Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Wrong Stuff
2006-05-20 05:32
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Randy Johnson had another bad outing for the Yankees on Friday night. Staked to a 4-0 first inning lead, Johnson would go on to blow leads of 4-3, 5-3 and 6-5, in the Mets' 7-6 win at Shea Stadium. Carlos Beltran and Xavier Nady took the Big Unit deep, Kaz Matsui had a big RBI single and the Mets' hitters consistently worked the count, fouling off pitches, all night. In the end, t was a fine night for the Shea Faithful. According to Tyler Kepner in the New York Times:

"It's a very humbling game," said Johnson, whose earned run average rose to 5.62. "I'm humbled; I always have been. But I'm not going to quit. I'm not a quitter. I've come back from a lot of things. I know my teammates need me, and I need them. I'll continue to battle."

Johnson said he believed his pitches were still good enough to win. He blamed his problems on poor location and selection.

"Obviously I'm not throwing 97 or 98 miles an hour, but I'm throwing 94 or 95, and my slider's at 85 to 87," Johnson said. "So I've got the pitches. Location and pitch selection are the things that are inconsistent. The stuff is there. People will say what they want, but I'm convinced the stuff is there. It's just not getting the job done right now."

Mariano Rivera took the loss in the ninth when David Wright crushed a two-out single to the base of the center field wall. With Paul LoDuca on second, the Yankees chose to walk Carlos Delgado to get to Wright. I had had a nagging feeling for innings, wondering how the Bombers would find a way to lose the game and this move cinched it. I know Delgado is a beast, but Wright is no slouch and wouldn't you always rather see Rivera pitch to a lefty?

It was a tough loss but a relatively entertaining game. After a flurry of runs early on, the Mets bullpen out-pitched the Yanks' pen for the win. Aaron Heilman had his change-up working as he threw three scoreless, while Billy Wagner fanned the side--including Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez--in the ninth.

The Mets also flashed some nice leather, while the Yankees' fielding continues to falter--another error by Rodriguez, a botched run-down by Robinson Cano. Offensively, Derek Jeter had a good night and Cano hit the ball hard three times, though he only had one hit to show for it.

Nertz to the final score, the bad news for the Yanks came when Jorge Posada left the game with tightness in his back after the first inning. Initially, the announcers speculated that it was his relationship with Johnson that drove him from the game--talk about a headline!--but the injury appears to be legit. Bernie Williams strained his ass legging out a double and Kyle Farnsworth would leave the game with a back problem after pitching a 1-2-3 eighth.

The Mets overall record is one game better than their counterparts in the Bronx. But right now, the Yankees are wondering when the pain will stop. They'll need length and luck today as aces are high with Mussina and Pedro on the mound.

2006-05-20 07:16:35
1.   joejoejoe
I hate the idea of any elite closer giving an intentional walk (unless you are setting up a double play or a force). It's less than intimidating to have your most dominnat player avoid a challenge. I wonder if Mariano's ever pitched around a batter when he only needed one out? Rivera had zero IBB in 2005.
2006-05-20 07:20:53
2.   rbj
According to Baseball Reference, Mo's had 24 IBBs coming into this year, including 3 in 2004.
2006-05-20 07:43:23
3.   randym77
"The Mets also flashed some nice leather, while the Yankees' fielding continues to falter--another error by Rodriguez, a botched run-down by Robinson Cano."

That's what's bugging me the most. What is it with the sloppy play all of a sudden? I could understand it if was just the kids like Melky and Andy, but even the likes of A-Rod and Jeter are afflicted.

From the NY Daily News:

>> The Yankees have 17 errors in their last 11 games after making only 10 in the first 28 and are discovering, as Derek Jeter put it, "You can pitch all you want, but if you don't play defense, it doesn't matter much." <<

2006-05-20 07:57:32
4.   joejoejoe
2 I looked at those same Baseball-Reference stats. I wish I had a quick way to determine how many of those IBB came with two outs.
2006-05-20 08:00:18
5.   mehmattski
According to Yahoo's preview of this afternoon's game, Bernie will not be playing due to tightness in his buttocks...

The jokes are just too easy, so I'll let other people jump on the obvious ones...

No word in the article on whether Posada and Farns are available for today. Let the Kevin Reese Era begin!

2006-05-20 08:05:07
6.   randym77
5 I'm wondering if that's why he was so slow in the outfield last night. As someone noted, it was like he was running concrete.
2006-05-20 08:05:26
7.   Bob Timmermann
If you go to Retrosheet, you pull up Rivera's career stats. For each year, there will be daily logs of when he pitched. You can check the PBPs for the games where he had an IBB.
2006-05-20 08:05:56
8.   murphy
...watched the game surrounded my mets fans (one of which was a mets fan and not a baseball fan... you know the type). it was embarrassing to see mo come in and give up the loss (though david wright is money) after wagner struck out the side. ugh.

on a more positive note, it's a minor miracle that the yanks have managed to even keep it together. between the DL injuries, and (as of yet) non-DL injuries, coupled with shaky defense and the less than stellar hitting by the likes of ARod and Slappy Damon, the baseball gods are smiling on us. if we can swing this many injuries and still be just 1.5 games out, i can remain optimistic about our playoff hopes.

2006-05-20 08:07:45
9.   vockins
These numbers are off the top of my head, but I think Delgado is hitting .375 off Rivera with 6 HR in around 20 ABs. If I'm even remotely close, you got to walk him.
2006-05-20 08:28:32
10.   weeping for brunnhilde
It's really sad to watch Mo be so ineffective.
They say it's because he's not had much work, but whatever. The point is, he's not young anymore and it's making me sad.

All things must pass.

2006-05-20 08:33:11
11.   mehmattski
Does anyone know what's wrong with Eric Duncan? I read for the first time in the Star-Ledger that Duncan is in Tampa and was placed on the AAA DL with back problems. It was only mentioned in passing here in a comment, so I was wondering if anyone else knew more. Clearly, all the fears about Cashman including Duncan in a trade for an outfielder or pitcher are moot until Duncan is healthy.
2006-05-20 08:33:57
12.   Cliff Corcoran
Injury updates:

Bernie and Farnsworth are unavailable today. Reese starts in left. That from Suzyn Waldman's interview with Torre last night. Supposedly after telling her this Torre made some crack along the lines of "gotta like our chances tomorrow, huh?" Ouch.

Dunno about Jorge, but the night game "off" last night might make him available in today's day game if his back is okay.

Peter Abraham reports that Mitch Jones was called up not because the Yanks didn't want Kevin Thompson to ride pine, but because he too has a hamstring injury. This is getting comical.

Meanwhile, Sturtze and Pavano are going under the knife (rotater cuff and elbow bone chips respectively) and will likely be out for the year. Bubba should come off the DL on schedule, and Sheffield could start taking batting practice as early as today. If that goes well for Sheff, who's eligible to come off the DL now, he could be activated in a week. Other than Johnson sorting himself out, there's nothing the Yankees need more right now then to get Sheffing back.

2006-05-20 08:39:28
13.   Cliff Corcoran
11 You answered your own question. Duncan and Sean Henn are both on the DL. It's an epidemic, I tells ya.

And as for Mo walking Delgado last night. Two thoughts. 1) that's one of the few situations in which it's a no brainer to intentionally walk a batter. His run was meaningless and he set up a force, I would have walked Chris Woodward there if a similar hitter was up behind him. 2) When was the last time the Mets had a 1-2 punch like Delgado and Wright. It's tremendous. And they're opposite-handed too, and preceded by Beltran. That's just a fatastic middle of the order. If you gave me a choice between Giambi-Rodriguez and Delgado-Wright I'd be tempted to just flip a coin.

2006-05-20 08:39:37
14.   JeremyM
Yeah, because the fall off between Bernie and Reese is pretty steep. Yes, the injuries are piling up and the joke is kind of amusing, but reading between the lines, it shows what an a-hole Torre can be to rookies and young guys-just look at the way he ripped Cabrera for not catching a home run ball the other day.
2006-05-20 08:40:01
15.   randym77
Torre said Posada might play today, depending on how he feels.

The Yanks are talking to Richard Hidalgo.

I am not confident that Sheff will be back in a week. The NYT reported that batting practice is likely off for today, because he had a lot of pain trying to hit off a tee yesterday.

2006-05-20 08:41:07
16.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Star Ledger is reporting Sheffield's swings in the cage yesterday were not good.

As for all the outfield problems in the organization, now is the time to Free Brett Gardner! I say skip him past Trenton, and give him some time at Columbus to show if he can help out in the bigs this year.

2006-05-20 08:41:14
17.   Rob Gee
Tyler had it as Shef hitting off a tee yesterday and having to shut it down after 10 swings. He'll be re-evaluated today but Tyler says BP is unlikely.
2006-05-20 08:44:42
18.   Cliff Corcoran
Okay, so much on the Sheff thing. 16 You can't skip AA. You can skip AAA if you murder AA, but the jump between A and AA is supposedly the biggest of them all, I just can't imagine Gardner seeing the majors this year short of a September call-up and hopefully Matsui will be back by then.
2006-05-20 08:51:06
19.   randym77
14 You mean when he criticized Melky for not robbing that homer the way Bubba did earlier? I was kind of surprised he would say that in public. In private, I could see. The kid could learn something. But it seems a bit harsh to say it to the press.

Like the parents from hell who are always saying things like, "Too bad you didn't get 1500 on the SATs like your brother..."

2006-05-20 08:57:50
20.   wsporter
18 Cliff, Gardner to Trenton would make some sense soon. It is the toughest jump from everything I've seen but he's murdering the FSL. He's a bit older in that we drafted him last year as a college player. He has something that may make a difference for us if it looks like he's ready: the ability to get on base and speed.

If this year is going to be one long trip to the DL maybe we do need to get the youngsters moving along. Tampa sent down 3 yesterday to Charleston so it looks like the system is starting to shuffle pieces around. Maybe it is time for Battle to move up. I agree though we need to think long and hard before making a crazy move like moving Battle to the Bronx now or even this year.

2006-05-20 09:01:15
21.   wsporter
20 OOPS, Of course that's Gardner not Battle, Battle was sent down to Charleston yesterday.

I need a better proof reader.

2006-05-20 09:03:55
22.   randym77
No Jorgie. And no Reese. It's Cairo in LF.

Johnny Damon CF
Derek Jeter SS
Jason Giambi 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Canó 2B
Miguel Cairo LF
Melky Cabrera RF
Kelly Stinnett C
Mike Mussina P

2006-05-20 09:05:37
23.   Rob Gee
21 Seriously, you'd think they'd find room for Gardner and Pilittere in Trenton, and Tabata and Henry in Tampa. It's not like there are prospects in their way.
2006-05-20 09:06:21
24.   Rob Gee
22 Are you kidding me!!!! Noooooooooooo!
2006-05-20 09:12:05
25.   wsporter
22 The Ghost of Whomack - GOH. It's ALIVE.
2006-05-20 09:16:49
26.   Rob Gee
25 wsport - Seriously, you work your butt off for years to get to the big club, think you're finally going to get your chance, then Cairo starts ahead of you.

And I was thinking earlier - "At least we'll have good OF defense today. With the low scoring afair all we need is 3-4 four runs and defense will be critical."

Wow. Is this one big f u to Cashman from Torre? Remember we played this silly game last year only to end up with Bubba in September. Then this spring Bubba is seen as a go to guy. And now he does it again. Amazing really.

2006-05-20 09:22:38
27.   Rob Gee
I'll bet this is Torre's reasoning:

Oh, Cairo's got 49 games in LF (including 3 innings last year for the Mets!)in his career and he hits Pedro well. Let's give it a try!

2006-05-20 09:24:04
28.   joejoejoe
Rivera's career 2 out IBBs (via

1996 - 6th inning, 7-3 Rangers. Walks Mickey Tettleton to get to Dean Palmer with runners on 2nd and 3rd. Ks Palmer.

1997 - 9th inning, 5-5 Red Sox. Walks Mo Vaughn to get to Jeff Frye with runners on 2nd and 3rd. Ks Frye.

1997 - 10th inning, 8-8 Mariners. Walks Griffey Jr. with man on 2nd to get to Rich Amaral. Buhner pinch hits for Amaral. Buhner walks. A-Rod Ks.

1999 - No play-by-play available.

2000 - 9th inning, 9-9 Texas. Walks Ricky Ledee to get to B.J. Waszgis with a man on 3rd. Pedro Valdes pinch hits for Waszgis and grounds out. Nice Bench Rangers.

2000 - 10th inning, 1-1 Twins. Walks Jacque Jones to get to A.J. Pierzynski with Torii Hunter on 2nd. Denny Hocking pinch hits for Pierzynski and singles to center. Twins go up 2-1.

2001 - 9th inning, 4-4 Blue Jays. Walks Delgado to get to Mondesi with Wells on 2nd. Mondesi hits into force play at 3rd.

2003 - 9th inning, 5-4 Rangers. Walks Alex Rodriquez with a man on third to get to Shane Spencer. Spencer grounds out.

2004 - 11th inning, 7-7 Mariners. Walks Edgar Martinez to get to Scott Spiezio with Ichiro on 2nd. Spiezio pops up.

2006 - 9th inning, 6-6 Mets. Walks Carlos Delgado to get to David Wright with a runner on 2nd. Wright singles in winning run.

The only comparable situation I've found in a decade is walking Delgado to get to Mondesi in 2001 but I think David Wright is a much better hitter than Mondesi. Rivera walked Delgado at Yankee Stadium in '01. Doing it at Shea is an invitation for a player like Wright to play hero. Delgado has 39 Ks in '06 and his power numbers are irrelevant with a man on 2nd. It's a single you are trying to stop. But Torre has 4 rings and I'm spending Saturday morning reading Retrosheet so what do I know.

2006-05-20 09:25:38
29.   mehmattski
13 Sorry, Cliff, I guess I should have been more clear- I have the basic info (he's on the DL as of May 13 with a sore back), but I was wondering if anyone knew anything more- how serious is this? Can this be offered as explanation for his rough start with the Clippers? Or will Duncan revert to his .245 EqA from Trenton last year, despite his strong AFL and Spring Training numbers?

26 How could it be an f u to Cashman when Cash was the one who signed a crappy bench player like Cairo in the first place? And what if Reese or Jones dropped a fly ball in the outfield like Spencer and Ledee were a few years back-- if I remember, the Boss hated the youngsters messing up on the big stage.

According to Baseball Prospectus, Cairo has played the equivalent of 26 major league games in left field, with a rating of 100- just about average.

2006-05-20 09:28:11
30.   joejoejoe
9 Delgado v. Rivera (thru 2005)

14AB .357/.400/.429 0 HR, 1 2B, 1BB, 1IBB, 2K

Not a big sample and zero HR.

2006-05-20 09:44:27
31.   kdw
Sterling says Colter Bean has been called up w/Farnsworth's back bothering him.
2006-05-20 09:49:41
32.   JohnnyC
Torre's the one who wanted Cairo back. After all, for a couple of reasons (excessive asking price and people like Escalona and Cano in the system), it was Cashman who chose not to re-sign Cairo after 2004. It's not the DaVinci Code in terms of mystery, for cripe's sake.
2006-05-20 10:13:02
33.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
31 I have a bad feeling about this call-up.

Bean got rocked last night -- 1ip, 2h 1bb, 1hb, 3er -- to take the loss. Lead-off double, failed sac bunt, hb, bb, and then bases clearing double.

His only bad outing of the year. And NOW he gets called up.

We've all been waiting for him to get his chance this year, but one bad appearance like that in the Bronx and there's no telling where Torre will bury the body.

2006-05-20 11:49:38
34.   wsporter
23 Rob that was supposed to read GOW - Ghost of Whomack. I clearly need to drink earlier in the morning as I have no idea how to type sober.

Charleston has a specialized support program for kids and Tabata is a kid. He's just 17. I think they'll bring him up to Tampa when he's ready both as a player and a person. I think they're doing the right thing with all three - Tabata, Henry and Jackson.

There is no doubt though that these three are far more realistically exciting than anything that has been around for a while.

Incidentally they moved Nochi up to Tampa in the beginning of the year and he had a hell of a time as did Battle. They moved them down yesterday so somebody will have to shift. This just points out what a tough league the FSL is; it also places what Gardner has done there in an even more impressive light. He needs to come north.

As for Pilittere he's supposed to be a really good defensive catcher who has good instincts in calling a game. He played in Stat. Is. last year after being drafted in 04. He was going to play in Charleston for 2006 but they aggressively moved him to Tampa. So his placement there already represents a level jump. His bat work has been a bonus and an eye opener. I think he's 24 or 25 so he does need to get moving but they are being aggressive with him.

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