Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Vladi Dadi
2005-07-22 05:40
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yankees hit four home runs last night (Matsui, Rodriguez and two more by Jason Giambi), and Randy Johnson pitched reasonalby well before leaving the game with an injury, but the bullpen blew a three-run lead as Vlad G's grand-slam sunk New York, 6-5. I wasn't up late enough to catch it. Sounds like it was a real heart-breaker.

2005-07-22 05:53:57
1.   JeremyM
Nine days until Griffey is a Yankee. I'm sure the Boss is ready to overreact here, and the Reds will eat some of his deal to make it happen. If he was healthy, he'd be the perfect guy for the Stadium, but that 'if' is huge, as we all know. And this way we can solve a problem that isn't really costing us games anyway, and won't solve the problem anyway.

How's that to avoid talking about last night again?

2005-07-22 05:56:08
2.   NetShrine
Alex, I saw it. Be glad you slept instead.

Jeremy - let's hope you're wrong.

2005-07-22 06:21:15
3.   Rich
Can Griffey pitch?

He's not coming here.

2005-07-22 06:24:33
4.   rsmith51
I realize we have been ripping Torre a lot for his handling of the bullpen and rightly so, but I think he should get a lot of credit for sticking with Giambi. I think he has helped a ton in Jason's turnaround.
2005-07-22 06:34:52
5.   mikeplugh
The guy the Yanks should look at...if they can pull a Leiter, is Shingo Takatsu. He was lights out for the White Sox last year, and while he's struggled this season, he is Japan's all time saves leader with 260 and a career 3.13 ERA. Last year with Chicago 2.31)

All the rumors point to SF or Arizona taking oon his contact, but why not us?

2005-07-22 06:49:13
Gotta blame the set-up guys here, Proctor (he just nibbles too damn much) and Buddy Groom (how in the hell the Yanks ever signed a guy named BUDDY is beyond me)gave up two hits, bingo, bases loaded in the 7th...I would have brought in Felix, he throws strikes and it was too early for Flash - oh well, if Sheff didn't ground into DP's before Giambino launched his shots, we win going away...SIGH!
2005-07-22 06:52:41
7.   Paul in Boston
I see that Giambi struck out in the 9th with Rodriguez on 3rd and 1 out. Obviously Giambi had a great game, but wondering if he looked overmatched. Clearly it's one of those situations where putting the bat on the ball is more important than a walk.
2005-07-22 07:05:17
8.   Max
Paul, a lot of people are going to be overmatched against K-Rod, just like a lot of good hitters are overmatched against Mo.

The game was lost when RJ couldn't come out for the seventh and Torre had to dip into the black hole otherwise known as Yankee middle relief. At least it sounds like RJ will be OK for his next start.

2005-07-22 07:06:47
9.   Alvaro Espinoza
Giambi wasn't overmatched. He took strike 1, then got ahead on the count. K-Rod came back and threw 2 perfect pitches to K him. Credit goes to the pitcher. Yanks had K-rod on the ropes though. He couldn't get his breaking ball over (except to 25 on strike 3). Jorge smoked the last out of the game. Unfortunately it was right at the 2B.

Maybe bigger than F-Rod was Shields performamce in the 8th. He disposed of 2, 22 and 11 like they were overmatched minor leaguers.

Take-aways from last night's game:

- Unit has to show more mettle. 6 innings will not cut it w/ a depleted bullpen. Then again, he may be nothing more than a 6 inning pitcher.

- Can't walk the 8 hitter to lead off the inning up 3 in the 8th, Mr. Proctor. That's Baseball 101.

Tough loss (obviously).

2005-07-22 07:17:06
10.   ChrisS
Giambi has been absolutely crushing the ball. I don't know what got into him, he could finally be healthy with a rediscovered swing. I was calling for him to be dumped in April, released or negotiate a buyout, but since June 1 he's been more like the Giambi of old and less like the Giambi of last year. He didn't hit as many homeruns in June, but his AVG was way up.

Middle relief is, sigh, horrible. And as stated upthread, unless Griffey can pitch, we don't need him.

2005-07-22 07:20:24
11.   Hank
I can't fault Torre for anything that happened last night. If you've got a guy like Proctor -- who was hitting 95 and 96 tonight -- you have to pitch him. And no, you can't give up a lead-off walk, but DaVannon deserves some credit. How many pitches did he foul off? Three, four? It was a solid at bat.

Now is not the time to panic. This team is playing well. Not 1998 well, but well enough to win a division. And remember, if they win just one of the next three, they'll finish at 6-5 for the trip, a mark almost anyone would've jumped at a week ago when we were looking at Johnson and Moose and three days of refuse. (Patent pending.)

On the bright side, most of you can be glad that you don't live in Southern California -- well, strike that. Most of you can be glad that you don't have to suffer through three more days of the absolute worst broadcasting team in the history of sports, Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler. If you've never heard them, imagine Wink Martindale and Pauly Shore, and you're pretty close. They truly make the games difficult to watch. They can't go two sentences without making reference to either A) the 2002 playoff series, or B) the fact that the Angels are the only team in the Joe Torre era with a winning record against New York, or C) the "fact" that the Angels "just aren't afraid of the Yankees."

Trust me, it's a nightmare.

2005-07-22 07:53:22
12.   tocho
Hank, the feed that I got yesterday on TV was Fox with those annoyingly stupid guys. I had to watch the game on mute every time the Angels were batting. They talked about every hitter as he were Babe Ruth. Also they can't go two sentences before saying that Mike Sciosa is a great manager.
2005-07-22 07:56:10
13.   JohnnyC
Hank, if DaVanon did have as good an AB as you say, then it wasn't Proctor being awful. Ergo, why would Joe (who you don't blame)take him out after that one batter? To let Buddy Groom pitch to two righties in a row? With a 3 run lead, why not save Groom for Erstad? This begs the question of why not start the inning with Felix Rodriguez in the first place with Groom in reserve for Erstad if it comes to that. Didn't Torre anticipate that Sciosia would pinch-hit DaVanon, a lefty, in that situation?
2005-07-22 08:17:16
14.   Schteeve
I don't care if Proctor throws 106, his fastball has NO movement, hence, he nibbles. He's scared of the strikezone, and this isn't anything new. He was doing this same act last year, he has no business on the team.

Can someone educate me on Schmidt? I keep hearing the Giants may trade him, but I haven't heard any interest from the Bronx. What am I missing? Do we have nothing the Giants want?

2005-07-22 08:41:03
15.   uburoisc
Hank, I watched the game at the Rib Trader in San Clemente and had to eat shit all night. And yes, Hudler and Physioc are insufferable. Still, the Angels fans I drink with love their team and know their baseball; I don't have to listen to moronic chanting and slogans all night.

Maybe someone can explain this to me: it's the 7th inning, and your slob relievers have put on the bottom of the order and now the top of the order is up, including one of the best hitters in baseball (and a guy who can hit a ball way out of the strike zone). The way I see it, you bring in your best pitcher, closer, set-up, middle, late, who cares, the game is on the line right there and you need 3 outs to get into the 8th or the Angels are going to break the game open. Why do you wait to put in Mariano? Isn't this the custom defeating the point? Also, that pitch that Gordon threw to Vlad was low and down; nothing wrong with it, Vlad just scooped it out and lifted it.

2005-07-22 08:50:27
16.   Alvaro Espinoza
A buddy of mine sent me this rant earlier. Thought it was funny (yet sadly right on the mark):

"the yankee outfiled is attrocious. not one guy is capable of making a great play. crosby has to catch that ball last night.
proctor has to stop walking 8 and 9 hitters. time to deignate for assignment
why can't RJ have a wire to wire perfromance against a good team
not pissed at gordon, not really his fault
giambi can't strike out in that situation, don't care how bad the 2nd strike call was
jeter can't lead off 8th inning swinging at first pitch of new pitcher down a run
jeter and cano must cease swinging at the first pitch, especially after a long inning in the heat where a 41 year old pitcher may need a little rest (4 pitch inning)"

2005-07-22 08:56:38
17.   Shaun P
Schteeve, on Jason Schmidt, last I heard is his velocity is way down (mid 90s to high/mid 80s) and that's why he's having problems. He's been pretty horrendous this year, but has shown some flashes of OK-ness lately.

No clue on what the Giants want, or if we have it.

2005-07-22 08:57:53
18.   uburoisc
One more thing, I know Giambi needed to make contact in the 8th, but did you see those pitches? The one breaker inside that Jason backed off from would have brought 95% of all hitters around like a corkscrew, and the last one that got him was about a perfect pitch as you can throw. The one before that caught the corner that Giambi let go was another great pitch that would have been an an out if he had gone for it. Jason had a solid at bat against a great closer who was able to get his stuff across (at least on Giambi's at bat).

Did anyone notice that the Yanks hardly bother to throw from the OF to get a runner? Bernie couldn't even make it to 2nd without three-hopping it. But the big problem isn't OF, it's pitching.

2005-07-22 09:03:42
19.   KYK
Why didn't Joe go with Felix R. in the top of the 7th?
2005-07-22 10:24:45
20.   Xeifrank
Great game last night and what a home run by Valdi!! And once again he continues to amaze by hitting some of the worst pitches for home runs. The pitch he homered on could've been slugged with a three iron, as it was sitting right there on the dirt.
vr, Xei
2005-07-22 10:24:54
21.   Xeifrank
Great game last night and what a home run by Vladi!! And once again he continues to amaze by hitting some of the worst pitches for home runs. The pitch he homered on could've been slugged with a three iron, as it was sitting right there on the dirt.
vr, Xei
2005-07-22 10:35:34
22.   tocho
I agree it was a tough loss, they beat our best with their best. It was really nobody's fault.

A small recap (i)OK, Proctor shouldn't have walked the lead-off man, but frankly it was a great at-bat by DaVanon and he won the 9 pitch battle, tough (ii) the other hits of Groom were both broken bat hits, tough (iii) Gordon's pitch was perfect but Guerrero's ability to hit those pitches is amazing, how can you pitch to a batter that has no strike zone, tough (iv) Giambi's at-bat was really all he could do against such a great pitcher, strike 2, I thought it was outside but probably a perfectly placed fastball and strike 3 was his signature slider that looked exactly like the fastball but just snapped at the last moment, tough, and (v) Posada hit the ball really solid but right at the second baseman, tough.

When you lose with your best there's not much to bitch about (except about the announcers who suck).

2005-07-22 10:37:52
23.   JRVJ
I agree with 19.

If Torre was willing to pitch Felix Rodríguez in the 8th while losing by only one run, then why wasn't he willing to pitch Rodríguez in the 7th while winning by 3?

That's what gets me: the stupid use of pitchers, particularly Tom Gordon, who's going to be gassed again this year for the playoffs if this keeps up.

2005-07-22 10:47:21
24.   Delta Socrates
I'm JRVJ. It turns out that I'd forgotten that my usual baseball identity (Delta Socrates) was already registered, so I will post now as Delta Socrates (and not JRVJ, which are my initials).
2005-07-22 11:19:08
25.   Max
20-20 hindsight is such a wonderful thing, but people ready to anoint Felix Rodriguez as an overlooked resource should note that he 1) hasn't exactly pitched a lot before this week, for obvious reasons 2) when he was healthy, he wasn't exactly the model of control or reliability and 3) the batters he got out in the Texas and Anaheim games were some of the weakest hitters in the major leagues.

F-Rod took 25 ugly pitches to get through the bottom of the Texas order on Tuesday night, and even a homer like Sterling couldn't put a pretty face on it in his broadcast. I don't blame Torre for going with Proctor last night. It just didn't work out.

The reality is that two excruciating losses this week have been the result of our two remaining competent starters not making it into the seventh inning...Mussina ran out of gas, RJ tweaked his back. Unless everyone agrees that Tan-Gor-Mo should start pitching every night, Russian roulette will be the order of the day when the sixth or seventh inning rolls around. That's assuming our starters haven't gotten shelled by that point.

2005-07-22 11:55:55
26.   Shaun P
Max, you've got it right - F-Rod is nobody's idea of a great reliever, either. Maybe he's a little bit better than Proctor, Groom et al, but . . .

The biggest problem here is that, as the season goes on, RJ and Mooooose probably won't last into the 7th often. Both are old, have lots of innings on their arms this year (RJ 3rd in AL, Moose 19th), and tough lineups (check out the remaining schedule) will make them work harder.

The sad part is, we really need them to be able to go 7+ in October (presuming we make it there) - so "only" getting 6 IP/start now is maybe not a bad thing, as they'll be rested come playoff-time.

This just underscores how badly we need a 4th reliever in the 'pen - as if we didn't already know that. I just don't know where we find such a guy.

2005-07-22 12:09:40
27.   jedi
My rant of the day:

I hate when after every Giambi homerun, John Sterling says, "a homerun by the GIAMBINO!!!"

It makes Giambi sound so immortal.

Don't get me started with, "it's an A BOMB from A ROD"

He just needs to stick with the phrase that pays. THHHHHHAAAA YANKEEEES WIN!!!!!!

Susan Waldman needs fly off on your broomstick and splash herself with water.

2005-07-22 12:28:38
28.   Delta Socrates

I'm not saying Rodríguez is the end-all-be-all of human existence.

I am saying, however, that I don't understand the logic wherein you use Rodríguez when you're down by one run in the 8th (and have a good chance of tying or winning in the 9th, what with A-ROD, 'Zilla and Giambi up), but not when you're up 3 in the 7th.

Look, at this time, Rodríguez won't be higher up than 4th in the Yankee bullpen pecking order (behind Mariano, Flash and Tanyon). That's fine.

But how does make sense for Rodríguez to pitch that 8th inning (and not, say Tanyon) and not the 7th?

And if the answer is that Torre doesn't want to gas Tanyon (or Mariano for that matter), then why is he gasing Flash?

However, I will agree that Vlad Guerrero is awesome (he hit a nearly unhittable pitch) and that Proctor actually threw fairly well against DaVanon.

My beef is that I really don't understand Torre's line of reasoning regarding bullpen use (perhaps because there is no clear-cut rationale to what he's doing)....

2005-07-22 12:47:21
29.   JohnnyC
Delta Socrates, Torre is not "reasoning," he's panicking. 3 games, 3 different ways to misuse your bullpen. On Tuesday, he refuses to use Sturtze or Gordon in the 8th to protect a pivotal 1-run lead, a 1/2 game ahead of the Sox, having completed 7/9 of a remarkable thing...shutting out Texas at home. He loses with the what? the 6th or 7th best arm in his pen. Wednesday, with a 4 run lead and 3 outs to go and a full weekend of tough games ahead in Anaheim, he resorts to Rivera in an non-save situation (possibly to protect his 2nd and 3rd best bullpen arms by abusing his best arm needlessly). He wins but at what cost? Last night, he's caught short by RJ's tweaked back but theoretically he has TanGorMo ready for the 7-8-9 endgame. He uses Proctor, who loses DaVanon after a tough at bat. Joe panics, brings in not Gordon or Sturtze but Buddy Groom to face two righties, thereby losing him as a LOOGY later in the inning or game. Groom is...inadequate to the task (but he does strike out Erstad as a good LOOGY should)and Torre self-destructs by calling in Gordon. Who obviously hasn't had time to warm up sufficiently. He throws a decent but not particularly fast pitch to Vlad. End of ballgame. Yankees 1 and 1/2 games back. Their ace wasted. Facing 3 tough games behind a 40 year old re-tread, a 40 year-old gimp, and the guy whose shutout you couldn't preserve on Tuesday. Great managing that absolutely made no sense at all.
2005-07-22 13:11:25
30.   KYK
Some thoughts:

- Joe can't always go to TanGorMo every game. Agreed
- If RJ and Moose give you good outings, those are the games you have to win.
- If RJ and Moose give you a good outing, go to TanGorMo
- For all others, use TanGorMo sparingly, even if it means the bullpen losing the game.


2005-07-22 13:58:38
31.   Shaun P
You know, I think we're nitpicking too much over bullpen usage, and especially on winning when the Unit and Moose start. So long as the Yanks play around .600 ball the rest of the way (3 out of every 5), I don't care who started, who gets the win, or who pitches in relief - also provided, of course, that Tan, Gor, and Mo aren't dog-tired by October.

The last go-through the rotation is a great example:

Sunday: Leiter starts, TanGorMo pitches, Yanks win
Monday: Brown starts, TanMo pitches, Yanks win
Tuesday: Moose starts, Yanks lose
Wednesday: Small starts, TanGorMo pitches, Yanks win
Thursday: Unit starts, Gor pitches, Yanks lose

Even with Gordon blowing one of the games, that's .600 ball. That's all we need - 41 more wins.

2005-07-22 14:00:52
32.   Shaun P
Steve Goldman has a great point - why the hell isn't Colter Bean in the bigs? He could well be the 4th great reliever that we need so badly.
2005-07-22 14:31:27
33.   Simone
Colter Bean had two outings with the Yankees and didn't look good at all. Has he improved miraculously since then?
2005-07-22 14:48:05
34.   Rich
If every young player was judged soley on the basis of two outings, some of the great players in MLB history would never have made the HoF.
2005-07-22 14:56:30
35.   Max
Actually, the Daily News story on the game very clearly spelled out Torre's thinking on his bullpen moves...I'm surprised no one's commented or criticized his thinking directly. Direct quote:

"Torre said he didn't use Tanyon Sturtze - normally his seventh-inning reliever - because he wanted to use Groom against Maicer Izturis and Chone Figgins and didn't want to waste Sturtze on just the leadoff hitter of the inning.

Torre had also already decided to use Gordon against Guerrero, so he inserted the righthander when the Angels slugger walked to the plate with the bases loaded."

I have no problem with criticizing Torre, but it would be nice if the arguments focused more on the relative merits of Joe's moves vs. alternatives, rather than the more pro forma "whatever Joe did tonight was stupid, he and Mel should be put out to pasture" type comments which are so tired and predictable.

But there will be more this weekend (and the rest of the season), no question. Groom blows the game tomorrow? "Torre should have brought in Gordon/Mo for the five out save!!" Gordon gives up the game winning hit, or perhaps he gets the save but has to work 1 2/3 innings? "Torre's overusing the arms and they'll have nothing for October!" And round and round the hamster wheel goes...

2005-07-22 15:56:20
36.   alasky
simone, he gave up one run in two innings and got sent back down. How could anyone justify that as an actual chance to succeed?
2005-07-22 17:48:50
37.   singledd
7. Paul in Boston
Did you see the game? Strike 2 was questionable. Strike 3 was a NASTY curve down the middle of the plate, that dropped straight down. It may have been call low if Jason took it... but this was a great pitch, and one of those times the pitcher just beats the batter.

9. Alvaro Espinoza
PERFECT analysis. Especially about walking weak hitting #8 and #9 batters... with a 4 run lead, no less. He was taken out. He was lucky he wasn't taken out AND shot!

13. JohnnyC
Maybe pure frustration. There is nothing, NOTHING worse then walking the leadoff man when you have a lead.

16. Alvaro Espinoza
While Jetes is having a decent year, he is not a prototypical lead-off guy. He needs to set the example of making a pitcher work deep into the count. Cano is Soriano Jr. He can't stand the stink of the 4th pitch.

22. tocho
Amen. You can always find fault, but we did not play a bad game.... we just got beat. Our guys need totake ARod seriously. We need at least 6 runs a game.

26. Shaun P
Ever been to Texas? The heat and humidity are terrible. You can't see it on TV. RJ is used to Arizona, so he could have gone more if he didn't get hurt. Moose and other northerners can't go as long there as they can up north. We have seen Moose go 8 and 9 a number of times. But not a Texas.

29. JohnnyC
Man... you are tough on Torre. There is a reason teams have 5 or 6 relievers. If you can't bring in you 'lesser' guys with a 4 run lead, when do you use them? We need to find out if Porctor and some of these other guys can help us. Sometimes that hurts. It's not Torre... it baseball.

34. Rich
This is so true. Unfortunately, as we are playing close games and (as evidenced by this entire comments section) can't afford OJT for some of these younger guys. Its a Catch-22.... and Torre is caught in it!

2005-07-22 17:53:39
38.   JohnnyC
Can whoever is posting under my name in the last few hours please cease and desist? I thought this couldn't happen, Alex and Cliff, or what's the point of registering in the first place. Fella, bum someone else's name. Stay away from mine.
2005-07-22 21:45:46
39.   Rich
I gave Torre the benefit of the doubt with regard to not using Sturtze because I assumed he was too tired to pitch. That he could have pitched, and Torre still went with Groom (handedness over ability) is mindboggling, but, sadly, not unexpected.

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