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Easy Peasy, Pt. II
2007-04-18 19:43
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

One night after beating the Indians 10-3 on a cold, rainy, sparsely attended night at the Stadium, the Yankees beat the Indians 9-2 on a cold, rainy, sparsely attended night at the Stadium.

The Yankees jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when a leadoff walk to Johnny Damon came around to score on a Derek Jeter double and a Bobby Abreu sac fly. Kei Igawa, meanwhile, looked sharp early, getting ahead of hitters and allowing only a Travis Hafner single in the first two frames.

Most of the scoring occurred in the third inning. Igawa started off the third by ringing up Josh Barfield for his third strikeout of the game, but Kelly Shoppach followed with a double to right and Igawa's 0-2 pitch to Grady Sizemore slipped out of his hand and plunked Sizemore in the tuchus. Igawa got ahead of Jason Michaels as well, but Michaels singled to plate Shoppach on the 0-2 pitch. Again, Igawa got ahead of Travis Hafner 0-2, but his next pitch was in the dirt and rolled away from Jorge Posada, sending Michaels to second. Hafner then tapped a slow three-hopper to the shortstop hole for an infield single that plated Sizemore. Igawa then started Ryan Gargo off with a ball, just the second time in his first 13 batters that his first pitch was out of the strike zone. On his next pitch, Garko hit a check swing flare over the mound. In reaching for it, Igawa sent his glove flipping into the air. Robinson Cano charged and scooped the ball after two quick hops, flipping it to Jeter in one motion to start a 4-6-3, inning-ending double play.

Trailing 2-1, the Yankees let loose on Jeremy Sowers in the bottom of the third. Jeter kicked things off with his second double in as many at-bats. Abreu singled Jeter home to tie the game. Alex Rodriguez ground into a fielder's choice to replace Abreu at first. Jason Giambi doubled Rodriguez home to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Posada singled Giambi to third. Cano singled Giambi home. Josh Phelps singled Posada home. Melky Cabrera flied out for the second out, and Johnny Damon finished the job by singling Cano home and knocking Sowers out of the game.

Igawa gave up just a walk and Travis Hafner's third single over his remaining three innings, again starting eight of the ten hitters he faced with strikes and erasing Hafner's single with a double play. All totaled, he threw 67 percent of just 92 pitches for strikes and struck out five in six innings while allowing just seven base runners on five hits (four singles, three by Hafner, one that weakly tapped infield single), a walk, and a hit-by-pitch.

Scott Proctor, Sean Henn, and Chris Britton added three more hitless innings to finish the job, each recording one strike out, with Proctor and Britton each issuing a walk.

Oh, and those last three Yankee runs? Yeah, another two-run Alex Rodriguez jack and a solo shot by Jason Giambi, back to back off different pitchers in the sixth no less. In case you're wondering, Rodriguez is on pace for 112 home runs, 287 RBIs, 199 runs scored, 62 doubles, and 237 hits. He's slugging .981 (no, that's not his OPS).

To sum up, in these first two games against the Indians, the Yankees have outscored Cleveland 19-5, two Yankee rookies have picked up their first major league wins, and the bullpen has contributed seven hitless, scoreless innings while issuing just two walks.

Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed.

Comments
2007-04-18 21:05:41
1.   Jeff P
Anyone feel bad for Scott Proctor yet? He's got as many appearances as A-Rod has home runs. I sense a repeat of Villone's 2006, with a little actual talent mixed in for flavor.
2007-04-18 21:18:56
2.   Orly Yarly NoWai
I actually do; I'd much rather see Proctor than I would Far And Gonesworth.
2007-04-18 21:42:16
3.   Jim Rice
There were important developments tonight in another running subplot: Who will hit more home runs, Alex Rodriguez or the Boston Red Sox?

Before tonight's game they were tied. Despite his best efforts, A-Rod fell behind Boston thanks to Lowell, Mirabelli and Ortiz.

On a side note, the second-leading home run hitter on the Red Sox is now a backup catcher who plays once every five days and had a slugging percentage of .328 last year.

2007-04-18 21:42:55
4.   Cliff Corcoran
C'mon guys, the only Yankee reliever with less than six appearances is Mo. Proctor's been in nine games. Chris Britton has been up for three days and has gotten in two games. Joe's spreading things around pretty well. Everyone's getting a ton of work because the rotation's turned in exactly two 7-inning starts (and none longer than that) in 13 games. That should start to change with Igawa and Pettitte looking like they should and Wang and company due back in the next week. Cool your jets.
2007-04-18 21:45:52
5.   tommyl
Anyone catch Hughes line tonight? Seems he's adjusted to AAA:

6 IP, 2H, 0R, 0 BB, and 10 Ks!

This included at one point retiring 15 in a row (8 on strikeouts).

2007-04-18 22:36:58
6.   yankz
5 Excellent.

Re: SLG = .981- David Pinto said something last year that totally changed how I think about slugging. Think of it like this- each at bat, Arod starts off 98.1% of the way to 1st base. Unreal.

2007-04-18 23:11:59
7.   rabid stan
6 I've heard something similar ~ a hitter with a 1.000 OPS takes first when he steps into the batter's box. It's fun, but they still only actually do it about 40% of the time.
2007-04-18 23:39:45
8.   Rich
I have less of a problem with the innings distribution among relievers than I do with which relievers are being used in high leverage situations.

More specifically, Farnsworth should only pitch when the team has > 3 run leads if at all possible, and should be traded for prospects at the first reasonable opportunity.

2007-04-19 02:25:32
9.   mikeplugh
Y'know. I saw the headline a few times and I realized "Easy Peasy Japanesey". I must be completely think not to have noticed it before.

Where does that come from anyway? I only know it from Shawshank Redemption and the crossover song by Utada Hikaru.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=0MUv4wMiDk4

2007-04-19 02:28:39
10.   mikeplugh
9 That's "completely thick"
2007-04-19 04:35:54
11.   C2Coke
Since I am going out for dinner tonight, I probably won't be back until after the game. Here is to Yankees' sweep!

And a big fat best wish to Alex's wedding day!
Congrats again, Alex and Emily.

Cheers, y'all!

2007-04-19 04:48:42
12.   RIYank
Oh, Mike P:
In yesterday's game thread some of us were wondering to each other whether "Dice-K" is really the right pronunciation. What's the "u" there for in the westernized spelling "Daisuke"? Is it a very weak, collapsed vowel (like the "e" in "vowel", say), or is it just an articulation or a stop? Or what?
2007-04-19 04:53:29
13.   RIYank
So, the Mets roughed up D-Train yesterday (both NY teams won 9-2). And Zambrano got belted, too; his ERA is 7.77 after four starts. And King Felix left his game with something Pavanomish.
I think somehow Gil Meche is responsible. He's doing it to justify his salary.
2007-04-19 05:09:34
14.   rbj
Nice game, wish I had been allowed to see it. Not that I'm bitter towards MLB's commissioner or anything.

So how many save opportunities has Mo actually had, one?

2007-04-19 05:09:36
15.   williamnyy23
4 Games pitched do not tell the whole story. Kyle Farnsworth has thrown only 5.3 innings. He is also the only reliever not pitching well (in fact, he's been awful). So, wouldn't you think that either a 10-3 or 9-2 game would be a perfect time to get Farney into some action to work on his command? Instead, Torre uses Bruney and Proctor, making it more likely that Farnsworth's next action will be in a close game at precisely the point when walking the lead-off batter hurts the most.

Now, maybe Sir Farns is hurt. I have a feeling, however, that Torre is more concerned about how he'd feel about being "demoted" from late game work to middle innings in a blowout.

Finally, why couldn't Igawa throw a few more pitches yesterday? He was only up to 92. I am not suggesting he go out and throw 200, but I'm sure one more inning was possible. It might not sound like much, but that would be one less inning on Proctor's arm heading into a stretch where three rookies will pitch over the next 4 days. If you think the bullpen is a little tired now, wait until Monday.

2007-04-19 05:12:13
16.   williamnyy23
14 Why are you still unable to get the games?
2007-04-19 05:21:32
17.   Sliced Bread
Damn, it's good to see Igawa throwing strikes.

Damn, double plays are helpful, aren't they?

Damn, Giambi can be a weapon, can't he?

In the postgame show Posada let Kim Jones in on the friendly ribbing Rodriguez is getting from him and Jeter. After the home run, he and Jeter were jokingly urging Alex to stay humble. Some beautiful tear he's on.

I really hope this is not the farewell tour.

During the game, O'Neill revealed something that, for some reason, had not occurred to me all these years of watching Posada: he's a guess hitter.

Bottom of the fourth Posada watches a fastball down the middle.

O'Neill explains Posada, like many catchers, because he calls games, tries to get into pitcher's heads.

Paul offered that Tino was a guess hitter, too. When Tino got what he wanted, Tino mashed.

O'Neill was not a guesser. He could identify pitches and go with them.

We've been blessed in the past decade to watch some great hitters.

We've got some great hitters now. It's quite a show.

Go bullpen!

Alex & Emily! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!)

2007-04-19 05:35:27
18.   Jim Dean
17 Great stuff. I wonder how much it's skill vs. genetics. When Giambi was having trouble with his eyes, he was just plain terrible. And "The GM" was saying last night that Alex worked with a eye training device in the off-season.

BTW: Phleps is now 4 for 14 while Minky is 5 for 32. How soon before Tea starts playing the former even half time?

And me, I got no problem with the bullpen use. He hasn't had a choice. Though I agree - he should be finding a chance in games like the last two for Farns to straighten himself out.

2007-04-19 05:39:17
19.   williamnyy23
17 That was an interesting comment. Last season, it appeared to me as if Arod became a guess hitter as he would seemingly take perfect pitches down the middle at all points in the count. This year, he is up there swinging at anything in his zone (and hitting the ball hard). Of course, "being a guess hitter" didn't stop him from finishing 13th in the MVP voting last year, but that point has already been hammered home.
2007-04-19 05:44:05
20.   williamnyy23
Philip Hughes watch:

Apr 18 @SYR 1 0 0.00 0 6.0 2 0 0 10

1OKs, 2 hits and 0 runs in 6 IP isn't bad for a night's work. Also, I read somewhere that Hughes first two starts occurred in 30 degree weather, so that might explain his poor command in those.

2007-04-19 06:13:45
21.   Sliced Bread
Can you relate?

Jeter re: Rodriguez

"It's unbelievable. I haven't seen anything like it before.
Seems like everything he hits is a home run. Tonight, he hit one out with one hand. I can't relate, because I can't do it."

2007-04-19 06:22:24
22.   mehmattski
21 For real. That pitch was below his knees and outside. Absolutely incredible. I was watching on Extra Innings with DVR, trying to catch up as I got home at like 7:40. It caught up to live right as Alex hit it out.

11 Why would dinner play a role? It's a day game today. I'm feeling a long lunch break coming on...

I say two more starts like that for Hughes and he's up with the big club. Mid-May at the latest.

2007-04-19 06:25:39
23.   Shawn Clap
I suggest we freeze A-Rod in carbonite and then thaw him out in October.

This is the Alex Rodriguez everyone thought we was getting, the one-man wrecking crew Rodriguez.

2007-04-19 06:35:49
24.   rbj
16 You tell me. The local cable company got frozen out/was unwilling to go with the big boys in the past last minute deal with EI. So I got DirecTv. Normally Yankee - Tigers/Indians games are blacked out here (Toledo), but last year they were available on Fox Sports Detroit/Ohio. Last night's game wasn't available to me on EI, FSO, or ESPN2 -- all three had "game not available in your area." There was no "channel not purchased" as I have seen with other channels, simply "not available."
2007-04-19 06:39:25
25.   mikeplugh
12 It's pronounced:

DIE-skay

The "u" is kind of a collapsed vowel, but in a natural intonation it gets run over by the consonants before and after it.

2007-04-19 06:45:06
26.   Sliced Bread
25 Yo, fuggin' solid funny Canyon post today, Mike!

You catch the Soxaholix shout out to you the other day?

2007-04-19 06:50:32
27.   williamnyy23
Being in Toledo, your local RSN is FSN Detroit, which is why Yankees/Tigers games get blacked out. Since 2006, most Indians games are now on SportsTime Ohio, which doesn't seem to be available in Toledo. It seems as if the Cleveland market does encompass Toledo for ESPN2 and EI purposes, which means that you need STO to branch out a little further. It's a new station, so that could be why is doesn't have more broad distribution.
2007-04-19 06:51:20
28.   mikeplugh
26 No...gotta check that out.
2007-04-19 06:52:20
29.   JL25and3
I thought O'Neill made it pretty clear last night that he doesn't really think much of Igawa.
2007-04-19 06:57:26
30.   joejoejoe
I think the bullpen has been the best part of the season (save A-Rod's video game numbers) so far. I'm impressed with everybody but Farnsworth but even Meat is exactly what I though he was when the Yankees signed him.
2007-04-19 06:57:51
31.   mikeplugh
26 Just saw it. Funny shit. Do you think they were busting my chops, or patting me on the back? Hmmmmmmmmm.....

They've linked to me before, so I think they must be having a little fun.

http://tinyurl.com/2qoolb

2007-04-19 06:59:06
32.   mikeplugh
26 By the way, I had no idea that the Boston Globe quoted and credited me. I gotta check that out. I occasionally correspond with the editors at the Globe, Herald, and Hartford Courant, but they never mentioned it to me....
2007-04-19 07:07:02
33.   mikeplugh
The link to my Boston Globe debut....

http://tinyurl.com/2sobay

2007-04-19 07:09:20
34.   Sliced Bread
31 Yeah, a little of both. Begrudging or not, I'd take it as a complimentary tip of the "B" cap to a Yanks blogger.
Cool stuff.
2007-04-19 07:12:23
35.   FingersCrossed
Nice job there, Igawa.

Before last night's game, I had an impression that 85-90 pitches might be his ceiling. Not counting the rough innings, once he settles in, his strike/ball ratio seems pretty consistent through out the following frames. However, once he goes over 85, the ratio is off balance. So it seemed to suggest that we may have got ourselves a good-for-5+-innings pitcher on most games. (Small sample. I know.)
I would've loved to have this theory tested last night since we had a 7 run lead, but no such luck.

I thought at first, what a damn waste of a chance not to test out Igawa, but after some mulling over, now I think it's because Igawa never threw on a five-day rotation before, so they might have him throw 5-6 innings on ANY circumstances thru at least before the All Star Break just to let him adjust. A bit taxing to the pen, but worth a shot to groom him in the big leauge? Any thoughts?

As of now, I like him more for his make-up than his performance, but am kinda selfishly want him to stay.

2007-04-19 07:14:58
36.   Raf
11 Must be an early dinner; Yanks are playing a day game today (:
2007-04-19 07:26:35
37.   rbj
27 Yeah. Generally I can see the Tigers/Indians games being blacked out (though last year Reds games were also blacked out, but not this year), but ESPN2 games as well? That is a new twist, as is the FSD/O feeds for the games. Sure, black out EI so as to not interfere with the FSN feeds, but then blacking out everything makes no sense.
2007-04-19 07:31:45
38.   pistolpete
23 Yes, but don't forget Han Solo temporarily lost his eyesight after being thawed out. You might have to take him out sometime in late September...

I'm also pretty happy with how Torre has spread the wealth in the pen. After all, we didn't see Vizcaino and we didn't see Bruney last night. As long as everyone's pitching as well as they are, I honestly can't see any one guy getting burned out...

Heck, even Myers looks great.

2007-04-19 08:03:19
39.   yankz
38 That lasted a few minutes. Plus, Arod is the new Chuck Norris. He can do anything.
2007-04-19 08:07:10
40.   williamnyy23
37 Maybe I misunderstood what I read, but I don't think the Indians are even on FSN Ohio anymore. Instead, they recently formed their own RSN (TSO), which apparently doesn't get much play that far outside of Cleveland. It might still be a blackout issue, but it might also be a situation of a new station not yet reaching full penetration.
2007-04-19 08:14:13
41.   Jim Dean
I don't know about you guys but I would love to see Arod make a run at 73 in the same year Bonds takes 756. That would be a wonderful statement by the baseball gods.
2007-04-19 08:17:25
42.   Javi Javi
31 I'd take it as a compliment. I love the Soxaholics strips with Marty--the best part is reading the comments, where Red Sox fans actually curse and say they are ignoring him--a clip art comic strip character! Cracks me up.
2007-04-19 08:29:43
43.   pistolpete
42 Such is the twisted & tortured mind of the Red Sox fan - even when there's no Yankees fans around to rib 'em, they have to invent someone to accomplish this same task.
2007-04-19 08:30:45
44.   Max Nomad
39 A-Rod's tears cure cancer.

I was at the game last night, start to finish. I took a page from Alex and went to the Court Street, ordered my pastrami on rye and celray, and went to Monument Park after. Amazing.

Igawa really looked great. SO many first pitch strikes, and the inning in which he gave up runs was in large part because of bad luck. Even his only walk came on the ONLY 3-2 count he had. That came after the Yanks made him sit for a while. And there was only one other 2-0 count, in his last inning.

I think Torre is beginning to understand that he's not quite up to form yet, probably since he doesn't work out during the offseason, kinda like Manny. He ran out of gas in his last starts as he approached 100 pitches, so Torre's gonna work him up to that point. I think if he left him in last night, he might've gotten stung. Great game, though.

29 And as far as O'Neill's thoughts, everybody thought the same of Glavine and Moyer, and a lot of people STILL think that way of Moyer. But the crafty lefties figure out a way to get it done, and I think Igawa will be fine, at least in the early going....

2007-04-19 08:47:15
45.   OldYanksFan
35 Well Stated. We should remember that starting pitchers are considered investments. The FO is often more concerned about there future then the present (alothough this can certainly NOT be said about 1 or 2 guys in the BP every year, who I guess are considered disposable).

We should also remember that it's still early (less then 10% into the season) and that it's been very cold. For Iggy-san, add in issues of the 5 man rotation and longer season, and I think the Yanks are just taking it easy will him initially. By May, I think we will see all our guys go deeper into the game.

2007-04-19 08:49:38
46.   OldYanksFan
By the way, today at Fenway:
BOS: Tavarez (0-1, 9.00 ERA)
TOR: Halladay (2-0, 2.35 ERA)
This is one we really need the Sox to lose.
2007-04-19 09:03:16
47.   Cliff Corcoran
44 Not for nothing, but that was my wife's sandwich pictured in that post, but I'm glad it inspired you. Definitely the way to go.
2007-04-19 10:05:12
48.   FingersCrossed
"Different size/texture of ball used could be the cause of Dice-K's lesser sliders?" Ferrell says not necessarily. I remember reading in an article, that Wang thought Igawa's poor command shown in ST was maybe due to this exact reason. And obviously Igawa is coping nicely. Curious. Was there ever an American pitcher who tried to throw Japanese ball and say how they liked it? I'd rather like to hear their opinion than some rocket scientists' study.
Oh, the game's starting. Let's go, Yankees!

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