Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Bow Down to a Player That's Greater than You
2007-09-05 18:39
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

I guess the ankle is okay. Soup to nuts, Alex Rodriguez is your American League MVP. His performance Wednesday night is the kind that voters remember at the end of the season. In a big game against his old team, Rodriguez delivered the biggest hits. He ain't no choke artist this year.

The Yankees were down 2-1 when Rodriguez led-off the seventh inning with a long home run against Jarrod Washburn. When he came to the plate again later in the inning it was thirty minutes later and the lead was up to 7-2. Now he hit another home run, a two-run line drive into the left field seats. That makes 48 homers, 134 RBI, and 127 runs scored.

The Mariners used six pitchers, the Yankees scored eight runs and the half-inning last just under forty minutes. Good ol' American League baseball.
For a second straight night, the Bombers erupted late turning a close game into a blowout. Final: Yanks 10, M's 2. Washburn was his usual stingy self against the Yanks, crafting six effective innings. Phillip Hughes had his best start since returning from injury. His fastball was lively, he was throwing his curve ball well, and challenged the hitters. Went right at them. His only mistake was a 2-0 fastball to Raul Ibanez in the third inning. The pitch caught too much of the plate and Ibanez stroked a line drive home run to right, giving the M's a 2-0 lead.

A solo shot by Jose Molina in the bottom of the inning brought the Yanks to within one and Hughes worked out of trouble in the fourth. With a runner on third and one out, he got a strikeout and a ground ball. Then he worked a perfect fifth and sixth (with some help from Duncan who threw out Ibanez trying to stretch a single into a double to lead off the sixth).

The Mariners were hurt even more by luck. A botched play at second, allowing Molina to reach safely, and later, a routine ground ball that reached the outfield because second baseman Jose Lopez was out of position moving towards second on a hit-and-run play. Ichiro was robbed by two bad calls on the bases--one at second (phantom tag by Jeter), the other at first. The M's were upset with home plate umpire Larry Vanover's strike zone all night (with good reason, he was all over the place). Rick White got himself thrown out by Vanover he was so frustrated.

Joba Chamberlain pitched a one-two-three seventh and earned his first career victory. A necessary win for New York. An awful loss for Seattle. The Yankees now travel to Kansas City with a three-game lead over the Mariners. Most of all, it was another great night from Mr. Big Stuff (the team's second best player Jorge Posada drew a key pinch-hit walk in the seventh), the best player in the league.

2007-09-05 19:34:46
1.   rsmith51
And the Red Sox lose.

Tigers still tied.

2007-09-05 19:42:39
2.   Alex Belth
Um, Carlos Pena has 37 homers this year...yikes.
2007-09-05 19:45:41
3.   rsmith51
2 No one could have predicted that. But I could have predicted he would have been a much better choice than Minky or Andy.
2007-09-05 19:48:40
4.   uburoisc
Wow! All I ask is that the Yanks pay Alex a fat 5 year contract. I believe he has at least 5 great years left, and I want the best player in baseball on the best team in baseball.
2007-09-05 19:50:48
5.   rsmith51
4 If Alex goes to another team, I hope he switches back to SS. That is my only request.
2007-09-05 19:51:36
6.   rsmith51
Tigers win...
2007-09-05 20:03:07
7.   Mattpat11
Sweep KC. Two of 3 minimum. But its time to pull away.
2007-09-05 20:49:09
8.   yankz
Arod's OPS in certain situations:

RISP, 2 outs = 1.197 (!)
Close and late = 1.061
Tie = .937
Within 1 = 1.075
Within 2 = 1.092
Within 3 = 1.076
Margin >4 = .913 (lowest)

Overall = 1.054

(And this was all BEFORE tonight!!!)

He should run away with it. It's freaking remarkable how consistent he's been, no matter what the score. I fully expect him to mash through the playoffs if the Yanks can just ride his coattails in.

2007-09-05 21:02:41
9.   yankz
I'm watching the Arod replays on, and I'm grinning like an idiot. I feel 8 years old again.
2007-09-05 22:36:51
10.   yankz
Is it National Go to Bed Early Day or something?
2007-09-05 22:42:08
11.   Mike T
I'm still up. Of course, it's only 20 to 11 here. I just watched the game highlights on Sportscenter, and they showed the pitch Jorgie took that walked in a run. Man, that one was pretty close; it took real balls to take that pitch.

They said A-Rod is the first Yankee in 30 years to hit to homers in one inning.

2007-09-05 22:50:31
12.   yankz
Oh shit, almost 2? I'd better go to sleep. (Not being sarcastic)
2007-09-05 23:25:29
13.   thelarmis
10 hell no, yankz! you can count on me, bro! it's 2:25am and i'll be up awhile...

11 i thought it was inside to jorgie.

yeah, cliff johnson in 1977. good stuff!

2007-09-06 04:15:06
14.   nemecizer
I read that Hughes has been working with the AAA pitching coach (forget his name) who helped prepare Ian Kennedy for his start, and the trainer corrected something in his mechanics. I guess it worked.

What a night by A-Rod. I couldn't fall asleep until 2am, watching it over and over again on various news programs.

2007-09-06 04:50:59
15.   rbj
14 Dave Eiland.

Great game. It seems the fans have take a shine to A-Rod. About time.

2007-09-06 05:26:05
16.   Sliced Bread
The skeptics might wanna start takin' a shine to Phil "Big Shoes" Hughes.
Kid saved his best start at Yankee Stadium thus far, for the most important start of his life thus far.

Pucker up and kiss his pinstripped ass, Lupica. Nah, you're not even worthy.

2007-09-06 05:46:12
17.   AbbyNormal821
I was doing the Wayne's World "we're not worthy" bow in front of my TV last night. Good GOD, A-Rod is a fantastic freak of nature! I love that man!!!
2007-09-06 06:17:22
18.   Mattpat11
If I have to hear someone scream about how Ichiro was safe at second one more time I'll scream.

Ichiro's stupid ass never touched the bag. He stopped short, danced around it and then started arguing.

2007-09-06 06:21:31
19.   Sliced Bread
Not sayin' Beckham's a friggin' pussy or nuttin', but here in the NY, superstar athletes play hurt, and earn their $250 million. Know what I'm sayin'?
2007-09-06 06:33:20
20.   Sliced Bread
Is Okajima (Choke-a-jima if ya nasty) entering Vizcaino territory?

Not that I wouldn't make that trade in a heartbeat, mind you.

2007-09-06 06:47:49
21.   JohnnyC
Since Okajima has far surpassed his career high in innings already, I'm sure that's why the Sox traded for Gagne. Unfortunately for them, Gag-me's been pretty awful. There's still hope for an historic collapse by the Red Sox.
2007-09-06 06:47:54
22.   Start Spreading the News
19 Playing soccer with a sprained knee is like playing baseball with an injured wrist. Ain't happening.

Speaking of which, anyone hear that Vizcaino has an inflammation in his shoulder and is being shut down for a while?

2007-09-06 06:58:09
23.   JohnnyC
Yeah, he had to tell Torre that his shoulder was barking after his cameo appearance on Tuesday night in an 11-1 game. The MRI revealed nothing serious. Torre shut him down for the weekend. Of course, this might mean he'll lose his side bet with Jamie Walker on leading the league in appearances (though he's still ahead in innings and pitch count). Wuss.
2007-09-06 07:00:37
24.   Sliced Bread
22 Yeah, I was just bein' a wiseass re: Becks. Played enough soccer to know he can't tough it out as Mr. Big Stuff (nice, Alex) did last night.

Vizcaino's exploding shoulder comes as no surprise. Here's hoping a little rest is all he requires.

2007-09-06 07:16:12
25.   JohnnyC
Middle relievers. There's a million of them. Just like there's a million Melky Cabreras. Just go through them like a box of kleenex.
2007-09-06 07:24:24
26.   monkeypants
The Viz situation may turn out to be blessing, or a disaster. if he is to "shut down" for while, Torre will have to rely on someone else. Now, he may turn to old favorites (like the Farnsworths and Villones of the world), or he may be forced to play with some of the toys he rarely takes out of the box (like, say Britton). In the end, it may work out better depending on who (if anyone) gets hot for the last few weeks of the season.
2007-09-06 07:24:33
27.   Sliced Bread
25 Be that as it may, we only have one Melky at this moment, and he might be the only legit outfielder on the team.
2007-09-06 07:27:12
28.   Sliced Bread
27 not that the other three don't have their moments.
2007-09-06 07:35:27
29.   Start Spreading the News
25 There are a million middle relievers who are bad. How many are there that you can count on to get David Ortiz with the base loaded and two outs in a crucial playoff games.

We take this stuff for granted, but there aren't very many good relievers out there. This current Yankee dynasty was built on middle relievers as well. Guys like Ramiro Mendoza, Graeme Lloyd, Mike Stanton, and Jeff Nelson. More recently, it was Tom Gordon. Where would this team be if we had Tom Gordon setting up Mariano? We would probably be in first place with the Sox chasing the us.

And a healthy Vizcaino is a good reliever.

2007-09-06 07:44:34
30.   Sliced Bread
29 I totally agree with your point about the value of middle relievers, and it's worth noting that Farnswacker shut down Ortiz last year, froze him, with the bases loaded if I recall correctly. But do we have confidence that he can do that consistently? Or Vizcaino?

Flash (Flush if ya nasty) always made me nervous. I appreciate what he did here, but look at him now. He pitches every other game at most. Blows games left and right, as he did last night, helping the Phils cough up a fat lead. He's worse than Viz at this point, because physically he seems fine. A Phils fan buddy of mine thinks he cost the team the season yesterday, and he's holding out hope that Manuel will finally be fired partly as the result of not shutting Gordon down, and trying to get him right.

2007-09-06 08:00:13
31.   Shaun P
29 Actually, I think the Yanks would be in worse shape than they are now with Gordon. Not only has he been hurt and awful this year in Philly (6.49 ERA, 11 BB, 19 K, and 6 HR(!) in 26.1 IP, and in the easier league to boot), when Gordon left the Yanks received two compensatory draft picks for the '06 draft - the 21st and the 41st.

Those are also know as Ian P Kennedy and Joba "Luva" Chamberlain.

2007-09-06 08:01:13
32.   Sliced Bread
31 Oh yeah, Joba and Kennedy. There's that too!
2007-09-06 08:25:13
33.   JL25and3
29 "There are a million middle relievers who are bad. How many are there that you can count on to get David Ortiz with the base loaded and two outs in a crucial playoff games."


Even if there's one who you'd have confidence in this year, that doesn't necessarily say a thing about next year. Middle relievers are notoriously inconsistent from year to year, because (a) every season is a small sample size, and (b) the few who look consistent usually get better jobs.

2007-09-06 08:34:30
34.   yankz
There are not a million Melkys (Melkies?) out there.
2007-09-06 09:23:13
35.   YankeeInMichigan
29 Gordon didn't exactly hold Ortiz down in the 2004 ALCS.

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