Yanks’ home streak stretches to eight at Ponson tops Twins

Charleston's offense stays hot, but they lose again anyway
Matsui opts against surgery, for now

Tonight in Kansas City, Jimmy Gobble took one for the team. He had the distinct pleasure of allowing all ten runs the Tigers scored in the eighth inning. He walked four and allowed seven hits en route to a singularly bad outing.

Every time Sidney Ponson takes the mound, I half expect that to happen, and one night, it will. It may not be his next start which happens to fall against — gulp — the Red Sox, but it will come. Tonight, Ponson managed to win yet another game for the Yanks. He went 5.2 innings and allowed his customary 11 base runners. Somehow, he has to keep up that 1.94 WHIP.

The Twins, however, managed to plate just three runs. Ponson got his double play when he needed it most and managed to escape serious harm throughout the evening. It’s a rather tense high-wire act, and as long as the Yanks can score 12 runs every five days, he’ll be fine. But one night, it’s going to all come crashing down in a Jimmy Gobble-like mess of base runners and runs. I’m not looking forward to that.

But Ponson pontifications aside, the Yanks just kept doing what they do best these days: They won at home for the eighth time in a row. Their last home loss came on July 4th when today’s starter Darrell Rasner took the L in a game against Boston.

Offensively, everyone except Jason Giambi hit. Robinson Cano continued his torrid July with two hits including his eighth home run of the year. He’s up to .260 and should see his OBP climb over .300 soon. Small victories, right? A-Rod and Derek both picked up a pair of hits and a home run apiece, and the new starting catcher Jose Molina went three for four.

After the team was through hitting, the bullpen took over once again, and I can’t say enough about the pen. Edwar Ramirez pitched out of a pickle and now hasn’t allowed a hit in over nine innings, and over his last nine games covering 11.1 innings, Ramirez has allowed one hit and two walks while striking out 16. That’s phenomenal. With his scoreless inning tonight, David Robertson has now gone 11 innings with seven hits, four walks and 14 strike outs. We’ve seen Brian Cashman‘s bullpen plan come together perfectly recently, and it couldn’t have come at a better.

For a night, the offense made us forget about Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui. The bullpen made us overlook another two-base-runners-per-inning outing from Sidney Ponson. And the score made us yearn for a few more home games as Yankee Stadium continues to refuse to yield its magic to the ballpark slowing arising across the street. This, folks, is turning into a pennant race. Would we have it any other way?

Charleston's offense stays hot, but they lose again anyway
Matsui opts against surgery, for now
  • Cy Farnsworth

    I’ll admit that I was skeptical about the Yankees’ bullpen plans with Joba in the rotation, but it couldn’t be working out better right now. And I’m almost afraid to mention that The Nutty Professor has been leading the way.

  • Manimal

    Isn’t it great when for once everything just WORKS. Ponson’s WHIP is ugly but he somehow finds ways to win. People that need to start hitting, have started to hit. People that needed to throw better have thrown better.Lets hope this isn’t just a stint but a preview of more to come in the second half.

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

      His WHIP on the Yanks is now 1.72. It makes me want to cry, but somehow, the team keeps winning when he pitches.

      • BigBlueAL

        Isnt his GroundBall/FlyBall ratio pretty good though??? Except for the 6th inning vs Texas it does seem that he keeps the ball on the ground for the most part and again I havent looked it up but maybe his BABIP is obscurely high and could come down and maybe Ponson keeps up his good ERA???? Of course Im more hoping than anything else but hell its worth a shot….

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

          .335 BABIP. A little high, but not absurd.

        • steve (different one)

          he is getting a lot of groundballs.

          that’s the “secret”.

          it’s what he was doing in Texas and he has kept doing it.

          has he changed something? is it a fluke or a new skill?

          also, as far as last night goes, when is the last time he pitched? 12 days ago? shouldn’t we have expected him to be a little sloppy?

          again, Ponson isn’t “good”. but i’m not convinced every out he’s recorded has been sheer luck either.

          and even if he bombs his next start, he HAS helped this team already more than anyone could have wished for.

          and contrary to all the hand-wringing, he hasn’t destroyed the clubhouse or turned Joba into an alcoholic either. he’s been a model citizen and a semi-useful pitcher. no bad for the major league minimum.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

            Clearly, Jason is drinking heavily to keep the booze away from Sir Sidney.

      • Steve

        If it makes you feel any better, in his last 6 starts Rasner has 28.2 IP and has allowed 47 H and 13 BB. Giving him a WHIP of 2.13.

      • Steve

        Here’s some more Rasner goodness for ya.

        Quick splits
        VS. LEFT: .285 / .799 VS. RIGHT: .328 / .858 HOME: .271 / .729 AWAY: .327 / .895

        Just in case anyone’s wondering, Rasner is right handed.

        Really, could Aceves be any worse? At least he gets righties out. But then again, so did Rasner in AAA.

        • cult of basebaal

          relax, the mexican gangsta’s gonna be here soon …

          i’m pretty comfortable in saying that if he hadn’t missed those 2 starts when he got called up to AAA, he’d be here already (well, if he had pitched well)

          last time out, he only went 5 innings (but didn’t allow a run) … i have a feeling that 1 or 2 good full strength starts and he’s in the show …

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

      This weekend, Sidney Ponson, David Robertson, Jose Veras, Kyle Farnsworth, and Mo Rivera will pitch a combined no hitter against the Red Sox.

      Robertson, Veras, Farnsworth, and Rivera will throw perfect 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th innings, respectively, in relief of Ponson, who will no-hit the Sox through the first five… while walking 7 batters and hitting 2 more.

  • Vladdy is Daddy

    christian garcia is back!

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

      Yup. Must be that time of the month.

      But seriously, wrong thread. You want DotF. This is the game thread.

    • Steve

      Its amazing that Garcia is still only 22 years old. It seems like he’s been injur . . . . . . . . I mean AROUND forever.

  • bob

    I’m willing to bet that either Matsui or Posada will tough it out at DH, while the other goes under the knife. Given the fact that Matsui can’t run, and Posada is a switch hitter, one can how that will all turn out.

    • Steve

      Neither. Matsui cant hit on a bad knee. Balance is key to being able to hit and a bad knee screws up your balance. He tried to do that last year and was a double play machine down the stretch. They’ll keep rehabbing him and see if it improves. There’s no need to do the surgery now, he had his other knee done last year and was ready for spring training.

      Posada is another story. He’s facing shoulder surgery and the recovery time is much longer. In his case, the sooner he has the surgery the better.

  • Simon

    i say if the yanks are winning games that ponson starts, let him pitch one or two more games with hope that the team can hold up with him on the mound, rather than release him and perhaps have to scramble for suitable big league starters from the minors.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      They’re not going to release him. Sidney was pitching well before he got here and was released from Texas for behavior / attitude problems. He behaves when he’s in pinstripes. I’m sure Sexson is going to be the same. I don’t know what the Yankees say to people who are behavior problems for other teams, but they don’t act up here. They leave all the crazy stuff to Arod.

      Cashman picked him up because he was pitching well and doesn’t seem to give us agita.

      Now I recognize that he’s a blowup waiting to happen. His wins are not beautiful. If Moose or Andy are cruising and it’s a 2-1 ballgame, you assume they will keep it going to get to the bullpen who will assure the win. You could have an 11 run lead with Sidney and still be hoping he doesn’t blow it. I get that.

      I think Rasner is the one whose time has come and gone. I think that Sidney will stick around until he ultimately blows it.

      But it seems like Eiland is working hard with all the pitchers and Girardi has complete faith in him … look at Farnsworth and even Hawkins. Improvement all around. Ramirez has turned into the pitcher we thought he would be and Robertson is sick so far.

      So unless Sidney goes completely backwards and costs us important games or punches Dave Eiland in the face (and either of those things could be a reasonable scenario), I expect him to stick around.

      I think Rasner’s days may be numbered unless he comes out tonight and pitches as he did when he first came up.

      • TurnTwo

        Sir Sid’s job is safe… he’s fine fior the 5th spot in the rotation.

        i agree Rasner is now on the short leash. we need a #4, and you cant wait and hope IPK gets his act together, or that Hughes wont have a setback, and will be ready in mid-August or whenever.

        i think what Rasner does tonight will dictate whether Cashman looks for pitching at the deadline or not.

        • mike

          I agree with most of what you said, but I think Rasner’s performance will really not matter for trade purposes.

          Rasner is slated to be the “long man” and swing guy in the bullpen battling Geise for the spot, and I don’t think anyone envisions any quality from him as a starter.

          I for one was wishing Moeller could catch him again, and when i got my wish last week he was tatooed. Thus, my theory went up in smoke!

          But, with Wang , IPK etc only a few starts away, we only have to get thru a few more starts of Rasner ( 4-5 max) until there is a viable replacement which will cost nothing.

          I agree that those 4-5 starts may be the make-or-break games we needed in the standings when the dust clears at the end of the year, but i dont see any quality pitchers on the market which are worth trading someone for which will offer certainty in those 4-5 games.

          If we see Cash make a trade ( and we might…he is rambling publically about Pavano {read:we have a multitude of pitching options}) it will be because he has no faith in Wang/Hughes/IPK making a contribution for the stretch run. If no trade, he has confidence one (or all of them) will be available in a few weeks

          • TurnTwo

            i personally just dont think we can expect much of anything from IPK down the stretch.

            and Wang and Hughes are much more than a few starts away… you wouldnt see either until prob early Sept, which is over 5 weeks away still.

            i agree that Rasner isnt more than a swing man and long bullpen guy, but with multiple series coming up against Boston, Anaheim, and games against Toronto and Baltimore, who arent great but can hit, thru the month of August, this is where you could win or lose the Wild Card, or even the division.

            i dont believe in Washburn or Wolf. but i would overpay a little to get a Tim Hudson, or a Matt Cain… not that these guys are available, necessarily. but thats the kind of pitcher i target.

            and if you cant get a pitcher, and you fully expect pitching to work its way back for Sept, then that screams offensive upgrade to me…

            recognize with Rasner and Ponson pitching 2 out of every 5 games, you’re going to have to outslug opponents.

            • A.D.

              There are some Cain grumblings, but i don’t know if they’re real. The top-line starters have all been moved

            • Count Zero


            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

              I still think Washburn is worth a shot. To get out from under the 4M this year and 9M next year the Mariners owe him, they’ll give him away for next to nothing. I’m talking about like a George Kontos-Eric Duncan kind of next to nothing. And, he’s certainly a much better option than Rasner/Karstens. If or when Aceves, Wang, or Pavano make it back to contributing, Washburn can either take Ponson’s spot, if he’s imploded by then, or… wait for it…

              …become a situational lefty out of the pen!

              And we shouldn’t be scared by his 9M next year either… that’s still not a ton, and he’s valuable insurance in case our kids aren’t ready or struggle.

  • george kaplan

    This is great writing.
    Why I read the blog.

  • A.D.

    At least whenever Ponson pitches its interesting.

    I agree with the other posters that relying on IPK, Hughes, and Wang for the stretch isn’t really going to happen. Hughes could be pitching in real games in about 2 weeks, but then it would be at least a month to get him to the bigs, Wang I haven’t heard about his progression, and IPK still would need to get in a groove.

    Aceves pitches tonight for SWB, the same night Rasner pitches for the big club. If Aceves puts up a good outing, and Rasner doesn’t, you’ll see the pressure mount a bit more.

    • TurnTwo

      agreed. you might have already seen Aceves were it not for that small groin injury that kept him out for two weeks.

      • cult of basebaal

        i think aceves is 2 good, full length starts from replacing rasner.

        let’s hope tonite is one of them.

  • Old Ranger

    Maybe I am being redundant here but, didn’t we (more or less) come to the conclusion; “Go with what we brung to the game!”?
    Let us not exacerbate the problem…there isn’t anyone out there people! Anyone we could pick up (for a reasonable price) is not going to be that much better then those we have. The players need to step up and play…as the back of their cards say they can.
    Whenever the team hits a snag, the approach is; trade, trade…buy, buy! Trade and buy got the team into this mess didn’t it? Conversely, Cash and his team are trying to get us back to the WS…not only the playoffs. The name of the game is WS and World Champs, not; we made the playoffs. Yes, make the playoffs and anything can happen right…out in 1st round.
    The enthusiasm and optimism, by many of the people on this blog over shadows the criticism and sarcasm of some of the …disaster is around the corner types. 27/08??

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

      I think that to say that “trade and buy” got us into this mess is a drastic oversimplification.

      I’m not even really sure what this “mess” is that you speak of, but what got us into this mess is probably a combination of unlucky injuries, a roster that was imbalanced because we kept adding aging veterans instead of young players, and some gambles that just didn’t work out. You could say that we traded and bought too much, but you could also say that we bought the wrong players by negotiating on the cheap (i.e., paying Gary Sheffield instead of Vlad Guerrero) or that we didn’t deal aggressively enough (i.e., failing to swing deals for young talent on the market like a Jon Garland or a Carlos Quentin…)

      But still, a lot of it is luck. We’ve had a lot of older guys who have gotten banged up and missed time (or have been recovering from former steroid use and missed time), as well as a lot of high-level prospects who’ve been hurt and missed time. Some of that luck is the residue of poor design, excessive reliance on aging players and growing rookies, but some is just dumb luck. Like, go back in time and instead of having Hideki Matsui break his wrist on a freak play in the field, have him stay healthy but have ManRam break his wrist… how much does that change history? Quite a bit.

      From 1996-2000, almost every lucky break broke our way. From 2001-2008, it’s largely been the opposite.

      • Old Ranger

        I’m not even really sure what this “mess” is that you speak of, but what got us into this mess is probably a combination of unlucky injuries, a roster that was imbalanced because we kept adding aging veterans instead of young players, and some gambles that just didn’t work out.

        That part just highlighted what I just said. Trades/buys got us an imbalance and older players, also no good minor league players.

        Now, thanks to “The Older Stin” we have had the benefit of (about) 3 years worth of building the MiL. Change takes time, when your team is older, injuries happen more often and take more time to recover.
        Yes, the Old Man dictated some trades that were not wise, Cash made some that didn’t work out…sh#t happens…bad breaks don’t happen, they are caused. 27/08??

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

          See, I was with you until that last sentence. The only thing we’re disagreeing on is that I don’t think “bad breaks are caused”… I think they’re just bad breaks.

          Matsui breaking down was a product of him playing everyday. So if you want to say that we shouldn’t have resigned him, I’d probably agree with you.

          Posada, Wang, and ARod all missing decent chunks of 2008 are just unlucky injuries, apropos of nothing. We caught a bad break, one that wasn’t caused by any poor decision on our part. If Posada and Wang had remained healthy and been in every game so far, you don’t have to stretch your imagination that far to envision us in first place right now. Even with all the other bad breaks, like Hughes, Kennedy, Horne, etc.

          I think you’re overstating the flaws in our strategy and understating the impact of simple luck, that’s all. No, every decision wasn’t the right one, but the wrong decisions are exacerbated when some of the right ones backfire on you because of bad luck.

          • steve (different one)

            yes, but with hindsight, we can blame someone for everything!

          • Old Ranger

            Cause and effect…have you ever heard of it? What it is; every effect has a cause. Having watched the Yanks from the late 40s, I have seen it happen time and again. But, this is being redundant, I think we both are right (or so).
            Some of the younger people have not gone through all the bad (terrible) years, their history of the Yanks started at age 5 or9 years old (maybe)…15 or 20 years ago. Sorry to say it but, you ain’t seen sh#t. Don’t get me wrong, the new generation (last 30 yrs.) of Yank fans are great…just a little spoiled and impatient. Enjoy the guys we have, they don’t play (well) forever…and watch the young guys coming up (future) stars in the making. 27/08??

  • http://blogginthebombers.wordpress.com/ Sign Higashioka!

    Great win for us last night.

  • http://thepenismightier godfather

    the pen is indeed mightier than the rest of things nyy…and bard does indeed look like a nice move for the club unless nyy doesn’t get by with offering just igawa, who, by the way, might have offered more relief to the club than sadie hawkins has

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