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Series Wrap: @ Boston
2007-09-17 01:58
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Offense: Much like the last series against Boston, the Yankees scored just 4.33 runs per game (it was 4.67 in the previous series), but the Sox only allow 4.04 runs per game, so that's above average. The offense disappeared in the middle game against 19-game winner Josh Beckett, but came from behind to deliver wins in the other two games.

Studs:

Derek Jeter 5 for 14, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R
Robinson Cano 3 for 12, 2 solo HR, 2 K
Jason Giambi 2 for 6, 2B, HR, RBI, R, 2 BB, HBP, 3 K
Doug Mientkiewicz 2 for 3, R

Duds:

Melky Cabrera 0 for 10, 2 BB, R, GIDP, 3 K
Alex Rodriguez 1 for 11, RBI, BB, HBP, SB, 5 K
Hideki Matsui 1 for 7, 3B, RBI, 2 BB, 2 K

Jose Molina, Alberto Gonzalez, and Bronson Sardinha were each 0 for 1, though Molina executed a sac bunt, and Sardinha scored a run as a pinch runner but also hit into a double play in his only major league at-bat thus far. Wilson Betemit appeared as a defensive replacement, but did not come to the plate.

Rotation: Go figure baseball sometimes. Chein-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte, the two aces of the Yankee staff, posted this combined line in the first two games of this series:

9 2/3 IP, 18 H, 10 R (9 ER), 0 HR, 5 BB, 8 K, 2.38 WHIP, 8.38 ERA

Meanwhile the other four men starters combined to do this in their most recent turns:

24 2/3 IP, 11 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 HR, 13 BB, 13 K, 0.97 WHIP, 0.72 ERA

In other words, Clemens good, Wang and Pettitte bad. That said, the good showings from the rest of the rotation are a very good sign. The big question is if Clemens and Mussina especially can do it again the next time around.

Bullpen: Awful. The pen allowed nine runs and 20 baserunners in 10 1/3 innings. Torre's mismanagement of his enlarged relief corps in the middle game didn't help, nor did the Joba rules, Luis Vizcaino's sore elbow and back, or Kyle Farnsworth's stiff neck. With the exception of Vizcaino, Villone and Henn, you can take my designations below with a grain of salt.

The Good:

Vizcaino pitched a perfect eighth, needing just ten pitches, seven strikes, to retire the side while striking out one in the opener. I have to lower my standards after that. Edwar Ramirez struck out two of the three men he faced in the middle game, but he walked the middle batter and was inexplicably pulled after sixteen pitches. Joba Chamberlian gave up a double and a solo homer, but no other base runners while striking out three in two innings and stranding that leadoff double by Hinske. Ross Ohlendorf came into a bases-loaded situation and walked in a run. He then gave up a solo home run in the next frame, but those were his only two base runners and he struck out the other four men he faced.

The Bad:

Mariano Rivera walked two, hit a third, and gave up an RBI double while protecting a two-run lead in the finale. On the series he allowed five baserunners in his two innings, though he did convert both saves and struck out two. Ron Villone walked the only man he faced. Sean Henn faced four batters and retired none of them, giving up a pair of singles and walking two while allowing three of his four inherited runners to score. Jose Veras was perfect in his first inning of relief, but gave up a pair of singles in his second frame, necessitating an intentional walk to Ortiz, plating a run, and prompting Torre to call on Henn in a vain attempt to get the third out. Brian Bruney struck out Bobby Kielty with the bases loaded to stop the bleeding after Henn and Veras on Friday night, then worked a perfect seventh, earning the line-up card from Torre after the game. He then gave it all back the next day by giving up an RBI double and a walk before picking up a strikeout and prompting Torre's second call for Henn.

Farnsworth did not pitch, nor did Chris Britton.

Conclusion: Saturday's game was a disaster on all fronts, while Friday's game was a stirring comeback, but both were sloppy. Sunday's game felt like a postseason win with plenty of gutty performances to go around and all of Torre's decisions paying off. The only thing that was really consistent in this series, however, was the shakiness of the bullpen. Heck, even Joba gave up an earned run. Still, the Yanks have nothing but cupcakes left on the schedule, are no longer distracted by hopes of winning the division, and merely have to keep pace with the Tigers who are three games behind in the loss column. That should give Torre an opportunity to sort out the pen and rotation. Here's hoping it also gives Melky and Matsui time to solve their problems at the plate. If not, I just might find myself in favor of starting Mientkiewicz at first in the postseason with one of those two taking a seat each day.

Comments (59)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-09-17 09:29:35
1.   Sliced Bread
Doug Out on the stud list I can live with.

Dout Out on a postseason lineup card, eh, not ready to ponder that.

Not reading too much into Melky's slump. He should come around vs the cupcakes.
Same for Matsui. He was on the verge of finding his groove again, but fell back into bail mode.

2007-09-17 09:34:56
2.   randym77
Doug Mientkiewicz a stud? Who'd have thunk it?

He deserves it, though, if only for his glove. He prevented at least two runs with his play at 1B last night, which turned out to be the game. I don't think even a healthy Andy Phillips makes that play.

2007-09-17 09:35:28
3.   Chyll Will
This was a very frustrating series; almost boycotted the rest of the season because of the sloppy play from the first two games, then missed the third when they cleaned up their act (I hope). I'd hate to think (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) that we've developed some bad habits going into the playoffs, because that really sucks the life out of watching an otherwise very entertaining team.

The highwire act is one thing, but if you're tripping over your own feet or walking the line with you're shoes untied, well what can you say except that it's your own fault when you fall? That's what's been so frustrating, and I hope that we can get over that before we go into the postseason (I'm still feeling good about it, btw).

/rant

resume ignore

>;)

2007-09-17 09:38:20
4.   Chyll Will
3 What I mean by that is we've seemed to develop bad habits over the last several years of postseason play. With the umps gone wild this year, it's gonna be hard to bear watching, but I'll try. Am I wrong for this?
2007-09-17 09:38:27
5.   weeping for brunnhilde
3 :)
2007-09-17 09:41:14
6.   Sliced Bread
3 Wouldn't say they're regressing defensively, or getting into bad habits.
Giambi had a bad game at 1B, no question, but he's generally much better than that.

The Yanks defense has been better than I expected for most of the season. Perhaps the recent errors are just a late-season correction of sorts.

Not too worried about it. Pitching is still the number one concern with this team.

2007-09-17 09:50:46
7.   williamnyy23
Mariano "bad". Sure, he gave up 5 baserunners in two innings, but one was a ball that went under Cano's glove, one was a HBP and two were very tough walks. The only hard hit ball he yielded was to Lugo. Regardless, he closed out two crucial victories, so I think it is very unfair to list him in the "bad" column.
2007-09-17 09:57:57
8.   Chyll Will
6 I get it, but if they could at least figure out a way to push that late-season correction into, say, January, I'd be fine with it. We've played in November before, so it's not too much to ask...
2007-09-17 10:07:59
9.   Sliced Bread
That's the genius of Mo. His "bad" is still a thrill to behold.

Imagine being so good that you can make it appear as though you're toying with Fenway, willing Ortiz to the plate, just so you can end the game on your terms.

It was the kind of shit Jordan used to pull against the Knicks. Only it's so much better when it's Mo against Boston.

2007-09-17 10:13:40
10.   williamnyy23
Talk about a caption writer not knowing a lick about baseball:

http://tinyurl.com/299evt

2007-09-17 10:22:39
11.   Chyll Will
10 I understand all of Shaq's HRs were of that variety...
2007-09-17 10:27:40
12.   Chyll Will
11 I looked it up, the single-season record holder for broken-bat HRs...

http://tinyurl.com/5ua26

2007-09-17 10:55:11
13.   rbj
"Led by the stellar pitching of Roger Clemens, the heroics of Derek Jeter, and a well-managed game by Joe Torre (happy now?),"

Wow, praise of Torre from nomaas. I am happy -- and a bit scared that this could be the first sign of the apocalypse.

2007-09-17 11:29:20
14.   Bama Yankee
Abby and YFiB, if you guys are still around, here's the Clemens picture you requested:
http://i13.tinypic.com/68i57j6.jpg
(I posted it in the last thread but I'm not sure if anyone is still over there).

Also, I'm not sure if you two saw the one I did for your K-Rod thunder-arms idea from Friday (it might not be safe for children, but here you go):
http://i2.tinypic.com/4ml7skh.jpg

2007-09-17 11:32:25
15.   bp1
Man- what to do with first base. Giambi's bat looks to be heating up - he seemed to be the catalyst for both 8th inning comebacks - but man he was brutal in the field. It was cringe worthy and honestly hard to watch.

Counter that with Minky's fine play around the bag. If only we could squash those two together sort of like Jeff Goldblum and the bug in "The Fly" and come out with a modern day Donny Baseball.

(sigh).

I don't think Giambi has regressed to only filling the Ruben Sierra Memorial "Slugger off the bench" role. He still has value as an every day hitter. What to do with Matsui?

I've got no answers. Only questions.

2007-09-17 11:49:54
16.   Yankee Fan In Boston
14 perfect.

the only problem with the clemens one is that now i really wish he'd have done that. some gauze, some heinz, and some cheeze. it would've been great.

the k-rod one was exactly what i had in mind.

thanks for that. good stuff.

2007-09-17 11:50:09
17.   C2Coke
I kept on thinking that perhaps entering the playoffs with a different mindset as the wild-card holder could actually do the Yankees some good.

Wang and Pettitte will most likely pick up from where they left off before the series and continue what they do best into next month. The unknown factor still seems to be the rest of the rotation. The rest of the pitching staff just seem to get it together and fall apart so fast all the time. That said, the Yanks are going into next month with probably most chips than they had all season.

2007-09-17 11:53:31
18.   mehmattski
With Melky slumping, would it be terrible if Damon got some time back in CF, with Matsui in LF, Minky at 1B and Giambi at DH? Both Matsui and Melky have been slumping lately, since September 1:

Matsui 53 PA .125/.308/.200
Melky 62 PA .190/.242/.241
Damon: 60 PA .259/.322/.426
Giambi: 34 PA .154/.353/.423

At least Matsui is still walking, despite his inability to hit lately. The outfield defense would take a hit, but when lineups like last night's are out there (with Melky, Minky, and Molina), it's no wonder Schilling was only at 69 pitches after 7 innings...

2007-09-17 12:01:44
19.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Apologies if this has been posted before, but Shelly Duncan is now my god.

http://www.withleather.com/post.phtml?pk=3883

2007-09-17 12:02:21
20.   Sliced Bread
18 Melky's glove and arm are still very important. Saved them a crucial run gunning down Ortiz the other day, which ain't as easy as it might sound.

Melk needs some rest, but I wouldn't try to re-establish Damon as a centerfielder.

Matsui is hurt (knee), and should probably be the primary DH in the postseason, which brings us back to the Giambi/Dougie D question.

Joe has a lot of position players who require rest over the next two weeks, so I won't be too upset if we get a heavier dose of Doug Out.

Last night Dougie D re-established his value as a late-inning defensive replacment for Giambi, and showed Joe he can still hit in small doses at the ML level.

But I don't think the Yanks postseason plans should have much to do with him, aside from his crucial role as a late-inning defensive replacement, or pinch runner for Giambi.

Even during their slumps the bats belonging to Giambi, Melky, Damon, and Matsui are worth more to the club than Dougie's glove, as I see it.

2007-09-17 12:13:04
21.   bp1
20 That throw from Melky was pretty darn impressive, and there was some great camera work that caught it from a few different angles. What a bullet. I remember thinking two things. 1) Wow 2) When was the last time the Yankees had an arm like that in center field?
2007-09-17 12:13:04
22.   Count Zero
15 "I've got no answers. Only questions."

That makes two of us. Are we really thinking that Mink and his Womackian .676 OPS deserves to be the PS starter at 1B?

What exactly is our starting rotation in the PS? Wang, Pettitte...Clemens? Then...? Right now, I would be rooting for IPK. Moose is my long relief guy. But if IPK is on the roster, you know JT will carry six starters because he won't leave Moose off it.

Matsui has always been a streak-hitter. Right now, he's on the low side. If he doesn't come out of it in the next 13 games, it's in my mind that he does the majority of the sitting. But who knows -- maybe using Giambi as Strawberry in '96 plays out.

And who goes in the pen? Mariano, Joba, Viz...then Farnswacker and Ramirez? And...Roly Poly Ohlie? Please not "where is the strike zone?" Bruney. I wouldn't survive it! Not in the PS...

2007-09-17 12:22:25
23.   Chyll Will
22 I think Bob the Builder's the way to go there. At least he has a plan...
2007-09-17 12:32:30
24.   OldYanksFan
Just a reminder that good things happen to good people.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8547285560243429315
2007-09-17 12:32:57
25.   Chyll Will
(tap,tap) Is this thing on?
2007-09-17 12:35:47
26.   bp1
22 "Womackian".

Ouch.

There will be certain phrases that will stick with this generation of Yankee fans, and that is one of them.

Womakian (woe-mack-ee-an)
-adjective
1. Of or pertaining to the inability to hit major league pitching.
2. Having the tendency to complain about playing time in spite of poor performance on the field.
3. A general surly attitude.

Lucky for us, Dougie Defense is only a crappy hitter. Otherwise, he seems to be a pretty decent guy.

2007-09-17 12:36:22
27.   OldYanksFan
19 Thanks! Fantastic!
2007-09-17 12:43:22
28.   Count Zero
23 25 He's at least a five tool guy too...
2007-09-17 12:52:48
29.   Count Zero
Oh, and let your voice be heard...

http://www.vote756.com

2007-09-17 12:54:31
30.   Chyll Will
28 (!) have you ever seen him pitch? This guy's not just plane good, he's riveting...
2007-09-17 13:00:39
31.   Count Zero
30 Absolutely -- when he comes in with the lead, you know he's gonna' nail it down.
2007-09-17 13:06:48
32.   Sliced Bread
26 Quantrillity (kwan-tril-eh-tee)
- noun
1.) the condition or quality of being Quantrillian

Core meaning: the inability to complete tasks due to severe abuse by past and present management.

The ox pulled the cart up the mountain until quantrillity set in.

Baseball useage:
The pitcher's moment of quantrillity was shattered by the crack of the bat, and replaced by the tranquility of the ball flying 430 feet.

2007-09-17 13:11:16
33.   Chyll Will
31 He can raise the roof like nobody's business!
2007-09-17 13:11:33
34.   AbbyNormal821
14 Bama - you da bomb! Funny stuff!!!
2007-09-17 13:11:33
35.   AbbyNormal821
14 Bama - you da bomb! Funny stuff!!!
2007-09-17 13:13:05
36.   rbj
Even more so than with Mo, hitters saw off a lot of lumber when he's pitching.

His screwball is amazing.

2007-09-17 13:14:51
37.   AbbyNormal821
What the??? Don't know why I clicked submit twice.
2007-09-17 13:15:32
38.   Sliced Bread
36 yeah, but every summer he misses a week or two with shingles.
2007-09-17 13:15:45
39.   RIYank
36 (et ante) He just got hammered his last time out, though.
2007-09-17 13:16:54
40.   AbbyNormal821
14 I also totally missed the K-Rod thunder sticks. Now THAT was even better than Clemens! I like how you have his "thank you Lord" hands in there!!!

AWESOME!

2007-09-17 13:17:39
41.   Yankee Fan In Boston
39 the scouting report states that he's on another level.

he protects his hitters. he's not afraid to drill a hitter.

on defense, he can really climb the ladder.

2007-09-17 13:22:13
42.   RIYank
41 I love how he paints the corners. But occasionally he gets shellacked.
2007-09-17 13:22:27
43.   yankz
I would trade the bum. He screws everything up and has a hard head.

(I hate myself)

2007-09-17 13:26:41
44.   yankz
He does, however, have a rubber arm.
2007-09-17 13:27:11
45.   Yankee Fan In Boston
42 i guess he played a bit with andy phillips in the minors. the two of them always knew who'd cover the bag on a grounder to the right side. it was like he could get inside phillips' head.

(that should help you feel relatively better about yourself, yankz.)

2007-09-17 13:28:23
46.   Chyll Will
Bottom line, he's top shelf. He's got a great personality too; very down to earth and a team leader.
2007-09-17 13:31:23
47.   Count Zero
He's plumb good!
2007-09-17 13:31:36
48.   Bama Yankee
Do they play "Enter Handyman" when he comes in from the bullpen:
http://i15.tinypic.com/4v80dif.jpg
2007-09-17 13:37:31
49.   Yankee Fan In Boston
from peter abraham's blog:
"

Well, it seems Eric Gagne finally did something positive for the Red Sox. He injured Mariano Rivera.

As Rivera was stretching in the bullpen in the eighth inning last night, he was struck by an errant toss from Gagne, who was warming up in the adjacent bullpen.

The ball struck his right pinky finger. The finger was bruised and numb as Rivera pitched, which explains his lack of control on the ninth inning.

Rivera said today that he is fine and available."

2007-09-17 13:42:11
50.   yankz
49 Finally, a level playing field. I'm surprised they never made him throw lefty.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-09-17 13:42:29
51.   Chyll Will
[et al] Yes, but there is a catch... we can build him up and build everything around him, but it's all moat if he doesn't sign before rosters set for the post... and his agent doesn't play. Down the line, this could be a major roadblock, but let's hope Cashman can make major inroads before the time comes. He'll go a long way in bridging the gap between the starters and Mo...

(whew... I have no shame today, so don't worry about a thing, yankz...)

2007-09-17 13:46:47
52.   Chyll Will
48 ...the James Taylor version? If he's got his off-speed stuff, maybe...
2007-09-17 13:54:42
53.   cult of basebaal
Dougie Alphabet gets another start today, as Joe Torre continues his personal quest to see Mattpat11's head explode ...
2007-09-17 13:57:38
54.   Bama Yankee
[34, 35 & 40] Thanks Abby. The best part of that K-Rod pic was that I was able to find that dude with the rally monkey on his back. Sometimes the truth is actually funnier than the fiction...
2007-09-17 14:02:42
55.   Chyll Will
Okay I'm done. Thank you all, today's been just fine! >;) (Great work as usual, buddy 14 ,48 )
2007-09-17 14:05:12
56.   Mattpat11
53 You sort of had to start him after last night, even without counting in the defense.

Doug is a terrible, terrible hitter. But even terrible hitters go on hot streaks, and you might as well take advantage of whatever flash of competence this guy shows you.

That being said, if he goes 0-8 in the next two games, that should be the end of it.

Also, Torre is nowhere near the top of the list of people in that organization that want my head to explode.

2007-09-17 14:26:22
57.   monkeypants
56 53 This start by Minky makes some sense: Torre is giving Melky a rest, that rotates Damon to CF, Matsui to LF, and (miracle of miracles) Giambi stays in the line-up at DH. With every other 1B injured, there really isn't anyone else to start at first except Betemit.

Now, once Damon or Matsui rotate back to DH, then Giambi really must start at 1B and Minky should go back to the spot on the bench that he has richly earned.

2007-09-17 14:26:35
58.   Chyll Will
53 ,56 (From the Good Blog of Bronx Banter)-

http://bronxbanter.baseballtoaster.com/archives/790200.html
Comment #38

2007-09-17 14:37:17
59.   monkeypants
57 My bigger gripe would be continuing to place Posada, the team's second best hitter all year, so low in the line-up. I know Torre digs the LH/RH thing, but there must be a way to get Posada hitting third, fourth, or fifth.

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