Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Read 'Em and Sweep
2007-08-30 17:29
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yankees shut-out the Red Sox this afternoon, 5-0, completing a timely three-game sweep. New York now trails Boston by five games, and this one got contentious before all was said and done. Chien-Ming Wang took a no-hitter into the seventh inning (thanks, in part to three stellar fielding plays by Jason Giambi), and out-dueled Curt Schilling, who was excellent for Boston. Robinson Cano drilled two solo dingers off Schilling, both to left center field, the only runs allowed by Boston's starting pitcher.

After Kevin Youkilis reached on a throwing error by Derek Jeter to start the seventh inning, Mike Lowell slapped a single to right for Boston's first hit of the game. J.D. Drew followed and hit a ground ball to Alex Rodriguez, who lunged to tag Youkilis, before throwing on to first. Drew was called out at first on a close play as Youkilis and Lowell advanced. Rodriguez had missed the tag but soon he, and manager Joe Torre, were arguing that Youkilis had run out of the baseline. (It didn't look as if he was that far out of the baseline when he passed Rodriguez, but his momentum carried him onto the infield grass a few steps later.) The umpires huddled and the call was overturned. Terry Francona, already having a tough day, came out, argued, and was run from the game.

I was watching the game with a friend who said, "Youkilis got himself out because he looks so awkward." Wang struck out Jason Varitek, got out of the jam, his day complete.

Joba Chamberlain did not allow a run in the eighth but didn't look particularly sharp. He could not control the slider. Still, after the Yankees scored three times in the bottom of the inning—two runs scoring on an errand throw by Varitek—Chamberlain, rules be damned, was still pitching. He retired David Ortiz on a fly out and then buzzed two consecutive pitches up and over Youkilis' head. There was no warning from the umps. Instead, Chamberlain was thrown out of the game. The Red Sox players, notably, Josh Beckett, hollered at Chamberlain as the rookie pitcher walked off the field. "If that young man was trying to get our attention," Francona said later, "he did a good job of it."

Edwar Ramirez replaced him and got the final two outs to preserve the shutout.

After the game, Youkilis told reporters:

"You know, two balls going over somebody's head at 98 mph, I don't know. I didn't see any other pitches going that far out of the strike zone. Those balls were pretty close to the head. There were a couple of nods here and there. Who knows what it really meant? Ask him what his intent was. He's going to probably tell you he didn't mean to throw those. It's one of those things where only one person, or maybe a couple people on their team know.

"That's the second time. Scott Proctor hit me in the head. Coincidence? I don't know. It doesn't look good. When two balls go at your head and the guy has a zero ERA and is around the strike zone pretty good, any man is going to think there's intent to hit him in the head."

So, the Red Sox are angry about the Youkilis call in the seventh, about Chamberlain throwing at him in the ninth, and most importantly, about getting swept. Boston still has a healthy five game lead, but there is sure to be more theatrics, posturing and general huffing and puffing the next time these two teams meet in Boston in a couple of weeks. (What a cheery thought.) Welcome to the Rivalry, Mr. Chamberlain.

In the meantime, it was the best possible outcome for the Yankees. They defeated Boston's three best pitchers and swept a series that needed to be swept. Now, here's hoping they don't lose site of things this weekend against the Devil Rays.

UpdateThe Mariners rallied to tie the Indians in the top of the 9th but lost the game when Rick White issued a bases loaded walk to Kenny Lofton with two men out in the bottom of the inning. The Yanks are now alone in first place for the wildcard, tied with Seattle in the loss column.

Comments (61)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-08-30 17:57:48
1.   joejoejoe
I think you should write a quickie biography of Joba Chamberlain. It will be a best seller come playoff time when he makes a Bobby Howry/Francisco Rodriguez type debut in the playoffs.
2007-08-30 18:12:06
2.   Sliced Bread
I'm still a little charged up about the whole thing.

You, Alex, on the other hand, sound completely chilled, blissed out on the Vermont air. Reading your recap actually calmed me down a bit.

In the heat of the moment, and even now, I do not think there was any ill intent on Joba's part.

As I said on the previous thread, I'm afraid this thing is going to be blown way out of proportion by the New England media, tarnishing the kid with an undeserved, unfair reputation as a head hunter.

Yeah, he's in the bigs in a big way now. Anybody who hasn't heard of him, certainly knows him now, which isn't necessarily a bad thing -- but the maturity and composure he's displayed until now will be seriously tested in the coming days and weeks.
Stay strong, Joba. We got'cha back.

2007-08-30 18:27:05
3.   Chyll Will
2 Wow, I've never read you this mad about anything. (Thanks for backing me up, by the way.) Alex, when you come back, bring some of that chill stuff with you; we need some reinforcements! >;)
2007-08-30 18:31:24
4.   Murray
Awww, too bad. The Red Sox don't like being thrown at? They've been throwing at the Yankees for ten years. They hit Alex Rodriguez once a series. Get over yourselves.
2007-08-30 18:39:05
5.   Sliced Bread
3 Anytime, Chyll. I'm just worried how this is going to play out for Joba with rival teams, fans, and media jackals. He doesn't deserve what I think he's going to get.

The Francona "incident" Alex linked to above is silly. Who gives a squirrel's nut if a manager is wearing his official gang colors under his jacket, as per regulations? And they police this crap? Heck, I couldn't care less if Francona, Torre, whoever wore shorts and a Hawaiian shirt in the dugout, unless they're going to put themselves in the game, which they most certainly ain't.

2007-08-30 18:39:25
6.   seamus
nice to see Cleveland take the lead on Seattle. Go Indians!
2007-08-30 18:42:26
7.   monkeypants
5 I don't care either, but the rule is the rule. Just wear the friggin' uniform like you're supposed to. Then, in the off season, petition the league to change the silly rule.
2007-08-30 18:44:06
8.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
5 If I were a manager I'd kick it Connie Mack-style, suit and all. I know you can't go on the field if you're not in uniform, but presumably you can still sit in the dugout as Connie did, no?

I never understood why a bunch of tubby 50-60 yr olds dressed up in ill-fitting baseball unis anyway. Almost all of them look ridiculous.

2007-08-30 18:46:14
9.   Sliced Bread
8 Yeah, I'd go Pat Reilly style, without the Pat Reilly collars that he and my brother-in-law loved so much.
2007-08-30 18:50:29
10.   OldYanksFan
Seattle down by 1 w/3 outs left.
2007-08-30 18:54:30
11.   Alex Belth
Yeah, the Sox fans will be plenty riled up. That's what they do. God forbid they have an excuse. I was watching the NESN broadcast and when Ortiz came to bat against Wang in the sixth--and at bat where he missed two pitches and then struck out--Jerry Remey said, "This is the toughest place in the League to hit with two out. They always stand and they always cheer." It was funny hearing that cause I'm always so fixated on how tough Fenway Park is in the same situation.

Murray, you are right, though. The Sox have been throwing at the Yankees for years. What the standings look like when they meet up again will largely dictate how the teams play. If the Sox are 8 games ahead again, then look for some cheap shots. If they are neck-and-neck, you wouldn't think anyone would afford that kind of nonsense, no matter how much blood the Romans in the stands are calling for.

Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention that Derek Jeter went 4-4 today and was 7-11 in the series. Just when you start to think, he's hurting, he's slumping, his numbers are down, he turns it up in a big series.

Giambi really deserves credit for making those fine plays today...

2007-08-30 18:59:43
12.   Chyll Will
5 It is bullcrap, and so it goes. People looking for a reason to hate this team or Joba in particular will jump on anything. But believe me, he's probably seen a lot more than what they have to offer. It's more of the same, but I'm sure he can handle it, and the best part is he doesn't have to go it alone (despite what the front-running media will have you think.)
2007-08-30 19:00:28
13.   Mattpat11
I do think its sort of cute that Kevin Youkilis thinks people care about him.
2007-08-30 19:01:54
14.   Mattpat11
Damnnit. I forgot about Joe Borowski.
2007-08-30 19:07:11
15.   seamus
14 he is giving the game away it looks like. 1st and 2nd, noone out.
2007-08-30 19:10:06
16.   Mattpat11
second and third one out.


2007-08-30 19:15:33
17.   Mattpat11
Borowski is horrid.
2007-08-30 19:15:34
18.   OldYanksFan
Seattle ties it. 2 out.
2007-08-30 19:15:56
19.   Sliced Bread
11 I love it. They'll be having Jeter nightmares until we meet again... and again...

Giambi's fine glovework has always been overlooked, at least since he got here, and started being held to the Donnie-Tino standard of excellence. I thought he looked like a whale out of water at 1b when he got here, but turned out it's only his arm that can kill us, or somebody who's not paying attention when he unleashes one of those Knoblauchers.

2007-08-30 19:17:33
20.   OldYanksFan
Tied game. Bottom of the 9th.
2007-08-30 19:19:36
21.   Mattpat11
The good news is Borowski is probably out of the game for extras.
2007-08-30 19:27:05
22.   OldYanksFan
2 on, 1 out for the tribe. Pitching change.
2007-08-30 19:29:33
23.   Mattpat11
They went out of their way to bring Rock White into a game?
2007-08-30 19:29:48
24.   Mattpat11
2007-08-30 19:30:39
25.   seamus
23 yeah, perplexing.
2007-08-30 19:30:57
26.   seamus
but it worked...
2007-08-30 19:33:30
27.   seamus
ok. bases loaded, 2 outs.
2007-08-30 19:33:39
28.   Yankees Brasil
Bases loaded for Kenny Lofton
2007-08-30 19:37:13
29.   OldYanksFan
Fellow Banterers:
Welcome to sole possession of 1st place in the WC!
It's been a long time coming!
2007-08-30 19:37:17
30.   seamus
oh shit, that is funny. walks in the winning run!
2007-08-30 19:37:24
31.   Yankees Brasil
Indians Win!!!
2007-08-30 19:37:36
32.   Mattpat11
I always liked Lofton.
2007-08-30 19:38:14
33.   Yankees Brasil
30 Gameday shows that last pitch as a strike though.
2007-08-30 19:39:18
34.   Yankees Brasil
33 It should have been called a strike I mean
2007-08-30 19:39:25
35.   seamus
33 fair enough. we'll take it! :)
2007-08-30 19:40:31
36.   Mattpat11
Sportsline has it inside.
2007-08-30 19:42:07
37.   Max
Wow, Rick White managed to stink it up worse than Joe Borowski.

What a relief: I want the Mariners to be no better than tied with the Yankees in the loss column when they come into town. If we're a game or more behind, I would worry about the pressure the team would feel, though I feel good about playing them at our house.

2007-08-30 19:46:13
38.   C2Coke
11 Jeter makes sure all the Jeter-hate at Fenway will be endless.
2007-08-30 19:47:01
39.   Sliced Bread
Maybe I've been blissfully ignorant, or ignorantly blissful, but the M's have not been on my radar since the Yanks last met them in the playoffs, whenever that was. Feels like a long time since I've considered them threatening. I've been aware of their presence all year, and the series coming up -- and some here have assessed them as dangerous -- but they concern me, I dunno, like driving in a rainstorm at night might concern me... not that much.
2007-08-30 19:48:16
40.   Mattpat11
39 I remember like two years ago, I was reading a Seattle paper online and they referred to the incoming Yankees as the Mariners arch enemy.

I was fully unaware of this.

2007-08-30 19:52:13
41.   joe in boston
0 "Welcome to the Rivalry, Mr. Chamberlain" .... best line in the whole summary.

Well, I don't know. I kind of think he threw at Youk. Not that it bothers me or anything...but man, just plunk him in the ass if that's what's going on. Who knows ? I do wish that there was NO DH - and Beckett was swinging the bat. I'd drill him in a New York minute ! I hate that a-hole.

2007-08-30 19:53:56
42.   Mattpat11
41 Why would he throw and Kevin Youkilis of all people?
2007-08-30 19:57:12
43.   Max
41 joe, why would he throw at him? Seriously. And are two wild sailing fastballs the best way to "send a message"?

I think those wackos calling into Planet Mike on EEI are infiltrating your brain, maybe? :-)

2007-08-30 20:00:56
44.   Mattpat11
Its not like he threw at their best player, or their third baseman. He didn't hit the first batter of the inning, and he didn't wait for two outs.

To believe it was intentional, you have to believe he went out and said "I want to hit Kevin Youkilis. No one else but Kevin Youkilis."

2007-08-30 20:01:51
45.   Vandelay Industries
42 He wasn't throwing at him. He knows what is going on. He isn't going to get suspended on the day the Yankees take the WC lead for crying out loud. I am huge proponent of retaliation, but you have to pick your spots. Clemens had to hit Rios for example, because it was clear that Toronto was going to hit Rodriguez for a fourth time if he didn't do it. I wouldn't take it to the extreme that Mussina does; never retaliating for your guys, but going into September, I would be very surprised if Joba wasn't telling the truth.

41 Look , I hate Josh Beckett as much as the next guy, but because he beat the piss out of us in 2003, exaserbated because it was on short rest, something not in Joe Torre's playbook when starting pitchers are concerned. He's a good pitcher, a hot head, but I wouldn't be upset if he were on our side.

Yankees in first place in the WC. College football is here! What could be better?

2007-08-30 20:06:46
46.   joe in boston
I guess I'm thinking that he threw at Youk b/c of the baserunning mistake - course the Yanks got the best of that.....I don't know - 2 pitches getting away from him up around the head ? Strange. Hey, you're right - maybe they just got away from him.

Planet Mikey - what a show by the way - that gives me a headache when I listen to it. Late night, the FAN comes in and out ... annoying for a Yankee fan trapped in Boston!

And look, I just hate Beckett, I don't know why - maybe it's that chin fuzz.

2007-08-30 20:09:19
47.   Mattpat11
He twice threw at Kevin Youkilis' head because Youkilis ran out of the basepath and was called out.

Read that sentence out loud.

2007-08-30 20:09:23
48.   joe in boston
11 Alex, 2 great points about Jeter and Giambi. Jeter is just something special in these big games. Reminds me of Jordan - consistant and solid. Always reliable. And Giambi - throwing the leather around ... I wonder what Mattingly thought :)
2007-08-30 20:10:46
49.   joe in boston
47 I know - I'm an idiot. Part of me thinks he just became pissed and wanted a piece of him. Or maybe I wanted a piece of him !

Long day - school started this week .....(I'm a teacher .....)

2007-08-30 20:13:58
50.   Sliced Bread
Even if the Yanks wanted to fire a parting shot at the Sox, (and why on earth would they? as that is so not the Yanks' m.o.) would they have Joba Chamberlain -- whose every pitch, fart, and fuck is carefully documented and analyzed -- execute the hit? Absurd. He's not by any stretch of the imagination suddenly the team enforcer. He knows this. Every person in the Yankees organization knows this. Yet our favorite son will be persecuted for this. See, now I'm getting worked up again.
Time for me to sleep. 'Night, all. Peace.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-08-30 20:18:09
51.   bartap74
I'm almost afraid to type this, but my biggest fear watching Joba throw those pitches was that he was having a Rick Ankiel-like control breakdown. Since the ump (unjustly) threw him out of the game, there's no way of knowing whether the freak pitches would have continued.
2007-08-30 20:18:45
52.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
He surely won't be suspended for this though, without any warnings...right??

Anyways, always great to wake up and see the Yanks beat the Sox and GW Schilling. The division is still a possibility, don't give up hope!

2007-08-30 20:22:33
53.   Max
46 I made the mistake of actually turning on EEI while running an errand this evening...I didn't think it was possible for my IQ to drop so many points trying to listen seriously to the calls coming in. One guy, in a deadly serious voice, accused Drew of being on the take from Steinbrenner, and connected it to the referee scandal in the NBA.

Another guy claimed he had a long track record of umpiring and pitching (both at the high school level) and claimed that you could tell by the way the ball was delivered that there was full intent...he claimed pinpoint precision for Joba's pitches based on studying his delivery and release point, and that they were fully intended to sail the way they did.

Hey, maybe one pitch was meant to be a bit of a brushback. But again, I think the Sox are just using this whole situation to psych the kid out. It still seems irrational to me to go headhunting with your best pitching prospect at this time of year.

Also, someone please explain to me why we have guys like Posada (with the Proctor situation) and Joe running off to apologize profusely to the Red Sox and claiming we never meant it? I don't see the clowns on the other side apologizing to us when they brush us back. And all our apologies don't seem to keep them from whining like bitches in heat.

2007-08-30 20:33:27
54.   Sliced Bread
53 I think it's wise of the team leaders to do a little damage control, say all the right things, even if they don't really mean them.

Reading 50 back, I see I referred to Joba as "our favorite son." For the record, I have three real sons of my own, I love them all more than Joba, and am clearly far too jacked up to have a reasonable perspective on life at the moment.
Sleep, please.
Sweet dreams, come to me, please.

The Cano blasts...

The aces, coming up aces...

Mo shutting them down...

Flying squirrels...

Ahhh, sweep dreams, at last....


2007-08-30 20:44:39
55.   Vandelay Industries
One of the biggest problems is the discussion here and elsewhere itself. ESPN is using the "conversation" about the pitches Joba threw as a way of getting people to keep watching SportsCenter until the end. Once you see there was actually nothing to the discussion, the show will be over. Just ignore it folks, there was nothing to it.
2007-08-30 21:04:36
56.   yankz
51 He'll be okay.
2007-08-30 21:16:37
57.   yankz
However, I do hope he won't be afraid to go inside in his next outing.
2007-08-31 06:53:50
58.   pistolpete
46 I thought maybe this was part of a possible motive as well, but as you said the Yankees did come out on the better end of that play. Maybe because Youkilis complained about it so much?

He had to know he ran on the grass, yet there he was screaming and whining on 3rd base about the call being reversed.

Makes little sense to constantly be throwing at this guy, though - a better target would certainly be Ortiz, because Papi on first base is always better than Papi's ball landing in the upper deck. However, it's possible Ortiz doesn't get thrown at because he's actually a pretty likable guy, and has relationships with more than a few Yankee players.

Youkilis, OTOH, may be viewed in the Yankees clubhouse the same way A-Rod is in Boston's.

Just doing some random Friday speculation - feel free to flame me if it all sounds ridiculous.

2007-08-31 06:55:43
59.   pistolpete
58 BTW, when all is said and done, I still don't think any of it was intentional. Joba didn't have his usual control that inning, and I suppose neither the ump nor the Sox could see the forest for the trees.
2007-08-31 08:01:16
60.   Raf
59 Well the crowd reaction didn't help...
2007-08-31 11:33:19
61.   yanster
The first Joba pitch was a strike, the second pitch was wild either in the dirt or very low far AWAY - really far away according to Gameday. The third pitch was very high and inside - when I saw it I thought not that he was brushing youkilis back, but that he was correcting poorly for the low and away. Of course, Youk might have been leaning in.

At that point Joba was looking at two of his own wild pitches on the outside and inside with a 2-1 count and no control shown. I cannot fathom a reason for him to go after Yourk's head at that point. I'd think he'd be more concerned about trying to find the strike zone after having lost it.

From Youk's perspective, of course, two very very fast fastballs at the head are completely unacceptable. His motivation is going to be to make that not happen again, any way he can, regardless of the motivation of the pitcher. I promise that Joba will never throw at his head again, though. So for Youk - mission accomplished.

53 Finally, I agree that neither Joba nor Joe should apologize. Joba can say clearly (and only once) "I did not try to hit Youk" but after that or if anyone else starts to make excuses it makes the Yanks just look like wimps. No harm, no apology. Next time he should hit somebody in the ass, just so no one thinks he won't. Which will be unfortunate since he will then be suspended.

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