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Joe Torre:Tie Games On The Road::Superman:_______
2006-05-01 21:09
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

a) Speeding Bullets
b) Locomotives
c) Tall Buildings
d) Kryptonite

Last night was a cold, wind-whipped night in Boston that would end bitter for Yankee fans for reasons other than the cold. Tim Wakefield started things off by setting the Yankees down in order in the top of the first, thanks in part to that wind which kept a Jason Giambi bomb from reaching the centerfield corner of the Red Sox bullpen, just as it would stop several shots off the Red Sox's bats short of the Green Monster throughout the game. That same wind would later cause Derek Jeter to do something he rarely does, look absolutely foolish on a pop up in the seventh inning, though the botched play wouldn't hurt the Yankees.

Chien-Ming Wang followed in the bottom of the first by walking Kevin Youkilis on four pitches. Youkilis then moved to second on a Mark Loretta groundout and was singled home by David Ortiz, who served a low outside pitch through the shortstop hole vacated by the shift. Wang then walked Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon to load the bases for Mike Lowell, but got Lowell to ground into a fielder's choice in which Miguel Cairo, starting at first base because of a solid history against Wakefield, threw home to force out Ortiz. With the bases still loaded and two outs, Wily Mo Pena got ahead of Wang 3-1 and drove a ball to shallow right but Bubba Crosby, starting for the injured Gary Sheffield, made what for the next six innings would look like a game-saving catch to end the inning.

Wang worked a quick, clean 1-2-3 second, but got into trouble again in the third when a one-out walk to Ortiz was followed by a Manny Ramirez single. Trot Nixon followed Ramirez with a hot shot just to the right of second base, but Robinson Cano made a running stab on the ball and flipped it over his shoulder to Derek Jeter, who turned a double play to end the inning. It was the start of a terrific night for Cano, who went 2 for 3 against Wakefield and made another great play up the middle in the seventh to stab a Mark Loretta line-drive (which essentially evened out with Jeter's botched pop up later that inning).

Having dodged that bullet, the Yankees fired one of their own, following a Derek Jeter lead-off walk in the fourth with walks by Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez. A Matsui groundout tied the game and, after a second groundout by Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano singled up the middle to plate the two walks and give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.

Wang followed that with a seven-pitch 1-2-3 fourth, but once again got into trouble when the top of the order came back around in the fifth. The trouble started when ninth-place hitter Alex Cora beat out a well-placed bunt to the third base side. Youkilis followed with a single to push Cora to second, but an attempted sacrifice by Loretta backfired when Wang forced Cora at third. David Ortiz followed with another single to left, loading the bases. Manny Ramirez followed with a broken bat single that looped just over Miguel Cairo's leap to plate Youkilis, and a Nixon groundout tied the game.

All of those small nicks in the fifth required just 14 pitches, leaving Wang at 77 at the end of five, but Joe Torre decided to start the sixth with Aaron Small, who had just been activated from the DL earlier in the day. Small, a pitcher who had yet to throw a major league pitch this season and was quite obviously performing over his head during his stint with the club last year, was a dubious choice at best, but made Torre look smart by pitching a scoreless sixth and getting Pena to fly out with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh to maintain the tie.

Then it all went wrong. After the Yankees failed to do any damage against Mike Timlin in the top of the eighth, Joe Torre once again fell victim to Jeff Weaver Syndrome. Tell me if this sounds familiar:

We've seen this before, most famously in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series. On the road in a tie game, when the time comes to use Rivera, Torre thinks to himself, "I have no idea how long this is going to go. I'm not going to burn Mo here. I'm going to save him to get those last three outs once we get a lead. In the meantime, I'll use my long man because he can pitch all night while we wait for the offense to score." Usually that long man only gets an inning or two of work in because, with no room for error in a game that will end the second the home team scores, that's exactly what happens. The home team scores off the sixth best man in the pen and the game ends without Rivera throwing a pitch. We saw it with Jeff Weaver in the 2003 Series and we saw it again last night.

The situation was a tad different last night in that Small, quite literally the last man in the pen by virtue of his being activated that afternoon, was already in the game and the eighth inning was not yet a sudden death situation, but results were the same. Torre stuck with Small to start the eighth rather than turning to Rivera or Kyle Farnsworth. Small started okay by getting even newer arrival Doug Mirabelli to ground out to start the inning, but followed that by walking Alex Cora on four pitches. Cora was Small's third walk in six batters, but perhaps consumed by his desire to avoid making a pitching change prior to bringing in Mike Myers to pitch to third-place hitter David Ortiz, Torre left Small in to pitch to lead-off man Kevin Youkilis. Small's first pitch hit Youkilis in the elbow, pushing the go-ahead run to second and forcing Torre to make a change.

So who did he bring in? Not Rivera. Not even Farnsworth. No, he brought in Tanyon Sturtze, who has the worst ERA of any man in his pen. Sturtze gave up a bouncing-ball single to Mark Loretta that went right through his legs to plate the go-ahead run. Torre then went to Myers as planned, only to have Myers fall behind Ortiz 2-0 and 3-1 before running the count full. Hoping to avoid walking his only batter, Myers then left a fastball over the plate, which Big Papi launched into the Red Sox bullpen for a three-run home run which landed poetically in the glove of Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was warming for the ninth. Papelbon, who has yet to give up a run this year, set the Yankees down in order in the ninth, and that was that. 7-3 Red Sox.

I can't blame Torre for using Myers the way he did, and I credit him for Small's unexpectedly strong performance (though things did get rocky for him in his second inning of work and he did wind up with the loss) as well as with starting Crosby over Bernie in right and Cairo over Giambi at first, as both saved key runs with their defense, but once Torre got to the eighth inning with the game still tied, there was no excuse for not going to his big guns. True, both Farnsworth and Rivera had thrown more than an inning on Sunday, but neither pitched in either of the two games before that, and Rivera needed just 12 pitches to get through his 1 1/3 innings on Sunday. Once that go-ahead run got into scoring position it officially became Rivera time. Because Torre failed to recognize that, his team lost a full game in the standings, a full game that will count just as much on October 1 as it does this morning.

A: d)

Comments (99)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-05-02 01:07:35
1.   rabid stan
Fans of nomaas.org have probably noticed the "Torre Losses" feature. Yesterday's game goes down as the second (the first was 4/4 at the A's).

Assuming a "Torre Loss" is a game that would have or could have been won except for blatant mismagament, Joe is on pace to lose 6 or 7 games for the Yanks this year.

Over/under on Torre losing 7?

2006-05-02 02:48:39
2.   Yu-Hsing Chen
It could be my imagination but Wang doesn't seem to have the proper techniques of pitching in a cold game.. i.e rubbing his hands or puffing on it a lot to keep it warm. That would explain why he havn't been able to throw his breaking stuff much in all but in game (the indoors game) so far this year and in this game he pretty much went with just the 2 seamer.

Even consider that he was basically throwing 1 pitch, he still faired alright for a young pitcher pitching in the biggest baseball rivalry ever, the Ortiz RBI single in first just can't be helped, it was as pefect as a low and away pitch as it can get with good velocity and he still bloops one the other way. granted that if he didn't walk the first guy it wouldn't have been a run... but still.

The 5th was also a couple of bit of lucks strung together, a bunt hit.. a broken bat hit .. .a force out that probably coulda been turned for two... none of the hits were really anything hard, (but the few hard onces was probably saved by the wind..)

I still think that by late May Wang will start to look sharp and by the summer times he will be pretty good.

I'm not sure about Small, we shall see with more innings on him, but at least a guy with control and decent breaking stuff should be a good edition and more reliable than the "electric stuff" guy that have almost 1/3 of his hits going out of the park.

By the way, this game seem to have a horriblly scary resemblence to the dirt dog's report on that Farnsworth vs Papelbon video game.... where Farns send in Sturtze in a tied game in the 9th and promptly got murdered.... and then Farnsworth closed the game.

With all being said and done though, you have to give Boston some credit for several piece of great hitting tonight espically on Ortiz's part. while quiet a few of our big guns continue to struggle and made even less impact than Bubba did ths game at the plate... I really think that even without the moronic decision on Torre's part this one probably woulda went to the Sox.

2006-05-02 03:45:49
3.   Shaun P
Folks, its May 2nd. Will Cashman step in again and save this team from itself/Joe Torre by designating Tanyon Sturtze for assignment? He can't bring Smith back (10 day rule) but Rasner could be promoted - he's pitched well in his 4 starts for Columbus. Shoot, at this point I'd rather see Rasner as the 5th starter and Wright in the pen.
2006-05-02 04:28:08
4.   randym77
Wang did okay, and I'd have left him in awhile longer. He sometimes pitches even better when he's a little tired.

He's a contact pitcher, so the low strikeouts don't bother me too much. Would be nice to have more 8K outings from him, but I don't expect it every game.

2006-05-02 04:42:29
5.   Yu-Hsing Chen
I think the difference between games where he gets 5 to 8 K with onces like yesterday is pretty obvious, in the games where he can actually throw more than one of his other pitchs with some command (so far he showned at least a change up a slider and a few split finger...) he will strike people out.

But in many of the recent games he just havn't been throwing anything except some sort of fast ball variation with different location and speed. which seem to suggest he is not in command of feel pitches for one reason or another (weather seem to be the most logical explaination so far) and if he throws nothing but fastball he is going to get nothing but contact or walks.

On the bright side, even if the coaching doesn't catch up with the obvious ... the weather itself will fix the problem by mid to late May.

2006-05-02 05:21:13
6.   Alex Belth
Tough night for the Yanks, though it seems as if the Sox could have really broken it open early. Bunch of tough breaks, as hard two well-struck balls by Giambi, and another by Miguel Cairo were snagged for outs. The Red Sox caught a good call when Jeter was doubled off second as well.

As painful as it was to see Sturtze enter the game, the four pitch walk to Cora is what killed me. The worst hitter in the line up and Small, who had done well to that point, walks him, then hits Youklis. It just felt scary right then and there. I wonder if Farnsworth and Rivera had not pitched the day before if we would have seen one of them come in--at least Farnsworth.

What can you say about Ortiz? He missed a 2-2 fastball that was on a tee, but didn't miss twice.

Frustrating loss for the Yanks, nice one for the Sox. It's supposed to be cold, windy and rainy tonight as the Yanks throw soft-tosser Chacon against the hard-throwing Josh Beckett who is coming off his one poor performance of the season. Think he'll be amped up?

2006-05-02 05:49:25
7.   Rich
The Yankees could have also broken it open if they hadn't hit so many balls right at fielders.

When is Torre ever going to order that Ortiz be brushed back (not beaned)?

As Shaun said, Sturtze must be DFA'd to save Torre from himself.

The Yankees' bench is awful. Starting Cairo and Crosby in a such a "big" game is an embarassment.

2006-05-02 06:00:46
8.   Start Spreading the News
Or how about the Yankees employ some of the creative thinking on defense that we have seen from Tampa and Boston. The shift against Giambi took away two hits from Giambi.

The shift that Tampa employed against Boston really freaked Ortiz out and ended up having him bunting!

2006-05-02 06:15:14
9.   SteveF
Crosby isn't that bad for a fourth/fifth outfielder. Cairo is a decent utility guy. I guess the problem is the Yanks don't really have anyone on the roster who can both field and hit like a major league first baseman.

(Arguably the Red Sox don't either.)

I think to this point you have to be pretty pleased with how the Yanks have played. They've played the best of any team in the AL East to this point. And while having played the best to this point doesn't necessarily mean they'll play the best the rest of the way, it's better than all the other alternatives.

And it's gonna rain all week here. There's very little chance there will be an actual game tonight. I suspect the Red Sox will call it at some point this afternoon.

2006-05-02 06:22:22
10.   monkeyball
Not for nothing, but this sounds like classic second-guessing to me. What lost the game last night was execution by the pitchers he brought in; the moves themselves were sound. Myers made a bad pitch to Ortiz, and Sturtze.... he's just done.
2006-05-02 06:33:44
11.   vockins
Last night's loss will hurt a lot less if it's a step towards Sturtze being put out to pasture.
2006-05-02 06:42:09
12.   Shaun P
9 SteveF is right - it is pouring here in Mass right now, not supposed to let up. If they get a game in tonight I will be shocked.

10 I agree with you on Myers - you have to bring him in to face Ortiz. That was the right move. But Sturtze should never face batters in a crucial situation ever again, and having Small throw a single pitch after walking Cora is inexcusable to me. I don't know how 4 straight balls to Alex Cora (career .244/.311/.349, 163 BB in 2234 ABs!) doesn't scream "I'm done, get me out of here!" Wang was removed for having done less, fer cryin out loud.

2006-05-02 06:42:27
13.   alterity
My favorite moment last night comes from the YES announcers. Looking at the bullpen, Kay and Singleton are figuring Torre's plan. They believe that Sturtze is coming in to face Loretta and Myers will face Ortiz (and Proctor ManRam). Kay asks Singleton something like, "You know what that means don't you?" Singleton's response: "The game is on the line." I then commenced to turn off the TV. Well, I should have at any rate.
2006-05-02 06:47:16
14.   Rob Gee
Didn't we learn the Sturtze lesson with this dandy of a line from the 7-2 Friday loss to Toronto?

1.0IP 3H 2R 2ER 1HR

While that game was 5-2 at that point, it certainly didn't help to bring Tanyon back into good graces or give me the impression that he was one the crucial guys.

His next appearance was mop up duty. So raise your hand if you thought you'd see Sturtze in a tight game in Boston. Yet there he was again.

No, this vampire of the night will continue to suck the life from me.

Great headline Cliff. And thanks for the links to the Minor League club. One stop shopping for all things Yankee.

2006-05-02 06:49:04
15.   Rich
Crosby is a horrible fourth OFer. His career OPS is .559. That stinks.

Cairo's career OPS is .684.

This is a team with a $200 million payroll. It's absurd to have a bench like that.

Andy Phillips is a much better option at 1B than Cairo.

2006-05-02 06:51:15
16.   Shawn Clap
Sturtze is shouldering an unfair portion of the blame here this morning. He did his job. If his glove (or Cano's) is a half-inch longer, today's thread would be about how Cano owns the Sox.

That's just the way the ball bounces (pun intended). The game ended when Small walked Cora, who wouldn't have gotten a hit had he been allowed to use a tee and a Fungo bat.

2006-05-02 06:58:14
17.   illinination
Rich, I agree with your Ortiz comment. The Yanks need to pitch inside to him. Repeatedly. Make him jump around and move his feet for crissakes.
2006-05-02 07:11:11
18.   kylepetterson
A conversation:
(Tanyon Sturtze walks into George's office)

Tanyon: I saw what you did.
George: What do you mean?
T: The body. I know where it's burried.
G: What do you want?
T: To pitch for the Yankees. In close games.
G: Are you any good?
T: Does it matter?
G: I guess not.

This is the only way I can imagine that Sturtze has stayed with the team. I'm not really sure who Steinbrenner killed, but it's the only thing that makes sense.

2006-05-02 07:14:11
19.   standuptriple
I too don't understand why they don't brushback Ortiz. I mean, how many Yanks have gotten beaned, yet those guys get settled in every night. And why even pitch to Ortiz, oh right, all the walks. Manny is not the threat that he once was while Ortiz is still killing it. DON'T PITCH TO ORTIZ.
Sturtze needs some time in AAA.
2006-05-02 07:14:55
20.   yankaholic
Is there any which way Torre returns next season.. hes got one year on his contract.. win or lose i just dont see him back.. and i have the right candidate for managing our millionares.. Ron Gardenhire.. who apparently close to moving on..
2006-05-02 07:16:27
21.   yankaholic
Brush back?? U mean make ur opponent think or work?? remember Game 6 04 ALCS.. did anyone try bunting to make Schilling run... yeah like our players do these intelligent things..
2006-05-02 07:35:25
22.   vockins
Myers's first pitch to Ortiz was up and very in.
2006-05-02 07:36:37
23.   Cliff Corcoran
1 I've seen that. I don't think it's fair to say that the Yankees would have won these two games if not for Torre's Jeff Weaver Syndrome. But I do think you can pin the loss on Torre's bullpen management.

3 There's always Colter Bean (rim shot).

7 Crosby and Cairo both made key defensive plays that kept the game from being broken open. Cairo has a good history against Wakefield and hit the ball hard each time up, just right at someone. And due to Sheffield's injury it was Crosby or Bernie. I think Torre made the right choice. Though you're right to point out that he should have a better choice to make.

8 The Yankees did shift on Ortiz, and he got two singles to left, one directly through where Jeter normally plays. Oops.

10 Is it second guessing if it's further evidence of a pattern of bullpen usage in tie games on the road that I've criticized many times in the past?

Looking back over the season thus far, Torre actually did the same exact thing in the game after the Scott Proctor game in Oakland. In a tied game on the road, he left Jaret Wright, who had just pitched two scoreless innings, in to start the eighth and Wright gave up the go-ahead run. Only then did he turn to Myers and Farnsworth. I made excuses for Torre in that game, just as I did on the game thread last night. But I've since realized that Jeff Weaver Syndrome doesn't just mean going to a lesser pitcher in a tie game on the road, but also means sticking with a lesser pitcher in a tie game on the road.

The Yankees have been tied entering the bottom of the eighth inning on the road three times this season. They've lost all three games and Mariano Rivera has not pitched in any of them. Kyle Farnsworth has only appeared in one, but after the lead had already been relinquished by Jaret Wright

10, 12, 16 Leaving Small in was indeed Torre's biggest mistake. But seeing as it was a classic symptom of Jeff Weaver Syndrome, I blame Torre, not Small.

20 Don't even start that. Torre will finish his contract. He's not getting fired, and he's not quitting.

2006-05-02 07:46:26
24.   jayd
"quite obviously performing over his head during his stint with the club last year"

At what point does a guy get certified with you, Cliff? I think Aaron Small proved he was the real thing and if he's ready to go, why not use him? Made perfect sense to me.

Who does Dotel replace in the bullpen? Is he long relief like Small/Wright or part of the Farnsworth/Sturtze bridge to Mo?

Bubba made a critical catch last night that Sheff wouldn't have had. And he will hit, last year proved how streaky he was. Bubba is our best defensive outfielder.

2006-05-02 07:47:48
25.   Cliff Corcoran
Looking back over that Jaret Wright game, it's frightening how much it echoes last night. Wright gave up a lead-off triple to Milton Bradley start the eighth, putting the go-ahead run on third, but Torre stuck with him. Not only that, he stuck with him for three more batters, perhaps because he was eyeing a spot to use Myers further down the order, which is what he eventually did, but after the tie had been broken.

This is something to watch as the season goes forward. Does Torre stay with lesser pitchers too long because he's got a lefty matchup down the order for Myers and doesn't want to burn one of his better relievers to just get a couple of outs? That's dangerous stuff. I'd much rather see Farnsworth or Rivera in there and have him leave them in to pitch to the lefty. We all feared that Torre would let Myers pitch to too many righties. Could be we were right to be fearful about Torre's use of Myers, but for the wrong reasons.

2006-05-02 07:51:39
26.   JohnnyC
"Does Torre stay with lesser pitchers too long because he's got a lefty matchup down the order for Myers and doesn't want to burn one of his better relievers to just get a couple of outs?" But, Cliff, what's the point of Torre insisting on a 12-man staff? Isn't it so he can have a 7 man bullpen? Why am I asking a logical question of Torre's managing style? BTW, I will continue to pass along questions about Torre's dubious decisions from Lon Trost and Randy Levine. Someone's got to do it since he won't talk to Kim Jones.
2006-05-02 07:53:29
27.   Cliff Corcoran
24 Dotel will be a set-up man with Farnsworth and I'm hoping he'll replace Sturtze on the roster. Of course I'd like Matt Smith to replace Smith on the roster, but . . .

As for Small, there is an established history of older pitchers having fluke seasons like Small did last year and then reverting to their journeyman forms (Steve Goldman wrote an excellent column about "the other Aaron Smalls" sometime last year). As far as I'm concerned Small's performance last year was a combination of luck and fluke until he proves me wrong. Walking three of his last six batters last night didn't convince me otherwise, though I will admit I expected far worse.

2006-05-02 07:56:15
28.   Alex Belth
Got to agree with Shawn Clap re: Cano. Actually, though he made a few nice plays, I was upset that Cano did not get a glove on that seeing-eye single. I know he was shuttling back and forth at that moment, but that's a play he's got to make--if not being able to record an out then at least preventing that ball from going into center. Dive, don't strech, jocko.
2006-05-02 07:59:53
29.   Zack
As Cliff said, no way Torre quits or gets fired. WIth the majority of the world, he has carte-blanche. I just think that whatever free passess he built up from 199-2000, he has since used up in 2001-2006, so the people who come in here so insulted ans shocked that we could cdare to critique Joe, well, its been 5+ seasons now of underachieving.

I think Cashman really needs to make himself felt and shakeup the bullpen. As others have said, DFA Sturtze, call up Russ Johnson or K. Thompson to take his place, or, if Joe insists, call upp Smith/Rasner/even Erickson

2006-05-02 08:16:03
30.   jedi
Maybe its just me but Small made Ortiz look silly during his at bat. I don't care what he did as with his control and walks later on, but to be back on your first day from the DL and accomplish what Stanton, Quantrill, Gordon, Sturtze and Myers couldnt accomplish the past two years against Papi is something to look forward too. Plus, it was freezing out there, I was even suprised Small was even considered that night considering his ailment that put him on the DL on the first place could have tighten up again on a awful night like that.
Small gets two thumbs up for a change up that was lethal. He deserves to be in the starting rotation considering what we have lingering in the 5 hole at this moment.

So, guys, Myers KO'ed, should we try Villone, then Farnsworth, Dotel and then Matt Smith in the order against Ortiz and see who gets lucky? It's like a firing squad out there. Quantrill and Stanton did not know what hit them. Forget pitching inside to him and making him dance. Let's just face it, give him credit and accept Ortiz can't be pitched to. Is he not worthy for an intentional walk now and then? I think I would have taken my chances with Ramirez in that situation last night due to his slump. Worse situation out of Ramirez, something other than a homer. How come that's not even being considered???

2006-05-02 08:19:57
31.   JohnnyC
The majority of the world are not Yankees fans, Zack, and that's the problem with their POV on Torre. Any other franchise and, yes, the guy could manage the team until he drops because of the 4 rings but...what does that mean for a franchise with 26 rings and a $200 million payroll? I'm not being unfair to hold him to a much higher standard. The Jeff Weaver move alone would have had him fired in any other organization. (Grady Little, people) And the built in alibi he's conveniently used of not being part of the personnel decision-process is just bogus. What? Tampa forces him to use Sturtze, play Bernie in the field, start Cairo at 1st base instead of Phillips, have the worst bench in baseball every damn year?
2006-05-02 08:25:19
32.   JohnnyC
If Clueless Joe Maddon can figure out something against David Ortiz (his exaggerated shift and pitching him consistently inside and above the hands frustrated Ortiz so much he tried to bunt for a hit at one point this past weekend), don't you think this "all-star" coaching staff can? Yes, the Yankees shifted against Ortiz but then tried to pitch him down and away. Which he promptly deposited in leftfield, thank you. Good thinking.
2006-05-02 08:29:15
33.   jedi
Walk him everytime...every single spit in the hands and clap time.
2006-05-02 09:10:42
34.   pistolpete
27 I don't necessarily agree about Small - first off, you have to give him a few games slack because of the injury and layoff. Second, I've argued on other sites that he's a much better starting rotation candidate than Wright - simply because he seems to have more motion on his pitches.

Agreed with the others - Sturtze has gotten too many 'last chances' in big spots to warrant any more of them. I'm sure there's a few mop up games he'll be useful in over the course of 2006, but I too will be turning off my TV when he happens to enter a game with anything less than a 7-run lead.

I think that might be my policy with Yankees/Sox games in general, as I was up until 2am last night playing Battlefield 2, trying to wind down from the aggravation...

2006-05-02 09:16:30
35.   Firebernie
Deja vu-Volume 2. Re last year's MVP debate. Their MVP candidate goes three for four with a bomb and two hits against the shift. Our guy, takes his patented batting tee swing and withers in yet another big game. ARod, FHeart.
2006-05-02 09:51:10
36.   Schteeve
Small pitched well last night, until the Cora at bat, it was like he fell apart in an instant.

But I blame Myers more than anyone, he gave in to Ortiz, and you just can't do that.

I dole out the blame thusly:

30% Torre for not having Mo, Farns, or even Proctor out there.

70% Myers for throwing a get over fastball to a lethal fastball hitter.

2006-05-02 09:57:16
37.   Cliff Corcoran
Everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that Ortiz's home run was meaningless, much like Giambi's on Sunday. The winning runs in the last two Yankee games were driven in by Mark Loretta and . . . hey, look at that, Alex Rodriguez.
2006-05-02 09:59:24
38.   Matt B
so much for Mike Myers' top secret plan to retire Ortiz, eh?
2006-05-02 09:59:38
39.   jedi
36 i think you are a little hard on myers. He is our LOOGY, but he is Mike Meyers. The dude can only pitch up to his capabilities. I think based on his abilities and control he did the best he could do. Ortiz is just too good of a hitter.
And we may just have a mediocure LOOGY. Plus, you are blaming a guy for runs that were scored after the fact the lead was lost due to Sturtze's inabilities.

If you are going to blame anyone it should be Torre and I think we established that with all the posts today. Torre made a bad decision that broke the tie. Ortiz and Meyer matchup was just icing on the cake. Has nothing to do with the outcome of the game.

I dole out the blame thusly:

100% Ortiz

Let's give him credit already and walk the dude.

2006-05-02 10:03:28
40.   murphy
1. blame torre, not small.

2. myers was the right move, we just got the wrong result.

3. i would rather see papi on bases than rounding them. walk him or peg him. furthermore: it's a damn shame that despite all the "great minds" on our coaching staff, we haven't come up with one creative, "outside the box" solution for ortiz. maddon's shift in-and-of-itself was ridiculous, but it's indicative of the KIND of thinking it takes to neutralize hitters like this. i cant help but respect papi's prowess in the batter's box, but the only thing that stings more the mornings after a loss to the sox, is the amount of times its been at the hands of ortiz and i've had to hear about it from everyone i know.

4. i dont have rivera on my fantasy team, but if i did, i would pay big money for torre's home address so i could stand outside screaming until he comes outside and explains where it is written that Mo may only pitch in a save situation.

2006-05-02 10:05:12
41.   Schteeve
37 39 That's right, I was mistaken in that I thought the game was tied when Ortiz homered.

So......I revise my blame, and put it all on Joe for bringing in Tanyon Hurts. But still, Myers could have tried to get Ortiz to chase one out of the zone, if he takes it and walks, Proctor comes in to handle Manny, who isn't up in the count and looking dead red, as the kids say.

2006-05-02 10:05:58
42.   jedi
37 heh, he looked very Reggie-esque in his turtle neck last night. That was a cute outfit. I almost got excited thinking he may breakout with a 3 homer performance because of the neck warmer!
2006-05-02 10:08:12
43.   tommyl
Here's one for you Cliff. Is there any manager/team that consistently uses their elite relievers as we are claiming they should, i.e. highest leverage situation irregardless of the inning/save situation issue? If so, how does it work out?
2006-05-02 10:09:27
44.   Schteeve
.....aaaaaaaaaand while now we all know the point was moot after Loretta's hit, nobody knew it then, and it is a lot more probable to come back from one run down against a stud closer that you've never faced (hey Bubba could get lucky), than from 4 runs down against a stud close you've never faced.

So I don't think I'm being hard on Jason Vorhees when I say that he shouldn't have given in to Ortiz the way he did.

2006-05-02 10:14:36
45.   Knuckles
Sturtze is done. Beyond done. I don't even know how else to say it.

His BABIP is .292, right in line with the rest of the league. His ISO power allowed (SLG minus BA) is .333, which puts him at 11th worst in baseball among pitchers who've thrown 6 innings or more. The guys worse than him read like a who's who of crappy pitchers, or in a few cases unlucky (as they have BABIPs well above the league average.)

2006-05-02 10:14:40
46.   jedi
44 I don't know about anyone else, but throught out that tie, I felt if we lost the lead no matter by how much we werent making a comeback that night. With Papelbon ready I felt a 1 run lead or a 4 run lead didnt matter at that moment. We were a visiting team, on a cold night, with a lights out pitcher closing the game. We had to strike first if we were to have a chance, was my thinking, prior to the debacle.
2006-05-02 10:22:04
47.   Shawn Clap
1. Sturtze got a groundball in a key Double Play situation. What more could anyone ask for?

2. Nobody should be blaming Arod for not producing last night. C'mon, a freezing cold night and a Nationally Televised game, he may of thought it was October already. Sorry, irresistible.

2006-05-02 10:26:20
48.   Schteeve
46 No professional athlete or manager has any business thinking that way.
2006-05-02 10:36:05
49.   jedi
48 your a professional athlete or manager? Which team?

As I fan, that game was done after the Loretta hit...I'm sorry.

2006-05-02 10:53:21
50.   rbj
Last night's lost doesn't bother me too much. I always figure that you spend some time trying different people (like relievers) in different roles, to figure out who's got what & in what situations for the second half.

39 I agree, I blame Ortiz entirely (one run we should be able to overcome). I wouldn't have walked him then, though. It fills up the bases, and Manny's at the plate. Let's face it, Ortiz - Ramirez is a lethal combination.

Wang struggled, he didn't have good stuff, but neither did he get so rattled that he blew up.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-05-02 10:55:28
51.   standuptriple
I just hope we never have to hear another word about Damon and "homecoming" or whatever the hell ESPN/mindless media wants to call it. No more comments about anything prior to 2006 JD. I didn't even like the cap-tip, but what's done is done (or should I say what's Sturtze is Sturtze?).
2006-05-02 11:05:07
52.   JL25and3
I thought they signed Myers for one specific purpose: to get David Ortiz out in key situations. Anything else he does is gravy. If he can't do that, he's just taking up space.
2006-05-02 11:15:14
53.   Sliced Bread
Great analysis, Cliff. Jeff Weaver Syndrome. Joe's the poster boy for JWS.

In my opinion (even before last night's debacle) Sturtze and Myers have no business entering a tied or tight game after the 7th inning. Rivera and Farnsworth, as the last line of defense should be the only options in the 8th and 9th innings of a close game - (or the starting pitcher if he appears on track for a complete game).

Joe didn't throw the pitches that cost the Yanks the game, but he also didn't manage to win, in any sense of the word.

That sucked.

Let's go Chacon. Get well quick, Sheff.

2006-05-02 11:22:33
54.   murphy
is sheff available off the bench? (ph)
2006-05-02 11:36:58
55.   Sliced Bread
54 Joe quoted in paper today re: Sheff "He is still sore and can't swing the bat. We will take it one day at a time."

He's not on the disabled list, but wouldn't count on seeing Sheff tonight.

2006-05-02 11:37:37
56.   Shaun P
Myers didn't execute last night but one bad pitch is hardly a reason to dump him. He has a huge track record of success as a LOOGY, and prior to last night, pitched very well in April.

Sturtze, on the other hand, has a long track record of major suckitude. Even if he got the outs last night, the fact remains - he shouldn't be pitching in crucial situations at all.

23 Cliff, I've given up hope on seeing Bean in the majors again, though he would be a great choice as well. Whatever incriminating evidence Sturtze has on Torre/Cashman/George clearly involves Bean.

Let us note that in 16 innings at AAA, Colter has a 0.56 ERA, 19 K vs 8 BB.

43 A couple fellows with the names Martin and Lemon, among many others, used their best relievers that way. Guys by the names of Lyle and Gossage. IIRC, it worked out pretty well for them. Note this important game in particular - when his ace pitcher got in trouble, Lemon did not hesitate to bring in his best reliever, even though it was the 7th inning: http://tinyurl.com/rche4

Of all the things that baseball managers and commentators reminisce about from the 60s and 70s, why isn't proper usage of your best relievers one of them?

2006-05-02 11:41:18
57.   Cliff Corcoran
56 I agree on Bean, Shaun, that's why I put the rimshot in there, it's a bad joke at this point.

For what it's worth, I was fine with Myers there, but it was moot as the tie had already been broken. The problem with Myers is not using him in a high leverage situation, but the ripple effect I describe in 25, and that's Joe's issue to work out, not Mike's.

2006-05-02 11:41:50
58.   bp1
Anyone know if there is going to be a game tonight? The forecast is not so good. Anyone "on the ground" up there with a first hand report?

I'm not going to speak of last night's game. It was like a punch to the gut on so many levels that I lost count. Big Stein was absolutely right when he says the outcomes of Yankee games affect people's daily lives. I was a miserable prick for most of the morning until I just had to let it go.

If tonight's game is rained out, I might pop in a tape of '03 Game 7 and revel in the times when we knew, deep down into the darkest corners of our souls that, when it mattered, the Sox could not beat the Yankees. It was not "if" the Yankees would win, but rather "how".

I long for those times. Now I anticipate games like last night with a mixture of fascination and dread. My stomach was in knots starting at around 3 in the afternoon.

Geez, I gotta get a life.

BP

2006-05-02 11:47:14
59.   murphy
s'funny, BP: i somehow always feel like the underdog going into these sox series...
2006-05-02 11:47:35
60.   murphy
s'funny, BP: i somehow always feel like the underdog going into these sox series...
2006-05-02 11:59:39
61.   Cliff Corcoran
"I might pop in a tape of '03 Game 7 and revel in the times when we knew, deep down into the darkest corners of our souls that, when it mattered, the Sox could not beat the Yankees. It was not "if" the Yankees would win, but rather "how"." 58

Good stuff, BP, thems was the days.

2006-05-02 12:11:57
62.   C2Coke
According to the forecast, it is pouring in Boston. Maybe if Torre checked the weather for today, he would've realized today is potentially an off-day for everyone. Would he have put in Farn and Mo then?
Anyway, let's put last night behind us, and just hope for a brighter May...June...July...well...the rest of the season.
2006-05-02 12:12:27
63.   Rob Gee
61 One Mo' save in the 04 Serious and it still would be.

What a world that would be...

2006-05-02 12:14:28
64.   Rob Gee
Think it's too early to sign him?

3rd Straight Perfect Game? Queens High School Pitcher Is Denied

http://tinyurl.com/nxdas

2006-05-02 12:18:08
65.   Andre
I'm in Burlington, MA, which is about 20min-30 min west of Boston. It has been raining here all day. This morning rain was heavy, but from about 10am-now, rain has been constant but light. On any given day, if it started raining like this in the middle of a game, they wouldn't stop it, but I wonder if the fact that it has been doing this all day will be a factor. I'm sure the field and the stadium are all completely saturated by now.

The field used to have major drainage problems, but I thought I read somewhere that they had made substantial improvements over the last few years.

In any event, they haven't called off the game yet, but they usually wait until game time (or later) to do that unless there's a hurricane. We probably won't know until 7pm.

2006-05-02 12:19:28
66.   Andre
Thought this was a good comment from Torre:

"I was a little disappointed in the reaction by the fans. I guess we should feel proud. Evidently wearing a Yankee uniform overrides winning a World Series and busting your tail for years. Without Johnny here, they may have been working on 89 or 90 years [without a championship]. It's too bad they don't appreciate that more so than they dislike the fact that he's wearing our uniform." -- 5.1.06, Joe Torre, Extra Bases: Wrapping Up a Wild Night

2006-05-02 12:23:09
67.   Shaun P
58 BP, I'm 20-some-odd miles west/southwest of Boston, and it has been raining all day out here. It stopped twice for a few minutes, but has continued raining at least a little for a while now.

That said, New England weather being what it is, by 6:30 it may clear up enough for them to start the game at 7:30. (I have seen that happen before.) Fenway very recently had an entirely new drainage system installed, and it works very well.

2006-05-02 12:24:05
68.   Shaun P
Like Andre said. ;)
2006-05-02 12:25:47
69.   JCP22
Myers falls behind and comes in with back to back fastballs middle in to Ortiz...that is a recipe for disaster. Need to go after him with a steady diet of sliders and if you walk him, so be it. I don't view that match up as much worse than Mo vs Ortiz (in May) as Ortiz is strong enough to fist ball over the infield even on a great Rivera pitch. Different answer in September...go down with your best.

As for use of Sturtz, I am not sure how bad a play that was as you don't want to burn Proctor there if you have Myers set to face Ortiz. If you don't like Sturtz there for one batter, better find someone that you do like because that situation will repeat if Torre holds to his no back to backs for Farnsworth. Hurry up getting well Mr. Dotel.

2006-05-02 12:26:57
70.   bp1
68 Thanks for the weather updates, guys. I'm hoping they get the game in. Ortiz might be able to hit a grooved fastball from one of his ex buddies, but he's no match for Chacon's Jedi mind tricks. He'll be swinging at air. You just wait and see.

Look. The sun is shining already!

BP

2006-05-02 12:27:52
71.   rbj
64
I'm leery of signing high school pitchers. I prefer guys who have been in college for three years.

Is the guy a junior or senior? And he'd have to wait until the June draft anyway. Still, back to back perfectos is damn impressive at any level.

2006-05-02 12:28:19
72.   tommyl
56, good references. I was about minus a month when that game was played so you'll have to forgive me for not having it vividly in mind.

I was asking about present day managers and their use of relievers. Is there any team out there right now who follows the pattern we are advocating?

2006-05-02 12:32:49
73.   RichYF
I wasn't mad that Sturtze came in. I knew he'd fail, he doesn't know how to pitch right now. I got mad when the shot went back to him after the run and he's walking off the mound yelling at himself. I'm pretty sure he does this EVERY GAME because he sucks so bad. As soon as I saw that, I threw half of my belongings at the wall, and promptly turned the television off.

Why does he act like he's so surprised? He's been doing this all year. He should just answer the call to the bullpen, "I'm sorry Mr. Torre, I suck. Get Scotty up."

Other than that, it's not like we knew what would happen when Myers faced Ortiz. Might as well find out. Once he was behind in the count I had a feeling trouble was coming.

As for Wang/Small. Wang had a couple of bad breaks but he really didn't pitch poorly. A few bad break hits go our way and we're fine. Small got killed by the defense, but totally picked them up in BOTH innings. As for walking Cora and hitting Youk, he's probably not at 100%. It was cold, he pitched a lot better than we expected. I give him being tired. Proctor probably should have started the inning IMO. 2 innings on a cold night for someone coming off a rehab assignment...what more do you want from the guy?

2006-05-02 12:35:48
74.   standuptriple
71 I'm leery of young arms too, but heard Cal Ripken on XM over the weekend (a great show ,IMO) point out that a lot of colleges put too much strain on their stud pitchers. Starting and relieving etc. and the volume of IP could be a recipe for disaster down the road and certainly hamper their future. If that calls for getting younger arms with great potential that the farm system can monitor that may be the best way to develop them.
2006-05-02 12:41:16
75.   tommyl
74 two words: Brien Taylor
2006-05-02 12:42:14
76.   Rob Gee
66 Nice Andre, indeed.

Forgot where I read it (maybe Buster), but the club easily could have funneled the moment by presenting a greatest hits collection - something they did for Orlando Cabrera last year when he returned with the Angels.

It is so suprising given this team has won the Serious more recently. That's one serious case of an inferiority complex.

2006-05-02 12:46:35
77.   standuptriple
75 Yeah, and that was sans-Steiny and a Boras-advised client. I'd like to hope that combination never occurs again.
2006-05-02 12:48:48
78.   standuptriple
sorry, I meant sans-(restrained)Steiny. Anyhoo, I hope we don't ever get another #1 overall.
2006-05-02 12:48:59
79.   Andre
The rain has stopped here and the sky is actually brightening (although there's still 100% chance of precip and the sky is grey and cloud covered).

Maybe we'll get the wet game after all.

2006-05-02 12:49:37
80.   rilkefan
28 - Steve Goldman, in today's Pinstriped Bible column, manages to discuss Cano's defense and performance yesterday without mentioning the great plays he made (judging from y'all's comments). He sure seems to like to focus on the negative.
2006-05-02 12:53:13
81.   rilkefan
75 - just make sure they don't have brothers who get into bar fights.
2006-05-02 13:09:27
82.   Shaun P
72 tommy - sorry 'bout that. I was trying to make a snide comment about how you had to go back that far to find a team that consistently uses it relievers in the way that we advocate. No offense - I wasn't even a year old myself when Dent did his thing.

To answer your question, though, I know of no such current team/manager who does it frequently. It seems to happen just from time to time, such as when a team is using its best reliever in a set-up role. And when Torre gets desparate in late August/September and then in the postseason and uses Mo frequently and often. Just not in tie games on the road!

2006-05-02 13:19:30
83.   Cliff Corcoran
78 Yeah, that Jeter kid was a total bust.
2006-05-02 13:20:38
84.   Cliff Corcoran
83 Oh fiddle, Jeter was sixth overall, what was I thinking. Anyway, 78 is still a foolish comment.
2006-05-02 13:23:09
85.   Cliff Corcoran
85 Oh yeah, Rodriguez. Alex was #1 overall the year after Jeter. Yeah, he was a waste of a pick.
2006-05-02 13:31:14
86.   wsporter
82 MFD Cut a couple of classes that day and sat on my ratty balcony overlooking Park Street with the TV outside and some very loud friends. Killed a keg that night. It was a 50/50 Yankee/Sawx environment at the time. I couldn't figure out which was better: watching the weeping or drinking the beer. Still can't.
2006-05-02 13:34:17
87.   Marcus
71 Just bear in mind that the "savior" of the Yankees farm system, Phillip Hughes, was drafted out of high school. Of course, he's only now about to hit AA for the first time, but he hasn't disappointed so far.

It's the classic higher upside vs. higher certainty of success. You can win both ways, and you can lose both ways, but neither can be cast aside without knowledge of the specific player.

2006-05-02 13:34:45
88.   tommyl
82, oh no worries. I didn't even mean my response to be negative, it just reads that way. I was going for a chuckling tone which is hard to convey via the internet and it came out a bit snide myself.

Its just frustrating being a scientist by profession and seeing people ignore statistically proven facts. If I did that in my job, well, lets just say my career wouldn't last very long.

2006-05-02 13:36:07
89.   tommyl
87 you are definitely right. Brien Taylor was just too funny not to bring up ;)
2006-05-02 13:53:22
90.   standuptriple
83, 84, 85 Well, excuse me. Usually a #1 overall means you were dead last. That's what I was referring to. But if you're ok with a Yankee dead-last season I understand. Thanks for bringing up A-Rod but do you recall the not-so-sexy #1's straight out of high school? Josh Hamilton ring a bell? Perhaps Delmon Young and his bad attitude? Matt Bush hasn't done anything to impress either. Seems like not very many are locks. Me, I'd rather have somebody in the late 20's and make the playoffs every year. Until MLB allows teams to trade draft picks I don't think my statement is "foolish" at all.
2006-05-02 14:07:29
91.   wsporter
88 Tommyl,why get frustrated? It seems to me that this is all part of the scientific method. I wouldn't say we actually have proven anything statistically. I would say that from observations made about baseball we form a hypothesis concerning various phenomena, that we make predictions based on the hypothesis, we test those predictions against reality and check for contradictions. We then modify the hypothesis based on the contradictions until we observe no further discrepancies between what we expect and what occurs. Once we have done this, at best, we form a theory that we can employ to explain phenomena and make predictions. I wouldn't go so far as to say we have "statistically proven facts". So why get frustrated?

I don't think we "know" half of what we think we do and we certainly shouldn't be as certain as we are that we're right or the other guy is wrong. IMHO there are way too many variables that can't be controlled or accounted for in this stuff to call anyone "wrong" in terms of overall bullpen use theory. I think polite and reasoned disagreement is about the best we can support. Just MHO and for what it's worth etc.

2006-05-02 14:31:46
92.   tommyl
91 I was referring to more than just bullpen use patterns. In statistical analysis its about playing percentages, not about giving definite answers. If someone tells me there's an 80% chance of rain this afternoon, well I'll probably take my umbrella along.

By the same token, if someone tells me that bringing in Rivera in a certain situation is 70% more likely to get us out of the inning (note: I'm making these numbers up for the sake of argument) then I do it, or that a sac bunt tends to lower overall run expectancy in a certain situation then I don't do it.

There are always exceptions and hunches and that's fine to play with now and again, but consistently playing against the percentages frustrates me.

There are a myriad more things to being a good manager than in game decisions, in fact, with a team like the Yankees one could even argue that this takes a backseat role with the media and annoying people like us. That's fine then, but why not hire someone that is really good at these in game decisions or calculating the percentages and sound them off for advice?

2006-05-02 14:34:09
93.   dpmurphy
Rich: The Yankees could have also broken it open if they hadn't hit so many balls right at fielders.

Sour grapes. Four hits? Can't win on four hits. Can't blame balls hit right at fielders or a bad umpire call. The sox also hit several ball right at players, had several knocked down by the wind, and the hit that brought in two yankee runs was a weak seeing eye grounder up the middle.

SteveF: They've played the best of any team in the AL East to this point.

Other than boston, by percentage points, as of last night.

Cliff Corcoran: Everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that Ortiz's home run was meaningless.

You're joking, right? Ask players if it makes a difference going into the 9th behind by one or four. Ask a relief pitcher if it changes the way he pitches if ahead by four rather than one. Sure, look at the final score, and it looks meaningless. Anyone who's ever played would know that's not true. Sometimes your support of arod is a little transparent. You think 4 runs didn't help settle pap down in such a high pressure situation? Please. Stretching a one lead run to four going in to the ninth is huge.

I really don't know why the yankees pitch to ortiz at all. I'd walk him everytime and make manny beat me.

2006-05-02 15:19:52
94.   Shaun P
86 MFD - by the time of the 'glory days' of the recent dynasty, it was more like 80/10/10 Yanks/Mets/Sox. I know what you mean, though - the Sox fans hated 1998, and watching us Yankee fans cheer during the playoffs and the Serious was torture for them. Eventually though good sense kicked in and they joined us in drinking to our victory.
2006-05-02 15:28:52
95.   rilkefan
"Cliff Corcoran: Everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that Ortiz's home run was meaningless.

You're joking, right?"

Normally one would guess given Papelbon's true ERA (let's say it's about 2) about a 20% chance of the tying run scoring against him and (ignoring correlations) a 5% chance of the winning run scoring against him, the former case leading to a roughly 50% chance of a Yankees win, so 9-1 odds against us at 4-3 assuming the inning ends that way. And, in fact, given A-Rod's and Matsui's slumps and the wind blowing in, those odds were significantly worse.

2006-05-02 16:14:24
96.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
I don't know if any else has noted it, but contrary to what Sutcliffe said on ESPN last night, that ball to Cairo with the bases loaded was a double play ball.

And, if a proper first baseman -- even Giambi, who's already started a nifty double play this year iirc, let alone Phillips -- had been in the game, the Yanks would've turned it.

When it happened I paused the replay on tivo and went thru it frame by frame. The guy running to 2nd was dead, and the batter was two steps out of the box when Cairo fielded it. And Wang would've beaten the batter to the bag, even if Cairo couldn't make it back.

Bottom line, Cairo wasn't confident enough at 1st to try and turn it. He shouldn't be at 1st base for this team, ever.

2006-05-02 18:29:26
97.   wsporter
92 Tommyl , based on that we have no disagreement. What peaked my interest was a scientist employing the phrase "statistically proven facts". I think validated might be a less controversial way to put it.

94 MFD, we had a big Western Mass and Boston suburban population, which was great because I ended up spending a lot of time partying in Boston. Boston is one of my two favorite towns (the other being Montreal) which I find ironic given the level of disdain I hold their ball team in. Wish I'd been there in '86 to watch some real weeping.

2006-05-02 19:06:04
98.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Well I'm glad today's game rained out, I think at the moment the Yankees are better equiped for the season although Boston might be better equiped for a short series (At the moment anyway.. if you compare Schilling to RJ...).. come August when this game is made up the evident should be much more obvious...

On the bright side, the next start for Wang is in warm southern Texas, so we might see if the gold weather getting to his control theory holds up, if it does he should be pretty good.

2006-05-03 14:28:51
99.   tommyl
92 wsporter, forgive me, I'm a theorist. We say things are facts all the time ;). Its much easier to confuse regular people that way.

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