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Tuesday Night's Game
2006-03-28 20:28
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Yankees were limited to four singles and a walk, losing to the Phillies 3-0 at home.

Lineup:

Johnny Damon CF
Derek Jeter SS
Gary Sheffield RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui LF
Jason Giambi 1B
Jorge Posada DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Kelly Stinnett C

Subs: Andy Phillips 1B, Miguel Cairo 2B, Felix Escalona SS, Russ Johnson 3B, Omir Santos C, Bernie Williams RF, Bubba Crosby CF, Luis A. Garcia LF

Pitchers: Scott Proctor, Carl Pavano, Mariano Rivera, Tanyon Sturtze, Mike Myers

Big Hits: none

Who Pitched Well?: Scott Proctor made his second strong start of the spring, allowing just one run on a Sal "Thurman" Fassano homer in five innings while allowing just two other hits, both singles, and a walk against five strikeouts. Mike Myers and Mariano Rivera both pitched perfect innings.

Ouchies: The biggest news is Carl Pavano's return to game action. Pavano, who last pitched with the major league club on June 27 of last year and hasn't pitched in a game of any kind since an A-ball rehab start on August 3, allowed one run on a Shane Victorino solo homer in one inning of work, throwing 11 of 14 pitches for strikes and surviving a dive into first to retire Bobby Abreu on a slow grounder up the line. Jorge Posada also returned to action, going 0 for 3 as the Yankees' DH. He's expected to catch Thursday's Grapefruit League finale. Chien-Ming Wang threw 61 pitches in the bullpen and will take his scheduled turn in Phoenix on Friday. Octavio Dotel threw his first batting practice of the spring. Scott Erickson (remember him?) is expected to pitch in today's game.

Roster Crunch Time: Randy Johnson will start for the minor league campers today, giving Jeff Karstens the major league start. Jaret Wright will start the minor league game tomorrow with Wang and Chacon pitching the two games against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. Though only Johnson and Mussina have been officially announced, barring a disaster start from Wang or Chacon and a dominating performance by Wright (and likely not even then), Wang will start the finale of the A's series with Chacon going in the first game of the Angels series a week from Friday. Wright would then be in line to take the fifth starter's turn on April 15 in Minnesota.

The battle for the last spot in the bullpen, however, has heated up with Ramiro Mendoza (1.93 spring ERA) feeling heat from Proctor (1.06 ERA with the third most innings in camp), Matt Smith (1.69), Matt Childers (0 runs in one start and three relief appearances) and, sadly, Scott Erickson, who will return to action today with a 2.61 spring ERA. I'm still rooting for Mendoza or Smith, preferring to see Proctor find a spot in the Clippers rotation and Erickson find himself in another uniform. Childers is just 27 and is better utilized as roster insurance in Columbus than as a pitcher expected to produce as a member of the opening day roster.

While we're at it, the final spot on the bench seems to be down to Wil Neives (.269/.321/.423 this spring) and Felix Escalona (.263/.333/.421), unless Joe Torre has been seduced by Luis A. Garcia's eleven at-bats, which started with a pair of homers and have since featured three singles in nine trips with just one strikeout and no walks. Nieves is out of options, but just might slip through waivers. Escalona would be my choice, though with the Kevins gone and Russ Johnson not hitting, there's really very little added value to be had with any of these guys. All the more reason to offer Carlos Pena, who could be useful as a lefty bat off the bench later in the season, a minor league deal.

Comments
2006-03-29 05:29:19
1.   Ben
This is off topic but I thought worth sharing with the board.

David Weathers, the sometime closer for the lowly Reds never gave me much cause for thought. When he was with the Yanks, me and my brother called him Fat-Face Weathers. So there.

He signed with the Reds last year because they allow players to bring their kids to the ballpark.

Weather's reasoning follows:

"I want to teach him the right way to play the game, the right way to act. There's no better setting than here. He's going to see so many different personalities, so many different ethnic backgrounds. That teaches him so much in life. It teaches him how to be tolerant of other people's beliefs and the way that they are different. That's why I love having him in here."

Sounds like he's talking about NEW YORK, not Cinci. More power to you David, from one young father to another.

2006-03-29 05:37:29
2.   unpopster
on a very unpolitically correct note, my friends and I used to call Weathers "Corky". Take a look at a photo of him and you tell me if we're that much off...

ok now, yes we were insensitive...so flame away everyone...

2006-03-29 05:48:24
3.   Alex Belth
I caught portions of the game last night and noticed that Bernie looks thinner, especially in the face, and that Matsui's stance is slightly opened. Missed Pavano's bellyflop but saw the pictures of his goofy-ass grinning in the papers today.
2006-03-29 05:50:24
4.   bp1
Anyone else have a Kevin Brown flashback when Pavano lunged for the bag last night? Anyone else seem him grimace on the mound a little while after things settled down?

I thought he looked pretty good, considering, but man oh man. Some of these guys are wound tighter than a banjo string. One false move and something pops.

The shot of Guidry cracking up on the sidelines was great. I think he's going to be a good player's coach. I can't imagine Mel ever reacting like that - not that either is right or wrong - it's just different. Nobody is sure yet how he will be as far as fixing things wrong with pitchers, but as far as a player's coach, being able to relate and talk straight, I think he's going to be great.

BP

2006-03-29 06:35:15
5.   mikeplugh
FYI....

After a little delay, Daisuke Matsuzaka will be pitching his first start of the season against the Fukuoka Soft Bank Hawks.

The game is available live and free online. You can watch on Thursday, March 30th at 1am PST or 4am EST. I know none of you are insane enough to do that, but the info is out there in case you are either:

1. A horrible insomniac
2. A deranged Yankee fan with your eyes on pitching
3. Living in Asia
4. Daisuke's mother

For info about how to check it out go to Canyon of Heroes and follow the instructions. I will post links to the important highlights so you can watch them at a decent hour.

http://tinyurl.com/rlbpx

2006-03-29 06:39:05
6.   NetShrine
Alex - I'm not seeing that in Bernie. If anything, I almost want to say that his waist is the same size as his chest now - which is not a good thing.
2006-03-29 07:35:18
7.   Cliff Corcoran
I agree with 6, if anything, Bernie looks heavier to me this year. Him and Cano are the two guys who seem to have bulked up. What I can't tell in either case is if it's muscle or fat.
2006-03-29 07:41:35
8.   Rob Gee
2 Corky - LOL!

Anyone else wondering what Torre's doing with the lineup? I mean I know it doesn't matter where guys hit as far as run scoring, but why not take advantage of the L/R balance in #3 to #6? Why make those late-game bullpen decisions easy for the opposition? I know he's going to continue to play with it, but why on earth LRRRLL (Damon to Giambi)? That's just silly.

The problem might be he's scared of what Shef would do if he's 6th!

2006-03-29 07:50:22
9.   Alex Belth
Huh, maybe it was the fact that he was clean-shaven that made him look slimmer. Again, I only saw one at-bat, so it was just a quick impression. How has he looked in left and (gasp) right field?
2006-03-29 07:57:50
10.   Dimelo
I just read this user comment on the soxaholix.

How about when Randy pitches at Fenway, 30K+ chant "Where's my daddy?"

I don't know...but I think that's pretty funny. After reading the stories in the daily news and post today, I think RJ is a f'en asshole. Good thing he's a born again Christian and he has such high morals. Kinda like our Prez...what a joke!!! "Opiate of the masses" is so true. Anyhow, I still hope he wins 25 games and I'll root my ass off for RJ the player, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he's vile human being.

2006-03-29 08:10:14
11.   Rob Gee
Hilarious slide show (no video seems to exist) of the Tavarez weird half punch/half bitch slap and with commentary by the AP photographer:

http://tinyurl.com/jdmr3

2006-03-29 08:14:14
12.   Nick from Washington Heights
Steve at WasWatching has it that in order for Choi to be sent to the minors he has to clear waivers again. Is that true? And if so, wouldn't it be criminal of Cashman not to give him a try considering that Escalona and Nieves are vying for the final spot?
2006-03-29 08:19:21
13.   Shaun P
In the Yanks' quest to find a 4th OF who can hit league average or better and field well, I propose that Cashman approach Jim Bowden concerning Ryan Church. Now that Bowden has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to be incompetent in managing his resources - if there was any doubt before - perhaps he'll take Scott Erickson in exchange for Church. Or Wil Nieves. Or Bubba. Bowden's always looking for veteran pitchers and no-hit players, right?

I'm dreaming here, as I'm sure the Yanks' aren't involved in a quest for a real 4th OF. (I have no doubt that Bowden would really be dumb enough to give up Church, however.)

But its a nice dream, when the sun is shining and real baseball seems so close.

2006-03-29 08:20:42
14.   Shaun P
Agreed 100%, Nick 12. I wonder if Choi will even get to the Yanks if the Sox do send him down, though. You'd think someone else out there would take a chance on him.
2006-03-29 09:28:08
15.   brockdc
Randy, just shut up and pitch.

I'm still flummoxed over the Yanks sending Thompson down to AAA. Can someone please tell me how it makes more sense to have Escalona on the bench than K.T.?

2006-03-29 10:00:58
16.   wsporter
Brockdc, 15 Just a guess but maybe it's the word "bench". Could be that they want to keep K.T. playing and playable? If he's playing well at Columbus he's a viable starting option incase something horrible happens and maybe more importantly, he's a viable trade commodity when that time comes. He may be none of those things if he's on the "bench" in the majors. It's just a thought. But I agree I wish they could find a way to get him some ab's with the big club. He sure did look good.
2006-03-29 10:09:31
17.   Sliced Bread
Dimelo, 10 if the Fenway fans chant "Where's my daddy?" at Johnson, I hope it motivates Randy to silence the clever Boston loudmouths as Strawberry did in Game 4 of the '99 ALCS.

Remember they were having a great time chanting "Just Say No" at Darryl, and he responded by launching a high home run to right -- beautiful shot, monster moment, shut Fenway up fast.

Of course Johnson would have to strike out Ortiz, Ramirez, and Varitek looking to make such a powerful statement, and achieve such satisfaction.

But baseball karma dictates that cruel and insulting chants always come back to bite the fans who perpetrate them, you know, like "19-18" etc?

2006-03-29 10:33:46
18.   David
I like Cliff's idea of giving the 25th roster spot to someone who can hit, rather than a backup to the backup catcher or backup to the backup infielder. The Yankees seem content to go with what amounts to a 24 man roster, using that last spot just to park someone.
2006-03-29 11:28:27
19.   Dimelo
Sliced, Check this out from deadspin:
http://tinyurl.com/phy8y

A lot of good jokes there...

2006-03-29 12:20:45
20.   Sliced Bread
I dunno, Dimelo, those Randy jokes didn't strike me as that humorous. I mean, the whole situation with Johnson, the ex, and the daughter is much more sad to me than funny.
I have empathy for all involved, and hope they can resolve their problems.
I also hope Johnson's ready and able to put his personal issues aside, and lead the Yankees to another championship.
2006-03-29 12:59:34
21.   standuptriple
I don't think Randy is in the wrong at all. Just because he pulls in big $ means he's supposed to pay more to a woman who admits she wanted nothing to do with him? He was taking care of his obligations and then she says it's not enough. To quote Chris Rock, "Just because you leave the restaurant that doesn't mean they owe you a steak."
2006-03-29 13:05:49
22.   joejoejoe
As I lifelong Yankee fan I have to say that this era of Red Sox has some of the easiest players to root for in over three decades. Ortiz is a joy to watch hit and Manny is one of the most consistent run producing machines in the history of baseball packaged in a kooky mess. Pedro at his best was the best, better than Clemons, Maddux, Johnson or any other pitcher of the last decade. Bill Muellar was Brosius+ and Varitek is a fine leader. But instead of enjoying a great run Red Sox FANS continue to be miserable and spend more time spewing bile on the Yankees than appreciating their own team. How about enjoying sports for once - instead of making it a petri dish of every stupid thing in life?

I wish the Yankee players could give $1 million dollars to the Jimmy Fund and the Sox players could give $1 million dollars to Association for the Help of Retarded Children Thurman Munson dinner as an example of friendly competition and we could just play ball.

I don't give a shit about marginal players like Julian Tavares, Karim Garcia, and Kyle Farnsworth. Let's play ball, not WWF.

2006-03-29 13:20:27
23.   standuptriple
jjj,

What, you wouldn't like to see each player come out to a drop-down mic so they could trash-talk the opposing pitcher WWE-style? Managers could wear flamboyant garb and do wacky stuff to distract the umps mid-play. Who wouldn't love "foreign objects" underneath the bases?
Can you tell I've imagined this scenario? Fightening, I know, but there are subtle trends that lead me down this twisted path.

2006-03-29 13:44:27
24.   JVarghese81
Hahaha - standuptriple, you have too much time man!

Cliff - unfortunately, the Devil Rays sent your long lost brother Tim back down to the majors...in the same shipment as Wayne Franklin! He's doomed now...the contact with Franklin might have scarred him for life.
http://thnlnk.com/hardballtimes/Around.The.Majors.32906/MUD

2006-03-29 14:35:15
25.   mikeplugh
joejoejoe,

What the heck are you talking about? This group of Red Sox has been one of the easiest to cheer for? Are you serious?

Vartiek is a thug who stuffed his mitt into A-Rod's face while still wearing his mask. Manny plays left field while wearing mp3 sunglasses and his whole "trade me" thing every year is getting old fast.

Pedro was a great pitcher, but he said that he wanted to ressurect "the Babe" so he could hit him with a pitch. The list goes on and on. Are you really a lifelong Yankee fan or a Red Sox lurker?

That makes no sense at all.

2006-03-29 15:15:24
26.   brockdc
Though a devoted Yankee fan, I just cannot seem to force myself to root against Curt Schilling. He's soooo easy to root for - holier-than-thou attitude, bile-spewing rhetoric, and ketchup-stained sock - and all. Class act, all the way.
2006-03-29 16:13:16
27.   fgasparini
Getting back to the top of the thread...laugh at David Weathers all you want, but he's got more rings than Mike Mussina. I know he's nothing, but I remember him and Graeme Lloyd kind of rising up in the '96 postseason.

As for the "classy" current Sox, wasn't it Trot "League Average" Nixon who ripped A-Rod...for WORKING OUT? I mean really. You don't hear the Yankees calling Ortiz a fatty.

2006-03-29 16:30:56
28.   brockdc
Mike -

Loved your Reggie piece at C.O.H. He was like a superhero to me.

2006-03-29 16:31:52
29.   Simone
standuptriple, Randy Johnson is a low life scum who should be freaking embarassed to call himself a Christian. For Christ's sake (and I mean this literally), he has never ever spoken to his 16 year daughter and has ignored most of her letters. What kind of Christian is that man? Ugh. He makes me ill. All I can say is that he better pitch damn well this season.
2006-03-29 16:56:43
30.   joejoejoe
25 mikeplugh

- I'm no Red Sox fan. I'm just tired of the increasing focus on things not baseball. The A-Rod/Varitek play was one incident in 7 years. Have the Red Sox done better or worse having Varitek at catcher? They have 5 playoff appearances in his years as a starter - the same as they had from 1968-1995. Does that make him a punk?

Manny IS a mess (as I said above) but he's a likable mess to me. I seem to remember Joe Torre musing about how nice it would be to pencil in Albert Belle in the lineup when he was a free agent. Would pinstripes have made Albert Belle less of a jerk? No. Neither team has a monopoly on class so I try and respect the performance and Manny performs.

The jawing back and forth is part of baseball (see Guillen, Ozzie). Obviously the "A-Rod isn't a real Yankee" these past few years was designed to get in his head. Somehow I think the moonshot he hit against Schilling in relief at Fenway ended that line of attack. What's a real Red Sox these days, Mike Lowell? Coco Crisp? I like the back-and-forth as well but I don't need a fastball in Coco Crisp's ear from Farnsworth to enjoy a rivalry I've watched for 30+ years. I'm sounding like a concern troll but when the controversy gets more attention than the play on the field it's over the top.

I still loathe Schilling and root against him and found the Band of Idiots schtick promoted by marginal players like Kevin Millar very stupid. I'm no Boston fan - I don't know what happened to me - maybe having Roger Clemens in a Yankee uniform, a player I despised as a kid, made me take a longer view of things. I just want to watch Yankee games and the games with the Red Sox have been great these past few years. It isn't Opening Day yet and some people want Kyle Farnsworth and Julian Tavares to start beanball wars. I'm just asking, 'Why'?

2006-03-29 17:00:29
31.   joejoejoe
27 fgasparini - I root against Trot Nixon as well. I was mad when they Sox got Wily Mo Pena - I thought an aging underperforming Trot Nixon was a clear advantage for the Yanks in 2006. It won't be such an advantage with Nixon on the bench.
2006-03-29 17:07:52
32.   Zack
Please answer me this: does anyone else find it painfully ironic how all the Sox pitchers (the latest being clement aka chin beard) are so up in arms about hitters watching their homeruns, or at least seeming to, when they have the two biggest culprits of said action on their own team in Manny and Ortiz? I mean, talk about those in glass houses! a) try pitching better and its a moot point, and b) police from within and tell your own team to stop doing the exact same thing!
2006-03-29 17:20:00
33.   unpopster
Simone,

WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, will people just shut the f up about what is or what is not a "good christian"!! It seems that between the moron in the White House, the ass clowns running the ruling party, and some of the mental midgets on talk radio, it's no longer good enough to be a "good man" or "good human being"..now, the true test of someone's piousness or worthiness is being a "good Christian"?

pppuuuulllleaase, I've had it with that crap.

For some of us here (including those who consider themselves Christians), it's just fine to be a good person, period.

2006-03-29 17:27:02
34.   joejoejoe
In the not-so-good category...

Cristian Guzman
SS - Washington Nationals - 2005
142G 456AB .219/.260/.314 7 SB, 4 CS

2006-03-29 17:35:26
35.   JohnnyC
Amen to that, unpopster.
2006-03-29 17:35:37
36.   Simone
unpopster, as soon as the "so called Christians" out there shut the f'up with their judgemental bullshit, I will. Until then, I'm throwing back their hypocrisy back in their faces at every chance that I get.
2006-03-29 17:56:25
37.   Zack
Umm, unpopster, methinks that is a conversation for another time and place. Lets keep it to baseball and culture, and leave those pesky topics like religion and politics out of our relatively drama free forum. Baseball is my religion...
2006-03-29 17:58:29
38.   rilkefan
Does RJ flaunt his faith? Identifying it when asked by a reporter shouldn't count.

Also, $5k/mo isn't that shabby, is it? As long as she's in his will, the financial aspect seems ok to me. Only sending a signed card in response to a letter from one's child and not providing emotional support is pretty awful, though.

2006-03-29 18:01:40
39.   unpopster
Zack,

Normally, I wouldn't have even responded. But when a player is criticized for not being a "good christian" or similar, well....it warrants a reply.

2006-03-29 21:13:34
40.   brockdc
I like "Sister Christian."

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