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Home Run Derby
2008-04-25 18:50
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Eight of the ten runs scored in last night's game in Cleveland were driven in by home runs. The two that weren't were scored by the Indians and amounted to the difference in their 6-4 victory over the Yankees. The first of those runs came in the bottom of the first after Cleveland leadoff hitter Grady Sizemore reached base on a tough error by Jason Giambi (a hard high hopper to his right kicked off the heal of his glove) and was replaced by Jamey Carroll via a fielder's choice. Carroll stole second ahead of a high throw that appeared to slip out of Jorge Posada's hand, moved to third on a groundout, and was plated by a well-placed two-out single by Jhonny Peralta. The second of those runs came against reliever Billy Traber in the sixth. Traber retired the first two men he faced, both of them righties, but walked lefty-hitting Sizemore. Sizemore then stole second on Traber's slow, elongated delivery and was plated by a single by the right-handed Carroll.

In between, Giambi compensated for his error with a pair of towering homers off Cleveland starter Paul Byrd to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Andy Pettitte then coughed up that lead in the fifth when a pair of two-out singles were plated by a Peralta homer that gave the Indians a lead they'd never relinquish. Five pitches later, Franklin Gutierrez added a solo homer of his own. Both Cleveland dingers came on 3-1 counts.

The Indians stole three bases in three tries with Posada behind the plate, but two of them came against Traber's slow delivery (despite working from the stretch, Traber brings his arm way back and pauses before delivering the pitch). Posada didn't even bother making a throw on either of those steals as the runners had ridiculous jumps on Traber. Carroll's steal against Pettitte also came off a great jump, and Posada's throw appeared to slip out of his hand. So, we still don't have a good sense of how well Posada is throwing.

On the upside, Jonathan Albaladejo followed Traber with two scoreless, hitless innings, and Giambi is now second in the AL in homers despite the fact that he's still hitting just .186. That average combined with his .347 OBP and .492 SLG make Giambi's April a great comp for the final season of Three True Outcome Hero Rob Deer's career:

Deer 1996: .180/.359/.480, 64 PA, 4 HR, 14 BB, 30 K, 2 singles
Giambi 08: .186/.347/.492, 75 PA, 5 HR, 14 BB, 11 K, 3 singles

The key difference in the above two lines is the strikeouts, which is a good reason to be optimistic about Giambi rounding out his offensive game as the season progresses.

In other news, Brian Bruney's potentially season-ending foot injury was part of a tragicomic week of bad luck that saw his uncle suffer a heart attack and his truck get wrecked when the 18-wheeler that was moving it to New York got in an accident.

Finally, Morgan Ensberg has a guest post up over on Phil Hughes' blog, for what it's worth.

Comments
2008-04-26 04:31:16
1.   OldYanksFan
Glad you could find something positive to say about Giambi. For a guy with a .930 Yankee career OPS, he certainly gets a lot of hate around here.

Cano's numbers are off the map bad, but one has to think some celestrial event sometime will get him back on track. It hate to admit it as he is a much more talented player then Pedroia, but I like a guy who is focused and works to bring his game. Has anyone thought to take Cano's bong away?

My fear is Jeter. While his D has improved, it ain't good enough to carry an average bat. His HRs have declined 4 straight years and XB hits seem to be a rarity. His going the other way is great, but he used to be able to turn on the ball and yank a few. Now it seems he always goes the other way. Will teams put the 'opposite shift' on him? Do we have a $20m/yr slap hitter?

Jetes has a career .849 OPS and has been above .820 every year for the past 10, except 2002 (.794). Let's hope he's still got it.

Bruney also gets a lot of hate here... maybe deserved? His ERA and WHIP were both very good. I think his injury is a big loss, and is one that could threaten his career.

This team has mostly gotten off to poor starts early for the past 5 years so I am not worried. It's a looooong season.

Thank God that so far, Mo still appears to be Mo.

Considering disappointing numbers from Jeter, Giambi, Cano, Hughes, IPK and below average OPS for Abreu and Posada, playing .500 ball with our early schedule ain't that bad.

2008-04-26 04:40:29
2.   OldYanksFan
By the by, the most disturbing stat is a team OBP of .336. All of a sudden, our guys are allergic to walks. Cano has never been good here, but he is 7 BBs/90 ABs.

The 3 biggest offenders of the 'Run don't Walk' club?

A-Rod: 5/82
Posada: 3/61
(drumroll please)
Jeter: 2/73
(I repeat)
Jeter: 2/73

2008-04-26 06:33:30
3.   rbj
"In Bruney's absence, Girardi said that right-hander Kyle Farnsworth would be among those leaned upon to help step up in the bullpen mix."

Aauuugggghhhhhh!

Here's to hoping that Bruney can come back in the second half.

2008-04-26 07:09:21
4.   Cliff Corcoran
3 Word is it'll be September if at all. You'd be better off hoping Albaladejo or someone like him (Edwar, Veras, even Britton or Ohlendorf) steps up the way Bruney had.
2008-04-26 09:23:02
5.   Zack
God I hate losing to Paul Byrd! And I hate Fox "national" 4:00 starts that I still don't get to see. At least make it @1 so I can at least listen to it, but 4:00 means I'll be out. Probably for the best, like last night's "gem."
2008-04-26 09:33:40
6.   fansince77
1 Hey Oldyanksfan- I do agree about your insights on Jeter although I am not as worried in the wrong. He needs to be ALOT more patient at the dish and go back to that creative player who makes pitchers work and dares them to throw inside so he can rip one to left center occasionally. I think his defense has been excellent this season and I think he will come around very soon but I agree that the difference is that we should not be weathering a DJ slump along with a Cano slump, a Giambi slump and a pitching crisis.
DJ's role is to not be in slumps of more than two games...that's got to be his thing.
2008-04-26 09:34:30
7.   fansince77
oops meant to say "not as worried in the longrun."
2008-04-26 12:01:32
8.   rbj
4 I won't be counting on Farnsworth, that's for sure. It's certainly an opportunity for someone to establish a major league career.

5 Yeah, and I'm actually supposed to get the Tigers - Angels game. But I've the Mudhens tonight, so that's something. I do get the Indians' radio broadcast, but I can't stand their announcers.

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