Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Lo Hud, Big Unit
2006-06-27 05:23
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Randy Johnson struck out a season-high nine batters and did not allow a run over seven innings. Not so long ago, Yankee fans wondered if the real Big Unit would ever return. Well, he may never be the 38-year old version again, but clearly, he isn't completely cooked either. The Atlanta Braves' hitters didn't help themselves much--jeez, what a bunch of hackers--but there is no denying that Johnson is pitching effectively once more. Jason Giambi hit a two-run homer in the first and a three-run dinger in the second and that was all the Yankees would need as they cruised to a 5-2 victory in the Bronx.

Tim Hudson was wild early and Giambi hit what looked like split finger fastballs for his home runs. Some friend. The Bombers' offense didn't do much else on Derek Jeter's 32nd birthday (also Mike Myers' 37th), but they'll take the win. Scott Proctor allowed a two-run bomb to Chipper Jones in the ninth after pitching a scoreless eighth. That was the lowest part of the night for the Yankees, aside from Alex Rodriguez's 12th error of the season which matches his 2005 season total. I was never sold on Rodriguez being a Gold Glover last year--though he was a fine defensive player--and he has regressed this season. He's got a strong, true arm, but his lateral movement appears sluggish. I wonder what's up with that? Anyhow, Mariano Rivera came in for the final two outs. He walked a batter and struck two men out looking, and that, as they say, was that.

It is not certain that Robinson Cano will be placed on the DL but my guess is that he likely won't get much burn until after the All-Star break. Meanwhile, Octavio Dotel pitched yesterday. According to reports, he's likely a month away from joining the big league club. Lastly, Aaron Small cleared waivers and has returned to Columbus.

Comments (68)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-06-27 06:43:52
1.   C2Coke
Hopefully, there will be some positive MRI results today for Cano. Wow, now all nine starting lineup players have missed games due to injury or sickness. That's some record.
2006-06-27 06:53:46
2.   KJC
I can't seem to watch Baseball Tonight without a Yankee curtain call highlight, quite often very early in the game. Last night: Giambi in the 2nd innning. I realize it was his 2nd HR of the game and the Braves suck, but the game was hardly over. Do any NY fans think the Stadium has been overdoing the curtain calls this year, or is it just me?

(Full disclosure: I'm a Red Sox fan [and therefore 17% owned by the NY Times company] and thought Gabe Kapler's CC at Fenway last week was unnecessary.)

2006-06-27 07:03:16
3.   alterity
2 I'm a huge Yankees fan and have always thought that someof the curtain calls were a bit much. If you give a curtain call to everything, it kind of cheapens the ones that really mean something IMHO.

Oh, and the Braves totally suck this year. It's weird seeing them look so lost when they've been among the clas of MLB for a decade and a half.

2006-06-27 07:05:26
4.   DarrenF
Oddly Enough, Washed Up Randy Johson and Young Phenom Josh Beckett have the exact same ERA.
2006-06-27 07:05:52
5.   C2Coke
2 I agree there seems to be a lot of curtain calls this season so far according to my recollection. However, in terms of yesterday it did turn out to be the last runs scored...
And recently, without Sheff, Matsui, and, well... Arod hitting the ball hard, it is just so much harder to have multiple HR in one game, especially true if it wasn't for Giambi.
2006-06-27 07:07:53
6.   C2Coke
4 Now that's hilarious. But seriously though, the Unit is really cleaning up his acts lately and trying to live up to his nickname.
2006-06-27 07:10:15
7.   unpopster
Well, if reports coming out of Tampa are correct, looks like our hopes to bring back Dioner Navarro as Jorge's heir-apparent have been dashed.

The Tampa Tribune is reporting that the Dodgers are about to trade young Doner to the DRays for Mark Hendrickson and Toby Hall.

2006-06-27 07:16:56
8.   bp1
2 Curtain calls don't bother me in the least. Not ever a little. I hope the Yankees hear one every day. Two even. I'd rather hear ten curtain calls for Giambi than another round of undeserved boos for A-Rod.
2006-06-27 07:17:00
9.   Alex Belth
I was trying to think recently when that curtain call tradition began. The first time I recall it happening was Gary Carter's first game with the Mets. Not that he was the first player to ever take a curtain call but then the 85, 86 Mets made it a regular event.

Personally, I don't care for that kind of display. Especially early in a game. It just goes against every pessimistic, jinx-happy bone in my body. Giambi loves it though. And it's part of giving the people what they want. I don't like it, but I don't think it's going to go away anytime soon.

2006-06-27 07:22:14
10.   bp1
I wonder how many curtain calls Jeter got last night after his birthday party was over.

(sigh) What a life.

I would expect a few Yankees to feel a little sluggish today. Might be a run on "Jolt" in the clubhouse fridge before the game.

2006-06-27 07:28:15
11.   Dimelo
10 Once the game is over I don't think Jeter refers to them as "Curtain Calls", I think he refers to them as "Happy Endings".

On his birthday, multiple "Happy Endings".

2006-06-27 07:29:29
12.   kylepetterson
Anybody know anything about this? Sounds like a lot of speculation to me, but with these guys, you never know.

The Yankees may be on the verge of acquiring slugger Carlos Lee from the Brewers. Former Sox executive Lee Thomas, who is now an assistant to Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin, was seen in Trenton, N.J., on Friday night scouting Yankees pitching prospect Philip Hughes, who allowed one hit and struck out eight for the Double-A Thunder. -- Boston Herald

2006-06-27 07:34:06
13.   bp1
12 I don't think Cashman is that dumb, and I don't think the Boston Herald has any inside info on Yankee player moves.

Or should I say I hope not for all of the above.

11 The guy's life is one big happy ending, if you ask me. I just wanna be Jeter for a day. Just one day. Of course, I'd want it to be a day where he doesn't get hit by a pitch, but I suppose if there was some sultry hottie to ease the pain then it wouldn't be so bad.

2006-06-27 07:44:08
14.   JL25and3
7 Hendrickson and Hall??? If that's true, Cashman should get on the phone tout de suite. He can come up with a better deal than that without giving up anything important.

12 I agree, it's a lot of speculation. I mean, sure, the Yankees must have asked about Lee, and the Brewers would have been scouting Hughes. I doubt that they're "on the verge" of anything, though.

2006-06-27 07:53:48
15.   Dimelo
13 Definitely. Who wouldn't love to be him for one day?
2006-06-27 07:55:32
16.   Jeteupthemiddle
The Brewers were scouting Hughes, and perhaps the Yankees inquired about Lee, but if the Yankees are "on the verge" of trading for Lee with Hughes as the trading chip, I'd be shocked.

I need July 31st to pass, I am working myself up about the Yankees trading Hughes, even though I believe they won't do it.

As for Cano, can Kevin Thompson come back up? Has his 10 days passed? If they haven't, can we call him up because of an injury (Cano to the DL)?

This is what I'm thinking, instead of seeing Cairo at 2nd base every day, I would rather the Yankees DL Cano and call up Kevin Thompson. Then I want them to option Kevin Reese, and call up random infielder (Nick Green?)

Now, I want them...on occassion, and NEVER EVER when Wang is the play Andy Phillips at 2nd, Giambi at 1st, Bernie as the DH, and Thompson in RF.

The infield defense would be pretty bad (hense the Wang starting thing), but the outfield defense would be extrodinarily better. Perhaps they can do this when Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina pitch as they seem to get more fly balls and strikeouts than the rest of the staff.

Mostly, I just want to keep Cairo's bat out of the lineup everyday for 2 weeks.

2006-06-27 07:56:34
17.   standuptriple
Seeing as the Brew Crew are only 3.5 out of the NL WC I don't think they're read to dump Lee unless there's a major L-streak.
2006-06-27 08:48:26
18.   Schteeve
As hard as the Stadium faithful are on guys when they fail, they are very supportive when they homer. I have no problem with the curtain calls.
2006-06-27 08:58:35
19.   Cliff Corcoran
14 Agreed, the Dodgers should be able to do better for Navarro. That said, having Dioner succeed in the NL West was one thing, but having doing his thing against the Yanks 19 times a year as part of an up-and-coming Devil Rays club. Ouch.

As for the second base situation, 16, I mentioned this at the end of yesterday's game post, but one idea, if Cano does hit the DL and Andy does prove to be viable at second, would be to call up Carlos Pena, as a Phillips-Giambi right side could be a disaster, but a Phillips-Pena right side could possibly suffice during non-Wang games for a couple weeks.

That said, other than drawing walks, Pena's not really doing much with the Clippers (.258/.402/.431). I don't have much faith in his ability to contribute to this team. Then again, he is capable of going off on a tear. As long as the Yanks would agree to return him to Columbus once Cano came back, it couldn't hurt to try. After all, Cano's been playing outstanding defense this year, so even playing Cairo at second will be a significant defensive downgrade that the team is sure to feel. They might as well try to make up for those extra runs allowed by maintaining things on the other side of the ball.

2006-06-27 09:04:33
20.   Jeteupthemiddle
Well perhaps, instead of Pena, they could call up Shelley Duncan who was just promoted to AAA.

It is only 5 games, but he is .333/.429/.556.

Yeah, ok, that might be better...though, I hate seeing Bernie in the field.

2006-06-27 09:13:01
21.   Cliff Corcoran
20 Duncan's a Mitch Jones type. A lot of power, a bit of patience and a ton of strikeouts. Chances are at the major league level that would turn into a lot of impressive swing-and-misses, especially as those are the only five AAA games of his entire career and he's 26 years old.

I had fingered Pena in part because of his defensive reputation, which has come under suspicion by some, but might deserve a look if things come to that point. Duncan is indeed a first baseman, but has been shifted to the outfield in Columbus in favor of Pena. That alone should tell you all you need to know.

2006-06-27 09:30:40
22.   JCP22
Anyone know if the Yes network has a high definition channel on Comcast?
2006-06-27 09:37:27
23.   yankee23
Alex - Supposedly both home run pitches to Giambi were changeups that stayed out over the plate a little too much.
2006-06-27 09:38:37
24.   yankee23
23 ... BUT they certainly seemed too fast to be changeups.
2006-06-27 09:52:36
25.   profound
Comcast in NJ has HD Yankee games on channel 207 (which is INHD2).

Basically it switches over AROUND 7PM, but sometimes its a few minutes late. Every game on YES this year has been on 207 and a couple on 206 (INHD) with the exception of 2.

Now youll begin DREADING the MY9 games like me.

2006-06-27 09:58:28
26.   JCP22
Thanks profound. I cannot wait to see Yanks in wife will be lucky if she ever wrests control of the remote on gamedays.
2006-06-27 10:00:38
27.   Zack
19 Cliff, I had sort of suspected Cano's defense was better this year, or so it seemed, but am not sure how to prove it. I know defense is tricky and there are defensive tools people throw around, what is there besides range factor (which is basically the same for 2005 and 2006 for Robbie) that is useful? I know you have been over this tons of times, but I never remember these things, much better at offense...
2006-06-27 10:01:51
28.   Zack
Oh, and to further clarify, I know BP has a bunch of statistics such as range, range2 etc, but which do you go by most?
2006-06-27 10:07:45
29.   profound
The HD is absolutely incredible. I got my TV JUST for yankee games, and you wont be disappointed. Now if only YES and the Yankees would stop letting channel 9 have games, which we dont get in HD at all.

Is it just Comcast, or does channel 9 not even have an HD stream? If not, they shouldnt even be allowed to show the games exclusively in that deluted state.

Away games, its hit or miss...sometimes the team they are visiting doesnt have HD equipment (like Detroit) or sometimes they do, and there is an HD broadcast (like the Philys.)

2006-06-27 10:22:47
30.   Cliff Corcoran
28 I generally trust BP's Rate (Rate2 is just Rate adjusted for all-time). I settled on that one a while back when seeing lists of all the various advanced metrics for various players and noting that Rate seemed to agree with the majority of them more often than any one of the others (an imperfect analysis, but one that worked for me). Fielding stats are suspect in general, Rate included, but it's the one that makes the most sense to me and seems to best reflect reality. For example, I noticed that Aaron Rowand's Rate was unusually low before the Phillies series and two games later Kaat and Kay were saying "have you noticed Aaron Rowand doesn't look like the same fielder we saw last year."

Robbie's Rate is waaaay up this year.

2006-06-27 10:29:20
31.   Count Zero
2529 I'm in CT and have Charter Cable -- YES is in HD but not channel 9 here either. I don't believe it broadcasts an HD signal.

And yes, Profound, I agree...there's nothing I dread more than a MY9 game on the schedule.

2006-06-27 10:29:28
32.   mhmitch
My first memory of a curtain call was in Yankee Stadium on a game winning HR (the term walk-off homer was about 20 years away from being invented) by Chris Chambliss against the Red Sox in the summer of 1976. The crowd wouldn't leave and his teammates forced Chambliss to leave the locker room in his stocking feet and take a bow. Before that the only curtain call I remember seeing was the old video of Roger Maris being pushed out of the dugout after hitting his 61st. I watched a lot of baseball in the early 70s, but never saw a curtain call in any game until that Chambliss homer.
2006-06-27 10:37:08
33.   Knuckles
I believe in the wisdom of crowds for the most part, so if a curtain call happens, that means most of the paid audience that night wants to give a Yank props for a job well done. Nothing wrong w/ that, and I think karma sorts itself out in the end.

I have a big screen HDTV, but don't get too many Yanks games in HD, being out of market. Only ESPN/Fox and sometimes their Extra Innings games will be on one of the INHD channels randomly (the Sox seem to get a ton of these). I'd def pay another $40 (to make it an even 200) for the baseball package if I was assured of all the games in hi def.

2006-06-27 10:45:02
34.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
28 30 Speaking of BP's Rate metric, I was just playing around, looking up players and discovered that Boston's AGon, whose defense every Sawx fan and ESPN hack (but I repeat myself)has been raving about -- as if his high fielding pct makes up in any way for his dreadful .660 ops -- has a Rate of 93. Which is one pt lower than Jeter's (and I think we can agree that Jeter's d has decline substantially this season from last year's career best effort.

Very interesting.

2006-06-27 10:51:21
35.   unpopster
25 thank you, thank you, thank you.

I've been watching all the games this year on the standard YES Channel (Ch. 49) here in NJ because I assumed that YES hadn't gotten around to launching their own HD Channel on Comcast yet. I seemed to remember Ch. 206 switching to YES HD SOMETIMES last year, but I tried to catch a couple of games earlier this year and was watching 'March of The Penguins' instead.

Sheesh, I guess I was just too lazy -- or moronic -- to try Ch. 207 instead.

My Yankee viewing experience has just suddenly become so much more rewarding now that I know I can catch them in clean, crisp, and technicolor HD.


2006-06-27 10:54:50
36.   Cliff Corcoran
34 Yeah, I said when the Sox signed him that he couldn't hit or field. I still think that the Beckett trade is going to look really bad for the Sox in a few years (Anibal Sanchez looked good Sunday night, no?), though I also think the Arroyo trade will look much better a year from now.
2006-06-27 11:01:44
37.   Cliff Corcoran
36 I should point out that I know Gonzalez was not part of the Beckett trade, but they dealt Hanley Ramirez in that one, leaving them with a hole at short they failed to fill this year, Lowell will fall apart again before long and Beckett remains one of the most overrated players in the game
2006-06-27 11:08:51
38.   KJC
5 "However, in terms of yesterday it did turn out to be the last runs scored..."

But obviously, they don't know that at the time -- a lot could have happened over the next 7 innings. A week ago Atlanta gave Francouer a curtain call after his HR pulled them ahead of the Sox, but the Braves ended up losing the game (and looked silly in retrospect, IMHO). I can see if it's a game-winner or a milestone event, but I think early-inning curtain calls are overkill.

9 "It just goes against every pessimistic, jinx-happy bone in my body."

Maybe that's what bugs me about it, too.

2006-06-27 11:19:45
39.   Cliff Corcoran
I really have no problem with the curtain calls. Maybe because they've been a common mid-game occurence at the Stadium as far back as I can remember. I've never been bothered by them, and am not bothered when other teams' players give them. The only instance I can think of in which I might consider one inappropriate is if the player's team is still trailing, but even then I'd be fine with it if a player was continuing a hot streak or reached a milestone.

The thing about curtain calls is the fans ask for them. It's not the player hot dogging or showing anyone up. In fact, many players display reluctant body language when giving them. And yes, the fans aren't always right (the booing of Rodriguez being the most glaring recent example), but I just can't get upset at a home crowd getting amped up and asking for an acknowledgement from one of their players after that man hits a home run. I don't care what inning it is. It's one of the joys of going to the park for the fans (being able to call out the players name and get a response) and one of the benefits of playing at home for the players.

2006-06-27 11:19:50
40.   KJC
I'd never heard of Rate before today, and just looking around BP a little it seems that A-Rod (Rate 96) has been a better defender than Jeter (94). But from the limited Yankee games I've seen (mainly vs. Sox + any highlights) and what I've read here, I wouldn't have thought that. (I know: reality vs. perception.)

How reliable is Rate? Can it be used to compare across positions (e.g. Rate 101 2B is better than a Rate 95 LF) or is it only useful comparing apples to apples?

2006-06-27 11:21:10
41.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
BTW: acc to BP's Rate, Melky is playing one helluva left field at 119, which seems to be best in the AL by far, if not all of mlb.
2006-06-27 11:23:01
42.   brockdc
In their neverending quest to find "the next Jordan," ESPN is now comparing Ortiz to Jordan. Totally inappropriate.
2006-06-27 11:28:30
43.   murphy
29 there are some of us who do not have (and do not want) cable TV. i live for those UPN games.
2006-06-27 11:31:57
44.   Cliff Corcoran
40 Comparing Rate across positions is as useful as comparing hitting across positions. An average fielding SS or 2B is automatically more valuable than an average fielding LF or 1B for reasons I shouldn't have to explain, just as a league-average hitting C or 2B is automatically more valuable than a league-average hitting RF or 1B, again for reasons I shouldn't have to explain.

That said, Rate compares fielders to average and represents how many runs that player saves with his defense versus the average defender over 100 games, with 100 being average, less than 100 being blow average (Jeter's 94 Rate, for example, means he costs the Yankees 6 runs per 100 games in the field vs. an average defensive SS) and more than 100 being above average (Cabrera's 119 Rate suggests saves 19 runs more than the average LF for every 100 games he plays).

2006-06-27 11:33:01
45.   profound
Im hoping in the coming years with companies having the ability to give us TV content thru an internet connection, we can have it all.

murphy, you dont want cable, but you want YES I assume? Hopefully theyll make it buffet style in the intense competition thats to come.

(I pay $150 a month for cable and internet, and all I watch is the Yankees and some discovery shows.)

2006-06-27 11:36:56
46.   murphy
45 i would play for cable if it were a la carte.
2006-06-27 11:38:08
47.   Alvaro Espinoza
If Papi is the next Jordan, who is the next Gretzky?

As for HiDef, I find YES (via Time Warner cable) to be mediocre. The HiDef on SNY (Mets) is far superior.

2006-06-27 11:38:32
48.   Zack
30 44 Thanks Cliff, I'm gonna go mess around with Rate for awhile, and its nice to know that Robbie's Rate is way up this year, makes him, knock on wood, a way more valuable player...
2006-06-27 11:46:57
49.   Zack
36 And especially if, as some reports have noted, the other pitcher int he deal, Delgado I believe, has been quite impressive in his rise in the minors. Can you imagine if Ramirez, Sanchez, AND Delgado develop into legitimate starters for the Fish? Add to that Shoppach and Marte, and the Sox will have given up ALOT, adn there will be some very angry fans...

I'm not saying either trade was terrible, but in two years, it may look very different...

2006-06-27 11:47:56
50.   ric
"..leaving them with a hole at short they failed to fill this year, Lowell will fall apart again before long ... "

SS has 1 error and is hitting .262.. thats a failure? (they supposedly have SS Pedroia in the wings although he is not tearing up AAA) and why will Lowell fail? he's been a consistently great player except for last season... he's playing great... he's only 32.. he's currently hitting better than his career average, but i don't see why he will fall apart??

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-06-27 11:56:26
51.   Cliff Corcoran
50 I concede Lowell, that's nothing more than a bad gut feeling on my part--he feels like a very old 32, nothing to back it up, so I concede.

Gonzalez, however is hitting .262/.309/.351, that's beyond useless and into the range of harmful, but not a far cry from 2005 or his career numbers, which means that's about all you're going to get. Also, as previously discussed on this thread, his defense is insufficent. Jeter can get away with giving up a few runs on defense because he gets them all back plus many more with his bat. Gonzalez is giving away runs on both sides of the ball. That's a failure.

2006-06-27 11:58:13
52.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
50 As noted above, Agon has a .660 ops, and his BP Rate at 93 is costing the Sawx runs, not saving any. Despite the gawdy fielding pct, he's fielding worse than Jeter, and worse than Hanley.

Lowell had a good April and May, but his June ops is .711. In line with his disasterous previous season.

2006-06-27 12:05:27
53.   Bama Yankee
42 Hey ESPN, didn't Jordan play defense?
2006-06-27 12:19:15
54.   standuptriple
53 Yes, I believe he did. Well, at least more than a dozen times a season.
2006-06-27 12:29:32
55.   standuptriple
53 I also wonder if MJ accounted for his entire teams offense, which led to a W? Papi, 1/5 2RBI= A#1, King of ESPN. Giambi, 2/4, 2HR 5RBI=???
It's actually quite commical and not even a surprise. But hey, that Sport's Guy column probably writes itself now.
2006-06-27 12:47:29
56.   KJC
55 Hey, forget ESPN: Giambi got a curtain call. Isn't that enough?
2006-06-27 13:02:53
57.   yankaholic
56 then y did u complain abt the Curtain call in the first place
2006-06-27 13:04:42
58.   yankz
courtesy the LoHud blog:

Derek Jeter hitting third: .425/.531/.500
Derek Jeter hitting second: .320/.410/.459

Probably a small sample size, but makes you think nonetheless.

2006-06-27 13:30:04
59.   yankaholic
19 deal complete..

2006-06-27 13:36:08
60.   KJC
57 I was being facetious. My humor doesn't always come thru over comments/email/IM, but I refuse to use winking-smileys...
2006-06-27 13:37:45
61.   ericw
Regarding the first comment and the 9 starters hurt. I really don't like the wo is me attitude that Torre is taking with these injuries. Players get hurt in sports particularly older players. Some years you get a lot, some very few. In fact 9 starters missing a game for injury or illness is no big deal.

For instance, the Mets have had every starter but Delgado miss a game for injury and this is a great season foor them. Obviously 2 Yankee injuries have ben season ending, but complaining about injury problems only makes them worse.

2006-06-27 13:45:30
62.   Dan M
The TB/LA deal is great for the Yanks. Hendrickson can't get out of the 1st inning when he pitches against Boston, so this is an addition by subtraction.
2006-06-27 13:49:02
63.   randym77
16 I think it's a few more days until Thompson can be called up again. Torre is saying if they call anyone up, it will be Nick Green.

41 Bubba's LF Rate is 120, though it's a smaller sample size. His CF Rate last year was 131 (over 41 games).

59 Drat. We really need a young catcher. I wonder if there's anyone in the minors we can convert, like they did with Jorgie?

And tonight's lineup has been posted at LoHud. It's pretty much as expected. Miggy's batting 9th. Hallelujah.

2006-06-27 13:51:36
64.   standuptriple
I think we should be looking at the PIT and CIN org for young catching. And we should be looking NOW, before their price gets obscene.
2006-06-27 13:54:44
65.   randym77
Just announced...Cano DLed, Nick Green called up.
2006-06-27 14:09:02
66.   Bama Yankee
Does anyone think we will see Andy "The Triple Hittin' Machine" Phillips at second while Cano is on the DL?
2006-06-27 14:32:22
67.   randym77
Torre was asked about that. He basically said Phillips would only play 2B in an emergency. It's going to be Cairo every day until Robby gets back.
2006-06-27 14:49:37
68.   Zack
Yeah, Joe is not one to experiment, even if it makes more sense. To him, Cairo is the backup 2B, therefore, Cairo MUST play 2B now that Cano is out. See, Cairo plays 2B and is the backup, so he must play. Phillips is the 1B. What don't you understand? besides, you think Joe would want to give kids playing time at the expense of a seasoned vet/warrior like Ciaro? Psh...

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