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Jays' Blues
2005-08-24 14:00
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

With Oakland slumping (dropping eight of the last nine), the Yankees (on a 9-3 run) and Indians (winners of six straight) have moved a game ahead of the A's in the Wild Card chase.

Meanwhile, last night's game-winning single by Felix Escalona handed the Blue Jays their fifth straight loss. On Monday, Toronto manager John Gibbons got ejected whiile arguing a play at the plate. Last night, he stormed into the tunnel leading the visitor's clubhouse before Escalona even made it to first base (or so it seemed).

Judging by their manager's behavior, this Blue Jay team appears to be thisclose to a full-fledged slide, which would be good news for the Yankees, who face them eight more times this season including tonight.

Then again, Gibbons could simply be reacting to the fact that over the past two nights his starters have posted this combined line:

13 IP, 12 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

But has team has lost because his bullpen has done this:

3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

Tonight, Gibbons hands the ball to Dave Bush, who failed to make it out of the third inning in his last start against Detroit, then two days later was brought in to finish off a game the Jays were trailing 15-5 and gave up another pair of runs in less than three innings of work. Tonight he faces the Yankees' anchor, Mike Mussina, who looks like he just might be gearing up for another excellent stretch run. This is one of those "go for the jugular" games. This is the team the Yankees play most over the remainder of the season and a win tonight could break them.

Comments (99)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-08-24 16:02:29
1.   rilkefan
Check out the lineup - Godzilla's batting 2nd, Giambi 5th!
2005-08-24 16:10:08
2.   randym77
Wow, that is different. And Cano's been moved up to 8th.
2005-08-24 16:19:47
3.   yankz
Why didn't this happen when Giambi was doing his best Lou Gehrig impression?
2005-08-24 16:35:12
4.   Marcus
Gamecast shows Giambi's fly out as over the fence. Did Wells rob him of a HR?
2005-08-24 16:37:59
5.   Dan-el
Marcus,

I think the ball would have hit near the top of the wall had Wells not caught it. Even so, great running catch by Wells.

2005-08-24 17:12:17
6.   rbj
Yeah, that would have been a long single by Jason. (I like him, but he has no speed.)

It's a pitchers' duel.

2005-08-24 17:13:48
7.   Mattpat11
Holy Crap. I thought Kay was calling Posada's at bat the Comedy Adventure of the Year.

I may not like his performance lately, but thats just mean.

2005-08-24 17:17:29
8.   Mattpat11
Le sigh.

Posada must have been furious. Striking out in a big spot is his game and both Giambi and Tino tried to steal his thunder?

He showed them.

2005-08-24 17:19:00
9.   Alvaro Espinoza
Still stuck at work. Based on ESPN's gamecast description of the bot 4th:

A Rodriguez doubled to deep right.
J Giambi struck out swinging.
T Martinez struck out looking.
J Posada struck out looking.

One word comes to mind: disgraceful.

2005-08-24 17:20:10
10.   Marcus
This looks like another case of the Yankees' offense dying when the starting pitcher is pitching well. And boy, is Mussina pitching well...
2005-08-24 17:24:00
11.   tocho
A lot of pitcher's duels lately. Fortunately Yanks pitchers have been up to the challenge. These games are great to watch so long as your pitcher is matching the other.
2005-08-24 17:24:44
12.   Alex Belth
Those three strikeouts were frustrating but to be fair, Bush did a heck of job. His fastball has some bite to it and he's got a very soft, big curve ball. He's moving the ball around very well. Actually, the pitch Rodriguez hit the doulbe on was not so smart on his part. Rodriguez had a couple of good swings in the at bat but fouled the pitches off. His double came off a change up. Don't know why he threw that there.

He blew Giambi away, then went 3-0 to Tino. The 3-1 pitch was a high fastball, Tino's favorite. But it was out of the zone and Tino swung through it.. He then caught him looking with a beautiful breaking ball on the outside corner. Posada whiffed too. Didn't look good at all. He's 4-48 on the season with runners in scoring position and two out.

Mussina looks good but the Jays have two men on in the fifth...

2005-08-24 17:26:00
13.   Alex Belth
Make it bases loaded...
2005-08-24 17:27:05
14.   Marcus
Ugh, Mussina not looking so good right now...HBP to bring in a run?
2005-08-24 17:27:09
15.   Alex Belth
Mussina hits Hinkse on the hand--grazes is more like it, and a run is forced home. Bullshit.
2005-08-24 17:27:54
16.   Mattpat11
Nic acting bu Hinske there. Even I almost thought it hit him.

Of course, a baseball hitting a hand should make some kind of sound, but dont let that stop the ump.

2005-08-24 17:28:39
17.   tocho
the elusive 5th. inning
2005-08-24 17:30:22
18.   Mattpat11
God almighty.
2005-08-24 17:30:31
19.   Alex Belth
Walks in a run, 2-0.
2005-08-24 17:30:36
20.   Mattpat11
God almighty.
2005-08-24 17:30:37
21.   yankz
God not the fifth again.
2005-08-24 17:30:46
22.   Dan-el
God.
2005-08-24 17:31:06
23.   Alex Belth
C'mon.
2005-08-24 17:31:44
24.   Mattpat11
The miserable home plate umpire has thrown Moose off. The bad call before the Zaun hit and the phantom HBP.
2005-08-24 17:32:43
25.   Mattpat11
Its obvious that we're going to lose this game. The real question is if we get another hit the rest of the way.
2005-08-24 17:33:52
26.   Mattpat11
And I turned it off. That wild Card lead was fun while it lasted.
2005-08-24 17:34:39
27.   Alex Belth
Hanging breaking ball to Adams, single, two more runs. Don't have a good feeling with Frankie C up.
2005-08-24 17:35:09
28.   Dan-el
Mussina just disintegrates, wow.
2005-08-24 17:35:15
29.   Alex Belth
Like I said. RBI single, 5-0. Bull-fuggin-shit.
2005-08-24 17:35:51
30.   randym77
What a disaster.
2005-08-24 17:36:08
31.   Alex Belth
Three run dinger for Vernon, 8-0. Move along, nothing to see here. There goes Mike's ERA.
2005-08-24 17:36:25
32.   Alex Belth
Good night professor.
2005-08-24 17:37:06
33.   yankz
Oh, my. I left when it was 2-0. Now it's epically bad.
2005-08-24 17:37:47
34.   Mattpat11
This is why the team is going absolutely nowhere this year. Every single time they start going somewhere they do this.

They rock our best pitcher, we cant hit a bad one.

2005-08-24 17:38:18
35.   Marcus
This would be a good come back win (optimism?).
2005-08-24 17:38:18
36.   yankz
Incidentaly, Oakland is also leading 8-0...Cleveland's down though.

No way this team makes the playoffs with Moose pitching like this.

2005-08-24 17:39:54
37.   tocho
I'm the eternal optimist, but this is just BAD. OK when Mussina is pitching nobody is allowed to say he is pitching well until he's out of the game.
2005-08-24 17:40:10
38.   Mattpat11
To come back we'd have to *gasp* swing at two strike pitches!!!!

That can't happen.

2005-08-24 17:40:24
39.   sam2175
So Felix Rodriguez is our long reliever?

Wasn't that Aaron Small? Or is Torre trying to play match-up 8 down?

2005-08-24 17:41:51
40.   Alvaro Espinoza
Where is Mussina's mettle? Every time an ump flusters him he turns to mush. Gut check, Mike...

Never seen a guy go lights out for 1/2 the game and then get abolutely crushed as often as this guy does. What's that all about?

2005-08-24 17:45:29
41.   Mattpat11
Ive never seen a borderline HOF type pitcher get f*cked over as much as Mussina did. I wasn't aware that the criteria for a HBP was shaking your hand in fake pain after a ball misses it.
2005-08-24 17:45:35
42.   randym77
Maybe Torre's given up on this game.
2005-08-24 17:47:24
43.   Mattpat11
Oh well. We just need to turn around and take the series tomorrow.
2005-08-24 17:47:50
44.   Alex Belth
I don't mind so much the Yanks dropping one of these three games but with Chacin going tomorrow, it would have been nice to get a win tonight. Of course, it's not over, but at 9-0, this is going to be a rough one...
2005-08-24 17:48:18
45.   Alvaro Espinoza
Let's see if Bombers can make it interesting...
2005-08-24 17:50:46
46.   Alex Belth
"Never seen a guy go lights out for 1/2 the game and then get abolutely crushed as often as this guy does."

Kaat just made an interesting comparison and said that Bert Blyeleven used to have games like this too. Said his pitches were too much the same speed and he'd just have games where his location would go south in the middle of the game and he'd just get plastered. I remember that Blyeleven.

There was 26 minutes between outs number one and two in the fifth.

2005-08-24 17:51:35
47.   sam2175
Unlikely, they get a lead-off man at second base, and proceed to make a strike-out procession.

And the next inning, the pitcher walks in 2 runs, and then gives up double, single, HR. The reliever is a set-up man who obviously came to mop up the inning.

No chance in hell Yankees are winning this one. Tomorrow is a new day, and let's hope TB holds onto that lead against Cleveland.

A 3-way tie again.

2005-08-24 17:55:39
48.   Mattpat11
I've calmed down a bit since I turned the game off. We just need to put this behind us.
2005-08-24 17:58:15
49.   rbj
As soon as I hit submit on "pitchers' duel" I thought Jinx.

Mea Culpa. I'll never do that again.

Though we have had a couple games this season where we've scored 13 in an inning. . .

Mo & Flash get another day off.

2005-08-24 18:02:24
50.   Alex Belth
Two men on, two out, ouch, Sheff whiffs (on another slow curve ball), and is now 6 for his last 37.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-08-24 18:05:30
51.   Alex Belth
To conclude the post above, Cliff wrote:

"This is one of those 'go for the jugular' games. This is the team the Yankees play most over the remainder of the season and a win tonight could break them."

Dag. A game like tonight only makes me appreciate what kind of special team the Yanks had in their recent championship years, especially 98-99 when they almost always went in for the kill and just put teams away.

Jay's blues indeed.

2005-08-24 18:08:20
52.   randym77
Sheff's definitely in a slump these days. Seems like half the team is. :-(
2005-08-24 18:11:17
53.   tocho
I'm not overexcited about this loss in the playoff chances picture. What really has me extremely worried is that for the second time Moose just deflates in a single inning after cruising the first four. This is something that will give me a stomach pain each time he pitches.

Unbelievable.

Meanwhile, F-Rod is not doing much to earn the trust of anyone, he sucks big time.

2005-08-24 18:20:48
54.   Cliff Corcoran
Randym77,

Well Escalona is 2 for 4. :)

Sheffield, Giambi, Posada, Cano, and Bernie are all slumping. Matsui seems to be coming out of a slump. Womack blows, but has stuck some hits together. Tino's been doing well, but without any power. Ditto Jeter. That leaves Rodriguez who at .304/.360/.478 is hitting well below his season level over the past week.

2005-08-24 18:26:34
55.   Cliff Corcoran
Scrubs in.
2005-08-24 18:31:50
56.   Cliff Corcoran
Thank heaven for Kaat. Down 9-0 he's telling pitching stories and showing pitch grips in the booth. One of the best in the biz.
2005-08-24 18:41:56
57.   Cliff Corcoran
Yeah, I'd say Matsui's out of that slump.
2005-08-24 18:42:08
58.   brockdc
I have a problem with Torre conceding the game in the 7th. This lineup is due to explode and he puts in the AA squad. Lame.
2005-08-24 18:43:38
59.   randym77
Godzilla strikes again!
2005-08-24 18:44:36
60.   Cliff Corcoran
Amen. If Rodriguez is up here and hits a homer, it's 9-5 in the 7th. Instead it's Escalona hitting clean-up and down 0-2.
2005-08-24 18:47:30
61.   BklynBomber
Cliff, Kaat is definitely one of the best. Always on target observations, nice 'inside pitching' tips, and great yarns of past players. A joy to listen to.
2005-08-24 18:53:25
62.   BklynBomber
brockdc and Cliff — Exactly! With the potential punch in the lineup, how the hell can you wave the white flag with 3 innings to go? Down by 15, maybe I could understand...
2005-08-24 18:53:31
63.   Cliff Corcoran
Awful play by Womack there, why isn't Crosby in CF and Womack in (forgive me) right?
2005-08-24 18:54:12
64.   brockdc
Not that I need the aggravation, but ESPN2's signal went down and now I'm forced to listen to Gammons tell me that Colon is the frontrunner for the Cy Young. Huh?!
2005-08-24 18:55:03
65.   Cliff Corcoran
The YES crew reasoned that with the day game tomorrow, Torre's giving his guys an advantage tomorrow. But I agree, nine runs is not enough.
2005-08-24 18:56:54
66.   BklynBomber
OK, anyone still here think the tying run will reach the plate in this game?
2005-08-24 18:58:00
67.   brockdc
Bubba must've given Joe "Sphere: Special Platinum Edition" on DVD for his b-day
2005-08-24 19:00:27
68.   brockdc
These are some of the worst hitters in baseball we're watching here.
2005-08-24 19:01:12
69.   Cliff Corcoran
Cripes was that a bad movie.

Adams boots a DP ball and still turns it. That's what happens when Tino and "Flash" Flaherty are running. Ouch.

2005-08-24 19:03:39
70.   Cliff Corcoran
My middle-school math teacher used to call a problem that was easy to solve "an insult to your intelligence." The same can be said of the Yankee bench.

Donde esta Andy Phillips & Russ Johnson?

2005-08-24 19:06:56
71.   Max
Mussina's latest meltdown is an interesting bookend to a terrific stretch of pitching from a patchwork crew of starters.

20 games ago, Mussina had a 6 run, 5th inning implosion against Cleveland after looking untouchable for 4 innings (sound familiar?).

Yankee starters have allowed no more than 3 runs in 17 of the 19 games since then -- the two exceptions both pitched by Randy Johnson (stinkers against the Jays and the White Sox).

And now Mussina turns back into a pumpkin. Hope this isn't the end of a great pitching run...based on the way the offense is going these days, we're definitely not slugging our way to the playoffs.

2005-08-24 19:11:16
72.   brockdc
These guys on ESPN are so bored that they're coming up with scenarios in which Toronto could make the playoffs. Blowout indeed.
2005-08-24 19:11:48
73.   sam2175
Ahhh, there is always a next day until we run out of days.

Cleveland lost (or will lose soon) too, so we are still tied for the WC lead.

Forget about division, the Sox game is tied, but the KC pen and Sox line-up is gasoline on fire.

2005-08-24 19:12:36
74.   Cliff Corcoran
Okay, that cinches it, Bubba has to get Mowack's starts in center. Tony, meanwhile, get's stapled to Kevin Brown and launched into the sun.
2005-08-24 19:15:01
75.   randym77
Well, KC and Boston are tied in the 7th. Maybe this is KC's night.
2005-08-24 19:17:30
76.   brockdc
How in the hell is Womack hitting .245? Somebody?
2005-08-24 19:18:23
77.   brockdc
Er, .243.
2005-08-24 19:19:08
78.   randym77
I like Bubba's defense, but his hitting makes Womack look like A-rod.
2005-08-24 19:21:17
79.   BklynBomber
It seems like Womack has been between .240 and .245 all season now matter what he does. 0-27, whatever. Funny you mentioned that, it's been on the back of mind all season ;-)
2005-08-24 19:22:07
80.   yankz
Post 74 is what this team needs to get into the playoffs.
2005-08-24 19:26:29
81.   Cliff Corcoran
.243, shmoo-43. His OBP is .272 and he's slugging .275 (actually both of those are worse now).

Bubba is 2 for 2 in this game. I don't really think he can hit much, but Womack can't hit any.

2005-08-24 19:26:45
82.   randym77
Bernie Baby!!!
2005-08-24 19:26:55
83.   brockdc
Ah, hells jyeah!
2005-08-24 19:28:52
84.   Cliff Corcoran
God bless Bernie. Glad Joe took Rodriguez, Sheffield and Posada out, who needed those other four runs anyway.

That's not to say they would have gotten them, but he helped make sure they didn't.

2005-08-24 19:29:35
85.   randym77
I guess at this point in the season, you have to think about conserving your energy. But darn, I really think Torre gave up too soon.
2005-08-24 19:32:38
86.   Cliff Corcoran
Actually, at this point in the season, in a three way tie for the Wild Card, you have to think that every win matters and have faith that no deficit is insurmountable for the second best offense in baseball.
2005-08-24 19:33:01
87.   brockdc
Damn.

The following is my everyday lineup for the balance of the season. It must be followed or the Yankees will be watching a lot of WWE in late-October.

1. Jeter - SS
2. Bernie - DH
3. Sheff - RF
4. A-Rod - 3b
5. Matsui - LF
6. Giambi - 1b (can't hit for shit while DHing)
7. Cano - 2b
8. Posada - C
9. Crosby - CF

In a perfecter world, they'd call up A-Phil to platoon with Giambi and Tino at 1b-DH, but COME ON.

2005-08-24 19:35:43
88.   brockdc
Well-rested for what? For golfing? For trick-or-treating?
2005-08-24 19:38:17
89.   randym77
I think what bothers me most is that it shows he has no confidence in his team. He didn't think they could come back. Understandable, I guess, but jeez, put on a show at least.
2005-08-24 20:46:31
90.   Cliff Corcoran
Not understandable at all.
2005-08-24 21:01:32
91.   Mattpat11
Bubba Crosby can't be anywhere near the everday starting lineup. That will cripple this team. As bad as Womack is, .240-.250 with the odd double and the ability to steal a base beats out Bubba and his .150-.180, no extra base hits and whacky base running
2005-08-24 21:16:25
92.   Cliff Corcoran
First of all, neither should be starting every day, they should be platooned in center with Bernie, getting the starts against righties when there's a fly ball starter on the mound for the Yankees.

That said, I have faith that Bubba can hit at least as well as Womack (which is a very low standard). And I know he has more pop in his bat. He just needs the exposure to get his swing up to that modest level of "production." Meanwhile, he's by far the best defensive centerfielder on this team, if not in the entire organization.

I've been a Bubba doubter for most of the season, but something about watching Womack out there and at the plate last night convinced me, Bubba must be better.

2005-08-24 21:25:33
93.   Jay Jaffe
Damn, and here I was hoping the post was about me ;-)

The decision to pull A-Rod, Sheffield and Posada at the end of 6 when trailing 9-0 is entirely excusable considering that it's a day game tomorrow. At this stage, every little bit of rest helps, especially when it comes to the big bats and the differnce between even the diminished Posada and Flaherty Will Get You Nowhere.

2005-08-24 21:28:22
94.   brockdc
Matpat,

GRANTED, neither of these guys is Andruw Jones here. I think we can pretty much agree like hell on that. But how could you compare Womack's 320 ABs to Bubba's (a wopping 42 ABs). I really think their respective offensive output would be a wash if Bubba were given the opportunity to play on a daily basis, while Crosby is far superior defensively - advantage Crosby.

2005-08-24 21:29:49
95.   Jay Jaffe
Bubba, schmubba. As long as we're keeping our standards so low, Clay Bellinger could play a better CF AND hit for power. I bet he could be had for the cost of a plane ticket from whatever oblivion he's living in now. Crosby should be returned to the Make A Wish Foundation headquarters at once.
2005-08-24 21:31:35
96.   brockdc
Oh, yeah - like Cliff said.

Except I do have a problem with Bernie being anywhere near CF anymore.

2005-08-24 21:35:05
97.   brockdc
"Clay Bellinger could play a better CF AND hit for power."

Again, our complete lack of outfield depth borders on the surreal.

2005-08-24 22:16:19
98.   Cliff Corcoran
Jay, I did think of you when typing that title.

I'd forgotten that Bellinger had some pop in his bat (10 career ML homers in 275 ABs). Bellinger, now 36, slugged .427 in part-time duty for the Oriole's triple-A team in Ottawa last year (don't ask about his AVG and OBP, they're not pretty). I'm not sure where (or if) he's playing this year.

I doubt he was a better defensive CF than Crosby, though. He has a career Rate2 of 87 in 36 ML games in CF in 2000 and 2001.

2005-08-25 07:48:11
99.   Cliff Corcoran
And I only just now realized that I punctuated the headline incorrectly. Should be Jays' Blues.

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