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2008-04-06 16:36
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Yankees did not hit much on Sunday rounding off a lackluster first week for the offense. However, Joe Girardi was back in the dugout to watch Chien Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera combine to shut the Rays down and out, 2-0. Hideki Matsui's two-run homer was the only scoring in the game (batting behind Alex Rodriguez, Godzilla had three hits in all). James Shields pitched well for Tampa, featuring a diving change up that struck Bobby Abreu out three times. Wang was in fine form as well--his pitches were moving, he had good control, and his slider was particularly effective. It wasn't a great game--a sloppy fielding play by Robinson Cano (who later redeemed himself with a nifty double play), a botched suicide squeeze by the Rays--but it was played in just under three hours, good thing for the fans who braved the chilly and windy conditions. The Yanks are now 3-3 on the season, and look to salvage a split of this four-game series tomorrow.

Comments
2008-04-06 17:26:20
1.   Cliff Corcoran
I was extremely pleased that Girardi went to Joba in the crucial seventh-inning situation (runners on the corners, no outs) rather than considering him an off-limits "eighth-inning guy" and thus turning to a lesser reliever. I'm even more pleased that Girardi said he went to Joba because he "wanted strikeouts," as that means he chose his pitcher based on the situation, rather than the inning. Even better, Girardi said he was prepared to go to another pitcher for the eighth if Joba's escape from the seventh had been less efficient than it was, which means his willingness to use Joba wasn't simply due to the fact that Chamberlain was available for two innings. All of those are tremendously positive indicators regarding Girardi's bullpen management.

Less positive is the fact that Girardi's alternate eighth-inning pitcher would have been Kyle Farnsworth. Not only because Farnsworth blows two-run leads in his sleep, but because with the Rays' lefty-heavy lineup Billy Traber (who I didn't see warming at all in the late innings) would have been the better choice. For example, if Joba had retired his first three batters (rather than getting a double play like he did), the lineup would have turned over and presented Girardi with lefties Akinori Iwamura, Carl Crawford, and Carlos Pena to start the eighth. Traber should have been considered there.

Still, going to Joba when the game was really hanging in the balance rather than sticking to a preconceived inning slot was huge. Huge.

2008-04-06 17:47:51
2.   Alex Belth
blows two runs in his sleep...that's classic, Cliff.
2008-04-06 18:06:49
3.   JL25and3
1 , 2 blows two runs in his sleep...that's what she said.
2008-04-06 18:08:53
4.   tommyl
1 Also, at least he's not constantly starting Juan Pierre in LF ;).

I was very, very pleased as well. I was also happy to see him not bunt Melky earlier in the game, with runners on. I'm also not clear that he would have gone to Kyle. I think he was warming Kyle for the 7th inning, in case Wang got an easy out or two but reached his pitch count. As I recall, there was no one warming at all during the bottom half of the 7th and Joe easily could have gotten Traber or someone else up while the Yankees were at bat. What's more, so far he's only brought in Kyle when the game is more out of reach (either ahead or behind) which shows that he recognizes that Farns is a low leverage guy until he shows different.

What will be an interesting storyline as the season goes on is what happens with the makeup of the pen. With Kyle and Hawkins stinking big time so far, and Patterson, Edwar and Alb (can't spell it) all pitching well, you have to wonder how long it will be before they cut bait on Farnsworth/Hawkins.

2008-04-06 18:41:17
5.   Just fair
0 Jeter's throw to Cano, like a bunch he's made to Giambi at first base was off the mark. I contest that the sloppy play and error should have went to the Captain. Which leads to another cornball saying. Error, I hardly even know her.
2008-04-06 18:46:17
6.   rsmith51
Interesting that the Yanks and Tigers are the two lowest scoring teams in the AL. At least the Yanks have some wins...
2008-04-06 19:35:33
7.   weeping for brunnhilde
1 Brilliant analysis of Joe II, Cliff, thank you! Very promising indeed!

2 Yes, it is.

3 H ah aha ah ah ah ah aa ha ha !!! (You've created a monster, Alex.)

2008-04-06 19:38:49
8.   weeping for brunnhilde
As to Farnsworth, those two are supposed to have some kind of relationship, right? So I suppose Joe has to at least feign some kind of confidence in him, right?

I have no doubt Girardi will be less reckless in bringing Farnsworth he demonstrates personally to Girardi he can't handle it.

He owes him a chance, in other words.

2008-04-06 19:54:23
9.   OldYanksFan
The season is young but I think we can make JG an honorary Banterer.

Mo with 3 appearances and Joba with 3? That's a bit of a concern with such a heavy schedule coming in the next 4 weeks.

And while I agree Joba must be s starter (eventually), there is no doubt that the lower numbers of innings he throws in the BP and much higher leverage situations. I don't think we can question that he plays a very important role in the pen.

I think he will be in the BP in the ALDS, and if Kennedy has a good year, maybe throughout the PS. This of course also depends on if we find a stud for the BP from the farm.

2008-04-06 19:58:06
10.   weeping for brunnhilde
9 It is a bit of a concern, but what can you do?

You gotta take the w's as they come and hope the offense steps up sooner rather than later.

Otherwise, I'm kind of partial to taken the bird in the hand; use Mo and Joba as much as humanly possible and worry about the breather later.

2008-04-06 20:08:43
11.   Zack
All I am concerned with is articles like Jack Curry's in the Times, which are only going to increase the more people get comfortable with Joba as "the 8th inning guy." Just another journalist demanding that the Yanks HAVE to leave Joba where he is and how foolish it is to think otherwise.

I get more and more nervous about this each game, as much as I love having Joba nail down victory.

2008-04-06 20:13:21
12.   Cliff Corcoran
4 Suzyn Waldman on the WCBS post-game show said Girardi said he was going to go to Farns in the 8th if Joba threw too many pitches in the 7th.
2008-04-06 20:25:58
13.   tommyl
12 Ah, I had missed that (DVRed the game, so missed the postgame wrap). Well perhaps the 8th on a short leash? Tough to know. In terms of the decisions he actually did make, I couldn't be happier.

I'd say so far, he's kept Ensberg and Duncan, which I approved of. The decision I'm most impressed with is his backing off of the need for a long man at the moment. I think Joe wants one, but realizes that his current options aren't the best and has reassessed. That's very impressive to me. Torre managing, we'd have Igawa or someone like that as the "long" man, who would never be used, Kyle pitching the 7th to get the ball to Joba in the 8th, etc.

If the offense wakes up a bit, this could be a good team.

2008-04-06 20:32:11
14.   tommyl
10 If he uses Joba for 2 innings today, then gives him a day or two off, I don't really have any problem with it. Its better than pitching him 1 inning everyday, or having him warmup then sit back down again, over and over. So far Girardi has shown a pretty good understanding of leverage and when to use various relievers. The highest leverage have gone to Joba and Mo, high leverage lefties have gone to Traber, and so on down the line. The back end of the pen is still being sorted out, but you can't fault Girardi there.
2008-04-06 20:38:18
15.   weeping for brunnhilde
Ok, this just kills me.

YES does this rebroadcast, right?

But they abridge the bloody game!

Why?

What possible reason could they have for not just playing the game in its entirety?

I want to see Wang pitch and I can't, because they skipped the top of the fourth.

Nice hitting by Alex, btw, with that double. WAy to stay on the ball, Alex!

2008-04-06 20:39:16
16.   weeping for brunnhilde
13 When the offense wakes up.
2008-04-06 20:40:15
17.   weeping for brunnhilde
Wow!

Hideki!

Just as Flaherty's saying he might want to sit change on the 2-1.

So he does, and gone.

2008-04-06 20:57:38
18.   weeping for brunnhilde
What the hell was Robby doing there with the barehand???
2008-04-06 21:03:36
19.   yankeemonkey
18 It was a sloppy play all around, Jeter deserves a good share of the blame for that error as well. His throw was awful.
2008-04-06 21:09:22
20.   Cliff Corcoran
Worth mentioning on that Cano barehand is that it was bitterly cold and Robby had his hand in his back pocket most of the game to keep it warm, which means he was trying to barehand that ball with a cold dry hand. Bad idea.
2008-04-06 21:34:08
21.   tommyl
16 Yes, sorry. Wrong (argh, what's the part of speech)...?
2008-04-06 21:42:13
22.   tommyl
18 He was trying to turn the DP. He realized if he tried to glove it and make the transfer he wouldn't get it to first on time. It was the wrong decision, but he was being anything but casual, which pissed me off when Kay said that.

17 Amazing how Flaherty seems to know what to sit on all the time. Makes you wonder why he didn't hit better himself sometimes :).

2008-04-06 21:47:13
23.   weeping for brunnhilde
22 The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak.
2008-04-06 22:33:31
24.   Mattpat11
In terrifying news, Kei Igawa apparently pitched six perfect innings the other night.
2008-04-06 22:40:23
25.   rilkefan
16 As I understand it the rule is, "If it's not anything else, it's an adverb". Linguists say that the categories we learned in school are b.s. and point to the above as an example. The school thinking would be, "'If' modifies the verb 'could be' so it's an adverb". See the struggle over "Hopefully,".
2008-04-07 04:10:28
26.   Rich
From the Daily News:

http://tinyurl.com/5cy6au

Girardi said that Cano "didn't see it. I said to Jeet, it's a good thing you didn't throw it at his head, it would've hit him in the face."

2008-04-07 05:18:26
27.   ChrisS
Edwar currently has 2 IP, 4 Ks, and no hits at the Office. The sad thing is that I think he's going to put up some ridiculous numbers there over the next few months, but I just don't think that it will translate to the majors.
2008-04-07 05:30:29
28.   OldYanksFan
27 He needs a 'hard' pitch to compliment the Chance. Slider? Cutter? His career depends on coming up with another pitch.
2008-04-07 05:35:26
29.   OldYanksFan
Don't know about KC, but the 10 day weather forcast for NH is coldish (nothing above low 50's) and wet and cloudy and damp. Expect poor weather at Fenway. Hope the boys see a little sun in Tampa.
2008-04-07 07:38:44
30.   Rob Middletown CT
I dunno if Edwar needs another pitch, but he certainly needs better command of his fastball. There is nothing inherently wrong with a ~90mph fastball, if the pitcher can locate it. Edwar can't - not well enough, anyway, for MLB.
2008-04-07 08:39:04
31.   OldYanksFan
Does Edwar have any plus pitches aside from the Changeup? Is he a 2 (or 1 1/2) pitch pitcher?

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