Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Night of the Killer DPs
2008-08-05 23:15
by Emma Span

If you love inning-ending double plays, this was definitely the game for you. Otherwise it pretty much blew. Though -- trying to accentuate the positive here -- the cold remains of Richie Sexson were, for one night at least, reanimated. Maybe tomorrow he’ll eat Tommy Hunter’s brains.

Josh Hamilton, in his first-ever at-bat against Andy Pettitte, hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and that pretty much set the tone: the Rangers led the rest of the way, eventually beating the Yankees 8-6. Hey, remember when Hamilton put on that great show during the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, and everyone was awed by his swing and his story and you just couldn’t help rooting for the guy?... I’m starting to get over that.

The game was fairly close much of the way, but it never really felt close. Pettitte didn’t collapse, but his five innings were a steady bleed: five hits, three walks, five runs. Rangers starter Matt Harrison pitched the game of his young and pretmaturely balding career, giving up just two runs in six and a third innings, thanks in large part to New York’s 1,213* double plays.

The Yankees fought back from 4-0 to make it 4-1, then 5-2. In the top of the seventh they loaded the bases with one out, but got only one run home, when Johnny Damon walked to force in Cano. (I could swear that when Joe Girardi pinch hit Melky Cabrera for Justin Christian with the tying runs on base, while sending Pudge Rodriguez in as a pinch runner, I could actually hear the distant anguished howls of Banter commenters several states away). In the bottom of that inning Brian Bruney gave up a three-run double to Chris Davis, giving the Rangers a six-run lead -- but New York turned around in the eighth and closed the gap to 8-6, on Sexson's grand slam.

So about the best thing you can say about last night was that the Yankees didn’t give up… but, still, they really looked like a stumbling team. (Probably it doesn't matter much: Robison Cano walked three times last night, which means the apocalypse is nigh and this will all be moot). I don’t know if they’re shaken up by Joba Chamberlain’s unnerving and still-ambiguous injury, but if so you can’t really blame them – the fans sure are.

But hey, turn those frowns upside down, guys: Sidney Ponson is starting tonight! If anybody needs me I’ll just be under my desk, in the fetal position.


2008-08-06 06:07:25
1.   Max
I could actually hear the distant anguished howls of Banter commenters several states away

Thanks for the laugh Emma. It was certainly needed after a brutal few days.

A rainout would really be nice today, if only to skip Ponson's turn.

2008-08-06 06:39:29
2.   JL25and3
I'm pretty sure even Melky thought that was a brutally bad move.
2008-08-06 06:46:19
3.   dianagramr
Emma .... I love the way you write. It makes games like last night almost tolerable.

And, as I said last night in the comments, I'm guessing (in the best case) a grade 1 deltoid strain for Joba.

2008-08-06 06:48:19
4.   dianagramr
Hey kids .... Jose Vidro is now available!

2008-08-06 07:37:31
5.   Bob Timmermann
Crawling under the desk and hiding in the fetal position is my bit!

Stop stealing my act!

2008-08-06 07:40:52
6.   williamnyy23
How would this be for circular irony:

Dr. Andrews recommends two weeks of rest for Joba followed by a return to the bullpen. Then, IPK and Hughes return to the rotation. All three perform exceptional in their roles and the Yankees ride a late surge to the playoffs?

Now, I just need to find a way to get myself to believe that.

2008-08-06 07:49:03
7.   claybeez
Thanks for the laugh Emma. Things seem so bleak I didn't know I had it in me.
2008-08-06 07:49:43
8.   Andre
I've seen people advocate putting IROD on waivers if they believe that the team is done for this year. Why would the Yanks do that? They don't know when Posada will be ready next year, so Pudge serves as early season insurance. I would think the Red Sox would surely grab him for their stretch run (it's no secret that Varitek is cooked - if not the Red Sox, then who?), which would hurt the Yanks next year, and help the Sox this year AND next year.

I'm still not ready to say this team is done (although it's looking bleak). The Yankees spotted the rest of the world 10 wins at the beginning of the season (I think that's how many games IPK and Phil lost, combined). I would think that if ponson and rasner had taken those starts, the Yanks could have at minimum won 4 of them. Add 4 wins to their current total and they're ahead of the Sox. This is despite their inconsistent play throughout the season. The Red Sox are due for a correction - Manny's out, Ortiz may be hurt again, Lowell is experiencing hip problems, and Bay will come back to earth a bit. I just can't see giving up on the season unless we're still behind on Sept 1.

Our rotation may not have enough to win through the post season, but you never know.

2008-08-06 07:56:44
9.   williamnyy23
8 Anyone you might consider trading should be put through waivers. While you wouldn't deal them now, it would be nice to have passed a few players through should the team continue its sleepwalk through August.
2008-08-06 07:58:17
10.   williamnyy23
I thought the 1213 DP reference was the scoring. Who knows, maybe the Yankees will find a way to invent the pitcher to catcher back to pitcher on to first base double play. I am sure Jeter is practicing the play right now :)
2008-08-06 08:05:08
11.   Chyll Will
Don't know how much thought anyone wants to give to the possibility that Ivan may be more of a disruption to the pitchers than we know. I suspect Pettitte may not be the only one complaining...
2008-08-06 08:07:18
12.   williamnyy23
11 Pettitte should stop complaining then because he was awful yestreday with Molina behind the plate. If Sydney Ponson can manage to throw a shutout to Pudge than I don't see why everyone else can't. I thought it was pretty weak for Pettitte to pass the buck like he did...maybe that mentality is part of the problem.
2008-08-06 08:15:07
13.   unmoderated
i am at the OH NOES ZOMG OH NOES point of the season.
2008-08-06 08:18:11
14.   Shaun P
11 I doubt it. The Yanks are too professional to do that.

I think Molina played last night because:

(1) I-Rod can't play every day anyway, and with the Texas heat, good to get him the rest.

(2) Molina, career vs LHP: .267/.310/.403
Molina, career vs RHP: .229/.265/.312

When you know I-Rod isn't going to play every day, and you know Molina can't hit RHP worth a damn, why wouldn't he start against a LHP?

Thanks for the laughs, Emma - you made the sting of another crappy loss hurt less.

2008-08-06 08:24:59
15.   dianagramr
I'm hoping this doesn't turn into the Yankees version of Bill Pulsipher, Jason Isringhausen and Paul Wilson.
2008-08-06 08:25:15
16.   JL25and3
8 I really don't have any interest in bringing Yvonne Rodriguez back next year, certainly not unless they can get a one-year deal.

Btw, he's one of two Yankees on my All-Girl team. The other is Maryanne O'Rivera.

2008-08-06 08:32:00
17.   cult of basebaal
8 pudge is a free agent after the season, he won't be serving as insurance unless we resign him.

in any case, i think you are misunderstanding what people are saying by trying to pass someone through waivers. waiver deadline waivers is not like DFA waivers. you're not cutting the player. and in this case, the purpose isn't to get rid of the player, it's to see whether you can find value for the player. remember, pudge, giambi and abreu are (most likely) going to be type A free agents after the year, who will very likely bring in a 1st round and supplemental round draft pick. however, you'd put them on waivers now to see if someone might offer you something worthwhile in exchange, something at least as tasty as the draft picks you would get if they stay and then walk. if a team claimed a player and didn't offer something sufficient, the player can always be withdrawn, which is what i'd imagine would happen ...

2008-08-06 08:33:32
18.   cult of basebaal
15 well, if it does, it won't be, because it won't have happened for the same reasons ... there's TINSTAAPP and then there's using your young pitchers' arms as kindling ... THANKS DALLAS GREEN!
2008-08-06 08:40:50
19.   JL25and3
18 Weren't you listening to Jim Kaat all those years he was broadcasting? Young pitchers need to throw more, not less.
2008-08-06 08:46:31
20.   ms october
i made a concerted effort to stay away from this game last night, but thanks for the witty recap emma

18 19 and don't forget that nolan ryan in all his smugness was there monday night

2008-08-06 08:46:34
21.   cult of basebaal
2008-08-06 09:03:10
22.   dianagramr
As a listener of ESPN radio in NY, I am subjected to the ramblings of Warner Wolf from time to time.

His biggest pet peeve is "pitch counts". He constantly points out how pitchers back in the day threw 130-140 pitches with no ill effects, and how today's pitchers should be able to do the same.

Mr. Wolf ... meet Mr. Chamberlain.

2008-08-06 09:10:50
23.   JL25and3
22 I do think the 100-pitch count for a mature pitcher is ridiculous. BP, which has always been a strong advocate of pitch counts, considers it an issue only after 120 pitches. (Obviously, young pitchers are a different issue.)
2008-08-06 09:14:16
24.   williamnyy23
22 First off, I am not so sure complete games back in the day required 130-140 pitches. Look at the difference in the offensive production of the eras and I think you can see why it would be much harder to throw 9 innings now than back then. Also, not only would I imagine that CGs took fewer pitches (I am sure that could be varified somewhere), but I'd also be there were a lot more lower leverage pitches as well.

People who make comparisons to previous eras without considering context really have no clue.

2008-08-06 09:24:13
25.   JL25and3
24 Also, a lot of pitchers were burned out and discarded in a way they wouldn't be today.
2008-08-06 09:24:57
26.   JL25and3
Will Carroll's latest:

The Yankees are sending Chamberlain and his test results to Pensacola to be reviewed by Dr. Jim Andrews. I keep having to explain to people that this isn't necessarily bad; that if the Yankees were sure he needed surgery, it's more likely that they would have kept him in New York with Dave Altchek. We'll know more after the visit, but indications are that Chamberlain has some damage, but that surgery is not an immediate indication. So far the Yankees are only willing to say that Chamberlain will miss his next start, but they're also giving off signs that Chamberlain will need to go onto the DL. The biggest worry is the location of the pain: while the team is insisting that the center of the shoulder is good, that's still one location where referred pain shows up for the labrum.

2008-08-06 09:25:25
27.   Max
6 8 A late run isn't completely implausible, if we truly get some pitching reinforcements at the end of the month -- specifically Joba, Hughes, and maybe even Washburn off waivers.

I had made a melodramatic assertion in one of the game threads a while back that we might be out of it by Labor Day weekend -- this was before Cashman brought in Nady, Marte and Pudge. Of course, our pitching seems to be nosediving and the hitting continues to be maddening as the road trip is underway, which is contributing to the feeling of a lost season.

But looking at the 22 game stretch starting with this Texas series, and ending with the homestand against Boston (which brings you right to the holiday weekend), if we manage to tread water (11-11 or even 10-12), we won't be out of it.

That means all we have to do is split against Texas, and win two or three of the series between now and September -- we're likely to lose most of the road series against the good teams. As long as we don't get swept by anyone, we'll still be 9 or 10 games above .500 at the end of this stretch.

The key is that the Red Sox don't establish any more of a margin -- maybe gain 2 or 3 games tops. I don't think the wild card contenders from the Central or West are going to be the issue. We need the Sox to stay within striking distance.

Yes, it still means we'll have to win something like 21 or 22 out of our remaining 29 games, and hope for some help (like Tampa and Boston beating up on each other while we take care of both of them), but we could do it. Then again, as I type all this, it sure doesn't look good, does it?

2008-08-06 09:34:41
28.   tommyl
Some comments:

Pitch Counts: I am sick and tired of this "historical" argument that pitchers back in the day threw 1000+ pitches and were all fine. Sure its true that Nolan Ryan could stand up to that, but for every Ryan there's a Bird, or any of another hundred pitchers who got burned out completely. Until I see statistical evidence as opposed to a few outliers I continue to think pitch counts are a good thing. As for CG, compare say SS back in the day (Scooter) to current ones (A-Rod, Jeter, Tejada, etc.) Hell Ian Kinsler is a second basemen! Lineups today are much harder to get through than they used to be. I'm sick of all these old fogies bemoaning the lack of true pitchers or whatever. Nolan Ryan is actively harming the pitchers he's responsible for because of his cranky, stubborn, retarded attitude. How did Kerry Wood and Mark Prior do when pitch counts were ignored? Remember when David Cone almost lost if arm/life?

Now, how this relates to Joba, the organization was as careful as they could be with him. Sometimes these things just happen, I can't really point any fingers on this one. Pitchers (especially young ones) get hurt. It sucks, but there's not much else you can do. Maybe Hughes and IPK ride to the rescue. We'll see.

2008-08-06 09:47:45
29.   riclaimbeer
"I would think that if ponson and rasner had taken those starts, the Yanks could have at minimum won 4 of them. Add 4 wins to their current total and they're ahead of the Sox. This is despite their inconsistent play throughout the season. The Red Sox are due for a correction - Manny's out, Ortiz may be hurt again, Lowell is experiencing hip problems, and Bay will come back to earth a bit."

id say that the red sox are due for a correction- resulting in a higher winning percentage. the sox are really underperforming by theur pythag, and rather unlucky (15 straight losses in one run road games- numbers that arent likely to hold the rest of the season).

2008-08-06 13:48:14
30.   randym77
14 LoHud reported that Molina was in because Pettitte requested it. He told Girardi he was "uncomfortable" pitching to Pudge, and asked for Molina instead.

I don't think that's any knock on Pudge, though. As both Girardi and Flaherty have said, it takes time for a pitcher and catcher to get used to each other.

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