Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Help
There's No D in "Relief" Either, I Don't Care What Rolaids Taught You
2007-08-19 21:24
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Prior to Friday's game I said that, despite the Yankees' ugly loss in the opening game of their series against the Tigers, I had feeling that they'd win the remaining three, just as they had done against the lowly Devil Rays four weeks earlier. It says something about a team when you can make a statement like that about a series against a playoff contender and have the team fulfill that expectation, which is exactly what the Yankees did, concluding their series win with a 9-3 victory in yesterday's finale.

Chien-Ming Wang wasn't particularly sharp again yesterday, but he battled through to turn in a bare minimum quality start (6 IP, 3 R). Wang didn't get his second ground ball out until the fourth inning, but did record six strikeouts, four of them coming in those first three innings. I can only assume that Wang was working his slider more in the early innings then shifted back to the sinker as his final three innings saw him record just two more strikeouts, but six of his seven ground-ball outs. Unfortunately, they also saw him cough up his three runs.

The Tigers cut the Yankees' early 2-0 lead in half with a run in the fourth, then took the lead on Wang in the fifth. Wang, who stranded five men through the first four innings including men at second and third in the fourth, really struggled with men on base in the fifth. Curtis Granderson led off the inning with a single then moved to second on a groundout. Granderson's dancing off second resulted in a pickoff throw that bounced into centerfield. Granderson didn't advance on that, but he took off on the next pitch, causing Wang to balk giving Granderson third. Wang then walked Gary Sheffield and gave up an RBI single to Magglio Ordoñez that moved Sheffield to second. Sheffield and Ordoñez then pulled a double steal on Wang and three pitches later, Wang bounced a pitch past Posada to allow Sheffield to score the go-ahead run. Wang rallied to strike out Carlos Guillen, and Ryan Raburn did the Yankees a huge favor by bunting with two outs and a man on third. I can only assume he was trying to catch the Yankee defense by surprise, but his bunt went right back to Wang, who threw to first to end the rally.

The Yankees tied things up right away in the bottom of the fifth against Jeremy Bonderman. Bobby Abreu led off with a single back through the box. Alex Rodriguez shot a grounder right through Brandon Inge's legs for a two-base error that moved Abreu to third, and Hideki Matsui plated Abreu with a sac fly to left. Wang struggled through the sixth, throwing another wild pitch with two runners on, but escaped with out further damage, and Johnny Damon gave the Yankees the lead in the bottom of the inning with a towering upper deck home run that just stayed fair down the right field line.

Then the fun started.

With a one-run lead and the heart of the Tiger order due up in the top of the seventh, Joe Torre called on Joba Chamberlain, who received a hero's welcome from the packed Stadium, then earned it. Chamberlain retired Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordoñez, and Carlos Guillen on nine pitches, eight of them strikes, striking out Ordoñez and Guillen on seven pitches with Ordoñez going down on three fastballs, the slowest being clocked at 98 miles per hour. Perhaps most impressively, Chamberlain had faced the same three hitters in the ninth inning on Friday night and did better against them yesterday.

Buoyed by Chamberlain, the Yankees added a pair of insurance runs against Zach Minor in the seventh and three more against Aquilino Lopez in the eighth. One of the fun subplots of the these late innings was the fact that the Tigers twice intentionally walked Robinson Cano to pitch to Wilson Betemit, who started at shortstop in place of the generally banged up Derek Jeter. Betemit had struck out in his first two at-bats against Bonderman. In the fifth, with two out and Rodriguez at second, Bonderman intentionally walked Cano to pitch to Betemit, who hit a sharp sinking liner to right field but right to Ordoñez for the third out. In the same scenario in the seventh (two out, Rodriguez at second), Miner also intentionally walked Cano to pitch to Betemit, who this time hit an RBI single back up the middle, setting up another RBI single by Andy Phillips. In the eighth, Betemit came to the plate with the bases loaded against Lopez and cracked a bases-clearing double into the gap in right center that put the game out of reach.

Also putting the game out of reach was Edwar Ramirez, who struck out the side in the eighth to preserve what was then a three-run lead, then came back out in the ninth with a six-run lead and retired the Tigers in order on seven pitches. Together Ramirez and Chamberlain pitched three perfect innings of relief, striking out five and throwing just 31 pitches. Torre, meanwhile, used them perfectly, bringing in Chamberlain to face the heart of the order in the seventh, then calling on Ramirez to face the weaker hitters in the eighth and sticking with him to avoid using Mariano Rivera with a six-run lead in the ninth. Here's hoping Ramirez, who has now pitched 4 1/3 innings since being recalled, struck out six, and allowed just one baserunner on a bunt single, becomes as important a part of the Yankees' end-game as Chamberlain has.

The Yankees now sit three games ahead of the Tigers in the Wild Card race and are a game and a half ahead of the AL Central-leading Indians for good measure. The Mariners, however, refuse to lose, and still hold a half game advantage on the Yankees and lead the Wild Card by two games in the loss column. Two weeks from today, the Mariners come to the Stadium for a three-game showdown. Time to circle that one in red.

Comments
2007-08-19 22:46:06
1.   Mike T
The Yankees have to put in a great showing against the Angels this week. The Angels are far from invincible, and I really believe our guys can outplay them in their own house. I was hoping for one more win from LA in Boston this weekend, but hey, a split isn't bad.

One of my good friends, who is from Orange County and is a huge Angels fan, is insufferable when talking about his team. Nothing would make me happier than our guys serving him up a big, tall glass of shut the hell up.

2007-08-19 23:12:13
2.   Mattpat11
We need to take two of three from The Angels.
2007-08-19 23:29:03
3.   rabid stan
1 Those Halos may not be invincible, but it's never easy with them. The Yanks only arguable matchup advantage is in the first game, then they get Escobar and Lackey.

Where is Bartolo Colon?

2007-08-19 23:32:39
4.   Mattpat11
3 Well, if we face them in the playoffs, we're likely to see Escobar and Lackey. So lets beat them.
2007-08-19 23:35:30
5.   Yu-Hsing Chen
I think first game should be a win, then you can only hope we can touch up on one of those two, as great as Escobar is, he's really not sub 3 ERA good, there's a chance he's due for a bad game, hope we can catch that.
2007-08-19 23:37:09
6.   Mike T
3 Would that be the same John Lackey who just got his ass handed to him his last time out?
2007-08-19 23:41:55
7.   Bob Timmermann
All the Angels tend to get their asses handed to them when they pitch in Boston.
2007-08-20 00:09:06
8.   Mike T
I think it's about time they got their asses handed to them when they pitch in Anaheim.
2007-08-20 04:53:29
9.   Raf
3 Colon's shoulder hasn't been right. I think he may be done for the year, if not for his career.
2007-08-20 04:57:02
10.   Raf
9 I really should read before I post. Colon has been having elbow problems. According to ESPN, he will be back in the rotation in Sept.
2007-08-20 05:10:44
11.   seamus
5 I worry. We have struggled all year in the first game following a major travel day.

2 winning 2 of 3 would help me feel more confident, but our need depends more on how other teams do and how we fare in the Detroit and against Boston. These next 3 series are all against AL contenders though and if we can manage a win in each series, we should be in great shape!

2007-08-20 05:11:05
12.   seamus
10 why bother. more fun to post, then read. :)
2007-08-20 05:32:06
13.   Rob Middletown CT
Perfect bullpen management by Torre. It felt good, dinnit?
2007-08-20 06:40:33
14.   OldYanksFan
Cripes! I hate these 10PM EST games! We are however on TV on ESPN2... in my region anyway. You older guys might want to take a little nappy before the game...
2007-08-20 06:58:04
15.   Rob Middletown CT
West coast night games do indeed suck. I'll find out how they did in the morning. Too late for me.
2007-08-20 07:42:21
16.   Mattpat11
11 This team needs to remove any lingering "we can't beat the Angels" thoughts from their minds.
2007-08-20 07:48:34
17.   seamus
16 You know, it isn't like we've never beaten the Angels. They just stick out, because they are the only team we are sub .500 over the last ten years or so. We just took 2 out of 3 from them last month.
2007-08-20 07:58:09
18.   Mike T
16 I agree. The Yanks can beat these guys.
2007-08-20 08:00:56
19.   Mike T
15 I love west coast sports times. Monday Night Football starts at 5:30pm here, Sunday football starts at 10am, Saturday college football starts at 9am, and baseball games start at 4pm if it's an east coast game, and 7pm if it's a west coast game. Weeknight NBA games, like on TNT, start at 5 and 7:30. It's great.
2007-08-20 08:09:14
20.   JL25and3
I wish I still had a cheap transistor radio to put under my pillow. That's the real way to listen to west coast night games.
2007-08-20 08:13:04
21.   ChrisS
http://tinyurl.com/37276t

Nice write-up and Joba and Clemens from yesterday's Newsday, my apologies if it's been posted already.

2007-08-20 08:14:07
22.   Chyll Will
20 (psst... make sure you use genuine Duracell batteries or else you'll have Kafka dreams... or worse yet, your dreams will be Useless...)
2007-08-20 08:38:43
23.   Mattpat11
22 He'll dream about Kyle Farnsworth?
2007-08-20 08:39:48
24.   Raf
20 I prefer my current method of falling asleep on the couch or the recliner.
2007-08-20 08:42:44
25.   Max
I'm a night owl so I don't mind the late start times...except I hate the late games when they result in the types of losses we've had to the Halos in the past. No fun going to bet past 1:30am dwelling on the latest way we gave up a game to those chumps, and hearing about how their "genius" Scioscia orchestrated another "scrappy" win.

Hoping for very different results this time, now that we've got a bullpen and a bench.

2007-08-20 08:50:13
26.   rilkefan
21 Re the K-2-1 DP the other day: '"Clemens recalled working on that kind of play with Posada in spring training five years ago, but didn't pretend this was planned.

"Just fortunate," Clemens said. "He threw a head-high ball."'

2007-08-20 09:02:50
27.   Zack
For me, living on the west coast, games actually played out here throw me off, as I am so used to planning my evening around an early Yankee game that when its actually on at 7:00, it throws me totally off. Like tonight. If it was at 4:00, it would fit in perfectly as I have dinner plans, but since it is 7, I guess if its on ESPN2 I can dvr it...

And football at 10am on a sunday is ok, but a bit early to start really getting into it...

2007-08-20 09:20:47
28.   MainLineYankee
Good news. Steve Phillips is saying on ESPN.com right now that the Mariners will take the Wildcard and the Red Sox will win the division by at least 5 games.
2007-08-20 09:22:14
29.   unpopster
The Yanks are half way through their "tough" 20 game stretch and have so far played .700 ball in those 10 games. Not too shabby. They now face the Halos and Detroit for 7 games and then 3 at home against the Sox. IF they just go 5-5 in the next 10 games then they'd have finished their stretch against good teams at a respectable 12-8 record.

Didn't the Sox fans cry that the Yanks feasted on the dregs of the AL only to be handed their lunches when they played these 20 games? psha!

Having said all that, going 5-5 in the next 10 is just not good enough, especially since 3 of those 10 are against the Red Sox. We need to go at least 6-4 to keep ourselves afloat in the AL East.

I say 6-4 and not 7-3 or even 8-2 because looking at the Sox rotation against the Rays and White Sox, Boston starts Wakefield/Lester in 4 of those 7 games. They face Kazmir tonight and miss Contreras in Chicago. They intead will face Danks, Garland, Buehrle and Vasquez in Chitown. The Sox are not going any better than 6-4 on their upcoming 10 game road trip.

2007-08-20 09:28:53
30.   JL25and3
29 Who is Miss Contreras, and why didn't I hear anything about the White Sox signing her?

Is she related to Karin Garcia?

2007-08-20 09:34:46
31.   thelarmis
i'm a complete vampire, so i love west coast start times here in the east. i'm also glad it's on espn2, so i can watch it. only problem is, i probably won't get home from work until the 2nd half of the game and i might not get to see much of The Franchise.

if we go 5-2 this week, taking both series, we'll be in excellent shape when the drama begins in the bronx next tuesday...

2007-08-20 09:41:48
32.   Chyll Will
23 (no one in their right mind dreams about Kyle Krueger, silly!)
2007-08-20 09:52:04
33.   Bags
30 and don't call me Shirley!
2007-08-20 09:56:21
34.   SF Yanks
New thread up fellers.
2007-08-20 10:01:03
35.   Bama Yankee
30 LOL. Well played. Although picturing a female Jose Contreras right before I go out for lunch is not a good idea...
2007-08-20 10:05:09
36.   OldYanksFan
I believe the Sox have been dicking around with their rotation to set it up for the Yankees.

I'm not worried about Detroit. A split is the worst I would expect. If we take 2 of 3 from LA, then when LA and Seattle bump heads, we would benefit either way.

However, the only way to the Division title is to take at least 4 of 6 from Boston. They also have a soft September. If we split or lose to them, the Division becomes a real longshot.

I therefore, would work the rotation around those 6 games.

Anyone know our rotation for the first 3 against Boston?

2007-08-20 10:19:30
37.   AbbyNormal821
3 Where is Bartolo Colon?

...with Karim Garcia????

:::ducking:::

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.