A winning streak, a sore thumb and a big southpaw

Tabata demoted*
Touché, Hank. Touché.

Chieng-Ming Wang gutted it out for six innings. The Yankee bats smashed three home runs — all by lefties. And the bullpen pieced together three decent innings as the Yanks downed Jose Contreras and the White Sox 9-5 last night. With Mike Mussina starting tonight against our old friend Javier Vazquez, Wang’s fourth victory of the season — which keeps him on pace for 25 wins — was a big one. The five strike outs in 6 innings was a good sign too.

On the injury front, Jason Giambi left the game tonight not because his defense is laughably bad but because his thumb is swollen. He hurt his thumb by taken a grounder off of it in the 7th. So actually, his defense did force him out of the game but in a more Pavano-ian sort of way.

Meanwhile, in Kansas City, C.C. Sabathia went six strong, allowing four hits and striking out 11. Reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated, and the Yanks will be seeing him first-hand this weekend. And that’s all I’m saying there.

Tabata demoted*
Touché, Hank. Touché.
  • kris

    mark twain?

  • GoYankees

    Three hits for Damon, three dingers for Yanks overcome tough day for CMW. Perhaps we see the light at the end of the tunnel? When Cano starts to hit the offense will be good enough to carry Giambi, Phil and IPK for us.

  • RollignWave

    Giambi has actually started to show signs of a pulse lately… he’s gotten his LD rate back into double digits at least.

    plus. his OPS is actually a lot better than Cano’s though Cano’s been smoking the ball for the last few games now, just right at people more often then not.

  • Mike P

    Good signs from Giambi. He’s clearly better than his average suggests. The heat level of his hot streaks should tell us if he’s really finished of just struggling, like Cano. At least his power’s not disappeared. If he can take more outside fastballs deep, he could be in for a good season.

  • http://yetanotheryankeeblogger.blogspot.com/ Wolf Williams

    I’m not sure about that “three decent innings” from the bullpen assessment, unless we’re taking the “all’s well that ends well” approach. Considering how bad things have been in other games, that might be the best way to approach judging these guys right now.

    Last night, from Traber to Farnsworth, the relief crew had a line of 3.0/3/2/2/4/2, with a home run given up and run scored via a bases-loaded walk. That’s good for a 6.00 ERA, and out of 69 pitches, only 38 were thrown for strikes. I’m sure they were a little more relaxed with the larger leads than they’ve been handed lately, but those stats aren’t doing much to relieve our blood pressure.

    Am I being too critical after a good win on the road?

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

      That’s why I said decent but not great. The bullpen wasn’t at its peak, but they held the lead.

    • http://deleted Randy

      yes. but its ok.

  • Dylan

    On the subject of Giambi, I don’t find too much to get excited about anymore; homerun or not. The guy is horrible defensively, is hitting .120, and when he DOES hit the ball hard, there are 6 players in shallow right field shagging balls. Doesn’t it look like he is just outright refusing to help himself and the team by slapping balls the other way? If he would slap a few baseballs to the left side of 2nd, teams would have to take the shift off, giving some room for hits to fall on the right side. I’m just sick of seeing his name penciled in cause of what he did in seasons past and the check he cashes, sorry for the rant.

    • Micky#7

      If the pitcher is throwing one inside, it is very hard to slap it the other way…unless you pull in your arms. Giambi is a power hitter, therefore his stroke is full arm extension, hence the inside pitch to make him pull the ball. I have seen him try to slap the ball…one has to wait on the ball more than he dose. It is the old saying; “see the ball, hit the ball”. He seems to be working on “the slap”…doing it in the ML is a lot different then in the Mil, can we say; “better pitchers. 27/08

      • pete

        it’s a bit ridiculous to ask him to “just slap the ball” – people who get to the majors by slapping the ball are unbelievably good at it. people who get to the majors pulling the ball are unbelievably good at that. giambi, however, is clearly terrible at slapping the ball or else he would do it – managers aren’t that dumb. What i don’t understand, though, is why he doesn’t just bunt down the third base line area – all he would need to do would be get it by the pitcher in that vicinity, and he’d have a hit. That’s the kind of thing any major leaguer should be able to do, since it’s a lot easier than “just slapping” the ball.

        • Micky#7

          Buy slapping the ball I was trying to play on the words of Dylan. You are right in that big league players get to the bigs for their strengths. Has anyone ever seen Big “G” try and bunt? His hit last night was to left field wasn’t it? I’m not sure myself…I think it was. 27/08.

          • Dylan

            Alright, alright. Bunting then, still won’t do it.

          • Dylan

            I meant bunting per say, wrote slapping. I don’t think its too much to ask of a major league hitter to learn to bunt, especially when he doesnt have to be concerned with deadening the ball, and only angling it away from the right hand side.

            • Micky#7

              You are right! 27/08.

  • CB

    Why is Joba pitching the 8th inning when they are up 5 runs?

    One inning used now is one less inning he can throw down the stretch (whether starting or relieving).

    If the manager doesn’t trust Kyle Farnsworth to throw 2 innings up 5 runs (when he’s said multiple times that Farnsworth can throw multiple innings) how is this a new and improved farnsworth as we kept hearing about over and over in spring training?

    There’s no one else in the pen except Joba who can be trusted to pitch the 8th up 5?

    • zack

      I don’t have a problem stretching him out more, in fact he SHOULD be making 2 innings appearances at least.

      • KW

        I agree, it definitely wasn’t about the trust or not, its just that he was warmed up, he needs to be stretched out somewhat, and the yanks were up big and that was an unstressful inning. They could have tossed anyone on the mound at that point and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

        I think people overvalue innings over stressful innings/repetitive warming and sitting game by game. As in, is 1.2ip in one game with 2 stressful outs equal to 2 games, both in the eighth inning, each one inning, 6 stressful outs? I think not – and thus I’ve got no problems stretching Joba out a little here.

      • CB

        If they were pitching him 2 innings to stretch him out they would have brought him in to start the seventh inning fresh. Instead they put Traber in the game and them Bruney.

        When they stretch him out they’ll do it in a systematic way based on a program. He didn’t pitch 2 innings last night to stretch him out.

        • GoYankees

          I think it has to do with throwing strikes. Traber + Bruney were the plan for the 7th, but both were wild. That eventually was turned into a bases loaded walk and an earned run against Traber.

        • KW

          No I think with a 6-3 lead they were trying not to go to him at all – he heated up fast in the pen after Bruney struggled. I think in the situation, had Bruney gotten out of it, he would have pitched the 8th only. In this case, he came in earlier than expected and stayed to throw some more pitches. There’s no other explanation for it. The idea that Girardi didn’t trust any other relievers doesn’t wash – he brought in Traber and Bruney for that express purpose. If he only trusted Joba to begin with, he would have started with him in the 7th and the 8th.

    • swo

      Because if you take Joba out, and the next reliever bombs, you can’t put him back in. That’s the same reason why, if Mo comes in the 8th and the Yankees put up a 5-spot in the 9th, they keep Mo in the game. Because if you stick Farnsworth in there and he gets absolutely shelled, then you’re screwed.

      This is a very, very, very common practice, but I assume it’s gotten some negative attention because every move involving Joba seems to be magnified 500 times.

  • zack

    Of course, just to reassert their mediot opinions on the matter and ensure it doesn’t matter, the lead stories today focus around how Chamberlian is so valuable to the Yanks out of the bullpen, as evidenced by last night. No mention of walking in the run, and of course, no mention of the fact that he wasn’t needed in the last, oh, 7 games or so…But you know, “he’s the 8th inning guy!”

    • Mike P

      Well it’s pretty funny, at the very least. In a kind of laugh-at-a-guy-walking-into-a-wall kind of way.

  • E-ROC

    Giambi must have bad luck or something. He is always getting injured. He’ll probably sit for tonight’s game. So will Posada be playing first tonight?

  • http://2009 Haggs

    The only “decent” innings out of the bullpen last night came courtesy of #62.

    Traber didn’t do his job, Bruney didn’t do his job, and Farnsworth caused Mo to take the bullpen mound because of a dinger and walk.

    Nice preview of what lies ahead. Girardi better start auditioning other people for Joba’s job, because Farns and Bruney ain’t qualified.

    • TurnTwo

      at lohud, seems like most people favor slotting Ohlendorf back into the 8th, and swapping roles to let Joba be the heir to the ‘long-relief’ role to stretch him out at the mlb level.

      ohlendorf has the best stuff in the bullpen, so i’m in favor of giving it a shot. he was converted last season and worked out in spring training as a short-relief pitcher, so these extending efforts Girardi has him dont suit him in the long run.

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

      This is so reaction. What Bruney did last night was no worse than what Joba did in Baltimore on Sunday. In fact, on the season, Bruney’s walked 6 and struck out 12 in 11.2 innings while giving up just 7 hits. Joba’s walked 3 and struck out 9 while giving up 6 hits. Their WHIPs and ERAs are nearly identical. Bruney would, if he keeps pitching as he’s pitched so far this month, be a great 8th inning guy.

      • zack

        To be fair, Bruney has had an April that almost exactly mirrors last year’s April, save for two less ER in two less innings, which of course can certainly change. But his ks, BBs, Hs are all right about where they were. And that’s a good thing, because he was good last April. The real test with Mr. Bruney will be if he can keep it up for more than a month and a half. he’s already on pace to pitch more than the 13 1/3 IP last April, and that “could” be a problem.

        But overall, I agree. On the chance he remains effective, this version of Bruney brings exactly what you want to the table for that role. The Yankees have shown thus far that getting to Mo is not the problem, its getting in the position to get to Mo that is the problem, and that can lead to the problem of getting to Mo, if that makes sense

      • http://2009 Haggs

        Yes, Bruney would be a great 8th inning guy if you want Mo’s arm to fall off.

        On top of all of the chances he had last year, he has had two big opportunities to move up the trust ladder this year, and he fell off the ladder both times.

        In Tampa, with help from Traber, he caused a four out save for Mo.

        In Chicago, with help from Traber, he caused a four out stint for Joba.

        He cannot be trusted to throw strikes, and when he loses the zone he tends to overcompensate by throwing the ball right down the middle.

        You can’t walk people in the 7th and 8th innings, and you can’t give up dingers. Bruney does both far too often.

        Time for Girardi to look at other resumes.

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

          Notice with help from Traber appears quite frequently in your posts. You also can’t write off a pitcher based on two appearances. Talk about sample size issues.

          How about highlighting all the times he’s succeeded as well?

          • http://2009 Haggs

            Sorry, its not based on two appearances.

            You say he’s changed, but I still see people walking to first base, and I still see baseballs that come out of his hand go flying over the fence. That’s not change, and if it is, its for the worse. He has not corrected his control problems.

            Bruney’s failures, and to a larger extent Farnsworth’s failures, are the reason Joba was summoned here last summer in the first place. Now is the time to be auditioning NEW people for this role.

            Give Ohlendorf a crack at it.

            If you give him the keys, Bruney will drive the car into the ditch.

        • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

          In Tampa, with help from NOBODY, he pitched a perfect 8th after giving up those 2 HRs you’re referring to.

          In Baltimore he pitched a perfect inning coming in for Joba with runners on the corners and nobody out.

          • http://2009 Haggs


            So after he let the horses out of the barn (TWO HOMERUNS!), allowed Tampa to tie the game and caused Rivera to get four outs on a night he should have had off , everything was fine.

            If you can’t see how ridiculous that statement is I don’t know what to tell you.

            • KW

              Let’s face it buddy, everyone struggles time to time. Even the mighty Joba did in Baltimore, letting 1st and 3rd reach with 0 outs. Bruney did a nice job there getting out with one run. Don’t make things more than they are, focusing on all the negative is just foolish. Everyone needs objectivity and to stop letting emotion rule their thoughts.

              If you don’t agree, I don’t know what to tell you.

              • http://2009 Haggs

                Thanks Buddy.

                If last night or the game in Tampa was Bruney’s second appearance after missing about a week to be in Nebraska with his ailing father, I probably wouldn’t have said anything about his control being off.

                If Bruney had anything approaching the strike throwing ability of a consistent set up man, and last night was inconsistent with a typical Bruney outing, again, probably wouldn’t have commented. But there he was walking people again.

                It is not foolish to suggest that there will be problems at very innoportune times if Girardi plans to rely on Mr. Bruney and Mr. Farnsworth to record big outs. I have seen that movie before.

                I am not suggesting that Joba stay where he is, I am merely suggesting that Girardi start exploring other options for the soon to be open position of set up man.

                When the set up man enters the game, there are supposed to be sighs of relief, not sighs of exasperation – kind of the like the way it feels when Joba comes in. Bruney and Farnworth are the definiton of exasperation. They will let you down if you trust them. Trust me.

                They don’t need another Joba (would be nice though), but they do need better than Bruney.

  • swo

    So, what’s the RAB verdict on Billy Traber? With Sean Henn on the way back, what do the Yankees do? DL Kyle Farnsworth for back spasms?

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

      Mike and I were just talking about that last night. There’s really no easy answer with this. I was hoping that Traber had an option left, but that does not appear to be the case.

      • TurnTwo

        so should the yankees be worried about releasing a LHP from the bullpen who cant get LH hitters out?

        i havent paid particular attention to Henn’s rehab numbers, but id assume they were fairly solid from the brief mention of the issue at hand.

        if they are that worried about releasing him and watching him go to a direct competitor, Traber certainly holds some value in this depleted bullpen market, the same as Farnsworth… trade him for a spare part to an NL team or something.

        • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

          Trading Kyle Farnsworth for a “spare part” to open a spot for Sean Henn? Are you serious?

          • TurnTwo

            no; if you read my post, you’d see I said trade Traber for a spare part to open the spot for Henn. They arent carrying two mediocre LHP in the bullpen, and neither has an option left.

            and let’s be honest- Farnsworth isnt going to fetch much in a trade, either. thats more of a salary dump and an opening for a young arm than a move to import new talent, anyway.

            • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

              Oh you’re right. My bad. I just saw the trade comment directly after Farnsworth’s name, sorry.

      • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

        Any chance the Yankees go with 13 pitchers for 10 days when Henn is ready by optioning Chad Moeller (I heard he agreed to an option year in his contract with Yanks) to Scranton. This would serve as an audition for 1. the LHP spot in the bullpen or 2. a possible trade. Then again the trade scenario seems highly unlikely because the other 29 teams are sure to be aware that the Yankees can’t keep both in their organization if they’re not traded/placed on waivers.

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    Wow, Miguel Cabrera already has been switched to the full-time 1B in Detroit. And seeing has how is .683 ZR ranks second to last among qualified AL 3B (A-Rod #1), it should come as no shock. Damn that guy has grown double since 2003.


    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Good thing he can rake, huh?

    • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

      imagine when he’s 30!

      the real culprit last night was Traber, who was eerily reminiscent of mike myers. he faced ONE batter and walked him: inexcusable. bruney was ok
      (and lucky no one hammered those first-pitch hanging sliders), but joba was’t great either. i don’t know if there’s a point to all this – perhaps that the whole pen was lucky it had a big lead.

      i’m hoping alan horne can step into joba’s role around mid-season. if not, ohlie/bruney seem like the best 7th-8th inning options. meanwhile, i’m really hoping Edwar and Patterson can translate their minor league success to the Bigs (and that JB cox will be good enough to get to the Bronx this year).

  • http://Thumb? Mike T

    WHEN will Jason learn! Playing 1B with your thumb up your butt WILL get it swollen!

  • Ivan

    Bruney has been pitching well. Remember the key for him, is not walking guys and hasn’t done it so far. Give the guy credit, he’s pitch better. Hopefully, some yong pitcher would come out the system to help the pen.