Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Drop a Gem on 'em
2006-06-19 05:17
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

"It was great when we didn't see Rivera out there in the ninth," [Washington's second baseman, Jose] Vidro said. "It was like, 'Oh, man, we got a pretty good chance now.'"
(Washington Post)

Chien-Ming Wang was everything the Yankees hoped he'd be on Sunday afternoon. He gave them length--pitching into the ninth inning--was efficient as well as effective. Beautiful, right? The Yankees led 2-1 and the 'Nats were down to their final two outs. Alex Rodriguez (2-2 with two walks) crushed an RBI double to left in the eighth to put New York ahead. But Mariano Rivera was unavailable. With Ron Villone and Scott Proctor warming in the bullpen, pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson rolled a ground ball through the right side for a base hit. And then Wang made a mistake. Perhaps it was a sign of fatigue, but he hung a sinker--his 107th pitch of the game--to the powerful Ryan Zimmerman who promptly smacked the ball over the left field fence. Nats 3, Yanks 2.

And with that, the Nationals took weekend series in front of the largest baseball crowd RFK has ever seen. Wang walked off the field and threw his glove. It was as emotional as I've ever seen him. As he sat on the bench, Joe Torre and then Ron Guidry both tried to console him. Wang pitched a fine game, and was everything he needed to be, minus one pitch. You can't fault him for that. In my mind the goat of the weekend was Shawn Chacon, who pitched miserably with a seven-run lead on Saturday.

Ah, but there is no use crying over spilt milk. What's done is done. The Yanks head to Philadelphia for three against the Phillies starting tonight. Wang's performance could be a success in the long run. There should be plenty of offense in the coming series and the Bombers may need all the help they can get from their pen, who got a much-needed day of rest on Father's Day.

Comments (62)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-06-19 06:15:00
1.   Dan M
I'm guessing that my comment was covered in the 200+ comments from yesterday, but I still don't see why Rivera can't pitch more than 2 days in a row. You never hear about Joe Nathan being unavailable due to overwork (or maybe you do). It just reflects a lack of urgency on Torre's part that I fear is inappropriate for a season when every game is crucial - i.e., when the second place team in the AL East might not make the postseason.
2006-06-19 06:23:15
2.   rbj
I think it had to do with Mo pitching 2 innings in each of the last two days. I don't recall what his pitch counts were, either. The thing is, you don't want to risk burning Mo's arm out in June, when you'll need him through October. He's too valuable to risk, unlike, say, Scott Proctor.

Still, very tough loss for the Tiger. Great performance, if only the guys could've gotten Jeter home when he stole third early in the game.

2006-06-19 06:39:26
3.   jayd
1 Dan Dan Dan. Hold up now, take a few deep breaths and check out the competition. We haven't started signinng KC Royal rejects yet with 20 something era's. Dotel is on his way and what's that? Do I hear Pavano, our elusive series mvp, is throwing from the mound, ready to make fools of us all? The object of the weekend was to make the Nationals a force to be reckoned with -- watch them sweep the rsox now. Strategy, will robinson, strategy...
2006-06-19 06:42:05
4.   willdthrill
Alex, I think I'm at the end of my rope with Torre and his bullpen usage. If he can't find ways to use Villone, Beam and Matt Smith in yesterday's game, he ought not to be the Yank's manager any longer. His prejudices against placing young and inexperienced pitchers in ANY situation in a relievers role has brought on injuries to Tanyon Sturtze, minimized the effectiveness of Flash Gordon, Proctor and Farnsworth in the past three to four seasons. Torre's tenure in the beginning was filled with creative and smart usage of pitchers that allowed the pitchers to gain confidence, be productive and the the team in the best possible position to win. The past several seasons has seen our manager tighten up his bullpen tighter than a drum. The argument that the starters are not giving the Yank innings masks the inescapable truth that Torre has become a robotic manager when it comes to late inning strategy. Proctor, Farnsworth, Rivera and all else be damned. Even if you got seven innings out of your starters, Torre's usage would still shred the arms of these three guys by making them pitch in over 90 innings for an entire season. This reaffirms my belief that there is a sustainable shelf life for a manager. I think we're at, if not well past, the shelf life of Torre as a "good" manager. If only there's another more viable candidate out there...

P.S. Making Wang pitch a complete also risks Wang's arm and possibly make him less effective the next start. So you not only put the game at hand at risk, but also the next game Wang starts.

2006-06-19 07:03:20
5.   Alex Belth
I don't know. Wang hadn't thrown a lot of pitches at all. It's not like he was working in and out of jams all day. He was cruising. Anderson snuck a grounder for base hit. I'm sure Torre hoped that he'd get one more ground ball there. I didn't first guess him for keeping Wang in, so I can't second guess him now.
2006-06-19 07:04:52
6.   Dan M
I hear ya, rbj, there is certainly sound reasoning for not using Rivera, but I don't think other teams enjoy that luxury - and I don't think the Yanks have that luxury this year either. Yes, you don't want Mo burned out for October, but it's a moot point if you don't get to October. Yesterday was a game you needed, and Torre managed as if they didn't.

No KC rejects yet? Jayd, have you forgotten T-Long's reign of terror so soon? Plus, we've also had the pleasure of D-Ray rejects.

2006-06-19 07:10:37
7.   Dan M
Pitch count was low, yes, but with that heat and humidity, 100 pitches is like 115.

Anyway, as Alex said, no use in crying over spilt milk. But I'll be even more irked if tonight's game is washed out.

2006-06-19 07:13:55
8.   JeterChrist
4 This has clearly put the team at its breaking point the past couple seasons. Saturday was a great example of how ineffectively he manages a bullpen. With 5 innings left to play, the Yankees had a 9-2 lead, Chacon had been struggling all day, and it was brutally hot out (according to all reports, having been to that stadium before, it doesn't provide a lot of breeze either). Instead of going with a short (1 baserunner leash with Chacon, Joe lets him face 5 batters in the 5th. I think he did the right thing bringing Beam in for a scoreless 6th, but at that point, the next to innings should have gone to either all Villone, or a combination of Villone/Myers/Proctor. With Mo just pitching the 9th.

Instead he goes about 2-3 batters too long with each pitcher, and almost the entire bullpen gets used up WHILE blowing a 7 run lead, not preserving it.

With young pitchers, confidence is such a big thing, and he seems to extend each one too far, opening them up to bad situations, and making him reluctant to use them again. Cost us 2 games this weekend that we can't afford to lose.

2006-06-19 07:24:45
9.   Max
Interesting to see the Yankee comparisons trotted out in the wake of Mickelson's epic gag job yesterday...Lupica (naturally) comparing yesterday's 18th hole performance to what the Yanks did in 2004.

What I thought was more interesting was Selena Roberts' comparison of Mickelson to ARod in the Sunday paper. I know Roberts is highly unpopular because of her corrosive cynicism, but I thought her column made some very good (though typically acidic) points.

"... So why has one player been offered a mulligan for any obsequiousness while the other's questionable authenticity leaves him no room to fail?

The difference is not about performance under pressure, about Mickelson's three major titles and Rodriguez's zero World Series rings. This is about earning a margin for error when nothing in sports unleashes more public venom like unaccountable wealth....

...No matter how outsized a pro athlete's income — or how warped the amount may seem compared to the earnings of a teacher — Mickelson makes money within the moral limits of his sport, in amounts reflective of his work.

This makes all the difference. So fans continue to harass Rodriguez for trying too hard at perfection, for never daring to produce a clutch slap single with an ungraceful swing, for always having a scripted response to his failings.

The affection for Mickelson is unconditional. He keeps pressing on that smile and fist-bumping those fans and living life as a human happy-gram. Yesterday, Mickelson made sure to mention how exciting the final day is going to be, how he relished the challenge of a United States Open and how his wife, Amy, "was in the gallery and says how much fun it was."

He may be every bit as specious as Rodriguez, but Mickelson remains unburdened by questions of his authenticity. Every week, every round, he earns the benefit of the doubt."

2006-06-19 07:34:38
10.   Tarheel
I was at the games on Sat and Sunday and when Arod hit the homer on Sat to give NY the lead and the double yesterday RFK had the loudest cheers of both games, including the walk off homer. The stadium was at least 50% Yankee fans so it just showed that Yankee fans really want to cheer Arod. Those were two huge hits that should have both been game winners. It really looked like he was very comfortable at the plate--he almost had a swagger when he was walking to the plate. I think that getting away from all the boo birds at Yankee Stadium was just what the doctor ordered.

On the other hand, what the hell is Joe thinking in his bullpen use.

Losing the game yesterday felt like a kick in the gut. Especially after the Arod double and the Melky catch. It just felt like the game was in hand. Then, bam, over, just like that. Tough loss.

2006-06-19 07:39:23
11.   Dimelo
I believe a minor league team is holding a promotion that will allow everyone to be a manager online and recommend changes. Maybe you can all manage a bullpen better than Torre. I was watching that game and I don't blame Torre for any of that. You have a 9 - 2 lead and you are all talking about a short leash with Chacon, I'm sorry…if a pitcher can't protect a 7 run lead in the bottom of the 5th inning then the only person who gets my scorn is the pitcher. After that, the bullpen usage became moot in my book because they were already spent. Oh well…. Just my 2 pennies.

Again the theme continues, Torre loses every game and the players win every game.

2006-06-19 07:46:58
12.   Simone
Dimelo, that theme is like a bad song that won't end. Now we get all the, "sure, it was the players didn't perform, but Joe ..."s.
2006-06-19 07:52:29
13.   Tarheel
I didn't have a problem with Torre on Saturday--that was just sorry pitching all around. My deal was yesterday. Leaving Wang in there for the 9th was asking for disaster. Not to mention that if someone else would have come in and lost at least Wang would have left the game on a positive. These are the types of things that stick in the mind of pitchers. Hopefully, Wang will get over it.
2006-06-19 08:01:29
14.   Jen
10 I was at both of those games too. It was nice to finally hear the opposing fans boos Alex rather than Yankee fans. And you're right about his comfort at the plate. I got to see batting practice on Saturday and A-Rod was looking pretty good. His swings were effortless. You could tell that Donnie liked what he saw as well.
2006-06-19 08:06:49
15.   Dimelo
Given the language barrier, I'm still sure Wang had good understanding of the situation and why he was put out there in the 9th. He wanted to be a hero, who wouldn't after pitching 8 1/3 fabulous? I think I would have been more pissed if someone else would have lost it, not that I'm glad Wang lost it but I was happy to see that Torre trusted him enough not to trust anyone else - when Mo, Proctor or anyone else is unavailable. To me, if I were a pitcher, that would mean more to me than the W/L. As a team the 'W' means more, obviously. I think Wang will be fine. I know people think that Torre left him out there to get hurt, but he only pitched 7 more pitches if that hurts his shoulder than Torre is not to blame but I'm sure people will find blame in Torre.
2006-06-19 08:09:26
16.   Tarheel
Another observation from the weekend. I thought that RFK was a pretty good place to watch a game. Saturday I was in the 5th row of the upper deck at 1st base and Sunday I was in the lower deck under the shelter at first base. It was really a good atmosphere. Lots of Yankee fans, almost as many as in Baltimore, and the local fans were good. I was lucky to be in the shade both days--it was hot--but with the breeze, it was pretty nice. I think that RFK gets a bad rap, they have done a pretty nice job there with an old cookie cutter stadium. Plus the beers are $2 cheaper than Yankee Stadium.

(By the way, the Arod homer on Saturday was probably the hardest hit ball I have ever witnessed in person. It was a laser that flew the 410 sign and must have dented the wall behind the fense. Amazing shot.)

2006-06-19 08:11:57
17.   jayd
tough loss was watching the washington natwits come back 9-2 on us and not having anything in the pen to stop it. now THAT was a loss.

Yesterday's loss was like watching melky try for two and get thrown out -- hardly tough at all. nice try -- on to the phillies.

stop this gut wrenching stuff already.

2006-06-19 08:17:02
18.   domvjr
Speaking of the Phillies, living down here in Philly, looking forward to being at all three games. Hopefully the bad weather stays away till after tonights game. I am sure there will be alot of Yankee fans in attendance, coming down from central and north Jersey. Looking to get back on track and sweeping the sillies!
2006-06-19 08:19:56
19.   Schteeve
4 I think you are mis remembering Torre's bullpen usage in 95 and 96 when it was a total push button formula

Starter goes six, if he goes less, Mendoza comes in, then you get Rivera for two and Wetteland closes. Night after night after night that was the formula.

Then it was starter to Mendoza, to Nelson to Stanton to Rivera.

Then it was Karsay to Rivera

then it was Flash to Rivera.

Joe's bullpen habits are as pushbutton as it gets, and it's been like that for a long long time.

If I'm mis remembering please someone educate me. But I don't remember anytime in the last 11 years that Joe has been especially creative with the pen.

2006-06-19 08:23:13
20.   baileywalk
I hate Torre as much as anyone. I wish they would have fired him this off-season. But this is one of those have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too situations with the fans. Leaving Wang in to pitch the ninth wasn't asking for a disaster. Yeah, a one-run lead is tenuous, but pitchers have and will pitch nine innings of one-run ball.

With Mo and Farns unavailable, it made sense to leave Wang in the game -- he's not the type of pitcher to melt down in a pressure situation. Also, if he pulled Wang for Villone and Villone came in and gave up a run, people would be going batshit.

The real problem here is not how Torre managed the bullpen yesterday, but how he's been doing it all year (and especially in the last few games). It's a broken record, but the guy keep running the same people out there. Torre distrusts Villone so much it's almost comical. Seriously, if he was brought into a 22-1 lead, and gave up a leadoff walk, I think Torre would take him out so Proctor could face a righty.

There was no reason to overextend Mo a second day in a row. Because he did, there was no way he could be used in the third game, when we really needed him. The stupidest decision Torre made was to allow Proctor to start the eighth inning (of game two) if he was just going to bring Mo in anyway. Proctor ended up walking Sori and that effectively ended the game.

At this moment, with the injured Farns, Torre has EIGHT guys in the bullpen. Eight. Even with all of those options, something tells me Proctor is in the game in the seventh with anything under a ten-run lead.

2006-06-19 08:25:00
21.   Schteeve
Hating Joe Torre is ridiculous. The guy has been obscenely successful for this team. He is by all accounts a really great guy.

Question some of his tactical managing, sure, but if you say you "hate Joe Torre" I think you have a flippin screw loose.

2006-06-19 08:26:36
22.   willdthrill
Again the theme continues, Torre loses every game and the players win every game.

Uhh, no. If you recall, at the beginning of his tenure, Joe regularly went to guys in the bullpen like Jason Grimsley and Ramiro Medoza, heck, Joe was the guy who broke Mariano out of the Buck Showalter doghouse. My basic point is this, at the beginning, when Joe was more open minded and less uptight, he found ways to make pitchers useful on the team's entire 25 man roster. In the last three or four years, he's bascally gone with an eight man staff: five starters, and the two or three relievers he "trusts." You can debate the merits of his decision yesterday, but what you shouldn't do is analyze the game without looking at Torre's stubborn way of managing his bullpen the last few years. It's a disturbing trend and one that's counterproductive since the team's farm system cannot provide enough fodder for Cashman to trade for more "proven veterans" that Torres craves in these relief roles. It's too bad, TJ Beam and Matt Smith could be useful and cheap assets to the Yankees, but with Torre circa 2006, the fans and the organization will never find out for sure.

2006-06-19 08:28:27
23.   Schteeve
And look what happened to Jason Grimsley!!
2006-06-19 08:38:40
24.   Dimelo
I agree with Schteeve...."hate Joe Torre" are some poor choice of words. Stupid too.
2006-06-19 08:39:23
25.   Max
I can't really go along with the "gut-wrenching" stuff myself, even though both of the weekend losses were tough. Gut-wrenching, for those with short memories, was losing to Tampa Bay 4-3 on a Nick Green (!) homerun off of Carl Pavano...losing to Tampa Bay 7-6 on a Tanyon Sturtze wild pitch...losing to Tampa Bay 4-3 on a Scott Proctor walk in the 11th inning after Alan Embree gives up a game-tying HR in the ninth...losing to Tampa 4-3 (yet again) when a ball goes through Cano's legs in the ninth.

The weekend was a picnic compared to a lot of what happened last year. I'm liking this year's team a lot better, but if things get much worse than losing 7 out of the last 10 and 8 of the last 13, I might start to feel differently.

As far as Ron Villone, I think he's this year's F-Rod...a legend who's growing in stature with every situation he's not brought into.

2006-06-19 08:42:12
26.   willdthrill
But I don't remember anytime in the last 11 years that Joe has been especially creative with the pen.

Perhaps not so much creative, but perhaps more secure in his players abilities? He never hesitated to stick a Brian Boehringer, a Jim Mecir and even a Randy Choate out there to either take their lumps or get the job done. None of them were world-beaters, but they did take some pressure and innings off of the trio of Nelson/Stanton/Rivera.

2006-06-19 08:42:39
27.   DarrenF
Remember last year when Buddy Groom was cut and ripped Torre? "If you're not one of Torre's guys, you won't get a chance." Sour grapes or an obvious truth from a well-traveled veteran?

Was Groom really any worse than Everyday Al Leiter or Playoff-Tested Alan Embree?

I don't know what Torre's criteria is. It's not simply Veteran vs. Neophyte. I actually can't figure it out.

But I know Quantrill and Stanton are 1-2 in Yankee single-season appearances. I know Proctor leads all relievers in IP and may as well get pre-emptive Tommy John surgery tomorrow if he wants to salvage a baseball career.

Yes, the problems stem from the inability of Shawn Maricon to get out of the fifth. But it's also obvious that Torre can not effectively manage a bullpen when he is challenged to do so.

2006-06-19 08:47:08
28.   willdthrill
Everyday Al Leiter or Playoff-Tested Alan Embree?

And I bet the vast majority of the Yankees fans would rather see a 25 year old rookie out there for mop-up duty than seeing Scott Erickson for the umpteenth time. When the GM has to DFA certain players to save Torre from himself, you know there's a problem.

2006-06-19 08:54:07
29.   Schteeve
27 not cool.
2006-06-19 09:02:44
30.   DarrenF
28 I honestly believe that Torre used Alan Embree excessively in the 2005 pennant race because Torre remembered a game in the 2003 ALCS when Embree struck out Giambi with runners on second and third.
2006-06-19 09:03:28
31.   Jeteupthemiddle
28 Uhhh....maybe the GM shouldn't have had Erickson there in the first place?

All this Torre bashing is ridiculous. I agree with whoever said "Torre gets the losses, the players get the wins."

It is most definitely true all across the internet.

2006-06-19 09:12:11
32.   Dan M
Tarheel, glad to hear RFK is making some improvements. I went to a game there last year, and thought it was hands down the worst stadium in MLB. But that was probably based on the fact that there was not a single concession stand that sold both beer and hot dogs. Down right unAmerican!

Food for thought: as was mentioned here on Friday, Joe Nathan pitched the final 2 innings against the Red Sox on Thursday night, and clearly appeared to be out of gas by the end (he threw 42 total pitches). What does Gardenhire do? Runs him out on Friday and Saturday for saves. And probably would have done so again yesterday if the situation called for it. Granted, on Friday Nathan got the save on just 7 pitches, but I think it illustrates different approaches. I'm interested in seeing if Francona pronounces that Papelbon is unavailable tonight because he's pitched 3 days in a row. If he does, I'll cut Joe some slack. If Lil Papi closes out another Sox win, however, I won't.

2006-06-19 09:14:30
33.   Jeteupthemiddle
32So wait, are you advocating that usage of closers?

That is absurd. Also, there is a difference between 22 (or whatever) year old Papelbon and 37 year old Rivera.

2006-06-19 09:16:30
34.   JohnnyC
"Uhhh....maybe the GM shouldn't have had Erickson there in the first place?"

Uhhh...Erickson was invited to camp because Torre acceded to Giambi's request to give Erickson, his buddy, a platform in Spring Training to show off his wares to other major league teams. It was understood that if no one bit, Erickson would be cut loose. It was Torre who wanted to send Erickson down to Columbus and stay in the organization. He requested him specifically from Cashman when he was ultimately called up. His being DFA'd shows you Cashman doesn't want him. Trouble is, no one else wants him either. Uhh...

2006-06-19 09:18:20
35.   Dimelo
Part of me wishes Torre would get fired so some/most of you will get your wish. When every Yankee loss can be deconstructed into such simple logic as, "Torre must be fired" or "I hate Torre", then I'd like to know who would do a better job?

Sometimes I feel like I'm playing the Al Pacino character in Scent of a Woman. During the Yankee losses it constantly feels like the final scene when Pacino is sitting there defending poor Charlie.

2006-06-19 09:23:50
36.   DarrenF
31 and 32 I think Torre deserves some criticism for what occurred this weekend. If this weekend doesn't qualify as mismanaging the bullpen, then nothing qualifies. It's not all Torre's fault, but he used Rivera in a loss and then Rivera wasn't available the next day when he could have used him. Oops.

But these criticisms have been valid for years. You haven't noticed that Sturtze and then Proctor lead the entire league in apperances while Myers isn't allowed to ever pitch to more than one batter?

The starting staff isn't giving enough innings. Wells, Clemens, Pettitte are gone. It wasn't a challenge back then, handing over 5-run leads to Nelson & Stanton in the 8th.

I think most observers realize Rivera is a very valuable asset and can't pitch every game. I also think it's obvious that Torre simply doesn't know how balance the workload. This is okay as long as the workload is light.

2006-06-19 09:29:45
37.   Dimelo
36 When did Rivera pitch in a loss? I believe it was save situation when he came in.
2006-06-19 09:30:15
38.   Jeteupthemiddle
If Meyers ever pitched to more than one batter, people would freak out that Torre has him pitching against righties. Earlier in the season he pitched to a righty between two lefties and everyone here was screaming that this clearly means that Myers will pitch to Manny Ramirez because he is between Ortiz and Nixon.

Sturtze was a long reliever last year. He wasn't overused...he sucked. One good month his entire career.

As for Proctor, right now, I'm willing to believe the same thing. One good month does not a career make.

Would I prefer he use Villone more often...of course I would, but Torre has done a good job with what he's had this year.

I guess I'm not cool enough to bitch about the manager after every loss.

2006-06-19 09:41:07
39.   DarrenF
37 Rivera pitched Saturday in a game the Yankees lost. In fact, Rivera got the L. That's pitching in a loss. Right?

The manager can't be criticized when his strategy fails?

38 "People" is not me.

I agree that one good month does not make a career for Proctor or Sturtze. I'm curious why Torre elevated them both so quickly based on limited effectiveness.

I also understand that the bullpen options are limited. Again, I'll point out that Torre seems to pick a "guy" -- Quantrill, Sturtze, Proctor -- and suddenly this particular player pitches nearly every game while a lot of pitchers in the bullpen sit on their hands. I believe this worked A-OK as long as the starters pitched enough innings and didn't stress the system.

2006-06-19 09:41:27
40.   willdthrill
Part of me wishes Torre would get fired so some/most of you will get your wish.

It may not be the worst thing. The Yankees are headed for the down part of their competitive cycle. Aging veterans with large contracts and a farm system that is not held in high regard around the majors as strong with prospects. If Torre's managerial style becomes Dusty Baker-like as the years progress, then no matter how good Phillip Hughes is in the minors, he is wasted in the Yankees system because the big league manager simply cannot "trust" a guy who is not a "proven veteran." Just as the front office should get players based on the team's needs, the manager should be hired based on how he can deal with the players he has on his roster. Torre deserves praise and a plaque in the Hall of Fame for his tenure as the manager, but I just don't believe his past record affords him infallibility in how he handles his bullpen.

2006-06-19 09:43:44
41.   monkeypants
Torre's decisions or not, this team is now reaping what it has sown for the last few years. You sign injury-prone Oavano and Wright, and surprise--one is injured and the other goes only five innings. You pull your bacon out of the fire by signing pixie-dust benefis: escape artish Chacon and jouneyman Small. Resign them and suprise, Small stinks and is released and Chacon can't go five innings. You sign designated one-hitter specialist guy (Meyers), so not a real option out of the bullpen. So now the team has to carry 47 pitchers on the roster (ok, 13), which limits potential for bench players.

Of whom one must be burned on a no-hit backup C. Another is burned on a no-hit defensive OF (Crosby). You start the season with a DH who can't field in RF, and a DH who can't field at 1B, and starting DH who can't hit (Bernie). And a back-up IF who can't hit (Cairo).

Oh yeah, the one 'unforseen' in the equation is that 40 y.o. Randy Johnson did not continue to dominate, so he only goes 6 innings.

2006-06-19 09:44:21
42.   DarrenF
35 I don't know why a criticism of Torre implies that he should be fired. Torre probably manages the bullpen better than, say, Billy Martin or Lou Piniella. Just ask Cecilio Guante.
2006-06-19 09:48:36
43.   willdthrill
Cecilio Guante.

That Doug Drabek trade was just a gift that kept on giving.

2006-06-19 09:56:06
44.   Nick from Washington Heights
You fire Joe Torre and who replaces him? Seriously, managers like Earl Weaver and Casey Stengel are extremely hard to come by. The rest tend to have problems managing the personnel on their team, specifically young players and the bullpen. Among many of the Torre haters, it's a common refrain that Lou Pineilla would be a huge upgrade. Really?!! Lou's handling of young players is pretty awful--he didn't exactly do a good job of working with the young players in Tampa. His use of the bullpen is like all other managers. he goes with trusted guys, they tend to be veterans, etc. Sound familiar?

My question: You fire Torre, who replaces him? And why would he be better?

2006-06-19 10:01:15
45.   markp
Entering Friday:
Villone 27 IP 1.65 ERA
Proctor 41 IP 3.77 ERA

On Friday Proctor pitched 2 innings while Villone sat. Villone could have been used in the 8th, keeping Rivera from pitching more than one inning.
During Saturday's meltdown,Villone sat while Proctor came in and poured gasoline on the fire. There's a very good possibility a well rested Villone could have put out the fire and saved Rivera from being used at all.
On Sunday, Wang was well over his allotment and Villone had already been designated the closer.
Not using the guy with a 1.65 ERA in that situation was certainly a strange choice given how many balls were hard hit in several ABs prior to that. A well rested Villone made more sense.
But using Villone instead of Proctor on Saturday would very likely kept Rivera from being used at all in that game (instead of his second 2 inning stint in a row.)
Torre's mismanagement has been well documented from the beginning of his managerial career to the present, but this week-end showed it in stark contrast. Not using Villone all weekend while using Proctor twice is just plain stupid.
Not having Mo

2006-06-19 10:10:59
46.   Jeteupthemiddle
40 Torre's managerial style becomes Dusty Baker-like as the years progress, then no matter how good Phillip Hughes is in the minors, he is wasted in the Yankees system because the big league manager simply cannot "trust" a guy who is not a "proven veteran."

That is simply not true.

Some rookies who came through the Yankee system with Torre as the manager: Jeter, Rivera, Mendoza, Soriano, Nick Johnson, Wang, Spencer, and Ledee. I'm sure there are more as well, but I don't feel like looking it up.

If Hughes makes the team out of spring training or is a callup during the year...or whatever, he will be treated like the blue chip prospect he is by Torre.

2006-06-19 10:19:30
47.   Max
In case anyone missed this item in the Sunday Boston Globe, it's not just the Yankees struggling with crappy relief:

"The Sox invested $17.8 million in 2006 salaries in five pitchers who made up their set-up corps: Keith Foulke ($7.75 million), Julian Tavarez ($3.35 million), Mike Timlin ($3 million), Rudy Seanez ($1.9 million), and David Riske ($1.8 million). That's the most expensive middle relief in baseball, as NESN's Bob Neumeier noted last week, and the Sox are also paying much of Guillermo Mota's $3 million salary with the Indians. That pushes the figure over $20 million, or almost 33 percent more than the Marlins' entire Opening Day payroll ($14.4 million; all salary figures from

The Sox' bullpen began the weekend with a 4.30 ERA (88 ER in 184 1/3 innings), which ranks seventh in the league. But take away Jonathan Papelbon's numbers (1 earned run in 32 1/3 innings), and the bullpen ERA jumps to 5.15, well above the league average of 4.45.

2006-06-19 10:23:02
48.   rbj
DarrenF, Sat. Mo came in with a chance for the save/win, he didn't come in with the Yankees already down. It was the right thing to do, brin him in in that situation.

I agree that Torre's bullpen management isn't the best, but very few do that well (and how many of them can handle clubhouse egos, NY media, and George Steinbrenner.) Plus, if you excel at pitching in the majors, you are going to 1) start or 2) close. Most middle relievers aren't that good for more than a few years so it is always going to be a crap shoot for which team's bullpen is going to be good or bad in any given year.

Sunday night baseball was talking about the Braves possibly trading Smoltz. Yeah, it is just Joe Morgan chatting away, but what about say, Farnsworth (Braves need a closer) and Wright for Smoltz? Or can't Farns be traded (first year of a FA contract?)

2006-06-19 10:23:16
49.   Dimelo
39 Darren, pitching in a loss is not the same as pithing in a situation where the closer came in during a save situation and got the loss. You are making it sound as if he pitched in a game the Yankees were already losing so it was moot. He came in to protect a 9 - 8 lead. That's pitching to win the game in my book.
2006-06-19 10:55:17
50.   willdthrill
That is simply not true.

Read my posts again. I never said Torre never played rookies. If anything, his track record should make it even more evident that his managerial style now compared with when he first got the job is a bit different. As for Wang and Cano, it's not like Torre had any choice, was there? Nobody was coming via a trade last year. And no one of significance is coming in a trade either this year if the front office's decree that they are not trading their best prospects is to be believed. With the bullpen, he does have a choice, either use all of the pitchers in the bullpen, or simply rely on three and half pitchers and watch the bullpen break down down the stretch.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-06-19 11:10:33
51.   DarrenF
48 Did the strategy backfire? Of course it did. Torre used Rivera in the 8th inning for two games in a row. Assuming everything had gone fine on Saturday, Rivera would have not been available for Sunday. That's a strategic decision that left Wang vulnerable on Sunday.

49 I absolutely did not mean to "make it sound" that way. Put it this way: If Torre somehow "knew" that the Yankees were going to lose on Saturday, then he wouldn't have used Rivera. I think we all can agree on that point. Torre took a calculated risk and it didn't work out. In this particular balancing act of Winning Today vs. Winning Tomorrow, the Yankees lost both games.

Of course it's not all Torre's fault. Rivera can get five outs on Saturday and the offense can score four runs on Sunday against Somebody O'Something and the Yankees sweep and Torre is a genius.

Do I think an overarching different approach to bullpen usage could have helped the Yankees win both of those games? Yes, I do. We'll never know for sure.

2006-06-19 11:36:19
52.   C2Coke
If RJ can get hot again like the weather, and if the Yanks can find a fourth SP who can go deeper than 6, management of the bullpen would be so much easier.

The real worry comes when Mo retires.

2006-06-19 11:36:26
53.   RI Yankee
44 Looks like you answered your own question Nick . . .

Maybe Joe's not a brilliant bullpen braniac, a HOF mgr., or even a very good dancer . . . I don't know. The bullpen's success has, does and will (until he retires) rises and sets on the right arm of Mr. Rivera. Too often, he is the measuring stick, and when others fail, or he displays his own humanity, we look to place blame elsewhere.

48 ". . . if you excel at pitching in the majors, you are going to 1) start or 2) close."


2006-06-19 11:48:52
54.   baileywalk
"I agree with Schteeve....'hate Joe Torre' are some poor choice of words. Stupid too."

Take off the diapers and get your mothers' teat out of your mouths, you children. "Hate" is not the four-letter word you should be offended by. Last time I checked, hate means "having great animosity toward" and "having a dislike for." That's how most people feel about ol' Zucchini Nose. I don't know Torre personally -- though you guys seem to, since you know he's such a swell guy -- so obviously I don't hate him as a person or human being. I do dislike his decisions and what he does with his players. But in the interest of not harming the soft spots on your heads, I'll dial down my incendiary language from now on.

2006-06-19 12:03:56
55.   Shaun P
I'm pretty sure the only person who actually said they "hated" Joe Torre was baileywalk up in 20. Its possible to criticize Torre's bullpen management and not hate him or think he ought to be fired. I believe Mr. Cliff Corcoran has written many such articles ("Jeff Weaver Syndrome" for example) and comments doing just that.

Unfortunately Torre has shown a tendency to repeat the same type of bullpen mismanagement moves - hence JWS and Steve Karsay Syndrome and so on. He doesn't do it all the time, but its still there.

The biggest problem I've seen from Torre this year is failing to realize that (1) Ron Villone is available to pitch out of the pen and (2) Ron Villone isn't a LOOGY. He is not the greatest pitcher in the world - he's probably 8th out of the 8 guys currently in the pen - but he's a hell of a lot better than Erickson, Small, et al. And if pitching Villone more = saving Proctor's arm = increasing Proctor's effectiveness, then Villone should pitch more.

I didn't watch Saturday's game so I can't comment on that, but as for yesterday, you can't win 'em all. I don't think Torre did anything wrong leaving Wang in. Before Zimmerman's homer yesterday, Wang had given up 4 home runs in 97.1 IP! (About 1 homer every 25 innings!) And he was pitching in a cavernous park that tends to depress home runs. (The Nats have hit 32 homers at RFK, 13 by Soriano - no one else has more than 5. No Nat last year hit more than 8 at home all season long.)

Just my long $0.02.

2006-06-19 12:46:06
56.   Schteeve
54 I'm going to summarize your idiocy,

"I said I hate him, but obviously I don't hate him. Mean stuff mean stuff mean stuff."

So leave my mom's teat out of this and I'll leave .... oh nevermind.

2006-06-19 13:02:00
57.   Rosbif22
When it comes to bullpen usage, perhaps it's time we all reread the Lesson of Stevie Hearsay.

As for replacing Torre, they should just hire Cliff and Alex.

2006-06-19 13:08:16
58.   baileywalk
"I'm going to summarize your idiocy, "I said I hate him, but obviously I don't hate him. Mean stuff mean stuff mean stuff." So leave my mom's teat out of this and I'll leave .... oh nevermind."

If you can't see the difference between hating a man for his baseball decisions and hating him for who he is (and wishing he would get eaten alive by a pack of squirrels), then you're more hopeless than I assumed. "Mean stuff, mean stuff, mean stuff"? Thanks for justifying me calling you a child, little man. Write me back when you can see over the steering wheel.

2006-06-19 13:29:07
59.   Max
"Sheff rocks/I Won't Miss That Tanker" recently topped out at 65 posts, "ARod sucks/not a true Yankee" catapulted to 91 posts. "I Hate Joe Torre/No I Don't" is at 59 posts and climbing.
2006-06-19 13:40:17
60.   Alex Belth
Fellas, be nice now.

Oh, and Max, "I won't miss that tanker?" A "Road Warrior" reference?

That's too dope.

2006-06-19 13:40:24
61.   Schteeve
58 You're welcome! Vroom vroom!
2006-06-19 13:44:51
62.   Shaun P
57 That's what I'm talking 'bout!

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.