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Series Wrap: @ Cleveland
2007-08-13 10:14
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Offense: The Yanks got to one of the league's best pitchers (this year at least) in the opener, then dropped 11 runs on the Tribe in the second game. Another very strong offensive performance.

Studs:

Robinson Cano 6 for 12, 2B, RBI, R, BB
Alex Rodriguez 4 for 10, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, HBP
Derek Jeter 7 for 15, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R
Hideki Matsui 5 for 12, RBI, 5 R, BB
Jose Molina 5 for 13, 2 2B, RBI, R
Jason Giambi 3 for 5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R

Duds:

Andy Phillips 1 for 7, RBI, R, BB, CS

Wilson Betemit went 0 for 2 with a sac bunt in the opener. Shelley Duncan did not come to bat in the series. Don't look now, but Andy Phillips has become Doug Mientkiewicz.

Rotation: The Yankee pitching was outstanding over the weekend. The only concern is that the scuffling Cleveland offense might have been part of the reason. Phil Hughes dominated for six innings in the opener. Mike Mussina turned in his best start of the season on Saturday night, and Andy Pettitte cruised through the first six innings of the finale allowing just one run before being removed with one out in the eighth.

Bullpen: The pen only had to pitch six innings and go figure that Mariano Rivera would give up the only run (though Luis Vizcaino did allow an inherited runner to score in the finale).

The Good:

Joba Chamberlain was incredible in the opener, pitching two perfect innings and striking out four.

Mo, Vizcaino, and Ron Villone were the only other relievers who appeared in the series. Mo dominated in his first outing, but was shaky in his second. Neither Vizcaino, nor Villone was especially impressive, but neither did much damage either.

Conclusion: The Yankees have been catching a lot of teams at the right time, missing their ace starters, catching them during slides, etc. The good news is that they've taken advantage of every single one of them. Sweeping the season series against Cleveland is huge. Everyone had this series circled on their calendars at the All-Star break, and the Yankees made it look like they were playing another cupcake. In doing so, they knocked Cleveland back out of the AL Central lead and now hold a 1.5-game lead over them in the Wild Card race (though they're still trailing Seattle by that pesky game in the loss column, but they play the M's at home in three weeks--circle that one too). Perhaps best of all, they seem to have taken the sweep in stride, like it's no big deal. This team is dangerous.

Comments (54)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-08-13 10:23:01
1.   Zack
So I take it Igawa isn't heading to SD since we haven't heard anything?
2007-08-13 10:23:53
2.   yankz
1 Don't they have till 2 PM tomorrow?
2007-08-13 10:24:47
3.   Zack
2 Yeah, I'm an idiot. Should have looked that up before posting. Oh well
2007-08-13 10:31:36
4.   Chyll Will
3 At least you're not a fool (thanks for that, yankz >;)
2007-08-13 10:33:31
5.   yankz
4 Haha. You know I like to kid. Not enough sleep, and all that.
2007-08-13 10:42:18
6.   Chyll Will
5 I know, I get the same way when I'm hungry.
2007-08-13 10:53:20
7.   yankz
One thing Cliff didn't mention is that Posada didn't even play. The Yankees just swept a 1st place team on the road without the guy who's been their second best hitter this year. Awesome.
2007-08-13 10:53:39
8.   yankz
6 You need some T-Bell.
2007-08-13 11:04:33
9.   Chyll Will
8 Dem's fightin' woids!
2007-08-13 11:42:14
10.   JL25and3
The Indians do kick ass on the Yankees when it comes to names. My nephew pointed out Asdrubal Cabrera to me - and that's on top of Fausto Carmona, Rafael Betancourt, and even C.C. "Rider" Sabathia. Not to mention Pronk, a better nickname than the Yankees have had in years.
2007-08-13 11:47:56
11.   rbj
Mariners have 2 games to make up. I believe they have to play both of them, as a half game lead in the WC race with one game to play could result in a Yankees - M's tie for the WC spot.
2007-08-13 11:53:04
12.   JL25and3
The Yankees are 4 games behind the Red Sox. I still think it's too early to be watching the Wild Card scoreboard.
2007-08-13 12:08:55
13.   Count Zero
I'm down wid JL and Jetes on that one: In the HTRB, we play to win the division. The WC is a fallback position.
2007-08-13 12:22:31
14.   williamnyy23
10 I dont know about that...Melky, Joba, Hidecki, Robinson, Chien-Ming Wang...there are some interesting names on the Yankees.

I also think Arod is a pretty cool nickname, not to mention El Comedulce, the Rocket and Godzilla.

2007-08-13 12:33:55
15.   Sliced Bread
Aw c'mon, Cliff. Andy has a few more weeks to plummet, say hitless until Labor Day, before he enters Doug Out territory, no?

Without looking up the numbers I'd say Phillips's slide has only been a week or so (past two series?) . Doug Out has been known to sustain similar droughts for weeks, even months at a time.

2007-08-13 12:36:37
16.   Chyll Will
14 Don't forget Useless/Sir Farnstantinople, Captain Clutch, The Grand Vizier, Scrabble/DougOut/MCI and He Who Must Not Be Named!
2007-08-13 12:48:24
17.   Shaun P
16 Lord Voldemort plays for the Yankees?!

;)

And once upon a time, there was this man named Scott, who threw every day . . . ask Zach about him.

2007-08-13 13:03:32
18.   DadinIowa
I don't know about the rest of ya'all, but I miss EDSP, even though we seem to have EDLV now. Now if we could just get rid of NGDKF (no good day, etc.)
2007-08-13 13:04:14
19.   JL25and3
16 Unofficial nicknames are an entirely different thing.

14 None of those names are anywhere near in the same class. Hideki Matsui and Chien-Ming Wang are perfectly ordinary names that happen to be in a different language, the equivalent of Jose Garcia. I like Comedulce, but it's a special occasion sort of nickname, where Pronk is a terrific everyday workhorse of a nickname, the kind of thing people actually call him regularly.

Perhaps ARod was interesting once upon a time, though it's hard to remember when. It was always more of a trademark than a real nickname (Rocket and Godzilla are much the same). In any case, ARod has long since been trivialized by K-Rod, F-Rod, I-Rod, T-Clip, Dice-K and so on. I make a conscious effort to refer to him as Rodriguez.

Melky, Joba and Robinson are mildly interesting, but put them all together and they're still not worth one Asdrubal. At best, they're the equivalent of Trot Nixon or Grady Sizemore, nowhere near Rafael Betancourt or the mighty Fausto Carmona.

2007-08-13 13:08:20
20.   Start Spreading the News
19 Fausto Carmona must have made a deal with the devil to get such a cool name.

[ drumroll and cymbals ]

Thank you. Thank you. I'm here every Monday night. Tip the waiters and try the veal...

2007-08-13 13:09:04
21.   JL25and3
17 And I suspect Zack came up with EDSP partly because he'd heard me praising "Everyday Eddie" Guardado as a virtually perfect nickname for a long time.

18 CDLV - Cáda Día Luis Vizcaino.

2007-08-13 13:09:22
22.   Chyll Will
17 There are other possibilities, mind you, but I do believe his name is an anagram for... for... gasp! C-C-C-Car-r-r-rggh! (Cough-cough-cough, ackam!)

(in Anthony Quinn sotto voce) "I can't even bring myself to say it..."

2007-08-13 13:13:15
23.   Bob B
Duncan should be the everyday First Baseman until he starts to flounder. Philips never once impressed me and Mientkiewicz may have been as bad a pickup and Igawa. Giambi could spot relief Duncan as needed. If we never see Phillips, Igawa or MientMan on the roster again it would be too soon.
2007-08-13 13:18:36
24.   Chyll Will
18 On one of my film gigs, the key grip took a long piece of masking tape, wrote "NFG" in the middle in small block letters and taped it across the front of his dark gray shirt. I wanna design a tee similar to that...
2007-08-13 13:19:50
25.   williamnyy23
19 What is so special about Rafael Betancourt then? Both are very common latin american names?
2007-08-13 13:23:10
26.   williamnyy23
19 I also like Shelley Duncan and Wilson Betemit as much as Grady Sizemore and Trot Nixon. The only really cool Indian names are Asdrubal and Fausto. I think Melky and Joba can compete with that. Now, if Tyler Clippard ever gets promoted...look out.
2007-08-13 13:26:18
27.   cult of basebaal
25 and he's not even the most interestingly named betancourt in the majors ... that honor goes to yuniesky by a mile
2007-08-13 13:29:09
28.   Chyll Will
23 I don't understand the Phillips hate. Consistently starting, maybe you have a point, but Andy is a decent LIDR in my opinion... He's got more pop than Scrabble, to say the least, and is not nearly as streaky. Plus he's younger, even if by a bit. If we had a viable alternative pos. player behind him on the farm, then yeah send him down or trade him or whatever, but so far it don't see it. Now that Betemit is here and contributing, Andy is somewhat redundant and not superior, but he's more useful than Cairo was and certainly Scrab, so that should allay your frustration some.
2007-08-13 13:31:44
29.   cult of basebaal
28 we ought to be using an offensive/ defensive platoon at 1st ... betemit for the 1st 6 and phillips for the last 3 ...
2007-08-13 13:33:00
30.   Chyll Will
27 Eric Gagme for Kason Grabass?
2007-08-13 13:34:13
31.   cult of basebaal
speaking of which:

YANKEES
Damon DH
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui LF
Posasda C
Cano 2B
Betemit 1B
Cabrera CF

even with giambi available, that might be our best lineup

2007-08-13 13:37:58
32.   Chyll Will
29 Sure, if Betemit can sustain his current offense, but that's why he's been traded more than once I'm guessing. He doesn't have a bad glove though. My point is they both give the bench much strentgh that we didn't have earlier. IF Giambi comes back to even at least 80%, then it's looking pretty sweet.
2007-08-13 13:41:25
33.   cult of basebaal
to follow up on the last 31 ... if JD is hitting (again, if), i think the lineup is better with him in it and leading off, since it puts melky in the 9 spot (most likely) and melky's having a stronger year batting 9th than he is batting 1st (.907 ops vs .792)

looking at the numbers, it melky has been noticeably more patient when batting leadoff rather than 9th (.283 BA, but .368 obp leadoff vs .336 BA and only .358 obp batting 9th) but has much more power (.549 9th vs .424 leadoff) when he's not concentrating on getting on base

i wonder what his P/PA are like between the two spots ...

2007-08-13 13:50:57
34.   cult of basebaal
29 well, you'd be guessing wrong ... he hit for the braves, he hit for the dodgers ... being from LA, i can tell you that he should have been LA's starting 3rd baseman this year, but got screwed (like matt kemp and james loney) by Colletti and Little's shiny veteran fetish (check out that rocking 80 ops+ starting at 3rd)

he is our best option (offense and defense combined) at 1st and he ought to be getting almost all the starts at 1st against RHP ... not sure about his defense there, though obviously the fact he can still play up the middle means he can probably do a pretty good job, especially with regular work there ...

2007-08-13 13:53:58
35.   cult of basebaal
34 to clarify, that was a shiny 80 ops+ for Nomar!, who Colletti resigned to a two year deal this offseason (despite an awful 79 ops+ in the 2nd half last season) and who has managed to block betemit, james loney AND adam laroche (ALL much better options) this season ...
2007-08-13 13:58:29
36.   Chyll Will
34 Well, it was a guess. It always good when you're glad you're wrong >;) So what was it with the Braves then? Was he loose change to them?
2007-08-13 14:06:24
37.   cult of basebaal
36 i think it was a desperation of circumstances for ATL last year ... their bullpen was beyond awful and was dragging them down like a stone, betemit went in exchange for wily aybar (somewhat similar skill set, but less of a bat) and a guy with the "used-to-be-a-closer" tag ... danys baez

who wasn't having a great year for LA, but had been pretty good for tampa bay for the previous couple of years

not one of JS's better trades ...

2007-08-13 14:08:47
38.   JohnnyC
36 Where was he going to play? SS? Renteria. 3B? Chipper. They needed bullpen help and the Dodgers' Danys Baez was a better offer than the Yankees' Scott Proctor last July 31st.
2007-08-13 14:24:05
39.   cult of basebaal
anyone who hasn't had a chance, should check out the chat over at baseballprospectus with steven goldman, who's always fun to read and there were a bunch of yankees related questions that got answered
2007-08-13 14:27:21
40.   weeping for brunnhilde
33 Wow, that's a fantastic breakdown.

It seems to suggest Melky actually has various "gameplans" or "approaches" according to what he believes his role to be.

He doesn't just go up there hacking, but is mindful of attempting to execute a specific task.

That's golden.

2007-08-13 14:31:39
41.   Just fair
Apropos of nothing, but this has been on my mind for a few days. Since Rich Ankiel has come back, I started wondering, just for kicks, which current Yankee postion player would make the best pitcher. I can see Cano being a nasty, hard throwing side-arm slinger. And I may be way off base, but Melky could grow a moustache and be a harder throwing El Guapo. Now that was good nickname. That's my nonsense for the day. Any thoughts.
2007-08-13 14:35:05
42.   yankz
41 Arod, there's nothing he can't do.

Also, there were quite a few "Cairo to bullpen" jokes a few months ago.

Which pitcher would make the best hitter? I'm going with Mo.

2007-08-13 14:39:43
43.   rbs10025
10 19 26 I wonder if Asdrubal has a brother named Annibal.
2007-08-13 14:46:29
44.   Bama Yankee
42 "Which pitcher would make the best hitter?"

It would have to be Farnsworth, just ask Paul Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt.
http://mlbfights.blogspot.com/
Those clips never get old...

Wait, you meant batting... Nevermind.
;-)

2007-08-13 14:54:05
45.   JL25and3
25 Betancourt isn't all that common a name, certainly not like Wang and probably not Matsui.

And when it's put together with Rafael, it's just got a pretentious rhythm that elevates it. Rafael Betancourt sounds like the name of a dastardly nobleman in some old Tyrone Power costume drama.

2007-08-13 14:55:58
46.   weeping for brunnhilde
45 Bravo.

Rafael Betancourt.

Nice.

2007-08-13 14:57:57
47.   Schteeve
19 Dude, Melky Cabrera is way weirder of a name than Rafael Betancourt. When I was in high school I knew three kids whose last name was Betancourt. It's not that rare of a name and neither is Rafael. Now Melky on the other hand...
2007-08-13 14:59:28
48.   Schteeve
42 Joba. He didn't start pitching until a few years ago.

I would say the longer you go without facing ML pitching the worse you will be at it. So the younger guys would have the advantage. Also, everytime I've seen Mo "hit" in interleague games, he look prettttty bad.

2007-08-13 15:05:47
49.   Just fair
It looks like both Pettitte and Villone both have one career homer. So they've got that going for them. If someome could actually teach Farnsworth how to bat, at least he would look scary up at the dish.
2007-08-13 15:08:37
50.   yankz
Oh, I was just messing around, in the "Mo is God, he eats fastballs with his afternoon tea" sense. Though, didn't somebody once write how he was a stud OF/hitting prospect? Sherman's Birth of a Dynasty, maybe? I might be switching him with some other pitcher.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-08-13 15:09:57
51.   JL25and3
47 The only reference I made to commonality was in regard to Chien-Ming Wang and Hideki Matsui.

I've never known a Betancourt, despite working with Latino families and having been married into one. But that's not even the issue; it's that, to my ear, Rafael and Betancourt go together in a particularly pleasing way. Fausto Cabrera would be okay, but Fausto Carmona is awesome.

Commonality need not be the issue. Neither Elijah nor Dukes is all that uncommon, but Elijah Dukes is a superb name (if not so superb a human being). The best sports name ever, in my opinion, was Joe Montana.

2007-08-13 15:51:34
52.   Nick from Washington Heights
Urban Shocker has to rank up there. I think Yunieski Bentancourt is a particularly nice and interesting sounding name (at least to my ears)
2007-08-13 15:51:35
53.   Nick from Washington Heights
Urban Shocker has to rank up there. I think Yunieski Bentancourt is a particularly nice and interesting sounding name (at least to my ears)
2007-08-13 16:03:06
54.   cult of basebaal
urban shocker is tied with rusty kuntz for the lead in the baseball version of the "things that sound dirty but aren't" competition ...

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