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Balls to the Wall
2007-06-27 05:52
by Emma Span
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Must we really relive that experience? Come on. Go outside, feel the sun on your face, it’s summer. You don’t want to read about last night’s game, trust me. Call a loved one instead. Remember the times that were good. Find a puppy and cuddle it.

… Still here? Fine, have it your way, masochists. Orioles 3, Yankees 2, but it was so much worse than that makes it sound.

I seem to always be recapping Andy Pettitte’s starts, and as a result I’ve developed a certain empathy for the guy. He returns to New York, he pitches better than anyone could have ever expected, he throws in relief when needed, he goes deep into games, he never complains. And what does he get? Well… okay, he gets $16 million, but still. Is just a tiny bit of run support too much to ask? Rich people have feelings too, you know. Or so I’ve read.

It was an odd start for Pettitte: he struggled badly with his control, walking five (with just two Ks), and in that sense he was fortunate to escape with only two runs allowed in seven innings. On the other hand, at least half the eight hits he allowed were lucky little bloops. The Orioles scratched out a run in the third on a broken-bat single, stolen base, walk, bunt, and groundout. And Pettitte was victimized by a bad misplay in the outfield in the fourth, when Bobby Abreu and Melky Cabrera looked at each other and let a ball hit by (of course) Kevin Millar fall between them; a run scored later in the inning. Pettitte vented a bit after the game – from the Times:

“I’m bitter because we’re not playing good baseball,” Pettitte said. “I feel like we’re a better team than we are, and we’re not getting it done. Not only me, but I hope there’s a whole lot of guys in this room that are frustrated and care a whole lot right now.”

Asked if he was satisfied that other people care as much as he does, Pettitte said: “I hope that everybody else cares as much. I mean, I’m not going around polling everybody. I wear my feelings on my sleeve a little bit on the day I pitch. I only get to play once every five days, and it’s extremely important to me. I think it’s extremely important to everybody else in here. At least, I hope so.”

 

The Yankees’ only two runs came in the sixth when Miguel “You Can’t Even Mention My Name Online Without Unleashing a Flood of Expletives and Vitriol” Cairo singled and Johnny Damon homered, tying the game. Damon had seen a chiropractor on the off day, and claimed that the guy "discovered immediately that four ribs on the right side were out of place". I'm not a doctor or anything... but does that sound right? How do your ribs get "out of place"? Oh well, if it works it works, psychosomatic or not.

Let me recap the bottom of the 9th for you, I’ll just review it on my Tivo first, and… huh, that’s weird, my eyes are bleeding. We’ll just go from memory then. Scott Proctor came on, Kyle Farnsworth having pitched a surprisingly scoreless 8th, and walked Corey Patterson. (Patterson, by the way, now hitting .224, was 3-3 on the night, and every one of those hits was a little flare that just dunked in; it was that kind of game). Brian Roberts singled. Chris Gomez then tried to bunt, but popped the ball up enough for Proctor to make a quick, full-extension diving grab for the out.

 

It was a great play - except that he could have thrown to second for another out, and would’ve had Patterson, who was running, by a mile and a half. Proctor seemed to just be too shaken up by his belly flop off the mound, and I suppose you can't really blame him for that. But after walking it off (pun unintended, but unavoidable), he stayed in the game, threw four straight balls to Nick Markakis, and then pulled a Kenny Rogers '99 NLCS Special, taking seven pitches to walk Ramon Hernandez and force in the game-winning run.

The big question, of course: why wasn’t Mariano Rivera in the game? He never even warmed up. Now, many managers, not just Joe Torre, refuse to go to their closer in the ninth inning of a tie road game, right or wrong (by the numbers, usually wrong). But even if you won't do it at the top of the inning, why not a few batters in, when Proctor was so clearly struggling? As our fearless co-leader Cliff pointed out last night via email, this is “Jeff Weaver Syndrome all over again,” and we’ve all seen it before.

So today you can expect much sturm und drang about the loss, which may have been the worst of the season - I'll have to rank them at some point, I suppose - and about Torre in particular. For me personally, there’s only one thing to do after a game like that. (Link SFW, unless you want the full respect of your colleagues).

Oh… and happy f@#%ing birthday to Derek Jeter, who had two hits and made a nice play on a ground ball as the barrell of a shattered bat rolled right up on his glove. He turned 33 yesterday, and don’t we all feel old now? I hope Torre and Proctor and the rest of the offense remembered to get him something nice. As fate would have it, June 26th was also Abner Doubleday’s birthday – the man who, in myth and legend though unfortunately not in reality, invented baseball in Cooperstown in 1839. See what happens when you forget to send an e-card?

Comments (85)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-06-27 06:04:42
1.   Jim Dean
The cute link is a nice touch, Emma, especially since some in the game thread were considering bestiality if Proctor got out of the 9th last night.

MASN did show Mo up in the 9th when Jorge walked. Of course, when you're going to let Jorge run, what was the point, especially with Cano bunting?

I do hate you at this point, Joe Torre. And worse, I can easily see Jorge, Mo, and Pettitte leaving when Joe isn't brought back at the end of this brutal season. Instead, fire his ass now and show the players he's the reason they're 4-13 in one run games.

Please, King George, find your ballsack.

2007-06-27 06:09:06
2.   monkeypants
The mind still boggles when you consider why, according to Torre himself, he did not use Rivera last night: according to PeteAbe at LoHud, he didn't want to "because of the 1.2 innings he worked Friday night."

Now, if Torre had said that he was not going to use Rivera until the Yankees got the lead, I could understand it. I would not agree with the strategy, but at least the tactics would match the strategy.

But, Torre's statement implies (at least as presented) that Rivera was simply unavailable because he had pitched more than an inning FOUR days earlier. Unless Torre meant he was only available for one inning; but if that's the case, it still begs the question why he wasn't used--especially after Proctor let a couple of guys get on base.

And there are further questions. Why was Rivera used for 1.2 innings in a game that the Yankees led by 4 runs going into the top of the 8th? And is it better to use him in those situations, if he is now so fragile, or in any of the surrounding close games that were lost by one or two runs while the Best Closer in History™ sits idly in the pen? And if it is the case that 1+ innings now essentially burns Rivera for half a week, is it good also to carry a one inning every-other-day guy (Farnswhacker) and a one batter specialist (Meyers), let alone the fact that neither is good at what they do? Maybe since Basak has had only three appearances and one AB since being called three weeks ago, and Andy Phillips was benched apparently after one game, they can both be DFAed and the team carry 15 pitchers?

Finally, the real questions, is Torre senile? No, I mean it--no sarcasm. Are we witnessing the onset of serious senility?

2007-06-27 06:22:37
3.   jedi
Does anyone have the stat of how many consecutive balls Proctor threw right after the belly flop. It seems like 8 straight balls. The flop didn't look that damaging at first view, but it seriously altered his control thereafter(am I really saying that as an excuse for Proctor's control issues???) Nontheless, for a pitcher not to be able to throw to second or even attempt to throw the ball to second after that play, should have even warranted a visit from the trainer. Proctor was hurt and no one even bothered to see if he was alright. Proctor preceded to walk the next batter and then walk in the winning run. Not before he through a wild pitch that almost hit Hernandez. Moe should have come in after Proctor was "injured." If that is not a manager mess up, I don't know what is.

Sorry...I am fishing for excuses.

2007-06-27 06:29:12
4.   Yankee Fan In Boston
i'm going to take a moment to be completely self-indulgent.

i work full time and take a full course load at school, working towards my undergrad at night. the summer is normally my oasis.

i get 3.5 months of relative reprieve, and i devote a healthy amount of that precious time to baseball. watching and playing.

that said, i think i'm ready for september. this summer, baseball has foresaken me. the yankees were out of the race in june and the team i play on is an embarrassing 1-6 (though most of that is due to terrible luck).

2 i don't think that torre is senile, but somebody needs to tell him that he's costing the team games.

gator, please help... joe torre is ruining my summer... it's all i have...

2007-06-27 06:30:47
5.   ny2ca2dc
3 The trainer did visit. I don't think Procter even threw any test pitches though. All were itching for Mo to come in there, he would've been granted as much time as he needed to warm up, as an injury replacement...
2007-06-27 06:31:37
6.   51cq24
3 whether he was hurt or not, he was throwing balls left and right. torre even came out to visit him after the first 2 guys reached base. then he let him stay in when it was at least possible that he was hurt, and certain that he could not throw strikes. these aren't excuses, they are real observations. torre's move are inexplicable. i'm yet to hear anyone defend them on their merits, instead of blaming the players instead.
2007-06-27 06:40:03
7.   Knuckles
I'd like to send Torre an e-pinkslip.
2007-06-27 06:41:59
8.   Max
6 I've defended Torre for some very unpopular decisions, but there was no defense for last night.

I wanted Joe to go out with some dignity when the season was done, but last night really was inexplicable. I swear it looked like he had a death wish (wanting to be fired this week), or he had lost his mind.

2007-06-27 06:43:20
9.   JL25and3
6 I don't think anyone's really defending Torre much anymore. In fact, I'd say the exact opposite of what you did: the focus has been so squarely on the (entirely legitimate) failures of Cashman and Torre that the players are practically getting a free ride.

If the Yankees are going to win any games, at some point they have to start hitting major-league pitching on a consistent basis.

2007-06-27 06:43:29
10.   monkeypants
8 "I swear it looked like he had a death wish (wanting to be fired this week), or he had lost his mind."

See 2.

2007-06-27 06:46:07
11.   monkeypants
9 They would have a better chance to hit major league pitchers consistently if they 1] had more major league quality players on the roster and, more imortantly, starting at all nine positions; and 2] the injured and crippled would be placed on the DL so they might become ML quality players again.
2007-06-27 06:53:15
12.   51cq24
9 i'm not saying that no players bear any responsibility. but it's not like everyone is playing badly. at least 3 everyday hitters are hitting better than can be expected (even with extremely high expectations). the starting pitching has been pretty good. we all know about the bullpen, but what we don't know is how well they'd be pitching if torre hadn't overused them from the beginning. i know that sounds like an excuse for them, but i think it's a legitimate one. proctor can't be expected to be great when he pitches almost every day. same for bruney. farnsworth can't be expected to be great at all, so why is he used in big situations? when you look at the numbers, this team shouldn't be nearly as bad as it's been. this is really not a failure of the players, it's a extreme managerial failure. how many times have the yankees been totally out of the game? judging by the score, not very often. judging by expectations of how joe torre would manage the game, very often.
2007-06-27 06:54:27
13.   Yankee Fan In Boston
11 "the injured and crippled would be placed on the DL so they might become ML quality players again."

did anyone else get the feeling that as soon as damon hit that HR, he validated his DL avoidance in joe's eyes?

this is what this season has become for me. i now fear the worst. disaster lurks around every corner.

2007-06-27 06:55:05
14.   JL25and3
11 Agreed. But the top 6 aren't doing the job (collectively), and that's not Cairo's fault, or Torre's, or Cashman's.

Obviously, Rodriguez and Posada are excepted from this discussion. The others, even Jeter, haven't been doing their jobs well. Jeter's hitting, but he's made more mental errors and mistakes than I've ever seen him make. He's also the team captain and, to my mind, not a very good one.

2007-06-27 06:57:32
15.   JL25and3
12 They've been completely out of games way more often than the scores indicate. Put this team two runs behind and they look dead. I don't think that's Torre's fault.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not supporting him any more. But he's got enough to be held responsible for, I don't think the offensive woes are really on him.

2007-06-27 07:04:43
16.   monkeypants
14 I don't know, maybe. Who do you consider the Top 6? If you are talking about Damon, Jeter, Abreu, A-Rod, Posada, Matsui--

Jeter, A-Rod, and Posada have been above average and above their own career standards. Maybe Jeter gets a demerit or two for mental mistakes. I don't put much stock in the whole captain thing; I think that's more for the fans and media than for the players themselves.

Damon has been woeful, but he's hurt and should be DLed. That fault lies with the coaches and GM.

Matsui has been worse than his career standards and his Groundzilla tendencies have returned. But his .808 OPS is not crippling (substandard for his position, though).

Abreu has been a disaster.

Overall, I would argue that the top six have been pulling their weight collectively, albeit unevenly. Even if not, Torre/Cashman cannot be allowed a free pass for the woeful bench and pervers personnel decisions just because Abreu and Matsui have been stinky.

2007-06-27 07:07:54
17.   JL25and3
16 Where did I ever suggest giving anyone a free pass? It's not an either/or proposition. This team sucks so bad, in so many ways, that there's plenty of blame to go around.
2007-06-27 07:11:20
18.   51cq24
16 there is plenty of blame to go around, but players have off years and it is acceptable because they are facing an opponent who is actively trying to get them out or get a hit off them. managers and gms do not have that active resistance. when they make huge mistakes every single game, it is completely inexcusable and unacceptable.
2007-06-27 07:12:10
19.   51cq24
i meant 17
2007-06-27 07:12:11
20.   JL25and3
And, btw, I split the blame for keeping Damon off the DL. He's got to be honest about his capabilities, and I don't think he is. So I'm not letting him off the hook for that.

Up and down the lineup, they're failing to execute fundamentals. Bunts mey be bad, but advancing runners and scoring them from third aren't.

Jeter's baserunning has also been pretty bad this year. 7 SB and 7 CS so far? Not just stolen bases, either - his judgment just hasn't been good. And his fielding has deteriorated noticeably, even given my limited expectations.

2007-06-27 07:13:25
21.   monkeypants
15 I can fault Torre for giving Minky/Cairo 50 starts at 1B. I can fault him for repeatedly pulling Giambi earlier this year for PRs in the middle innings. I can fault hime for starting crippled Damon at DH instead Phelps. I can fault him for batting Melky lead-off in 39 games.

You're right that ultimately the players are responsible for what happens between the lines. But one of the jobs of the manager is to set up his personnel to give the team the greatest chance to succeed between the lines. Torre is failing at this task, and this year failing in a profound fashion.

2007-06-27 07:13:52
22.   Alex Belth
From Rob Neyer's blog:

I'm 100 percent sure that Joe Torre is trying to win.
Well, maybe 99 percent sure. I know just enough about quantum physics to know I can't be 100 percent sure about anything.

But I'm 99 percent sure that Torre is trying to win. After all, someday he's going to be elected to the Hall of Fame as a manager, and there aren't many Hall of Fame managers who weren't really, really trying to win.

You had to wonder last night, though. You had to wonder, while watching Scott Proctor walk home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, with Mariano Rivera never having thrown a single pitch in the game.

As a friend wrote me last night, a few seconds after Corey Patterson trotted home with that winning run,

It's just insane. There is no logical reason why, facing a situtation WHERE YOU CANNOT GIVE UP A RUN, OR YOU LOSE (and fall two games under .500), you would choose Proctor over Rivera. This is managing to a statistic -- the save -- rather than to win. According to Torre's logic, you use Proctor when you simply can't give up a run, and you use Rivera when you can. Absurd.
Indeed. I've been harping on this since (at least) Game 4 of the 2003 World Series, when the Yankees lost a 12-inning game and Rivera never left the bullpen. But Torre keeps making the same mistake, over and over and over again.

Last Saturday in San Francisco, the Yankees lost a 13-inning game. Rivera never left the bullpen. In fact, every relief pitcher pitched except the Yankees' best relief pitcher.

Granted, Rivera had thrown 20 pitches the night before. So we'll cut Torre some slack there. But last night? Rivera hadn't pitched at all since that 20-pitch outing last Friday. Last night he was as well-rested as you'd ever want your closer to be. No slack on this one.

In Torre's autobiography he wrote, "I'm more concerned about winning the game than trying to cover my butt."

Really, Joe? Next time you're on the road and the game's tied in the ninth, prove it.

2007-06-27 07:15:32
23.   JL25and3
18 I'm not sure why it's so important that absolutely everything be laid at Torre's feet. He's never been a good in-game manager, and this year it's mattered a lot more. Even worse, his ability to get the team to ride out slumps hasn't worked this year.

Fine, get rid of him. I just don't think it's necessary to lay the blame for everything at his feet, or Cashman's. Players have been playing badly, and they need to be held accountable as well. Other players are trying to get them out? Ooooh, scary. Isn't that how it's supposed to be? These guys are professionals, and they shouldn't get a free ride.

2007-06-27 07:17:16
24.   Ben
Since no one else is likely to pick it up, here's my defense of Torre: He's just being himself. I believe he is operating under the same set of beliefs and processes that delivered the Yanks many victories during his tenure. It's not working now, but it seems that like many players, he believes in staying withing themselves through thick and thin. Remember, Torre is an ex-player, and knows better than any of us that the difference between batting .250 and .300 is something like 1 hit a week over a season. Maybe as a manager, we expect him to be more adjustable, but he's never been before. It's just hard to watch when it doesn't go right.

Tough effing season.

2007-06-27 07:17:58
25.   monkeypants
17 You're right--I overschematized.

20 Jeter's CS/SB is more complicated to analyze. We don't know how many have been called from teh bench or if they were on his own. At least two or three CS (as I recall) were the product of blown hit-and-run plays, usually with slumping Abreu swinging through the pitch. That's not really Jeter's fault. On the other hand, he has been picked off a couple of times and he has made errors on the basepaths, no doubt about it. For all the ways that Jeter is overrated, he has always been a superb base runner, and this season has been striking.

He does appear significantly slower this year, both on the bases and in the field.

2007-06-27 07:18:47
26.   JL25and3
21 Of course. Take all those things away and maybe the team would be two games over .500. Do you really think that giving Phelps more starts at 1b would have made that big a difference?

Look, I'll slam him as much as anyone. The lineup he put out there on Sunday was inexcusable. Leaving his best reliever on the bench while game after game slips away is equally inexcusable. But the lack of execution is on the players.

2007-06-27 07:23:09
27.   monkeypants
24 Good point. My friends and I used to discuss coaches (especially in the NBA or NFL) who were "system guys." When they had players who did not work well within the system, the team would lose--who was to blame? Not every team can successfully run the west coast offense or the triangle offense. Likewise, I guess, Torre's formula during the dynasty years does not seem to work with teh current batch of players--whether that is because he can't adjust to his personnel, or the personnel is unsuited to his strategic and tactical approach, or because the personnel are underperforming, or because he is underpperforming, or because the personnel are just bad. As in all things, it almost certainly a combination.
2007-06-27 07:27:31
28.   Jim Dean
17 The point is: the Yanks can't do anything about Matsui and Abreu short of benching them or trading them. And given their performance and salary, that last option means they'd pick up a nice chunk of the paycheck AND get back another underperforming player. There are no clear wys to improve the team that involve Abreu or Matsui.

By constrast, for the last six months, the team could have easily improved at:

1) 1B
2) Bullpen
3) Bench

It's about the possibility of addressing the problem AND the likelihood of it having a positive effect. All three have been within reach for a long-time. Instead, they've only got worse through the combined incompetence of the players the GM keeps on the roster AND the ways in which that roster is used by the manager.

If the manager isn't going to start Phillips or even use him as a pinch-hitter, then there's no point to him being on the team.

If the manager isn't going to use Thompson as a pinch runner in a tie game on the road, then there's no point to having him on the team.

If Basak isn't going to see any action at all, then there's no point to having him on the team.

If the manager is only going to use Cairo as the 1B, then he shouldn't be on the team.

If Nieves can't do crap, then he shouldn't be on the team.

If Mike Myers can't get out LH hitters (.306 BAA), then he shouldn't be on the team.

If Ron Villone is going to sport an 81 ERA+, then he shouldn't be on the team.

If Luis Vizcaino is going to sport an 80 ERA+, then he shouldn't be on the team.

That's 36% of the roster right there which is useless. THIRTY-SIX PERECENT of the team doesn't do a damn thing to help them win.

1B, Bullpen, Bench

Say it with me now. Everybody! If the Yanks were interested in winning, they'd have a roster with players that could help them win. They don't and, until they do, they won't.

2007-06-27 07:27:51
29.   51cq24
23 not absolutely everything. giambi is hurt, that isn't torre's fault. damon is hurt, that isn't torre's fault. but it is torre's fault that he doesn't see that damon is hurt and say to him "i don't care that you have a dl-free streak, i don't care that you think you can play, you can't." mariano blew a few saves, that isn't torre's fault. but it is his fault when he doesn't put him in when he needs to be in. it is his fault that he uses the wrong players, that he overuses the bullpen one day and then underuses it the next, that he tries to bunt over one of the slowest players in baseball against a pitcher who can't throw strikes....

24 yes, he's staying within himself, and that is the problem. i'm not sure if you are trying to point out that he's never been a good manager or trying to say that this isn't his fault. but the former is the truth. i know we won 4 championships with him as manager. i'm sure a lot of the moves he made then were the right moves. but i'm even more sure that we would have had a very great chance of winning 2 more championships in 03 and 04 if a better manager were making the moves.

2007-06-27 07:28:19
30.   monkeypants
26 I don't know, but I wish I didn't have to wonder. I also look at it this way--the team has been atrocious in close games (especially one run games). These are the very games when tactical decision, the ones that cost an AB here or a baserunner there, really make a difference. In those games, Jeter's baserunning boners loom larger, but also so do four or five ABs for Cairo or bunting with Posada on first or silly BP decisions.
2007-06-27 07:32:10
31.   Jim Dean
To no one in particular:

THIRTY-SIX PERECENT OF THE FUCKING ROSTER IS USELESS.

2007-06-27 07:35:57
32.   JL25and3
24 I completely agree. He's always preferred to have players in fixed roles. For years my family has been joking about it: Farnsworth is the 8th-inning pitcher, so if it's the 8th inning you bring in Farnsworth. You don't bring in Bruney, because he's a 6th-7th inning pitcher, so you can't bring him in in the 8th. You bring in Farnsworth, because he's the 8th-inning pitcher. Repeat for virtually every role on the team.

A corollary is that he's never handled any sort of platoon or time-sharing well. It's been years since he's used a bench well (or since he's had a bench to use, it's true). He plays favorites, and leaves some players to molder on the bench - I think he carries 12 pitchers so that he can have one he doesn't use. And he's always brutally overused a couple of relievers.

Before this season, it's worked. Last year, his lack of flexibility played as stability, and I don't thin the team would have won the division without him.

But this year he doesn't have the horses to do that, and what he's doing ain't working. The wheels have fallen off completely, and things need to be shaken up (to mix metaphors). Unfortunately, shaking up is precisely what Joe doesn't do.

2007-06-27 07:41:11
33.   JL25and3
29 No, he hasn't been a bad manager. I think it's just as likely that another manager would have won fewer championships, not more. He's never been a good tactician, but his strengths were precisely what the team needed.

Billy Martin was a superb tactician. He wouldn't have lasted two years, because he couldn't do what Joe could. He could manage a game but he couldn't manage the players, or the owner, or the media, or the fans. Joe handled all of that superbly, and that's no small feat in NY.

If you think that's not a big deal, name two other Yankee managers in the last 35 years who were able to do it.

2007-06-27 07:46:24
34.   51cq24
32, 33 you say he hasn't been a bad manager, but you also say that he is inflexible and can't manage the bench and can't manage the bullpen and likes to have guys on the roster to not use them. and you say that this is what worked for the yankees last year. i say he has been lucky that his moves haven't hurt the yankees more in years past (although they certainly did hurt in 03 and 04). and i say that a string of great tacticians who get fired because they can't handle the crazy owner is better than one manager who is a terrible tactician keeping his job way past when he should have been fired.
2007-06-27 07:56:22
35.   nemecizer
Urge to kill rising...
2007-06-27 07:56:50
36.   Start Spreading the News
FWIW, Vizcaino has been pitching much better recently. In the month of June, he has put up a .82 ERA in 11 innings with a .167 BAA.

That is closer to his career line than his 7.2 ERA pre-June. I would suggest that Vizcaino has slowly worked himself back to what he was expected to be when the Yanks brought him in.

2007-06-27 08:00:31
37.   Start Spreading the News
33 Dick Howser and Buck Showalter
2007-06-27 08:03:06
38.   Jim Dean
36 The only thing that's changed for Vizcaino is luck (.214 BABIP) and he has a bit more control (7 BB vs 9 K in 11 IP). But he still sucks. And I have little doubt that another reliever could at least be his equal and maybe pitch in a close game.

And my little rant also left out Farns and his 85 ERA+.

So:

FOURTY PERCENT OF THE FUCKING ROSTER IS USELESS.

2007-06-27 08:05:21
39.   JL25and3
Howser, yes. Showalter, I'm not so sure.

And 34, I'm saying that he has strengths and weaknesses. If you think that a series of better tacticians a year at a time would have been preferable, you must not remember the 80's very well.

2007-06-27 08:05:59
40.   Shaun P
33 "No, he hasn't been a bad manager. I think it's just as likely that another manager would have won fewer championships, not more. He's never been a good tactician, but his strengths were precisely what the team needed."

Agreed 100%. But that's the past.

Torre's strengths are no longer what this team needs.

The bit from Rob Neyer's blog sums it up perfectly for me. Torre makes the same mistakes over and over and over AND OVER. He does not learn from them. He does not even realize he's making them! The too-well-defined bullpen roles. Jeff Weaver Syndrome (Mo rides the bench for the save that never comes). The Legend of Stevie Hearsay (overuse of certain bullpen guys). The bench is never used. The last few guys in the pen are never used (hence TLOSH). I'm afraid to go back and count up the number of losses these things have led to.

We joke about the "belly full of guts" and the "wheel of guts" but its true. There are certain guys Torre trusts, and they get used - their performance is irrelevant, trust is. The guys Torre doesn't trust, don't get used.

How crazy is it that Buddy Groom was right?

http://tinyurl.com/28ujhu

2007-06-27 08:06:43
41.   monkeypants
Meanwhile, RiverAveBlues has the transcript of Torre's explanation for not using Rivera yesterday, followed by some biting commentary. Briefly:

Torre: "He pitched in the 8th and 9th just a couple of days ago on Saturday and I wasn't ready to bring him in at that point."

River Ave Blues: "Got that? Joe Torre, Yankee manager, thinks that Rivera threw too many innings on Saturday and couldn't be used in the 9th inning of a tie game the Yanks should have won. Well, as any Yankee fan knows, Mariano Rivera didn't pitch on Saturday. That was the other game this week the Yanks lost in a final at-bat with Rivera in the pen...

There you have it. The Yankees manager doesn't know when he uses his relieves, and he thinks that his closer can't handle more than 1.2 innings over a ten-day span. So either Rivera is hurt and can't pitch too much or Joe is completely clueless..."

Now, maybe Torre just misspoke. Or maybe...see 2.

2007-06-27 08:07:16
42.   weeping for brunnhilde
4 Win, lose or draw, baseball is beautiful, YFinBoston. The team is back to its old circus act, granted, but don't forget to appreciate the underlying baseball.

On any given night, the beauty of the game will make at least a cameo appearance, but you have to pay attention or you'll miss it.

Patience, young grasshopper.

2007-06-27 08:09:50
43.   Ben
(29.) I'm not really saying either of those. I'm not looking to judge the guy, just describe him as I see him. I'm saying he seems like a manager who approaches his job like a successful player. Maybe he'll make minor adjustments, but largely he'll continue to approach and execute in the same way and wait for the worm to turn. It's frustrating for me to watch, because I want to scream at him to use some new logic. But then you look at the antithesis of Torre, someone like Bobby Valentine, and when his approach wasn't working and the Mets were struggling I felt like screaming, just calm down, Bobby, stop over managing.

Like Jack Nickolson said in Prizzi's Honor, do I ice her do I marry her, which one of these...

2007-06-27 08:12:55
44.   JL25and3
38 Vizcaino does have a record of moderate success. I think you really want him to be a lot worse than he is.

Jim, we know about the missed opportunities with the roster. To go back to the freshman English motif of a few weeks ago: what's done can't be undone. Time to turn that page and talk about now. Fire Cashman? Fine.

2007-06-27 08:13:39
45.   Jim Dean
See where everyone focuses on Proctor in the 9th (Emma, Neyer, most here), I'm absolutely destryed by the choices made in the top of the 9th.

Jorge walks - no pinch runner.
Cano bunts - Jorge easily thrown out at 2nd.
Melky walks - 1st and 2nd, 1 out.
Abreu force out - 1st and 3rd, 2 out.
Cairo allowed to hit - Problem is, who would have pinch hit for him?.

See, the Yanks plate any of those runners and Mo does pitch the 9th.

That fucking kills me.

2007-06-27 08:15:00
46.   JL25and3
40 I agree. His managerial style has hardened over the years, and in any case it no longer suits this team. It's not working.

I haven't been saying anything different. I just think it's too easy to assert that he's a bad manager and alway has been.

2007-06-27 08:16:51
47.   Jim Dean
44 Vizcaino has an 80 ERA+. That's twenty runs below average. Me not wanting to like him doesn't change the fact that he's been the worst arm in the pen. Small sample size all you want, though.

And what's done is done? You've got to be kidding me. The only chance for this team is to start improving that FORTY PERCENT OF THE FUCKING ROSTER THAT IS USELESS.

2007-06-27 08:18:02
48.   Shaun P
40 And yeah, I think its time for Torre to go. Get someone in the job that will play guys based on their abilities and performance, not because they have a belly full of guts.

I can't believe I just typed that. But Torre isn't going to change, so I don't know what else the Yanks could do.

Even if the Yanks got rid of Farnsworth and Vizcaino, and called up Britton and Edwar, Torre would make Proctor the 8th inning guy, and Bruney and Villone the 7th inning guys, and nothing would really change. The only way would be to get rid of every reliever who isn't Rivera, and that will never happen. I'm not sure that's even feasible.

Ditto the offense. If Andy is to get a real shot at 1B, Cairo and Minky have to be gotten rid of. If Shelley Duncan is to get that 1B shot, Andy has to go too. And who says Torre won't just use some rotation of Posada and Damon at 1B then? (I suppose Duncan could DH when Damon is at 1B and Posada catches.)

No, I think the only way out of this is to fire Torre. (I still can't believe I just typed that.)

2007-06-27 08:20:27
49.   JL25and3
34 And by the way, great tacticians have their weaknesses, too. Billy Martin always had a couple of starters - very often young ones - who threw a tremendous number of innings for a year or two. Some of them survived, others didn't. Bowa and Valentine could manage a game but they were lousy at managing players (especially Bowa, who was despised).

When Joe's style matched the team's needs, it worked well. A fiery little martinet wasn't going to do well with the '96-00 teams, and probably the next several years as well. It's not just that his mistakes didn't hurt the team, it's that he was a positive and essential aspect of their winning.

2007-06-27 08:22:26
50.   Shaun P
46 I agree 100% again, JL25and3. Torre was (and is still, in some ways) a great manager. A Hall of Fame manager to be sure. I don't see how anyone can argue otherwise.

But for right now, he's got to go.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-06-27 08:29:26
51.   Cru Jones
45 The breakdown of the 9th was good stuff. The 40% worthless posts might be true, Jim, but the 9th inning review was real value added, IMHO.

48 Your take on Torre's roster management points were all good and put into words what I've been thinking. Gave me a decidedly sinking feeling. Cashman obviously relishes having the power on this team and he's no idiot. I'm sure he's spotted the trends Shaun's pointed out. So, I'd venture to guess Cash probably feels having Joe around gives him just that extra bit of control over the team on the field. Joe is Cash's puppet. If Cashman thinks Andy should play 1st, he'll move Cairo and Alphabet and Joe plays Andy. Cashman doesn't seem to want a manager make such a move without him.

It's all up to George at this point.

2007-06-27 08:32:31
52.   Shaun P
One last thing.

Yanks' actual record: 36-38.

Yanks' Pythag record: 42-32.

Yanks' record if NoMaas's "Torre losses" were changed to wins: 42-32.

That's a way too easy answer - who can say that, if Torre managed properly, the Yanks would have won those games, guaranteed?

But it does raise the issue. Is the Yanks' poor record in one-run games (4-13) due, not to bad luck, but due at least in part, to Torre's bad managing? Leaving Mo on the bench. Giving up outs at the worst possible time. Not using the squeeze. Not using the whole roster.

Yes, the offense's failure to score runners from 3B with less than 2 out is part of it. And the pitchers not executing (Proctor's walks last night) are part of it.

But I think its fair to ask if Torre's poor managing is also part of it - maybe a large part of it.

2007-06-27 08:40:59
53.   Jim Dean
Fi-re Tor-re. (clap clap clap-clap-clap)
Fi-re Tor-re. (clap clap clap-clap-clap)
Fi-re Tor-re. (clap clap clap-clap-clap)
Fi-re Tor-re. (clap clap clap-clap-clap)
Fi-re Tor-re. (clap clap clap-clap-clap)
Fi-re Tor-re. (clap clap clap-clap-clap)
Fi-re Tor-re. (clap clap clap-clap-clap)

51 52 Nice points all around. I would add: Keeping Torre around gives Cashman political cover. Afterall, let's not forget that in a backstabbing organization, Cashman is a survivor. That's no small feat. He does what he has to survive. And this year, Torre's head would roll first most especially because his contract is up. If Cashman allows Joe to get fired in June, then his own head is on the block in November if they still don't make the playoffs. But contrast, if supports Joe through the end of this year ("We owe him that much"), he buys himself at least the off-season and the first half of 2008 to turn it around.

It truly is in Georgie's court. But he's been absent from the throne for too long already.

2007-06-27 08:43:33
54.   JL25and3
47 First of all, it's not 20 runs below average, unless 100 runs is average. It's 20% below.

Second, you can't tout the virtues of statistics as you do, then come back with "small sample size all you want." It is a small sample size, which means that any stats are much less representative and much less descriptive.

Vizcaino was excellent for two weeks, horrible for six weeks, and has been excellent for the last month. During the six weeks that he was awful, he was the worst arm in the pen. During the six weeks that he's been good, he's been one of the best. We just don't know which we'll see for the rest of the season. Small sample size.

Finally, talking about reworking the roster is fine - although shouting about it gets tiresome. But it's not worth rehashing, yet again, the missed opportunities of the last six months.

2007-06-27 08:44:17
55.   Count Zero
44 I'm with you on the "what's done is done" thing.

The question is: Where do we go from here?

I personally think we have to write it off and evaluate the farm players (as others have said over the past week). Release Minky, Myers, Nieves and Villone. Cairo can stay as a utility infielder who sees about 25 ABs for the rest of '07. DL Damon. Trade Farnsworth for a BUC. Bring up Edwar, Britton, Shelley and Henn.

What we now need to do is see what we might possibly use from the minors in '08 so that we have a plan going into the winter meetings. If the kids play well and we suddenly find ourselves back in the WC, then great.

And since Torre won't play the call-ups or use them in any meaningful way - he needs to retire or be fired. His choice. Hire Girardi -- I don't see Mattingly as ready to manage a ML team.

2007-06-27 08:45:12
56.   51cq24
49 i haven't said that he was bad when we were winning. what i said is that he has been making mistakes for years now, and should have been fired a while ago. i know his qualities. i like the guy a lot. but the mistakes have piled up to absurdity. i honestly believe this team would be at or near the wildcard lead if he had made better moves. let's not forget how awfully he handled the bullpen at the beginning of the year, overworking all the guys that people are complaining about now. i'm not saying that vizcaino, proctor, and bruney are great relievers. but i do think they are better than they've been, and i have a feeling they'd have been a lot better had they not each been overused. he can handle the players and the owner as well as anyone, but at this point it does not make up for his mistakes. i know you agree with that point as well, so i'm not going to keep arguing. i'm not sure why you are defending him at all. he has to go.
2007-06-27 08:48:36
57.   51cq24
54 isn't it possible that the reason he was good for a while then so awful that torre went to him (along with bruney and proctor) way too much during the first couple weeks? and that he's getting better now because torre stopped trusting him?

53 "It truly is in Georgie's court. But he's been absent from the throne for too long already." please be careful what you wish for.

2007-06-27 08:51:24
58.   Cru Jones
53 Political cover. Great point. I can see that.

Without trying to make any blue/red statements, when you consider Cashman as the grand manipulator like this, he's kinda like the Karl Rove of GMs.

George and the Tampa crew created an environment where a Karl Rove would succeed, so I can't put all the blame on Cashman for being who he is.

2007-06-27 08:55:40
59.   51cq24
i firmly believe that cashman deserves part of the blame here. and it's at least a little unclear that the things we hear about him being the one who resists trading prospects etc are completely true. but let's assume they are true. if steinbrenner comes alive and fires him, what are the chances that the next gm doesn't think that his job depends on winning in 2008? what are the chances he doesn't trade joba chamberlain and jose tabata? what are the chances he doesn't sign more crazy long-term deals for guys like andruw jones or torii hunter? what are the chances george installs stick michael and not someone who will do exactly what george wants? not very good.
2007-06-27 08:58:53
60.   Jim Dean
58 That's exactly how I was thinking about it - as a grand manipulator. He was a Stick guy until it wasn't convenient. Then he was again.

He presumably supported the Tampa moves (Wright, Shef, Unit) until he didn't have to anymore.

Now he's probably telling the shifting management what they want to hear (save money and win!).

But if he lets Torre go down now, the microscope falls squarely on himself - after ten years. Better to faintly support Torre, blame the underperforming players and injuries, and then off Joe when it's more convenient.

54 The missed opportunities contine to this day. And every day forward with a roster in which 10 players are useless to the goal of winning.

2007-06-27 09:00:29
61.   Jim Dean
59 That's the Catch-22. Unless they promote Oppenheimer. He's the one that drafted Joba and Kennedy. And he at least has a baseball background.
2007-06-27 09:12:33
62.   monkeypants
Keeping on the dual theme of "where do they go from here" and "rehashing mistakes of six months ago"...

I am still willing to give Cashman somewhat the benefit of the doubt. he's made some stinker moves, but he's also made some good moves, and a number of his trades (etc) only look bad in retrospect. For example: Cashman wasn't the only GM after Pavano (they all shoulda known better). The decison to trade Sheff only looks bad because Abreu has fallen off the table--even if Sheff were hitting like he is now, if Abreu were near his career numbers, we would all praise the trade and relish more years of a younger player producing at a high level. The RJ deal is hard to evaluate because 1] he had a no trade clause, 2] we don't know how much he wanted out, and 3] we don't know what was available. It's no use to complain that we should have gotten more, because we don't know if more was to be had or if RJ would go into 'operation shutdown' if he wasn't traded.

Some of Cashman's moves have been positive in the longer term: he has really helped build up the farm system from crap in only two years (though admittedly too heavy on pitching). It was unpopular, but he took a firm line with Bernie, which (I thought) really signalled a change in team philosophy. In the short term: the Abreu deal last year was pure butter. Claiming Phelps as a rule 5--whether he worked out or not--was a Beane-worthy gamble. So far Pettitte has been a great signing (in terms of ERA if not wins).

So, I guess what I am saying is that I would be (if I were King George) willing to stick with Cashman for another year or two, to see if the longer-term organizational strategies begin to bear fruit.

As for Torre, I would loved to have seen him eased into retirement with Bernie last year. Right now, I am not sure it matters. I thought the season was lost a month ago, and I am convinced even more so that it is lost now. Whether Torre (or the players) cost a few more wins now probably doesn't matter. BUT, if they do pull the plug and start calling up the Shelley Duncans of the world (throw the AAAA players in hat, shake, and see if a ML player falls out), Torre will probably have to go because he is just not the manager for that kind of team.

2007-06-27 09:13:58
63.   Cru Jones
60 Looking at it this way, there's no way Mattingly doesn't become manager next year over Girardi. Donnie is beloved. Donnie has management support. Donnie is being tutored by Joe. Cashman gets to stay in the background and try to "figure" a way out of this mess, but at least he stays AND he keeps his precious control.
2007-06-27 09:43:56
64.   Zack
I'd have to agree with the Torre needs to go camp, but also stress what JL has been saying. Just because Torre isn't the right manager NOW, doesn't mean he wasn't the perfect manager before or really good at what he used to do. That's the way baseball works. Jim Leyland can't win a game, takes the Tigers to the WS, Jack McKeon somehow takes the Marlins to the WS and is gone by the end of the next season. Look at Ozzie. The same can be said for the "great" managers. LaRussa (shudder), heck Stengal moved around too. Baseball managers have a shelf life with a team, period, and once that life has expired, its time to move on and try somewhere else.

That is certainly the case with Torre right now. He is simply past his expiration date and needs to be taken off the shelf and repalced with a fresh can. er...yeah. Same thing for most of the team...

2007-06-27 09:54:35
65.   JL25and3
Most of the moves to be made from here should be made with an eye towoards next season. So while Cairo may suck, it's not worth expending even a dime of assets to replace him; better utility guys are always available in the offseason. (That doesn't hold for Nieves, though, who's far beyond mere suckitude. Beisdes, he can be replaced for free just by plucking someone, anyone, off the BUC tree.)

I'd hold on to the bullpen more or less as it is for 2-3 weeks more, and hope that the price goes up as the deadline approaches. Middle relievers may be the single most overvalued commodity there is, so the Yankees might be able to get a little something. Obviously, any reliever not named Rivera is available.

Jim, about Vizcaino:

Through 4/18: 8 G, 8.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K

4/19-6/2: 18 G, 18.2 IP, 23 H, 21 ER, 17 BB, 15 K

6/3-now: 10 G, 10 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 6 BB, 7 K.

I don't think there's any really clear judgment to be made from that, especially since he hasn't been awful in the past.

2007-06-27 10:03:18
66.   Knuckles
I'd posit that the Yanks would have won four championships between '96 and '04 with a different, reaonsably capable, manager. Might not have been the same four, but still 4 nonetheless.
2007-06-27 10:04:29
67.   weeping for brunnhilde
All right. I agree that 2008 should begin with a new manager, preferably not Mattingly. Girardi seems fine to me.

But there needs to be a plan in place. Does it help to replace the manager but in all things else stay the course?

And what are the limits of the moderate youth movement the team has been seeing? What is management's long-term vision for Melky, e.g.?

Of those of you wishing to see Torre gone, are you talking posthaste, or after the season?

Are we really saying that this team would be/would have been seriously competitive under new management?

I think that whoever's brought in needs to be brought in as part of a five-year plan (or whatever), which means a guy who knows how to evaluate and maximize budding talent and (and here's the important part) teach his pool of talent how to play, yes, "winning baseball" as a team.

Personally, I think that means drilling in fundamentals at point of sword during spring training, not sitting back and allowing your team to "do its thing." The manager needs to teach the team how to do his own thing, and that's a problem I feel like Torre's had.

2007-06-27 10:21:30
68.   monkeypants
65 67 I agree. As to the time frame for managerial change, I don't think that it matters all that much except that it is not clear Torre would be a good manager for a team "looking to next year."

Case in point is Cairo (yeah, I know, here I go again ragging him--but I'm not really, just hear me out). Cairo should be DFA'd, not because because he's a bad utility guy, but because Torre can't be trusted to leave him on the bench. I would either give Andy Phillips the rest of the ABs at first this season, or (preferrably) call up Shelley Duncan and give him all the rest of the starts. Hell, I might ven platoon the two at 1B/DH. That's 250 ABs to evluate these guys, who will both likely fail. But we (and the manager) have to be willing to accept that kind of failure and not bench Duncan after one 0-4 w/3 Ks and then start Cairo for the next three weeks.

On days that Jeter or A-Rod or Cano rest, Basak has to be the substitute (or whoever is called up from AA or AAA, or whatever 'prospect' is ideally gotten in a trade for Proctor), not Cairo. Again, no knock on Cairo, but we know what we're gonna get from a 34 y.o. back-up. Better would be to take full advantage of the rest of the season to evaluate other players.

Same with the OF. Whenever Abreu or Matsui get the day off, Thompson or Reese (or even S. Duncan) should go into the OF, not Damon. Actually, I'm not sure trading Matsui wouldn't be that bad of an idea. I like the guy, but he's 33 this year. Do we think that he's going to hit 125 OPS+ next year, or the year after when his contract runs out? He's not part of any five-year plan.

Frankly, selling off any position player not named Alex, derek, Jorge, Robbie, or Melky would not be a bad idea.

2007-06-27 10:24:36
69.   bartap74
22 Man, I miss reading Rob Neyer. I used to read the column every day but stopped when ESPN decided to make the majority of their baseball features "pay-to-read."
2007-06-27 10:34:26
70.   weeping for brunnhilde
68 Agreed wholeheartedly.

The problem with your scenario, however, is that it entails throwing in the towel, which the organiazation and Torre will never do. The only thing that'll get Cairo off the field is a known veteran.

That said, I think the thing to do would be to fire Torre now. No sense wasting the rest of the year when there's work to be done. The team now has a rare opportunity to tool around and get a little head start on reconstructive surgery.

I like that core of guys you isolate. I'd be down with that.

2007-06-27 10:43:34
71.   Schteeve
Pitchers all over baseball have the Yankees scouted perfectly.

1) Pitch to the corners, and get them out with breaking stuff.

2) Only throw fastballs in non fast ball counts (unless you are Verlander.)

3) They won't swing at anything that isn't crushable.

I'm not saying that the Yankees have a fundamentally bad approach. Taking pitches is great, waiting for your pitch is great. But they refuse to alter their approach when it isn't working. And all the hitters except Melky, Cano, and Cairo have essentially the same approach.

2007-06-27 10:45:36
72.   Schteeve
Just to finish the thought, the only pitchers against whom the Yankees light it up is guys who can't find the strike zone.
2007-06-27 10:48:34
73.   Schteeve
A couple of thoughts on Torre:

1) He needs to go, because at this point I don't think he's adding any value.

2) I think he either needs to be replaced by a guy with a long track record of managing pitchers well. Or the job of managing pitchers needs to be given to Kerrigan.

3) I love Torre the human being, I am starting to loathe Torre the baseball team manager.

2007-06-27 11:10:20
74.   JL25and3
66 I'm not at all sure of that. I highly doubt that one manager would have done so, because another manager probably wouldn't have lasted long enough. I also think you underestimate the amount of turmoil there might have been, and how much of an effect it would have had on the team. The cool, professional, unflappable demeanor of those clubs didn't happen by accident.
2007-06-27 11:18:28
75.   weeping for brunnhilde
71 See, this to me is the baseball part of baseball.

To me, a team that's fundamentally sound is able to alter its approach, to essentially play a different style of ball on any given day if that's what the situation calls for.

Obviously that's easier said than done, but I'd like to think it's possible to train major league players to do that.

If seems to me that the team has enough talent to be able to be more innovative on the field, and to be able to execute multiple gameplans (to a greater or lesser degree) at will.

2007-06-27 12:02:10
76.   Schteeve
75 Weeping I agree with your first two paragraphs, but your last sentence confuses me. I have seen nothing in the past 3 years that leads me to believe that this team is capable of executing different gameplans or adjusting their approach.
2007-06-27 12:05:03
77.   monkeypants
71 So let me get this straight--other teams have figured out that if their pitchers have good location, mix things up, and don't make mistakes, then they can be successful against the Yankees. Uh, doesn't this work against any team?
2007-06-27 12:05:25
78.   cult of basebaal
man, i just love BP's sortable stats ... here's some fun Miggy factoids

he's come to the plate 43 times with a total of 63 runners on base. 29 of those runners were on 1st, 23 on 2nd and 11 on 3rd.

He's driven in 5 of those runners. 5! 3 from 2nd and 2 from 3rd.

That's 7.9%.

That's the worst on the Yankees and it's not close.

No one else is below 10%.

That's right, Miguel Cairo is worse than Wil Nieves, who's driven in 11.8%.

Josh Phelps was at 14.9%

Of the 172 players in the AL with at least 75 abs, dear Miggy ranked 165th out of 172 in OBI%, ahead of only Nick Punto, Marco Scutaro, Paul Bako, Luis Rodriguez, Dioner Navarro and Pablo Ozuna.

But hey, I guess his gutty at-bats where he wears out the pitcher are worth more than actual runs, right???

2007-06-27 12:06:10
79.   cult of basebaal
77 germans? pearl harbor???

"forget it, he's rolling ... "

2007-06-27 15:22:45
80.   OldYanksFan
The Yankees won 14 of 17 recently. The manager at the time was Joe Torre. How could this be? What did Torre do differently?

1) He made ARod have a fantastic 3 weeks
2) He willed Abreu to finally hit well
3) He motivated Cano to hit close to his potential
4) He managed to get Cairo to get a few well timed hits
5) He implored his BP to pitch well
6) He massaged Matsui and JD to contribute with the bat.

Wow. 14 of 17 is a .823 rate. I guess Torre has a short run of pure genius.
Either that, or a manager has very, very little to do with a games outcome compared to the collective effort of 25 guys.

The LEAST of a managers responsibility in on-field management. Its the part we see, but by far a managers least impact on the team. Anyone can manage on-field (even Jim Dean).

Look....
Mo is better then EDSP
Bruny is better them Viz
Phelps is a better hitter then Cairo.

Genius right? I know these things because I am a competent manage. Torre (obviously) does not.

Torre's on field management APPEARS to be very poor. We all know that. Somehow, this manager lucked into 11 straight pennants. Now he has a .500 teams.

But nothing has changed with Torre. This team, has better SP and RP then last years team. Melky and Cano should both be maturing.
ARod's having a monster year. This team SHOULD be doing much, much better. Losing Giambi (that big, overpaid, one-dimensional guy) hurts a LOT. Not having a consistant JD at the top of the order hurts. Our early pitching injuries cost us some games. Mo cost up some games, 3 or more at my count.

Torre is being Torre.
I'm sure if you questioned every Yankee player, if they could speak honestly, all would question some of Torre's move.

If you told them you though Torre was responsible for this years poor performance, I think they would be stunned.

Torre is just being Torre.
The problem is, JD, Giambi, Cano, Melky, Abreu and Matsui are NOT being JD, Giambi, Cano, Melky, Abreu and Matsui.

And yet, when I read this blog, it seems ALL Yankee loses are always a factor of 4 things.

Torre
Cashman
Minky
Cairo

and the other 23 players are just spectators.

2007-06-27 15:40:37
81.   monkeypants
80 "Wow. 14 of 17 is a .823 rate. I guess Torre has a short run of pure genius. Either that, or a manager has very, very little to do with a games outcome compared to the collective effort of 25 guys."

"Genius right? I know these things because I am a competent manage. Torre (obviously) does not. Torre's on field management APPEARS to be very poor. We all know that. Somehow, this manager lucked into 11 straight pennants. Now he has a .500 teams."

You've convinced me. When first read this post, I thought these were false dichotomies, and mischaracterizations of critical posts. But the more I thought, the more you've convinced. We need to accept that we are illiterati; we cannot possibly make critical observations because we are lowly fans, not MLB managers (let alone one who won 11 straight divisions). So I have decided on a new perspective--to sit back and accept the received wisdom Torre and try to figure out how I have misunderstood everything that see (but only with my eyes).

2007-06-27 16:22:40
82.   OldYanksFan
Here is why we are losing. Compared to last year.
1) NO Giambi. Look at last years box scores. How many times did a Giambi HR (not to mention his OBP) make the difference between winning or losing? This has cost us ____ games.

2) JD Light. Having an effective table setter, who sees a lot of pitches in front of Jetes/Abreu/ARod is very important. He has 36 RS. Last year, at this pont, he had 52. RISP: BA/.235, OPS/.756. This has cost us ____ games.

3) Abreu: .257 .350 .363 .713. (RISP OPS .667) His OPS is down .195 PTS from his career average, .175 PTS from last year. He has 35 RBIs. Last year, at this point, he had 50. This has cost us ____ games.

4) Cano: has had more RBI opportunities then any other Yankee. His 2007 RISP numbers: .207 .239 .293 .532 - or sub-sub-Cairo. How many runs has he single handedly cost us? This has cost us ____ games.

5) Mo was rusty out of the gate. Lost 3 games he wins 99% of the time. This has cost us (2 or 3?) games.

6) Matsui: 8 HRs/.808 OPS. (RISP .783) Career Avg (45% of season): 11 HRs/.860 OPS (not horrible). This has cost us ____ games.

7) Melky: His OPS is .050 PTS lower then last year (shouldn't he be getting better?) and his 2007 RISP: .197 .269 .227 .496.
Read those numbers and rub your eyes. How many runs has this alone cost us? This has cost us ____ games.

So...... RISP wise, 5 guys are:
Matsui: .783
Damon: .756
Aberu: .667
Cano_: .532
Melky: .496
-----------
R_Avg: .647

Coco Crisp: .644

So, Ladies and Gentleman, I introduce you to the power hitting Yankees starting 9, managed by the incompetent Joe Torre.

Derek Jeter
Alex ARod
Jorge Posada
Miggy Mantle
Coco Crisp
Coco Crisp
Coco Crisp
Coco Crisp
Coco Crisp

Yankee Pitching is almost exactly middle-of-the-pack BA against and ERA wise.

I would ask all of you to fill in the blanks. How many games have we LOST specifically due to 1 thru 7 above. Now take those loses, subtract from (38) and add to (36). Whats our record? I get 47/27. (.635)

Now, figure the ______ for Torre/Miggy/Nieves/Phelps/Phillips/KT/Long/Spencer/Mass.

We don't need to get rid of Torre.
We need to get rid of Coco Crisp, Coco Crisp, Coco Crisp, Coco Crisp, and his other brother, Coco Crisp.

2007-06-27 16:25:29
83.   vockins
looks like we just might have to ACCEPT the state of the team

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph8kGPXOoUw

2007-06-27 16:30:27
84.   OldYanksFan
81 I am NOT saying Torre is a good on-field manage. MY eyes tell me he's bad. My point is Torre is ONE guy who does not swing a bat or throw a pitch.

What about the 25 guys who do?
Yesterday, an easy fly ball dropped and almost hit Melky in the foot. It was the decisive run. Yesterday, the other team layed down a bunt that lead to a run (bunting??? Bad management?). How come we can't bunt?

Maybe a bad managerial call executed properly is better then a good managerial call not executed?

I wonder what Torre's eyes are telling him?

2007-06-27 21:02:28
85.   weeping for brunnhilde
76 I hear you. It's more just the general belief that major league baseball players, especially good ones, should have good command over fundamentals.

It all goes back to Dave Winfield for me. The man decided to sacrifice power for average and so he did.

Just like that.

Of course he's a HOFer, and thus particularly talented, but still, it shows what a player can do if he puts his mind to it.

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