Moose, ’pen silence Texas offense in Arlington

The Phil Hughes Rehab Tour hits Scranton
As the Andy Pettitte saga turns

On August 11, 2007, the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Devil Rays played a rather meaningless game in the scheme of the season. Both teams were far out of the playoff hunt, wrapping up the formality of a 162-game season. In that game, Edwin Jackson would throw a four-hit shut out. It would be the last time the Rangers would get shut out at home until last night.

Three hundred and sixty two days later, someone else finally shut out the Rangers in Arlington. As the team has scored a Major League-leading 651, this is, clearly, no small feat, and tonight, the superlatives fall on the shoulders of Mike Mussina, the Yanks’ first 15-game winner. Over seven innings, Mussina scattered eight hits — only two for extra bases. He struck out six and walked just one. He’s now allowed 20 walks in 24 starts. Not only is Mussina chasing 20 wins yet again, but he may well finish the season with fewer walks than starts.

Moose, ever humble and sporting a nifty 3.27 ERA, would have none of the praise. “I didn’t have my best stuff,” he said after the game. Of course not. Who shuts down the Rangers at home with their best stuff? And for all the grief I’ve given Moose over the years, I have to tip my cap to him this year. He has shown, week after week, that old dogs — headstrong ones at that — can indeed learn a few new tricks.

Meanwhile, after a hiccup earlier this week, the bullpen was again strong for the Yanks. Brian Bruney got his out; Damaso Marte got his two outs; and Mariano Rivera needed a whopping eight pitches to dispatch the Rangers in the ninth. Game, set, match.

For the Yankees, the offense came to them courtesy of Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Johnny Damon. The three combined for eight of the Yanks’ 11 hits. Jeter’s home run in the first and his single in the 9th plated two of the runs, and Damon’s fifth inning single plated the other.

Of note was the odd non-double play in the ninth. With Wilson Betemit on first, Jose Molina hit a sure DP ball to Ian Kinsler. But the Rangers’ second baseman threw to first, and Wilson Betemit, either alert or too oblivious, scampered back to the bag, safe. He would later score on Jeter’s single. I’ve never quite seen a play unfold as that one did.

As the Yanks head to Anaheim tonight, they do so 5.5 games out of first following a rare Tampa loss and three games behind Boston in the Wild Card. They have Ian Kennedy and Dan Giese lined up to start the first two games. Beyond that, who knows? But that’s the maddening joy of baseball. Anything is possible, and while the Yanks are down, they’re aren’t out yet.

Game A-Rod Slump Notes: Alex Rodriguez had a series to forget. He went 0 for 14 and hit into four double plays. Prior to this week, he had hit into four double plays all season. Hopefully, he’ll heat up in Anaheim. He is a career .332/.399/.678 hitter in 352 plate appearances at the Big A…When A-Rod struck out with Derek Jeter on third and one out in the seventh, it was his 35th at-bat with a runner on third and less than two outs. He is now 7 for 29 in those situations, and the runner has scored in 13 of 35 situations. Those are bad numbers, albeit in a small sample.

The Phil Hughes Rehab Tour hits Scranton
As the Andy Pettitte saga turns
  • goldglove51

    “I’ve never quite seen a play unfold as that one did”

    Mickey Mantle, 1960 WS. I haven’t seen it since.

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

      You, sir, are older than I am. However, I was watching the end of the game with my dad tonight and he was ten when the Mantle play unfolded. He didn’t seem to recall it. Nice find.

      • goldglove51

        Well, I’m younger than your dad…I was 9 when I watched the Mantle play in black and white :) Ask him if he cried like I did watching Maz’s homer clear the wall.

        As for the subsequent post re the difference between the play last nite and Mantle’s, I was drawing no comparison; it was simply an observation that the two plays were the same. Runner on first, ball in play, batter out at first, runner gets back before tag. Mantle’s play was one of the most remarkable, heads up plays I’ve ever seen, ranking with Jeter’s flip.

        ARod doesn’t scare anyone anymore, and I don’t need to repeat previous posts. He does not protect Abreu anymore, as hot as he’s been. The pattern used by opposing pitchers on him is so obvious it’s a mystery why he (nor apparently Long) have worked on changing it. Without his bat in the clutch, they are toast. And the Angel’s staff is definitely NOT one to get well on.

    • Old Ranger

      Was that in the 9th of game 7? I don’t remember exactly, I remember there was a mix-up at 1st base…if that was the play, ok! 27/08??

  • GoYankees

    “the Rangers’ second baseman threw to first, and Wilson Betemit, either alert or too oblivious, scampered back to the bag, safe”

    Who said you can’t steal first? :D

  • Manimal

    You gotta wonder where we would be if Wang was healthy. Those 5(and a half) games would be nothing to overcome and Moose AND Wang would be near 15 wins.

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

      Well, Ponson is Wang’s replacement, and the Yanks have won 5 of his 7 starts. So if they had Wang, really the best they could possibly be is 2 games better than they are now, more than likely just one or even none though.

      • steve (different one)

        can you really say that?

        if Wang had just missed say 2 weeks, couldn’t the yankees have dropped Rasner instead of Ponson?

        i hear what you are saying, but there is also the effect going forward. Wang being out means when Joba got hurt, IPK has to pitch. if IPK is terrible, that is an effect of Wang being out.

      • Art Vandelay

        Hindsight is awesome. It holds that Ponson = Wang.

  • Stephen

    A-Rod really needs to get back into the groove. The Yankees are really built around him and if he slumps down the stretch, they’ll have no chance to make the playoffs. If he can revert to his lofty standards, they’ll have a good chance of at least the Wild Card.

  • Stephen

    And a question- How confident do the rest of you feel about A-Rod in big situations?

    My gut tells me not to be optimistic, but my brain says he’s one of the two best players in baseball now and my lack of confidence is unfounded.

    • mustang

      I don’t love the guy, but there no way he can keep this up he is way too talented. Still he looked lost at the plate this whole series, but at least he didn’t take it to the field. My question is how long do they keep him in the 4th spot if he doesn’t come out of it?

      • steve (different one)

        My question is how long do they keep him in the 4th spot if he doesn’t come out of it?

        oh, probably for the next 5 years at least.

        you don’t drop one of the 20 best players of all time in the lineup because he went 0 for 14. unless you’re Joe Torre of course.

        he’ll come out of it. he’s too good not to. his last good game at the plate was against Weaver. hopefully it starts tonight.

        he just needs to take one ball the other way and his swing will come back. right now he’s pulling off everything and grounding to 3B every time.

        • mustang

          “he just needs to take one ball the other way and his swing will come back”

          Agree, seriously I know he will get out of it like said he is just way too talented, but I hope it’s sooner rather then later.

        • Old Ranger

          Sometimes, it seems as if he is not seeing the ball well and/or guessing. A few times he has swung at pitches way-way outside, after getting buzzed inside…just my take. I agree, one liner the other way is the cure for the many ills one has. 27/08??

  • A.D.

    As dissapointing as the first two games, we’ve turned it around, if we can take this momentum into the angels series, and if arod gets hot, watch out. Team can build, and hopefully IPK can put it together.

    Like the benching of melky, wish theyd bring some guys performing in the minors to hit

  • mustang

    “But that’s the maddening joy of baseball. Anything is possible, ”

    Wouldn’t it be something being a joke for so long if Carl Pavano becomes a key to this crazy ass 2008 season?
    For fun I’m going to call him my sleeper.

    Agree and enjoyed the thread.

  • D.B.

    take arod out of the 4th spot? Hes been our best hitter all year.

    • mustang

      I know this read the comment “IF HE KEEPS THIS UP”. It probably wouldn’t happen but what if 0-14 becomes 3-35 or something.

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

        Then he’s in a slump and that sucks, but 3 for 35 stretches happen to the best of ’em. He would snap out of it. That’s looking ahead a bit though.

        • mustang

          Your right I’m just wondering what it would take that’s all like said he is too talent to stay this cold.

    • r.w.g.

      He’s sort of our best hitter. I think that’s the most accurate way to describe him.

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

      Are they seriously debating stuff from 2005/2006? Jeez. Too much free time.

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

        No, that was from 2005, I have too much time…

  • bob

    The Mantle play was somewhat different. Yogi hit a hard ground ball to first; the first baseman fielded it cleanly, stepped on first and turned to throw to second, at which time the Mick slid back to first before he could be tagged out. In that case, it was a magnificent reaction from a great player; tonight, Betamit just thought the second baseman had caught the ball on the fly.

    • Old Ranger

      I answered his post above. I don’t remember how the play happened, I remember a mix-up at 1st…I was 20ish, and more interested in my friend then the game. 27/08??

  • sam

    To add to your A-Rod observation, with a runner on 3rd with less than two outs, he has struck out about a third of the time, which is just bad. This is one of the easier RBI opportunities in baseball and for some reason his K rate is at its highest point in his Yankee career.

  • Bart

    ARod – his approach at the plate is awful and we have seen it for long stretches before with these Yankees — Don mattingly’s “intervention” and the Detroit playoffs come to mind — no way to know what is in his head but maybe his HR totals are down for his liking, or he wants to get the BIG hit so bad he is jumping, guessing and flailing

    In the past TV commentators have picked up on this practically beging him to go to RF which is apparently how he and others straighten themselves out

    or maybe he is exhausted form the madoona stuff and it is now showing

    The press would scream if he got two games on the bench — but he looks like he needs it a a much different way than Melky but there aye geting the same results

    He can win the batting title — he might even claim an MVP with s strong drive that carries the yankees into the playoffs — these should be enough to get him on track – with maybe a day off to remind him he is “hurting the team”

    • steve (different one)

      In the past TV commentators have picked up on this practically beging him to go to RF which is apparently how he and others straighten themselves out

      agreed this is what he needs to do. he’ll iron it out.

  • jsbrendog

    i hate arod, always have and always will, but i understand how important he is to this team (much to my chagrin). if there is to be any hope of moving up in the standings he needs to step up, especially with the ptiching staff in shambles.

    unfortunately, i am highly doubtful he will. hope he does, but dubious.

    • Old Ranger

      Have Faith, he as well as others will get their shit together. The Yanks do this every year, just to make our lives more interesting…or give me a heart attack. 27/08??

    • barry

      I’m doubtful too. I don’t see us getting anywhere with a player like A-Rod. He’s not hungry for it.

      • Old Ranger

        Respectively disagree berry. A WS victory (NYY) is the one thing missing from his resume. He is very well aware of his accomplishments, and wants to be one of the greatest players EVER…without the WS (or two)???? I have always (among others) thought this was one of the reasons he was a WS underachiever…he tried to hard, many others have done the same. 27/08??

      • steve (different one)

        I’m doubtful too. I don’t see us getting anywhere with a player like A-Rod. He’s not hungry for it.

        totally agree:

        look at how shittily he has performed down the stretch (August and September) for the yankees over the last 4 seasons:

        2004: .288/.379/.473
        2005: .327/.426/.664
        2006: .311/.409/.570
        2007: .345/.451/.670

        this guy is another Mr. April. never does shit when the team needs him the most. the Yankees are lucky they made the playoffs at all with numbers like that.

      • Jack
    • steve (different one)

      unfortunately, i am highly doubtful he will. hope he does, but dubious.

      me too. 7703 ABs of hitting .306/.389/.578 is just too small of a sample size to place any sort of stock in.

      his last 14 ABs totally outweigh his pathetic track record.

      there is absolutely no reason to believe he will start hitting.

      • Old Ranger

        Your sarcasm is very well done, this time…and well put! 27/08??

  • Art Vandelay

    As a purveyor of gloom and doom, I just wanted to point out that Moose has been prone to wearing down the last few years. He has been notoriously worse down the stretch and in the playoffs the last few seasons. It will be interesting to see how the next two months go for him. It’s possible that the toll of the season evetually catches up to him at his age. No doubt he’s looked great so far this year, and I think generally Girardi has not overworked him, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

    • Old Ranger

      You may be right, although he has been getting stronger as the season progresses. Let’s show a little optimism and not screw it up with all that realism! 27/08??