Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Twins 4, Yankees 3
2007-03-27 21:15
by Cliff Corcoran

Ron Gardenhire's son won the game in the bottom of the ninth when Chris Basak booted his grounder up the middle with the winning run on second base.


S - Melky Cabrera (LF)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
L - Bobby Abreu (RF)
S - Jorge Posada (C)
R - Josh Phelps (DH)
R - Andy Phillips (1B)
R - Chris Basak (SS)
L - Kevin Reese (CF)
R - Miguel Cairo (3B)

Pitchers: Carl Pavano, Colter Bean, Mike Myers, Scott Proctor, Chris Britton

Subs: Ramiro Peña (SS), Todd Pratt (C), Kevin Thompson (RF), Brett Gardner (CF)

Opposition: Most of the Twins starters, but no Joe Mauer.

Big Hits: Solo homers by Bobby Abreu (2 for 2, BB) and Josh Phelps (2 for 4). Phelps is now tied with Giambi and Rodriguez for the camp lead in homers despite having roughly 20 fewer plate appearances than the other two. Abreu, meanwhile, has two homers in just 18 PA. Robinson Cano (2 for 5) picked up his ninth double of the spring.

Who Pitched Well?: Carl Pavano didn't strike anybody out, but he turned in a quality start allowing just six hits and a walk in six innings and getting 14 of his eighteen outs on the ground thanks to four double plays. He needed just 86 pitches to get through those six innings. Mike Myers threw just two pitches and retired his designated batter, Jason Kubel.

Who Didn't?: In to face a series of subs in the ninth, Chris Britton issued a four-pitch walk to Luis Rodriguez with one out. After pinch-runner Jason Tyner stole second with two outs, Britton gave up a game-tying single up the middle to Matt Tolbert, a player on loan from the Twins' minor league camp who wasn't even invited to major league camp this spring. Tolbert moved to second when Kevin Reese's throw from center tailed away from cutoff man Andy Phillips, and came around with the winning run when Toby Gardenhire—I kid you not, the manager's son, Toby, who also was never officially invited to minor league camp—hit another ball up the middle that Chris Basak booted. Tolbert and Toby wore numbers in the 90s and didn't even have names on the backs of their jerseys. Embarrassing doesn't cover it.

Oopsies: Chris Basak, playing shortstop, flubbed a grounder to his right on the Yankees' first defensive play of the game. Playing second base, he then flubbed a grounder to his right on the Yankees' final defensive play of the game. Basak has made four errors this spring.

Ouchies: Chien-Ming Wang played catch with Ron Guidry from 60 and 90 feet away, making 45 throws. He hopes to beat the Yankees projected return date. Andy Pettitte reported no ill effects from his bullpen on Monday. Jeff Karstens is wearing a protective sleeve on his pitching arm and taking anti-inflammatories. He could start throwing again tomorrow, but will be careful not to rush back to quickly. Ron Villone was hit in the shin by a comebacker in his minor league outing on Monday, but escaped with just a bruise. Humberto Sanchez (elbow) will start the season in extended spring training.

Battles:: Josh Phelps hit a solo home run in the second and singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth, though he did strike out and hit into a double play in his other two at-bats. Phelps is tied with Robinson Cano for the camp lead in RBIs despite having barely more than half as many plate appearances as Cano. Andy Phillips followed Phelps's home run with a strikeout, then followed that with three more Ks, though he did make some smooth plays in the field. Todd Pratt struck out in his only at-bat. Colter Bean walked the first two men he faced in the seventh, but rallied to post another scoreless inning.

Notes: Twins starter Boof Bonser (who, despite allowing a pair of solo homers, allowed just two other hits and struck out seven in his six innings of work) looks and moves like a right-handed David Wells. Meanwhile, Carl Pavano's gait on his walk from the mound to the dugout is beginning to resemble Joe Torre's in the other direction. Despite Pavano's solid outing, he still hasn't officially been named the Opening Day starter, though he seems like a lock at this point.

2007-03-28 03:04:38
1.   C2Coke
That last line still gave me chills.
2007-03-28 04:19:18
2.   The Mick 536
While for many, A-Rod has to wait until post season to excel enough to earn redemption, Pavement can take a giant step towards his by repeating this performance on opening day. Somehow, it don't seem fair!
2007-03-28 04:36:24
3.   deadrody
I tell ya, if Andy Phillips isn't sent packing after this spring I will absolutely throw up. It's unfortunate that as a result of his mother's situation he wasn't able to compete evenly with Phelps, but is there anyone on earth who thinks Phillips could put up the same numbers as Phelps ?

There is no earthly way that Phillips deserves to make the team over Phelps.

2007-03-28 05:03:07
4.   Jersey
Alex, saw you were on the BP Podcast today. Looking forward to listening on the way to work.

2007-03-28 06:44:26
5.   Sliced Bread
Sheesh, the ESPN guys were a little too gleeful about the end of that game. You'd think the Twinkies had just stolen Olympic gold from the Chinese ping pong team.

re: Pavloaf's walk to the dugout: that's his Heavy Legs Shuffle. It's the dance craze sweeping the nation.

"Pavan" (also "pavane") is the slow, stately court dance of the 16th century, you know.

2007-03-28 06:54:06
6.   Bama Yankee
5 First Jerry Rice, then Emmitt Smith, now Clyde Drexler... could it be that Glass Carl is auditioning for a spot on the next Dancing With the Stars?
2007-03-28 07:00:19
7.   Sliced Bread
6 Groove it with the Pav:

"I'm bringin' stately back... (yeah)
Them other pitchers don't know how to slack (yeah),
You think I'm special, watch my big comeback (yeah)
Heavy legs. Opening Day. Hope I don't get wacked.
Take em' to the bridge...

2007-03-28 07:21:26
8.   David
Chris Britton was so good last year. Why is he so bad this year? What can he do to fix his problems?
2007-03-28 07:31:47
9.   Chyll Will
6 While America waits to see when or if his heavy legs come flying off during a routine? I can see that...

7 "Whosgotheavylegs (don't get me started...)"

2007-03-28 07:35:18
10.   Chyll Will
8 It might be subjective. It doesn't take much to be good on the Orioles. But perhaps a controlled amount of green tea would suffice. Let's see if Donnie Baseball has the mettle to reign in one of baseball's most notorious abusers of right-hands (pitching!)
2007-03-28 07:51:52
11.   Shaun P
4 It was a great interview, Alex, and an even better article. As you so often do, you put into words many of things I feel but that could never express the way you do.

8 Spring training is (altogether now) a pretty small sample size, so I wouldn't make too much of it. There were many times last year that everyone in the pen (except Mo) went through stretches where they were awful. Happens to everyone.

The nice thing is that Britton has options, so he can work on things in AAA, and when a bullpen slot opens up, I'll bet he's option #1.

2007-03-28 07:54:02
12.   Cliff Corcoran
10 Not for nothin', Chyll, but that's ridiculous. It may not take much to stand out on the Orioles, but to be good (and Britton was legitimately good last year) it takes a lot, as they have to face both the Yankee and Red Sox offenses 19 times each, whereas the Yanks and Sox pitchers only have to face one or the other.

As for what's wrong with Britton, that's actually a fantastic question, and I don't have the answer to it. I can wager a wild guess, which would be this: What I read this offseason was that his curve was a tremendous out-pitch, but the Yankee announcers have been saying this spring that the Yankees think he has a great fastball but needs to work on his curve. If he can't get his curve to either break the way it did last year, or can't throw it for strikes, that could be the problem. I didn't see him throw much earlier this month and once I did get a chance to get a good look at him he's pretty much blown his shot at the roster, so I haven't watched him as closely as perhaps I should. If he pitches in one of the last three exibition games (all of which are televised), I'll try to get a better read on him.

2007-03-28 08:42:00
13.   Chyll Will
12 That's all I really meant in terms of him standing out on a bad team, but even I could see he was good last year. It's ST, it shouldn't be a concern until the last week in April or first of May, unless this goes against trend. Not ragging on you, David >;)
2007-03-28 09:08:36
14.   baileywalk
Britton had a 5 ERA post-ASB. So maybe this is just who he is. The league adjusted to him. He made a huge leap up to the majors -- so some assumed he just got worn out -- but it could also be that he's simply not that good. I wasn't overly impressed with him last year, to be honest. He seemed like a generic righty. And most of the reports on him when we traded for him was that he was a decent power arm who needed to work on a second pitch.

Here's one thing that might be the problem: his velocity has disappeared. He's supposed to be a big power arm, and last year I remember seeing him throw 93-94, but in the spring it's only been 88-89. I know his arm might not be at full strength yet, but it does seem his velocity is down.

2007-03-28 09:11:06
15.   Shawn Clap
Here's one less right-handed reliver we have to worry about ending up in the Yankees system.

Well, for now, at any rate.

2007-03-28 09:25:04
16.   Shawn Clap
Oh no. no. no. no. no. no.

Clearly the work of clever Red Sox fans.

2007-03-28 10:06:41
17.   Chyll Will
16 Clever as in "He's a big fat liar" clever? His About Me says he's a lifelong Yankee fan, determined to "not get all Jim Dean" (to borrow a phrase from here, and not an actual quote) on Alex this season as he did before, which is actually commendable as a fan, if sincere. I'm going to take a good look around when I get a chance and let you know what I think, unless someone's already done so...
2007-03-28 10:41:43
18.   monkeyball

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