Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
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Fakers?
2007-09-03 06:45
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

I spent almost the entire day yesterday travelling from Vermont back down to the Bronx via Amtrak. The less said about the trip home the better. The same could be said for the Yankees unsightly performance this weekend against the Devil Rays. I got home last night and called a friend who was livid with the Yankees. Not only that but he simply does not believe they have any heart, any business being considered a post-season threat. "They have no killer instinct, they think they can just show up and be good enough. After beating the Sox they get ripped twice by mediocre pitchers on the Devil Rays? What is that?" I didn't have an answer. "Joe Torre," he continued, "has to be the worst manager in the game when it comes to pitching moves." He proceeded to describe yesterday's events, when Pettitte stayed in the game too long (why didn't Joba Chamberlain start the seventh?), and by the time Torre made a move it was "four batters too late." This reminded me of the comparison Met players used to make between Yogi Berra and Gil Hodges. In the third inning, the thinking went, Hodges was thinking about what to do in the sixth inning. In the sixth inning, Yogi was thinking about what he should have done in the third.

My friend believes that since 2001, Joe Torre's teams have been seriously lacking, and a lot of it can be traced back to the skipper. "Just look at their combined playoff record after they were tied or had a lead in the playoffs." I said, "Yeah, but look at the Mariners. They've lost nine straight. And look at the Tigers." He wasn't having it. Whether the Yankees make the playoffs or not, he doesn't think they'll make it out of the first round. So I bet him a dinner that when the Yankees make the playoffs they'll win the first round.

Call it a sucker's bet or blind faith, but what the heck?

Cliff is away on vacation, so there won't be a Mariners Preview as per usual. I'm not even going to try and replicate what Cliff does so well. What I do know is that Seattle has lost nine in a row but they also have their ace, Felix Hernandez, going today. That isn't a good sign for the Yanks, who'll counter with Rocket Clemens. Something's got to give. Will we see the same uninspired effort that we saw this past weekend, or something closer to what we saw last week against the Red Sox? If the Yankees have any killer instinct in them, they'll win two of three here, even sweep. But if they lose this series--and I don't think anyone would be surprised either way--the book will still be open on this team. Are they pretenders or contenders?

That is the $64,000 question.

It is absolutely gorgeous in New York today, cool and overcast.

Let's Go Yan-Kees!

Comments (139)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-09-03 07:18:01
1.   markp
I usually don't get into the team's attitude, since I think that aspect gets overblown a bit. This weekend was not an example of that being true. So many really bad ABs (swinging at 2-0 pitches out of the strike zone or at the first pitch) and then yesterday's odd pitching moves.

If they don't respond to Seattle coming to town, it could be a very difficult September.

2007-09-03 07:40:41
2.   yankz
Sorry Alex, but I wouldn't have made that bet, especially without home field advantage and a possible (likely?) matchup with LAA in the first round.
2007-09-03 07:45:05
3.   monkeypants
1 You're right...about things like "attitude" getting overblown. It's so easy to look in hindsight at a bad series and point out all the bad swings A-Rod took, for example. But no one does the same thing when the team wins--for all we know he swings at just as many 2-0 pitches out of the zone in those games, but we forget about them because he later connects for a homer and/or teh team wins. In turn, we assume that a lost series is the result of attitude.

Moreover, this series was going to be tougher than advertised anyway, with Hughes and Kennedy going back to back. Expectations were raised when Kennedy won. I suspect that if the team dropped the first two games bu Andy came back as the stopper in game three, the perception of the series would be much higher. At least that's my thinking.

2007-09-03 08:12:53
4.   Max
3 Perhaps the perception of the series would be better if Andy won the last game, but two losses at home to non-frontline starters still looks terrible, any way you cut it.

I've always felt this team was flawed and have hoped all along that they could sneak into the playoffs, get lucky with a young arm and get hot, and then pull off a run.

But this last weekend was really, really disappointing. There have been whispers all season about "attitude" and "heart", which I have mostly ignored, but the most recent 3 games have really made me wonder. You know it's bad when I actually found myself missing Proctor, because our bullpen is full of holes and pitchers with "rules", and overhyped "gems" brought up from the minors like Edwar.

I wonder if they can put away Seattle at this point. I really have my doubts.

2007-09-03 08:33:26
5.   Sliced Bread
I'm not a Torre apologist, I mean, some of his pitching moves boggle the mind. He left Pettitte in far too long yesterday, (he was cooked by the end of the 5th) but I thought Edwar was the right move. Joba wasn't, not the way the Yanks were swinging the bats. I wouldn't have wasted him either.

As for the Yanks chronic boughts of "lifelessness," I can't pin that on Joe. This is still a mostly veteran team. They don't need a manager screaming at them to wake up. Jeter, A-Rod, Posada, Damon, Hideki, Abreu... down the line, they're awake, they know what they have to do to get to October. Some days they just don't have what it takes. Not Joe's fault, not always.

The main reason I'm for sticking with Joe no matter what happens down the stretch is this is still going to be very much a veteran team next year. Keep the old guard happy and comfortable for another year or so.

bottomline: great pitching made Joe look like a genius in the 90's, and since then, shitty pitching has made him look like an ass. Like most managers, he's something in between, but I think he still has more good days than bad.

2007-09-03 08:46:14
6.   Kenny B
Sorry about the wasted trip to da Bronx Alex. You definately have something with Torre's pitch management. He is soft! I've been watching the Bronx is Burning and we need another Billy Martin. The Yanks have been letting the young guys come aboard for the future.
2007-09-03 08:46:45
7.   Emma Span
Whether the Yanks are good enough to make the playoffs or go far in them I'm not sure, but I doubt it has much to do with "heart" and suspect it's more to do with pitching. I don't see how a team that didn't care would have fought back from 12 games out of the Wild Card to take a two-game lead. We're just at a point in the Yankees' season where every game is huge, so every loss seems to doom them.

I have long since given up trying to predict the playoffs, but if nothing else last year should have taught us that you don't have to actually be a very good team to win the World Series. The Cardinals were two games over .500 and relied on aces Jeff Suppan and JEFF WEAVER, who pitched like frigging Christy Matthewson throughout October. All things are possible.

2007-09-03 08:51:26
8.   monkeypants
4 The weekend was disappointing..as should be any loses against an inferior team. to extrapolate from that structural flaws or lack of heart, character, attitude or any other 'intangible' is (I think) deeply flawed and probably circular reasoning.

Good heavans, we're looking at the team with one of the best few records in the entire league. So, they stumbled into a bunch of wins despite their lack of character, waiting until a really bad team showed up (like TB) just so they could really loaf it?

They may "hold off" Seattle (an interesting choice of words for a teams whose hard charge seems to be a nine game free fall), or they may not. I'm pretty sure that will have more to do with teh talent and performance on the field from this point out than it does to who's got more 'fire in the belly' or who knows how to "grind it' or 'cowboy up' or whatever.

2007-09-03 08:53:00
9.   monkeypants
7 Emma, much more elegant (and with fewer typos) than my rambling 8 .
2007-09-03 09:00:38
10.   Chyll Will
Something has to be said about focus though. Ballplaying is not totally mindless and instinctive, but on the other hand the manager is not totally responsible for strategy. If at least four managers can coach a team with enough focus to battle for the pennant, then what is the problem right here? How come the veterans from 1998 competed differently from the veterans of 2007? Is this roster construction or am I imagining things?
2007-09-03 09:01:43
11.   JL25and3
7 Emma, I agree that pitching is their biggest problem, but I don't think that's where the specious "gotta have heart" judgments come from. It's when they don't hit that they look lifeless.
2007-09-03 09:08:15
12.   monkeypants
10 This is asked in curiosity, not as a challnge (per se), but how did the veterans compete differently in 1998 than they do now? And how do you evaluate that, besides personal observation?

It seems to me that since the team won so much more often in 1998, we ascribe to that team greater heart and focus and so on. What about the 2000 team, that "slumbered" through much of teh beginning season then totally fell asleep at the end. Did they lack focus, or was it simply a more flawed team than the 1998 juggernaut, or (since they won it all) must we assume that they "knew how to win" in way that the current team makes us question?

2007-09-03 09:13:50
13.   monkeypants
In fact, one could even turn the whole argument on its head. Was Watching has a post up now that questions whether the 2007 Yankees are even all that good since their record against TB/BAL is worse than Boston's (and Toronto's). Now leaving aside the methodological arguments agaisnt picking mutual record against two teams...

Let's concede that the Yankees are not good, and that their record against TB and Baltimore reflects their true ability. That suggests in my mind that they have tremendous heard and hutzpuh and guts and grittiness and veteranness--because they have willed themsleves to a very good record overall and a winning record against the vaunted Sox, clearly outplaying their skill level.

If so, then the problem with the 2007 Yankees is exactly not one of intangibles, but rather skill and ability, and at some point they will simply be unable to keep overcome their lack of skill with their heart and grit.

2007-09-03 09:13:57
14.   Sliced Bread
11 It's not only when they don't hit that they appear lifeless. They have suffered more than their fair share of blow outs this year. 16-zip to the Tigers looks as ugly as 8-2, or 9-1 to the Devil Rays. What I'm saying is it's not just the occasional lack of hitting that makes fans recoil in horror, and start digging the Yankee graves. They looked flatout lifeless on both sides of the game yesterday, and on Friday.
2007-09-03 09:34:06
15.   markp
When I see table-setters like Derek Jeter constantly swinging at 2-0 pitches out of the strike zone instead of working the count, I get the impression that they're not willing to "grind".
Bad ABs, bad baserunning, Abreu jogging to first two times in the same game on long fly balls-none of these are indicative of a team fighting for its playoff life.
2007-09-03 09:36:09
16.   Max
7 8 Oh believe me, I completely agree that arguments based on "heart" are specious...I was just allowing myself a descent into fan irrationality, because this last weekend was as irrational as any I've seen. But as Emma pointed out, teams that look and play bad for significant stretches can still win it all.

I do wonder, though, if it's a little harder for teams with a microscope on them like the Yankees to "slip under the radar". The Cardinals have a very avid and rabid fan base, but the national writers didn't seem to pay too much attention to them until very late in the game. There seems to be a morality play hinging on every possible outcome of the current Yankees' team.

But it's true that you could apply the same questions of character and heart (incorrectly) to the Mariners and Tigers. A nine game losing streak and losing 2 of 3 to KC (as well as blowing a 7 run lead to Oakland) would definitely get the Yankees roasted if it happened to them.

I just wish I had more confidence in this year's team, but I guess it's the theme of the season that they'll keep us guessing about how good they really are until the bitter end.

2007-09-03 09:40:04
17.   randym77
Andy has a fractured wrist. No official announcement yet, but I would guess it's the end of the season for him.
2007-09-03 09:41:03
18.   monkeypants
16 Well said.
2007-09-03 09:41:52
19.   monkeypants
17 And if you listen really hard, you can hear Minky laughing "bwah-ha-ha-ha" in the distance.
2007-09-03 09:44:38
20.   monkeypants
17 More seriously and less bitterly, this could be a blessing, if Torre screws his head on straight and sticks Duncan/Giambi at 1B most of the time, with Minky as the LIDR he should only have been all along. This coupled with the Matsui/Damon/Giambi DH rotation would work pretty well.

Now, if there was only time to get Jeter a day or three off.

2007-09-03 09:49:42
21.   randym77
Yeah, you have to wonder if Jeter is still hurting. That might explain why he's letting so many balls get past him.
2007-09-03 09:49:58
22.   Sliced Bread
16 The questions of character and heart come with the $200 million dollar payroll.
But I don't think expectations have anything to do with any team's successes or failures.
To me, it always comes down to pitching, and the 2007 Yanks are textbook mediocre in that department.
Not saying they can't win it all, the bats can still take them all the way, and the pitchers can be as good as anybody's when they're on -- but I wouldn't bet a dollar or a dinner on them. Not enough consistently good starting pitching for me to invest in.
2007-09-03 09:59:02
23.   Sliced Bread
16 Media scrutiny, I think, is also a non-factor for professional athletes.
2007-09-03 10:00:08
24.   yankz
17 Oh my god, I thought you meant Andy Pettitte.
2007-09-03 10:01:08
25.   randym77
22 Yeah, I agree. I was worried about pitching even before this season started. Especially looking at what Boston had compared to what we had.

Anything can happen...but I think the old saw is correct. Pitching and defense wins championships.

Someone posted a link to a statistical analysis here last year. They found that postseason success is most likely if you have an excellent closer, good defense, and power pitching. Presumably because those factors are less dependent on luck.

Makes sense to me, and made even more sense after last year's postseason flameout. Even the best hitters can go cold at the wrong time. All at once. :-P

2007-09-03 10:05:55
26.   OldYanksFan
As fans, it is our job to piss and moan, or hoot and preen, after every game. For media and sports writers, it's how they feed their children. But let's understand, that while it's what we all do, it means nothing. All this speculation about heart, soul, skill and desire only lasts until the next game.

Q: Who won the WS in 2006? Anyone know?
Q: How many games did they 'blow' that season?
Q: How many times did their big bat go 'Ofer'?
Q: How many 'manager' loses did they have?
Q: How many games did they look like shit?

A: The st. Louis Cardinals... who cares... whos counting.... what's it matter... who gives a shit.

This is a 162 game season and EVERY team has all these great and terrible moments and games. This is what makes baseball so fascinating and unpredictable.

The Sox, Angels, Tigers, Seattle and Indians have all had their share. Detroit blew a 7 run lead yesterday. Do they 'NOT DESERVE' to play in the PS? Gagne blew 2 easy wins in a row. Do the Sox 'NOT DESERVE' to play in the PS?

We are Yankee fans so we obsess with their every game, every AB, every swing. It's a great hobby made far better, and far more fun and interesting, because of Alex and Cliff.

But lets not take ourselves to seriously and think we know what is in the hearts, minds and bodies of Cashman, Torre and some 40 odd other baseball players.

Everyone here, and in baseball, knows the Yankees have an excellent team. Flawed? Sure? Capable of missing the PS? Sure. Capable of making the PS? Sure. Capable of winning it all?

You betcha!
GO YANKEES!

2007-09-03 10:09:37
27.   Max
23 Really? Then how do you account for the front office's meticulous (or apparent attempt at being meticulous) analysis of whether certain free agents can "handle" New York? In Boston, similar analyses are done of "makeup" of individuals beyond their raw skills and numbers.

I take your broader point that media scrutiny shouldn't be used as a primary point of analysis when considering performance (or lack thereof) -- and I wasn't positing it as such, just contributing something else to think about.

But professional athletes are definitely not created equal in terms of their ability to manage the expectations of baseball markets like New York or Boston. I realize this may entail stepping into another qualitative quagmire along the same discussions of "heart", but I think it's reasonable to say that some players manage media scrutiny a lot better than others.

2007-09-03 10:09:43
28.   yankz
Ichiro is such a good singles hitter.
2007-09-03 10:15:59
29.   yankz
Remember that great game a couple years ago when Unit outdueled the King?
2007-09-03 10:18:52
30.   Max
29 That was an awesome game. That level of brilliance in our pitching seems so very long ago (though I know Worm-Killer and Andy have had their great moments this year).
2007-09-03 10:20:57
31.   yankz
If A-rod had faked him out, and the guy had fallen for it, idiots across America would be preaching about how "bush" it is.
2007-09-03 10:21:33
32.   yankz
Suck it, King!
2007-09-03 10:21:41
33.   Zack
30 Wait, Randy Johnson's level of pitching seems long gone? Good riddance for mediocrity if you ask me!
2007-09-03 10:22:26
34.   yankz
That was one of the biggest jumps I've ever seen.
2007-09-03 10:22:38
35.   Sliced Bread
27 but it's not expectations that make or break players in the tougher baseball towns. It's how they react to "fan" reactions. Boos can kill a guy. That has nothing to do with expectations or the media. A player getting booed has less to do with fan expectation than it does with failure. Fans react to success or failure, not-so-much expectations, agree?
2007-09-03 10:24:20
36.   yankz
35 You think the boos Arod got last year were more about his "failure" than the expectations? If I had a dollar every time I heard someone say "Sure he had a decent season, but for that kind of money..."
2007-09-03 10:25:48
37.   Sliced Bread
36 no, I think the boos he got were out of sheer stupidity.
2007-09-03 10:26:23
38.   yankz
37 People booed because they expected him to be Ruthian.
2007-09-03 10:28:24
39.   Sliced Bread
37 I've never booed anybody because that's not my style. I think A-Rod got booed because he is not liked by a lot of fans, for a lot of silly reasons, some having nothing to do with his performance or their expectations. I regarded it as senseless booing, as I view most booing.
2007-09-03 10:35:32
40.   Max
35 Well, this discussion is going to quickly go over my head :-) , but I don't really separate the concept of expectations from fan reaction or media scrutiny -- perhaps it's sloppiness in my thinking and way of expressing myself, but I think everything comes together to add weight to what a player deals with.

A-Rod is actually an excellent example -- as yankz pointed out, it's some pretty lofty expectations that lead people to consider him a "failure" for his numbers prior to this year as a Yankee.

But I would argue that until he learned to handle the media and fans properly -- which meant playing a certain game, such as not giving the press anything juicy to hang him with, and shrugging off leading questions and attempts to blow up minor incidents into major catastrophes -- until he did these things, he didn't really relax and allowed these distractions to impact performance.

He's still had to deal with crap this year -- "Ha!" the strip clubs, etc -- but he's shown an amazing ability to shrug them off and even dealt with certain incidents (the bat confiscation) with a level of humor and lightness that's unprecedented in his public life.

All subjective, of course, but I think it's reasonable to say that his improved ability to manage these things has led to better overall performance and the kind of year he's having. He himself has made the claim. But this ia a very squishy argument, I know. More interesting than discussions of "heart", though. :-)

2007-09-03 10:37:40
41.   Sliced Bread
36 also A-Rod managed to overcome the b.s. from the fans because he heard them cheer when he succeeded. Understanding the fickle nature of "fans" helped him realize that their reaction is was not worth thinking about.
Again, it's how he reacted to their reactions... not their expectations that made the difference.
2007-09-03 10:39:54
42.   Sliced Bread
40 I think it's going over my head too! What were we arguing about? or were we arguing?

I'ma shut up now, and enjoy the game.

2007-09-03 10:40:10
43.   yankz
41 Sorry, but we'll just have to agree to disagree. I have nothing else to add beyond, they didn't really cheer him when he succeeded (it was sporadic at best), and I really think the reason he got booed was because he didn't live up to some ridiculous expectations.
2007-09-03 10:42:07
44.   yankz
OBP, keep the line moving...
2007-09-03 10:42:23
45.   monkeypants
Nice walk Jason. Torre: do not PR here.
2007-09-03 10:43:07
46.   yankz
Oof. Just saved a run.
2007-09-03 10:47:46
47.   yankz
Ah shit. That might be all the king needs. Now I have to go.
2007-09-03 10:48:12
48.   monkeypants
Selfish, selfish HR by Ichiro. That's why they've been losing so many games lately.
2007-09-03 10:49:01
49.   JL25and3
Giving up a home run to Ichiro! is an embarrassment. After all, this is the guy who supposedly could hit home runs but chooses not to.
2007-09-03 10:51:10
50.   williamnyy23
De ja vu...Yesterday, the Yankees put the first two runners on in the 2nd inning and then Cano overanxiously swung at the first pitch and almost grouded into a doubleplay. Then in the 3rd, Navarro hits a HR. Today, pretty much the same thing.

I know he hit it fairly well and it took a great play to turn two, but the Yankees flundered over the weekend because of impatience and it has started already today.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-09-03 10:56:24
51.   Vandelay Industries
King Felix vs. the King of the Double Play
2007-09-03 10:56:49
52.   williamnyy23
50 Damon walks on seven pitches and Jeters swings at the first pitch. Jeter has been one of the main culprits in being impatient and as the captain, it's inexusable. It seems so obvious what the problem has been.
2007-09-03 10:58:23
53.   Zack
At least today you can blame offensive ineptitude on a really good pitcher...
2007-09-03 10:58:55
54.   williamnyy23
Besides thwarting rallies, the Yankees impatience has saved Felix a ton of pitches. I can't understand why the Yankees have decided to abandon an approach that has worked well.
2007-09-03 10:59:21
55.   Max
This game definitely has that feeling attached to it.
2007-09-03 10:59:46
56.   williamnyy23
53 Not really....the Yankees are bailing out Felix and keeping him around long into this game.
2007-09-03 11:08:30
57.   Zack
Ugh, guys, this is kind of an important series, you know?
2007-09-03 11:09:11
58.   pistolpete
Well, yardwork for me I guess.

Absolutely NO sign that we'll win this one. 1 game up in the WC - maybe we'll actually wake up the bats tomorrow.

2007-09-03 11:09:13
59.   williamnyy23
Oh well...that's game. The Yankees continue to do their best White Sox impression and not show up for these games. I guess sweeping the Red Sox was their season.
2007-09-03 11:09:17
60.   Zack
well, guess we need to score some runs now, eh?
2007-09-03 11:11:19
61.   Zack
So if we have Moose to come in and pitch, why would he come in instead of Britton?

I know Joe really wants to get Moose another start at the expense of one of the kids and all, but come on

2007-09-03 11:13:06
62.   Vandelay Industries
So, we have two pitchers? How do we expect to even get into the playoffs with that?
2007-09-03 11:14:55
63.   nick
you know, employing the Great Roger Clemens has never worked out especially well for the Yanks--he's never dominated for us; it looks like we've again purchased a major falloff...
2007-09-03 11:15:24
64.   nick
....and it pisses me off, as I don't like the guy to begin with....
2007-09-03 11:16:59
65.   Vandelay Industries
A six man rotation? We only have two guys that can pitch, and a hope and a prayer with Kennedy.
2007-09-03 11:17:01
66.   williamnyy23
62 You can blame the pitchers all you want, but this team is built on its offense, which has collectively choked over the past three games. Jeter, Cano and Matsui especially have continually exhibited a complete lack of patience in all three games, yet nothing has been addressed. Joe is on autopilot, the offense is on autopilot and a golden opportunity to establish a commanding wild card lead has been flushed down the toilet.

Fakers was a perfect title for this thread because the last three losses has made that term very relevant.

2007-09-03 11:17:45
67.   Zack
Now Kay is claiming that Torre wants to start Moose b/c it is "the right thing to do" b/c of his history. Umm, Joe, thats noble and all, but for a team thats fighting for the playoffs, that doesn't really work...
2007-09-03 11:21:38
68.   Zack
Giambino is slow
2007-09-03 11:21:48
69.   seamus
67 That is what Kay says. That probably isn't true.
2007-09-03 11:24:46
70.   Zack
Glad to see Moose here, its the right move. Gives him a chance to show hes evolving
2007-09-03 11:24:47
71.   Bob Timmermann
Kay really did say that "The Yankees are in a position now that they have to win the games they play"? Didn't he?

Brilliant!

2007-09-03 11:27:15
72.   mehmattski
Mike Mussina: Still Awful.
2007-09-03 11:28:50
73.   51cq24
63 right, clemens never did anything for us. that cy young he won in 01 was probably a down year for pitching. those 1 hitters against seattle in the playoffs weren't even that great.
2007-09-03 11:28:56
74.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Over/under on pitches Moose throws innerhalf/inside?

So far he's thrown 8 pitches, all outerhalf/outside.

Oops, 9th pitch was inside off the plate. Hooray.

2007-09-03 11:34:56
75.   randym77
I confess, I flipped over the Mets to see how Pedro was doing.

Moose is in now? Due to injury or ineffectiveness?

2007-09-03 11:38:47
76.   yankz
Damn, this game is not making me excited for next year. King's mediocrity shows how dangerous it is to count on one 21 year old pitcher. The Yankees might be counting on 3 22 year olds.
2007-09-03 11:39:28
77.   yankz
And by mediocrity I mean season results (104 ERA+), not stuff or potential.
2007-09-03 12:00:42
78.   randym77
Wow, it's gotten quiet in here.
2007-09-03 12:06:08
79.   Max
78 Nothing to say when the team looks this helpless and ineffective. I'm starting to think Toronto might overtake us by the end of the season at the rate we're going.
2007-09-03 12:18:27
80.   Vandelay Industries
79 I wouldn't take it that far, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Detroit passes us.
2007-09-03 12:20:06
81.   JeremyM
How has Moose looked? I can read the line score, but it seems like he may at least be where he was before the God-awful start trilogy.
2007-09-03 12:22:50
82.   mehmattski
81 His velocity is up, probably thanks to it being a shorter outing. Contrary to my 72 , Mussina has looked decent. The Yankees, meanwhile, seem to have checked out.

What's with the rants in the booth about the September call-ups? Nothing else to talk about, guys?

2007-09-03 12:32:00
83.   bobtaco
Wow, I feel like I just saw something as rare as a UFO, Yeti or the Lochness Monster...

Chris Britton warming in the Yankees bullpen.

2007-09-03 12:33:59
84.   Sliced Bread
Based on Moose's few innings, he might take Roger's next start. Rocket didn't look good. He was not betrayed by his numbers. He looked worse than the results if that's possible.
2007-09-03 12:35:54
85.   Max
I get the feeling that King Felix could throw as many pitches as Al Leiter did that one time, and our bats would still do nothing against him.
2007-09-03 12:40:52
86.   Vandelay Industries
82 What can they say? The Yankees, after dropping two of three to the Devil Rays at home, hosting the Mariners, who by losing nine straight games basically handed the Wild Card to the Yankees on a silver platter, fail to take advantage and are at risk of leaving town behind Seattle?
2007-09-03 12:41:43
87.   joejoejoe
ESPN's Gamecast is lame. They still have Britton in an Orioles cap. 'Who's now?' apparently doesn't apply to...you know...who's on what team now.
2007-09-03 12:42:43
88.   thelarmis
83 the best part of this game is that you mentioned the word "Yeti"! : )

(i used to have a fusion group of that name)

2007-09-03 12:44:17
89.   thelarmis
87 that kinda stuff always bothers me. and it seems kinda arbitrary - there are already small photos of boomer wells in a dodgers cap, but betemit is still in a dodgers hat. with today's technology and stuff, these are small details that should be taken care of immediately. it's not that difficult...
2007-09-03 12:44:37
90.   Sliced Bread
87 Don't even need a picture of Britton to get his Gameday card right.
It's as easy as affixing a Yankee cap to an invisible skull.
2007-09-03 12:55:35
91.   Sliced Bread
Well, taking the wife and kids on the boat now. If they rally I'll have to read about it. Heh. They're not going to fucking rally, now are they?
2007-09-03 13:02:01
92.   joejoejoe
89 90 It's just sloppy.

Britton has been with the Yankees organization all season. It's now September and they still have it wrong. It shows ESPN has no process to change and check the photos. It's half-assed, like everything ESPN does these days. Well not everything...ESPN does cross-promotion with all the thoroughness of a prostate exam. I even think they use rubber gloves their cross-promotion is so deep.

2007-09-03 13:05:04
93.   Bama Yankee
83 Here you go (I had a similar thought the other day):

http://tinyurl.com/29megf

The Britton picture in the Yankee hat was not that hard to find by the way...

2007-09-03 13:12:06
94.   yankz
Boy, this sucks.
2007-09-03 13:13:28
95.   Max
Shortest game thread ever for a game of this magnitude?
2007-09-03 13:14:15
96.   JeremyM
Yeah, it does suck. I don't get this team. I can see the pitching being bad for stretches but the fact the offense has went dormant really makes it painful.
2007-09-03 13:24:15
97.   Chyll Will
What I learned today: if you're gonna watch a game like this one, never consume more than one Jamaican beef patty, even if it's not peppery hot... (ugh...)
2007-09-03 13:29:34
98.   joe in boston
95 Great point. What is up with this team ?

I have neighbors over : kids in the pool, parents working on beers, burgers and dogs, grill working overtime, me on the deck grillin' and sneakin' peeks at the TV - Yanks sleepwalking through another important game...what gives ?

2007-09-03 13:30:26
99.   joe in boston
BTW - read the title of Alex' entry to this post today - how appropriate again !
2007-09-03 13:54:31
100.   rsmith51
63 64 I am not fan of Clemens and I agree to a certain point about Clemens. Though I do disagree that he didn't do anything(2000 playoffs Mariners, Mets games). In '99 he seemed to be along for the ride and even in '01 Moose should have won the Cy and Clemens should have probably been 3rd. It seems like the Yanks always get a lesser version of Roger, which is still a good to very good pitcher. 2000 is really the year the Yanks needed him to be good and he delivered a 137 ERA+, so I would suggest that was his most important year as a Yankee despite his CYA in 2001.

Clemens
For Toronto
ERA+
226!
176

For Houston
ERA+
145
221!
197

For Yanks
ERA+
97
137
128-CYA(Moose 142 CYA-5th??)
101
112
104-This year

For Boston(1996) When he was supposedly done!
ERA+
142

So the Yanks never got even a DONE version of Rocket in any of the years that they have him, and the Astros and Blue Jays always got a better version of the Rocket.

Again, I am not a Clemens fan and didn't really like the signing at the time. Hopefully it will work out to make the playoffs and I will cheer him to do well.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-09-03 14:20:29
101.   The Mick 536
Long ride from northern VT to NYC. Was in Montreal for the International Film Festival. Saw more Yankee hats than Blue Jay. Also saw more Expo hats than Blue Jay. Sad. Very sad that there is no more baseball there.

As for the Yankees, I am bleeding pinstripes. Petit falls. Clemmens falls. Moose in relief gives up two runs. It is funereal. The bats are slow. I wish I knew more. Still fatally flawed.

2007-09-03 14:20:53
102.   randym77
Pete Abe reports that Clemens has been sent for an MRI on his elbow.

Are there any more callups expected, now that Scranton's season is over?

2007-09-03 14:46:39
103.   Mattpat11
How did Mussina look out of the pen?
2007-09-03 15:04:12
104.   Mattpat11
Question: What does 501 wins get you?

Answer: 7.2 IP, 15 H, 7 R 7 ER 1 BB 1 Hr.

2007-09-03 15:38:23
105.   Mattpat11
That should be 601 wins.
2007-09-03 16:30:11
106.   Vandelay Industries
102 Yikes! That could explain a lot. However, if its not that serious he has to gut it out until the end of the season, and perhaps the playoffs if we make it. As for his performance, I have no real problems with it. Does anyone really think we could have gotten better than a 4.50 ERA via a trade or from the farm? It wasn't like they were going to call Kennedy and Chamberlain up in May.

Otherwise, we are obviously up shits creak. That would leave only two viable starters in the rotation. We don't know what if anything we can get from Moose, Hughes is either not quite ready for prime time, or hurt, or simply a bust. Kennedy is our last best hope for the rotation. Let's hope that one start wasn't an aberation. From what I see, only Chamberlain has what it will take to be a front end starter in the bigs, notwithstanding all the hype and projections surrounding the others. Face it, Hughes and Kennedy may turn out just fine, but if you look around the league, they aren't even close to being what many other young pitchers are who made their debut this year or last. They are just the best that the Yankees have, but not near the best out there.

2007-09-03 16:31:23
107.   Vandelay Industries
creek*
2007-09-03 17:01:14
108.   yankz
106 "They are just the best that the Yankees have, but not near the best out there. "

Yeah, like Homer Bailey (ERA+ of 67), or Tim Lincecum (111, but after being abysmal for many starts), or Yovani Gallardo (94). Verlander was 23 last year.

Some people had (and apparently still have) absurd expectations for these kids. Hughes is 21, younger than anybody else on this list, and missed several months. He wasn't even supposed to get called up this year. Kennedy was freaking drafted in 2006. Good grief.

2007-09-03 17:03:55
109.   yankz
Also, nobody said Kennedy was an elite prospect, just a solid one. Hughes, yes, but like I said, he's been hurt and is still very, very young. I think it's just a wee bit early to decide which one of these kids is the best.
2007-09-03 17:06:06
110.   Mattpat11
My big issue with Hughes is, like I've said, I really thought he'd at least get better as the year went on. It seems like each start is worse than the last these days.
2007-09-03 17:25:06
111.   Vandelay Industries
108 I wouldn't call it absurd to expect Hughes to post better than an ERA of 5.65.
2007-09-03 17:32:04
112.   Chyll Will
110 Doesn't a hamstring and ankle injury make the least bit of difference?
2007-09-03 18:01:27
113.   randym77
It's not unusual for young pitchers to struggle their first year. It does seem like injury is often a problem, at least for young guys like Hughes. Seems like last year there were a ton of young phenoms...almost all of whom spent some time on the DL.

That has been Homer Bailey's problem as well. Despite having a reputation for being less injury-prone than Hughes, he missed a big chunk of the season with groin strains. He dominated at Triple-A, but since his injury, has struggled at A-ball. He's not even being called up with the expanded rosters.

2007-09-03 18:08:01
114.   Zack
A Bust?? A bust????? Ok, thats it, you are officially a Negative Nancy. I won't go into the "other" prospects argument as 108 covers that well. But a bust? Jesus, give the kid a year, or even 2 months since coming off the dl. Is Felix hernandez a bust? So hes got a 5.65 era,big deal. You worry about his velocity, well Buchholz throws about the same if not slower than him yet has "electric stuff" according to posters and espn people (idiots all), yet Hughes isn't good enough. His problem, for the 100000000 time, is his control. He will find that again, whether it is with a mechanical adjustment or an off season to gain his confidence in his hammy, ankle, and strength back...Gallardo gave up 11 ERs in 2.2 innings in one of his starts and hes older than Hughes. Bailey is struggling in A. Buchholz has 2 career starts.

I am giving up on even commenting on the absurd posts claiming that Hughes is a bust or should be doing better. Its just stupid, short sighted, and irrational. Feel fine to give up on Hughes, but when he comes back and regains his control, you are not allowed to jump on the bandwagon. I am bookmarking these posts for future reference...

2007-09-03 18:33:53
115.   Mattpat11
112 If the hamstring and ankle are still bothering him, the organization shouldn't be sending him out there every five days to make the injuries worse.
2007-09-03 18:35:57
116.   Chyll Will
?? Who said Hughes is a bust??
2007-09-03 18:41:29
117.   3rd gen yankee fan
Um, guys? Toronto is playing a helluva game against Boston. They got back into it after pounding Dice-k for 7 ER in the 6th. Might be worth cheering for the Jays... for those of you who can stand them...
2007-09-03 18:42:06
118.   Vandelay Industries
114 Dude, I never said he was a bust. I said it was possible, and also left open the alternative explanation of age and coming off an injury. Of course I hope he pitches well for many many years. It won't be bandwagon jumping as I wish the kid well, and the combination of age, injury, and pressure are just as likely explanations. I am just open to the idea that he isn't as advertised. Its the Yankees, and potential isn't valued, performance is.

In fact, what I was really trying to get at is that we have serious pitching issues going down the stretch this year, not that our pitching will be bad next year. I also see a lot more potential elsewhere, but that doesn't mean that I'm right. What are you FOX News? You pick a few words and focus on only those?

As for Bailey and Lincecum: I don't care what the scouts say, I care how pitchers perform. Lest we forget that Roger Clemens was once cut.

2007-09-03 18:45:06
119.   Chyll Will
(115) That's absolutely true, but under the circumstances, they don't have much choice, unless you want to go with Torre and start Moose in his place; you know Joe will jump on any reason to put him back in the rotation. Also, I doubt Phil or any rookie is going to own up to being hindered by an injury during an important stretch run.
2007-09-03 18:47:59
120.   3rd gen yankee fan
Curse of the Gimpy Crow!
2007-09-03 19:00:20
121.   Mattpat11
119 Its not like Phil Hughes 2007 is helping this team pitching like this. If he's hurt, there's no reason to keep sending him out there and risk long term injury.
2007-09-03 19:03:54
122.   monkeypants
111 Seriously. 5.65 ERA, 76 ERA+. Come on, he should be doing much better than that. Just compare those numbers to the age 21 seasons that guys like Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Santana, or Peavy had.
2007-09-03 19:04:36
123.   yankz
Why not bring back Quest?
2007-09-03 19:04:38
124.   Mattpat11
BTW, I'd like to reiterate that Lyle Overbay is the most overrated player in baseball.
2007-09-03 19:07:14
125.   Mattpat11
123

Because we've smashed our heads against that particular brick wall twice already?

2007-09-03 19:13:48
126.   Vandelay Industries
121 I agree, but I do hope he gets better. I can't believe I recieved such ire for what I wrote. I was actually just stating my opinion. Is this "if you're not with us your against us?" on the banter? If I don't have anything good to say, don't say anything?

If we had a win for every loss ridiculously dubbed a "Torre loss" on this board, we would be what, 100-36 now? Pitchers have to pitch and hitters have to hit, right? I don't agree with all the moves, but come on. That's a whole lot more absurd that stating my opinion that Hughes may not be as advertised, and might actually be injured. And no one has left a Yankee game telling the press that Hughes stuff is as good as they had seen all season, as is true of Lincecum, and also true of Hamels last year. Have we become Cubs fans? Stick by your guy no matter what? I am a fan of the Yankees, not just specific players, and expect scouts and the General Manager to do their jobs. Again, I hope Hughes becomes a hall of fame pitcher, but all I was really saying was that without Clemens, we are in deep doo doo, especially considering we cannot seem to hit any pitcher with less than ten years experience.

2007-09-03 19:22:52
127.   yankz
125 I was kidding.

126 I think you missed the point of all the posts responding to you. Nobody denies that he's sucked for a few starts now. Not what you said originally.

2007-09-03 19:33:23
128.   OldYanksFan
'... but in regard to the $46 million signing of Kei Igawa, his most vocal critic, ex Yankee third baseman Mike Pagliarulo, would be advised to get a memory check.

Amid all the "Who was the scout who recommended Igawa?" outrage being directed at Cashman, Pagliarulo, who heads up the international scouting service Turf Dirt, has been at the forefront. A recent blog on Pagliarulo's Web site contained this scathing indictment of Cashman's job performance: "Igawa could potentially be one of the worst free-agent signings ever - in Mike Hampton territory. Dare we say another Pavano? At least Hampton did have stretches of decent production after he left Colorado. Igawa, on the other hand, might never be better than what he is now - a Triple-A pitcher with an attitude who is at best a back-end starter on a second division team. The Yankees chose not to use (Cashman's) Japan consultants, who told him to walk away from Igawa. The consultants knew about the Igawa holdout in spring training 2005 in Japan and how Igawa then laid down that year and wasn't productive at all. Important information that is interpreted through consulting and difficult to put in scouting reports."

In other words, Cashman, in signing Igawa (who was sent to the minors on Friday), ignored the advice of Pagliarulo's company, whose services the Yankees have employed the last couple of years. The only problem is, Cashman didn't ignore Pagliarulo's report. Here's what it really said: "(Igawa) is considered one of the best starters in Japan and is having a good season. He is doing a good job of moving the ball around the zone and seems to be conserving himself throughout the game ... He showed a good split and was adding on to his fastball in tough situations. He has enough to be a fourth or fifth starter in the U.S."

The report goes on to list Igawa as one of the top 10 pitchers in Japan. Nothing about any holdout or attitude problems.

So unless we've missed something here, a scout who recommended Igawa to Cashman is the same person bashing him for signing Igawa: Mike Pagliarulo. Didn't he know there was a paper trail? Shame on you, Pags.'

2007-09-03 19:42:08
129.   Chyll Will
128 Didn't Mehmattski say that two months ago? Yet it's still relevant! >;)
2007-09-03 19:43:05
130.   Mattpat11
Whomever recommended Igawa has no business in baseball.
2007-09-03 20:04:10
131.   Max
117 The problem is that the Jays are likely to do the same thing to us (and enjoy every minute of it all the way). If we don't make the playoffs, I have the feeling that the Jays and O's are going to play a huge part. Our starting pitching is a house of cards at this point.
2007-09-03 20:13:29
132.   Mattpat11
And the tonight is the story of the JP Ricciardi Blue Jays. A big letdown to those who thought they might be something, as expected for those who saw through the hype.
2007-09-03 22:42:50
133.   Peoples Hernandez
the "idiots" on ESPN, 114, are right. clay buccholz does have electric stuff...is this actually in question? stuff isn't all about the velocity of a fastball: kyle farnesworth throws harder than mo, right? or, um, scott proctor throws harder than hideki okajima? how the ball is thrown matters far more than how hard, which is something hard for us to understand watching baseball on tv because we get it from the pitcher's eye, not batter's eye.

what does this have to do with hughes? not a damn thing. key difference between clay buccholz and phillip hughes: former was a fill-in for his last start because tim wakefield still couldn't go. latter is supposed to save the yankees now. so this isn't about clay and phillip at all when you think about it, really. if I need hint any further, I'd rather just be misunderstood.

2007-09-03 22:42:51
134.   Peoples Hernandez
the "idiots" on ESPN, 114, are right. clay buccholz does have electric stuff...is this actually in question? stuff isn't all about the velocity of a fastball: kyle farnesworth throws harder than mo, right? or, um, scott proctor throws harder than hideki okajima? how the ball is thrown matters far more than how hard, which is something hard for us to understand watching baseball on tv because we get it from the pitcher's eye, not batter's eye.

what does this have to do with hughes? not a damn thing. key difference between clay buccholz and phillip hughes: former was a fill-in for his last start because tim wakefield still couldn't go. latter is supposed to save the yankees now. so this isn't about clay and phillip at all when you think about it, really. if I need hint any further, I'd rather just be misunderstood.

2007-09-03 22:45:54
135.   Peoples Hernandez
(having read the post again, however, I think I bashed the comment a bit wrong. my point about the yankees' construction of pitching staff remains true.)
2007-09-04 00:18:30
136.   Yu-Hsing Chen
seriously, Vandelay, you have been incrediablly doom and gloom and everything on the otherside of the fence is made of pure silver and lined with diamond on this board for awhile now.. your negativity have reached ridiculasly irrational level.

Some dude's first few start went like this.
7GS 39IP 57H 29ER 6.64 ERA.

Trade him! Bust! This Roger Clemens kid is da shit!

How about Curt Schilling's first 4 start.
[b]9.82 ERA 2.5 K/9 6.1BB/9[/b]

seriously, NO one that put up great number in the minor is a bust until at least 2+ years in the bigs and they still show nothing.

2007-09-04 00:20:15
137.   Yu-Hsing Chen
As for Kei Igawa, i'd be seriously careful to call him a bust right now too. he's been turning very good in AAA lately, hardly walking anyone and striking out everyone, while the HR problems continue to be there he is getting the ball on the ground a ton more recently.

seriously, everyone though Jose Contreras and Jeff Weaver were major busts. they both have rings after they left.

2007-09-04 04:11:12
138.   Jersey
135 What's your point? That the Yankees should have signed a 40-year-old knuckleballer?
2007-09-04 06:41:16
139.   Shaun P
I should skip the last couple of days' worth of comments, and go back to Kennedy's start and the Sox sweep, shouldn't I?

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