Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Five Game Tally: Yankees 20, Opponents 19
2005-08-12 22:00
by Cliff Corcoran

With their 6-5 victory over the Rangers last night, the Yankees have now participated in five straight one-run games, going 3-2 in that stretch. The Yankees are 7-5 in one-run games since the All-Star break and 16-12 (.571) in one-run contests on the season, a pretty solid record. Still it sure would be nice if they'd win a laugher every now and again.

Last night the problem was Al Leiter, who threw 125 pitches (only 54 percent strikes) through just five innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and three walks. Derek Jeter was part of the problem as well as, with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the second, Jeter bobbled a Michael Young grounder, then threw wide of Robinson Cano at second, picking up a pair of errors and allowing a pair of runs to score in the process. Fortunately, Jeter was also part of the solution, hitting the first pitch from reliver C.J. Wilson, who replaced an even less effective Chris Young, for what proved to be the game-winning home run in the bottom of the fourth. In a complete reversal of Thursday night's game, the Yankee bullpen sparkled as Felix Rodriguez, Wayne Franklin, Tanyon Sturtze (picking up the save) and, in a creative bit of managing by Joe Torre, Shawn Chacon on his throw day, combined to allow just three baserunners across four scoreless innings to nail down the win.

The Rangers are calling up Juan Dominguez to start today's game against Mike Mussina. Dominguez will be making his first major league start of the year. No word yet on how they'll make room for the 25-year-old righty on the roster.

2005-08-12 23:11:47
1.   mikeplugh
Skating by the skin of our teeth has become a trademark of this Yankee ballclub. We are seriously late in the season, and we are 5 games back in the standings. We can't put together a solid combination of pitching and hitting on any given night.

The wildcard is obviously also in reach, although the two teams in the AL West look strong and seem to be holding on with a firm grip.

Where do we go from here? Does Jaret Wright come back and show what he had in Spring Training? Can Randy Johnson find it before the end of the season? Will we keep getting quality starts from Chacon and Small (when called on)? Will Leiter self-destruct? Will Wang return?

The bats are a matter of faith for Yankee fans. We have to believe in the lineup because there's little else to hang onto....fielding, pitching, management, etc....

So much of this season is now left to what our opponents do the rest of the way. Little is left in our own hands at 3.5 and 5 games back. It's unlikely we will be able to win 10 in a row with our shaky pitching. It's hard to imagine us sweeping the Red Sox in our remaining 6 games with them. The Angels and the A's are showing a lot of fight at the top of the West.

We're in an odd position for a Yankee ballclub in mid-August. We need someone else to fall apart long enough to climb back into the playoff race. I'm guessing that the Red Sox will continue to pull away. They are not likely to fall apart. I'm also guessing that one of the West ballclubs will run away with that division. The best guess at this point is that Oakland and Cleveland's youth will fail them at some point and the Yankees will gain ground in the wild card.

How much ground remains to be seen. It's all going to come down to the last weekend of baseball and who we have pitching for us at that point. I pray we can say that Randy Johnson, Mussina, Wright, and Wang will be on the mound in September and then I think we can hope.....

2005-08-13 06:16:35
2.   Alex Belth
Cliff, thanks for the wrap-up. I was travelling yesterday--up to Vermont for the weekend--and missed the game. I caught the score early on (6-5) and was surprised that it didn't change. That's a good win, huh? Just checking out the boxscore and seeing who pitched for New York was interesting. When was the last time someone other than Rivera closed out a one-run game? I wonder what Torre's legion of critics made of the moves--particularly the Chacon one. Do they think Torre just got lucky with the results or was it actually clever managing?

I didn't catch that about the one-run games, but it was definitely a good win no matter what. Especially considering that the Sox won again. I saw the last three innings of that one up here on NESN. Ortiz hit two homers. One, off a slider from the lefty -Buerle and another off a 95+ heater, down and over the plate, from a ChiSox reliever. I'm forgetting his name; he throws gas, but when it's low and over the plate, he's pitching to Ortizzle's strength. The good part is that Cookie Monster doesn't only pick on the Yanks. The drag of it was that after building a 9-6 lead in the bottom of the eighth, the White Sox scored three, coming up short, in the ninth.

I'm going used bookshop hunting today. Last weekend, I made the rounds at the vintage hip hop/soul jazz record shops in the east village and got rid of a bunch of records. That gave me the scratch to poke my nose around up here--guilt-free--and see if there aren't any good baseball books to add to the ol' bookshelf.

Go Yankees! Hope everyone has a good weekend.

2005-08-13 07:21:15
3.   mikeplugh
Enjoy your hunting Alex. We'll hold down the fort while you're trying to bag the big one.

If you find "Slugging It Out in Japan: An American Major Leaguer in the Tokyo Outfield" by Warren Cromartie, I recommend it. About the only place you'll find it is on-line or in some dusty old bookstore. It's dated and the info doesn't apply to modern Japanese baseball, but it's colorful and interesting.

BTW...Warren Cromartie is now the manager for a bunch of hard luck Japanese ballplayers barnstorming in the Safeway Golden Baseball League out in California.

The league is most famous for having 47 year old Rickey Henderson in it's San Diego Surf Dawgs.

2005-08-13 07:23:37
4.   mikeplugh's Rickey's stats.

A .466 OBP ain't too bad for an old man.

2005-08-13 07:57:56
5.   murphy
it's funny: rickey always had the rep as a pain in the ass, but the fact that he's still playing (simply for the love of the game, i guess) says something completely different about his character. i hope to god he's still playing at the age of 50, cos ESPN will eat it up and we will get all sortsa cool rickey henderson retrospectives.
2005-08-13 08:24:51
6.   Nick from Washington Heights
ok, I'm going to put this out there because I haven't thought it through and it's like a zen moment (no doubt resulting from the confluence and hangover that is making me think silly thoughts), but...

Wouldn't Rickey Henderson be more useful to this Yanks team than Ruben Sierra (and, disregard the fact that Sierra is injured when thinking this over)? I'd think he be a better defensive option, would get on base a lot more, and be Rickey Henderson! No?

2005-08-13 08:25:19
7.   Nick from Washington Heights
heat and hangover. missed a word
2005-08-13 11:05:07
8.   mikeplugh
Rickey can't really play in the majors anymore. You really have to consider the competition he's playing against with a .466 OBP. His batting average is .266 and his SLG is sub.400. I'm sure the guys in the Safeway Golden League have zero control and he walks a ton.

He only has 15 stolen bases in 60 games, so what use would he have for the Yankees. Ruben is still a very dangerous hitter and we have a ton of decent farmhands that deserve a shot.

2005-08-13 12:05:50
9.   jayd
Well, I didn't want to give away the season but the last three games are in boston, add a one game playoff win (womack hits a squeaker over the monster) and we all forget last year.
The sox are something like 17-5. How long does THAT last?
2005-08-13 12:13:22
10.   Paul in Boston
Trouble in paradise, as Mussina's great game is endangered ... please hold it, pen!
2005-08-13 12:40:31
11.   tocho
this sucks...
2005-08-13 12:45:25
12.   mikeplugh
I had a weird feeling today. When Mo came in I just had a weird feeling.

Now we lost Sheffield too. Hard yo figure why we needed Crosby in there for Sheff in a game like this.

Okay. Get 'em Mo.

2005-08-13 12:51:19
13.   mikeplugh
Nice job to close out the 10th. Let's see A-Rod pop another one. Or....get on, steal second, and score on a Matsui single.

We're about to win. Watch.

2005-08-13 12:51:46
14.   singledd
Mo is human. Mo is tired today. I'm OK with it.
2005-08-13 12:57:10
15.   mikeplugh
All bets are off on my prediction. That horseshit call at first on Crosby was the 2nd call like that in the game and the most aggregious.

If we lose I want that umps head on a stick.

2005-08-13 13:01:08
16.   singledd
mikeplugh, re: All bets are off on my prediction.
What happened? (Fox blackout today)
2005-08-13 13:06:30
17.   mikeplugh
Crosby hit a little slow roller to short that he beat out by at least a foot and a half and the ump punched him out. Roy White's head nearly exploded and Torre came out to talk it over.

The same thing happened early in the game, when things weren't as intense, but the play was slightly closer. Late in the game, on such an obvious play, it was bad for the Yanks.

Aaron Small looked great in the 11th. Let's get it now. I'd hate to sit here during the sunrise here in Japan and waste the wee hours of a Sunday morning on a loss.

2005-08-13 13:06:58
18.   mikeplugh
Leadoff single for Tino.....oh yeah!
2005-08-13 13:07:43
19.   mikeplugh
BERNIE GOES BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2005-08-13 13:10:00
20.   mikeplugh
During the replay of the celebration at home you could easily read Torre's lips as he greeted Bernie.

"Thank you."

2005-08-13 13:10:38
21.   Paul in Boston
Awesome win. I was beginning to worry about my mood tonight if they'd blown this one -- very ugly.

Thank goodness for the on-line community to share the pain and the joy!

2005-08-13 13:10:54
22.   rilkefan
Not a one-run game... And here I was all set for my day to be spoiled, which is kind of dumb since it's sunny and Saturday.
2005-08-13 13:13:04
23.   mikeplugh
I woke up at 2am here in Japan to watch this game, and the sun is now rising. I was ready to be grouchy with my wife all day after sacrificing sleep for a Yankee loss.

Now I'm going back to bed with a smile on my face. Nice enduring it all with you guys.


2005-08-13 13:13:48
24.   randym77
Yay, Bernie!

And could that homer of A-rod's really have been 485 ft.???

2005-08-13 13:16:54
25.   Rich
I'm glad they picked up Mo. Torre uses him too much in situations in which he can earn a save, but isn't needed, which leaves him played out for close games.
2005-08-13 13:36:33
26.   Paul in Boston
By the way, I'm beginning to think that A-rod is my favorite player on the Yanks. He is just amazingly talented. And the incessant abuse he gets up here in Boston only makes me respect him more.
2005-08-13 15:47:40
27.   singledd
"Rodriguez drove the next pitch into the area where the ambulance parks, well beyond Monument Park. The Yankees estimated the homer at 485 feet."

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