Sunday, April 25, 2004

We've Moved

In case you missed it, we can now be found at http://www.ymtr.com/

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Moving On...

I suppose I should've consulted Scott before going ahead with this, but oh well...

I'm sure I don't need to tell those of your that have blogs that are "Powered by Blogger" how frustrating and flaky it can be at times. So, with that in mind, Scott and I decided to register a couple of domains so that we could eventually move this blog over to one or both of them, once a suitable replacement for Blogger could be found. Well, that replacement was found several weeks ago, in the form of Movable Type. So, once I got that installed the only remaining hurdle was to import all of our 300+ Blogger posts, which, thankfully, was rather easy to do.

The new site has been ready to go for over a week, so our plan was to unveil it this past Monday, but, for no apparent reason, that didn't happen. Well, it's happening now.

It is my great pleasure to present to you, our loyal readers (we're up to 5 now!), the new and improved Yankees, Mets and the Rest.

The only thing missing from the new site are the comments, and if I can figure out some way to import them into Movable Type without having to enter them manually (not going to happen), I wll. If I can't, I expect each and every one of you to remember all of the posts on which you commented, find it in the archives on the new site and post it again. I'll need this done by 6:00 PM tonight. And I don't want to hear any excuses.

So, in case you missed it, that new address is http://www.ymtr.com/. Don't forget to update your links and bookmarks.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Seo Must Geo

3rd Inning:

Obviously the Mets failure to get a run in with the bases loaded and no one out is disgusting, but even more pitiful is the continued suckitude of Jae Seo. With the wind blowing in at Wrigley, Seo has already allowed home runs to Moises Alou (a two run shot in the first inning) and a solo shot to Todd Walker in the third.

It's beginning to look more and more like last year was a fluke, and we're now seeing the real Jae Seo. And it ain't pretty. Whether it's Scott Erickson, Grant Roberts or Aaron Heilman that replaces him, Seo should not get another start until he fixes whatever it is on or in him that is broken. I don't care how upset or "inconsolable" he is when he gets demoted this time around. It needs to happen.

Stuff

Mets prospect looks to fit in

Mets.com has a piece up about Victor Diaz and his transition to the outfield, which is said to be going well. According to Baseball America, Diaz has been charged with two errors so far in twelve games played, which isn't terrible at all, considering he's learning a new position. Even Mike Cameron has two errors this season.

Defense aside, Diaz has actually gotten off to a somewhat un-Diaz-like start at the plate with a .250 AVG/.280 OBP/.396 SLG, but it's obviously still way too early to be concerned.

I'm all for the Mets plugging their holes from within the organization, but I still favor the idea of the Mets looking to pick up a big outfield bat on the free agent market, if one is available. Given the choice, I think the Mets probably do, too. Obviously, with guys like Geoff Jenkins and Garrett Anderson signing extensions, and, depending on who you ask, Magglio Ordonez close to signing an extension with the White Sox, the options are becoming fewer and fewer, which increases Diaz's chance of being in right field for the Mets on Opening Day in '05. While that wouldn't be a disappointment to me, I don't think it's the ideal situation for the Mets.

In other semi Mets-related news...

Indians call up pitcher Jason Anderson

As the headline suggests, the Indians called up Jason Anderson to replace Jeriome Robertson, who struggled in his only appearance with the Indians this season.

Even with their abundance of relief pitching, you have to wonder what it was that caused the Mets to give up on Anderson so quickly.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Game Notes

Nice little rally by the Yankees in the 3rd. I missed Matsui's double, but saw Tony Clark work his walk - and work it he did. Cairo followed with the classic hacker's at bat - he swung at all but one of the pitches he saw, and he saw about eight or nine. He was way behind the fastballs, until the last one, which he lined into right-center for a double. Matsui scored. Clark then scored on a Jeter groundout. Bernie strikes out and Timo Perez makes a great diving catch to rob Rodriguez. 3-2 now, going to the bottom of the 3rd.

Bot 4: A graphic on the YES Network just highlighted the only two non-Posada catchers in history to hit seven home runs in their teams' first 15 games. They were Gabby Hartnett and Todd Hugley. Hugley. Of the '96 Mets. Proofreaders? Anywhere? End of the 4th, still 3-2.

Top 7: After Mussina hung one to Crede last inning, the Yankees decided to get back to a one-run defecit. Posada put a beautiful swing on an outside pitch for a double and scored two groundouts later. Tony Clark worked his third walk of the game and Cairo followed by taking a pitch off his front shoulder. That was the end of Schoenweis, as Guillen brought in Cliff Politte...

...and Torre made a smart in-game decision. He sent Bubba Crosby in to pinch run for Tony Clark, representing the tying run. This would have been the right thing to do anyway, but I'm guessing Torre made the move because a right-hander came in to pitch for the Sox. That move goes for naught, as Jeter swings at ball four (low) and grounds out to 2nd to end the inning. I can't really fault Derek for swinging at that pitch. Home plate umpire Jerry Meals has had a large-ish zone all night, and he had to protect. 4-3, Sox.

Weird play by Travis Lee. He bobbled a grounder off the bat of Timo Perez, then recovered. He had plenty of time to flip the ball to Mussina, who was hustling to cover. Instead, he dove into the bag, forcing Mussina to leap over him, and still getting Perez by three or four steps.

I'm beginning to think that Lee got his super-defense reputation by making every play look like a tactical maneuver. He likes to add flourishes. The ones I've seen so far have been unnecessary - a poor-man's Jim Edmonds kind of thing. We'll see if the trend continues.

Top 8: Rodriguez is clearly pressing. On a pitch he should have tried to take up the middle or go the other way with, he hit a slow grounder to short. He was safe at first thanks to a weak throw and despite his dive into the bag. He then bluffed a steal attempt, distracting Sheffield on a fastball right down the middle. Let the game come to you, Alex. Sheffield ends up going 4-6-3, inning over.

Mussina survived the 8th. He really settled down after the first inning, getting ground balls all game long. The Yankees' defense (notably Rodriguez) has not really helped him out, but he's only given up one run the rest of the way, and that was a homer.

Top 9: Marte is in. I would rather have seen Koch.

Posada starts things off with a single. Sierra pops up to left before Joe runs for Jorge with Enrique Wilson. Matsui... singles to right, moving Wilson to third with one out. Good spot, right? Sadly, no. Travis Lee comes up to face the left-handed Marte and grounds into the 6-4-3.

It would have made sense to pinch hit for Lee. The question is, who with? Well, Giambi was available, and could have gone right out into the field for Lee. Flaherty could have hit and then, if necessary, come in to catch via a double-switch. He would have been a better option than Lee. I'd have gone with Giambi, to prevent a Flaherty-Koch matchup and to get one of the best hitters in the game up there with this game on the line.

Torre, who had been looking pretty sharp with his moves lately, lost his aggressive edge late. He didn't blow the game, but he didn't put the team in the best position to win, either. He had bullets left in his gun but did not pull the trigger.

Tonight's Yankees Lineup

1. Jeter, SS
2. Williams, CF
3. Rodriguez, SS
4. Sheffield, RF
5. Posada, C
6. Sierra, DH
7. Matsui, LF
8. Clark, 1B
9. Cairo, 2B

Joe has decided to rest Giambi and Enrique Wilson. There's a lefty on the mound, but that's just an excuse - Torre isn't afraid of starting Giambi against the likes of Schoenweis. It's nice to see Clark in the lineup. I was doubtful we'd see that in any non-emergency situation.

It's the bottom of the first (Yanks had nothing in the top) and I believe I just saw Mussina throw his first 90 mph pitch of the year.

Bad things happening. Harris walks, steals second and scores on two groundouts. Carlos Lee singles, Mussina issues another walk to Konerko, and a double by Ross Gload brings Lee Konerko home. The Yankees had Gload dead on that play between 2nd and 3rd, but Rodriguez and Cairo cooperated to blow it. No further damage, but it's already 3-0, White Sox.

Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!

I listened to the game at work so I wasn't able to see the errors by Gutierrez and Spencer in the ninth, but it sure sounded ugly. Once again, as Tony Batista crossed home plate my cell phone rang. I don't think I need to tell you who it was.

I wasn't able to answer the call, so here's what I heard when I checked my voicemail:

Trendon: I know you're just ignoring me. You damn well know you wanted to pick up that call. [unintelligible] This is what happens!

Bye!


O ye of little faith. I never doubted my beloved Mets for a second.

Yeah, I'm full of shit. It doesn't make me a bad person, though. Does it?

Jorge and Javier, bad news for DePaula, other random crap.

I always enjoy finding a column that sings the praises of Jorge Posada. Today, there's this one in New York Newsday.

It's a fun article, with some very odd and/or interesting moments.

Jorge on Jorge:
"I don't even know what I'm doing," Posada said. "Don't ask me."
I love it.

Javier Vazquez rebounded impressively from his previous start, a 6-2 loss to the Red Sox last Friday. Now 2-1, Vazquez allowed a run and five hits over eight innings, walking two and striking out six.

He appears the likely candidate to start Sunday (on just three days' rest) against Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Really? Let's see. We've got Mussina tonight, on four days rest for the first time this season. Contreras would be scheduled next - Friday. He wasn't exactly overworked in his last start. Kevin Brown is lined up for Saturday.

That brings us up to Sunday, which would be the final game of the three game series and Vazquez's three-days-rest start. Who could start in his place? Graman? Unlikely. Osborne? No, they'll probably have used him up in long relief by then. So yeah, it really looks to be Vazquez on three days rest. Given the current options it makes the most sense. It makes one wonder, though... How's Lieber feeling? Is there any team desperate enough to trade a decent starting pitcher for Lofton? (Answers: Better, but not perfect* and no.)

*After four seconds of looking for Lieber information I found the above-linked article. Didja miss it? Here it is again. Bad news about Jorge DePaula is found there:

As the Yankees expected, Dr. James Andrews examined injured right-hander Jorge DePaula and determined he would need Tommy John surgery to reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. DePaula's surgery is scheduled for today, by Andrews in Birmingham, and his recovery time is estimated at 8-to-10 months.
I didn't hear about this last night. Obviously, it's bad news. This doesn't put the Yankees into crisis mode or anything, but it does make it more likely that the Yankees try to acquire another starting pitcher. They're still well under the quota of 8 or so that they seemed intent to meet last year.

Finishing up, going back to the original Newsday article, here's Jorge talking about his home run:

"It was a pitch up in the zone," Posada said. "I didn't think he was going to throw me a strike there."
It's funny how memory works. The pitch started up - Garland's a tall guy and throws overhand - but Posada just about took that one off his shoetops.

I'm looking forward to the game tonight, when the Yankees attempt to pound the snot out of Scott Schoenweis. There was plenty of snot last time they faced him, but the Yankees failed to pound it out, bringing home only three of the eleven baserunners they had through six innings.

Has it come to this already?

Mike Piazza doubles home Kaz Matsui to give the Mets a second run for the first time in what seems like an eternity, as well as the lead over the Expos. No sooner does Matsui cross the plate when my cell phone rings. It's friend, occasional comment contributor and eternal pessimist, Trendon:

Me: Hello...

Trendon: They're still going to blow it.

Shortly after our conversation ended Mike Cameron doubled in Vance Wilson for the Mets' third run.

The Mets got the inning started with a walk by Kaz and a single by Karim Garica. Both came off Expos left-hander Chad Bentz, who, like Jim Abbott, was born with a deformed right hand and pitches and catches with his left hand. Now, if I'm being overly-sensitive about this I'll shut up, but is it just me or is the title of this recent ESPN.com article just not cool?:

Bentz may be a one-handed catch for Expos

Wiggy Hospitalized

Mets' Wigginton hospitalized after fainting spell

According to the Associated Press:

NEW YORK -- Mets third baseman Ty Wigginton was hospitalized after fainting at home and feeling dizzy at the ballpark.

Wigginton

Wigginton was in NYU Medical Center after complaining during Wednesday night's game against Montreal.

He is expected to miss New York's road trip to Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego, and it's likely that he will be placed on the 15-day disabled list.

"He looked pale and weak when he came to the ballpark and then he had dizzy spells during the game," manager Art Howe said.

Wigginton is batting .188 with two home runs and nine RBI.

Wigginton will be the third everyday Mets player to go on the 15-day DL. Left fielder Cliff Floyd was placed on DL April 12 with a strained right quadriceps. He was hurt while legging out a single in that day's game against Montreal. Second baseman Jose Reyes started the season on the DL due to a strained right hamstring.


The Mets have Ricky Gutierrez at third today, but you have to figure that Todd Zeile will see the majority of the playing time at third in Wiggy's absence.

Best wishes to Ty for a speedy recovery.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Dammit, dammit, dammit!

Between family commitments, work and exhaustion I've missed the last three games and I'm not happy about it. "Oh, I'll just take a quick nap, miss the first couple of innings at most." Suuuuuuuuure. Of course, you know what happened. I woke up just in time to hear that the game had ended. There's always the replay on YES in about half an hour, I guess.

I'm looking forward to seeing a strong outing from Javier Vazquez - one in which he'll give up maybe five hits and two walks in eight innings, maybe, striking out... how about six? I won't mind if his control isn't perfect, say if he throws only 72 of 113 pitches for strikes, since he'd still keep the White Sox to just one run or so. It'd be nice to see Mariano come in to slam the door in the ninth.

Oh, I'd also like to see Rodriguez knock one out, maybe Posada too. I can dream, can't I? Come to think of it, that's exactly what I was doing while the game was on, so I guess that answers that.

Silliness aside (we'll see how long that holds up), tonight's lineup was somewhat interesting.

1. Crosby, CF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Rodriguez, 3B
4. Giambi, 1B
5. Sheffield, RF
6. Posada, C
7. Matsui, LF
8. Lee, 1B
9. Wilson, 2B

Bubba Crosby leading off, eh? No big argument from me, although I could have gotten behind moving everyone else up a spot in Bernie's absence. Sure, bat Rodriguez second, shake things up a little to get him out of his slump. Oh, wait, he homered? Never mind.

Nice to see Posada hitting 6th against a righty, too. Torre now seems to be aware that Matsui has yet to show that he can carry Jorge's jock as an offensive player. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see Hideki improve to jock-toting quality, but it just ain't that way.

I'm off to complete the transition from narcoleptic to insomniac. Catch you later.

Post Mortem

Damn you, Brad Wilkerson!

First, let me confess that I started writing about how the Mets lost tonight's game before the game was even over. I actually started in the seventh inning. I know, shame on me. But sometimes you just know. I knew last night, and I knew tonight. There was just no way that any breaks were going to go the Mets' way, and, as has been their custom recently, they certainly didn't do much to make their own breaks.

Yet another strong performance by a starter went to waste, though the bullpen can't be blamed for it this time. An error - by Mike Cameron of all people - and an offense that's starting to make the Expos look prolific are to be blamed for a second consecutive brilliant start by Tom Glavine that went down the toilet.

Glavine, who was mentioned most prominently as being a pitcher who would benefit from the addition of Cameron, ends up with his first loss of the season as a result of Cameron's misplay that allowed Orlando Cabrera to go all the way to third on what should've been a single. Obviously that kind of thing won't be the norm for Cameron, but a team that isn't scoring can't afford to be giving any runs away.

Credit also must go to the Expos for the strong performance turned in by Livan Hernandez, who was Glavine's equal on the mound, and for their defense; specifically the throws from Juan Rivera and Brad Wilkerson to cut down Mike Piazza and Karim Garcia, respectively, at the plate. Wilkerson's throw in particular was as perfect a throw as you will ever see. Brian Schneider also did a great job on both plays, getting a tag on Piazza in the second, and holding onto the ball on Garcia's attempt to take him out in the eighth.

Jason Phillips, who went public with his dissatisfaction over his benching the last few days, was back in the lineup and did nothing to prove that Art Howe was wrong to sit him. Now, I'm as big a Jason Phillips supporter as anyone, but he needs to shut up and let his bat do the talking. Todd Zeile's swinging the bat well and Phillips isn't, so with the team struggling Howe is right to go with the hot hand. If the rest of the team was producing you could afford to leave Phillips in there and let him hit his way out of this slump, but the Mets don't have that luxury right now. I don't have a problem with Howe's decision at all.

Something that shouldn't be lost in all the of the things that went wrong tonight was the play of Shane Spencer, both at the plate and in the field. He made a couple of really nice plays in left field, and if not for the fine defense of Jose Vidro, could have easily been 4-4 at the plate. I'd like to see him get the majority of the playing time in left until Cliff Floyd is ready to return.

The Mets will try to salvage a split of the series tomorrow afternoon. Steve Trachsel (1-2, 5.82 ERA) will be be opposed by John Patterson (1-1, 4.09 ERA).

Broken Record

I think Fran Healy needs to say "lunging and reaching" a few more times tonight. Maybe we'll even get lucky enough to have him go off on one of his "preparatory hitch" tangents.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Bullpen From Hell strikes again

Cadet Eugene Tackleberry reporting for duty, sir!

OK, so it's David Weathers and not Tackleberry, as my friend Dan calls him. Anyway, just as I was getting ready to write about how Al Leiter pitched, and how Zach Day was just as good or better than him, the usually reliable Weathers comes into the game in the eighth and promptly gives up a home run to Jose Vidro that gives the Expos a 2-1 lead. That was followed by a hard single off the bat of Met-killer Orlando Cabrera.

Weathers managed to pitch his way out of any further trouble, but the damage has already been done.

Luis Ayala is on to pitch the bottom of the eighth for the Expos. Kaz leads off by hitting a shot to deep left, but it ends up being a pretty routine play for Terrmel Sledge (cool name). Garcia follows with a weak grounder to Vidro for the second out. Zeile worked a full count after falling behind 0-2, but ended up taking a called third strike to end the inning.

John Franco will pitch the ninth for the Mets. He'll face Sledge, Jamey Carroll and Brad Wilkerson.

9:51:

Franco gets through the ninth, allowing only a harmless single to Wilkerson.

The Mets will send up Piazza, Cameron and Valent. Rocky Biddle will try to close it out for Montreal.

9:55:

The Mets didn't make things very hard on Biddle. He needed only six pitches to finish them off. Piazza grounded out to third, Cameron to short, and Valent was left standing with a bat on his shoulder.

That sucked!

Hooray!

The Mets posted a much-needed 4-1 victory over the hapless Expos last night. And while Tyler Yates didn't match the performance from his debut against the Expos in Puerto Rico, he was far better than the batting practice pitcher he was impersonating in his last start on that cold, rainy night last Wednesday.

In 5 & 2/3, Yates allowed only one run (earned) on five hits and three walks, while striking out only one. And for a change, the Bullpen From Hell (or BFH, as it will be known from now on) managed not to waste another decent outing by the starter, though it wasn't for lack of trying. Braden Looper had a spring training semi-relapse and loaded the bases on three consecutive two-out singles in the ninth, but escaped further danger by inducing a game-ending groundout from a slumping Tony Batista.

Fan favorite Mike Stanton contributed a scoreless seventh and eighth.

Looking to tonight's game, Al Leiter, who has yet to allow a run in his 10.1 innings, will look to continue his streak against the team (the Expos) that has scored the fewest runs (20) in the majors by a considerable margin. The Phillies are next to last with 37 runs scored over their first 11 games. Leiter's mound opponent will be Zach Day (0-1/3.75 ERA/1.08 WHIP/12 IP), who has been very successful against the Mets in his relatively brief career, boasting a 3-0 record with a 1.85 ERA in 24.2 innings.

Correction:

As Dave pointed out in the comments, Zach Day did get charged with a loss to the Mets on April 9th. I made the mistake of not taking his stats for this season into consideration.

Thanks, Dave.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Patriot's Day Game

I missed the game yesterday, as I was out and about. I'm sure you'll find plenty of good recaps.

I'm working today, which means I can't actually watch the game, but with the aid of the Yahoo! Sports GameChannel and MLB.com's Gameday Audio I can follow along in semi-style.

Yankees are up 3-0 midway through the second inning. Travis Lee brought in Sheffield and Matsui (single, walk) with a double, and Flaherty brought in Lee.

[Time lapse]

I was only able to look in a couple of times, but there was certainly some ugliness there. How on earth did David Ortiz end up with an infield hit?

Jeez.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Swept

Losing three in a row to the lowly Pirates...just awful.

I know I cried foul when Jae Seo was demoted, though maybe not as loud as some others, but he's lost me as a supporter. He was just brutal today. He accomplished the unthinkable, which is that he made me look forward to Scott Erickson returning from the DL.

The Mets obviously knew something we didn't when they sent him down. I, for one, will not shed any tears for him when he gets sent down again.

On a positive note, with his two scoreless innings of work Grant Roberts brought his ERA all the way down to 17.36

Deja Vu

ESPN.com: Mets sign Botallico to minor league deal

I guess his strong spring performance wasn't enough to get Ricky Bottalico a job anywhere else in the majors, so he decided to take a minor league deal from the Mets and accepted an assignment to Norfolk.
I would guess that he'll probably just make a few appearances in Norfolk to shake off any rust that might have accumulated since he left the Mets at the end of spring training, then join the big club and hopefully provide some stability in a bullpen that has been too awful for words.

The question is, who would he replace? If either Dan Wheeler or Orber Moreno struggle, one of them would be the obvious answer. But it could also be a sign that the Mets are shopping Mike Stanton or David Weathers, both of whom have had bouts of inneffectiveness thus far; Stanton moreso than Weathers.

Earlier this spring, it was suggested that a strong showing by Bottalico could make Weathers expendable, but the Mets pretty much shot that down when Jim Duquette stated in an interview that appeared on the team's official web site that they intended to keep Weathers beyond the end of this season, when his contract expires. However, since Weathers probably has the most value on the trade market of anyone in the Mets' bullpen, it's possible that they've changed their minds.

Stanton, on the other hand, has little or no trade value at this point because of his poor performance and bloated contract (2 years/ $6 million remaining). If they were actually able to find anyone that's interested in Stanton, the Mets would likely have to pay the majority of the remaining portion of his contract; something they're probably reluctant to do since they already had to do it with Roger Cedeno.

Speaking of the Cedeno deal, Wilson Delgado, who, along with Chris Widger, came over from the Cardinals, is apparently tearing it up at Norfolk. Through his first 8 games, he's posted a .433 avg./.485 OBP/.567 SLG in 30 AB's. If the Mets called him up and those numbers got cut in half it would still be better than what Ricky Gutierrez is doing right now.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Scroll-Saver

Find the latest Mets post here.

Schilling sharp, Heredia to DL, the game continues.

Curt Schilling began by throwing mid-90s with pinpoint control. The umpire is calling a low strike, and Curt was right on the black at the knees. Rodriguez got a good swing on a fattish fastball (Schilling's only mistake) but just missed, lofting it to centerfield.

Michael Kay just noted on the CBS broadcast that Felix Heredia (I'd pretty much forgotten about him) was placed on the 15-day DL today. This provides a temporary solution to the impending roster crunch as long as the Yankees are content to have Gabe White as the only late-game lefty in the bullpen. They should be.

Mussina looked good in the first inning although he still doesn't seem to have his best fastball. Perhaps he'll loosen up.

In the bottom of the 2nd, it's clear that Mussina doesn't have control of his breaking stuff. That's especially ungood, considering he's not breaking 90 mph with his fastball. After a groundout, Mussina walked Varitek and Bellhorn back-to-back. A soft single by Kapler loaded the bases.

As the Boston fans break out the first "Pokey! Pokey! Pokey!" chant ever to reach my ears, Reese strikes out on a way-too-high fastball. He'd run the count full to Reese, and then again to Damon before walking him, bringing in a run. That's three walks this inning. And then he hit Mueller!

Where is the Mike Mussina we've come to know? He walked 40 in 31 starts last year. This year, he's already walked 9 in 17.3 innings. Thankfully, Ortiz rolls a broken-bat grounder to Wilson for the third out. 2-0, Sox. Mussina has thrown 52 pitches through two innings. He'd better get it together, as Osborne and DePaula both pitched last night.

Here's something I didn't know about Alex Rodriguez: He blows boogers out of his nose before each at bat. I noticed it recently, and the cameras have caught him doing it over and over. He hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire so far, so maybe he should leave 'em in there.

Great play by Rodriguez on a shot to his right, but it's cold comfort as the Red Sox tack on another run on the play. 3-0. Mussina's up to 71 pitches after three innings.

Top 4, Sheffield on first with one out. Matsui has worked the count full, and now Sheffield is running on every pitch, for three foul balls. I don't like the risk, whether or not Matsui is a "contact hitter." It works out, though, as Matsui lines a single to right-center, Sheffield making third. Unfortunately, Posada grounds into a DP to end the threat.

God bless Johnny Damon. On a one-out popup by David Ortiz, Damon jogged from first to third and was easily doubled up by Rodriguez. He was even nice enough to step over second base, without touching it, on the way.

Top 5: Clark just CRUSHED a ball to centerfield for a long home run. Too bad he might never play again, what with Travis Lee joining the team.

Bottom: Just as Mussina seemed to be settling in, Ramirez blasted a ball out of the stadium for his 350th home run. That was a shot that made Clark's look feeble, clearing the Volvo billboard.

I would like to have Joe Torre's inner monologue scrolling across the bottom of the screen like one of those cable news tickers.
Wow, Mussina's really laboring out there. Home run, walk, single. Nobody out, maybe I should get somebody warming up. Naaaaaaaaaah.
The Yankees catch a break. Bellhorn lines into a double play, Kapler grounds out.

Top 6: Schilling seemed to tire somewhat in the 6th, loading the bases (K, walk, foulout, single, walk). He gets out of it, inducing Clark to ground out. 108 pitches, 72 for strikes.

Bottom: Osborne relieves Mussina - 99 pitches, 59 strikes. Quick flyout (well-hit) and strikeout, then Mueller lines one off the Monster for a single. Matsui's gotten a lot better out there since last year. Osborne is throwing as hard as Mussina, which says more about the latter than the former.

Top 7: With Wilson on first, Jeter just finished off a pretty damn fine at bat poorly. Down 0-2, he battled back to a full count, fouling off several pitches before watching strike three. Schilling threw at least 10 pitches in that at bat, and now he's out of the game. Mike Timlin is in. His control is awful, but he escapes on a double play hit into by Rodriguez. The Sox fail to score in the bottom, despite some defensive follies by the Yankees infield.

Top 8: Yankees don't even threaten to threaten. Bottom: More Keystone Kops defense. Bellhorn, on first by HBP, takes off for second on a slow curve. Posada threw a screwball down to second that went into centerfield. Bellhorn made third on the play. Pokey then bounced one back to Osborne, and they got Bellhorn out in a rundown that allowed Reese to make second. Damon then lined one to left that Matsui misplayed (didn't make much difference), scoring Reese. 5-1 now, 9th inning on deck.

Top 9: Foulke is in to nail it down, and he gets two quick outs from Posada and Matsui. Sierra pinch hits for Wilson and grounds a single up the middle. He takes second on defensive indifference, then scores on a hard single by Jeter. Jeter also takes second on DI. Groundout, 3-unassisted, and it's over.

Not much good happened today, other than a super play by Rodriguez in the field. Once again, the Yankees had opportunities and couldn't push runs across. I don't think that's going to be a lingering problem, but it sure isn't fun to watch right now.

Red Sox win, 5-2.

Saturday Notes and Lineups

Today we have Mussina vs. Schilling. Right about now, I think the Yankees' hitters are actually anxious to get out there and hit a fastball or two instead of Wakefield's flutterer. Mussina wasn't actually terrible in his last appearance after a rough first inning.

Otherwise...

Cashman: Lofton not on block

Actually, he didn't say that. This is what he did say:
"I haven't had any trade discussions with anybody."
Of course, that's not the same thing as "I don't want to trade him." It would be difficult, though. There are no indications that Lofton would agree to go away, and the team needs his permission to trade him since they signed him as a free agent.

Also discussed in that article is the coming roster crunch.

Manager Joe Torre said that when both Lofton and Williams are in the lineup, he is actually using two center fielders, which would leave him vulnerable if there was an injury.

Given that, Bubba Crosby might stay when Lee is recalled from the disabled list, possibly tomorrow or Monday.

Should Crosby stay, the Yankees might have to look at Tony Clark or Ruben Sierra in terms of making room.
Well, if Clark goes to the minors they run into the same injury-sub issues they'd have in centerfield if Crosby is sent down. If that's really a concern to Yankees' management, then Clark isn't the one to be demoted. Sierra? That'd make some sense, and would also make Clark the emergency corner-outfielder. The Yankees could also demote one of Osborne or DePaula, but that's not likely. One of the two is the fifth starter, when needed, for another month. The other is the sole long reliever. My vote goes to the near-useless Ruben Sierra.

Yankees notebook: Quantrill is fine after knee tweak

That's nice to see. No word yet as to whether or not he'll be available today.

The lineups have been announced.

Yankees
1. Jeter - Great.
2. Bernie - Great!
3. Rodriguez - Fine.
4. Giambi, DH - No problem.
5. Sheffield - I'd turn 4-5-6 upside down, but I don't really mind.
6. Matsui - Should flip...
7. Posada - six and seven. Old news.
8. Clark, 1B (!!) - Nicely done. Whatever gets Lofton out of the leadoff spot.
9. Wilson - Matters not.

Red Sox
1. Captain Caveman - Don't get me wrong, I would like to see more shaggy players.
2. Mueller - Millar's mini-me.
3. Cookie Monster
4. ManRam
5. Millar - Mueller's, uh, big-him.
6. Varitek - Thank heavens that monster Mirabelli is on the bench, huh?
7. Bellhorn
8. Gabe the Human Pectoral
9. Pokey

Enjoy the game.

Maybe I shouldn't have booed Bloomberg at the home opener

Wilpon has new stadium on his mind

This isn't really a new development, but Fred Wilpon is quoted in today's Star Ledger as saying that there are meetings scheduled in the next couple of weeks to discuss a new stadium for the Mets. These statements are similar to comments by Wilpon that appeared in a New York Post article in late February. I'd link to it, but it's been archived by now and you'd have to pay for it. And who in their right mind would pay for the Post?

Late Edit: Pardon my brain fart. I just remembered that there was also an article on Mets.com about the same thing:

New digs for the Mets?

I'll believe that the Mets are getting a new stadium when I'm sitting in it, but there are at least some recent signs to indicate that it could eventually become a reality. Back in early March, the New York Times ran a piece about plans to possibly condemn the infamous "Iron Triangle" (the home of all the chop shops and junkyards you see when you enter and exit the Shea parking lot) as part of an effort to revitalize the neighborhoods surrounding Shea, The U.S Tennis Center and Flushing Meadow Park. And though a new stadium for the Mets is not specifically mentioned as a reason for this revitalization project, it is among the ideas being considered.

The Morning After...

Tom's pain hurts Mets

I don't expect there to be many people apologizing to him, but it looks like the criticism of Art Howe for pulling Tom Glavine in the seventh inning last night was premature and unjustified. According to the Daily News the decision to remove him came from pitching coach Rick Peterson:

"If there's any finger-pointing, point the finger right here," Peterson said. "That was something that I felt was the best thing to do."


Trendon's disbelief notwithstanding, Glavine apparently did have some stiffness in his pitching shoulder, which resulted in his early exit. To his credit, he did tell Peterson that he could probably gut it out for another inning, but with the cold weather Peterson saw no reason for him to do so.

Now that makes sense. Even with an overworked, underperforming bullpen, there's no reason for the Mets to risk serious injury to their top starter in a meaningless game on a cold April night. I'll be the first to admit that I, along with a number of the other "Bleacher Creatures" did a fair amount of second-guessing when Todd Zeile came up to pinch hit for Glavine in the seventh, but let me also be the first (and probably only) to offer my apologies to loyal YMtR reader, Art Howe.

Sorry for doubting you, Art.

Oh yeah, and...

I GOT MY PICTURE TAKEN WITH MR. MET!!!

Oh, my back!

Even in defeat, I have to admit that sitting in the Pepsi Picnic Area/Bleachers was a blast. My voice is not likely to recover for at least a day or two. Maybe not even until Wednesday when they have the next Picnic Area promotion. And yes, it's already been decided that we're going again.

So, are you ready for the best part of the evening?

I GOT MY PICTURE TAKEN WITH MR. MET!!

Jealous?

Oh, you may not admit it, but you're jealous.

Anyway, more details tomorrow when I'm not dead tired. And to Trendon, there will be no positive spin from me on Glavine's premature removal from the game. That was just boneheaded. Does that make you happy, you miserable, negative prick?

Good night all!

Friday, April 16, 2004

The Wrap-up

Keith Foulke comes in to try to slam the door. Bernie pops out to center, then Ortiz (why wasn't Millar playing 1B by now, considering that Kapler came in to play RF?) drops an easy foul pop by Cairo. Cairo subsequently gets hit by a pitch, and advances to 2nd on a groundout to Williamson by Kenny Lofton. Two out rally?

(The "Yankees Suck" chant finally begins.)

No, it's not to be. Jeter flies out to Damon.

The chant was on target. The Yankees did suck tonight. Vazquez was not sharp, the defense was awful, and the team did not hit.

Offense:
Lofton was 0 for 5 in the leadoff spot. Thank heavens he got those five plate appearances, at the expense of Rodriguez, Giambi and Sheffield, right? As a whole, the team managed five hits.

Defense:
Giambi and Jeter both made ugly errors. Were these offset by the errors the Sox made? No.

Pitching:
Vazquez didn't have it. The Red Sox sat on his fastball and homered thrice.

So both New York teams lose tonight, albeit for vastly different reasons. It's not a good night to be an NY baseball fan.

Wakefield rolls along...

7th inning
After a Posada groundout, Matsui walks to get things moving, then Bernie works a walk after taking two very hittable pitches for strikes. The forgotten man, Tony Clark, now bats for Enrique Wilson. He's up there right-handed against the knuckleballer. Wakefield really crossed him up, going 2-0, then throwing two fastballs over the outside corner before striking him out on a knuckler outside the zone. That wasn't fair.

Lofton grounds meekly to first and the threat has ended. The Yankees got two runners on with one out and failed to advance them.

Cairo's in to play 2nd. Mueller walks and Ortiz flies out, which is the end of the day for Gabe White. Who's in? It's Jorge DePaula, of all people. He induces ManRam to ground into a double play, ending the inning.

8th inning
For some reason, Jeter's up there hacking at the first pitch against new Red Sox pitcher Scott Williamson. Groundout. Rodriquez lines out to third. Giambi works the count full, then swings at ball four (high), protecting.

(There's some idiot in a striped shirt in the stands behind home plate, hollering into a cell phone, trying to get noticed by his buddies. I'd like to knock him upside the head.)

Giambi pops up. But ManRam inexplicably drops it! He's high. (OK, that's probably not true, but it's fun to say.) A wild pitch sends Giambi to second base.

I was wrong about Scooter, by the way. Apparently, he's an idiotic representation of a baseball that explains all kinds of pitches. FOX just now had him up there explaining how a fastball works. FOX must think we're all retarded.

Sheffield works a walk now - and he earned it. Posada comes to the plate, 2 out, runners on 1st and 2nd. Joe Buck expresses surprise that Williamson is still in the game - against the switch-hitting Posada. Sure, Jorge has more power lefty, but this is Fenway. Big deal. Embree is warming up, but that's for Matsui, just in case.

Williamson throws one away - the runners advance. 2nd and 3rd.

Posada works the count full. (Odd thought - Scott Williamson doesn't look right with a beard.) Ball four. Bases loaded. Williamson will come out, Embree will come in to face Hideki Matsui, who represents the tying run.

Matsui is hacking away. He fouls off ball one (high). The second pitch is a strike, and that's fouled off as well, Matsui swinging late. Pitch three: fastball, blown by Hideki at all of 92 mph. Ugly.

DePaula's looking shaky, almost as shaky as the Yankees' hopes at this point. After getting Millar on a groundout, he's walked two straight batters. Stottlemyre came out to talk to him when it was 2-0 on Bellhorn (the last batter - have I mentioned he leads the A.L. in walks?), but DePaula put him on in four pitches anyhow. He then goes 2-0 on Mirabelli before finally throwing a strike.

Aside: Perhaps the Yankees need a hypnotist to convince DePaula he's already thrown two innings each time he enters a game.

Two more balls to Mirabelli, and the lesser of two Jorges is done. One out, and sacrificial lamb Donovan Osborne comes in, and gets the inning-ending DP. Mercifully. Still 6-2, Yankees last chance coming up.

Final Mets update

They go down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth and lose 7-6, wasting an absolutely stellar performance by Tom Glavine. Vinny is swearing right now, on the way to his car.

Down 5-2, Yankees need a break or three.

6th inning
Jeter groundout, Rodriguez almost beat out a grounder that was bobbled by Pokey Reese. The umpire calls him safe! Thanks, blue. Inexplicably, the official scorer rules it a hit. That'll be reversed if anyone cares to appeal. I bet Pokey doesn't mind. This is yet another data point supporting the argument that errors, and therefore unearned runs, might be best left uncounted.

Giambi walks. The Fenway crowd is now howling at any pitch taken by a Yankee that is not called a strike.

DAMMIT! DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT! What the hell was that? Rodriguez takes off for third - McCarver is certain it wasn't called from the dugout - and is out by a hair. Sheffield is then called out on strikes on a pitch that was clearly inside. No runs in. That attempted steal of third... I don't know what to say. Gary Effing Sheffield was at the plate. Whosever idea that was needs a good lashing. That was awful.

Mets update
They battle back to 7-6 on a pinch-hit 3-run homer by Eric Valent.
/Mets update

One out, Burks bashed a line drive off the Monster that Matsui played perfectly. He got rid of the ball instantaneously, which was nice, although there was no way Burks was making second even if Matsui walked it in there.

Base hit by Bellhorn, Sheffield throws it wide of third trying to get Burks. Vazquez is there to back up the play, though, and it's now 1st and 3rd, one out, the damnable Doug Mirabelli at the plate.

They have the trajectory of fastballs, but Vazquez is now throwing 80-81 mph. He jacks it all the way up to 88, and Mirabelli smacks it down the left field line for a double. 6-2. Javier's done, Quantrill in.

For the record, I don't think Torre waited too long to go to the bullpen. With three games in three days coming up, it was probably wise to take the chance on riding Vazquez in a game that didn't look promising anyhow. He was trying to save his relievers.

But jeez, what's wrong with Quantrill now? Two pitches in, the trainer is out at the mound. His left leg looked like it might have buckled slightly on the replay of his last pitch. He seems to be OK, gets a grounder that hangs Bellhorn up between 3rd and home. He's out. Torre now brings in Gabe White to face Damon. I don't see the point. Damon is not that much different a hitter against a lefty as against a righty. If Joe was protecting the bullpen before, why not now? I suppose the concern about Quantrill's leg could be a factor. Also, I guess that Q will be available tomorrow anyhow, seeing as he only faced one batter. Still, this seems like overmanaging to me. Further research: Gabe White isn't exactly a lefty specialist either. Anyhow, he gets a flyout out of Damon and we move on.

More game notes...

3rd inning
Oh god, this "Scooter the knuckleball" thing the FOX folks are trying to do is embarrassing. And we missed almost an entire at bat for that.

Joe Buck just informed us that Manny's "home run" traveled 310 feet. I've hit softballs 30 feet further than that, and I'm not a power hitter.

Nothing doing for Boston this inning, as Vazquez strikes out Burks to end it.

4th inning
Joe Buck points out that Bellhorn is playing in a very strange place even considering the Giambi shift. He's almost behind where Ortiz would be playing if he weren't holding Jeter on 1st. A look at Giambi's hit chart (courtesy of MLB.com) shows that this might not be that weird. A good-sized cluster of Giambi's 2003 singles went right through that area. Giambi ends up working a walk. Perfect double-play ball from Sheffield, inning over. Jeter's leadoff single is wasted.

Mets update
Glavine has still allowed only the one hit, and has walked just one through seven. Mets up 2-0. Vinny's feeling good. The anti-Glavine faction is also feeling good, but is waiting for an opportunity.
/Mets update

Doug Mirabelli. Remember him? The guy I was recently glad to see in the lineup? Yeah. He cranks one out to make it 5-1.

5th inning
With one out, Matsui put a nice swing on a ball and stroked a single to left field. After he advances to 2nd on a passed ball, Bernie brings him home with a hard single to right, 5-2. Two groundouts, top 5 done.

Mets update
Bad news. Orber Moreno was ineffective, Stanton also, in the 8th. Yahoo! Gamechannel doesn't have the sequence right, but it's now 2-2. Glavine's effort, for now, is wasted. Dave Weathers is in. Just tried to reach Vinny to find out what happened, but got voice mail. C'est la vie.

Oh! Something wacky happened, and Yahoo! isn't telliing me exactly what. Perhaps it's time to find a better way to follow other games. It's 7-2, Pirates now. Vinny's not happy.
/Mets update

Mueller singles to right, Vazquez goes 3-2 on Ortiz. Like magic, McCarver notes that this is a great time to run. Mueller runs on the pitch and it's a strike-em-out, throw-em out double play. It wasn't close. Mueller took two steps and a big dive after Jeter caught the ball. ManRam grounds out to end the inning.

What?

Am I seeing things? Budweiser just trashed "the money grubbing athlete" in a commercial that featured a baseball player committing to play several sports at once. The "interviewer" said "but the sports overlap, what about the conflict?" The "player" replied, "As long as the wallet's open wide enough, I don't see any conflict." In short, WTF? I'm trying to imagine an equivalent... say, a commercial on Will & Grace where some guy says, "Faggits - ain't they just disgustin'?"

I don't get it.

Quick thoughts as the game develops...

1st Inning
I wonder if Johnny Damon grew the beard to hide his face-fat.

Joe Buck, on Vazquez: "[He's] someone who should only get better." Hell, if that's the case, he's going to win about five Cy Youngs.

Damon appears to be as tall as Giambi. Did he have both feet on the base as they stood there?

2-0 Sox, Mueller sat on a fastball and put it in the stands.

Manny was clearly all over Vazquez's fastball throughout that at bat. Just as clearly, the ball did not go over the wall. Oh well, 3-0.

Nice to see Doug Mirabelli in the lineup for the Sox. He just cringed at one excellent curve from Vazquez (after a visit by Stottlemyre which followed a 4-pitch walk to Bellhorn, who leads the A.L. in that category), then watched strike two on a curve. Ohhhhh, man. A routine groundball on yet another curve just eats Jeter up and goes through his legs. That was fugly. 4-0 as Burks scores.

Um. Nice to see Pokey Reese at the plate? Javier works quickly to 0-2, popup, inning over. Man, that was nasty.

2nd inning
Two popups, and then Posada gets a hold of one for a homer. It looked like a popup off the bat to me. That's Jorge's fifth of the year. Matsui grounds out (shocking!), 4-1 Sox.

Yanks-Sox while Vinny's picnicking

So Vinny is at tonight's Mets-Pirates game, which the Mets currently lead 2-0. Through three innings, Tom Glavine has given up only one hit. I'm sure Vinny will have more to tell you later.

Meanwhile, I've decided to watch the FOX broadcast of the Yankees-Red Sox game on the hunch that more dumb things will be said on that broadcast than the one on YES. McCarver just noted, correctly, that these are very different teams than those that squared off last season.

Another hunch is that this will be a pitchers' duel. Tim Wakefield just owned the Yankees last year, while most of the Sox have never batted against Javier Vazquez. Believe it or not, I like Wakefield a lot. I have a soft spot for knuckleball pitchers. I absolutely love Vazquez so far.

Cliff over at the BRB says that it's hard to get up for this game. In a way, I agree. The teams that play tonight will likely bear only faint resemblance to the ones that play each other in September. However, it's still Yankees-Sox, so I can't complain.

Well, except about the Yankees lineup, where there's good and bad.

1. Lofton, CF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Rodriguez, 3B
4. Giambi, 1B
5. Sheffield, RF
6. Posada, C
7. Matsui, LF
8. Williams, DH
9. Wilson, 2B

It's outrageous that Lofton would be leading off with Bernie 8th, but that's old hat now. The good news is that Posada is still batting ahead of Hideki Matsui.

Beautiful play by Pokey Reese to get Lofton on a grounder, Jeter flies out to center, and Rodriguez gets greeted with loud booing, of course, before grounding out. We're underway.

Cashman reads this site! And your site! And takes our advice!

No, he really probably doesn't. Anyhow...

From New York Newsday: Yanks investigate market for Lofton

(I know, it's a Heyman article. It was so quickly done, however, that he fails to get very snide.)

This is preliminary, but it's a step in the right direction. Cashman is diplomatic:

Asked last night about the possibility of trading Lofton to break up the logjam, general manager Brian Cashman said, "I wouldn't be able to say anything. Things will play out. It's like when we had six starting pitchers. Many times it gets dealt with for you."
Well, that could mean injury as well as trade.

According to this article, when Travis Lee comes back he'll play first base a lot, with Giambi DH'ing more often. This would seem to indicate that Torre really has something against Tony Clark, as he wouldn't even let him sniff the field in recent games.

It takes until the sixth (and last) paragraph for Heyman to say something stupid.

The idea to sign Lofton was a curious one in the first place, as Williams wasn't going anywhere. While Williams is returning from an injury-plagued year, he is still a plus offensively and adequate defensively. Some executives view Lofton as a slightly better defensive player, but Williams has the confidence of manager Joe Torre.
No, John, no. The decision to sign him wasn't curious, despite the fact that Williams wasn't going anywhere. Williams was going to DH.

No, John, no. Williams is not adequate defensively. He comes up short on gappers that many (if not most) centerfielders catch up to. Baserunners routinely tag up from second to third on any medium flyball to the right of second base. Lofton's arm isn't much better, but his range certainly is - if he can run.

Anyway, the Yankees should not look to trade Kenny Lofton because of any of his faults. The Yankees need to trade Kenny Lofton because of the folly of Joe Torre. Kenny Lofton should never, ever bat any higher than 8th for this team, but Joe doesn't see that. "He's a leadoff guy, didn't you know that?" That's Joe, incredulous that anyone else couldn't see it. Lofton needs to go before he siphons off a lot of at bats from the guys who could really do something with them... which is just about everyone else in the lineup.

Kenny Lofton is a useful player - if used correctly. If he stays on this team, it's guaranteed he'll be used incorrectly, and that he'll be a detriment to the Yankees' performance.

Baseball Like it Oughta Be...FREE!

Who says the Mets never do anything for their fans?

As someone who has purchased ticket packages the past few years, I occasionally get offers E-mailed to me for free admission to the Pepsi Picnic Area. I received such an E-mail Wednesday night with an offer for tonight's game against the Pirates:

In appreciation for being one of our loyal subscribers, we would like to invite you to the first Friday home game at Shea.

Start the weekend celebration early from the left field bleachers at Shea as the Mets take on the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, April 16th at 7:10 p.m..


Print out this e-mail and bring it
to the Pepsi Picnic Area at Shea.

The first 1,000 fans to show up with this printed e-mail may enter the Pepsi Picnic Area at Shea for free. (One print-out per admission. Please print e-mail multiple times for family and friends who are attending).


Being the jaded snob that I am, I usually look for better seats and have never experienced a game from the bleachers, but this time I've decided that I will actually take the Mets up on their generosity. I had such a good time at the home opener that I was itching to go to another game this week, and since the weather on Wednesday night scared me off (a blessing in disguise) this seemed like an offer too good to refuse. So a few friends and I will be heading down to the game today after work. It's open to anyone that is among the first 1,000 people to get there with a printout of the E-mail, so if you didn't get it and are interested in going let me know and I'll forward a copy of it to you.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Goldman: Torre in a Box, Bill James Supplement

A link to the Pinstriped Bible archives has graced our sidebar since day one of this weblog, and I'm shocked to find I've never once linked to a column. The weekly column is available on YESNetwork.com. Goldman also writes for one of my favorite baseball websites, Baseball Prospectus, and is one of the authors of their excellent annual book.

This week's dispatch is titled Clueless Joe Forever. It uses a format featured in Bill James' wonderful guide to baseball managers from 1870 to today, which is fittingly titled The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers: From 1870 to Today. (There are four used copies just waiting for you to buy 'em.) It's the "...in a box" format that James had used in previous works, where there are a series of questions or headings that, when answered or expanded upon, lead to a pretty full picture of the subject.

So go read that remarkably even-handed piece and then come back here for a bit of supplemental reading. I'll wait.

*

*

*

OK. Goldman says, of James' book, "The book is now out of print and James never got around to visiting Torre, whose claim to history was not apparent in early 1997." Well, Joe didn't get his own essay or anything, but he was referenced several times. I dug out my copy and decided to utilize the ol' index for a bit. Torre gets nine mentions. Here they are... if you have a copy, you can play along!

p. 101
James brings out a chart showing that as time passed, managerial jobs went less frequently to former star players and more frequently to fringe players or non-major leaguers. It's broken up, fairly arbitrarily, into one sample year out of each fifteen. I'll throw it in here (pardon the amateur table, complete with Blogger-inspired huge break between it and this text):







Player skill1945196019751990
Outstanding Players8653
Good Players66710
Fringe Players281312
Didn't Play in the Majors 1158
Good or Outstanding82%57%40%39%


Torre was counted among the "Outstanding Players." Way to go, Joe.

p. 152
Part of another chart. His record at the time of publication (early 1997): 986-1073, .479 winning percentage.

p. 255
Another chart, this one of the single-season highs for intentional walks issued. 1979 Mets manager Joe Torre comes in 3rd all time, with a total of 107. It will come as a shock to noone that all ten teams listed were in the National League. Otherwise, this chart shows how Joe's attitude toward different strategies has changed over time and between teams. Goldman notes in his column, "The Yankees have generally been stingy with the free pass during Torre's reign." It certainly helps that he's generally had an excellent pitching staff to work with. Who was the best starter on the 1979 Mets? Actually, they weren't that bad, led by Craig Swan. The offense was pathetic, however, scoring only 593 runs. For context, the Dodgers scored only 574 in 2003, Detroit only 591 (with the benefit of the DH). Onward to...

pp. 300, 301, 304, 313
This is part of a long discussion about how different managers use the bench. In it, we learn that in 1996 Torre used 55 defensive substitutes, most in the majors. Only Terry Bevington was close, using 52. On the last of these pages, Joe gets his own little chart and blurb:

In 1994, when his team had no obvious defensive sore point, he used zero defensive subs; last year (1996) he led the majors, with 55, mostly getting Mariano Duncan and Wade Boggs out of the lineup in the late innings. Platoons some, uses his bullpen heavily, makes substantial use of one-run strategies.


This is further evidence of Joe's metamorphosis. In his column, Goldman says, "He stays with his starters as long as any manager in baseball." This has been true recently, when much of the bullpen has been of questionable quality and most of the starters have been bigger names. Of course, when he had Mariano and Wetteland, pitchers were often asked only to give six solid innings. Then again, that was only in 1996. It'll be interesting to see if Joe starts to move back the other way this year, as the bullpen looks strong and the back end of the rotation is shaky.

p. 343
It turns out that Torre's Cardinals actually led the majors in relief appearances in 1992, with 424. This was one of the highest totals in history at the time, and I suspect it's still top-20.

Special thanks to Steven Goldman, whose work I enjoy, for providing a fine article on which I could piggy-back. You may now return to your regularly-scheduled Vinnyfest, while I return to counting the moments before the Yankees-Red Sox series.

Pitching matchups:
Friday: Vazquez vs. Wakefield (I'll always love ya, Tim)
Saturday: Mussina vs. Schilling
Sunday: Contreras vs. Arroyo
Monday: Brown vs. Lowe

Same Sh*t, Different Year

Newsday: Piazza last to know he's answer to 'who's on first?'

Daily News: Piazza: Surprise start OK

Daily News: Phillips masters Art of Howe to stay prepared

Journal News: Piazza plays first, much to his surprise


Since the Mets didn't give the media much to talk about on the field last night, they had to focus on something that happened off the field in an attempt to stir up controvery where there was none. Apparently, when asked about Mike Piazza's status for last night's game, Art Howe said that he would be back in the lineup and playing at first base. The only catch is that he hadn't informed Piazza and Jason Phillips of this prior to telling the media.

I can only imagine that the media parasites went running over the Mike before Howe even finished his sentence to get his reaction. I'm sure they were all shocked and chagrined to find out that it didn't bother Mike at all. Even if it did, he certainly didn't show it:

"They can tell me five minutes before the game; I am a professional," Piazza said. "That is not a problem at all. It is nothing."


I'm sure that's not the reaction that they were expecting or hoping for.

Sorry, guys.

Granted, Art Howe should know by now that anything he says can and will be twisted and used against him in the court of the New York papers -- where everyone is guilty until proven innocent -- but since it is now a known fact that Piazza will spend some time over at first base, this is no longer newsworthy. I guess the injuries to Cliff Floyd and Jose Reyes combined with the ineffectiveness of the bullpen weren't enough, so the media was kind enough to try to give the Mets some more shit to deal with. Fortunately, it looks like they failed miserably.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Rained Out

No, tonight's game hasn't been rained out...yet. It has been delayed, though. What I'm referring to with that title is my trip down to Shea to see Tyler Yates make his home debut. I just didn't feel like possibly wasting $18 in tolls and parking to take a chance at having the game get rained out. It's probably for the best, because if I had gone I probably would've forgotten to call my grandmother for her birthday. And there's no worse place to be than at the top of "Nana's Shitlist."

So far, the best they can tell us is that the game will get under way ASAP. Great! Thanks, guys.

If/when the game start there will be some notably absent players in the Braves' lineup, and a welcome return for the Mets. Chipper Jones, Rafael Furcal and J.D. Drew will all miss the game with injuries. Drew apparently tweaked a hamstring in Monday's game, which is why the Braves had to call Eddie Perez off their depleted bench to hit for him in the ninth inning.

For the Mets, Mike Piazza has sufficiently recovered from being banged up in his run-in with the Expos' Peter Bergeron on Sunday and will be back in the lineup. He missed Monday's game because of a stiff neck and a hyperextended right elbow.

Assuming the game does get under way, I'll be checking in periodically with updates, and will also be on Instant Messenger if you want to say hi or discuss the game.

7:45 Update: They're taking the tarp off the field, so it looks like they're at least going to try to start the game.

8:07: It's still raining, but they're going to get this thing under way. And not a moment too soon, because the remaining crowd at Shea sounds restless. Cries of "Start the game!" and "Let's go!" can clearly be heard on the broadcast.

8:10 Yates takes the mound and will face the following Braves lineup:

1. Dewayne Wise
2. Mark DeRose
3. Marcus Giles
4. Adam LaRoche
5. Andruw Jones
6. Johnny Estrada
7. Eli Marrero
8. Jessie Garcia
9. John Thomson

Piazza's right back on the horse and playing first base. He gets tested early and fails when a hard shot by Wise gets by him. He's charged with an error on the play. Valent also misplayed it in right, allowing Wise to advance to second.

DeRosa went down looking on a fastball. After falling behind 0-2, Giles works out a walk. Yates looks wild in walking LaRoche, too. The rain is now coming down in buckets. I'm so glad I stayed home. Andruw Jones comes up with the bases loaded, but not before a visit to the mound from Rick Peterson. Jones bloops one to shallow right that Eric Valent makes a nice sliding catch on, but Wise tags up and scores on the play. Johnny Estrada then flies out harmlessly to Shane Spencer to end the inning.

1-0 Braves

Bottom 1st:

John Thomson will face this lineup for the Mets:

1. Kaz Matsui
2. Eric Valent
3. Shane Spencer
4. Mike Piazza
5. Mike Cameron
6. Jason Phillips
7. Ty Wigginton
8. Ricky Gutierrez
9. Tyler Yates

Kaz and Valent go quietly, but Spencer keeps the inning alive with a single to left. Piazza follows with a grounder up the middle that Giles made a nice play on, but Garcia couldn't handle the throw at second, so everybody's safe. Cameron puts a charge in one, but Wise handles it in left with relative ease.

Top 2nd:

The rain has let up considerably, but I'm still glad that I stayed home. Yates sets the Braves down in order, striking out Jessie Garcia in the process.

Commercial Break:

That Tiger Woods/Caddyshack commercial is just too awful for words.

Bottom 2nd:

The rain now appears to have stopped completely.

Ricky Gutierrez follows up a Phillips strikeout and a groundout by Wiggy with a single up the middle. He advanced to second on a passed ball by Estrada, but advanced no further when Yates ended the inning with a groundout to short.

Top 3rd

Gary Yates, Tyler's father is interviewed by Bill Daughtry of the MSG Network. During the interview, Yates gives up a leadoff triple to Dewayne Wise. DeRosa falls behind 0-2, but gets a very hittable pitch and puts it on the ground, but out of Wigginton's reach to drive in Wise. Poor pitch selection with an 0-2 count. Giles follows with a single to right that moves DeRosa from 1st to 3rd. The fourth straight hit by the Braves, a single by LaRoche, drives in DeRosa.

Yates is throwing batting practice now as Jones crushes one off the left field fence to bring home Giles. Another mound visit from Peterson and Jae Seo is up in the bullpen.

Yates is clearly rattled as he throws the first two pitches to Estrada in the dirt. After getting even at 2-2, Yates hits Estrada to load the bases. Seven Braves have come to the plate and there are still no outs. Where's the rain when you need it?

Marrero brings in the fifth run with a sac fly to center. Andruw Jones moves to third on the play. Garcia brings home the sixth run with a single to left and moves Estrada to third. That's it for Yates. Seo inherits a first and third situation with only one out. I think it pretty much goes without saying that this will be the last inning of my "live" updates.

Thomson sacrifices Garcia to second, but Seo stops the bleeding by inducing a comebacker from Wise. Mercifully, the inning is over.

6-0 Braves

I'll be watching this one for as long as I can stand it, but that's the end of the updates for me.

The Braves treated Yates like they were the Mets and his name was Mike Hampton. Truly ugly stuff. I won't overreact to this start for Yates, instead I'll take the Milli Vanilli approach and "Blame it on the Rain." Yeah, yeah!

All that's left for this game is for Jae Seo to re-establish himself in the eyes of the Mets and work towards reclaiming his rightful place in the Mets' rotation. Thomson looks sharp and the Mets are swinging lifeless bats thus far.

Oh well, that's why they play 162 of these things.

Mags' contract not a done deal yet

Ordonez: Raise not necessary, but five years is

Just when it looked like Magglio Ordonez was signed, sealed and delivered to the White Sox, a monkey wrench has been thrown into the works in the form of a fifth year on the contract. The White Sox are offering four years, but Ordonez and his representatives are insisting on a fifth year. Ordonez has made it clear that his preference is to remain with the White Sox for the rest of his career - so much so that he isn't even seeking a raise from his current $14 million salary - but he's apparently adamant enough about that extra year that he's willing to consider playing elsewhere next year:

"If they give me something fair and the years I want, it'll be fine," Ordonez said. "If not, I guess I'll have to go to free agency."


This seems like a hurdle that the White Sox can probably overcome with an option year that's contingent upon some reasonable performance-based incentives that should be easily attainable for a player of Ordonez's caliber. That's of course assuming that they're not willing to give in and guarantee a fifth year. However, if the Ordonez camp is adamant about a guaranteed fifth year and the White Sox refuse, it would probably remove the Mets as a player for his services should he opt for free agency at the end of the season. I can see it ending up being a repeat of the Vlad Guerrero situation, where the Mets play it safe by making a generous, though incentive-laden contract offer only to have some other team swoop in with a guaranteed contract, winning his services and breaking the hearts of Mets fans everywhere.

There's still a faint glimmer of hope, but I wouldn't count on seeing Mags doing his thing at Shea Stadium any time soon.

Lofton out until Friday, Scott rambles about the roster today.

I was just glancing at today's Yankees notes in the Daily News. Lofton sitting out until Friday:

a) is fine with me.
b) makes sense.

If the Yankees even get the game in today, the outfield is going to be messy. bo With Lofton still recovering from his strained quad, it's wise not to put him out there. Bernie is going to be shielded from injury in general.

I've trumpeted Bubba Crosby around here before, and I'm sure I'll do it again. Kenny Lofton might be a better player than Crosby - I don't think anyone really knows right now, but I'd venture to say it's probable. Even so, if Kenny Lofton can be made to go away, I say the Yankees should do it, even if Lofton is a better player.

As long as the Yankees have Lofton, Torre will be tempted to lead him off. This is bad news. Doing this deprives at least seven more-productive-than-Lofton hitters of plate appearances. Especially against a left-handed pitcher, it means fewer men on base for the heart of the lineup. On the other hand, can you imagine Joe Torre batting Bubba Crosby any higher than 8th? No, it's not happening, and the lineup is better off that way.

Lofton is probably a better glove in CF than Crosby, despite Bubba's up-against-the-wall highlight catches. Crosby probably has a stronger arm. I'd prefer the glove, but Lofton's arm is just about as weak as Bernie's, and I really dislike seeing runners tagging up and taking third on a flyball to the gap in medium right-center.

This whole thing comes up because Travis Lee is coming off the DL soon, and a roster adjustment will have to be made. Predictors seem to be split between Crosby and Tony Clark when it comes to who will be sent to AAA to make room. For the good of the team, I'd rather Lofton be sent packing. Is there a taker for him? Sure, if the Yankees eat salary. Hell, they made Weaver go away, didn't they?

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The list just got a little shorter

Angels give Anderson 4-year, $48M extension

Well, you can scratch Garret Anderson's name off the list of possible right fielders for the 2005 Mets. According to the Associated Press, Anderson and the Angels have agreed to a four-year extension through 2008 with a club option for 2009.

That makes two right fielders that Arte Moreno and the Angels have stolen from us. Dirty bastards! OK, not really. Vlad was never going to come here and you're fooling youself if you think otherwise.

With Magglio Ordonez apparently close to a deal with the White Sox, that leaves Carlos Beltran as the lone remaining high-profile free agent outfielder, but you have to believe that ol' George is going to be willing to dig down deep in his pockets to get Beltran in pinstripes.

Here are some other potential 2005 free agent outfielders:

  • Lance Berkman - I'm not 100% sure about his situation. I know he's only signed through this season, but may be eligible for arbitration.

    Update: Berkman's not eligible for free agency until after the '05 season. Oh well.

  • Richard Hidalgo - The Astros actually have a club option on him for next season, but he's making a ridiculous $12.5 million this season and the option year is for $15 million with a $2 million buyout, so he'll probably be looking for work elsewhere.

  • Jacque Jones - The Twins have been trying desperately to trade him since they re-signed Shannon Stewart, so they won't even try to re-sign him after the season.

  • J.D. Drew - If they threw batteries at him in Philly, just imagine what'd get thrown at him in New York.

    I know there are more, I just can't think of any right now.
  • This and that

    Strange doings at Shea

    The Mets are the darlings of the local papers today, getting tons of ink from everyone and their grandmother, including occasional Enemy of the Site, Jon Heyman of Newsday. Surprisingly, Heyman wrote a pretty positive (well, non-negative, anyway) piece with nary a hint of that usual Heyman-esque arrogance that makes you want to repeatedly bludgeon him with shards of broken glass. Umm...he makes you guys feel that way too, right? It-it's not just me, is it? Guys?

    Anyway...

    Being the first to do something ain't all that it's cracked up to be, so allow me to be the last Mets blogger to finally jump on the Jeff Pearlman bandwagon. You may remember Jeff as the Sports Illustrated reporter who conducted the infamous interview that made John Rocker a villain amongst minorities, homosexuals and people who actually have a few functional brain cells and don't engage in sexual relations with their sisters. Well, when he got out of the business of exposing the ignorance of rednecks, Jeff found the time to write a book about the '86 Mets called The Bad Guys Won. It comes out on April 27th, and sounds like it should be an interesting read. While you're waiting for its release, check out the book's web site that has outtakes, trivia questions and much more.

    Also be sure to check out Jeremy's interview with Jeff

    Monday, April 12, 2004

    2004 Home Opener a.k.a The Bullpen Follies

    I returned a short while ago from my trip to the home opener, and I'm obviously a lot happier with the results than I was on Opening Day last year, which was without a doubt the most miserable experience I've ever had when going to a baseball game. Today couldn't have gone much better. My friend and I got to Flushing in plenty of time to park inside the stadium lot instead of having to pay $10 for the privilege of parking over a mile away, in a "lot" with no aisle numbers or other minor amenities...like pavement. And they have the nerve to call it "Shea Stadium Parking."

    But I digress...

    Once we got to our seats, I was less than enthusiatic about the lineup posted on the scoreboard, which led to me sending the following E-mail to our Yahoo! account from my cell phone:


    From: **********@mobile.att.net
    To: yankeesmetsandtherest@yahoo.com
    Subject: Lineups
    Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2004 09:32:27 -0700


    No Reyes, no Floyd and no Piazza! I want a refund. McEwing and Zeile
    on opening day is blasphemy!


    As I'm sure you can guess, my disappointment didn't last long:


    From: **********@mobile.att.net
    To: yankeesmetsandtherest@yahoo.com
    Subject: Massacre
    Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2004 11:48:10 -0700


    9-0 Mets in the 4th. Refund no longer necessary.


    With the Mets having scored in each of the first five innings, I was smiling from ear to ear. My friend Dan and I were having a grand old time, and the Dave Chappelle/Rick James references were flying left and right. That is, until rotation washout and Vinny favorite Grant Roberts entered the game in the eighth inning. First of all, someone needs to put Grant's velocity on the side of a milk carton, because this former mid-90's fireballer didn't throw a single pitch over 87 MPH in his one inning of work, if you could call it that. In his 1 & 2/3 innings pitched so far this season, Roberts has allowed a ridiculous nine earned runs. His awful showing thus far puts the Mets in a tough spot, because they can't keep running him out there and having him stink up the joint, but he also can't be sent down unless he clears waivers, which he obviously won't. He's got too much potential to just cut him loose, but something's got to give or the only time we'll see him is when the Mets are up by nine runs.

    Enter Dan Wheeler...

    And the adventure continues. Aside from his emergency start in place of Scott Er***son (his name's a dirty word around here) in Atlanta on Thursday, Wheeler's pretty much been awful. Maybe not Grant Roberts awful, but awful nonetheless. Unlike Roberts, he can be sent down, and that's exactly what I'd expect to happen if he keeps pitching like he has. The Mets still have James Baldwin kicking around at Norfolk, and they have to make a decision on him soon because he can demand his release after April 30th if he's not promoted, so based on his fairly decent spring performance it might not be a crazy idea to give him a look as a long man out of the bullpen. I can't believe that I'm creating a scenario in which James Baldwin is a desirable pitcher for the Mets to have, but if things don't take a dramatic turn for the better soon, the bullpen needs to be shaken up. If that means a guy like Baldwin get the call, then so be it. He's pretty much worthless as a starter, but I can live him him getting a couple of inning here and there.

    Other than that, no fellow bloggers or YMtR readers came to visit me at the stadium today. It's obvious that nobody loves me, so it looks like I'll be crying myself to sleep again tonight.

    Even though I don't have tickets yet, I think I've pretty much convinced myself that I'm going to head down to the game after work on Wednesday to see Tyler Yates' Shea Stadium debut. Maybe I can convince Scott to come along for the ride and get him to wear my orange BP jersey (I once got Scott to wear a Mike Piazza jersey at Shea).

    Oh, and I took a ridiculous amount of pictures at the game. I'll throw them up somewhere in all their unedited glory for your viewing pleasure some time tomorrow.

    Today's Twins lineup, without comment

    1. S. Stewart, LF
    2. L. Rivas, 2B
    3. D. Mientkiewicz, 1B
    4. J. Offerman, DH
    5. M. Cuddyer, 3B
    6. J. Jones, RF
    7. L. Ford, CF
    8. H. Blanco, C
    9. C. Guzman, SS

    Mark Prior not progressing...

    Return looking like late May at earliest

    From the article:

    "I have been told to keep it open-ended, don't set myself up," Prior told the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's frustrating because I want to be out there, but I want to be out there healthy."

    Based on his calculation that he usually takes six weeks of throwing time to prepare for the start of spring training -- the 23-year-old did not pitch in a spring game -- he might not be in a position to return until late May or sometime in June.

    Could this help the Cubs?

    You read that right. I think it could. The later he comes back the fewer consecutive 115-pitch outings Dusty Baker can try to wring out of him. They could have him in the playoffs instead of breaking down in August. It's silly speculation, I know, but it's fun.

    A quickie...

    Yep, the Yankees managed a win yesterday. Mussina got his big number, now maybe the press can move on. Bubba Crosby had a wonderful day. He started in CF and made a beautiful running grab against the wall. He also went 1 for 4 at the plate - but what a one. He absolutely crushed a home run off the facing of the upper deck in right field. It was a sweet-looking swing that put the Yankees in the lead in the fourth inning. Each team scored a run in the fifth to reach the final tally: 5-4, Yankees.

    Bernie was the DH and Lofton sat out once again. Think anybody has a bag of balls they'd trade for Kenny? I'd do that deal. Bubba would at least keep his mouth shut about batting at the bottom of the order (when he plays), and looks to have twice the arm of either Bernie or Kenny.

    Sunday, April 11, 2004

    Obligatory Title

    I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday weekend. For me, it's always great to get together with my family and take part in the Italian tradition of telling embarrassing stories about each other. As an added bonus, my younger cousins are now old enough that they're no longer exempt from the verbal (and occasional physical) abuse that is always as much a part of these holiday get-togethers as the meal is.

    Since I was doing the family thing today I didn't get to see much of the game, but I did see Cliff Floyd go down in the first inning with what is being called a strained quadriceps muscle in his right leg. The injury looked pretty serious, and a trip to the DL seems inevitable, but I'll save the gloom and doom until after he's been evaluated by the team doctors back in New York.

    Late Edit: According to Bryan Hoch of NYMFansOnly.com, it's now official that Cliff Floyd is headed to the DL.

    Tom Glavine, while he may not have completely erased the memories of last season, or the doubt in the minds of his detractors, turned in his second solid performance of the week and showed that he's still got something left in the tank. Granted, it was against the Expos' anemic offense, but it's encouraging nonetheless.

    Weather permitting, my friend and I will be at Shea tomorrow for the home opener, so if you're going to be there stop by and say hello. If I like you, I'll buy you a beer. If I don't like you, I'll pretend that I do and let you buy me a beer. So far, the forecast is calling for PM showers, so they should be able to get the game in without a problem.

    I'll be sitting on the Mezzanine level in Section 9/Row F in seat 11 or 12 and wearing either my Cooperstown Collection '87 Keith Hernandez away jersey or my black alternate away jersey that's also done up with Mex's name and number. I usually prefer not to be "that guy" - the type that wears Mets apparel to the stadium, but I have so damn many jerseys and they were close to coming up in my regular wardrobe rotation anyway, so I figured what the hell?

    I'll almost certainly be armed with my trusty digital camera, so hopefully I'll get some nice shots that I can post for your viewing pleasure. Anyway, see you at the stadium...or not.

    Oh, wait. One more thing before I call it a night. I'd like to take this opportunity to join my fellow bloggers in welcoming Max from Mets Forever to the ever increasing Mets blogging community. Stop by some time and make him feel welcome.

    Saturday, April 10, 2004

    Noooooooooooo!!!

    Ordonez: Sox deal 'close' to happening

    Hey, remember me?

    Thanks to Vince at Exile in Wrigleyville for pointing me in the direction of the very upsetting above-linked article. Apparently (sadly), negotiations between the White Sox and representatives for Magglio Ordonez are progressing well and, according to Ordonez himself, a deal is close to being finalized.

    No, no, no, no, no! Magglio, you dumb son of a bitch, don't you know that you're supposed to sign with the Mets this winter? Call off the negotiations and accept your destiny, which is to play in front of a bunch of whiny, self-loathing knuckleheads who will never appreciate your talent and will turn on you the first time you go 0-4 because your name isn't Marco Scutaro (Pronounced: scoot-TAR-o). Doesn't that sound appealing to you?

    Injury Update: Torii Hunter, Andy Pettitte

    Hunter latest addition to Twins' disabled list

    Hunter (right hamstring strain) joins Joe Mauer (sprained knee) and Matt LeCroy (pulled oblique muscle) on the DL. I've heard Minnesota's turf mentioned as a possible injury factor before, but this is the first I've seen a player mention it:

    "I know that's what it was," he [Hunter] said of the new turf. "But I'm not an expert. I just know I've never had a hamstring problem before."

    Well, we now have three quick lower-extremity injuries to players who play there. Here's another column that talks about the possibility: Hunter says injury could have been prevented. It contains the same quote from Torii, but also carries this note:

    Cleveland first baseman Ben Broussard also was sidelined after suffering an ankle injury when his cleats caught in the new turf in Monday's opener.

    There's more interesting stuff in that piece. It's actually the better of the two that I've linked. Go read it if you're at all interested.


    Pettitte on 15-day disabled list with elbow injury

    Description of the injury, from the linked article:

    An MRI was performed at The Methodist Hospital in Houston on Thursday and revealed inflammation in his left elbow and a strain in his flexor tendon.

    It's noted that Pettitte pitched with "similar elbow discomfort" last year, although it's not specified that he'd gotten the same diagnosis. I don't remember it if he did.

    The YES Network just mentioned that Pettitte actually hurt his elbow checking a swing in his last start.

    White Sox over Yankees, 7-3

    The bottom of the 9th starts badly, as Giambi takes a questionable strike, then grounds out to first. Sheffield then bounces one in front of the plate... and Koch throws it into the stands! Sheff ends up on 2nd.

    Posada watches three straight balls, then takes a strike. He then smacked the next pitch up the middle, hard, for a single. Sheffield scores. 7-3.

    Matsui works the count full... then swings at ball four, resulting in a weak grounder to second base. Posada is tagged out but he wisely slowed up beforehand, preventing the double play.

    Sierra flies out to left, and that's it.

    The White Sox survived a couple of dumb calls by their manager. The Yankees did not have luck on their side, but that didn't make the difference in the game. They only managed four hits. Buehrle was great - both of the runs he gave up were unearned. Matsui, in particular, was awful. You know it's not a good game when your starting pitcher gives up five runs in two innings and is the bright spot.

    Tired of the game-blog? Well, it's over. For the latest non-game posts, go here for my thoughts on Torre's new contract, and here for Vinny's notes on last night's Mets game.

    Sox get their insurance

    Tom Gordon is in for the 9th. Aaron Rowand greets hiim with a double to right-center. Alomar follows by bunting. OK. Sacrifice, one out, runner on 2nd. Willie Harris is up.

    Harris is right on Gordon's fastball, fouling it straight back. He works the count full, then smacks a single to left, scoring Rowand from third. Would he have made it from second? If he was off at the crack of the bat, yes. Otherwise, no. Harris advances to 2nd on a long flyball to right field by Valentin - man, Harris is fast. That would have brought Rowand in.

    Alomar's a double-play machine, come to think of it. Maybe it made sense to bunt him. Anyway...

    What'd I miss? Ohhh, bad hop grounder to Cairo - comes up and hits hiim in the shoulder then bounds into foul territory. Magglio Ordonez safe at second, Harris scores, Yankees coulda been out of the inning. Thomas grounds out to 1st, and they finally are.

    7-2 Sox and it doesn't look good. There's hope, though, as Ozzie Guillen brings in Billy Koch to try to close it out.

    Quantrill in, Yankees survive the inning.

    Paul Quantrill relieves White to face Magglio, Big Hurt and Carlos "No Cool First Name, No Nickname" Lee. Good, if obvious, move.

    Maggs grounds out to Rodriguez, who shows again that he has a gun - very strong throw. Consecutive singles by Thomas and Lee. This could get out of hand quickly.

    Konerko up, another righty. Now would be a good time for a double play, just like the last at bat. Actually, Quantrill did get a ground ball from Lee, but it was in the hole between SS and 3B. And Quantrill gets his double play ball.

    It doesn't work out, though. Carlos Lee just obliterated Miguel Cairo on the turn. He was just beginning his "slide" and threw a shoulder into Cairo, whose throw bounced twice before getting to Giambi - and it still beat Konerko! Giambi took his foot off the bag to field it - did he have to? Didn't look like it. Safe at 1st, great baserunning (dammit) by Lee. Runners on 1st and 3rd, 2 out.

    Quantrill has Crede completely confused. Crede watched a close pitch on 0-2, flipped the bat to foul off a pitch that was at least a foot outside, then flies out to right field. Tense inning.

    Note: The announcers just mentioned that Andy Pettitte has hit the 15 game DL with an elbow injury. Best wishes, Andy.

    Bot 8
    Luck does not seem to be on the Yankees' side today. Jeter lines one that Willie Harris leaps and snags... for a moment. It falls out of his glove, but he recovers in time to nip Jeter at first. Bernie follows by working the count to 3-0, takes a strike, then rips a groundball up the middle... that Buehrle snags. A right-handed pitcher doesn't make that play. Rodriguez flies out to center, and that's that. To the top of the 9th we go.