Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Series Wrap: vs. Devil Rays
2007-07-23 09:40
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Offense: Forty-nine runs in four games? I'd say that's pretty good.


Robinson Cano 11 for 16, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 6 R, BB
Shelley Duncan 4 for 12, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K
Hideki Matsui 7 for 19, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R, BB
Alex Rodriguez 5 for 11, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R, 4 BB
Bobby Abreu 7 for 17, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 6 R, BB, 2 SB
Andy Phillips 7 for 18, HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, BB
Johnny Damon 4 for 11, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, SB
Wil Nieves 3 for 5, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R


Uh, Miguel Cairo (1 for 5, 2B, 3 R, BB, 3 K)?
Sean Henn struck out in his only at-bat after Joe Torre decided he didn't need a DH anymore in the finale.
Really, that's about it.

Rotation: In four games, the Yanks got one start from their fifth starter and another from a minor league spot starter, so you knew it wouldn't be pretty going in, but no one expected that Mike Mussina would have the worst start of the weekend (4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR). Andy Pettitte turned in the only quality start in the finale, doing just that (6 IP, 3 R) while allowing 11 baserunners (8 H, 3 BB), but striking out eight for good measure. Not a good weekend for starting pitching.

Bullpen: The pen actually did worse than Mussina in the opener (8 R, 7 ER in 4 1/3 IP). In the remaining three games they allowed 3 runs in 11 1/3 innings while allowing 15 baserunners, which is almost exactly what they did in the Toronto series (11 2/3 IP, 2 R, 15 baserunners). Take out Friday night's disaster and that's a 1.96 RA (that is Run Average, with unearned runs included) over seven games and a 1.30 WHIP. That'll work.

The Good:

Sure, Sean Henn was facing a demoralized Devil Rays squad that was already down 18-3, but he still tossed two scoreless innings in his first major league work in nearly a month and a half, striking out three. Luis Vizcaino picked up both wins in Saturday's double header on the basis of 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Mariano Rivera tossed a scoreless inning striking out two in his only work of the weekend in Saturday's day game. Shockingly, Kyle Farnsworth did the same.

The Bad:

After a 14-day layoff, Edwar Ramirez had a disaster outing on Friday night. He entered the game with the Yanks down 5-0, a man on second and two outs. He then walked two men on nine pitches to load the bases and gave up a grand slam to Dioner Navarro, a sub-.200 hitter who had one prior home run on the season. He then walked two more men on eight more pitches before Mike Myers was brought in to get the one out Ramirez proved incapable of recording. Brian Bruney gave up four runs on four hits and two walks while getting just three outs. Scott Proctor gave up two solo home runs in addition to two other hits in two innings, possibly scuttling the rumored Proctor-Wigginton swap in the process.

Defense: Three errors in four games (Matsui, Nieves, Cano), curiously two of them led to unearned runs charged to Mike Myers, the only runs Myers allowed on the weekend.

Conclusion: The Yanks beat the snot out of the worst team in their division, as they should have, but all that offense hid some less than encouraging pitching. Still, three series into the cupcake part of their schedule, the Yanks are 9-3. They're now alone in third place in the Wild Card race, 6.5 games behind Cleveland, but just six back in the loss column.

Comments (58)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-07-23 10:22:38
1.   mehmattski
Interestingly, a team that scores 49 runs and allows 26 runs in a four game series is expected to win 76% of those games. So despite the two blowouts, the Yankees' pace against their pythagorean record has not changed that much.

Before Series Actual: 48-45
Before Series Pythag: 54-39

After Series Actual: 51-46
After Series Pythag: 58-39

2007-07-23 10:23:49
2.   rbj
And of course the only game I caught in its entirety was Friday night's. Missed the DH Saturday, and only saw 6th inning on on Sunday. Maybe I should just go to bed early tonight.
2007-07-23 10:48:28
3.   iicollies
What a schedule!

Red Sox have already play all of their season games with KC, while the Y's are just playing the first on tonight.

2007-07-23 11:25:20
4.   RichB
Hey, did anyone notice this comment by Torre about Edwar's poor outing on Friday:

"We put him in a situation that he hadn't worked in two weeks, not that that could have been helped." Source:

Not that that could have been helped??? What, he was too busy trimming the hedges in the bullpen? In 10 games you couldn't find one single spot to pitch him in?

2007-07-23 11:26:08
5.   NJYankee41
3 But they still have 15 games left against Tampa Bay :(
2007-07-23 11:37:13
6.   Vandelay Industries

Yea, and just wait and see how much mileage they try to get from Lester's return tonight.

2007-07-23 11:43:37
7.   RIYank
From LoHud:
Mariano Rivera has allowed one earned run in his last 14.2 innings with 0 walks and 14 strikeouts.
2007-07-23 11:51:48
8.   tommyl
6 Does that mean no more Julian Tavarez? Oh wait, no because isn't back in the rotation yet, right? Phew!
2007-07-23 11:52:14
9.   Vandelay Industries

Good stat. If anything, Mo has been too good. Throwing pitches which catch too much of the plate in 0-2 and 1-2 counts.

As a side note, I would like to throw a big bag of kudos at MLB's grueling school and its procedures which train and prepare umpires for professional action. Anyone who has watched more than a handful of NBA games in a season, was pretty sure that something was going on with referees. This was a long time coming, and is bigger than Stern will ever admit. From selling plane tickets and not reporting income, to the fixing of games, to the outright challenging of players and coaches without proper instigation, they're the worst in any sport I've ever seen. Even NFL referees with a median IQ of about 80 do a better job.

MLB umpires are not perfect, but are sure as hell the most professional, most competent, and best officials in any major sport.

2007-07-23 11:52:55
10.   Vandelay Industries

Wait! God hasn't healed him yet?

2007-07-23 11:53:51
11.   Knuckles
When I hear Torre say stuff like that, I picture the Yanks relievers all sitting on a bench together out in the bullpen. Unfortunately, this bench only holds 12 guys (less if Bruney and Britton happen to be on the squad at once). The two most junior relievers have to sit on the ground, in the shadows. Therefore, no one knows they're there, especially in night games, when they tend to wear the navy blue warmup jackets.

Also, Torre's pen usually runs out of ink when he reaches the bottom part of the lineup card, so the Edwars usually get written with no ink.

2007-07-23 11:54:38
12.   Knuckles
edit 10 guys
2007-07-23 11:58:09
13.   tommyl
11 But he has no D, less ink needed! we should be calling up people with short names. I like this idea...

2007-07-23 11:59:48
14.   Jim Dean
8 Don't forget Kason Koufax (according to a family friend).

Tavarez is back in the bullpen.

9 I'd be happier if they replaced the strike zone with an RFID tag in the ball. Let umps call the plays at the bases.

2007-07-23 12:00:25
15.   Mike in DC
tommyl: "6 Does that mean no more Julian Tavarez? Oh wait, no because isn't back in the rotation yet, right? Phew!"

I read somewhere, ESPN I think, that they were dumping Pinero and moving Tavares back into the bullpen. I guess that means their rotation is now: Beckett, Dice-K, Wakefield, Lester and Kason Gabbard. Gabbard is probably the most likely to go down or to the pen when returns. Unless Lester stinks up the joint.

2007-07-23 12:03:22
16.   Andre
Any credible trade rumors out there? What I've seen posited for the Yanks so far:


The following seem to have cooled a bit

2007-07-23 12:03:57
17.   JL25and3
1 Hmm. They were expected to win 76%, but they only won 75%. From the previous discussion, I guess that means that they were below average.
2007-07-23 12:06:01
18.   Vandelay Industries

That's right. And that makes a Yankee surge into the lead not unlikely if we can keep it together. Our starting pitching is on par with Boston's and our lineup is a clear upgrade over theirs. It's in the players hands now.

2007-07-23 12:12:42
19.   ChrisS
17 When you get 3/4 = 0.76, let me know. NASA may need you for something or other.

But I guess when one believes that, by simply writing the equivalent to 'Billy Martin wouldn't be able to win with this team like Joe Torre' makes it true AND that the statement is a fine metric for analyzing Torre's performance as a manager, anything is possible.

2007-07-23 12:23:30
20.   JL25and3
19 Yes. That's exactly what I've said. You understand me perfectly, thank you so very very much. Your reading comprehension and interpretive abilities astound me.
2007-07-23 12:27:36
21.   tommyl
17 19 20 Ok guys, no need to resort to name calling. As for what a reasonable spread in data is, I'd say you can use standard deviation to tell you. Are Damon's OPS+ numbers (per year, weighted by PA/year) all within one sigma? two sigma? half sigma? of the average? Haven't run the numbers but I'm willing to put money on the fact that Abreu's variance is lower than Damon's.

So in 17, yeah it seems like 76 is close to 75, but what's the variance? If you tell me something is 75, with a SD of 1, then yeah 76 is about the same. But if you tell me its 75 with a SD of .0001, then no, 76 is really very, very different.

2007-07-23 12:43:09
22.   Jim Dean
21 Let's just muck up one thread with this talk. It continues in the last one.
2007-07-23 12:45:21
23.   JL25and3
21 No question, I was being sarcastic above. But the point, by exaggeration, is that a small difference isn't necessarily meaningful.

Yes, Damon's variability is almost certainly greater than Abreu's, which is almost certainly greater than Matsui's, which is almost certainly exceptional. But I still think it's rash to say that any manager could see that Damon wouldn't rebound and the others would. That, to me, is an ex post facto justification. However, if people were making that assertion two months ago, I'd take it more seriously.

As for what I really did say: every comparison I've made with Martin has been strictly my opinion, based on years of watching both managers. I'm not using that as any kind of "metric"; in fact, I've said tht the only suitable metric we have is wins, at the end of the year.

I did ay that, since experimental manipulation is obviously impossible, one way to approach it would be to make a predictive model based on what a given managerial style is purported to accomplish. If the predictions come true, then that's a piece of evidence in support of the model. I've been saying that for at least a year.

It's not a justification for Joe's in-game tactics or bullpen management; I've been criticizing those things for much of the last decade. But I am saying that he may do other things that help the team win over the course of a season. It's all well and good to get derisive because you can't measure those things - but just because you don't have the tools to measure something doesn't mean that thing doesn't exist.

2007-07-23 12:51:32
24.   williamnyy23
21 Ok, here are the numbers (I think I did this right)*:

Damon's OPS+ Standard Deviation is 15.96, while Abreu's is 10.30. When compared to their career OPS+ rate, Damon's SD was 15.5% of his career rate, while Abreu's SD was 7.6%.

In pure OPS terms, Damon's SD is .069, while Abreu's is .044. Again compared to career figures, Damon's total was 8.8%, while Abreu's total was 4.8%.

Finally, if you remove each players best and worst seasons (outliers), Damon's OPS+ SD drops to 13.20, but Abreu's falls to 7.48.

Finally, if you remove Matsui's rookie year from the equation, his OPS+ SD would be 7.09.

*Only completed seasons of at least 300 PAs considered. No weight provided for number of plate appearances.

2007-07-23 13:02:00
25.   ny2ca2dc
24 i did some similar stuff in the previous thread plus a couple other comparables, but i like how you've dropped the outliers. at least i think i do.
2007-07-23 13:09:14
26.   ny2ca2dc
Hey boys & girls, look at our man A-Jax, from BP today:

Austin Jackson, OF, High-A Tampa (Yankees)

This is one of those weird things that just happen sometimes. In 2005, the Yankees gave Jackson $800,000 to buy him away from the starting point guard job at Georgia Tech, and while he has great tools and athleticism (not surprisingly), his full-season debut last year finished with a uninspiring .260/.340/.346 line at Low-A Charleston with 151 strikeouts. Returned to the South Atlantic League this year, Jackson seemed to be making little progress, with a .260/.336/.374 line. Then he was pushed up to the Florida State League, not that his performance merited such, as he was in the midst of a 0-for-18 slump when he moved up. There's no exact answer to what is going on, but it's good whatever it is, as Jackson went 5-for-12 with two doubles and a pair of home runs over the weekend, upping his numbers with his new squad to an almost shocking .375/.411/.650 in 30 games. Is it for real? Maybe, but the fact that Jackson has always been seen as a high-ceiling player makes it a little easier to hope that it is. To quote Agent Rogersz in Repo Man, "It happens sometimes, people just explode."

2007-07-23 13:11:44
27.   rconn23
Not to veer off topic, but...

I don't feel good about the Royals series. They played very well against the Tigers, who are a better team right now than the Yankees. However, we do have two pitching matchups that are must haves, Clemens against Odalis and Wang against Elarton. Both of those pitchers are simply atrocious.

But I have bad visions of us swinging and hacking at Odalis' stuff out of the zone followed by another Torre postgame quote "Well, that kid had great stuff tonight."

Anyway, we must take at least 3 of 4. And the Indians or Red Sox must do some damage against the other. I hope that series is decisive one way or the other.

We will know at the by Thursday night whether we are REALLY in this thing.

2007-07-23 13:24:30
28.   rbj
26 Maybe he was chasing too many bad pitches from bad pitchers in low A ball?
2007-07-23 13:28:58
29.   bob34957
27 I'm feeling uneasy, too, but the team is playing with a lot of energy. Plus, there are very few mistakes being made. Moreover, we still aren't 101% healthy. Either way, my expecations are that 3 of 4 is realistic. If we sweep then I'm making a bold prediction that we'll be in first within 14 days.
2007-07-23 13:30:13
30.   JL25and3
24 But what we really need are some population parameters. We know that there are differences, but not how meaningful those differences are, or how consistent a player would be expected to be.
2007-07-23 13:34:58
31.   JL25and3
27 I think the Yankees really should win 13 of the next 16 games. It's 5 series against bad teams - win 3 of them, sweep two. After that they start seeing Cleveland, Detroit, LA of Anaheim of Tacoma of East Islip, and Boston.

They need to go on a ridiculous tear if they ever expect to get back in the race, and this is the time to do it. 10-6 just won't cut it.

2007-07-23 13:55:47
32.   Shaun P
31 No more than one loss per series would make me very happy. That's been the trend these last few days, right?

I can see one scenario where 10-6 (61-52) could cut it, if the Sox go 6-10 (65-49). Probably really unlikely, but a man can dream, right?

2007-07-23 14:21:25
33.   jedi
16 check out

Far out rumors to swallow:
- Alex to Dodgers. No details on that one
- If yanks end up being sellers, Posada maybe available

This may not be a trader rumor, but rumor has it, Cashman was at Joba Chamberlain's last start, scouting,in hopes of maybe bringing him up to fill the bullpen void.

2007-07-23 14:24:24
34.   weeping for brunnhilde
33 Why not throw in Derek, too, while we're at it?
2007-07-23 14:34:50
35.   RIYank
24 Wow, nice!
But you make me feel lazy. I hate that.
2007-07-23 14:39:31
36.   Chyll Will
34 And a side-order of Joe's constant favorite, haggis in a green tea bouillabaisse?
2007-07-23 14:41:41
37.   unpopster
27 ain't gonna happen. The Yankees from a month ago would go 1-3 or 2-2 vs. the Royals team, but I think the sense of urgency has taken over this Yanks team now and they are very aware of what they need to do. True the Royals just swept the Tigers, but who's to say that they Tigers haven't just hit a short slump rather than the Royals outclassing them.

I felt the exact same way as you did right before this Rays series and the 14-4 drubbing on Friday only served to solidy that feeling. But I think the way the Yanks played the next 3 games spoke volumes.

The Yanks are taking 3 of 4 from the Royals but unfortunately the Sox-Tribe will split their series, which allows us to only make up a game on each team.

33 Old news. Cashman watched Joba pitch and in today's Newsday he said that he has decided to keep him in the minors for the rest of the year to let him finish up over there. It may very mean that Britton is on the way up once he gets off the 7-day DL.

2007-07-23 14:52:03
38.   Chyll Will
36 That's okay, chyll. You're such a nice guy, you wait until everyone else gets you before you get yourself >;)
2007-07-23 14:52:35
39.   Shaun P
37 I'd like to see Britton in the 'pen rather than Villone, Myers, Farnsworth, maybe even Bruney . . . but the Yanks have eight guys there now? They need to cut a reliever out, not add another guy for Torre to forget about.

Chicken and egg question that's been on my mind - do the 'pen's "lesser guys" (ie whoever is not in the 7th and 8th formula slots) walk so many guys because they keep missing the zone with their pitches, or because they're never given "game time" to work out of trouble? Yeah, I know the answer is "probably some of both", but I'm wondering if anyone thought the same. It was Friday night's box score that got me thinking this way, if anyone cares.

2007-07-23 14:55:15
40.   OldYanksFan
How many times in the past have we had a tremendous day, only to be totally shut down the next day? Let's hope we don't fall on our faces tonight.

For those here who have insisted that the Yankees can't/couldn't win with guys like Miggy and Nieves on the team, and that it was even a 'firing offense' for Cashman, I offer this.

As bad as Nieves is/was, of 832 players, there are 40 with worse VORPs, some of whom are starters. As for (HOF bound) Miggy, there were 290 players with worse VORPs, many of whom are starters, and a number of whom are on first place teams.

And I'll bet few of them are great base stealers. So Miggy, who is our 24th or 25th player, plays many positions, some of them pretty well, steals bases, can bunt when needed, and has a better VORP then 1/3 of the active players. I can live with that. (Not to mention he has a BFOG).

So I guess you CAN win with with a few poor players. So the next time you need to do some Miggy bashing, please look up the other 290, and give them equal bashing time.

And yes, VORP is not the endall or the only relevant stat, but I am just trying to put things in a little perspective. By the by, the Yankee starter with the worst VORP.... Andy Pettitte.

2007-07-23 14:57:58
41.   weeping for brunnhilde
38 You're a freakshow, Will.

And I say that with all due admiration.


2007-07-23 15:03:26
42.   unpopster
40 The following offensive powerhouses were part of winning teams:

1996 Yanks - Andy Fox, Mike Aldrete, Matt Howard, Pat Kelly
1998 Yanks - Dale Sveum, Homer Bush, Mike Figga
1999 Yanks - Clay Bellinger, Luis Sojo
2000 Yanks - Clay Bellinger, Jose Vizcaino, Chris Turner
2001 Yanks - Todd Greene, Enrique Wilson, Clay Bellinger

2007-07-23 15:05:07
43.   OldYanksFan
23 It seems to me that most knowledgble baseball people think that the in-game part of managing is the easiest and the least impactful part of the job.

I don't know how true that is. We DO see Torre's in-game management. We DON'T see a ton of other stuff. IMHO, few managers have the loyalty from players that Torre commands. Hell, even Shef said he wasn't a racist. :-)

2007-07-23 15:14:24
44.   alterity
40 How many of those guys play first base? Start at first base? And besides, no one is mad at Cashman (I hope) for Miggy in and of himself, but rather for failing to find anyone better for the sheer number of at bats he's getting. Sure, there are guys out there who are worse, but your argument that you "can win with some bad guys" is prima facie crazy. Why would you want to win with bad guys? Wouldn't you rather have better ones? Especially when there seem to be better options in your own system (Phillips/Duncan/Phelps)? Why would you start a guy at first base who has never proven that he has the bat to be a starting major league middle infielder over the course of a 13 year MLB career (or 11 if you don't want to count his cups of coffee in 96-97)? Why would you want to start the guy with 27 career home runs when you have other options? Because of his defense at 1B? Jeebus, that seems like a bad idea, just like thinking the Mghfd could be a starter. This is the same argument as Bernie last year: not whether Cairo can't be valuable, but rather overvaluing him and using him inappropriately. Cairo could have a place on the team, but starting 1b (or anywhere else) is not it.

And when all is said and done, I hope no one is actually mad a Miggy for any of this. I'm sure he plays his ass off every time he has a chance. He just shouldn't be given so many chances.

2007-07-23 15:19:52
45.   OldYanksFan
Wow.... you guys are demanding. There are 9 weeks left. SO... we must gain 0.85+/-games/week on Boston and gain 0.75+/-games/week on Cleveland.

Yeah.. I know you guys don't want to sweat all of september.... so... lets gain ONE game/week, which puts us in the PS by the middle of Sept.

2007-07-23 15:22:56
46.   ChrisS
40 those other 240 or 90 or 500 aren't on the Yankees. And, there could be 400 worse than him, but that's no reason to start him over someone that is probably better.

He's a replacement level player, serviceable in a BUIf role, not as the starting first baseman, which was a problem that has been finally fixed, I think.

But who knows what'll happen when Doug & Giambi get back. I'd hate to see Andy play his ass off and do what he may be capable of, only to have Dougie M come back and take over 1B for no reason other than he's got a BFOG.

2007-07-23 15:23:26
47.   weeping for brunnhilde
45 It seems to me the real question is, where do we have to be by Boston time in order to be able to need "only" 4 games out of the 6.

I mean, if we look at those two remaining series as the hingepoints, where do we need to be in order that our hopes don't rest on praying for a sweep at Fenway?

2007-07-23 15:26:19
48.   OldYanksFan
44 So, do you look back at all our winning teams over the last 10 years and lament the players who we could have had instead? No. You're just happy we won.

"Why would you want to win with bad guys?"
It's better then losing.

This is not perfect world. We can have, and support, and win with a few 'lesser' players. Fans root for their players, even the crappy ones. My point is NOT that I want crappy players, just that (contrary to many strong opinions here), you CAN win with a few 'holes' in the lineup.

2007-07-23 15:27:30
49.   OldYanksFan
47 Perfect!
2007-07-23 15:31:53
50.   Chyll Will
41 Thank you very much. I wouldn't take it any other way except either over-easy or with two creams and three sugars.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-07-23 15:37:02
51.   weeping for brunnhilde
48 Frankly, I love the fact that Luis Sojo hit that squeaking groundball through the right side against Leiter and that Vizcaino hit that opposite-field liner in extras against...who the hell was that?--Arizona? The Mets again?

To me, it's really gratifying when the little guy has a chance to do something heroic. It makes for good memories and it's one of the thing that makes baseball so enjoyable to me.

2007-07-23 15:50:56
52.   Chyll Will
51 Yeah, but Nelson De La Cruz' heroics were more vicarious than anything else. And I find Scott Posednik less than gratifying under any circumstances. Now if it's Andy Phillips, who is my boy regardless of how low his OPS+ is, well that's a hero I can appreciate for other reasons. I kinda like the stories off the field that the clubhouse rally around anyway...

(btw, for the uninformed, haggis ---> belly full of guts; that's exactly what it is, after all...)

2007-07-23 15:57:21
53.   ChrisS
48 of course you can win, but why not win a few more with slightly better players? No one is posting that every position has to be an all-star, but if you have X playing at SS and X+5 in AAA, what are you gaining there?

"It's better than losing"
That is most definitely not the alternative to having better players.

I think that when the little guy comes through in a big situation, it's much more memorable as well. However, I think that it becomes exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness and can eventually cloud otherwise rational judgment.

2007-07-23 16:18:50
54.   bob34957
Are we ready to kick some royal booo- ty!!!!!!!!!
2007-07-23 16:23:45
55.   Vandelay Industries

We better be. Boston vs. Cleveland over already in the top of the 1st.

2007-07-23 16:30:18
56.   OldYanksFan
Jesus... Boston up 4-0 in the first.
I will root against Boston but secretly hope they sweep the Indians. Like us, boston has many games against TB, Balt. and Toronto, while Cleveland, Detroit and Minn. will be banging heads with each other.

Just based on the schedule, the WC looks more doable to me.

2007-07-23 16:40:36
57.   Vandelay Industries

I hear you, but I just cant do it. Go Indians!

2007-07-23 17:02:15
58.   Vandelay Industries
Oh Lord, KC Broadcast! Ugh!

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