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Series Wrap: v. Blue Jays
2007-09-25 10:16
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Offense: The Yanks scored an average of six runs per game over four games against a team that has allowed 4.3 runs per game on the season, so that's good. In an unusual twist, however, all four games were decided more by the Yankee offense than by the team's pitching. That credits the bats with two wins, but also two loses. The Yanks won the middle two games of the series by scoring 19 runs and simply out-hitting the failures of the bullpen, but they lost the opener by failing to take advantage of five scoreless innings by the pen, and lost the finale by simply failing to hit Jesse Litsch.

Studs:

Alex Rodriguez 7 for 17, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, 2 K, CS
Derek Jeter 7 for 21, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R, SB, 4 K
Doug Mientkiewicz 4 for 10, 2 2B, RBI, R, 2 BB, HBP, K
Jose Molina 3 for 6, 2B, 3 RBI, R, K

Duds:

Jason Giambi 1 for 10, RBI, IBB, 4 K
Wilson Betemit 0 for 3, 2 K

Shelley Duncan appeared as a defensive replacement in the opener, but did not come to bat. Bronson Sardinha scored the tying run in the ninth inning of the second game as a pinch runner. Alberto Gonzalez did not appear in the series.

Rotation: A good showing by 4/5 of the Yankee rotation, especially considering that Hughes and Pettitte, especially, were given short notice (though full rest) prior to their starts as a result of the injuries to Ian Kennedy (who, it seems, will be shut down for the season) and Roger Clemens (who, as of this writing, is still scheduled to pitch tonight in Tampa). Chien-Ming Wang was the best, matching Roy Halladay for six innings in the opener before finally coughing up two runs (one unearned) in the seventh. Mike Mussina was second best, allowing three runs in his only bad inning out of seven on Sunday. Andy Pettitte recovered from a rough second inning and an unearned run in the third to eek out a quality start in the finale (6 IP, 3 ER). Phil Hughes fell an inning short on Saturday due to inefficiency (5 IP, 99 pitches), but otherwise pitched fairly well (3 R, only one walk, no homers, 69 percent strikes).

Bullpen: The Yankee pen had to work 17 innings in this four game series, which is the sort of workload (nearly 4 1/3 innings per game) that killed the pen back in April. The good news is that the Yankees have a 16-man thanks to expanded rosters, so even with that high work load, four Yankee relievers didn't pitch at all (Matt DeSalvo, Ty Clippard, Chase Wright, and Sean Henn). Those who did had a wide variety of results, but altogether allowed 13 runs and 25 base runners in those 17 frames, a dismal collective performance.

The Good:

Joba Chamberlain struck out four in two scoreless innings in the opener, then came back on only one day's rest to earn a four-out save, striking out three, on Sunday. Totals for Joba: 11 batters faced, 7 Ks, one baserunner (via a walk). Mariano Rivera pitched two scoreless frames, allowing one base runner via a double, and striking out three. Ron Villone retired all five batters he faced over two back-to-back games. Ross Ohlendorf retired all four batters he faced over two appearances. Chris Britton retired the only batter he faced on Saturday.

The Bad:

Luis Vizcaino survived a single and a walk in his one inning in the opener, but gave up a two-run homer in the eighth on Sunday followed by a single and a walk, forcing Joe Torre to go to Chamberlain to get out of the inning. Kyle Farnsworth pitched a perfect eight-pitch inning in the finale, but when called in to protect a one-run lead in the eighth on Saturday gave up two runs on three singles and a walk, retiring just one man on a lineout to first. Kei Igawa was called on to get the third out of that inning, his first major league appearance since his July 26 start in Kansas City. Igawa's one batter singled home the third run charged to Farnsworth, but a wild 9-2-6-4-2 putout at home ended the inning through none of Igawa's doing. Similarly, Jeff Karstens picked up the win in that game despite giving up a lead-off single and a two-out double thanks to a perfect 8-4-2 relay off that double to nail Matt Stairs at the plate for the final out. Jose Veras pitched around a double for a scoreless inning in the finale, but was a disaster on Saturday. Staked to a three-run lead in the seventh, Veras started the frame by allowing a double and issuing a walk. After a strikeout he moved the runners up on a wild pitch. After another strikeout, a pitch got past Jorge Posada to plate one run, then Veras issued a second walk and gave up an RBI single, getting the hook. The man who replaced him was Edwar Ramirez, who let both inherited runners score on a double, then threw his own wild pitch and allowed another RBI single before finally getting out of the inning with the Yanks trailing by two. The night before, Ramirez hit one of the three batters he faced and allowed a two-run homer to another. Finally, Brian Bruney struck out the side in his only inning of the weekend, but also lost the opening 14-game marathon by giving up a homer to Greg Zaun in that inning (he then added a single for good measure).

Conclusions: The Joba rules won't apply in the postseason, and the Yankees are getting him ready for that. First he came in mid-inning against the Orioles. On Sunday, he pitched on what amounted to short rest and came in with runners on base. Before the season's over, he'll pitch on consecutive days. The Yankees will continue to monitor his pitch counts and be careful with him, but the training wheels will come off in the postseason. After Sunday's game, Joe Torre made some reference to Ramirez having a mechanical flaw that has since been rectified. Here's hoping that's true, as he's been dreadful over his last four outings (2 1/3 IP, 6 H, BB, 2 HBP, WP, HR, 5 R). Ron Villone has retired eight straight over three outings and looks to be closing in on a postseason roster spot. Ross Ohlendorf, who has retired 11 of 13 in his young major league career, six by strikeout, could sneak onto the roster as well. Ian Kennedy is still being considered for the long-relief role in the postseason, but is unlikely to pitch again during the regular season due to the muscle strain in his right upper back, which the Yankees hope will have healed up by next week. If Kennedy can't go, Phil Hughes will likely take his spot, though Roger Clemens will have to prove himself healthy and effective tonight in order for Hughes not to be needed as a fourth starter. Finally, the dearth of Studs and Duds on offense indicates a lack of extreme performances in either direction. That's probably a good thing. I just hope Torre uses the last six games to rest some of his workhorses (Rodriguez, Jeter, Cano, Melky, Abreu) while mixing in guys such as Duncan and Betemit, who could be valuable off the bench in the postseason, as well as filtering more at-bats to Jason Giambi, who is hitting just .139 in September with 11 strikeouts in his last nine games.

Comments
2007-09-25 10:40:41
1.   rsmith51
I assume that you are waiting until they clinch to post your post-season roster prediction, Cliff.
2007-09-25 10:55:03
2.   Cliff Corcoran
1 Not really. I discussed it in my Orioles series wrap on Friday and am monitoring the final four spots. Currently I think those last four will go to Duncan, Villone, Ohlendorf and, unfortunately, Farnsworth. With Hughes and Kennedy being mutually exclusive, Edwar having supposedly already been given a spot, and the rest being obvious.
2007-09-25 11:01:30
3.   kylepetterson
1 2 Even though he's slowed down a bit, I would totally put A-Rod on the post-season roster. I've got a feeling about this guy. I think he could help us.
2007-09-25 11:04:37
4.   aronneil
3 I agree. The Yanks need someone like him to solidify that 8th spot in the batting order.
2007-09-25 11:31:52
5.   cult of basebaal
well, you know what they say about having a 2nd leadoff hitter batting 9th!

batting arod 8th is like having a 2nd cleanup hitter!

now how many teams can match that???

2007-09-25 11:33:52
6.   Cliff Corcoran
6 He's a no-brainer for the roster because of his versatility. He can play third or short and has the athleticism to fill in elsewhere in a pinch. Good arm, too, in case they need an emergency reliever.
2007-09-25 11:38:01
7.   yankz
I don't know, guys. Postseasons are tons of pressure. You sure he can handle it?
2007-09-25 12:00:56
8.   JL25and3
6 You forgot about his speed. He can pinch-ruun for Giambi or Posada in the late innings.

All in all, a handy little role player - if, as 7 notes, he doesn't wilt in the clutch.

2007-09-25 12:17:00
9.   Shaun P
8 Yes, Alex whateverhisnameis has to ride the pine. That Betemit kid has got to start at 3B. Nice glove, and plenty of grittiness that can only come from hitting .217. A younger Brosius, he is. The key to the Yanks winning another 4 rings is having a gritty-Brosius type on the roster at 3B. Not some behemoth slugger-type pretty rich boy.
2007-09-25 12:18:12
10.   standuptriple
8 He's still no Miguel Cairo, but what are you gonna do? BFOG+, somewhere...you'll be missed.
2007-09-25 12:19:59
11.   JL25and3
The sad thing is, you know that if the Yankees lose in the first round and he hits less than .600 or so, we'll be hearing about how he's just not a winner.
2007-09-25 12:23:15
12.   Cliff Corcoran
11 It's crazy to think about how much uncertainty there is around him going into the postseason: Will he struggle again? Will he sign an extension? Opt out? How will his postseason performance and the fan and media reaction effect his willingness to return? Scary.
2007-09-25 12:33:35
13.   Yankee Fan In Boston
peter abraham says clemens is scratched... in favor of ...

kei igawa.

oh, lord help us.

2007-09-25 12:36:20
14.   JL25and3
13 Here's hoping that Joe has him on a very short leash tonight. With eleventy-hundred warm bodies in the bullpen, there's no reason to let Quest try to pitch out of trouble.
2007-09-25 12:39:10
15.   vockins
Anyone get a postseason ticket invitation to purchase (or whatever yankees.com calls it) yet? I signed up, but I haven't heard anything.
2007-09-25 12:39:55
16.   Sliced Bread
Will Igawa still be wearing his flying monkey costume?

Egads.

Gadzooks.

Here's hoping again that Rocket didn't leave it all on the mound at Fenway.

2007-09-25 12:41:09
17.   bp1
13 I'll save you all some TV time tonight and give you the play-by-play here and now:

"And the pitch"

"High and outside, ball four, and the D Rays have runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs."

"Igawa is up to 52 pitches and doesn't look like he's going to last long in this game."

"Karstens is warming in the 'pen. Here comes Ron Guidry to the mound. Joe does not look happy in the dugout."

Man. I'd rather watch Dancing with the Stars.

Well - not really - but man Igawa's starts can be as annoying as fingernails on a chalkboard (or Dancing with Stars, as a matter of fact).

2007-09-25 12:55:57
18.   Yankee Fan In Boston
so what are the odds that the season that began with carl pavano on the mound and saw the yankees below .500 at the all star break could also see kei igawa get the win in the playoff clincher?
2007-09-25 13:00:23
19.   Jersey
18 HA. Well put.

Of course, to get the win he's got to go five innings. I don't see it.

2007-09-25 13:03:24
20.   Yankee Fan In Boston
19 stranger things have happened.

let's hope he can put it all together.

2007-09-25 13:06:22
21.   dianagramr
And what has Igawa done on the farm this Summer?

eh ...

http://minors.baseball-reference.com/players.cgi?pid=34687

2007-09-25 13:09:25
22.   Yankee Fan In Boston
21 i choose to ignore a lot of this season. i can add minor league stats into "all that never happened."

...

...

and...

...

done.

quest!

2007-09-25 13:21:06
23.   Yankees Brasil
Poor Mattpat, nobody hates Igawa more than him.
2007-09-25 13:30:14
24.   Jersey
Let's just hope the bats go ape-ish. Hammel pitched pretty well against the Yanks last time out, and he's been decent lately.

They'll need to feast on that pen, methinks.

2007-09-25 13:38:15
25.   dianagramr
Joba the Cowardly Lion

http://tinyurl.com/3du9u9

2007-09-25 13:43:59
26.   Mattpat11
18 The Yankees will decide he turned the corner.
2007-09-25 13:49:56
27.   Mattpat11
http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/nwR3
2007-09-25 13:52:55
28.   cult of basebaal
after a season's worth of second guessing and bitching by mattpat11, cashman and torre strike back below the belt!

The Flying Monkey's Revenge ...

on that note, is there anyone else here with an interest in american mid-century history and our legacy of racial and cultural prejudices that was glad that igawa wasn't the only one dressed up as a monkey?

2007-09-25 13:56:49
29.   Knuckles
Has a team ever played a playoff-spot-clinching game in which they used 7 pitchers who will not be on the postseason roster? It could happen tonight.
2007-09-25 14:01:13
30.   marc
I'm glad Carl Pavano never had to dress up as the wicked witch of the north. He would have really melted in the most hideous baseball accident in history
2007-09-25 14:03:20
31.   Mattpat11
28 It was first guessing. I always thought that was way too much for a long man
2007-09-25 14:08:27
32.   Knuckles
Off topic- does anyone who ordered a Joba the Hutt t-shirt gotten any indication of when they will ship? I ordered it the afternoon Alex posted the link (9/13), my card was charged immediately, and nothing since. I contacted the seller yesterday and still nothing. I think it kinda sucks if the guy is taking advantage of free publicity on sites like this and then doing a crap job of following through...
2007-09-25 14:15:30
33.   Mattpat11
Maybe Detroit and Seattle will lose.
2007-09-25 18:36:22
34.   Bob B
Bruney must go.

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