Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yankee Clippard
2007-05-21 05:30
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Saturday saw more misery for the Yanks, who lost starting pitcher Darrell Rasner in the first inning with a broken finger (he'll be gone for three months), and then the game, 10-7. Robinson Cano had a couple of hits, including a home run, but his three errors overshadowed his offensive contributions.

Fortunately, the Yanks salvaged the Sunday Night game as rookie Tyler Clippard pitched a fine game, and held his own with the stick to boot, as the Yanks won, 6-2. Not a bad way to start your big league career, eh?

Couple of few notes:

Jason Giambi's candor might just land him in more trouble than his current 1-26 slump.

I know we've been over this time and again here for the past three, four seasons, but man, is the Yankees bench weak or what? How many teams in the majors have a less effective bench? Oh, for the days of D. Strawberry.

On a positive note, how much fun has it been to see how well Jorge Posda and Derek Jeter are performing? It's especially exciting to see Posada mashing like he is. Jeter? Eh, we're used to this kind of consistency.

In Sunday's News, Bill Madden notes:

Maybe if it wasn't for the fact it's been obscured by the overall mess of this Yankee season so far, there would be more of an appreciation for the quiet, Joe DiMaggio-like hitting job Derek Jeter has been doing game after game. With his seventh-inning RBI single yesterday, Jeter has now hit safely in 37 of 39 games in which he's had an official plate appearance. While there's no way he could ever keep up such a pace (which would mean he'd hit safely in 153 games barring injury), if he did manage to maintain this hit-per-game consistency which began about a year ago, Jeter would be in position to equal or break a unique record he shares with four others. According to the Elias Bureau, the record for most games hitting safely in a season is 135, set orginally by Rogers Hornsby in 1922 and later equalled by Chuck Klein in 1930, Wade Boggs in 1985, Jeter in 1999 and Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.

But there's a lot more to what Jeter is doing that already separates him from those four and puts him in a place right below DiMaggio in the modern age of baseball. When, on May 4, Jeter had his 20-game hitting streak for this season snapped, he had previously hit safely in 59 of 61 games dating back to last August. Excluding DiMaggio (who hit safely in his next 17 games after having his record 56-game streak snapped in 1941), the last player to have only two hitless games within a streak of 56 or more was Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty, who hit safely in 61 of 63 games in 1899. This research was compiled by Trent McCotter in the most recent Society of American Baseball Research journal. In other words, without any fanfare, Jeter has already accomplished something not done by anyone other than Joe D in this century.

After yesterday, Jeter's streak was 73 of 76 games. According to McCotter, there have been 12 such streaks of more than 56 in which players have had only three hitless games, the most recent being Johnny Damon, who hit in 57 of 60 games from June 10-Aug. 20, 2005. But, again, Jeter's surpasses the previous longest - George Sisler's 67 of 70 in 1917.

Mr. Steady and the Bombers have their work cut out for them this week as they return to the Bronx to play the Red Sox and then the Angels. Just ask David Ortiz:

We're playing well. We're doing our thing right now," David Ortiz said. "They need to figure out what they're going to do to beat us. We don't have to worry about it.

"I've been here for five years and we don't need to worry about nobody right now. Everybody needs to worry about us."
(N.Y. Daily News)

Giambi will be back in the line-up tonight. Abreu looked better on Saturday and Sunday, so maybe he's starting to come out of it. Alex Rodriguez is struggling badly though. Aren't they lucky? They get to face Knucksie jr, Tim Wakefield.

Comments (141)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-05-21 06:03:33
1.   Jim Dean
I don't know about you guys but I'm downright giddy. I know it's completely irrational, but the way Clippard pitched I feel very good abou the Yanks' future, even if this year has a ways to go.

There's no better time than tonight.

2007-05-21 06:04:01
2.   Sliced Bread
Is Clippard the best bat off the Yanks bench?

I'd pinch hit him for Nieves and Dougie Defense.

2007-05-21 06:18:18
3.   RIYank
1 I'm feeling irrationally optimistic, too.

I think what happened is this: during this bad losing streak, a lot of positive 'secondary' things were happening. Posada and Jeter hitting, young pitching. I mean, I'd rather win! But it meant all we needed was a little spark to ignite the underlying optimism.

As to the bench: I admit I'm getting annoyed about it. Wouldn't you think we could spend a few million bucks and get one good pinch hitting bat? Young BUCs are hard to come by, but someone with weak OBP but surprisingly good slugging, or something like that? Here's hoping Phelps is going to be that guy.

2007-05-21 06:24:06
4.   rbj
Tyler looks young.
Is it just me, or are they making kids younger and younger these days?

Looks like I picked the right weekend to miss a bunch of ballgames; the only one I got to watch was last night's.

2007-05-21 06:36:20
5.   JasonO
Jim Dean is on to something.

It's still so early that a little surge for the next 10 days or so could make the last 4 weeks a memory...

Abreu and Rodriguez complementing Jeter/Posada is required for a surge to occur. Need 4 guys carrying the offense, not 2.

Giambi also likes Wakefield's knuckleball.

2007-05-21 06:38:18
6.   Knuckles
I listened to the whole game in the car last night and was severely worried about Clip in the 2nd…I got the feeling he was laboring a bit, and would scuffle along to a 5 runs in 5 innings outing. SO I was pleasantly surprised as he kept rolling. 6 strong against the Mets lineup ain't no little feat.

Annoying Yankee radio tidbit- Soozin and Sterling alternated between saying Clippard was herky-jerky and awkward on the mound, and that he had a silky smooth delivery. WHICH IS IT?

And is it just me, or is Soozin getting more and more excitable this year, tripping over her own words, sputtering, etc? I do that sometimes, but I also don't get paid to speak on the radio...

2007-05-21 06:38:47
7.   Jim Dean
3 You're going to get me started again...

Anything would have been better than Cairo and Nieves - that's what's really sad.

2007-05-21 06:39:40
8.   vockins
I think Phelps is better than Abraham gives him credit for. So what if the guy had a bad AB against Billy Wagner. A lot of people have bad ABs against Billy Wagner. That's why the Mets pay him the big money.

I'd like to see Phelps start at first for a straight week, at least.

2007-05-21 06:43:51
9.   unpopster
6 don't know about Suzyn, but boy is Sterling starting to lose it a la The Scooter. He seems to be botching up the counts on a regular basis.

Note to Sterling, if the pitcher throws a ball, strike, and ball the count is 2-1 and not 1-2. It messes with me big time when the fourth pitch is a called strike and the batter is still in the box awaiting the next pitch...

is it too much to ask to get the count straight? It's not like we have the count posted on the top-right-hand corners of the car radio!

2007-05-21 06:44:48
10.   Jim Dean
6 Not silky smooth that's for damn sure.

His delivery is definitely funky. His front foot lands and his arm is trailing far behind, almost as an afterthought. Morgan at least provided one insight and showed how Clippard will vary which way off the mound he falls. Combine that with his long, lean limbs and the good off-speed stuff, and he's obviously hard to read.

That said, his stuff was good. He kept everything low but in the zone. He threw his curve and change for strikes, (sometimes on the first pitch of an AB), and his fastball seemed to have late movement. And he mixed his pitches well such that when he hung a curve to Beltran, Carlos was late on it.

It was a very nice performance to watch.

2007-05-21 06:44:57
11.   Cru Jones
I am PUMPED for today. The way the team has been playing, I'm not looking for a sweep, just 2 out of 3. I keep telling myself "2 out of 3, 2 out of 3." There actually were signs of life against the Mets, so another good series could finally get things moving in the right direction (even if the standings don't really move that much).

That being said, I don't want to have to think the Yanks need to win the next two to make it happen, so, for me, today is key.

Let's keep the good Clippard vibes going.

2007-05-21 06:45:44
12.   Jim Dean
8 And what - was PeteAbe asleep when Phelps had the good AB's against Glavine?
2007-05-21 06:51:00
13.   JeremyM
12 I agree, but Abraham has been beating the Doug M. drum all season, so maybe he sees endorsing Phelps as going against that position? I don't know, but you can't judge a guy by one bad at-bat, obviously. Nobody looks good striking out.
2007-05-21 06:51:48
14.   ArodsPsyche
As much as I hate Joe Morgan, he made a pretty good observation about Clippard tipping his pitches by falling to the left side of the mound when throwing a fastball and to the right side when throwing a curveball and changeup (or something like that). Despite that, he appeared to baffle several Mets hitters, leading me to believe his "herky jerky" delivery, is enough to keep hitters off balance.
2007-05-21 07:01:20
15.   ArodsPsyche
I forgot to mention that he did a great job changing speeds, rarely throwing his fastball twice in a row. I've seen him pitch a few times in the minors, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't throw harder that 87-89, despite hitting 93 several times on the ESPN radar gun. Some pitchers can't get away with that, but he was consistently getting throwing his curve and change for strikes. He looked a little rattled when Wright hit the home run off him in the 2nd, but settled in nicely when he could have unraveled.

It's hard not to be excited seeing these young guys do well....It may hard for me to look at the standings right now, but honestly the best is yet to come from a good chunk of this roster.

2007-05-21 07:31:10
16.   Schteeve

I count 7 pretty talented starters in the organization who can be better than league average at the ML level. If the offense continues to wake up, Vizcaino kicks Joe's dog, and Rivera rediscovers his location, I think the Yanks might have a shot at the WC.

2007-05-21 07:31:34
17.   pistolpete
Wow, a little cockiness out of the Red Sox camp - do I see bulletin board material?
2007-05-21 07:33:04
18.   Schteeve
14 Re: tipping his pitches. The other point that Morgan made was that while Clippard's landing spot might "tip" his pitches, it might do so too late for the hitters to do anything about it.

By the time he lands, the pitch is already past home plate.

2007-05-21 07:35:15
19.   Mattpat11
7 Be careful what you wish for. Phillips could come back.
2007-05-21 07:35:31
20.   pistolpete
18 Exactly - someone would have to possess lightning-quick bat speed to do much about it.
2007-05-21 07:36:09
21.   Chyll Will
6 Knuckles, I'll let you in on a secret. Brunnhilde and I have been conducting internet research to establish the fact that Soozin is slowly morphing into Fred Flintstone. Sterling, not to be outdone, is going for Homer Simpson, because his series has lasted longer.
2007-05-21 07:36:22
22.   Schteeve
10 My favorite part of Clip's performance was that he threw a beautiful first pitch strike to start the game, and followed it up with two more strikes to fan Reyes.

Then after the Wright HR I did not think he looked rattled. He continued to throw strikes, didn't become scared of the strike zone, and hung in there. I was very excited by the kid.

Finally, what about Jorge's homer last night, it was an absolute missile. Great to see that, and A-Rod had a pretty convincing bomb of his own despite his 1-5 night.

2007-05-21 07:38:00
23.   Shaun P
1 I agree 100%. Clippard was awesome. Strike-strike-strike-strike. And it was only 1 start (small sample size!) but he did baffle the NL's best offense. Great way to start a career, TC.

16 And, injuries aside, Rasner and Karstens have had their moments too. So did Igawa.

But the best part? Of the 7 you named, and the 3 I named, 7 are 27 and younger. And there are more on the way in the next couple of years (Sanchez, Joba, Alan Horne, Kennedy, maybe even C. Wright and Ohlendorf). The oldest of those guys is 24 I think (that would be the Princeton-educated Dorf).

That's an awful lot of potentially useful young pitching.

2007-05-21 07:38:06
24.   ArodsPsyche
Schteeve: Yea I caught that too, and I'm not a major league scout or anything so I'm not sure the affect it will have...I just wonder if good hitters will be able to pick up him leaning as he is finishing his delivery. It will definitely be interesting to see how hitters deal with his offspeed stuff as the season progresses.
2007-05-21 07:46:31
25.   RIYank
I dunno, the one part of Clippard's performance I did not like was his strike/pitch ratio. He threw only 57% strikes. Okay, there was the IBB, so that's 59%. Still not good enough. What happens to him when he throws against the Sox and they take a lot of pitches?
2007-05-21 07:58:21
26.   JL25and3
24 I thought Morgan said that Clippard did not fall consistently one way on his fastball - sometimes left, sometimes right - so he didn't actually tip his pitches.
2007-05-21 08:00:40
27.   Schteeve
26 No the point Joe made was that he falls to the left when he throws the fast ball, and to the right when he throws the breaking stuff.

I may be oversimplifying that, but that was the essence.

He falls differently depending on what pitch he throws. Ergo the tip.

2007-05-21 08:03:51
28.   yankz
Arod could be worse- he could be Andruw "Free Agent" Jones (0-5, 5 (!!!!) K).

Those Jeter facts are unreal. Amazing how he gets more consistent with age. 4,000 hits, here we come...

2007-05-21 08:04:14
29.   ArodsPsyche
24 He throws a sinking 2-seam and a 4-seam so maybe Joe was saying that he throws those 2 fastballs to different sides. Who the hell knows, no-one should ever listen to Joe Morgan.
2007-05-21 08:04:41
30.   yankz
27 I think Joe separated the two types of fastball- something like 2-seamer and curveball = left, changeup and 4-seamer = right. Naturally, I didn't believe him.
2007-05-21 08:05:00
31.   yankz
29 Jinx?
2007-05-21 08:08:58
32.   JL25and3
27 We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I distinctly heard him say, several times, that it was not a tell.
2007-05-21 08:14:17
33.   RIYank
This is amusing, but really, what is the chance that what Morgan's saying is true??? If you don't count the things he says about himself and cross out the bland baseball banalities, I figure his truth average is lower than his lifetime batting average.
2007-05-21 08:25:37
34.   Schteeve
Agree with all of you. Morgan knows less about baseball than I do, and considering he gets paid 7 figures to analyze baseball, that's inexcusable.

I'm not saying that Clippard tips his pitches in any meaningful (to a batter) way, I'm just saying that based on the replays it did look like he landed to different sides of the mound depending on which pitch he was throwing.

2007-05-21 08:35:12
35.   RIYank
I just took a look at the "Clippard fans six" clip at On five of the six strikeout pitches he lands to his left. (Unless I'm misunderstanding what you guys mean.) The only time he landed right it was a change; the others were some heat and some breaking balls.
Now tipping a change is bad, for sure. The landing itself couldn't be a tip (too late, as you (Schteeve, 18) said, but I guess a different landing might be a sign that something else in the wind-up is different.
2007-05-21 08:43:30
36.   Bama Yankee
We had my son's birthday party Saturday afternoon and after Friday night's disappointing game, I had already decided to focus on the party and try to put the Yankees out of my mind for a little while.

It didn't work. We had the b-day party at my in-laws house and while killing time before all the guests arrived, I ran across a small stack of baseball cards (mostly from the mid-90's). There was a Mattingly on top of the stack and several other Yankee cards in the small stack. I knew I was in trouble when I came across a Karim Garcia 2nd year card (I'm not making this up).

Later as the party was winding down, I went into my father-in-laws' woodworking shop looking for a something and noticed that he had a small TV sitting on a table over in the corner. I checked my watch and thought that it was probably around the 4th inning by now. I felt like an alcoholic left alone in a liquor store. I couldn't stand it, I had to know. I flipped on the TV and through the static and snow all I could make out was Damon's attempt at the second Wright homer. So much for not letting the Yankees ruin my day. I kept checking in on the game only to see snowy images of Robinson Cano (or should I say Robinson Canoblauch) auditioning for the another remake of the Bad News Bears.

Overall, the day was not that bad, the party was great, the weather was beautiful and my son had a great time. However, my attempt to avoid the Yankees was unsuccessful. I think I have a problem... but at least the first step is admitting it.

Hello, my name is Bama Yankee and I am a Yankeeholic...

2007-05-21 08:48:10
37.   rbj
36 Hi Bama Yankee.

My folks were in town for a niece's wedding, so I wasn't able to watch the games. I did go online a couple of times just to check the scores. And I used the game score feature on EI.

I don't think there's a full 12-step program for Yankeeholism. At least, I'm not willing to walk through all of them.

2007-05-21 08:48:52
38.   Bob B
Jeter's numbers are staggering, as is his ability to hit with Runners in scoring position. Those of us who were not around to see Joe D will always talk about him like the old timer's talk about Dimagggio. ALso, Jorge is putting up some awesome career stats if I'm not mistaken. He's right up there as a catcher with Yogi and Munson in my book.
2007-05-21 08:51:31
39.   Chyll Will
31 Yep, he/she? owes you a root beer...

36 (Hi, Bama...) Did you have Angel's Food or Devil's Food cake? Or maybe an ice cream cake? Or a combination? That would be awesome...

2007-05-21 09:03:46
40.   Bama Yankee
39 Actually my mom made a cake that looked like Lightning McQueen from the movie Cars...

All this talk about cake is making me hungry, so I'm heading out for lunch...

2007-05-21 09:07:54
41.   Jersey
The point Joe Morgan was making was that there's no consistency to Clippard's landing. After he mentioned it, I started semi-paying attention to it, and he was right. Clippard was landing left and right on fastballs, changeups and curves. I couldn't see any pattern to it whatsoever; and in fact, Joe even made the point that Clippard is unusual because usually you want guys to pitch with the same motion every time.

I don't know if that's usual for Clippard or something he was doing from adrenaline, etc. If it's new, he should keep it up!

2007-05-21 09:08:42
42.   yankz
I'm an admitted Yankeeholic. Sometimes I wish I could quit, but I fail miserably.
2007-05-21 09:12:56
43.   mehmattski
I would like to note that I predicted this headline six months ago:

Post #45.

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.

2007-05-21 09:15:09
44.   Chyll Will
40 Yummy... don't eat the five bucks! (who knows that reference? C'mon...)
2007-05-21 09:22:02
45.   Chyll Will
43 Very good, Nostramattski, but when Rick Ankleshakes steps off the D train, you'll get yer pay >;)
2007-05-21 09:35:51
46.   JL25and3
I agree with everyone about Morgan as a broadcaster. It's sad, really, because he was probably one of the 5 or so best ballplayers I've ever seen. Rose was good, Bench was great, but Morgan was the best player on the Big Red Machine.
2007-05-21 09:51:23
47.   mehmattski
45 Well, Ankiel did scare the AAA pitching coach a couple weeks ago by announcing he was ready to pitch again. (source: Deadspin)

As for headlines, I was disappointed there were no Yankee Clippard references in the major papers:

Daily News: Subway Series is Tyler Made
Post: Yankees Saved by a Ty Game
Times: Pitch by pitch, the Yankees' mood brightens
Star-Ledger: Pitcher foils Mets in debut to salvage finale for Bombers

Pretty lame, guys.

Let's go Yankee Clippard!

2007-05-21 09:54:11
48.   Jersey
46 Greatest 2B of all time. Worst broadcaster of all time. See how everything balances out?
2007-05-21 09:54:23
49.   ArodsPsyche
As bad as Morgan is in the booth, Jon Miller makes my skin crawl. It seems like he has some kind of disease where if he doesn't say the word "clutch" every 6 seconds, his head will explode. I think I counted him say it 18 times in the 4th inning yesterday...the 4th inning. At least Morgan can say he's a HOFer.
2007-05-21 09:56:58
50.   Jim Dean
23 Shaun - was it you we were talking in the off-season abou t how silly it was that Clippard was ranked so low by Baseball America?

I mean, he's had to prove himself at every level, and he's done so with flying colors.

At the time a nice mL comp for Tyler was Mussina (except Tyler stuck out more mL batters while allowing fewer hits). Last night I saw nothing to disabuse me of that comparison.

By the way, Mussina also debuted at age 22.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-05-21 09:58:39
51.   pistolpete
36 I'm usually good but then my wife becomes the one to turn the game on. I curse at her for it, but she never learns. I'm then sucked into watching the rest of it...
2007-05-21 10:00:50
52.   Chyll Will
47 Simps. They're just avoiding any reference that might seem like high praise. At any rate, I'm fascinated by the fact that both Hughes and Clippard have given two very good-outstanding performances, the hamstring injury notwithstanding. That bodes well for the future to say the least. If Tyler can do that again a few more times, and Hughes returns and continues the form he showed, then we got a freakin' nice three-step combination for the next several years with Wang included and still more to come. Nice?
2007-05-21 10:03:09
53.   JL25and3
48 Yeah, I know. It just pains me because a whole generation only knows him as the worst boradcaster.

49 But I blame that on Morgan, too. I have XM radio in my car, so sometimes I get to listen to Miller doing the Giants games. He's superb, very much in the Scully mode - easygoing, relaxed, conversational, but he doesn't miss anything. He adds a lot of detail, he doesn't get histrionic, and - best of all - he's genuinely fluent in English and he's comfortable speaking it.

It's only when he gets near Morgan that he turns into this shrill idiot. That's why I call Morgan an intellectual black hole - he actually sucks intelligence away from people around him.

2007-05-21 10:11:25
54.   ArodsPsyche
53 Agreed; I thought I remembered him being intelligent at one point.

While were getting on the ESPN blowhards, anyone remember this gem from Sutcliffe?

2007-05-21 10:12:12
55.   Schteeve
53 I totally agree. I lived in Baltimore when Miller was the play by play guy for the Orioles, and he was superb. The thing that irks me most about him now is that he always defers to Joe, never calling him out on the absurd things he says.

I will always have a special place in my heart for Karl Ravech who does attempt to grill Morgan when Joe says things like, "The only way I judge a pitcher is by wins." Or something loony like that.

I can't remember the specific asinine comment Joe made last night, that caused me to curse Miller for letting him get away with it.

2007-05-21 10:20:05
56.   yankz
ESPN's SportsCenter commercial last night:

"Could a Red Sox rookie beat TIM HUDSON?!?!"

(in the most fanboy voice imaginable)

Upon hearing this, I became very muscular and green and punched right through my TV.

2007-05-21 10:22:55
57.   Shaun P
50 Yes, that was me. I do get where BA and others were coming from, but I did (and do) disagree. I think Clippard can be a very good major league pitcher. He misses bats. The upside is there, and he seems like he can take advantage of it.

Moose threw a lot harder when he was young (93-95 IIRC) and Tyler doesn't get it quite up there. But yeah, the deception, the different angles, mixing in the sharp curve and the change, changing speeds effectively - that all screams "Moose" doesn't it? Maybe not 1993-98 Moose, but certainly 2004-07 Moose.

2007-05-21 10:26:54
58.   Shaun P
56 ESPN. The network that employs Dusty Baker and Steve Phillips to comment on baseball, and pays Joe ("I don't know, I haven't seen them enough") Morgan millions to be their lead TV analyst.

I count 3 strikes right there. Its enough to turn me off.

53 Joe Morgan, intellectual black hole. Sad but true. Great line, JL.

2007-05-21 10:28:37
59.   unpopster
I apologize in advance since I just posted this on Pete Abraham's blog as well, but I really think it needs to be stressed and perhaps even emailed to every single player on the current Yankee 25-man roster:

On this exact date last year (5/21/06), the Minnesota Twins were 19-25 and 10.5 games out of first place in what was arguably the toughest division in MLB (Detroit/Chisox/Cleveland).

The Twins ended the 2006 season with a 96-66 record and an AL Central Division crown!

2007-05-21 10:33:05
60.   yankz
59 Dude, I had no idea, that's f*cking awesome! And this Yankee team, with Clemens and Hughes coming back, has the potential to be much better than last year's Minnesota team.
2007-05-21 10:33:26
61.   Jim Dean
57 I just think - "And he's 22!!!" If he's already shown he knows how to pitch, with typically half a year to adjust to a level, we may have something nice there.

Meanwhile, he did hit 93 on the ESPN gun. And he could still be building arm strength even as he's on pace, in his development, to throw 190 innings.

My point on BA: Even if he doesn't have a #1 ceiling, even if it's only a #2 or #3 - isn't that extremely valuable? With how hard pitching is to project, and how healthy Clippard has already been, why discount him so readily? Because his stuff isn't A+? Weird.

A Yankee organization with a #1 through #3 all pre-arbitration (Hughes, Wang, Clippard) is extremely dangerous, especially with guys like Rasner, Karstens, Wright, and DeSalvo at the backend and with Chmaberlain and Kennedy ariiving as soon as late next year.

Times are looking up, folks. Now if only they'd pull the trigger on the Helton deal. :)

2007-05-21 10:35:24
62.   Simone
I couldn't stop smiling at this wonderful article on Bernie addressing Iona College's graduating class from Lohud:
2007-05-21 10:38:20
63.   ric

although they had the 2006 Cy Young winner, the batting champ and the MVP ;)

2007-05-21 10:38:20
64.   yankz
62 That article is so 24. Bernie Williams = Tony Almeida. Is he coming back tonight?!
2007-05-21 10:40:44
65.   yankz
63 And the Yankees had guys finish a very close 2nd and 3rd, and the guy who should've won the MVP. This year, Santana hasn't been Santana yet, and the Yankee pitching is much deeper. And with Mauer on the DL, the Yankees currently have the best catcher in the league.

I guess an 8-21 month from the Sox would be too much to expect, but if it happened last year...

2007-05-21 10:44:08
66.   williamnyy23
On the Clippard falling left and right issue...Can it really be considered a "tip" if it happens as the the ball is being released? Usually a "tip" takes place in the motion...not at the same time as the ball is heading toward the batter.

I could be mistaken, but I have a hard time believing that a hitter would have enough time to note Clippards landing spot and still make contact. In fact, before the observation registered, the ball would be in Posada's glove. If anything, Clippard's multiple landing points might make things more confusing for the batter.

2007-05-21 10:45:39
67.   unpopster
63 well, currently have the 2007 batting champ (Posada) and MVP (Arod). With the return of Clemens, he could realistically pitch like a Cy Young candidate for the remainder of the season.
2007-05-21 10:47:06
68.   DougP
66I agree. If a batter is watching where Clippard lands, then he's not watching the baseball as it's reaching the plate (or hitting Posada's glove).
2007-05-21 10:49:00
69.   Jersey
59 nice....

Let's never forget Boston's innate ability to crash and burn:

2007-05-21 10:49:44
70.   Jim Dean
66 Count me in the "not enough time" camp.

That said, he may be doing something before his release (e.g., front shoulder tilted one way or another) that sets up his landing. It's hard to imagine with how much video is used in the mL's though. Something to worry a bit about, but he wouldn't be the first pitcher to alter his delivery.

BTW: Waswatching has the link to his MySpace page. Damn to be 22 and starting for the NY Yankees. I'd take the looks of Taverez if that was my future.

2007-05-21 10:58:01
71.   weeping for brunnhilde
A propos of nothing, I came across this last night.


1980s players:

It's a guy doing Yankee stances. It's pretty amusing.

2007-05-21 11:03:30
72.   bbfan1
"With the return of Clemens, he could realistically pitch like a Cy Young candidate for the remainder of the season."

Oh to live in your rose colored world.

2007-05-21 11:10:08
73.   mehmattski
72 It is realistic that a pitcher who threw 113 innings with a 2.30 ERA (197 ERA+) last year, with 102 K and 29 BB could pitch like a Cy Young candidate. But oh to have your cynical, black-colored glasses....
2007-05-21 11:18:17
74.   Chyll Will
72,73 Hey guys, can I borrow your glasses? Me and Bama are brewing some Cherry Coke for the next party and...
2007-05-21 11:22:46
75.   Zack
70 Man, is it just me, or is looking at a Yankee's myspace page really weird and unsettling? I don't really want to see that Clippard is looking for ladies and see pictures of him drinking with friends and shots of himself scantily clad (creepy!). I like to keep them on a pedestal...
2007-05-21 11:27:42
76.   cult of basebaal
1 I know how you feel. I only caught last night's game (of the three), but it left me feeling more upbeat than i have been in weeks

clippard was first and foremost, i really liked watching him pitch, he looked the 2nd best (behind hughes) of our rookies and the one after hughes i'd be most willing to bet would have a solid ML career (tinstaapp caveat of course) ... fastball was sitting 88-90, which ain't great, but had good late movement and a little sink, command was plus, he was really hitting his spots; he threw a good sharp curve both for strikes and swings and misses and his changeup had people fooled all night

as for his composure and pitchability, i don't think you need to look any farther than the perfect first pitch changeup he threw to jose reyes with the bases loaded last night ... that was a thing of beauty

throw in abreu looking better, jeter and posada being en fuego, the little bounces that seemed to shift in our favor after the damon bloop (big thanks to shawn green), the way the pitching lines up for the red sox series and suddenly i'm thinking like we might have turned a corner

now ... if we can only get ICR back on track, banish Douggie-Outs to somewhere dark and rank (i really don't like feeling schadenfreude for anyone on my team, but i was sure had hopes for that HBP he took on the knee last night) and convince Giambi to STFU, we might get on a nice little roll

2007-05-21 11:30:06
77.   yankz
75 Amen, man. I don't want to hear about Jeter and Jessica Biel making out in some museum.
2007-05-21 11:30:47
78.   Chyll Will
75 You know that feeling you get when you go into a bakery and you see your favorite treat is proudly displayed behind the glass, or when you go into a burcher shop and notice the choice cuts of meat behind the display case, but when you look up to make an order, you can tell the guy behind the counter has not bathed in weeks?

I feel like that everytime I see MySpace...

2007-05-21 11:33:35
79.   Chyll Will
78 burcher shop. I should've said meet market...
2007-05-21 11:35:41
80.   Chyll Will
77 I don't think Justin would like to hear that, either...
2007-05-21 11:37:16
81.   JL25and3
61 Wang will almost certainly be eligible for arbitration after this year. According to Cot's, he'll be only 13 days short of 3 full years. That should easily qualify him as a "Super 2."
2007-05-21 11:37:31
82.   Bama Yankee
79 LOL.

74 Good call on the Cherry Coke...

73 Actually, I think bbfan1 might actually be viewing the world through "blood colored socks"... ;-)

2007-05-21 11:38:58
83.   RIYank
77 I know, museums give him the creeps.
2007-05-21 11:39:27
84.   RIYank
Uh, that should have been linked to 80, not 77.
2007-05-21 11:41:44
85.   Zack
Well, maybe T-Clip can pick up some tips from Derek on how to handle the ladies, though I pretty much feel that just saying "I pitch for the Yankees" would probably be a pretty good method. Of course, Beckett might argue otherwise...
2007-05-21 11:42:05
86.   Jim Dean
75 I agree.

81 True, and thanks.

2007-05-21 11:42:31
87.   Peter
75 I feel the same way, although it was kind of interesting to look at his friends and see a few other Yankee mLers.
2007-05-21 11:47:33
88.   Chyll Will
85 Why? Was he not turned on?
2007-05-21 11:49:29
89.   Schteeve
75 Come on, he's a 22 year old baseball player. You think he's gonna comport himself like the frickin Dalai Lama?

David Cone once jacked off in the bull pen. These guys aren't exactly paragons of couth.

2007-05-21 11:50:42
90.   Schteeve
Come to think of it, Paragons of Couth would be a great name for a band.
2007-05-21 11:51:20
91.   Zack
88I forget where I read about it, but there was this whole article about Beckett's lack of game at a bar and his attempts to use the "I'm Josh Beckett" and " I pitch for the Sox" pick up lines. Funny stuff...
2007-05-21 11:52:21
92.   weeping for brunnhilde
89 Um, do you have any idea just how much I didn't need to know that?

I really could have lived out the rest of my days without that information and been none the worse for it.

2007-05-21 11:52:42
93.   yankz
89 Good god man, you had to tell me that?!

91 I'll check withleather...

2007-05-21 11:53:24
94.   yankz
92 Jinx.

For the record, that is two Cokes in on thread for me. (I much prefer Coke to root beer.)

2007-05-21 11:53:35
95.   Zack
89 No, we don't expect them to act that way, we just don't want to know about it. They can do whatever they want in their private lives, its those moments when private and public meet that we are talking about.

I think its quite healthy for a 22 year old to have amyspace page and be interested in partying and the opposite (or same) sex, but when that 22 year old is a Yankee, its just weird to think about. And web 2.0 has made it that much more common for that to happen

2007-05-21 11:58:45
96.   JL25and3
95 I haven't seen the page yet - I can't access it at work. But I imagine it's even more disturbing since Clippard looks so much like a very tall 15-year-old.

On the other hand, go back and read Ball Four again. It's all in there, and worse - though he does make it all sound so cute and charming.

2007-05-21 12:00:09
97.   yankz
I give up trying to find the Beckett rejection story on WithLeather or Deadspin...their search features suck
2007-05-21 12:01:09
98.   Schteeve
95 Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head with your second paragraph.

I don't think we can expect not to know about such things in this era. I think being 22, trumps being a "mystically refined and gentlemanly Yankee."

Personally, and I stress personally, I don't care, if he sleeps with a different girl every night and brags about it on "

As long as he pitches well, I'll be happy.

2007-05-21 12:03:11
99.   Bama Yankee
Anyone else think that Clippard looks a little like this kid:

2007-05-21 12:04:04
100.   3rd gen yankee fan
re: Tyler's myspace page: yes, very weird, but also very cool. it's the embodiment of the internet age. nutty.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-05-21 12:05:33
101.   Jersey
97 check this:
2007-05-21 12:15:14
102.   Chyll Will
101 Maybe if he worked on that aspect of his game, he wouldn't get blisters and blame it on defective balls?
2007-05-21 12:16:13
103.   weeping for brunnhilde
94 :)
2007-05-21 12:16:45
104.   yankz
101 Thanks
2007-05-21 12:19:15
105.   Jersey
102 ...huh huh...maybe "defective balls" is his problem in more ways than one...bada bing!!
2007-05-21 12:19:33
106.   Chyll Will
102 (wait for it...)
2007-05-21 12:19:42
107.   weeping for brunnhilde
"Defective balls."

ha ha ha ha haha!!

God, that's just so funny.

Speaking of defective balls, I was trying to explain Gaylord Perry to my wife the other day and couldn't quite figure out why guys just don't do that sort of thing anymore.

Did they begin to crack down in the eighties, or is there some other reason?

Because as I understand it, Perry was the master, but by no means the only spitballer.

Anyone have any insights?

2007-05-21 12:20:37
108.   weeping for brunnhilde
105 Bu-dump-dump--chhhh!
2007-05-21 12:20:50
109.   sam2175
Full disclaimer: I am no fan of Joe Morgan.

That being said, I find it ludicrous that Morgan's analysis of Clippard's pitching is being dismissed in this site because "he hardly gets anything right". As cool as it is to pick on Morgan, he used to play Major League Baseball, and must have had some baseball IQ to have had the kind of career that the greats in the game would dream of.

He picked up within the first few pitches, as early as in the first inning, how Clippard was finishing his pitches. All the Yankee prospect sites I have visited never picked that up. That was an incredibly astute observation, and Morgan needs to be commended on that analysis, just as he is deservedly hammered when he makes dumb comments.

2007-05-21 12:21:27
110.   weeping for brunnhilde
105 Actually, it's probably more like bu-DUMP-Bump-chhh!
2007-05-21 12:21:40
111.   Chyll Will
105 Foul tip, Jersey >;)
2007-05-21 12:24:33
112.   Chyll Will
107 I can't tell, is that sarcasm?
2007-05-21 12:28:02
113.   Jersey
111 Hey, I'm workin here!
2007-05-21 12:29:13
114.   Chyll Will
109 I don't see how it's being dismissed to the extent you imply. Analyzed, yes and considering the source, it's right to be skeptical at first. But I don't believe that it's been totally dismissed as of yet. Further analysis requires a larger sample size that is not practically available yet.
2007-05-21 12:31:37
115.   Chyll Will
113 Oops, my bad Rizzo >;)
2007-05-21 12:38:17
116.   weeping for brunnhilde
112 Ah, no, not at all. (Can't tell which part you think may have been sarcasm.)

No, my question's just about spitballers and why they seem to have disappeared. Oh, are you thinking of Kenny Rogers? Is that why you read possible sarcasm?

No, it just seems like spitballing (knuckles, junkballing in general?) used to be more common.

2007-05-21 12:45:40
117.   Chyll Will
107 Perry was a showman among other things. He did more than just spitball, he was the quintessential cheater and was very proud of his vast techniques. After being elected to the HOF, he put on a video clinic of the various ways he would hide goo or tools while on the mound. It was a big show for him and because he hardly made a fuss about it until then, he got away with a lot of stuff.

I'm guessing it was probably a result of his showboating afterwards that baseball really started clamping down on cheating of that nature. The most egregious caught-in-the-act that I recall was Joe Niekro flinging an emory board behind his back while the ump was talking with him, in full view of the cameras. That netted him a nice suspension. I do recall there was an incident as recently as a season or two ago involving scuffing and was it a tiny piece of sandpaper superglued to the pitcher's fingernail? At any rate, that's pretty much taken a seat in the back of the bus to another form of cheating.

2007-05-21 12:52:47
118.   Chyll Will
116 Heh-heh. No, I thought the "God, that's just so funny." was being sarcastic, if you're used to reading things like they're straight lines like I do. And how in the world could I forget Kenny "Bdddd-Stickum, Hah-huhHah Stickum!" Rogers? I tell you, I'm getting old. Bama, is that Cherry Coke ready yet?
2007-05-21 12:55:15
119.   weeping for brunnhilde
117 See, at least the old-school cheaters needed skills: Guile, moxy, innovation, stealthiness.

Any jackass can shoot himself up or whatever it is they do.

Where's the sport in that?

2007-05-21 12:56:29
120.   Chyll Will
118 Actually, that would have made a good return punchline to my crack about defective balls if it came from JB himself. But my bad for misreading the intent >;)
2007-05-21 12:57:31
121.   Jersey
116 I don't know if we can say definitely that there are fewer cheaters (on the mound, anyway) than there were a few decades ago. And what about guys that don't get caught?

The final few legal spitballers pitched into the '30s; after that their influence probably hung around for a while but I would imagine it's faded as time has gone on, along with the aforementioned clampdown.

The knuckleball used to be a standard part of the repertoire. Most guys don't throw the knuckleball now because no one starts out learning a knuckleball, and it takes time to learn to throw it – and it's difficult. Wakefield didn't learn until he was already in the minors.

Bill James has written (IIRC) that a handful of exclusive knucklers had a stretch of success a few decades ago, and the conventional wisdom developed that either you were a knuckler or you weren't, and it made no sense to overlap.

2007-05-21 12:57:57
122.   weeping for brunnhilde
118 :)

No, that was in earnest, "defective balls."

Not the pun so much as the original complaint.

It's so bizarre it needs no embellishment.

As to getting old, you and me both.

2007-05-21 13:03:44
123.   Bama Yankee
118 Yes, the Cherry Coke is on ice as we speak (or maybe it should be as we type)...

How could you ever forget about Kenny Rogers, after that great Gambler song parody that I posted a few months back... ;-)
Or could it be that you put him out of your mind after reading that terrible Gambler song parody that I posted a few months back... ;-(

2007-05-21 13:03:45
124.   weeping for brunnhilde
121 Thanks, that's informative.

Yeah, the problem as I see it is the general homogenization of the game. It seems like the rise of the power hitter (shortstops batting fourth, weighing in at 220lbs--wtf?) has flattened out the game.

Something has, at any rate. It's as if kids think the only way to be successful is to be a slugger or a power pitcher, so we're losing a lot of the subtler art of the game.

As to taking time to learn the knuckle ball--what the hell else do these people have to do? I mean, they've got all the time they need.

I have to wonder whether it just doesn't seem macho enough or something.

They'd all rather be Nuke LaRouche.

2007-05-21 13:21:48
125.   Chyll Will
123 As Uncle Woodrow would say, awww-yeah...

Of course it's ;-) I just never think of Kenny Rogers. Wow, I feel like I've typed those same words before, or at least something to that extent >;)

2007-05-21 13:31:10
126.   Jersey
I think you've got a few factors "flattening" the game, at least from the hitting side.

Two biggies are expansion and smaller ballparks. You have a higher number of crappy pitchers, pitching in parks that favor hitters. On lower mounds than the 60s, too. Expansion has had as much - if not MORE - of an impact on the big-scoring era as steroids.

And IIRC, bats are more conducive to hitting home runs now. They have bigger barrels and smaller handles - in the Days of Yore, the handles were thicker and the barrels smaller. This lets these big dudes really rip it through the strike zone.

There's some other stuff too. On the pitching side, I don't know how much it's really changed, aside from all the crappy pitchers that expansion hath wrought. But most teams aren't going to want to take the time and resources to teach a guy how to pitch a good knuckleball, because there probably isn't a great success rate to date. And that leaves fewer guys who can throw them, and therefore fewer guys who can teach the knuckleball later as coaches.

2007-05-21 13:38:28
127.   Bama Yankee
124 Nuke LaRouche? Is that this guy:
Sorry, I couldn't resist... I know what you meant (it's a great point, BTW). They all want to bring the heat and announce their presence with authority like this guy:
2007-05-21 13:42:55
128.   weeping for brunnhilde
127 :)
2007-05-21 13:44:27
129.   sam2175
114 I think here are the posts that I have issue with:

30, 33, 34 and 48.

2007-05-21 13:45:02
130.   Chyll Will
124 I agree with you in principle, man, but the reality seems to be that the expiration dates on a player's career is lower than ever. With modern strength and conditioning programs, players can build up in Olympic proportions. And with the competition doing that all around, they often do. Throw in the money that owners are willing to spend on the modern Adonis and Hurcules, the marketing that pushes these ideals around (Nike, Gatorade, WWE, etc.)and target audience reaction (remember "Chicks Dig The Long Ball"?), and there you go.

Imagine Roger Clemens to Randy Johnson to David Wells to Pedro Martinez, all in their prime. Prolific in their own rights, yes? In which order would you pick them just by looking at them (just like on the playground), then compare that to how you would line them up to pitch the World Series for your team...

2007-05-21 14:07:20
131.   Chyll Will
129 Sure, but what about 26,32,35,41,66,68 and 70? There was a bit of back and forth there. I don't know, was it a casual observation by Morgan or a reference he hammered on for several innings? It's worth looking at, but to get excited at this point in my opinion is not sensible until we see him pitch a few more times and see if teams adjust or react to it.

All things considered and with the utmost respect, no one ever says Morgan's a bad player, but even casual observers in my presense have been put off by his presentation, which knowledgible or not erodes his credibility. That's his own fault, not the viewers.

2007-05-21 14:20:09
132.   Jersey
129 I give him full credit for noticing Clippard's delivery. It was very perceptive.

I also stand by my comments about his overall commentary. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

2007-05-21 14:24:02
133.   dlewanda
Hey folks,
I've been lurking here for over a year, and I wanted to thank everyone for a great blog. Between Cliff and Alex, the guest spots, and the high level of conversation, it has been a pleasure to partake in the ingesting of quality banter over the last 12 months. It has been very cathartic especially this season to know there are as many fans who feel the same pain I have been feeling.

My main reason for posting here was to comment on the question as to why there has been less trickery than there was in the past. First, I think we need to separate legal (knuckleball) from the illegal (spitball, pine tar, emery board). As for the illegal, I agree that post-Gaylord Perry I'm sure MLB has cracked down, but I also think the explosion of video coverage of games with multiple camera angles and video research done by teams that is is a lot harder to cheat on a consistent basis (every start). Just look back to the number of stills pulled from the Fox broadcast analyzing Kenny Rogers last fall. I think it has scared enough people "straight". If someone's getting away with it, they have to be really, really good.

As for the legally trickery, I think it's just a basic return-on-investment issue. It is more likely for a team to get bang for the buck looking for the next Clemens/Hughes, a 6'4" 235 lb. strong man who can throw the ball through the wall rather than take a chance developing a Tim Wakefield. Even Wakefield (or any of the great knuckleballers) gets hit around a few times a season when the mojo isn't working.

That being said, I have to think that eventually teams will get so desperate for pitching that teams will try anything. I read the article on Yahoo! about Mike Marshall's controversial techniques that someone posted here a week or so ago, and I have to think that at some point a team is going to take a risk to try and get an edge. I have said for years that if I ever have a son, I'm going to teach him to be a left-handed knuckleballer so I can retire early!

Anyway, thanks for keeping up with my long-winded answer. Thanks again for the great site and I look forward to the beginning of the turn-around of 2007 tonight!

2007-05-21 14:29:29
134.   RIYank
129 You think it's incredibly perceptive that Morgan noticed this thing about Clippard's delivery... but we have no independent confirmation that it's true.

Morgan "notices" a whole lot of things that just aren't so. I won't believe this one until somebody checks it out, somebody reliable, and tells me that Morgan was correct.

2007-05-21 14:32:45
135.   weeping for brunnhilde
130 Little boys dig the long ball, too.

At least, this one did.

My first two favorite players were Reggie Jackson and Bucky Dent.

Reggie because he was Reggie--he was the superstar, afterall, and Bucky because he was a shortstop. (I'm not quite old enough to have seen his Homerun, so to me he was a shortstop with a cool name.)

But I also loved Willie because I liked lead-off hitters. I was a lead-off middle infielder with great speed as a kid so I was attracted to those kind of players.

I fell away from baseball for a few years beginning in high school (for a variety of reasons, but generally because I became a guitar-playing, music-loving hippie and lost interest in sports) and I remember my first impression of Derek Jeter was "My God, he's a shortstop?"

To this day, I still think he's too tall to be a shortstop, but I've gotten used to him, you know?

It's amazing watching the old games from the eighties. As my wife says, they look like stick figures compared to the hulks who dominate today.

Something's gotta give, though.

They really ought to think about raising the mound.

2007-05-21 14:35:57
136.   Bama Yankee
133 Welcome, dlewanda. Good post. BTW, I actually tried the "teaching my son how to be a lefty" thing ... it didn't work. I would put things in his left hand and he would just move them over to his right and throw. I have now moved on to my next project: teaching him how to be a switch-hitter... ;-)
As I said earlier, I have a disease but at least I admit it...
2007-05-21 14:36:38
137.   weeping for brunnhilde
133 Welcome, and thanks for a very thoughtful first post! Especially your point about the cameras, I think that's really apt.

"I have said for years that if I ever have a son, I'm going to teach him to be a left-handed knuckleballer so I can retire early!"

Ha ha ha!

2007-05-21 14:38:42
138.   weeping for brunnhilde
136 If you could teach him to hit the ball the other way, switch-hitting would be less important.

Also? Please teach him to bunt.

I don't care if he's 10 years old and hits the ball 500 feet.

Please don't let him not learn to bunt.

2007-05-21 14:46:35
139.   Bama Yankee
138 As you probably know, I am on the same page as you about the bunting. Bunting was one thing that I could always do as a kid (might have been the only thing that I could do, actually) and I plan on passing that on to my son...
2007-05-21 15:22:57
140.   weeping for brunnhilde
139 :)

I was just out back with my kid, he's 4 1/2. He can really hit, but I'm especially proud of him because one day, of left field, he squared to bunt.

He's so observant of what the players do when we watch the games. It's such a joy to watch him imitate the pros. He's so into learning.

Today he began lecturing me about how to pitch a fastball. Evidently my fingers weren't placed upon the seams properly.

One of his teachers at school used to coach little league, so he gets lots of tips from him.

I can't tell him the first thing about pitching, unfortunately.

And yeah, I used to bunt a lot in little league. I loved it. I loved the art of it and I loved running for my life.

Whenever I'd come up, they'd yell "Watch the bunt!" which was a source of pride to me.

I could also hit pretty well, though, so I kept 'em guessing.

Ah, they'll pass you by, glory days.

2007-05-21 15:30:26
141.   OldYanksFan
Warning: (for those that care)
Tonight is the last/final episode of 24!!
And it's 2 hours!
From 8 - 10!
Massive conflict for me.
Gotta go with 24 and the Yanks during commercials.

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