Game 157: Win and in

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The Yanks are 5.5 games up in the Wild Card with 6 games left this season. Against the odds, they’ve climbed back from a dreadful start to the season, and if they win tonight, it’s as easy as that.

Now, raise your hands: Who among you had Kei Igawa tabbed as the starter who could clinch the Yanks’ postseason berth? In a way, it’s fitting that Igawa is going for redemption and the playoffs for the Yanks tonight. His numbers, in a word, terrible. He’s 2-3 with a 6.75 ERA in 62.2 IP this year. He’s allowed 74 hits and 15 HR while striking out 51 and walking 32.

Meanwhile, the Yanks will once again go without Jason Giambi. Who knows why? Maybe Giambi’s foot is still hurting from his injury last week. Maybe Joe Torre wants to get Hideki Matsui or Melky Cabrera out of their respective slumps through perseverance. Giambi should be in. He needs to get a chance to swing the bat before October.

Anyway, while a Detroit loss could deliver the Yanks to October, it’s much more fun to go in winning. So a win and the Yanks are in. It’s that simple.

Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Bob Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B
Melky Cabrera CF

Kei “Flying Monkey” Igawa LHP

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  • Brian

    Check out the pinstripesplus front page; is it just me or is damon sublett a spitting image of brian cashman in that shot? cash’s backup plan if the big hook yanks him after the season? become Cano’s backup.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    8 shutout innings for Igawa tonight. Just you watch.

    • dan

      pessimism for melky, optimism for igawa. but hey, i’ll take that line any time.

  • Mac

    Since we’re on the doorsteps of the playoffs, and the wild card is pretty much in hand (despite tonight’s starter), any conjectures as to what the post-season roster is going to look like for the ALDS? I think the pen is the only part that’s kind of up in the air. I, for one, am a wishing and a hoping that Ohlie makes it.

  • kunaldo

    i agree, ohlie should make it….torre will probably pitch him(along w/ ramirez and veras) a good amount over the next 6 games to see who’s best suited for that last spot….ohlie seems like he has the stuff and the aggressiveness to take on a real role in the pen

  • Batty

    Did anyone register for playoff tickets? They were supposed to let people know today, haven’t heard anyone getting notification yet.

    • Mac

      I did. I’ve received nothing.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    That was fairly unclutch by Jorge. Gotta get to the DRays early when the bases are loaded.

  • Batty

    Impressive, two walks already.

    Predictions anyone? 5 IP, 5 ER, 7 walks, 3 HR, 2 SOs.

    • Batty

      5 IP, 0 ER, 5 BB, 0 HRs, 2 SOs

      But boy was he close to giving up a bunch.

  • Frank

    And 2 K’s!

    Actually, Gameday (which is very accurate) says Iggy hit 72 mph, 82 mph, and 92 mph in that Young AB. He could be decent (read 5th starter) if he puts it all together.

    I haven’t given up on you yet Iggy!

    Meanwhile, anyone notice that Dice-K – the one everyone said would step in as a #1 – is carrying a 4.50 ERA?

    • NYFan50

      DiceK was doing just fine until late in the season. Don’t underestimate him. He’s just not used to the workload.

      • Frank

        The boy who once threw 500 pitches in one game isn’t used to the workload!?

      • Frank

        And I know that’s the story but I don’t buy it. Check his monthly splits. He had only one month where he lived up to expectations (1.52 ERA in June), one month where he was a #2 (3.62 ERA in July) and every other month his ERA was above 4.36

        Rather than the fatigue explanation, I think the much better hitters in MLB have figured out which of his 57 pitches to lay off.

        • NYFan50

          I would certainly bet the under on his ERA being 4.5 for next year.

      • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        The greatest catcher in the history of catchers, Jason Varitek, turned Dice-K into a 2 pitch pitcher. Those 16 breaking balls and 47 off-speed pitches and 7 gyroballs just never get used anymore. He’s fastball-changeup now, with the rare slider.

        • NYFan50

          It’s a waste not to use his breaking stuff. His talent is there, but if it’s not being used…

        • kris

          Fastball-changeup? Sounds just like the repertoire of our flying monkey.

    • Frank

      The gyroball!!! Hahahahahahahahaha!!!! Remember that!! It seems like ages ago where the pitch was going to change the history of baseball.

      Honestly, I think the tighter strike zone killed him too. He’s just not that consistent with the throwing the junk for strikes and hitters started to lay off. That’s why his BB rate went up while his K rate went down. Batters are sitting fastball.

      • http://SportingGurus.com Adam

        It is real. But it’s just a change up. Edwar’s circle change is similar to it.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    151 steaks. Wowza.

    • NYFan50

      Good to get A-Rod out of his slump before the playoffs. Hopefully we’ll see a few more of those the next week.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Ironically, the homerun doesn’t count because it occurred in the 3rd inning.

  • Batty

    And Boras just saw another few $$ to his holiday bonus.

  • Frank

    An A-Bomb! Whooooooooooo!!!!!

  • Frank

    Sorry, I hate the threaded comments –

    On Diced-K: He may top a 4.50 ERA, but I just don’t see how he’ll be a legit #1, and that’s what they paid for. And more, I love how the Yanks are already his daddy – to the tune of a 6.12 ERA this year. I thought this guy knew pressure too?

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      There’s no question he was overhyped, but he’s still got the tools to become a pretty good pitcher. It’s just a question if he can translate those tools into performance.

    • Frank

      Well, he’s a LAIM – that’s not bad. But can he be a #1 (140 ERA+) or even a solid #2 (120 ERA+) – I’m not sure. And history isn’t in his favor (or Iggy’s) – all the Japanese pitching imports get worse – not better.

  • Frank

    Jete needs a few days off.

  • Frank

    One more note on Diced-K: His best ERA against teams he’s seen more than once?

    These Devil Rays at 4.09 in 33 IP.

  • Batty

    I think Matsui should have the week off. Put Duncan over there, give the kid some at bats and give Matsui’s knees a rest.

  • Frank

    Sterling doesn’t realize there are two outs and is harping on the DRays “playing the IF back…Oh my god….down five runs?…blah blah blah

    Idiot.

  • Frank

    “That will get the run in…”

    I think he does a better job when Sherman is in the booth – he keeps him on his toes.

    Meanwhile, there was a game few weeks back where Suzyn was wrong on something and kept harping on it. Good ole John mutes the mikes to correct here, then she doesn’t say another word for another inning. Swear to god…

  • kris

    The flying monkey’s pitching line is unsightly. It looks like he has been really lucky so far.

  • Mac

    The only hope I have left for Igawa is that he hits a hot streak at some point and we can trade him to a stupid team in the NL for a good prospect.

  • Frank

    Check out Iggy’s AAA numbers:

    11 GS, 68.1 IP, 3.69 ERA, 15 BB, 71 K, 10 HR, 1.21 WHIP

    There’s something there. And he’s so cheap (less than Farns makes), it’s worth holding onto to him for another year or even two. He may always be maddening. But he could also turn out to be effective as a back of the rotation guy.

    I believe in you Iggy!!! (or your AAA K:BB at least)

    Meanwhile, if they keep Joba in the bullpen (cause he still can’t throw 200 innings next year) and one of the starting pitchers gets hurt, Iggy seems next on the organizational depth chart (see tonight) at least until Horne or Marquez establish themselves in AAA.

  • Batty

    Yikes – Bruney should not be on the post season. Fudge me.

    • Joe

      I don’t think he should be worrying whether he gets a spot on the post season roster, he should probabaly worry about getting released before this game is over

      • Batty

        I think he has enough talent to be traded somewhere for something. Last year everyone was wondering why the D-backs would release him…he has the ability to be overpowering but he needs to harness it…somehow.

  • JS

    Igawa should strangle Bruney…he sucks.

  • Malcard89

    this inning makes us realize how little the bullpen has beyond vizcaino, joba, and mo. in particular, edwar has not been very servicable. joe torre finally gives him a fair shot but his fastball just isnt good enough, its not fast enough nor does it have even average command. he needs another pitch besides his great changeup, and until he gets it, i dont think he should be on the postseason roster.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    Brian Bruney comes in, walks two guys which lead to a run and Joe Torre leaves this fucker in the game. Both Bruney and Torre should be unemployed at the end of the season, and this game is Exhibit A in the case against Torre. Inexcusable.

    At least we get the wonderful Tampa bullpen.

  • kris

    Wow, the middle part of our bullpen is a bad joke right now. I hope we manage to win a game before the season is over.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    I would have used crappy Villone over Bruney. Bruney should be utterly last on the Yanks depth chart. Pathetic.

  • cjc

    so if they win tonight do they lock Bruney and Mr. overrated Ramierez out of the clubhouse during the party

  • cjc

    thats an awesome job by matsui

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    He has the ability to suck big time. That’s for sure. And let me applaud Hideki for once again failing to come through. I hope Giambi’s enjoying the view from the bench.

  • cjc

    well lets be honest Giambi didn’t exactly light it up when Joe gave him regular playing time

    Matsui has the softest 100+ rbi I have ever seen

    you can’t watch strike 3 on a fast ball there unexceptable

  • Ivan

    Ben K. Stop it with your inrational bitchin please.

    I am sorry but Matsui is a better all around hitter than Giambi and not to mention Giambi doesn’t offer much protection when he doesn’t hit hr’s. Not to mention he can’t hit lefties as much as much as matsui. You really being inrational with that situation. And I love Giambi but you have think before saying stuff like that.

    Plus, to kill torre for this game is ridiculous, you mena tell me that Brian Bruney couldn’t get Velandia out then what should torre do? I mean come on it’s a 4 run lead when he came in there, do your fucking job and stop throwing the damn ball some where else other than the strike zone.

    Sorry for cursing at ya but you were ticking me off with some of the stuff you said that’s all.

    • Relaunch

      Matsui maybe be better than Giambi this year, but that isn’t saying much. I am always on Torre for his bp management, but I have to agree with you here. There was nothing else I would have done different.

  • cjc

    whoa I actually forgot Britton was on the team

  • Ivan

    If you have said Posada should be batting behind A-Rod then I might say okay that is a legit beef but to say Giambi really in my opinion really doesn’t make as much sense as you think it would.

  • Ivan

    cjc:

    How stop overreacting please. The softest 100 rbi’s. please. So the guy is having a subpar september so what. Matsui is one the reasons why this team came back the way it did. So the guy isn’t the greatest left fielder in the world, but he’s a good all around hitter when on his game period.

    • brxbmrs

      Ivan,

      6 HR’s against the D-Rays – and about 40% of his HR’s and RBI’s against the D-Rays and interleague.

      He’s made a career of punishing bad pitching, especially interleague and is in the best spot in the best lineup in mlb.

      Matsui at a relatively young 33 is a DH now, and not a very good one – Melky Cabrera (who I love and has been pure awful this month as well) has better situational stats than Matsui in almost every category.

      Matsui now is a compiler and keeps regressing as a player. 2005 seems like a lifetime ago.

      Abreu is coming up small when it counts as well.

      Giambi just keeps embarassing himself – in reality, there are no good options other than possibly moving Jorge to the 5, Cano 6 and Sui 7.

      Need to get younger in the OF – all three guys are fading quickly.

  • Relaunch

    Except for a month stretch, he has been a very inconsistent hitter this year. It has been a soft 100rbi’s.

  • cjc

    so is this where giambi says FU to me

    • Batty

      I hope so – oops, SO on three straight. Gameday had three strikes up way before Sterling announced it, guess they just figured it would happen.

  • cjc

    O have nothing against Matsui and to say he has had a sub par season wit his numbers tells you alot about him but he has had a soft 100 rbi most seasons he has been big time clutch but as relaunch has pointed out he had one ig time month

    nice job jason

  • Ivan

    Boy you guys are really being inrational on Matsui. The guy has been consistent all throughout his career and then one bad month he has a soft 100 rbi’s. That’s just being inrational and ridiculous.

    • Relaunch

      One bad month? How about only one good month? His April, May were awful.

      • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        One good month doesn’t make a 100 RBI season. He had to be hitting for alot longer than that.

    • Batty

      Maybe, but right now he’s an easy out. I seem to remember when Soriano fanned throughout the postseason they shipped him out in a hurry – 41 HRs be damned.

      I’d rather see Damon in left and Giambi or even Duncan or Wilson DHing. I think Matsui’s hurt and I think he needs a few days off to get healthy – by going out every day he’s just delaying the injury. I’ve had knee injuries: rest, rehab, good as new.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Hopefully Al Reyes can do for us what he’s been doing for the Red Sox all season long.

  • Ivan

    Hey Ben K.

    You are right, Giambi should bat infront of A-Rod.

  • Ivan

    Matsui is having a great year ad whether their “hard” or “soft” 100 rbi’s, the guy has been a rock in the middle of the line up and has been one of the better clutch hitters in the line up although I will admit the matsui couple years ago was probably but nevertheless he’s still dangerous when he’s on his game period.

  • Batty

    Come on Captain!

    • Batty

      Doh!

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Oi vay…I dunno what’s gotta into people tonight. Matsui’s slumping right now, that doesn’t make his 100 RBI soft. Giambi struck out with a man in scoring position, that doesn’t mean he should be banished off to Siberia.

    The reason this game is where it is right now is because Brian Bruney sucks ass, nothing more, nothing less. The reason the Yanks aren’t leading the AL East right now is because their pitching was abysmal in the first half, nothing more, nothing less.

    The knee-jerkage has reached an all time high.

  • Relaunch

    Nice job Jeter for sticking your ass out 4 pitches in a row. That was right down the middle

  • joe

    Shipped him out for the guy with 50+ homeruns

  • Relaunch

    He has been very inconsistent this year. Far different hitter from before. Maybe it his knees, who knows.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    So yeah maybe not Giambi but definitely bat Posada fifth.

  • Relaunch

    Hahhaha, he’s pitching from the windup again.

  • Batty

    Is Farns going to have a 1-2-3? Yikes! He pitches great when there’s no pressure, he’s like A-Rod 2006 ;)

    *ducks flying sabrametric books*

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      It’s true though! Farns has always been a guy that ruled the 7th, but sucked in the 8th & 9th (outside of his contract year in 2005).

  • Ivan

    I hate to say this but the real wildcard is Kyle Farnsworth.

  • Relaunch

    Well, this inning was the only chance they had to win the game. With Veras coming in, this game will be over soon.

  • cjc

    veras in the 9th ouch

  • Relaunch

    This ump has been awful. Alot of those pitches were k’s to Matsui and Wilson.

  • Relaunch

    They should have just rolled the ball to the plate and W.B would have still swung at it. What was he swinging at? Not even close to the plate.

  • cjc

    just dont walking the winning runinto scoring position

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    6 runs for Tampa, only 4 hits. Why, why why why why why won’t anyone come out of the ‘pen throwing strikes?

    • cjc

      I always thought people overrated Bruney because he throws hard only difference this season is the walks are killing him he is less lucky and it seems the bloom has definitly come off Ramierez’s rose

  • cjc

    tell you what veras has an arm inconsistent but he can deal

    now watch him give up the game winner

  • KW

    This ump has been AWFUL, what is going on here! It seems like if it’s close, it’s a 50/50 chance it’s a ball or a strike, it’s definitely cost the yanks more than the rays have.

  • Batty

    Good job by Veras. I think that he can be an asset, maybe not this year but with some more work over the winter…

  • cjc

    with that BP how the hell are TB 7-3 in extra’s

  • Relaunch

    Live, from Tropicana field, team pathetic! Yes, giving up 6 against the Rays is awful, but it is just as awful doing nothing on offense for half the game against one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball.

  • Relaunch

    Every appearance he makes, I wonder why Karstens is on a major league roster.

  • Batty

    Fuck.

  • cjc

    I swear the fucking POS entire season numbers have come against the yankees

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Jeff Karstens & Brian Bruney are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked. Neither one has any business being in the bigs.

    Oh well, go get’em tomorrow.

    • Relaunch

      The difference is Bruney has talent but just can’t throw strikes. Karstens is not talented and has no business being in the majors.

  • http://www.dapperdansofharmony.com Chuck M.

    So, can we now say Goodbye and Good Riddance to Bruney & Ramirez? I know that Ramirez was, like, the Cy Young & Mariano Rivera of the minor leagues rolled into one, but he has done nothing but suck since he came up into the bigs – and nobody can say that, the second time around, he hasn’t been given enough work. He just sucks. So does Bruney. Good bye, good riddance, hope you’re pitching against us when it’s a big situation so we can mack on you also.

  • Ivan

    I like Bruney potential and I am not giving up on him just yet. So yes called me stubbord. Nevertheless, I do grow more and more impatient with him but not given up on him yet. I do agree he shouldn’t be on the roster. Next year hopefully his mechanics will be okay and he will fine a breaking that will be a good pitch.

    As for jeff karsten, he shouldn’t be on the team. He sucks, no if’s or no but’s about it. The guy is horrible and is at BEST a fifth starter. Damn he sucks.

  • Ivan

    Plus, y’all need to get off Edawr’s back. Yes he’s struggling but he’s young and it’s his first year. Once his control gets better especialy the fastball, he will be a really good releiver. The guy does have a dominating pitch unlike Britton or Karsten who suck. Give him time and wouldn’t be surprise that next year he does well for the yankees.

  • b/c

    Holy cow

    Want to see homegrown youth check out the dodgers lineup.

    Hu, Martin, Kemp, Eithier, Martin, LaRoche, and Loney.

    Only Pierre and Kent are vets

  • Batty

    Torre said they’re sticking with Edwar and fix up his mechanics.

    I like Karstans – but the guy hasn’t pitched in a while. I think he’s a decent starter, maybe not for the Yankees but I don’t think he sucks. I don’t think he would have walked in a run and then given up the slam. I’d like to see him start in place of Pettite to give him a start off before the postseason, perhaps even Wang too. Only if they clinch – tomorrow!

  • Stuart

    Britton does not suck he actually has pitched decent in his usual 1/3 inning outings….

    the new favorite is Veras, and why??I forgot he throws 97 MOH balls, that is impressive, Bruney and Krazy Kyle does that also….

    Torre made terrible decisions today, when you can end things and clinch you do to get things over..Not TOrre he is a fool..

  • Bob

    There is no shame in giving up 6 runs to the Rays. They average 4.8 runs per game and in the last 2 games against Boston scored 6 and 5 runs. And that was in games started by Wakefield and Matsuzaka, not Igawa.

    As for the pitching staff, it is statistically a terrible staff outside of Kazmir and Shields, but Hammel has pitched well his last 4 outings. And as bad as the bullpen has been, there have been signs, especially in the second half, that it has some talent now.

    In fact, although I have been a Yankee fan for nearly 60 years, and root for them to win the World Series every year, there is a kind of perverse satisfaction in seeing fans flail around in frustration when NY is beaten by teams for whom they do not show appropriate respect. In the series against Boston, when TB’s bullpen, and Reyes in particular, did poorly, too many Yankee fans dismissed the Rays as unworthy of major league status. Well, that team is now 8-8 against NY this year. And it is not because NY plays poorly; it is because TB, despite its poor record, has serious talent and is on the verge of contention.

    A self-centered approach to the game and lack of awareness of other teams’ situations is unworthy of intelligent fans.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I’d hardly call tonight’s win a huge accomplishment. The Devil Rays, a team bound for another 90+ loss season, beat Brian Bruney, Edwar Ramirez, and Jeff Karstens tonight, a bunch of AAA pitchers. Even bad teams win games when they get 11 free passes.

      As for that whole “on the verge of contending,” I’ll see it when I believe it.

      And quit insulting fans by claiming we’re not intelligent and have a lack of awareness of other team’s (pathetic) situations. We’re aiming for a certain level of discourse here and name-calling of other commenters isn’t tolerated. If you want to make a point about the Devil Rays or our disbelief that a team outscored by a whopping 142 runs so far this season is going to pretend, do so without taking personal jabs at us or anyone else here. Keep your insults in store for Brian Bruney.

      • Relaunch

        Thank you. the post you replied to was maybe the dumbest post I’ve read since pinstripealley.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Additionally, as I’ve said before, the Devil Rays may have raw talent, but they haven’t put it together. Until they start spending money to shore up their huge holes (bullpen), they won’t contend with the big guns in the East over a 162-game schedule. And they don’t have money because no one pays to go see teams that have lost 90+ games for 10 years in a row. It’s a vicious cycle. And it’s part of the messed up economics of baseball.

  • Dude

    matsui should not be getting all this hate. he’s a solid LF. so he struck out in a big spot, so did Jeter (but let’s be honest, that 3rd strike to Matsui was in the other fucking batters box).

    edwar did poorly and should not make the ps roster, but dont give up on him. his ability to K guys is extremely valuable and he’s still just a rookie.

    bruney and karstens are the ones that should be getting all the hate. bruney walked two guys and gave up a HR. kartsens couldnt get one fucking out before allowing a HR. a bad loss on what should have been an easy win. but dont blame the japanese guys.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Very sober post in the wake of a horrible loss. Cheers.

  • Ivan

    Like Bill Parcell Said:

    You are what your record saids.

  • David

    Man, Ben K. Chill out on “Bob”, who is conceivably, an older fan and not used to the kind of all-out guerrilla warfare of the internet. He made a salient point and you attacked him unmercifully for it. And he’s, as he admits, an old Yanks fan. Give it a rest. The D-Rays payroll is one-quarter the yankees, and the fact that Tampa gets the best of NY should not be overlooked.
    When Tampa Bay pays 1 million dollars/start for the like sof Roger Clemens or Kei Igawa then you can criticize them. But while the D-Rays are developing real players (Young, Upton, Kazmir, Shields) while the Yankees have just a handful of young studs on the roster, it’s time to chill.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Had this been the first time this issue had come up, you could have told me to “chill.” But it’s not.

  • brxbmrs

    Mike,

    Matsui probably gets the most RBI opportunities of anyone in MLB – thats why 102 RBI’s looks impressive, but it really isn’t. I really wish I could find LOB stats – he left 10 guys on in two games over the weekend – came up tremendously small again last night – he’s happy to walk and leave it up to the next guy.

    Abreu also getting a huge pass and that goes to my other point earlier – ever notice the only Yanks that consistently have to answer the tough ?’s (or any ?’s) are Jorge, Jeter and A-Rod?

    All the other “stars” get off very easy.

    I’m not looking forward to 2 more years of Hideki (go check his situational stats) or giving Giambi another 26 mil in 08/09.

    Time to get younger in the OF – and that means putting up with inconsistency and frustration from guys like Melk (who is redefining the word “awful” at the plate this month).

  • Relaunch

    He’s young? He is 26 and has been released twice by the Angels. There are reasons why that happens. This isn’t some 22 year old kid the Yanks are grooming.

  • Bob

    I did not call anyone a name, nor did I say anyone was unintelligent. Here is the statement I made:
    ________________________________________________________
    A self-centered approach to the game and lack of awareness of other teams’ situations is unworthy of intelligent fans.
    _________________________________________________________
    As you can see, I criticized not the fans, who I suggested are intelligent, but the statements that such fans make.

    And I reiterate what I have indeed said more than once. The Rays are a bad team; their record (already beyond 90 losses) proves that. But any careful review of their recent activities demonstrates they are on the rise and will threaten the NY/Boston hegemony very soon, surely by 2009.

    You are right that we should remain skeptical until we see it. Many things can happen to derail their progress. But to denigrate their successes when they win or to mock them when they fold as they did against Boston recently is mean-spirited and foolish. The fact is that while they have been beaten up by Boston, often horribly, they have also played very competitively against the Yankees. What should we make of that? That the Yankees are a terrible team with an AAA bullpen? Or that sometimes it happens that one team dominates another while an equally fine team cannot?

    When the Rays lost big leads to Boston some posters here mocked them as a minor league team and their bullpen as atrocious. As a matter of fact, their bullpen has shown signs of improvement (Reyes held the Yankees well enough yesterday) and they are a young team with 21-26 year olds playing quite well in the majors.

    As for money, I have argued for years that the focus on budgets is wildly overemphasized and still consider that so. In any case, your (Ben K’s) view of the Rays’ lack of money is entirely incorrect, and the concomitant view that they refuse to spend (a popular misconception in the TB area) is entirely misleading. It is just a small sample of the unfamiliarity with their planning that leads to ill-informed opinions.

    Please note I am insulting nobody, only characterizing opinions expressed.

    • Relaunch

      It doesn’t mean that their bullpen is up and coming, it means that the Yanks hitting was pathetic against pitchers with over 7 ERA’s coming out of the pen.

  • Bob

    The Rays bullpen is and has been bad. But again, you are looking too superficially, particularly as ERA is misleading in evaluating relievers. The two relievers faced with ERAs over 7 were Balfour and Switzer. Neither has pitched much this year, with Balfour having 23.2 IP and Switzer just 17. So even 1 bad outing bloats an ERA.

    In Balfour’s case, there is some consensus that he is very talented and has a chance to be quite good. When he arrived in TB, he was lights out for a while and then hit a rough spot when over 5 appearances and 3.1 IP he allowed 11 runs. In his 4 previous appearances he had allowed no runs with 7 Ks in 5 IP.

    As for Switzer, his first few appearances were awful but in his last 10 he has gone 8.1 innings and allowed 2 runs, both in the same game. Actually I do not think he is much of a prospect, but his ERA is misleading.

    The other pitchers have high ERAs, from 4.98-5.45, but as I have noted before, Reyes has been one of the better closers in the AL this year, and Wheeler, while he has been erratic for TB, has been a solid reliever for a few years. I doubt Glover has much future, but he has had quite a few good outings this year.

    I object to the analysis that one team loses rather than another team wins. When a team makes errors or mental mistakes, such analysis is legitimate, but if a team does not hit well or its pitchers give up runs, I consider it churlish and disrespectful to claim it is because you did poorly rather than the other team did well, no matter how unfamiliar are the other team’s players. Every major leaguer was probably once the star of his team somewhere, and when they do well, it is because they have talent, not because the other team simply played badly.

    • Relaunch

      You losing cred by every post. Reyes one of the better closers this year? If most of the pitchers have ERA from 4.9 to 7.5, they should be hit also if other teams are. This is not about potential, its about results. If it was about potential, Yanks would have had 107 wins this year.

  • Bob

    Reyes is 25 of 29 in saves. He is not a great closer, and cannot be compared to Rivera, Nathan, Jencks, F-Rodiriguez or Putz, but he has generally been effective. His K/9 rate is excellent-somewhere around 11 per 9 and he is walking fewer than 3 per 9 and giving up less than 1 hit per inning. Yes, he is among the better closers in the AL this year.

    As for the other pitchers’ ERAs, I repeat that they are misleading. Ordinarily they overestimate a pitcher’s value as he may benefit by letting in runs that go on other pitchers’ records, but they can also underrate a pitcher who has not pitched many innings and so is hurt by 1 bad outing. A reliever who does his job 9 out of 10 times but gets bombed that one other time may have a terrible ERA but is still very valuable.

    In the case of the Rays, that would be overstating the point. Glover, Dohmann, & Switzer, despite some good performances, are not all that promising. But Balfour has shown something in the majors. In 2003-04 in Minnesota, after some fine numbers in the minors, he pitched 55.1 innings giving up less than a hit per inning and striking out nearly 10/9 innings. He did walk too many, over 4.8/9, but he represents more than just potential.

    As for Wheeler, he has been a solid reliever for a few years, even closing effectively when Lidge was displaced last year. In 71.1 innings last year, he pitched to a 2.52 ERA with 3.03BB/9 and 8.58K/9, giving up just .63HR/9. And the year before he was equally effective.

    The Yankees did not hit the Rays’ relievers because they are not patsies. They are erratic and unreliable, but they have real talent and they can beat anybody. No question that with Joba and Rivera the Yankees have a vast advantage over TB, but after that the Rays are at least as good and possibly better.

    I stand by what I said. It is foolish to denigrate any team or to claim a loss is due to your own ineptitude rather than crediting the winning team. If this site is purely about barroom blathering, which I do not think it is, then fine. Enjoy the bragging and in-your-face banter. But if it has aspirations to more, it behooves posters to look a bit deeper into what is happening.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I don’t think anyone on this site can or should be accused with barroom blathering. Do you really have to end each of your posts with some personal jab or insult? Just make your point and leave it at that.

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