Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Boom Bap
2006-07-27 05:29
by Alex Belth

"I feel like we robbed the bank tonight - twice," A-Rod said. "They may have played the better game but we won."
(N.Y. Daily News)

Alex Rodriguez led off the top of the eighth inning last night with his team trailing 4-2. Jaret Wright had allowed all four runs and didn't make it out of the sixth. Meanwhile, after scoring seven runs on just four hits on Tuesday night, the Yanks had collected nine hits in the first seven innings with just two runs to show for it (both runs scored on Andy Phillips' first inning single, his first of three hits). Francisco Cordero faced Rodriguez now, and kept throwing fastballs away. The count went full and Cordero went away again, but not far enough, and Rodriguez stroked a line drive over the center field fence onto the grass to bring the Yankees closer. A nice early birthday gift for Rodriguez (2-5) who turns 31 today.

Bernie Williams followed with a walk and then Phillips dunked a single into left. Melky Cabrera was asked to bunt the runners over. He stabbed weakly at the first pitch and fouled it off. According to manager Joe Torre after the game, the bunt sign was then taken off. But Cabrera missed it and he lunged again, to no avail. To make matters worse, he attempted to bunt again on the very next pitch. He fouled off a couple of pitches and worked the count even and then slapped a double into the left-center field gap (the outfield had been playing in). Suddenly, the Yanks were ahead by a run, and Larry Bowa was pumping his fist and shouting at Cabrera. Sal Fasano, who reluctantly had roughly 20 inches of hair cut off before the game, bunted Cabrera to third. And Melky came home on a wild pitch from Cabrera.

Everything appeared to be in order. But Kyle Farnsworth could not get loose, bothered by a stiff back. Torre absolutely wanted to stay away from using the over-worked Scott Proctor, so rookie TJ Beam started the eighth. But he could not put away the Rangers' lead off hitter, Gary Matthews, Jr, who drew a nine-pitch walk. Beam, a lanky right hander, then fell behind Ian Kinsler. Another base on balls was unacceptable so Beam's 3-1 offering was right over the plate. Kinsler drove the ball to right center field. It skipped over the fence for a ground rule double. Torre, furious, walked to mound and summoned Proctor, then returned to the bench and simmered.

Michael Young drove Proctor's first pitch--a flat slider--back through the box for a two-run single and just like that the game was tied. While it would be the only solid hit against Proctor, the fatigued reliever gave up three more consecutive singles. Suddenly, the Rangers not only had only regained the lead, but they had the bases loaded with nobody out. Enter Shawn Chacon.

Mark DeRosa whiffed for the first out and then a bit of good fortune saved the Bombers' bacon. Scott Wilkerson's hard line drive up the middle found its way directly into Chacon's unsuspecting glove for the second out. Chacon turned to third, pivoted to second and finally threw to first and caught pinch-runner Jerry Hairston off the bag to complete the double play. The sequence looked as if it was happening in slow-motion. Somehow, the Yanks escaped only trailing by a run.

Derek Jeter, who had another good offensive game, lined Akinori Otsuka's first pitch into center field for a single. Jason G'bomb-bee, 0-4 at that point, then lofted a two-run dinger into the right field stands. Game Over. Mariano Rivera worked around a two-out single in the ninth, to record the save. Final Score: Yanks 8, Rangers 7. It was only the third save Otsuka had blown all year, his second to the Yanks.

A fine, dramatic win for the Yanks, particularly considering how the bullpen lost the lead in the eighth.

"I said to someone, 'I must be ready to retire,'" Joe Torre said with a smile after it was over. "This is the first time my stomach has burned in the last 11 years."

Coupled with a Red Sox loss and the Twins' victory over the White Sox, the Yankees now trail Boston by a game-and-a-half in the AL East, and lead the Wildcard spot by a half-a-game.

2006-07-27 06:14:48
1.   Dimelo
//The sequence looked as if it was happening in slow-motion. //

Ain't that the truth. I thought the same thing.

2006-07-27 06:29:15
2.   Felix Heredia
Does everyone still want to trade Proctor? We can leave the bullpen in the capable hands of Kyle "I can't pitch two days in a row" Farnsworth, T.J. "what am I doing here" Beam, Kris "just gimme another chance" Wilson or Octavio "just a little longer" Dotel.

And before someone moans about Proctor blowing it last night, note that he leads the AL in appearances and was pitching well before being used three days in a row (including two innings Wednesday). Clearly he's been selected by Joe Torre as the heir apparent to Quantrill and Sturtze.

2006-07-27 06:35:33
3.   yankeemonkey
Best of all, no ARod-centric vitriol to be found anywhere. ESPN must be devastated.

The Chacon play was great...he seemed shocked when he caught that liner. Could it be the beginning of a long journey to redemption for our man Shawn?

2006-07-27 06:36:39
4.   Dimelo
As Alex noted above, Torre MUST get a pass on using Proctor last night - Torre was trying to stay away from him as much as possible. He had no other choice.
2006-07-27 06:40:59
5.   yankaholic
I dont remember correctly, when did Wang pitch last.. 4 days??

couls he have been used like in Washignton.. with today being off..

ofcourse that becomes moot if friday is his turn..

we can still rearrange with #5 on friday and wanger later..

i know it involves lots of shuffling.. but he is young.. may be he could have itched yesterday.. for an inning..

just a thought.. and totally hindsight..

i though Joe would leave Beam in to clean the mess.. afterall when are we going to find out.. In september?? we havt to give hima chance in july..

just thinking out loud..

2006-07-27 06:44:06
6.   Dan M
Excuse me if this was covered in the comments last night, but if you know Farnsworth can't start the inning, and Villone just retired the side in the 7th, why don't you ask him to pitch the 8th?
2006-07-27 06:44:53
7.   Coco Loco
Wang goes Friday so no dice there, plus, as a starter, not sure he could get ready so quickly after Farnsy came up gimpy. Of course, Joe could have had Farsny pretend like he first felt the injury during his warm-up pitches, thereby giving Wang as much time as possible to warm up.
2006-07-27 06:46:21
8.   Coco Loco
Dan M,

I raised that last night, though it was not discussed. I agree about Villone. Today's an off day and, b/c Wang goes Fri., we're unlikely to need Villone then.

2006-07-27 06:48:35
9.   Dimelo
7Coco Loco, That brings back great memories of a gift I was brought from Peru. It was a nice little bong that was shaped like a coconut. Definitely made me loco....the only thing that would make your name even more enjoyable is if it was inspired because of the same reason. If not, it's still a cool name....
2006-07-27 06:48:41
10.   rsmith51
5 If Beam had given up a single then a double, Torre wouldn't have been as ticked off. The lead off walk after your team has just taken the lead is a killer. Somehow that runner finds a way to score. I know it isn't, but a homer seems better in that situation.
2006-07-27 06:50:55
11.   yankaholic
10 yes leadoff walks and their results
2006-07-27 06:51:19
12.   jonm
"Does everyone still want to trade Proctor?"

I would hardly think that last night's performance was a reason not to trade Proctor. Proctor has always thrown hard, but he has always thrown straight; a lifetime of being an extreme fly ball pitcher who gives up a lot of HR does not change because of one month. He is an extremely hittable pitcher. Let's look at his monthly breakdowns:

April: 1.69 ERA, 1 HR in 16 IP
May: 5.50 ERA, 3 HR in 18 IP
June: 5.06 ERA, 3 HR in 16 IP
July: 3.86 ERA, 2 HR in 14 IP

His performance reminds me of Tanyon Sturtze, circa 2005. Does anyone think that they shouldn't have traded Sturtze when his value was at its height? Tanyon Sturtze is Tanyon Sturtze and Scott Proctor is Scott Proctor; a leopard can't change his spots, especially in his late 20s. Proctor is a mediocre middle reliever at best.

For the right handed reliever spot, the Yankees, given their home park, would be much better off with a ground ball throwing right-hander like Beam or Bean.

Of course, after last night's game, I'm sure that Torre will consign Beam to bull pen purgatory. God, I hate the way he manages the bull pen.

2006-07-27 06:51:42
13.   Shaun P
6 Or at least start the 8th, and then go to Beam if Villone got in trouble. And why not use Myers at least against Blalock?
2006-07-27 06:56:24
14.   vockins
Those three hits last night brought Andy Phillips up to .173/.212/.296 for the month of July.
2006-07-27 06:56:43
15.   Sliced Bread
Lights flickered and dimmed across the New York metropolitan area late yesterday afternoon. Staten Island, home to 1.7 million Sal Fasano lookalikes (2000 census figure), was plunged into darkness. Air conditioners whirled to a halt. Refrigerator doors were streaked with condensation. Puzzled but undeterred, John Sterling repeatedly clicked the switch on his "lucky" blow dryer.
Was it another Con Ed f'up?
No, the "light trim" administered to Fasano's face and neck drained the region's power supply.
Thick, mountainous piles of hair clippings were transported by a convoy of dump trucks to the pier outside Yankee Stadium, and loaded onto three cargo ships.
The hair is now bound for the Sal Fasano Tsunami Barrier currently under construction in the Indian Ocean.

Coincidentally, Scott Proctor's right arm, which became unexpectedly detached from his torso last night, splashed down in the Indian Ocean this morning. Divers retrieved the overused limb and surgeon's expect the Yankee reliever will be "good to go" for his side-session this afternoon.

2006-07-27 07:04:29
16.   seamus
12 writes "His performance reminds me of Tanyon Sturtze, circa 2005. Does anyone think that they shouldn't have traded Sturtze when his value was at its height? Tanyon Sturtze is Tanyon Sturtze and Scott Proctor is Scott Proctor; a leopard can't change his spots, especially in his late 20s. Proctor is a mediocre middle reliever at best."

The difference is that Proctor has a lot more raw talent. In both cases they struggled after being overused by Torre. Proctor is valuable with his 98 mph fastball and good change. He has the tools, but he cannot see this many games. We will regret trading him if we do.

2006-07-27 07:05:10
17.   Ron Burgundy
15 Brilliant.
2006-07-27 07:12:18
18.   Sliced Bread
17 Thank you, Mr. Burgundy. That's high praise coming from an anchorman of your stature. And thank you for not questioning why Fasano and Sterling would be in the Bronx while the team was in Texas!
2006-07-27 07:14:44
19.   jonm
13 Seamus (how do you do that internal link thing?)

I understand what you're saying about the speed, but where is the evidence that Proctor has talent? This is his third season with the Yankees and, outside of April 2006, he hasn't shown that he has any particular talent. His minor league numbers are okay, but, even there, the Dodgers gave up on him.

During spring training, when the Yankees supposedly had a "glut" of pitching, everyone thought that Proctor was going to be DFA'd and no tears were shed here or anywhere else.

Think of it this way, would anyone think that the Yankees' season was lost if Proctor went down now with a season-ending injury (not an unlikely scenario by the way)? I certainly would not; the Yankees and Torre would have to make due.

2006-07-27 07:14:53
20.   Shaun P
15 Sliced, you ought to put a warning on your comments - people keep staring at me here at work after I've read your hilarious posts and can't keep myself from laughing out loud!
2006-07-27 07:35:07
21.   bp1
15 John Sterling's lucky blow drier. Man, that is just too freakin funny.

"Puzzled but undeterred".

Man, I'm laughing out loud here.

2006-07-27 07:37:28
22.   JohnnyC
19 jon, your reasoning is sound except for one thing: you're assuming there's a market for Proctor's services (the Philly deal is just spin from either Gillick or Cashman). He is exactly what you described him as and really has no value except to the Yankees as Torre's go-to guy of the moment...exactly like Sturtze was. Why worry about something that ain't gonna happen?
2006-07-27 07:40:02
23.   Sliced Bread
Thanks, Shaun P, and bp1.
2006-07-27 07:46:31
24.   jonm
22 JohnnyC,
I agree with you about the Philly deal. I assume though that there is/was some truth to the Betemit rumors and Betemit does have value. If Proctor really does have no trade value, then the Yankees should just keep him, of course.
2006-07-27 07:52:49
25.   Bama Yankee
15 Re: "Sal Fasano Tsunami Barrier", you might be on to something there, Sliced. That was some funny stuff. I can just hear Sterling saying, "The power's out!! Thhheeeeeeeee power's out!!!"
2006-07-27 07:57:37
26.   RichYF

jonm, Put the number in brackets: [#]

2006-07-27 08:09:48
27.   jonm

Thanks, RichYF!

2006-07-27 08:11:33
28.   standuptriple
I was happy with Fassano last night. He looks like he has a clue at the plate. More importantly he frames well and gives a nice target. As a former backstop (10 yrs and the knees to prove it) I notice these types of things. Great command and confidence, something I saw little of with Stinnett. I see him handling any member of the staff well.
I was thinking about the Chacon play in slo-mo as well. He's a former closer, can get the occasionaly K and could give some solid relief innings (on the nights when Wright mails in his 5).
I saw something a little different last night. Call it a killer instinct. Maybe it's the Rangers that brings it out of the Yanks. In the past few weeks, while they've taken many a series they seemed to be content with the house money and giving up the 3rd game. Not so last night. I hope its a sign of a hot run. Let's run through a battered Rays team and move into 1st in the East.
2006-07-27 08:19:55
29.   Bama Yankee
28 A former catcher with bad knees going by the screen name "standuptriple"... and they say my "Bama Yankee" name is a contradiction ;)
2006-07-27 08:28:36
30.   C2Coke
28 Perhaps they have also noticed with the Central division and the Red Sox not giving up that being content after taking 2 out of 3 is not good enough.
2006-07-27 08:29:04
31.   Javi Javi
15 quality post Sliced Bread. Made me spit out my coffee.
2006-07-27 08:32:30
32.   C2Coke
So, is NoWorth's back really a chronic problem or is it just his way of saying no to pitching in too many consecutive days in a week? Maybe Protor should learn a thing or two from him.

The mystery story now goes,
"Matt Smith, What did you do?"

2006-07-27 09:32:13
33.   David
Why does T. J. Beam pitch so well in the minors but so badly in the majors? Is it nerves? What can be done to overcome this problem?
2006-07-27 09:35:15
34.   yankeemonkey
33 Let him pitch regularly so he gains confidence, seems the most likely solution.
2006-07-27 09:46:08
35.   Schteeve
Jonm trading Proctor is a bad idea especially if Colter Bean is in your plan to replace him.
2006-07-27 09:53:16
36.   tommyl
Isn't Oil Can Boyd still available? He's a proven veteran who can really pitch under pressure. Also, there's no worry about using him so much his arm falls off as it already has.
2006-07-27 09:55:56
37.   standuptriple
29 Just because they hurt doesn't mean I'm slow.
2006-07-27 10:10:29
38.   Bama Yankee
37 Good point... But you have to admit a "speedy" catcher is almost as rare as a "Bama Yankee" (especially since it looks like Andy Phillips' days in pinstripes are numbered).
2006-07-27 10:22:32
39.   pistolpete
Agreed about Fasano - last night he appeared to slip into the backup catcher's role like an old shoe.

Coincidentally enough, Fasano's face also resembles an old shoe.

2006-07-27 10:42:47
40.   Shaun P
33 I wouldn't judge Beam too harshly after only a handfull of innings in the bigs (small sample size!). Take a look at what Hall of Famers like Greg Maddux did in their first few appearances.
2006-07-27 11:40:07
41.   tommyl
39 The only place I was worried about Fasano was with Beam pitching. I trust that Villone and Rivera have been up long enough to know a lot about their own pitch selection, the hitters they are facing and location. Beam though seemed a bit nervous and his pitch selection was somewhat erratic. I think as Fasano gets to know him a bit better that will improve (can't blame him for not being familiar with a team he just joined).
2006-07-27 11:40:59
42.   tommyl
41 Oh yeah, and it was A-Rod's jumping around at third that made Beam walk Mathews.
2006-07-27 12:07:56
43.   JL25and3
33 It might be inexperience, it might be small sample size.

There are also guys who are just AAAA pitchers. Does anyone else remember Jeff Johnson?

2006-07-27 12:25:45
44.   mickey1956
33 I saw him pitch a few times when he was just converted from starting. He has trouble commanding his breaking pitches. I believe he has done well against minor leaguers with just his fastball, but I think when called up hitters have the ability to not chase and sit on the fastball. Beam is better than he has pitched, but he isn't going to be a closer type reliever. J.B. Cox is probably better right now. He doesn't strike out as many, but gets a ton of ground balls. I would love to see him pitch.
2006-07-27 14:10:29
45.   randym77
44 Yeah, Beam's blistering but laser-straight fastball blows away minor leaguers, but in the big show, it's a home run waiting to happen, as someone here so eloquently phrased it.

I think Scott Proctor still has an option left, so he could be sent to Columbus. I don't think DFA'ing him was ever on the table.

According to Proctor, the Dodgers were a seriously dysfunctional organization when he was there. They went through three different managers between the time he was drafted and the time he was traded. The people that drafted him were soon gone, and their replacements just didn't have much interest in the success of players chosen by the previous regime.

Maybe it's just an excuse, but he thinks both he and Bubba would have been called up a lot sooner were the politics less toxic in LA.

Anyway, I'd be willing to trade Proctor in the right deal, but also would be perfectly happy to keep him. I think if he's used correctly (say, every other day instead of every day), he could be the pitcher we saw earlier this year.

2006-07-27 16:50:26
46.   3rd gen yankee fan
"I don't know what I did, personally, to deserve that," Stinnett said from his home in Arizona.

Guess he hasn't been reading bronx banter cause he woulda heard allllllllll about what he was doing to deserve being traded.

2006-07-27 21:06:54
47.   Yu-Hsing Chen
46 it's not what he did.. it's what he didn't do..... like... hit maybe?

Anyway, doesn't anyone see the obvious irony in A-rod saying feelings of bank robbery ? ;) ... espically in Texas??

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