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Kicked in the Gut
2006-08-09 06:33
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Yanks lost an extra-inning heartbreaker in Chicago last night 6-5, and had nobody but themselves to blame. Too many squandered scoring opportunities. Mo blows the save. The only silver lining is the Boston also lost. But that didn't really make me feel much better. Tonight's game can't come soon enough, though you'll forgive me if I'm not exactly bursting with confidence in the Big Unit right about now. More enthusiasm, less pessimissm to come...

Comments (73)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-08-09 06:44:16
1.   Dimelo
I can't believe some of the horse sh*t I've been reading around the net (bloggers and game comments). People love to figure out clever ways to blame ARod.

That pop-up was in no way shape or form a routine play. Could he have made the play? Yes, absolutely. Is it possible the laws of physics could be reversed at any point in time? Yes, anything is possible. However, I hardly think ARod is in no way culpable, at any level, for last night's lost.

We are still in 1st place, it was a tough loss...but we lost with our best on the mound.

2006-08-09 06:57:22
2.   Alex Belth
Rodriguez sure could have made that play. But if Proctor did his job, if Posada didn't hit into a double play in the eighth, if Melky or Bernie could drive a run home in scoring position, the Yanks could have won. A Rod's misplay was just a good excuse. It certainly didn't cost them the game.
2006-08-09 07:04:14
3.   Dimelo
Alex, you played ball, did you think that was routine? What grade of difficulty would you give it? I guess saying, "Rodriguez sure could have made that play", has a connotation that it was routine vs. extremely difficult. I'm interested in your take on the play.

I didn't think it was similar to Crede's play in the middle innings. His play was closer to 3rd than the one ARod missed.

If the Yankees would have done all the things then they definitely would have won, I just take exception at the finger being pointed to ARod - subtlety or flat out blaming.

2006-08-09 07:18:18
4.   Cliff Corcoran
Dye's at-bat just happened to expose two of the most glaring weaknesses in the Yankee defense. That ball was in a very difficult spot, but the fact remains that Rodriguez is notoriously bad on pop ups, he'd say so himself. Still, it was a foul ball and Proctor still had an 0-2 count.

What happened next was that Dye hit a ball to Damon in center and Johnny uncorked a Bernie-quality dribbler that rolled to a halt before it got to home plate. The Yankees have two of the best relay men in the game in Jeter and Cano (as we saw earlier in the game from Robbie). From what I remember of the play, Jeter was standing near second, not sure why as Dye's run didn't matter. One of them should have been in shallow center and Damon should have hit one of them with his throw.

That said, it was a clean single with a man on second. Don't blame Rodriguez or Damon, blame the missed opportunities on offense or, better yet, blame the pitching. Wang needs to shape up on the road, Mo blew the lead, Proctor lost the game. Better still, credit the White Sox for tagging Mo and coming back to win.

Meanwhile, how great is it to have Cano back? Three hits, that great relay throw and, even if it wasn't successfull, his tremendous recovery to almost get Iguchi in the eleventh (with a nice stop by Wilson). His arm makes me giddy.

2006-08-09 07:27:51
5.   JohnnyC
Well, Unit has to step it up tonight. At least 7 strong. Then Farns and Mo to finish it. Of course, we all remember this was the site of one of RJ's total meltdowns (last year?). Hopefully the ball travels worse at night than it did in that day game. Now exactly why did we skip Lidle?
2006-08-09 07:28:20
6.   Alex Belth
I don't think A Rod's play was routine though it was a makable play. He's playing in an unfamiliar park and as Cliff mentioned, his greatest weakness defensively is going back on pop ups. It certainly didn't surprise me that he didn't make the play.

Then again, he did have a great night offensively. When he was down in the count 0-2 in the eighth then came up with that hard single, that was great, as was his steal of second base against Jenks. And it was great to see Cano back. He had a really nice game.

Damon had an awful night.

But provided RJ doesn't totally suck, I think they'll come back and win tonight.

2006-08-09 07:30:24
7.   hensley
I was at the game, thought the pop-up was not very catchable (it was way on the other side of the tarp roll) but that Arod took a really bad route to it so that it wasn't close and made it look like he didn't really try. And, there was no way they were going to get Iguchi at home, cutoff man in center or not. To me, if the Yankees had won it would've been a steal of a win: Podsednik was clearly safe at 3rd in the first inning, all those ridiculous attempted steals by Ozzie, Wang looked terrible and should've given up more than 4 runs, Rivera looked hittable and was lucky to only give up 1, un-clutch DPs by the Yanks. It was a great, entertaining game, but no fun to lose.
2006-08-09 07:32:43
8.   Dimelo
4 & 6 All good points. Thanks!

For me, I was down a bit because the Yanks lost but the game was worth every penny. The intensity was great, the Yankees for the most part played good baseball. The bullpen was fine, up until Mo. I have a hard time ever blaming Mo, he is human and stuff like that happens.

I thought it was a great game and if the next 20 are like that then the games will be a lot of fun to watch - as long as the Yankees win of course.

2006-08-09 07:35:41
9.   Cliff Corcoran
Oh yes, special knowledge to Jorge for three absolutely perfect throws to second to nail three baserunners. Unreal.
2006-08-09 07:48:04
10.   weeping for brunnhilde
Question about A-Rod, and I'm asking this purely as an objective baseball question, not out of a desire to bash him.

I've gotten to watch him a little more day-to-day this season and it occurs to me that his basic strength in hitting is his swing, which is mechanically fluid and perfect.

But as for the quality of his at-bats, they seem run-of-the mill to me. He often seems to take the wrong pitches and swing at the wrong pitches, like he doesn't have much of a plan up at the plate. Like that pitch last night that he took--it was in the late innings, kind of low and in, but a good fastball to hit and I just couldn't believe he let it go by--I can never quite figure out why he takes some pitches and tries to pull others.

Yet he seems to overcome poor selection skills by having such a good swing that when he does hit the baseball, his success rate is higher than most people's.

Does anyone else notice this about him, or is it just me?

I'm not interested in a debate about the value of A-Rod, I'm just asking for objective appraisal of his qualities as a hitter, based upon what you see in his at-bats.

Thanks.

2006-08-09 07:52:31
11.   seamus
10 he is a guess hitter. He is anticipating certain pitches, so if he is looking for the wrong thing he sometimes misses opportunities to hit very hittable pitches.
2006-08-09 07:54:55
12.   weeping for brunnhilde
Thanks, seamus.
2006-08-09 07:57:18
13.   Cliff Corcoran
10 I think that's fair. The statistics support it. His on-base percentage isn't as high relative to his batting average as those of guys like Abreu and Giambi (who of course are two of the best OBP guys in the game, but stil), and he strikes out quite a bit as well (in contrast to a guy like Sheffield who actually walks more than he Ks, though that's also extremely rare). I've said it ever since the Yankees traded for him. Temper your expectations. He's a tremendous hitter, but he's not among the five best hitters in the game, and that's largely because his plate judgement and pitch recognition, while excellent, are not in the same category as guys like Giambi, Thome, Ramirez and Pujols, or even Abreu and Sheffield.
2006-08-09 07:57:56
14.   weeping for brunnhilde
11 Seamus, so is guess-hitting more of a pitch-by-pitch approach? In other words, rather than having a plan about the whole at-bat, about when to swing aggressively, when to swing defensively, rather than thinking about when good pitches to hit are likely to be thrown, he's more thinking more about what kind of pitch he'll get, rather than its location?

Or is it something else?

2006-08-09 08:00:22
15.   weeping for brunnhilde
15 I guess part of what I'm getting at is that he doesn't seem to have much notion of the count. His approach to each pitch is kind of the same, regardless of the count.
2006-08-09 08:05:54
16.   Bama Yankee
1 I agree with you Dimelo, A-Rod is not to blame for last night's loss. The game was lost long before that pop-up in the 11th.

We have got to start driving in those runners from third with less than two outs. Our failure to score those early runs when Giambi hit into the DP in the 1st and our failure to add at least one insurance run in both the 8th and 9th concerns me. In close games against playoff caliber teams those extras runs are crucial.

A few positive notes: Cano came back without missing a beat, Jorge flashed his gun, A-Rod had some quality at bats and Farnsworth looked good.

2006-08-09 08:07:47
17.   weeping for brunnhilde
And btw, that Konerko is fucking strong. Off the bat, I thought that was a fairly deep fly ball and nothing more. I was shocked to see it carry out like that.

Reminds of a grand slam I saw Thome hit once off of El Duque (I think it was) at the Stadium.

He just made this seemingly real lazy and even slightly off balanced swing and somehow the ball carried out to fucking left center.

It was just so effortless it was stunning.

2006-08-09 08:09:10
18.   seamus
15 I just think he is trying to anticipate the pitch. I think he does it in all counts but I do think when he is on, with two strikes he looks to hit the other way more.
2006-08-09 08:09:27
19.   weeping for brunnhilde
16 Yes, I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say.

Special kudos to Cano. That throw to the plate, for a second baseman? My God.

And those off-field lasers off his bat?

Good to have him back.

2006-08-09 08:15:42
20.   Simone
No one player is too blame for this loss. There were lots of missed opportunities for the Yankees to win this game so they all take some of the blame.

Jorge was great throwing out baserunners. For too long, I've heard Jorge blamed for teams successfully stealing bases against the Yankees, but it is on the pitchers to hold the baserunner. They have to pay attention and make good and timely throws to the catcher. Good to see this crop of pitchers are doing a good job here.

Nice having Robby back. The Yankees need to win the series now.

2006-08-09 08:24:34
21.   tommyl
So A-Rod goes 3-3 with 2 BB and a 2 run HR and people are blaming him for the loss because of missed foul popup on an 0-2 count? I know people aren't serious on here, but I wonder if some people think that way.
2006-08-09 08:25:04
22.   claybeez
I found the game gripping and nail-biting. Two heavyweights that felt each other out in the Bronx, taking the kid gloves off in the later rounds and going for the knockout. I don't think baseball gets any better in August. Maybe the series in Fenway will prove me wrong.

As far as the team's difficulty with sac flies - just why is that? Is it a tough skill to master. Being in Birdland, the wife and I would occasionally tune in to an O's game. It seemed like any time Palmeiro was up with a man on 3rd with less than 2 outs he got the runner home. His approach seemed to change to just putting the ball in play, with loft. He did it so routinely and effortlessly it would seem a skill that could and should be learned. Are our hitters not skilled in the art of the sac fly or is it their approach?

And, finally, kudos to Jorge. Last year he was driving a lot of us mad with what looked like deteriorating skills both at the plate and behind it. I applaud him for re-dedicating himself. And I certainly can't help but think that Pena has been the perfect tutor.

2006-08-09 08:30:51
23.   tommyl
15 With two strikes he tends to shorten up a little bit (though he'll still hit it out).
2006-08-09 08:32:06
24.   Ron Burgundy
22 True on the Jorge point. I remember in S.T. somebody pointing out he had shed some weight during the offseason, and it's definitely helped. His deffense has been great and he's hitting like it's 2002 (2003 he was in another dimension all-together).

OK, now if we can just win 20 or so in a row...

And I really want Jeter to win that Batting Title. Damn you Joe Mauer.

2006-08-09 08:34:23
25.   rsmith51
I am going to the game tonight. Hopefully, the Yanks bats are working on all cylinders and Randy is on. I am looking forward to it.
2006-08-09 08:34:40
26.   JohnnyC
It helps if you have a slight uppercut swing like Palmeiro had (which he learned in order to hit more homers). Yankees hitters, for the most part, have level swings...built for line drives and hard grounders. Another reason we miss Matsui and Sheffield badly. The adjustment in order to hit a sac fly is something that goes against their muscle memory, akin to asking them to put down a sac bunt. That being said, I don't think they're fully exploiting their ability to make contact, even if it's not in the air. The DPs and balls hit to the wrong side of the infield are really noticeable. Bad teams strike out in these situations but what the Yankees do all too often (not moving runners)is almost as bad.
2006-08-09 08:39:38
27.   Cliff Corcoran
22 The Yanks are indeed 25th in the majors in sac flies, just five ahead of the last-place Mariners. Of course that doesn't tell us how many opportunities they've had (Team Sac Fly Percentage is not a stat I've ever seen anywhere).

Alex Rodriguez has just one sac fly all year. Melky has none. Bernie leads the team with six, which is tied (with a zillion others) for 19th in the majors. Damon has five. Kevin Youkilis leads the majors with ten.

2006-08-09 08:40:32
28.   pistolpete
I was thinking to myself on Konerko's first two strikes: "Man, those were some BIG hacks - if he connects, it's going to go a lonnnnng way."

Too many men LOB last night - Mo should have had at least a 2 or 3 run lead to protect. Wang threw some watermelons in the early going as well - I disagree with Pinto when he claims the White Sox have 'adjusted' to Wang's sinker.

No David, it just wasn't 'sinking' as it normally should have. Only around the 4th inning did he finally start to get the ball down, where it should have been all along...

2006-08-09 08:40:54
29.   Cliff Corcoran
26 Sheff and Matsui have one sac fly between them this season.
2006-08-09 08:43:34
30.   Cliff Corcoran
Oh, and the Red Sox lead the majors with 46 sac flies, the White Sox are second with 42.
2006-08-09 08:45:45
31.   Stormer Sports
Tough loss guys. I can hardly blame Arod for the loss. I am a fan who typically seperates offense and defense into to seperate and distinct categories, and believe the idea of "picking a guy up" following a bungle has no baseball meaning in a real sense, but serves more to help cohesion in the clubhouse. If a run scores due to an error, and the next inning the leadoff batter hits a HR, the error has in no way been negated, but simply makes the error maker "feel better" about it.

That being said, no one player is to blame for this loss. Melky and/or Bernie and/or Po have to get another run home (at the very least). This, without mentioning squandered opportunities earlier in the game. The pitching was fine. 5 runs over 11 innings, I'll take that 162 games a year with our offense. Mo and Proctor--especially Mo--aren't superhuman for crying out loud.

Should Arod have made the play? Absolutely. Not having "experience" with pop ups of that nature is getting old after 3 years at third base. Either Arod is to blame for plain and simple ineptitude when pop ups are concerned, or the Yankees are to blame for not practicing it adequately with him. Either way, with our defense, you have to take the outs the opposition hands to you.

One final note of frustration. I am getting sick and tired of our guys getting plunked without even a hint of retaliation, or half-assed retaliation at best. I know its "old school" but Johnson has to nail Konerko or Thome tonight. With MLB's ridiculous rules re: retaliation, Johnson can hit anyone he likes tonight, just as long as he is the first to do it and stomps his feet a little. I don't care if the pitcher is inexperienced or nervous. This is the big leagues, and these hitters are important to their teams and careers are at stake. Managers have to be aware that calling on pitchers without the skills or gumption to control themselves is going to cost a possible injury to a player on your squad. I am tired of it, and if it means more pitchers get tossed or demoted, oh well, the clubs have to get these clowns to stop. Ozzie would understand, Johnson can make some childish homophobic hate speech about how Thome called him a bad name, or blame it on some pre-pubescent heckling coming from the supposed "professional" manager in the opposing dugout tonight. Sorry Ozzie, you're bad for Chicago, bad for Baseball, and a horrible role model.

More importantly, with the Sox playing KC and Baltimore, and the Yankees with Chicago and Anaheim, if we can hold serve or perhaps eek out one more game in the standings, these series can be consideed a success. Boston has a golden opportunity to blank the lead or take over in the standings altogether, if we can stop them from doing so, both Boston will be deflated, and the Yankees should be more confident going forward.

Let's get them tonight. Go Yankees!

2006-08-09 08:46:26
32.   tommyl
28 Maybe that's the approach to take with Mo on the mound. Just swing as hard as you can. Maybe that way when it saws off your bat, you might push it into a bloop single, and if you happen to get the barrel on it, well then, presto HR off Rivera!
2006-08-09 08:48:16
33.   KBT
Wang had control probs all night. Lucky he didn't give up more runs.

The offense needs to get those runners in. When Damon left Cano stranded on 3rd in the ninth, I winced and was like, "that's gonna bite us." I know, I know, Mo was coming in, but I'm never comfy with a 1 run lead.

2006-08-09 08:52:57
34.   Dan M
Anyone else think that we will be Giambi-less this evening? I'm guessing that Bernie is the DH (sigh).
2006-08-09 08:55:46
35.   rsmith51
34 What happened to Giambi?
2006-08-09 08:56:39
36.   Ron Burgundy
34 But Giambi would still be able to pinch-hit though, right?

Sadly, Bernie probably will be the DH tonight, and he'll probably be batting in front of Cano and Wilson too.

2006-08-09 08:57:09
37.   Ron Burgundy
35 Got hit right on the elbow yesterday. He was taken out of the game then.
2006-08-09 08:58:45
38.   KBT
Stormer, I'd give RJ the green light to plunk Thome if I thought Giambi was hit on purpose. But it forced the go ahead run in. Doubt it was intentional.
2006-08-09 08:59:41
39.   pistolpete
It's almost sad to say, but I'd rather have Sierra coming off the bench right now than 'GOB' - Big Rube would have been ideal to pinch hit for Wilson vs. Jenks as well.

Anyone else get the feeling that this Chicago team was a sleeping giant the last time we played? If that starting staff settles down a bit, they're a huge threat to repeat. I can't imagine if they'd actually gotten Soriano with that already brutal lineup...

2006-08-09 09:04:41
40.   rsmith51
BA OBP SLG OPS
05 .229 .265 .371 .636
06 .179 .273 .214 .487

05 vs. RHP .237 .255 .355 .610
05 vs. LHP .221 .277 .390 .667

Why would you want Ruben? He is terrible.

2006-08-09 09:05:52
41.   Stormer Sports
38

I guess that is beside the point for me. Obviously it wasn't intentional. With the expanded role of bullpen pitchers in recent years, you have a situation where teams have pitchers who have no business wearing a MLB uniform putting experienced player's careers at risk. Intentional or not: when an inexperienced or chicken shit opposing pitcher puts one of your guys in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue. Sorry for the Untouchables quote, but I thought it was apt.

2006-08-09 09:13:04
42.   Cliff Corcoran
41 Get off it, Stormer, Cotts is one of the best set-up men in the business and you admit there was no way it was intentional. There's nothing to see here. Move along.
2006-08-09 09:19:35
43.   Ron Burgundy
42 True, Cotts is pretty damn good. But overall, I think we can agree that there's way too many pitchers on rosters nowadays. It would be nice to go back to the day when there were no more than 9 or 10 pitchers on a team instead of the 11, 12, or even 13 some teams have. The abundance of useless AAAA pitchers with 96 MPH fastballs and no control nowadays is upsetting though.
2006-08-09 09:20:46
44.   Stormer Sports
39

I am perfectly fine with Bernie DH'ing tonight. I don't quite understand why it has become acceptable to openly bash Bernie while Arod is protected like some endangerd Owl. Arod isn't nearly as good as folks make him out to be, and Bernie simply isn't as bad as folks make him out to be, and I would argue is as good or better than the alternatives. He stepped up this year when we needed him. He isn't going to hit .300+ and bang in 100+ but neither is 95% of the league. The issue arises when we are in late innings and the opposition pitcher can throw 95 MPH+. Bernie just cannot catch up to that anymore. Unfortunately, often we have no better alternative. I don't know what else Joe could have done last night, PH future career minor leaguer Andy Phillips or Nick "the stick" Green, give me a break?

2006-08-09 09:22:52
45.   DarrenF
13 When ARod signed, my expectations were .300 40 120.

His 162-game average with the Yankees is .298 41 121.

Not quite the same as season average due to missed games, but he doesn't miss too many games.

Also, as I know you've brought up many times before, these stats are less impressive for a 3b than for a ss. But I certainly didn't expect more offensive output just because he moved to 3b.

I'm really not sure what people were expecting. Other than goals like "winning the World Series" and the resultant joy.

ARod brought 41 and 121, on average, but no average joy.

2006-08-09 09:25:18
46.   Schteeve
I can't believe people would rather blame A-Rod than the guy who gave up the freaking game tying homer to Konerko. Mo threw him a meatball, if you want to blame someone blame him. I love Mo and I'm not trying to point fingers but the knee jerk reaction to pin everything bad on A-Rod is fucking ridiculous.
2006-08-09 09:25:44
47.   Ron Burgundy
44 A-Rod's main problem this year has been an incredible lack of power and bad deffense. He is still on pace to drive in over 120 Runs and score close to 120 Runs. But the main problem this year with A-Rod is power, not OBP, not even AVG., but power. As of right now, he has a .499 Slugging %, which is just plain weak by his standards and really not that impressive for anyone.

As for Bernie, well, it's OK if he DHs, against lefties. He can't hit righties as it is, and if the righty has a fastball over 89 MPH, Bernie is helpless at the plate.

2006-08-09 09:26:27
48.   Dimelo
41 Wow....I thought I had a temper. I didn't think it was intentional.
2006-08-09 09:27:00
49.   Ron Burgundy
45 Correction: A-Rod was traded for, not signed by our F.O. But point taken.
2006-08-09 09:29:12
50.   rsmith51
46 Win a championship(or 4) and you can no longer be blamed, apparently. Mo is most likely the goat of yesterday's game. I never mind losing with Mo on the mound, however. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other guys.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-08-09 09:30:53
51.   Stormer Sports
42

Well, agree to disagree I guess. I was also making a larger point.

However, Cotts has an ERA above 6.00 his last 10 outings and an ERA of 3.20 for the year. He yields a hit per inning and has given up 7 HR in a measly 45 IP. Best in the biz, hardly.

He is nearly as effective as Mike Timlin and isn't even in the same league as a guy like Scot Shields, or this year, even Ron Villone has better numbers.

2006-08-09 09:34:59
52.   DarrenF
46 I briefly read the News and the Post and both made ARod answer for missing the foul fly ball. Not for a second did I think he'd catch it, nor do I think anybody could be expected to make that catch.

You know what ARod did last night. 3-for-3, 2 walks, 2-run hr, a "close-and-late" hit, and even a "close-and-late" walk and stolen base, just to remind you that he's got that fifth tool.

At this point, it really doesn't matter, does it? Performance on the field is completely irrelevant to the postgame discussion.

If the Yankees lose, ARod is to blame. If they Yankees win, it wasn't a big game, anyway, and ARod's RBIs were tack-on. $252 million, $252 million, $252 million.

Oh, by the way, ARod hasn't made a throwing error in two weeks. Has anybody noticed? Because I thought he was shattered emotionally and unable to play in New York City.

For perspective, I'm now going to list all the players who have made an error during ARod's two-week errorless streak: Aww, forget it.

2006-08-09 09:35:45
53.   Schteeve
By the way, I was wildly impressed with Proctor last night.
2006-08-09 09:35:57
54.   pistolpete
44 That's what I was getting at - Jenks just made Bernie look silly. I really hope Gueil makes his way back up to the majors soon, because he would have been ideal to put in for Giambi at that point. Not the most ideal batter, mind you, but you get the point.

And IMO it's been quite the opposite - Bernie's been getting by with his 'farewell tour' schtick all season long - getting standing ovations for sac flies & hard hit balls, and just an overall lowering of expectations- as if we're cheering for our grandfather in the annual family picnic softball game. Hey, we're just happy he can still run - let's cheer him no matter what he does! Oh look, he dropped his teeth around second base - yay, grandpa! You feisty old coot!

Meanwhile, A-Rod's been the one taking heat for every little miscue - and to say that a misplay on a tough pop-up in foul territory (that most guys wouldn't get to, IMO) somehow triggered the loss last night is asinine.

2006-08-09 09:37:03
55.   pistolpete
I meant to reference 47 in the first portion of my post - the rest was in response to 44
2006-08-09 09:38:50
56.   pistolpete
53 Too bad neither Proctor or Farnsworth are available tonight now. Technically they are, but we've seen what happens when they pitch back to back games.

If Randy isn't Randy, we could be out of this game really early tonight.

2006-08-09 09:39:23
57.   Schteeve
44 Are you for real? It's ok to bash Bernie while A-Rod is protected? Do you live on the same planet I do? You know, the one where A-Rod gets booed routinely at the Stadium and Bernie never does.

When i saw Bernie come up to pinch hit for Giambi last night (by the way, what's the word on him elbow?) I just knew he was meat. His picture should be in the dictionary next to the word "overmatched. See also: Change-up speed bat"

2006-08-09 09:40:51
58.   Schteeve
56 Yeah it's gonna be the Unit and Pontoon Show tonight. Blech.
2006-08-09 09:41:25
59.   mehmattski
47 While I believe the discussion of good power hitters starts with a .500 slugging percentage, you're right that it makes him mediocre, power wise, this year. He ranks 9th among ML 3rd basemen in: SLG (.499), RC27 (6.64), ISOP (.216). But the most striking number, to me, is that he is second behind Chad Tracy for most strikeouts by a ML 3B: 100. Last season, in 50% more AB, he struck out 139 times.

Digging deeper, it seems that A-Rod's GB/FB ratio among batted balls has increased dramtically since he came to the Yankees. In the last few seasons in Texas, the number was below 1.0. Now, its up to 1.19, above his career average (1.12) and the highest since 1998. Also, his OBP, while nowhere like last year's .421, is on par with his career average. So too is his Pitches/Plate Appearance, hovering at a solid 3.80.

So he's seeing the strike zone just as well as he had, but he's making contact with his swings less often. And when he does make contact, its on the ground, and for fewer bases than in recent seasons.

As much as the SABR guys poo-poo the striekout as just another out, I think A-Rod's K-rates are alarming this year, and deserve attention.

2006-08-09 09:49:19
60.   Ron Burgundy
58 Don't make me imagine that. Oh jeez, 1 game lead here we come.

NO! I will think POSITIVE! Randy will pitch a magnificent game and we will win!

2006-08-09 09:51:18
61.   Bama Yankee
31 I agree with you Stormer, I am tired of seeing our guys get hit (intentional or not) with little or no retaliation. Of course Cotts was not trying to hit Giambi but he was trying to come inside. If he had been more afraid to come inside, maybe he leaves one out over the plate and Giambi mashes it. I'm not saying that our retaliation is going to keep pitchers like Cotts from ever throwing inside, but it might make them think about it (hey, if I miss inside and hit him then one of my guys might get hit). It might not work, but I think we still have to protect our guys.

There is a side benefit to this as well. As we saw earlier in the year when RJ was tossed after "near missing" or "near hitting" a batter, we could gain an advantage by plunking someone early tonight. Then knowing Ozzie, he would "order" his pitcher to retaliate and thus possibly getting them tossed. Even if Ozzie does not order it, maybe Cotts would really think twice about coming inside to Giambi if hitting him would mean getting ejected.

I know Stormer and I are probably in the minority on this, but retaliation is part of baseball.

2006-08-09 10:01:57
62.   Dimelo
61 I'm with you on the retaliation piece, but not every Yankee hit-batter is cause for retaliation. At some point the retaliation angle start to lose its merits if every Yankee batter that is hit is followed up with some Milton Bradley type of response.
2006-08-09 10:03:43
63.   Javi Javi
61 I agree re: retaliation. Maybe RJ can just throw the ball at Ozzie in the dugout.
2006-08-09 10:10:29
64.   KBT
No Proc or Farns for NY, but no Jenks for Chicago either. I have a weird positive feeling about tonight. By all rights, I should be dreading the Unit, but I think he shows up tonight.
2006-08-09 10:13:20
65.   Bama Yankee
46 & 50 Of course everyone loves Mo and no one ever blames him due to his almost superhuman performances in the past. That said, as I watched the Konerko at bat last night I thought Mo let him off the hook by throwing that last pitch outside. He had blown two by him on the inner half to get to a 1-2 count and then Posada wanted him to throw the high fastball to get him to chase. IMO he should not have "wasted" that pitch. I'm o.k. with that if it's 0-2, but not 1-2. Wasting one and thus going to 2-2 seemed to cause Mo to try to make a perfect pitch to prevent the 3-2 count and the pitch caught too much of the plate and Konerko didn't miss it. I think Mo should have just stayed inside. Konerko's quote seems to agree: "One pitch or two he threw in, and I chased it and took bad swings. So I just kind of looked away and said I'm going to look in this one area, and if he throws there I can maybe at least put it in play," Konerko said. "Really if he throws anything else, I'm probably done. ... When you got two strikes, you just say, `Don't strike out, and make him earn it."'
2006-08-09 10:16:07
66.   Stormer Sports
61

Agreed. I guess we don't subscribe to the new kindler gentler MLB that was ushered in, in no small part, ironic as it may be, by Frank Robinson while Tzar of Discipline.

I do not advocate retaliating by hitting a batter every single occurence as Ozzie "Why Can't Israel Bomb Provincetown, West Hollywood, and San Francisco?" Guillen does, but you have to do it often enough to make opposing pitchers think twice about it. Is it neccessary for a Safety, Linebacker or Corner to absolutely crush a Wide Reciever when he makes a grab coming across the middle of the field with virtually no way of protecting himself? No it isn't, it is done--well sometimes simply out of bravado, anger, and for violence sake--but more so to discourage that Reciever and others from doing the same.

I'm out! Go Yankees!

2006-08-09 10:23:08
67.   Bama Yankee
63 He could pull the Nuke Laloosh like Proctor did on his pitch to the backstop last night... Posada probably said, "I wouldn't dig in, I don't know where it's goin'"
2006-08-09 10:34:38
68.   Cliff Corcoran
47 See my post about Rodriguez on the sidebar under Suggested Reading. His decline in power is part of a trend and something I expected. That said, .499 is a bit extreme for him. His awful June is still dragging down his stats. He had a solid July and I expect he'll do even better in August. Then again, he did slug .512 in 2004. Read that post.
2006-08-09 10:39:29
69.   Mystique of Me
I don't think it's important whether it was intentional or whether Cotts is a quality RP; what is important is (a) Giambi got hit because their pitcher was trying to push him off the plate, (b) it caused him to be taken out of the game and miss an important at-bat (in extra innings with a RISP, no less) and (c) will probably force hime to miss tonight's game (if not more). That cannot go unaddressed.
2006-08-09 10:44:44
70.   YankeeInMichigan
4 A-Rod is notoriously bad on pop ups? So he really IS the anti-Jeter.
2006-08-09 10:47:03
71.   Bama Yankee
69 Good points Mystique. BTW, how's the wrist? We need you back in the lineup, ASAP.
2006-08-09 12:30:22
72.   JL25and3
I don't get this whole retaliation thing. Everyone agrees that Cotts didn't want to hit Giambi, so what's the point? To discourage him from doing what he didn't want to do in the first place? It was a one-run game, then a tie game; are people really saying that the Yankee pitchers should have given the Sox an extra baserunner deliberately? Pointless at best, invites a rally at worst.

But the fact that some Yankee pitchers don't pitch inside aggressively enough - that's a whole different story. Jeter gets hit a lot, but it's not because pitchers want to hit him; it's because he leans over the plate and lunges at the ball, and pitchers want to move him back. So why don't Yankee pitchers ever come up and in to Ortiz - not to hit him, definitely not for any kind of retaliation, but because they want to get him the hell out once in a while.

26 Sheffield is certainly not a flyball hitter. He hits the hardest line drives I've ever seen, but he never uppercuts the ball and bery rarely hits high flies.

2006-08-09 12:40:29
73.   ericw
Btw, did anyone notice Damon's throw on the game winning hit by Dye last night. Granted, you could have fired the baseball out of a cannon and you still were not going to throw the runner out on that play, but it just shows how weak Damon's arm is. That throw may have traveled in the air about 100 ft, bounced about 10 ft in front of 2b and slowly rolled to home plate about 10 seconds after leaving Damon's hand.

It meant nothing, but worrisome when you think about runners taking an extra base on any ball in the gap.

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