• April 30th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on April 30th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    Crack!

    That was the sound of Tony Womack’s game-winning hit in the bottom of the 9th today. What a wonderful sound. It’s music to the Yankee fans ears. Let’s hope that it serves as the symbolic strike of midnight where this team now turns into what it should be (instead of what we’ve been watching so far).

    Just like Clark Kent has a toilet that needs an occasional cleaning, your friendly neighborhood Yankees blogger has a house to clean. And, I must confess that I decided to do some cleaning during the game today. And, while vacuuming this afternoon, I just happened to look up at the TV screen at the exact minute that Koskie hit his HR off Gordon to tie the game at three. The minute he hit it, I yelled out “Noooooooooooo!”

    I bet the neighbors on both sides of my house heard me – even though I had vacuum running, and Billy Idol’s Greatest Hits blasting in the CD player, as a filter. And, truth be told, at that minute, I started to think “This team is still snake-bit from the ALCS. They’re playing close games just waiting for something bad to happen – and that attitude is making the bad things happen.”

    If this was true, let’s hope that 9th inning rally today takes off the whammy-hex.

    The kid Wang looked real good today. He looked so good that we’ll probably trade him now for Rick Rhoden Jr. In any event, why, oh why, did they have to give him Andy Hawkins old number?

    ……..

    Back in 1984 and 1985, for some crazy reason, I kept a game log of sorts, for every Yankee game. Just a few notes per day, etc. (I guess I was blogging then in a way, twenty years before it existed?) I just ran across those notebooks today. Here’s what I had down for 4/30/84:

    - @ Chicago, Lost 5-3
    - April record (8-13), last place, 10 1/2 back (Det. 18-2)
    - Curt Brown now w/club, Montefusco disabled – 4/28
    - Mattingly played centerfield

    Thoughts on this today:
    1. Thank goodness no one in the AL East this year got off to a 18-2 start.
    2. Who the heck is/was Curt Brown?

    I’ll try and post a few more of these “look backs” throughout the season – for fun.

    April 29th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on April 29th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    With all the leather flashed at the Stadium tonight, this game would have been a great Yankee Classic game for YES – except the Yankees lost.

    In the 17 seasons prior to this one, Randy Johnson has allowed only 21 HRs to LH batters (in his career). That’s 1.24 HR to LH batters per season. So, what happens tonight? Unit gives up a 2-run HR to the only LH batter in the Jays line-up and the Yanks lose 2-0. It’s really starting to look like this is not going to be a magical year.

    On the bright-side, the game was only 2 hours and 8 minutes long. With a 9:17 pm EST end-time, at least people had the rest of their evening to go find something fun to do.

    In 10 of the Yankees 14 losses so far this year they have scored 3 runs or less. I’m starting to believe that the team’s ranking in On Base, Runs Scored, etc., is very misleading and inflated by the games where they have won 19-8, 11-2, 11-1 and 12-4.

    What do you think would be happening now if Rick Down was the team’s batting coach? Stein has an untouchable in Donnie Baseball. If George thought the Yogi thing was bad, he’s seen nothing – if he takes the ax to Mattingly. I wonder if Torre realizes this too?

    At some point, Stein will feel that he needs to do something to try and jump start the team. And, George does not have many options. This is all starting to point to one thing that can happen.

    April 28th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on April 28th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    It’s pretty darn depressing when the Yankee highlight for the game is Jason Giambi hitting a ground ball to the left of second base.

    New York actually got a decent start out of Kevin Brown and wasted it – being held to run one by a pitcher with a lifetime road ERA over five and an overall ERA this year that was just as bad.

    Discounting April 18th through the 21st, where the Yankees split a two-game series with Tampa Bay and then won a two-game series in Toronto, the Yankees have now lost 5 three-game series in a row.

    This is the first time in the last 15 years that the Yankees will have a losing record for the month of April.

    In two weeks, the Yankees have a west coast road trip and then a Mets series (with a Boston series not far behind that). Things better improve before that time – or else I could really see Big Stein making a change.

    Lastly, is it just me, or, does Vladimir Guerrero look like he’s playing in Frankenstein’s body? When he swings, runs, fields, etc., it has “kids, don’t try this at home” written all over it. Sure can’t argue with the results though……….

    April 27th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on April 27th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    I elected to watch Blade Trinity on DVD tonight instead of the game. Based on the outcome of the game, looks like I made the right choice. (For the record, Trinity was OK. Not as terrible as the box-office results and reviews would lead you to believe. It was not as good as the first two Blade movies – but, if you’re a fan of the genre, it’s worth checking out on your own terms, meaning when it’s a good fit for you in terms of your mood and time.)

    On the game today, I’m not sure, but, I would guess that the majority of the time that you have less than a dozen baserunners in a game, hit into three DPs, and have a guy thrown out at the plate, you’re not going to light up the scoreboard. One run a game is just not going to do it in the Bronx. No shock on the “L” tonight.

    Mussina is vexing, eh? I’ve done some statistical comparisons on him. There are not many pitchers who have the same relative results as him, career-wise, through the same age – and few of those that do were RHP. Therefore, I can find nothing that screams “A pitcher like Moose is usually toast once he hits 35.” Still, he had the worst year of his career in 2004 (albeit shortened due to injury) and he has not got off to a fast start this year. At some point, the questioning on him has to get more severe. And, that point is probably about three weeks away.

    Brown goes tomorrow. Oh, boy. Maybe he’ll surprise us? Maybe I should see what else has come out this week on DVD?

    April 26th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on April 26th, 2005 · Comments (11)

    It’s Rabbit Season.
    It’s Duck Season.
    Rabbit Season.
    Duck Season.

    It must be Duck Season because the ducks were on the pond tonight and A-Rod cashed in with, in his own words, a “magical” night: 4 for 5 with a big fly hat trick and 10 RBI. Personally, I’d rather see Alex hit one homerun and drive in three, for three days in a row, than do it all in one night. Maybe this is the start of something for him? But, didn’t we say that on April 18th when he went 5 for 6 in a game? And, after that, A-Rod went 3 for his next 21. Let’s see tomorrow’s game for Alex.

    If this is how Colter Bean is going to fill out his Yankees uniform – today, at the peak of his athletic prowess – then, I shudder to think about how he’s going to look in the pinstripes at Old Timer’s Day 2020.

    It’s official: Torre referred to Carl Pavano as “Pav” in the post-game. That’s his nickname. Too bad that Carl is not a more of a street guy. “Pav-Dog” just has a “ring” to it.

    By the way, enough about Mo Rivera. Let’s talk about Keith Foulke for a while. OK?

    April 24th vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on April 24th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    I saw Andy Phillips play a game during his first professional season. This was also the first year of the Staten Island Yankees – in 1999 – when they played on the field of the College of Staten Island (and before they had the ballpark down by the Ferry). Phillips was doing very well that season – coming off a college year where he was a Baseball America Third-Team All-American.

    That was an interesting S.I. squad. Alex Graman, Brandon Claussen, and Dave Walling were the three big studs in the rotation and the future of Yankee pitching. That worked out well, huh?

    Andy Brown was on that team – a 1st round draft pick, taken by the Yankees before they took some HS RHP pitcher by the name of Mark Prior (who elected to go to college instead). Brown might be one of the all-time worst 1st rounders taken by the Yankees. They stayed with that kid forever and he could just not make contact.

    Chad Sutter was the catcher on that team – Bruce Sutter’s kid. In fact, at the game where I saw Phillips, Bruce Sutter and his wife were there – sitting way out in the CF bleachers, by themselves, to watch their son. Chad could not hit at all either and was soon gone.

    But, Phillips looked good that night. The next year, a friend of mine was looking for names of prospects – as he wanted his son (who was 11, I think, at the time) to send out some balls to promising minor leaguers for autographs. I mentioned Andy and my friend did send out the ball to him. Phillips signed the ball and returned it to my friend’s kid.

    The funny part of the story is that Andy made a reference to the bible on the ball under his signature – something like “3:11″ – and when my friend’s son got the ball in the mail, he called his Dad right away at work and said that Phillips signed the ball and that he even put “the time” on it. Hearing the story later, I had to explain to my friend that it was not really the time that he wrote on the ball, etc.

    Long story short (too late?), Phillips seems like a good guy who has put in his time in the minors – six years. That’s a very long time for someone who was drafted as a college senior. It’s very nice to see something good happen (like today) to a person like that.

    Yanks are now 8-11 on the season – the same mark that they had last year at this time. However, last season, when they reached 8-11, they then went on to win their next 8 games in a row to push their record to 16-11. Can they do that again now? I hope so.

    April 23rd vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on April 23rd, 2005 · Comments (0)

    I feel bad for Jaret Wright. Yes, his pitching performance to date this season makes one recall past seasons such as 1991 – and pinstripe pitching disasters such as Wade Taylor and Chuck Cary. However, at least to me, it seemed like Wright cared and was trying to do well – and was very upset that he was failing. That’s all you can really ask from a player – to care and to try. And, to be upset when he does not succeed. I’d rather see that reaction than what we see from A-Rod each time that he fails with RISP and less than two outs. (And, it seems like this happens everyday.) That “How can this me happening to me, I’m a baseball god” reaction of Alex’s is starting to play a little thin after seeing it repeatedly.

    There could be something positive to come out of this situation. For a new pitcher to get a chance to prove himself, many times, an unexpected and undesired opening needs to occur. On April 29, 1977, Mike Torrez was late arriving from a trade and the Yankees gave some skinny LHP from the pen a chance to start a game – because they had no one else. When the kid was done, his # 49 ended up retired in Monument Park.

    Maybe someone like Chien-ming Wang can take advantage of Wright’s misfortune? He’s 25, can gas it up to 95, and has a slider and a split. Put it this way, could he do much worse than Wright was doing?

    More importantly, the boys are now 7-11 on the season. This is their worst start since 1997 (the last year they did not win the AL East). And, in losing 11 of their last 16, they have not played well at all. If this continues, say, up until the one-quarter pole, and they’re 15-25 (or something worse) at that marker, I would not be shocked to see Torre get axed. Two-hundred mill buys a lot of expectations.

    And, whereas Joe was an untouchable this time 4 years ago, the fans would be less upset with him going now given his pushing of Mo in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series (using him in the 8th and 9th innings), the ugly and complete collapse in the ALDS in 2002, using Jeff Weaver in the 2003 World Series, and the greatest flop ever in the 2004 ALCS. Perhaps the big question now for many Yankee fans to noodle is: Who would be the best man to rally the troops this season?

    In the interim, until the worst happens for Torre, perhaps Joe should reconsider his choice of batting A-Rod and Giambi BTB in the line-up (as he has done the last couple of days). It’s a free “get out of jail free card” for the opposing pitcher when those two come up with runners on. Funny, when Jason first came here, he was supposed to be the team’s best hitter. And, the same thing about Rodriguez when he showed up. Now, they’re probably the two guys on the team that you least want to see up with RISP. Thank the heavens for Matsui and Sheffield. Where would the Yankees be without those two? I don’t even want to think about it.

    April 22nd vs. The Rangers

    Posted by on April 22nd, 2005 · Comments (0)

    When it was announced that Channel 9 would carry Yankee games this year, I thought it would be creepy to watch them there – since WOR was a Mets station for most of my life. Actually, it was no different from watching on YES. Cool.

    Speaking of cool, it would have been fun tonight to see Sheffield face Cordero with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th representing the winning run. Triple-digits heater against one of the best fastball hitters in the league. Oh, so, close. Shoot, that’s baseball.

    Part of me wants to give Kevin Brown some credit for tonight. He could have went mushroom cloud right there in the first when Texas started Charlie Browning him on the hill. That would have been a killer for the pen. It takes weeks, sometimes, for a pen to recover from that. Instead of pulling his usual Dr. Dr. Zachary Smith routine (You know, I have a delicate back, my dear), Brown was able to hang in there for six. That’s a good thing. On the other hand, the last time that Kevin was able to make 5 or more starts in a month for NY, and have an ERA under 4.05 for that month, was April 2004. I’m starting to think if it’s Brown, we have to flush it down.

    Isn’t it time to start thinking about letting Roy White coach 3rd and put Sojo at 1st? Louie’s baserunning style as a player was pretty much run until you’re tagged out. He’s coaching the same way. White was a good baserunner – and smart. Maybe it’s time for a switch?

    When we traded for A-Rod, he was supposed to hit for us the way Manny hits for the Sox. Instead of Manny, it looks like we got the second coming of Danny Tartabull. If anyone wants to say “Com’on, A-Rod had a good season last year. Better than you think” – to that, I say, check A-Rod’s 2004 vs. Tartabull’s 1993. It’s about the same. When it comes to being an effective batter, right now, Alex can’t carry Manny’s bottle of Prozac.

    On the bright side tonight, the Red Sox lost. Eduardo Perez taketh away and he giveth. It only seems fair.

    Lastly, a thank you to David Pinto for a mention today over at Baseball Musings. Very kind and always appreciated!

    April 21st @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on April 21st, 2005 · Comments (9)

    File tonight under: Nail-biter. Some random game thoughts:

    Regarding the play that Tino made on the pop-up in the 9th – and, put a star next to that puppy – if he makes that play in the same spot during a World Series game, we’d be talking about it for the next quarter-century. Also, what are the odds that Giambi makes that play in that spot if he’s playing 1B? About the same odds of someone confusing Yao Ming for Pam Anderson.

    I’m not really into the latest law enforcement regs, but, when did it become a crime to throw strikes to Orlando Hudson?

    It was encouraging to see Tom (I swear I didn’t toss my cookies in Boston) Gordon touch 94 a few times on the gun tonight. Maybe he’s on the way back?

    Joe having Quantrill warm up tonight and then ditching him for Gordon was interesting. Torre usually warms a guy to bring him in. In Gossage’s book, he said that RP in the past would call this getting a “dry hump.” (Being warmed up and not getting into the game.) Ballplayers create the best slang.

    Gustavo Chacin (who’s full name is Gustavo G. Adolfo Chacin, by the way) is something with those shades. I’ve already seen some ‘net references to him and Corey (Sunglasses at Night) Hart. Personally, the first thing I thought was “The dude reads too many comics and thinks he’s Scott “Cyclops” Summers of the X-men.” Turns out it’s just a prescription thing – like that Punky QB Jim McMahon doing the Superbowl Shuffle. (Chacin actually reminds me of a young David Wells, talent-wise, that is. He could be a good one.)

    Lastly, I want to thank Alex and Cliff of Bronx Banter for the mention of WasWatching.com there today. Alex and Cliff are classy dudes, great Yankee fans, and their site is highly recommended.

    Karma at work: Mel Stottlemyre getting a sore heel. Only fair, and all, with him being the Yankees Achilles’ heel for a few seasons now.

    Yankee baseball. You’re soaking in it.

    April 20th @ The Blue Jays

    Posted by on April 20th, 2005 · Comments (8)

    Carl Pavano is starting to remind me of a right-handed version of Andy Pettitte. Both of them have that Betty Davis eyes thing going at times. Both of them are big body pitchers that you would expect to throw harder than they really do chuck. Their uni numbers are close – 45 now for Carl, 46 then for Andy. And, it seems like they are alike in the sense that they’re capable of throwing a great game or a hosting Tee-ball session. I know many were down on the signing of Pavano based on the “one-year wonder” theory. But, I think I’m going to like him – as I did Pettitte.

    Joe T in the post-game said that Big Rube will be a few days with the bicep strain. Now that Bernie’s knee is barking – and we can thank Torre for that expression, we never used it before he was here – it could be interesting over the next week or so if an OF goes down or gets tossed from a game. We might see Womack do some emergency OF time.

    Those electronic signs on the OF fences at the SkyDome/Rogers Centre are like a nightmare after watching “Bladerunner” and then taking cold medicine. Please, please, please, Big Stein, do not put them in the new Stadium in the Bronx!