Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Hey, Happy Boitday Twenty-Seven, Happy Boitday
2005-04-15 19:27
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Dear Bruce,
You'll never pitch another big league game like the one you threw tonight.
Soak it in and enjoy it. You done good.
Yours truly,
Bitter Belth in the Bronx

2005-04-15 19:33:40
1.   Alex Belth
I know how hard it is to hit a baseball and score runs in the major leagues. I respect any big leaguer, even Bruce Chen. But yeah, there was much grumbling coming from my apartment tonight. Four stinkin hits off Chen? Come Onnnnn. You guys is killin me. Come on.
2005-04-15 20:11:43
2.   redshift
That was ugly.
I know the season is still young, but its the first time since '91 the Yanks have lost 6 of their first 10.
Here's hoping for better games ahead.
2005-04-15 20:42:53
3.   Simone
What a crappy game. The offense is simply in the doldrums and pitching isn't helping much. However, it is still early so I have to believe that things will turn around. This team has too much talent to flop. crosses fingers
2005-04-15 23:24:45
4.   Ken Arneson
I'm not so sure Bruce Chen can't do this again. I went to this game last year:

where Chen had a no-hitter going into the sixth. A couple weeks later, he threw a complete game five-hitter against Toronto.

Chen is 27 now, and I think he may have turned a corner. Not that I'd expect him to be this good consistently, but I think he's capable of having more games like this.

2005-04-15 23:36:14
5.   Cliff Corcoran
By way of explanation, the Yanks lost 8-1, all seven of the Orioles' decisive runs coming in the sixth inning when Carl Pavano--who showed no ill effects from the beaning he took in his last start, threw 63 percent of his pitches for strikes on the night, and had retired nine in a row entering the sixth despite complaining after the game of feeling inconsistant all night--gave up homers to Tejada and Sosa (his first as an Oriole) before being victimized by a Rey Sanchez (starting for Womack against the lefty--Andy Phillips remained on the bench all night) error (ball skipped under his glove, he later made two excellent plays ranging to his left). Pavano got two outs after the error but then gave up two singles and a walk, which plated two more runs. That brought on Felix Rodriguez who walked the bases loaded (on a full-count to Mora), then walked a run home (four straight pitches to Tejada) before giving up a two-run double to Sosa (in his second at-bat of the inning). Stanton then came on and struck out Palmeiro, though it took him nine pitches.

I feel good about Pavano, but I fear that Rodriguez's performance (just 6 of 16 pitches for strikes, no outs) will lock him up in Torre's dog house despite his performing well in his previous four appearances (4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K - leading the pen in WHIP and ERA prior to last night). With the off-day Tuesday, Felix hadn't pitched in three days, which could be used as an excuse for his excessive wildness. Elsewhere in the doghouse: Paul Quantrill, who hadn't pitched in four days, pitched a solid eighth in just his third appearance of the season. Steve Karsay, who has only appeared twice this year, hasn't seen action since Sunday.

The less said about the offense being four-hit by Chen the better. Though it is worth noting that last night was just the second complete game of Chen's career (in 70 starts), the other coming last September (9 IP 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K vs. Toronto). Could it be that Ray Miller and the Orioles have done something eight other organizations couldn't with Chen?

2005-04-16 06:40:47
6.   Alex Belth
Cliff, I think that Ray Miller might have been the best pick up the Orioles have made in a long time. He seems like one of the handful of pitching coaches that make a real impact. I wonder if Will Carroll knows what his reputation is like amongst insiders. I'll ask him when I have a second.

And Ken, you may be right too. I was just talking out of frustration.

2005-04-16 07:51:07
7.   rbj
To quote Yogi:
It gets late early here.
grumble grumble.
The offense will come around, but come on guys. Jason, I like you and am pulling for you but would it kill you once in a while to go the other way?
2005-04-16 08:31:51
8.   JohnnyC
Ray Miller and Terry Crowley have done a great job with the Orioles. Since late June of 2005, they are 6 or 7 games over .500...quite an accomplishment really, given the level of talent they have. Contrast that to the utter failure of both Stottlemyre and Mattingly to get a comparable result from a $200 million ballclub. The Yankees early season wretchedness comes from both sides of the same coin: change of speed...they can't hit it and they don't throw it. In Mel's case, this is because the game has passed him by (still preaching side to side pitching rather than, as Kitty would put it, in and out or to and fro, changing speeds, defeating the batter's timing)while Donnie has yet to catch up to the 8 full seasons he completely ignored while tending to his horses in Indiana. Whether it's steroids or natural ability, the post-strike batter has simply demolished the old sinker/slider concept that dominated pitching prior to the advent of the circle change and great talents like Pedro. In short, you can't pitch at one speed, regardless of pitch location (think Jay Payton's blast of a knee-high outer half slider, Brian Roberts covering both sides of the plate, Mo's problems with Red Sox lefties like Mueller and Varitek). And, conversely, hitting the change of speed requires an adjustment as well. Working the count in order to get a fastball or hanging curve doesn't work with pitchers who pitch "backwards." Yankee hitters have been unprepared for off-speed stuff in hitters' counts for two weeks. I think the hitters will make their own adjustments in time as well as the pitchers (Javy Vasquez did not, throwing meatballs for most of the season, especially on 2 strike counts...plenty in this forum wondered why this happened so much--this is why). But the adjustments won't come from Stott or Mattingly. It's a pity that $200 million worth of talent is essentially left to their own devices. On other teams, the coaching staff actually tries.
2005-04-16 10:36:05
9.   brockdc
I won't speculate as to whether or not the coaching staff "tries,", but I certainly get the feeling that Torre opts for a more sink-or-swim approach to his players. In fact, I've read many of his quotes on struggling Yankee hitters/pitchers, where he says something to the effect of: "...He's just got to work his way out of it - and I think he will." Problem is, this approach only works for some players.

As least within the past few years, Mel's approach - whatever it is - simply has not worked. The only pitcher I can think of who has actually improved since coming into pinstripes is Sturtz, who concedes that his improvement is due mostly to the tutelage of Gordon and Rivera.

2005-04-16 15:44:15
10.   rilkefan
And today it's Sierra starting the bottom of the order batting 5th.
2005-04-16 17:28:39
11.   JeremyM
I would pay good money to see Cliff's face after hearing Phillips was bypassed for both Rey Sanchez and John Flaherty. My God.

Someone talk me off of this ledge....

2005-04-16 17:47:32
12.   JohnnyC
For those wondering how Torre would blow it this season, good news, he's starting early. Why waste his "best" moves for the post-season? Great, we can watch him be out-managed in April, not wait until October. The organization should have turned the corner on his tenure after the Red Sox debacle. It should have become apparent to the organization that the team as it's currently structured doesn't need a caretaker (which Torre was from 1996-2000 and that was the right fit)but a tactician, someone with an edge, maybe even a motivator. Someone who isn't continually surprised that other teams can and will make adjustments and that other managers can, yes, even Mazzilli, out-manage his pants off. Today's game: who managed his bullpen better? Who matched up better with the game on the line? Who didn't panic and waste Stanton in a futile attempt to stop Roberts from tying the game on a homer in the 6th? And then had to pitch a right-hander to him with the game REALLY on the line an inning later. When he hit a game-winning home run to the short field, left-handed. Who then used his best left-hander to strike out Matsui with the bases loaded and the game in the balance? Who managed a better game today?
2005-04-16 18:16:30
13.   JeremyM
I agree. It's time for the Torre-era to end. I love him, but it's clear that what worked in the past doesn't work today. I know Andy Phillips is our Internet poster boy, but this guy has a track record in the minors that needs to be tested in the majors. We've seen it time and again where Torre refuses to play it anything but conservative.
And he can take Cashman with him as well. Considering the Monopoly-money that he's playing with, he has to be among the worst working GMs today. King George meddling or not, he has to be held accountable for the piss-poor decisions that have been made in personnel.
2005-04-16 21:17:22
14.   Alex Belth
I think both of you guys are being a little harsh about both Torre and Cashman. I don't really think anyone knows exactly what decisions Cashman gets to make or not. And Torre isn't going anywhere, even if the team winds up in fourth place this year. That just isn't going to happen. Torre's in-game managing isn't what is going to bring this team down. And again, it's really tough to say with any confidence what moves Cashman can really be held accountable for.

That said, they are not beyond criticism. But let's not lose our heads. I mean, if Mussina performed better and Sturtze and Gordon did their jobs today, there would be no issue. The players failed the team, and have been failing the team, not Torre batting Flaherty instead of Phillips.

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