Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2005-05-19 05:22
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

All good things come to an end, and the Yankees winning streak ended ugly last night, as three errors (Womack, Sheff, and a crucial one by Jorge Posada) resulted in a 7-6 Seattle win. The Bombers had a chance in the ninth, but Jason Giambi struck out with the bases loaded to end the game. I didn't stay up to watch, so I can't speak about the particulars, but I gather it was a discourgaing way to cap off an impressive road trip. Regardless, the Yanks are in much better shape today than they were two weeks ago.

The Subway Serious is on this weekend against the Mets. I'm not one for manufactured excitement. As a result, the so-called rivalry with the Mets doesn't get me amped. However, I'm in the minority on this one, and Shea stadium will be plenty packed. I've watched the Mets some this year and think they are an enjoyable team. I've always liked Piazza and Cliff Floyd. Beltran is a star, and David Wright is an appealing young player. If their pitching keeps them in the game, they should be a good match for the Yanks. Pedro Martinez has been pushed back to Sunday, so Victor Zambrano gets the nod on Friday night. He'll go against Kevin Brown. That should be a wild one.

2005-05-19 05:58:43
1.   singledd
It was ugly. A game thrown away... and third place with it. Very frustrating, as if we are to make the playoffs, games like this must be won. Jason, who I have been rooting for, stood at the plate in the 9th with the bases loaded, and took the first 3 pitches for 3 CALLED strikes in a row!! Not a single swing! OUCH!
2005-05-19 06:41:19
2.   rsmith51
In Jason's defense, strike 2 should have been ball one. My untrained eye thinks that he was guessing during his at bat. That said, Giambi was well down the list of people who contributed to the loss.
2005-05-19 06:41:40
3.   rbj
I'd enjoy the Mets-Yankees games more if there was only one series each year. Six games is a bit much.
2005-05-19 06:54:56
4.   wishama
The Jason Giambi experiment is really cute; until it costs the team a game which was bound to happen. The big leagues is not the place to experiment. Please Joe put the best team on the field. Who cares about Giambi's feelings. He will never be able to be relied upon. Why keep up the charade?
2005-05-19 07:28:53
5.   Cliff Corcoran
Villone threw Giambi three straight fastballs. The second was borderline low, so I can't blame Jason there, though I do think it crossed above his knees. The third pitch, however, was the sort of pitch he used to cream, a 92 MPH fastball, thigh high and over the plate. After the game, Giambi said he was caught looking for a breaking pitch. No comment.

That said, rsmith has it right, he was just one of many. Mussina didn't have much. Posada botched a strikeout that should have ended the eighth, leading to the tying runs, which were helped out by Sheffield's error, though Sturtze didn't do his job either. Matsui got a key hit in the failed ninth inning rally (3 for 5 with a 2B and an RBI overall), but he also struck out with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth (at least he swung). And Womack's error lead aided the winning run, though Gordon didn't do his job either. Oh, and Sheffield went 0 for 4 and left six men on base.

It was a brutal game to watch, even when the Yankees were winning (both starters were painfully slow to the plate and the play was just ugly and sloppy throughout).

2005-05-19 07:39:37
6.   Jen
wishama, I have to disagree with you there. If we're going to say that Giambi cost them the game we might as well say that Matsui did as well. He also struck out with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 6th. Does it really matter than one was in the 6th when they were ahead and one was in the 9th when they were behind? Matsui had a chance to open up the lead and he failed. The offense did not cost the Yankees this game. 6 runs should've been enough.

What costed them the game were the errors, most notably Posada's. Sturtze was doing fine until then.

Now, is it better to lose a game on errors like last night or to have your pitchers get shelled? Personally I would take the errors. I don't think errors affect fielders like poor outings can affect pitchers. Last night was an ugly loss but it was bound to happen at some point. And maybe it's better that the streak was broken before going to Shea. Now they get to start fresh in New York.

2005-05-19 07:49:31
7.   Harley
Brutal game. And while I don't want to pile on, I'm not sold on Giambi's road trip revival. It still looks like he's swinging a slider-speed bat, and never moreso than last night with the game on the line. There was simply no way he was going to hit Villone's fastball -- and the last one, as mentioned, was right in his happy zone. (The second pitch was low, sure, but that didn't stop Giamibi from offering a little wave at it.)

The best way to describe the at bat? Timid. And I wonder -- hope? -- if Joe would've considered Sierra in that spot had he been available. (Okay, probably not, but still...)

2005-05-19 07:56:25
8.   Oscar Azocar
Certainly curious that Giambi struck out looking. It's almost as if at first, he didn't want to swing at anything. Now he can swing at mistakes, but won't swing at heaters. I was watching some highlights of when he was with the A's, and his swing seemed much more quicker and violent back then (Granted, I'm using just the human eye, and comparing older footage to watching real time may not be apples to apples).
2005-05-19 08:04:38
9.   jayd
I knew the moment I made that post about the longest winning streaks that I had jinxed the whole thing. I take personal responsibility for the loss last night, although I have no idea what that means beyond biting my lower lip and looking forlorn.

On the up side, it looks like it's going to take David Wells a couple starts to get back to where he was. Terry Francoma says he's going to let David "pitch through it." How long would this guy last in NY? Same-Same pitching immortal Curtis Schilling when he gets back. Can't wait to see the standings on June 9th.

2005-05-19 08:14:40
10.   JohnnyC
It's one bad game at the end of a West Coast road trip but...2 things: why didn't Torre have Cano bunting in the 8th? and why didn't Stottlemyre read the same scouting report as David Justice on Olivo in the bottom of the 8th? Kaat, who's forgotten more than Stottlemyre ever managed to learn about pitching, has repeatedly said more mistakes are made inside than outside in late innings of games. If a guy beats you low and away, you tip your cap to him...good, smart hitting. To throw him the one pitch he can make contact on...uh, this is a broken record, eh?
2005-05-19 08:33:26
11.   Paul
After staying up late on consecutive nights to watch the West Coast games, last night I called it quits at midnight with the score 6-2. But I had this weird premonition that they were going to lose -- maybe it was Mussina's pitch count, or the # left on base, or just the fact that in baseball, more than any other sport, you can't win 'em all.

I too think that Giambi's swing is still much slower than in the good old days. But he's still better than Womack, who has got to become the utility player he was designed to be!

2005-05-19 08:40:43
12.   sabo
I thought Sturtze did all he could. Coming in the 6th to protect a 6-4 lead.

Out, BB, Out, K (Posada error), Single, (Sheff throwing error) Two runs score, Out.

1,2,3 7th.

He did give up the walk & single, but I still think the 6th & part of the loss falls on Posada.

I actually like the way he responded in the 7th. The first two outs were long ABs. He could have imploded there.

I was also frustrated when Cano didn't lay down a bunt. Hot bat or not, don't you move the guy to 2nd?

2005-05-19 08:56:33
13.   Cliff Corcoran
The broadcasters mentioned that Cano had failed in a bunt attempt earlier on the trip (I don't recall this) and that he hit 3rd in the minors and may not be a very good bunter. They did have the bunt on on the first pitch, but took it off after that.
2005-05-19 08:57:11
14.   claybeez
I too am going to have to back up Tanyon on this one. He battled through two tough at-bats in that disastrous inning. The defense, particularly Jorge's, let him down. And, how about that called strike three he threw to Ibanez? What a pitch!
2005-05-19 09:19:28
15.   Larry
Definitely a hideous game all around, and not pleased that I stayed up late to watch this crap. Once the Mariners went ahead I knew we were done - despite scoring six, it's pathetic that we didn't plate any runs after the third.

Cliff and Alex, I'm wondering what you guys think of the reports in the Daily news yesterday about the possibility of the Yanks bringing Clemens back. Could management possibly be se so dumb that they would actually trade away Wang and Cano, who, despite their relative inexperience, appear to be two of the better prospects the Yankees have seen since Jeter/Mariano/Posada came up? I know it's early still, but I've really enjoyed watching Cano and Wang so far, and they both seem to be taking to the bigs far better than say Ruben Rivera, Ricky Ledee, Juan Rivera, Marcus Thames, etc.

2005-05-19 09:38:12
16.   Cliff Corcoran
I'm ignoring the Clemens rumors for now. The thing is, Clemens could be a difference maker, but even after winning ten straight the Yankees are in fourth place. They'd need to prove they can contend to even consider it, and they have yet to do that. As for what they'd send to Houston, I'd hope they could do it for the price of Clemens' contract alone and/or swap him for Brown and pay both men for the remainder of the season. Then again, if they had those extra millions to throw around, why isn't Carlos Beltran in pinstripes? The Cano/Wang thing goes without saying.
2005-05-19 09:43:38
17.   uburoisc
Sturtz was fine; he did his job, the Yankee defense failed to do theirs. Also, Giambi was so pathetic because he stood there and watched; he just stared at 3 pitches with the game on the line--just like he has been doing for months. Watching fastballs roll across the plate with the bases loaded is a shame in a little league game.
2005-05-19 10:12:42
18.   rsmith51
Personally, I didn't want to see Cano bunt. If they wanted to bunt they should put in Sanchez(if he's still on the team.) If William's on second with no outs I would bunt, but not if he's on 1st.
2005-05-19 10:15:20
19.   Nick from Washington Heights
if they were to pay both clemens and brown, would they have to pay additional luxury tax? This is a question about a completely implausible possibility but still I'm curious.
2005-05-19 10:18:01
20.   rsmith51
"Williams is" not "William's"
2005-05-19 10:36:16
21.   NetShrine
Nick - yes, if they got Clemens, he would add to the luxury tax bill for this year.
2005-05-19 10:36:43
22.   Cliff Corcoran
Nick, I'm pretty sure they would, yes.
2005-05-19 12:09:55
23.   brockdc

I agree with all your earlier points, with the exception of the last one. Even great pitchers occasionally get shelled. When the Yanks play horrid defense, it just reaffirms that fact that they're a poorly constructed franchise.

On a Giambi note, I've been riding him hard all year, but he was only a tiny cog in the shit machine that was last night's game. He had no chance against Villone, and I'll bet everyone on this blog (who was watching the game) knew it. To NOT pinch hit for him in that situation is to set him up for failure.

2005-05-19 12:11:20
24.   rsmith51
I read that if the Yanks tried to buy out Giambi's salary, the whole salary still owed would be taxed as well. Is that true?
2005-05-19 12:12:57
25.   rsmith51
I thought they should have pinch hit Martinez somewhere. I would have for Womack in the ninth. Of course I think Womack is terrible so I am extremely biased.
2005-05-19 12:20:55
26.   rbj
rsmith51 #24
Yes, the whole thing gets taxed. And I don't think the players' union would let Giambi settle for less than the full amount. They didn't in the A-Rod to Boston non-trade.
2005-05-19 12:35:14
27.   unpopster is reporting that Atlanta just lost starter John Thompson for up to 3 months with a finger tendon injury.

Any chance that the market for Kevin Brown just opened up again?

2005-05-19 12:38:52
28.   Rob
has there even been any analysis conducted that compared the relative success of adding one starter to the mix for the stretch drive as opposed to an everyday player? i know it helps to have an ace (doyle alexander, etc) for the drive, but with jonhson firmly in place wouldn't it make more sense to add a bat and some defense to the mix?
2005-05-19 13:00:37
29.   Cliff Corcoran
unpopster, you can't trade Kevin Brown without getting a viable starter in return (which the Braves don't have to offer or they wouldn't want Brown, which they probably don't anyway). Wang's already in the rotation. There's no one left to fill holes. Or have we already forgotten poor Sean Henn being untimely ripped from Trenton.
2005-05-19 13:11:58
30.   unpopster
Cliff, True. But with Clemens rumors out there, I can see a trade in June if the team is struggling.

If healthy, a return to the NL might be exactly what Brown needs.

2005-05-19 13:20:37
31.   Nick from Washington Heights
brown and eric duncan for andruw jones? colter beane brought up. Sturtze shifted into the rotation.
2005-05-19 13:30:03
32.   unpopster
look, if I'm Brian Cashman, I give Schuerlholz a call any way. Stranger things have happened.
2005-05-19 13:59:36
33.   rsmith51
Is there any ill will at Clemens for coming out of retirement? I would think Steinbrenner or Cashman would be ticked off.
2005-05-19 23:43:54
34.   Zack
Eric Duncan is the one prospect I really don't want them to trade away. Shift him to 1B (ideally, of course, he could stay at 3B when Jeter moves to center and A-Rod to short, but that won't happen). He's 20, and our best prospect.

But let's be honest, at this point, the last thing the Yankees need to be doing is trading away their farm system for a 42 year old pitcher who keeps retiring. What they need to do is do the opposite, keep the farm system and work on building it up. Keep the team core, sign free agents only (minus the few trades of non-prospects for relievers) and let the system grow again. Blah blah blah, its all been said before, but trading for Clemens would be a very bad move, unless it came at the expense of old players only...

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