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Saving Face
2006-04-09 11:00
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Randy Johnson pitched a gem last night that was spoiled by a two-out, defense-assisted Adam Kennedy triple and another bad night for the Yankee offense.

With the score knotted at one due to a pair of first-inning runs off a Derek Jeter homer and a Vlad Guerrero RBI single, Juan Rivera lead off the bottom of the fifth with the Angels fourth single of the night. Johnson then struckout Tim Salmon and Jose Molina before yielding yet another single to Robb Quinlan, who started at first in place of the left-handed Casey Kotchman and had also singled in his first at-bat against Johnson.

Adam Kennedy followed and after taking ball one, pulled an extra-base hit down the right field line. Gary Sheffield fished it out of the corner and fired in to the cut-off man Cano standing just behind first as Quinlan rounded third. Cano bobbled the ball, however, losing his opportunity to make a play on Quinlan at the plate. Instead he fired to third to catch Kennedy stretching. Cano's throw was in plenty of time and Alex Rodriguez had the ball in his glove and on the bag ahead of Kennedy's slide, but when Kennedy's lead foot came in, it kicked the ball loose and the play was scored a triple.

It was the Angels only extra-base hit of the night and Johnson would complete the game allowing only one more baserunner on another Guerrero single, finishing with this line:

8 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 HR, 0 BB, 8 K, 71 percent of 97 pitches for strikes. Again, six of those seven hits were singles and all eight strikeouts were swinging.

It wasn't enough. After Jeter's homer, the Yankees could only strand a pair of walks against Ervin Santana until the sixth, when a throwing error by Chone Figgins put Jeter at first with one out. Gary Sheffield then singled to make it first and second for Alex Rodriguez. On a 1-2 pitch, Rodriguez lined a ball up the middle only to have it hit Santana in the back of the knee and drop to the ground for a 1-3 putout. Jason Giambi then worked an eleven-pitch walk to load the bases, fouling off five straight 3-2 pitches in the process and driving Santana from the game, but Hideki Matsui, who has been the hottest Yankee hitter thus far this season, popped out against lefty J.C. Romero to end the inning.

Rodriguez was robbed again in the eighth inning when, after a two-out ground rule double by Sheffield that was badly misplayed by Garret Anderson in left, Rodriguez scalded a ball in the second base hole only to have Kotchman, in the game as a defensive replacement for Quinlan, make a tremendous diving catch and flip to pitcher Scot Shields to retire the diving Rodriguez by the thinnest of hairs.

The Yankees threatened again in the ninth against Francisco Rodriguez following a one-out solo homer by Matsui that pulled them within one, but pinch-hitter Bernie Williams grounded weakly back to the mound to strand Bubba Crosby, who came in to run after a two-out Cano single and advanced on a wild pitch, at second. Final score: 3-2 Angels.

The Yanks look to save face tonight after scoring just three total runs in their first two games in Anaheim. Despite that miserable run total, there were some good indicator's last night: Gary Sheffield was 2 for 4 with a double, Alex Rodriguez had two RBI hits taken away due to misfortune and good defense, Giambi stung the ball a couple times and had that fantastic at-bat that chased Santana, Jeter and Matsui homered, Cano got two-out single with his team down one in the ninth. On top of all that, Damon's O-fer last night was his first of the season. This team is on the verge of busting out and tonight's opposing pitcher just might be the guy they do it against.

The Yankees faced Bartolo Colon four times last year, including the playoffs, and none of those outings ended well for the heavy-set hurler. In their first meeting, Colon failed to make it out of the fourth as Alex Rodriguez went 4 for 5 with three homers and ten RBIs and the Yankees won 12-4. Three months later in Anaheim, Colon gave up four solo homers, another to Rodriguez, a pair to Giambi, and one to Matsui, though the Angels pulled out a 6-5 win when Vlad Guerrero hit a grand slam off Tom Gordon. In Game 1 of the ALDS, Colon kept the Yankees in the park, but gave up three first inning runs and lost to the Yankees and today's Yankee starter Mike Mussina 4-2. Finally, in Game 5, Colon was unable to answer the bell for the second inning (though, curiously, the Angels would go on to win behind Ervin Santana on another two-out defense-assisted Adam Kennedy triple).

There's word that Colon is still not completely healthy. He needed 95 pitches to get through five innings in his first start, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk to the Mariners. Considering how well the Yankees hit him last year, even when he was in good health, I expect the key to this afternoon's game to be not the performance of the slumping offense, but whether or not Mike Mussina can repeat the excellent performance he had against the A's in his first start.

Comments (110)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-04-09 11:57:30
1.   singledd
To me, it looked like Shef's throw in-between-hopped Cano. Saw it on the replay also. A hard throw to handle. Cano's throw then took a tough hop to ARod, who make a very nice catch and tag.

It was a good play by ARod lost in the fact that the ball was kicked away.

Shef and other outfields should be called on just letter it go. Get it there on the fly, or a nice long hop, so the cut-off man can set his feet and make clean catch and throw.

Cano has been hitting the ball hard, but right to guys. His laser to center last night, was hit about as hard as a ball can be hit.

2006-04-09 12:00:18
2.   weeping for brunnhilde
Exasperating.

So I just watched David Wright. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, tying run on second base, Wright down 1-2, manages to hang in and take the ball the other way, nay, LINE the ball the other way, plating both runners.

My exasperation is this: if this kid can take the ball the other way with two strikes in a big spot, yielding two clutch RBI, why do our guys seemingly NEVER just get that off-field single when that's all that's needed? Is it really THAT hard to just hit it where it's pitched?

Rant over now, sorry, I just get all giddy when I see real baseball being practiced.

2006-04-09 12:01:16
3.   Cliff Corcoran
Uhm. Torre is DHing Giambi today, so the first baseman is . . . Miguel Cairo?!?!?

I feel ill.

2006-04-09 12:01:33
4.   rsmith51
I just saw that Miguel Cairo is starting at 1st base. Are you kidding me???? Torre is really starting to upset me.
2006-04-09 12:02:07
5.   Cliff Corcoran
Not that the Yankee hitters aren't, but David Wright is one of the best hitters in the major leagues and a possible future Hall of Famer. Just sayin'.
2006-04-09 12:06:33
6.   Cliff Corcoran
You know, the more I think about it, the angrier this Cairo thing is making me. I've already given up on this game. I don't care if the Yankees win or not, in fact, I hope they don't because it might reinforce this idiocy.

Kim Jones, as I'm writing this, is saying Torre went with Cairo over Phillips because he's looking for "a spark." To her credit she sounds as ticked as I am.

2006-04-09 12:13:27
7.   weeping for brunnhilde
He's looking for a "spark"?

What is this, voodoo? Baseball's a simple game, you throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. And sometimes it rains.

Ugh.

And another thing--what exactly was Giambi's plan last night? He showed bunt on the first pitch and then proceeded to have a very good at bat which culminated in that exasperating way he has of hitting it where they are, in fact, hitting it where more of them are than usual.

My one question: what was the relationship between flashing the bunt and the rest of the ab?

Really, I'm not being rhetorical, I'm asking.

2006-04-09 12:14:32
8.   rilkefan
Came to complain about Cairo, but too late - but then again, can there be enough gnashing of teeth on this?
2006-04-09 12:19:37
9.   rilkefan
Any Marillion fans out there? "I was walking in the park dreaming of a spark ... A penny for your thoughts Sad Joe..."
2006-04-09 12:38:12
10.   weeping for brunnhilde
Sparks. You know, in the old days, back when we were actually winning, it wasn't about sparks. No, quite the contrary, it was about the grind. "We grind it." That was the keynote.

It's hard work staying focused and executing. It's not about firing off 15 runs in a fit of inspiration, it's about grinding in all the little things, including DEFENSE. This team shouldn't need to be hot to win, they should need to be hot to dominate. But they don't have to dominate, only to win. Four runs would have done it last night. You really don't need a spark to squeeze out four runs with an offense like this. You just need to play baseball. Smart, grueling baseball.

2006-04-09 12:38:17
11.   BklynBomber
Yanks are going to bust out today! I can feel it.
2006-04-09 12:40:47
12.   weeping for brunnhilde
11 BB, I don't know if you're being sarcastic or not, but I don't want them to bust out. I want them learn how to win without busting out.
2006-04-09 12:42:21
13.   Mattpat11
What an inning.
2006-04-09 12:43:54
14.   weeping for brunnhilde
Wright one tied the game with that opposite field hit in the seventh and won it with a sac fly in the ninth (or eigth?).

Do you think we could arrange a trade? Shef and Giambi for Wright? Ok, ok, plus some cashmoney?

2006-04-09 12:44:38
15.   JeremyM
I like Cairo a lot based on his 2003 season, but this is ridiculous.
2006-04-09 12:44:59
16.   weeping for brunnhilde
14 That's "won" the game. Duh.

:)

And yes, Matt, electrifying stuff was that.

2006-04-09 12:49:44
17.   BklynBomber
12 That's sincere, but you're right. A crisply played, 2-1 come-from-behind win with a large contribution from the pen would be better.
2006-04-09 12:50:29
18.   Mattpat11
Oh Christ, Vlad walked.
2006-04-09 12:51:03
19.   Zack
Ugh, I just saw the Cairo at first thing, good to see I was beaten to it, so i won't bother with the rant on how furious it is.

Can we please trade Andy Phillips to give the poor guy a shot? I mean, if he can't beat out Cairo in Torre's mind, then he will never play.

Cairo is hardly the answer to Bernie, joe...

2006-04-09 12:53:50
20.   BklynBomber
Man, I thought Cliff 3 was kidding... now watch him go 4 for 5 with the GWRBI...
2006-04-09 12:54:00
21.   Mattpat11
I'm not at all sold on Phillips. I thought (in limited time, granted)he looked awful last year. Still, it can't hurt to try him.
2006-04-09 12:54:49
22.   Mattpat11
23 pitches. Sort of the downside of two strikeouts.
2006-04-09 12:55:39
23.   rilkefan
Another K to end the inning. 18 - could you chill?
2006-04-09 12:56:28
24.   randym77
All right! A-Rod owns Colon.
2006-04-09 12:56:30
25.   weeping for brunnhilde
I can't believe that went out.

That's truly amazing. I thought it was a fly ball, off the end of the bat.

Man that guy's strong.

2006-04-09 12:56:44
26.   Zack
Gotta love Arod vs Colon
2006-04-09 12:56:48
27.   Mattpat11
There we go.
2006-04-09 12:56:57
28.   BklynBomber
Wow. A-Rod simply owns Colon.
2006-04-09 12:58:22
29.   Mattpat11
23 Its hard to show emotion on the internet. That was supposed to be an "OMG, VLAD WALKED!!!!!" I figured he'd swing and make contact with almost anything.
2006-04-09 12:59:04
30.   BklynBomber
For a split second, I though Vlad might throw Jason out at first... nice stroke, though.
2006-04-09 12:59:56
31.   BklynBomber
Hey, we got a break! Let's capitalize!
2006-04-09 13:01:42
32.   Mattpat11
What did Colon do?
2006-04-09 13:01:46
33.   weeping for brunnhilde
Nice.
2006-04-09 13:01:49
34.   BklynBomber
There we go, Jorgie!!!!!!
2006-04-09 13:02:02
35.   randym77
Awesome! Way to go, Jorgie!
2006-04-09 13:02:48
36.   Mattpat11
Isn't this much mroe fun?
2006-04-09 13:03:01
37.   42YrOldRookie
I still think Jorge should have bunted Colon off the mound.

... Or maybe it's better to keep this Barfolo healthy instead of straining his groin.

2006-04-09 13:04:53
38.   BklynBomber
Big ball, little ball! Keep it comin', Yanks!
2006-04-09 13:05:11
39.   Mattpat11
37 To be honest, I like to make fun of Colon for being 900 pounds, but it usually works for him. Kind of like David Wells.

Sidney Ponson, on the other hand, needs to lose 150 pounds.

2006-04-09 13:05:12
40.   Zack
If you are going to start Cairo, at least let him hit!
2006-04-09 13:05:12
41.   rilkefan
29 - fair enough - it's just that you've been kinda leaning on the negativity and sarcasm so it's hard to tell. We're too impatient for wins. Anyway, hopefully today will make it easier to follow the team.
2006-04-09 13:05:32
42.   randym77
Nice to see Jorgie finally get that big hit. I had a feeling he was going to. He's been hitting 'em hard, just not quite hard enough.

OMG, what have we here? A bunt!

2006-04-09 13:08:08
43.   BklynBomber
Allright, Cap! Now that would been foul in any of the last 4 games...
2006-04-09 13:09:10
44.   randym77
Looks like Colon might be showering early today.
2006-04-09 13:09:21
45.   Mattpat11
I'm not totally sure if I want us to score too many more runs.
2006-04-09 13:09:27
46.   Mattpat11
I'm not totally sure if I want us to score too many more runs.
2006-04-09 13:09:47
47.   42YrOldRookie
Wasn't Damon's slide into home plate rather dainty?
2006-04-09 13:10:24
48.   BklynBomber
We just need some good 'ol pitching and D from here on out...
2006-04-09 13:10:41
49.   Levy2020
I liked putting in Cairo instead of Phillips, then having Cairo sacricife Cano to second, and then Johnny Damon walks.

That was a useful out!

Small ball? grmbl grmbl.

2006-04-09 13:11:28
50.   BklynBomber
47 Looked like he could have hooked it and had a better chance...
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-04-09 13:19:06
51.   randym77
Colon came back out. Good. >:->
2006-04-09 13:22:33
52.   BklynBomber
One thing I like about Colon is that after he gets hammered, there's no cheap chin music for the next guy. He just comes at you again...
2006-04-09 13:23:37
53.   BklynBomber
We are getting the breaks so far today.
2006-04-09 13:24:01
54.   randym77
Well, that didn't last long. Colon's done for the day.
2006-04-09 13:25:30
55.   randym77
53 That's exactly what I was thinking. Yesterday, just about everything that could go wrong did.
2006-04-09 13:27:10
56.   Zack
when it rains...
2006-04-09 13:29:33
57.   singledd
Cano is just a blazin' line drive machine
2006-04-09 13:31:35
58.   Zack
ok, how about putting in Phillips now for Sheff?
2006-04-09 13:34:01
59.   BklynBomber
58 Only if you can guarantee the final score is at least 8-7. ;-) It's only the top of the 3rd...
2006-04-09 13:44:30
60.   Mattpat11
I know we have a big lead, but I'd like Moose to just get out of this now.
2006-04-09 13:50:58
61.   Simone
Mussina working to give them back.
2006-04-09 13:52:06
62.   randym77
Whew. Godzilla is earning his keep.
2006-04-09 13:52:14
63.   BklynBomber
That was too close for comfort...
2006-04-09 13:52:41
64.   singledd
Common.... A Moose against a Salmon!
2006-04-09 13:53:14
65.   Mattpat11
Well, 58 pitches through three. He needs a couple 8 pitch innings.
2006-04-09 14:05:06
66.   Mattpat11
Okay, I'll take a nine pitch inning. But only this one time, damnit! :)
2006-04-09 14:09:44
67.   randym77
Well, Jorgie's having a very nice day.
2006-04-09 14:10:24
68.   Mattpat11
Damn Jorge, save some of that.
2006-04-09 14:10:31
69.   42YrOldRookie
He's still "Doubleplay-Jorge" but with a whole new meaning.
2006-04-09 14:10:45
70.   Simone
Yeah, Jorgie!
2006-04-09 14:13:49
71.   singledd
Who's gonna mop up? Proctor? Villon?
2006-04-09 14:16:00
72.   Mattpat11
if you want Rivera to get a save, proctor's a good bet.
2006-04-09 14:20:31
73.   Mattpat11
79 through five. he can go seven. It was looking ugly for that in the third.
2006-04-09 14:23:51
74.   Zack
This is a nice Sunday, nice and laid back, score some runs, pitch well thus far...lets keep this up!
2006-04-09 14:27:18
75.   BklynBomber
72 Thanks to you, there's 7up all over my keyboard.
2006-04-09 14:30:07
76.   Mattpat11
75 Sad thing is I'm not totally kidding
2006-04-09 14:30:33
77.   BklynBomber
C'mon, Jorgie: Hat trick!
2006-04-09 14:31:22
78.   Mattpat11
matsui is starting 2006 like he did 2005. Hopefully he doesn't include the month and a half long slump.
2006-04-09 14:37:58
79.   BklynBomber
78 Yeah, he's had some sweet swings so far. If can stay out any prolonged slumps, he could have a shot at MVP, based on his whole game.
2006-04-09 14:47:44
80.   Mattpat11
Edgardo Alfonzo is on the Angels?
2006-04-09 14:47:45
81.   Mattpat11
Edgardo Alfonzo is on the Angels?
2006-04-09 14:48:11
82.   Mattpat11
Well, that was brisk.
2006-04-09 14:53:21
83.   Mattpat11
I guess its safe to take Mussina out.
2006-04-09 15:01:52
84.   randym77
Al Leiter is going to be a sportscaster? Ye gods.
2006-04-09 15:07:39
85.   BklynBomber
With all the hand wringing (myself included) over this West Coast swing, we were thisclose (maybe Robbie's E or not leaving so many guys on base) to coming home 3-3, which is not terrible. See how 10 runs backed up with solid pitching can change your whole mood ;-)

Proctor's in. Hopefully I didn't speak too soon...

2006-04-09 15:10:12
86.   Mattpat11
Mo's gonna get a save!

84 he's really good.

2006-04-09 15:10:13
87.   randym77
Mo's going to pitch the 9th. We should be safe. :)
2006-04-09 15:11:23
88.   randym77
I dunno. I like Al Leiter, but he always seems so awkward in front of the cameras.
2006-04-09 15:14:31
89.   Mattpat11
Did you see him during the 03 ALCS?
2006-04-09 15:14:38
90.   Mattpat11
*NLCS
2006-04-09 15:19:13
91.   jayd
Was worried about Jorge after he got his nose busted again. Someone had posted back then how the first time it had happened he had been out of synch for a couple months. Cano with 3 hits, too. All thanks to having Miguel Cairo in the lineup...who would have thought....
2006-04-09 15:21:15
92.   randym77
A double for Bernie!
2006-04-09 15:25:25
93.   Simone
Is that really Mariano Rivera? I thought he had become a figment of my imagination.
2006-04-09 15:27:34
94.   Zack
Its great that Mo has to pitch today because Torre's minmanagement prevented him from pitching in two games where he actually would have mattered...
2006-04-09 15:28:56
95.   randym77
Holy crap! That was awesome.
2006-04-09 15:29:19
96.   BklynBomber
Wow! Great play at first!
2006-04-09 15:30:13
97.   seamus
woah! glad i came back to see that!
2006-04-09 15:35:42
98.   BklynBomber
Good job, Yanks!
2006-04-09 15:36:14
99.   Zack
damn i missed it, what happened at first?
2006-04-09 15:36:14
100.   Simone
Nice. A win at last.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-04-09 15:45:16
101.   randym77
99 I'm sure you'll see it on the highlight reels. I thought it was going to be a base hit, but Phillips got to it and tossed it to Mo, who jumped up, caught it on the run and came down on the base just in front of Erstad. Like a football wide receiver.

Giambi would not have gotten that ball.

2006-04-09 15:48:50
102.   seamus
101 "Giambi would not have gotten that ball."

on either end...

2006-04-09 15:50:24
103.   Cliff Corcoran
Phillips made a weak out to short in his AB, but hopefully that play will inspire Joe to give Phillips some more time at 1B, and to give him the freaking start when Giambi DHs. Prolly not though.

Anyway, great win and Cairo went 0 for 4. Nice.

2006-04-09 15:51:29
104.   Levy2020
The Yanks ought to have a VERY SOLID Pythagorean record. . .
2006-04-09 15:54:20
105.   Levy2020
Yeah. . . I may not be doing it right, but it projects to 113 wins.
2006-04-09 15:58:19
106.   seamus
103 Cliff - I agree Phillips deserves the nod but Miggy didn't look too bad at the plate I thought.
2006-04-09 16:26:13
107.   Zack
I think Joe will start Bernie at 1b before Phillips...
2006-04-09 16:30:11
108.   rsmith51
Zack, I hear your pain. But no, Bernie will not be playing first before Andy.
2006-04-09 19:08:47
109.   markp
Cairo-point to consider:
Cairo has the same (park adjusted) OPS+ as Womack. How many here think putting the equivalent of Womack in the line-up instead of Phillips isn't Forrest Gump stupid?
2006-04-10 11:28:03
110.   Schteeve
Reading these comments made me sort of want to light myself on fire.

"I don't want them to bust out"

"I hope we don't score too many runs"

I mean.....that's like that McCarver-ian nonsense about how if a team is down by 3 runs with the bases loaded you don't want the guy to hit a grand slam because you want to keep the pressure of baserunners on the opposing pitcher.

Dude.

I do however agree that Torre is losing it.

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