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Series Wrap: @ Detroit
2007-08-28 06:55
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Offense: They may have scored 5.67 runs per game, but I consider that a poor performance against a team that had allowed 6.4 runs per game over their previous 34 contests. What's more, the Yankees lost two of the four games because they couldn't scratch out an extra run, losing in extra innings in the opener, then falling 5-4 in the penultimate match.

Studs:

Hideki Matsui 5 for 13, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R, 4 BB
Bobby Abreu 4 for 12, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 SB

Duds:

Derek Jeter 0 for 11, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Jorge Posada 1 for 11, 2B, 2 RBI, R, BB, 2 K
Wilson Betemit 0 for 8, R, BB, 2 K
Robinson Cano 3 for 16, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, K, 2 GIDP
Melky Cabrera 4 for 17, 3B, 3 RBI, R, SB, CS, GIDP
Andy Phillips 1 for 5, RBI, SacB, K
Shelley Duncan 1 for 4
Jose Molina 1 for 4

Rotation: If you want to find out how the Yankees could drop three of four to a team that was playing .324 ball over it's last 34 games, look no further than the starting rotation. Outside of Chien-Ming Wang's outstanding return to form in game two (8 IP, 1 ER, 6 K, 4.00 GB/FB), no starter allowed fewer than five runs or pitched more than six innings, both marks set by Phil Hughes. Mike Mussina was awful, of course, but so was Roger Clemens, who allowed six runs in five innings in the opener. Fittingly, the Yankees won Wang's game, but lost the other two.

Bullpen: Taking Sean Henn out of the picture, the pen was outstanding, allowing just a solo homer off Edwar Ramirez in 10 1/3 innings. Henn, however, allowed 12 runs in 3 1/3 innings to push his total on the trip to 18 runs in 6 2/3 for a 21.60 ERA. Kyle Farnsworth dominated in his two innings, striking out three of the six batters he faced. Joba pitched just once, striking out one and retiring the side in order on ten pitches (seven strikes). In 2 1/3 innings, Brian Bruney allowed a single and a double, but no runs and no walks (though also no Ks, and that double did plate a runner he inherited from Henn). Mariano Rivera allowed a leadoff double to Magglio Ordoñez in the tenth inning of the opener and needed a spectacular stab of a line drive by Andy Phillips to keep the run from scoring, but he did escape, and Joe Torre deserves credit for twice using Rivera in a tie game on the road on this trip, even if they lost both games because the offense couldn't score before Torre ran out of quality relievers. In addition to the solo homer by Placido Polanco, Ramirez walked two and struck out two in two innings, but allowed no other hits. Luiz Vizcaino allowed three baserunners in his two scoreless innings of work.

Conclusion: Henn should be on his way to Scranton before game time tonight, so that solves that problem, but the Yankees have had consistently disappointing performances from their starting rotation of late, with Andy Pettitte being the only consistent exception. Hopefully Wang's performance on Saturday marks a permanent return to form for him, but even having both Pettitte and Wang pitching in top form won't be enough to get this team into the playoffs. Clemens and Hughes need to step it up, and Torre and Guidry need to find a solution to the Mike Mussina problem. This is paramount as the offense is cooling off a bit, which was to be expected. This is a very talented team, and one that deserves a playoff spot, but it will only go as far as it's starting rotation can take it.

Comments
2007-08-28 09:27:38
1.   OldYanksFan
While 4 for 17 isn't good, I would not put Melky on the 'Dud' list for that series. Defense counts?
2007-08-28 09:35:44
2.   Sliced Bread
Cano and Cabrera on the "dud list" for this series? I guess, but I dunno. Cano drove one 430 feet. Pretty damn studly.

The Posada and Jeter lines for the series are troubling.

Has Joe talked about his recent use of Mariano in the tie game situations? It's certainly a welcomed change of strategy, but I'm wondering if a light bulb finally went off in Joe's head, or if it had more to do with a lack of trusted options for him?

And as you noted during the series, Cliff, Joe needs to abandon this 1 inning per relief appearance tendency. Viz and Farns are certainly strong enough to go two... if you're feeling lucky, that is.

2007-08-28 09:36:39
3.   williamnyy23
1 Especially when you consider how big his bases clearing triple was on Saturday.
2007-08-28 09:37:53
4.   williamnyy23
Cashman on Hughes' drop in velocity from the NYTimes:

"I don't know why," Cashman said. "It's our job to continue to look and see if there's anything mechanically. He could still be just building arm strength from being down for so long. It's starting to improve, though. His last two outings, he's been popping a few more high-velocity fastballs. But he's got more arm strength than he's shown lately. He's not coming at hitters with his full ability yet."

2007-08-28 09:40:10
5.   Zack
In Kepner's game notes he claims that Britton is, inf act, on his way. So Henn's suckatude finally overrode the lefty question and the vendetta against Britton...
2007-08-28 09:48:57
6.   OldYanksFan
A little thought from WW:
Christian Garcia, Humberto Sanchez, J. Brent Cox, Mark Melancon and now Andrew Brackman. The Yankees are putting together an all-prospect "Who's who" of Tommy John jobs.

[Tommy John surgery]...which, according to Boras, has a 97-percent success rate.

2007-08-28 09:49:59
7.   williamnyy23
Hey Cliff...it looks like you wrote Rob Neyer's blog this morning...he quotes your work for most of it. Nice.
2007-08-28 09:56:01
8.   Zack
6 I have also heard that Sanchez and Melancon are fully on track to pitch next season. While Garcia had a knee operation, it was supposedly minor and is on track to pitch next year as well. Haven't heard anything about Cox, but IIRC, I don't think he actually had TJ surgery, but a different elbow operation. It's like the forgotten group of prospects though, huh? All of them rather good too. I am most intrigued by Melancon and Sanchez, though Melancon is further away. I think Sanchez is probably headed to the BP and could be what Joba is this season...
2007-08-28 09:57:53
9.   rbj
7 Neyer needs to send his paycheck to Cliff.

Jeter's got a bum knee, he needs to rest it. Problem being, Yankees can't afford it.

2007-08-28 09:58:21
10.   Cliff Corcoran
2 3 for 16 = .188. With no walks and only the one extra-base hit, I have no problem calling Cano a dud for the series. Melky's a closer call, but remember that these are evaluations for the series as a whole. I'd give Aaron Boone a dud for the 2003 ALCS (and sort of did if you check the old BRB).
2007-08-28 10:30:48
11.   tommyl
Wow, from Steve Goldman:

Not to beat a broken record, but Josh Phelps started at catcher for the Pirates on Sunday, and is batting .449/.533/.857 in a Buccos uniform.

Ummm, that's pretty good for a backup catcher, though his BFOG is still crappy. Where's PeteAbe with his disparaging comments?

2007-08-28 10:36:54
12.   Sliced Bread
10 I see your pernt, and long live Big Red!
2007-08-28 11:02:24
13.   ChrisS
4

http://tinyurl.com/yvxl3m

Spring training notes on Hughes from 2006:

'"He has the best arm in camp, no doubt about it. Better than all these guys," said Posada, pointing to a row of lockers which included Randy Johnson and Mariano Rivera. "I don't care how old he is. He's unbelievable. It's effortless the way the ball comes out of his hand at 95-96. He's that impressive. He's the best prospect we've got. It's fun to see."'

Giambi: '"He's young, but that fastball, it's late. I don't care what the radar gun says, it seems like it's on top of you. He's got good stuff."'

A-Rod: '"I didn't know who he was," Rodriguez said. "I thought he was going to throw about 88 [mph], and he came at me with 95."'

I find it hard to believe that Hughes went from 95-6 to 89-90 in two years for no reason. I blame the lay-off.

2007-08-28 11:08:41
14.   Marcus
11 PeteAbe has switched his target to Edwar Ramirez. Because you can't be a relief pitcher if your only pitch is a change up.
2007-08-28 11:20:09
15.   standuptriple
14 Trevor Hoffman disagrees.
2007-08-28 11:24:16
16.   Sliced Bread
10 Cliff, you classified Boone as a "hero," as opposed to "goat" in your 2003 ALCS series wrap on the late great "Big Red Blog."

http://tinyurl.com/267hlp

but your point re: series studs and duds still stands.

2007-08-28 11:45:32
17.   Marcus
15 Exactly.
2007-08-28 11:53:39
18.   tommyl
14 Ah, that's right I forgot. Maybe he'll switch to Chris Britton now.
2007-08-28 11:58:53
19.   Cliff Corcoran
16 Actually, I checked it myself. If you scroll down further to my series awards, I divided Boone into "Aaron Boone Games 1-6" and "Aaron Boone Game 7" listing the former as a Goat and the latter as a Hero.
2007-08-28 12:13:55
20.   Sliced Bread
19 eesh, tricked by the old browser window!
2007-08-28 12:19:45
21.   Cliff Corcoran
20 Yeah, I never did get that bug worked out with Blogger.
2007-08-28 12:51:23
22.   JL25and3
11 I'm not sure how one can use his Pirate stats to demonstrate that the Yankees didn't give him a chance. 80 AB as a Yankee, 49 as a Pirate. If you say that the former was too small a sample size to show his usefulness, you can't cite the latter as evidence.
2007-08-28 13:30:35
23.   tommyl
22 Well his stats with the Yankees seemed pretty useful to me at the time. Certainly more so than Doug Out.
2007-08-28 13:43:39
24.   Yankee Fan In Boston
23 that is because there is no stat for grit or "knowing how to win".
2007-08-28 14:32:35
25.   OldYanksFan
15 I could say people can't walk on water and you could say 'Jesus' did.
Quoting one or two exceptions to a rule does not invalidate the rule, just means it ain't absolute.

And other exceptions to that rule exist, including knuckleballers. But IMHO 14 is correct. A devastating change and a decent fastball are good tools, but not enough for Slim to be really good. He will have days he succeeds and days he gets creamed.

If he could development a pitch with movement at an inbetween speed (slider, splitter, curve) that extra variety would make him much more effective, and guys couldn't so much just sit on one pitch.

I haven't given up on him, but currenty, I don't think he will post better then league average numbers.

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