Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Monday's Game
2006-03-13 20:12
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Even five homers by a road-game B-squad couldn't overcome a nightmare start for Jaret Wright as the Yanks fell to the Pirates 9-8


Bubba Crosby CF
Miguel Cairo 2B
Jose Posada C
Andy Phillips 1B
Kevin Thompson CF
Mitch Jones LF
Melky Cabrera RF
Marcos Vechionacci 3B
Ramiro Pena SS

Subs: Eric Duncan 1B, Kevin Howard 2B, Wil Nieves C, Kevin Reese PH

Pitchers: Jaret Wright, Scott Proctor, Ron Villone, Matt Childers, Ramiro Mendoza

Big Hits: A lead-off homer by Bubba Crosby (1 for 3), a pair of dingers by Mitch Jones (3 for 5, the third hit being a double), and a pair of ninth-inning taters by Eric Duncan (2 for 2, the first hit being a double) and Kevin Thompson (1 for 2). Miguel Cairo (1 for 3) and Melky Cabrera (1 for 4) doubled.

Who Pitched Well: Ron Villone plunked a batter in a hitless, walkless sixth; Ramiro Mendoza threw a hitless eighth, striking out two and walking one; Matt Childers pitched around one hit for a scoreless seventh.

Who Didn't: Jaret Wright was flat out throwing batting practice. His line says it all: 3 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 1 HR, 1 BB, 0 K

Oopsies: A throwing error by Ramiro Pena and a passed ball by Jorge Posada.

Ouchies: Robinson Cano skipped the game due to a root canal. Joe Torre, in reporting that Tanyon Sturtze felt fine following his return to game action on Sunday, told the media that Sturtze wasn't honest with the team about his shoulder problems last year.

WBC: Bernie went 0 for 3 leading of for Puerto Rico in their first loss of the tournament. In the US's loss to the still undefeated Korea, Derek Jeter went 3 for 4, Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 5 with seven men left on base, and Johnny Damon rode pine behind Matt Holliday and Randy Winn.

2006-03-13 22:54:53
1.   brockdc
Last year, in bizarro world, Tanyon Sturtze WAS "honest."

Yankees beat writer: Tanyon, what's with the shoulder these days?

T. Sturtze: Uh, well, to be quite honest, my manager is hell bent on either me throwing 150 innings of middle relief or having me pitch until the remaining pulp of my rotator cuff literally rips in half - whichever comes first. Go freaking figure.

Be careful what you with for, Joe.

2006-03-13 22:58:07
2.   brockdc
P.S. I'm loving these kids - Jones, Thompson, Reese, DeSalvo, Duncan, Cabrera, et. al. And I thought I was going to hate the WBC!
2006-03-13 23:28:08
3.   Zack
Does Buck Martinez have a clue how to manage these games?
2006-03-14 04:57:15
4.   Simone
I woke up this morning dazed and still pissed off. Was Buck Martinez really the best that Selig could do? Was there no one else better available? How does he play Holliday and Randy Winn over Johhny Damon? He insisted on playing Schneider who hasn't got a hit in the WBC. He also uses the bullpen woefully. Do you realize if it wasn't for the bad call, the U.S. would be out of the tournament right now?
2006-03-14 04:58:51
5.   Simone
I just read that Johnny Damon has a shoulder injury. Martinez gets a pass on that one, but he still sucks.
2006-03-14 05:17:15
6.   mikeplugh
I can't wait for the Yankee season to start. I'm enjoying the WBC for the opportunity it affords to watch other countries players dig in and compete, but our guys have thoroughly embarrassed themselves.

Two words. "Dynamic Equilibrium"

2006-03-14 05:19:57
7.   bp1
What's the over/under on Damon's shoulder being an issue for the full season? The full four years?

Wonder if they are still referring to A-Rod as Mr. March this morning.

I wish I could do some sort of Vulcan swap thing with Wright and Pavano. I like Wright's grit. I hope he pulls it together and can be a contributor to this team.

The kids this year!! Wow. Good for them. It's like the Yankees are showing the world that their farm system is not quite as barren as "the press" would want us to believe.

Dontrell is getting spanked in the WBC. Is the shine off that apple, or is this just Spring Training rust? I have not seen either of his games.

It's great to be able to talk baseball. April 3rd can't get here fast enough.


2006-03-14 05:22:22
8.   mikeplugh
Is anyone else having flashbacks to 2005? Randy Johnson comes out flat. Carl Pavano comes out injured. Jaret Wright can't get anyone out.

I'm not convinced that this years pitching is going to be any different than last year. Spring Training is a time for optimism, and I think there's room to expect another division crown, but I feel in my bones that we're going to see on-again, off-again pitching and a lot of 5 game skids mixed in with a few long winning streaks.

2006-03-14 05:27:43
9.   Alex Belth
A bit on Sheff from the Daily News today:

"How do you go from playing for the Yankees to playing for someone else?" he said. "I know (playing with the Yankees) keeps me interested. I'm the type of guy who loses interest real quick. When I give out what I'm giving out and I don't feel like I'm getting back, I just go the other way. But the motivation has always been there here. I've never had to go the other way."

..."I'm not just going to be playing for my health - there has to be a reason why," he said. "(Yankees expectations) keep me motivated. Anybody that feels like they're going to be somewhere beyond the year you're playing now is always a positive. To do it at this stage of your career and not know, is even more difficult to have drive. That's why the assurances were big for me."

Makes me wonder how a guy like Sheff would have turned out if he hadn't been playing for the Braves and Yanks over the last handful of years. I wonder if he would have packed it in if he was playing on bad teams? I think his years with Atlanta and New York will ultimately put him in the Hall of Fame.

2006-03-14 05:34:59
10.   mikeplugh
I agree Alex.

I have to be honest and say that I have mixed feelings about comments like that. I think you should always play your hardest and your best. If you can't put a team on your back an will them to greatness, then there's room to grow intellectually, spiritually, and physically. That's what makes the greatest leaders in history, great.

On the other hand, I tend to relate to what Sheff says a lot. If the group I'm surrounded by is not as committed to perfecting their craft as I am to mine, I get a bit bitter. Sheff is a perfectionist that has carved a real niche for himself in the storyline of modern baseball history. I always wanted him on the Yankees, but he scared me with his moody crap.

Anyway, I'm glad he is the way he is, and I just hope he continues to play like a true soldier for a few more years in pinstripes. No Limit.

2006-03-14 05:43:20
11.   Alex Belth
Bummer about Damon. Hopefully, it's not too troublesome...yet.
2006-03-14 05:45:44
12.   sabernar
What's the deal with Mitch Jones? What the scoop on him?
2006-03-14 05:55:39
13.   mikeplugh
Here's the scoop on Mitch Jones:

2006-03-14 06:25:32
14.   MLKaplan43
ARod left 7 on base? Does he think it's October already?
2006-03-14 06:30:29
15.   jeterluva
Does anyone know where I could find the stats on which pitchers hit the most batters in the last few years?
2006-03-14 06:32:21
16.   Sliced Bread
re: Wright: Not too worried about him. He's not hurt. His head and heart seem to be up for the fight. The competition among Chacon, Wang, and Wright is great for the team as they're pushing and pulling for each other.
The second-tier guys will be crucial this season: Small, Villone, Sturtze, Proctor etc. - there's a lot of fight in these pitchers, which can help overcome their deficiencies, but the defense has to be tight behind them as the ball will always be in play.
Defense, defense, defense will make or break the '06 Yankees.

Not counting on much from Mendoza, but not counting him out either.

As several have noted above, the young position players have been playing well, inspiring confidence in the farm.

The WBC has allowed Torre to look around the farm, and he seems impressed by the young talent.

Bowa and Pena are bringing new ideas and energy to the coaching staff. Nobody's hurt (right, Johnny?). It's all good.

Sheff's head? 93 degrees and sunny one day, 36 degrees and raining the next. I'm happy if he's happy, I'm happy if he's angry, whatever makes that hammer work.

2006-03-14 06:53:39
17.   Levy2020
I'm not sure how you could argue with Buck Martinez who won the Japan game.
2006-03-14 07:51:36
18.   Dimelo
I just want Wright to disappear. I hope Damon's shoulder doesn't turn into a problem throughout the season.

On another note, I've been reading Sam Walker's 'Fantasyland' and I can't seem to put it down. I'm not big on reading books - especially when there are so many channels on television. Why read a book? I usually find it boring and get disinterested quick. I'm a magazine kind of guy. Keep it short and sweet. I never feel smarter after I'm done reading a book and in a matter of a week I always seem to forget what I read anyway. So for anyone with the memory span of a rat, like me, 'Fantasyland' has turned into a really enjoyable read but don't ask me about it 2 weeks after I'm done reading the book.

In defense of bronxbanter, I always remember what I read here....

BTW, Thursday is the start of the NCAA tourney…..this is the one sporting event that while it is on seems to take my mind away from the Yanks. I love this time of year "baaabbbyyyyyy".

2006-03-14 08:00:19
19.   Alex Belth
Yo D, you mean Starbury and Team Titanic--as the Post has dubbed our New York Knicks this season--aren't enough to keep you distracted? lol
2006-03-14 08:03:55
20.   Shaun P
Dimelo, I've been thinking about getting a copy of 'Fantasyland' but haven't had a chance yet. I did hear an interview with Sam Walker yesterday on NPR - it was pretty entertaining:

(Click on your choice of media player at the top.)

And I have no doubts that Wright's usual injury woes will soon make him disappear to the 60-day DL, never to return to pinstripes. I hope.

2006-03-14 08:12:43
21.   Cliff Corcoran
12 Mitch Jones is a Russell Branyan type, tons of power, even more strikeouts. Check my Campers post under Suggested Reading.

15 For HBP info you could start here:

2006-03-14 08:13:48
22.   Knuckles
Weird. I've had Fantasyland on hold at the library for a while now (it was on order) and I just rec'd a phone call an hour ago that it's ready for pickup. I've read a couple interviews with Walker and he seems like a funny guy- really looking forward to it.

There's been a lot of good baseball books coming out lately, I'm starting to develop a backlog between them and the non-baseball ones I've been waiting on at the library. Going thru the BP book team by team (only up to Detroit), just got the other BP one in the mail. Hoping the library will get the Dayn Perry one, and will most likely buy Mr. Belth's book when I get the chance.

Unrelated to baseball. Just finished Barbarians at the Gate, about the RJR Nabisco LBO in the late 80's. Anyone who thought Enron and the rest of the early 2000's crooks had a hammerlock on executive greed should read this book.

2006-03-14 08:21:56
23.   Dimelo
Alex, I love the soap opera the Knicks have turned into....I was happy this morning when I saw the score on my cell and see the Knicks lost again. I take great joy in seeing them lose games. They are such a joke. Next thing you know they'll be trading Frye for Ruben Patterson. I thought Steve Phillips was the worse GM in NY, Isiah makes Phillips look like Billy Beane.
2006-03-14 08:30:26
24.   Knuckles
Heading into last year, I got into an argument at work about how the Sox drill people on purpose. Working with Excel all day, my next logical step was to graph BB vs HBP by team, over an aggregate 5 year period. In general, HBP rise wth walks, which makes sense, given they are in theory both control issues. However, one team stood out as an anomaly, showing very good control relative to the league, but an unusually high number of HBP. The Red Sox. Over that period, they had the 3rd most HBP, and the 26th most BB allowed, by far the biggest discrepancy. By contrast, the most plunk happy team (Tampa) also gave up the most walks. Further proof that the Yanks need to drill a few Sox early on in the game, especially if Schilling (loudly) announces what amounts to a tacit admission of Boston M.O.
2006-03-14 09:12:28
25.   brockdc
Wish I could will myself to be a fan of another NBA team (other than the Knicks), but my heart just isn't in it. Woe is me. They're so close - all they need is one more point guard.

Does anyone know how Damon hurt himself? Did he do it in Florida or playing in the WBC? What's the extent of the injury?

Another book recommendation: Freakonomics. Finished it in three days. Not bad for the world's slowest adult reader.

2006-03-14 09:27:28
26.   bp1

Nice to know stats back up what seemed obvious on the field. How many Yankees would Pedro whack over the course of a season?

I thought for sure the Big Unit was going to be the Yankees enforcer, offering a little payback for all those Pedro plunkings. Ortiz sets up in the batter's box as if he's in a beach chair. RJ should knock him on his butt every now and then.

But no.

The best we can hope for is that Johnson was listening to Schill and said to himself "Ok, Curt. Game on.".

Of course, the other way to look at this is to recognize that Schilling is losing his stuff and is resorting to intimindation in an attempt to get batters out. It's always worked for the Rocket.

Man, I really dislike Curt Schilling.


2006-03-14 09:31:40
27.   Sliced Bread
24 Good work, Knuckles.

If the Yanks decide to pitch more aggressively, and plunk a few more batters, it probably won't be at the suggestion of Ron Guidry. He averaged 1 HPB per year, and never notched more than 2 in a season.

2006-03-14 09:52:04
28.   Alex Belth
Yeah, I don't mind the Knicks soap opera at all. The worst of it for me is that I've followed Marbury since he was at Lincoln high school and had hopes that he'd become a great player. But at this point I don't think will happen--he's better than Kenny Anderson but not as good as he could have been.

Oh, and Knucks, the same guy who wrote "Barbarians at the Gate" also wrote a very good book about the history of the baseball union called "Lords of the Realm." John Helyar is his name. Very good writer.

I've also come across a couple of good baseball books this spring, but I'm going to wait to review them--and hopefully provide some excerpts--before I get into it.

Haven't heard any buzz on it, but I hope that Joel Sherman's book about the '96 Yanks turns out to be a good one.

2006-03-14 10:13:46
29.   Cliff Corcoran
25 Damon said it's just a tired shoulder, typical spring training thing for a guy with a bum wing to begin with. Same old jazz as we used to have with Bernie, I'd say. Guy who can't throw and has ouchy shoulders.
2006-03-14 10:40:35
30.   Dimelo
BP - I don't even want to get started in my hatred (not dislike) for the man named Curt Schilling.
2006-03-14 10:46:34
31.   NetShrine
2 thumbs way up on Fantasyland!


2006-03-14 10:54:02
32.   jeterluva
21. Thanks that site was just what I wanted someone tried to tell me that Randy Johnson lead the league quite a few times in that stat. He hasn't since 1993. The Yankees haven't had a pitcher lead in this category since 1950.

24. I'm glad to see that the figures back this up as I thought this was the case as well. The funny thing is Pedro never led this category as a Red Sox. I would have bet money that he did. If Schilling becomes a head hunter hopefully Randy will lead the league again this year.

2006-03-14 11:05:30
33.   The Mick 536
Never too early to scrutinize A-Rod.
2006-03-14 11:05:31
34.   The Mick 536
Never too early to scrutinize A-Rod.
2006-03-14 11:12:46
35.   debris

Damon hurt the shoulder diving for a ball early last August. he hit .252 last August, but rebounded somewhat to hit .290 in September. Apparently, his shoulder didn't heal over the winter.

Damon's a lot like Fred Lynn and Pete Reiser. Both would be in the Hall of Fame today if they hadn't thrown themselves at balls while going after them in the outfield. Fortunately for both Lynn and Damon, they've padded the walls since Reiser's time.

Still, playing like these guys does take it's toll on the body.

2006-03-14 12:02:53
36.   Cliff Corcoran
35 Brian Downing and Jim Edmonds also come to mind. Edmonds could make the Hall of Fame anyway.
2006-03-14 12:17:25
37.   Zack
Looks like our 6 foot Johnson performed fairly well today, anyone get to watch it?
2006-03-14 12:30:03
38.   Sliced Bread
I saw some of the game. Johnson looked good for 4 innings, started to run out of gas in the 5th.

You can tell he's not going at it full throttle. Turns it up a notch when he has two strikes, but mostly seems to be going through the motions, working out.

That's why I'm not worried about Wright's awful line yesterday.
Bottomline: we're stuck with Wright, so I prefer to stay positive and root for him to come around and make his arm an asset.

2006-03-14 12:42:19
39.   Dimelo
I hope our 6 foot Johnson shoots a lot of blanks between April - October, then at the end we can watch our Johnson pose for the camera as the media takes the "money shot" of our Johnson creaming all over the competition.
2006-03-14 12:50:41
40.   wsporter
Dimelo, I really don't think I want to see that or quite frankly even think about it. Why in the world .....?
2006-03-14 13:04:13
41.   Dimelo
wsporter, You wouldn't want to see the Yanks win the Serious? I was just playing with some words...inspired by Zack of course.
2006-03-14 13:33:29
42.   Start Spreading the News
A few womack quotes from BP:
"People just keep throwing stats in your face--like, this guy has a better on-base percentage. Who cares about on-base percentage? It's a matter of where you go at the end of the year. I haven't been home after the end of the year in five out of the last seven years, and I don't plan on going this year."
--Reds second baseman Tony Womack (Cincinnati Post)

"The Yankees took the year away from me, basically. That's how I felt. They took the year away, and it could have been done differently. I just had to deal with it. I dealt with it, and I'm here now and I'm smiling every day."

The guy doesn't get it. Hopefully Yankee leadership does now. If we had gotten replacement level offense from Womack, maybe we win the division by a game or two. Then we rest a few players. Then realistically we win the Angels series and who knows after that?

Switching from clueless to a downright jerk, check out this quote by Schilling"
"Bottom line is, that ball should not have hit him. You've got to be able to get out of the way of that . . . There's just no way that they shouldn't be able to get out of the way of that pitch."
--Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, on hitting the Pirates' Chris Duffy in the head with a pitch

2006-03-14 14:17:02
43.   Shaun P
Tony Womack is delusional. I'm shocked the Reds have kept him in camp, much less in competition for the 2B job.

I also thought what Will Carroll said about A-Rod and the pressbox was VERY telling:

"The press box hates Alex Rodriguez. I won't name names, but many were openly rooting against him. 'This game is officially big-time,' one well-known writer said. 'A-Rod is choking.' The same writer did call his game-winning hit accurately."

I hesitated to post it because of the choking comment - we all know better. But I thought you non-BP subscribers might be interested.

Needless to say, I'm not surprised. At all. What a shame. Part of me wishes that Will would 'name names' so we'd know who not to trust when they write about the Yanks/A-Rod.

2006-03-14 19:37:20
44.   brockdc
Debris -

Thanks for the info on J.D.'s shoulder. I was afraid is was a preexisting injury.

2006-03-14 19:40:52
45.   brockdc
'The Yankees took the year away from me, basically. That's how I felt. They took the year away, and it could have been done differently. I just had to deal with it. I dealt with it, and I'm here now and I'm smiling every day.'

Funny, that's exactly how I felt the moment Womack was signed. Thanks, Tony, for articulating my feelings.

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