I hope Derek enjoyed the view

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For much of the evening, the YES Network camera crews kept cutting back to a little boy sitting behind home plate. At various points in the game, those of us watching at home enjoyed the privilege of seeing the boy eating a hot dog and some ice cream, drinking a soda, getting a foul ball, cheering on the Yanks, getting another foul ball and magnanimously giving said ball to a fellow kid in the stands. It was nearly more entertaining than the squirrels they love to show.

Of course, this kid was enjoying the game from seats that cost upward of $300 per ticket, but hey, he was cute. Or something.

But he didn’t have the best — or the most expensive — seat in the house. That honor was reserved for the Yankees’ very own $21-million man. Derek Jeter, All Star short stop and future Hall of Famer, got the night of to rest, and when the Yanks needed his bat the most, Derek, at the orders of his manager, just sat on the bench, watching his time waste a lead-off walk and lose another one-run game to the Texas Rangers, this one by the score of 3-2.

I hardly need to rehash the 9th inning. Mariano Rivera, appropriately, come in to pitch the 9th, but in a non-save situation, he struggled. Three runners reached base, and the Rangers plated a run that would eventually saddle Rivera with the loss. Curiously, on the season, Rivera is 22 for 22 in save situations with a 0.00 ERA. He’s allowed 8 hits and 2 walks to go with 27 strike outs over 23.1 innings. But in non-save situations, he’s 2-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings. He’s allowed 12 hits and just one walk to go with 15 strike outs. I wonder why.

But such is the way of baseball. The Rivera move was the right one; it just backfired. Ten minutes later, Joe Girardi had a chance to make another move, and he made the wrong one. Wilson Betemit, the King of Swing, drew a four-pitch walk. It was just his second four-pitch walk of the season.

With the tying run on base, Girardi had what seemed to be the easiest decision to make as Melky Cabrera, then 0 for his last 18, heading to the plate. Girardi could have used Derek Jeter to pinch hit; he should have had Melky bunt. Instead, Melky fell behind 0-2 on two called strikes. He then swung and hit into a double play. Who didn’t see that one coming from three miles away?

The decision didn’t make sense as the at-bat unfolded; it still doesn’t make sense two hours later. With one of the best hitters of the generation on the bench and the Yanks’ searching for a win, their manager opted to have their worst regular — Cano is at .245, Melky .240 — bat. While I’d hardly advocate for the bunt, if ever there was a chance to give up an out for whatever perceived greater good exists in the 9th inning of a one-run game, that was it. But Melky swung; the Rangers turned two; and the Yanks lost. They lost the game; they lost more ground; and they’ve lost whatever momentum they had after rebounding from that 15-6 loss on Friday.

Joba’s Wildness

A note on Joba Chamberlain: Tonight was not a good start, and as Mike said to me after the game, two things are common with young pitchers: They take their lumps, and they get injured. Tonight, Joba suffered through the former. He was rushing his delivery a bit, and he couldn’t find Posada’s target. He threw 91 pitches, just 49 of them for strikes and walked four in four innings.

Unlike Ian Kennedy’s control problems earlier this year in which he was trying to paint the corners and miss, Joba simply didn’t have it tonight. While some — cough cough Mike and the Mad Dog cough cough — may try to draw comparisons, the situations aren’t even analogous. Amusingly enough, even on his worst night, Joba still managed to strike out six in four innings. Mostly, he was ineffectively wild, but as the flailing Rangers bat showed, he had bursts of effective wildness tonight.

The Yanks’ bullpen picked up the slack; once again, the bats did not.

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  • dan

    I know you’re trying to avoid the tabloids and whatnot, but did you really have to link to the Canadian Press? I’d like to hear what you have to say about this one.

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

      Oh, I just pulled the first Google News link about Jeter’s day off. It’s just a wire story about Jeter’s resting today. I switched it to the MLB.com story just for you, Dan.

      • dan

        I’m flattered. Actually the bigger question is, why is the Canadian Press even writing about the Rangers and Yankees in the first place?

  • nmc

    Ugh, I really hate games like this.

    Anyway, here’s what I really think: that was it for Melky. I want to believe that it was Girardi saying, Melky, this is your last chance. And he didn’t come through, Gardner’s been starting and has been O.K. (though pretty good actually if you measure by how much the other yanks have been performing), so hopefully that’s it. I haven’t heard a single person defend Melky. I’m sorry to say goodbye, but.. see ya. (sorry for the cheesy Michael Kay reference. blegh)

  • Manimal

    Not to burst your bubble but I believe Jeter was on Deck in place of Gardner

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

      Oh, I know. I hope he got a good imaginary hit after the real game ended.

  • joe

    Why wait to hit for gardne? The time to pinch hit was for the former center fielder and future 4th outfielder

    • JeffG

      Holly shit you read this blog too much… how many hits did Gardner get tonight?

      • Rich

        The sample size is too small to matter, and anyway, Gardner’s minor league splits show that, at least this season, he hits lefties better than righties.

        • JeffG

          Key words in your statement: MINOR LEAGUE

          • Rich

            What else can one reasonably use to project his ML performance when he only has had six ML ABs? We know Melky sucks v. LH pitching. We don’t yet know that about Gardner, and the available data suggests otherwise.

            • A.D.

              Plus Gardner would have been way less likely to ground into the DP than Melk, if it had gotten there.

              Even so I’d say you take Melk & Garnder as the same bat (until Garnder starts hitting, or Melk starts hitting). So you might as well pinch hit for the first one, and work off that.

  • VJ

    Send Melky down, put Gardner in CF and sign Barry Bonds to DH. I sick of watch these guys pop up or ground out with runners in scoring position. He’ll be great with the short porch. Cashman needs to do something quickly. I don’t want the last game at Yankee Stadium to be meaningless.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Me too. I also sick of watch these guys.

  • manimal

    what if melky knew he was in jeopardy of going to the minors and got the bunt sign but tried to be a hero?I don’t think girardi is that stupid to not have him bunt.

    • JeffG

      Conspiracy theories I like that… makes perfect sense.

    • nmc

      I really don’t think that if he was in jeopardy he would disobey his manager. That’s a sure way to get bounced.

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

    on the bright side, our pitching has held the best hitting team in baseball to 5 runs in two games. ironic that giese, robertson and veras shutdown Texas, and it’s Mo who blows it.

    on the shit side, our offense has done nothing against the worst pitching team in baseball. i dont know what’s worse: wasting damon’s 2 doubles, or watching Arod and Melky look helpless.

    btw, posada should’ve caught kinsler stealing. the throw was way off.

    we now have to hope Sidney Ponson can avoid a sweep. great way to go into the boston series, who actually has some decent pitchers.

    • Rich

      Posada is likely going to be taken advantage of by prospective base stealers all season. I guess we have to live with that.

  • mooks

    This is interesting.

    When Jeter gets hit on the wrist with pitches twice in a matter of days and starts to slump, we play him.

    When he is fine, then we sit him.

    Its so brilliant, it blows the mind away.

    And while it doesn’t matter, I would have left Joba in there for at least another inning or 2, I think he had kind of settled down.

    Now why didn’t Melky bunt or why was he even hitting in the 9th?

    I have a theory. Ya see, the rangers might have been thinking he was going to bunt, and Melky is in a bug slump, now under the world famous theory of “even a blind squirrel finds a nut”, maybe Melky jacks one.

    Also, if you had pinch hit him, it might have hurt his feelings, no one here has considered that, Yankee fans care to much about winning and losing to consider Melkys feelings. Yea, we lost, but maybe Melky feels better having lost himself then having been pinch hit for.

    • http://www.thebronxzoo.wordpress.com iYankees

      Great point on playing Jeter after he got hit in the wrist.

      Honestly, after watching the end of this game, I can’t help but to wonder where the information on Joe Girardi came from when we were hunting for managers in the offseason. He was great in Florida, and we heard that he was a strategic and tactical manner, with leather bound baseball prospectus copies on his desk and at his bedside. Now, what we’ve seen is a Joe Girardi who only seems to look at general splits (righty vs. lefty). Why have Melky even get an AB tonight in the 9th? I do not understand that for the life of me. Is it because Wilson is a lefty and so he kills lefties and Joe thought Melky, with his sub .200 righty AVG, would do some serious damage?

      WTF was that? Haha, I’m sort of amazed that it even unfolded the way it did. Jeter was probably like, “WTF, Joe!” I argued this with another fan and he said, “You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t” in defense of Girardi. But seriously, if Joe called in Jeter and he hit into a DP, would anyone have complained? No, we would have got mad at Jeter but we wouldn’t have regretted the decision since it was Melky (or if Melky put a bunt down, nobody would have cared because it was smart).

      Joe G. has been somewhat questionable all year. His mistakes have been glaring (game-changing?) and that’s a problem.

      • steve (different one)

        When Jeter gets hit on the wrist with pitches twice in a matter of days and starts to slump, we play him.

        When he is fine, then we sit him.

        this is kindof a ridiculous complaint, EVERYONE needs a day off from time to time. everyone.

        and in case you weren’t watching, the guy filling in for him got the game tying hit and then walked in the 9th.

        sitting Jeter didn’t hurt.

        but you have to send Jeter to hit for Melky.

        criticize Girardi for his inaction in the 9th, but not for resting his guys.

        you have absolutely no idea if Jeter is dinged up or mentioned that he could use a day off. that is information that we have no access to.

        • mooks

          this is kindof a ridiculous complaint, EVERYONE needs a day off from time to time. everyone.

          I have no problem with sitting someone for rest, but they chose NOW?????

          Earlier in the season, Jeter got hit on the wrist….twice, and only a day or 2 apart. He went into a slump, and even Kevin Long admits he was probably hurt (it was obvious he was hurt by looking at how he was hitting and fielding).

          Then was the time to give him a rest, there are also other times, but now when he is healthy, then they rest him????

          And this makes sense???

          • steve (different one)

            I have no problem with sitting someone for rest, but they chose NOW?????

            as opposed to the 4 game set with Boston coming up?

            • mooks

              I would have preferred earlier in the season when his wrist was injured and everyone knew he was hurt.

              This is akin to say Damon getting hurt, playing him until he feels better, then giving him a rest.

              Its also now clear that Jeter didn’t want to sit this game out.

              Oh well, its only losing, it makes sense, maybe players do better when they are injured, and should only be rested when they are healthy.

              Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guiseppe Franco

    It would not have been smart to PH Jeter for Melky.

    Melky should have bunted and given Damon and Gardner (or Jeter) two shots to get the run in from second and 1 out.

    Perhaps Jeter would have been IBB and PH-ing for Gardner and that’s fine. Then you’ve got Abreu up with the winning runs on base.

    Seems simple enough to the casual fan, but not Girardi tonight.

    • A.D.

      Melky hasn’t proven to be the best bunter

  • JeffG

    To be honest I bitched a little in the seventh *(think it was the seventh) when Betemit came up and the game was at the crucial mark and said why is Jeter not in the game? That is the sub that struck my mind… but when Betemit came up with the big hit I wound up looking at a twelve year old in the seats saying I was wrong.
    Could have said it in the ninth. A manager has to give his center fielder a chance after letting a bench player hit. If Melky nailed the ball… that would have been a moment. Jeter can’t play a hundred and sixty two games. Get over it.
    Who is pitching tomorrow? …go Cashman!

    • usty

      You’re not the only one…i was screaming at the radio, “Why?!? Why him every time we need a hit.” Only to feel just as foolish..

  • BigBlueAL

    Alot to rant about, where do I begin. First off Ive been a big Melky supporter but even I admit its getting to the point where a change at CF might be inevitable. HOWEVER, it shouldnt be Gardner I’ll tell you that much. Someone earlier said he has been OK, actually pretty good so far. Huh???? He is 0 for 6 with 2 K’s. Whoopeee he has a sac bunt and a SB. All this batting 1st and 2nd in the lineup.

    He is what I assumed he was, a bitch-hitting lefty who Ill admit might be the fastest player ive ever seen running to first but as the old saying goes “You cant steal 1st base”. The outfield plays him as if they were extra infielders they play so shallow, and to be honest he is gonna have a very hard time hitting balls past major league outfielders. Also for all those walks he has drawn in the minors it aint gonna happen as frequently at this level, evidence being tonight when he got ahead 3-0 and was promptly thrown 3 straight fastballs right down the middle in which the 3rd one he hit another routine grounder to SS.

    I know its only been 2 games and Im not calling for him to be demoted already but just seeing him he is what I assumed he was and what that is aint a starting caliber OFer in the majors. Granted I have no problem playing him over Melky for now either but my point is to be honest unfortunately neither Melky nor Gardner should be playing CF for the Yankees on an everyday basis (although they both still are way better than Bubba Crosby!!).

    Now to Mr. Girardi. All I can say is WOW. His in-game managing so far this season has been absolutely pathetic and thats probably being too kind. I know nobody wants to discuss this, and Im not sure even I have a valid point bringing this up, but could this coaching staff (minus Tony Pena) be way over their heads coaching in NY????

    They are all very young and inexperienced in terms of coaching experience at this level and the Bronx isnt a good place to learn on the job. Kevin Long was widely praised last year but could not having Mattingly around to also work with the hitters expose him?? Thompson has never been a bench coach at the major league level either so how much help could he really be for Girardi?? Give Eiland his credit the pitching staff has been pretty good and the bullpen has been alot better recently thanks to the younger arms so Im sure Im just reaching for something in questioning the coaching staff but I think it might be worth taking a look at.

    Im also wandering if maybe even the players realize this and how much trust do they have in Girardi?? Lets face it that hasnt even been an issue for years thanks to Torre being the manager and his presence/reputation as a championship/HOF manager, so you never know maybe the players themselves begin to question Girardi as much as we do.

    Look Ill be the first to admit this is all just probably over-reacting to a couple of really bad losses (which there has been more of this season than I could remember) and hopefully they win tomorrow and take 3 out of 4 vs Boston and all is good again. But it is getting late enough in the season where a few more losses like this and the hole the Yankees continue to dig themselves in could be to big to climb….

    • Count Zero

      Agreed on Gardner — small sample size and all. I doubt this kid will be the answer in CF.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Ken Griffey Jr. was 1 for his first 17.

  • Nefarious jackson

    It takes a man, a motherfucking John Wayne saying fuck you to cancer MAN to admit he was wrong….

    I was wrong …

    Mike A was right

    I accused him on pending pinstripes of Vomitimng Bile about Melky all over the net…

    I was C-Note last summer

    I was wrong about Melky
    Melky is barely a 4th outfielder on a good team

    I will now stay after class and write that on the board 20 times

    I was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about MelkyI was wrong about Melky

    Mike A was right, I was fucking wrong
    Mike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrongMike A was right, I was fucking wrong

    That being said it was still a jerkoff idea to trade Melky for Gange, which Mike A wanted to do….

    He also is giving shit to my man Chris Straight outta compton Smith… probably becasue Keith Law has his ass brain washed

    But I can admit when I was one wrong motherfucker, and it’s 5 am and kids should be reading this anyway and it’s hard for me to write….

    MELKY CABRERA SUCKS

    What the fuck is he doing on the Yankees?

    That smile and that goddamn catch against that BITCH manny clouded my judgement

    The Melky man does not deliver

    I was wrong

    I hope you RAB fellas take some satisfaction

    or not, maybe I’m just a fan….

    But I still know 1000 times more than that Asshole Adrien retire 21

    You bitches that give up on Hughes will regret ti for 16 years

    If this comment gets deleted so be it

    I just hope Ben & Mike A and Joseph get to read it

    I was wrong.

    MELKY SUCKS

    all those holding out need to see the light of day

  • Nefarious jackson

    kidz SHOULDn’t be reading this is what I meant to say, the bars just closed goddamnit

  • Nefarious jackson

    OK, the Keith Law comments were a bit much and not right for me to make in a true apology…

    In a bit of good insomniac theater news Alan Horne is feeling better, not going on the DL and should make next start sooner than later………………

  • Steve

    The problem wasn’t bunting Melky, the problem is that Melky is up there in the first place.

    Looking at our 40 man, I don’t have any other realistic options, but I guess we can give Justian Christian another look. That leaves us (amazingly) w/o a DH, but when Matsui comes back we have one.

    I know he’s the #9 hitter, but Melky has been a black hole in this lineup all year. Maybe we get a good month out of Christian, its worth a shot.

  • batty

    Was at the game last night and in left field. Tough to see from the angle but it looked like Melky took over a bit of LF chasing down some fly balls – maybe he didn’t want Gardner to get any action ;)

    ANYWAY – two things struck me out there. Melky’s throw that nailed the runner (can’t remember who) at 3rd was pretty huge – great throw right on target.

    The second is that Garder’s arm is almost as bad as Damon’s. He kept bouncing throws to the cutoff man – Betemit had to pick one off the ground as it rolled to him. He’s fast and he may settle in and get some hits but as a CFer he’d be a pretty big defensive downgrade.

    Don’t get me wrong – I like him and he’s fun to watch run. But his arm isn’t something that will improve all that much.

    • A.D.

      I’ve seen him make the throws in spring training, and he has 7 assists in the minors this year, so I don’t think its a Damon arm, so I’m guessing that he’s not juicing it to the cutoff man

  • TurnTwo

    when you cant win a series against the Texas Rangers in your own ballpark at this point in the season, you dont deserve to make the playoffs.

    on the bright side, i cant wait to see this Roberto Sanchez fella Michael Kay spoke so highly about last night… anyone know anything about him?

    • JeffG

      He’s a power pitcher that we got from Detroit in the Gary (oh the world is too racist toward me) Scheffield trade. He was throwing some heat in spring training that caught Giambi’s eye… I think Mr. Giambino said something like “I can’t believe a team would trade a guy like that” … but perhaps he was putting a little too much on too fast cause he blew out his arm.

      I as well really can’t wait to see this guy pitch.

      • TurnTwo

        i was just pointing out how awful Michael Kay is on our broadcast. if you’re gonna be the Yankees play by play guy, can you please at least get the guys’ names right?

      • JeffG

        Wholly crap… I slept like 4 hours last night and i only got 2 the night before… Roberto is starting to look like Humberto… my bad.

    • stefan

      He’s almost as good as that Jason Christian guy who was just demoted

  • http://2009 Haggs

    The offensive drought may be over.

    This morning, ARod is all over the front pages of the tabloids that shall remain nameless with Madonna rumors swirling.

    The last time he got caught with a skank he murdered the ball at a rate impressive even for Arod. Fingers crossed.

    As for this Melky stuff. Yeah he stinks, but if the Yanks need him to come through to give the team a chance to score more than 1 run off the likes of Kevin Millwood & company, there are much bigger problems afoot than to bunt or not to bunt.

  • Count Zero

    I actually thought the first key offensive moment in the game was when a slumping team from NY led off the bottom of the 1st with a 2B and Girardi promptly sent his #2 hitter for the night up to sacrifice. Playing for one run in the 1st inning against the highest-scoring team in MLB — really, Joe? There are certain times when I would bunt in that scenario, but that definitely wasn’t one of them. GRRRRRRR

    I wanted to kick Girardi’s ass right then and there. His 9th inning non-move just left me reaching for the Jack Daniels. I was a big Girardi supporter heading into this, but he’s quickly losing my vote with that kind of crap decision-making.

  • Setty

    I was at the game last night and was SCREAMING for Melky to lay one down, but to no avail apparently. But to me, the most troubling thing about Girardi’s mindbogglingly dumb decision not to bunt Melky to give the top of the order a chance to tie/win the game was his “logic” behind not bunting, which he revealed after the game. He said that he didn’t want Melky to bunt b/c we don’t hit well with RISP. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?! So, since we don’t hit well with RISP, we have a better chance to win the game by NOT putting anyone in scoring position and letting the worst hitter in the lineup swing away? In a one run game!? Is that a joke? How can a major league manager actually say/feel that?! This is extremely concerning to me considering a man with such ass backwards logic is making the on-field decisions for our team.

    • Ben C

      It’s so sad that gardner hasn’t done anything to take Melky’s spot. Melky is practically giving it to him. I’ve been at the games the past two nights and I am going again tonight, so I can’t really speak to how Gardner looked at the plate. Has he looked bad? Has he just not gotten good pitches to hit? Does he look like he has rookie jitters?

  • pete c.

    Haggs has a point this offence is supposed to be so powerful they could stand a couple of quiet spots. How’s that working out?

  • Ben C

    Wow, Pete Abe , wow.

  • A.D.

    If Joba taking his lumps is 4 innings and 2 runs with plenty of wildness, I’ll take it.

  • Art Vandelay

    Anyone else think that Joba’s struggles may have been at least somewhat related to his going 115 pitches in his last outing? I remember thinking at the time that 115 was too many for him (his most ever), and the numbers generally show that pitchers underperform their next time on the mound after long outings. No way to know if this is the reason for Joba in this case, obviously, but the thought crossed my mind.

    On a related note, Robertson threw a TON of pitches last night. Interesting that they didn’t go to Edwar with the lefty up in a tight spot in the 7th. Not sure if this means anything other than Edwar was getting the night off, but that was a lot to throw on Robertson’s shoulders. Kudos to him for getting the job done.

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  • dkidd

    silver lining for me is dave robertson getting his first week in the majors out of the way in one inning

    for the first time in forever, the yanks have a bunch of options for the 6/7/8th that don’t make me cringe (veras/robertson/giese/edwar/bruney when he’s back)

    this wasn’t girardi’s best game, but he’s the right manager for this year. it sucks that it happens to be the last year at the stadium, but this feels like the transition year where maybe we don’t make the post-season but we line up all the pitching pieces for 2009 and beyond

    • JohnnyC

      Maybe you’re right, dkidd, and that’s also the reason why Girardi let Melky hit away. It didn’t work but he was giving Cabrera the chance to be a hero at least for one night.