Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
No Problem
2008-06-18 21:47
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yanks looked they were going to waltz to another easy win in the early innings of last night's game. Darrell Rasner cruised through the first two frames, striking out four (three of them looking) and the Bombers plated three runs against Jake Peavy. However, Rasner struggled in the third, walking three, giving up two runs, and getting the final out on a drive to deep center with the bases loaded. That made a game out of it at 3-2 Yanks.

Alex Rodriguez killed a Jake Peavy pitch dead to make it 4-2 in the bottom of the inning, and the Yanks made Peavy work enough that, coming off an elbow injury, he was pulled after four innings and 93 pitches. The Yanks then added another run in the fifth against former Red Sock Bryan Corey when Rodriguez singled, stole second, and came around on a Jorge Posada single. Rasner walked five men in five innings after walking just three in his previous 42, and Edwar Ramirez came on to pitch the sixth and seventh. Ramirez set down the side in order in the sixth, striking out two, but with two outs in the seventh he gave back both insurance runs on back-to-back homers by Adrian Gonzalez and Brian Giles.

Homers were Edwar's big bugaboo in his major league debut last year, but he had only allowed one in his previous 29 innings this year in the majors and minors combined, so, despite the flashbacks, I'm willing to credit Gonzalez and Giles here. After all, they were the two guys I warned you about in my series preview. After the game, Joe Girardi brushed off those homers, both of which came on fastballs down and over the plate to the lefty batters. Of course, he also brushed off the leadoff homer Kyle Farnsworth gave up in the eighth despite the fact that Farnsworth is allowing 2.5 homers per nine innings on the season. To Farnsworth's credit, he had been homer free in his previous seven outings/innings, and on the year, just six of the batters he has faced who haven't homered have scored. The Farnsworth homer was the first in the major leagues by Padres prospect Chase Headley, who was called up before Tuesday night's game and got to play his natural position last night in place of the defensively inferior Kevin Kouzmanoff.

The other good news on that homer is that it was preceded by two more Yankee runs, the latter of which was driven in by Rodriguez, who led the Yankee charge with a 3-for-4 night. After Farnsworth's frame, the Yanks got Headley's run back on a Wilson Betemit double (Betemit was also 3 for 4, but made an error at first base in the first and was caught stealing in the sixth) and a Johnny Damon single (Johnny was 3 for 5 with a successful steal).

Mariano Rivera came on in the ninth and gave up a leadoff double to Edgar Gonzalez (the elder Gonzalez's second two-bagger of the night), but struck out Brian Giles and got the younger Gonzalez to hit a looper to Derek Jeter that doubled his big brother off second to seal the Yankees' 8-5 win.

In other news, Hideki Matsui had his left knee drained and hopes to avoid the disabled list, but almost certainly won't be in the lineup this afternoon as the Yankees go for their second straight sweep and seventh straight win.

2008-06-18 23:54:56
1.   tommyl
Seems more and more this is becoming A-Rod's team. Dear G-d that man is good at the baseball. Homers, scores another run by stealing second and plates another with a clutch single. All while fielding incredibly.

In other news, did anyone else hear about Tiger? Season ending surgery. Apparently he wont the US Open on a blown ACL and a stress fractured tibia. That man is good at the golf.

2008-06-19 00:04:21
2.   Mattpat11
I can't be the only one excited that the Yankees have turned to proven, repeated failure Sidney Ponson.
2008-06-19 00:35:34
3.   Cliff Corcoran
2 See the pre-game post.

1 Did he actually injure himself playing golf? Is that actually possible outside of the odd lightning storm? Wait. Don't answer that. I don't care. Amen on Rodriguez, though.

2008-06-19 02:30:42
4.   JL25and3
I told you Mariano has trouble with guys named Edgar.
2008-06-19 04:27:12
5.   tommyl
3 He says it was first injured running, but anyone who plays golf and has seen his swing could see it being possible. There's a tremendous amount of torque involved, especially on the front (landing leg). I've had ACL recon myself (and skied 3 days on it when it was blown) and when I swing it torques every now and again. I could see how it was aggravated.

What he did was amazing. Its not the pain, you can suck that up, but his knee must have been completely unstable in exactly the rotation arc he needs. Its unreal.

2008-06-19 04:27:50
6.   tommyl
3 5 To put it in a baseball context. It would be roughly like Kirk Gibson hitting a homerun in every single game of the 88 Serious.
2008-06-19 05:45:08
7.   Raf
2 Due diligence by Cashman, it costs little to nothing to bring him on board. If anything, it probably means that the kids @ Trenton or SWB or IPK/Hughes aren't quite ready yet. Whether or not we see Ponson depends on how well Giese does in his start Saturday.
2008-06-19 05:48:33
8.   mehmattski
Tiger didn't just play the US Open with a torn ACL... he won seven tournaments this year with a torn ACL.

While recovering from the arthroscopic surgery, his doctor recommended he get the ligament-repair surgery immediately. The doctor told reporters that Tiger said:

"No. I'm playing in the US Open. I'm going to play, and I'm going to win."

2008-06-19 06:05:51
9.   mehmattski
7 I think as long as Ponson isn't a complete disaster in his first SWB start, we will see him in one of the games of the double-header versus the Mets. And if he just happens to throw 5 or 6 passable innings in that game, he's going to get more starts. That's what's scary.

Sometimes, the risk associated with even a minor-league contract isn't worth it. This is one of those times. Cashman has an obsession with Ponson the way some girls are convinced they can change their abusive boyfriends.

2008-06-19 06:16:05
10.   Sliced Bread
Cashman is also required to do "doo doo diligence" to keep crap like Ponson out of the uniform.
I'd rather roll the dice on any other pitcher in the organization.

Whatever. It's a Joba Day, and the offense is on fire.

2008-06-19 06:25:50
11.   monkeypants
9 But if he throws a good game and gets more starts, and continues to pitch OK, who cares? The scary part is not that he may (will?) get starts, it's that his leash will not be very, very short. I have little problem with tossing him out there in a DH, so long as the understanding is that it's one-strike-and-he's-out: the first poor outing and it's DFA time.

10 Any pitcher? Does that include Kei Igawa?

In the end, I think that this is all much ado about nothing, because as soon as IPK is back and has a couple of starts at AAA, he will be in the rotation.

Or, I am wrong and will be grinding my teeth for the next month.

2008-06-19 06:33:44
12.   Travis08
Lying with statistics ...

Yankees record in pitcher-starts, 1995-2008, minimum 3 games started:

W Pct Pitcher Team Record
1.000 Ed Yarnall 3-0
0.833 Tyler Clippard 5-1
0.750 Aaron Small 9-3
0.750 Jason Grimsley 3-1
0.750 Tanyon Sturtze 3-1
0.727 Randy Keisler 8-3
0.695 Chien-Ming Wang 66-29
0.683 David Wells 84-39
0.667 Jon Lieber 18-9
0.667 Jose Contreras 18-9
0.667 Esteban Loaiza 4-2
0.667 Joba Chamberlain 2-1
0.667 Sidney Ponson 2-1

2008-06-19 06:35:41
13.   RIYank
8 My god. That quotation could almost be word for word from Carl Pavano! I mean, change the references to the appropriate sport, of course.
2008-06-19 06:36:31
14.   Sliced Bread
11 yes
2008-06-19 06:40:13
15.   Bama Yankee
Even though I'm not much of a fan of Sir Sidney, I think signing him helps Cashman's position in trade discussions. When other GM's start asking for the moon for a league average pitcher, Cash can say "I'll just go with Ponson if that's the best you can do..."
2008-06-19 06:40:47
16.   Rob Middletown CT
"0.695 Chien-Ming Wang 66-29"

I am still so pissed off about that injury.

2008-06-19 06:42:35
17.   mehmattski
Clearly the Yankees should sign Ed Yarnell to a minor league contract. No risk! High reward! I mean, the guy's undefeated!
2008-06-19 06:42:55
18.   monkeypants
14 A strong statement then!
2008-06-19 06:58:19
19.   Raf
9 The Ponson signing can hardly be attributed to as an obsession. It's a warm body that may be needed for an upcoming DH. The Yanks are not in a position to be choosy about who throws for them.

Ponson, like last time, will get a few games in before he's cut loose. Just like Tim Redding, Darrel May, Kris Wilson, Wally Whitehurst, etc, etc, etc before him. He's a placeholder. Not that big a deal.

2008-06-19 07:02:05
20.   monkeypants
Ok boys and girls...just phoned in that I'm "working from home" today. That means some text on the screen, Banter in the background, and the Yankees on the radio.
2008-06-19 07:03:12
21.   mehmattski
To all those who were looking for deeper meaning in the Yankees' 20-25 record on May 20:

The Yankees are 19-9 since Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup. A-Rod is hitting .382/.476/.765 since he returned, and the whole offense is hitting .302/.372/.470.

The Yankees are 10-3 since Jorge Posada returned to the lineup on June 5. Posada is hitting .379/.538/.621

While Jason Giambi's last month has also been extraordinary, I think we can all hang a big "DUH!" on this issue. The Yankees have outscored their opponents 164-123 since A-Rod returned, and 80-47 since Posada returned. It was that simple, folks.

2008-06-19 07:34:25
22.   tommyl
21 Which shows how truly valuable those two are.
2008-06-19 07:56:57
23.   mehmattski
22 No two teammates had a higher combined OPS than A-Rod and Posada in 2007. I'd say they were a pretty big loss when they were on the DL.
2008-06-19 08:11:10
24.   Raf
22 Rodriguez mentioned as much on the post game interview; that while the Yanks were happy to have A-Rod back, that Posada's return was also a boost to the lineup.
2008-06-19 09:09:16
25.   weeping for brunnhilde
23 Really?

That's remarkable.


2008-06-19 09:11:52
26.   weeping for brunnhilde
24 I chuckled listening to that interview; isn't it funny how punctilious Alex is about downplaying his own presence? E.g., asked about his homer, "Well, the important thing is that the team was winning, that's what matters." and deflecting attention to Jorgie, as you point out, and being all modest about his fielding.

It's almost like he's trying really, really hard to say the right thing.

He's cute.

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