Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Wild Ending
2007-09-30 21:04
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

With Jorge Posada playing manager, the Yankees wrapped up their season with a 10-4 win over the Orioles, taking 2 of 3 in Baltimore and finishing the year with 94 wins and a wild card berth to the playoffs.

The game was a light-hearted affair, with Bobby Abreu getting his 100th RBI (he got two to finish at 101), Joba Chamberlain facing one batter (a groundout to end the seventh), and getting the starters out of the game before anyone got hurt being the primary concerns. All were accomplished in good order.

Sean Henn started and turned in three solid innings allowing just a Kevin Millar home run. Chase Wright followed with two frames and picked up the win. Ross Ohlendorf pitched the sixth and the seventh prior to Joba's appearance, giving up a run on two hits and a walk and striking out one. Chris Britton pitched a perfect eighth. Kyle Farnsworth allowed a two-out homer to J.R. House in the ninth in a four-batter inning. I'll take a solo homer with a seven run lead over a walk in the same situation any day. There was a moment of concern when Farnsworth knelt down after delivering a pitch having felt a twinge in his hip, but he turned out to be fine and finished the inning.

On offense, of the 12 Yankees who came to the plate, only Alberto Gonzalez failed to reach base. Wilson Betemit had a good day (2 for 5 with a double and 3 RBIs), which was important. Bronson Sardinha, who could make the postseason roster as a pinch-runner, singled and walked in two trips while playing third base in relief of Alex Rodriguez (Sardinha was drafted as a shortstop and was moved to third before finally settling in the outfield, where he has played all three positions, but most often right field). Rodriguez himself went 2 for 2 with a walk and an RBI to push his final line to .314-54-156. Doug Mientkiewicz went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk to keep his hot streak going. Jose Molina went 3 for 5.

The real action of the day, of course, took place in Queens, Philly, Milwaukee, and Denver. Tom Glavine only managed to retire one man the first time through the Marlins' lineup and was pulled after plunking opposing pitcher Dontrelle Willis, who came to the plate before he ever took the mound. A Dan Uggla double off Jorge Sosa two batters later pushed the first-inning tally to seven, and the Mets were never able to climb out of that hole, losing 8-1 and being eliminated by the NL East Champion Phillies, who made the postseason for the first time since 1993 by beating the Nationals 6-1 behind a solid start by Jamie Moyer and strong relief by Tom Gordon, J.C. Romero (the LOOGY went two full innings and struck out three), and Brett Myers, who got the final strike on a nasty curveball.

Reflecting on the Mets' collapse, I feel worst for Willie Randolph. Not only because he's a former Yankee who I used to root for as a kid and someone to whom I have a sort of six-degrees connection to, but because he'll likely take the brunt of the blame for the Mets fall, much like Gene Mauch did for the 1964 Phillie Phlop (which, to be shameless for a moment, I wrote about in the new Baseball Prospectus book It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over). In reality, the Mets collapsed because their pitching fell apart, and that was no fault of Randolphs. Save for yesterday and their loss to the Cardinals in Thursday's makeup game, the offense did it's part. The Mets lost because the starting pitchers couldn't give them more than five innings, and the bullpen couldn't survive having to pitch four innings every night. It was exactly what went wrong with the Yankees in April, only the Yankees had time to sort things out and the Mets didn't. If you want to blame an individual, blame the pitching coach Rick "The Jacket" Peterson, or the general manager Omar Minaya. Heck, you'd be better off blaming Glavine, the supposed staff ace who gave up ten runs in ten innings in his two starts prior to yesterday, then utterly devastated his team in the top of the first inning of what turned out to be an elimination game. Over his last three starts, Glavine pitched just 10 1/3 innings and gave up 17 runs on 25 hits, including four home runs, four walks, and a hit batsman. Myself, I don't believe that such a collapse can be blamed on any one person, but if you're going to play the blame game, leave poor Willie out of it.

Out in Milwaukee, the Padres could have clinched the Wild Card with a win, but Brett Tomko couldn't hold an early 3-0 lead, and the bullpen did even worse as the Padres fell to the vengeful Brewers 11-6. That left it all up to the Rockies, who could force a tie-breaker for the Wild Card with a win over the NL West Champion Diamondbacks. Ubaldo Jimenez and Yusmero Petit kept things scoreless through five and a half until the Rockies finally pushed a run across against Petit in the sixth. The D'backs answered that in the top of the seventh after chasing Jimenez and the game went into the bottom of the 8th tied 1-1. A throwing error by Arizona third baseman Mark Reynolds and an infield hit by MVP candidate Matt Holliday set up a three-run Rocky outburst and, though the Diamondbacks rallied in the ninth, Stephen Drew grounded out with the tying run on base to give the Rockies a 4-3 win and force a one-game playoff at Coors Field tonight at 7:35 (see sidebar for details).

Back to the Yanks, Hideki Matsui traveled back to New York yesterday to get fluid drained from his knee. He is expected to DH only in the postseason, with Johnny Damon being the everyday left fielder and leadoff hitter.

The latest news on the postseason roster is that the Yanks will take eleven pitchers, leaving an extra position-player spot likely to be filled by Sardinha per the above (I almost wonder if his playing third base yesterday was to allow him to qualify as a replacement "infielder" for the injured Andy Phillips). Both Mike Mussina and Phil Hughes have made the postseason roster, but Joe Torre has not announced which will start a potential Game Four. He did say that he's fully confident that Roger Clemens, who went home to Houston and is supposed to throw a simulated game at the Yankees Tampa facility today, will be ready to go for Game Three.

Speculating about who will get those final few pitching spots is one of the many topics I discussed last night on Yankee Fan Club Radio. You can stream or download the MP3 here (I come in at the 19:15 mark).

Alex and I will be cranking up the postseason previews and such in the coming days, with the Yankees opening up their series against the Indians in Cleveland on Thursday with Chein-Ming Wang taking on C.C. Sabathia. Stay tuned . . .

Comments (101)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-09-30 23:09:00
1.   rilkefan
0 "Alex and I will be cranking up the postseason previews and such"

Thanks in advance.

2007-10-01 01:00:18
2.   BklynBmr
0 Nice wrap up on a wild (almost) final weekend in MLB. Same here regarding Willie, one of my all time Yankee favorites. Just like with Yogi, I like to think we're just lending Willie to the Mets for a bit and he'll be back where he belongs before its all said and done.

MatsZilla as DH and Damon in left? Sounds good to me!

2007-10-01 04:14:30
3.   The Mick 536
Having a lot of trouble sorting out how they did it. Looking forward to the end of season review. Figured them no better than 90 wins. Too easy to give A-Rod all the credit, though he deserves a lot. Career year from Jorge. Jete doing what he does. Solidified the outfield. Bobby woke up. Mature Cano and Melky. First base a blur. What did Jason do? Does he have a role if Matsui DHs? Have they fixed the bench? No clue about the pitching. Make some sense of it please, guys, for me.

Have to be positive about the post-season, I suppose if the Janks play the Indians and the Sox they have a chance. No confidence against the Angels. Still getting over the Tiger debacle. Actually, I am caught in 2004.

I be rooting for A-Rod. I know that Jete will be there.

2007-10-01 05:48:39
4.   bob34957
Just looking at the box, the Yankees's rookie pitcher's ended the season on a nice and special way. It is a foreshadowing for 08 & 09 and the emergence of a much younger pitching staff. We have an ample supply of talented young minor league arms:Alan Horne,Jeffrey Marquez,Justin Pope,Kevin Whelan,Anthony Claggett,Christian Garcia,Andrew Brackman ,Joba Chamberlain ,Tyler Clippard ,Matt DeSalvo ,Sean Henn ,Phil Hughes,Kei Igawa ,Jeff Karstens ,Ian Kennedy ,Ross Ohlendorf ,Edwar Ramirez ,Humberto Sanchez ,Chien-Ming Wang ,Chase Wright , Dellin Betances,Jairo Heredia,Daniel McCutchen,and JB Cox. The balance of the league, including the Sox, have to be, at the minimum, concerned. Hopefully all of the old farts, Moose, Rocket and Andy can will one to compensate for the losses in 03 and 01. Go Old farts!!!!!!!!
2007-10-01 06:49:39
5.   rbj
Just an amazing season. I had been resigned to no October this year, an amazing comeback.

And how about the Jints making McNabb their b!tch last night.

2007-10-01 06:58:48
6.   JasonO

I'll concede that the contributions of a manager are qualitative, but they can't be overlooked nonetheless.

Torre kept the team focused on the long term goal through short term chaos in the first 60 days, until Alex's shot in the 9th in the rain in Boston gave the team a glimmer of hope.

Compare that to all accounts a great guy, but he bears some responsibility. He will manage again somewhere, we know that.

2007-10-01 06:58:55
7.   Sliced Bread
Cliff, I'd be interested to hear your six-degrees connection to Willie.

Received a Mets post-mortem e-mail (titled 'oy') from a childhood friend of mine who remains a tortured fan of the club from Queens. He's an otherwise bright and reasonable person, but he wants Willie gone... now.

Even as a longtime Willie Randolph idolizer myself, I can see how my friend wants Willie gone. Change at the top, even if only for the sake of change, might be the best way for the Mets and their tortured fans to proceed. It's certainly the easiest way to achieve that fresh-start feeling without douching. Willie lost that team somewhere along the way, even if everybody knows the pitchers are mostly to blame. My brother-in-law, a Mets and Glavine fan who smelled yesterday's disaster coming, believes the
season turned on Duque's bunion. Oy, indeed.

From what I know about the Mets, Willie is not the heart, nor "the big toe," the Sgt. Hulka of the team. Wright said some good things about Willie yesterday, but I suspect Wright is the kind of person who always says the right thing about his manager.

Seems to me that Willie hasn't earned the love and trust of his players, (which says more about them than him), the bond that has taken Torre this far.
Of course this is not to say the Met year would have ended any differently with Joe, or Scoscia, or Piniella, or especially dopey Charlie Manuel at the helm.

Yes, pitchers still have to pitch, hitters have to hit, and fielders have to catch and throw -- but players have to respond to their manager either out of love or spite,
and Willie doesn't seem to inspire anything in these Mets. They flatlined, not suddenly like the 2004 Yanks flatlined, but over three morbid weeks of hideous baseball. Yes, that kind of crash is everyone's fault: the players, coaches, manager, and GM.

The Mets have to question their soul at this point. Who is the soul of that team?
Wright? but not Reyes? What manager embodies the soul of the Mets? Who is the best manager to lead them forward?

For the 2005 Yankees Torre was still the answer, but for the 2008 Mets it's
not nearly as clear who embodies their soul.

2007-10-01 07:10:05
8.   dianagramr
Before the season, everyone knew the Mets' achilles heel would be starting pitching depth. After 40+ Glavine and 40+ El Duque, there were question marks. The Mets were a flawed team, but they were perceived to be the least flawed in the NL East.

The bullpen seemed OK, at least in terms of depth. But they really missed Duaner Sanchez.

The 35-19 run to start the season was carried by the offense, and the 53-55 finish was induced by injuries, tired bullpen and a September fadeout by Reyes.

2007-10-01 07:19:07
9.   Simone
Glavine was beyond dreadful yesterday. Talk about a let down. It was like reliving Kevin Brown in the 2004 ALCS all over again.

Ultimately, the Mets continue to pay the price for one of the worse trades EVAH; Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. Trading young talented pitchers away for no good reason. All because that dope Peterson assured the Wilpons that he could fix anyone. What an ego. Is Zambrano even still in the league? I remember when Rick Peterson was supposed to be the pitching coach god would solve all a team's pitching issues. Whaa happened?

I just hope that Willie isn't made the scapegoat for Wilpon, Minaya and Peterson's follies.

2007-10-01 07:21:06
10.   Simone
7 The Mets don't need a soul. They need 2 young talented pitchers.
2007-10-01 07:24:12
11.   Sliced Bread
10 The Mets would sell what's left of their soul for that.
2007-10-01 07:30:33
12.   dianagramr
Well, trouble for the Mets is, they really don't have a lot of Major League-ready help on the AAA level.

I don't see 5 more John Maines down in New Orleans.

They need a catcher (unless they bring back LoDuca, or think that Castro is the full-time solution). Delgado was invisible the first 1/2 of the year, and is clearly nearing the end. Second base MIGHT be solved by Castillo (though his knees are STILL bothering him, even after getting off the Metrodome turf).

The corner outfield quandry will continue in 2008. Is Milledge the real deal? How many ABs can you get out of Alou?

Hmmm .... I wonder if Torii Hunter would be willing to play right?

2007-10-01 07:33:56
13.   NJYankee41
10 ,11 Yeah they could use a couple guys like Kazmir and Bannister. But I guess Victor Zambrano and Ambiorix Burgos were worth the risk. ;)
2007-10-01 07:36:52
14.   Murray
On WNYC this morning, a Mets fan said something to the effect of, "[a]fter this, I feel stupid for being so happy for six months." I thought that was the most perceptive and succinct statement about what it must be like to be a Mets fan this morning that I have yet heard.

The bargain we make as fans is that we will invest our time, hope, faith and even our discretionary income in the enterprise while the team will strive toward the appointed goal. As long as the players appear to fulfill their end of the bargain--the striving, not necessarily the winning--we fans can ultimately live with the results. To the Phil Mushnicks and Mike Lupicas of the world, investing this sort of faith in a commercial enterprise makes fans suckers, but truthfully it makes fans human: we are social animals, and we all want a tribe of some sort with which we can identify.

Throughout their history, this has been the story of the Mets. Comical ineptitude and falling short in the face of tremendous odds has been all right with Mets fans because it's the human condition, and because their faith has also been rewarded with unlikely successes that are more the stuff of literature than sport.

That's why this is new emotional territory for Mets fans--the club's effort didn't appear to match the fans' passion. Thus, it's hard to blame Mets fans for feeling like the victims of a confidence game this morning. For them, I feel tremendous empathy. For the organization, particularly the players who admitted to being bored and who appeared to do so little to prevent the Mets from catching the Phillies down the stretch, I feel none.

2007-10-01 07:40:24
15.   weeping for brunnhilde
Can anyone elaborate on Hideki's fluid-in-the-knee thing?

What sort of condition is this and might it be responsible for his pulling off pitches?

Can we look to him to hit better after the drainage?--that would be nice.

Otherwise, it's good Damon's the everyday leftfielder going forward. He's hitting now and he'll run into walls for us. Look to him to up the intensity level, I'd say.

I feel pretty good going forward.

And alas, poor Mets.

2007-10-01 07:47:23
16.   weeping for brunnhilde
14 Very eloquently said, Murray.
2007-10-01 08:00:23
17.   seamus
So, do we have to wait for tonight's game before we know what time the games are this week?
2007-10-01 08:06:18
18.   yankz
Is there any way to fast forward the next 3 days?
2007-10-01 08:07:57
19.   ChrisS
Wanna know why I think Torre should go?

After yesterday's game, he had this to say about a potential dominant starter/staff ace:

"This youngster in the last couple of months has found himself a new career," Torre said. "He certainly has good enough stuff to come out of the bullpen and be effective."

Great, while you're at it Joe, why don't you take A-Rod and make him the pinch hitter.

2007-10-01 08:12:31
20.   JimCobain
19 Sounds like he was talking about Ross Olendorf. And if he was then he is correct.
2007-10-01 08:13:45
21.   wsporter
After the recent unpleasant experience we suffered during the year that shall forever remain nameless with me I find it hard to celebrate the Mets' crash and burn. Their fans can be obnoxious but what the heck so are we.

No, there's only one group whose agony I'll celebrate in this context. '78 and '86 are still "a very big smile" for me. Besides after supplying us with '86 and given Willie was at the helm this year it's hard to feel good about it.

Stupid Mets.

2007-10-01 08:18:23
22.   ChrisS
20 Could be, the preceding paragraph from the write up was:

"In the seventh, Posada went to the mound to remove Ross Ohlendorf and summon standout rookie Joba Chamberlain. The right-hander retired his only batter to finish with an 0.38 ERA in 24 innings."

Unless it's poorly written, he's talking about Joba.

2007-10-01 08:20:07
23.   motown yankees fan
19 20

Jim is right, Torre was referring to Ohlendorf in that quote, I heard him on the Yes postgame. And I totally agree with that take.

I feel terrible about the Mets; I'm still thankful for what they did in Game 6 in 1986. That was a great game. Although, the obnoxiousness of Met fans back in, say, June is a little hard to forget.

2007-10-01 08:20:46
24.   Cliff Corcoran
20 He was and he is.

17 I believe so.

9 Zambrano's on the O's now and just pitched against the Yanks yesterday . . . in relief. He's been with at least three organizations since he had Tommy John and the Mets dropped him. He keeps getting released.

7 One of the authors I worked with at my former editing job went to high school with Willie in Brooklyn.

2007-10-01 08:22:20
25.   motown yankees fan
22 Didn't see the article, but, yes, poorly written. And think about it, that praise would be a bit weak if he were talking about Joba. But huge for Ohlendorf.
2007-10-01 08:26:06
26.   seamus
18 here here! Speed dial these days please....

24 thanks. That is what I thought.

2007-10-01 08:29:42
27.   JL25and3
Also, to be fair, there are an awful lot of very intelligent people who think that Joba should be groomed as the Yankees' next closer. I think they're dead wrong, but it's too many for me to simply dismiss with ridicule.
2007-10-01 08:29:56
28.   Murray
21 Don't forget that pennant in 2003! That one was a barrel of monkeys, too.

I see a qualitative difference between '78 and '86 and what happened to the 2007 Mets: as a Yankee fan, I don't have to apologize for feeling good when my team beats an adversary as it did in 1978 and 2003, just as I wouldn't expect any sympathy in 2004 from a Red Sox fan (in fact, I'd tell him what he could do with it, Tanner Boyle-style). Because the Mets are my "B" rooting interest after the Yankees, I feel no guilt in being happy about 1986. I think the only people who owe the Mets no apologies this morning for their unrestrained joy are Phillies fans.

2007-10-01 08:38:54
29.   Schteeve
18 I TIVO'd the next 3 months. I'd tell you what happens, but I don't want to ruin it. All I will say is that you aren't getting that Ferrarri for Christmas. Again. :(
2007-10-01 08:53:57
30.   Shaun P
I don't watch the Mets, I don't know who to blame. But if the question is, Omar or Willie, I would say this.

Maybe Willie wasn't inspiring, or rah-rah, or whatever. I can't measure that stuff.

But I can evaluate Omar somewhat. He had to know the key to this team was the bullpen, because the starting pitching (except Maine) was old and questionable. But what made him think that Jorge Sosa, Aaron Sele, and Scott Schoeneweis (to name 3) were not going to pitch like Jorge Sosa, Aaron Sele, and Scott Schoeneweis? Those guy threw over 225 innings!

I wouldn't fire either, but if I was a Mets fan, I'd be asking Omar what the heck he was thinking when building his bullpen before I said a word about Willie.

2007-10-01 09:12:56
31.   pistolpete
19 What, and that thought hasn't crossed just about EVERY Yankees fan's mind in the last few months?

A few more times of Mo loading the bases in the playoffs and IMO there's going to be some serious discussions about the future of the closer role on this team...

2007-10-01 09:14:11
32.   pistolpete
31 I was referring to Joba, but I agree with Joe on Ollie as well.
2007-10-01 09:15:20
33.   dianagramr

Well, at least they didn't fork over $55 million for Gil Meche ...

2007-10-01 09:23:41
34.   Cliff Corcoran
33 Of course Gil Meche piched very well. Not $55 million well, but still, very well.
2007-10-01 09:32:30
35.   Shaun P
33 And I forgot entirely about trading away Heath Bell (for Ben Johnson and Jon Adkins, who both did nothing for the Mets). The Burgos-Bannister deal I can understand; Bannister is bound to collapse next year. Trading Bell away I cannot.
2007-10-01 10:02:26
36.   ChrisS
27 31 et al

Because Torre was talking about Ohlendorf, then my original comment is pretty much irrelevant because there was no need for Joba to have a new career as 25 suggests. I think that there are fewer and fewer people that think that Joba will be anything less than a front of the rotation starter and possible perennial Cy Young candidate.

In 2003, once Johan Santana was in the bullpen, some intelligent people also thought that was the most effective way to use him and were hesitant in making him a starter again.

2007-10-01 10:13:20
37.   yankz
As if you needed more ammo against our two favorite Red Sox:

What a bunch of clowns.

ric, you watching this? I'm sure you are.

2007-10-01 10:14:51
38.   Yankee Fan In Boston
does anyone else feel that this season flew by in a hurry?

you'd think a season as excruciating as this was at times would have dragged on and on.

2007-10-01 10:18:10
39.   Schteeve
I can't believe that the Yankees haven't seen Sabathia since 2004. That's crazy.
2007-10-01 10:20:45
40.   Schteeve
Also, according to, every single one of their baseball analysts is picking the Sox over the Halos. Crikey.
2007-10-01 10:24:48
41.   Yankee Fan In Boston
37 i sincerely hope that clip is played on the jumbotron each and every time he comes into a road game. can you imagine him giving his "papelglare" while his little jig is being played behind him?

thank you for that.

2007-10-01 10:25:49
42.   pistolpete
36 So you don't think a sure-thing, lock-down closer is harder to come by than a starter?

Not saying Joba shouldn't start games, but do you see anyone else in that 'pen who would succeed Mo as the next closer?

2007-10-01 10:30:32
43.   ric

hey, if keeps winning divisions he can do whatever he wants. but whats Joba's excuse for acting like a clown what with the singing and the fat-face jiggling?

2007-10-01 10:33:39
44.   Sliced Bread
I'm for keeping Joba in the pen next year, not-so-much to groom him to replace Mo, but to better preserve and develop his arm.

He just turned 22. He can wait until he's 23 to try starting 35 games at the ML level if you ask me.

2007-10-01 10:33:51
45.   Yankee Fan In Boston
43 good thing you've never criticized anyone who's ever won a division before.
2007-10-01 10:35:59
46.   Yankee Fan In Boston
44 i'd like to see what the kid can do in the rotation. at least kick the tires on it in the spring.

...unless the unspeakable happens and mo walks... god, that is scary...

2007-10-01 10:36:52
47.   NJYankee41
42 Who says it has to be from the current pen? I hope everyone lowers their expectations for he next closer because whoever it is he won't be near what Mo was.

New closers who are successful pop up every year, but Joba could be a great starter. The way he throws strikes will allow him to go deep into games. I want to see him start first and if he doesn't do well, which I doubt will happen, then we know he can fall back on a great reliever role.

Most great starters can probably become great closers (Smoltz), but why waste them in that role when they can dominate for 180+ innings? So, if it isn't obvious, I want to see Joba start because I think he can become a true frontline starter.

2007-10-01 10:38:05
48.   Schteeve
43 Your team just won the division and you feel the need to come here and throw around 5th grade insults? Where's the couth man? Where's the couth?
2007-10-01 10:38:37
49.   ric

im just responding to your boy yankz' bait with some gentle ribbing. no need to involve yourself.

2007-10-01 10:39:27
50.   yankz
41 You're welcome, I think.

43 Ah ric, I knew you couldn't resist the bait. Just proving what I said a few weeks ago, you scan all these comments looking for a mention of the Sox. And I thought Met fans were obsessed with us.

You're making fun of someone for "fat-face jiggling"? What, run out of racist jokes (don't think I forgot)? You do realize that you live in a city where everybody would bend over for the fattest athlete this side of Japan, right?

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-10-01 10:39:57
51.   ric

see 49 pursuant to 37 ;)

2007-10-01 10:41:22
52.   Yankee Fan In Boston
49 i was merely tossing that out there. no malicious intent. i'm not the type to start trouble. sorry if that was interpreted as kindling.
2007-10-01 10:41:47
53.   yankz
48 It was an experiment. A few weeks ago I hypothesized that ric is obsessed with us Yankee fans and cannot resist being baited. He keeps giving me more data.
2007-10-01 10:42:25
54.   ric
what racist joke? and yes, i am obsessed with you in particular
2007-10-01 10:43:24
55.   pistolpete
43 'Fat-face jiggling'? What have physical attributes got to do with celebrating a playoff spot?

After all, no one asked what the 'slit-mouth dancing' was all about...

2007-10-01 10:44:06
56.   yankz
54 You made a racist joke about Joba being Native American. RIYank can back me up.
2007-10-01 10:45:55
57.   ric
56 what was the joke?
2007-10-01 10:48:06
58.   yankz
Yeah, like I'm going to repeat it.
2007-10-01 10:49:44
59.   NJYankee41
50 He's the RSN Police Squad. Why do you think you can talk smack about the AL East Champions?
2007-10-01 10:53:40
60.   ric

geez guys- he baited me to come here and retort... no need to pigpile on poor ricky :( but youre right about the champs part.

2007-10-01 10:56:02
61.   Shaun P
44 I like protecting Joba's arm, Sliced, but he'll have to be the long man if the he stays in the pen. He'll never be ready to start 35 MLB games if he stays in short relief. But Joba in long relief will never happen.

Joba will get limited to 150 innings next year. I bet he spends a month or 6 weeks in the minors, to stretch him out again the Yanks will say. Someone will get hurt (Pettitte) or be ineffective (Moose) and Joba will be back to stay by mid-May.

Hughes will be the 5th starter, because he too is going to get limited to 150 or 160 innings.

IPK will get to throw 180 innings, though - he's older and he threw 150 this year, so he'll probably be the 4th starter out of camp.

A solid bullpen filled with guys who can pitch more than 1 inning at a time (Ohlendorf, Edwar, maybe Veras, even Igawa?) is going to be huge for the Yanks next year. Bet Kyle "1 inning every 2 days" Farnsworth is gone by Spring Training.

2007-10-01 10:57:36
62.   YankeeInMichigan
Growing up in the New York area, the Mets' failures were certainly a cause for celebration. So intense were the bragging rights wars that I actually rooted for the Red Sox in the '86 series. Living out of town, it's a bit easier to pull for the Mets, especially when the Yanks are going to the postseason as well. And I really feel bad for Willie.

The silver lining could be that this year's failure will pave Willie's path back to the Bronx.

2007-10-01 11:02:52
63.   YankeeInMichigan
40 Jim Molony of picks the Halos as WS champs:
2007-10-01 11:08:44
64.   NJYankee41
60 Sorry, I just thought it was funny that Yankz got the result desired :)
2007-10-01 11:09:58
65.   Sliced Bread
61 Good plan there. Not sure if they'll be disciplined enough to keep him in Scranton in April/May, but it wouldn't be a bad idea.
They should be able to contain him to 150-160 as long as enough other guys can handle the heavy-lifting, and keep the team in contention. Let's not forget Sanchez and Cox should be in the bullpen mix too, right?

I want to see Joba start every week as much as anybody -- but preserving him and developing him properly has to remain the top priority. If keeping Joba in short-relief next season is determined the best way to do that I have no problem with that.

2007-10-01 11:13:18
66.   Schteeve
63 That guy is a dope though. He says, "with the exception of the Rockies, no team finished the season better than the Indians who won 21 of their last 30 games. And ya know, so did the Yanks."

Also, Jacoby Ellsbury is dubbed "Septembers Child" with no mention of Joba. Don't get me wrong, Jacoby's .381 OBP for the month is impressive, but I'd argue that Joba's .73 ERA, .74 WHIP, and 8.5:1 K to BB ration is a bit more spectacular.

2007-10-01 11:20:52
67.   ChrisS
42 A consistent HOF-er at any position is hard to come by. But, no. I think that any good starter can be converted to a good closer. However, once you start approaching HOF (Rivera, Hoffman) level, then there's obviously more to it. But that can also be said for starters.

It's hard to quantify, but using the best method we have, Win Shares, it's apparent that closers aren't as valuable. Granted, that's also dependent on the formula. Using Mo and Santana as high end comparisons to Joba, plus others:

Rivera Win Shares (2004 - 07): 16, 17, 14, 9
Jonathon Papelbon (2005 - 07): 4, 8, 11
Joe Nathan (2004-07): 16, 14, 17, 13
K-Rod (2004 - 07): 15, 11, 15, 11

Johan Santana (2004 - 07): 27, 25, 23, 18
Chien Ming Wang (2006 - 07): 17, 15
Roy Halladay (2005 - 07): 16, 21, 17
Brandon Webb (2004 - 07): 12, 19, 22, 20

With this smattering sample, it looks like closers top out around 15-17 WS, while starters can top 17-22.

Off the top of my head for potential closers in the system, there's Ohlendorf, Ramirez (he does have a lot of work to do, but when he's on, he's unhittable), Humberto Sanchez (pending recuperation). In perfect world we'd have a decent replacement for Mo and top end starters. And historically, most high-end closers began their career as mediocre starters (Billy Wagner excluded, he was good in the minors as a starter, but not Joba-good).

I think this debate won't be going anywhere anytime soon, anyway. I'm not really sold on Hughes or IPK having ceilings as high as Joba's as a starter, so I'm hesitant about taking Joba out of the future rotation.

2007-10-01 11:52:12
68.   Raf
Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown, Esteban Loaiza, Jose Contreras, Brad Halsey, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Al Leiter, Cory Lidle, etc, etc, etc...

The last few years have shown how difficult it is to aquire decent starters. I'd be willing to take my chances with Joba in the rotation.

The Indians were able to win 96 games with Yankee castoff Joe Borowski closing games for them. The Yanks will be fine next year, no matter who's closing.

2007-10-01 11:57:41
69.   Yankee Fan In Boston
68 can add jeff weaver and igawa to that list, too.

that is one underwhelming list of "talents."

2007-10-01 12:01:07
70.   YankeeInMichigan
66 No argument with you there. I'm certainly no fan of Molony (or of any of's analysts for that matter). I just presented Molony's prediction as an interesting counter-balance to ESPN's Red Sox bias.

By the way, ESPN's analysts are not unanimous in picking the Sox. Caple is taking the Angels in 4:

2007-10-01 12:04:30
71.   Mike T
4 Out here in Vegas, one of the on-air personalities on the local ESPN radio affiliate is from Boston, and is of course a huge Sox fan. One of his popular refrains this baseball season has been, with regards to the Yankees' farm system, "You better get 'em (meaning beating the Yankees) now, because in 2008 and beyond, they will be almost unstoppable with the talent they have coming up."
2007-10-01 13:21:44
72.   MainLineYankee
I just read on ESPN that Torre is thinking of starting Shelly Duncan (I guess in lieu of Matsui) as DH against Sabathia. That sounds like a panicky move.
2007-10-01 13:34:27
73.   Shaun P
72 Given how bad Matsui has been playing, and that he just had his knee drained, I wouldn't consider it panicky. Matsui (or Giambi) could always come in to PH if/when the Indians brought in a lefty reliever later in the game.
2007-10-01 13:45:05
74.   bartap74
62 I hear you. I grew up a Yankee fan in the 80s in the Queens of all places and there was no question that you had to pick a side. Not only did I root for the BoSox in '86 (I was too young to remember '78 and the Blue Jays seemed like bigger rivals to me then), I cried a little when the Mets won. So I was rooting hard for the Marlins and Phillies yesterday, but I do feel very bad for Willie, he deserves better.

If Minaya is feeling like he needs to make a move to right the ship, perhaps we could send him "proven winners" Kyle Farnsworth and Mike Mussina for John Maine. Heck, I'd even throw in Veras.

2007-10-01 13:55:25
75.   Raf
62 I hope not. It took Willie long enough to get a managing gig. I would hate for him to be fired, especially on those terms.
2007-10-01 13:56:57
76.   Yankee Fan In Boston
75 but that would allow willie to be the bridge from joe to donnie in a few years. i could live with that.
2007-10-01 14:07:32
77.   jkay

Series begins Thursday
Game Matchup Day Date Time ET TV
Gm 1 NYY @ CLE Thu Oct. 4 6:30 pm TBS
Gm 2 NYY @ CLE Fri Oct. 5 5 pm TBS
Gm 3 CLE @ NYY Sun Oct. 7 6:30 pm TBS
Gm 4* CLE @ NYY Mon Oct. 8 6 pm TBS
Gm 5* NYY @ CLE Wed Oct. 10 5 pm TBS

2007-10-01 14:17:34
78.   Shaun P
77 5 PM on Friday?! Man, I'm leaving work early that day.
2007-10-01 14:20:28
79.   RIYank
66 Ellsbury's OPS+ is an impressive 134.

Of course, Joba's ERA+ is a ludicrous 1156.

So, yeah, it's a close call. ;-)

2007-10-01 14:22:21
80.   standuptriple
78 I live on the West Coast. Tough move bailing @ 2 on a Friday. I blame Moreno. He'd never have that kind of pull if he hadn't included "LA" in his team name.
2007-10-01 14:24:50
81.   Shaun P
79 Not to mention one will spend October pinch-running, and the other will pitch high-leverage innings in relief.

(I mean, there's no way the Sox pull Manny after the 7th to use Ellsbury as a LIDR. Right? Right? I'm not sure if that possibility frightens me, or makes me very happy.)

PS - Go Rockies!

2007-10-01 15:22:00
82.   cult of basebaal
80 well, looks like i'm leaving mid-afternoon both days then ... gee, thanks TBS
2007-10-01 15:47:28
83.   JeremyM
Well, I hope this doesn't qualify as a day game in the Yanks eyes, seeing as they stunk in them, and Cano couldn't hit at all during the day for some reason.
2007-10-01 16:01:14
84.   yankz
Check out the badass Arod billboard shot on Pete's site.
2007-10-01 16:22:58
85.   3rd gen yankee fan
37 As Yankee fans, we might be accused of not knowing how to party, but wow, that was something I really did not need to see. Pass the brain bleach.
2007-10-01 17:24:26
86.   Schteeve
I actually like the idea of starting Duncan, what a great bench weapon to have in Matsui. I don't like it if he does it twice, but once, in Game 1, it could screw with their heads.
2007-10-01 18:13:13
87.   Raf
76 Why does he have to serve as a bridge?
2007-10-01 18:30:11
88.   JL25and3
76 Wouldn't that basically be Joe to Joe to Joe?
2007-10-01 19:26:13
89.   Chyll Will
88 The only one who could really answer that question is joejoejoe...
2007-10-01 21:25:05
90.   yankz
Colorado wins 9-8 in 13. Scored 3 in the bottom after the Pads scored 2 in the top.


2007-10-01 21:27:15
91.   yankz
How Hoffman ended the Padres' season: 2B, 2B, 3B, IBB, sac fly.
2007-10-01 21:28:28
92.   JeremyM
Another blown call by an ump, and this one in the biggest of spots. Will someone do something about these umpires? That game was just getting started!
2007-10-01 21:34:16
93.   yankz
92 I didn't watch; what was the call?
2007-10-01 21:37:40
94.   JeremyM
93 On the sac fly, Giles made a weak but on target throw home, Holliday slid head first into home, Barrett blocked the plate and prevented Holliday from touching the plate as far as I can tell from the replays (which the announcers agreed on) but lost the ball. Holliday was knocked out from planting his face into the dirt on the slide and just laid there, and while Barrett went to pick up the ball, after a lengthy delay the ump finally signaled he was safe.
2007-10-01 21:38:24
95.   yankz
94 Dayam, thanks. Though Hoffman would've found a way to lose it anyway.
2007-10-01 21:41:54
96.   JeremyM
95 It was looking that way, he's so ridiculously overrated. My brother-in-law is a huge Pods fan for some reason and always tells me he's the greatest closer of all time.

Scott Brosius begs to differ:) I guess since Tony Gwynn is gone it's all he feels has to cling to....

But seriously, Hoffman has a standing rule that he can only pitch the 9th and nothing more, that's enough to disqualify him.

2007-10-01 21:49:13
97.   yankz
96 I said yesterday that I'd rather COL win because I want no piece of the Padres' pitching, but man, does anyone want to play the 14-1 Rockies right now?
2007-10-01 21:52:19
98.   JeremyM
97 They've peaked. No pun intended.....
2007-10-01 22:32:31
99.   weeping for brunnhilde
61 Shaun, you're kidding me!

The minors?

To "stretch him out?"

Can't they "stretch him out" on the big club?

Heaven forfend, what a preposterous notion!

2007-10-02 04:24:02
100.   OldYanksFan
According to a source in Florida close to the ongoing investigation of Signature, (Scott) Schoeneweis' name appears on packages that were sent to Comiskey Park while the White Sox were battling to win the AL Central title in 2003. Two more shipments arrived at the stadium in 2004, months before Schoeneweis underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow.

The doctor who prescribed the drugs, Ramon Scruggs of the New Hope Health Center in Tustin, Calif., also wrote prescriptions for Toronto third baseman Troy Glaus. Scruggs has since been suspended by California's state medical board on charges that he "prescribed approximately 6,073 prescriptions of dangerous drugs or controlled substances over the Internet without a good faith examination of the patients."

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-10-02 04:34:03
101.   OldYanksFan
From the 6 replays I saw, it did indeed look like a blown call. The ump took like 5 seconds to call him safe... as if waiting for a tag to be made.

While the call pisses me off, I still think it's nuts that a catcher can physically block the plate. It just about forces a physical 'confrontation'. On that play, Holliday looked like he might sneak his hand in to get the plate, but the catcher used his foot to 'push' his hand away. Looked like he might have stepped on his hand as well.

It may be instinctual to slide head first, but its a bad play. Aside from injury risk, you will not dislodge a catcher with your hands. Coming in cletes first, with the lower body flying into the slide, has a lot more force then does a head-first slide.

It's time to allow each manager ONE contested play a game, where video is used to review the call. Losing a game, and thus a PS opportunuity on a 'questionable' call is brutal. Where is the sense of 'fair play'?

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