• April 5th @ The A’s

    Posted by on April 6th, 2006 · Comments (15)

    I’m shocked that the Yankees lost a game that they should have won – because of poor pitching and defense. Just shocked!

    Shocked, I said.

    OK, yes, it’s just one game. And, yes, it’s just the third game of the season. But, now, the chances are strong that the Yankees will not be a .500 team heading into their home opener. And, that’s bothersome – because all we’ve heard this spring is how they know they need to get off to a fast start this year.

    I hope this is just a blip. But, if it’s not, it’s going to be a long season. Short of moving Cano to 3rd, A-Rod to SS, and Jeter to 2B, there’s nothing the Yankees can do to move any of their players around. And, that proposed infield shift will never happen. Well, at least, not as long as Torre is in charge. (Plus, I’m not convinced that A-Rod can handle SS – to the level the Yankees would need – given his size, age, years off the position, etc. And, there’s debate as to how good he was there in the last season he played SS too.)

    Maybe the answer is: Trade Cano, move Jeter to 2B, and get a true slick fielding SS?

    I dunno, I’m just thinking out loud here. But, that’s what happens after games like last night.

    Comments on April 5th @ The A’s

    1. RICH
      April 6th, 2006 | 9:39 am

      While it’s good to not ignore problems hoping they’ll disappear, do you really think it’s prudent to change 3 players’ positions after 2 games have been played?

      It harkens back to the days of the ’80s

    2. baileywalk
      April 6th, 2006 | 10:02 am

      The only person on this team who I want to get rid of is Torre. Jeter isn’t such a bad shortstop — even a cruel person would have to say average, and he often does things that are above average (at least in my opinion) — so I don’t really think you need him to go to second base. Everyone makes mistakes. Even the best shortstops in the game boot simple grounders. I don’t think Cano is a bad second baseman, either, actually, but that kid tends to make errors at the WORST time. Whenever the game is close in the late innings, he boots a grounder. (The worst thing Jeter did last night was not at least get the one out at first.)

      But Torre literally depresses me. It’s gotten to the point where I almost cannot watch late, close games. How he used the bullpen last night was absurd. The previous night, with a tie game, he won’t use Farnsworth after .2 inning of work. But tonight he warms him up and throws him into an inning like he’s matching him up against righties. Wow, I didn’t know the seven-million-dollar-a-year setup man was really just a right-handed Mike Myers. If you’re going to use Farnsworth in the eighth, then use him. But why was he unwilling to use him in a tie game, but IS willing to use him in a game where they’re down by two? He obviously doesn’t see Farns as a setup man. He is clearly “just a right-handed arm in the ‘pen.” It’s three games in, and I can tell Farns is going to be totally misused.

      Sturtze got the out with the bases loaded and Wright pitched a few scoreless innings, but I personally don’t think you have to take Wang out in that situation. I never get that reasoning: because he’s walked in a run, he’s lost it? Is that some sort of automatic? Besides the fact that he actually threw strike three and just didn’t have it called. This is a minor quibble, but when the alternative is Sturtze and Wright, let your starting pitcher get out of trouble.

      Torre should have taken Wright out as soon as he gave up that triple (nice non-play, Damon; I hope every ball doesn’t fly over your head like Matsui). He leaves him in, the floodgates open, and then he resorts to matching Farns against righties, which, if you haven’t noticed, makes me want to vomit.

      Finally, plenty of blame has to be given to Posada (or possibly the bench). Farnsworth fed Thomas nothing but fastballs. Farnsworth didn’t shake Posada off, so that’s what he was told to throw. Why not mix in a slider? He threw him the same pitch about four times, and Thomas finally timed it. Not only was he throwing the same pitch, his last fastball was right in Thomas’ sweet spot: down and over the plate. They might as well have served in on a platter. That was a horrendous sequence from Posada.

      Not to mention that now Farnsworth — who was used incorrectly — won’t be “trusted” by Torre and Sturtze, who got out of the inning, will be. Don’t be shocked if you see Grand Tanyon pitching the eighth against the Angels…

    3. April 6th, 2006 | 10:11 am

      Rich, here’s the question: Is it really just after 3 games, or, is it more like after 170 games (if you include last year and the past ALDS)?

    4. JJay
      April 6th, 2006 | 10:42 am

      Trading Cano is NOT the answer. That’s exactly what the Yankees used to do. What SS should they get? Vizquel is pushing 60, maybe they should trade Cano for him.

    5. April 6th, 2006 | 11:02 am

      baileywalk – FWIW, I agree on Farnsworth. He was a closer for the Braves last year. He should be used exactly the same as Gordon was in the past – have him pitch the 8th. This nonsense of making him a ROOGY or tag team with T.S. is insane.

    6. April 6th, 2006 | 11:04 am

      JJay – at one time, trading Soriano sounded insane too. But, if they guy is not going to improve in areas needed, at some point you have to cut the cord.

    7. JohnnyC
      April 6th, 2006 | 11:09 am

      Ease up on the defense, guys. We all knew going in what we were dealing with…a below average defensive team. Yes, Jeter, Cano, Matsui and Damon made bad plays (or no-plays)but so did golden boys Bobby Crosby and Eric Chavez on Monday. Does Billy Beane shift or trade them as well? baileywalk is right. What is really disturbing is that…surprise, surprise…nothing in Torre’s fearsome arsenal of managerial skills has changed (despite a lot of lip service from Joe himself). Like…not playing smallball in game 3 after talking it up all Spring (and when I mean smallball I don’t mean bunting but hitting and running, taking the extra base, challenging fielders, making contact instead of sitting back looking for the 3 run homerun (Sheffield and Arod especially), pitching Farnsworth two games in a row after vowing to alternate set-up men (yes, the ghost of Tom Gordon was seen warming up last night in the Yankees pen), having 2 games in a 3 game series lost by the 11th and 12th men on your pitching staff (shades of Jeff Weaver). Yes, I’ve seen it all before. Don’t need a W.B. Mason replay to see that.

    8. hopbitters
      April 6th, 2006 | 11:16 am

      It’s a little early to say Cano isn’t going to improve, isn’t it? He’s clearly not a natural out there, but we’re talking less than a full season’s worth of games. And it’s not like he has Soriano’s other problems (not running balls out, etc.). He’s actively trying to improve his defense (sought out help on his footwork on his own, so he’s cognizant of the problem). I don’t think he’s ever going to be Willie Randolph, but that doesn’t mean we should go looking for a “proven veteran” every time he boots a ball.

    9. DownFromNJ
      April 6th, 2006 | 11:48 am

      Jeter’s error was pretty rare for him tonight. Jeter usually has trouble getting to balls, but once he gets there he is pretty good at fielding them cleanly. He’s been a league average shortstop according to most defensive metrics over the past few years.

      On Cano… well hopefully he continues to hit 🙂

      On Torre… well if you want to know my view on him, my blog address http://firetorre.blogspot.com/ says it all.

    10. Raf
      April 6th, 2006 | 12:30 pm

      I’m not quite sold on this “enlightened” bullpen usage yet…

      Anyway, WRT the infield defense, I’m not too worried about Jeter & Cano. It happens. Could be worse; could be Soriano out there. As for Damon, that also happens. Could be worse; could be Bernie out there… If you’re going to start shifting players around, now is not the time to do it.

      WRT pitch selection, the pitcher has the final say. Catcher doesn’t like it? Tough; he can pitch then. I suspect he didn’t throw the slider, or didn’t want to mix the slider because of the situation; If you’re gonna get beat may as well get beat with your best pitch.

      So, are these former managers going to chime in, or is it too early?

    11. April 6th, 2006 | 12:42 pm

      Chill out, it’s only 3 games into the year and they lost to the A’s, not the Royals.

      I don’t see anything wrong with how Farnsworth was used. He wasn’t used as a ROOGY, he faced Chavez and got him out. I wanna know where this slider that will supposedly turn his career around is – he pumped fastball after fastball to the Big Hurt, and guess what, after 4 or 5 of them, a hitter like Thomas is locked in.

    12. baileywalk
      April 6th, 2006 | 4:19 pm

      Farnsworth has the final say on what pitch he throws, but it’s Posada’s job to put down the sign for the slider in that situation. He had Farsnworth throw five fastballs in a row to Thomas, the fourth of which Thomas was right on. He was throwing him the same pitch at the same speed in the same location. What happened was inevitable. What’s worse is that the last fastball was down, which is where Thomas can still catch up to it.

    13. April 6th, 2006 | 4:30 pm

      Maybe it’s just me, but, I have no issue with the hit allowed (by KF) to Thomas. The guy is a HOFer. He’s going to get hits, even off the best pitchers.

      This isn’t like Wohlers throwing a slider to Leyritz.

    14. Raf
      April 6th, 2006 | 5:21 pm

      This isn’t like Wohlers throwing a slider to Leyritz.

      I popped in that game over the weekend. Even McCarver said he was throwing too many sliders. Even so, I still don’t understand why he didn’t throw the splitter which was his 2nd best pitch back then.

      I have no problem with Thomas’ hit either. It’s just as likely Farnsworth hangs a slider and Thomas hits it out instead of a 2b. In that situation (2-2, bases loaded), if you get beat you have to get beat with your best pitch.

    15. brockdc
      April 7th, 2006 | 5:29 pm

      It’s pretty clear to me that Cano has yet to alter his approach at the plate. Unless he hits over .300 with power, I don’t really know how valuable he can possibly be.

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