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Washout
2006-08-24 22:27
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

With the score knotted at 1-1, Randy Johnson gave up three runs in the third inning of last night's game on a pair of doubles by Chris Snelling and Richie Sexson and a pair of singles by Willie Bloomquist and Jose Lopez. Bloomquist's single was a dribbler down the first base line that rolled to a stop just inside the foul line. Lopez's single scored Snelling, and Sexson's double scored Bloomquist and Lopez. The Mariners wouldn't score again, but they wouldn't need to.

Outside of that inning, Johnson was excellent, allowing just one run on three hits and two walks in his other seven innings. All totaled, Johnson pitched a complete game in a losing effort, needing just 109 pitches to go eight full, throwing 73 percent of those for strikes. The reason Johnson got the loss was not so much that one bad inning, but rather that the Yankee offense, without Alex Rodriguez for the second straight game due to a viral infection, couldn't get anything going against Seattle starter Jarrod Washburn, who struck out nine Yankees in 6 1/3 innings while holding limiting them to two runs, the later of which, Johnny Damon's career best 21st home run of the year, drove Washburn from the game in the seventh inning. To be fair, Washburn's defense deserves some credit as well, with Snelling and Ichiro Suzuki making some fine catches in the outfield, the best being Suzuki's Willie Mays-like, back-to-home snag of a 390-foot drive off the bat of Nick Green just before Damon's homer in the seventh.

Indeed, as evidenced by Bloomquist's infield single, the breaks (and I just happen to be listening to Kurtis Blow as I write this) just didn't go the Yankees' way last night. In the ninth inning, with closer J.J. Putz on the mound for the Mariners, Melky Cabrera led off with a hot shot that clanged of defensive replacement Ben Broussard's glove at first base, but Broussard recovered in time to shovel the ball to Putz for the first out. Joe Torre then sent Bernie Williams up to pinch-hit for Craig Wilson (1 for 2, BB, scored the Yankees' first run on a Jeter double in the third) and brought Alex Rodriguez out on deck to hit for Nick Green (0 for 2 thanks to Ichiro, K). After getting ahead 2-1, Bernie hit another hot shot back through the middle that looked like a sure single until it ricocheted off Putz's leg straight to Lopez at second base. With two outs, Rodriguez made his seventh career pinch-hitting appearance and struck out on a 2-2 fastball in on his hands to run his career pinch-hitting record to 0 for 7 with three strikeouts. Final score: 4-2 Mariners.

Comments (128)
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2006-08-24 23:20:06
1.   mikeplugh
Thanks Cliff. Always a great recap, and always an even greater recap when you include a Kurtis Blow reference.

This will be my first real criticism of A-Rod this season. I've been disappointed in his performance on a number of occasions, but not more so than any other member of the club. What's going on right now bugs me.

I have no evidence whatsoever to indict Rodriguez on sandbagging games, but this season has certainly seen more than its fair share of little bitchy excuses for not playing or not performing. I have no beef with A-Rod's performance, you see. He isn't having his best season, but he's still a potent offensive weapon in the middle of our lineup. His defense has been shit.

I have beef with his multitude of excuses and wishy-washy attitude about everything. I wish A-Rod would grow some balls and just tell everyone to shut their f-ing mouths. Also, I wish he'd stop hiding behind viral infections and tummy aches and mysterious unnamed injuries for his failures. Everyone fails in baseball. Even the best players in history sometimes fail more than other times.

The thing is, if you are struggling against your own past and the expectations of fans, you should eventually put your foot down and tell people to kiss your ass. Get a little Sheffield in you. Wishing everyone liked you makes you shy away from tough public relations. Needing appreciation makes you sit out the Seattle series to get away from the booing and the fake money showering down from the stands. Again, I have no proof that that's what's happening, but you can't tell me that you aren't thinking it too.

Coming in to pinch hit in the 9th was an iffy decision by Torre. The guy is sick or he's not. He's in a bad state of mind or he's not. I know he's an All-World player, but what good is he at that moment. We know the answer now.

I like A-Rod VERY MUCH. I think he's a great player, a Hall of Famer, a good Yankee, and all that crap. I cheer for him every at bat. It's on the sidelines that I think he's a bitch.

2006-08-25 01:22:03
2.   anaconda
First time reader, Cliff.

I like the site.

2006-08-25 02:16:00
3.   GoingDeep
These games really irk me. The M's lost 11 straight prior to this series and sure the yanks were due for a let down but they need to take the series against these Weak teams. The D-Rays last year, the NL and the O's this year have cost the Yanks at least 10 games on the Sawx this year. Imagine being 10-12 games up now. Villone and everyday scotty could grow new arms in time for October and we could rest up Wang, RJ and Moose for October. I mean look at the signs. Moose is slipping and Villones ERA is up over 8 in the last week, Wang is reaching unchartered waters with his IP count, RJ is 43 and Scotty is just hanging by a thread. In other words, the yanks need to put away the division ASAP and avoid another dogfight like last September when the team was spent by the ALDS. And with the nemesis Halos up next plus the strong arms of Detoit and Minny, this lead could evaporate if things are taken for granted.
2006-08-25 02:27:33
4.   Sliced Bread
Everything's cool. Joe knows some guys who know some guys in Anaheim. The Rally Monkey will not be available this series due to the medical condition commonly referred to as "trapped in the trunk of a Cadillac."

I have an unjustified good feeling this trip to the O.C. will be good for what ails the Yanks hitters.

2006-08-25 03:32:41
5.   willdthrill
They're getting swept in Anaheim... back end of the rotation against a team that they can't beat since forever. I'll be happy if this stupid team still has the divisional lead come the series in september against Boston. Same old story all year, stunning victories followed by inconceivable losses. As hot as they looked last weekend, they can probably only muster about a win or two againts the Angels and the Tigers.
2006-08-25 04:13:47
6.   anaconda
#5 Thrill:

Are you kidding me? They are going to get SWEPT in LA?

C'mon. Give them a break.

I suppose you have forgotten that the Yanks went into Detroit earlier in the season and kicked their butts all over the ballpark, taking 3 of 4 in the series.

That was LONG before the trade deadline and when their daily lineup consisted of Cairo and Phillips because Sheff, Matsui, and Cano were all on the DL.

This year ain't last year. The Red Sox are not playing anywhere near as well as they were last season and they clearly don't have the same reliable horses either.

Conversely, the Yankees are much better right now than at anytime last season.

I'll never understand how so many Yankees fans look for reasons to bury this team.

2006-08-25 04:36:05
7.   Simone
If Randy Johnson is pitches excellently except for an inning where he gives up lots of runs, doesn't that mean that he pitched badly? He is supposed to be the ace of this staff not the fifth starter.

The Yankees lose a game in the standings and it is doom and gloom with some fans. What is up with that? Seriously, they cannot win every game. This is a known fact.

2006-08-25 04:54:04
8.   rbj
7
Simone, every Yankee loss makes baby Jesus cry.
Didn't you know that?

Also, anytime A-Rod does anything but hit a 5 run homer, that also makes baby Jesus cry.

Good news out of this game is that the bullpen got a full night off. New game tonight, and with no work tomorrow I may be able to stay up and watch the whole thing.

2006-08-25 05:17:28
9.   Sliced Bread
I lived in L.A. from precisely July 31, 1996 to July 29, 2002. I saw the Yanks play in Anaheim roughly 20 times over that span and I'm certain I drove home from more than half those games processing a Yankee loss.

The chilled out So. Cal. insouciance of the crowds, (it always seemed like there were about 35,000 Craig Wilson look-alikes plus perfect wives, and Von Trappish kiddies in the seats. Heck, somebody once gave my wife and I seats above the the third base dugout) belied the bedeviling Yankee hell that was Anaheim for me. Demons in Angel halos every last one of them.

I saw El Duque get smacked around to the tune of about 10 runs.

I saw Chuck Finley do his best Koufax.

I saw Garret Anderson do his best Willie Mays.

It's always room temperature in Anaheim.

It's always room temperature in Yankee hell.

2006-08-25 05:21:56
10.   Dan M
Off topic, but Papi is on pace to hit 59 HRs (by my shaky math). If he out does that pace and hits 62+, I suspect we're going to hear an awful lot about how he was the first person to pass Maris in the "post steroid" era. And that the other three to pass Maris have all been suspected of steroid use, but Papi hasn't (which is surprising considering he went from a guy who couldn't crack to Twins lineup to a HR God). We're certainly going to hear it from those holier than thou folks up north.
2006-08-25 05:31:37
11.   Sliced Bread
1 Yo, Mr. Canyon of Heroes.

I feel your A-Rod frustration. I feel like I have a sore throat from defending the guy, but just reading his name at this point makes me feel tired.

I know he's great. I know we're lucky to have him...... zzzzzzzz (Sliced's sleepy head hits the desk, another victim of A-Rod narcolepsy)

2006-08-25 05:37:26
12.   Count Zero
1 Just so we're clear on one thing -- ARod has played in 123 games...which is tops on the Yankees in '06. I would hardly say he's malingering.

With what is STILL a six game lead in the L column, giving a sick star a couple of days off is both prudent and intelligent. Pinch-hitting him in the 9th was downright stupid IMHO.

2006-08-25 05:56:53
13.   Sliced Bread
Very cool column from Bob Ryan in the Globe today (tapped a link from the Soxaholix page). Ryan slams the angriest faction of Red Sox Nation for bitterly blaming everyone not named A-Rod in the wake of the Boston Massacre II.

But many a modern day Yankees fan should also heed Ryan's message, especially those whose body temperature, and mental health are determined by the AL East Standings:

"Blame it on talk radio. Blame it on websites and chat rooms and blogs. Blame it on Shaughnessy (he can take it). But somewhere along the way, far too many members of this so-called ``Red Sox Nation" have perverted the concept of fandom. As a result, there is no more narcissistic group of people rooting for any sports team in North America than that subsection of Red Sox followers who have made the shifting fortunes of the team all about them. When the ball went through Buckner's legs, it was, ``How can he do that to me?" And so it continues.

But don't listen to me. Listen to an e-mailer by the name of Lois Kane. She was introduced to baseball and the Red Sox by her grandfather, who listened to all the games on a portable radio and who, she says, taught her that the idea was ``companionship and enjoyment of the journey through the game." She thinks he would be shocked by ``the attitude that winning was the only important thing."

Concluded Lois, ``In many ways it was more enjoyable to be a fan before it was fashionable to be one."

Thank you, Lois. That's what I'm talking about."

2006-08-25 06:05:00
14.   mehmattski
I'm going through Yankees withdrawal, without a computer at home and them being on the west coast. So for me, its like the Yankees haven't played a game since sweeping Boston off the face of the division race. Which is why 5 sounds pretty funny to me, and I almost hope it's tongue in cheek. The "back end" of this rotation took the first three games from the Red Sox last weekend. The Tigers have a man with a .296 OBP (yes, you read right) leading off, and they're reeling. They just got shut out by Jon Garland (I can only imagine Ron Burgundy's reaction here if that happens against the Yanks). I wouldn't be surprised if they finish third in the Central. As for the Halos, I can't wait for more Heaven headlines from Alex...

Hey, look at it this way... at least no one got thrown out at first from left field:

http://tinyurl.com/muwup

2006-08-25 06:26:30
15.   rsmith51
14 I don't think I have ever seen someone get thrown out from LF except in softball. The Yanks as a whole looked pretty crappy against Washburn. Hopefully ARod will have a good series now. The lineup seems much longer with him in the lineup. Bernie's only value to the team is as against LHPs. I would have sat Melky and put Bernie in LF.
2006-08-25 06:33:32
16.   Dimelo
How dare ARod get sick....trade him. This is getting to be crazy already.
2006-08-25 06:35:04
17.   rsmith51
The pitching matchups this weekend definitely favor the Angels. Crud! Let's go offense!
2006-08-25 06:38:59
18.   rsmith51
Papi hospitalized?

Let the PED rumors commence.

Actually I have no reason to believe that he uses PEDs except that he couldn't get into the Twins lineup regularly and is now a superstar. Talk about circumstancial evidence. If I had to guess, I would guess probably not.

2006-08-25 06:39:03
19.   Shaun P
For some perspective, I present the following numbers without further comment:

2006: 126 games played, 76-50, 1st in AL East, 5.5 game lead, 711 RS (1st in AL), 593 RA (4th in AL), +118 (2nd in AL)

2005: 126 games played, 70-56, 2nd in AL East, 2.5 games back, 681 RS (2nd in AL), 616 RA (10th in AL), +65 (6th in AL)

2004: 126 games played, 78-48, 1st in AL East, 5.5 game lead, 685 RS (3rd in AL), 618 RA (7th in AL), +67 (4th in AL)

2003: 126 games played, 78-48, 1st in AL East, 6 game lead, 685 RS (3rd in AL), 558 RA (3rd in AL), +127 (2nd in AL)

2002: 126 games played, 79-47, 1st in AL East, 6 game lead, 727 RS (1st in AL), 574 RA (6th in AL), +153 (2nd in AL)

2006-08-25 06:50:50
20.   Simone
18 Rapid and irregular heartbeats are side effects of a variety of PEDs as well as amphetamines. When MacGwire, Sosa, Bonds and Giambi were at their peaks, I was convinced that they were using PEDs. I don't what to think about Ortiz, but he hasn't tested positive so he gets the benefit of the doubt for the moment.
2006-08-25 06:52:44
21.   Sliced Bread
19 Bravo, Shaun P, bravo!
2006-08-25 06:58:29
22.   yankeeinjapan
Last year's home run derby they showed Papi's father.. and he his a big guy too. Why would some one who looks likes he's naturally big and strong need PEDs?
2006-08-25 07:18:51
23.   mehmattski
Since people love doing those picture comparisons with 80s Bonds and 00s Bonds...

David Americo Ortiz Arias, 1997:
http://tinyurl.com/s4gm5
2002:
http://tinyurl.com/l8f8n
2006:
http://tinyurl.com/pvfzz

I should note that in making this list, the Google image search for "David Ortiz Strikeout" returned no results.

2006-08-25 07:22:52
24.   YankeeInMichigan
14 15 I was at Comerica yesterday for Casey's brain fart. I was encouraged to see Tiger fans give him a nice boo. As a New Yorker, I've been frustrated by Detroiters' reluctance to boo their own guys when they deserve it. Pudge certainly deserved a Bronx spanking last year after his "I don't do walks" remark.
2006-08-25 07:25:01
25.   YankeeInMichigan
19 Interestingly, the White Sox 10 runs at Comerica tied them with the Yanks for the lead in runs scored. The Yankees re-took the lead with 2 runs in the evening.
2006-08-25 07:26:48
26.   mehmattski
24 In the article I linked in 14 it says that Leyland was really disappointed in the fans for booing Casey. "That's not a fan," says he. "That's an inexcusable mistake," says me. Or maybe its just Sean being Sean.
2006-08-25 07:36:19
27.   standuptriple
I'm optimistic about the ANA/LA/OC series. Lackey has not been sharp lately and Lidle and the rook could impress. I just want to see smart, efficient, winning Yankee baseball. We all know they have the ability. Let's exorcise those demons and gain some momentum for the Central foes.
2006-08-25 07:39:22
28.   JL25and3
1 I understand the frustration. But Rodriguez is someone who's always played every day, so I have to assume that he - as much as Dheffield or anyone else - knows a little bit about playing through pain, little injuries, and just plain being under the weather. Besides, if he played through June and July, when he was getting criticized and booed far more vehemently than he is now, I don't know why he'd start jaking now.

I try never to judge a player's physical complaints, not since J. R. Richard.

2006-08-25 07:41:12
29.   Simone
22 Why would Sheffield and Bonds who come from families that churn out natural athletes use PEDs? Athletes cheat for all sorts of reasons. Ultimately, steriods help with recovery from injury and physical exertion and that is beneficial.
2006-08-25 07:42:29
30.   Peter
23 I can't believe I'm about to offer a few words in defense of Ortiz, but he does look kind of big in that '97 photo. Even Babe Ruth looks relatively skinny in pictures from his younger days. Not Barry Bonds in Pittsburgh skinny, but more like a big guy waiting to fill out. I see the same thing here with Papi.
2006-08-25 07:48:53
31.   Peter
In re-reading my comment, I feel compelled to mention that I compared Babe Ruth and David Ortiz strictly on physical appearance and not on perceived athletic ability. I swear I don't work for ESPN!
2006-08-25 07:50:24
32.   YankeeInMichigan
26 From what I know about Casey, he's generally a hustling guy. This was just a fluke brain fart. Booing him after the play was 100% justified. Booing him on his next at bat (and it was just a small minority that did) was a bit more questionable. Then again, I can understand an attitude of "you let us down and we won't let you forget it so quickly."

Casey has been the Tigers' most dependable hitter over the last couple of weeks. One big hit is all he needs to redeem himself in the eyes of the hands -- kind of like Knoblauch in the 1998 postseason.

2006-08-25 07:54:31
33.   JL25and3
32 Funny, the only thing I remember about Chuck in the '98 postseason is his brainlauch. Of course, I was there and sitting right about by first base, so it's forever seared into my brain.

"The eyes of the hands" has to be the typo of the day. I love it.

2006-08-25 07:55:42
34.   steveb1234
Another thing about Papi: Before we assumed everyone (on other teams) were using PEDs, you might look at their stats and age and say, "Hey, he's in his peak performance years."
2006-08-25 08:13:19
35.   seamus
1 Mike - ARod made ONE statement about injuries all year. ONE! Why are you making it sound like he is constantly complaining about them? Torre is the one who sent him home with the flu. ARod deserves some criticism, but the irrational, over the top blame get is annoying.
2006-08-25 08:34:25
36.   Paul in Boston
The various playoff odds calculators all still have the Yanks at >90% of taking the division (which is certainly a nice change from last year), so why then do I worry so much?

Interestingly, Yanks' odds are now even higher than Detroit's:

http://www.coolstandings.com/baseball_standings.asp?i=1

2006-08-25 08:36:16
37.   Alvaro Espinoza
Slightly different take from last night in the form of random points:

- Yeah, Unit's #'s looked ok when it was all said and done but he put his team down early 4-1. Interestingly, he was unable to put hitters away on 2 occassions in the 3rd AFTER he had gotten ahead in the count w/ 2 strikes. Where have we seen that before?

- Yanks did have a few chances and squandered them. 3 hits in the 3rd w/ the mashers coming up only yielded 1 run. The very next inning, the first 2 batters reach only to see Melky fan on a 3-2 fastball down the middle (it happens) and Cano subsequently (and unforgivably) getting picked off first. Rallies? What rallies???

- Where's Fasano? Trust me, I'm not pining for him but Jorge needs to rest. Why didn't Fasano get a start in any of these games?

- Gotta tip hat to Washburn. The Yanks let him off the hook in the 4th and, just like you can't give offenses 2nd chances in the form of errors, you can't give a good pitcher 2nd chances by running into outs. But he befuddled Abreu and Giambi all night long. A job well done. Of the Yank's 6 total hits, Damon/Jeter accounted for 4.

- Gotta agree with previous posters. It's disappointing not to take 2 of 3 from a bad team particularly after having the lead in game 1. Sure, I bet they're tired - Jeter has looked absolutely exhausted at times over the past few weeks - but disappointing nevertheless. It also makes you wonder why the schedule gods had them playing a night game on a travel day. Whatever...

- Not looking forward to LAA as they always seem to do a phenomenal job of getting under the Yank's skin.

2006-08-25 08:47:27
38.   choirboyzgirl
Good Morning All,

This is my first post on the board although I have been 'lurking' for a couple of months (usually I just like to read what everyone has to say). I'm another Yankee fan from Michigan....hey I had to have some team to root for, for the past 20 years :). Thought I add my 2 cents today.

26- isn't it refreshing for a manager to stick up for his player and say hey that's not gonna help. I understand the initial booing, he didn't hustle but Casey doesn't do that on a regular basis so chalk that up to a mental mistake...it most likely won't happen again.

YankeeinMichigan- I have to say I like the fact that we don't boo the home players that often...occasionally, I can see that but long run it doesn't usually help.

As for A-Rod what can you say. I'm a huge fan and I can understand people's frustration. He has to be the most patient guy in the world...because if that were me, the fans. media and myself would be having a little mini war by this time (2 months of booing and criticism ~sigh). I also think that maybe the screw you all attitude just won't work for Alex, then he'll be adding more pressure to himself to 'show' everyone. He seems to do his best when he is relax and focus on hitting the ball.

I did like the fact that Joe Torre challenged him in the Anaheim game a couple of weeks ago by having Abreu bunt, knowing that Giambi would be walked. Alex delivered with a sac fly and was just a couple feet way from a Grand Slam. But having him pinch hit last night was a little odd. Considering he was held out of two games with an illness and getting antibiotics. Maybe he was hoping for a home run like he hit Tuesday.

1- I don't think he's faking the illness (if he is it sounds like its a Oscar winning performance) even the media that has raked him over the coals this year seem to think he was really sick. You could also tell in the Boston game Monday that something was wrong....when he got the hit after Abreu's double he made it look like he was stretching his legs but to me it looked like he was going to hurl. I haven't heard him make any excuses for his playing other than a hint at a groin injury causing him to throw differently and that actually makes sense to me mostly because the day before his throwing woes really started he had what may have been his best defensive game of the year making three great plays. One doesn't usually have that good of a game and then come out the next day and say "I can't do this, I can't throw the ball".......... or do they? Only A-Rod knows for sure.

2006-08-25 09:01:20
39.   smingers
I was at the game last night and, while it certainly would have been nice to witness a victory, the truth is that this team has earned a litte slack. They haven't had a day off in a while, have been on the road for seemingly ages and just took 5 of 5 in Boston.

I don't think losing this series says anything about the team's character. They would have won on Tuesday if Proctor and Rivera were available that night. And while last night was by no means their sharpest performance, they could have won that game too if, as Cliff said, they had gotten a couple of breaks.

2006-08-25 09:47:13
40.   mehmattski
Way back on August 7, as we were poised to enter the 21 in 20 stretch, the guys over at RLYW made some predictions for the Yankees. They based their predictions on Pythagorean winning percentage, strength of schedule, etc. They predicted the Yanks would be 79-53 on September 1, and that the Red Sox would be 78-56. The Yanks' current record is 76-50, and so a split of the Angles and Tigers series would put the prediction spot on. Given that, I think it's fair to say that the Yanks have simply met expectations over their tough stretch. Neither the optimism after the Red Sox series nor the pessimism after the Orioles series is justified. The Yankees are playing well enough to win the division. What will happen in a short series versus the Tigers, Twins, or White Sox... that's a different story.
2006-08-25 09:50:13
41.   YankeeInMichigan
38 I agree that Leyland did the right thing in sticking up for Casey and dismissing the play as a fluke. He may have gone a bit far in labeling the Fox reporter's question as "brutal," but managers and coaches have been deflecting their problems on the media for years.

I also agree that booing players for poor performance (such as A-Rod this year) is generally counterproductive. However, I wholeheartedly endorse the Bronx practice of letting a player know when he is being a jerk.

The free pass the Tigers' fans and media (with the exception of Lynne Henning) gave Pudge and his sub-.300 OBP last drove me nuts. When he then blasted his teamates and manager, while arrogantly defending his lack of walks, a good booing should have been in order.

2006-08-25 10:04:35
42.   Dimelo
13 Just read the Bob Ryan piece and it quickly became my favorite read of the month.

Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/o7tql

Sometimes I try and stay away from the game comments because every situation can be made so much more than it really is. I like to think that I'm a baseball fan first and a Yankee fan second. There will always be players we hate, it's what makes rooting against your greatest rival so great and appealing, but there are a lot of players you respect.

When I think of the '04 Red Sox, I think of Bill Mueller, Pedro, Damon, Timlin, Manny, and Papi. I really respected those guys and part of me learned to appreciate what they did. I think we get too nuts with day-to-day analysis. It's why I get annoyed at NoMaas and their stupid 'Torre Losses'. The team has a winning % north of .600 and all you can focus is on the negative. It's indicative of the culture we live in today. I forgot Alex's exact line from the other day, but sometimes we forget why watch these games.

2006-08-25 10:27:47
43.   Zack
I would just like to point out too all of the people who are overly optimistic and calling the season over, or even just chastising some of the doom and gloomers, that the Sox series still remains the only series we have won in the last 5, going back to the White Sox series starting on the 8th. 2 of 3 to the Sox, split 4 with the Angles, 2 of 3 to the O's, swept 5 from the Sox, 2 of 3 to the Ms. I know this is the "tough stretch" but the Yanks are "better" than all but the Sox in that stretch. So, say what you want about things being fine, a hangover from the Sox series, the division all locked up, but until the Yanks actually win a series or two in a row, I don't buy it.
2006-08-25 10:28:26
44.   Zack
And by better than all but the Sox, I meant the White Sox...
2006-08-25 10:42:53
45.   JL25and3
13, 42 Good stuff. I agree, Sliced, it has a lot of relevance to Yankee fandom as well. There's a popular viewpoint (on talk radio and the like, anyway), that the season is a failure if the Yankees don't win a championship. That the team's been going through a bad stretch because they "haven't won" since 2000. That the last couple of years show that Rodriguez isn't "a winning player."

It's an unfortunate viewpoint, and it obscures a lot of the fun of fandom.

2006-08-25 10:48:02
46.   KBT
I was sitting at a bar lastnight when that Casey blunder highlight come up. There was a collective "man, I don't think I've ever seen that before" throughout the whole place. A first ballet Hall of Shame inductee for sure.
2006-08-25 10:49:16
47.   JL25and3
43 I'm also not convinced of the invincibility of the Yankee offense. Their patience is wonderful, and they can pick apart any pitcher who's even a little prone to wildness. They're not a great contact team, though, and pitchers who throw strikes consistently they have trouble (Schilling and Wells, for example).

I still don't think Boston will catch them, but I'm not too sanguine about the playoffs. I'm interested to see how they do in Anaheim.

2006-08-25 10:57:25
48.   Tarheel
3 Questions:

What happened with Casey in the Detroit game last night?

Was Ortiz in fact hospitalized recently?

Is Manny on the DL?

Forgive me, but the only thing I have heard about any of these things is that Manny wasn't in the lineup the last couple of games.

2006-08-25 11:00:33
49.   KBT
48 Casey hit a liner off the glove of the 3rd baseman which dribbled into LF. The LFer charged it, barehanded it and gunned Casey out at first. Casey was jogging to first and paniced at the last second, but to no avail...OUT!
2006-08-25 11:04:39
50.   Sliced Bread
45 Yeah, I've never subscribed to the "if you don't win it all it's a waste" mentality.

Jeter has said pretty much those exact words, and I imagine Steinbrenner has them tattooed inside his eyelids.

I can understand that sentiment coming from the Boss, or the Captain, but I don't understand how fans can truly buy into that thinking.

Going to the games, watching them on TV, listening to the radio, reading, writing about the Yanks -- that's not a waste of time to me. That's fun, and fulfilling. Isn't that why we're all here? (Here meaning Bronx Banter, not Earth)

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-08-25 11:05:16
51.   Dimelo
Here's a thought, the Yanks can lose on any given night where the pitcher is doing things that they didn't anticipate, the Yanks will on most nights because of their patience and ability to take advantage of the situation.

Cano getting picked off and a few other things from last night killed the Yanks chances. Stuff like that happens. Live, learn and move on. I don't like the pitching matchups vs. the Angels...but what can you do?

I have Washburn on my fantasy team and I'm always fascinated by the guy because I always thought he had the potential to be a pretty good pitcher. Last night I thought he was pitching out of his mind.

Again, I'm fascinated at the perception, at least I get that from the comments, that the Yanks should win every game. I thought Washburn pitched a hell of a game.

2006-08-25 11:11:39
52.   JL25and3
50 A lot of Yankee fans have been spoiled by the last ten years and think this is just supposed to happen all the time. Those fans generally weren't fans in 1991 (not to mention 1967).

51 I certainly don't think the Yankees will win every game, and I don't panic over a loss. But I've been thinking for a while that pitchers who throw strikes give them troubles, and they keep confirming my hypothesis.

2006-08-25 11:22:12
53.   standuptriple
51 IIRC, Wash has always given the Yanks fits. I too, thought he's had a ton of potential and thought Safeco would improve his #'s but that hasn't really happened yet. For some reason he turns it up a notch against the Bombers and that, to me, is a sure sign of ability and competitveness that should be admirable. He faced off against some of the best LH-hitting lefties and made them look bad. Giambi has some good looks but went back frustrated. Tip your cap to Washburn. He was solid and didn't get rattled when he got into jams.
What I do like about our chances is the ability to put pressure on up and down in the lineup. In a playoff situation that can be essential to getting to a good pitcher and shortening up the series by forcing the other teams hand. I'd take this lineup into battle against any potential playoff team, but I'm most concerned about a Santana/Liriano MIN team as above-average southpaws seem to be able to control the Yanks.
2006-08-25 11:22:36
54.   Sliced Bread
51 Right on. Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the opposing pitcher, and not blame our bats.

52 Interesting quote from Giambi the NY Post today.

He, of all people, thinks hitters can be too selective, and try to walk too much.

He knows opposing pitchers know the Yanks look for walks, and says "You have to recognize when guys are going to come after you. You don't want to give away a quality first pitch."

The best pitchers, certainly the ones the Yanks will face in October, will go after them.

Still, I have a feeling our long lineup of smart, skilled, and opportunistic hitters, over a long series, can be an exception to the "good pitching beats good hitting" rule. But can our pitchers and gloves give them the chance to win? It's going to be fun.

2006-08-25 11:23:15
55.   Zack
51 No, you have it wrong. The Yankees should win every game against teams that are clearly inferior in every aspect of the game. Like the Mariners. Those are exactlly the teams you beat up on and do, in fact, win every game against, or at least 2 out of 3, so that when you have terrible matchups against the bettter teams like the Angels, its not the end of the world if you drop two of three. See, if we go in and drop two of three now, and the Sox sweep or win the same two of three against the M's, which they could and should do, then all of a sudden we have, what, a 3 game lead again?

As opposed to you, I'm fascinated at the perception, at least I get that from comments like yours, that the Yanks DON"T need to win these games, and its okay for them to drop two of three to the M's, the O's and the rest.

Look at what Steve Lombardi has to say over at waswatching: http://tinyurl.com/q648v

2006-08-25 11:29:31
56.   Zack
I'm sorry, I just don't buy into the crappy pitchers suddenly "stepping it up" against us and our bats just not able to compensate.

This is a team that can, at times, utterly destroy any pitcher, no matter how good or bad, but at other times, look putrid. I think its got a lot less to do with WHO the pitcher is, then with, as per 47, HOW the pitcher pitches, and, perhaps more importantly, whether our bats are on that night.

Its got nothing to do with wanting to win or any of that garbage, I just think that, besides Damon (to an extent), Jeter, and Abreu for the short time he has been with us, our lineup is VERY streaky...

2006-08-25 11:32:01
57.   Zack
Sorry, I didn't mean to come of as aggressive or anything, this whole lack of emotion in typing really can give what you write a negative spin sometimes...
2006-08-25 11:33:34
58.   Travis
Largely meaningless, but Darrell Rasner has been activated from the 15-day DL and reassigned to Columbus.
2006-08-25 11:34:59
59.   standuptriple
55 Actually, the M's aren't all that bad, it's just that the A's have destroyed them all season. It's been amazing to watch. I know you all on the East side probably don't get to see it much, but trust me, it's such a strange phenomenon, those A's. 20 game win streaks, complete season sweep of a division rival. They just have crazy stuff/mojo on that club. It's very different than the go-to-business way of approaching games that the Yanks subscribe to.
2006-08-25 11:55:18
60.   rsmith51
The announcer here in Chicago was saying that the ChiSox HAD to sweep the Royals in the 4 game series in Chicago. The Sox ended up going 2-2, but the Royals are much, much worse than the Mariners.

Not sure what my point was, but sometimes you stomp the teams you are supposed to split with and lose the series to the bad teams. That is baseball.

2006-08-25 11:58:26
61.   Dimelo
55 I agree they are an inferior opponent, but explain this to me? We can sweep the Royals, yet the Royals sweep the Red Sox, we sweep the Red Sox, but the Red Sox can win 2 out of 3 against the Angels. Yet we find ways to split a series or lose a series to the Angels.

I wish it were always so simple as a team just being inferior so the Yanks should always win.

In 1936 Hitler thought that Jesse Owens was an inferior human being and opponent when compared to his German athletes. Sometimes the inferior athletes/teams win.

Not everything translates so simply to the talent on the lineup cards, sometimes you still have to play the games.

I read Steve's piece and I respect him mightily (I post as 'Garcia' there), but I don't agree with his analysis sometimes and this being one of those times. Randy pitched as well as we should expect from him at this point and Washburn pitched better AND he had some luck on his side, Ichiro's play, Cano getting picked off, etc. I get emotional after a loss, but after a while I take a step back and try and look at things rationally.

2006-08-25 11:59:49
62.   standuptriple
I always dread the Yanks West Coast trips (even though that usually means I get to see them). It's never easy, but this year it seemed to be slightly better. It was awesome to see the Yanks on Opening Day, but the OAK to ANA was not kind and I didn't expect it to be. They floundered, but rebounded. They might struggle again, but they can get back on track. Count our blessings that they don't get the A's/Angels (which could have been even more difficult) and they miss Weaver (who's dealing).
2006-08-25 12:03:00
63.   Dimelo
I hate to get all Al Bundy here, but I remember when I played football in NYC and I was on a team that won one city championship there. The one thing I've always remembered from that experience was our team prayer (I'm not religious by any stretch of the imagination) but I remember the last two lines vividly. They went like this:

//If I should lose, let me stand by the road
And cheer as the winners go by.//

In defeat you can look at things you could have done better, but in the end....quite simply...you were beat that day and you have to give the other team their props.

2006-08-25 12:06:07
64.   YankeeInMichigan
49 Not quite. Casey actually took a couple of steps toward the dugout, thinking that Crede had caught the ball. When he heard the fans cheering, he realized that the ball had gone into the outfield, and he turned and sprinted toward first.

The distinction here is that this was not a case of not hustling, but rather a case of not focusing. The former would have been a management concern. The latter can be laughed off.

2006-08-25 12:06:46
65.   mehmattski
55 WARNING: NERD ALERT. I must disagree with you from a mathamatical standpoint. Crunching some numbers really really quickly, I've come up with a probability that a .600 team (the Yanks) will defeat a .450 team (the Ms) on any given night. I put that number at roughly 67%. Given that, and the assumption that each game in a series has an independent probability then the chances of the four possible results are:
Yanks sweep: 44%
Yanks win 2: 30%
Yanks win 1: 22%
Ms sweep: 4%

So from a probability standpoint, it is incorrect to say that a team should win every game against an inferior team. It would be more correct to assume (with 96% certainty) that the Yankees should win at least one game against the Mariners, which is what they did. I agree with Dimelo that there are so many factors going into a baseball game that expecting a particular team to prevail will lead to disappointment, in this case 1/3 of the time. If, on the other hand, you take a longer view that "bad breaks" against bad teams will be evened out by a similar number of "lucky breaks" against good teams, then losing 2 of 3 to a .450 team will be balanced by, say, sweeping a .560 team in a five game series.

2006-08-25 12:07:19
66.   JL25and3
61 Jesse Owens and Hitler???

Never mind Al Bundy, I think you've gone all Michael Kay on us.

2006-08-25 12:09:09
67.   JL25and3
64 74% probability that the Yankees win 2 out of 3. They "should" do that.
2006-08-25 12:17:04
68.   C2Coke
Just a thought, but perhaps going back to read the posts from 3 to 5 days ago may help ease the mood of some here.

Losing all the series on the road so far except one may not be pretty, yet I don't think there was any lost game due to lack of effort (to my recollection, there seemed to be more than a few last year). Yes, there was yet another Arod-striking-out-at-the-end episode, but if anyone looked closely enough, that was one ill man on the plate.

2006-08-25 12:20:32
69.   Zack
I'm not particularly despondent, what is happening is just what I sort of knew would happen. I just hate these kinds of series. It would just be nice to pile on some more games in the lead rather than lose them as we approach our next Beantown series...
2006-08-25 12:20:50
70.   mehmattski
67 I was copying Zack's language, but I think this is a matter of semantics, and your definition of "should." In a mathematical sense, we say something should occur, or that a result is meaningful if it has a confidence of more than 95%. Since the confidence of winning at least two games is only 74%, we can't expect it, there is some margin for error. If I were to do 1000 runs of 100 game series between a .600 team and a .450 team, the Yankees would win 67% of the time with maybe a +/- 1% error. If I did 1000 runs of 3 game series, the error margin would be much higher. But people like tommyl and Travis should be running these tests, I'm not quite that sophisticated.
2006-08-25 12:31:18
71.   Dimelo
66 I knew someone would use a Michael Kay reference. The word inferior when comparing another team should never be used and I thought there was much of a parallel there with the '36 olympic games vs. Kay's usage.
2006-08-25 12:35:08
72.   Shaun P
55 The two worst teams in baseball are the Royals and the Devil Rays. The Yanks play KC 3 more times and TB 7 more times. If "the Yanks should destroy clearly inferior teams", that's a 10-0 record in those 10 games.

Other "clearly inferior" teams the Yanks play in Sept: Toronto for 6 games, Baltimore for 7. Neither is as bad as KC/TB, so let's say the Yanks lose 1 game in each of those series and still win each, the minimum criteria for when the Yanks play such teams = 2-1, 2-1, 3-1, 2-1 = 9-4, 19-4 total.

The Twins are not "clearly inferior" to the Yanks when Santana pitches (or Liriano), but probably are if its Carlos Silva on the mound. The Yanks always play the Twins well, so let's call that 3-game series 2-1 for the Yanks = 21-5.

The other 10 games of the year are 3 vs LAA, 3 vs DET, and 4 vs BOS. Let's say the Yanks split those right down the middle (5-5) = 26-10.

FYI, going 26-10 down the stretch is a .722 winning percentage. That's '98 Yanks territory and with guys getting rested etc, there's likely no way in hell it happens.

If the Yanks instead play .556 ball the rest of the way (20-16), a little worse than they're playing now but more in the realm of the possible, they'll finish with a 96-66 record. I'm willing to bet that guarantees the division title.

And that's why I am not worried when the Yanks lose 2 out of 3 to a "clearly inferior team" like Seattle.

2006-08-25 12:36:41
73.   Zack
Look, I know that the statistics and probability don't necessarily "prove" that the Yankees "should" win 2 out of 3 from the Ms, but it comes down to the fact that this is a .450 against a .650 team, and not only that, but a .650 team with a roster that not only easily outclasses that o the .450 team, but does so by a uge margin. And I also know that this type of series has been pretty common for the Yanks of the last few years, in fact, looking at 19, this team is so similar to all of those other teams.

I'm not demanding that the Yanks win every game, and I don't consider it a failure if they don't win it all, hardly. But, on the other hand, I do get annoyed when the team loses games it ought to win, which then puts it in even worse situations, such as this coming series.

I dunno, I mean, look at 59. If the A's are so capable of clearly playing way over their heads, is it too much to ask the Yanks to play AT their level?

2006-08-25 12:38:14
74.   Shaun P
73 And of course Zack, I don't mean to sound negative or anything bad anymore than you did. No way around that unless Ken devises a way to record people's comments in their own voices, and then you can hear them. Which might open its own can of worms!
2006-08-25 12:38:46
75.   Zack
I don't see it asking too much for the Yanks to go 26-10 agaqinst the rest of the schedule. Not at all, even resting people.
2006-08-25 12:42:30
76.   Travis
70 Using Bill James' log5 method (http://www.diamond-mind.com/articles/playoff2002.htm), a .600 team should beat a .450 team about 64.7% of the time. But, the Yankees weren't really a .600 team, and the Mariners weren't a .450 team:

1. The Mariners were playing at home, where they were 31-29 (.517) going into the series.

2. The Yankees were playing on the road, where they were 36-25 (.590) going into the series.

3. Seattle was coming off an 11-game losing streak, all on the road. I don't know if we should correct for this or not.

4. The Yankees were coming off an exhausting series, and had to fly cross-country the day before. To rest, the Yankees pitched a rookie making his major league debut in Game 1 of the series, held out crucial bullpen members, and started Nick Green (a .200 hitter) in all 3 games.

Taking all that into account, I'd say the Yankees had no better than a 57% chance of winning a given game in this series, and taking 1 out of 3 was not favored, but reasonable. Keep in mind that the Yankees outscored the Mariners in the series, losing games by 1 and 2 runs.

2006-08-25 12:42:42
77.   JL25and3
71 The Mariners are an inferior team to the Yankees, just as the Yankees are a superior team to the Mariners. They're not better people, just better ballplayers, and those are perfectly good words to use in describing that.
2006-08-25 12:46:56
78.   Sandman42
The Yankees are 32-19 against teams who currently have sub .500 records. I don't have an historical perspective. Is this bad?
2006-08-25 12:53:49
79.   Travis
76 Following up:

Using the method described in the linked article, the Yankees' chances of winning a given number of games in a 3-game series, assuming a 64.7% chance of winning a given game:

0: 4.4%
1: 24.2%
2: 44.3%
3: 27.1%

Assuming a 57.3% chance:

0: 7.8%
1: 31.3%
2: 42.1%
3: 18.9%

2006-08-25 13:01:53
80.   Zack
78 That makes for a .594 winning %, which is actually worse than their overall #s...But still, its not bad.

And before we get too far down the road of this one argument, I originally included it within the larger point that based on the last 5 series, the Red Sox series seems way out of place. They were playing uninspired ball before, and played uninspired ball after. Heck, if they take 2 of 3 from the Angels, then I say, fine, the Ms series was just a result of the hangover etc. But if they drop 2 of 3, well thats 5 out of the last 6 series that the Yanks haven't won, and that ain't good, sweep or no sweep...

2006-08-25 13:07:37
81.   Sliced Bread
It might be trite, or overly simplistic, but think of the baseball season as a long flight.

Are you a cranky passenger? Restless, frustrated, annoyed. "This food sucks. That brat won't stop crying. You call this a pillow? When is this fuc*ing thing going to land already?"

Are you a fearful passenger? "Did the engine fall off? Are we out of gas? We're gonna crash and burn!"

Are you a curious passenger? "Exactly how fast are we going? What is our altitude? Is the wind current with or against us? What's our rate of fuel consumption?"

Are you a content passenger? "Everything's fine. Got my peanuts, cool beverage, mediocre movie? Yes, please."

I think most of us Bronx Banterers fall into the final two categories, curious and content, but we all have our cranky and fearful moments.

It's remarkable how many more cranky and fearful "passengers" you encounter at the other Yankees sites, and not just during the games, and not just after losses.

Thanks for setting the curious, and content tone Alex, and Cliff.

2006-08-25 13:08:17
82.   Dimelo
77 I agree, but I was making a point that Hitler thought that Owens was not only an inferior human being but an inferior athlete if you can't distinguish between the two and apply logic to the term being used with the Seattle Mariners then I can't help you anymore. So, given that track & field is not a team sport but an individual sport the same logic applies -- the inferior athlete aspect of it. Just cause someone might think that someone is inferior then that doesn't necessarily mean they should automatically win. Or that thinking they are inferior is the right judgement, hence Hitler's miscalculations. And Zack's with the Mariners.

My point being, after it has been beaten to death, is that in professional sports there are teams that have better records but I don't think inferior teams exist. Are there badly run teams? Yes. Badly managed teams? Yes. Badly managed games? Yes. I'm sure for some every game Torre manages is a badly managed game. Being in professional sports, by sheer virtue of the diffucult nature of becoming a professional athlete, the weeding out process takes care of getting rid of the inferior athletes. If I there were 9 of me playing on the Mariners last night then that would be considered an inferior team.

2006-08-25 13:12:19
83.   JL25and3
Somewhere, this discussion went very far awry.

The argument based on statistical analysis and probability is a very difficult one to make, because it involves a slew of assumptions that don't hold - things like random distribution and independent trials. As 76 points out, you can't properly assume that one team is "a .600 team" and the other "a .450 team." And I think you just scraped the surface with home, road and exhaustion. Johnson pitching. Washburn pitching. On grass. At night. ARod out. Bullpen availability. And more, and more. (If you're going to correct for an 11-game losing streak, it would be to figure that the M's are "really" worse than .450, not to figure they're "due.")

Besides, I think it misses the point. It started with a simple observation - that, overall, the Yankee should be able to beat up on the lousy teams. It may have been stated a little strongly - "have to win" - and no one's seriously suggesting that the Yankees should win every game against any given team.

But before I decide they're a powerhouse, I'd like to see them look like one consistently. They're a good team that's going to win the division, but they didn't look like a powerhouse for a week or two before Boston; I'd like to see them keep it up.

2006-08-25 13:13:53
84.   JL25and3
82 You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
2006-08-25 13:15:41
85.   bp1
81 Here here, Sliced. This is a refreshing community. Very few people with their fingers poised over the panic button, eyes darting side to side looking for an excuse to clamp down.

Good dialog. Intelligent banter (sorry - the word just fits). A good bunch-a-joes.

The occasional whine or complaint can be forgiven, as we all have those from time to time, especially after a tough loss when the team looks flat.

Glad we don't have many people picking apart a .600 winning percentage to see if that's good or bad.

It's good.

2006-08-25 13:17:27
86.   Dimelo
84 So school me?
2006-08-25 13:18:59
87.   Travis
82 "Inferior athletes" compared to whom? The general population? Hell no.

But even within the population of professional athletes, there are players who are more athletic/skilled than others. (Intentionally staying away from baseball) Is 100th ranked tennis player an inferior athlete than Roger Federer? Is Damon Jones an inferior athlete than Dwayne Wade? Both are professionals, but I don't think you'd find many people arguing that they're equivalent athletes.

2006-08-25 13:21:31
88.   mehmattski
76 Thanks, I was about to get in over my head in things statistical. I can't get your link to work but from the RLYW archive I remember the formula for log5... I wonder what it would be using Pythagorean Winning percentage. Right now the Yanks Pythag Win Pct is .582, which works out to 73-53, three games behind the actual Win Pct (.603, 76-50)... In fact, all of the contending playoff teams have worse records than their Pythag WPct predicts. If I had to guess, I would imagine that its because the good teams have a way of eeking out close games over bad teams (due to superior bullpens, for example).
2006-08-25 13:23:50
89.   JL25and3
Superior = better. Inferior = worse. That's all.

Hitler believed that blacks were an inferior race, and that Jesse Owens was therefore and inferior person, and in turn that he was an inferior athlete. The primary assumption was of racial superiority; lesser athletic skill just followed from that.

The Mariners are an inferior team to the Yankees just because they don't play baseball as well. That's it. That's all it means.

2006-08-25 13:24:54
90.   mehmattski
81 Excellent analogy, in a world where many don't understand how to make them properly (see: Kay, Michael).

I guess that makes me the passenger who keeps telling the fearful ones that it is impossible for a plane to simply "fall out of the sky," using physics concepts. Strangely, this approach doesn't seem to comfort people much.

2006-08-25 13:29:15
91.   Travis
88 ESPN.com has the Yankees' Pythagorean record as 74-52, but it's probably a rounding difference.

I'm sure someone's done a study on this, but bullpens and bullpen management must play a large role in differences between actual and Pythagorean records.

FWIW, here are the ESPN expanded standings:

http://tinyurl.com/j5r9f

And here are teams sorted by bullpen ERA:
http://tinyurl.com/fgemv

Cleveland is 11(!) games under their Pythag record.

2006-08-25 13:34:26
92.   Dimelo
89 I'm not going to argue the merits of Hitler's beliefs, it's too hard for you or I to ever speak on that with 100% accuracy. How it all translates is still the same in my book and we can choose to disagree there.

I think there's too much athletic talent at the professional level to ever consider a team/player inferior. There are better players when compared to others, but they aren't inferior. I knew kids in college that had a 2.2 GPA and are doing more exciting stuff than I ever imagined and I had a much better GPA. Since I did better than them in school should I have considered them 'inferior'? Once you get to a certain level, then the difference is not that great to ever consider anyone or a team inferior. Despite how the team as a whole fields, bats and run the bases.

I'm sure you'd say Womack is inferior to Jeter, then in that case I'm inferior to Womack. Womack's talent are closer to Jeter's than mine are to Womack's. To have played professional baseball, football, soccer, hockey, basketball, etc, means you are far superior than the average joe walking the street but you are not inferior to your peers at the professional level. It's all relative and we can think of it differently.

2006-08-25 13:40:59
93.   Travis
88 Take off the parentheses at the beginning and end, and the link should work.

91 I meant to add this: starters' ERAs. If the starters are much better than the bullpen or vice versa, I'd expect some Pythagorean differences.

http://tinyurl.com/kcg6l

2006-08-25 13:48:04
94.   randym77
I think A-Rod was really sick:

http://tinyurl.com/s3qd5

IMO, Joe should have made him rest in the hotel another night.

2006-08-25 13:50:30
95.   mehmattski
93 I got a win pct of .58227, which works out to 73.4 and 51.6, so it is rounding.

What differences would you expect, in particular? I'm not sure I see the connection between starter/bullpen ERA difference and RS/RA overall.

The Yanks are 10th in Reliever ERA and 11th in Starter ERA, but the former is half a run lower. Of course, ERA doesn't take into account unearned runs, which definitely count in the standings. They don't have Run Average listed, but just from the ranks, the Yankees starters are ranked much higher in fewest runs allowed than their bullpen.

2006-08-25 13:58:37
96.   Travis
95 Two things off the top of my head:

1. Dividing the bullpen into the "good bullpen" and the "bad bullpen," and almost exclusively using one or the other depending on whether the team is ahead or behind. All teams do this with their closers, but Torre seems to do it with the entire bullpen, every year. This would lead to lots of close wins and some blowout losses when Scott Erickson/Felix Heredia/etc. gets bombed.

2. Walk-off losses. It's hard to lose by more than 1 run when your last pitcher blows the game.

2006-08-25 14:03:43
97.   standuptriple
One thing that often gets left out in this discussion is that playing (and defeating) the Yankees is something teams step up for and the variables associated with that are hard to assign values to, but anyone who watches the games closely knows that teams do not wilt at the sight of the Yankees and, if anything, give extra effort.
2006-08-25 14:14:49
98.   Zack
I'm staying out of the "inferiority" debate, even though I suppose I started it. Would "worse" team work better? "Less baseball skilled," perhaps?

90 Ah yes, but planes DO fall out of the sky, just not for no reason at all. LOTS of things make planes fall out of the sky, and thats what makes it so scary. Sure, Physics can tell me that there is a so and so miniscule percent chance that something bad will happen, and that nothing will go wrong if all factors are normal, but, of course, all factors aren't always normal, and physics can only account for perfect situations. It can't account for everything else. I'm not a fearful passanger, but I also don't get reassurance just because physics tells me something won't happen (Can you tell I am a humanities person?)

Wait, what were we talking about again? Ah yes, the Yankees! To me, I look at the #'s and see the games before and after the Yanks series and that tells me something ain't quite right. So, let's win tonight!

2006-08-25 14:16:06
99.   Zack
On another note, sure wish I could watch the Jets-Giants game tonight. I know its preseason, but its still fun!
2006-08-25 14:21:05
100.   Dimelo
98 Yes let's win tonight. Especially since I think the Angels are in fact 'inferior' to an Evil Empire.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-08-25 14:34:56
101.   Travis
FWIW, I've uploaded a tiny Excel spreadsheet that lets you calculate the odds for a given series here:

http://tinyurl.com/h6h3x

2006-08-25 15:09:22
102.   JL25and3
92 I take it for granted that any judgment we might make about a player are meant only within the universe of major leaguers. If I say that Jason Giambi is a poor first baseman, or that Randy Johnson can't hit, or that Tony Womack out and out sucks, I mean in comparison to other MLB players. In relation to the world at large, Giambi isn't just one of the greatest first basemen, he's one of the greatest shortstops or center fielders as well.

But I gather that you take "inferior" to denote global, personal inferiority in pretty much any context. I'm not sure why that's so, but at least I understand that it is.

2006-08-25 15:49:02
103.   weeping for brunnhilde
89 More precisely (forgive the pedantry), etymologically, superior means above while inferior means below.

Just to throw my two cents in, not that it contributes anything meaningful.

2006-08-25 15:52:02
104.   weeping for brunnhilde
102 Ha ha ha ah ahah!!

That's gotta be about the funniest image I've seen in a long time.

Can you imagine seeing him at either of those positions?

There should be some kind of official turn-around day, maybe like the first or last day of spring training, where players are assigned to the positions they're least suited to play.

2006-08-25 16:01:12
105.   weeping for brunnhilde
A propos of absolutely nothing, I think save situations are about the dumbest aspect of baseball today, apart from the DH, of course.

Last night I was watching the Mets and--I don't actually remember the situation, I was only half watching--but the issue was whether the Mets' lead would be 3 or 4, which of course was the sole factor to determine whether or not Wagner would come in.

I know this is standard procedure and I'm not saying anything no one's said before, but for some reason, at that moment, the whole idea of the save situation just seemed patently absurd to me.

Three runs in one inning isn't a safe lead but four is? Your ace is the only guy who can be trusted to get three outs before they get three runs?

I know, I know, I'm old school, but the very idea that you have to use your best guy to protect a three-run lead for one inning is just ridiculous.

Oh, the reason it occurred to me is because Gary Cohen said something like, "Well, now that it's no longer a save situation, Wagner will sit down." Is it just me, or is that a preposterously arbitrary way to determine how to use your pitching staff?

Also, I think it's time to raise the mound back up.

/rant.

2006-08-25 16:14:22
106.   Travis
105 The Mets scored 1 in the bottom of the 8th to take a 4 run lead. I was annoyed, but only because Wagner is on my fantasy team, and I need all the points possible.

It's not good whenever a manager letting a stat determine his bullpen usage and not the other way around. See also (1) not using the closer in a tie game on the road and (2) letting a starter struggle through the 5th inning in a crucial game (something Torre, to his credit, didn't do in Game 4 of the 2000 World Series).

Raising the mound is not the answer to the perceived problem of too much offense, unless you want to see more strikeouts.

2006-08-25 16:16:36
107.   rilkefan
104 - in high-level chess, there's a huge knowledge base about good initial moves - sometimes twenty or more moves per side are rattled off before leaving "book". One suggestion aimed at making things fresh is to scramble the starting positions of the pieces on the board each game. Imagine that in baseball - the players would really have to check the lineup...
2006-08-25 16:28:04
108.   randym77
The Clippers game is starting. The one Pavano is pitching.

You can listen to the radio broadcast online here:

http://tinyurl.com/ronke

It's free.

2006-08-25 16:36:32
109.   JL25and3
108 Thanks, that's great!

105, 106 That's the only case I know of where everyday game strategy is dictated entirely by a statistic. In addition to the situations you mention, Travis, there's this one: seventh inning, tie game, two men on, none out, Manny coming up...and you bring in maybe your third best reliever.

2006-08-25 16:41:37
110.   weeping for brunnhilde
107 Yeah, actually, I've had the thought before, what if baseball were like vollyeball?

Every position rotates, I don't know, say by batter, or inning or even game? INcluding (and this is the fun part) pitcher.

106 You got me, Travis, how 'bout raise the mound and scratch the DH in one fell swoop?

;)

2006-08-25 16:49:00
111.   weeping for brunnhilde
You know who I love?

Hernandez. He's by far my favorite color guy on the air, probably the best I've ever hard.

He's just so authentic, so sincere, and he's got a very quirky sense of humor, almost like someone you'd expect to hear on college radio.

Plus of course, he not only knows his baseball, but treats it with great respect.

I love the way he gets scoldy when guys fail to do the fundamentals, or when he'll just say incredulously, "I don't know why he swung at that, that was a terrible at-bat."

If anyone's not checked him out on the Mets broadcasts, I'd strongly encourage it, he's a real treat, the kind of guy you'd never hear at a place like espn or even YES, although I think Leiter, O'Neill and Kay have really settled into a nice rhythm.

2006-08-25 16:56:43
112.   Travis
111 I agree completely about Hernandez. His book on how to watch a baseball game is a worthwhile read if you haven't done so already.

Also, I think Gary Cohen does a nice job setting up Hernandez and then getting out of the way. In general, intelligent color guys (I'd include Orel Hershiser and Tony Gwynn) work best with that kind of old school play-by-play man, and are wasted with the FOX breed (Joe Buck, Matt Vasgersian).

2006-08-25 17:01:47
113.   weeping for brunnhilde
112 Thanks for the tip, Travis, I'll keep it in the back of my head for my summer reading list, which is the only time I get to read for pleasure and love reading about baseball then.

The Beatles also.

Cheers.

2006-08-25 17:04:11
114.   randym77
Lineup has been posted:

Johnny Damon CF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Jason Giambi DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Aaron Guiel 1B
Melky Cabrera LF

Jaret Wright RHP

Guiel is starting. At 1B!

2006-08-25 17:08:01
115.   weeping for brunnhilde
The other thing about Keith?

He's a ham who knows he's a ham and is comfortable being a ham, which I find endearing. But he's a very different sort of ham than Sterling, whom I don't hate as much as a lot of people, but I do wish we were a little --ok, a lot--subtler about his hamminess.

Keith's a subtle kind of ham.

2006-08-25 17:18:18
116.   Travis
115 I could take Sterling's hamminess, if he were accurate and detailed in calling the game. Unfortunately, he's neither.

Also, I forgot Steve Stone in the list of intelligent color men.

2006-08-25 17:23:17
117.   weeping for brunnhilde
116 This conversation just made me think of a strange irony: why is it that the Yankees, of all teams, the road-grey, pinstriped General Motors of baseball teams, should have developed a tradition of hokey homerism a la Allen, Rizzuto and Sterling?

Whereas the Mets, with all the down-home, loosey goosey feel of their ballpark and their team, should have such a more solid team of broadcasters?

Kind of funny, that, no?

2006-08-25 17:27:32
118.   JL25and3
I really liked the Singleton-Murcer team on YES the last few days. Singleton's intelligent, articulate, accurate and relevant; Murcer's got an aw-shucks style, but he doesn't overdo it. They don't step on each other, don't try to one-up each other. When they talk about finer points they make sense and don't try to beat their own drums.

I thought Singleton did a superb job when he had to do the Baltimore game alone.

Murcer's improved a lot since he started. My favorite Murcerism from then was, " I wish I'd'a switched-hit."

2006-08-25 17:27:58
119.   Travis
117 Yeah, but the Mets' TV team was awful for the last 10 years plus, with Fran Healy, a clearly aging Ralph Kiner, and a bunch of different play-by-play guys.
2006-08-25 17:29:25
120.   Travis
118 MLB.tv has had the other team's broadcast for the last week, so I haven't seen that YES team. Was Kay there?
2006-08-25 17:37:05
121.   weeping for brunnhilde
120 Negative. Kay's been MIA.

118 I agree, I'm warming up to Murcer and Singleton. They're fine, but to me they don't quite reach that next level of being compelling.

2006-08-25 17:38:02
122.   randym77
No, it was just Singleton/Murcer. It's going to be Singleton/Murcer again for the Angels series.

Except for the dreaded Fox game, of course.

2006-08-25 17:43:00
123.   Travis
121 Has Key been there since his no-hitter remarks? I wouldn't be upset to see him gone permanently.

I agree with your opinion on Murcer and Singleton.

2006-08-25 17:44:51
124.   randym77
And here's the Halos:

Chone Figgins CF
Maicer Izturis 3B
Vladimir Guerrero RF
Garret Anderson DH
Juan Rivera LF
Howie Kendrick 1B
Adam Kennedy 2B
Jose Molina C
Erick Aybar SS

John Lackey RHP

2006-08-25 17:45:51
125.   randym77
123 He's been around. He'll rejoin the team for the Detroit series. I suspect he's just on vacation. It's that time of year.
2006-08-25 17:47:29
126.   weeping for brunnhilde
123 Oh, please do tell, Travis, I apparently have totally missed this. What'd he say?

Also, on the topic of broadcasts, I really wish they'd use different camera angles on a more regular basis.

As it stands, they'll randomly use a new angle--like from behind the plate, or just above it, or they'll show you the whole field--for like one pitch, and then back to the same old center field cam.

I really wish they'd mix it up a little bit more. It's great to see the ball coming from the point-of-view of the batter, or to just see the whole field for a little while, especially on fly balls.

It's really hard to appreciate good outfielding because you totally miss the trajectory of the ball. You can't tell who gets good jumps and who doesn't, who takes good routes and who doesn't.

Opinions?

2006-08-25 17:55:58
127.   Travis
126 On his radio show, Kay made some idiotic comments regarding baseball announcers "jinxing" no-hitters by mentioning them. He compared baseball etiquette to slavery and Nazi Germany.

For a description:
http://tinyurl.com/s9j9a

To hear it:
http://tinyurl.com/k6nwc

2006-08-25 18:06:43
128.   randym77
126 Agree about showing the whole field, especially with fly balls. That Abreu error the other week...they didn't show him fielding the ball, so I had no idea what he did wrong. All I could see was that it took a long time for the ball to get back to the infield.

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