Hope or delaying the inevitable

Marshall, Lassiter make their pro debuts
Perhaps that neck is feeling better

When I see tonight’s Yankee game unfold, two different thoughts flash through my mind. On the one hand, I see Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte turn in what we would call vintage performances as the Yanks turned in a crisp two-hour and 22-minute victory.

But on the other, I see the Yanks playing out the season with this win. I see a mediocre team with some star players beating a bad pitcher when they should. I see an overpaid and overhyped team keeping hope alive, falsely, by hanging 5.5 games back in the Wild Card and not really moving forward. I guess it’s all about tomorrow. Whatever they can do tomorrow and the next day and the day after that will determine the real fate of the 2008 Yankees.

Before we jump ahead though, we can look at tonight’s quick game. The Yanks jumped out to a first-inning lead, and they would never look back. The first three Yankees reached base, and while A-Rod again failed to deliver with runners in scoring position, a Jason Giambi sac fly (against a lefty!) and a Xavier Nady single gave Pettitte a 2-0 nothing lead.

In the fourth, the Yanks would plate their final three runs of the game with Derek Jeter’s hitting his 8th home run of the season. That blast would be the 2498th hit of Jeter’s career and his 203rd Yankee home run. With that homer, Jeter tied Roger Maris on the Yanks’ all-time home run list and somehow, only 10 players in Yankee history have more home runs in pinstripes than Jeter, not quite a notorious home run hitter throughout his career.

But while the bats did their job tonight, the story of the game was Andy Pettitte. The lefty went seven strong, allowing one run on five hits, no walks and four strike outs. He threw 62 of 83 pitches for strikes. Brian Bruney threw a crisp two innings to complete the victory.

Clearly, the Yankees needed this game. By winning on Wednesday, they guaranteed at least a one-game lead in third place when they depart Toronto for Baltimore after facing Roy Halladay tonight. They also gained a game on Boston and Clay Buchholz, who was shelled again down in Baltimore.

Was tonight’s game a reprieve or a sign that we shouldn’t quite count the Yanks out? With the Bombers seemingly treading water in the standings these days, it’s easy to believe the former, but it’s always hard to count out the Yankees. Stranger things, after all, have happened.

Marshall, Lassiter make their pro debuts
Perhaps that neck is feeling better
  • bill

    If they can keep the defacit at 5.5 games behind the Red Sux, and when they come to town the Yanks sweep em, they’ll be 2.5 games back heading into September with a fighting chance. But its imperative that the Yanks keep the lead where its at or lessen it in time for the Sox. And remember, the final 3 games of the season are at Fenway.

    • Count Zero

      The only problem with this line of thinking is that they also trail Minnesota by 5 — even if they sweep all six with the Sox, that won’t get them into the playoffs unless they start making up ground on the Twinkies.

      If the Yanks pass the Sox by beating them up head-to-head, and the Twins go 18-18 the rest of the way (unlikely given their schedule), the Yanks have to go 23-13 just to get into a one-game playoff with them. If the Twins go 20-16, we have to go 25-11.

      I won’t ever count them out completely, but you have to agree that it’s a long shot. I don’t see this team going 25-11 out from here. You pretty much have to pray the Twins (or White Sox) fall apart and play sub-.500 the rest of the way to have any real chance no matter how much you beat up the Sox.

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

        Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

        • Andy in Slightly Flooded Daytona

          Forget about it, He’s on a roll.

  • Smitt Dog

    I stand by what I said, this team is not good enough to make the playoffs. I’m sad that its the truth but it doesnt make it any less true. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but when I start hoping is when I know its unrealistic.

    • bill

      I know this team is frustrating. Believe me, theyve given me ulcers this year. But you really havent seen a worse team than this team in the playoffs before? Despite their maddening inconsitencies and injuries, theyre not quite out of it.

      • pat

        weren’t you a few posts ago saying this season was over and a waste and that you want to see all the prospects brought up??

        • pat

          bill says:
          August 20th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

          Its a joke that Victor Zambrano is even in the Yankee organization. I would much rather see Aceves on Saturday. The season is lost anyway, and now, I’m paying more attention to the minor leagues and 2009 than I am the big club. Theyre showing no signs of consistent play that would lead me to believe they can make a run in September.

          whoops.

          • steve

            he also said a few days ago he wanted to bring up austin jackson no matter what his role would be.

        • bill

          Yeah but with the upcoming series with Boston at the Stadium Ive had a little change of heart. I wasnt taking that series into account, and also some frustration got to me. If they sweep the Boston series theyre right back in the race. If they lose the series, godforbid get swept, its over.

          • bill

            Even if the Yanks are in the race I would rather see Aceves than Zambrano. I NEVER want to see that bum on the mound for the Yankees. I would rather see you on the mound. At least you would give us 6 innings of 3 run ball.

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

              bill: Both Aceves and Zambrano are total wildcards right now. Nobody knows what the hell either of them would or could do on a big league mound in 2008.

              Virtually every single one of us thought it was the height of lunacy to sign Sidney Ponson and trot him up on the mound every fifth day, and yet he’s somehow magically given us 7 quality starts and only two stinkers in 9 rotation turns. So, I’m not going to call for Cashman’s head on a platter just because we signed Zambrano to a minor league deal. Maybe he makes it up here and does well, maybe not. The same can be said for Aceves, Pavano, Hughes, Kennedy, Strickland, Jason Jones (or, for that matter, Kevin Millwood, Jarrod Washburn, Bronson Arroyo, 2006 Aaron Small, 2006 Shawn Chacon, etc., etc.)

              It’s baseball. Crazy shit (like Jeff Weaver helping the Cardinals win the World Series) happens. I’m not convinced that Zambrano will help, but it’s far from unheard of.

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

              btw, did you know Sir Sidney has an Aruban cousin that he played with in the Orioles system back in the ’90’s named… wait for it…

              Radhames Dykhoff?

              I don’t know what’s weirder: that the O’s have had two players named Radhames, or that somebody who walks the face of the earth is actually named Radhames Dykhoff.

    • Radnom

      Well Smitt Dog has called it, I guess it is really over.

      Pack it in guys.

  • http://chatango.com Double-J

    I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop so I can hear yet another post about how it’s Melky’s fault…even though he’s not even on the team anymore.

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

      Sarcasm.

      • http://chatango.com Double-J

        Do I need to use the tag?

    • JohnnyC

      Well, on the other hand, if he hadn’t sucked so bad for three months, he’d have been in centerfield instead of Damon. And he would’ve caught that fly ball. And…we’d have lost in extra innings anyway.

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

      Melky’s exonerated. I blame all of our 2008 struggles on Shelly Duncan.

  • r.w.g.

    I have doubts the team will be able to string together enough victories to close the gap.

    The glimmer of hope is in how well this group has traditionally played within the division down the stretch.

    • bill

      Thats true, and we traditionally OWN the Sox in August and September and we have a winning record against them and they Rays this year. The problem is, I think we have a losing record against Baltimore and the Jays this year. They have to capitalize on those games.

  • Old Ranger

    Be happy, Yanks won!
    They only have to win, oh…29-30 more? Then the play offs and WS, we will need to win what…15 more? Oh hell, that’s do’able! Hay, it’s just as optimistic as us getting into the play-offs, isn’t it? Like most have said, time and again…anything can happen. Do I realistically think it will happen…No! Could it happen…yes.

    • jsbrendog

      27/09?

      • Old Ranger

        Thank you! 27/09?

        • jsbrendog

          no problem lol

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

            Ranger, I demand that you change back to 27/08 immediately. Don’t give up hope (at least, written suffix versions of hope) until we’re mathematically eliminated.

            • Old Ranger

              If it will make you feel better, ok…but I must say it looks bad. 27/08?

  • Scott from 3 Kids Tickets

    When they win 9 or 10 in a row, we can talk. Until then, might as well talk about the new stadium and the 2009 team. This is from a person who’se company makes money when the Yankees make the post-season.

    -Scott

    PS Sabathia is an idiot if he leaves the national league.

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

      Sabathia is an idiot if he eliminates from contention half of the teams who would potentially be lining up to pay him the GNP of Curacao.

      The arms race (literally and metaphorically) is in the AL. Sabathia limiting his choices to the NL would be like a 1980’s defense contractor refusing to do business with the Reagan or Brezhnev.

  • Mark

    ok i’m def drunk but i just got back from the bar and roger clemens was there with his friend and some guys from the salem avalanche……it was awersome. i got him a drink

    • D.B.

      Sarcasm

  • D.B.

    Call up E DUC!!! he deserves the opportunity to suck it up with Arod and Giambi…

  • Steve

    Here’s the current Red Sox-Yankees match ups for next weeks series

    Pettite vs Beckett 11-9 4.34

    Ponson vs Paul Byrd 7-11 4.55

    Carl Pavano vs Lester 12-4 3.17

    • http://2009 Haggs

      Off day Monday so Moose will face Lester on Thursday.

      Beckett sounds very iffy for Tuesday.

  • Bart

    maybe – HOPE – Play Today Win Today – again 1 game toward that 18 game streak!!

    Firts i had to give props to Rasner and Now Sidney — i wondered if Eiland deserved credit for Sidney’s increasing effectivenes – today I note from Pete Abe

    “Ponson had surgery on his elbow after the 2006 season. It wasn’t until this season that he fully regained his command.

    ‘When I’m healthy I can hit spots,” Ponson said. “Before, with my elbow, I was throwing down and away and leaving it over the middle half the time. Now my velocity is back. I’m 91-92 instead of 88. There’s a huge difference for me.’

    Ponson hopes he has pitched well enough to convince the Yankees to sign him for next season”

    So maybe Sidney is capabale and relative inexpensive – Is Sidney a from of IPK?

    • http://www.freewebs.com/ps3tf2/chat.htm Double-J

      Right now, and possibly forever, Ponson > IPK.

      I can’t believe I actually said that, but until (if ever) IPK figures out how to pitch in the majors, Ponson seems like he would actually be a decent #5 guy for us next year, especially if Hughes can come up and be somewhat decent.

  • mustang

    “When we need him to come up clutch, he always does it,” Pettitte said of Jeter. “He’s a great leader on this team and he leads by example.”

    Why do I get the feeling that Andy is trying to tell someone (#13) something?

    • TurnTwo

      because he is.

      • pete

        why do i get the feeling that pettitte hasn’t actually watched jeter play this year? 19 double plays….

        • mustang

          I know Pettitte actually watched A-Rod hit with runners in scoring position
          .250 and that’s up from a week ago.

          • Chris

            Why does everyone only look at batting average? Is it still 1970? His OBP with RISP is .410.

            • mustang

              He is in the 4th spot in the line-up his job is to drive in runs not to just get on base.

              • nmc

                You can’t drive in runs if everyone is walking you. Maybe he realizes it, and other people realize it, and they pitch him OUT OF THE ZONE? We know what Alex does, he pushes it. He’s been getting on base at a ridiculous clip. You have to take what they give you dude. Maybe I’m just being an apologist, but people pitch around ARod. .250 is still pretty bad, but I can understand why.

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

                  I agree that BA is not the stat we should be evaluating ARod’s production with when it comes to RISP, but no, OBP isn’t either. Walks are great, but he’s not paid to move Damon and Jeter from 1st and 2nd to 2nd and 3rd, he’s paid to rip one into the gap and drive in runs. Yes, a .403 OBP with RISP is decent – not good, just decent. But good god, a .421 SLG is far from even decent. Not from our cleanup hitter.

                  BR splits time!

                  Overall triple slash vs. triple slash with RISP for assorted AL contenders’ middle of the order bats, 2008:
                  ManRam: .315/.412/.558 vs .351/.493/.595
                  Ortiz: .267/.373/.493 vs .364/.464/.693
                  Teixeira: .293/.401/.518 vs .298/.448/.504
                  Vlad: .288/.353/.499 vs .290/.406/.505
                  Hamilton: .304/.369/.553 vs .336/.395/.664
                  Bradley: .317/.444/.589 vs .266/.504/.468
                  Morneau: .309/.392/.511 vs .386/.497/.652
                  Quentin: .294/.398/.585 vs .336/.460/.598
                  Pena: .238/.355/.487 vs .250/.388/.518
                  ARod: .310/.397/.589 vs .248/.403/.421
                  Giambi: .246/.384/.501 vs .205/.352/.321

                  I’ve defended ARod on lots of shit, but those numbers are pretty damn telling. At this point in the season, virtually every good team has had about 250-odd plate appearances with one of their two very best hitters at bat with men in scoring position, and most of them have produced. Our two best hitters just haven’t. I don’t think that can be easily explained away using bad luck or BABIP or anything else… That’s just poor play. And that, more than all our injuries and all our black holes at C and CF and all our Jeter and Abreu slumps is probably the biggest problem this year.

                  Having the heart of our order continually fail to hit the ball hard and drive in runs is what’s keeping us from being at the top of the standings. I’m sorry to say it, but I have to stop pointing the finger elsewhere and point it at ARod and Giambi. .248/.403/.421 and .205/.352/.321 speaks for itself.

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

                  btw, compare Manny and Jason Bay, just to reinforce that that step down is way bigger than what the Sox spin machine would have you believe:

                  ManRam: .315/.412/.558 vs .351/.493/.595
                  JayRayBay: .293/.378/.528 vs .259/.355/.384

                  That’s 39 hits with 17 XBH in 144 RISP PA’s for Kaptain Krazy Dreads, and 29 hits with 8 XBH in 138 RISP PA’s for the boy from Trail, Canada.

    • http://2009 Haggs

      # 13 needs to remove his head from his ass.

      It would also be nice if he started throwing the ball TO Giambi and not in his general vicinity. The Big G was belly flopping all over the place scooping up his crap throws last night.

      I was hoping the Arod of two seasons ago was gone for good. Guess not…

      • steve (different one)

        why does everything about Jeter have to become about A-Rod?

        we need them BOTH to do well.

        someone can complement Jeter without it being a dig at A-Rod.

        it’s not like Andy himself hasn’t shit the bed on numerous occasions this season. the Yankees really could have used him that night in Texas.

        everyone hits rough patches.

        enough with the A-Rod/Jeter 90210 nonsense. both guys have to hit if this team is going to go anywhere.

        • mustang

          Your right, but that’s what so madding about A-Rod. Jeter and A-Rod should not be in the same sentence together. That’s how much more pure talent A-Rod has then Jeter. A-Rod has almost Ruth like ability that why it’s so damn frustrating to watch him struggle because we all know what he can do.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

            If it is as frustrating as you say, why do you guys seem to enjoy taking digs at A-Rod for each and every little thing?

            • http://2009 Haggs

              I might ask why you and many others staunchly defend each and every thing he does and act as his apologists, when he is quite clearly not playing at anywhere near the level he is capable of playing at?

              I don’t enjoy taking digs at Arod. I’d much prefer to watch him play like he did last season. Or at least provide a reasonable facsimile. I’d happily type nice things in this little box if he did.

            • mustang

              I don’t enjoy taking digs at him, but when people call him the “best player ever”, compare him to guys like Michael Phelps, talk about how hard he hit the ball when he is 0-5, and say things like as a manager you would not pitch around Abreu to get to him when his RISP is .250 come on.
              I would love to be on the A-Rod love boat, but I can’t defend some of the things I see on the field. If I take digs on anything is on peoples evaluation of A-Rod. Can he be the best player ever? Yes. Is he the best player ever? NOT EVEN CLOSE.

            • mustang

              “enjoy taking digs at A-Rod for each and every little thing?”

              Because some people over look or defend lots of big things.

  • JohnC

    If they can somehow beat Halladay tonight, it might give them a big boost of confidence and they finally go on a run. Of course, Baltimore has given us fits all year so that series is gonna be tough too, but beating Halladay or at least staying even with him and finding a way to win the game late would be huge. Ponson needs a performance like he had against the Angels at the Stadium a couple of weeks ago.

  • Curramba

    I won’t count them out completely but this team is too inconsistent starting with the biggest money maker of them all ARod. Funny how he had that monster season last year and is now back to his old way of not getting runners in with less then 2 outs when we need him the most. The guy can hit no doubt about it but it seems that when the pressure is really on he’s not clutch. You have Jeter bouncing into DP’s left and right, why not have him bunt a runner over more often The rest of the lineup is just as inconsistent and Damon scares the he!! out of me in CF. No, I won’t count them out just yet but I also won’t count them in either.

    • pat

      what is funny about the monster season followed by a “pedestrian” season by arod standards?

      • Curramba

        What I found funny is that it came at the exact time that he was going to opt out and get another monster contract. The other thing is last year it seemed like he was on a mission and you could see it in his eyes. He was also going the other way more. Regardless he was actually being clutch.

        • Rich

          Ooh, another commenter who can “see it in eyes”. What BS. There sure are lots of wannabe psychologists on this blog.

          • Curramba

            What’s his excuse for not doing as well this year then? He hasn’t been clutch plain and simple. btw, why did you only read the part of ARod when I mentioned Jeter and others? What are you in love with ARod or something?