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Out Of Reach
2008-05-09 22:34
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Kei Igawa was predictably awful last night, though in an unpredictable way. After I called him a Three True Outcome pitcher in my preview, Igawa didn't walk anyone, give up any home runs, or strike anyone out. He also didn't make it out of the fourth inning. Taking a closer look, the Tigers were too busy getting hits to draw any walks (Igawa faced 20 men, 11 of them got hits), spacious Comerica Field helped reduce some would-be homers to doubles or long outs, and only two of Igawa's 64 pitches were swung at and missed.

With his team down 6-1, two men on, and none out in the fourth, Joe Girardi brought in Jonathan Albaladejo in relief of Igawa. Albaladejo squirmed out of the inning, thanks in part to Ivan Rodriguez oversliding third base after tagging up on a fly out to right, and pitched around a single in the fifth, but after striking out Marcus Thames to start the sixth, he gave up a single and a walk. Albaladejo's next two pitches were balls, and after the second, he was removed from the game due to elbow pain. The Yankees later described the pain as "discomfort in the medial right elbow." Albaladejo told Pete Abe it felt like there was a needle going through his elbow followed by a burning sensation. I'm no doctor, but that doesn't sound good.

So, Albaladejo has hit the DL and will get an MRI in New York tomorrow. To fill his spot, Chris Britton, who had just been sent down to make room for Igawa, has been recalled less than 24 hours after being optioned for the second time this season.

Back to the game, the Yankees' only run off Kenny Rogers came on a Jason Giambi solo shot in the third. With Rogers out of the game, Robinson Cano led off the seventh with a double and was plated by a wild pitch and a Chad Moeller single. LaTroy Hawkins got five outs on 12 pitches in relief of Albaladejo, and Edwar Ramirez pitched a perfect eighth, sending the game to the ninth inning with the Tigers up 6-2.

Facing Detroit closer Todd Jones, Wilson Betemit, who had a rough day in the field at third base and also became Kenny Rogers record-setting 92nd career pick off after a single in the second, led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Robinson Cano groundout to make it 6-3. Johnny Damon then pinch-hit for Moeller, reached on an infield single, moved to second on another wild pitch, to third on a Melky Cabrera groundout, and was plated by a Derek Jeter single to make it 6-4. Jeter took second on defensive indifference and was immediately driven home by a Bobby Abreu double that made it 6-5. Jim Leyland then elected to walk Hideki Matsui, thus ending Godzilla's hitting streak, to have the right-handed Jones face the right-handed Shelley Duncan. Duncan took ball one, then got good wood on a ball low and away and lifted it to deep left center. Unfortunately, he got a little too much air under the ball and hit it a bit too much toward center where defensive replacement Curtis Granderson easily reeled it in for the final out, leaving the Yankees 180 feet short of extending the game. Final score: 6-5 Tigers.

Comments
2008-05-09 23:53:30
1.   Mattpat11
Kei Igawa 2008: A New Kind of Awful.
2008-05-09 23:59:44
2.   Ken Arneson
Boy, the Yankees 2008 are starting to look like they're following the Athletics 2007 Murphy's Law: anybody who can get injured, will.
2008-05-10 01:14:30
3.   tommyl
Can't think of a better Friday night game to miss than this one. At dinner my dad and I had a running line on whether Igawa could have less runs than innings. Didn't last long.
2008-05-10 05:19:18
4.   Mattpat11
If I thought the Yankees might learn their lesson here, this game could be written off as a necessary evil.

Instead, I'm sure Igawa will get another chance. And another. And another.

2008-05-10 07:27:12
5.   Jeb
Too bad igawa can't feel a burning in HIS elbow.
2008-05-10 07:27:57
6.   Cliff Corcoran
4 Curiously, the Yankees had the opportunity given Monday's off day to start Rasner last night and Igawa today. Had they done that, Kennedy would have been eligible to return to replace Igawa when that spot in the rotation returns on the 15th. Instead, Kennedy will be on his tenth and final required day in the minors on May 14 when Igawa's next start comes due.

That said, I agree with you. What harm could there be in giving that start to Steven White? I don't think much of White, but he's on the 40-man roster (which is otherwise full, thus keeping Dan Giese out of the discussion for the moment). Alan Horne is on the DL and Jeff Marquez has been awful this far, so why not try White, who has a 2.68 ERA after seven starts? I wouldn't expect much more from White than what we saw from Igawa, but at least White has the potential to surprise us. Igawa's a known commodity at this point: a thick-headed Quadruple-A pitcher.

2008-05-10 07:28:35
7.   Raf
In a situation like Duncan's last night, why not choke up an inch or two and swing away?

Always wondered why more hitters don't do that. Could be that it doesn't work? I dunno.

2008-05-10 08:00:58
8.   Cliff Corcoran
7 I have no complaints with Duncan's approach, he made good, hard, solid contact and drove the ball.
2008-05-10 08:05:02
9.   Dimelo
The pic NoMaas has and Igawa's future career path is just wrong, but I can't stop laughing either.

"Yes Mr. Igawa, no starch this time. You got it wrong before, no starch. Got it? ".

2008-05-10 08:35:23
10.   Cliff Corcoran
9 I can't decide if the fact that they've applied a Chinese stereotype to a Japanese pitcher compounds the racism or undercuts it. I'm going with the former.
2008-05-10 08:44:19
11.   ms october
10 or a korean one - so yes, i believe i go with the former as well
2008-05-10 09:31:30
12.   ny2ca2dc
Don't look now, but Robinson Cano's May line is: .308/.333/.615 for a 949 OPS. Sure only 26 at bats, but methinks it's the best sustained run of success he's had since spring training.
2008-05-10 10:22:59
13.   rilkefan
10 Yuck, I was hoping there was some reason to frame Igawa that way beyond his skin color.
2008-05-10 10:36:52
14.   rilkefan
Giambi's OPS+: 120. Not exactly terrible, small sample size and all.
2008-05-10 11:06:58
15.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Wilson Betemit also made Igawa's awful outting into something more than awful... had he even gotten to one of the gazilion shots hit his way they probably saved at least one run. yes they were mostly hard hit balls. but when you get 10 of them shouldn't you at least field like 2 or 3?

it's really amusing how he seems to completely lose the ability to locate (or even throw) a breaking ball whenever he takes the ball on a major league mound. I'm getting the feeling that he'll end up traded and then do a lot better for no particular reason .... and in recent indication of headcase FA busts for the Yankees are any indication (Mr. Weaver, Mr. Contraras) he might have a good chance of winning a ring.... for someone else... arrragh.

2008-05-10 11:41:03
16.   Chyll Will
15 The standard-issue reason seems to be less pressure from the fans, media and organization elsewhere than in New York, which is hard to argue with under the circumstances. Some people are crushed into nonexistence by it, some poop diamonds.
2008-05-10 15:53:47
17.   Raf
8 I know, I'm just sayin. I'm surprised more people don't choke up and try to punch the ball somewhere. Given that Dunc's a cleanup hitter, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised at his approach.

Then again, if Bonds could choke up on the bat...

16 If you have game, you can play anywhere. In several cases (Whitson, Trout, Rogers), players weren't as good as people thought they were, or had seasons that were in line with their career.

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