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Yankees 4, Twins 1
2007-03-14 17:17
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Rumor has it the Twins were at Legends field last night. There was very little evidence of that.

Lineup:

L - Johnny Damon (CF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Jason Giambi (DH)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L - Hideki Matsui (LF)
S - Jorge Posada (C)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
S - Melky Cabrera (RF)
L - Doug Mientkiewicz (1B)

Pitchers: Jeff Karstens, Chase Wright, Scott Proctor, Ron Villone, Chris Britton, Kyle Farnsworth

Subs: Andy Phillips (1B), Angel Chavez (PR/2B), Miguel Cairo (PR/SS), Chris Basak (3B), Todd Pratt (C), Bronson Sardinha (RF), Kevin Reese (PR/CF), Kevin Thompson (LF), Ben Davis (DH)

Opposition: The Twins B-Squad with Joe Mauer, Torii Hunter, and Jason Bartlett

Big Hits: Doubles by Derek Jeter (2 for 3), Hideki Matsui (2 for 3), two by Robinson Cano (2 for 3), the first of which drove in in Matsui to start the scoring, and Jason Giambi (1 for 3), whose two-bagger drove in Damon with the second run. Ben Davis tripled to center to lead off the bottom of the eighth in his only at-bat.

Who Pitched Well?: Karstens was flat out dominating. He was perfect through his first three innings, throwing 22 of 27 pitches for strikes. He allowed a single in the fourth, but that was his only baserunner of the night. He struck out four men and needed just 41 pitches (30 strikes) to get through four innings, and looked as good as those numbers with great location and a lot of Twins swinging and missing at breaking balls and changeups. After the game he told reporters that he's stopped throwing his cut fastball because Mariano Rivera told him it wasn't fooling anyone. Chase Wright pitched two hitless innings, escaping a one-out bases loaded jam (a hit batsman and two errors, one his own) by striking out Glenn Williams and Jason Bartlett. Scott Proctor pitched around a double in the seventh. Kyle Farnsworth pitched around a Chris Basak error in the ninth for the save.

Who Didn't?: Walked one of the two batters he faced (though he struck out the other). Chris Britton, brought on to finish Villone's inning, moved the runner to second on an errant pick-off throw, then gave up an RBI single to Chris Heintz before getting the last two outs.

Slick Plays: Robinson Cano made a nice play ranging in to shallow right on a ball that was a single under Miguel Cairo's glove the other day, then later made a nice throw across his body while ranging toward shortstop to nail Joe Mauer. Alex Rodriguez made a great dive to snag a liner to his right to end the second.

Oopsies: After Chase Wright hit Rondell White with one out in the fifth, Alex Rodriguez flubbed a sinking liner off the bat of Matt LeCroy for an error. On the very next play, Wright flubbed a slow hopping comebacker then made a bad throw to first to load the bases. He then struck out the next two men to strand all three runners. Chris Britton threw a pick-off throw past Andy Phillips at first base in much the same way that Ross Ohlendorf threw one past Mientkiewicz the night before. Chris Basak booted a ball at third base in the ninth.

Ouchies: Wil Nieves threw yesterday and should play in a game this weekend.

Battles: Todd Pratt delivered and RBI single to the opposite field in two at-bats. Ben Davis tripled in his only trip. Andy Phillips hit a weak grounder to third in his second spring at-bat. Chris Britton allowed his inherited runner to score . . . from first base. Jeff Karstens, meanwhile, has pretty much won the battle for sixth starter/long man (9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K). All that remains to be seen is if the Yankees need a sixth starter before someone else overtakes him during the regular season, or if they decide to take a short reliever or extra outfielder north instead of a long man.

Cuts: Phil Hughes, Ross Ohlendorf, Matt DeSalvo, and Chase Wright were reassigned to minor league camp yesterday. Tyler Clippard will pitch in tonight's game and one suspects he'll be reassigned soon after. Hughes says he will focus on improving his changeup in triple-A so that he can feature it along with his fastball and curve, which are both plus pitches. He leaves camp with a 7.71 ERA having allowed 12 baserunners (6 hits, 6 walks) in 4 2/3 innings and struck out just two. Wright was actually the best of the quartet this spring, posting a 1.35 ERA while striking out seven and allowing just two hits in 6 2/3 innings. Of course he did walk five and hit another. DeSalvo, for all of Torre's praise, allowed 11 baserunners in 6 innings and struck out just one. He and Ohlendorf both leave camp with 4.50 ERAs. Ohlendorf allowed 12 baserunners in 6 innings, though most of that damage (5 of the 12 runners) came in his final appearance on Monday.

Notes: Andy Pettitte and Carl Pavano will both pitch against the Phillies on Saturday, with Pettitte pitching the first five innings and Pavano taking the last four. Joe Torre will ask Phillies manager Charlie Manuel to have his team hit in the bottom of the ninth even if they're ahead so that Pavano can get that fourth inning in.

Comments
2007-03-14 23:45:18
1.   rabid stan
Robbie's play on Mauer was really nice, making a pinpoint throw across his body with momentum carrying him to the opposite side of second base.

He probably wouldn't have gotten anyone except Mauer, and maybe if the game counts Mauer runs hard to beat it out, but still a fine play. Fun to watch.

2007-03-15 03:29:53
2.   joejoejoe
Funny hypothetical question on the Yankees MLB.com page:

Q: "If Alex Rodriguez opts out of his contract, do you think Chris Basak, who is doing very well in Spring Training, could man third base if he was asked to switch from shortstop?" -- Jeremiah B., Catawissa, Pa.

A: [your answer here]

2007-03-15 05:23:37
3.   Rich
I just don't get the antipathy toward A-Rod.
2007-03-15 05:49:20
4.   Sliced Bread
Cliff,

As you suggest, it's possible/likely that better options than Karstens will emerge, but I agree he has earned a spot on the team for now.

His control alone makes him a valuable asset, and doesn't he handle lefties well enough to put Villone and Myers out of work? (not that Joe/Cash would choose him instead of them)

Given the uncertainty of Igawa and Pavano at this point, I wouldn't hesitate to bring him north to start the season.

2007-03-15 05:55:54
5.   Knuckles
Someone ask Jeremiah B. from Catawissa, Pa. if he's talking about the Alex Rodriguez who's been putting up OPS+ of 150 since he was 20, and the Chris Basak who just turned 28 and has no big league at-bats.
2007-03-15 06:02:32
6.   Sliced Bread
2 5
re: Jeremiah B.

I never understood a single word he said but I helped him drink his wine.
He always had some mighty fine wine.

2007-03-15 06:03:02
7.   Sliced Bread
6 If ya old enough to know the song.
2007-03-15 06:08:00
8.   Count Zero
2 I think that would be what is known as a "troll"...
2007-03-15 07:11:45
9.   Bama Yankee
6 Sliced, I didn't know you were a high life flyer and a rainbow rider
A straight shootin' son-of-a-gun
2007-03-15 07:16:22
10.   rbj
With the way the rotation is shaping up, and the way the line up is looking, it certainly is Joy to the World.
2007-03-15 07:17:40
11.   Shaun P
The very good control/command on Karstens part shouldn't be too surprising - he's always good BB/9 rates in the minors (generally around 2 or so). Small sample size (42 IP), but that's what he did in the bigs last year too. What worries me is his high flyball rate, and the rate at which he gave up home runs in the majors last year. Maybe with an uptick in his control/command, the home run rates will drop.

B-R.com says Karstens throw 64% of his pitches last year in the bigs for strikes, which I'll also take as a good sign.

2007-03-15 07:25:21
12.   jkay
Yankees magic number is 163.

http://www.yankeesmagicnumber.com/

2007-03-15 07:30:09
13.   Sliced Bread
11 Yeah, he's always been a control freak, but he has to find his Wang'esque sinker mojo again.

Come to think of it, "Wang'esque Sinker Mojo" would be a kinda cool name for a race horse.

2007-03-15 07:39:44
14.   wsporter
7 Jeremiah, it's troll comments like that that make me want to head north to Alaska and experience the real Three Dog Night.
2007-03-15 08:12:10
15.   Jim Dean
The Goldman has more or less a transcript on Cashman's interview:

http://tinyurl.com/22ae8k

It's better to listen to, but this is a good summary.

It's just too bad Mad Dog didn't do a Lidle on Minky (now 1 for 19!)

2007-03-15 09:09:52
16.   JL25and3
A couple of questions:

1. Where does Ben Davis have to hit a ball - and how many outfielders have to fall down - in order for him to get a triple?

2. How did Mark Christopher Davis come to be called Ben, anyway?

Sliced, thanks for getting that horrible song - by that horrible group - stuck in my head.

2007-03-15 09:15:44
17.   JL25and3
Bill Madden today had a pretty impressive bit of irrational ARod hatred: http://tinyurl.com/2w3mk9
2007-03-15 09:19:29
18.   Chyll Will
14 I spent the better part of my days wondering why they had us singing that song in Sunday School...

Anyway, I suggest we all make a special Bronx Banter bumrush um, "trip" to Catwhistle, Pa and teach the local fauna a lesson about hypothetical questions. Knuckles, Bama, Rabid Stan, joejoejoe (and anyone else with really aggressive names), are you game for a one-and-done?

(sign-up sheet below)

2007-03-15 09:43:30
19.   Cliff Corcoran
16 Davis hit the ball the the center righ center field gap. Center fielder Dennis Span ran back toward the gap and dove and just missed it. The ball then rolled the the wall as Span scrambled to his feet to recover. Davis, meanwhile, rumbled and stumbled around second and attempted a head-first hook slide at third that wound up being more of a face plant in the dirt. It weren't pretty, but it was a triple.
2007-03-15 09:43:52
20.   Chyll Will
16 JL, please sign up. We need you to teach them the true value of hypotheticals.

On a somewhat ironic note, if you hum "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)", you'll likely banish the other song from your mind pretty quickly...

2007-03-15 10:03:54
21.   Bama Yankee
16 Here's the name story:

"My father wanted to name me 'Ben' after my grandfather," Davis said. "My mother wanted to name me Mark Christopher. My mother won, but my dad called me Ben, and since about the age of 2, everybody has."

Well, almost everybody.

"My aunt and my uncle still call me Mark," Davis said. "And my mother does, when she's mad at me. But she hasn't been mad at me much since I moved out on my own."

2007-03-15 10:33:13
22.   hoppystone
Three Dog Night has a pretty bad rep, but in retrospect those records are better than you might remember. They recorded some dross, to be sure, but who didn't back in those days? "Eli's Coming" is a kick-ass record by any standard; Cory Wells was a criminally underrated singer; Hal Blaine and the 'Wrecking Crew" all over those rhythm tracks. Spin those again if you haven't heard them in a while, and you'll find they're pretty darn good pop records after all.
2007-03-15 10:50:09
23.   Bama Yankee
18 I'm in. We could start by asking Mr. Bullfrog what the world would be like if there were no hypothetical questions. Then we could move on to the following:
Why is lemonade made with artificial ingredients but oven cleaner is made with real lemons?
When sign makers go on strike, is anything written on their picket signs?
Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?
How does a shelf salesman keep his store from looking empty?
How much deeper would the oceans be if sponges didn't live there?
Of course we have to ask him:
Who is Karim Garcia?

If none of this works, we can just take Karim with us and tell him that Mr. Bullfrog is a Boston bullpen attendant (Bullfrog... bullpen, Karim will believe it).

2007-03-15 10:56:00
24.   Max Nomad
Karstens was really great, and had great control until the 4th, when he gave up a hit and the control seemed a bit off (struck out Mr. Torii "All-or-nothing, no walks" Hunter to end the inning and his outing). Posada wa talkin about hisimproved velocity, maybe all those homers he gives up will be less? Both he and Wright showed really nasty changeups; they look like similar kind of control-type pitchers.

Since when does A-rod wear the high socks? Sweet diving catch in the 2nd. Cano, too, in the 4th (great underhand throw).

Watched Cano swing at yet another 2-0 pitch. I guess it's spring training, so a lot of guys do that, lookin for fastballs and all (though Cano did it all last season). He's smokin' the ball, anyway. I remember when Wade Boggs joined the Yanks and Mattingly asked, "How do you walk 100 times a season?", and Boggs said, "Take the 2-0." Giambi and Abreu tend to, A-rod most of the time, and they all walk plenty.

Silva is terrible.

Nice base-running play by Matsui; got caught in a rundown in the 3rd to end it, but obviously did so on purpose so Giambi would be guaranteed to score.

2007-03-15 11:29:17
25.   JL25and3
20, 22 I had a high school roommate who had the single of Mama Told Me (Not To Come). He really, really liked it. I like it a little better since I found out it's a Randy Newman song, and I can listen to his version of it - but not theirs.

Maybe they're better than I remember. That's not saying a lot, even if Eli's Coming is listenable. On the other hand, of all the inane bits of rock philosophy - and they get amazingly inane - I'd say this is the worst:

"One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do. Two can be as bad as one. It's the loneliest number since the number one."

2007-03-15 12:21:02
26.   hoppystone
25. You can blame Harry Nillson for that one...
2007-03-15 12:44:37
27.   Count Zero
I have my own hypothetical question for the day thanks to Dan Patrick and his spectacularly lame interviews:

Barring all politicians (living and dead) -- who is a bigger liar than Pete Rose? Is it even possible to be a bigger liar than Pete Rose?

I swear...that man doesn't even know when he's lying anymore. Whatever he says instantly becomes the truth in his own mind even if it contradicts something he said at an earlier date. I hope he NEVER gets inducted -- it would be a slap in the face to every other inductee.

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