Yanks suffer tough 5-4 loss to Cleveland

Game 50 Spillover Thread II
Brackman rebounds from control issues, kinda

As Jhonny Peralta’s third hit of the game skipped under the glove of a diving Alex Rodriguez and as Trevor Crowe, a rookie with a .237 OBP prior to the game, touched home, I second-guessed Joe Girardi.

First, I wondered why Brett Gardner did not attempt to steal second when the Yanks had first and third and one out in the top of the 9th. Second, I wanted to know why Chien-Ming Wang was removed after three innings and 42 pitches with a no-hit number nine hitter coming up. Third, I was curious to hear why Mariano Rivera was not brought to pitch at all in the ninth.

Then I watched the post-game show, and two of my three concerns were answered.

We start with Gardner. The Yanks had tied the game in the 8th, and they were threatening to take the lead in the 9th. Gardner was on first as Jorge Posada came up. Gardner did not steal, and Posada grounded into an inning-ending double play. After the game, Girardi danced around the issue. “That’s been addressed. I’ll just leave it at that,” he said.

Gardner was more forthcoming. “They wanted me to steal,” he said. “Mentally, I didn’t get a good jump off the bat.”

Basically, Gardner just didn’t feel comfortable running off Kerry Wood, a righty who isn’t quick to the plate. That one is on Brett through and through, and if he steals, perhaps the Yanks plate that fifth run and perhaps Rivera is pitching the ninth with a lead. In related news, Melky Cabrera should be back in the lineup tomorrow or Tuesday.

The second second-guess involved Chien-Ming Wang. Let’s rewind: Today’s game started out with Phil Hughes on the hill. He threw over 20 pitches in the first inning but had good stuff. His fastball sat at 93 and he dialed it up to 94/95 for a few pitches. Clearly, Hughes is growing more comfortable with his stuff.

Hughes ran into trouble in the third when the Indians plated three runs on a hit batter and a few hits. Outside of a bad Brett Gardner play in the 5th that led a fourth Indian run, Hughes threw well but used too many pitches. After five innings, he was at 95 pitches. While he had struck out six, walked just one and had allowed five hits, the Yankees turned the ball over to Wang.

For the second straight outing, Wang looked solid. With his sinker sitting at 92.5 and peaking at 93.9, his velocity is nearly back, and he had a 4-1 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio. For three innings, Wang ran through the Indians’ lineup. He gave up no runs on three strike outs, three hits and a walk.

After 42 pitches and with the Indians’ nine hitter due up in the ninth, the Yankees pulled Wang. That move I did not originally understand. Wang is a starter who can throw more than 42 pitches, and he seemed to be finding his groove today after a rough start to the season. Unless Rivera were to pitch, the Yanks would be replacing a good starter with a worse reliever.

After the game, though, Girardi said that the Yanks did not want to overextend Wang because he is Wednesday’s emergency starter. It sounds as though Pettitte may not be able to make his next start, and the Yankees do not want to find themselves without options. Having Wang throw more pitches would have led to just that.

Our final second-guess though remains unanswered. With a runner on second and one out, the Yankees went with David Robertson and not Mariano Rivera. I know that baseball tradition says that you do not use your closer in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game on the road. But with the game on the line, the Yankees have to go with their best pitcher. The Yankees ended up saving Rivera for a save situation that never came. Twenty-nine other managers would have made the same decision, but I still don’t like it.

Anyway, the Yanks have won four out of six on the road. Now that I know what happened behind the scenes, I’m far less upset over the outcome on the field.

Game 50 Spillover Thread II
Brackman rebounds from control issues, kinda
  • EvoLuTioN

    The Coke has gone flat.

    Actually its been flat for quite some time now. Bringing in Coke in the 9th was the worst possible move Girardi could have made. Giving robertston a FRESH inning would have been better.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Eh. In hindsight sure, but that’s not an “at the time” second guess. Nothing wrong with going to Coke there. With Bruney and Marte out, he’s the next best choice for the set-up spot. He just hasn’t had good stuff lately.

      • EvoLuTioN

        yeah he has had TERRIBLE stuff. He can’t even get out lefties and you bring him in to face 2 switch and 1 righty?

    • Rich

      If you think bringing in Coke was the “worst possible move Girardi could have made” you’ll have to earn some credibility or stop exaggerating.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    I don’t have a problem with starting Coke in the ninth; my problem is with not going and getting Rivera when Coke got in trouble.

  • Drew

    Can’t wait till the Melkman is able to play again.
    Has Wang been throwing in the pen after his outings? Last game he only threw like 25 pitches, did he throw another 75 afterwards?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Agreed on Melky.

      Ross had an astute observation on Twitter: “Brett Gardner just doesn’t have the baseball smarts that we wish he would have (like the Jeters and A-Rods).”

      That’s really what it boiled down. He’s a fast baserunner, but he didn’t have the innate baseball sense today.

      • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

        Do you think that’s the type of thing that comes along with the development at this level?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          Hard to say.

          I think the obvious parallel in one sense is Bernie. He always had speed — not Gardner speed but real speed. Yet he never the instincts on the baseball to be a base-stealing threat. Gardner’s faster so he can outrun his mistakes. When he makes one though as he did today, it’s costly.

          I don’t think you can totally learn that though. Some of it’s just the talent and ability you pick up from a young age playing the game.

          • Mike HC

            I always thought Bernie had speed when he got going, but it took him a little while to hit that top speed. It seemed like he was a bit of a slow starter hitting full stride. I obviously have not timed this with a stop watch, so my eyes may have been deceiving me, but that is how it looked to me. And of course, getting quick jumps and hitting full speed right off the bat is extremely important in stealing bases.

  • Jake K

    Definitely would have been nice to get a win today. But the sting of the loss to me is greatly outweighed by watching Hughes continue to flash great stuff. He’s still learning to pitch, but (despite what many people were saying last year) he’s clearly got all the talent in the world.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Once he harnesses those breaking pitches, he should be a beast. I think it’s really good to see him stay healthy and strong now for a full spring training + first two months. He should just get better and better.

      • Will (the other one)

        Agreed. Watching that curve when it’s dropping for strikes is a real thing of beauty, and it was also really nice to see him rebound after that tough third inning. Looks like we’ve got reason to be cautiously optimistic that things are starting to come together for Phil.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          I hear ya. Cautiously, of course, but if the can mix games like this with the one in Texas, I’ll be happy.

      • Todd

        Especially when he learns to pitch inside. Eck was really harping on this on TBS and I think he had a point. When he was trying to throw the fastball inside, he was missing badly and they seemed hesitant to go back there. So the hitters were sitting on the outside half of the plate. But when he grows more comfortable on the inner half, look out!

  • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    I did not hate the non-steal in that spot anyhow. I dont know if I could find this anywhere, but I wonder what Jorge’s DP rate is with a runner on first base (as opposed to the odd sac fly/caught stealing) and how different it is from Gardner’s CS rate.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      I did not hate the non-steal in that spot anyhow.

      Why not?

      If Brett steals successfully, you have the benefit of both being out of a DP situation and having two runners in scoring position. The Yanks clearly wanted him to steal, but he screwed it up. The Yanks had the right strategy, but Gardner didn’t execute.

      • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        That’s why I asked the question after that, I wonder if anyone with PI could check it. If Jorge’s DP rate is less than Gardner’s CS rate, the percentage play is not to steal.

        • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

          Just did it myself, pretty inexact, but close enough. Jorge in his career has grounded into a DP 7% of PA’s with (at least) a runner on 1st. Gardner has been CS 12% of the time. Of course, the Posada play is worht two outs, not one, but the percentages are pretty close to making this decision a wash.

          • Mike HC

            What is Gardner’s caught stealing rate when there is a man on third? To me, that changes the situation a bit.

          • Todd

            I thinki this is a bit of over analysis with these stats. Granted, I am not much of a stat guy. But watching the game, it seemed obvious that the steal was the right play. Wood is slow to the plate and BG is an elite base stealer (top 15-20 in MLB probably on ability). Let me put it like this: it seems like other teams steal on Posada in those situations!

      • Joe R

        If Gardner steals tho you just walk Posada to get to Jeter who is very prone to the DP. So while Gardner blew it in a sense for not trying to steal, it possibly couldve made no difference. I wouldve liked to see a double steal there.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          Jeter’s hitting over .400 over his last 14 games. I’ll take my chances with Jeter up with the bases loaded and one out any day. We can’t rationalize away the fact that Brett Gardner missed the sign by saying we don’t want Jeter up there with the bases juiced. That’s just silly!

          • thurdonpaul

            i agree

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          In his career, Derek Jeter has been to bat 223 times with the bases loaded. He has 70 hits to 11 double plays. You want Derek Jeter up in those situations.

          • thurdonpaul

            again, i agree, the captain is clutch

          • andrew

            But I think the question that Moshe was asking is, how many times does Jorge get up with a man on first and ground into a DP? Jorge has been to the plate 250 times with a man on 1st and 3rd and has only 12 double plays. Posada’s rate of GIDP happens to be better than Jeter’s. Plus, Jorge’s slugging percentage with a man on 1st and 3rd is .483, while Jeter’s with the bases loaded is .451.

            I’m not going to agree or disagree with the decision, because I was not watching the game today, just trying to add some helpful numbers to the debate.

            • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

              Exactly. As I mentioned above, the numbers make this far from a slam dunk decision.

            • MattG

              How do you know those 250 times were with less than 2 outs? That’s under 5%. I’d find that figure way too low for Posada.

              • andrew

                Well it’s the same question for Jeter’s 232 PA’s. Neither of us had a way of finding that out so we just went with the most relevant information available.

                • MattG

                  In that case, you needed to check Jeter’s rates with the bases loaded.

                  But don’t bother, I’ll tell you: it is much easier to bat with the bases loaded than with a base open (even second). There is no question about it, with the team needing just one run, you’d rather have Jeter with the bases loaded than Posada with first and third.

                  But the real mistake was bunting Swisher. Wait–pinch running for Matsui, and THEN bunting Swisher. Those are not the right moves.

        • Mike HC

          Um … your plan as a manager would be to avoid having Jeter up with the bases loaded? At least for me, and seemingly a couple of other RABers, my plan would be the exact opposite.

  • DaveinMD

    I think Coke is suffering from some overuse. They need to pull back on his usage and warm ups. I don’t think the stuff we saw last year and earlier in the year is gone forever.

    This loss doesn’t upset me too much. Gardner made a rookie mistake. He won’t do that again. The most important thing that happened today is that Wang showed he is just about ready. That is exciting.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Yup. If Pettitte goes on Wednesday, the Yanks face the task of having too much starting pitching. I don’t envy them the decision to pick between Phil and Wang next time around. Hughes has done nothing that would get him demoted.

    • steve (different one)

      Coke has not been overused.

      where is this meme coming from?

      21 IPs in 50 games.

      that’s 68 innings per season.

      • Rich I.

        I agree. I mentioned this in the chat on Friday, though I don’t remember if the comment was posted. Phil Coke has pitched roughly the same number of innings as each of Mariano Rivera, Jose Veras, and Jonathan Albaladejo. Ditto on the number of appearances. So unless you make the argument that Phil Coke should not face more than one or two batters at a time, Phil Coke has not been overused in that he has not been used more extensively than any other Yankees reliever.

  • raysam

    why dont we bring up igawa for the bull pen cant be worst than veras and coke

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Igawa can’t be worse than Coke? Seriously? What we need is to keep Robertson and call up Melancon when he is ready. Then think about a trade if things don’t work out.

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      Coke’s WHIP is 1.21, as a rookie in the AL East. He has had some disappointing performances, allows too many homers, and needs to learn some things about the game, but I find that number very promising going forward.

    • Gordon

      Pretty interesting idea. Well they are saying Damaso Marte $4 million to sit on the DL. Would be interesting, just to see how Igawa would get on. Salvage some value from his contract.

      • Arman Tamzarian

        I know it sounds good, and he’s put up some half way decent numbers at AAA, but man, he gives up so many homeruns, it’s not what you want in a reliever.

        • Chris

          Could you imagine Igawa in the New Yankee Stadium?

    • donttradecano

      Igawa did always have that good first inning.

  • DCR

    I really can’t stand anyone in the bullpen outside of Aceves and Rivera (not counting Bruney because hes hurt).

  • http://theyankeebomber.blogspot.com Conan

    Girardi would be killed if used Igawa in a spot like today.

  • DaveinMD

    Robertson is still pretty good. Posada shouldn’t have called the same pitch 5 times in a row.

  • Pingback: Will Wang head to the rotation? « iYankees

  • mike

    While Gardner has to try to steal….how ’bout Posada hitting a fly ball????????

    Also, while Wang may be the emergency starter on Wednesday…….the one thing I liked about Torre was his willingness to play for the win that day – while that sometimes worked against the yanks ( see Gordon, Tom, Quantrall, Paul and Proctor, Scott due to overuse), I think leaving Wang to pitch to the bottom of the order with the heart of the Yank order up next inning (and no more Wood) was a no brainer. This is too much thinking by Girardi, as it would require 3 pitchers to secure the win ( Rivera, Coke and Robertson – figuring Coke wouldn’t get the whole inning anyway) – only one who is as good as Wang

    • The Ironhorse

      “the one thing I liked about Torre was his willingness to play for the win that day”

      Sorry, but this comment can’t go by without being called out. Torre’s failure to “play for the win that day” might have cost us the 2004 ALCS.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        And the 2003 World Series.

        That’s a fairly inaccurate assessment of Torre. I guarantee you that he too would not have had Rivera pitching in the ninth today. No baseball managers do. It’s just not “accepted baseball wisdom.” You save your closer on the road in extra innings for that save situation even if it never arrives.

        • mike

          Im not even thinking about Rivera – its more Wang being replaced for a potential Wednesday start by the 11th guy on the pitching depth-chart, followed up by the 12th guy on the pitching depth chart.

          And yes in 2003 with Weaver – but if took out Waever and put in XX instead of Rivera it would have been worse!

          2004….Rivera/Gordon imploding – not so much failing to seize the moment…..now not bunting against Schilling……..thats another story

          • Mike HC

            Putting Wang in the pen, instead of letting him work his stuff out in Scranton, leads to situations like that, where you have to balance winning that day, with possible future work he may get. This is one of many reasons why bringing Wang up too early was not the best of decisions.

            • Todd

              What in the world are you talking about? Not only has he worked his problems out on the MLB level, he has contributed! What else did he have to prove dominating AAA players.And now it is clear he is ready.

              • Mike HC

                I am just saying that using Wang in the bullpen has some unintended consequences, like limiting the pitches he can throw in relief due to the fact they are trying to stretch him back out to be a starter. As I wrote below, moving Wang to the pen has not been such a disaster, but it adds complication that would have otherwise been nonexistent if he was starting in the minors.

                It was not about proving he can dominate minor leaguers, it was about getting Wang healthy and back to how he has pitched in the past. It will be clear that he is ready when he is able to go a full game pitching effectively. While this game was very encouraging, it is by no means a guarantee he is back to his old self.

        • El Generalissimo

          “saves” one of the most useless statistics in baseball as far as Im concerned.

  • The Ironhorse

    “2004….Rivera/Gordon imploding”

    There was absolutely no reason to let Gordon pitch the 8th inning in Game 5. And absolutely no reason to continue to let him pitch after Ortiz took him deep to make it a one run game. Torre was trying to save Mariano for Game 1 of the World Series and it was one of the reasons we choked away the series.

    But that’s history. If Melky is good to go tomorrow, Gardner deserves to be benched for a few games. I can’t wait until Nady gets back and Swisher and Gardner become permanent bench players.

    • DaveinMD

      Gardner has been playing very well this entire month. Young players make mistakes. You need to deal with that and let them grow as players to reap the rewards later on.

      • Chris

        I agree, that’s why we should let the younger CF get most of the playing time – and that would be Melky.

  • EvoLuTioN

    I certainly want Wang back in the rotation. However, I hope it doesn’t come at the cost of Phil Hughes. He was shaky today but had Gardner not butchered that play, he likely would have had 6IP 3ER which would have been his 4th consecutive “quality start”

    He seems to be finding his groove, now is not the time to send him down to face weaker competition.

    Lets see how Joba performs tomorrow.

    I may be moving slowly to the “jobber to the pen” talk.

    Not because he can’t be a good starter, but because we know he can throw straight HEAT and nasty breaking stuff when coming out of the pen. No one else can do that, and that is what we will need in the end to win a championship..

    Sad/sucks but true

    • DaveinMD

      With the innings limit, he’d likely be in the pen postseason anyhow. He needs to start until he approaches that limit.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Not because he can’t be a good starter, but because we know he can throw straight HEAT and nasty breaking stuff when coming out of the pen. No one else can do that, and that is what we will need in the end to win a championship.

      There is a terrible logical fallacy here. If Joba isn’t or can’t throw 98 in his first inning as a starter right now, what makes you think he can just amp it up in the pen right away? Joba isn’t at peak form right now. Maybe it’s some lingering issue from last year with his shoulder. Maybe it’s something else entirely. No matter the cause, though, I think it’s a little wrong to assume that just because, two years ago, he was throwing hard from the pen, he would be doing the exact same thing today.

      Last year, as a starter, Joba was up around 96 a few starts after he was throwing heat in the pen. Right now, he hasn’t even peaked at 96. There’s no way he would go to the pen and magically rediscover all of that velocity. It just doesn’t work like that, and it’s not a good argument to use for “Joba to the pen” folks.

      Anyway, how he performs in one start tomorrow should not determine his fate. The Yankees coaches and managers will determine his fate, and they are, as we noted yesterday, not listening to Mike Francesca and his B-Jobber followers.

      • EvoLuTioN

        I’m not a francesa follower lol. I find him to be an idiot.

        But yeah you’re right, that lost velocity may not be regained. If that’s the case, something is seriously wrong because you shouldn’t lose 5mph off you’re fastball at age 23.

        Yeah i know it shouldn’t determine his fate, but in all honestly Hughes has shown me more promise and progression through his starts than Joba has. And if Wang returns to the rotation, who goes down? I certainly hope its not Hughes because the last thing he needs is to face crappy competition.

  • E-ROC

    I think the most disappointing part was Swisher bunting. Kerry Wood just walked Matsui. Why give him an out? I was fully confident that Swisher would at least induce a walk given Wood’s lack of command, and Swish hits well on the road. Gardner would’ve bunted the runners over and the Yanks would be sitting pretty with a sac fly.

    Gardner not stealing second was tough, but his fielding today was worse. He probably got a little discourage after making that blunder in earlier in the game. I can’t blame him for being tentative.

    • MattG

      Excellent post. The bunt there is not smart. The bunt rarely ever is smart, but a batter that walks a lot vs a pitcher that walks a lot? In front of the #8 hitter? After he just walked the lead off man? After ball one? You do not bunt there.

  • http://mvn.com/pendingpinstripes Greg F.

    Make that 28 other managers… AJ Hinch showed that he is willing to do just that, use his closer to get out of a jam in the late innings in a tie game.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      All of a sudden, A.J. Hinch is my favorite manager. I’ve been begging managers to do this for years. The world will not end if you use your best reliever in the highest leverage situation while giving the eventual save to someone else. After all, you can’t get to that save situation if you don’t have a lead.

      • http://mvn.com/pendingpinstripes Greg F.

        Yeah precisely. The Diamondbacks showed balls hiring him, he’s 34, an ex-player and front office guy who has never managed before. I like the out of the box thinking.

  • crawdaddy

    Let’s remember that Rivera turns 40 years old this year. His days of pitching two innings in games are very limited now especially in late May.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Gotta get to the 10th before you worry about who’s going to pitch it though. I’m not necessarily advocating using him for two innings. But with the tying run in scoring position and the top of the opposing team’s lineup at bat, he should be pitching in the ninth.

      • MattG

        They should use him for 13 innings and 169 pitches!

  • Frank Fernandez

    Nice bullpen, Cashman.

  • crawdaddy

    As is stands now, one or more of these rookie relief pitchers have to learn to pitch effectively with the game on the line late in a game so today it was Coke and Robertson’s shot and they didn’t get it done.

    • DaveinMD

      I’m glad some of you guys don’t run the team. Guys shouldn’t be buried for one bad game. Robertson is a good young arm and should be given plenty of other chances. Coke has been massively overused and it shows at this point

      • steve (different one)

        well, except for NOT being massively overused, he’s been massively overused.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I do not understand the I don’t feel comfortable thing. WHAT?

  • Rich I.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m still peeved about the blown call on the Jeter ground ball in the top of the sixth. The replay clearly showed that Jeter was safe, so the umpire made a bad call. You can say that’s baseball or mention the fallacy of the preordained outcome, but if Jeter was on base when Mark Teixeira hit his home run, Mariano Rivera is pitching in the ninth inning with a lead.

    • Frank Fernandez

      My father-in-law called him safe before the replay and we don’t even let him drive anymore.

      • LiveFromNewYork

        do you let him ump? because we might have a job for him

        • Rich I.

          ietc.

          • e mills

            what does ietc mean? I’ve seen it a few times and can’t figure it out

            • Mike Pop

              I
              Enjoyed
              This
              Comment

              • e mills

                thanks

      • MattG

        How do we know they let that ump drive? I hope he’s never behind me at an intersection.

  • Ed

    What hurt about this loss is that it seemed like a very winnable game. However, Hughes pitched well and really the bullpen did too (4 innings 1 run right?). I guess you just file it away and hope it doesn’t come to bite us come September.

    • DaveinMD

      I sincerely doubt that. No matter who wins this division, both the Yankees and Boston are making the playoffs this year. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

      • Ed

        I hope you are half right.

      • donttradecano

        And then Joba makes an emergency start in Game 7 of the ALCS, throwing a perfect game, striking out david ortiz- who hasnt gotten a hit since July 15th- to end the game on one pitch.

        All this causing Francessa to spontaneously combust. He was heard yelling ANDY PETTITES A STARTING PITCHER!!!!!!!! before the combustion.

        • Drew

          ATROCIOUS!!!1

          • AlexNYC

            That Andy Pettitte part still has me dying.

  • steve (different one)

    Ben, serious question: if Wang is in AAA, the game today probably never even gets to the 9th with a chance to win. someone else in the bullpen probably gives up some runs in the 6th through 8th inning (assuming Aceves isn’t available for 3 innings again).

    since Wang is here, he is rehabbing while helping the team win games (assuming they should have won today).

    ignoring the reason for why they added him while they did (whether it was “panic” or not), do you still think this is such a horrible course of action?

    i think it’s working out pretty well, all things considered. Wang is taking innings away from inferior pitcher while straightening himself out, building confidence, and gaining stamina.

    just curious what you think. just my opinion, but i don’t think it’s nearly the disaster everyone thought it was.

    • Drew

      In my opinion he is doing a solid job right now, but the fact remains that he could be getting regular work with Scranton. Apparently if he takes Andy’s start, he’s only good for 80 pitches. While he is contributing right now, this probably isn’t the best way to gain his strength back. To answer your question, in hindsight, maybe it’s not as bad as first thought. That still doesn’t change the fact that we aren’t really putting Wanger in the best position to succeed.

      • steve (different one)

        maybe not.

        but they are trying to balance Wang’s needs with the need to get quality innings from their bullpen.

        let’s say Pettitte is fine. would it be the so bad to have 2-3 more appearances like today where Hughes or Joba leave after 5+ (and you know this will happen), and now you can use Wang to help win those games while slowly getting his pitchcount up?

        then re-evaluate in 10 days or so.

        • MattG

          Yes, he could be getting regular work with Scranton, while Albaladejo or Ramirez get regular work with NYA.

          I’ll take this arrangement. I see no reason why he can’t regain his starting role doing precisely this sort of thing for 1-3 weeks.

          • Drew

            I don’t totally disagree, it’s just my opinion that we shouldn’t let shotty bullpen arms dictate how we develop (or in Wang’s case, redevelop) our starters.

            • steve (different one)

              agreed. but we also shouldn’t assume that there is only one way to “redevelop” a pitcher and dismiss the possibility that working from the bullpen can’t be just as effective as dominating AAA hitters.

              • Mike HC

                Wang would sometimes have issues with getting out of the first inning unscathed. It is easy to say the decision to put Wang in the pen has worked wonders when he just pitched 3 shutout innings a couple of hours ago, but what happens when he gives up those 3 runs in his first inning of work, and does not have the rest of the game to shut the other team down. He is also doing this in limited work and in a different role, so it is tough to judge how he will perform when starting the game and going 100+ pitches. But you are right that the decision has thus far not been a disaster. Let’s see how it plays out in the near future.

      • Todd

        So what exactly is? Dominating AAA batters has drawbacks as does working out of the pen for the Yanks. The FO would be criticized either way. Personally, I thought it was the right move at the time and we now know he is ready. If we have to wait one start at 80 quality pitches before he can give 100 in a start, in the grand scheme of things,this is a good thing.

    • MattG

      I think many were too quick to draw conclusions from his first appearance, by proclaiming it ‘panic’ and a mistake. Others are very regimented about the reliever/starter thing.

      If you are fair about it, there was always reason to think that having Wang on the major league staff could help the team.

      To the next point, I think the time draws near for Wang to get a rotation spot back, and if the Yankees can find a way to get 90 more innings for Hughes in the next three months, they should keep him here. As a starter, reliever, or swing-man.

    • Todd

      I participated in this “debate” and agreeed with Steve that the move was hardly a “panic” move. Ben, I must say, your silence is deafening. Are you going to admit that your choice of words and conviction that this was a horrible decision was, shall we say, over stated…

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        So far, I still believe the Yanks would have been better off without Wang on the active roster. It’s true that he’s pitched well in his recent appearances, and I have every reason to believe that, if the Yanks were to install him into the rotation, he would do well. But he’s hardly been a difference-maker. In one game, the Yanks used him with an insurmountable lead. Today, they used him to prevent falling further behind, but in the end, they still lost.

        Meanwhile, Wang himself said that, if he were called upon to start, he would be able to throw just 80 pitches in his first start building to around 100 in his second. Had the Yanks allowed him to make that Friday start in AAA — the day I thought the move seemed like a panic move — he would probably have the arm strength necessary to throw a full outing.

        Furthermore, the Yanks’ bullpen has been reduced to Aceves, Coke, Veras and Rivera. The Yankees seem to have special usage patterns for Wang and refuse to use Tomko. I believe Wang’s spot could be utilized.

        Did I overstate how bad the decision was? Probably. Do I still think it wasn’t right decision? Yes.

        • Todd

          Fair enough and well put. However, I think a major part of this equation is him getting it together against major leaguers. At some point, for a guy like Wang, dominating minor leaguers does nothing.

  • matthaggs

    Re: Gardner. Prior to his arrival the Gardner backers were talking about how good he is at tracking the ball, and how that would make up for his not so strong throwing arm etc…

    Gardner can’t track anything. He has made at least 4 or 5 truly awful plays in the short time he’s been out in CF this season. And or two were game-costers.

    Never thought I’d be so happy to get Melky back in there.

  • Ogie Oglethorpe

    “Once he harnesses those breaking pitches, he should be a beast.”

    Ben, The annals of MLB are littered with guys you could say that about.

    This ain’t Pittsburgh. He better start harnessing with some consistency–soon.

    • MattG

      Soon? I’ve got jeans older than Phil Hughes.

    • steve (different one)

      what does that mean, “this ain’t pittsburgh”? he’s been doing very well for the last 2 weeks AS A NY YANKEE.

      he wasn’t bad today.

      also, he’s 22. just stop.

      • Ogie Oglethorpe

        He has a 5.45 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. So let’s not make him into Tom Seaver.

        • DaveinMD

          Massively inflated by one really bad start. Its amazing the lack of patience some people have with young players. And then you’ll complain when our team is too old.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      This ain’t Pittsburgh. He better start harnessing with some consistency–soon.

      Or else what? You will stop rooting for one of the youngest players in MLB? Get back to me in four years, and if he hasn’t harnessed the breaking pitches by then, I will be both surprised and ready to give up on him.

      • Ogie Oglethorpe

        This isn’t about Phil Hughes per se. This is about a $200+ million team with aging superstars at many positions that has a small window to win another World Series. CMW needs to be back in the rotation. And the GM needs to address a AAA bullpen that has pissed away another game.

        And if in even three years Hughes can’t consistently locate his off-speed stuff, a sizeable portion of the media (and blogosphere) will undoubtedly point out that Johan Santana would be closing in on his 100th win as a Yankee had things been different.

        • steve (different one)

          you’d have a better point if the team weren’t in first place after winning 3 of Hughes’ last 4 starts.

          they are winning now AND developing their future. the horror!!

          • Ogie Oglethorpe

            Let Hughes and his good start-bad start 5.45 ERA and 1.50 WHIP develop in Scranton. And let’s have CMW back in the rotation.

            And maybe Huston Street as the set-up man?

            • DaveinMD

              In one breath you complain about the bloated payroll and the next you want to send down the promising cheap young player. You can’t have it both ways. Your attitude is the exact reason for the bloated payroll. Hughes has nothing more to learn at AAA. If Gardner could track a fly ball, Phil gets a quality start. He just pitched in bad luck yesterday.

              • Ogie Oglethorpe

                When did I ever complain about the bloated payroll? This is the Yankees. They should have a big payroll. All that I’m saying is that the stakes are high and we have a two-time 19-game winner ready to go.

        • Mike HC

          People have been claiming the Yanks are an aging team with a small window to win another World Series for just about all 23 years of my life.

          • Ogie Oglethorpe

            Tell Mo, Jeter, Jorge, Pettitte, A-Rod, Damon and Matsui that the window ain’t small. Let alone the manager and the GM.

            A lot is riding on this season in particular ending with a title. We fans were told in not so subtle terms that the Yanks were reloading, and that 2009 was going to be “The Year.”

            • Drew

              this made me laugh.

  • Reality Check

    If you are going with Mo, you start the inning with him. Could not agree more that he SHOULD have started inning. Not only is that when the “save” was going to occur, but this is a Mo who had worked once in a week and who JG said needed work to build up arm strength. No excuse for that. As for BG not running, two things. Sincw when does a rookie ballplayer use his “judgment” when ordered to steal. In old days, his butt would be on the way to minors if he pulled something like that. He has NO judgment– a sign is a sign is a sign. Period. But I have a problem with sign. Why not put on hit and run. 2-1 count, slow-footed Jorge at plate. Why not put things in motion. Isn’t this the “outside the box” thinking we were told to expect from JG?? Sorry game.

    • MattG

      You can’t hit and run with Kerry Wood. Was the count 2-1? No matter, an unhittable curve is still very likely. It is straight steal or nothing.

      Not that Posada can’t swing the bat to protect Gardner if the ball’s in the zone, but you can’t call it in advance.

    • steve (different one)

      since when is calling a hit and run “outside the box”?

      seriously, what are you talking about?

      Girardi gave the steal sign, Gardner didn’t run. that’s 100% on Gardner. i don’t see how that can be twisted into a knock on Girardi.

      why hit and run when you have the fastest white guy on earth on 1st base? just steal the f’ing base.

      • steve (different one)

        sorry, didn’t mean that to come across so harsh.

        just think Girardi took a ton of shit today for that call that turned out to be 100% not his fault.

        • Reality Check

          Hit and run with runner on 3rd is a unusual, but I thought that was right call here. Kerry Wood notwithstanding, that is what I would have called for. Perfect count. Not JG’s biggest mistake (see no Mo), but a mistake in my book nonetheless. And in any case, have no idea why sports reporters following team never ask such questions (other than fear of losing access).

  • BigBlueAL

    I had to leave during the game (right after the Top of the 7th) so I didnt get to watch the faithful 9th inning. Most of you know Ive been very critical of Girardi in the past, but to me from what Ive read I cant really see any real reason to blame him for today’s game. Ive given up ripping his handling of this bullpen because the bullpen absolutely sucks. I actually like that he is using Aceves the way he is now but unfortunately he wasnt available today. No manager today wouldve brought in their closer in the 9th of a tie-game on the road so I wont criticize Girardi for that non-move. If Wang is needed to back-up or out-right start for Pettitte on Wed then I understand taking Wang out, plus hey allowing him to leave after 3 shutout innings and not maybe having him out there to lose the game in the 9th is also probably a good move for Wang’s confidence.

    He obviously told Gardner to steal and he never did. This is one of the 2 main reasons I really dont like Gardner at all. His main asset is his speed, yet while he has a very good SB % we have always here talked about how long it takes him to steal bases (in terms of pitches thrown in an at-bat) which is not a good thing. Plus his defense really is pretty bad. I dont know what is UZR rating is or his +/- and all that but for his speed he sure doesnt look like he has great range like he should have. But since Melky is now the starting CF Gardner as the 4th OFer is not a bad thing at all and he is hitting much better recently so for me as long as Gardner remains in the 4th OFer role with a start or 2 a week only I am fine with him.

  • dre

    girardi still sucks

    1. if wang is pitching good then let him pitch another inning and let Aceves be your emergency starter on Wednesday..

    2. Garder had 5 ptiches to steal..your couldn’t give the sign to the first base coash to tell him to steal on the next pitch? so its not that Girardi is incomptent its that a rookie outfielder who is playing for his playing life, doesn’t respect Girardi enough to listen to him and steal???

    3. yes Gardner is our 4th ourfielder cause hes a bad outfielder…yet our genious manager always bring hims in for defensive purposes in the 9th to take over Center!!!!!!