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Series Wrap: @ Royals
2007-07-27 09:33
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Offense: The Yanks scored 25 runs in the first three games of the series, but went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in their 7-1 victory on Wednesday night (a game that was 3-1 after seven innings) and 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position while being shutout in the finale. I still can't give the offense a mixed review, but that's a bit worrisome.

Studs:

Robinson Cano 6 for 14, 2B, 3 BB, 2 RBI, 4 R
Johnny Damon 6 for 15, 2 2B, BB, 3 RBI, 3 R, SB, CS
Derek Jeter 7 for 19, 2B
Jorge Posada 4 for 12, 3B, 4 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB
Hideki Matsui 5 for 18, HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB
Melky Cabrera 4 for 15, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, BB
Jose Molina 2 for 4, 2B

Duds:

Shelley Duncan 1 for 8, BB, R, 2 K

Rotation: Roger Clemens turned in the only quality start (7 IP, 2 R in the opener), but Chien-Ming Wang gave the Yankees six solid after growing cold on the bench while his offense sent nine men to the plate in each of the first two innings on Tuesday, and Mike Mussina protected a 2-1 lead for 5 2/3 innings on Wednesday. Kei Igawa, however, took a step backwards allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings after allowing a combined five runs in ten innings over his two previous starts. Good signs for Igawa: no homers and just two walks.

Bullpen: Allowed just two runs in 10 2/3 innings, 12 baserunners. Both runs and five of those baserunners were surrendered by the last man out of the pen in the finale, meaning the Yankee pen had tossed 8 2/3 scoreless while allowing just seven baserunners prior to that.

The Good:

Everyone but Sean Henn. Everyone pitched, and Mike Myers was the only other reliever to allow as many as two baserunners in a single inning. Luis Vizcaino was again the best, throwing two perfect innings and striking out three.

The Bad:

Sean Henn allowed those two runs on three hits and two walks in the last two innings of the finale. One of those walks was the first taken by Tony Peña Jr. in 244 plate appearances.

Defense: Just one error in four games. In his first appearance as a Yankee in the finale, Jose Molina threw out the only Royal to attempt a stolen base in the series (Emil Brown).

Conclusion: The Yankees remain on mission, but one worries that the offensive explosion will yield to a slump.

Comments (71)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-07-27 10:56:35
1.   Shaun P
Congrats Cliff, you found something positive to say about Igawa. I couldn't have done it.

Let's hope playing in Camden Yards - where the Yanks have always hit well - will help smooth over any wrinkles in the offense.

2007-07-27 11:16:57
2.   fansince77
The last thing I am going to say about last night's game: Jeter really hurt the team (and this is one of the few times I can ever say this) - first inning, Melky just doubled- "K" - by not getting the job done there and getting the Melk man to third it changed the perspective of the game. I am a big fan of first inning small ball- one cannot understate the importance of scoring first- It is my contention that against the said Royals a quick lead might of had them buckling.

Also Matsui's ab with 3-0 was uncalled for-that was just plain stupid. Killed a potentially huge inning.

Hope we can play smarter tonight.

2007-07-27 11:20:44
3.   fansince77
OK I lied- last thing. It's time to say good bye to Igawa. If the Yankee brass can't see that I ga wa GO! Kei has been given a longer leash than deserved- when he is finally sent down he can't blame anyone- I ga wa he deserved!
2007-07-27 11:33:52
4.   monkeypants
2 Do you mean one cannot "overstate" the importance of first inning scoring?
2007-07-27 11:48:49
5.   RIYank
4, 2:
http://tinyurl.com/b57tx

(It's a Language Log posting about overstate/understate and the very common confusion surrounding their use, especially when negated, as with 'cannot'.)

2007-07-27 11:53:57
6.   YankeeInMichigan
The Yankees seem to be carrying a "win the series" mentality. Against both Toronto and KC, they've won the first three games and then not shown up for the fourth. Someone must have told them that if they just win every series for the remainder of the year, they'll finish with 97 wins. But that means that they'll need 7 series wins against Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, LA and Seattle.
2007-07-27 12:02:56
7.   Cliff Corcoran
5 Not for nothing, but it shouldn't be that hard. That said, I'm guilty of saying "I could care less" when I mean "I couldn't care less." It's a bad habit that I got into in part because I once got a kick out of the incorrectness of it.

6 There's a part of me that's okay with that. I almost feel like that one loss is an important rest/reboot game. That said, they do need to mix in a few sweeps against the cupcakes.

2007-07-27 12:14:52
8.   bob34957
Time to kick some Oreo booty!!! O's get ready for a MLB record time for a double header sweep!!!
2007-07-27 12:39:53
9.   NJYankee41
8 With the way these 2 teams play each other the time of the "doubleheader" will still probably be about league average.
2007-07-27 12:42:09
10.   standuptriple
9Is Trachsel toe-ing the rubber in the conclusion?
2007-07-27 12:54:50
11.   JL25and3
4 One should not understate, but cannot overstate.
2007-07-27 12:57:57
12.   JL25and3
7 I think "I could care less" is just fine. What its detractors miss is that it's ironic. Its intent is, "You seem to think there is some way I could care less about this."
2007-07-27 13:00:07
13.   JL25and3
7 That's my problem with last night's loss. The Yankees can't be content with winning series. When they've won the first three games, they need to go for the kill. They can't just toss off any losses complacently, and this means they'll have to sweep someone better than KC.
2007-07-27 13:07:40
14.   RIYank
Hm. As when I might say, "Right, I'm an idiot" when what I mean is, "You think I'm an idiot, don't you?"

I don't think that's what's going on in the run-of-the-mill use of "I could care less". (There's a very long discussion of the 'ironic' interpretation at that blog I linked, though you'd have to search for it.)

Multiple negations can be very, very hard to parse -- the linguists at Language Log are interested in when and why. Here's the one that most amazed me:

"The Skilling indictment demonstrates in no uncertain terms that no executive is too prominent or too powerful and that no scheme to defraud is too complex or too fancy to avoid the long arm of the law."

(Said by Deputy Attorney General James Comey upon his indictment of Enron Ex-CEO Jeffrey Skilling.)

2007-07-27 13:08:35
15.   RIYank
Oh, 14 was about 12. I'm like a NYC apartment building.
2007-07-27 13:13:27
16.   monkeypants
2 13 Right, I agree. They have to wake and smell the coffee--they must have no more bad ABs, and must lose no more games for the rest of the season. I expect nothing less.
2007-07-27 13:29:53
17.   JL25and3
14 Funny, I thought that sentence was perfectly clear.
2007-07-27 13:31:12
18.   JL25and3
14 And that might be what you meant when you said, "Right, I'm an idiot." It would depend on the context and how it was said. "I could care less" is virtually always said in essentially the same context, in the same way, with the same sense.
2007-07-27 13:31:26
19.   Knuckles
Irregardless of what the grammar polizia out there think, we need some W's this weekend.
2007-07-27 13:32:07
20.   tommyl
I'm not sure they were "content" with last nights loss. I think they can look at a scoreboard and realize they lost ground on Boston and failed to gain any in the WC on Cleveland. I didn't see any going through the motions at all last night. Matsui certainly looked as angry as I've ever seen him when he popped out on 3-0. Its always going to be tough to win with Igawa on the mound. The key I think is to take an early lead, that way it makes more sense to use the upper tier BP arms later on. Once you start going to the last guys in the pen because you're down 4-0 or so, its going to be one hell of an uphill climb.

Also, there were a lot of almost hits, or almost outs (like if Melky makes that catch on the triple, or that really great play by Pena later on). Sometimes those things happen, its why a bad team can sometimes beat a good one. They won six in a row, they are going to lose a game here and there. I'd rather it be one like last night with Igawa on the mound, then blowing a 2-1 lead when Clemens or Wang is pitching.

2007-07-27 13:38:28
21.   monkeypants
20 I'm not so sure. I think we can chalk most losses up to laziness or some other moral failing. And come on--outs don't just happen. They are usually the product of stupidity, bad baseball, bad coaching, and probably weak moral character. That's what happens when you build a team out of prima donnas--and guys who swing for the fences instead-- who are content to rake in the millions, instead of real Yankees like Tino and Paullie, who had fire and passion and played the game the right way.
2007-07-27 13:38:30
22.   tommyl
Via Kat O'Brien:

Busy travel day today. Here's a tidbit that I don't know if it means anything or not. When I walked into the ballpark at Camden Yards a few minutes ago, Kei Igawa, his interpreter and his suitcases were on the way out. Stay tuned for more info.

yaaaaayyyy! They do read the Banter. I can just see Cashman barking at his assistant, "What's Jim Dean saying today?!"

2007-07-27 13:39:47
23.   tommyl
21 Are you referring to the variance in BFOG+? I'd say Cairo has the most consistent year to year and month to month BFOG, but that Abreu, man, he's all over the place.
2007-07-27 13:42:18
24.   RIYank
17 Well, so do many people. But in fact it means almost exactly the opposite of what Comey was trying to say.

He ends up saying Skilling's case shows that nobody is too prominent to escape; presumably he meant it shows that nobody is too prominent to be caught!

2007-07-27 13:43:59
25.   RIYank
21 I'd pitch in, but you're really on a roll.
2007-07-27 13:46:18
26.   monkeypants
22 RiverAveYankees said Igawa down for Basak. Good news: no Igawa. Bad news: redundant Basak rides the pine, adds nothing to team.
2007-07-27 13:52:05
27.   Bama Yankee
22 That's good news. Kei Igawrabu has got to go.

And I wouldn't want to overstate or understate that I could or couldn't care less where he ends up or begins down.

2007-07-27 13:52:59
28.   monkeypants
26 RiverAveBlues, of course.
2007-07-27 13:54:31
29.   Vandelay Industries
27 What is the deal with Hughes? One more rehab start?
2007-07-27 13:56:23
30.   monkeypants
29 I think he will go one more rehab start. But there is an offday coming up, so the team can skip Igawa's start, then Hughes would fill in the next time through the rotation.
2007-07-27 14:02:33
31.   Vandelay Industries
27

Looks like the Big 10 is finally moving into the 21st Century, looking to add one more team and a championship game. That could have avoided the free pass debacle that happened last year. Woo hoo!

2007-07-27 14:05:54
32.   Schteeve
13 So is it our contention that the Yankees didn't really try to win last night?

3 and 4 You know, Jeter's gonna strike out sometimes. That's just the way it goes.

2007-07-27 14:09:56
33.   Schteeve
sorry, 2 and 3 not 3 and 4
2007-07-27 14:11:33
34.   Schteeve
21 Little known fact, Paul O'Neill was on food stamps and Tino Martinez had a part time job at Little Ceasar's to make ends meet. But he played the right way goddamn it!!!
2007-07-27 14:17:46
35.   Max
21 Brilliant!

One can overstate fire and passion as driving forces, however. You do need players who do the right thing in the right situation everytime. Cairo, as 23 points out, is the quintessential example of the sort of player that does this. A roster full of Cairos would complete every sweep situation presented to the Yankees.

2007-07-27 14:17:46
36.   Bama Yankee
31 Who do you think they will add? Didn't they try to get Notre Dame a few years back? It makes sense for them to add the Irish and go with a championship game. It seems like the only way that we would ever get to a playoff in college football.
2007-07-27 14:19:22
37.   Vandelay Industries
32

I don't agree with the contention, but what I think happens is during a long tiring season, some games the players try with every bit of skill to win the game, and in a couple handfulls of games, players act just like what they are, employees, and simply put in a days work. It is unavoidable when you play 162 games in 180 days. To many of us its larger than baseball, to many of them it is just a job, and there is nothing wrong with that for the most part. They get paid every two weeks just like everyone else. I've always found the "no competitor wants to lose," and "every player competes as hard as they can because they want to win," quotes and media coverage to be absolute garbage. There are scores of players in MLB who "couldn't care less" whether the team wins or not. Being baseball players doesn't make them any different than any employee in any endeavor, some work harder than others. To assume that baseball players enjoy some greater level of competiveness simply because they have the skills neccessary to play this game than that of the general public is downright silly.

2007-07-27 14:27:04
38.   Schteeve
37 I think there are maybe like 6 guys in MLB on contending teams in July, who think to themselves during a game, "Fuck everything, can't we just get this shit over with?"

Seriously. 6. Maybe. I think Jeter wants to win every game. I think A-Rod and Matsui want to win every game. I think Melky wants to win every game, I think Cano wants to win every game, I could go on.

I don't think dudes who make it to the big leagues are like "whatever," when it comes to winning and losing. Because if that was their mindset, they wouldn't be in the big leagues to begin with.

Making it to the Major Leagues takes a blend of unbeliveably rare natural talent, unbelieveable luck, and unbelieveable obsession with what you do. I don't buy that Melky or A-Rod or Abreu are phoning in at bats on some days, and on other days decide, "you know, I'm really going to try to hit this pitch this time."

It's too hard a game to play. If they half assed their concentration, they wouldn't even foul pitches off.

2007-07-27 14:30:19
39.   Vandelay Industries
36

How hot is it down there? ND? No way in hell do they give up a National TV Contract and a free pass to make their own schedule, with another free pass (See last season) to get into a BCS game without doing anything to deserve it. Many compare the hatred for ND to the hatred for the Yankees, only when the Yankees lose, they miss or are out of the playoffs, when ND loses, they cash in a big pay day in a BCS or other Bowl game.

My guess is a team like Iowa State or Colorado will end up in the Bg 10. Pitt has an outside shot, given the Penn State/Pitt Rivalry that would ensue. Iowa State plays Iowa every year anyway, and Colorado is a sexy pick.

It would be great, last season Ohio State would have had to play Wisconsin, who would have wiped the field with them.

Having ND as an independent is enough to undermine the BCS and Bowl Directors, having a big time conference with no Championship game has been too much. It will be about time when this finally happens. Coaches are against it, but AD's and Presidents are for it, so hopefully it will happen. Why should the Big 12 and SEC have teams get yanked from the National Championship while Ohio State can ride right in there in a Bentley? The only alternative is to take League Championship games out of the BCS equation, otherwise its inherenty unfair the way it works now, insofar as the Big 10 is concerned. I don't know anyone who actually watched the games last season, and ignored the media coverage, that thought Ohio State had a chance in that game. But thank god for the media, I made a killing betting on that game :). Thank you ESPN!

2007-07-27 14:34:31
40.   Vandelay Industries
38 I respectfully disagree. It is a great living, longevity, salary, and great benefits. It is much harder to become a Physician, yet many of them are miserable. But the paycheck is great, and the life it allows. Lawyers as well, and I know this all to well. Simply because it takes hard work to become "something" doesn't mean that you will love doing what you've chosen.
2007-07-27 14:34:55
41.   tommyl
38 For another thing, if they were perceived as phoning it in, I think Joe or Jeter would be all over them. Joe never gets upset if he feels his players are prepared and trying as hard as they can, but I don't think he has much tolerance for guys who just phone it in.
2007-07-27 14:38:13
42.   Vandelay Industries
41 I think you are confusing phoning it in with putting in a hard days work, rather than running through walls.
2007-07-27 14:41:39
43.   Cliff Corcoran
Re: Basak: Possible that Cairo could be going to the Mets or Phillies, both of whom need a 2B due to recent catastrophic injury?
2007-07-27 14:44:28
44.   Vandelay Industries
I am not accusing any player of phoning it in, or saying "fuck it." Well, maybe Gary Sheffield, who had admittedly done JUST THAT. I am simply saying that some players want to win more than others, and that players get tired. That doesn't extend that they are not trying, just that not all try as hard as they can every single game. I think fans would love to believe that that doesn't happen, but it's silly to believe that. Their human beings, not the super heroes you thought they were when you were 11.
2007-07-27 14:45:15
45.   monkeypants
37 How could you, or anyone, possibly know this? All of the evidence is either speculative ("they must take a few games off now and again") or basically circular (every shut out loss is blamed on "not trying," and the evidence that players sometimes don't try is shut out losses).

Really, BFOG+ is a much more objective measure of individual effort.

2007-07-27 14:47:23
46.   Vandelay Industries
45 You cannot measure everything. And I do believe the onus is on you to prove that baseball players depart from other human beings in this regard rather than on me to prove that I know they are actually human beings.
2007-07-27 14:47:59
47.   monkeypants
43 That's interesting--and I would not object. If so, I would also like to see one additional fast guy on the bench, as a PR.
2007-07-27 14:49:06
48.   tommyl
46 Um, you do realize 45 was a joke, right?
2007-07-27 14:49:19
49.   monkeypants
46 Ah, but the burden is on you to prove that last night's loss, for example, was the product of "not trying," as opposed to just the periodic failure that occurs in a sport where even the best teams lose 40% of the time.
2007-07-27 14:50:23
50.   JL25and3
Wow, did my careless wording ever get overblown.

In no way did I mean to suggest that the Yankees weren't trying, or that a loss implies any sort of judgment of their morals or character. But post 6 posited a "win the series" mentality on the team, and post 7 expressed contentment with that as a fan.

I don't think that's good enough, especially in this particular stretch where they play bad teams. If they're going to make a run at Boston, they have to beat up on these teams, including some sweeps - they're not going to win every one of those series against Detroit, Boston and Los Angeles of Anaheim of Hauppauge of Chichicastenango.

So when it's KC, and they've pounded them in the first three games - losing the fourth was a disappointment. It's one more game that they have to win against someone better than the Royals.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-07-27 14:51:04
51.   Vandelay Industries
48 Yes, of course.
2007-07-27 14:52:43
52.   Bama Yankee
39 I hear you about ND. I agree that it is not in their best interest to go into the Big 10 (hence the fact that they turned them down back in 1999). However, it is certainly the best school that the Big 10 could get. The only way that it would ever happen is if the NCAA forces ND to join the Big 10 (very unlikely given ND's power). If there is ever going to be a playoff something has to give. IMO, all the major conferences need to have a championship game and the independents have to join a conference to make it work. Which is why it will probably never happen.
2007-07-27 14:53:35
53.   RIYank
Yankees.mlb.com supplies this bit:
----
Guthrie tossed another stellar game in his last start against Oakland, holding the A's to two runs over seven innings. The left-hander struck out six batters en route to his sixth win of the season.
----

But Guthrie is right-handed. Right?

2007-07-27 14:54:32
54.   Vandelay Industries
49

I never argued that last night's loss was attributable to anything other than a periodic failure. What I was saying is that players are just like most people, they get tired, and sometimes just get through the day and want to get home. I don't think that's all that crazy of a position, do you? And being human beings, when others give that impression, it will be incorporated by others around them, its not like I think they are trying to lose.

2007-07-27 14:56:08
55.   RIYank
JL25and3:
I am never 'content' with a loss, whatever that would mean. But I'm pretty happy with the KC series as a whole. Winning 3 out of 4 is good.
That doesn't mean the last game was good! It sucked.

If there are really and Banterers who are content with the loss I'll be pretty surprised. If some of you don't think that the 3-1 series result was a good result, then I guess I just disagree.

2007-07-27 14:57:06
56.   RIYank
55 For 'and', read 'any'.
2007-07-27 14:58:28
57.   Vandelay Industries
52 I agree. I'd love the NCAA to step in. Now that all of Willingham's recruits are gone, amd another losing season imminent, I wonder how many years of mediocrity it will take for something to happen. I think the crucial event will be ND losing their TV contract once this losing continues for a long stretch (not that it hasn't been quite a stretch already), which I do think will happen. The Bowl Directors could also begin passing on their option to take ND over the conference opponent. They would then need to do something to generate revenue.
2007-07-27 15:03:21
58.   Vandelay Industries
52

I do wonder if Colorado might be the better choice. They may not generate as much revenue right away, but I don't see ND putting a real wining season together for a decade. Actually, I predict South Carolina to make the SEC Championship game before ND is a legitimate BCS contender.

2007-07-27 15:06:45
59.   monkeypants
57

First, why should the NCAA have to "step in," as if there is some sort of problem? The NCAA came up with this goofy system, so by their own definition, it's working.

Second, the market should (and will) determine this. As you point out, enough losing will compel ND to join a conference.

Third, it's too bad, because I personally preferred the days with lots of independents and smaller conferences. I could care less : ) about an NCAA playoff system. The wonky side of me might go so far as to prefer the old, corrupt bowl system--at least it was distinct to college football, the way baseball used to be more distinct before interleague games.

Fourth, stop talking football--it's the height of baseball season! (cue Bugs and Daffy cartoon.)

2007-07-27 15:09:01
60.   Bama Yankee
57 If they could ever agree on a format for a playoff. Maybe something like this: take eight teams from the six major conference champs and two mid-major conf champs. The first round could use the bowls and the final four and championship game could be played the first and second weeks of January. Imagine the revenue that would be generated from such an event (see Basketball Tourney, NCAA).
2007-07-27 15:15:23
61.   Bama Yankee
58 You might be right about Colorado. I hear that the Big 12 is possibly thinking of kicking them out/asking them to leave in favor of Arkansas (rumor, but who knows?).
2007-07-27 15:20:32
62.   Bama Yankee
59 In some ways I liked the old system better too. Maybe it was because Alabama seemed to do better under that system (we have 11 titles under the old system and only 1 under the new). The current system certainly has flaws and to get to a better system several changes will probably have to be made.

Sorry about the football talk. But hey, we could be beating dead horses...
;-)

2007-07-27 15:25:42
63.   seamus
57 ok, i'm biased. But losing Willingham's recruits is not big deal. Those were ND's worst recruiting classes of the last decade. In fact, the reason ND is expected not to do that well this year is because this is the season of Willingham's last class and there are only like 7 seniors left, of which only a couple are worth much.

I'll have to go back to see what prompted this conversation, but ND has sent the Big 10 two big messages this off-season. No Michigan for two years. And they dumped big 10 referees.

2007-07-27 15:29:20
64.   seamus
60 I'm a ND fan so obviously am biased. But you've gotta leave room for at larges. I would really dislike if college football went to an all-conference playoff system. For one, it couldn't work without majorly shrinking division 1 without excluding lots of conferences.
2007-07-27 15:50:58
65.   Cliff Corcoran
Game thread's been up for about an hour. I don't think you've noticed.
2007-07-27 15:52:16
66.   seamus
65 i've noticed but noone is there. What happens when a game thread is posted and noone shows up?
2007-07-27 15:53:03
67.   Cliff Corcoran
66 I cry quietly to myself.
2007-07-27 15:53:57
68.   monkeypants
65 66 You boys stay here and talk football. I'll go over to the new thread with Cliff.

; )

2007-07-27 15:57:03
69.   RIYank
Hm. I posted something there, but it didn't show up.
2007-07-27 15:57:41
70.   Cliff Corcoran
68 Actually, I'm going to catch the Simpsons flick (gotta love DVRs). RIYank is lonely, however.
2007-07-27 15:58:25
71.   RIYank
Okay, it has now. Just sluggish.

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