Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Gitcher Brooms
2005-05-11 07:19
by Cliff Corcoran

With their victory last night, the Yankees ran their record to .500 on the month and .500 at home for the year. Despite having already won the series with Seattle (just their fourth of the year and their first following another series win), they'll need a victory this afternoon against 42-year-old Jamie Moyer to avoid dropping those records back below .500 before leaving town for a six-game trip to the west coast.

The good news is that the Yankees have four men in their line-up with spectacular past success against Moyer, including the blazing hot Tino Martinez (.346/.404/.654 in 52 at-bats), who will look to extend his four-game homer streak. Another of the fab four is Bernie Williams, who will get his second straight start at DH this afternoon. If memory serves me right, Bernie's numbers against Moyer are a bit deceptive. He has hit .386/.458/.771 (.399 GPA) against him in 83 career at-bats, but I recall that just a few years ago he had a .500 career average against the Seattle hurler, meaning he's actually struggled against him since. The other two Moyer-killers are Alex Rodriguez (.380/.426/.740 in 50 ABs) and Gary Sheffield, who has hit an unreal .550/.654/1.200 (.594) in 20 career at-bats, most of which likely came during 2004 and interleague play in prior years.

One Yankee with less impressive numbers against Moyer is Hideki Matsui (.250/.333/.438). Matsui's slump continued last night with an 0 for 5 (though he would have had an RBI double in the third inning if not for Ichiro Suzuki's ridiculous range in right). He's hitting .189/.279/.270 (.193) through the first ten games of May, is homerless since the fourth game of the season back on April 8, and his season line has sagged to a pathetic .233/.315/.372 (.235).

One wonders if, with the series in his pocket going into a day game after a night game, Joe Torre might consider sitting Matsui this afternoon. Matsui, of course, has a consecutive games streak that extends back through his career in Japan to August 21, 1993, so he'd most likely appear as a defensive replacement at the end of the game, but with an off-day tomorrow, it would be nice to give Slumpzilla a couple days in which he's not confronted with his struggles at the plate.

In his stead, Torre could move Womack over to center and put the just called up Russ Johnson in left to get his feet wet. Johnson is primarily a third baseman, but can play just about anywhere on the field other than catcher and center. Here's what I wrote about Johnson when going over the Yankee campers this spring:

Johnson provides an above-average glove at second and third (not so much at short) and knows how to take a walk, posting a .349 OBP (against a .265 average) in 946 major league plate appearances with the Astros and Devil Rays from 1997-2002. He also has doubles power, having hit 10 in 156 ABs in 1999 and 19 in 248 AB's in 2001. Johnson spent last year with the Iowa Cubs in the Pacific Coast League, where he hit a lot of doubles and drew a lot of walks while playing second, third and first.

Johnson is hitting .285/.382/.488 (.294) as the Clippers starting third baseman this season with 10 doubles 20 RBIs and 20 walks in 123 at-bats. A non-roster invitee this spring, Johnson will take the 40-man roster spot vacated when the Yankees designated Steve Karsay for assignment last week.

As for that "Wes" thing, Johnson's full name is William Russell Johnson, so his minor league stats are listed under "W Johnson" much in the same way George Andrew Phillips is listed a G Phillips, Randall Colter Bean is listed as R Bean, and Richard Stephen "Bubba" Crosby is listed as R Crosby. Speaking of Bubba, it is interesting to note that the Yankees did not recall Bubba to take Felix Rodriguez's spot. If you ask me, they made the right move. With Bernie around as an emergency outfielder, bringing up Johnson, who can play everywhere and has proven his ability to hit in the majors (to the degree that I'd prefer the 32-year-old Johnson to the 37-year-old Rey "Clutch" Sanchez as the Yankees utility infielder) three of the four Clippers who most deserve spots on the Yankees 25-man this season (Johnson, Phillips and Wang, Colter Bean being the fourth) are now in pinstripes.

Comments (89)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-05-11 09:47:39
1.   Alex Belth
Ah talk of brooms makes me nervous, especially with Old Man Moyer throwing that vexing Bugs Bunny slow pitch. Sheff's got to worry about throwing his back out today hacking at that soft slop.

One prediction: Bernie has a good day.

2005-05-11 09:56:28
2.   Cliff Corcoran
Note on Bernie. After Monday's game I wrote that Bernie couldn't do worse than the 0 for 14 Giambi. Tuesday Bernie starts and goes 1 for 4 with a run scored. No he didn't look great, but he did something Giambi hadn't done all month: get a @$%& hit.
2005-05-11 10:19:53
3.   JohnnyC
Oh, well, there goes the winning streak.
2005-05-11 10:23:11
4.   JohnnyC
Pavano throwing BP fastballs? Don't tell me he's got mechanics issues. With Stottlemyre, it's deja vu all over again.
2005-05-11 10:26:40
5.   Cliff Corcoran
Meanwhile, does anyone think Rodriguez is botching his play at 3B because he's decided he wants to move back to short and he's trying to force the Yankees hand? No I'm not serious, but cripes he's been terrible in the field this season, and there's no reasonable explanation for it as he was fantastic at the hot corner last season.

I dub the E-Rod!

2005-05-11 10:28:08
6.   Cliff Corcoran
Also, Pavano just struck out the side. Too bad he gave up two homers for rive runs in between.
2005-05-11 10:39:03
7.   Cliff Corcoran
Not only does Matsui get the start and stay in the clean-up spot, but he gets a bases-loaded double in the bottom of the first to make it 5-3. All is forgiven!
2005-05-11 10:39:44
8.   weeping for brunnhilde
Here comes Tino, here come the Yankees!
2005-05-11 10:39:46
9.   JohnnyC
Would it surprise you to find out ARod's not a great defensive player especially as he matures and carries more weight? We have already discovered he's bad on balls in the air and doesn't go to his right as well as he does to the glove side. Not to say he's a terrible third baseman but Scott Rolen he ain't. Like the vast majority of great hitters, his defensive prowess degrades over time. Nice hit by Matsui.
2005-05-11 10:41:29
10.   JohnnyC
Not a good AB for Tino, especially against a guy he owns.
2005-05-11 10:44:36
11.   Cliff Corcoran
I thought about the fact that he bulked up this offseason, but the errors he's making are usually on balls hit right at him. I'm not sure I buy the old "flexability" argument. Also, throughout his career E-Rod's fielding rises and falls with his hitting. He's stinging the ball this year, so that trend would indicate great D (meaning he's locked in to the game overall), but no.

Jorge singles to make it 5-4 in the first. This is nuts.

2005-05-11 10:45:18
12.   weeping for brunnhilde
Nice call on Bernie, Alex!

Does the ol' heart great, n'est-ce pas?

2005-05-11 10:46:28
13.   Cliff Corcoran
Bernie singles E-Rod home. Tie game. Crazy. Still just one out and Rey Sanchez, starting for Cano (lord knows why, Cano finally got some hits yesterday) is up.

I wonder if Pavano can settle down in the second.

2005-05-11 10:46:55
14.   JohnnyC
O.K., Pavano gets a reset. Now, we'll see what he can do.
2005-05-11 10:47:09
15.   rbj
And now all knotted up. Is this going to be a 15-13 game?
2005-05-11 10:51:07
16.   JohnnyC
Does Russ Johnson catch that, Cliff? If he can, I agree with you that Torre should have plopped him into the water immediately in left today. Of course, we wouldn't have gotten Matsui's bases-clearing double.
2005-05-11 10:53:31
17.   Cliff Corcoran
I'm watching the MLB Gamecast at work, so I can't see the actual action. Besides, I don't know enough about Johnson's abilities in the OF other than he has some experience out there. That said, my plan had Womack in center, but that's all negated by Matsui's 3 RBI double, he's already more than earned today's start.
2005-05-11 10:55:27
18.   Cliff Corcoran
Huge K of Sexson with men on second and third and one out. On three pitches, no less, one inning Big Sexy smacked a 3-run dinger.
2005-05-11 10:56:58
19.   Cliff Corcoran
Nice Houdini act there by Pavano. That K of Sexson could be the key to his game. Also, he has four Ks in two innings and has thrown 67% strikes. Here's hoping he builds on that as the game continues.
2005-05-11 11:02:15
20.   JohnnyC
Sexson, I think, gives Seattle a good return on their money but Beltre, while not being a complete bust, will play close to his pre-2004 level. In other words, not a $65 million player. Say, Cliff, Alex, when you get a chance, look into the free agent class of 2006. I've heard there are not too many big name pitchers. Maybe on an off-day soon.
2005-05-11 11:05:50
21.   Cliff Corcoran
Actually, I believe Steve Goldman's next Pinstriped Bible is going to look at the 2006 Free Agents.

Womack singles then steals second and third and gets singled home by Sheff. Yanks lead 6-5 in the second and I really don't hate Womack today.

2005-05-11 11:11:26
22.   Clay Caviness

I check score, it's 5-0 Seattle.

Step away from desk for 20 minutes, come back, and it's rather surprisingly 6-5 Yankees.

2005-05-11 11:23:03
23.   Cliff Corcoran
Pavano gets a 1-2-3 in the third, now has 6 Ks in 3 IP. He's thrown 74% strikes. To bad he's up to 61 pitches already.
2005-05-11 11:33:31
24.   Cliff Corcoran
Bernie doubles in his second at-bat. Alex is the man.

Moyer, not the man, gets yanked (or Yanked, if you will) after 2 1/3, final line:

2 1/3IP, 10 H, minimum 6 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 2 BB

His MLB mugshot seems oddly appropriate:

2005-05-11 11:36:58
25.   Cliff Corcoran
Matt Thornton freezes Moyer's line at 6 R, 5 ER (and that should read 2 Ks). Party's over folks, the Seattle bullpen is fierce. But can they be fierce for 6 2/3? Guess we'll find out. Remember, the Yanks did win against the Seattle pen on Monday.
2005-05-11 11:42:42
26.   Cliff Corcoran
Suzuki homers on a 3-1 count with one out in the fourth. Tie game again, but now it's Pavano against the M's pen, so the balance has tipped back to Seattle.

Oh, and there's another error by E-Rod! Anyone watching this that can tell me something about these two errors?

2005-05-11 11:48:05
27.   Clay Caviness
Apparently Jorge's single prior to Bernie's double should have been a double, too. Jorge was styling thinking he'd hit it out, but only ended up on first when it hit off the wall.
2005-05-11 11:48:27
28.   Cliff Corcoran
Two outs and an 0-2 count on Ibanez and Pavano throws two balls then gives up a three-run homer. 9-6 Seattle. Ugh. Boone follows with a triple. Please tell me Joe's making that slow walk.
2005-05-11 11:49:07
29.   Clay Caviness
Well, Pavano's really done now.

Three-run bomb by Raul Ibanez to capitalize on A-Rod's error, then a triple by the bat-flipping jerk Boone.

2005-05-11 11:49:10
30.   Cliff Corcoran
Jorge! You got some 'splanin' to do!
2005-05-11 11:57:35
31.   Cliff Corcoran
That looks like a fierce at-bat Sheff was putting on Thornton. Fouled off three straight over the plate, belly-high. Was Thronton just bringing heat on him? I would have loved to have seen those hacks. Sheff gets a walk out of it after 9 pitches.
2005-05-11 12:02:40
32.   JohnnyC
Tino is on fire!
2005-05-11 12:04:07
33.   Cliff Corcoran
The Bam-Tino!!! Tie game 9-9! Holy smackers!
2005-05-11 12:06:07
34.   Clay Caviness
If we can score another, Pavano might be the winning pitcher...
2005-05-11 12:06:48
35.   Clay Caviness
Er, no, only went 4 innings. Wow. crazy game.
2005-05-11 12:07:43
36.   Simone
This game is insane. Tino is amazing! He is simply scorching hot.
2005-05-11 12:08:41
37.   Cliff Corcoran
Way to jinx it, Clay. ;)
2005-05-11 12:09:34
38.   JohnnyC
I'm hoping this is one of the times when Sturze has his A stuff going. BTW, is Mendoza doing anything in the minors. Can he help at some point?
2005-05-11 12:10:30
39.   JohnnyC
2005-05-11 12:11:08
40.   Cliff Corcoran
Quantrill in for Pavano. This is a good spot for him, no inherited runners available to score. That said, it's been exactly a week since he last appeared, which could be a bad thing.
2005-05-11 12:13:42
41.   Cliff Corcoran
Mendoza had off-season rotator cuff surgery and has yet to pitch. I think late May was his expected return date. Return to Columbus that is.
2005-05-11 12:15:48
42.   Cliff Corcoran
Was that an infield single to E-Rod. Can I blame him for that? JohnnyC, can you tell me about that and the two errors? Are you watching this on TV?
2005-05-11 12:20:45
43.   JohnnyC
Cliff, the hit by Ichiro was a tough play, down the line behind the bag, long, off-balance throw, Ichiro beat it out. The first play in the first inning, ARod tried to start a DP on a hard hit ball right at him in front of the cut out but flipped it into right center field to Sanchez's left. I think he had more time than he thought. The second error occurred on a bobble of an easy high-hopper again in front of the bag. Maybe he rushed himself? DJ!!!!
2005-05-11 12:25:14
44.   domvjr
Jeter with a bomb, Womack single, Sheff, with a bomb. Glad i am TIVOing this game!
2005-05-11 12:26:22
45.   Cliff Corcoran
Wow, seven homers in this game through five innings. The Captain puts his team up 10-9 with a homer on Thornton's first pitch of the fifth. Womack follows with a single and Sheffield parks another in the seats. 12-9 Yanks. Womack tops both teams with three runs scored thus far.
2005-05-11 12:26:39
46.   domvjr
All of sudden, Womack is getting a hell of lot of base hits!
2005-05-11 12:27:12
47.   Cliff Corcoran
Hasegawa in for Seattle. Amazingly just the fifth pitcher used combined.
2005-05-11 12:30:20
48.   KJC
That's is quite a football game going on there...
2005-05-11 12:31:56
49.   Simone
This game is like a wild rollercoaster ride and this is only the 5th. The final score will definitely be football like.
2005-05-11 12:40:02
50.   Mick S
I forgot to set the TIVO. Suck!
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-05-11 12:40:47
51.   singledd
I LOVE Tino, but honestly... how many of his last 5 HRs went over 340'? Talk about a swing built for Yankee stadium! I really hope they win because again, they had 2nd and 3rd with 0 out and 2nd and 3rd with 1 out and failed to score each time.

No matter what they do, I HATE it when they have a man on 3rd and NO outs, and don't score!

2005-05-11 12:44:23
52.   Cliff Corcoran
Quantrill pitches a 1-2-3 in the sixth, just the second such inning this game (Pavano had the other in the third) and in the bottom of the inning Sexson make's the game's fourth error. This is an ugly game fo sho.

And Sanchez singles to join the party, so every Yankee has a hit today.

2005-05-11 12:51:27
53.   Cliff Corcoran
There's another man left on third with one out to stick in singledd's craw.
2005-05-11 12:53:17
54.   Cliff Corcoran
Sturtze in, hope JohnnyC gets his wish.

Quantrill went two, 2 H, 1 K.

2005-05-11 12:55:04
55.   Clay Caviness
Wow, the Yanks have left TWENTY-THREE men on base.
2005-05-11 12:55:19
56.   JohnnyC
Strangely enough, but it's true, the Yankees lead the majors in driving in men from third with less than two outs, singledd. Perception is reality in cases like this but the numbers don't lie.
2005-05-11 12:57:08
57.   singledd
"with one out to stick in singledd's craw"
With one out, I'm bothered. With NO outs, I'm downright depressed.

By the by, Arod's play on Ichiro was outstanding even though it was a hit. Backhand stab, a perfect jump-throw from foul territory with stuff on it. A normal runner would have been out and it would have been the webgem of the week!

2005-05-11 13:03:01
58.   Cliff Corcoran
The LOB stat always bothers me, because they add up how many runners each hitter has left on, meaning if Jeter's on base with no outs and gets stranded he counts as 3 LOB.

The Yanks have 15 H + 4 BB + 2 E + 1 HBP - 2 GIDP - 12 R. In my book that = 8 LOB.

Sturtze works a scoreless 7th. Anyone want to place odds on Torre going to the well with Gordon in the 8th?

2005-05-11 13:03:36
59.   singledd
"Perception is reality in cases like this but the numbers don't lie." Really? Hard to believe. Is that an absolute number as opposed to a percentage? Maybe those 11 run innings skew the numbers. Maybe I don't notice the successes when they are way ahead, but there seem to be a lot of failures in close games. If that number IS an absolute, it should be a percntage to equalize teams that have more/less opportunities.

Anyway.... looks a lot like 5 in a row (no jinx intended). One inning to Riveria.

2005-05-11 13:05:39
60.   Cliff Corcoran
Actually, the box score has "Team LOB" and indeed the Yanks have 8 and the M's 7.

Hacksaw Jeff Nelson in for the M's, K's Sheff on four pitches.

2005-05-11 13:05:43
61.   JohnnyC
Good to see Foulke is going back to sucking. If there was ever a reliever who followed to good year/bad year syndrome, it's Foulke. And the Yankees usually clobbered him until last year's ALCS. I don't like closers whose best pitch is a change-up. Even if his name is Trevor Hoffman.
2005-05-11 13:08:04
62.   JohnnyC
singledd, it's...a percentage. they cited it on Monday night's telecast. Kay was rather proud of it too. send complaints to Steve Hirdt.
2005-05-11 13:12:07
63.   Cliff Corcoran
Nellie work's the M's first 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 7th and Torre sticks with Sturtze. Good show.
2005-05-11 13:18:21
64.   domvjr
Boston wins again on a hr by Varitek, two days in a row, Dotel gives it up. He has more blown saves then any closer in the league. He is the worst.
2005-05-11 13:18:31
65.   Clay Caviness
Dotel's not very good at this whole 'closer' thing.
2005-05-11 13:19:20
66.   Cliff Corcoran
1-2-3 8th for Sturtze, he allowed just one hit in 2 IP. Quantrill and Sturtze come into a 12-9 game and go 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

The unfortunately named J.J. Putz on for Seattle.

2005-05-11 13:23:24
67.   Cliff Corcoran
Dotel could be a Hawkins type, killer set-up man who just can't close. Wonder if the Mets might be interested in taking Dotel and Byrnes for Cameron. I know Billy has a big crush on Cammy. Of course that would be bad for the Yanks, as Cameron would look really good in CF in the Bronx, but as I hinted at earlier in these comments, Steve Goldman may be digging up some other CF options as we speak.
2005-05-11 13:24:42
68.   JohnnyC
Yeah, I know, who would name a kid J.J.
2005-05-11 13:25:26
69.   sabo
who pitches the 9th, now that it isn't a save situation? Sturtze won't go 3..I don't think. Groom/Stanton?
2005-05-11 13:26:11
70.   Cliff Corcoran
Posada solo homer of Putz, eight dinger of the game. Wow. 13-9 Yanks. JohnnyC called 15-13, not too far off.
2005-05-11 13:27:34
71.   Cliff Corcoran
Gordon in for the 9th. You know, because he needs the work.
2005-05-11 13:27:42
72.   sabo
Gordon? Hmmmm.. I would like to see Groom get an IP here.
2005-05-11 13:28:06
73.   rbj
That was me, actually. And when I said that, I didn't mean that the Yankees get only 13. I could live with a 13-9 game, in case Anyone's listening.
2005-05-11 13:28:36
74.   JohnnyC
It's Gordon...since Torre lives by the credo of the rodeo...get back on as soon as you can get bucked off again.
2005-05-11 13:30:44
75.   Cliff Corcoran
Sorry, rbj, I knew it was you, I just got confused when I got to the typing of the names and the glaven.

Stanton needs the work the most, he hasn't pitched since last Tuesday.

2005-05-11 13:34:32
76.   murphy
5 in a row? this rules.
2005-05-11 13:34:58
77.   Cliff Corcoran
Gordon gets it done, 2Ks, single, groundout.

Thuuuuuu Yankees Sweep!

2005-05-11 13:35:37
78.   JohnnyC
It's weird but I get the feeling with Groom's success, Torre has soured on Stanton, one of his "trusted" veterans. There were some whispers that they were going to simply release Stanton when the roster got tight a couple of weeks ago. You never know with Torre.
2005-05-11 13:38:00
79.   Clay Caviness
Crazy, crazy game.

Five in a row, though. Very nice.

2005-05-11 13:38:17
80.   JohnnyC
Cliff, guys, great experiencing this very strange game with you all. Go Yankees!
2005-05-11 13:40:07
81.   Cliff Corcoran
Great performance by the Yankee pen there:

5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K

Great win, too. Down 0-5 after 1/2 inning, storming back not once, but twice. Tino homers in his fifth-straight game (the record is 8 held by Dale Long, Junior Griffey and Donnie Baseball).

With the Yanks playing this hot it seems a shame to have an off-day tomorrow, but on the other side are the same two teams they just went 5-1 against.

With this win they are 3 games under .500 and if the Tigers lose (they're actually up by one in the eight against Texas, but if) the Yanks will be the best sub-.500 team in the AL (it's something).

The Yanks can get to .500 by winning their next three series (Oak, Sea, Mets) or by sweeping one, winning one 2-1 and losing the third 1-2.

Good stuff.

2005-05-11 13:40:32
82.   rbj
No prob, Cliff. Wow, eighty posts, almost as crazy as the game. BBTN's going to have to devote a whole homer section to this game.
2005-05-11 13:41:55
83.   Cliff Corcoran
And, yes, thanks to everyone for the running comments. Made the game much more exciting than it would otherwise have been watching it on MLB Gameday at work. Was a lot of fun.
2005-05-11 13:49:04
84.   Toxteth OGrady
Chears folks, it's been a fun way (along with espn GameCast) to "watch" the game from the UK.
2005-05-11 14:45:41
85.   Rob
baseball sure is a crazy game sometimes. hooray for tino!
2005-05-11 14:54:45
86.   Adam B
Nice to see that Gordon's on pace for nearly EIGHTY games again. Torre sure knows restraint when it comes to Tom.

Otherwise, not much I can complain about today. Pavano basically was hurt by A-Rod's defense.

2005-05-11 15:05:52
87.   Clay Caviness
A-Rod's error aside, Pavano's pitches were getting smoked. He also had a ton of strikeouts, at least for him, so I guess he was getting too much of the plate with his pitches.
2005-05-11 15:13:43
88.   Clay Caviness
Not that I didn't like the strikeouts, because with the shaky Yankee defense strikeouts are good and balls-in-play are bad, but the Mariners were killing the balls they did hit, for the most part.
2005-05-11 15:45:09
89.   Jen
Holy crap. 88 posts!

It was a glorious day at the stadium. Things just seem to end up going the Yankees' way when Yogi throws out the first pitch. It wasn't the prettiest game but it was great to see them come from behind like that.

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