Sep
20

And then there was one

By

As Robinson Cano lined a single up the middle to give the Yanks’ a walk-off 1-0 win over the Orioles, the team closed the book on a chapter of Yankee Stadium. No longer with the field at the southwest corner of River Ave. and 161st St. in the Bronx play host to day games. No longer will the Bronx County Court House preside over sun-drenched afternoon affairs.

The Yanks couldn’t have asked for better weather in late September for their afternoon send-off to the stadium. With the mercury pushing 68 degrees and nary a cloud in the sky, the Orioles and Yanks racked up zero after zero until the Yanks broke through in the bottom of the 9th. Two unlikely pitchers – Brian Burres with an ERA over 6.00 and Al Aceves with 20 Big League innings under his belt — kept the opposing hitters guessing, and the game came down to a battle of the bullpens with the Yanks’ pen pitching just a hair better than the Orioles’ relievers.

For the third time in three starts, Aceves threw six innings and didn’t allow much. The Orioles knocked out just five hits against the Mexican righthander and worked three walks. Aceves struck out three and didn’t allow a run. On the season, Aceves sees his ERA drop to 1.38, and many Yankee fans are writing him in as a presumptive starter next year. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

To me, the biggest question mark surrounding Aceves is the “luck vs. skill” debate. Right now, Aceves’ BABIP is a meager .217, and it’s highly doubtful that this mark would stand. His three strike outs today gave him just eight in 19 innings as a starter, and the 2:1 K:BB ratio isn’t stellar. Today, he recorded four outs on the ground and nine in the air. While in his first start, he induced a Wangian 14 ground balls in seven innings, if his fly ball rates are up and his strike outs remain low, he’ll start to give up more runs.

Now, I don’t mean to sound negative about Aceves; he’s shown better stuff and command than Darrell Rasner or Sidney Ponson did. But once the league gets a long look at him, we’ll know for sure what we have. At the worst, he’d make for a great long reliever next year.

Otherwise, the offense had nothing today. The Yanks mustered four hits and just seven base runners against Brian Burres. But what else is new? This team has long had a tendency this season to make bad pitchers look good. At least today they came out on top.

With one game left at Yankee Stadium, the Yanks are riding the hot hand. They’ve won seven of their last nine at home and are enjoying good pitching and timely hitting. With tomorrow’s emotional stadium finale on tap, today’s was a great win.

Categories : Game Stories

33 Comments»

  1. JK says:

    LOL

    Not that I think Aceves is the next coming but some of your arguments are ridiculous…

    If Ponson had consistent command & Rasner threw 90-93 mph with 5 pitches instead of 87-89 mph with 3 pitches then they would both be legit back of the rotation major league pitchers.

    Since when is a 2.50 K/bb IN THE MAJORS not stellar?

  2. IvanS says:

    I personally like his confidence on the mound. He may be a contact pitcher but so is Rasner and Kennedy with the notable exception that they are afraid to throw strikes. He’ll get hit and allow runs later but that’s to be expected. As long as he keeps walks low and doesn’t beat himself.

    Driving down for the game in the morning…

    • Steve says:

      He doesn’t have the nickname “The Mexican Gangster” for nothing.

      He doesn’t scare, doesn’t nibble. Goes right after hitters, you have to like that.

    • 27 this year says:

      The thing is about Aceves, when Kennedy came up that September, he too was not afraid to throw strikes. Then later he fell apart. So, that argument about not being afraid is moot. I support Aceves, but…

      • Steve says:

        Thats simply not true. They were constantly harping on him last year to “stay aggressive”. That’s not something you have to tell Aceves.

  3. JK says:

    I fully understand that and agree, but as i said some of your arguments just don’t make sense.

  4. Bryan says:

    Man, tomorrow is going to be a sad day in Yankee land. Although I don’t think it will actually sink in until the old stadium goes under the wrecking ball. But does anyone know when they will start selling things from the stadium and how astronomical they will be?

    • Steve says:

      It hit me this morning. I’m already bummed out, and I was one of those people who was saying all year I won’t miss the place. Well, I was wrong.

      Still looking forward to the new place, but all the memories of the old one are front and center now, and I can’t help but feel very sad to see it go.

  5. steve (different one) says:

    this season has obviously been a disaster, but i will say this:

    this team showed up for this final homestand and gave the fans something to cheer about.

    they could have folded up the tent about 2 weeks ago and called it a season, but they are playing for pride at least. they are a very flawed team, but at least they are still playing hard.

    • Steve says:

      One thing about referring to this team as a “disaster”. Yes we didn’t make the playoffs and that’s a big disappointment after 14 straight years (I count 94. Finished 1st) for us. But this team is currently 13 games over .500 despite all the injuries and problems we had this year.

      I was sitting next to a Pirate fan at Wednesdays game and he was telling me how if the Pirates ever finished 13 games over, he would be thrilled. I know the Yanks have higher standards (which I embrace) but this wasn’t an awful season. I think Girardi did a pretty good job considering all that went wrong.

      • steve (different one) says:

        oh, i agree with you 100%.

        i was just using colorful language to make a point.

        there were parts of the season that i would call disastrous: losing Wang to a freak baserunning injury, losing Joba, Hughes getting hurt, losing Posada, losing Damon when he ran into the wall, etc.

        but i agree with your very reasonable assessment. this team is still fighting and they wil probably win 86-88 games without their 2 best starters and All-Star catcher.

      • mustang says:

        I agree, but it was still very disappointing.

  6. Mike Pop says:

    Thats why bostons year is that good i hate to say it but they lost big named guys too.. it sucks that they overcame it and we didnt ya know but i still think we are at their level

    • steve (different one) says:

      i think they were fairly even to start the season (Boston was maybe slightly better), but to be honest, most of the difference between the two teams has been from 2B.

      if you have two teams that are roughly equal, and one 2Bman is 2-3 wins better than his projection, and the other is 2-3 wins worse than his projection….well, there you have it.

      both teams had injuries, but its hard to understate how badly Cano hurt this team.

      i still think he will bounce back next year, but when Posada went down, A-Rod was hurt, Matsui got hurt, they needed Cano. and he didn’t do anything. Cano and Posada. that’s a big chunk of 2008 Yankee problems.

      • Ben K. says:

        And Melky.

        I know we have feelings on Melky here that border on irrational dislike, but objectively, Cano and Melky along with the lack of Posada were the things that led to the Yanks’ scoring 200 fewer runs this year than last. You can’t underestimate what Melky’s poor offensive showing meant to the Yanks this year.

        • Steve says:

          and . . . . . A-Rod and Giambi not hitting with RISP all year.

          Right? You can’t talk about run scoring and leave that one out.

  7. Hybrid Moments says:

    Abraham says that Girardi wants Pettitte back next year. Its going to be tons of fun when we march out a rotation of Wang, Mussina, Pettitte, Hughes, and lesser free agent pitcher to start the season.

    • Ben K. says:

      Good thing Girardi’s not the general manager or the person making these decisions. He can say whatever he wants, but when push comes to shove, it will be up to Cashman and the Steinbrenners. The three of them have not been shy about saying that the team will have a different look come April.

    • Steve says:

      Where did it say he wants Moose back as well?

  8. Steve says:

    Everyone see this on LoHud?

    “Every Yankees player and coach had a memo from the team waiting for them in their locker today. It said, in 24-point bold letters, that the ball used to get the final out tomorrow night belongs to the Yankees and must be turned over immediately to federal or NYPD authorities for authentication.

    The ball will be placed in a museum at the new Stadium.

    The memo also said the players would be able to keep only their backup jersey “as a gift” under the condition that they never sell it or give it away.

    Their game-used jerseys will apparently be sold.

    The players were warned against taking any items from the clubhouse or the Stadium. Anything they want, it said, would be sold to them “at prices set by New York City.”

    Federal authorities? Is there a Bureau of Baseball Authentication? “

    • Steve says:

      I’m not sure they’re allowed to do this if a fan catches it, or a player for that matter. I thought that this stuff has gone through the courts from the McGwire/Bonds HR record balls and it was pretty much finder’s keepers.

      The Red Sox tried like hell to get that 04 ball back from Doug Mentkievitz, they said it was their property and they eventually had to settle out of court w/him.

      Not sure teams have the right to do this.

      • Nickel says:

        “I’m not sure they’re allowed to do this if a fan catches it”

        That’d be one hell of a way to end Yankee Stadium’s tenure, eh? Walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth? How awesome would that be?

  9. mustang says:

    I just wonder if it wasn’t Aceves, but a certain two other rookie pitchers how different this thread would be.

    • Steve says:

      Aceves has been flying under the radar all year, so there aren’t any expectations to go unmet. He wasn’t even all that good in AAA.

  10. J.R. says:

    Deffenintly an interesting offseason. I just hope they dont miss out on sabathia and then have a knee jerk reaction and sign a pavano esque deal and ink sheets or burnett to a 4+ year deal. Or try and compensate offensively and do a giambi esque deal with tex on the scale of 7 years. The yankees resolve will truly be tested in terms of the legnth of contracts they sign this off season. And next when they lose damon and matsui.

    • Chip says:

      What a lot of people don’t remember is that was essentially a genius deal that Cashman signed. Cash can’t really be held responsible for injuries. It’s like saying Cash shouldn’t have drafted Hughes because he’s been getting hurt lately.

      Sheets we know has trouble staying healthy (and looks to be headed to TJS) but is having Pavano as your number 3 starter really that bad?

  11. Hitman says:

    I’m under no delusions about Aceves but based on what I’ve seen I see no indications the league will catch up to him. It’s not like he’s tricking batters with his delivery. Aceves is getting hitters out because he knows how to pitch and appears to be mentally tough. Something sorely missing in both Hughes and Kennedy. I think he’ll make a good number 5 starter next season.

    • steve (different one) says:

      how is Hughes not “mentally tough”?

      you’ve made up your mind after 20 good innings from Aceves and 20 bad innings from Hughes?

      give me a break.

    • Chip says:

      Rasner and Kennedy both dominated when they first came up and they also didn’t trick anybody with their deliveries. The difference between Kennedy/Rasner/Karstens and Garland/Javy Vazquez/Maddux (guys who succeed at the major league level with about the same stuff) is CONTROL. Rasner obviously had the control when he came up which is the same as Aceves and Kennedy. The question is, can they keep pitching to those same spots when the league starts adjusting to them.

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