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Of Mice and Moose
2007-09-04 06:30
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Mike Mussina via Pete Abe:

"We knew we were not going to play .700 ball from the middle of July until the end of the season. You have to be realistic.

"But we fought our way back, we're leading the wild card now and we want to stay after it. The last four days we haven't played very well. We've been flat it seems like. We've got to get our heads on right and play with some energy."

Head on right? That's a nice way of putting it.

Alex Rodriguez drove in the first run of the game yesterday. It was the bottom of the first inning, and the Yanks jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Rodriguez's 130th RBI of the season. Rodriguez has now tied his 2005 RBI mark and is three dingers away from tying the record he shares (with Mike Schmidt and Adrian Beltre) for most homers in a season by a third baseman. The reason I mention all of this is because it was the only highlight of another misbegotten afternoon for this confounding Yankee team. Everything went downhill from there--double plays in the second and third inning spelled doom for the home team--as the Mariners finally ended their losing streak, beating up on the Yankees, 7-1. Roger Clemens didn't have much and underwent an MRI on his elbow after the game. Uh-oh. Mike Mussina was better than he's been (he was certainly throwing harder and with more confidence), but he wasn't great either, allowing seven hits in just over three innings of work.

If Clemens can't pitch, Mussina will likely take his turn.

Tonight, the Yankees need to wake up and play a good game.

Comments (53)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-09-04 07:09:02
1.   YankeeInMichigan
The 1-5-3 double play was nice. Wasn't that the throw that Brosius didn't make in Game 7?
2007-09-04 07:13:33
2.   Sliced Bread
Looked like a little rest did Moose some good. Hopefully that's all Clemens requires.

NY Post reports A-Rod hosted a party for the team at his crib after yesterday's game. Hopefully, he slipped a little somethin' into the potato salad that'll wake the rest of 'em the eff up.

Pennant race, guys. Hello.

2007-09-04 07:24:14
3.   Sliced Bread
I'm hoping Joe sticks with Giambi at 1B tonight. Even though Wang might be better served with a top-notch defense behind him, I think the Yanks are going to have to slug their way out of the funk, wack their way out of the weeds, and all that.
Stick with Damon in left, and DH 'Zilla.
That's our best bet, no?
2007-09-04 07:34:27
4.   JL25and3
1 It was actually 1-5-4. I don't think I've ever seen that before.
2007-09-04 08:50:17
5.   Jeb
"Looked like a little rest did Moose some good. Hopefully that's all Clemens requires."

I disagree with that assessment. If you'll pardon the pun, Moose wasn't exactly sliced bread out there. 3 and 2/3 innings pitched and 7 hits with 2 runs isn't that great, particularly when he only had 1 k. And 3 of those hits were doubles.

I will say that Mussina did better than his last three starts. So, he's gone from horrendous to just stinky. I'll pass.

2007-09-04 09:00:56
6.   Sliced Bread
5 I was referring to his increased velocity, which is encouraging. It was a performance he can build on.
Igawa might be worth another look at this point, but as underwhelming as the new and improved Moose appears, he (gasp) might still be a better option.
2007-09-04 09:01:56
7.   Jeb
To complete my thought, Moose's ERA yesterday was 4.92 (which I guess isn't the worse thing in the world) and his WHIP was a pretty bad 1.91

I realize that we're dealing with small samples here, but the question is whether a 4.92 ERA and 1.91 WHIP is a significant improvement over his last three starts AND whether it merits real hope for the immediate future of Moose.

I'll say this: It's a huge improvement over his last three outings where his ERA was 17.70 and his WHIP was 3.02.

I just don't know if pitching 3 and 2/3 innings with a 1.91 WHIP against Seattle (when Seattle appeared to be coasting a bit) creates much hope.

2007-09-04 09:03:04
8.   Jeb
I agree with you on the velocity, but he's still getting pounded by Seattle, which isn't exactly the Angels or the Tigers offensively.
2007-09-04 09:21:02
9.   Mattpat11
6 why would Igawa be worth a look again?
2007-09-04 09:23:48
10.   Sliced Bread
9 pitched a good game the other night, has looked okay down in the minors, we're desperate, that's about it.
2007-09-04 09:32:26
11.   Mattpat11
10 But we've seen what he has to offer already. Twice.

I can't take another Igawa related concussion.

2007-09-04 09:51:23
12.   JL25and3
9 Because they really love to piss you off, and Pavano isn't an option?

Don't get me wrong, I agree with you. Maybe sometime next year Igawa will have learned enough to give him another look. In the meantime, a decent start or two in the minors isn't good enough.

2007-09-04 10:01:24
13.   Sliced Bread
This is from the Scranton blog last Monday, 8/27:

Kei Igawa pitched well on Sunday, and frankly he's pitched well in most of his Triple-A starts. He's struck out 62 with just 13 walks, which is the best ratio on the team other than Edwar Ramirez. His past two starts: 12.2 innings, 3 earned runs, 10 K, 2 BB. Not bad.

--------------
Igawa posted the following line on Friday: 7IP 5H 3ER 2BB 9K 1HR

------------------------
Yeah, we've been fooled by him before but, as I said earlier MIGHT be worth another look.

2007-09-04 10:08:28
14.   Mattpat11
And as I said, no he's not.

The Edwar Ramirez comparison does nothing to change that for me.

2007-09-04 10:09:28
15.   BklynBmr
0 "Tonight, the Yankees need to wake up and play a good game."

Little else needs to be said. I have no earthly idea which version of the '07 Yanks will show up tonight.

2 Just happened to come across a killer potato salad recipe yesterday myself. Maybe that's an omen...

2007-09-04 10:11:49
16.   tommyl
13 Igawa's problem is that he makes mistakes up in the zone, which at the ML level tend to lead to HRs. Without those mistakes, he can be a damn good pitcher (see his "relief" outing against the Sox) which is why he tends to look really good, rack up some Ks but then still give up 5 runs. I just don't think hitters at AAA punish those mistakes nearly as much so Igawa looks really good.

Another guy who seems to have turned it around in AAA is Karstens who was dominant his last outing. I'd rather see him up at this point than Igawa if it comes to that.

2007-09-04 10:22:26
17.   Chyll Will
Hey, what are the zones like in AAA? Is there a stronger consistency in where the zone is defined than what you get on the ML level, or is it worse? Tighter, wider, throw-up-hands-and-shrug? Anyone??
2007-09-04 10:25:29
18.   Ben
I've been away for this topsy-turvy week. I missed something? The yanks have Wang, Pettite, Hughes, Clemens and Kennedy/Mussina. Why do they need Igawa or Karstens? Even if Clemens misses some time, anyone feel better about Igawa or Karstens over Moose?
2007-09-04 10:37:17
19.   thelarmis
here's an interesting article on Wang...

http://eastwindupchronicle.com/?p=45

2007-09-04 10:40:11
20.   Chyll Will
17 Honestly; I'm not being a smart-aleck, it's a legit curiosity...
2007-09-04 10:45:54
21.   Shaun P
20 Don't know. I know last year when the mL umps were on strike, the zone was all-over-the-place awful. My guess is that "name" prospects get calls based on reputation (like vets do in the majors), but I don't know for sure.

13 The numbers on Igawa are encouraging, but who did he face? There are some bad AAA teams out there.

OTOH, he's thrown all of 62.7 innings in the bigs. He's been awful, but I think that's too small a sample to really judge him on IF he keeps putting up very good numbers in the minors. Especially against "good" AAA teams.

2007-09-04 10:46:25
22.   Jeb
I think I'd prefer the ghost of Kei Igawa to the current version of Mike Mussina. At least Igawa strikes people out. If they can ever get him to quit leaving pitches out over the plate then his 91 MPH fastball wouldn't be so bad.
2007-09-04 10:50:13
23.   Jeb
ok one more idea...Why not just go to a 4 man rotation from here on out:

1. Hughes
2. Wang
3. Pettitte
4. Kennedy

There are three off-days coming up this month. Also, if the Yanks make it to the last week being able to tank a couple of games before the post-season they can just run Mussina and Clemens out there.

Just an idea.

2007-09-04 10:59:00
24.   Chyll Will
21 Thanks, Shaun >;) I didn't think to ask which teams they faced as well. However, the "names" thing doesn't really explain Kei, Edwar, Henn and Britton all at the same time. I still think that something mentally hasn't clicked for them yet, otherwise the stuff seems to be all there(?)
2007-09-04 11:22:38
25.   Chyll Will
(cricket, cricket...)
2007-09-04 11:24:31
26.   Sliced Bread
19 Interesting article, indeed. Did you catch Wong's John Hancock (heh) on his open letter to the Taiwanese media? That's some signature. I wasn't aware he's been boycotting the media jackals from his homecountry.
2007-09-04 11:37:17
27.   Chyll Will
26 One man's mission to stop the spread of wanton lupicanism... (I had heard that from somewhere, but I originally thought Wang had beat them off with his Charles Dickens... first edition, at that.)
2007-09-04 11:41:54
28.   Mattpat11
22 I'd much rather the corpse of Mike Mussina than Kei Igawa. We've seen nothing but terrible pitching from Kei Igawa. If Mike Mussina has a flash of his old self, thats more than i can expect from Igawa.

21 Is Gerald Williams still in AAA?

2007-09-04 11:48:43
29.   yankz
19 Damn, that actress is hot.
2007-09-04 11:52:17
30.   Chyll Will
28 Be fair, he did come in as relief for someone in what, May? and threw six or seven impressive innings. He has good stuff, we just don't see it like we should for whatever reason; but I don't believe at all that he's a lousy pitcher in general, rather like recent Moose he's pitched lousy. Woulda been cool if he had a year in AAA under his belt... (woulda-coulda-shoulda)
2007-09-04 11:55:44
31.   Sliced Bread
26 speaking of dick-jokes, you catch Lupica taking shots at Joba and Hughes in his latest "Shooting From The Sphincter" column?
Bitch makes my blood berl. I should know better than to read his crap. I go months at a time ignoring him... then, I'll be flipping the page, catch a Yankee name in bold, and I can't resist.
Someday a less civilized Yankee fan than yours truly is going to make Lupica shove his column where it belongs.
2007-09-04 12:23:07
32.   JL25and3
30 I disagree; he doesn't have good stuff. He's got a good change, which is only useful if he's damn near perfect with his other pitches. But that dinky little fastball high in the zone is a recipe for disaster.

You're thinking of the game where Karstens broke his leg.

2007-09-04 12:35:58
33.   Ben
It looks to me that Igawa just tries to throw too hard. The extra velocity of his hand makes the ball feel slippy in his hand so he grips it a little harder. The harder grip negates any extra velocity. And the whole thing is released too early so it stays up and away and not very fast. Basically it looks to me like the guy doesn't think he belongs and tries to overpower his pitches. Someone should show him some Tom Glavine. Easy does it Kei!

I think he can get it together. First year away from home and in a new league is probably tough for a guy like him. Wasn't he one of the best pitchers in Japan the last few years? That's got to take some adjustment.

2007-09-04 12:39:05
34.   AbbyNormal821
28 - "Corpse of Mike Mussina", now there's a visual!!!

Now I'm just waiting for Bama to superimpose Mussina's face onto the body of Beetlejuice ('cause that's the image I'm getting!)

;-P

2007-09-04 12:44:23
35.   Chyll Will
31 It's truly like watching a one-car wreck, or trying to avoid dogcrap on the sidewalk or an egomaniac at IHOP; he throws your Sunday comics in the pool, he pees on your gardenias and says it's your fault for them being there, don't line the bottom of your parrot's cage with his stuff unless you want to hear "whatta freakin' MORON!" all day, dogs will sue you for cruelty if you make them fetch the paper... I can go on, but I'm drowning in work and the thought gives me a headache. Bottom line: Avoid The Noid.
2007-09-04 13:33:25
36.   Emma Span
Per WFAN: Clemens is getting a cortisone shot tomorrow, no official diagnosis yet, "he says he thinks he'll pitch again this year, there is no further timetable."

Welcome back, Moose... no hard feelings?

2007-09-04 13:58:52
37.   Shaun P
23 Too many innings for the kids - and maybe for Pettitte too. That's asking a lot to pitch for those guys to pitch on 3 days rest for the next 3 weeks - and then comes the postseason.

36 Darn right no hard feelings! The Yanks' schedule down the stretch is (almost) a cakewalk - and I don't care what the O's and the Rays' records are vs the Yanks this year so far, it ain't over yet.

The Yanks have 24 games left. If they win 3 out of every 5 (play .600 ball), that's 14-10, a 90-72 record, and almost certainly the Wild Card. The offense is good enough to do that on its own.

2007-09-04 13:59:04
38.   Mattpat11
30 The blind squirrel occasionally finds the nut.
2007-09-04 14:12:17
39.   Chyll Will
38 Buddha's name be praised >;)
2007-09-04 14:23:21
40.   yankz
Clemens down? Everyone get their rain dances ready. Wang, Pettitte, DANCE!
2007-09-04 14:24:13
41.   OldYanksFan
If Rog is out for the rest of the year, does he continue to collect his pay? If so, we paid him $18m for how many starts?

While it's overpaying to the max, we should appreciate that the Boss and Cashman were willing to throw away major dollars to slightly increase our odds of making the PS.

I think everyone has it right about Iggy. Thing is in Japan, there are not a lot of real power hitters, so his high, hard one was effective. Here it's BP. Its really a mental change, not a physical one. If he can accept this, and learn to pitch 'American Style', I still think he's a better-then-average #5 guy. It's really the HRs that kill him. Otherwise, he can be decent.

2007-09-04 14:25:17
42.   randym77
Sign of the times:

I walk into the office this morning, to find my coworkers talking Yankees. In particular, they're wondering where Aaron Small is, and if we can get him back.

2007-09-04 14:39:59
43.   joe in boston
31 you and I batted this around a few years ago....Lupica is a dink. He trashes the Yanks often and I just don't get it. He's perfectly willing to (I assume) work for the best paycheck he can earn, why does he knock the Yanks ?????
2007-09-04 14:48:01
44.   Vandelay Industries
41 The contract was prorated. Also, they carry rather expensive insurance for many players, including Roger.
2007-09-04 15:15:56
45.   JL25and3
44 Ordinarily big contracts are insured, but I wonder about Roger. I'd imagine very few insurance companies would want to insure a 45-year-old pitcher, and if they did the rates would be astronomical. For four months, the team might well have decided to take the chance.
2007-09-04 15:19:15
46.   Vandelay Industries
45 I thought I read that it was, but I could be wrong.
2007-09-04 15:23:16
47.   Jeb
Courtesy of Pete Abraham, here's the lineup. Odd to see Bobby Abreu in the lineup against a lefty. He's 6 for 24 lifetime against Ramirez in a small sample size. Of course Damon and Giambi are 2-13 (smaller samples).

Cabrera CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Posada C
Matsui LF
Duncan DH
Cano 2B
Betemit 1B
Wang RHP (16-6, 3.79)

2007-09-04 15:26:14
48.   Sliced Bread
47 Ah, I'd forgotten about the matchup tonight.
Good lineup. Got a good feeling about this one.
2007-09-04 15:28:08
49.   Mattpat11
And, in further happy news, The Stinkster remains out of the lineup.
2007-09-04 15:28:53
50.   Vandelay Industries
47 I would prefer to see Giambi in that lineup over Betemit if he is going to go with Duncan at DH. But it will do.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-09-04 15:37:40
51.   Max
31 43 It really is pointless these days to complain about him, because he's abandoned any pretense at viewing the Yankees with any objectivity. His stance is p*ss on any position that's remotely favorable to the Yankees. You can tell he lives for the hostile reaction that undoubtedly streams into the Daily News' mailboxes/inboxes.

Once in a great while he makes sense, and he sadly has some writing ability which makes you want to open your eyes periodically to see if the planets have aligned a certain way so that he says something you can nod your head to. But at this point he's such a shrill cartoon that he, Raismann and Russo are competing to see who can be the biggest anti-Yankee d*ckhead (and curry the most favor with Mets fans and Red Sox fans).

2007-09-04 15:43:25
52.   Jeb
Vandelay, I know it's a terribly small sample, but the Giambino is 0-7 against Ramirez...Look at the bright side, he'll be a good pinch hitter at least.

Personally, I'd rather DH Posada, play Molina a catcher and either put Shelly in right for Abreu, or at first for Betemit, who can't hit very well as a righty.

2007-09-04 15:45:28
53.   Jeb
Speaking of Lupica, I found this on the "Fire Joe Morgan" Website:

Mike Lupica, October 9, 2006 - "OUT WITH OLD, IN WITH LOU. The Boss must show Joe the door & hire Pinella"

Mike Lupica, August 13, 2007 - "JOE IS STILL COOL. Torre's the best man for the job"

NOTHING INCONSISTENT ABOUT LUPICA, HUH?

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