Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Boogie Down Beat Down
2006-06-06 05:31
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Mike Mussina had his worst outing of the year on Monday night and yet he still came away with a "w." A nice turn of fortune for "the unlucky one," as Mussina improves to 8-1. Josh Beckett, however, didn't make it out of the second inning. The Yankees collected at least 10 hits for the 12th straight game, a team record. The Baby Bombers pulled a Gashouse Gorillas Conga-Line on Beckett, capped by two three-run home runs--one by Andy Phillips, the other by Jason Giambi.

But the most exciting play for the Yankees occured in the first inning. With one out, Melky Cabrera was on first and Giambi was at the plate. Beckett, who could not locate his curve ball, threw a breaking pitch in the dirt. It skipped away from Jason Varitek and Cabrera took off for second. Varitek's throw was wild and went into the outfield. Melky ducked as he reached second and then took off for third. But since Boston had the shift on for Giambi, there was nobody covering third. Instead, Varitek had travelled half-way up the third base line. At Larry Bowa's prompting, and without skipping a beat, Melky suddenly broke for home. So did Varitek. Cabrera won the race, beating the catcher and the throw to the plate for the Yankees' first run. Boston's sloppy fielding and Cabrera's alert base-running made for perhaps the most joyous Yankee run of the season:

"The way we got that first run today, that may never happen again," Mussina said. "That was just pure youth and speed and recklessness. That's why we play these games: to see something new every day."
(Kepner, N.Y. Times)

It is the kind of play that Jose Reyes has been making across town for a couple of seasons now, but one we haven't seen from a Yankee player in some time. The game was a laugher through and through for the Yanks last night and a snoozer for Sox fans. Boston throws a rookie tonight against Chien-Ming Wang, who was far from stellar last week in Detroit. There is a long way to go in this series but the Bombers sure managed to get off on the good foot.

Comments (55)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-06-06 06:59:51
1.   Knuckles
Sherman wrote an entire article in the Post today continually referring to Beckett shutting the Yanks down in the 2004 postseason. I know the game ran long last night but doesn't anyone edit or fact-check anymore?

I would have loved to have been able to hear the thoughts of various Sox last night as it dawned upon them that Melky and Varitek were going to have a footrace from 3rd to home...

2006-06-06 07:21:01
2.   The Mick 536
Like watching the kids play. My Boston buds crying real bad; they didn't want to lose to a mish/mash Jankee team. Too bad.
2006-06-06 07:33:55
3.   Zack
I know how we all feel about Chass, but did anyone else find his article weird and almost distasteful? His whole bit about Moose not stepping up last season and being a leader, and all that, it seemed like all he really wanted to do was bash Moose couched in a thinly veiled praise article. Obviously, this is Chass, so that probably is exactly what he wanted to do, but still...
2006-06-06 07:43:05
4.   mehmattski
My fantasy baseball league on Yahoo has reports on various players, and in the note on Jeter it says that someone at is reporting that Cabrera may stay in the #2 spot in the lineup when Jeter comes back. I think that's great from a "confidence in the young guys" standpoint, but if it means that the guy who is third in the AL in OBP (Jeter) gets moved down in the lineup, its not that great a move. Unless, of course, dreams come true and Jeter leads off...
2006-06-06 08:01:46
5.   yankaholic
4 i have np with Jetes at 3.. he aint a power hitter.. but with Sheff n Matsui out.. its not a bad idea to have Giambi-ARod-Posada bat 4-6.
2006-06-06 08:03:58
6.   Joeg
I really like where this team is right now. Youthful hussle, exuberance, some good pop in the bats, it's very nice.

The dugout atmosphere seems pretty good, as well, judging from the peeps shown by ESPN.

You could really see the Phillips homerun coming. Beckett behind 2&1 to a AAA player, thinking he's going to blow a fastball by him on the inside part of the pl...oooh, that's going far. Phillips and Giambi are swinging well.

A-Rod doesn't look himself yet. May still be getting over the virus. Unlike Jason, he has to field.

2006-06-06 08:05:47
7.   Rob Gee
4 It's something that Torre said yesterday as a possibility but it would mean Jetes at 3. I agree, but at the same time it changes the dynamic at the top. My guess is he'll try it for a game or two when Jeter gets back but I'd be surprised if it stuck.

BTW: It seems the Proctologist punched a clubhouse door in Baltimore.

My guess is Torre wanted to see if he was alright via a small workload. I didn't see anything this morning to confirm. Anyone know differently?

2006-06-06 08:08:03
8.   joejoejoe
Unbelievably ESPN did not show the Cabrera play in the highlights. I can't remember EVER seeing that play in a major league game and ESPN skipped right over it. If anyone can point me out to any site that has that clip I would appreciate it.
2006-06-06 08:08:38
9.   tommyl
Anyone know if its Long or Thompson being sent down/released today?
2006-06-06 08:13:31
10.   pistolpete
9 My money's on Thompson going down - Torre loves the T-Long...
2006-06-06 08:14:52
11.   tommyl
Please, please, please release Long. KT can play as a 4th outfielder, its what he projects to.
2006-06-06 08:15:35
12.   yankaholic
8 i think the yankee index page will have that clip
2006-06-06 08:18:36
13.   Knuckles
Another thing I liked last night was ESPN showing Jeter and Cano sitting together on the bench. Jete with his hand on Robbie's neck, talking to him. Then a few innings later, Cano and Melky chatting it up, roles reversed as Cano seemed to be playing the older brother bit to Cabrera. No idea what was being said or anything, but way better than 25 guys sitting on the bench in silence.

Book recommendation: I've been on a run of duds from the library lately, so I plucked "The Last Best League" off my bookshelf for a 2nd time. Chronicles the 2002 season of the Chatham A's in the Cape Cod League. Well written stuff detailing how kids adjust to wood bats, elite (at the college age anyway) levels of competition, etc. Also, some of the names are now more recognizable than the first time I read it. Tim Stauffer (Padres), Chad Orvella (who was still playing SS, and not pitching, as recently as 2002!), among others.

2006-06-06 08:22:57
14.   Levy2020
Watching the YES broadcast (and flipping sometimes back to ESPN to hear them say things like, "Boy the Yankees farm system sure is depleted" to find something pro-Boston while the Yankees are leading 10-2), I saw that A-Phil's ISO Discipline was low. Checking MLB.Com today, I see it's a Womack-defying .024 - one walk while hitting .455 over the last ten games. Is this something we should be worried about vis a vis the argument that Phillips has the talent to be a near-everyday player?
2006-06-06 08:24:56
15.   rilkefan
3 - same reaction to the Chass article - "this is a hack job".
2006-06-06 08:25:11
16.   baileywalk
You're doing pretty good when your "worst" outing of the year sees you give up just four earned runs and strike out eight.

It'll be pretty disgusting if Thompson gets sent down instead of cutting Long. I had to laugh out loud last night when Jim Kaat said Torre's greatest strength was "sticking by his players" -- and he gave the example of Andy Phillips. He said he stuck by Andy, who wasn't hitting, and finally gave him a chance. I guess the crusty old Kaat didn't realize that Andy wasn't playing because Torre WOULDN'T play him, and that at one point Cairo was playing first base. I guess he forgot that one. Nothing highlights what a disgrace Torre is than Phillips tearing the cover off the ball. All he had to do was give this guy some regular playing time to see if he could hit at this level. But he wouldn't give it to him until he was forced to. Torre's unfathomable.

2006-06-06 08:31:21
17.   pistolpete
14 ESPN is laughable with their seemingly anti-Yankee comments, but I can understand the need to reel in the casual viewer who may have thoughts of switching off.

It's 13-5 in the 7th, and the play by play guy (Thorne?) actually said something to the effect of, "Red Sox chipping away at this Yankee lead to stay in the game"...

Yes, I'm sure the Sox felt the same way, as they took out Lowell, Manny and Ortiz for Alex Cora, Doug Mirabelli and JT Snow.

On a side note, does it seem like the Yankees have been pitching to (and fielding) Ortiz much better the last handful of games? Seems like ever since Farnsworth froze him with a slider, he's been a little off in his at bats.

Now, of course, watch him crush 3 HR's tonight...

2006-06-06 08:41:05
18.   Shaun P
8 12 Anyone find the Melky clip yet? I tried but no luck.
2006-06-06 08:53:39
19.   Cliff Corcoran
Is Bubba supposed to be activated today? What's all the hubub about Long v. Thompson? I thought Bubba was rehabbing until the weekend.

As for Melky and Phillips and their respective on-base tallents: Melky's sporting a .380 OBP right now and an .085 ISD (isolated discipline = OBP - AVG), I'm fine with that guy hitting second. Thing is prior to this year, Melky had a career .339 OBP and .054 ISD.

Of course, Melky is a 21-year-old kid who has put together some terrific at-bats in the majors this season, so there seems to be reason to believe his improvement is legitimate. He's seeing 3.65 pitches per plate appearance. That's solid.

Andy, meanwhile, is seeing 3.76 pitches per at-bat. He has a .322 OBP and a .024 ISD this season, but in his minor league career his numbers were .368 OBP and .072 ISD.

The fact of the matter is, I don't blame Phillips for not walking while he's hitting .480 over his last six games (yes, .480), I'll only be concerned if he doesn't start drawing walks after he cools off.

2006-06-06 08:55:48
20.   DarrenF
The play where the Cairo grounded out to the catcher and Bernie was doubled off second. Did the umpire claim the ball hit Cairo in fair territory? Just curious. I didn't get a chance to hear an explanation.
2006-06-06 08:56:50
21.   Marcus
18 Hey Shaun P, check here:

For whatever reason, they don't link directly to the Cabrera play on this page, but if you choose any of the video links below the photo, the video player that is loaded has a link to the play.

2006-06-06 08:57:58
22.   Cliff Corcoran
20 Yup.
2006-06-06 09:01:56
23.   Cliff Corcoran
By the way, that NYT article Alex linked to about Phillips, I'm printing that out and putting it under my pillow.
2006-06-06 09:02:48
24.   wsporter
To be fair to the 4 letter network they did show the Melky clip on a late edition of BB Tonight. Kruck was all over it.
2006-06-06 09:05:09
25.   JL25and3
14 I think it's asking a lot to expect Phillips to become an everyday player, or even near-everyday. I wish they'd take advantage of his versatility a little more, even if he's not a great fielder at other positions. In particular, Cano's number against lefties are just awful - .262/.306/.335 overall, .241/.313/.276 this year. Spot-start Phillips from time to time against lefties - when Wang isn't pitching - and I'll bet he gains more with his bat than he gives away with his glove.
2006-06-06 09:06:43
26.   tommyl
19 Cliff, they are calling up some reserve IF as backup since Jeter is out. Since Jeter is not going on the DL they need a roster spot and its pick one of Long or Thompson.

I suppose when Bubba and Jeter come back, the IF guy will be sent back down and Bubba will take his roster spot. It effectively moves up the decision of who Bubba replaces.

2006-06-06 09:16:20
27.   Schteeve
Regarding the ESPN comments:

1) Thorn did not say, the Sox were chipping away to stay in the game. He said something like, "There is plenty of time for them to chip away and stay in the game, and the Sox lineup is certainly capable of scoring 7 in an inning too."

2) They didn't say the farm system was depleted, they said, "the farm system for awhile was much maligned but look at what it's producing right now."

3) They went out of their way to talk about how Yankee Stadium had the greatest history of any ball park.

4) They talked about Jeter being "the best player in baseball."

5) They priased The Boss for reaching out and mending fences with Yogi.

6) They talked about how great A-Rod is.

7) They wouldn't stop talking about what a great competitor Mussina is.

Is that enough? Remember, they are broadcasting a game to a NATIONAL audience and they have to satisfy more than Yankee fans. This "ESPN hates the Yankees" thing is the same type of perecution complex nonsense I'd expect to hear from Sox fans.

2006-06-06 09:16:41
28.   Marcus
Don't forget it's Draft Day. Here's Baseball America's blog, for those who are interested:

2006-06-06 09:25:34
29.   pistolpete
27 "1) Thorn did not say, the Sox were chipping away to stay in the game. He said something like, "There is plenty of time for them to chip away and stay in the game, and the Sox lineup is certainly capable of scoring 7 in an inning too."

I could be mistaken, but I remember being annoyed at the time, so maybe what he actually said is somewhere in between what you and I seem to think it is...

To be fair, Schteeve, there's an enormous faction of sports fans who HATE the Yankees and everything they stand for - why would it be unreasonable to believe that more than a few commentators/analsysts on ESPN share the same mentality? And why would it be so ludicrous for said commentators to let their biases bleed through once in a while...?

2006-06-06 09:29:01
30.   bp1
22 When Kay said that the play resulted in a db end-of-inning and YES went to commercial, I got up to put my kids to bed. Imagine my surprise when I came back 10 minutes later or so to find Giambi at the plate and still bottom 3rd and Yankees now leaing 10-2 after Melky's double. I missed it all.

So - Bernie was safe?!?

Aside: This blog gets into your skin. What did I think of when Andy hit the three run dinger? "Cliff's gotta be loving that". The funny thing is - I don't even know Cliff. He could be sitting in the office next to me for all I know. But I thought of him the moment that ball sailed over the fence.

What did I think of when Cairo was bunting with a five run lead? "The guys have gotta be pulling their hair out".

This blog certainly adds to the games. Thanks guys.


2006-06-06 09:30:32
31.   Marcus
29 Well, I can't speak to the motives of the announcers, I can say that if you talk with fans of other teams, they'll say the ESPN announcers are shills for the Yankees, particularly Jeter.

I think Schteeve 27 is fairly accurate, because even though almost all fans of other teams hate the Yankees, there is also a sizable, nationwide fan base of casual Yankee fans that would get turned off if the announcers weren't fair to the Yankees.

The comment about the Red Sox chipping away probably had more to do with desperately trying to keep viewers tuned in then any Red Sox/Yankee bias.

2006-06-06 09:33:00
32.   Idaho Yankee
I thought ESPN was pretty fair towards the yankees all broadcast. At least it wasn't Joe Morgan. Has anyone ever seen MLB send everyone in (3 outs) and then reverse it and go back out into the field. (all though bernie should of been on 2b).

Lastly, any thoughts on who the Yankees will draft today?

2006-06-06 09:36:28
33.   yankaholic
Brisco (Nomaas, NY): Given the success of the minor leaguers the Yankees have called up in their time of crisis, why is Joe Torre still so hesitant to use players like Kevin Thompson over a has-been like Bernie Williams and a never was like Terrence Long? Can you understand this obsession with mediocre veteran players?

SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:31 PM ET ) Most managers would do exactly what Torre is doing. The devil you know, and all that...

- looks like our frnds at NoMass wanted soem answers

2006-06-06 09:50:52
34.   yankaholic
32 the talk is Pedro Beato chk out the baseball america site,

they have project the first round.. and it starts 1pm..

B Cashman is at the draft.. showing more control of the whole process..

2006-06-06 09:51:06
35.   wsporter
Gary Thorne has actually grown on me. He's a great hockey play by play guy but since the NHL's obstinate suicide attempt has taken it off ESPN he has concentrated on hardball. He's toned down the volume and has apparently undertaken to read everything on the subject he can get his hands on; Christ he even referenced Baseball Perspective last night. I like the guy and think he can be given a break while he continues to hone his craft.

Just to remind myself what a horse's ass Kay is (if I needed any reminding) I'll dial up the Dodger games to see if I can get the Skully broadcast. Skully gets some crap for being too cute but the guy still has some impressive chops. Man is he good. I listened to him do the Met game last night. It was a nice, measured and informative workman-like job,. I immagine sort of the way Red Barber used to do ours.

2006-06-06 09:51:37
36.   Rob Gee
30 I was explaining exactly the 'Cliff phenomenon" to the wife last night and right after Andy's shot. It is a bit meta - I experience the game then the BB reaction to each moment.

The wife also has great quips - keeps me more entertained than the YES crew. She said "Chien-Ming Wang needs a nickname". She was horrified by Wanger. She also asked of Kaat and Murcer "Do these guys always laugh at their own jokes?". It keeps a constant smile on my face even as the game stretches on and on.

2006-06-06 09:54:11
37.   Sliced Bread
23 Ah, Cliff, I knew you'd be like the proud papa of Andy Phillips today.

Must've brought a tear to your eye watching the smooth and powerful swing he put on that 96 mph'er from Beckett.

I'm not sure if anybody commented on it here last night, but I loved how Ortiz pretended he wanted to rip Cano's head off after he got robbed of a hit with the shift on.
Ortiz makes the rivalry fun... when he's not murdering the Yanks, that is.

2006-06-06 09:57:06
38.   Cliff Corcoran
Wow, I have my own phenomenon! Cooool.
2006-06-06 09:57:48
39.   bp1
37 Ortiz makes my hands sweat when he comes up to hit - sort of like the scene in the Stallone rock climbing movie when that lady was dangling from the wire.


2006-06-06 10:18:45
40.   pistolpete
31 "The comment about the Red Sox chipping away probably had more to do with desperately trying to keep viewers tuned in then any Red Sox/Yankee bias."

My sentiments as well, although I would have loved to have heard a few comments on the Beckett trade considering his poor showing this season against the better teams. We certainly have to hear enough about Johnson when HE turns in a clunker on national TV...

2006-06-06 10:22:01
41.   Sliced Bread
39 "Cliffhanger!" 'Rocky' in the Rockies! Two words re: Stallone's performance: Oscar snub.
2006-06-06 10:25:44
42.   JL25and3
32 The umps ruled that the ball was dead when it hit Cairo, so Bernie couldn't advance. That sounded right to me at the time, but I can't find any justification for it in the rules (Rule 6.05 (g), Other parts of 6.05 specify that the ball is dead, but this one doesn't.

35 Jon Miller is also superb on the radio, very much in the Scully school - good pipes, clear, descriptive, precise play-by-play, and speaks English comfortably and correctly. I don't know what happens to him when he gets on ESPN; my best theory is that Joe Morgan is a sort of intellectual black hole, sucking intelligence away from anyone who gets too close to him.

2006-06-06 10:26:14
43.   yankaholic
Ian Kennedy -- Yankee pick..

the MLB Draft tracker says he was good as far back as 03 but has been mediocre since.. it says he aint that good

2006-06-06 10:27:33
44.   JL25and3
14 I think it's asking a lot to expect Phillips to become an everyday player, or even near-everyday. I wish they'd take advantage of his versatility a little more, even if he's not a great fielder at other positions. In particular, Cano's number against lefties are just awful - .262/.306/.335 overall, .241/.313/.276 this year. Spot-start Phillips from time to time against lefties - when Wang isn't pitching - and I'll bet he gains more with his bat than he gives away with his glove.
2006-06-06 10:41:57
45.   JL25and3
Aargghh. Computer screwup; I had no intention of reposting that.
2006-06-06 10:47:55
46.   Shaun P
21 Thanks Marcus! It was even more fun to watch it than it was to listen to it on the radio. I like Melky more and more everyday.
2006-06-06 10:50:36
47.   JL25and3
Here's what Kevin Goldstein of BP said about Ian Kennedy a couple of months ago:

Kennedy only projects as a No.3 or 4 starter, but might be the safest pick in the draft. He's a little undersized and his stuff lacks the 'wow' factor, but he has impeccable command of a full repertoire of pitches. "I doubt there's a pitcher closer to the big leagues--he's more polished than [2005 No. 6 overall pick] Ricky Romero." said a scouting director. "There's a whole lot of 50s [average] grades on his pitches, and nothing over 55, but he has exceptional command and could get there very quick. He just pitches like a big leaguer."

2006-06-06 10:53:11
48.   Shaun P
21 Thanks Marcus! It was even more fun to watch it than it was to listen to it on the radio. I like Melky more and more everyday.
2006-06-06 11:04:44
49.   Marcus
Preston Mattingly gets chosen surprisingly early by the Dodgers (from

"There were rumors that Indiana high school shortstop Preston Mattingly could go in the late first or sandwich round, but most figured it would be as part of another skirmish between the Red Sox and Yankees, for whom his father Don once starred and currently serves as a batting coach. Instead, he went to the Dodgers at 31. Mattingly didn't get much play until May. He's a three-sport athlete with a gifted bat, plate discipline and more speed than his dad had. But though he has good tools, his future position is much in question. No word yet on whether Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has fired any scouting personnel for letting Mattingly get away, but Dodgers official Tommy Lasorda did tweak him after announcing the pick by saying, "Thank you, George."
-- Jim Callis"

2006-06-06 11:05:17
50.   Shaun P
If anyone is paying attention, the Dodgers drafted Preston Mattingly in the Supplemental 1st round (31st pick). Wow - I knew he was highly regarded, but I didn't know he was that highly regarded.

Yanks have taken 2 college pitchers so far (Ian Kennedy of USC, Joba Chamerblain of U Nebraska Lincoln). Interesting.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-06-06 11:16:33
51.   Cliff Corcoran
I've got a draft thread post up above if you all are interested.
2006-06-06 11:43:25
52.   Jeteupthemiddle
I feel the need to apologize to Joe Torre for crucifying him for bringing in Proctor last night.

If no one mentioned it, Proctor pulled a Kevin Brown on Sunday after blowing the lead for Randy Johnson and punched a metal door.

Torre had him pitch to make sure his hand was ok. Same reasoning that had Rivera go in.

I suppose I should stop killing Torre for decisions when I know damn well that he has more information about the personnel than I do.

2006-06-06 11:56:11
53.   JL25and3
Oh, man - now I'm supposed to know what I'm talking about before I criticize Joe??? What's the fun in that?
2006-06-06 12:56:55
54.   domvjr
Just saw on Lo Hud, that the Yanks DFA's TLong. Bye Bye, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out! Also, todays lineup is also up.
2006-06-06 13:54:39
55.   randym77
54 Hallelujah. Thank you, Joe!

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