Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Rain, Rain, Go Away
2005-10-07 05:28
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Well, rain is definitely in the forecast for the next five days here in New York. It is uncommonly muggy and warm for this time of year and we can only hope that games Three and Four will be able to be played without too much disruption from Ma Nature. (All I can think about this morning is how there was a one-day delay between games Six and Seven of the '86 Serious between the Mets and Sox.)

According to Tyler Kepner in The New York Times:

The weather has emerged as a factor. According to the Penn State Department of Meteorology, rain will start falling about the time Game 3 begins at 8:19 tonight in the Bronx, and it might prevent play. Steady rain is expected to continue through tomorrow afternoon, which means the scheduled 4 p.m. start of Game 4 could be pushed back several hours.

Tonight's game could be postponed altogether and played tomorrow, meaning that Game 4 would be at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. If a Game 5 were necessary, the two teams would play Monday in Anaheim.

The chief concern for the Yankees has to be not wasting Randy Johnson in an aborted game. Nothing much for us to do but grind out teeth, look up to the heavens and pray for the best.

Oh, and congrats to Giambo for winning the AL Comeback Player of the Year award. Way to go big fella.

2005-10-07 06:36:47
1.   Howie
Hopefully, Bubba is back in the lineup tonight. We will need our best defensive team on a sloppy field.

Any chance the start time could be moved up to 7 PM to try and beat the rain?

2005-10-07 06:44:34
2.   Dimelo
I don't think MLB can move up the start time up w/o giving everyone at least 24 hour notice.

Things would have been different had the Yankees clinched home-field advantage - oh well, no reason to cry over spilled milk.

The Yankees face Paul Byrd and Washburn, they have to get on both these pitchers early and put the halos away for good. RJ needs to have his ugly game face today. One game at a game at a time.

2005-10-07 06:44:44
3.   Bob B
Anybody know where or when we'll get rain updates? I'm taking 5 teenagers to the game after a varsity tennis match...........meaning we'll leave North Jersey at around 6:15. I hate to make the trip, fight the traffic, pay for parking only to find out the game won't be played.
2005-10-07 06:51:25
4.   Shaun P
I saw screw FOX and the ratings, and move the game up to this afternoon if that will beat the weather. (Last I heard here in Beantown, the Sox are expected to get their 3:30 game in before the rain starts in early evening.)

But since we know that MLB bows down to what FOX wants, and not the other way around, get creative. If it looks like the game will only go an inning or two, start Small instead. Don't let Unit even warm up until they're 100% sure a full game will be played.

I hate to potentially lose Small for a long relief job in Game 4, but Chacon has been reliable. Small should be OK to be ready to go in a Monday Game 5, if need be, and Wang should be good to go too.

2005-10-07 07:11:11
5.   Dan M
Howie, I doubt it. I read today that Ruben "has good numbers against Byrd" and will probably get the start. Plus, Posada will sit for Flaherty. A bottom of three of Sierra, Crosby and Flash ain't happening, sloppy field or no.

If Sierra does start because Torre decides to rely on the small sample size of at bats that Ruben's had against Byrd, and doesn't DH Posada, then we'll have another exhibit in the post-mortem Torre prosecution.

2005-10-07 07:16:11
6.   Alvaro Espinoza
FOX will settle for nothing less than having this game played in prime time. And they will do it on their own time, not yours. You can forget about early announcements informing dads hauling their two kids and their 3 friends to the game tonight not to bother. I feel your pain but prepare to get shafted. The Yanks will fight tooth and nail to make sure tonight is a wash before a pitch is thrown in order to conserve Unit. Whether that works...

Article in today's NY Post hints that Sierra will DH. Sigh... I don't care what his stats are against Byrd. Play Bubba and DH Bernie. Keep Sierra on the bench in his most valuable role - PH.

2005-10-07 07:19:06
7.   unpopster
guys, tonight's game ain't going to be played, period. Not with The Unit scheduled to pitch and the forecast calling for non-stop showers starting at about game time.

This hurts the Yanks immensely. It allows the Haloes to drop one at leats one of their next two scheduled starters (Byrd and Washburn) and bring Colon and Lackey back.

It does, however, give Mariano, Gordon and Mussina a little more rest. If Randy goes deep in Game 3 (whenever it is played), we'll have a rested and ready GordMo ready for Games 4 and 5 (if neccessary).

2005-10-07 07:27:18
8.   Jen
Moving the time of today's game to the afternoon wouldn't just screw FOX over, but, more importantly, a shitload of fans as well.

Bob B, they usually have rain out information on the radio. 1050 AM is probably your best bet, but I'm sure the news stations will have info too.

2005-10-07 08:03:37
9.   Kevin
Bob, check or listen to the FAN.
2005-10-07 08:10:45
10.   MetsFan
Hello Yankeeland, albeit soggy. I would think the rain will affect the So. Cal. team more than the yankees who most likely have seen more rain over the season than the Angels did, so I don't think it will hurt the Yanks. If they make it past the Angels this year they will go all the way. Question is....will they?
2005-10-07 08:26:33
11.   Ben
If they play tonight, the outfield will be pretty slick. Watch for the Angels to extra aggressive from first to home.

Regarding someone's comment about Giambi taking the left side of the infield for an easy push bunt: Interesting idea. However it seems to me that aside from upping the odds of fielding a ground ball, the idea of a shift is to get into a batter's head. It's kinda like the Green Monster. It looks so close, lefties are tempted to drive one the opposite way and end up turning-over on the inside pitch. Giambi is best off ignoring the defense, working the count and looking for something to drive over the infield.

If it was someone more versatile with the bat, I'd say it could be smart, but then again, someone versatile wouldn't merit a shift.

Can't wait til game time.

Oh, and despite his sloppiness, I love that when Cano is up with men on I'm thinking the guy will come through. What a pleasure to have someone of quality come up through the ranks.

2005-10-07 09:02:27
12.   Shaun P
In 2001 with Texas, Sierra walked, struck out, and hit a grand slam in 3 PAs against Byrd (Byrd was a Royal at the time). Note this game was at Kauffman Stadium, which was a severe hitters' park at the time.

In 2002 with Seattle, Sierra hit a single and a solo homer in 4 PAs aginst Byrd (still a Royal), this time at Safeco, of course not a hitters' park.

Torre's lost it if he DHs Sierra vs Byrd given these 7 measley PAs.

Slight optimism - Unit is a strikeout/groundball pitcher, so hopefully OF defense won't matter too much.

2005-10-07 09:05:02
13.   Shaun P
Jen, good point about screwing over a boatload of fans (yourself included) by moving the game up. I didn't think about that, and it should come into consideration.

In any case, I don't think there's a shot in hell that Torre gets creative with Small, or that the game gets moved up. So now I'm hoping that it gets called before a pitch is thrown.

2005-10-07 09:12:55
14.   Mick S
FYI - the game is on ESPN today. Fox has the game on Saturday and Sunday.

That better be correct because that is what my TIVO is set to for today.

2005-10-07 09:31:43
15.   Dimelo
I like this piece in today's Baseball Musings ( Flaherty vs. Posada:

John Flaherty gets the start tonight behind the plate instead of Jorge Posada. This breaks a streak of 67 post-season starts by Posada.

Still, Flaherty has caught all but one of Johnson's last 22 starts, beginning when the Big Unit tossed seven shutout innings against St. Louis on June11. Johnson has gone 12-2 with a 3.29 ERA in games caught by Flaherty this season, and 5-6 with a 4.55 ERA while working with Posada. That includes a 10-2 loss to Detroit on July 1, the last time the Yanks' longtime catcher has called signals for the veteran ace.
I had a discussion with a friend of mine about this the other day. He didn't see how you could start an offensive millstone like Flaherty in the playoffs. He also thought the sample sizes were too small to be able to discern an actual difference between the ability of the catchers to affect a pitcher.

I disagree. If you believe the difference is caused by Flaherty, then he's saved the Yankees over 25 earned runs in around 21 games. Posada isn't that great a hitter that he's going to produce that much offense over 25 games. Posada created 71 runs in 142 games played, or 1/2 a run per game. For all intents and purposes, we'll give John a 0 for runs created. That means the Yankees are losing 1/2 a run offensively, but gaining over a run defensively with Flaherty behind the plate. That seems like the right trade off to me.

It also explains why catchers are not known for their hitting. Catchers can have a huge defensive impact on the game, and that's often worth more than the best offense.

I'd also like to note that this is nothing new. Torre often started Girardi in the post season in 1998 and 1999, even though Posada was clearly the superior offensive player. I trust Torre's recognition of defensive talent behind the plate, and he made the right moves in each case.

2005-10-07 09:41:10
16.   Cliff Corcoran
I'm not 100% sold on that final paragraph from Pinto, Dimelo, but I agree with the rest of it. Flaherty does seem to have enough of a positive effect on Johnson to compensate for his lack of offense.

It helps that we're talking about a pitcher who has the potential to throw a perfect game any time he takes the mound. If Flaherty helped shave a run and a half off of, say, Hideo Nomo's ERA it wouldn't really mean much because he'd still be giving up runs by the boatload.

2005-10-07 09:41:13
17.   Shaun P
Thanks for pointing out something I should have known, Mick. Mea culpa.

ESPN seems move accomdating to me, but I doubt they would want the game moved, either.

And nice post from Dave Pinto - has me feeling a lot better about Flash playing tonight.

2005-10-07 09:51:48
18.   Dimelo
Fucken weather doesn't look like it's going to hold up.

I hope the games are canceled are early, but knowing the Yanks they'll wait till the very last minute.

2005-10-07 09:58:26
19.   Dimelo
Good to see our old buddy, Steve Karsay, was at the High Times 2005 Stony Awards. Maybe after Jeff Weaver left, Karsay didn't have anyone left to hit the bong with and decided to tank it and suck. I hope the "herbs" are working and strengthing his pitching mechanics.
Texas Ranger (and former New York Yankee) pitcher Steve Karsay also was seen in the VIP section

2005-10-07 10:15:23
20.   rsmith51
Against the Red Sox on Saturday, I was thinking that having Flaherty up with a guy on 3rd and less than 2 outs was better than Posada. Flaherty knows how to make outs.

Of course if I was Torre, I would be starting Posada at C.

Is Posada the DH?

2005-10-07 10:28:46
21.   markp
How much of the improvement is Flaherty, and how much is the improvement in his mechanics? He's said numerous times that his mechanics were screwed up for a lot of the season. I can't imagine Flaherty is anywhere near that much better at "handling pitchers" than Jorge is.
2005-10-07 10:33:33
22.   Alvaro Espinoza
I usually take the weather forecast w/ a grain of salt but this appears to be a certainty for the Bronx (as of 1:30 EST):

Scattered showers are moving through northern New Jersey...and western Fairfield County in Connecticut. These showers are becoming larger in areal coverage and in intensity. These showers are moving to the north northeast at around 20 mph. Some of these showers have rain rates between two to four tenths of an inch of rain per hour. Accumulations of rain should be approximately a tenth to two tenths of an inch of rain with the passage of the more intense showers through 1:45 PM.

Flood Watch in effect from 8 PM EDT this evening through late Saturday night...

2005-10-07 10:41:00
23.   Bill
Are we supposed to believe that a pitcher who has been putting up HOF numbers for years on end would have posted a season-long ERA of 4.55 if Posada had caught him? This is a combination of small-sample size and intangibles BS.
2005-10-07 11:11:10
24.   Schteeve
I think Pinto is giving Flaherty too much credit. To me this is all in Randy's head. He needs to be the alpha dog and I suspect Posada challenged him on calling certain pitches that Randy disagreed with.

I just think Flaherty is more likely to aquiesce to Randy's prima donna status than Posada.

2005-10-07 11:41:49
25.   DarrenF

According to this link, Torre seems to be leaning towards Sierra as DH.

The reasoning Torre uses is puzzling, to say the least. He seems to be saying that he prefers Sierra over, say, Posada and Bernie because Sierra is a switch-hitter with lots of experience.

2005-10-07 11:42:47
26.   debris
Finley is out for game three, whenever that it. Figgins to CF, Quinlan to third.
2005-10-07 11:55:27
27.   Murray
The difference between Girardi/Posada and Flaherty/Posada is that when Girardi was with the Yankees, the catcher workload was shared, but the use pattern wasn't entirely dictated by who was pitching for the Yankees. Posada gradually moved into the starting role during that period.

I haven't sat down trying to prove it, but it sure seems that these days Torre prefers better fielders against tough pitchers. Note, however, that on Wednesday night, he opted for Martinez at first, Williams in center and Giambi as the DH on a night when the Yankees played their biggest groundball pitcher. I was impressed.

We know that when Giambi plays first base, he hits better, right? But are we looking at that question the wrong way? When his health was poor at the beginning of the season, he wasn't playing in the field. As soon as he started to feel better, Torre began to use him in the field. Maybe Giambi hits better when he plays the field because he hits better when he's in better shape. How old is this pattern, and how meaningful is it (i.e., does Giambi DH on days where he "needs a rest" or when he feels sore, and would thereby be less likely to be at his best)?

2005-10-07 12:07:47
28.   Cliff Corcoran
Darren and debris, I have a Game Three preview ready to go that discusses all of that stuff. Tonight's game seems to be in doubt, but I suppose I'll post it anyway. Look for it soon.

Meanwhile, I think what Flaherty does for Johnson is keeps an eye on his mechanics and makes in-game corrections that keep him from getting all fouled up. From what I've seen, Flaherty usually goes out to the mound to chat with Randy after a pitch gets away from him, which implies that he's working on mechanics with him. I believe Johnson has said as much in post-game interviews, that Flats stays on him about his delivery.

Bill, your point is extremely valid, but I would counter by saying that at 42 years old, Johnson's tweaky knee and bad back might force his delivery out of wack more than they used to, thus necessitating Flaherty's constant mechanical corrections.

Ultimately, though, I'm sure it is just a case of Johnson's personality clashing with Jorge's. That said, Pinto's stats show that the team can endure it.

2005-10-07 12:12:24
29.   lem
If the tarp ever comes off assuming this game starts, the soggy infield will seriously hinder the Angels' running game.
2005-10-07 12:46:22
30.   Cliff Corcoran
Murray, the Giambi 1B/DH question is very much a chicken/egg scenario. That said, I've been paying attention to it all year, and it really does seem to have an effect beyond the health issues you mention. I've got some numbers on this stored deep in my laptop, but haven't had time to really dig into them. I'm not sure they prove the case either way, as they can be jiggered to prove either side of the argument, but I'll try to do something with them in the offseason.

Meanwhile, because this trend has been consistant throughout his entire career and has been backed up by my own observation, I think it's legitimate and not due to injury concerns. I remember when the Yankees first signed Giambi and he was rhobust MVP candidate, they wanted him to DH so Nick Johnson could play 1B, but noted that his hitting really dropped off when he did so.

2005-10-07 13:55:18
31.   Murray
I'd love to see your data, Cliff. As this seems to work differently with different players, it's hard to understand why it happens and how to deal with it.

As for Johnson and Posada, I agree: it's a personality conflict. When that starts to hurt the team, I'd like to think that grownups can put personality conflicts aside, but the real world doesn't work that way.

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