Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Is that enough?
2005-04-18 21:51
by Cliff Corcoran

Walk. Homer. Double. Ground out. Single. Single. Single. Single. Single. Single. Double. Walk. Single. Grand Slam. Ground out. Walk. Fly out.

17 batters, 59 pitches, 11 hits, 3 walks, 13 runs.

That's what the Yankees did in the bottom of the second inning last night, not only getting off the schnide, but doing so with a historic offensive outburst. The Yankees 13-run second inning tied the record for the most runs scored in the second inning of a game (accomplished four other times, just once before in the AL), fell one short of the franchise record for runs in any single inning (14 on 7/6/20 in Wash), and was the most ever scored in one inning by the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have scored 13 runs in one inning just three times, including last night, the most recent coming on June 21, 1945 in Boston.

By the time the game was over the Yankees had scored 19 runs, the most by a Yankee team since the 2002 club scored 20 in Colorado on June 19 of that year (the last time they scored as many or more runs outside of Coors field was, oddly, also on June 19, but in 2000 when they scored 22 in Boston; the last time they scored as many or more at home was July 24, 1999 when they beat Cleveland 21-1).

The Yankee line-up last night was Jeter, Bernie, Sheffield, Matsui, Rodriguez, Giambi, Posada, Tino, Womack. All nine got a hit, all but Jeter (who walked three times) Sheffield (who walked once) and Womack got more than one. All nine scored at least one run, five of them scoring multiple times. All but Matsui and Womack drove in at least one run. Those nine men reached base 29 times, adding seven walks, and two hit-by-pitches to their 20 hits.

The biggest nights were had by Tino Martinez--who hit the grand slam that capped the scoring in the second inning--and Alex Rodriguez. Tino went 3 for 5 with a hit by pitch, a double, and that grand slam. He scored twice and drove in six, leaving just one man on base. Prior to the grand slam, Tino made a great baserunning play in early in the 13-run second inning when he singled home Giambi for the third run. Chris Singleton in right bobbled the ball and Tino decided to go for second only to be thrown out by a good six feet. However, shortstop Julio Lugo, rather than swiping at Tino for the tag, simply held the ball in front of the bag expecting Tino to slide into it. Instead, Tino lifted his front leg over Lugo's glove, hooking his left foot onto the bag before Lugo got the tag on his right knee. Tino got the call and the floodgates opened. Rodriguez, meanwhile, went 5 for 6 with two doubles, two homers and a single (13 total bases), scoring five times and driving in another six, leaving just one man on base.

The primary victim was Rob Bell, who came into the game off two respectable 6-inning starts with a 1-0 record and a 4.50 ERA. Bell gave up 10 runs in 1 1/3 innings.

It was a ringing statement by the Yankee offense that the reports of the team's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Unfortunately, Jaret Wright didn't get the memo.

Actually, that's a bit unfair. Wright started the game retiring the first six men in order on 23 pitches, striking out two. Then came the 34-minute bottom of the second. Then came his struggles. He started the top of the third by walking Alex Sanchez, who walked just seven times in 352 plate appearances last year. He then got ahead 0-2 on Toby Hall but his next pitch was wild and the one after that was hit back at his ankle, ricocheting into foul territory for an infield single.

Wright appeared unaffected by the comebacker and said he had no discomfort after the game, but he never really regained his form. Fortunately for the Yankees they had room for error and left him in there to surrender eight runs on three walks and eleven hits through 5 1/3 (four Ks, 57 percent of 107 pitches for strikes). Distressingly, that 5 1/3 innings made last night Wright's longest outing of the year in three starts. As if we needed any more proof that the Yankees' problems are on the mound, not at the plate, last night's game made it crystal clear.

Thankfully, there was some good news out of the pen. Paul Quantrill and Felix Rodriguez both pitched well. Quantrill allowed three singles in 1 2/3, walking none and throwing 71 percent of his pitches for strikes. If that was good but not great, Rodriguez pitched two perfect innings, striking out one and throwing 65 percent strikes.

It's just as well, too, because the Yankees placed Tanyon Sturtze on the disabled list last night due to a strained left oblique muscle suffered during Saturday's loss to the Orioles. Sturtze will be out until May 2 and will be replaced on the roster by 39-year-old LOOGY Buddy Groom, who had an excellent spring (9 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 HR, 0 BB, 4 K) and would have been eligible to void his contract had he not been on the 25-man roster come May 1.

Tonight the Yankees try to put together back-to-back wins for the first time since the first two games of the season by sending Randy Johnson to the mound against the D-Rays. Johnson's mound opponent will be Hideo Nomo, who, like Rob Bell last night, will be pitching on three day's rest due to shoulder stiffness on the part of last night's scheduled starter, Matt Hendrickson (too bad, it would have been fun to see the 6'9" lefty Hendrickson take on the 6'10" lefty Johnson). Nomo surrendered eight runs in two innings against the Red Sox in his last start. According to Lou Piniella, the short start means he'll be fresher than Bell on three day's rest, but Nomo did need 75 pitches to get through those two innings, whereas Bell needed just 93 through six in his last outing.

I'll be at the game tonight. There are still plenty of $5 upper deck and bleacher seats available.

2005-04-19 05:16:23
1.   Alex Belth
I got off the elevator last night and before I got to my door, it swung open. There was Emily, rushing me to get in. She was talking a mile a minute, which is not normal for her. "You're missing it, I can't believe it, you're missing it...Tino hit a grand slam, they are getting all these hits, A Rod, oh my god..."

I didn't take my jacket off when I looked at the TV and saw Rodriguez trotting around the bases after hitting his second home run of the night. Em then filled filled me in, in her own inimitable way.

Like Cliff said, not a bad night. J. Wright wasn't especially good, but the offense, led by Rodriguez, sure was.

My favorite moment of the game was when Derek Jeter gave a little kid in the first row his batting gloves. I think it was the bottom of the fifth. Jeter had just made an out and was walking back to the Yankee dugout. He stopped in front of the seats up the right field line and said a few words to a young kid, no more than five or six years old, removed his batting gloves, and plopped them in the kid's lap. Then walked off. Jeter played it completely straight. It was a very cool move. Not as casual and memorable as Mattingly grabbing a nibble of popcorn, but special in its own way.

2005-04-19 05:32:39
2.   rbj
When even Texas doesn't want you, you must not be good; can the Yankees keep this up against Nomo? As for Wright, if you are going to have a stinky game, this was the night to do it.
2005-04-19 05:53:48
3.   Bruce Markusen
I like the lineup that Torre used in this game--and not just because they put up 19 runs on the board. Williams, with his patience at the plate, is well suited for the No. 2 spot in the order, and also breaks up the string of right-handed batters that happens with the Jeter-A-Rod-Sheffield combination from late last year. The 3-4-5 hitters are Sheffield, Matsui, and A-Rod (a great righty-lefty-righty combo), with Ruben Sierra nowhere to be found in the middle of the order.

I hope Torre stays with this lineup for awhile.

2005-04-19 05:57:52
4.   seamus
i am nervous about Wright but he looked so awesome early in the game and i just can't blame him for coming out a bit off after that long half inning. That happens to a lot of pitchers where long innings or rain delays totally disrupt their rythym. But Wright does have to figure out how to maintain consistency thoughout a game.

I watched the game late last night on demand (although at some point after the second inning i switched to just the highlight reel on mlb-tv). I thought A-rod had a hungrier, less uptight look to him. I thought that if there was anyone on this team that might respond to a little pep talk it was mr. sensitive himself. Not sure if that was it but I liked what I saw.

2005-04-19 06:03:21
5.   Knuckles
I'm just waiting for the Sux-fan conspiracy theorists out there to allege that Jeter gave the gloves to the kid (nice bowl haircut, by the way) to take away the spotlight from Alex's big night ;)

You could blame the offensive outburst on bad pitching, but it looked like some Yankees actually had different approaches up there last night- Bernie staying back on the ball (batting lefty), Jeter slapping the ball the other way behind a running Womack, A-Rod hitting it where it was pitched. he still had a couple looong swing-and-a-misses, but the times he hit the ball were good swings.

I wanted Wright to drill someone in the ass, just for the hell of it, but he never seemed to be out of enough trouble after that comebacker to do so...

2005-04-19 06:11:30
Note for Cliff: Last week I made a remark comparing A-Rod to Winfield and you asked me to take back the remark. Let me clarify what I meant. Winnie is in the H of F, whether he deserves to be there is an issue for baseball historians to mull over. Personally, I don't think he belongs there. In the 1981 WS, he batted a blistering .045 and in 1992's WS, he bulked up to .227. Winnie was a very good ballplayer, no doubt, but his stats were accumulated in less than pressure situations. Which leads us to A-Rod, playing in the backwaters of Seattle and Texas - no pressure, just go out and swing away. Enter the NY stage and shudder - the bat turns to sawdust with a man on 2nd. Please remember what he did (didn't do) in the last four games against Boston last year. Anyway, I hope like hell after last nights route of the D-Ray, that the REAL A-Rod finally showed up in the's possible that this is what he is capable of - if so, were are in for a sweet ride.
2005-04-19 06:44:23
7.   Alvaro Espinoza
On the rare occasions that MLB games resemble NFL games, it's tough to break its contents down and draw any meaningful conclusions. Generally, you just take them as a one-off thing. I would apply that same approach to last night. The Yanks were bound to go gangbusters eventually and last night was the night. I think it had more to do w/ the D-rays being in the wrong place at the wrong time rather than them being a bad team. That could have been any team last night.

Wright's performance was pathetic - he couldn't make pitches and his mechanics turned to crud - but I'll give him a brief mulligan b/c of the situation. Should he have approached the game any differently b/c of the lead? Absolutely not. I just don't think it's a good idea to take things away from games like this and make blanket stmts about the rest of the season. Though it's more than fair to say that his performance gave me no added confidence in his ability to pitch competitively and consistently. Unfortunately, it seems to be the same way w/ half the starting staff: let's see how they do next time? This wait and see thing is starting to grate on me.

You're only as good as your next game - anyone surprised the Birds got knocked around last night by Detroit? It's not easy getting up for a game against a non-division non-rival after you just feasted on your nemesis for 3 days straight. Timing is everything... sometimes. Detroit was in the right place at the right time, D-rays were not.

BTW - anyone remember that last time the Yanks won 19-8???

2005-04-19 06:57:50
8.   markp
Arod has played in 7 postseason series. In those games he has 103 AB, 34 hits, 8 2B, 6 HR, 17 runs, 16 RBI, and 9 walks. That's a 395 OBA and a 583 slg. In pinstripes against Minn he had a 476 OBA and a 737 SLG. Against Bos he had a 378 OBA and a 516 SLG.
Sheffield had a 777 OPS vs. Min.
Jeter had a 566 OPS vs. Boston.
Anybody that thinks Arod didn't perform well for the Yankees in postseason just wasn't paying attention to what went on between the white lines.
Arod is the best player on the Yankees and has been one of the top 3-4 players in MLB for most of his career and in the top 1-2 for many of those years.
Winfield was a corner OF who was 2nd in OPS once, 4th once, and 5th once, and never higher than 7th any other season. He was never the best player in the game and most of his career he wasn't in the top 10 in value among MLB players.
2005-04-19 07:02:48
9.   Alex Belth
Yo Bumpy Knuckles, why'd you have to diss that kid like that? Dude, that was hilarious. Little Finster did have a silly-looking haircut. Lol.
2005-04-19 07:15:37
10.   STONER
Against Bos he had a 378 OBA and a 516 SLG. /// Yeah, what about the last four games?

Markp...hey, when it's all over, A-Rod will also be in the H of F...I'm trying, with little success, to point out that he and Winnie made their reps off-Broadway. When the Yanks really needed A-Rod (the last four games against Boston last year), he was basically a no-show. If you want to be the 'Straw that Stirs the Drink', you have to DELIVER. I hope for A-Rods mental well-being that last night was the start of a long and happy run on Broadway.

2005-04-19 07:32:53
11.   rbj
As for making one's rep off-broadway, here's Ted Williams' post-season line: 5 for 25, 0 xbh OBP .333, 5 BB and 5 K. Still, I think he's a legit Major leaguer. What Yankee did anything but jack-squat those last 4 games?
2005-04-19 07:58:39
12.   STONER
What Yankee did anything but jack-squat those last 4 games? ///

For $25 mil, you would expect him to line the bases, rake the infield, rack the bats, check the water and gatorade coolers, and oh yeah, when a guy is on 2nd base, try and drive him in...the big price tag brings big expectations.

2005-04-19 08:12:23
13.   Marcus
Last time the Yanks won 19-8, they went on to lose 4 straight.

This time they lose four straight, then go on to win 19-8.

Maybe there's some reverse mojo working for them right now...

2005-04-19 08:22:11
14.   rbj
Really Stoner? If he's good enough to get $25 mill to play baseball (actually have an agent good enough to hoodwink the owner out of an extra $100 mill), I'd want him to play baseball, not be on the grounds crew.
2005-04-19 08:40:29
15.   markp
You said he was similar to Winfield. He isn't. He's far superior.
You said he didn't hit well for the Yankees in the 2004 postseason. He hit much better than most, if not all of the guys in pinstripes in the 2004 postseason.
Comparing Arod to Winfield was ludicrous. It was incorrect.

What does how much money he makes have to do with it? If you're looking for overpaid players in 2004, what about Derek Jeter? Hes closer to Arod than to Sheffield or Posada and is making more than Randy Johnson.

2005-04-19 15:48:18
16.   yankeegirl26
I agree with Stoner on the A-Rod criticism. It doesn't seem like A-Rod does very well in pressure situations, stats aside. I found it really ironic that against Tampa Bay of all teams, he has an amazing night. I think he presses too hard when it is a tense situation, and it shows. But, being under pressure comes with the territory if you are a Yankee. So many other marquee players have struggled too, once they joined the Yanks - most recently Kevin Brown, Giambi (steroids aside), Contreras (ugh!) - maybe it's the Yankee curse. It just find it really odd that these players are phenomenal with other teams, then come to the Yanks and fail, and the only common denominator is the intense scrutiny they are under. That said, I have found A-Rod disappointing, and frankly, would rather he not be a Yankee. I don't think he is a team player, and I don't think he can cut the intensity of NY.
2005-04-19 16:15:00
17.   brockdc
If I were Cashman and could trade A-Rod for Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota right this second, I would.
2005-04-19 17:17:06
18.   Alvaro Espinoza
That Teddy Ballgame reference doesn't apply. Comparing 25 post season AB's to 103 is pretty much apples and oranges. No one's going to diminish Ted's regular season stats based on 1 post season series. Now, had Ted showed the same mediocrity in 75 or so post season AB's, there'd be a discussion. Sample size is too small to apply here.

A-rod hasn't played anywhere near the caliber of best player in MLB since he got here. There's no argument. You certainly can't write him off yet but the expectations are different for him for obvious reasons. I'm more or less w/ STONER.

Left field: Tough loss for the Brew crew today!

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