Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2006-04-18 20:13
by Cliff Corcoran

When you've got Randy Johnson and the Yankee lineup going against Gustavo Chacin and the Yanks drop a four spot on Mr. Gustavo in the top of the first on homers by Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi, you've gotta assume the Yanks are about to waltz to an easy W, right?


Randy Johnson had nothing last night. His total lack of command was on display as pitch after pitch floated just above waist high right over the plate. Johnson was serving meatballs on a platter and the Blue Jay hitters feasted on them. By the end of the first an Alexis Rios double and a Troy Glaus homer made it 4-3 Yanks. An inning later, a Rios homer made it 6-5 Jays. A Glaus double and a dreadful play in which Johnson failed to cover first on a ball hit to Giambi and Giambi decided to throw the ball anyway added another Toronto run. After the first two hitters of the fourth reached, Joe Torre had seen enough.

Scott Proctor came on and retired the first five batters he faced before walking Lyle Overbay to start the sixth, and a bunt, a walk and a sac fly plated the Jay's eighth run.

Meanwhile, Chacin shut the Yankees down after his rough first, allowing just a double, a single and three walks over his remaining five innings.

The Yanks got one back off Justin Speier in the seventh, but Shawn Chacon, proving once again that he should never be allowed to pitch in relief, gave it right back when Glaus took his second pitch of the night out of the park. Gary Sheffield then dropped an easy fly ball off the bat of Bengie Molina and Chacon allowed him to come around and score on a single, a fly out and a wild pitch.

And that was that. 10-5 Jays. Johnny Damon made three spectacular catches against the wall to prevent things from getting worse. Matt Smith needed just eleven pitches to work a 1-2-3 eighth to keep his major league record perfect. Otherwise, an utterly forgettable evening for the Yankees. Today's day game couldn't come soon enough.

2006-04-18 22:44:43
1.   brockdc
I'm already sold on Damon. The guy plays hard and has no fear in CF. Sheff, are you taking notes?
2006-04-18 22:45:38
2.   Rich
Torre left RJ in way too long.

The OF defense, besides Damon, who was great, is awful.

With all due respect to a great Yankee, Bernie has to retire.

Sheff has to DH.

Bring up Melky.

Torre is the wrong manager for this team.

2006-04-18 23:26:58
3.   Paul in Boston
Blech indeed. Is this a .500 team?
2006-04-19 00:15:44
4.   Zack
Well if nothing else perhaps another rough start will give Cashman the drive to make some more AAA related moves and cut ties with some dead weight (Wright, Cairo etc)...There's always a silver lining, right?
2006-04-19 03:50:12
5.   The Mick 536
No offense. No defense. No pitching. Not a winning combination. Sorry. Something wrong. Too many big contracts for aging stars is not the only thing wrong. But I be not seer.

What is the problme with Jorge and Randy?

2006-04-19 05:31:29
6.   rbj
I missed the whole game last night. Just as well. I've got to put the whole blame on RJ -- the team is not going to score 9 runs every night, if you're given a 4-0 lead to start you need to work with that.
My question is why was Chacon out in relief? Didn't he get enough work in last time, and isn't he scheduled to start Friday?
2006-04-19 05:37:15
7.   Dimelo
I'm sorry, it's only 13 games and people are already asking for Torre's head. I can't believe some of this stuff. I hope Torre does get fired, quits or rams his truck into a tree becasue I don't think no one knows the true value of a person until they are gone. Torre has disappointed quite a lot, but he still left me with more periods of joy and you have to weigh both the negatives and positives. But to say he's not the right manager for this team then I think that's a stretch. Some people are so fickle sometimes, after he was able to make that team finally start believing in itself last July and they end up winning the division last year we were all praising Joe for his great handling of people. Then they lose in the ALDS the grumbling starts. Then they start out 6 - 7, and people are asking for his head....what a freaggin joke. I'm sorry that's the last thing I needed to read this morning. I don't like some of the decisions he makes, I'm not defending that but I don't think there's a better manager for this Yankee team. Who's your backup plan? Let me guess....Pinella. Bring that f'er in here and this team turns into a joke, he can rip those young kids in Tampa...let him try and do that shit here.
2006-04-19 05:42:55
8.   Knuckles
FWIW, I've been asking for Torre's head for over a year now...

Last night's game sucked- I'm glad it wasn't on Extra Innings. Listened to it on XM, and when the Jays went up 7-4 while I was driving to softball, I pretty much felt it was a loss.

Is Chacon the #5 starter now? I don't get these mid-game appearances for him at all.

2006-04-19 05:53:44
9.   Sliced Bread
Unfortunately, three of the Yankees most glaring weaknesses were on full display last night:

-an ancient ace who will occassionally have nothing to offer.

-a right fielder, whose catching technique makes him as dependable as a scarecrow.

-a first baseman who can't consistently throw with accuracy.

When those weaknesses are showcased on the same night, the team can look like a sub-.500 club. Bad news is, they are.

Hopefully, Moose can stop the bleeding, and the team will score some runs for him for a change.

2006-04-19 06:06:05
10.   Simone
Right now Mel is sitting on his couch watching the Yankees staff and chuckling because no one can kick him around any more for the terrible pitching. One day, Joe will have his turn sitting on that couch.
2006-04-19 06:07:29
11.   Shaun P
Times says Phillips starts at 1B today. Sounds good to me! Hopefully Giambi is at DH and the 3 OF regulars are in their regular OF positions.

I know Sheff can be a butcher in RF, but let's be honest - it is really hurting the Yanks that much? Other teams (ahem, the Red Sox) seem to do just fine with butchers in the OF. Anyone have a copy of John Dewan's Fielding Bible handy?

And, as Dimelo said about Torre, what are the options? I don't see Melky as a viable option, certainly not in RF, even if his bat is now major league-ready, which I sincerely doubt. And if you play Melky in CF, who plays right? Would Damon or Matsui be any better than Sheff?

If the Yanks are going to make a move and want to improve their RF defense, they'd better get someone who can both hit as well as Phillips could if he were given the chance AND catch the ball. The best in-house options I see are the Kevins - and I don't expect either of them will outhit Andy. Doesn't Phillips have some OF experience? Not that it would ever happen, but still.

One last thing - I'm with Dimelo on Torre. I don't think he should be canned, because I see no viable replacement. I just want to see him stop using sac bunts at bad times. He ALMOST has the pen usage right, and with Sturtze maybe going to the DL and Dotel on the horizon - that might get a whole lot better soon too.

2006-04-19 06:13:15
12.   Dimelo
I truly hope you all get your wish and Torre's head goes sleeping with the fishes - as far as his time in Yankee land is concerned. Where's the loyalty? If Torre was showing a pattern of seasons with losing records, then I can understand the comments....but the guy only won 95 games last year. I guess I'm not of that ilk, where I think a new manager is the answer but then again people don't understand my position either. I guess I need a nice red balloon after last night's loss.
2006-04-19 06:18:37
13.   Knuckles
Torre didn't win 95 games last year- the Yankees did, in spite of the manager. Without some of his questionable decisions, they would have won more. Loyalty is for dogs and high school buddies, not manager who have showed time and again that they cannot handle the strategies of modern day baseball.
2006-04-19 06:18:57
14.   Rich
I have wanted Torre gone since he blew the 2003 WS (pitching Jeff Weaver for two innnngs) and the 2004 World Series (pitching The Everyday Gordon with a huge lead in Game 3).

All you need to know about Mel's incompetence, is that Kaat said that during last ST, Mel didn't let RJ follow his regular routine. This year when Wang had a mechanical problem, it was promptly fixed.

It almost seems as if some of you are related to these guys.

2006-04-19 06:24:44
15.   Mike K
The Yanks have scored 85 runs (2nd in AL).
The Yanks have allowed 62 runs (4th in AL).

Some poor play + bad luck = 6-7 record. They'll bounce back.

2006-04-19 06:33:09
16.   Rob Gee
12 I'm with you too, D. Torre's not the problem. For all his strategic moves, he has the players behind him. Now, they just have to start playing. I can't believe it's even an issue after 13 games. Repeat: last year after 30 games = 11-19. Look at it this way - we're better than last year and we won 95 games and the division. My god, you're all a bunch of Sux fans in Yankee clothing.

And we've already "learned" some things about this team:

1) Bernie is d-u-n.
2) Save last night, the pitching has been more than adequate.
3) Matt Smith is looking good.

Last night it was Unit - plain and simple. The guy's 42 and just as it was easy for him to lack conisistency early in his career - on the downslope the pattern repeats. Blech indeed (exactly what I was thinking - I woke up with the taste of bile).

11 LoHud has it as Phillips at 1B with Giambi at DH.

2006-04-19 06:50:11
17.   Knuckles
Rob- We know Bernie's done. The entire world knows it except for Joe Torre, and the fact that he'll most likely still be getting significant AB's all season is yet another indictment of his managerial expertise. I equally blame Cashman for re-signing Bernie, and Joe for using him too much. But he's going to be a dead spot in the roster all year long, because there's no way in hell they cut him or trade him, let alone bench him more often.
2006-04-19 06:53:39
18.   Rob Gee
For all you Torre haters - who's going to do a better job? Casey Stengel?

No, Torre's the man for this job.

13 Knuckles - oh so when they win it's the players. When they lose, it's the manager? My god, that sounds like Sux logic.

14 2003 was more than just Weaver. And 2004 was Mo losing Game 4.

Everyone read Mike's simple post 15 and step away from the ledge.

I can't believe I'm even arguing this point.

2006-04-19 07:01:47
19.   Rob Gee
17 Loyalty sucks, doesn't it? Tea will come around. He benched Bernie last year and he will again. It sucks but that is his great flaw as a manager. It's also why the players love him. BTW: Last year he stuck with Cano when other managers would have bailed. Same with Mo in 97. And Pettite early on too.

Look around baseball - the overwhelming bias is for veterans over rookies. It takes the real prospect to break through early (Jeter, Pujols, Howard). The rest have to prove themselves.

You could have a guy like Valentine or Pinella - but their act gets old so fast and they're no better in the strategy department. The new age manager is a rare bird and who's the perfect fit for the Bronx?

Give me names. It's easy to say who goes. But who's going to be the guy to replace the man with four rings and 9 straight division titles?

2006-04-19 07:44:52
20.   monkeypants
The problems go beyond the use (or misuse) of the bullpen and loyalty to Bernie. Somebody is responsible for the team always carrying a worthless player as the #2 cather, so that when Jorge sits they throw away outs. Someone is responsible for the decision to carry three catchers (two of whom are worthless) THEN carry 12 pitchers -- leaving little on thebench. Someone is responsible for a bench that has both Bernie and (when not DHing), Cairo, and Crosby. Someone makes the decision to bury certain players (Phillips). Someone decides to start a back-up middle infielder at 1B.

Hmmm. Remember when the #3 catcher could actually hit a little, and played some outfield (Leyritz), providing a whole world of flexibility?

I am not blaming Torre for all of these moves--I do not know who makes some of the more strategic/long-term personnel decisions. But all of these problems just seem to multiply each other.

I have no problem with Bernie riding off into the sunset with one last year at a moderate long as he is the #5 outfielder, occasional DH, RH platoon PH, maybe learns emergency 1B. But this only works in conjunction with other smart roster moves, like Designated Hitter who actually can hit, a normal bench of five or even six players some of whom are not no-hit back-up catchers and defense-only replacements, some notion of platoon splits, etc.

Cripes, even a slightly sub-par RF (or even RF platoon) would allow Sheff to move to DH. That alone would dramatically improve the team.

2006-04-19 07:47:26
21.   nycfan
"Right now Mel is sitting on his couch watching the Yankees staff and chuckling because no one can kick him around any more for the terrible pitching. One day, Joe will have his turn sitting on that couch"

The Yankees have the best FIP in the AL so far, so i wouldn't be so quick to dismiss those who think Mel was a bad pitching coach.

2006-04-19 07:47:42
22.   Knuckles
(13 Knuckles - oh so when they win it's the players. When they lose, it's the manager? My god, that sounds like Sux logic.)

I didn't say that. I said the YANKEES (of which Torre is one) won 95 games, and that I firmly believe that in the past few years he has cost more games with his lineup cards and in-game decisions than he has won with his 'touch' and relationship with the players. You of all people should talk. Just because you're vehemently anti-Cashman, and pro-Torre doesn't mean everyone else has to fall in line with your thinking.

I dunno about Torre's 'loyalty' to Cano being a strong suit. He played Robbie after Cashman basically took Womack (who was regulary batting 1 or 2 in the lineup, and even DH'd!!! eleven times last year) away from him. And the kid batted .207 in August after hitting over .300 for 2 months, so it doesn't take as much of a genius as if Cano had come out of the gate and batted .200 for six weeks.

I'm not down on ths team by any means; 6-7 is not a big deal but I feel there've been a couple instances where a different decision could have changed things and they'd be sitting at 8-5 right now.

PS- Amen, Monkeypants.

2006-04-19 07:52:56
23.   debris
re. 15. The Yankees have scored 55 runs in 10 games against teams not from Missouri, a less than fabulous number. They are 3-7 in those games.

The Kansas City Royals have an ERA of 7.02 and might be the worst team in the American League in the last 20 years.

2006-04-19 07:54:16
24.   Matt B
I can't say I'm surprised that everyone is panicking, but I am disappointed. The only thing that scares me is the rotation. If Johnson is not at full-strength or is really breaking down, we'll have some trouble. The OF defense? Yeah, it stinks, but it's not as if (2005 era) Bernie's starting out there this year...Damon, Sheff and Matsui should all hit a ton to offset any defensive liabilities. We need a better bench and a stopper who isn't over 35, but I think this team will be fine.
2006-04-19 07:59:18
25.   Rob Gee
23 debris - Hope you're feeling good about Beckett lasting the full season. Hanley is looking good in FLA - good thing you have Alex G. manning SS.

Good times all around!

2006-04-19 08:09:20
26.   yankaholic
How bad do we look now for passing over Craig Hansen?? He could be in the bullpen now.. we need some young quick fix arms both in the pen and the rotation. I see a complete turnover in the rotation next season, i dont think Chacon, Moose and Wright will be here, if available we should be looking at Kelvim Escobar during the offseason. For RF, the solution is simple call the Twins, get Hunter, move Damon to RF (which he has said he would be fine with if its Hunter). OR call Pat Gillick and see if a Sheff + Cash + Prospect would get us Bobby Abreu
2006-04-19 08:14:09
27.   Rob Gee
My god, people are losing their minds left and right - after 13 games.

Is this the SOSH forum?

2006-04-19 08:16:42
28.   Rob Gee
27 Maybe we can package Hughes for Zito too?
2006-04-19 08:17:51
29.   Knuckles
13 derby,
The Sox are 19th in MLB in runs at 67 (4.8 per game), despite having played 6 games in hitters parks of Texas and Baltimore, and 8 games at home where they're scoring 4.25 per game, as opposed to 5.9 at home last year, 6.4 in 2004, and 6.6 in 2003...

Trying to glean anything out of 2 weeks worth of stats, let alone cherry-picked subsets of same, is pretty much pointless.

26 Abreu's not the answer; he's due for a decline in the next year or so- def not worth parting with Sheff for.

The roster is mostly fine, it just needs to be used smarter than it has been to date.

2006-04-19 08:29:30
30.   yankaholic
I thought Abreu was a younger better RF, ideally it would be Suzuki. And Abreu is a lefty, short porch in right will help him. The offense is not the reason we should tweak the lineup, the defense is the reason, we would not lose too much (offsense wise) by having Abreu, but i have not seen him too much, so i am going more with box scores than watching him. But, the rotation needs a solid #2 guy, if Pavano becomes that guy its a jackpot.

Even if you where sarcastic, i hope Cashman doesnt go after Zito, he cant survive AL East.

2006-04-19 08:31:30
31.   Dimelo
Rob - I'm gonna go back to my boring ass work day. People are losing their minds......I give up.
2006-04-19 08:43:04
32.   Rob Gee
22 Dear Knuckles,

I'm so sorry if I offended you. Of course, I don't want you to fall in line with my thinking. But, I really don't think Tea's the problem. He's not perfect but name another manager who would be better for this team. The problem I think is the roster construction especially with the manager in mind. But that story will have to wait.


Rob Gee

2006-04-19 08:59:46
33.   Marcus
Man, the Yankees better start winning or Bronx Banter is going to self-destruct with intra-fan conflict. At least we've moved past the "Is Randy Johnson a racist?" debate.
2006-04-19 09:17:41
34.   rbj
33 Marcus, I thought this had already become Bronx Bitchfest.
At least Yogi got 16 games.
2006-04-19 09:21:52
35.   pistolpete
23 Beating up on the teams you should beat up on is at least a step in the right direction - last year they weren't even doing THAT in April & May...

This lineup/position shuffling is schizophrenic - they went on and on about how Bernie was going to try and acclimate to the DH role, and how he might be more comfortable if he knew where he was going to play every day. Now Torre's got him ALL over the place, different lineup spot & defensive position every night it seems. Is it any wonder he can't get into any sort of groove?

2006-04-19 09:36:16
36.   Marcus
23 debris, you say that as if scoring 5.5 runs a game is a bad thing. Project that out to 162 games: 891 runs. And that's excluding the Royals? Thanks for making me feel better about this offense.
2006-04-19 09:42:19
37.   Rob Gee
36 Nice Marcus.
2006-04-19 09:45:58
38.   Rich
For all you Torre defenders, anyone with a pulse would do a better job.
2006-04-19 09:47:18
39.   claybeez
We all know there are holes in this team and that the roster has not been managed perfectly. But, it's early. Give it time. A little good luck and sound hitting by this lethal offense (on paper) should start masking our deficiencies until Cash can find a way to fix them...he did stockpile AAA.

Now to the game...Go Yanks!

2006-04-19 09:55:59
40.   brockdc

-Bernie's going to be fine (he's just a slow starter)

-Torre's the best manager for this team - after all, he won 95 games last year with a 200 mil roster and has four rings.

-Slotting Bernie to play left and Stinnett to catch in a truncated series, against a division rival, is perfectly logical and should not be questioned.

-That R.J.-Posada thing should and will iron itself out nicely. Unit seems like the sensitive, introspective type who'd want to make nice for the good of the team.

-Sure, the entire division has improved, but so have we (younger, faster, more athletic, right?)

-Although Torre's in-game decisions are oftentimes maddening, he's loyal, which really should be its own statistical category.

-Having 12 pitchers on the roster isn't redundant - it gives Torre more choices. And choice is democratic. And democratic is patriotic. God bless America.

-Don't panic!

2006-04-19 09:58:15
41.   brockdc
39 This defense is lethal.
2006-04-19 10:06:38
42.   claybeez
41 No offense, but I think that's been stated here over and over. I get it. I think I've said it. I think everyone gets it. Sometimes, it's no longer much solace to commiserate over the negative.

Now, I'm just hoping to see a good game and a win.

2006-04-19 10:36:59
43.   claybeez
Wow, Lilly was cruising. Come on Cap!
2006-04-19 10:41:39
44.   claybeez
Another costly call against us.
2006-04-19 10:59:38
45.   claybeez
Way to go Arod.

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