Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Dirty Let Down
2008-07-28 21:49
by Cliff Corcoran

Last night Mike Mussina had nothing, David Robertson had less, and the Yankee offense apparently missed the plane home from Boston. After five and a half innings, the Yankees had put just three men on base against Jeremy Guthrie on a single (promptly erased by a Derek Jeter double play), a walk, and a hit-by-pitch. The Orioles, meanwhile, had scored 11 runs off Mussina and Robertson, the key hits being consecutive second-inning home runs by Kevin Millar and Ramon Hernandez and an RBI triple by Adam Jones in the fifth off Mussina and a grand slam by Jones off Robertson (the first home run Robertson has allowed in his 148 1/3 professional innings) in the sixth.

The Yankees finally mounted a threat with two outs in the sixth, loading the bases on another single, another walk, and another hit-by-pitch, but Guthrie struck out Jason Giambi to end the inning. Xavier Nady finally broke through with a solo homer in the seventh, his first Yankee hit and Guthrie's last pitch of the night. Johnny Damon added a three-run shot off reliever Lance Cormier later in the inning, but that was all the Yankees would get, while the O's would tag on two more in the eighth on a two-run jack by Aubrey Huff off Kyle Farnsworth. Final score: 13-4.

The big news of the night, however, was word that, after conferring with the team, Jorge Posada has decided to have his shoulder surgery. Both Posada and Brian Cashman indicated that the acquisition of Nady was what allowed them to finally make that decision, which is a not insignificant mark in that trade's favor. "As difficult as it is," Posada said in a statement, "I can focus on coming back 100 percent for next season instead of coming back at less than that now." Said Brian Cashman, "It's just the obvious way to go."

In other injury news, Hideki Matsui donned a new knee brace and took 20 swings off a tee followed by five swings against soft toss. He's hoping to be able to start a rehab assignment in a week or two. Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano (yes, I said it) were scheduled to pitch two innings a piece for the Gulf Coast League Yankees last night, but the game was rained out. They'll try again tonight with low-A Charleston. Also, Shelley Duncan is taking batting practice in Tampa, and Eric Milton is scheduled to throw batting practice.

In minor league news, Alan Horne came off the DL to pitch for Scranton last night and got lit up. Chris Britton and Brian Bruney both pitched in relief. Britton allowed two of the runners he inherited from Horne to score, but didn't allow any runs of his own over three innings while striking out five. Bruney threw one pitch, hit former Yankee farmhand Randy Ruiz in the back of the head, and got ejected. Also, Mark Melancon and Chase Wright have been promoted to triple-A, lefty reliever Wilkins Arias has been promoted to double-A, and Steven White's fall continues as he's been demoted to double-A Trenton.

2008-07-29 04:27:07
1.   ny2ca2dc
What's the deal with Ruiz? Any beef?
2008-07-29 05:14:03
2.   Raf
1 It was an accident.

"Wings manager Stan Cliburn said Ruiz 'overreacted' and was 'more scared than anything.'

Ruiz agreed.

'The pitch was up and in, but he didn't do it on purpose,' Ruiz said. 'It was an instinct.'"

2008-07-29 05:19:21
3.   rbj
"Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano (yes, I said it) were scheduled to pitch two innings a piece for the Gulf Coast League Yankees last night, but the game was rained out."

Man, even God/Mother Nature doesn't want Pavano pitching for the Yankees.

I'll just chalk up last night's game to being "one of those games" where you don't have pitching or offense.

2008-07-29 05:21:13
4.   The Mick 536
If I had it in me, I'd fly down for Pavement's start just to record a living example of Chutzpah. I know the baseball aphorism that you are only as good as your next start, but this is amazin. Can he really throw the ball 60 feet 6 inches more than once or twice to a person who isn't visibly challenged and get them out? Damn. That is a ticket devoutely to be wished, eh.
2008-07-29 05:23:18
5.   williamnyy23
Did the umpires really think that major leaguer Brian Bruney entered a rehap assignment with the intention of beaning someone in the head? Really?

Damn that Chris Britton...only 5 Ks in 3 scoreless innings? What a slacker. If he can't give a better effort maybe he needs to spend another two seasons toiling in the minors.

2008-07-29 05:42:02
6.   Sliced Bread
How did the acquisition of Nady influence the decision for Posada to have surgery?
Nady replaces the dearth of production from Gardner, and Christian in left field. What does that have to do with the catcher's "obvious" need for surgery?
2008-07-29 05:52:30
7.   williamnyy23
6 There is some cause and effect. With Giambi playing mostly 1B, the Yankees basically had to fill the LF and DH slots. With Nady, it really doesn't matter what role he or Damon fulfill (from an offensive standpoint). Without Nady, however, Damon could have returned to LF, allowing Posada to take the DH slot.

Now that Nady is on board, the need for a DH is lessened (unless you were willing to play Damon in CF), so Posada's best role would be as a catcher...a role he can't perform without surgery.

2008-07-29 05:56:56
8.   rbj
6 Three scenarios:
Gardner/Christian in LF
Giambi 1B
Damon DH
Not so good, so it'd be:
Damon LF
Giambi 1B
Posada DH, but he couldn't really hit (I assume, from the reports)
Nady LF
Giambi 1B
Damon DH
is better.

I think that's what the Yankees were thinking.

2008-07-29 06:25:46
9.   Sliced Bread
[7-8] Ok. Makes sense. I guess I needed as much convincing as Posada that this is the way to go now. I've been in denial. I hate losing Jorgie, even the broken down version. Damn.
Hopefully he'll stay around the game as he rehabs, so he can continue tutoring Montero.
2008-07-29 06:29:15
10.   JL25and3
4 I don't know, something even more unlikely happened just a couple of days ago. Mike Hampton pitched in a major-league game and didn't get injured.
2008-07-29 06:33:54
11.   monkeypants
7 8 9

Sliced is already convinced, but one more consideration: Nady is RH. The Yankees clearly were still concerned about their LH/RH imbalance, especially when Damon came back (which would displace any Gardner-Christian platoon).

As a switch hitter and presumably full time DH, Po' would offset the LH imbalance of Damon + Giambi (w/ some Sexson).

Now with Nady and (in theory Sexson), there is much less need for another RH bat, which removes some of the pressure of keeping Po' in the lineup as a DH. Heck, they even kept Christian around as the BUOF/PR, and he's RH.

2008-07-29 06:36:01
12.   monkeypants
Hey, WTF--did Rasner and Mussina swap spots in the rotation? I have tix for Sunday's game, my last at the old Stadium. This year is also the first in along time where I actually attend more than one game. So what do I get--Ponson in July and Rasner in August.


2008-07-29 06:47:42
13.   rbj
12 Well you shouldn't have kicked all those puppies.
2008-07-29 06:50:08
14.   Cru Jones
"Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano (yes, I said it) were scheduled to pitch two innings a piece for the Gulf Coast League Yankees last night, but the game was rained out."

Am I the only one that thinks Pavano isn't going to be useless? He'll be pitching for next year's contract....Look, he got four years and (almost!) forty million, and now all he has to do is put together 10 or 12 starts and he gets to argue he "deserves" a couple/few million next year from some sucker. If he makes the starts, someone will pay.

2008-07-29 06:51:09
15.   nemecizer
I am really disappointed by the loss last night. We need to take advantage of situations where we are playing a sub-.500 team at home and the Sox are playing a contender. We could have advanced a game on the Sox if we had won. Instead we lay down.

I still feel good about this team, but this time last year I was convinced we would make the playoffs (and had the pythagoreans to back me up). This year, not so convinced. We must win games like last night's game.

2008-07-29 07:09:24
16.   Bama Yankee
Terrible game all the way around last night. I told my wife in the first inning that it was going to be a long night for Moose if the ump was not giving him the outside corner... but I didn't think it would be that bad. Also, it was not a very good night for former Bama pitchers: Robertson and Cormier combined for 1/3 inning with 7 earned runs... Tide Un-Rolled.
2008-07-29 07:52:10
17.   Raf
5 Benches cleared, both players were thrown out, if that means anything.

From the SWB Yankees blog;
"Bottom fifth: Brian Bruney threw one pitch, hit Rochester clean-up hitter Randy Ruiz in the back of the head, and got ejected. So much for taking another step forward in his rehab. Bruney clearly didn't mean to hit Ruiz, but Ruiz got all puffed up and started toward the mound before catcher Chris Stewart jumped in front of him. Bruney, as you'd expect, got pretty pissed when Ruiz started acting like an idiot, and both pitcher and batter were ejected. Bruney didn't do anything over the top and must have said a magic word."

2008-07-29 07:54:18
18.   williamnyy23
12 I am sure the idea was to split Rasner and Ponson to ease the workload for the bullpen. As always, the best laid plans...
2008-07-29 07:56:46
19.   ChrisS
5 17 After that brawl from the minors a week or so ago, I'm sure that a lot of umpires are on an elevated alert.

That was an ugly incident.

2008-07-29 08:09:09
20.   cult of basebaal
8 and even better than those would be:

damon LF
hacky CF
nady RF
abreu DH

2008-07-29 09:43:08
21.   horace-clarke-era
I am pretty sure william's right that the idea is to spread the 5 inning guys, and Moose, amazingly, is no longer seen as one of them. Yes, he was getting squeezed and he can't win easily if that happens.

Reminds me of a query I had earlier, after the insanely wide k-zone for Joba and Beckett last weekend: we all know umps have wider and narrower (or higher/lower) zones. Is there a chart, a site, that indicates this? Is it just gossip and anecdote? I would, for example, be mindful of a tight ump and a nibble pitcher like Moose now, or Kenny Rogers, or Moyer, if I were managing and had some flexibility.

I thought the Posado surgery would follow immediately on Nady. I'm not sure what puzzles anyone about it, but the answers have been pretty clear up this thread. NO need for an extra DH now at all, and we DO want JoPo by March.

What remains interesting is ... what happens with Hideki if he DOES manage to rehab? Agreed these are GOOD problems, but at-bats are hard to find and there is general agreement that players do better playing regularly, short of getting fatigued. My BET is he'll not make and get surgery too, but ...

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.