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And Like That -- Boof! -- He's Gone
2007-04-11 00:28
by Emma Span
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Hey gang, I'll be subbing in as your recapper today. Andy Pettitte followed Carl Pavano's lead (!) last night and gave the Yankees their second quality start of the season, while the offense, true to Cliff's game preview, hurt Twins starter Boof "Boof" Bonser with the long ball: Yankees 10, Twins 1.

The game was actually decided in the first inning, when Derek Jeter singled to right and, after Bobby Abreu flied out, Alex Rodriguez stepped in. I'll let Alex Belth, via stoked in-game email, take it from here:

"Boof started A-Rod with a slider (as he did in his second at bat too) and didn't challenge him with the fastball until the count was full. I was at home saying, "Dude, you're not going to try and get that sh** past A Rod, are you?" Sure enough, he came right into A Rod's kitchen. Yo, A Rod just murdalized that ball. Goddamn, that was awesome."


Yes it was. There's actually some difference of opinion as to what kind of pitch it was that A-Rod destroyed; Tyler Kepner agrees it was a fastball, but John Flaherty called it a slider, and Mike Mussina (per Kim Jones) claimed it was a changeup -- after overhearing A-Rod tell reporters that he himself didn't know. What I can tell you with certainty is that it ended up deep in the left field stands. Rodriguez now has six home runs on the season and a 1.107 slugging percentage; this homer, his 470th, tied him with Manny Ramirez, who is three years older. What's changed since last year? His stance? His strategy? His mental health? I say it's the socks.

Those runs were all Pettitte needed, though he eventually got a lot more. He looked sharp throughout, cruising through six shutout innings, changing speeds and using both sides of the plate. He allowed singles to Punto and Mauer to lead off the fourth, but swiftly worked out of it with a double play on Cuddyer and a groundout from Mourneau... and that was about as tense as things got. If there's anything to quibble about, it's that he could have been more economical, since by the end of the sixth he'd already thrown 96 pitches (60 for strikes); but credit the Twins hitters with some patience there, as well as a knack for irritating two-strike fouls.

The Yankee offense, meanwhile, continued on its path to world domination. Melky Cabrera got his groove back, starting with a single up the middle that plated Cano in the second, and finishing the night 3-for-4 with a nifty running, jumping, twisting catch on a Cuddyer line drive in the eighth. In the fifth, Mientkiewicz and Melky were aboard for a booming Johnny Damon home run, his first of the year. Bonser only made a few significant mistakes, but he paid for all of them, and was removed for a string of Twins relievers of varying efficacy.

Later in the fifth, by the way, Rodriguez was intentionally walked for the first time this season; get used to that.

My favorite Twins reliever by far is "Sideshow Pat" Neshek (nickname via awesome Twins blogger Bat Girl), who has a truly odd, jerky, flailing sidearm delivery; at one point his elbows nearly hit each other behind his back, though I can't explain how they get there. Think of a stork being violently tickled, but with much better control. Baseball Think Factory has the visuals and the breakdown.


In the Yankee seventh Torre turned to Scott Proctor, who, with the variety of reliable (knocking on wood) arms in the pen this year, needs a new nickname – Semiweekly Scott? You guys can come up with something, I'm sure. Proctor didn't have it, though, walking Morneau and Hunter to lead off the inning, despite being staked to a then-six-run lead. He did manage two fly-ball outs, but after a broken-bat Jason Kubel single gave the Twins their first and only run, Torre called for Vizcaino.

Finally, Mariano Rivera came in to mop up in the ninth. You know, I realize the guy needed to get some work in, but it seems a little unfair to crush a team 10-1 and then trot out Rivera to top it off, doesn't it? Mo dispatched Morneau and Tyner with a combined three pitches, then used unfortunate pinch-hitter Luis Rodriguez as a guinea pig for his new changeup -- which missed badly, high -- before popping him up. So the change isn't quite ready for prime time yet. Alex Rodriguez, though, definitely was.

Comments
2007-04-11 06:47:16
1.   rbj
Gotta say I really like the "me see ball, me hit ball" A-Rod, not the "I must analyze the situation to acertain the most likely possibilty of which pitch will be delivered by the man on the hill" A-Rod.

Was thinking the same thing about Mo in the ninth -- totally unfair. Tee hee.

House money game today?

2007-04-11 06:48:05
2.   JoeInRI
I watched most of the game from a bar and was absorbed in conversations . . . saw ARod swing at that slider in the dirt, but missed his dinger!!

Andy looked like it was '96 again.

2007-04-11 06:56:09
3.   williamnyy23
I wouldn't be too hard on Proctor. The 3-2 pitch to Morneau was clearly strike three. YES had footage of Proctor turning around and saying "Wow", and that anger seemed to affect him in the AB against Hunter (during which Posada went to the mound to calm him Proctor down). What's more, the single that knocked him from the game was a jam shot. It seems as if the Yankee bullpen has gotten so strong that even their bad performances can be construed as encouraging.
2007-04-11 06:57:35
4.   williamnyy23
1 House money games in baseball? Until the division and home field are clinched, how could you even make the suggestion?
2007-04-11 07:00:57
5.   Jim Dean
"Think of a stork being violently tickled, but with much better control"

Goddamn. That's good.

2007-04-11 07:16:54
6.   unmoderated
rondell white is keyser soze.
2007-04-11 07:19:11
7.   Alex Belth
That WAS strike three to Morneau. Pee at the knees. Don't know how the ump missed it. And I think it did rattle Proctor because he wasn't even close to Torii.
2007-04-11 07:26:48
8.   Comrade Al
7 I disagree - that was strike four: the 2-2 pitch was a strike, too.
2007-04-11 07:33:47
9.   Sliced Bread
Were I Shakey The Mohel, I'd watch Bobby Abreu at-bats to calm my pre-bris nerves.

Andy Pettitte does nothing for my wife. She used to find him appealing but thinks he's gone kinda James Spader on her.

Lumpy and Chuckles on the radio love this Doug Mientkiewicz fellow. Ransacking my nighttime cold-relief fogged brain, I can't summon any direct quotes reflecting their profound reverence toward him, but I nodded off under the impression that Doug M. = the '85 Mattingly.

2007-04-11 07:51:36
10.   Rich
4 What he said.

Unfortunately, too often, Torre seems to treat them that way.

2007-04-11 07:57:10
11.   pistolpete
Another 'half-brainer' game, thank you very much.
2007-04-11 08:04:32
12.   RIYank
Hey, check out our EXPW at coolstandings.com this morning. Yeah, I know, small sample size, but it makes me feel a whole lot better about what kind of start we've had.
2007-04-11 08:12:10
13.   mehmattski
3 House money day refers to Joe Torre's tendency to give days off to multiple starters if it's the third game of a series in which the Yankees have already won two games. Since the Yankees have already "won" this series, look for Wil Nieves, Miguel Cairo, and Kevin Thompson to perhaps all make starts tonight.

It seems like an odd way to go about things, giving off days all at once, but it's been a pattern for Torre for years.

2007-04-11 08:20:59
14.   standuptriple
13 And Joe will say, "Well it was a chance to get guy two days off." and "It's a long season." Meanwhile a hungry Twins team wants to salvage something from this series. A sweep would be a major psychological advantage in the seemingly destined playoff meeting.
I'm going to the Fri game and was hoping the Yanks would be working on a nice April W streak...and I hope it spills over to the Sunday game (which I am also attending).
2007-04-11 08:32:14
15.   pistolpete
1 I'd say it's pretty important for Moose to win today - I'd leave the house money in the bank until we get a few more games over .500
2007-04-11 08:33:02
16.   williamnyy23
1 13 Ah...well, if that was a tongue in cheek comment, I do apologize. I can't say I agree with the observation, however. I don't think Torre unnecessarily doles out days off.
2007-04-11 08:40:06
17.   Zack
Efficacy and a stork being violently tickled, that's my kind of recap! Great job Emma, I really like your style (FWIW).

Although I do think we need ot wait a few more weeks before we give up on EDSP's moniker. I mean, clearly this time between outings is affecting his effectiveness (can I even say that in English?), and a return to pitching all the time is jsut what the doctor ordered. Too bad we don't have any double headers coming up...

I would, well, put my money on today being a house money game.

And so much for old Josh phelps even splitting time at 1B, huh?

2007-04-11 08:44:06
18.   RIYank
The House took our money against Baltimore. Now it's time to take it back with a sweep.

Thing is, we have a decent chance of winning even with, say, Nieves and Thompson in the line-up, if Moose is good. And I don't mind Jorge getting every fourth day off either, or anyway I wouldn't if we had a decent BUC.

2007-04-11 08:58:27
19.   williamnyy23
18 Well, maybe there is a better BUC to be had? Chris Coste was demoted by the Phillies and, according to the article linked below, was very down about it. Coincidentally, the Phillies bullpen has been horrendous and the Yankees seem to have a bunch of bullpen-type arms in the minors. Maybe a Veras or Beam could be offered for Coste (we actually kicked this around with Ruiz being the target). Granted, Coste is a 34-year old journeyman minor leaguer, but he did have an OPS+ of 121 last year in the only 200 Abs of his career. I think he'd be a clear upgrade over Will Nieves.

http://www.philly.com/dailynews/sports/20070411_LIFE_STYNX.html

2007-04-11 09:00:21
20.   OldYanksFan
12 He's got the Sox ONLY winning 86 games? I think not.
He's got every team in the NL Central under .500 EXCEPT Houston? If so, no Roger for us.
2007-04-11 09:06:57
21.   mehmattski
20 Well it's all based on a formula, which is based on the number of runs scored and allowed by each team. From those numbers you can calculate what a team is "expected" to win given the numbers of runs they score and allow.

Another formula calculates the odds of a team with one expected winning percentage beating another team with a different expected winning percentage. If you do that for every game the rest of the season, you get a projection of what the final standings would look like if each team continued the level of performance they've shown through 8 games or so. Eight games is not a big enough sample to make accurate predictions with this formula.

I do like, however, that the Nationals (58 runs allowed, 18 scored) have less than a 0.05% chance of making the playoffs, already.

2007-04-11 09:07:50
22.   Mike T
Alex I hope you don't mind, but I am going to add your word, murdalized, to my vocabulary. That word is just too good to pass up.
2007-04-11 09:17:33
23.   rbj
16 Yup, 13 had it. It definitely is too early in the season for off days (except perhaps Jorge, but doesn't Moose like throwing to him vs. Nieves?)

Hopefully we'll be up 10-0 in the sixth, so Damon can get 3 innings off, Melky to center & Cairo to LF.

2007-04-11 09:17:54
24.   JL25and3
Murdalized sounds like it could be from Snagglepuss.
2007-04-11 09:19:56
25.   standuptriple
19 I saw that JD Closser passed thru waivers. He's young and has "upside". I wouldn't have minded picking him up. In the Yanks FO defense it was very late in the spring.
2007-04-11 09:23:11
26.   Alex Belth
"Murdalized" is from Bugs.
2007-04-11 09:23:11
27.   Alex Belth
"Murdalized" is from Bugs.
2007-04-11 09:24:00
28.   yankz
What's changed? He's well rested for games this year. No more up-all-night sleepovers with his BFFs.
2007-04-11 09:39:22
29.   JL25and3
26 27 An even better source. "What an ultramaroon..."
2007-04-11 09:43:51
30.   rbj
Didn't Bugs pronounce it moidalize?
2007-04-11 09:48:06
31.   Bama Yankee
26 27 Deja vu all over again...

http://bronxbanter.baseballtoaster.com/archives/379720.html

Astoria Chris pointed out:
"that should be spelled 'moidalize' according to my trusty Bugs Bunny Dictionary, 3rd Edition."

There was also some BUC debate going on in that thread. Some things never change...

2007-04-11 09:58:56
32.   Shaun P
31 Hey Bama, you aren't in Massachusetts today, are you? I saw a jeep with the license plate "Bama Y" this morning on my way to work. Couldn't tell what state the plate was from, but I figured that there can't be possibly be that many folks who'd have a plate saying "Bama Y".
2007-04-11 10:21:06
33.   Bama Yankee
32 No, that wasn't me. Unfortunately for me, there seems to be other "Bama Yankees" out there. It took me more that a few tries to get a yahoo email that contained Bama Yankee (same problem with gmail). Also, I think there is some dude who uses Bama Yankee as his screen name for several message boards and I don't like what I've read of his posts. He is giving us both a bad name...

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