Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yanks Beat Sox, Tie M's for Wildcard Lead
2007-08-29 20:13
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Texas Two-Step

Roger Clemens did not have his famous out-pitch, the split-finger fastball, working tonight. He did not have good control in general, issuing five walks in six innings. His face looked heavy and drawn. You could see him willing his old body through it tonight. How many more innings does he have left with all the wear-and-tear he's endured through the years? Regardless, in a case of substance over style, Clemens did not allow a hit through the first five innings (he also did not have to deal with Manny Ramirez who sat out with an oblique injury). David Ortiz deposited a flat-splitter high into the upper deck for Boston's first hit in the sixth.

Josh Beckett, on the other hand, was tougher than his numbers suggest. He used a sharp curve ball to record five of his six strikeouts, and looked decent, despite giving up a career-high thirteen hits. The Yankees scored three runs with two men out in the second—dinky, ground ball, RBI hits by Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon, but otherwise found themselves stymied by Beckett, who got big outs when he needed them most. The Bombers didn't help themselves either (Alex Rodriguez ran himself into an out after hitting a single to start the third), swinging at too many first pitches with runners on; with two men on, one out, and Beckett on the ropes in the sixth, Robinson Cano skied out to left on the first pitch. Johnny Damon eventually tapped out to first with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Beckett came back in the seventh and quickly retired Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu. He baffled Abreu, throwing him four curve balls in five pitches. But then he left a curve over the plate to Rodriguez—it wasn't exactly a "hanger," but it was flat. The Yankee third baseman hooked it, and muscled the ball on a line over the wall in left field, good for his 44th homer of the season. It was an insurance run that had eluded the team inning after inning, and, as it turns out, it would be the difference in the game.

Cut to: Kyle Farnsworth. Do I need to get into it? Doesn't the name say it all? Well, after retiring Ortiz on a fly ball, Cooter gave up a single to Mike Lowell and then Kevin Youkilis drove the first pitch he saw from Farmadooke into the left field seats (it was a harder version of Rodriguez's dinger). J.D. Drew struck out next but then Farnsworth walked Jason Varitek and the reliever's night on the mound was over.

Enter Sandman. Mariano Rivera got Coco Crisp to tap a ground ball back to the mound to finish the eighth. After Mike Timlin retired the Yankees, Rivera threw a strike one fastball to Eric Hinske and then got a generous call on another fastball, this one on the outside corner. Rivera threw the following pitch to the same spot but did not get the call. So he threw it again—not one cutter in the sequence—and Hinske made like Coco and tapped out to Rivera. Julio Lugo hit a 1-0 pitch on one-hop to Rodriguez at third; though it took a tricky hop, A Rod made the play look easy for the second out. Finally, Dustin Pedroia—Only the Angels have Dirty Faces, right?—fell behind 0-2, fouled a pitch off, took a cutter outside for a ball, and then hit a nubber up the third base line. Rivera made the play, Andy Phillips—who replaced Jason Giambi in the sixth—made a nice catch, and Ortiz was left in the on-deck circle. Hot Dog.

Yankees 4, Red Sox 3.

The win moves the Yankees to within six of the Red Sox. More importantly, it ties them with the Mariners for the wildcard lead (though Seattle is still up a game in the loss column). Both starting pitchers were quietly impressive tonight. Neither was great, but they both displayed how tough they are.

Yanks go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon when Chien-Ming Wang faces Curt Schilling.

2007-08-29 20:25:48
1.   Just fair
I would have loved to see a 22 year old Mariao roaming the deep canyons of Yankee Stadium, "where doubles go to die," as they say, as a Centerfielder. I guess he's pretty good as a reliever, though.
Awesome game by the Rocket.
2007-08-29 20:36:09
2.   pkay225
not to pile on, but my wife commented that Farnsworth looks like Kyle's cousin Kyle on South Park.
2007-08-29 20:51:37
3.   Zack
Alex, I crack up every time I read Farmadooke, its just perfect. Cooter too.

And speaking of little Dustin, don't look now, but Chass has done it again with a love letter to the scrappy, dirty, and "special" 2b...

2007-08-29 21:36:34
4.   JL25and3
I was at the game, and there's something I don't get at all: how the hell did Pedroia get credit for a sac bunt in the third? Man on second, one out - what possible sense does it make to bunt him over to third?

When I saw the play, I assumed that I was seeing a terrible attempt at a bunt base hit, because he so obviously couldn't have been bunting for a sacrifice. If he was, it's such a boneheaded play that he certainly doesn't deserve any credit for it.

2007-08-29 21:44:15
5.   JL25and3
3 Zack, it was Curry this time, not Chass. It would have been even more orgasmic if Chass had written it.

And Curry apparently saw the same thing I did: "Pedroia was 0 for 3 with a futile attempt to get a bunt hit..."

2007-08-29 21:44:42
6.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
I wonder if the Yanks should adjust their approach at the plate against Mr. PtGtRW, given how he pitched them tonight.

His fastball now is kind of a show you pitch. Tonight he missed out of the zone with it quite a bit. His curve though has become his go to pitch, clearly. He sometimes bounces in the dirt with 2 strikes, but otherwise, tonight at least, it was around the plate. Time after time though, he caught the Yanks looking fastball and snuck the curve by them.

So, why not sit curve? I can't off the top of my head think of an atbat in which he didn't throw it, aside maybe from a few Cano-special one pitch atbats.

His curve is good, but not great, and depends on the fact that teams, maybe remembering last season when he just tried to blow people away, look for the fastball.

A-rod sat curve and knocked it out.

2007-08-29 21:46:41
7.   Vandelay Industries
Heavens to Betsy! What a great game that was. The only blemishes being Farnswoth of course, some piece of shit NYPD officer high fiving David Ortiz after the HR in the dugout, and Lorne Michaels making aristocratic while sipping a Martini in row one. I mean seriously, shouldn't that officer lose his pension at the very least :)

Well, it looks like I could have been wrong about that Mariners. Although they were in Anaheim, where no one seems able to win. Let's hope the losses keep comimg. I said I would eat my words in hopes I am wrong about them, and I look forward to doing just that.

Great win for the club, with Johnny Damon continuing to play well, things are looking good.

I did have a suggestion for Joe Torre. Why not use Mo for two on the nights you have no Joba Chamberlain? Then worst case scenario, you can use Joba the following day for two if need be. No good? It could mitigate the need for Farnsworth in close games.

2007-08-29 22:02:52
8.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
7 It's worse than that -- the series was played in Seattle.

The M's still have to trek down to Anaheim for a 4-game set in September.

The thing that could help Seattle is the 6 games they have against the A's. I thought Oakland was starting to put it together, but they've slid back this past week. M's are 10-3 against them so far this season.

2007-08-29 22:04:54
9.   monkeypants
Pete Abe comments: "Clemens now has 354 career wins. He needs six to catch Kid Nichols for seventh place all-time, seven to catch Pud Galvin for sixth and 10 to pass Warren Spahn for fifth. Don't bet against it."

I have thought about this before, and I can think of only three reasons why Clemens would still be pitching now, three goals left for him:

1] He's just insanely competitive
2] Play at the ML level with his son.
3] To catch and pass Spahn for most wins in the 'real' modern age (whole career after the live ball was introduced).

he might have made this season if Houston had any offense. i bet he hangs on for one more half season to try for those last 6 or 8 wins, depending on the rest of this season.

2007-08-29 22:08:19
10.   monkeypants
9 Of course, maddux might catch him yet. I thought that he was cooked a couple of years ago, but he's only ten wins behind and he's still pitching full seasons. As long as he lingers in pitchers parks in the NL, he could keep racking up victories.
2007-08-29 22:12:45
11.   Zack
5 Chass and Curry aren't the same person? might as well be.

10 Its great to see two pitchers with such different styles hang on for so long so effectively...

2007-08-29 22:17:56
12.   Vandelay Industries
8 Wow, what a putz I am. Yes, it was played in Seattle. I actually watched that game on today. What makes it worse is that I live in LA and the highlights were all over the TV. Time for bed on that note.

9 Who knows? Maybe he signs an incentive laden deal with NY? I know the team has a loose policy against those type of contracts, but it is Roger Clemens. Then he could actually retire, and with a small chance that the Hall allows him to go in as a Yankee, lest he get Carterized.

2007-08-29 22:22:08
13.   monkeypants
12 I think that he would be a great fit for the Yankees next year. The money will probably not be much of an issue, since he will command only a one year contract. The team is looking at a rotation of Hughes, Chamberlian, Kennedy (?), maybe Pettitte, and Mussina. Now there is definitely room there for a reliable veteran/injury replacement.
2007-08-29 22:26:40
14.   Vandelay Industries
14 Anyone have Pettitte's phone number? I was just thinking how I would prefer I don't ever see him pitch in another uniform. Maybe he can talk Roger into it, or the reverse, just make it happen.

Roger also said some very classy things about Vizciano in his post game interview.

2007-08-29 22:28:29
15.   thelarmis
9 10 i have thought about this too, for both pitchers. i think both of them are crazy enough to actually try for that 'extra' year and 10 wins to try and catch both christy mathewson and grover cleveland pete alexander (both at 373).

i think maddux is signed next year with padres. chalk up another 10 wins. he said he loves wearing the uniform and will keep putting it on as long as an NL west team keeps him employed and near home (las vegas). 3 more years and he's at 375 wins. holy good god.

never underestimate clemens. NY, back to Houston - who knows, but he loves baseball history and knows where he stands. it will take him 2 or 3 more years to reach 375 though. if the yanks win the Serious this year, he might bow it. we'll see...

the big eunuch is a big historian, as well. i can see the shit bax giving him clemens-like deals until he gets 16 more wins. i guess we'll know more on that next spring training, after he heals from surgery, and begins the next year of his contract.

moose? who knows if he'll make the jump from 247 to 250, at this point...

2007-08-29 22:30:37
16.   thelarmis
14 andy's only 2 wins away from 200. i think he has 161 regular season W's for the Yanks.

glavine may give it up after this year. we'll see. if not, he'll do 1 more year either w/ the muts, or more likely, back here in the Atl...

i'm fine w/ roger coming back for part of next season. absolutely.

2007-08-29 22:33:44
17.   monkeypants
14 He won't pitch for anyone else next year, but he may take his player option and retire. I wonder how much influence Clemens and Pettitte will have on their repsective decisions.
2007-08-30 04:55:58
18.   Sliced Bread
Well, I called the Rocket retaliation (inadvertent, of course) plunk before the game. Sometimes the ball just gets away, ya know?

Now, I'm far from a backwoods redneck myself, but I guess I'm the only Yankee fan in the world who will step up for Farnswacker. Give the guy an effin' break. If Rivera coughs one up, we say 'can't win 'em all.' Sure, Farnswacker sometimes coughs em up with the frequency of a person who should get checked for bronchitis, but he had several very strong outings, against several very good lineups before he crapped out last night. Let's remember that this is a guy who took less money to play for NY, coulda stayed home in Atlanta and all that. He's questioned the way Joe uses him, as every person who roots for the Yankees has - yet he's maintained a good attitude about everything as far as I can see. How about rooting for the guy wearing our uniform, eh?

One other thing: base-running errors like A-Rod committed last night (while I'd rather see runners get caught being too aggressive, than too sleepy) should go on a player's ledger as an "error." Hell, last night's should have gone down in statistical posterity as unearned run of a different sort. Thankfully, the third baseman redeemed himself in a huge way, knocking the game winnah.

Now, let's put these punks to sweep.

2007-08-30 04:59:10
19.   Sliced Bread
another thing about Farnswacker with the walks: Can you really blame him for pitching around Varitek with Crisp on deck?
Sometimes his walks, to me, are damage control. That said, it was definitely time to go to Mo.
2007-08-30 05:05:03
20.   rbj
re: the M's. They have to play two more games than the Yankees. One of them is, IIRC, still from the April snowout in Cleveland. Yet they'll be playing that game in Seattle. So the Mariners get to play a road game at home, while the Yankees had to start a game on the road after 11 pm. Sum'in jest ain't right.
2007-08-30 05:29:35
21.   monkeypants
20 True, but they are making one of thse games up today in a one game series, followed by a trip to Toronto and NY, part of a stretch of 20 games without an off day. The last make up game is at home, but part of a DH, and pat of a stretch of 24 games in 24 days. I'm not sure they gain much advantage there.
2007-08-30 05:47:54
22.   mehmattski
13 How soon you forget today's starting pitcher. After how many Worms he has Killed for you? For shame, sir. :)
2007-08-30 06:12:19
23.   Sliced Bread
re: Clemens entering the Hall in that hideous B cap.

As noted on YES last night, he's won more games for the Yanks than the Sox, had his lowest winning percentage with Boston - and notched more Cy Youngs not wearing the lowly garments of the team that kicked him the curb, diagnosing him on the verge of being wershed up a decade before he defeated them yet again last night.

The Red Sox are simply not deserving of his representation in the Hall.

2007-08-30 06:14:27
24.   51cq24
18 you can't group him with us simply because we all question how torre uses him. he wants to be used more in big situations; we want him to be used less. and you can't make excuses for his walks when his control is clearly bad. he has had some better performances lately, but looking at his overall performance for this team there's no denying he's been awful. so why defend him? if he's bad, he's bad. do you want him pitching in a close game with the season on the line?
2007-08-30 06:18:14
25.   Sliced Bread
24 I don't want him pitching a game with the season on the line. We know whose job (or joba) that is. I just don't get the hate. It's like the senseless booing of A-Rod when he slumped. I didn't get that either. It's as if fans think players who don't succeed at every opportunity are trying to eff up their lives. He's not, you see?
2007-08-30 06:21:33
26.   Sliced Bread
Off topic: here's an interesting read on the first season of the Israeli baseball league.

The Oys Of Summer. Dig?

2007-08-30 06:29:05
27.   Sliced Bread
and furthermore, re: Farnswacker.

The Yankee villagers break out the pitchforks and torches when Joe doesn't use Edwar enough, and use his underuse as an excuse when the kid gets torched.

Farnswacker's complaint is not that he wants to be used in higher leverage situations, it's that he wants to get used more. He's built like a brick craphouse (whatever that is) and believes he could better find his groove with more frequent use. He's never been down with the program of being used one inning, every other day. Look at the guy. He could handle a more Proctor'esque workload. And when he's gone, another team will use him that way (perhaps to their detriment, perhaps not)

2007-08-30 06:32:19
28.   ric

doesnt Rog have 192 wins for the Sox? he did look like he was losing something when he went north (after improving his workout routine which is now so highly touted)

2007-08-30 06:38:36
29.   williamnyy23
23 I think you mean he's won more games on other teams combined than with Boston. He has still won the most games with Boston by quite a bit.

25 I don't hate Farnsworth at all...he is what he is. I choose to direct my anger not toward Krazy Kyle, but toward Joe, who refuses to learn how to use him.

27 Edwar has never been torched. If you look as his game log, it can be summarized like this: 1 bad outing after 2 weeks of no use; 4 shutout outings; 2 outing of yielding a run in complete blowouts; and 1 outing of yielding a run in a close game.

In other words, we don't really know what Edwar is, while we do know that Krazy Kyle is not reliable in important situations.

Finally, if Kyle does want to (and can) pitch more, that's even more of an indictment on Torre. Basically, that would mean Torre has three options: dont use Kyle; use Kyle as he has been; or use Kyle with a heavier workload. Again, going on your assumption, that would mean Torre has opted for the only option that we know doesn't work.

2007-08-30 06:43:00
30.   Sliced Bread
29 yes, re Rog's number of wins, and yes, re: Joe's use of Farns. He shouldn't strictly, or predominantly be used in the 8th. All along he should have been getting Villone, Browers, Henn, etc. innings.
2007-08-30 06:44:32
31.   Count Zero
23 28 29

Actually he has won more games with the Sox than all other teams combined: 192. It is however, his lowest winning percentage. The Sox cap for the HOF still seems appropriate.

2007-08-30 06:44:58
32.   williamnyy23
28 I've never gotten that argument (Clemens seemed to be in decline but only improved after re-dedicating himself). In 1996, Roger had an ERA+ of 142, and only two years earlier was at 177. There was really nothing to suggest that Roger was in his twilight. His departure was purely the result of an all-time awful decision by Duquette and I think some Sox fans try too hard to excuse its folly.
2007-08-30 06:50:40
33.   williamnyy23
30 Hopefully, your joking, although I don't get the point because Torre has in fact entrusted Henn and Villone with too many innings.
2007-08-30 06:51:58
34.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
20 Are you sure? The makeup with Cleveland is today, and the schedule has it at Jacob's Field. It eats up their day off btwn homestand and roadtrip to Toronto, NY, Detroit.
2007-08-30 06:52:00
35.   williamnyy23
31 Unfortunately, it does...although it's not as much a slam dunk as it may once have been. Being that Clemens seems to have reconciled with the Red Sox organization, I'm sure he wont lobby hard one way or the other.
2007-08-30 06:53:35
36.   williamnyy23
34 Today's makeup is in Cleveland. The makeup game at the end of Sept. will be played in Seattle as part of a regularly scheduled 3-game series.
2007-08-30 06:56:04
37.   Sliced Bread
33 no, not joking because that's my point.. Henn and Villone are worse than Farnswacker,no? Why would Joe use them ever, for that matter? especially if Kyle is telling him he's better when used more frequently.
2007-08-30 06:58:05
38.   rbj
34 -- 36 is right. M's & Indians have 2 make up games. Mariners do have a brutal schedule, I'd just prefer it to be a bit harder; I'm still ticked off that the Yankees had to play until 3:30 am. They did win the next day, but I'm not sure it didn't affect them, as the veteran (older) team more the two following days.
2007-08-30 07:17:30
39.   JeremyM
32 Not to mention he had his second 20-strikeout game that year (and he should've had 21, he was totally squeezed by the home plate ump on either the 1st or 2nd out in the 9th inning!).
2007-08-30 07:23:09
40.   JeremyM
And personally, I think Roger is done with the AL. He's doing all right, but it's clearly been a struggle (he had good stuff last night but terrible control). If he plays again, which I kind of doubt, it will be back in the NL, and I don't blame him. But I kind of get the impression that he's emptying the tank right now.
2007-08-30 07:27:34
41.   Raf
I thought Youk hit a decent pitch last night, a fastball that was running in on the hands.

27 Through most of his career (save 1999-2000 when he was a starter), Farnsworth has been a "one and done" pitcher. I'd like to see him toss more innings, but for whatever reason, he hasn't.

2007-08-30 07:31:42
42.   williamnyy23
40 Done in the AL? He is still an above average pitcher (ERA+ OF 104 this season), so done is kind of harsh. If Clemens wants to pitch another season, I don't see why he shouldn't. Sure, he'd probably be more dominant in the NL, but he is still better than a good percentage of AL pitchers.
2007-08-30 09:36:22
43.   YankeeInMichigan
25 29 Some interesting splits on Farnsworth (.AVG/.OBP/.SLG against):

6th Inning (1G): .000/.400/.000
7th Inning (7G): .130/.232/.304
8th Inning (41G): .299/.373/.490
9th Inning (4G): .083/.267/.083
Ext Inning (2G): .250/.250/.250

The samples for everything but the 8th inning are too small, but as williamnyy23 said, Torre is using him the one way that we are sure does not work.

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