Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2003-04-15 07:12
by Alex Belth


The Yankees outlasted the Blue Jays 9-8 last night, in an agonizingly drawn-out game at the Stadium, which last four hours and eight minutes. Combined, the two teams featured 12 pitchers, who issued 20 base-on-balls. Looking for a cure for ansomnia? Here was the game for you.

Jose Contreras was credited with his first Major League win, but was far from impressive. Contreras looked swollen, instead of muscular. Maybe he's taken to the Livan Hernandez diet. He pitched deliberately, and without much confidence, nibbling around the corners, throwing more breaking pitches than fastballs. I feel badly for the guy. He's in an uncomfortable position. Joel Sherman suggests that perhaps he would be better suited pitching regularly in the minors. It could bolster his confidence, instead of settling for being a right-handed version of Sterling Hitchcock: Mop Up Man.

"Physically, I'm in perfect condition," Contreras said after coming from the weightroom following the Yankees' 10-9 triumph. "My arm feels great. I need my control. My control has always been my strength."

Fortunately, the Yankees other international man of mystery, Hideki Matsui, continued his solid play, contributing a long, 3-run home run which put the Yankees ahead for good.

While the Blue Jays bullpen leaves much to be desired, they have an attractive young offensive team. (Incidentally, their pitching coach bears, Gil Patterson, bears an uncanny likeness to former Yankee pitcher, Jim Bouton, as Ken Singleton noted during the YES broadcast last night.) Carlos Tosca was profiled by Gordon Edes in Sunday's Boston Globe, and there is much to like about the way is he running things in Toronto.

''It was about more than just wins and losses. We talked about preparation and playing the game the right way. We wanted other clubs to know we meant business for nine innings, whether we won or lost. And to their credit, this team basically reinvented itself.''

...''We have a mantra around here: Approach, results, response,'' said Tosca. ''You can control your approach. You can't control the results, but you can control your response. What we are looking for is mental toughness which knows how to react to results. We're about getting it right. Instead of excuses being made, we are trying to hold ourselves accountable.''

...''Anything's possible,'' he said. ''The experience, you can't rush, and we still have guys who are inexperienced. Depth-wise, we are stronger here and in Triple A, but we're not in the same situation as other clubs. If we have a major injury, we can't just go out and purchase a player.

The Blue Jays ace, Roy Halladay faces off against Mike Mussina tonight. Let's hope they can pitch well enough to spare us from another evening of Base-on-Balls Bonanza.

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