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Waiting to Exhale
2006-05-25 05:53
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

There was not a dramatic turn-around for Randy Johnson on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. He pitched inconsistently and poor enough to allow five runs in five innings, but he did strike out eight (matching his season high) while only walking two. As fate would have it, Johnson pitched just well enough for him to earn the victory in the Yankees' 8-6 win. Fortunately for New York, Boston's starter Matt Clement had more than his fair share of problems-—mostly throwing strikes. Batting in the lead-off spot in place of Johnny Damon—who Joe Torre felt sorely needed a rest--Melky Cabrera drove in four runs and was the offensive hero of the game. Cabrera also made a fine running catch to rob Mike Lowell of a hit to end the seventh (it wouldn't be Lowell's only lost hit of the night). The Yanks survived three extra base hits from Manny Ramirez, including two home runs, and Kyle Farnsworth struck out David Ortiz with the bases loaded to end the eighth, the dramatic highlight of the game. After getting served by Curt Schilling on Monday night, the Yanks wind up winning the series and they leave town just a half-a-game behind the Sox.

The Sox got to Johnson early. Kevin Youkilis, who Cliff recently called a right-handed version of Nick Johnson, singled and reached third on Mark Loretta's line drive off the Green Monster. Loretta was thrown out at second and then Ortiz whiffed--one of four K's on the night for Cookie Monster. But Ramirez belted a home run over everything in left and just like that Johnson was in a hole. (For what it is worth, Ramirez put his head down and ran after both of his dingers on Wednesday.) The Yanks put up four in the second thanks in large part to Clement's wildness—he walked two batters, hit another, got smacked in the leg by an infield single by Bernie Williams and surrendered a key, two-run single to Cabrera.

The lead didn't last long. After striking out the first two men in the bottom of the second, Alex Gonzalez singled and then stole second. Johnson got ahead of Youkilis 0-2 but could not put him away. It's become customary to see Youkilis—like Jason Giambi—extend virtually every at-bat to a full-count situation. Johnson's payoff pitch was a flat slider and Youkilis crushed it for a game-tying homer.

When the Sox connected for three consecutive hits to start the third inning, Johnson looked cooked. Boston had regained the lead, 5-4 and had runners on second and third with nobody out. But then Johnson retired the next three men—the bottom of Boston's order—all, on strikes to escape further trouble. He worked a perfect fourth, and after the Yanks chased Clement from the game in the fifth, scoring four times off of five hits, including another two-run single by Cabrera, Johnson pitched around a lead-off walk to Ramirez and left the game with an 8-5 lead. It was far from impressive—Johnson gave up hits on 0-2 counts several times--but there were positives to be taken from Johnson's performance, especially innings 3, 4 and 5. And at this point, I think it's only realistic to expect baby-steps from the Big Unit, despite his reputation and his terrific career.

Scott Erickson—can you dig it?—Mike Myers and Scott Proctor worked the sixth and seventh innings. Proctor gave up another home run to Ramirez but it was a solo shot and it was the last run that Boston would score all night. However, the Sox did have a ripe opportunity for more runs in the eighth. After an error, a single and a stolen base, Boston had runners at second and third with just one out against Kyle Farnsworth with the top of the order due up. But Farnsworth got Youkilis swinging at cheese. He got ahead of Mark Loretta, Bill Mueller's replacement as the resident Everyman-looking Yankee-killer, but then was wild with the fastball upstairs on consecutive pitches. The 3-2 pitch went over catcher Kelly Stinnett's head but Willy Mo Pena hesitated at third base and did not score. He would have scored easily if he had had a good jump.

Regardless, Fenway Park got very loud with David Ortiz coming to bat. Yankee-Red Sox games have become like NBA playoff thrillers. Generally speaking, just skip the first three hours and tune in around 10:15 to feel the tension and watch some excitement. How many times has Ortiz delivered in this kind of situation? Farnsworth got ahead of him and Ortiz fouled off three pitches before being frozen by a hanging slider for strike three. For one night at least, Ortiz did not have the Yankees' number. It was an enormous strike out for Farnsworth.

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth inning and after throwing strike one on the inside part of the plate to Ramirez, Rivera brushed the slugger back. Manny got on top of the next pitch, a cutter out over the plate, and fouled it off. Then, Rivera threw another pitch inside for ball two. The fifth pitch was a cutter, again over the plate. It was a pitch that Ramirez has been killing all series long. He put a decent swing on the ball, but was perhaps just a little bit tentative after the two inside pitches. The result was a fly ball to Bernie Williams' glove in center field instead of a home run to the bleachers.

Jason Varitek followed and grounded out and then Mike Lowell slapped a ground ball past Alex Rodriguez in the hole. Derek Jeter—who ended the night one hit shy of 2,000 for his career—gloved the ball, and moving to his left, jumped in the air and threw to first as he was falling towards left field. It is the play that Jeter is famous for, the one that looks so impressive. (Of course, it is a wonderfully athletic play, it's just other shortstops would be make it less dramatically, though Jeter can't be faulted for having a long, over-sized body for his position.) The throw didn't short-hop Andy Phillips, who replaced Giambi at first, but it bounced before him awkwardly. Phillips made a defensive stab at it and caught the ball a fraction of a second before Lowell's foot hit the base.

Lowell, who in spite of making his fourth error of the season, has been a vacuum at third base (and is considerably slicker there than his counterpart on New York), got a taste of his own medicine, robbed for the second time of the night. Mariano Rivera watched the play unfold with his right arm behind his head at a right angle. His fist was clenched and it looked like he was doing a pre-game stretch. When the out was recorded, Rivera's arm came forward like a hammer as he yelled with satisfaction. For the Yankees, it was some kind of way to end what turned out to be a successful trip to Boston.

Comments (62)
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2006-05-25 06:07:08
1.   Alex Belth
Off the topic, but Yankee-related, I think it's pretty cool that the Mets traded for El Duque, one of my favorite all-time players. Actually, I'm really happy he's coming back to New York because this way I can watch most of his games. I also can admire his theatrics from a distance. He's still a lot of fun but he's a heart attack special. It'll sure be interesting to see if he gets a start against the Yankees won't it?
2006-05-25 06:13:03
2.   jdb
Agree with you 100% Alex. Nothing more entertaining than the faces of El Duque. I loved watching him when he was on the Yanks and look forward to seeing him across town.
2006-05-25 06:15:56
3.   unpopster
Well, after all the injuries and the disapointing series against the Mets, who here thought we'd take the series in Boston? Raise your hands... That's what I thought!

You gotta give this Yankee team some credit. Heart is not their problem. They could have easily felt sorry for themselves and walked into a Boston sweep, but instead they fought hard and came away in great shape, just 1/2 game back with a depleted roster.

Well, looks like Melky might have just bought himself a season in the Bigs. I don't know if Cashman goes out and eventually finds a replacement for Matsui, but what I've seen from Melky thus far tells me that he deserves to be up here and playing on a consistent basis...if not the starting LF until Hideki returns, then definitely the primary 4th outfielder for this club. That would leave Long DFA'd at some point soon and Bernie as the primary PH/DH option.

I said it before the series and I'll repeat it now. All the Yanks had to do is leave Boston with 1 win and they'd be in great shape (that is ofcourse they lay an egg against the Royals ala 2005 -- but something tells me that this year's team won't suffer that same humiliation). If the Yanks go into June within striking distance of the Sox -- or day I say it, in first place -- then the addition of Dotel, a healthy Damon, Shef and Posada, and hopefully rhe righting of Randy's ship, the Yankees are sitting pretty and should run away with the AL East.

Now THAT was a satisfying series! Let's sweep the Royals!

2006-05-25 06:28:43
4.   chris in c-bus
definitely a great series for the yanks...hopefully it will serve as a launching point for this team...two key things I take from last night's game:
first, while none of us are fans of injuries but they do seem to have galvanized this team as it has shown more heart in 2 months than some of recent yankee teams have shown in a full season...
second, Torre's decision to leave in Farsnworth to face Ortiz versus bringing in Villone was huge. While it's easy to say because it worked, I totally agreed with the decision. We signed Farnsworth to be the set-up guy and leaving him in gave Farnsworth a lot of confidence and will hopefully get Farnsworth in a groove with his role finally more clearly established. Farnsworth has been his own worst enemy to this point but I think he can thrive if Torre keeps him in that role and shows confidence in him consistently. Then when Dotel gets back they can share that duty based on freshness and that will keep the setup's from getting burned out.
I am feeling really good about this bullpen with the exception of Erickson whose days have to be numbered. As for the Starters, If Randy can build on those last few innings, Chacon returns healthy, and Wright keeps progressing, we should be in good shape.
2006-05-25 06:47:56
5.   Sliced Bread
Farnswacker freezing Ortiz with that soft slider down the middle is my absolute favorite moment this season. What a brilliantly gutsy pitch to preserve the win. Who knew Lord Farnstantinople had magic like that in him? Ortiz sure didn't.

Stinnett read Farns' mind and called for it too. I'm guessing Posada might have been more conservative at that moment, with the game pretty much on the line. I'm guessing Posada would have called for Kyle's best, a fastball up and in on Ortiz's hands. That's the pitch I think I would have called for. Up, in, and hard as possible. Instead, Farnswacker serves up a slider - soft, sweet, and as satisfying as a Carvel cone with a cherry on top.

2006-05-25 06:51:30
6.   murphy
Melky as a 4th OF? no way. we have all talked about how it would be great to find someone to play left or right and let sheff DH. here's our chance. furthermore: he's 21. so far, he has shown somes successes against decent pitcing and drove in 4 against the sox. while his defense is still suspect, it couldn't be that much of a downgrade (does that word even exist?), as sheff has been a less than stellar defender for the past season and change.
2006-05-25 06:55:50
7.   Fred Vincy
Re: unpopster's optimism (which it's easy to share after the last two games):

Do we expect Damon to be healthy this season? A chipped bone in the foot sounds like something that wouldn't really heal while being pounded by the demands of MLB. But I'm not a doctor. Does anyone know the prognosis?

2006-05-25 06:57:02
8.   Sliced Bread
Right on re: El Duque, Alex. It's great to have him back in town.
2006-05-25 07:03:29
9.   vockins
5 That sequence didn't have me as thrilled as you were. Farnsworth got away with two pitches that should have ended up in the harbor, but I'll take it!
2006-05-25 07:09:09
10.   rbj
Love El Duque. Love not having to face him. According to the Times, Torre told RJ "to empty the tank" in that fifth inning mound meeting. Somehow, I don't think that was the language Torre used.
Farns freezing Papi in the 8th was the play of the game according to NESN. I continue to be impressed by NESN's professionalism & objectivity over ESPN.
Melky in LF this year, RF with Shef DHing next (which means Giambi at 1B, and Andy Philips as late-inning=defensive-replacement).

Glad to see the bullpen stepped last night.

2006-05-25 07:09:55
11.   chris in c-bus
sliced - I agree, posada wouldve likely called for some more high/tight cheese...that pitch was devastating!

as for Melky, it's amazing how much more comfortable he looks out there versus last year when I was actually scared for him, especially on defense. I am sure he will see plenty of time in all 3 outfield spots although I hope his CF starts come on the road. He looks a little more comfy at the corner OF spots. It will be interesting to see what Bubba's role is when he gets off the DL on what, June 1st? I like Bubba's defense better but certainly want Melky to get as PT as possible considering his age, his much better bat and his ceiling as an overall player versus Bubba's...

2006-05-25 07:12:09
12.   wsporter
That image of Ortiz looking at that third strike from Farnsworth is still in my mind. That has seemed a long time coming.

Melky's running catch at the line, Jeter's play, Myers doing his Loogy job, Farnsworth and more all seem to have drifted together. What a really nice win.

Now I've got everything crossed for good news on Jorge.

2006-05-25 07:21:46
13.   chris in c-bus
If we lose Jorge for an extended period, whats the answer? I know they are hoping he only misses a week but I dont want to count my chickens considering what's happened so far this year...
I know Nieves is still at Columbus. While handling the pitchers and playing good D is what we'd need a new guy for, here are Nieves' numbers at columbus:
.263 in 76 at-bats
20 hits (18 singles, 2 doubles)
8 BB and 5 K
2006-05-25 07:24:46
14.   Sliced Bread
12 Yeah nothing would take the glow off last night's win quite like bad news re: Posada.

Everything crossed and double crossed here.

2006-05-25 07:29:37
15.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
10 actually, I'm pretty sure that "empty the tank" was Torre's phrase in the post-game presser. In fact he uses it all the time in re starting pitchers in their last inning.
2006-05-25 07:35:15
16.   Simone
I wasn't confident that the Yankees would take this series so I'm thrilled. Losing Jorge would be a nightmare so I'm hoping that the MRI comes back negative.

I just read that Mirabelli has an issue with A-Rod because he thinks that he was faking not knowing where the ball went. I remember that same thing happen to A-Rod last season. What is Mirabelli's problem? Who takes on A-Rod next? The Red Sox ball boys?

2006-05-25 07:40:56
17.   chris in c-bus
Mirabelli is an ass-clown in the same mold as AJ Pierzynski although on a lesser scale from what I've read other players say about him over the years...If it wasnt for the fact he could catch a knuckleball he'd be retired by now...
2006-05-25 07:42:25
18.   Dimelo
Everywhere I go I've been reading about how the Yanks battled and their heart. I really eat that stuff up, I love seeing how a team tries and overcomes adversity. Torre doesn't get the credit he deserves by many, but batting Melky leadoff was a great move and he seemed to manage the pen pretty well too. I guess it's easy to keep track of the 'Torre Losses', as NoMaas likes to, but it's easy to forget the "Torre Wins". I guess we'll be hearing Lou Pinella's name soon....or maybe not.
2006-05-25 07:48:16
19.   Levy2020
16 I had a lot of trouble with A-Rod looking for the ball. What if it had hit the wall?

I really appreciate players who run on contact.

I had only caught parts of the game, but it seemed like the umpiring was really hurting the Yankees. . . Some bad ball-strike calls, Melky's leadoff single in the 1st, Giambi's "fair" ball to end an inning. . . I would have been angry about it if the Yankees had lost.

2006-05-25 07:57:16
20.   Dimelo
Alex, I agree....I love El Duque.
2006-05-25 08:02:39
21.   Zack
I was on a jetblue plane to NY, and had the luxery of watching it on espn, great in-flight entertainment! When Farnsworth struck out Ortiz, the whole plane erupted, it was great!
2006-05-25 08:06:02
22.   chris in c-bus
Speaking of ESPN, I know I like to complain about how terrible some of the announcers are, most notably that drunk Sutcliffe, but I think Hershiser is one of the best analysts I've heard in years...
2006-05-25 08:06:57
23.   Shaun P
18 Dimelo, I think that's a great point. Torre ought to get credit for what he does that directly leads to a Yanks win, such as hitting Melky leadoff last night. I'm not sure what the record of "Torre wins" vs "Torre losses" would be, but I for one would be interested in seeing it.
2006-05-25 08:24:01
24.   Patrick
Yeah, great point there Dimelo.

Great game, though. Big night for Melky, but also - the bottom of the order was quite productive. Great to see Bernie hitting the ball as hard as he has on this road trip.

2006-05-25 08:24:58
25.   BobbyBaseBall
Alot of negativity has been made of ARods homeruns (the anti-clutch one in Monday's losing effort and the "Where did it go George?" one on Tuesday). But not a peep about Papi in those two games (including his golden sombrero). I mean at least ARod hit the ball (not to mention over the Green Monster.)
2006-05-25 08:27:48
26.   Dimelo
23 Shaun, unfortunately nobody keeps track of the "Torre Wins".

During the Ortiz at bat I had to force myself to have only good thoughts. I kept saying to myself, 'Ortiz can't keep killing us...today it will end'. I must have repeated that about 500 times last night during his at-bat.

2006-05-25 08:32:49
27.   chris in c-bus
I feel you Dimelo...I had to step into the garage before his Ortiz' at bat to think "kind" thoughts myself...
2006-05-25 08:43:29
28.   JCP22
I could not ask for much more than seeing Ortiz whiff (again) looking (again.) I get the same feeling of dread when he comes up in a big spot that I had all those years Jordan was killing the Knicks.

Melky can hit. Run him out there everyday. It's great to have young guys come through on a team of vets. Props to Bernie...he is certainly holding his own so far this year. Time for the team to go on a roll.

2006-05-25 08:43:58
29.   Mattpat11
Is it too much to demand a decisive sweep of the hapless Royals?
2006-05-25 08:46:59
30.   Shaun P
26 OK then, we can do it. We know of at least one - last night (ie 5/25/06 at Boston, to use NoMaas's 'Torre Loss' notation).

I'd argue that the comeback win against the Mets (ie 5/20/06 at NYN) was also a 'Torre Win'. I think its safe to assume Torre called for Cairo to steal, plus he managed the bullpen exactly right, especially with Farnsworth not available.

So that's two. Can anyone think of/suggest any others? I'd say the criteria has to be that Torre did something tactical (such as the Cairo steals) or out of the ordinary that nonetheless made sense (like hitting Melky leadoff) that directly led to a Yankee win.

For example, if Long hits a game-winning home run on Friday night vs KC, I would not call that a 'Torre Win', as playing Long makes no sense whatsoever.

2006-05-25 08:52:33
31.   YankeeInMichigan
Were Melky's blips in left field last week due to his newbie discomfort or his unfamiliarity with the postion. If the latter, the team should option him to Columbus for a couple of weeks (after Bubba returns) to get comfortable. Then they should recall him to be their primary left fielder until Godzilla returns.
2006-05-25 08:54:03
32.   Schteeve
In a weird way I kinda think the injury bug could be a good thing because it's giving Posada, Sheff, Matsui, and Damon days off eary that they otherwise wouldn't get.

Hopefully, come playoff time, their incremental freshness will pay out.

Love this team right now.

2006-05-25 08:54:20
33.   weeping for brunnhilde
Alex, agreed on El Duque, I was very glad to hear the news.

I love Melky. Love him. That seeing-eye, infield in single was great, that's the sort of thing that can happen when you put the ball in play and I appreciate it.

I'm thrilled to see Mo be Mo, to me that was the highlight of the game, in addition, of course, to Farnsworth and his slider.

And how about that Bernie? He's really been hitting from the left side and I have to wonder if this is just some freakish streak or whether we might get .260, .270 out of him.

Any thoughts on Bernie, anyone?

2006-05-25 09:06:55
34.   dpmurphy
"unpopster: the Yankees are sitting pretty and should run away with the AL East."

Jesus, this is why some yankee fans make it easy to hate the yankees.

You act as if the yankees are the only team with injuries. Besides, with a payroll of twice anyone else, shouldn't you be able to deal with one right fielder being out?

How about this: If the sox get coco back, and wells, or at least a decent 5th starter, bring up hansen, they should run away with the east! Hey, that was easy.

(and damon healthy? ha.)

2006-05-25 09:09:32
35.   dpmurphy
"then the addition of Dotel"

Wow, I'm sorry for comparing all of yankee fans to you pop. You are indeed special.

2006-05-25 09:12:38
36.   bp1
33 The last time I expressed my thoughts on Bernie, I just about got laughed outa here, so I'll just keep 'em to myself and watch the numbers climb.

Two games in a row now, Mo has come in and shut the door. I'm telling ya, the guy is off the charts. How lucky are we to watch this guy pitch? People will be talking about his cutter and his amazing energy for as long as they are talking about baseball.

BP

2006-05-25 09:15:21
37.   yankz
34 Good try, but unless my math is wrong (which it's not), the Yankees payroll isn't twice Boston's payroll.

Yankees: $194,663,079 (http://tinyurl.com/jyoph)

Red Sox: $120,099,824
(http://tinyurl.com/663g2)

With a payroll that big, wouldn't the Sox be able to cope with having no center fielder?

2006-05-25 09:29:36
38.   Schteeve
37 Right on, plus, payroll doesn't equate to success, ask the Dodgers or the A's.

Plus the Yankees spend on front line depth, not redundancy, so they really can't absorb injuries that well on paper.

35 Go troll somewhere else, ya crazy Chowdah head!

2006-05-25 09:41:41
39.   Shaun P
Must . . . resist . . . responding . . . to . . . Sox lurker . . .

33 36 Bernie vs. lefties (hitting righty*): .372/.438/.581, 43 ABs

Bernie vs righties (hitting lefty*): .223/.257/.277, 94 ABs

Bernie vs righties (hitting lefty) after Monday night's game: .212/.250/.271, 84 ABs

BA up .011, OBP up .007, SLG up .006 the last two nights. Those three singles in his last 10 ABs were very nice, but Bernie is going to have to do an awful lot more to convince me he should ever face righties.

Meanwhile, he should always face lefties.

*I checked the numbers with Baseball Musings' Day by Day database, and everytime Bernie has faced a righty, he hit lefty, and vice versa.

2006-05-25 09:45:42
40.   unpopster
34 murph, what's the matter? A little touchy today?

Relax. If you're really counting on David Wells to fortify your rotation you're in for an unpleasant surprise. Didn't the fat oaf recently say that if he has another physical set-back he'll retire? That shouldn't instill much confidence in any Sox fan since Wells' knee is more messed up than he is on a Saturday night out on the town.

35 I don't quite understand your issue with my Dotel point. The guy is a bonafide middle relief stud that can bring the heat. If he's fully healthy, he'll own the 6th and 7th innings.

Lastly, I think you'll find 99 out of 100 posters to Bronx Banter agree with me that the Yanks have a better team than the Sox. I don't think we owuld have all said the same in 2004 or 2005. So, what's your beef? Your team has been relatively healthy, some players have outperformed their expectations, and your only 1/2 up on a depleted, injury-ridden Yankee team.

I stand by my prediction...The Yanks, if healthy, will run away with The East.

2006-05-25 09:50:18
41.   pistolpete
19 Why exactly did you have a problem with A-Rod looking around for the ball? If he says he honestly didn't know where the ball went, isn't that enough? Why would anyone purposely make themselves look foolish such as A-Rod did after he swung?

Eff Doug Mirabelli. Three passed balls with Wakefield the other night - so what are you actually good for now, Dougie?

34 The Yankees are in a weird way right now with their injuries - you can't tell me that any other team right now is having player after player go down as quickly as NY is...

Wells? Pfft. Wells was hurt from day 1 - not like he'd won 5-6 games in a row and then went down. Get on your 'brilliant' GM for trading Arroyo instead of worrying about ol' Captain Gout. So, that pretty much just leaves Crisp, who doesn't crush the ball anyway.

2006-05-25 09:53:52
42.   sam2175
34 35 dpmurphy, It is your right to feel good or bad about your own team, just as it is unpopster's right. He expresses optimism about the Yankees based on a number of conditions that has to go right. If those conditions fail, obviously the Yankees may not be able to do what he thinks they can do. You quote one part of the sentence out of context, and use it to justify the hatred of all Yankee fans. I don't really know what you expect to hear coming to a largely Yankee based blog. That, "let us pay our obeisance to all our opponents, under no circumstances can the New York Yankees run away with the AL East"?

For reasons not exactly clear to me, you take your bitterness on an internet poster for no apparent reason. It is Alex and Cliff's blog, and it is not my right to say this, even though I am compelled to say it: Please resort to baseball arguments rather than personal ones, and treat fellow posters with a modicum of civility, regardless of the team they root for.

2006-05-25 09:55:44
43.   randym77
The Pinstriped Blog seems to think Melky will be sent back down. Suspect defense and no power. Boo, hiss. I want Melky to stay. RF, preferably, since he seems more comfortable there. Plus I'd love to have his arm in RF (as long as Giambi stays out of his way).

Bubba can play LF. Maybe play Bubba against righties and Bernie against lefties. At least until the Yanks go shopping for a new outfielder.

2006-05-25 09:57:00
44.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
34 Uh-huh. Yeah, the Yanks have been missing more than a right-fielder.

And the Sawx have more problems than their fifth starter.

In actuality, their rotation is 3-deep. And that's if what you'll get for the rest of the season is April Bloody Sawk, and not May Bloody Sawk, and Mr. Blister actually pitches more than 180 innings for the first time in his career.

Oh, did I mention how pathetic the Sawx are up the middle. Ghost of Tek is in dire need of either the cream or the clear (or both), your ss hits like a pitcher, your 2nd baseman has killed the Yanks but been terrible against everyone else, and at the moment you have no centerfielder. Tho Willie Harris is truly a great hitter.

2006-05-25 09:57:27
45.   weeping for brunnhilde
39 Shaun: A couple of weeks ago I thought that clearly Bernie should only bat as a righty. He was having decent at-bats from the right side and hitting the ball pretty well. From the left side it was all pop ups and dribblers.

But lately he's really hitting the ball from the left side. I don't know about those numbers, I only know what my eyes are telling me from watching the games which is that suddenly he's not an automatic out from the left side and he's really hitting the ball hard.

Have you not noticed this?

36 bp1, I'd love to hear your thoughts, I for one won't laugh you out of here.

I'm not saying Bernie should bat clean-up and be the starting centerfielder, I'm just making an observation about his performance, which anyone with eyes to see can tell has improved markedly from the left side of late.

2006-05-25 10:03:54
46.   unpopster
34 oh, and one last thing. You wrote: "Jesus, this is why some yankee fans make it easy to hate the yankees."

On Tuesday, the day after Schilling beat the Yanks to take the first game of the series, Eric Wilbur, columnist for the Boston Globe, wrote the following:

"It's just so darned tempting, isn't it?

It isn't so much the depleted state of their lineup, nor is it the basis of a one-game smackdown, courtesy of Curt Schilling. The temptation to bury the Yankees, even as early as May, comes forth from a prevailing idea that this was a long time coming, that this is a team that would have been in a freefall a year ago had it not struck gold with Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon...

...But when you put these teams side-by-side, there's just no comparison. Despite all the bats in its Murders' Row lineup, the Yankees are an inferior team to the more balanced Red Sox, who possess better all-around starting pitching and provide a more fluid bridge to its less talented bullpen..."

Murph, I'm just a nobody stating my opinion. Your "nation" must have all gotten nice and frothy at the mouth when they read Wilbur's brilliant words, huh?

2006-05-25 10:18:45
47.   jdsarduy
Last night in the game Michael Kay was suggesting the Yanks hit Manny Ramirez for his dumb antics the night before. I agree what Manny did was just plane selfish, but I can't condone hitting a person with ball because of it.
Al Leiter and I think, Ken Singleton disagreed with Michael(what else is new).
If you hit Manny then that will start a whole war between the two teams.
The only way to beat the Sox is by out playing them not by beaning them.
Like Ken said last night the Yanks are all about winning.
2006-05-25 10:23:54
48.   murphy
i feel, at this time, we should come up with a way to distinguish between myself (a generally upbeat yankee fan who has been at the toaster since the week it launched) and dpmurphy (a somewhat disgruntled red sox fan who's a little new around here).
2006-05-25 10:24:10
49.   unpopster
RE: MANNY, did anyone see this in today's Boston Globe?

http://urlsnip.com/500616

RAMIREZ MAY HAVE GOTTEN FRIENDLY ADVICE

"Perhaps it was no coincidence that Manny Ramírez, following his tape-measure home runs last night, bolted out of the box, more concerned with running the bases than relishing in his exploits.

Alex Rodriguez, during Red Sox batting practice yesterday, walked over to Ramírez, who the previous night lingered for an exceptionally long time in the batter's box after unloading on a Scott Proctor fastball for a three-run homer. One group of nearby witnesses said the exchange looked tense, and it's possible that A-Rod was relaying some advice to Ramírez.

``Manny's one of my best friends," Rodriguez said. ``Don't read into that."

Even if Rodriguez approached Ramírez as a friend, it's quite possible that he was delivering a message..."

2006-05-25 10:29:49
50.   bp1
45 I said during the hot stove season that I thought Bernie had one last .280/20/80 season left in him. Right now, about a fourth of the way through the season, he's at .270/2/19 so he's got to make up some ground if he's going to meet my fingers-and-toes crossed wishes for him. Then again, most of us assumed his role as pure DH and part time fielder, which hasn't been the case at all.

The hitting from the left side has obviously hurt his stats terribly. We'll see. He can still mash it from the right side.

No matter the final numbers, I'll just sit and enjoy every good moment he gives us this year, and cheer him on even if he hits another weak grounder to 2nd base. After all these years, he deserves nothing less. If he's on the field, he'll get cheers from me. When he's done, he can go out with his head held high.

BP

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-05-25 10:36:21
51.   Tarheel
Mirabelli's comments sound like sour grapes to me. He was pretty much responsible for Arod's previous run when they had him struck out. I still can't get over the circus that arose when they hurried him back for the earlier game against the Yanks. It was like they were bringing in the President. All that for a lame backup catcher.
2006-05-25 10:51:43
52.   tommyl
22
I agree, Orel is a great analyst. His explanation last night of the difference between a cutter grip and a slider, including not only the grip but what effect the differences have (in a slider grip, its more off center so the wrist snaps more sideways and tends to spin the ball more) was great. Notice also that he doesn't sit in the booth talking about how great the '88 Dodgers and he were (and man, that was a great team, he had 59 2/3 scoreless innings and Gibson hit that HR). Infinitely better than Morgan/Sutcliffe.
2006-05-25 11:04:44
53.   chris in c-bus
52 - tommyl
Right on...orel's breakdown of those grips was good stuff...I hope to hear him call more games this year...typically, I view broadcasters like umps/refs, if I dont notice them they must be doing okay but if I notice them they either really suck or are really good. I actually write to that ESPN ombudsman mailbox everytime I am forced to listen to sutcliffe. I cant understand why just because someone played the game that networks think the public would enjoy what they have to say. I mean, would any of us read an essay on defensive line play just because Dexter Manley wrote it? I think Sutcliffe is just about as bright as Dexter. I hate to say it, but Tino is also brutal when he's on the mic. Maybe he will get better with time, but geesh, it's a trainwreck right now. Almost as bad as Harold Reynolds when he first started. It was like English was a second language. I still think he sucks, but he's much better than the early days with his delivery.
2006-05-25 11:39:56
54.   Schteeve
Orel is the best thing on ESPN right now.
Harold Reynolds, and I may be in the minority on this, seems like a pretty sensible guy most of the time.
Tino is horrific.
Sutcliffe is 100X worse than Tino.
Brantely is a quip machine.
2006-05-25 11:41:08
55.   Cliff Corcoran
49 Alex linked to that in the above post.
2006-05-25 11:43:41
56.   chris in c-bus
schteeve,
I agree that harold's actual thoughts are decent most of the time, but I still find it painful trying to listen to him deliver those sensible observations...I've noticed Gammons also is struggling more and more with translating what he's thinking into spoken words...
Sutcliffe is so bad it's really a joke at this point...a total buffoon...he and berman in the booth together would cause me to jump off my roof...
2006-05-25 12:01:12
57.   weeping for brunnhilde
Speaking of broadcasters, I think Leiter is fantastic. He's very insightful, passionate, and most importantly, nuanced.

I love that he scoffed at Kay's little grading system and went on to talk about why Johnson's performance was better than it appeared. He was right on to point out that a few of those hits can be chalked up to good hitting by Boston. And I really appreciate his focus on execution. It's all about making a pitch for him, which reminds us all just how hard it is to actually play the game as opposed to watching professionals play it.

He just seems to bring something original to the table and I love listening to him.

2006-05-25 12:29:16
58.   rbj
I enjoy Harold Reynolds. He's certainly improved over the last few years. Gammons seems to have gone in the opposite direction, to the point where I wonder if something might be physically wrong with him, like very early stage Alzheimers. I certainly don't wish it on him, but he at times looks like he's forgotten what he wanted to say.

I'm just glad we've (and by that I mean us fans) have tonight off. Just a tense last six games.

2006-05-25 12:36:56
59.   chris in c-bus
rbj...thats exactly what i was trying to say about both harold and gammons...gammons has completely lost it...
2006-05-25 13:35:45
60.   Schteeve
Weeping, I agree whole heartedly on Leiter. He seems like the kind of guy you'd like to sit down with in a bar, watch a game and have a few drinks with, cause you'll learn something.
2006-05-25 13:36:26
61.   Shaun P
45 weeping, to be honest, I've seen maybe half of the Yanks' games in the last two weeks, and at least two were vs. lefties. So I haven't seen much of Bernie hitting lefty. That's why I went to the numbers so quickly.

I'd love to see Bernie turning it around vs righties, but I'm just not seeing it, with my eyes or in the numbers:

Bernie vs. righties as of 2 weeks ago (hitting lefty): .203/.234/.220, 59 ABs

Bernie vs righties as of today (hitting lefty): .223/.257/.277, 94 ABs

Over the last 2 weeks vs righties, Bernie is hitting: .243/.275/.351, 35 ABs

He has 5 singles, 4 doubles, 0 home runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts. That's still nowhere near replacement level.

It is a little progress, true, but at this rate Bernie still has an awfully long way to go. If, in the next 2 weeks, he duplicates what he's done vs righties the last 2 weeks, he'd still be hitting only .229/.282/.297 vs righties.

I'd be thrilled if Bernie goes on a tear vs righties, but it would have to be a heck of a tear to make him useful, as BP points out 50. Sad but true.

2006-05-25 14:38:14
62.   weeping for brunnhilde
61 Thanks for your response, Shaun. As I say, I don't know where he's headed, but he looks way more confident and is hitting the ball with something like authority from the left. Even when he makes outs, they're generally not nearly so feeble as they were a couple of weeks ago.

Time will tell the tale, I suppose. :)

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