Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Free and Easy
2006-09-04 06:08
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

While a distinct autumn chill has been felt in New York for much of the past week, Sunday was a reminder that summer isn't quite over yet. It was a brilliant afternoon, sunny but not hot, and Yankee fans were treated to a 10-1 romp in the park over the Twins. Combined with a Red Sox loss, the Bombers now lead the AL East by nine games. The only Twins run came when Torii Hunter blasted a 3-0 fastball off starter Darrell Rasner in the second inning. Otherwise, Rasner, who has pitched well in the minors this season, had a fine outing in just his second big league start (and his first in pinstripes), allowing just four hits over six innings.

As for the offense, Robbie Cano, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Bobby Abreu all had three hits. Rodriguez crushed two home runs--one into the black--and added an RBI single. The Twins' centerfielder thinks Rodriguez is pretty okay. According to Larry Brooks in the Post:

"They showed every bit of why they got A-Rod. The way he hit the ball today was not even right," Hunter said after Rodriguez had pounded a solo shot in the fifth to the right-center bleachers and then a three-run blow in the seventh into the black. "It's not even human. He's not human.

"Why dwell on the negative? You know what he can do. Why even dwell on what he did? He's not human, but he's going to have his slumps. He is one of the best hitters and might be the best hitter on the team.

"If y'all don't want him, we'll take him. How about that? If you don't want A-Rod, we'll take him. Well, we can't afford him. Give him to us, and y'all pay the salary."

Abreu tied a career-high by hitting three doubles. The most impressive came when Abreu led-off the bottom of the seventh and fouled the third pitch of the sequence off his lower leg. Abreu hobbled around the plate and eventually, Joe Torre and trainer, Gene Monahan came out to look him over. Abreu stayed in the game, and after taking ball two, slapped a ball into the gap in right center field. The ball was not that deep but Abreu turned-on-the-jets and beat the throw to second. He slid into the base head first and had to hang on to the base so as not to come off the bag entirely. It reminded me just a little bit of Paul O'Neill's desperate double in Game 5 of the ALDS back in 1997. The fans appreciated his hustle and gave Abreu a nice ovation as he came out of the game for a pinch-runner. After the game, Torre hoped that Abreu would be fine, adding, "He looked pretty good going from home to second."

Just about everything the Yankees did yesterday looked pretty good. They even had promising news to report about Hideki Matsui, who will play a rehab game this Wednesday in Trenton. We could see the return of Godzilla as soon as sometime next week. Bam.

2006-09-04 07:52:17
1.   mikeplugh
I have one question. If Matsui played in the Royals series this week instead of at Trenton, would that count as a minor league rehab assignment? Bah dum bum. I love to kid the Royals.

How does the lineup stack with Matsui back?

Damon (CF)
Jeter (SS)
Abreu (RF)
Giambi (1B)
Rodriguez (3B)
Matsui (DH)
Posada (C)
Cano (2B)
Cabrera (LF)

I suppose you could flip flop Cano and Matsui until Godzilla proves his power is back and all, but that seems like a logical lineup. Torre's already hitting Abreu, Giambi, Rodriguez 3-4-5.

Gotta sweep these Royals baby!

2006-09-04 08:41:50
2.   mehmattski
I didn't get to see any of the games, but reading the AP game recaps has me a bit ticked off- particularly the one of last night's game where they make sure and point out Torii Hunter's inane comment: "They have a $200 million payroll, and we work for minimum wage." Sorry, Mr. Hunter, but there are so many problems with that statement its impossible to count them all. First of all, you are making $10.6 million this year. Compare that to the MLB minimum ($300,000) or the actual minimum wage that a significant percentage of the country has to get by on (around $17,000) and you're right, Mr. Hunter, we feel bad for you and all the money you're making. And I'm sure that you'll rest by your laurels this offseason and resign with Minnesota rather than taking top dollar from the Red Sox, right? Because you wouldn't want to compromise your values, right? Sorry for the rant, that line just made me sick.
2006-09-04 09:07:45
3.   pistolpete
2 I was about to post about the same comment. Hunter's obsessed with the salary of this team..

What's wrong, Torii? See your chance at big pay day go down the drain because we got Abreu and now Melky's playing well?

Yeah, let's see if he re-signs and sticks to his principles.

2006-09-04 09:09:07
4.   nemecizer
1 That's one sick-ass lineup.
2006-09-04 09:44:18
5.   Max
1 The Royals have always been an easy punching bag (for good reason), but over the last 20 games, they're 10-10, while we're 12-8. They won series against the Twins and the White Sox in the last week. They split another series with the WS at Chicago, and split with Oakland (the only series the A's hasn't won since the end of July -- they've won their last 10 with one split).

And of course, KC swept the Red Sox 3 straight. The Royals' schedule since the ASB has been disfigured mainly by 4 game sweeps at the hands of Minnesota and Cleveland.

We should handle them, given the way we've been playing lately, but I wonder how easy it really will be.

2006-09-04 09:53:29
6.   Max
2 The Twins always seem to get a bit chippy when talking about the Yankees. I don't recall seeing any discussion of the things Hunter was saying downplaying Jeter's MVP candidacy -- seems to feel Morneau is much more deserving:

"The only way anyone from Minnesota is going to win an MVP is to make the playoffs, because of the market," Morneau said. "That's not whining. That's just the way it is. I'm impressed to even be talking about it."

Torii Hunter said: "Jeter's a good player, but not MVP. You'd have to give it to Dye or Justin. He's carried us."

2006-09-04 10:10:59
7.   pistolpete
6 Red Sox used to whine about money too, until 2004 that is. If Minnesota ever got out of the 1st round, I suspect their own whining would temper a bit as well.
2006-09-04 10:44:59
8.   BklynBmr
2 That quote jumped off the page for me, too. Thank you. Could not have said it better...
2006-09-04 11:29:08
9.   wsporter
Why is Hunter getting so much run today? He had some nice things to say about A-Rod and let slip some of the usual salary nonsense in that context. Who cares what he has to say, he seems like a nice enough guy who had nothing more to offer than to repeat the tired old party line about the distribution of resources in MLB. Anyone who works for Carl Pohlad and bitches about not having enough money doesn't know shine-olla about things.

Bitch about George all you want. He's wealthy but not Pohlad wealthy (2.3 billion in this year's Fobes). The problem is the Twins are valued at $168 million, the Yankees at close to or over a billion. The teams can't possibly support or justify the same salary structure even if Pohlad were to kick in a couple of million out of his own pocket each year. BUT, Mr. Pohlad seems very penurious about investing revenues earned by the Twins back into the Twins organization.

If Hunter wants to get pissy about something maybe he ought to read this first and then give Carl a call:

2006-09-04 11:39:28
10.   joejoejoe
Torii Hunter can play the Underpaid Small Market Rag to his heart's content as long as he throws in a nugget like this every now and then - "If y'all don't want him, we'll take him. How about that?" Hunter is an All-Star Gold Glove baseball player. A-Rod is respected by his peers and that's what counts. Only idiots can't see that Alex Rodriguez is great, period.
2006-09-04 11:53:33
11.   LI yankee
Ramon Ortiz for the Nats has pitched a no-hitter through 8 against the Cards
2006-09-04 11:56:55
12.   Jeteupthemiddle
Arod is so good it is scary.

In this "terrible" year of his, he is only 2 behind Giambi for the team lead in RBIs.

He has also done well against all the contending teams this season. (I posted the exact numbers on my blog if anyone is interested).

I fully believe that people just ignore what is right there in front of them.

2006-09-04 11:58:41
13.   BklynBmr
11 Thanks for the heads up! Just tuned in...
2006-09-04 12:03:23
14.   LI yankee
Soriano is talking to Ortiz in the dugout! What's he thinking??
2006-09-04 12:08:41
15.   wsporter
The game is on here (DC) on the local MASN feed. The announcers are screaming the words "no hitter" and Ortiz "hommer" in the same sentence as though there is no possibility of jinxing it. Oh my F'n goodness.
2006-09-04 12:10:26
16.   wsporter
A producer must have screamed at them because now they're not saying it. TO LATE A-HOLES. BASE HIT. F.
2006-09-04 12:11:33
17.   BklynBmr
14 I think that's the first time I've seen 'Soriano' and 'thinking' in the same sentence.
2006-09-04 12:12:57
18.   BklynBmr
Wow. Albert P. goes deep and Robinson is lifting Ortiz...
2006-09-04 12:13:13
19.   sabernar
Ortiz's no hitter has been broken up in the 9th by Miles.
2006-09-04 12:14:15
20.   wsporter
There goes the shut out. A Puh. just CRUSHED a hanging slider into the upper deck in left. Man is that guy strong.

And there goes Ortiz.

No, no such thing as a jinx!

2006-09-04 12:37:37
21.   pistolpete
20 "No, no such thing as a jinx!"

Don't tell Michael 'Auschwitz' Kay.

2006-09-04 13:06:11
22.   wsporter
21 Do you get a sense that no one can tell that clown anything? I wonder if he ever gets sick of being right all the time.

That MASN broadcast was the most extreme example of throwing caution to the wind I've ever seen. If that was a Yankees broadcast I'd be going nuts. I can only imagine the reaction it would bring out of our Big Red friend Cliff. Ouch, it's not worth thinking about.

2006-09-04 14:33:31
23.   randym77
During the Clippers game today, the Toledo announcers put the jinx on Steven White. In the sixth inning, they said, "Mr. Steven White is working on a no-hitter," with the stated intention of putting the whammy on him. It worked. The very next pitch was hit into right field for a base hit.
2006-09-04 15:40:52
24.   rbj
23 I was at the game. I thought about the whole stadium talk about the no hitter.

White really wasn't that good. At one point, about the fourth inning or so his K-BB ration was 1:1. Mudhens were over eager -- first pitch swinging, swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. They lead the IL in homeruns, (154, IIRC) but also in strikeouts (over 1000)

Their 3B is Mike Hessman, good glove and had a good season last year. This year (the following stats are rated NC17):
57 for 342, 45 BB, 129K, .167 avg, .271 OPB, .409 slug, 11 2B, 24 HR.

Clippers did come out hustling today, Bubba had a lead off double (which really was a misjudged deep fly to LF) and scored. Last night the Hens were forced to bring up an URP from AA Erie. Clippers had no problem touching him for 3 runs in 2.1 innings.
Oh, and Terrance Long played yesterday and today, just in case they want to bring him up. Maybe there should be "welcoming" committees stationed at the airports.

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