Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Homina, Homina, How Sweep it is
2007-08-13 03:22
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

"I feel like we're the team, you know?" Pettitte said Sunday. "It doesn't surprise me. I'd be extremely disappointed if this team didn't get to the playoffs. That's just kind of the way I feel."
(Tyler Kepner, N.Y. Times)

I was flipping around the channels one night last week when I landed on a dicey situation. The Mets had a one-run lead against the Braves, who had loaded the bases in the top of the ninth inning against New York's closer, Billy Wagner. There was nobody out and I thought, "Man, am I lucky this isn't a Yankee game. I'd be so stressed, I would't know what I'd do with myself." As fate would have it, Wagner got two ground balls to get out of the inning, earn the save, and save Met fans everywhere from a sleepless night.

The Yanks held a 5-2 on Sunday afternoon when Mariano Rivera was called into the game with two runners on base and two men out in the eighth inning. First thing Mo does? He hits a guy on the elbow to load the bases. But Jhonny Peralta grounded into a 4-6 force to end the inning. The drama was not over, however, as Rivera allowed back-to-back singles and then a double to start the ninth. Cleveland's offense had been D.O.A. all weekend long, but suddenly, they were back in the game, down 5-3, with the tying runs in scoring position and nobody out.

The number nine hitter, Asdurbal Cabrera, who, thanks to a misplay by Johnny Damon the night before, had his first career hit, struck out. Back to the top-of-the-order where Grady Sizemore got the Good Morning-Good Afternoon-and-Goodnight (called strike three on the outside corner) strikeout experience. Two out, and Rivera gets Casey Blake to loft an easy fly ball to right for Abreu to end the game.

Exhale. Yanks 5, Tribe 3.

It wasn't easy, but it was an enormous win for the Yanks, who keep pace with the Mariners in the wildcard, and gain a game on Boston, who lost in extra innings to the Orioles. Bombers are now just four behind the Red Sox. (Shhhhhh.)

Jason Giambi hit a two-run, line drive home run off Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook, and once again it was most entertaining watching Shelley D wait his turn to bash forearms with Giambi in the dugout. Robby Cano had three more hits (his average is up to .315) and a RBI, DJ had a RBI single, and Melky Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 17-games with a solo homer.

Andy Pettitte pitched a good game. His only real trouble came late, when, in the seventh inning he allowed a couple of singles before walking Peralta to load the bases. The Yanks were leading 4-0 at this point. And before you knew it, Pettitte picked Peralta off first. My initial reaction was that the Indians were putting on that old Billy Martin play when the runner on first acts a decoy while the runner on third scoots home. No such luck, if you are an Indians fan. Peralta simply fell asleep. The Indians did score a run on a sacrifice fly, but that was it, just one run and Pettitte escaped his biggest jam of the afternoon.

Yanks come home and begin a three-game set vs. the Birds tonight, followed by four against the Tigers. Keep grinding boys, the next couple of weeks could make or break the season.

Comments (62)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-08-13 04:32:14
1.   joe in boston
Great title and great summary. I absolutely love what's going on now and I love how the Yanks are really "grinding" it out. There's panic in the streets up here ! People (neighbors, talk radio callers) around me are very worried about Tito's managing, Manny's lack of hustle and pop, Ortiz' lack of clutch hits and long balls, Tek and JD's decline ......

GO D-Rays !

2007-08-13 05:12:38
2.   rbj
Just got back from a week at the beach, so did I miss anything? :-)))
It's kinda weird, actually having to wait until the paper the next day to find out how all the teams did. Very retro.
It's not easy listening to the Indians' radio announcers (even they don't like Tim McClellan) with a shaky Mo on the mound, while having driven 550 miles with about 90 more to go.

I'm still holding my breath, having ONLY A FOUR GAME LEAD is still a bit of a hill to climb, not sure if BOSTON SHOULD PANIC or not.

2007-08-13 05:16:22
3.   Sliced Bread
The Yanks have less than 36 hours to come to their senses.

No Jeff Karstens tomorrow, please. Give us Kennedy, Cash. Somebody other than Karstens.

Meanwhile, here's hoping CM Wang can tame those doity, good-fuh-nuttin' boids tonight.

Can't stand the sight of the O's this season. Flocka stinkin' Lincoln Tunnel pigeons is what they are.

Speaking of which, the tunnel pigeons I saw over near 38th St. the other day have a bonafide chicken living amongst them. One of the weirdest things I ever saw -- a frickin' chicken hanging around the tunnel.

2007-08-13 05:45:47
4.   nemecizer
3 If we get swept by the boids I am going to blame it on that chicken, it is no doubt an enemy scout sent north from Balmer to scope us out.

I am worried about Karstens, but I think we should have a good series against the O's. The Devil Rays sometimes give the Sox pains, so here's to hoping they keep slumping. I want to be 2 back by the time the Tigers come to town. It would be great to go to the Stadium Saturday (military appreciation day) with the Yankees flag on the first place pole, but that sounds like asking too much.


2007-08-13 05:50:15
5.   Knuckles
I could see the Yanks' charmed life taking a turn for the worse yesterday for a minute. First, Pettitte threw strike 3 to Peralta twice during that AB and got neither call. Then the blown call on the Sizemore grounder that A-Rod made an awesome play on. It was all looking poor. The Jake was rocking, but I felt better once Melky and DJ manufactured that insurance run in the 9th.

I've renamed the Indians "A Tribe Called Swept"

No Bedard this week- good.

2007-08-13 06:02:14
6.   williamnyy23
5 I think Bedard is pitching on Wednesday against Hughes. The sidebar has Burres, but he has been pitching out of the bullpen.
2007-08-13 06:05:36
7.   ny2ca2dc
For all the BS, nice to see Jason acting so well re: playing time (in a bit of a contract to Damon's whining, though I give JD a bit of a pass, he didn't go overboard). From Kepner's article:

"Since his return from the disabled list last week, Giambi has eased into a part-time role without complaining. How could he? Melky Cabrera, who also homered Sunday, has established himself as an everyday starter on a team that is winning nearly every day.

"You don't want to come in and disrupt the ball club," Giambi said. "You just want to be a part of it. Everything's great.""

2007-08-13 06:11:12
8.   NJYankee41
7 Damon sounded a lot more at ease with his role today in the Post. He's not stupid. When you aren't playing and the team is winning there isn't much you can say. Giambi said it perfectly.

2007-08-13 06:12:27
9.   ny2ca2dc
6 Crud, i think you're right; has today Wang v Guthrie (7-4, 3.22) and:

Up next
• Tuesday: Orioles (Daniel Cabrera, 8-12, 5.14) at Yankees (Jeff Karstens, 0-2, 10.13), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Orioles (Erik Bedard, 12-4, 3.11) at Yankees (Phil Hughes, 2-1, 4.64), 1:05 p.m. ET

Though if Joba is lined up with Philthy, that would be a hell of a matchup. Why does Phil have to keep drawing the other young phenoms!

2007-08-13 06:16:02
10.   williamnyy23
9 With Guthrie and Bedard going in the series, the Orioles wont be a push over. Both pitchers have handled the Yankees this season, so hopefully they'll collectively make an adjustment. Also, Bedard did throw a lot of pitches on Friday, so perhaps there will be a carry over effect. Still, facing Bedard and Verlander back-to-back will be a real test.
2007-08-13 06:37:01
11.   JeremyM
Has any reason come out for the Yankees' decision to not appeal Clemens' suspension? I can only assume Roger or the team felt the rest would do him some good at this point. The thought of seeing Kartens out there doesn't excite me at all, although I'm hoping for the best.
2007-08-13 06:37:26
12.   Count Zero
Now comes the real stress...I'm mighty worried about the birds series as I don't like the pitching matchups one bit. It's starting to look like Mazzone is up to his old tricks and having the desired effect on the rotation.

Gonna' need a lot of Pepcid AC over the next two weeks...

2007-08-13 06:39:54
13.   RIYank
1 Me too, one of the most fun drives into work this summer! A couple of the WEEI guys were moaning about Papi and Manny with RISP, and someone pulled up Jeter's average (they've barely heard of slugging pct, let alond OPS) with 2-out RISP: .478.

2 "while having driven 550 miles with about 90 more to go."
Ooooh. Nice (unintended?) metaphor for the Yankees' 'drive' toward the division title!

Finally: I do believe it's time for the Mariners to fade, as per Cliff's remarks around All Star Break time.
Fade time. Right?
(Who are those guys?)

2007-08-13 06:45:55
14.   Jeteupthemiddle
11 I imagine that they decided that it would be better for Clemens to miss the Baltimore series than a series against a contending team.

That isn't to say the O's will be easy this weekend...especially when you consider how they have handled us already this year, but I imagine you would rather have Clemens going against the teams directly in front of you or, more specifically, the teams you are directly in contention with.

Also, who else was shocked when they saw the O's have 2 pitchers in the top 10 in ERA? I mean I knew that Guthrie and Bedard were good, but I didn't realize they were THAT good.

2007-08-13 06:56:06
15.   williamnyy23
14 Also, Clemens has pitched twice against Baltimore and didn't do well in either, so maybe that's a matchup that just doesn't work for some strange reason.
2007-08-13 06:56:21
16.   rbj
13 Thanks. Totally unintended. The drive back to Toledo was pretty good except for one driver who kept driving in the left lane even though she wasn't passing anyone or had no chance of passing the car on the right. Of course she was a Maryland driver.
2007-08-13 07:15:29
17.   Alex Belth
Yup, two tough, tough pitchers go for the Birds, and Cabrera can be nasty when he's on. Got to hope for another series win, but as you guys say, it won't be easy. One bad week can send the Yanks reeling back to 7-8 games back of the Sox.

Ah, tense times.

2007-08-13 07:20:40
18.   rconn23
I don't care what the pitching matchups are, we have to take this series at the very least.

Bedard is an ace no matter what team he is on. But the O's haven't seen Hughes yet and I think he COULD be up to the challenge.

Cabrera is all or nothing and he's the best pitcher to be matched up against Karstens, who stinks. I'm sorry, but he does.

And Guthrie is a complete Mazzone creation. And he hasn't been that sharp in recent games.

I think a sweep will be difficult.

2007-08-13 07:40:15
19.   Max
I would be surprised if we didn't lose at least one game after this week -- I hate the matchups against the O's, and the Red Sox are playing Tampa Bay.

Good thing there's still a lot of time left in the season...we may fall back a bit this week, but there's time to recover, and we (hopefully) won't be starting people like Karstens the rest of the way.

2007-08-13 07:45:08
20.   RIYank
Yeah, Max 19 , I agree -- the rest of August is still very, very tough for us. I'm hoping the Tigers are still struggling for the eight games we have; if we could take six of those it would be very satisfying. And win the Red Sox series, of course, and then if we can play just .500 (which I guess means 3-3) for the other games, that would be excellent.
September is going to be our month, so the key is to get there in striking distance. And, of course, I'm going to spend today enjoying yesterday!

Also, the Mariners will start losing now. Right?

2007-08-13 07:55:42
21.   Count Zero
13 20 Re the Mariners...Steve Phillips predicted they would beat out the Yanks for the WC last night. That right there makes me feel a lot better! If he had it the other way around I would've gotten worried... ^_^
2007-08-13 07:56:50
22.   weeping for brunnhilde
3 A chicken?


It's nice to know the birds are multifeatheralists, as it were.

2007-08-13 08:00:03
23.   weeping for brunnhilde
5 That run in the ninth was maybe my favorite part of the game. It was so very elegant, as if they scored by sheer force of will. Line drive up the middle, stolen base, line drive up the middle, and all with two outs.

Music to my ears.

2007-08-13 08:02:24
24.   rsmith51
I don't understand the love for the Mariners. They are obviously a very lucky team and they could ride it to the playoffs, but I would be hard pressed to count on them to make it to the playoffs.

Yanks have allowed fewer runs AND have scored over 100 more runs than the Mariners.

2007-08-13 08:04:23
25.   RIYank
21 Wow, that does make me feel better, too.
23 Nothing like a ninth inning two-out RISP single to soothe frayed nerves, it's true. Mmmmmm.
2007-08-13 08:04:47
26.   JL25and3
3 You used to be able to sit out on the stoop like a person. Not anymore, no sir! Boids!

As I said yesterday, I wouldn't put Kennedy on the 40-man roster for the sake of a single start. It's not a question of the roster spot but of starting the clock on Kennedy's option years.

2007-08-13 08:19:31
27.   pistolpete
21 Steve Philips = ass
2007-08-13 08:20:29
28.   ric
man, i cant beleive that Gagne blew two games this weekend... thems the breaks.
2007-08-13 08:29:15
29.   yankz
I have this weird mix of confidence, happiness, and fear. They're playing better than they have all year, so I think they can survive the next few weeks. But the O's never seem to go quietly, and the Halos have always been our Achilles. Still, they can do it, I know they can.
2007-08-13 08:31:23
30.   Chyll Will
3 Yunnow Sliced, I was gonna suggest naming that chicken Kennedy after the grease-dried Kennedy Fried Chicken franchise, but after seeing JL's reference to the real Kennedy, I suppose that wouldn't be fitting. Crown and Church doesn't seem to fit either, nor Big Pollo. I suppose we could name it Lupica or Steve Phillips, but then people would try very hard to run it over. Hmm, anyone have any suggestions?
2007-08-13 08:33:04
31.   pistolpete
28 Good thing he did it on the road, eh?
2007-08-13 08:33:12
32.   Chyll Will
29 It was hard for me to write anything last night, for the same exact reason. It does make cracking jokes a lot easier though >;)
2007-08-13 08:33:22
33.   weeping for brunnhilde
26 "On the Waterfront"?
2007-08-13 08:35:18
34.   Chyll Will
33 Tarrytown... "Where's that?"
2007-08-13 08:41:17
35.   RIYank
31 I hope Theo has a gorilla suit ready for Gagne, just in case he blows on in Fenway.
2007-08-13 08:43:47
36.   Shaun P
29 I give you - the Pinstriped Engine that Could:

BP Postseason Odds

AL Wildcard
Yanks - 57.49391
M's - 13.07651
Red Sox (!?) - 11.13625
Indians - 5.48531
Angels - 5.47709
Tigers - 4.53947
Blue Jays - 2.19530
(All other teams less than 1.00000)

AL East
Red Sox - 87.34313 (lowest odds since June 7)
Yanks - 12.51865 (best odds since April 26; last time Yanks were over 10 was May 10)

Please don't stop the train, I want to stay on!

2007-08-13 08:52:28
37.   JL25and3
32 Chyll, you're the one who was raised in North Tarrytown, right? I moved back there earlier this year - on Washington St, just behind Morse.

Of course, they've now renamed it "Sleepy Hollow." But I figure I have the right to call it North Tarrytown if I want - I was born at Phelps, so I'm a native.

2007-08-13 08:53:52
38.   Bama Yankee
30 I guess Kenny Rogers would also be out of the question...

Maybe we could name him "Fowl Ball" or "Fowl Tip"... ;-)

2007-08-13 08:54:15
39.   JL25and3
Eric Gagne. J. D. Drew. Coco Crisp.

Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Hanley Ramirez. Julio Lugo.

Is he still a Boy Genius?

2007-08-13 09:03:43
40.   AbbyNormal821
29 Me too! I'm thrilled that they're doing so well, but I'll be cautiously optimistic over the next 2 weeks and send some good karma waves to the Yanks!
In even more exciting news (uh...well, for me anyway) - I'm going to my very first Yanks/Red Sox game next Wednesday. Never thought I'd ever be witness to this rivalry up close & personal I'm psyched! If anyone has any words of wisdom or advice to mentally prepare myself for this, please share!!!
2007-08-13 09:13:38
41.   Max
39 I assume you're referring to the fact that he let Cabrera go? Cabrera was actually a very good pickup for them (and I can't stand the guy). But shortstop has generally been a disaster for Theo.
2007-08-13 09:19:10
42.   NJYankee41
39 Don't forget Bronson for Willy Mo.

40 You might be suprised at how many obnoxious Sox fans will be there. Try to ignore them and enjoy the game.

2007-08-13 09:22:30
43.   Chyll Will
37 Indeed I was, myself and my older sibs and younger niece at Phelps (where I still go for medical procedures if I have a choice)... AND it's North Tarrytown forever more >;) UNfortunately, I was raised a majority of my legal childhood in the Mid-Hudson; I'm a native, but not a Horseman. Cool, you're not far from the street I grew up on; it's relative since everything is within walking distance in the village >;) (Boy do I miss the plant, I'll write about that soon, hint-hint...)
2007-08-13 09:29:28
44.   Shaun P
39 I don't know. Theo has made some good moves, and some bad, but he definitely was over-hyped post-2004 Serious. Of course, so was the rest of that team and its FO and owners. =)

Peter Gammons was pretty hard on the Sox in his last blog entry, criticizing them for kow-towing to Seligula's slot demands for their draft picks while the Yanks are going to pay above slot for their draft picks. Best quote:

"If you're the Red Sox owners, knowing the Yankees are going to do what they're going to do, how can you not invest in the talent pool rather than keep a friend in the commissoner's office, or will you step out front and explain to your fans that you can't sign players because the lobster rolls are only $13 apiece?"

Of course, if it wasn't for Selig, Henry & Co would have never ended up with the Sox, so its not like they don't owe him - but still.

2007-08-13 09:59:16
45.   David
A question about Roger Clemens missing a start for throwing at a Toronto player:

Instead of letting Roger be suspended, why didn't the Yanks use Brower in relief and let Brower throw the retaliatory beanball? Then Roger could have pitched in rotation and the Yanks would only have lost Brower for a few days.

2007-08-13 10:04:52
46.   Count Zero
45 I don't think that was an organizational decision -- I think that one was all Rocket.
2007-08-13 10:08:43
47.   JoeInRI
26 33 The Producers . . .
2007-08-13 10:11:39
48.   Chyll Will
46 I agree, it was Rocket science >;)
2007-08-13 10:18:26
49.   Chyll Will
48 Rios + HBP --> Square Root [Alex (x) HBP/1.5]


2007-08-13 10:21:28
50.   weeping for brunnhilde
47 Ahh, right, of course, of course!

The other movie with the pigeon coop on the roof!

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-08-13 10:22:22
51.   weeping for brunnhilde
48 Oh, Will. You're killing me over here.
2007-08-13 10:22:42
52.   Peter
40 I'm going to that game too. Expect to see fights. Lots of fights and fans getting tossed out.
2007-08-13 10:23:23
53.   yankz
New thread up, fools.
2007-08-13 10:24:07
54.   Mike T
40 Have fun. I still remember my first Yankees-Red Sox game. It was way back in 1986 at Fenway. I was 10 yrs old at the time, and we had seats about 7 or 8 rows behind the visiting dugout. Good times for sure.
2007-08-13 10:28:56
55.   Mike T
45 Have you ever played organized sports? You don't let the other team treat one of your guys the way the Jays were treating A-Rod that series. You just don't. I am sure Roger feels the suspension was worth it for protecting his teammate. Sending in a reliever to do it would be more than a little cowardly, and would show that Roger wasn't willing to do it himself.
2007-08-13 10:38:13
56.   JL25and3
41 Yes, I meant that he had Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria and Hanley Ramirez - and managed to end up with Julio Lugo.

42 Of course. Thanks for reminding me about Wily Mo.

2007-08-13 10:40:27
57.   JL25and3
55 It's not worth it if Karstens/Villone/Farnsworth etc get bombed out tomorrow.
2007-08-13 10:55:56
58.   Chyll Will
55 Yeah, I always felt that placing a fastball in the small of the opposing player's back after their pitcher surgically implanted one in your teammate's left calf was somewhat of a guilty pleasure, like savoring a spoon of double-chocolate chunk brownie sundae with fudge and chocolate sprinkles,with a glass of made-it-yourself Hershey's chocolate milk to wash it down....

Oh boy, you know what it's gonna do to you, but it sure is goooood on the way in... >;)

2007-08-13 10:58:50
59.   Chyll Will
57 They should each throw a beanball in their last inning, except for Farns, who should be made to pitch three innings regardless. That way, you remove the temptation to use them for the rest of the series...
2007-08-13 14:07:04
60.   OldYanksFan
39 If you take a look at Hanley Ramirez's numbers, I think your post should have said:
Is that kid raking, or what? He's blowing away both a young Derek Jeter and Jose Reyes.
2007-08-13 14:16:11
61.   OldYanksFan
You know, I don't believe good GMs make good moves or bad moves. They take calculated risks. And due to RCNB, some will lose big and some will payoff big. Like the Yankees, the Sox are now doing deals to help them win THIS YEAR. And as we know, those types of deals are always chancy as they usually involve giving up young talent to get established but aged or tarnished talent.

We thought trading Navarone would really hurt. Did it? How about Claussen? Where is he now anyway. And I hated to see Nick the Stick go, but the guy is on the DL more then Giambi, and he's still pretty young.

It's a crapshoot. Ya take yer best guess and you roll the dice. Beckett looked terrible, now here's an ace. Abreu looked like a God, then an anchor around our neck, and he's back to being a good get.

Cashman is good and Theo is good. Putting together a WS team just ain't easy. Unless of course, you're sitting in your living room.

2007-08-13 14:17:53
62.   OldYanksFan
And lastly, an interesting article. An unusual approach.
Bonds vs. Mantle: Who is the greater disappointment?

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