Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2005-08-04 14:14
by Cliff Corcoran

With starting pitchers Al Leiter and Mike Mussina having handed over the first two games of the Yankees' series at the Jake, is there anyone out there who has confidence that Shawn Chacon won't do the same tonight?

Remember, Chacon is 0-15 with a 6.89 ERA for his career after July 31. adds the fact that Chacon has "a 2-20 record since the 2003 All-Star break," and "will still be seeking only his third win since June 23, 2003."

Kevin Millwood, meanwhile, boasts a 3.18 ERA and has turned in quality starts in his last four outings and in six of his last seven outings. Another scary thought for the Yankees, the Indians may finally activate Travis Hafner tonight (incidentally, it was Ramon Vazquez whom the Indians called up to fill the 25th spot on their roster).

The Red Sox and A's have already won today (with Matt Clement and Barry Zito both earning their eleventh wins, the former thanks to an eight-run fourth inning turned in by the Boston offense) and the Yankees enter tonight's game just a half game up on the Indians in the Wild Card hunt.

Break out those voodoo dolls, the Yanks are gonna need 'em tonight.

2005-08-04 15:50:02
1.   Paul in Boston
Let the record show that the Red Sox were losing in all 3 games -- 4-0 in the first game, 5-0 today -- yet still they swept the Royals. Baseball fans up here are positively delerious, as the Sox took all 6 games in this homestand.

That sweep at the hands of KC earlier this year is hurting big-time now.

2005-08-04 15:59:17
2.   rbj
Feh. We've only got two starters, and they're inconsistent at best. It doesn't matter how good the offense is with that. I'm off for a week at the beach, the only baseball I'll get to hear live is Norfolk Tides. Ugh. Mets.
2005-08-04 16:18:31
3.   Cliff Corcoran
I think it's about time they change the name of the "Scouting Reports" to "Random Crap About the Pitchers."

Millwood: The last three men to throw no-hitters against the Giants were named Kevin.

Chacon: Attended the first game in Rockies history as a teenager.

Speaking of which, where on earth is Kaat? I can't remember the last time I heard him call a game. With the Yankees struggling so mightily with their pitching, it sure would be nice to have his take on things.

2005-08-04 16:45:56
4.   Alvaro Espinoza
Someone quick, what's the Yanks record when Flaherty goes yard!?...
2005-08-04 17:03:27
5.   rbj
Ok, apparently if the pitch is in the Cleveland zipcode it's a strike.
BTW, I prefer Kay to the Cleveland announcers.
2005-08-04 17:15:13
6.   Cliff Corcoran
Continuing on the announcer tip, I have great respect for Ken Singleton. I enjoy listening to him and think he has an implicit understanding of the principles of sabermetrics, but he just dropped an absolutely absurd stat. Talking about how the Indians compensated for Hafner's absence, he said that the Tribe's number four hitters hit .400 with X homers, etc., adding that Victor Martinez was largely responsible for that "stepping up" into the four spot. Where he screwed up there, and forgive me if this is painfully obvious but it ticked me off, is that Martinez would have been in the line-up anyway. It wasn't Victor Martinez, but Jeff Liefer (.201 GPA in 8 games) and Jason Dubois (.260 GPA in 7 games) who replaced Hafner's .334 GPA.
2005-08-04 17:48:52
7.   Cliff Corcoran
Wow, I clearly scared you all away with my pre-game post. If anyone's watching this on YES, can you share your opinion on the Deuce Bigalow 2 commercial. Was that David Lee Roth reworking "Just a Gigalo," or was it an impersonator? I'm torn.
2005-08-04 17:56:16
8.   rbj
I'm busy packing for the beach, and checking the weather. Ya think this might be a 2-1 game? Is that possible with this team?
2005-08-04 18:02:27
9.   rilkefan
So, should Chacon pitch the 7th?
2005-08-04 18:07:25
10.   rbj
Yes. So it's 99 pitches. At least let him start.
2005-08-04 18:11:22
11.   Rich
Torre can't be trusted with a lefty who isn't lights out. WTF does he have against F-Rod?
2005-08-04 18:16:10
12.   Rich
If you're going to use Gordon with one out, let him start the inning.
2005-08-04 18:51:05
13.   Rich
Good thing the offense is Torre proof.
2005-08-04 18:53:07
14.   tommyl
Giambi can't possibly keep this up, can he? I mean the guy has looked like Bonds the last few weeks, either walks or homers every at bat it seems like. Man am I glad I was wrong.
2005-08-04 19:02:50
15.   tocho
Rich, take it easy on Torre, its not his fault that Embree walked that guy. I thought it was a good move to bring Embree. In those decisions you win some times and you lose sometimes.

Enjoy the game a little bit more man.

2005-08-04 19:16:03
16.   tommyl
Rich, I agree with Tocho. He was hoping that Embree could bridge the gap to the 8th. He didn't quite have it, so Torre yanked him before he gave up more hits/runs. Would you have had him keep Embree in? Or use Gordon in the 7th all the time? Torre is not the best bullpen manager ever, but tonight he did fine.
2005-08-04 20:21:49
17.   Rich
It is Torre's fault that he thinks an ineffective lefty is better than a competent righty. F-Rod is a better pitcher than Embree, but in Torre's world, handedness trumps ability.

I would enjoy the games more if Torre was fired. He has blown way too many games.

2005-08-04 20:29:58
18.   dtrain
Is it just me, or does it seem like every single one of Giambi's homers in the past month or so has been a solo shot? I say move him up in the lineup, but I don't know who to drop down. Maybe Cano because he's slumping a little bit and can't bunt in the 2-hole anyway?
2005-08-04 20:40:46
19.   Rich
It's not just you. I have wanted Giambi moved up for weeks. I would bat him 3rd.
2005-08-04 20:43:12
20.   Jen
Kay mentioned moving Giambi up in the lineup (switching spots with Matsui) to give him protection. But Singleton shot that down saying that you don't want to mess with him too much since he's on a roll (or something to that effect).

Since the bottom of the order really ain't doing shit, if you put him in the 2 hole you really only have Jeter in front of him as someone you can rely on to get on base. I think the top 6 are fine just the way they are.

2005-08-04 20:46:01
21.   Jen
I looked up Gordon's stats. He inherited 19 runners this year, 13 of which have score. Rodriguez has inherited 13, and 4 have scored. I'm not much of a stat-head so I may have read it that wrong, but it sounds about right. Gordon just seems to do better when he starts an inning.
2005-08-04 21:13:15
22.   Rich
F-Rod seems to be a different pitcher since returning from the injury, but Torre is using him so infrequently that it could be tough for him to remain sharp.

Gordon, OTOH, has been overused.

As a general rule, strikout pitchers are better with inherited runners.

2005-08-04 21:14:00
23.   Cliff Corcoran
The on-base percentages of the three men ahead of Giambi in the order:

Sheffield: .394
Rodriguez: .415
Matsui: .371

Matsui has ground into 12 double plays this year. Swapping him and Giambi could very well help Giambi's run production, though the advantage would be slight.

Dropping Cano to seventh (behind Posada) and moving Sheffield or Rodriguez into the two hole would be most beneficial considering Cano's .317 OBP. As a result, the ideal line-up, as I see it, would be:

CF de jour

Don't sweat staggering the lefties in the heart of the order because both Matsui and Posada have been better against lefty pitching thus far this year, so anyone who tries to use a lefty against the 4-7 spots will actually improve the chances of half of those hitters. Cano bats ahead of Bernie despite the lower OBP because the difference in OBP (13 points) is nothing compared to Cano's advantage in slugging (almost 90 points).

2005-08-04 21:15:02
24.   Cliff Corcoran
Rich, both of those men are hard-throwing strikeout pitchers, so I'm not sure how that's relevant.
2005-08-04 21:47:55
25.   Rich
My point was merely that beyond their respective abilities to strike batters out, there are other factors at play that need to be factored in when assessing their effectiveness this season.
2005-08-04 21:55:19
26.   JeremyM
I guess Torre just doesn't respect the veteran-ness of Felix Rodriguez. I would say he doesn't realize that this is a different Felix than the one he had last year, but then he'd be bringing in F-Rod to face lefties (a role he could potentially excel in, but Torre is still using a 1960s edition of Strategic Managing for Dummies). I don't think F-Rod's the be all and end all for our team, but he could probably play a strong role in the bullpen, yet he seems to be struggling to earn Torre's trust despite strong performance, which seems to be a common theme in the Torre-era. Groom nailed it, like it or not.

None the less, this was a much-needed win, and I'm glad to see Giambi is staying hot. I was a little worried this steroid talk might rattle him again- he seems to be a bit sensitive- but so far, so good. One thing about this team, they truly are a team, at least on the offensive end.

2005-08-04 22:56:50
27.   Schteeve
If I was so inclined I could make a tenouous case for Giambi to win MVP.
2005-08-05 08:08:23
28.   Dan M
Cliff, I'm a little late, but think the answer to your "Where is Kaat" question is Saratoga. I think he normally takes a few weeks off in August to go to the track.
2005-08-05 09:03:57
29.   singledd
27) "If I was so inclined I could make a tenouous case for Giambi to win MVP."
Well... Jason has the best OBP in the AL by far, and (for now) has the highest OPS. He also has the best ABs/HR ratio of any of the big guns in the AL (although Tony Clarke has an amazing ABs/HR ratio).

Furthermore, a LOT of Giambi hits and HRs have been game winners... as was the case last night.

We have an amazing 38 HRs from our 1st basemen.

2005-08-05 09:13:07
30.   singledd
P.S. While Tino isn't doing great, he has an OPS 80 points higher then Bernie. Against righties, shouldn't Tino be the DH (or even at 1B at times with Giambi DHing)?

And since we accept CF as a 'no-hit' position, shouldn't we give one of the kids (Budda, Thompson, Melky, etc) the position to see if they can help us in 2006?

Melky looked bad out there, but those who knew him (in the minors) were very high on his abilities. It seems like we should give him 25 games or so, come-what-may, and give him a real opportunity to show us his stuff.

Anybody but Bernie. I love Bernie, but we need to look to the future.

2005-08-05 15:49:01
31.   Cliff Corcoran
Singledd, you beat me to that 1B HR stat, it crossed my mind last night when Giambi tied Sheffield for second on the team and I realized Tino was fourth.

Meanwhile, Melky can't field the position well enough, he was a liability. The others, sure, why not!

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