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Series Wrap: @ Tampa Bay
2007-09-28 09:42
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Offense: Twenty-one runs in three games, and it might have been more if they hadn't clinched in the middle game allowing Joe Torre to rest Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu, and Jorge Posada in the finale.

Studs:

Johnny Damon 10 for 15, 2 2B, RBI, 4 R, 3 SB, 2 K
Derek Jeter 5 for 10, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 3 K
Robinson Cano 6 for 13, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, BB, 3 K, GIDP, CS
Doug Mientkiewicz 4 for 7, 2 2B, RBI, R, BB, 2 K
Jorge Posada 4 for 10, 2B, 3 RBI, R, GIDP

Duds:

Melky Cabrera 0 for 8, RBI, BB, 3 K, GIDP
Hideki Matsui 0 for 7, 2 BB, 3 K
Wilson Betemit 0 for 5, 3 K
Jason Giambi 1 for 6, 3 K
Bobby Abreu 1 for 8, RBI, 4 R, 3 BB

Bronson Sardinha and Alberto Gonzalez both picked up their first major league hits, both singles, in the finale, which also saw them make their first major league starts (in right field and short stop respectively). Sardinha's came in his first at-bat, but he went 0 for 2 the rest of the night and saw just eight pitches in his three trips. Gonzalez singled in his second at-bat and was plated by a Johnny Damon double. His last time up he walked and was promptly caught stealing.

Rotation: Even with Kei Igawa subbing for Roger Clemens and his hamstring, the three starters did great, allowing just three runs in 18 innings combined. Igawa pitched around five walks and a pair of singles for five scoreless frames. Chien-Ming Wang wasn't at his best, but he struck out six in six innings while allowing just two runs. Finally, Phil Hughes had his best start since out-dueling Fausto Carmona in Cleveland in early August, allowing just one run on the requisite Carlos Peña home run (one of Wang's two runs allowed was also a Peña homer) over seven strong, allowing just seven baserunners (Peña, three singles, two walks, and a hit-batsman). Of course, the Yankees are still hoping Roger Clemens can start the third game of the ALDS, so his absence from this series is of significant concern. Meanwhile, the only man here who is likely to start in the postseason is Wang, who was good, but not great.

Bullpen: Joe Torre's postseason auditions led directly to a loss in the opener. That's not a cause for concern, however, as the Yankees didn't need to win that game, and the whole point was to figure out who could be trusted in October. Here are the results:

The Good:

Mariano Rivera and Joba Chamberlain, of course. Mo picked up a ten-pitch save in the clincher. Joba pitched on back-to-back days for the first time in his life and turned in a pair of scoreless innings striking out three. That said, he got help from a ridiculous wall-crashing catch in center by Melky Cabrera in his first game, which he followed by giving up a single to rookie Justin Ruggiano and uncorking a wild pitch, and gave up a double to Raul Casanova in his second. True, that shot to center was off the bat of that man Carlos Peña, but ace relievers have to get everyone out. That said, Joba lowered his ERA to 0.38, so who am I kidding? Jose Veras pitched two shutout innings, working around a single and getting three ground ball outs to earn the save in the finale. Kyle Farnsworth, working from the windup, pitched a perfect eighth in the opener, striking out two and throwing ten of 13 pitches for strikes. Ron Villone got Peña to groundout to stop the bleeding in the sixth inning of the opener, then retired two of three batters in the seventh also on groundouts (the other walked). Chris Britton struck out Jonny Gomes to end that inning.

The Bad:

Edwar Ramirez and Brian Bruney each faced four men in the sixth inning of the oppener. Six of the eight scored. Staked to a 5-0 lead, Edwar walked the leadoff man, gave up a one-out double to plate that walk, then issued another walk. On came Bruney, who walked his first man to load the bases, struck out the next, then walked a run in and gave up a grand slam to 32-year-old minor league journeyman Jorge Velandia. It was Velandia's first major league home run. Jeff Karstens gave up a game-winning home run to the only batter he faced in the tenth inning of that game. Luis Vizcaino gave up a double and a home run to the first two batters he faced in the eighth inning of the middle game, then gave up two more singles before finally getting out of the inning.

Conclusion: Farnsworth, Villone, and Veras look to be on their way to the postseason. Edwar, whom Torre said had a spot on the postseason roster, may have pitched his way off of it. That makes Vizcaino's 11.57 ERA in September even more troubling. Torre's doing the right thing in resting his regulars (Melky sat last night as well) and getting more at-bats for Giambi, Duncan, and Betemit. The rotation is what it is. Moose will start tonight. Pettitte will go tomorrow, but with a limit of 50 to 60 pitches. If the Yankees' ALDS series opens on Wednesday, that would mean Pettitte would be on three days rest, but coming off a short outing, suggesting Wang as the Game One starter. If they wind up in the series that opens on Thursday, Pettitte would be on regular rest while Wang would have had seven days off. The biggest concerns heading into the post season, however, are Vizcaino and Clemens, and we're unlikely to learn much about them from the season-ending three-game set that opens tonight in Baltimore.

Comments
2007-09-28 10:47:49
1.   Sliced Bread
I read somewhere today, Star Ledger or Lo Hud, that Viz is agitating to get a couple innings this weekend.

Sorta wish Clemens was throwing out of the bullpen in Baltimore so we can see what he's got. But as Will Carroll suggests, perhaps the weapon X secrecy will serve him well.

What is that, 3 consecutive series where Doogie Fresh makes the stud list?

Damon's bat is heating up at the right time. Go Johnny go.

2007-09-28 10:49:03
2.   williamnyy23
1 DM OPS+ is up to 110...at that rate, he is actually pretty useful.
2007-09-28 10:57:09
3.   Sliced Bread
Viz via Pete Abe:

"I'm fine now," Vizcaino said yesterday. "Physically, no problems. I just need to get a little stronger and get my fastball back."

With the Yankees not starting the playoffs until Wednesday or Thursday, Vizcaino hopes to pitch twice this weekend in Baltimore.

"I need one or two innings,'' he said. "Then I'll be ready."

Vizcaino has already appeared in 76 games, matching his career high. His 74 1/3 innings are seven fewer than the most he has ever thrown. But the 33-year-old insists he is not tired.

"No, no, no, nothing like that," he said. "I've had good games and bad games. It happens. But I feel fine, my arm feels fine."

2007-09-28 10:58:59
4.   SF Yanks
Why can't the season be 160 games with the division series being 7 games? Does anyone know why the DS got the short end of the stick?
2007-09-28 11:03:41
5.   Mattpat11
2 The scary thing is he has to go back to being Mink the Stink at some point, and I fear it will be smack dab in the middle of the ALDS
2007-09-28 11:04:11
6.   Cliff Corcoran
2 Minky since getting his first post-injury start at first base: .500/.588/.750 in ten starts.
2007-09-28 11:16:39
7.   rsmith51
6 Can you explain it? It seems like his at bats are better. I didn't expect much out of him at the beginning of the season and got less than that. This post-injury surge is encouraging. Hopefully he can keep it up.
2007-09-28 11:31:47
8.   Orly Yarly NoWai
7 : "in ten starts"

Explained.

2007-09-28 11:35:22
9.   JL25and3
Joba's ERA+ is now up to 1141.
2007-09-28 11:38:01
10.   Sliced Bread
7 Mink returned from his injury well-rested and eager to prove himself, which he has done over 3 series. I'm still not convinced he should start in the playoffs.
Unless Giambi's struggles are due to injury or fatigue, which I don't think is the case, I'd be inclined to stick with Jason at 1B (even against C.C. Sabathia) and Mink as a late-inning defense guy.
Giambi's bat, and ability to draw walks and wear down pitchers is more valuable than Doug's collective game, and he's not going to bust out of his current slump caddying for Mink.

That said, I could easily be convinced to stick with Doug at 1b, and ride his hot streak as long as it lasts.

bottomline: I'm trusting Joe and Donnie on this one (heh. as if I have a choice!)

2007-09-28 11:52:09
11.   OldYanksFan
4 Initially, the ALCS used to be the best 3 of 5. They fixed that. Hopefully, they will fix the ALDS soon too. 3 of 5 sucks... especially with the new 'extra day' rule.

11 Unfortunately, Joe has handled Giambi so poorly that the guy is ineffective now. I personally think he's always on the verge of hitting a HR, but his stats of late are very poor. But this guy is used to playing everyday. Remember, it was Jason's 2 HRs against Pedro (batting 7th) that set the stage for 2003.

2007-09-28 11:53:30
12.   Cliff Corcoran
7 Actually, Bobby Murcer reported that the wrist injury causes Mientkiewicz pain when he swings incorrectly, but no pain when he swings correctly, so it's like having a built in batting coach to remind him when his mechanics are off.
2007-09-28 11:58:53
13.   Raf
4 Good question. IMO I think they should go back to doubleheaders to try and "shorten" the season, but I don't think the union would go for that. I'm sure there are lost revenues too, as well as problems for mass transit for those teams that play in metropolitan areas.

Regarding the DS, it's only a matter of time before they expand it to best of 7, IMO. I think the reason it hasn't been done yet is because of scheduling. TV may have something to do with it too.

2007-09-28 11:59:55
14.   Raf
13 Problems with masss transit...
2007-09-28 12:02:09
15.   Sliced Bread
11 don't even have to go back that far for a big Giambi hit. He came up huge against the BoSox last series.

I don't think Joe has handled him poorly. He tends to go with the hot-hand, and that's been Mink. Now that the Yanks are in the playoffs I think Joe should be wondering how long his luck is going to last with Mink, and if he should be trying to get the most out of Giambi, which, unfortunately, demands playing him at 1b.
Giambi has always hit better when he plays the field. His splits can not be ignored. Now is a good time I think for Joe to remember this.

2007-09-28 12:03:53
16.   Schteeve
I don't think it's a question of Mink v. Giambi

I think it's a question of Matsui v. Damon. If you play Giambi in the field, you can DH Matsui and put Damon in LF.

If You play Mink, and DH Giambi you theoretically have to suffer with Matsui's defense in left.

It's going to require a great deal of flexibility with those 4 guys in the playoffs.

2007-09-28 12:05:11
17.   Raf
14 ah, forget it...

11 Hopefully it'll take them longer than 16 years?

2007-09-28 12:13:20
18.   Raf
Will ya look at that... Igawa has his own blog
http://www.k-igawa.com/
2007-09-28 12:23:22
19.   Sliced Bread
12 My aunt's left knee tells her when it's going to rain or snow, which is like having a built-in weatherman.
But will Mink's built-in hitting instructor please warn us when he's heading into a 1 for 16 skid?
2007-09-28 12:53:23
20.   Yankee Fan In Boston
18 take that, curt schilling.

i want a kei band.

http://www.k-igawa.com/originalgoods/

great find, raf.

2007-09-28 13:11:49
21.   Bama Yankee
20 If Kei ever added a blog to that site he could call it: 138 Pitches...
;-)
2007-09-28 13:14:51
22.   yankz
21 Clearly you have far more faith in him than the rest ofus.
2007-09-28 13:15:02
23.   yankz
of us...
2007-09-28 13:26:09
24.   Mattpat11
I'll buy a green and yellow Kei Igawa band
2007-09-28 13:27:40
25.   Bama Yankee
22 Maybe, but that total would probably still only get him into the fourth inning...
2007-09-28 13:40:49
26.   BklynBmr
21 Iced tea all over my monitor and keyboard. Thanks, Bama! :-)

And not that it matters, but just wondering if Gardenhire will empty his bench this weekend given playoff teams are determined, or would the fact that home field is up for grabs make him play his starters?

2007-09-28 14:04:59
27.   yankz
Whoa. Today's lineup is lacking some scrubs.
2007-09-28 14:05:07
28.   BklynBmr
Tonight's lineup (via LoHud):

Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui LF
Posada C
Giambi DH
Cano 2B
Mientkiewicz 1B
Mussina RHP (11-10, 4.96)

Pete A. writes: Should Melky Cabrera be worried when he sees this lineup? Probably not. But he is 6 of his last 59 at the plate...

2007-09-28 14:12:42
29.   BklynBmr
Sweet scenario offered at mvn.com: Yanks win East on the last day, beat the Halos in ALDS, beat Beantown in the ALCS, and beat the D'Backs in the WS.

The 'Revenge Tour '07!'...

2007-09-28 14:21:47
30.   SF Yanks
29 What sweet revenge that would be! That would make for one of the best seasons in Yankee history.
2007-09-28 15:00:20
31.   motown yankees fan
29 30 And don't forget that the Revenge Tour started by shutting Detroit out of the wild card.
2007-09-28 15:16:46
32.   Cliff Corcoran
29 That would be rickdiculous.

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