Yanks’ rally – like season – falls short

Ajax propels Trenton to a 2-0 series lead
Sound the trumpets! Ring the bells! It's Melky to the rescue!

Is there a game out there more illustrative of the frustrations of the 2008 Yankee season that this one? Because this one really laid it all out there for us.

It started out so promising. The Yanks had two on in the first against Scott Kazmir, and while they didn’t have a hit, it seemed as though the one-time Mets farmhand didn’t have his best stuff. Of course, Kazmir settled down and Darrell Rasner, well, he pitched just like Rasner. In fact, to cap of a progression of bad starts, Rasner reached some valley. It may well have been the last start Rasner makes for the 2008 Yankees.

After getting out of the first, Rasner just ran out of everything. He made it through four outs and twelve batters today. He allowed six hits and two walks en route to a five-earned run effort. When Al Aceves took over, you could feel that collective “here we go again” sigh ripple its way across the Yankee Universe.

While Rasner couldn’t deliver, Aceves could. The Mexican Gangster threw five stellar innings. He allowed one run on five hits. And two walks while striking out four. Sixty one of his 97 pitches went for stikes. I would have liked to see Aceves take Sidney Ponson’s spot a few weeks ago, but now it seems as though he’ll inherit Darrell Rasner’s starts this month.

As the game progressed, the Yanks couldn’t put much of anything together. But in the ninth, an unlikely rally materialized. Cody Ransom – 3 for 3 on the evening – drove in the Yanks’ first run of the night. Derek Jeter blasted a three-run shot, and A-Rod went back-to-back with another monstrous home run. But 7-5 would remain the final score, and the Yanks would slip another half game in the Wild Card.

Rasner’s outing tonight highlights something that has impacted the Yanks all year. While some fans feel the Yanks just had bad pitching this year, Darrell Rasner had no business being in the rotation. Had Joba not gotten hurt, had Chien-Ming Wang not gotten hurt, had Phil Hughes remained healthy, we wouldn’t be watching Darrell Rasner fall to 5-10 with a 5.43 ERA on the season.

But for the Yanks, 2008 has been one long season of what-if’s. Tonight’s loss and the short Rasner outing is just one more of those games in a season filled with them.

Ajax propels Trenton to a 2-0 series lead
Sound the trumpets! Ring the bells! It's Melky to the rescue!
  • Chofo

    Cashman has make this mistake for many years now: counting on starting pitchers at the beginning of a year that are unproven without a good back-up plan. This year was Hughes and IPK, last year was Pavano and Igawa, Wright the year before that and you go back to Brown, Contreras and Weaver playing important roles in the front office plan.

    When was the last te we had the original rotation making most of the starts?

    • pat

      I’d say pavano “proved” himself in the 7 years he had already pitched in the big leagues. Igawa was a star in Japan. Cashman is not a voo doo doctor he cannot prevent injuries, blaming him for the status of the pitching rotation is crazy. As far as backup plans go can they be much better than rasner and pontoon??? Its crazy people just expect cashman to be able to summon good pitchers out of thin air.

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

        I think we should fire Cashman for not being a witch doctor.

        Don’t you know how many high priests of animism there are in the neighborhood surrounding Yankee Stadium? You can barely walk up the block without tripping over a shaman. This is a perfect example of the lack of vision and foresight evidenced in the blunderings of the Cashman regime.

        Throw the bum out.

        • pat

          Papa Shango was my favorite shaman. Also my favorite wrestler to use when playing the original WWF Royal Rumble for SEGA.

        • Brad Kraus

          No really…throw the bum out!

  • http://conservationvalue.blogspot.com Jon G

    Yeah, I’d imagine when you do the calculations to estimate what the Yanks record in Wang’s and Joba’s starts would have been vs. Ponson and Rasner’s, that’s easily 7-10 games right there…

    Anybody who does the calculations, I’ll buy you a beer at the Fillmore if you ever come out here to San Francisco!

  • Hitman

    Unfortunately Aceves didn’t start pitching well in AAA until 2 starts ago. I’m not sure the yankees had any other options. Chase Wright?

    • cult of basebaal

      just another in the line of “what ifs”. What if Aceves hadn’t had the mild groin strain that happened just as he was promoted to AAA? He had been lights out in AA before that and even though it only cost him about 10 days (before he would pitch again) it certainly seemed to throw him off his stride.

      I think without that injury, we would have seen him up and starting for either ponson or rasner a while ago …

  • Manimal

    Maybe we should pinch hit Ransom for Giambi instead of just pinch running or playing defense.

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


  • Bart

    Rasner Ponson was apparent from day one — RAB and other sites that pay attention repeatedly pointed out the distaster(s) waiting to happen

    Cashman could have fixed thhis and he didn’t. Hopefully because any fix would have diminished the effectiveness of the long term plan

    In the long run we’re all dead — so hopefully that plan bears fruit in the next 4 or 5 years — and will have the flexibility to deal with the inevitable injuries and disapointing 1-9 seasons.

    I am perplexed by the Rays ability to sustain winning with that lineup.

    I wonder if a statistical run using only 2008 stats for each league player would show them on top – or is this season some kind of fluke, where the sine waves of pitching and hitting are so synchronized that the Rays have simply gotten the most out of every player/circumstance — even to the point of overcoming the injuries

  • Pedro

    I’m actually more of the thinking that it is Girardi’s fault they’ve used Rasner and Ponson for so long. It’s like he can’t let go, he values experience so much (reminds me of some Joe) that he won’t let the kids get a shot unless he absolutely has to. Yeah, we lost guys to injury, but that doesn’t give you the excuse to keep on insisting in a error. How can you let someone like Rasner even get to a 5-10 record?

    Mr. Girardi has been terrible this season, and this is just one of the many exemples.

    • Mark B

      While I am anything but a Girardi apologist, exactly who else could Girardi have used other than Ponson or Rasner? Since Giese went down, we have not carried a 6th starter / long man, so not sure how you support your arguement. Every possible healthy replacement has been down in AAA, which is the responsiblity of the GM to call up when he feels the need.

      I think Cashman deserves a lot of blame for not giving Aceves a call up earlier. Cash the architect of this team. Girardi, is simply skipper of the ship.

      • steve (different one)

        I think Cashman deserves a lot of blame for not giving Aceves a call up earlier.

        this just doesn’t line up with the facts.

        Aceves pitched his way onto Cashman’s radar in the middle of the summer.

        then he got hurt.

        then he spent a few starts on a strict pitch count coming back from his injury.

        then he sucked.

        so no, i don’t really see the argument that Aceves should have been up earlier. maybe he should have started last nights’ game. i will give you that much. but does it really matter at this point?

        the same goes for Hughes. 2 weeks ago he was struggling in AAA. and i don’t blame them for leaving Kennedy in AAA for the rest of the year. he obviously needs to work on things and build confidence.

        it just is what it is: a crappy season where almost everything has gone wrong.

        it’s not like the Yankees have had much of a chance since about early August.

        picking up Paul Byrd or calling up Aceves a week ago wasn’t going to make this team a playoff team.

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

    “Is there a game out there more illustrative of the frustrations of the 2008 Yankee season that this one?”

    Nope. This is a perfect microcosm of the season.

    By my count, then, this is the 5 billionth game/inning/AB/individual performance/week that someone has referred to as an illustrative microcosm of the season.

    • steve (different one)

      yeah, i don’t see it as a microcosm of anything. Kazmir is a good pitcher. Rasner is a mediocre pitcher.

      the Yankees won a series in a stadium where the home team has been almost unbeatable.

      it’s too late to “only” take 2 of 3, but that’s just the way the pitching matchups work sometimes.

      the Yankees played pretty well in Tampa. with Wang or Joba healthy, maybe they sweep. with their #7 starter, they don’t.

      i don’t really see anything deeper than that.

  • What is Mel Hall doing these days?

    Is there a Yankee fan – other than yours truly – that was rooting for the Rays in this series?
    Other than hoping for a 20-win season for Mussina the Yanks season is essentially over so I’m just rooting for the Rays & hoping the Red Sux don’t win the division (and pile up wins/home field advantage/garner accolades for years to come in ESPN highlights/etc.)

    • pat

      Umm no. Rooting for the other team under any circumstances is complete and utter sacrilige.

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

      In an aside, when I was on my Facebook page last night I noticed the Yankee Fans box listed the matchup as “NYY vs. TBA”.

      I literally spent like 30 seconds wondering why in god’s name we’d actually have a September game scheduled with an opponent yet “to be announced” before it clicked. I’m an idiot (and so is Facebook…)

  • Tripp

    You seriously think Girardi will pull Ras out of the rotation? I mean Sidney has a freakin 15 era over his last 3 starts and a 6 era total with the yanks and Girardi STILL hasn’t pulled him out. Jesus fing christ. Just call someone up. ANYONE. Wright, Kennedy, Igawa. Just make it look like you’re making efforts to find a pitcher who will stick.

    • TurnTwo

      there isnt anyone to take their place.

      • TurnTwo

        but i will say, yeah, now that Aceves has come up, and pitched well and is healthy, i do expect he’ll get a start or two before the season ends.

        • steve (different one)

          and when Igawa gets shelled, you’d be on here bitching about that.

          Igawa had a decent season in AAA.

          he now has a 3 year, $12M contract. he *MAY* be tradable this offseason.

          i’d just as soon leave him in AAA.

      • Brad Kraus

        Well who’s fault would that be……the GM perhaps.

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

          “Well who’s fault would that be?”

          Well, besides the GM, I can think of the following other people/forces:
          -Dumb luck
          Manos, The Hands of Fate
          -A wrathful god
          -Market economics
          -The Mitchell Report
          -Mark Fainaru-Wada (or whatever his name is)
          -Crazyman George Steinbrenner
          -Numerous free agent pitchers too scared/disinterested to play in NY
          -Bud Selig
          -John Steinbeck
          -All of us, for constantly being hypercritical impatient assholes

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

            You forgot to blame both George W. Bush and global warming. It’s always their faults.

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

              Actually, I didn’t because all the things I listed do at least have some semi-serious influence on Cashman’s percieved inability to deliver a world title every year, as if that were even feasible.

              Except for the John Steinbeck one… that was just a “the best laid plans of mice and men” reference.

  • What is Mel Hall doing these days?

    Re: pat’s comment:

    I understand. But is it too much to hope that Dusty P will not be named AL MVP?

    • pat

      Oh thats a completely different matter u can root against the sox players all u want, I will join you in that cause whole heartedly. You can even root for tampa bay any other time in the season just not when they play the yanks. PErsonally I will have a little bit of interest in twins/ whitesox/phillies games because I will take a little consolation from this season if the sox and mets dont make the playoffs either.

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

      My AL MVP Ballot:

      1.) C. Quentin .288/.394/.571, 149 OPS+, 274 TB, 63 XBH, 96 R, 100 RBI
      2.) D. Pedroia .333/.378/.505, 127 OPS+, 290 TB, 63 XBH, 110 R, 76 RBI
      3.) A. Rodriguez .315/.404/.602, 163 OPS+, 269 TB, 64 XBH, 96 R, 91 RBI
      4.) J. Hamilton .301/.363/.542, 137 OPS+, 295 TB, 65 XBH, 86 R, 121 RBI
      5.) J. Morneau .311/.388/.516, 142 OPS+, 274 TB, 64 XBH, 85 R, 109 RBI
      6.) K. Youkillis .315/.387/.560, 142 OPS+, 265 TB, 64 XBH, 82 R, 94 RBI
      7.) M. Bradley .327/446/585, 172 OPS+, 220 TB, 53 XBH, 74 R, 74 RBI
      8.) N. Markakis .306/.404/493, 136 OPS+, 260 TB, 62 XBH, 97 R, 80 RBI
      9.) M. Cabrera .290/.349/.532, 129 OPS+, 284 TB, 65 XBH, 68 R, 110 RBI
      10.) J. Mauer .322/.414/.444, 133 OPS+, 200 TB, 37 XBH, 84 R, 70 RBI

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

      … and my AL MVP Ballot:

      1.) D. Pedroia
      2.) K. Youkillis
      3.) D. Ortiz
      4.) J. Ellsbury
      5.) J. Lowrie
      6.) J. Masterson
      7.) L. Lucchino
      8.) I. Alcantara
      9.) T. Brady
      10.) D. Shaugnessy

      For Diamond Cutters, I’m Peter Gammons, ESPN.

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

      Apropos of nothing, I think I’m going to try to find out what Mel Hall is up to these days.

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

        Actually, Ben, since he asked the question, wouldn’t it actually be apropos of the above interrogative statement?

      • Mark B

        You sure you want to know what Mel Hall is up to?

        Per ESPN:

        Former MLB player Mel Hall was arrested in Lewisville, Texas on June 21, 2007 and charged with two counts of sexual assault after North Richland Hills, Texas police received a report from a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted in March 1999, when she was under the age of 17. During the investigation, a second alleged victim under the age of 14 was identified. If convicted, Hall faces a sentence of up to life imprisonment.

        I have been unable to find out the result of his trail, so if anyone knows, post it

  • Count Zero

    It’s A-Rod’s fault again — he should have hit a grand slam with nobody on to win the game.

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

      He should have rigged the batting order to give himself an extra three unscheduled plate appearances.

  • pounder

    Per ESPN:

    “Former MLB player Mel Hall was arrested in Lewisville, Texas on June 21, 2007 and charged with two counts of sexual assault after North Richland Hills, Texas police received a report from a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted in March 1999, when she was under the age of 17. During the investigation, a second alleged victim under the age of 14 was identified. If convicted, Hall faces a sentence of up to life imprisonment.”

    When Mel Hall played in NY,he was living with the neice of a certain gangster whose initials were JG.He also employed the use of a tiger as protection against any retaliation.

  • What is ____ doing these days?

    To everyone involved:

    Thanks for the MVP commentary (as well as the information on Mr. Hall).
    He’ll join Jim Leyritz as Exhibit A on the “this is not what to do with your life” list.

    Will be posting under a different pseudonym in the future.

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

      “Will be posting under a different pseudonym in the future”.

      I vote for Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens.

  • Hensley “Bum Bum” Meulens

    Thanks for the suggestion (hey – something happened there).

    How about “What is Wayne Tolleson doing these days”
    (or Alvaro Espinoza?)
    They are not employed as batting coaches I imagine.

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

      “They are not employed as batting coaches I imagine.”
      I did laugh to myself during the Toronto series when I noticed that Gene Tenace was the Jays batting coach…


  • Hensley “Bum Bum” Meulens

    Funny! Gino (& our old friend Jesse Barfield – who served in that capacity for the Mariners ) were unlikely candidates for batting coaches. My dad used to joke: “what is Barfield going to teach them – to strike out 3 times during the game?