Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
A Long and Winding Win
2007-09-18 05:30
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

First, the good news. The Yankees beat the Orioles, 8-5 last night at The Stadium while the Tigers and Red Sox both lost. The Bombers are three-and-a-half games ahead of the Tigers in the wildcard standings (four in the loss column), and just three-and-a-half behind the Sox in the AL East. All the makings of a good night.

We shouldn't complain. It's just that sitting through another interminable Yankees-Orioles game almost takes the fun out of baseball. Last night's game lasted 3 hours and 54 minutes. Oy and veh.

Daniel Cabrera was inconsistent. Fortunately, the Yankees got the lousy version last night. After the game, Baltimore manager, Dave Trembley told The Baltimore Sun:

"There are times when he pitches and he looks unhittable, and then there are other times where his ability to command the strike zone just isn't there and it usually costs him, or it has in recent outings.

"What he's got to do is ... repeat his delivery. You just see his delivery at times, he falls off to the side, the ability to command his pitches comes and goes. He certainly has the stuff, but you saw tonight a couple of key instances in the ballgame where he had to pitch behind and then he had to come in there with fastballs and they made him pay for it."

Phillip Hughes coughed up a couple of runs in the first innning but then settled down. However, with two out in the sixth, he quickly ran out of gas. Hughes walked Miguel Tejada on four pitches, gave up a double to Kevin Millar, and then walked Aubrey Huff on four consecutive pitches. The phone line between the Yankee dugout and the bullpen was out, and so the bullpen coach was reduced to making hand gestures. After Hughes threw ball one to Melvin Mora, Torre replaced him with Edwar Ramirez.

The first pitch Mora saw from Ramirez was a fastball, outside for ball two. Then, he looked a fastball strike before swinging through two change ups. The Yankees were out of the jam. But Ramirez gave up three hits and hit a batter in the seventh and he was removed with two out and the bases loaded again. Enter Jose Vizcaino, the pitching equal of the human rain-delay. Viz fell behind Millar 3-0 but came back to strike him out swinging.

The Yankees had a healthy 8-3 lead in the ninth inning. Jorge Posada (3-5), Robinson Cano (2-4) and Bobby Abreu (2-5, 2 RBI) lead the Yankee offense. Alex Rodriguez didn't look especially good at the plate but did have a hit and an RBI, which ties his career mark of 142.

Enter Kyle Farnsworth. Enter agitah. Farnsworth walked the lead-off man, threw a wild pitch, and gave up two hits, and before you knew it, Mariano Rivera, who was inadvertently struck by a ball on Sunday night in the Boston bullpen, was in the game to record the final out. He left a cutter in the middle of the plate to Huff, who singled to right, then struck out Mora swinging to earn his 29th save of the season, lowering his ERA to 2.98 in the process. It was a shame that Rivera had to be used at all, but the Yankees need every win they can get.

Mussina is on the hill tonight so anything goes. Unfortunately, Joba will not be available to pitch, as he went two innings on Sunday night.

2007-09-18 06:18:54
1.   yankz
Isn't Joba unavailable? Two innings on Sunday, so he has to get Monday and Tuesday off?
2007-09-18 06:21:41
2.   rbj
1 That's what I'm thinking too.

But hey, Sean Henn's available.

2007-09-18 06:27:07
3.   unpopster
I didn't see last night's game, but based on the recaps I've read I think it's pretty safe to say that Edwar has become the go-to guy out of the pen when a strikeout is needed. If left in too long, he usually coughs up a run or two via the HR, but it just seems that every single first batter he faces K's against him.

That formula might very well me necessary in the post-season. Anyone know whether there is a difference in the effectiveness of his change up when facing righties or lefties?

2007-09-18 06:28:42
4.   Alex Belth
My bad on Joba, guys. Just fixed it in the post. Thanks.
2007-09-18 06:35:54
5.   Sliced Bread
Both teams had 10 Cent heads chucking last night. It was the kind of pitching that could lower your IQ if you don't take certain supplements.

I might have to try that ginkgo biloba stuff today.

Some very fine swings by Hideki, Cano, and Bobby. I love when the lefties do their thing.

Good job by Viz wiffing pigpen there.

Let's not get too carried away with the Minky-love. Go with the hot hand for now, but remember: Betemit is still probably the better bet.

2007-09-18 06:36:59
6.   Knuckles
Last night was one of those games, where you're bushed on a Monday night from the sheer exhaustion of 3 straight against the Bosox, plus whatever football you may have watched over the weekend…but you tune in anyway, because, well, it's the Yanks, and Phil Hughes is pitching. And the game just drags, and when Markakis guns down Dougie Eyechart, and the Baltimore announcers spend the next inning plus gushing about the kid, then you turn off the sound and fire up the iTunes. And the game continues to drag, but it's a little more pleasant with a soundtrack by The Boss. But as you hear 'Atlantic City' for the second or third time, you start to wonder if maybe you don't have enough Springsteen or is this game just too damn long?
2007-09-18 06:43:09
7.   Sliced Bread
6 - Can never listen to 'Atlantic City' just once. Usually double-up on 'State Trooper' right away, too.
2007-09-18 06:49:09
8.   Chyll Will
7 You beat me to it... no such thing as too much Springsteen >;)
2007-09-18 07:33:17
9.   Emma Span
6 7 8 I'm seeing him at MSG in October! So, so, so excited. I saw him live three years ago and my heart grew three sizes.

Anyway, I was at the game last night, but that was, in contrast, not a life-changer. In the ninth as Mo was jogging in, I kept staring at the like NINE guys sitting in the bullpen and thinking, "What, not ONE of these people can get Aubrey Huff or Jay Payton out without giving up three runs?" Then I realized... no, actually, probably not. God help this team in the playoffs.

2007-09-18 07:39:38
10.   Chyll Will
9 "I saw him live three years ago and my heart grew three sizes."

Much better than lifting a gift-laiden Christmas sleigh off the edge of a tall, pointy mountain top; but the ride home is a toss-up, I imagine...

2007-09-18 07:49:44
11.   Knuckles
I'd like to send Farnsworth on a one way sleigh ride to Who-vile, but the Whos definitely don't deserve that...
2007-09-18 07:51:22
12.   Chyll Will
11 Yeah, they already have Karim Garcia to deal with...
2007-09-18 07:54:39
13.   Chyll Will
(blows the smoke from the barrel, twirls and flips gun back in holster...) >;)
2007-09-18 07:58:11
14.   Sliced Bread
9 Hot ticket, that Springsteen. Nothing like seeing him at the Garden (if you can separate yourself from the rancid mess that is our NY Knicks - they should just take down the banners until the storm blows over). Last time I caught Springsteen at the Garden he was doing his Pete Seeger thing which was a real hootenanny, but plugged in with the band is a whole other thing.

Hate to break your treble sized heart, but
friend of mine tells me your heart might shrink a few sizes if you saw Bruce throw a baseball (which he did at a neighbor's barbeque). Based on his reenactment of Bruce's action from the windup, I surmise that Jon Bon Jovi, or Sally Field has a better arm.

2007-09-18 08:12:27
15.   Bama Yankee
10 LOL. I was thinking the same thing...

14 Didn't Bruce toss a few baseballs at the beginning of his Glory Days video?

I don't think he could "throw that speedball" by anyone...

2007-09-18 08:15:58
16.   Chyll Will
15 Wowzers, no love for KG? I must have missed something...
2007-09-18 08:17:35
17.   Mattpat11
Mussina is looking for his tenth win tonight, which would be ten wins over 16 straight years
2007-09-18 08:21:45
18.   OldYanksFan
Slim has a killer change and a decent fastball. If a batter isn't looking change, and he gets one, he's usually dead.

But we also know Slim is prone to the HR. My guess is that a batter will sit on the fastball, and if he guesses right, it flies.
Maybe at times, he will sit on the Change.

Does Edwar has another effective pitch? I know there are other 'changeup' pitchers who don't give up as many HRs, but Edwar does.

Cutter, Curve, Slider, Sinker, Splitter....
Is there another pitch, slower than a FB and faster then the change, with some movement, he can throw?

Even if you K 9 of 10, if the 10th guy hits a HR, you ain't gonna last long in MLB. It seems to me a 3rd decent pitch woud do Edwar well. It doesn't even need to be a plus pitch... he might not even need to always throw it for a strike. But it seems to me he needs to give the batter something else to think about.

Do I make any sense?

2007-09-18 08:24:55
19.   Sliced Bread
15 that's some ugly stuff. Now, picture that motion without the dignity-sparing edits, then add 20 years, a few beers and some barbeque...
ok, that's Boomer Wells, but you get the point.
2007-09-18 08:24:58
20.   Bama Yankee
16 Sorry, I am the one who missed something. Of course, good ol' "Who is" would have to show up in "Who-ville"... Good one.
2007-09-18 08:28:24
21.   monkeypants
18 Technically, if a pitcher k's 9 out of 10 batters but gave up a homer to the 10th, he would have somewhere between a 2.00 and 3.00 ERA. I'd take my chances with him!

: )

2007-09-18 08:36:57
22.   Emma Span
15 19 Holy crap, 80s Bruce was GORGEOUS. "Ugly"? Baseballs? What? Sorry, I wasn't paying attention...

Also, young Little Stevie and Max Weinberg are hilarious. Thanks a lot Bama, now I have to spend the next hour looking up old Springsteen videos on YouTube.

2007-09-18 08:40:31
23.   Chyll Will
20 That's okay, Bamalooie, sometimes I'm too "smart" for my own good... (ka-bong!)
2007-09-18 08:59:08
24.   Zack
Well, I'm finally back after a weekend wedding in "the nation" (not that anyone missed me :) )

I didn't even have to think about sneaking off for updates as they announced them during the reception. Too bad it was the "bad" day. Friday night we land at Logan at 10:30, get in the car, and the game is still freaking on, and its only like the top of the 7th. Good Lord was that a long, yet great game. Watching the driver go from totally cocky to panic to resignation was great...

Its really too bad New England is filled with Sox and Pats fans, because I sure do love it there...

2007-09-18 08:59:27
25.   Bama Yankee
19 LOL. Although, did you have to go and mention Wells? Emma has visions of an 80's-ish Boss in her head for the rest of the day and now I've got visions of a 280's-ish Boomer with BBQ sauce dripping off his goatee... Thanks a lot, Sliced.
2007-09-18 09:04:33
26.   RIYank
24 Not filled.
There are lots of Yankee fans, especially here in southern NE. (Quite a few NE B-Banterers, for that matter.)

But, Pats fans, yeah.

2007-09-18 09:28:59
27.   Rob Middletown CT
The bullpen continues to worry me. The team has the right guys up - no longer are Edwar and Britton languishing in AAA. They're just not pitching all that well. Don't get me wrong, I like Edwar, and I want the team to keep using him. Britton... I dunno. Has anyone really looked at his peripherals from last year w/Baltimore? Was his decent ERA a mirage? ERA for relievers really doesn't tell the story.

But it's pretty clear that the bullpen just isn't very good outside of Mo and Joba. Viz, if healthy, is decent. That's it for reliable relievers. The lefties are bad (and that's being kind). Edwar is a k machine, but is also pretty flammable. Farnsworthless is Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde (and far too often, he's Mr. Hyde).

2007-09-18 09:35:55
28.   Chyll Will
26 Am I crazy, or has this been a boffo year for yellow journalism in sports? (Probably both...)

You can't seem to watch anything anymore without there being some nasty, soul-sucking controversy involved, and the only ones getting joy from that it seems are the regular sportswriters and broadcasters.

I don't feel like watching football this year, and screw the Knicks, and the Nets (meh)... I wish there was a hardball league I could join this fall or winter; because without baseball (which has looked rather mature in comparison), there's just a lot of weariness on the plate (to me, anyway...) Sorry about that, but it's been weighing on my mind for sometime now...

2007-09-18 09:36:53
29.   Rob Middletown CT
Hmm, looking at Britton's work from last year he was pretty good. And, in a really small sample this year, he's not been the same guy to this point.

Maybe if he gets some more consistent work he will be more effective. I can hope...

2007-09-18 09:52:07
30.   Raf
28 My fall league is just starting... I'm sitting this one out, to prepare for the next season.

As for pro-ball, like I mentioned over @ waswatching, the Asian and Caribbean leagues are going after the MLB season ends.

There is plenty of baseball to be found you just have to know where to look.

2007-09-18 10:02:04
31.   DadinIowa
Raf.... Will there be streaming of any of the Asian or Caribbean league games? I guess that I am addicted to watching and listening to games over at

After the intensity of this year's season (so many ups and downs, too), it will be hard to go 'cold turkey' and not be able to watch or listen to games for six months.

2007-09-18 10:02:15
32.   JoeInRI
26 Ditto . . . and that sound you hear is the collective beads of sweat from RSN hitting the ground . . .
2007-09-18 10:03:05
33.   JoeInRI
BTW . . . did anyone catch Kruk's dissing Hughes' stuff last night . . .
2007-09-18 10:06:46
34.   DadinIowa
Anyone know why Kennedy is not starting tonight? Isn't it his turn? Pettit is scheduled to start tomorrow...... what happened?
2007-09-18 10:24:37
35.   williamnyy23
34 I am sure they are aligning things properly for the playoffs.
2007-09-18 10:27:21
36.   Chyll Will
34 I thought it was the plan all along to give IPK up to 2 starts to give Moose a breather (if you will), and if he showed any signs of life, Torre would reinsert him back into the rotation (predictable) asap.

That the kid's been impressive makes it kinda hard, but he's also coming close to his yearly innings quota, so if anything you might want to save him for a tricky spot(i.e. crucial or if one of the others spits the bit early) in the schedule down the stretch. I wouldn't mind seeing him on the PS roster though...

30 Hitting the gym (not in game shape yet) but I am curious... I played one softball game against Terror Squad 1½ years ago; so I need to train, but I know there's something to do >;)

2007-09-18 11:44:40
37.   sadecki
LUIS Vizcaino. Jose Vizcaino should take Farns' spot though.
2007-09-18 11:48:58
38.   Raf
31 for NPB games, I don't know of Caribbean Winter Leauges that are streamed, but Fox Sports International or ESPN Deportes usually carries the games.

36 Here's the link to our league;

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