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Down With The King
2008-05-03 07:39
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Someone stuck a microphone in front of Hank Steinbrenner again yesterday.

A couple of weekends ago, my wife and I attended an outdoor event in what was supposed to be rainy weather only to wind up with sunburns when the sun came out and stayed out. A couple of days later, Becky came home from work and grumbled, "If one more person says to me 'did you know you've got a sunburn' I'm going to scream." Strikes me that Hank's comments amount to the equivalent. Hey, Yankees, did you know your season isn't going that well? I wonder if Joe Girardi knows that. Hey, Joe! . . .

At least Hank was being timely. Amid his grousing was this bit of sabermetric brilliance:

"We just can't win one out of five games, every time Wang pitches. It's not going to work. It's not a good win percentage."

Indeed, the Yankees went out and snapped a three-game losing streak behind Chien-Ming Wang last night. But wait . . . why wasn't it a four-game losing streak?

Because the Yankees have won Mike Mussina's last two starts, as well. They'll try to make that three straight behind Moose this afternoon, and will clinch their fourth series win of the season (out of 11 series) if they do.

Mussina only lasted five innings his last time out, but has allowed just four runs over his last 12 innings and has been sharp both times out, pitching like the kind of wily veteran junkballer we'd all hoped he'd become in his later years. Today will mark his first start against the M's since 2005. Last year his only appearance against Seattle was his lone relief appearance amid his early-September exile from the rotation. He did not face the M's at all in 2006.

Opposing Mussina will be King Felix Hernandez who, at age 22 and in his fourth major league season, is living up to his nickname in the early going with a 2.22 ERA while averaging 7 1/3 innings per start. In his last start, Hernandez struck out ten A's in seven shutout innings, but came back out for the eighth and failed to retire any of the first four men he faced, all of whom would come around to score (three of them against the bullpen). Hernandez has thrown 110 or more pitches in each of his last four starts, and 115 or more in three of those four. Given his collapse at the end of his last start, one wonders if that's too much for a 22-year-old arm this early in the season.

Hernandez faced the Yankees just once last year, coincidentally in the same game at Safeco park that included Mussina's relief appearance. Hernandez held the Yanks to one run on five hits over seven innings in that outing, though the Bombers did draw four walks against him.

Today's Yankee lineup is what is likely to be the default lineup while Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada are both on the shelf, though it's the first time in the five games Rodriguez has missed that Joe Girardi has actually used it, in part because this is just the Yankees' second game against a righty starter in that span.

L - Johnny Damon (LF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Bobby Abreu (RF)
L - Hideki Matsui (DH)
L - Jason Giambi (1B)
S - Melky Cabrera (CF)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
R - Morgan Ensberg (3B)
R - Jose Molina (C)

Comments (52)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-05-03 08:37:29
1.   Chyll Will
Sorry, gonna sit this one out and watch Gettysburg with my uncle for the eighteenth time. The way things are going right now, that's a more palatable metaphor for the weekend. Now if King Felix were to reprise Stephen Lang's role, then it's a wash >;)
2008-05-03 09:00:54
2.   JL25and3
Cliff, maybe you can teach Michael Kay the difference between "coincidentally" and "ironically."
2008-05-03 09:09:13
3.   Cliff Corcoran
2 I'd teach him how to pronounce "fifth" and "Rodriguez" first.
2008-05-03 09:39:27
4.   SF Yanks
Awesome! The 2:50 and 3:57 mark.

http://tinyurl.com/5hwtja

2008-05-03 10:08:44
5.   OldYanksFan
Wow... all the complaining must have worked because Fox is NOT blaking out 1 PM games when they don't televise any 1 PM games. Nice. MLB.TV today!
2008-05-03 10:11:51
6.   JeremyM
How is Cairo not on the Dodgers?

Gamecenter says Mussina threw a knuckleball to Ichiro, was it just his knuckle curve?

2008-05-03 10:12:03
7.   JL25and3
Michael Kay just described Miguel Cairo as "a professional hitter." Seriously.
2008-05-03 10:12:07
8.   OldYanksFan
Miggy Cairo in the ballgame!
2008-05-03 10:15:54
9.   51cq24
2 3 good calls. 2 applies to a lot of people though. "fith" bothers me more about him particularly.
2008-05-03 10:30:02
10.   JL25and3
9 You're right, a lot of people do that. But Kay does it so damn frequently...
2008-05-03 10:31:17
11.   underdog
6 Um... what?
2008-05-03 10:36:27
12.   51cq24
is anyone else having major reception problems with yes?
2008-05-03 10:47:04
13.   JeremyM
11 I'm just surprised Torre didn't reunite with Cairo and his bellyful of guts.
2008-05-03 10:50:22
14.   Just fair
Why give Ichiro anything to hit? Dammit, Moose.
2008-05-03 10:53:37
15.   3rd gen yankee fan
Lookit the Moose, gittin' it done!
2008-05-03 11:00:20
16.   ny2ca2dc
That's more like Jeter.

And since Manny, How good as Moose been (considering)?! He's really been a big boost, way better than could've been expected, clunkers and all.

2008-05-03 11:02:55
17.   ny2ca2dc
nice trow!
2008-05-03 11:03:29
18.   ny2ca2dc
17 err, "throw"... That was hilarious.
2008-05-03 11:04:34
19.   ny2ca2dc
Jason with the socks up, maybe that will get him started. Worked for ARod. Someone get Cano some high socks.
2008-05-03 11:10:44
20.   OldYanksFan
Wow... an honest to goodness rally!
Now if Moose can keep trowing well, we're in business!
2008-05-03 11:11:21
21.   OldYanksFan
Buhner and ARod
2008-05-03 11:24:42
22.   idahoyankee
Sat.: i'm sitting here watching they Yanks whip up on seattle and i see empty seats at Yankee statium - thats just not right- i would treasure being at Yankee statium watching the Yankeeees (though i would fell i was not getting my money worth with A-Rod out of the line up) ....watch the chemistry grow as Giradi becomes coach of the year
2008-05-03 11:25:00
23.   3rd gen yankee fan
socks!
2008-05-03 11:29:16
24.   3rd gen yankee fan
grrrr
2008-05-03 11:38:05
25.   ny2ca2dc
MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE
2008-05-03 11:50:11
26.   ny2ca2dc
I thought Moose didn't have swing and miss stuff
2008-05-03 11:55:16
27.   OldYanksFan
Moose is an Ace!
2008-05-03 11:57:06
28.   horace-clarke-era
Now accepting feliciitations on behalf of JD, the Banter Prez of the Damon's Da Mon Club, Ol' Hoss!

I admit I get a huge kick out of that one hand flying off the bat right field homer swing.

2008-05-03 11:58:28
29.   idahoyankee
Isnt Fernandez suppost to be the "next great thing" the yanks are ripping him........ go MOOOOOOOOOSE
2008-05-03 11:58:41
30.   OldYanksFan
If King Felix were a Yankee, we would be taking about sending him to AAA by now.
2008-05-03 11:59:10
31.   OldYanksFan
HALF WAY TO FARNSPROOF!
2008-05-03 11:59:35
32.   Simone
Yeah, more runs.

At least, Hank didn't threaten to fire or send anyone down to the minors.

2008-05-03 12:00:36
33.   SF Yanks
Useless fun fact: Damon, Jeter, and Abreu are all hitting .292
2008-05-03 12:04:32
34.   OldYanksFan
It just shows that when our fiest four (JD, DJ, Bobby, Mats) hit, we can win even without ARod and Po. Man, if we knew Moose would pitch like this in April, we would have expected to cruise to the PS.

Our BP has been very good, as has been Moose. Our team is upside down!

2008-05-03 12:10:09
35.   OldYanksFan
Fat, fat pitch by Latroy.
Moose looked Fantastic!
Jeez. Jeter just can't throw anymore.
2008-05-03 12:10:17
36.   SF Yanks
Wait, why is Moose out? He was cruising...
2008-05-03 12:16:41
37.   ny2ca2dc
Why the hell is Moose out. Maybe they're thinking he's got to stay fresh & can't throw lots of pitches anymore. Would make sense.
2008-05-03 12:22:02
38.   Bob Timmermann
The Dodgers don't have Cairo, but the beat writers were disappointed that the Dodgers didn't add Juan Castro when he became a free agent.
2008-05-03 12:25:48
39.   Shaun P
38 Did that disappointment come from Torre as well?

I'm still shocked Tanyon Sturtze didn't somehow make the roster. Or is he in AAA Las Vegas?

Anyone still worrying about Cano, go look at River Ave Blues - they have a post that will put your mind at ease.

2008-05-03 12:27:20
40.   OldYanksFan
While a lot of us want Tex, between Miranda, Montero, Jeter and Posada, it almost seems like we have options for 1B. Plus I think Cashman would like to stay away from big contracts. If so, why not try Matsui at 1B? He won't be good, but we want his bat, and having him at 1B may be less of a liability the in LF.
2008-05-03 12:27:52
41.   OldYanksFan
I'd rather see the AG in there rather then Ensberg.
2008-05-03 12:28:36
42.   Bob Timmermann
Sturtze has given up 10 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings at AA Jacksonville.
2008-05-03 12:34:24
43.   ny2ca2dc
40 Don't you think Mats would've been tried at 1B by now? After all the injuries in 06 & Sheff at first, then last year Miggy Cairo there, etc. I'd love to see it, but I don't think it'll happen - for whatever reason.

I think Tex is a near must for this team though - the offensive with all the old guys is going to keep fading, and the young guys, AJax, Jesus, are a long way away from being able to be big league stars.

2008-05-03 12:38:42
44.   Shaun P
40 I'm not sure if either Montero or Miranda can be considered options - Montero isn't going to be up until 2011ish, and Miranda has never slugged over .480 in the minors.

Tex is 28. I think the Yanks will offer him 4, maybe 5 years. He might even take 4, because it would get him on the market again at 32. I'm not too worried.

Meanwhile, go Edwar!

2008-05-03 12:46:44
45.   OldYanksFan
Tex for 4 would be great. I think he will be looking for 6 or 7 years. He will be the biggest name on the market. Sori got 7/$120. What will Text want?
2008-05-03 12:59:11
46.   ny2ca2dc
45 Dunn, CC will also be on the market... Varitek... He'll probably be the bigest name, but not the only star. I'd like to get CC too!
2008-05-03 13:56:53
47.   Chyll Will
40 We have too many 1B options and not enough first basemen. The team has been looking at this the wrong way ever since not resigning Tino, even though many were happy to let Tino go at the time. If the FO or the coaches really gave a damn about first base, either Tex or perhaps Carlos Peña (who may turn out to be the Fred McGriff of this generation) would be there right now. But continuing to treat it like a dumping ground for bad contracts or non-position players will continue to hurt us for the long run. Do we continue to learn nothing from the past?
2008-05-03 14:02:06
48.   Zack
wow, just 47 comments on a game thread! People clearly have better things to do on a Sat.

So those of you who watched, how did Moose really look? Was it the wily crafty slow, slower, slowest pitcher? Or the stubborn I'm still gonna throw lots of "fastballs" but got lucky Moose?

2008-05-03 14:10:42
49.   JL25and3
47 I can't equate Peña with McGriff. The Crime Dog was a 19-year-old prospect who they gave away because they didn't give a crap about minor leaguers - one of a long series of stupid, wasteful trades. Peña was a 28-year-old journeyman passing through, and the Yankees were one of five teams who got rid of him before TB picked him up (two trades, two releases, one non-tender). I can't kill them for that one.
2008-05-03 15:36:08
50.   OldYanksFan
Moose was great!
Pitchers. IP.. H R ER BB SO HR PC-ST ERA
Mussina. 6.0 7 1 1.. 0 ..5 ...0.. 84-54 4.23
7 singles, 0 wals, 5 Ks - including striking out of side of SWINGING strikes.

Moose is getting smart (finally). He was very selective with his FB (mediumball), was working in some, and just looked good all around. It would have been a shutout if not for a SB by Ichiro.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-05-03 18:13:23
51.   RIYank
Hey, when I try to watch the clips at mlb.com (like today's "Mussina's strong start", because I missed the game), the sound is all static. I mean, it's literally all static, not staticky voices or anything. Does anyone know why I have this problem or what to do about it?
(I'm using the Silverlight viewer.)
2008-05-03 20:00:20
52.   underdog
I know where some of the expectations re Torre come from of course, but there was never any indication that he was so out of it that he was seriously considering familiar vets like Sturtze and Myers for a position on the Dodgers over some of their younger superior players, who he is clearly quite enamored of. I don't think he's that insanely in love with veterans that he doesn't want to win this season. Maybe it's just that the choices are so obvious. But he's been playing DeWitt a lot at third -- due to injuries of course, but as Bob noted they didn't sign a Cairo or even a Juan Castro as an emergency replacement. He's been playing Loney every day at first (who wouldn't) save for one. He pitches Proctor a lot of course, natch, but for very short outings, and when Clayton Kershaw is ready Torre's already in love with the guy. Call me crazy but I'm pretty sure he won't want to call up Tanyon Sturds instead. He has his blind spots even with the new team, but I haven't seen as much of the PVL love this season.

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