double and was thrown out. Jorge Posada then struck out looking on three pitches to end the inning. Crosby's one out single in the third was erased by a Jeter double play. With two outs in the fourth, Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and Hideki Matsui walked, but Giambi struck out looking on three pitches to end the inning. In the fifth, Posada lead off by being struck by a Chan Ho Park pitch, but he was erased by a Bernie Williams double play. In the sixth, the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out courtesy of a Robinson Cano double and a Gary Sheffield infield single, but Alex Rodriguez hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. With one out in the seventh, Giambi walked on four pitches, moved to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a Posada ground out, but was stranded when Bernie struck out swinging on three pitches. In the eighth, Cano moved to second on the throw home after driving in Crosby, but was stranded when Gary Sheffield lined a ball directly at Blalock and Alex Rodriguez struck out swinging on three pitches to end the inning. In the ninth, the Yankees had the tying run on first in the form of pinch-runner Tony Womack with one out courtesy of a Matsui infield single and a Giambi fielder's choice. After Posada flied out for the second out, Bernie Williams walked to put the tying run in scoring position, but pinch-hitter Tino Martinez flied out to end the game.

As for Franklin, prior to the game, Joe Torre told Suzyn Waldman that Mariano Rivera (saved the last three games, 36 pitches total) and Tanyon Sturtze (3 1/3 innings in the last two games, 36 pitches total) were unavailable, but said that he hoped the Yankees would be in a situation to be able to use Tom Gordon to nail down a win. Without Rivera or Sturtze, the Yankee bullpen looked like this:

R - Tom Gordon (Monday off, 43 pitches on Saturday and Sunday combined)
R - Felix Rodriguez (activated from the DL last night)
R - Scott Proctor (18 pitches on Monday, Saturday and Sunday off)
L - Wayne Franklin (27 pitches on Monday, his first action in seven days)
L - Buddy Groom (unused in the last three games, just one appearance in the last 13 days)

Mike Mussina scattered four hits across six scoreless innings while striking out seven, but did not pitch very efficiently, walking three and needing 109 pitches (just 59 percent strikes) to get those 18 outs. With the game still scoreless, Torre turned first to Rodriguez, who worked around a two-out walk to pitch a hitless seventh, but fell behind every batter he faced, using 25 pitches, just 56 percent of them strikes.

The Yankees broke the scoreless tie in the top of the eighth, plating a single run. Torre now needed just six more outs to win the game. With one of the two lefty hitters in the Ranger line-up leading off the eighth (David Dellucci, who, despite hitting .273/.408/.527 overall, struggles so mightily against lefties has only been allowed 16 at-bats against them this year), Torre turned to lefty Wayne Franklin.

With Dellucci due up followed by Michael Young and Mark Teixeira, a pair of switch hitters who are much stronger from the left side, and Hank Blalock, the other lefty in the Ranger line-up, it would seem that Torre's decision to go with one of his two lefties was a defensible decision. In reality, Torre's failure to use his best pitcher against the Rangers' best hitters in the eighth inning of a one-run game was completely indefensible, and it exposed the two most glaring weaknesses in Torre's use of his bullpen.

The first, and most familiar, is his overuse of his best pitchers, often in unnecessary situations. Despite having Monday off, Tom Gordon had still thrown more pitches in the last three days than any other man in the Yankee bullpen, yet he was the only one of the Yankees Big Three that Torre deemed eligible for last night's contest. Somewhat paradoxically, Torre still managed to be influenced enough by Gordon's workload that he shied away from using him for the final six outs of the game, despite the fact that Gordon was by far the best pitcher available and that he needed to protect a one run lead against the third-best hitting team in the sport in one of the top ballparks for offense in the majors.

The second is a weakness that extends throughout baseball. The save rule states that a save will be awarded to the player who records the final out of a victory of three runs or less, not to the pitcher who recorded the outs most crucial to the preservation of that lead. At some point this rule came to influence the way major league managers use their best relief pitchers, going as far as to call them "closers," meaning the men that record the final outs. It seems unlikely that it has ever occurred to any of them to bring in their closer to face their opponents' best hitters should their final trip through the opposing line-up begin in the seventh or eighth, with the idea that they could replace their closer with an inferior reliever when the inferior hitters came due in the ninth.

Such a strategy did not occur to Torre last night, nor did it occur to him to bring in Gordon after Dellucci and Young singled off of Franklin to start the eighth, putting the 1-0 Yankee lead in extreme peril. No, there were still six outs to go, apparently far too many for Gordon. Never mind that there were just four dangerous hitters left in the Ranger line-up.

Bringing in Gordon to start the eigth, or to rescue Franklin would have at least opened up the possibility of Gordon getting the final six outs. Had Gordon become gassed in the ninth, Torre could have mixed and matched Proctor, Franklin and Groom to face the likes of Richard Hidalgo and Gary Matthews Jr. rather than Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock. Ah, but that would have "demoted" Gordon below the level of closer as structured by the save rule. Far be it for Torre, or any other manager in the major leagues for that matter, to belittle a mighty closer, even a closer-for-a-day like Gordon, by actually turning to him to record the game's most important outs.

I'm not saying that such a strategy would have guaranteed a 1-0 victory, but Torre has, time and again, failed to use his best relief pitcher in the most important game situations, opting to save him for a later inning that never arrives due to the failures of the inferior pitchers that Torre does use. Last night was just another loss that can be blamed on Torre's use of his pen, the third in the past three weeks.

It's not Torre's fault that Mussina only lasted six innings, or that his offense couldn't score in seven of the eight innings that they had men on base. And it's not his fault that he's saddled with a bullpen that includes Franklin, Proctor and Groom to begin with. But given those circumstances, he still could have managed his team to a win last night, but he failed. Torre has often said that physical errors on the field are forgivable, but mental mistakes are not. Physician, heal thyself.

Comments
2005-07-20 02:26:50
1.   mikeplugh
Great analysis of the situation.

The biggest sin that Torre made in the game was clearly the failure to use Gordon for even a single batter in the testy 8th.

I posted on the board for yesterday's game a number of points about this, and I feel strongly that Torre choked.

I moaned when I saw Franklin was coming in, and I pounded my fist when he gave up two quick hits. I pulled out my hair when he left the guy in to face the home run monsters in the middle of the lineup. I sighed a breath of relief when he induced the double play and I quickly assumed that Torre would go for the strikeout pitcher to record the final out. A runner on third and a tough hitter in Blalock coming to the plate.

I was absolutely astonished that he stuck with Franklin at that point. I know Blalock is a lefty, but so is my wife and I think she could bloop a single against Franklin.

If you are determined to stick with your plan and not use the Big Three, why not put in Proctor who has shown the ability to strike hitters out? The point is moot, but I think all of Yankee Nation wanted to see Tom Gordon pitch to at least one guy.

If he blew the game, no one could second guess it. Franklin made the mess and Gordon was put in a tough spot. If he gets the guy, Torre's a genius. The 9th is left to Proctor with no one on base, and should anyone get aboard go to Mariano.

Tomorrow's pitcher is Aaron Small and we'll need to hit 5 home runs to stay in that game anyway. We'd have sealed 2 out of 3 in Texas and be on our way to Anaheim. Now we have to deal with a ? mark starter just to save our asses in this series and stay within a half game of Boston, who should destroy Tampa Bay tonight.

Where oh where is Ramiro Mendoza? ;)

2005-07-20 04:27:39
2.   murphy
bravo, cliff. i have had multitudinous coversations about the idea of the "all-mighty closer" as of late. all of which have concluded with, "yeah, it's kinda stupid. If anyone has read the ESPN Page 2 (read: only thing still free) interview with Phil Niekro, he refers to the best reliever as the "stopper". this term seems to have been replaced, but, if still in use, would best sum up the kind of thing you need your top guy in the pen to do. oh, if Mo were allowed to "stop " the bleeding every now and again, we might not have to grit our teeth or lose our hair late in what seems like every game.
2005-07-20 04:54:46
3.   jdrennan
Maybe I'm just being pessimistic, but with Small starting tonight, I think Sturtze, Gordon and Mo are going to have the night off. If this team is going to stay in front of the division, it absolutely must win the games that Mosse and Johnson start. There's really no excuse for squandering a quality starts with poor bullpen management.
2005-07-20 05:54:17
4.   Ben
Watching last night's excellent pitcher's duel was a nice change of pace for this Yankee fan. But by the time Franklyn came in, I knew my joy was over. With no outs, first and second, a 3-0 count to Teixera, the batter was given the green light and grounded into a weak double play.

I told my wife to watch the replay. Watch I said, he rears back, opens up too fast trying to hit a homer, and just tops the ball. What an idiot!. Franklyn hadn't thrown a strike yet, wait you dummy! But I caught myself right away because having struggled at the lesser sport of stickball on numerous occasions, I know how easy it is to lose your form and presence when a meatball comes downt he plate at 3-0.

I know that managers have more distance from the quick-twitch action of the players, but after reading the excellent analysis above of Torre's errors with the bullpen last night, I'm just wondering if they're not out of line. Managers are supposed to be smarter than players, but Torre has never really been. When he's good he shows an excellent ability to anticipate a situation, not unlike a hitter guessing fastball and getting it. He's never really displayed the kind of analytical mind that LaRussa or Valentine seem to have.

So when Torre screws up the bullpen, it's pretty frustrating, but I think he operates from a twitchier place than his head. Back in the day, he even got David Weathers to appear phenomenal. It was all gut.

All that said, it's surprising that Torre couldn't see how terrified Franklyn looked. Maybe like Bernie, Torre is just running out of steam. The cameras from the YES broadcast left no doubt that the game was over when he came in. What was the name of that tall Aussie they had in the late 90's Lloyd? Tender him a contract today.

2005-07-20 06:15:19
5.   Dan M
Not to downplay the Gordon mistake, but I think Torre also screwed up the top of the 9th. Why save Womack to PR for Giambi with 1 out, when he could PR for Matsui with none out? Did Torre not see Game 4 of the ALCS? If Womack steals 2nd with none out, then the Yanks can tie on a grounder to the right side and a fly ball (which, btw, is exactly what happened).
2005-07-20 06:15:41
6.   Yanks in NH
I've defended Torre in the past, but leaving Franklin in was just downright stupid - maybe even bringing him in at all! He's the same pitcher that couldn't hold a bigger lead the night before. After 2 consecutive singles and a lucky double play, take him out already. 2 nights pitching - 5 batters for 3 runs and 4 batters for 2 runs, hmmmm I think he needs a ticket to Columbus and fast!!!
2005-07-20 06:18:24
7.   Alvaro Espinoza
Right on, Cliff!

Looks like bad managing is universal. What exactly was Showalter thinking when he let Gary Mathews, Jr. (Gary Mathews, Jr.!!!!!!!!!) swing away in the 5th after singles by the first 2 batters? And I don't care how many pitches Moose has thrown - if Sturtze, Mo and Flash (not til 9th) are unavailable, he HAS to start the 7th in a 0-0 game.

Does anybody actually "manage" anymore or do they just draw up the lineup and let the chips fall where they may?

2005-07-20 06:20:57
8.   aboveavg
I usually agree with the majority of the analysis on this site, but not this time. Torre use of the bullpen of late has been indefensible. To me last night is different. I see this as the proverbial "losing the battle to help win the war." Gordon was not going to go for six outs, I guarantee he was still gassed from this weekend. No manager in baseball would have proceeded with the game as Cliff is suggesting. That may be a problem with baseball strategy in general but it is not a downfall of Torre, not last night at least. The game came down to one at bat, Blalock vs. Franklin. Lefty on Lefty. Franklin missed his location by about two feet and that was the game. I also think the people in the last post trying to blame Mel are completely lost. Mel does not call pitches. This was an execution error.

All of this could have been avoided if they just scored a few runs of Chan Ho f'n Park!

Hey Cashman, go get Brian Fuentes.

2005-07-20 06:47:30
9.   Alvaro Espinoza
aboveavg,

Well, that depends on your definition of winning the war. I define it as taking 2 of 3 from Texas. The compelling point here is that Torre, w/ a 1-run lead and Texas's best hitters coming up, looked to the bullpen and summoned... Wayne Franklin.

He didn't use his best available pitcher to counter their best hitters with the game on the line. Torre needed to empty all his bullets last night. If Gordon goes 2 innings and is unavailable tonight, fine. You manage to win today, not tomorrow. Even if Texas beats Flash last night, you can at least say Torre went down with the best arm available. And if Flash succeeds, who cares what happens tonight? Small pitches w/ no pressure. Yanks get shelled b/c no one's available, they still take 2 of 3 and win the war. Can't ask for more than that.

Instead, like an overmatched NFL coach, Torre went back to the hotel after the game w/ an unused timeout (Flash) in his back pocket.

2005-07-20 07:21:56
10.   aboveavg
I would define winning the war as making the playoffs and they need Gordon for the rest of the season to do that. If you try to pitch him for two last night, especially after his recent arm issues, you risk injuring him again. Remember that if it wasn't for the all star break he may have had to go on the DL.
2005-07-20 07:26:38
11.   JohnnyC
the way some fans keep defending the guy, it's as if the Yankees had won only 4 championships not 26 or played in Kansas City not New York. it's not enough to bungle your way through a season like Torre does when you have the highest payroll and a talent-laden roster (tell me about pitching? Boston has a worse bullpen, Baltimore has a rotation from hunger, and yet Torre can't manage the 3 assets he has in the pen?)to plead a "depleted" bullpen...I mean, who doesn't have a depleted bullpen most of the time? the mantra is 6 outs, 4 pitchers. he couldn't figure a way to get 6 outs before he ran out of pitchers (not even counting Gordon). even if he strictly adhered to the closer protocol with Gordon, Torre still had a better than even chance of at least salvaging a tie going into the 9th if he had only judiciously matched up in the 7th and 8th. He's like a high school teacher who never recognizes the hands in the back of the classroom. And...on Matthews being allowed to hit...Showalter is many things but he is not a dolt. His only extra players last night were 2 infielders and Sandy Alomar, Jr. I suppose Torre would have played Sandy in CF just to make a point with Cashman.
2005-07-20 08:55:02
12.   unpopster
I have to agree with aboveavg this time. Let's cut Torre a little bit of slack on this. Mo and Sturtze were inavailable, Moose had thrown 109 pitches in 90+ heat (we all know he tires in the late stages and loses hsi stuff), and the only available, reliable pitcher was Gordon.

This is absolutely a case of losing the battle to win the war. Have we all forgotten that Gordon has discomfort in his arm just prior to the ASG? Is potentially losing one game in july worth maybe losing the bridge to Mo for an extended period of time.

It's funny, in recent threads people complained that Torre is once again overusing Gordon. Now we complain that we didn't bring him in for 1+ innings? which one is it folks?

Torre was rolling the dice. Who knew, maybe Franklin would get lucky and actually get Blalock to hit a line drive right to someone? Remember, even a .300 hitter makes an out 7 out of 10 times.

It was a gamble and we lost it. Relax folks!

2005-07-20 09:12:06
13.   tommyl
I also agree with the people who say Torre made a decent (not necessarily best move) keeping Franklin in. Besides the overuse of Gordon, there is a point to be made for Torre finding out just what he currently has in the bullpen. The trade deadline is approaching and Cashman/Torre need to decide who, if any guys they want to replace in the pen. If you can use Franklin as a backup 7th or 8th inning guy when Tanyon is tired that's a good thing to know.

Also, bringing in Gordon to face a lefty power hitter is not always a good idea. Numerous people on here have pointed out that Gordon can't really use his curveball against lefties and is significantly weaker against them. A point can be made for Groom, but to me he's an equal choice to Franklin.

2005-07-20 09:35:01
14.   JohnnyC
I'd rather have Gordon throw 94 MPH fastballs on the outer part of the zone to Blalock than a guy who's demonstrated his inability to get ANY kind of lefty hitter out (.500 BAA). And the point you keep avoiding (just like Torre)is that his misuse and abuse of Gordon came in needlessly pitching him with big leads for more than an inning at a time. This was not that situation. This was where Gordon is supposed to come in and pitch. If he can't get 4 outs in a 1-0 game after a complete day's rest than he shouldn't be on the roster. 6 outs, 4 pitchers (not counting Gordon). Explain.
2005-07-20 09:47:49
15.   Athos
I'm sorry... I've been a Yankee fan since I was a kid and will forever love Torre, but last night was truly a bad call by the man. Every game counts and should be played like it's the last game of the World Series. Franklin has exemplified below par pitching and Torre should've expected the same last night. In other words, there is absolutely no evidence that Franklin would've pitched successfully last night.
2005-07-20 10:07:09
16.   Shaun P
I wish the Yanks had won last night, too, but unpopster has it right - we all need to relax, it's just one game!

Blalock doesn't hit lefties as well as he does righties (.270/.305/.500 vs lefties in 100 ABs, .293/.363/.496 vs righties in 276 ABs; his career numbers show a bigger difference). Is that enough to stick with Franklin instead of going to Gordon? I don't know. This was clearly a tough call, with a lot of things to factor in. Hard to say what definitely should have been done.

I think we can all agree that the offense should have done more last night, but it didn't. Now that its done, Gordon, Sturtze, and Mo are rested for tonight. If Small only lasts 3 innings - a good possibility, given the heat, the Rangers offense, and what we know about Small's abilities - the Yanks could salvage the game without having to go to any of the bullpen dead weight. Sounds like a good position to be in to me.

2005-07-20 10:23:58
17.   STONER
Sorry guys, it ain't Torre's fault that Wayne Franklin absolutely sux and should be banished from baseball- you got to go to Bill Connors abysmal handling of minor league pitching and the Yank's brass inability to give Torre arms that can actually throw strikes that miss hitter's bats! Also, it would be nice if freakin Bernie would stop grounding into so many DP's -are you listening A-Rod?
2005-07-20 10:30:26
18.   Simone
I've got to say that I'm surprised to come here and find about 4 people who are at least taking the time to understand Joe's reasoning for sticking with Franklin. I do think that Joe should have brought in Gordon. However, Joe played the odds that since Blalock struggled against lefties and Gordon, Franklin could get him out and lost.

I'm not thrilled with how Joe manages the bullpen, but it isn't like he has quality arma to fail with. Other than Mo, none of these guys do their jobs with any consistency though Gordon and Sturtze do a better job than the rest.

2005-07-20 10:52:29
19.   tommyl
Simone,

Good to agree for a change :)!

2005-07-20 10:57:18
20.   tommyl
JohnyC,

I'm not disagreeing that Torre has misused Gordon in the past (in fact, I remember posting a game a few weeks ago when we had a 4 run lead and he brought Gordon in and he ended up getting hurt how upset I was). My comments were pertinent only to the single decision last night and I agree with Torre on this one. It was a single pitch, if Franklin had gotten Blalock out, people would be commenting on what a good decision he made saving Gordon.

2005-07-20 10:57:31
21.   Schteeve
Saying that every gam should be managed like it was game 7 of the W.S. is completely wrong. In game 7 of the World Series, Rivera is available, Randy is available. You can't do that kind of churn and burn 162 times a year.
2005-07-20 10:57:34
22.   Dan M
Happy to see that Mark Hendrickson, who went 8.2 innings in his last start against the Yankees, failed to record an out against the Sox today. Grreat.
2005-07-20 10:57:34
23.   Athos
>However, Joe played the odds that since Blalock struggled against lefties and Gordon, Franklin could get him out and lost.<

One could also make the case that Franklin has struggled with batters. I'm not exactly sure that there's anything wrong with disagreeing with Torre's decision. Just because he's a great coach, that doesn't exempt him from logical criticism.

2005-07-20 11:16:48
24.   JohnnyC
No, we cannot ever disagree with or criticize Torre. After all, Joe's managed the only four world championship teams in the Yankees' entire history. I mean, we waited 86 years before Joe brought us those 4 rings. 86 years! Huh? The Red Sox? oh...never mind.
2005-07-20 11:17:25
25.   Ben
Just wanted to further stir the pot in saying that I don't think Torre is a particularly logical decision maker at all. Part of his charm is that he seems to gamble right a lot of the time, or at least has in the past. He's very susceptible to logic based-criticism, but it's like saying Sierra's open and pull swing isn't very logical... It isn't! But it sure is nice when he guesses right.

You can make a case that a manager should be more logical. That's not what the Yanks have in Torre. He's a player at heart, not a thinker.

2005-07-20 11:19:59
26.   Yanks in NH
Everyone keeps saying its just one game, but with Small pitching tonight, it very likely becomes 2 in a row and we cannot afford to get on a losing streak right now when we are within striking distance of first - especially with our upcoming schedule packed with top shelf teams!

The key is winning the games when our better pitchers actually pitch well and when its that close, you need to take decisive action and shut the door because there was no margin for error in this case.

Of course, a little offense would have made it all moot and academic, but then again we were starting to get spoiled with 5+ runs every game and you can't expect to get that every single night, so when you don't - again, Torre needs to shut the door, not open the double wide barn doors wide open with Franklin!

2005-07-20 11:22:35
27.   JL25and3
The misuse of a team's best relief pitcher isn't specific to Torre, obviously, but it drives me nuts. It's the only case I can think of where in-game strategy is determined by individual statistics - essentially making winning subordinate to that statistic. If you take the save statistic out of the equation, there's no reason you'd necessarily want to hold Rivera out for the last three outs of the game. Two on, no one out, seventh inning of a close game - why would you want to bring in your third-best pitcher at that point?

Another example was Sunday's game against Boston; there it didn't lead to a loss, but it could have. the Yankees really wanted that win, needed to nail it down in the 9th, but let Gordon start the inning because there was a 4-run lead. Once it was a "save situation" Torre could bring Rivera in, but wouldn't it have made more sense just to have him start the 9th?

2005-07-20 11:25:08
28.   Rich
I can't believe what I'm reading. Torre has repeatedly used Gordon for four, five, and six outs with multiple run leads and deficits, but with a one run lead on the day after the Yankees finally take over 1st place, with Small pitching the next game, he can't use Gordon for a four out save?

What does Torre have to do to be viewed realistically by some people?

Unreal.

2005-07-20 11:29:19
29.   JohnnyC
But, hey, the bullpen's all lined up, well-rested and perky, for tonight's bound-to-be nail-biter of a pitcher's duel. Boy, can't wait to see TanGorMo blow away Texas hitters late so we can nurse that 1-0 lead. Man, Texas fell right into Joe's trap. Wiley coyote of a manager. They couldn't get a run off Mussina. How they gonna score against Small? Ha ha. I love it when a plan comes together. Joe's got the jazz.
2005-07-20 11:35:45
30.   Alvaro Espinoza
Let's cut right to the chase:

FACT: Flash was available for an inning last night.

FACT: Texas best chance to do damage was in the 8th w/ the top of the order coming up.

FACT: Torre did not use his best available pitcher to address the opportunity.

Of course it's not Joe Torre's fault when players under-perform or get injured. It is his fault, however, when he fails to put his team in the best possible position to win each and every game. Last night, he failed to put them in that position.

2005-07-20 11:36:16
31.   Athos
I don't see this as an attack on Torre, but rather a disagreement about his surprising decision last night. Looking forward to tonight's game too... should be interesting...
2005-07-20 11:42:29
32.   Yanks in NH
Yea, tonight will be great - nothing better than going into the 2nd inning trailing by 6 runs!
2005-07-20 11:58:11
33.   JohnnyC
Oh well, game and a half out going into Anaheim. Thanks, Joe.
2005-07-20 12:20:54
34.   Alex Belth
No way. The bats are going to return tonight and the Yanks will win another barn-burner.
2005-07-20 12:23:21
35.   Simone
If you are conceding tonight's game before it even starts and are putting it on Joe, I suggest that you start blaming the whole season's failures on Joe from now because it is very unlikely that the Yankees are making the playoffs.

tommyl, very cool:)

2005-07-20 12:28:55
36.   aboveavg
I am in no way defendng Joe Torre as a manager in all situations. I concede that his greatest skill is the management of people not in game situations.

Repeat . . . Gordon was not going to pitch more than 1 inning last night under any circumstances. Say he pitches the 8th inning and gets through it 1-2-3 as most of you seem to think he would. That leaves Blalock, Soriano and Mench coming up in the bottom of the ninth. Is it really that difficult to imagine Proctor, Franklin or Groom blowing that.

What would you all be writing here if Torre attempted to close the game using that masterful triumverate? Probably the exact same thing you are all bitching about now.

I agree that Torre does not use his roster optimally, especially the bullpen. Last nights game was lost because Wayne Franklin, who is unfortunately the Yankees lefty specialist, hung a curve against a lefty hitter. He's on the team to get these guys out and he didn't do the job. Hopefully Cashman is on the phone right now working on a deal to get someone who can do the job.

And for those conceding tonights game already Joaquin Benoit is pitching for Texas, not Nolan Ryan. This could easily end up looking alot like Monday's game.

2005-07-20 13:01:20
37.   KYK
I think Moose was good for a few more. He wanted to stay in the game. 109 pitches (29 in the first inning, I think) is not too much for Post-ASG July. Especially considering that: today is your "throw away" game, and that Sturze and Mo were not options (according to Joe).

Once Franklin showed he was struggling (two singles, plus a hit into a DP), your options are: Groom for the lefty-lefty match or Gordon for four outs. Is four outs that much different than three?

2005-07-20 13:06:29
38.   Yanks in NH
Actually, I'm really hoping for more of a Leiter-like performance from Small - why not, we got to get lucky with one of these no-name pitchers!

And regarding all the bitching, you can expect it whenever we lose one that we had in the grasp, whatever moves were made - and why not, it sucks losing one like that!

2005-07-20 13:32:30
39.   Shaun P
"Of course it's not Joe Torre's fault when players under-perform or get injured. It is his fault, however, when he fails to put his team in the best possible position to win each and every game."

Alvaro, I agree completely - but I think leaving Franklin did put the Yanks in the best possible position to win, taking into account that there's a game tonight, too, being started by a career minor leaguer.

I see the facts this way: bottom of the 8th, two out, leave Franklin in and you've got a lefty on a lefty. The worst outcome is that Blalock hits a HR and the Yanks are down 2-1. However, there was still the top of 9th to be played, with an offense that's scored almost SEVEN runs a game since July 1, and some of its hottest hitters of late (Matsui, Giambi, Posada) coming up. AND, if you don't go to Gordon, you save your second-best reliever to be available to throw up to 2 innings (maybe a little more) tomorrow when the journeyman you're starting might be out of the game very quickly. And to perhaps be more available when you go face the Angels this weekend.

I still think Torre made the right call. I hate losing the game AND first place, but the season isn't done.

2005-07-20 13:34:01
40.   Rich
Franklin gone, Graman in per M. Kay.
2005-07-20 13:35:00
41.   Rich
Which proves that lefty on a lefty means far less than quality, i.e., Gordon.
2005-07-20 13:38:43
42.   Yanks in NH
"However, there was still the top of 9th to be played, with an offense that's scored almost SEVEN runs a game since July 1, and some of its hottest hitters of late (Matsui, Giambi, Posada) coming up."

The problem last night though was that nobody was HOT and it was not likely to change in the ninth!

2005-07-20 13:47:00
43.   Alex Belth
Speaking of Kay, in his latest column for YES, he addressed that incident the other night with Jeter and the fans in Texas:

Michael,
During the July 18 game with the Rangers, Derek Jeter, on first and clearly upset, called for security and seemed to be pointing out a specific fan in the stands. Considering the vitriolic verbal abuse he routinely gets in Boston and some other parks, you and Ken Singleton speculated that perhaps something was thrown. What happened? What was the outcome?
Michele Davison — Watertown, N.Y.

KAY: Michelle,
Kenny found out that a couple of kids had thrown sunflower seeds at his face when he ran past first. He pointed them out, they scurried away before security could intervene, but returned later and were thrown out of the ballpark.

2005-07-20 13:59:41
44.   Simone
Oh well, Someone else will take a flier on Franklin. He's a lefty. I always wonder how Cashman and Torre can deal with firing so guys face to face. Even if the guys are bad, I can't imagine the stress of having to look someone in the eyes and crush them like that several times a season.
2005-07-20 14:02:01
45.   Simone
So that is what happened with Jeter and the fan. Sporting events are becoming free-for- alls or maybe they always were and I'm now realizing it. Thanks for posting the info, Alex.
2005-07-20 15:43:36
46.   murphy
kay actually made an interesting point on his radio show earlier this afternoon. he said that moose told joe he was good to stay in the game and joe told him he was done. we all know how mussina can be about this stuff (i believe kay called him "persnicketty"), so if HE said he coudl stay in, joe prolly should have listened. 6 outs is less than 9.

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