• April 4th @ The A’s

    Posted by on April 5th, 2006 · Comments (25)

    When I saw the start of this game, I thought, if the Yankees lose, I want to hang this “L” on Torre.

    Rich Harden is a tough RHP. So, how does Joe set up his line-up? After his table-setters, he slots Sheffield and A-Rod – in the 3rd and 4th spots. They’re both RH batters. And, when Sheff and Alex whiffed in the 1st with runners on 2nd and 3rd (with no outs), I wanted to scream.

    But, this morning, when I was looking at Harden’s stats, I saw something that shocked me.

    He’s just as tough on LHB as he is on RHB. (That’s not the shock.) But, check this out:

    In his career, meaning the three seasons prior to last night, Harden has never allowed a LHB to score a run against him. So, why would you ever play a LHB against him? Here’s a screenshot of the ESPN.com page where I saw this:


    But, wait a minute! Notice that Harden has allowed homeruns to LHB. So, obviously, we have a problem here. This tells us that you cannot trust the stats at ESPN.com.

    Man, I hate that. Without trust, you have nothing. Which brings us back to this game in question.

    It’s a tie-game, in the 9th. It’s the 2nd game of the season. So, who do you bring in to pitch the 9th? The last pitcher to make the team – one who only made the team because of injuries to others – and who’s been running all of the country now for a week because his newborn daughter’s life was at risk.

    Torre had many other options here. He could have left in Farnsworth. He could have brought in Rivera for two innings. He could have went with Sturtze. But, no, Joe goes to Proctor and the Yankees lose the game.

    You just cannot trust Joe Torre to use his bullpen correctly. History shows us this. So, in the end, we can hang this “L” on Torre.

    At least I didn’t waste time staying up to watch the end.

    Comments on April 4th @ The A’s

    1. DFLNJ
      April 5th, 2006 | 8:15 am

      I missed the game last night because MLV.tv suddenly decided South Jersey is in the blackout zone for the Yankees, but when I woke up this morning and saw the linescore, I immediately said, I bet you Proctor blew it. And what a surprise! He did.

      This one’s definitely on Torre, I don’t see how Proctor’s head could be right yet after the week the guy has had.

    2. MMTDad
      April 5th, 2006 | 9:32 am

      I did stay up and watched the entire game (though I had to suffer through the Oakland broadcast which was used on Direct TV — I live in the Philadelphia area). And that made Torre’s inexplicable decision to use Proctor all the more infuriating.

      Since when did Proctor — a guy who is, at best, the 12th guy on a pitching staff that shouldn’t have brought 12 pitchers north — gain Torre’s “trust” as he always likes to put it?

      Is the explanation for ending Farnsworth’s night at 2 batters, his resolution not to overuse his relievers the way he did with Sturtze and Gordon last year? Maybe. But for goodness sake’s, it’s the 2nd game of the year and the guy only pitched to 2 hitters.

      As for not using Rivera in that spot, Torre’s done it before and he’ll do it again. It’s ridiculous but he just doesn’t get it. Games like this don’t erase the value Torre has in keeping the team on an even keel and dealing with the media and the Boss, but as the years go by, Joe’s tactical ineptness gets exposed more and more.

      So I agree that you have to hang the loss on Torre but all of those missed opportunities to score more runs were equally culpable.

      As for the lineup, I agree that Giambi 3rd and Sheffield 5th would make more sense. But given the fact that both struck out in the first inning, it wouldn’t have made a difference there.

    3. baileywalk
      April 5th, 2006 | 10:17 am

      It never ends. It never ends with Torre. He is the most clueless manager around when it comes to his bullpen. The result was practically predetermined it was so obvious. I knew he was going to take Farnsworth out (the whole “I don’t want to overuse him” thing, though he ran Quantrill, Gordon and Sturtze into the ground previously) and bring in Proctor. If you exclude Myers, Farns and Mo (who Torre doesn’t use in these situations) you had the following people still left in the bullpen: Villone, Sturtze, Wright, Proctor. The guy I want least with the game on the line is Proctor. Hasn’t it been shown enough that the guy can’t pitch out of the ‘pen? HE NEEDS TO START. A red flag should have gone up as soon as he walked the first batter on four straight. Torre is a disaster. He has so much misplaced loyalty it’s ridiculous. He’ll probably talk about how Proctor has “guts” and he “battles” — but it doesn’t matter if he loses. Proctor only succeeds as a starter, he just barely made the team, he showed he can’t pitch in relief, and he’s been running around because his daughter nearly died! — so of course he’s brought in with the game on the line. Of course. Torre would have it no other way.

    4. April 5th, 2006 | 10:45 am

      I agree with everyone’s comments on Torre’s mysterious use of Proctor and have nothing to add on that point, except a hearty WTF? I hope it isn’t going to be like this all season.

      On the stats issue – I don’t think runs allowed should be listed in those LHB/RHB splits anyhow – I’m not sure it’s a well-defined stat. Does it mean LHB/RHB who actually scored runs, or does it means runs scored as a result of a LHB/RHB plate appearance, or what? Either way, even if it weren’t obviously the wrong value, it seems kind of fishy and not terribly useful to me. If a pitcher keeps LHB off base, that’s all you need to know.

    5. JohnnyC
      April 5th, 2006 | 10:50 am

      I bring this up not because it’s a no-brainer (although it’s the smart thing to do)but to prove my point that people who blame Cashman for the construction of the team miss entirely the real culprit…Torre’s misuse of any 25 man roster he’s given. Why was Mike Myers given a 2 year deal? Not to start innings in tie games against batters who are not dangerous lefty run producers! His appearance…like I assume most of his appearances this year will be…was a complete waste and pointless. He should have faced Chavez in the 7th with a one-run lead and Oakland’s only legitimate left-handed power threat at the plate. You got 6 strong innings from Mussina (93 pitches)…you take that to the bank and play out your bullpen the way it was intended to be used (at least by Cashman). But, noooo, Torre again cements his legacy as the dumbest manager to ever win 4 rings. How does Scott Proctor spend an entire Spring demonstrating some potential as a starter only to make the team as an afterthought in the bullpen only because of injury and then is allowed to lose a very winnable game to…wait for it…Marcos Scutaro. The immortal.

    6. MJ
      April 5th, 2006 | 10:56 am

      I refuse to get into the sillineess of Torre-bashing two games into 2006 so I’ll pose a question instead:

      What happened to Proctor’s velocity? He was lobbing in 88 mph fastballs last night. The Proctor I remember had a 96 mph heater that was straight as an arrow. His 88 mph version is just as straight but now even slower-armed hitters can turn on it. What gives?

    7. JeremyM
      April 5th, 2006 | 11:06 am

      I certainly did not want to see Torre bashing two games in, but my God does he deserve it after last night. How badly can one man handle a bullpen? Once again, my theory that Zimmer was the brains bears out.

    8. April 5th, 2006 | 11:08 am

      I fully expected Proctor to make it through the ninth without giving up a run. Oh well.

      I also expect it to rain $20 bills in New York today.

    9. JohnnyC
      April 5th, 2006 | 11:08 am

      I refuse to get into Proctor bashing only one appearance into 2006. He has a pretty good excuse for not being game-ready (Cliff spelled it out). That’s what gives.

    10. hopbitters
      April 5th, 2006 | 12:06 pm

      I need to start getting up earlier. You all used up all the Torre-bashing before I could get anything in. I’ll say this, though : When the other team brings in _their_ closer, does that not spark any neurons at all in Joe’s brain?

    11. Raf
      April 5th, 2006 | 12:16 pm

      I’m not going to get into Torre or Proctor bashing, but I was a bit suprised that Farnsworth didn’t come out for the 9th.

      Bailey: Proctor can’t start, that’s why he’s a reliever. He hasn’t started regularly since AA Jacksonville in 2002.

    12. brockdc
      April 5th, 2006 | 12:32 pm

      Like the pathetically obsessed Yankee fan I am, I DID stay up until the bitter end, on a WORK NIGHT, no less. I agree that the Torre-bashing gets redundant. But, then again, so are his inane managerial decisions. He was out-maneuvered by Ken Macha. Good God.

    13. JohnnyC
      April 5th, 2006 | 12:33 pm

      Raf, that’s another point in Torre’s “favor.” Proctor, off his excellent Spring, should have been sent down to Columbus to get a dozen or so starts under his belt. Why choose him over Matt Smith, Ramiro Mendoza, or even Scott Erickson for the last spot on the staff…someone who will probably not even pitch except in a blowout? If the organization had already pegged him as a relief failure and used this spring to see if starting might be a better use of his “skills” then why does Torre insist on pissing on those plans? Why does he insist on giving Myers innings against right-handed hitters who he should never, ever have to face, given his extreme platoon differential (his picture is next to the definition of LOOGY in the OED)? Why? We’ll never know because Lon Trost won’t be able to pass such insulting questions to Kim Jones for the post-game interview this year. Ah, sweet mysteries of life.

    14. brockdc
      April 5th, 2006 | 12:35 pm

      Oh, and you can pin this game on Torre and/or Proctor, but how nice would it have been if Myers actually did HIS job?

    15. JohnnyC
      April 5th, 2006 | 12:40 pm

      His job was to get Eric Chavez out in the 7th inning with a 1 run lead and Mussina having expended 93 pitches in his first start of the season, Farnsworth and Rivera rested and waiting in the bullpen. How about that? Let’s try not to bend over backwards to cover up for another godawful managing job by Joey Four rings. That and having Jeter bunt. Jason Kendall and his .660 OPS bunting and Jeter with his .840 OPS bunting is the difference between smallball and small brains.

    16. baileywalk
      April 5th, 2006 | 1:11 pm

      JohnnyC already spelled it out, but, Raf, if you were paying attention, you’d see that the Yankees gave up on Proctor being a reliever because he was so bad; the idea was to make him a starter in AAA and hope for the best. He excelled this spring as a starter. Having already pegged him as a guy who couldn’t pitch out of the ‘pen, what’s the point of sticking him back there now? They ADMITTED he couldn’t pitch out of the ‘pen and needed to start (this is why he started games the entire spring). But Torre still used him out of the ‘pen and he blew the game. It made much more sense to put Mendoza on the roster till Small got back and to keep Proctor in AAA so he could start. (And that doesn’t even take into account that Proctor had be traveling around and I’m sure out of his mind with grief at the possibility that his kid might die. Torre never trusts anyone, but then he throws a guy into a game when he’s clearly not ready; he did the same thing on Embree’s first day with the team — the guy had just gotten there and hadn’t even settled in, and he put him right into a game.)

    17. JohnnyC
      April 5th, 2006 | 1:15 pm

      Does a lot for Proctor’s confidence too, doesn’t it?

    18. Raf
      April 5th, 2006 | 1:28 pm

      JohnnyC already spelled it out, but, Raf, if you were paying attention, you’d see that the Yankees gave up on Proctor being a reliever because he was so bad

      Nice try… The reason Proctor was converted to a reliever was because he couldn’t cut it as a starter. Usually, if you’re not good enough to start, you find yourself in the bullpen.

      So he had a nice spring training. BFD. The Yanks have his stats from 2003-05 to go on. They mean a hell of a lot more than a handful of innings in ST.

    19. Raf
      April 5th, 2006 | 2:23 pm

      As for Embree, by the time he joined the Yanks, he had been in the league since 1992. He has started games, he has finished games. I would hope that after 11.5 years in the bigs, he would know what he needs to do to prepare for a game. It’s not like the taxi dropped him off on the mound.

    20. KevinK
      April 5th, 2006 | 2:32 pm

      Aaaaaugh! Another year of Torre managing in the past tense. Boy, would I ever like to see Larry Bowa take over….but, that’s another story.

      Has Joe failed to notice that Bernie Williams has become ancient? Why start him against a pitcher with 95+ MPH velocity? He was swinging at Harden’s FB after it was in the catcher’s mitt. For that matter, why is Bernie on the roster at all? Seriously, would he have made any other ML roster this year? Funny that no one comments about how quickly he deteriorated after steroid testing was started….

      Guess that Joe thought that his new $17 Million pitcher was too valuable to leave out in the rain.

      Why doesn’t Giambi, with the best OBP in the AL last year, bat in front of the reigning MVP? Why make Jeter give up an out in the middle innings with the slugging middle of the order to follow? (On second thought, those three straight K’s in the first were pretty pathetic.)

      As a parent, my heart goes out to the Proctors. Hopefully, baby Emmy will enjoy a full recovery from recent open-heart surgery. As a Yankee fan, however, I wish that Scott had been at her bedside in Miami last night.

    21. baileywalk
      April 5th, 2006 | 2:37 pm

      Raf, it is people like you who make life miserable. Listen up: PROCTOR WILL BE A STARTER THIS YEAR. They have already said he will be a starter with the Clippers in AAA. That’s why he STARTED in the spring. Because he is now a starter. Because he couldn’t cut it as a reliever, but Cashman thinks he has a decent arm, and he had one good start in the bigs, they were turning him back into a starter. Again, this is why he STARTED in the spring and did not work out of the ‘pen. He only made the team because of injuries. When he gets sent back down in a week or two, he will go to AAA and START. Because he is now a starter. I can’t comprehend what you don’t understand about this.

      As for Embree: the taxi didn’t drop him off on the mound, but he just flew in THAT MORNING and hadn’t pitched in days and before he could even take a breath, he was in a crucial spot. It was another great move by Torre.

    22. Raf
      April 5th, 2006 | 4:00 pm

      If he can’t hack it as a reliever, what makes you think he can hack it as a starter?

      We already have Aaron Small, we already have Tanyon Sturtze. Before that, we had Eric Plunk. And further back, we had Charles Hudson.

      It isn’t going to work.

      Proctor is a power arm, without much of an offspeed/secondary pitch, and even with his stuff, he doesn’t miss as many bats as he should. He’s 28 years old. He has reliever’s stuff, uses a reliever’s windup. He may start at AAA, but he’s a reliever. If he contributes anything at the ML level, it will be as a reliever.

    23. baileywalk
      April 5th, 2006 | 8:11 pm

      Raf, here’s the deal, and maybe it will finally penetrate your skull: Brian Cashman determines what these pitchers are, and he says Proctor is a starter. Your title comes from what you do, and Proctor will be a starter in AAA. Which means HE IS A STARTER. You may not think he has the talent to be a starter, but that doesn’t change his designation. He is a starter because he is STARTING BALLGAMES. That’s the bottom line. What Proctor can or cannot do does not matter.

    24. April 5th, 2006 | 11:13 pm

      FWIW, here’s how Proctor’s career – in terms of role – has been to date:

      1998-2000: RP, for the most part, in the minors
      2001-2002: SP in the minors
      2003: RP in the minors
      2004-2005: RP in the minors and majors

      You can throw out 1998 – he only pitched in 3 games.

      So, for two years, he was a RP who made some starts as well. Then, he was a SP for 2 years. And, for the last 3 years he’s been a RP.

      If you look at the stats when he was a SP:

      it’s not fair to say he couldn’t cut it as a SP. He did OK at it, in the minors, IMHO.

    25. JeremyM
      April 6th, 2006 | 12:56 am

      I’m trying to figure out why I was so excited for this team. It’s basically the same team as last year–same terrible defense, same feast or famine offense, same manager for better or worse–and an overrated center fielder.

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