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These Are the Breaks
2006-05-12 05:56
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Last night I got together with Cliff, Jay Jaffe, Mark Lamster and SI.com's Jacob Luft for a bite to eat. We caught the game--or at least portions of it--and obviously, it was a devastating night for the home team. Both Cliff and I got home way too late to be able to write a thorough recap of the nights events, which is too bad because it was an absorbing game. The Yanks lost 5-3, with Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter contributing key defensive errors, but the critical moment of the game came early when Hideki Matsui fractured his left hand trying to make a shoestring catch.

Anyone who saw the replay knows how bad the injury instantly looked. It might not have been Joe Theisman/Jason Kendall horrific, but it was painful to watch (oddly enough, it was a night for highlight reel injuries--we must have seen the replay of Philadelphia's Aaron Rowand crashing into the centerfield fence 58 times). Matsui's consecutive game streak--which dates back to his days playing Japan--is over (1,768 straight). Godzilla is scheduled to have surgery today and after the game Yankee GM Brian Cashman commented that it is possible that Matsui could be lost for the year. According to Tyler Kepner in the New York Times:

"It's going to be a long time," General Manager Brian Cashman said. "Whether we get him back before the season's over, we won't know for a while."

With Gary Sheffield still out, the $64,000 question for the Yankes is who will replace Matsui? The lines are open. What do you think?

Bubba Crosby and Johnny Damon both made outstanding catches at the wall, and it looked as if the Sox were not going to be able to get a break (they stranded 15 on base for the game). Their luck would change however as they took advantage of New York's fielding mistakes and good pitching from Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon for the win. The Yankees' fortunes continued to go south. Both Jeter and Williams reached second base in the late innings, making up for their errors, and both were stranded when their teammates could not drive them home. Mariano Rivera allowed a run in the ninth. He was livid with himself when he left a fastball over the plate which Kevin Youkilis drove into center for an RBI single. To make matters worse, Damon hurt his shoulder and right foot when he robbed Doug Mirabelli of extra bases.

In the end, it was a painful night in the Bronx. And losing to the Sox was the least of it.

Comments (104)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-05-12 06:28:22
1.   NetShrine
Kurtis Blow. Man, I'm old.
2006-05-12 06:29:18
2.   mikeplugh
Matsui's injury has been huge news over here in Japan, and people can hardly believe it. It's all over the news, and people are being interviewed on the street for their reaction.

The clips, obviously hours old, show people hearing the news for the first time and many are very very disappointed.

Despite not playing in the WBC, he remains popular. The country turned a slightly clod shoulder to him initially, but after winning the whole shebang, people seemed to forget he decided against playing.

The injury is a tough loss for the Yankees, and an emotional loss for many Japanese people who see him as a symbol of the nation's success on the international stage. If it had been Ichiro, there would probably have been a national day of mourning, but it's still fairly serious over here.

2006-05-12 06:29:47
3.   Alex Belth
I was going to use the entire bit, "Clap your hands every-bod-y, if you got what it takes..." but I figured I'd just cut to the chase.

Man, what a rough night.

2006-05-12 06:31:07
4.   mikeplugh
I used Curtis Blow(s) as my headline for the victory against Schilling the other night. Must be something in the water.

If I ruled the world....

2006-05-12 06:31:10
5.   Alex Belth
Mike, Thanks for the comment. Hope you write something more substantial re: the reaction in Japan over at Canyon of Heroes. It's so easy to forget how huge Matsui is in Japan. He's so quiet and unassuming here. Thanks for the perspective.
2006-05-12 06:35:34
6.   jdrennan
Any thoughts on why Melky didn't get the start?
2006-05-12 06:36:14
7.   mikeplugh
Thanks Alex. I wrote up a quick Matsui retrospective already. In a few days, I'll have a better grasp on how people are feeling once it settles in more.

One nice note...I teach at a high school over here, and we very much want to advance to the National High School Invitational this summer (the Japanese NCAA Tourney)....the local vocational schools dominate the prefectural competitions and always go on to represent at the National. My school has spent a lot of time and energy as an academic powerhouse to get a better shot at advancing. In a Spring warm up tournament in Akita Prefecture, our team advanced to the Final Four facing the powerhouse team that always represents us at the National....the teachers were on their cell phones at school getting the latest scores. We tied them in the 7th and had momentum, but went on to lose by a single run.

In the world of local high school baseball, it's like the miracle on ice. We're poised to really have at them in the Summer when the games count toward advancing to the Nationals, and I think we have a great shot to beat them and go to Osaka for the 1st time ever. I'll document the run later in the Summer...but it's exciting to be around baseball at this level with so much enthusiasm.

2006-05-12 06:45:44
8.   Dimelo
Alex, Wasn't Reese called up? Stupid move on the Yankee's part if it's true.
2006-05-12 06:48:59
9.   mikeplugh
Reese was in fact called up. Speculation was Thompson, but my guess is that they didn't want to play a 2nd minor leaguer big innings, and they want Thompson to play everyday.

Just my guess. I say play him...but it's not realistic in the Yankee environment. The guys pulling the strings don't work that way.

2006-05-12 06:50:42
10.   bp1
6 Speculation in the TV booth that Melky did not get the game because he probably has never seen a knuckleball before.

But Lord knows he's seen his share of knuckleheads.

Sturtze vs Manny? Oy.

Matsui - get well soon big fella.

BP

2006-05-12 06:54:40
11.   jonnystrongleg
If I recall, the last time an important position player went down with a terrible injury was when Huckaby crushed Jeter's shoulder with his catcher's equipment at third base in Toronto in 2002. Jeter came back pretty quickly (considering) and picked up where his career left off. Here's hoping that Matsui's toughness (I was shocked he was not rolling around in agony last night) and determination bring him back as fast as possible with no long term effects.

As for the game, it is a fairly routine play for a MLB firstbasemen to come off the bag, catch the ball, and tag the runner. Replays clearly show Cairo did not catch the ball before applying the tag. If either of our actual firstbasemen were playing the position, I think they make that play no problem and we are talking about Jeter's game saving play today.

2006-05-12 06:54:50
12.   vockins
Good lord. The last thing this team needs is a new excuse to play Williams every day.
2006-05-12 06:55:17
13.   SteveF
Hey Alex? I heard an interview with Torre and he mentioned he was reading a Curt Flood book. Any chance that's yours?
2006-05-12 07:02:53
14.   Shaun P
11 That's what happens when you decide to play a guy because of 14 ABs. Sigh.

8 Dimelo, IIRC, Reese can play LF and CF, Thompson plays only RF. With Melky already up, and Sheff on his way back soon (I hope), they really don't need another RF, right?

If Godzilla really is out for the year, I hope Cashman makes a Chacon-like trade again. Give up a couple minor league B-arms for someone like a Craig Wilson. Or if two B-arms will get the Yanks Bobby Abreu, as Buster Olney speculates, all the better!

2006-05-12 07:04:55
15.   Alex Belth
Steve F,
Yeah, at the end of the Joe Torre report yesterday on Mike and the Mad Dog, the guys were talking up Leigh Monteville's new book on Babe Ruth and Torre said that since Mel is gone, he's not playing cards on the plane and catching up with his reading instead. "I'm going through the Curt Flood book now" is what he told them.

And yeah, it's my Flood book he was referring to. Pete Abraham got him a copy, and told me last week that Torre had it on his desk in the manager's room at Fenway Park when the Yank-Sox game was post-poned. So I knew he was travelling with a copy. A

I don't think he would have mentioned it if he thought it was doo-doo, so yeah, without getting a swell head about it, I have to say it was a real thrill to hear that news. Talk about a blessing. Torre played with Flood on the Cards in 69 and Torre was a big union guy in early days. So I admit that I'm geeked that Torre is reading what I spent so much time, effort and hard work into creating.

2006-05-12 07:07:12
16.   wsporter
I am really bummed about the loss of Matsui. Sheff will be back in 2 -3 weeks and we can put a decent platoon together that may give us a speed OBP factor that may keep the lineup churning. Defense and outfield speed may improve somewhat as well.

I thought it was significant that Cash, when interfiewed by ESPN about Matsu, didn't mention GOB as part of the outfield solution. I hope that means his role won't shift or expand significantly.

I wonder how differently we'll have to play without the big left-handed power bat in the 6 hole. The productive out concept is something Matsui embodies. I think we'll miss that and maybe more than we realize. That $14 million was well spent.

2006-05-12 07:09:42
17.   Oscar Azocar
14 Unfortunately, I think they will try to go after someone more expensive in their walk year, such as Torii Hunter, which will cost them a bit more. I really hope that Philip Hughes is not used as a trading chip.

Is Andruw Jones in his walk year also? Ugh!

2006-05-12 07:15:02
18.   Dan M
Alex, that's so cool that Torre is reading the book. Hopefully he'll like it so much that he'll stop by the site and read what we have to say.

I have to say, Torre lost that game when he filled out the lineup card with Cairo at first. If he thought Cairo would have a better chance against Wakefield than Phillips, he was dead wrong.

2006-05-12 07:17:36
19.   standuptriple
11 That play should have been made. Cairo showed what he was really made of at the plate. Can you say Golden Sombrero? I'm almost surprised Wake didn't throw him a bone to keep him in the lineup v. him all season. You know, because if that happens there's no way it changes the "strategy" in 2006.
And then Damon's dog is barking too. We can overcome. I believe.
2006-05-12 07:18:20
20.   Alex Belth
Here is what Buster Olney has to say about possible replacements for Matsui:

"1. Bobby Abreu, Phillies. General managers from other teams say Phillies GM Pat Gillick was extremely motivated in his effort to trade Abreu all winter -- mostly because of the $30 million still owed to Abreu for this year and for next year. There is a dramatic split among evaluators on how good of a player Abreu is: The New School Number Crunchers love Abreu for his incredible on-base percentage, prolonged at-bats, and his offensive production, while a lot of the Old School Scouts say he's worth much less than his numbers suggest, believing he doesn't play hard all the time and that his physical condition is regressing. An Old School scout asked of him recently, "Can't he just dive for a ball one time?"

Gillick acquired David Dellucci on the eve of the season, so he has options if he really wants to move Abreu, who is batting .264 with four homers and a .438 on-base percentage so far. If the Phillies are ready to deal the All-Star, the Yankees probably wouldn't have to give up much talent -- maybe a couple of Grade B prospects -- in order to get him, because of the size of his contract. The real value of the deal to Gillick may be the financial flexibility gained, as he considers ways of helping the team before the trade deadline.

Interestingly, a deciding vote on Abreu may come from someone who knows Abreu well, someone who is regarded with great respect within the Yankees' organization: Third base coach and former Philly manager Larry Bowa.

2 and 3. Shannon Stewart or Torii Hunter. Each would be a good fit for the Yankees -- Stewart because of his offensive prowess and Hunter because of his power and remarkable defense. The question is when or if the Twins will decide to blow up their season. They haven't looked good, but it's still very early in the season, and Minnesota GM Terry Ryan may not be ready to deal until sometime in July. The Yankees will want to move before then.

4. Aubrey Huff, Devil Rays. He can play multiple positions, he looked good in spring training, and he knows AL East pitching. But he's also hitting .156, he's not a good outfielder, and Tampa Bay has been aggressive in asking for good young pitching, something the Yankees won't part with for Huff, as they rebuild their farm system.

5. Alfonso Soriano, Nationals. They know him, they know he can play in and enjoy New York, and he's getting better in the outfield. The key questions would be: When would the Nationals be ready to trade, and do the Yankees have what Washington GM Jim Bowden would want in a deal?

6. Mike Cameron, Padres. Right now, The Padres would have no reason to want to make a trade, because they're contending in the NL West.

7. Austin Kearns, Reds. Sure, the Yankees could use him, but it's hard to see a fit for trade partners here. Cincinnati wants pitching, and the Yankees really don't have much pitching to offer.

Abreu makes a whole lot of sense if the Phillies are still motivated to move him."

2006-05-12 07:18:59
21.   Shawn Clap
14 Do you have the link to that Buster Olney bit? Or, better yet, do you have his dealer's beeper number? Because obviously the Angel Dust I'm smoking isn't nearly as pure as Busters.

I don't think Bobby Abreu's coming here unless we consider Mo & Moose "B-arms".

2006-05-12 07:21:39
22.   Beth
Alex, first kudos on the interview yesterday and the Torre news. You are big time.

Also, sincere condolences to everyone on Matsui. The replays made me physically ill last night. A horrible thing to happen and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Hate to sound corny, but the rivalry's only really fun when the teams are evenly matched, with all hands on deck. Matsui will be missed this season.

2006-05-12 07:21:47
23.   Rob Gee
I feel sick about Matsui the same way I felt sick with Jeter 11. Unfortuntely this is probably a good bit longer.

Alex, that is really cool. Props to that - take time to enjoy those little things! Maybe you can swing a one-on-one during a NY off-day? I know I'd love to read it.

Reese as a bench player makes sense. This team would never start Thompson and Melky together unless they had no other choice. But it does mean we're going to see more of Bernie than we'd like. Torre did say on the post-game that's we're going to 'obviously' see Cabrera every day. Hopefully he proves he's a regular ML'er and Bubba jumps Bernie on the depth chart.

2006-05-12 07:27:30
24.   Shaun P
17 20 Getting Abreu, especially if he's cheap, would ROCK.

Hunter I suppose would be OK, especially since he's in his walk year anyway, and then Damon could go play LF. Shannon Stewart and his .295/.352/.384 can stay away, thanks.

I love him, but nothing would be worse than getting Soriano back. He got off to a hot start but he's come back to earth: 40 ABs in May, .175/.195/.400 (3 HR) - and 13 Ks. Please spare us.

Cashman is too smart to trade anyway any of the most valuable chips in the minors. I hope. Whatever they do, they can't give up anything of too much value. Maybe they could throw Wright in to spice it up. ;)

2006-05-12 07:28:08
25.   vockins
http://hideki.co.jp

I knew Matsui had a museum, but I didn't know it was the size of a plantation home. Apologies if this is old news.

2006-05-12 07:29:38
26.   vockins
I gotta go with Clap - as insane as Abreu would be, he ain't coming here unless the Yanks give up some insane goods. Not gonna happen.
2006-05-12 07:30:04
27.   Shaun P
21 See Alex's 20. Hey, if Gillick does want to move Abreu and the $30 million he's owed over the next 3 years, and he'd take cheap minor league arms in return, who cares who's smoking what?
2006-05-12 07:31:07
28.   KJC
15 That's very cool -- congrats, Alex!
2006-05-12 07:32:48
29.   Rob Gee
20 Great, analysis by way of Buster.

I'd be very suprised if we made a move before we see what Melky's got. If he's legit then we're back to where we started in two weeks (unless Shef is worse than thought)- average OF defense at the corners and no DH.

Abreu is interesting and it would be fun if one of the beat guys got Bowa's take. If the price is what you say, I'd be surprised if we don't do it. The cash is really steep but that's one thing that's less of a worry. Also means Shef's option is very tenuous esp. since that would be 57 mil on the OF next year for an old and fragile bunch.

I can't see Ryan giving us any breaks and us not paying their price on either one.

Soriano is extremely interesting as a possibility but again only if the price is right. But would any of us really want him back?

2006-05-12 07:36:22
30.   Simone
Congrats, Alex. I can only imagine the thrill of knowing that Joe is reading your book.

When I woke up to the bad news about Matsui, I just cringed. Ugh, that game was just the worse.

2006-05-12 07:38:29
31.   Knuckles
What the roster/lineup needs to look like in 2 weeks:

CF Damon
SS Jeter
DH/1B Giambi
3B Arod
RF/DH Sheff
C Posada
2B Cano
LF Melky
1B/DH Philips

Bench:
Stinnett
Bernie
Bubba
Cairo (but never to play 1B)
Thompson

SP Johnson
SP Moose
SP Chacon
SP Wang
SP Wright (unfortunately)

CL Mo
SU Farns
RP Villone
RP Proctor
RP Myers
RP Matt Smith

Bye bye: Sturtze, Small

2006-05-12 07:38:50
32.   hensley
Abreu would be a tremendous acquisition, but I just don't think it'll be as easy as pie, especially with the Yanks obviously in a vulnerable position. The other options are either too expensive or "meh." Cameron would be an upgrade over Crosby, but by how much? They also shouldn't just be looking for OF help, a real DH (or DH/sometime OF) could do the same thing. It doesn't help us much to move Bernie from RF to DH. Is Reggie Sanders not possible?
2006-05-12 07:43:22
33.   Rob Gee
31 Agree with you on the starting line-up but Thompson should be playing every day and it ain't happening with the big club, not now at least. If Melky reverts to 2005 form, then we'll see Thompson. Remember, Cabrera has only 6 AB's this year, and now you want to start him in LF (a position he's never played) for the foreseeable future?
2006-05-12 07:44:44
34.   Simone
Ummm... I just found out about Damon's injury. Yankee outfielders are dropping like flies. I say the Yankees go after Soriano or someone servicable like Dellucci.
2006-05-12 07:47:22
35.   SteveF
That's pretty cool, Alex! You have a relaxed, conversational style to your writing that really draws the reader in.

I still remember that writeup you had from the winter meetings back a few years ago. That was a quality piece of writing.

Congratulations on the success of your book!

2006-05-12 07:50:31
36.   Zack
Of course, had Torre kept his word of really seeing what Phillips could do, at least we would know where we stand at DH, but nooooo. I suppose our lineup will look something like this:

Damon
Jeter
Giambi
Arod
Posada
Cano
Bernie
Bubba
Melky

That bottom of the order is painfully weak as it stands

2006-05-12 07:53:15
37.   yankaholic
They say injuries happen in sync.. just when it looked like Matsui may be done for the season.. and i was thinking some "cheaper" OFers.. i thought of David Delluci.. he may not be the BEST option.. but he will be cheap, but BAM Rowand runs into the Phiily wall and i dont think Phillies are dealing any OFers for now
2006-05-12 07:56:38
38.   JohnnyC
You all seem to conveniently forget Cairo's important contributions to our World Championship in 2004. Oh, how soon we turn on our heroes. As for playing a position he's unfamiliar with...you seem to also forget the Gold Glove he won in 2004 (the first Gold Glove given to a utility player!). And starting him instead of Andy Phillips? Oh, come on, who can forget the homerun he hit off Wakefield in 2003? What? Aaron Boone? Never heard of him.
2006-05-12 07:58:19
39.   weeping for brunnhilde
15 Hey everyone, check out the outsized head on Alex!

Seriously, Alex, that must be just terrific to hear. Nice job, you've earned it and I'm happy for you.

I heard the interview too and thought, "Wow, that's Alex' book he's talking about."

And I've not said this yet, but great job on the blog, as well. This place is a pleasure and you guys both really set a nice tone.

Cheers.

2006-05-12 07:59:15
40.   tocho
Congratulations Alex, this is the best news. I hope he tries to reach you after reading the book.
2006-05-12 08:00:33
41.   Bob Timmermann
With the time delay, you aren't likely to see anything in the English language Japanese press until Saturday.

You can keep an eye out here:
http://tinyurl.com/r953e

for links to all the sports sections.

http://www.japanesebaseball.com will likely have some discussion already.

2006-05-12 08:08:39
42.   Nick from Washington Heights
"Interestingly, a deciding vote on Abreu may come from someone who knows Abreu well, someone who is regarded with great respect within the Yankees' organization: Third base coach and former Philly manager Larry Bowa."

Based on my memory of a Baseball Tonight episode early last season, Bowa loves Abreu. Therefore, Abreu's coming here. Simple as that. Right? No hearsay in that.

2006-05-12 08:09:02
43.   weeping for brunnhilde
11 and 19

I don't know about that play. What I do know is that watching the replay, I had the feeling that Derek had more time than he thought he did.

I think he might have had time to spring to his feet, cat-like, and make a true throw.

At least, it would've been bang-bang, I think, which may have been the wiser course.

Then again, he's not exactly wrong to trust that arm of his from the ground, so I don't know.

In any case, I think it's a stretch to say that the play "should have been made."

2006-05-12 08:11:45
44.   JohnnyC
Giambi made that same tag play in Tuesday's game. Yes, it should have been made.
2006-05-12 08:12:53
45.   e double trouble
Yo Bronx Banters

The door is open ... someday ... Alex Belth will sit down with Joe T. for a talk.
Whooooooooohhooooooooooooo!
We are all very very fortunate.
Here's to the future
Looking forward

E double

2006-05-12 08:15:30
46.   Shaun P
BTW Congrats Alex on having Mr. Joe Torre himself plug your book. That has to be a great feeling.

42 That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

2006-05-12 08:15:42
47.   Rob Gee
You know, the Matsui injury really has a way about overshadowing things.

Jeter and Bernie made two huges errors and we lost the game. Where's the outrage there?

I mean, Jeter had time to at least get to one knee and make a better throw. Yeah, an actual 1B makes the play, but he had the time to make a better throw and it's not like he was deep in hole or anything.

And Melky gets 'off the hook' for not catching the ball the other night, but Bernie overruns a flyball into a double and he doesn't get hammered for it?

BTW: What was up with Cairo hitting in the 8th last night? Looks like Phillips had his shot this year. You know, all 29 AB's.

2006-05-12 08:18:10
48.   standuptriple
21 I really don't see major obstacles in getting Abreu either. The Phils are locked in on what they believe to be a problem contract. That's what the Yanks do, solve problem contracts. They will ask for the moon, but they konw the market for him is very thin and they need pitching (remember this is the team that SIGNED Ryan Franklin) so they are not the best judges of talent. If Cash has any mojo now would be the time to use it.
2006-05-12 08:27:36
49.   pistolpete
38 We won a World Championship in 2004?
2006-05-12 08:38:57
50.   unpopster
A few things about a possible Abreu trade:

1) My wife's family lives in Philadelphia and are huge Phillies fans. If you listen to them, and supposed the entire Philly Phanbase, talk about Abreu you come away with the impression that as good of a hitter and OBP machine that he is, he is an incredibly frustrating player to watch every day. They claim that he is often lazy, is a huge liability on the base paths and prone to concentration lapses in the field that drive Phils phans crazy.

After Abreu won the 2005 All-Star Game HR Hitting Contest, it supposedly went to his head and he swung for the fences the remiander of the season. If you look at his 2005 stats, Abreu batted .307 with 18 HRs and an .954 OPS pre-AllStar Game and then .260 with 6 HRS and a .787 OPS post All-Star Game.

This seems to support their claim that he might be a headcase.

2) Having pointed that out, Abreu might be a great pick-up if only because it gives the Yanks insurance in RF should Shef decide to walk after 2006. OR, it may allow them to resign Shef as a DH and keep Abreu in RF.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-05-12 08:41:01
51.   wsporter
11 Johnny, as to the play I think you're right, Cairo has to make that play; while not exactly routine it happens enough that a 1st baseman has to make it routinely. Weeping 43 I can't see how Jeter has to "spring cat like to his feet" on a wet infield and make the play with Loretta running and busting it down the line. Cairo knows he should have made that play.

Abreu might be a great fit, if you compare his stats to Matsu's they look somewhat similar. He sees a lot of pitches and has a great OBP. He does however hit a lot of balls on the ground. If Olney is right and the Phil's will move him on a contract dump then great but he's not worth the top prospects we have at any Mi.L. level like Gardner, Tabata, Henry, Jackson, Duncan, Cox or Hughes. If we get some good play out of what we have over the next couple of weeks and get Shef back and playing well we may be able to get Abreu for less than we'd have to pay today (if they determine they still want or need him in a couple of weeks). Of course if it all goes in the crapper we're going to get skinned alive.

2006-05-12 08:52:20
52.   Shawn Clap
Last night was the 2nd loss that could be directly attributed to an poor Yankee "1st Baseman"; see Andy Phillips - April 21. I could understand if Phillips & Cairo were knocking the cover off the ball, but I just don't see it happening any time soon.

I think it's time to bite the bullet and call up Carlos Pena. I don't care if he doesn't hit, neither do Phillips or Cairo, and besides, offense is only half the game.

2006-05-12 08:56:38
53.   Shaun P
47 Rob, I didn't see the play live, so I don't know if the fault goes to Jeter there or Cairo. I'm inclined to put it on Torre, since Cairo should never have been in the game at 1B to start with. Simply because - Cairo can't play 1B!

Ditto Bernie in RF - Bernie can't play RF, and shouldn't be expected to. There is no excuse to have him out there with an extreme flyball pitcher like Chacon on the mound. None. There were so many other ways to configure things after Matsui got hurt - and I'm afraid Joe picked the worst possible one.

Can't fault Cairo and Bernie for being unable to do something - we know it, they know it, it seems only the person in charge and his staff don't know it. The manager allocates the resources, the manager takes the blame (just like with the bullpen).

(Of course, this means that Jeter gets away scot-free, presuming he deserves some of the blame. But what else is new? If A-Rod had made that throw . . .)

2006-05-12 08:58:19
54.   Rob Gee
51 I think it all depends on how Melky does. After that, do you then give Thompson a shot to be an every day ML'er or do you make a trade. Hopefully all this trade talk is premature if Melky does get a legit shot. Then you're right, the trade is more optional if he produces.

On Jeter though, he did have time (though I bet he didn't think so) to make a better throw. I'm not saying he gets to both feet, plants, and fires, but maybe he gets one foot up and makes a more solid throw. Or he eats it and only one run scores - tie ball game. Jeter's at fault there.

2006-05-12 08:59:27
55.   wsporter
52 Shawn If Phillips is given the at bats he'll hit. Unfortunately its now too late to allow that to happen. With Matsu and Shef out there's no space in the lineup to allow Andy to find himself. That's too bad. I think he could have given us something valuable. Well, so go ahead and bring in that pale impersonation of Nick Johnson that Pena is and be done with it. Maybe Andy can get some big league playing time somewhere and prove what he can do. I just wish it could have been with us.
2006-05-12 09:04:21
56.   wsporter
55 Rob, he can't eat that ball, he has to try and make that play. Cairo has got to come up with that tag play and he can't allow his glove to wander into Loretta's chest that way. I guess we disagree on that.

Maybe I'm a little sensitive on the Captain and you're right the throw was errant, but it's in the neighborhood and .....

What a crap-assed game, man it hurt loosing it that way.

2006-05-12 09:06:06
57.   Rob Gee
53 You're absolutely right Shaun, but calling the manager on it is a mutilated horse by this point. Cairo hitting in the 8th though...

Hopefully, if you ever get that interview, Alex, besides talking about Flood, you can get in one question about where his overabundant faith in veterans comes from...politically it's got to be tough, but I think we all agree that's his greatest flaw as a manager.

2006-05-12 09:08:25
58.   Jeteupthemiddle
I think what we do depends on Sheffield. If he is back on or near the time he can be first activated, then I have no problems with an outfield of Melky, Damon, Sheffield for the remainder of the season. If, however, he is more injured than we thought, then I think we have no choice but to explore trade options.

In the mean time, I would say the Yankees get rid of the madness that is 12 pitchers by DFAing Sturtze and calling up Thompson as well. At least we can get a decent platoon going between Thompson/Reese/Crosby during the next two weeks.

2006-05-12 09:15:15
59.   Rob Gee
56 Sorry, man, he has to make an assessment of whether he can make that play - whether he can make a good throw. He rushed it. Cairo's only getting hammered cause it's him. Giambi maybe does or doesn't make the play too - even if he has in the past. It was a terrible throw in a position where the tying and go-ahead runs were at stake. IMO - The SS's fault all the way.

But yeah it was a really bad way to lose esp. with the Bernie play. If Matsui doesn't get hurt, that's all we're taking about. We've now lost 3 of 4 to the Sux. Two of those games were close and late and we lost both. Ugh...

So long as the pitching stays healthy - we're still going win a ton of games. But the ones like last night kill me because against better teams (and I'm not convinced the Sux are better than Toronto even) we have to win those.

2006-05-12 09:26:53
60.   wsporter
59 Rob, Well, he made the assesment we just disagree as to whether he made the right one. I see your point and it's close.

Whats the weather? Game tonight? Go boys.

2006-05-12 09:43:44
61.   pistolpete
50 Abreu sounds like "Manny Lite"
2006-05-12 09:44:46
62.   unpopster
BTW, I dont know if anyone pointed this out yet, but Dotel has been hitting 95mph down in Tampa. From Rotoworld.com:

"Octavio Dotel (elbow) threw two innings in an extended Spring Training game and reportedly reached 95 MPH with his fastball. Dotel has yet to begin throwing breaking balls, so he's particularly clos to returning. As the New York Times says, that's good news for Tanyon Sturtz."

2006-05-12 09:50:46
63.   standuptriple
Both games they lost in this series could be chalked up to bad defense. You simply cannot give ML teams (even the Royals) extra outs, let alone a sound team like the Sox. Of all the games I've seen the Yanks looked acceptable at least on D, the two losses are a direct result of not catching/throwing the ball correctly and should not be dismissed. I can't say I'm in the Pena camp at 1B though. Rather have a legit shot by Phillips. I think you need some offense at a corner IF since our corner OF just got substantially weaker.
2006-05-12 09:51:09
64.   Cliff Corcoran
62 I assume you/Rotoworld meant "not particularly close to returning." The Yanks have said early June all along, sounds like he's on schedule for that.
2006-05-12 09:51:50
65.   pistolpete
62 Good news. If Pavano can come back and be the '05 Aaron Small, then maybe the offense won't have to work as hard.

Now what to do with the '06 version of Aaron Small. My gut tells me to trade him somewhere he can start, maybe get some decent bench players/prospects in return...

2006-05-12 10:09:24
66.   rbj
So why is it that Manny can loaf, stick his glove up, and get an out, while Hideki runs hard, dives and breaks his wrist.
'Tain't right.

And congrats Alex. If Torre ever calls you up on the Curt book, just send him here and we'll fill out the line up card for him.

2006-05-12 10:17:02
67.   ChuckM
I live between NY and Philly now after growing up in Brooklyn, so I'm a transplanted Yankee fan who gets all the NY channels AND Philly channels. As a result, I watch a fair amount of Phillies games and Abreu definitely gets a bad rap-remember this is the same city the booed Mike Schmidt. Besides, how many guys have you seen go into a pronounced slump following the HR contest? It's not all that uncommon. I also seem to recall hearing once or twice growing up that DiMaggio never had to dive for a ball-since he was always in position to make the catch. Mind you, I'm not comparing the two at all, but sometimes a guy gets more credit for making an outstanding play when in reality it should have been routine to begin with (see Byrnes, Eric). If they can get Abreu without giving up the farm, they should do it in an instant.
2006-05-12 10:19:07
68.   ChuckM
Will Carroll today on Matsui...

We don't know at deadline whether Matsui broke his anatomic wrist or if, like Derrek Lee, he broke the bones of the forearm near the wrist. Without that information, I'm unable to tell how long Matsui might be out. Six weeks will be at the low end.

2006-05-12 10:21:04
69.   Dimelo
Why was it that when I heard Matsui broke his wrist I wasn't bothered that much? I like Matsui but with Sheff coming back soon I'm not too worried, given that Sheff comes back when he's expected to. What bugs me is the person who was called up, the lineup construction from here on out and the fact that Bernie is getting more at-bats than he's suppose to. I love Bernie....but when he hit that leadoff double I found myself getting mad at the crowd for yelling "Bernie, Bernie, Bernie". I was like, don't encourage Torre to keep playing him.

I was pissed Cairo was playing first, but I wasn't pissed when Torre had him bat against Paps. Cairo was fighting off a lot of pitches and I really thought he was going to get a hit.

2006-05-12 10:25:44
70.   YankeeInMichigan
Another bullpen option would be Ramiro Mendoza. Take a look at his Columbus line:
5.1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 7 K.

A bright note for a gloomy day: The emergence of Proctor and some highlight reel catches by Crosby reveal a nice thread in Cashman's trade history. For a pitcher (Westbrook) and 4th outfielder (Ledee), we got another pitcher and 4th outfielder (Proctor and Crosby) with useful rentals of Justice and Ventura in between. The fact that we got Westbrook (and Lilly, et. al.) for Irabu makes it look even better.

2006-05-12 10:30:22
71.   jdrennan
It seems like there is no future for Philips or Duncan in the Bronx. Hopefully one or the other in a package with Sturtze can bring Abreau or Hunter.
2006-05-12 10:31:22
72.   weeping for brunnhilde
Some thoughts. O'Neill said that that play was much tougher than it looked and I'm inclined to take him at his word. I don't think Bernie's play out there was as egregious as some of you seem to think, considering it's a new position and all.

And 51 wsporter, I didn't say that he had to leap to his feet like a cat, just that I think he could have opted to go that route because it appeared to me that he may have had time to do so.

That's all I'm saying. That was a tough play to make and I just can't get on anyone there for not making it.

The real point is that if Alex and/or Giambi had managed to put the ball in play things might have been different. Oh, and Jorgie's failure to advance the runner in what was it, the previous inning?

Winning isn't necessarily about making the spectacular plays when the chips are down (although of course that helps), but about fundamental execution.

This team routinely fails to show any understanding of ABC baseball and that's the problem.

It's not about Bernie not catching his ball or Cairo not catching his. That's so not the point here.

In other news, I love having Paulie and Kitty in the booth at the same time. Especially Paulie, I love the nuances he brings out and I love his wry wit and his understated demeanor. It's so funny, while I listen to him I just can't imagine that it's the same guy that threw things and recoiled in his viscera every time he popped out.

It's quite a disparity, wouldn't you agree?

But the best booth of all time, I must say, is going on across town. Hernandez is a gem, a real throwback. He's just such a colorful character, almost like a parody of himself. You know, in weird ways he's kind of like the Scooter, though I'm not sure just how. The comparison just popped into my head, so I'm not sure what to make of it.

Anyway, if you guys haven't checked him out, I'd strongly encourage you to do so, he's a hell of a good guy to experience a game with and the three of them in there have some really good chemistry going.

2006-05-12 10:38:44
73.   Dan M
Yeah, but Ron Darling is laughably bad. He went on a self-righteous, anti-steroids tirade the other night that was hysterical. "It makes me sick to my stomach - I'm not kidding." Oh, please. Get over it already.
2006-05-12 10:39:28
74.   unpopster
64 Cliff, yes...that should had read "NOT particularly close to returning". My bad.
2006-05-12 10:43:59
75.   unpopster
72 "...he's a hell of a good guy to experience a game with..."

I assume you wrote that without hearing about Hernandez's "controversial" remarks about women in the clubhouse and where they do and don't "belong".

I'm not necessarily a soldier in the PC Army, but he really put his foot in his mouth with that dumb comment.

2006-05-12 10:46:12
76.   Shawn Clap
69
Yes, what an Catch 22. I wish Bernie would stop hitting, so Joe wouldn't play him, because Bernie can't hit.

Since Bernie's (admittedly mysterious) resurgence in Tampa Bay 8 games ago he's gone 11 for 31 (.354 avg).

At what point do the Bernie detractors hang thier heads in shame?

2006-05-12 11:00:07
77.   dpmurphy
"jonnystrongleg: If either of our actual firstbasemen were playing the position, I think they make that play no problem and we are talking about Jeter's game saving play today."

Would of, could of, should of. You're talking about one play as if it lost the yankees the game and yet I could point to about 5 plays that could have broken the game open if they had gone the sox way. Less wind here, one more inch there, the ball not luckily going off chacon's leg. The sox were on pace to set a record for men left on base. The game shouldn't have been close. The yankees were very lucky to be in it.

"Cashman is too smart to trade anyway any of the most valuable chips in the minors."

I think you're confused. A 'chip' is used to trade. So there's no 'chip' too valuable to trade. Wrong word.

2006-05-12 11:01:16
78.   Dimelo
75 You have to give Hernandez credit at least. He did qualify his statement by saying, "I'm not saying they belong in the kitchen BUT...".

That was nice of him, I thought...
(sarcasm there, just in case Rob Gee went and got the NOW police on me).

Speaking of NOW, I thought this was funny on the Brushback:
Martha Burke Demands Girls Be Allowed To Join Boy Scouts

Anyhow...I'm sensing from the tone that people are pissed at the loss but nobody in Yankee Fandom is panicking over the loss of Matsui. It's unfortunate, but we have to overcome adversity. This is what good teams are made of and it's the one formula that the SABR peeps can't come up with to quantify its significance - how teams overcome adversity. All we have is Torre and Co., and I hope they make the best decisions for the team. Nobody is running away with anything yet so it's everyone's (yes, ARod I'm calling you out) responsibility to pick up the slack.

2006-05-12 11:05:45
79.   Rob Gee
63 Matsui is an average defender at best. If Bubba plays out there, it actually probably improves.

69 Thing is, Matsui probably need the rest any ways. But not three months. If Melky produces we don't need a trade - that makes the proces more affordable.

70 I think Mendoza is the end of the Small pumpkin ride. But 1 decent month of Proctor and Bubba do little to improve the GM's trading record. He's consistently lost value (look no further than the Weaver, Vazquez, Unit, American Ace search).

71 Duncan's too young (21 yo in AAA!) to give up on. If you trade him, you better get something back that's with the club for more than 3/4 of a season. The problem also is his value now is much lower now than where it should be. Pretty soon they should just bump him back down to AA to find himself.

72 Agreed. Jeter had a little more time to make a better throw. And it's not like the throw barely pulled Cairo off the bag - it was far off.

2006-05-12 11:12:05
80.   Dimelo
The other thing that I thought of last night is that the Red Sox left a ton of runners on base and in scoring position. It goes to show you how hard the game of baseball is. The Yankees didn't have quite as many opportunities, unfortunately it was a key error that killed them - and it wasn't Jeter's, it was Bernie's. It sucks cause they lost to the Sawx, but I didn't see anyone not trying...I didn't see the Yanks giving up. They lost - that happens on more than one occasion throughout the baseball season. They are one game out of first place and even with the injuries we are still better off than last year. The Yanks never hung their head and we won't see anyone feeling sorry for them. They must overcome or they will have no one to blame except themselves.

The other thing I noticed last night is how hard it is for me to hate or dislike Wakefield. All he does is throw that dancing 65 MPH pitch and he does his job with class and respect. He's a professional and a great teammate. Sometimes you have tip your cap to the other guy. He did a great job of keeping his team in the game. If there was one guy I felt bad for in 2003 was Wakefield, even classier was how he was greeted the following year with a standing ovation at Fenway.

2006-05-12 11:16:47
81.   Marcus
77 While you're absolutely right that Boston should have blown away the Yanks last night given all the chances they got, you can't say that the Jeter play wasn't the key to the game. The out would have ended the inning and it would have been 3-2 Yanks. Different ball game. Is there really a problem about speculating what "would of, should of, could of" happened in the comments section of a blog?

And anyway, with all those chances, isn't it more of a case of Boston blew all their chances? If it should have been a blow out, and it wasn't, what is that saying about Boston?

2006-05-12 11:22:29
82.   Marcus
It just dawned on me, that should be "would have, could have, should have"...

Carry on.

2006-05-12 11:24:14
83.   Shaun P
77 Actually, a 'chip' is something that has value that one might trade; one need not trade away a chip. So I believe my word usage was correct. (Though I should have typed 'away' not 'anyway'.)

76 Yes, Bernie is 11 for his last 31 - with 9 singles, 2 doubles, and 0 home runs. And 2 walks and 6 Ks. For the year, Bernie is now hitting .264/.303/.330, 1 HR, 6 BB, 16 K.

31 ABs is not enough to prove that Bernie ought to have an everyday role. Especially when he still isn't showing patience or power.

2006-05-12 11:42:49
84.   wsporter
70 YIM sorry to nit pick but this caught my eye: "Justice" and "useful rental" in the same sentence. Useful rental, look at Justices line while he was here that first season:

G(78) AB(275) R(43) H(84) 2B(17) HR(20) RBI(60) BB(39) SO(42) BA(305) OBP(391)SLG(585)

I have to say YIM I admire your notion of what is merely "useful". That and the Chacon trade may be two of the great trades league wide in the last 10 years in terms of their in-season impact. Your right man that was some great work on B. Cashman's part.

2006-05-12 11:43:56
85.   weeping for brunnhilde
75 I know, but that exactly illustrates my point. Was it a stupid thing to say? Yes. Was it an authentic moment? Yes.

Now, we can have a debate about whether sensitivity should trump authenticity, that's an important debate to have, but that remark was possible precisely because of Hernandez' MO, which is to be authentic. I did not hear the remark but I did hear of it. The point is,
I've never heard him say anything else that would qualify as offensive so generally I'm inclined to give him a pass (again, we can debate about whether he deserves one) on that if it means that the rest of the time he's going to be a human being in the booth instead of a hack.

You know?

2006-05-12 11:45:20
86.   Rich
Dear Bernie,

You've been a great Yankee, but it's time to retire.

Sincerely,

Rich

2006-05-12 11:46:33
87.   Sliced Bread
I'm late to the party today, and relieved that it's not a Yankees pity party (no "woe is us") on the comments board.

Hat's off to the Red Sox for taking advantage of their opportunities, and to their pitchers for minimizing the Yanks chances. Hopefully, we'll get 'em next time.

The temporary loss of Sheffield, and longterm loss of Matsui are opportunities for the Yanks to upgrade the outfield defense. Bernie's DH/PH role should not change.

There will be no substitute for Sheffield's and Matsui's productivity and menacing presence in the lineup. Hopefully, the replacement hitters will get on base, and have productive at-bats.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the team adjusts to the changes, and pulls together.

The Yanks will be fine, we know this.

PS - congrats, Alex, on Joe reading your book. Looking forward to the Bronx Banter interview with the Yankee skipper.

2006-05-12 11:47:14
88.   weeping for brunnhilde
80 Dimelo, agreed wholeheartedly about Wakefield.
2006-05-12 11:51:16
89.   Rob Gee
80 Agreed on your Wakefield thoughts. He had a great series in 03 too.

83 Nor is 29 AB's enough to prove Phillips is not an everyday guy. Sigh...

2006-05-12 11:53:22
90.   Rob Gee
84 Even a stopped clock keeps the right time twice a day.
2006-05-12 11:55:51
91.   C2Coke
I haven't got time to read all the comments yet, just thought to let some of you know in case you guys haven't heard about it yet.
Matsui has released a statement on Yankees website apologizing and thanking his teammates and Torre.
His surgery was successful but no words on when he can be back.
2006-05-12 11:58:19
92.   Shaun P
89 Re: Phillips, that too sounds like the mutilated horse you were mentioning in 57 Rob . . . Pining for Colter Bean is also such a horse.

86 Bernie's retirement would be the greatest contribution he could make to this team, especially if he stayed on to coach some of the younger outfielders on hitting.

2006-05-12 11:59:00
93.   wsporter
90 Ouch, Rob. Was that nice? I had a feeling that one might get your attention. I couldn't resist.
2006-05-12 12:14:54
94.   YankeeInMichigan
84My memories of Justice are negatively influenced by his decline in the second half 2001, culminating in an attrocious world series. But by "useful rental," I mean that he was the guy that was needed for a short period of time. Without him, the team would not have made the world series, and perhaps not even the playoffs.

But I am saying more. The brightest spot on Cashman's resume is what he was able to make of the ill-advised Irabu acquisition.
* For a never-to-be-useful Irabu, he got Lilly (a solid back-of-the-rotation guy in 2001 and 2002) and Westbrook (a good trade token).
* Westbrook has given Cleveland only one solid season (2004), and Ledee has never been more than a 4th outfielder, while Justice was a necessary ingredient in the 2000 championship run.
* Justice was done the end of 2001, while Ventura provided the needed link between Brosius and A-Rod.
* Ventura was DOA in LA, while Proctor and Crosby are making contributions in the Bronx.

79I agree that, aside from this sequence, Cashman has little else to brag about on the trade front. In fact, even the Irabu family tree ended up with a dead branch, as Lilly gave way to Weaver who gave way to Brown.

2006-05-12 12:22:15
95.   fgasparini
You know, Jeter will make errors. Tags won't be applied, runners will not be moved over, and men will be left on base. Whaddya gonna do? Last night stunk, but considering we had Giambi up as the tying run in the ninth--not so bad considering.

Matsui going down hurts, but he's not a $14 million outfielder and we shouldn't panic. It's entirely possible that Melky/Kevin TBD will indeed step up. If not, we'll worry after the problem actually develops.

The serious issue right now is pitching. Randy Johnson had a negatove MRI today, which tells me he'd done. Finished. Toast. Got old fast. Cratered like David Cone. Wright is still in the rotation. Based on experience, Pavano will never arrive and if he does, he's much more likely to stink than not. Sturtze is awful. Proctor's numbers are deceiving. Something needs to happen here, at the GM level. Salaqry needs to be eaten, players need to be called up, and trades have to happen.

I'm just sayin'.

2006-05-12 12:24:52
96.   Firebernie
The Bombers lost a game and a gamer. Hopefully Joe lost some of the blind sentimentality that keeps leading him back to Bernie and Cairo. What really worries me is that Mo may have lost something too. He gave up what turned out to be an unimportant run, but Sox hitters took a number of very good swings. No one who faced him seemed overmatched.
2006-05-12 12:31:24
97.   yankaholic
What worries me is that, this will take our eye off the ball, whilst we may have been looking at shoring up the pen if Dotel bombs or going after Clemens or adding some end of rotation guy, we may have to look at OF.. whatever chips that could have been used a.la Chacon trade.. now will be used for a Sanders or a Roberts or Payton.. this is really time to think clean.. we DONT need another OFer.. wait it out till Sheff comes back.. excellent chance to put one or 2 good defensive guys even after he comes back.. dont take eye off the ball, our rotation ERA is a fog, thts where we shud b looking at..
2006-05-12 12:56:54
98.   Rob Gee
95 Are you saying Unit had an MRI that showed damage? Where is that report?
2006-05-12 13:09:24
99.   yankaholic
The interesting thing abt Unit's MRI is that they didnt do one on his right.. the shoulder he jokingly suggested as having stiffened up against KCRoyals..
2006-05-12 13:23:15
100.   Marcus
95 Hey Costanza, "negative" means "good".
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-05-12 13:29:07
101.   wsporter
98 Rob, Maybe the point is that the negative MRI report means that there is nothing physically wrong with him and therefore the only conclusion left is that the aging process has so worn Unit down that he is now physically unable to perform at a major league level. The absence of injury revealed in the MRI means he cannot be "fixed" at this point.

Piffle, until further game results are in.

2006-05-12 13:38:29
102.   Rob Gee
100 I was going to call fgas on the negative bit but he said the MRI was today. So I thought he knew something I didn't or that the wires weren't reporting yet.

101 If that's what he's saying, he's very wrong. Unit still hits 96 on the gun. He's just out of wack. It may be the right shoulder 99 that's bothering him and Flaherty has some interesting quotes, in the Times I think, about how if he's off with his right arm during his delivery, everything else is off.

Interesting stuff - if it is his right shoulder, that could explain it, and Unit might be thinking he can grit it out, and not tell anyone, because he doesn't use it to throw. It's not looking good for that prognosis though.

2006-05-12 13:42:46
103.   wsporter
[102} Yeah I agree about the assesment on #95 (piffle).

Maybe they only released information about the left shoulder? Is there any reason not to look at both if you've got him in there?

2006-05-12 14:35:13
104.   Rob Gee
103 Other than him saying - "Actually my right shoulder was the one bothering me" - no.

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