Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Constant Gardner
2008-07-06 19:59
by Alex Belth

Seven batters were hit in Saturday's game and yet there was no beef between the Yankees and Red Sox.  My, how times have changed.  But things got lively on Sunday night--Kevin Youkilis slid hard into home, brushing against Joba Chamberlain's leg in the fifth inning, and Chamberlain threw a pitch behind The Greek God of Walks in the sixth before walking him on a 3-2 pitch.   Joba vs Youk would be some Beffy Battle Royale but it'll have to wait for another day.  The loudest fight of the night came when Joe Girardi got himself run for arguing balls and strikes with home plate ump, Laz Diaz.  But the Yanks had the biggest fight in them, as they rallied and won in extra innings, 5-4

Chamberlain pitched well in the early going, working quickly and efficiently through the first four innings.  But he allowed the first three runners to reach base in the fifth, with Youkilis scoring on a wild pitch.  Chamberlain regrouped, struck out the next two batters and then shook Jose Molina off before throwing a 3-2 pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury.  Molina went out to talk to Chamberlain who proceeded to walk Ellsbury on a check swing.  Chamberlain threw a slider; apparently, Molina wanted a fastball.  Dustin Pedroia was next and he fisted an inside fastball into right field for a two-run single.  Chamberlain gave up three runs on four hits, he walked four and struck out five in six innings. 

Alex Rodriguez, front page tabloid fodder all weekend, launched a knuckle ball into the left field seats to lead off the second inning, his 18th homer of the year and 536th of his career, tying him with Mickey Mantle on the all-time list.  It would be the last hit the Yankees would collect until the sixth.  Derek Jeter singled home a run before that inning was out, then helped give one right back in the top of the seventh as a throwing error led to a run.

Rodriguez lunged at an 0-2 pitch from Wakefield to start the bottom of the seventh, good for a bloop single to right field.  After Jason Giambi popped out to right, Javier Lopez, a lefty, came on to face Jorge Posada, who had whiffed twice against Wakefield.  On the 1-1 pitch, the Yankees put the hit-and-run play on, and Posada slapped an ouside pitch into right center field, putting runners at first and third.  Robinson Cano then laced a breaking ball into the right center field gap, scoring both runs, good for a triple, and a tie game.

The Red Sox moved their infield in, and Melky Cabrera could not drive the run home.  He tapped a ground ball to Pedroia who fired home in time to nail Cano for the second out.  Manny Delcarmen relieved Lopez and struck out Molina to end the inning. 

The Yankees' own heart-attack special, Kyle Farnsworth worked a one-two-three frame and Delcarmen returned the favor in the bottom of the eighth, thanks in part to a diving catch by Ellsbury, robbing Abreu of a hit.        

Then, Mariano Rivera, a day after his Houdini Act, was on in the ninth.  Sean Casey blooped the first pitch he saw into center field for a single; Cabrera made a stab for it but caught it on the short-hop.  Brandon Moss entered the game to run for Casey and quickly advanced to second as Coco Crisp bunted the first pitch he saw from Rivera.  In keeping with the spirit of the inning, pinch-hitter Jason Varitek swung at the first pitch, broke his bat, and nubbed a cutter to the right side.  Rivera fielded the ball the tossed it to first for the second out, Moss to third.  

How about another pinch hitter?  How about Washington Heights' own, Manny Ramirez?  How about some noise at the Stadium?  First pitch, fastball for a called strike, a pitch that was right over the plate.  Next, another heater, this one higher, called strike two.  And now the Stadium was very loud, fans standing, clapping.  Finally, a third cutter, over the outside corner.  Ramirez didn't move his bat.  Called strike three.  What an odd sight, Ramirez like a statue.  Six pitches in the inning for Rivera.

Hidkeki Okajima retired Rodriguez on a sharp ground ball to Lowell in the bottom of the ninth.  He fell behind Giambi, 2-0, then 3-1, but got Giambi to pop up for the second out and then struck Posada out on a 3-2 curve to send the game into extra innings.

Ellsbury led off the tenth againist Rivera and he was hand-cuffed by a cutter, popping out to Rodriguez in foul territory.  Pedroia took a strike, next, a fastball low, then swung wildly through a fastball before chasing another cutter--this one out of the zone--for the second out.  J.D. Drew grounded out to Jeter for the final out, though Jeter's throw was high enough to make my heart skip a beat.  

In the bottom of the tenth, Jonathan Paplebon got ahead of Cano 0-2, who put good swings on the ball, and then pounded a high fastball up-the-middle for a base hit.  After hitting into a double play in a tight situation against the Rangers, Cabrera put down a bunt...successfully.  Paplebon fielded, looked at second, hesitated, and then threw to first to get Cabrera.  He had a shot at Cano too. 

Wilson Betemit pinch-hit for Molina, took a fastball for a strike, swung through another one, took one high for a ball, and then waved through more gas to return from whence he came.  Brett Gardner, in for Johnny Damon, who was placed on the DL for the first time in his career, fell behind 0-2, slapped two fastballs foul, took a fastball inside, another one just outside, fouled another heater off, and then grounded a splitter weakly past Paplebon.  Julio Lugo dove for the ball, it knocked off his glove, Cano scored and the Yankees had the game.  Shades of Luis Sojo in the 2000 World Series.  It wasn't a great splitter from Paplebon, and the pesky Gardner, in the 21st at bat of his career, popped his cherry. 

Cue Sinatra.  A lovely, much-needed win as the Yanks split the series.   

2008-07-06 21:11:34
1.   nick
Hell of a game!

You have to hope, just really hope, that these DL moves are cautious conservative treatment, and Damon and Matsui will be good to go as of the 18th....

2008-07-06 21:17:28
2.   Chyll Will
Very fitting title, Alex. The rags should pay you to do headlines for them. And Gardner's at bat was very confidence-inspiring as a fan. You just knew that he had more patience than Paps in that situation. Who needs Posednik, we've grown our own... >;)
2008-07-06 21:26:18
3.   weeping for brunnhilde
Speaking of Derek (and not to put a damper on tonight; it was a great win), is it just me, or has Derek's range up the middle improved only at the cost of his throwing?

He's really starting to worry me.

In the past, he'd have eaten that ball, for sure. It's almost like he's got something to prove.

I don't know.

2008-07-06 21:36:57
4.   monkeypants
3 I thought that it was SABR-wisdom that range is more important than errors. If Jeter is able to get to more balls in the middle, I'll take the occasional bad throw (and anyway, tonight's error did NOT lead to a run...that run would have scored on the subsequent double anyway).

That said, where Jeter's throwing worries me more is from the SS hole. He does not seem to have as much arm strength this season, so he is really gunning the ball from the hole and the throws are sailing.

2008-07-06 21:42:14
5.   tommyl
Dear lord, how bad is the NL West? The Giants, the freakin' Giants are at 39-50, in third place, 5 games out. Can MLB contract a whole division? That's embarassing.
2008-07-06 21:42:39
6.   Hugh Jorgan
As a Sox fan, all I can say is "sh*t!"

Seriously though, well played NY, they pulled out 2 squeekers when they needed them.

2008-07-06 21:44:04
7.   Chyll Will
2 Oops, credit where credit's due, RIYank came up with that one in the last thread. You get the root beer, pal. But B, you're still a better writer than the rags deserve >;)

3 Weep, you keep that up and I guarantee The Griddle will discover a really old book about you and how children should avoid you for their own safety... enjoy the emotional victory and enjoy the off-day, which I know you can't stand, but at least we go in as (big) winners >;)

2008-07-06 22:07:57
8.   weeping for brunnhilde
4 Yeah, I'm just saying. I don't like feeling nervous now when Derek's gearing up to throw.

7 Heh hehe heh ehe heh heh.

2008-07-06 22:08:33
9.   Bob Timmermann
Sabermetric wisdom, not SABR wisdom.
2008-07-06 22:11:39
10.   monkeypants
9 mistake!
2008-07-06 22:15:48
11.   monkeypants
So, I have tix for the Rays on Wednesday. I get to see about one game a year in person. I'm going with some family, and when I first bought the tickets before the season I was pissed that the only game I get six tickets for was against the Rays. Now, I'm pretty excited to see them--who knew they'd have the best record in the league.

Now I'm pissed to look at the sidebar and see the Sidney Ponson is the starter. Grrr...when the season started I had dreams of seeing Hughes or Wang or maybe Joba.

Oh well.

2008-07-07 04:40:10
12.   RIYank
Hey, a chylled root beer for me, just what I've always wanted!

I dunno, though. Sox fans 6 coming by and interjecting a compliment, in a respectful way? What have things come to???

2008-07-07 04:45:31
13.   OldYanksFan
10 SABR wisdom is that Derek Jeter should fasten his seatbelt before all throws.
2008-07-07 04:45:51
14.   Sliced Bread
I'm not sure if you guys are aware of this, you know, I try to keep my personal affairs out of the Banter and all, but Alex Rodriguez and I have been separated since last October. No acrimony, it's just better this way.
2008-07-07 05:04:15
15.   OldYanksFan
Well guys... off day today. What shall be Banter about?
The 'Melky Conundrum'?
Is 'Chauney' Gardner really a starting OFer?
If Cash gets ONE impact player, should it be pitching of position?
Can we catch the Red Sox?
With CC gone, the FA class of 2008 does not have that many tempting players. For impact players, Dunn and Fuentes are the only names I have heard here with any enthusiasm.
(Brian Fuentes-RP: $5m, 3.13 ERA 2005-2007, better at HOME)

According to the AP:
The 34-year-old thinks he should be able to swing a bat before he's able to throw, but he's not quite sure of what the timetable will be.

To get an idea, Damon consulted Xavier Nady, who had a similar injury.

'I don't think this is anything long-term,' general manager Brian Cashman said. 'Is it 15 days, 20 days, you know? Is it a little bit longer? I don't know.'

Errr... anyone want to tell us how long Nady was out and if there were any reprocussions once he was back in the lineup?

2008-07-07 05:46:31
16.   ms october
great win to get to finish the series.
i was in nyc for the long weekend and went to thursdays debacle of a game, so it was nice to see them rebound.

one of my favorite plays last night was when varitek grounded out to mo and he just swooped over to get the ball - mo really is so graceful and quick

15 oyf - no reports indicate the brewers are going to sign sabbathia to an extension - this is seemingly just an all in move for this year, and then they will consider signing him or taking the draft picks.
i know it was a longshot, but i was hoping the brewers would be desperate enough for a lh bat that the yanks could have gotten one of their young rh bats who could play 1b or corner of.

also, the quick digging i did on nady is he was out from june 14 to june 26 - was not dl'd and while he was out it hurt his shoulder to swing.

2008-07-07 05:57:10
17.   horace-clarke-era
A whole variety of nice images from that game, but I'll pick Giambi's DP play and the 3 gorgeous pitches to an obviously ailing Manny. Gardner had TWO good at-bats that game, whiffed on the first on the 9th pitch. As-advertised. I was all over Diaz myself (so to speak) but the ESPN K zone either vindicated him or proves that even their tech people are BoSox fans. It is really hard to call balls and strikes on a knuckler and in fairness (moi?) I thought, looking back, the umps were pretty good in a high-pressure game. I wonder if managers ever apologize after ... both pitches that got Girardi tossed were strikes, and so was the one where Posada came close (because he gestured and showed up the ump).

Me, I'm bloodthirsty and think Joba threw behind Youk after the straight spikes slide and with their history. I was also reminded of Bull Durham when he went with the slider, vetoing a good catcher, and paid the price (though Pedroia was lucky as much as good on that pitch he blooped. (So was Alex, mind you. Kabbalah rides again.)

Cliff's vote of confidence in the 'pen yesterday appears to have added to Farnsy's effectiveness. Cliff, of course the dpwnside this year is .75 of a run over last year but I am simply assuming a lot of that is Alex/Po and now Matsui/Damon down. Reversion to the mean suggests (to me, anyhow) that the O will work its way back if people stay healthy. I think for this year and next a good bullpen arm (oxymoron?) would be a huge asset. If we chase a big bat, someone sits, and until we know the Damon/Matsui situation that seems odd. Sitting or disappearing a reliever ... doesn't seem odd!

For all our injury woes and wobbly play, we are 4 back of the wild card after a very big win, Boston have their own very bad hurts, and I do not believe in either fairies or the Twinkies of Minny.

PS Re Jeter, two games back he GOT a fast runner with the in the hole jump throw, and the ump blew that call he was so surprised DJ (or anyone) could get it there. I don't think the arm power's gone, accuracy can slip - for a spell, we hope. Happened to Alex for awhile, remember?

2008-07-07 06:50:18
18.   JohnnyC
The grip, fellas. Remember he's probably still suffering the effects of Cabrera's heater. But he'll never use excuses. While you admire that, you wonder if Girardi shouldn't have DL'ed him originally so that the injury could have healed.
2008-07-07 07:17:17
19.   pistolpete
>> Paplebon fielded, looked at second, hesitated, and then threw to first to get Cabrera. He had a shot at Cano too. >>

Perhaps the footage of Mo in 2001 flashed through his mind. No one wants to be the guy to launch the ball into the outfield and put the winning run even closer to the plate.

2008-07-07 09:20:32
20.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
12 Now that we have a common enemy in Tampa it seems the rest of us can all be friends :)
2008-07-07 09:43:59
21.   Schteeve
It was Cora not Lugo. Morgan kept saying "Lugo" despite the fact that at the top of the inning they had highlighted the fact that Cora was in at short.
2008-07-07 10:08:08
22.   ny2ca2dc
21 Wait, Morgan made a mistake?

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