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The Waiting Game
2007-10-02 05:50
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Man, it feels strange having to wait another couple of days for the Yankees playoff season to start, doesn't it? I'm already getting hyped-up and there's a long time to go before first pitch, Thursday night. (Wonder how Alex Rodriguez feels? No pressure, big dog.) Meanwhile, the Yanks are "hopeful" that Roger Clemens will start Game 3.

We've got time to kibbitz. What do you make of the non-prime time schedule? What about Shelley Duncanstein possibly getting the Game One nod over Hideki Matsui? Yo peoples, whatta ya hear, whatta ya say?

Comments
2007-10-02 06:11:21
1.   rbj
I kinda like the starting times. It means I won't have to stay up til midnight or later.
2007-10-02 06:11:49
2.   Murray
TBS's schedule means that the whiners who complain about playoff games that start too late for the kiddies will have to be quiet, which is a plus of sorts. But TBS is also making it impossible for those of us who work for a living to see the beginnings of these games. So, I hate this schedule, except on the weekends, when it means I don't have to wait until 8pm for a game to start.

Duncan over Matsui? Sure, why not. I know I'm sick of watching Matsui ground out to second against left-handers, so I guess Torre is now, too.

2007-10-02 06:19:24
3.   Rob Middletown CT
I'm ok with the times, actually. Two big thumbs up for the 6:30 times in particular. I won't be exhausted Friday morning when I get up for work.

The 5pm starts, ok, it's true I will miss the start of the games (at least on TV - there is radio, right? I can listen on the way home).

Duncan over Matsui... it all comes down to how Matsui's knees feel. I like that Torre is considering it. I hope he's also considering Hughes in game 3.

2007-10-02 06:32:40
4.   Sliced Bread
re: the early starts. The Yankee-Indian playoff have a picturesque start. It's lookin like 80 degrees and mostly sunny on Thursday and Friday in Cleveland. Indian-summer'esque. The sun sets about a half an hour later in Cleveland. 6:37 here in NY, 7:08 on Lake Erie.
The warm, late-summerish twilight against the glare of the playoff floodlights should serve as an advantage for the pitchers in the early innings, while hindering the fielders.
With Wang going in Game 1, I wouldn't mind seeing Dougie D getting the start at 1B.
I'd rather see Giambi or Matsui draw DH duty than Shelley, even against C.C. Southpaw.

I won't be up in arms if Shell gets the start while Giambi and Matsui are reserved, but that's not how I would start the playoffs. I'd use Mink and Melk in the field, and surround them with the best batters, regarless of the lefty pitching matchup.

2007-10-02 06:37:31
5.   Sliced Bread
4 Hey, that's some sentence: The Yankee-Indian playoff have a picturesque start.

Anyone have any idea what I'm trying to say there?

Sorry. I hate the waiting game, but I should at least preview my comments.

2007-10-02 06:38:44
6.   Count Zero
1 Amen brother.

2 "I know I'm sick of watching Matsui ground out to second against left-handers, so I guess Torre is now, too."

QFT. I'm hoping Shelley gets the start against CC on Thursday personally. It's a win-win IMO with Matsui and Giambi available for PH duty if we can work our way into the pen.

Life will be a lot easier if we can nab one on Thursday...

2007-10-02 07:14:35
7.   weeping for brunnhilde
A nice bit from the Times article:

"In 2006, Rodriguez said, he would have struggled the rest of the game and brooded for two days. This time, he said, he looked around the infield and saw Derek Jeter and Robinson Canó laughing. So he laughed at himself and wound up going 2 for 5 with a home run.

"The ability to laugh at yourself is something that I haven't been good at my whole life, and I think I've laughed at myself more this year than I have in my whole 12- or 13-year career," Rodriguez said. "It's been fun to laugh at myself, and the guys having fun with me."

2007-10-02 07:15:24
8.   Felix Heredia
Let's think this through: Wang gives up four runs, the Yankees struggle to score against Sabathia, Duncan goes 0 for 4, and everyone on this blog says, "Torre was stupid for not going with Matsui's big-game experience and good historical numbers against lefties."
2007-10-02 07:18:17
9.   weeping for brunnhilde
Hideki's not hitting. I have no problem benching him. A five-game do-or-die series is no time to be working on your swing.
2007-10-02 07:28:07
10.   Andre
I hate the 5:00 and 6:00 start times. I can live with 6:30 (I usually don't get home until 7). I don't want to be at work having to hear about the game without being able to sit down and watch it for myself. At least I have DVR so I can record and watch later, but I know some loser red sox fans at work would love to spoil it for me, especially if the Yanks are down early.

I'm also not thrilled about the broadcast team. I really don't want to listen to Brenly for 3+ hours.

On the flip side, it would suck to be a Cubs fan with a 10pm start.

Anyone nervous at all about this series? I'm hoping that all the talk about CC is just hype. His record speaks for itself but the Yanks have owned him in the past (even though they haven't seen him for 3 years).

2007-10-02 07:47:19
11.   bartap74
BTW, that was one hell of a game yesterday between the Padres and the Rockies last night. Lots of lead changes, an improbable comeback against Hoffman in the bottom of the 13th (if I hear one more announcer refer to him as "the greatest closer of all time" I'm going to break something), and what looked to me to be a bad call in the bottom of the 13th to send Colorado onto the Division series against the Phillies.
2007-10-02 07:47:31
12.   Just fair
If the upcoming games are similar to last night's Rockies-Padres games, I will be happy. There was very little over the top graphics-dancing robot-video game b.s. that fox provides. Speaking of the Rockies game, nice Job Trevor. That's 2 games in a row you had the game resting on your right arm and you blew it. No matter that Holliday was out at the plate.
2007-10-02 07:49:03
13.   unpopster
10 of course I'm nervous about this series and I think it's warranted. This Indians team reminds me a lot of last year's Tigers team. The duo of Sabathia and Carmona is formidable and their pen is pretty strong. Not as strong as Detroit's pen but the two Rafael's have sub 2.00 ERAs.

I think the Yanks will go as far as their pen takes them. Beyond Joba and Mo (who has made me nervous lately), we have no relievers that make me comfortable. I'd love to see Hughes in the pen this series rather than as a starter. I think his stuff would translate well in the 6th and 7th innings.

2007-10-02 07:50:25
14.   NJYankee41
I like the start times mostly because I may be going to a couple of games and I don't want to be getting home at 1 or 2 in the morning. But it must suck in the west coast, always catering to us easterners.

The Shelley Duncanstein is my favorite. I usually go one step further by calling him Mary Shelley Duncanstein. But it often leads to funny looks.

2007-10-02 07:52:49
15.   weeping for brunnhilde
14 How 'bout Mary Shelley Duncanstein's Monster?
2007-10-02 07:53:53
16.   unpopster
11 this season has been full of "bad calls" made by the umpires that have had direct effects on games. The MLB front offices needs to straighten out those bums in blue.

Someone pointed out in a post a last week that, regarding the umpires, he/she hopes that none of the playoff games are decided by bad calls. Well, last night's "safe" call would have made me furious if I was a Padres fan and it now looks like a playoff-caliber game was indeed decided by a "bad" call. Had the correct call been made, the game would have been tied with 2 outs and the bases empty. No one knows how the game would have turned out but a bad call decided the outcome, period.

I hope that this was the last bad call that decides a game this fall, but I'm not so confident about it.

2007-10-02 07:54:08
17.   NJYankee41
11 I had a strong feeling from the beginning that Hoffman was gonna blow that game.

12 I was impressed by the TBS presentation. I've gotten so used to FOX's shamless promotions in the middle of games that is was a delight to see them treat the game as the most important thing.

2007-10-02 08:02:01
18.   NJYankee41
15 I can't beat that. Too many people don't realize Frankenstein is actually the doctor, so yours is actually more relevant.
2007-10-02 08:06:10
19.   Yankee Fan In Boston
does anyone know if i will be able to watch the playoffs through mlb.tv?
2007-10-02 08:10:59
20.   mehmattski
19 In the past, only if you're out of the country (plus Puerto Rico and other US Territories). Maybe there's something different this year, but I wouldn't bet on it.
2007-10-02 08:14:08
21.   RichB
I've been saying for years that MLB is losing a generation by insisting on 8pm start times. What will be interesting to see is if they get better viewer numbers with the earlier times. The viewership is in an awful slide the last decade or so. It's not the hard core fans like us they have to worry about. It's tough for the casual fan to give a darn about the game when all they see is the first 6 innings because it's frickin' midnight and they have to get up for work in the morning or they have kids who get up at 6am whether it's a weekend or not.
2007-10-02 08:14:17
22.   Shaun P
17 I too was very impressed with TBS. Orsillo does call a good game, though of course he isn't working the Yanks' series. I am excited to hear Tony Gwynn, though. I thought he was excellent when he did games for ESPN a few years ago.

Speaking of Tony, has anyone here ever heard Tony Gwynn Jr speak? He was on XM last night and I thought it was his dad - sounded just like him.

16 The call at the plate was awful, but so was the blown home run call, which would have ended the game in the 9th in Rockies' favor. It wouldn't be the first time this year we saw the umps screw up one call and then "make up for it" by screwing up another call later.

The blown call in DeSalvo's tough-luck loss vs the Ms, later made up for by a phantom tag call that cost the Ms a game, comes to mind.

2007-10-02 08:15:03
23.   David
Does anyone know what the bookmakers' odds are for the Yanks/Indians series? To me, the Indians would seem to be a slight favorite, due to their better record, home field advantage, and leftie pitching.
2007-10-02 08:17:06
24.   Yankee Fan In Boston
20 thanks. that is what i thought. i couldn't remember.

ugh.

2007-10-02 08:29:20
25.   Bama Yankee
10 I'm also nervous about this series. IMO, we should focus on getting a split in the first two games and then do our best to win games 3 and 4 at home. That said, I might be tempted to hold Wang back until game three (he's much better at the Stadium). Maybe Clemens or Moose could go in game one. Sabathia is going to be tough for us to hit and therefore we might waste a good start from Wang in game one. If Clemens is healthy (big if) maybe he comes up big like he did against Boston the other day. Or maybe Moose is getting the calls on the corner and pitches a gem.

I think game three is more of a pivotal game for us. Say we win one of those first two and then we go back home and could take game three behind Wang. Then we could close it out at home in game four. Would you pitch Hughes up two games to one? Would they come back with CC on short rest?

If we lose games one and two, then game three is obviously critical and I would want Wang in there for that one. I know that saving Wang for game three goes against conventional wisdom, but I might give it a try.

2007-10-02 08:34:06
26.   mehmattski
25 FWIW, Yankee hitters all time against Sabathia:

http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/SExY

Wow, great url generation by baseball-reference there...

2007-10-02 08:48:11
27.   Yankee Fan In Boston
26 thanks for that. i was curious as to how the numbers would look. i wonder how much stock we should put into them, considering the time that has passed since these guys have seen him.

i am also nervous about cleveland. any of these 4 teams could run away with the pennant.

break out the tums.

2007-10-02 08:51:53
28.   Raf
12 No dancing robots, no lame anthropomorphic talking baseballs, no funky graphics and sounds, no gratuitous "star" shots, no lame tv show promos.

Of course, it's still early, but I like what I've seen so far.

2007-10-02 08:56:49
29.   YankeeInMichigan
3 10 14 Here in Motown we commute by car, and it's great to listen to the game on the way home. I recall riding home listening to Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS. Jeter got his 3-run triple just as I was rounding the final corner, and I got into the house just in time to see Nixon's sliding catch on Matsui's liner (ouch). Of course, by the time that contest ended, it could have qualified as a night game.

My first reaction to the non-prime-time schedule was that TBS favoring RSN over the Yanks' national following. Then I realized that they were trying to avoid mid-afternoon Angels games in the LA market. That's kind of interesting, since 3/3:30 starts are great for school kids. Back in the early seventies, playoff games used to start around 3. I recall walking home from school with my transistor radio pressed against my ear and then turning on Channel 4 as soon as I got in the house. I guess that TBS recognizes that today's school kids are too wrapped up in their video games to be a significant playoff market. That's a shame.

2007-10-02 08:59:42
30.   mehmattski
27 Well, in 2007, Sabathia has a strong righty-lefty split:

vs RH: 762 AB .275/.310/.413
vs LH: 213 AB .203/.229/.545

So whatever trends that allowed Jeter, Posada, and A-Rod to smack around Sabathia in the past may still be valid. Keeping lefties in the lineup to a minimum is probably a good idea- It's too bad Betemit sucks as a right handed hitter, or else I wouldn't mind seeing him play first base on Thursday. With Mink there and Damon, Melky, and Cano in the lineup, the pressure is going to be on the three big right-handed bats.

Further, I think this is where Torre's decision to protect Abreu and his fragile confidence by benching him against tough lefties all season will come back to haunt the Yanks.

2007-10-02 09:21:50
31.   YankeeInMichigan
6 I haven't seen Matsui's double-situational splits. During his slump, has he been worse against lefties? When he's in his groove, Matsui is not bothered by southpaws a bit. He crushed a nice homer against Santana. Abreu and Cano, on the other hand, appear clueless against tough lefties. Goldman suggests that Duncan start in right for Abreu. I tend to agree.
2007-10-02 09:25:56
32.   YankeeInMichigan
31 Okay, now I've looked it up. Here's Godzilla in September:

vs. LHP: .222/.391/.500
vs. RHP: .175/.309/.302

If you want to bench him, then bench him, but don't play the "tough lefty" card.

2007-10-02 09:29:56
33.   Shotupthemiddle
16 Totally agree, except for your contention that the bases would have been empty with two outs. Todd Helton was intentionally walked right before Jamey Carroll. Would Helton tag up on the throw to the plate in such a spot?

Either way, it would have been interesting to see....

2007-10-02 09:38:31
34.   mehmattski
31 If Matsui's knee cooperates, I could agree with putting Duncan in right field. Not only does Abreu historically struggle against "tough lefties," he was not even given a chance to figure something out this year- he was frequently benched against the Santanas and Kazmirs.
2007-10-02 09:56:31
35.   rbj
I finally got to see that slide (went to bed after the 11th) and I'm not so sure it was a bad call. The replay is inconclusive, he might have gotten his hand just under the foot and tagged the base.

With the Yankee games on TBS, does that mean we'll miss those annoying Dane Cook ads? 'Cause that would be all right by me.

With Matsui's knee acting up and him not hitting well right now, I'm fine with starting Duncanstein's Monster instead. Won't second guess Joe here.

2007-10-02 09:56:59
36.   YankeeInMichigan
16 33 Hoffman gave up three extra-base hits, Giles made a terrible throw, Barret dropped the ball and McClelland was in the right place. Perhaps the call was the wrong one (replays are not conclusive), but McClelland is way down on the blame queue.

As for the Atkins double, the umpires conferred responsibly. None were clear that it was a homer, so the call on the field stood. Umpires are working together much better than they were a few years ago, and most obvious blown calls (such as homer calls) are being overturned. The umps will still miss one now and then, but do you really want 5-minute delays for video reviews?

I believe that the umps' trigger-happiness on ejections (e.g. Joba) is a much bigger problem than blown calls.

2007-10-02 10:01:30
37.   Raf
35 No; there were more than enough Dane Cook ads during last night's broadcast.
2007-10-02 10:07:08
38.   dianagramr
23

Sox should be heavily favored, as Lackey has never done well in Fenway, and would make 2 starts there in a 5-game series.

http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/RhGY

2007-10-02 10:08:51
39.   dianagramr
38

Oops ..... my bad .... wrong series :-)

2007-10-02 10:22:54
40.   rbj
37 Damn. Maybe I'm getting immune to them, or else I was successful in channel surfing.
2007-10-02 10:43:01
41.   cult of basebaal
far more irritating was tim mcclelland's awful strike zone, his stop-motion-time-delay "calls" and his generally advisarial attitude anytime any player had the mortal audacity to question his authority ...

never mind that both team's managers, both pitchers and both team's hitters were clearly unhappy with his zone throughout the night ... the true sign you're not just being "quirky-but-consistent", but rather, just a lousy ump

2007-10-02 10:44:00
42.   YankeeInMichigan
23 I haven't seen any full-series lines, but all oddsmakers are favoring the Yankees for Game 1. http://covers.usatoday.com/data/odds.aspx#mlb
2007-10-02 10:55:11
43.   David
42 Thanks for the info, YankeeInMichigan. Can you (or anyone) tell me how to interpret the figures shown at the USA Today link? E.g., Sportsbook has the Yanks at "8.5 - 120" and lists the Indians as "105".
2007-10-02 11:37:12
44.   Bama Yankee
43 The 8.5 is the over/under for the game (total runs scored). You usually have to wager $110 to win $100.

The other numbers are the "money line". The minus 120 means that the Yankees are the favorite and you must bet $120 to win $100. The number without the minus (105 in this case) indicates that Cleveland is the underdog and the amount you would win for every $100 bet on them. Of course, the team you bet on has to win the game outright before you win the money.

The above information is provided for entertainment purposes only as gambling on baseball is generally a bad idea (see Rose, Pete).
;-)

2007-10-02 13:37:48
45.   David
44 Thanks, Bama Yankee

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