Yanks, powered by Robbie, edge Nationals 5-3

Pat Venditte does the unthinkable
Blaming the stadium for the pitching woes

Why don’t we just file this one under “a win is a win is a win”? The Yanks beat the Nationals 5-3 in a game that was far closer than it should have been. In the end, though, they won to keep pace with the Red Sox and surging Rays in the AL East. That’s what counts.

For two-thirds of the game, it didn’t look quite that nice. Through six innings, the Yankees were down 3-2, and it seemed as though this one would turn out to be One of Those Days. Just two days removed from their slaughtering of Johan Santana, the Yankees were being shut down by Shairon Martis, a pitcher six weeks older than my sister making just his 17th Major League start.

It wasn’t, though, from a lack of trying on Martis’ part. While he left the game after allowing just one earned run in sixth inning — thus lowering his June ERA to 2.00 — he spotted the Yanks five walks. Unfortunately, the team could not get that big hit with runners in scoring position. And so it went.

But with Martis out of the game, the Nationals’ bullpen took over, and if there’s one thing that brings tears of joy to the eyes of opponents this year it is the Nationals’ bullpen. While the Yanks’ bullpen has given us troubles, the Nationals’ bullpen is nothing short of spectacularly awful. Worst in the NL in almost every statistic, they did not disappoint.

With the Yanks facing a one-run deficit in the 7th, old friend Ron Villone gave up three hits and two runs to give the Yanks the lead. Mike MacDougal — good old Mac the Knife — gave up an insurance run for good measure in the 8th. It would be all the Yanks would need.

From the Yanks’ perspective, though, this game should have been better. The team had 15 baserunners tonight and went just 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position. A-Rod continued his slow month, Derek Jeter left the game with an ankle injury, and after I spent today defending Jorge Posada, he called for a terrible 1-2 pitch to Anderson Hernandez that ended up on the wrong side of the left field fence.

Yet, on the plus side, Robinson Cano went 4 for 4, driving in two key runs, and the Yanks’ pitching was outstanding. Although CC Sabathia didn’t have the strikeout pitch working last night, he threw 75 of 109 pitches for strikes. He scattered just six hits over 7.2 innings and walked only one. Clearly, CC doesn’t mind throwing in the home run haven that is new Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees also welcomed back their 8th inning man. Freshly activated off the DL, Brian Bruney came in with a runner on and two outs in the 8th. He induced a ground out off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman to end the threat. Mariano threw a perfect 9th to nail down his 15th save, and all was right in Yankeeland.

Pat Venditte does the unthinkable
Blaming the stadium for the pitching woes
  • bonestock94

    Martis managed to pitch a decent game> How does this keep happening to us?

    • JP

      The guy was 5-1 with a June ERA of 2, so he can’t be that bad of a pitcher.

      • The Lodge

        Didn’t he throw a CGSO against Panama in the WBC a few years ago as well?

        • Bo

          You do realize you can’t get 9 runs off every starter out there, right?

        • Accent Shallow

          Panama, despite producing Mariano Rivera, doesn’t have much of a baseball team.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            I hear John McCain was a hell of a second baseman in his prime, though.

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

    Think Alex could use a day off?

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

      Nah. It’s a slump. Just let him ride it out.

      Considering how cerebral he gets, he’s probably the last person to whom you want to give a day off in the midst of a slump (or, um, you know, bat 8th in a key playoff game).

      • LiveFromNewYork

        Every time that game is mentioned, I bristle.

        ME–> BRISTLE BRISTLE BRISTLE

        (waves fist in the general direction of Los Angeles)

    • anonymous

      He had one yesterday

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

        IETC

    • Marsha

      Alex is about to tie Reggie Jackson for the 11th spot on the home run leaders so maybe he’s nervous. Remember how hard it was for him to get his 500th?

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        He didn’t get his 500th HR til I went to a game. Maybe I need to go to another one…

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          So it’s your fault, you jerkface!

  • BklynJT

    I too believe the hr was completely on Posada. CC made a good pitch and hit the spot where Jorge’s glove was positioned. I wonder if the scouting report on Hernandez says he likes pitches low and in. It would support J.Flaherty’s claims.

    • delv

      ***noooo!***

      CC shook Posada off. The slider in was CC’s choice, not Jorge’s!

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

        Was it? At that point, I was on the bike at the gym and had Sterling and Waldman on my headphones. They didn’t mention the shake-off, and the only replay I saw when I got home was of the pitch + HR and not the entire pitch sequence. That changes my analysis if so.

        • Jim

          Yes, CC shook off posada before delivering the pitch that got hit for a 3 run ding dong. Not posada’s fault, CC left it up a touch and it got hit

          • JP

            Yeah, but Jorge was probably calling something different than what he really wanted because he has so much trouble getting pitchers to accept his calls. So, when CC shook him off, Jorgie was happy and got the pitch HE really wanted.

            /childish sarcasm

            • Hobbes

              Every home run is not on a bad pitch. It was off the plate in and tailing down. The batter closed his eyes and swung and got lucky. Tip your cap.

              • Jesus

                Yea i dont think it was posada’s fault at all. ITS THAT JOKE OF A BALLPARK!!

                /fake outrage

              • JP

                Good point–the pitch location on the gamecast was well off the plate, down and in. I guess that’s a potentially dangerous spot to a lefty, but it’s not like it was a hanger belt high.

                The other thing I was gonna say was maybe Jorgie is too nice and needs to get in these pitchers’ faces once in a while when they shake him off.

                instantrimshot.com

  • Jamal G.

    And after I spent today defending Jorge Posada, he called for a terrible 1-2 pitch to Anderson Hernandez that ended up on the wrong side of the left field fence.

    Interesting fact about that HR: Anderson Hernandez and Nyjer Morgan (Pirates outfielder) both hit home runs tonight after not rounding the bases since September of 2006 and September of 2007, respectively. That means that two players who came into their respective games tonight with year-plus long HR droughts both homered on the same night.

    I have to wonder, is two players homering on the same night after coming into that day’s game with a minimum year-long HR drought a MLB first?

    • BigBlueAL

      Sounds like a Kurk Gem.

      • Jamal G.

        Heh, my sentiments exactly.

  • SamVa

    Edited by RAB: Stop posting the same off-topic comment in numerous threads. One more time gets you a commenting suspension.

    • SamVa

      sorry I didn’t realize I was breaking any rules.. My internet is acting weird so I thought it just never posted. won’t happen again!

  • Chris

    Cano made 2 hit-saving plays in the 8th and another great play in the 9th. His defense was just as important as the offense, IMO

    • JP

      Agreed. Nice observation. He has very good range. Underrated defender. Maybe if he dove and fell down and grunted more, like Pedroia, he would get more recognition.

  • Bonos

    The thing that drives me is something like tonight’s situation. One run ballgame, Matsui gets on, Gardner steals second, tack on an insurance run, Mariano comes in, everybody go home. Noo, Swisher comes in, screws around taking pitches, gets lucky and gets Gardner to third. Next genius – drag a bunt, doink to right, anything – no, he works an walk and sets up a DP with Pena coming up. Situational hitting – massive flunk – ad infinitum ad nauseaum

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

      I think you’re complaining about how the Yanks had a chance to score more runs. Why?

      • cult of basebaal

        no, i think he is complaining about *how* the yankees scored their insurance run. evidently, they flunked tack-on-runs-style 101.

        • Jamal G.

          Yes, and in doing that he’s complaining that the Yankees put more runners on base, which he feels is a bad thing.

          • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

            Walks clog up the bases.

            • http://www.richardiurilli.com/ Richard Iurilli

              Why walk if you’re not going to try to steal?

      • YFan

        If you want him to knock in the run and not take a walk that’s up to the manager to signal swing and setup some kind of suicide squeeze.

    • SamVa

      so are you saying that every first and third situation is seemingly just bad offense? Last time I checked, most teams prefer having two men on base to only having one on.. Just my two sense..

    • JP

      Hmmm. I guess I can see what you mean.

      But in today’s baseball, a walk is almost always a very good thing. Pitching staffs are weak and thin, even on the best teams, and the more work a pitching staff has to do, in general, the better.

      Swisher is an incredibly valuable player. (In the true sense of the word value…what we get for his salary).

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

        But in today’s baseball, a walk is almost always a very good thing.

        There is no such thing as a bad walk.

        • JP

          We can both be right. A walk may never be “bad,” but there are times when it’s better for the guy to swing the bat and put it in play.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            If you’re drawing a walk, it’s because the pitcher is not throwing you pitches that are in the zone that can be hit well.

            Meaning, if Swisher’s getting walked, had he been more “aggressive” and swung the bat and put the ball in play, he’d be swinging at a bad pitch, increasing the likelihood that he’d be hitting it weakly and hitting into an out.

            “passively” taking a walk >>>>>>>>>>>> “aggressively” hitting weakly into an out

  • Bonos

    The play is the insurance run, that’s it, that’s all. It’s the eighth inning. You try to maximize chances of success. A sure run beats more runs in this situation. But in that situation Melky has set up the DP for a weak hitter coming up behind him.

    • Jamal G.

      I do not care what the situation is, a runner getting on base is always a really, really good occurrence for the team that’s at-bat.

      • nick

        one out, tie game, man on 3rd, bottom of 9th?

        you take the walk there rather than swing at a terrible pitch, but the situation after the walk is worse than the situation before the walk: you’re less likely to win.

        • http://www.richardiurilli.com/ Richard Iurilli

          FWIW: According to Fangraphs, the walk by Melky raised the chances of the Yankees winning the game from 90% to 91%.

        • Nickel

          I don’t get it, though. You can’t MAKE an opposing pitcher throw strikes. If he throws 4 out of the strike zone, what can you do? Swing at a bad one, and either pop up, or ground out weakly to the pitcher? You take your base and let the next guy have a shot.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Exactly.

            Taking a ball >>>>>>>>>>>> swinging at a ball

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Jim Rice begs to differ.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Until he’s as feared as Bernie Williams was, I don’t really give a crap about Jim Rice’s opinion.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  +51

  • pollo

    Anyone see NoMaas’ Cano photoshop? Hilarious. Holy shit. Ahahahaha

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      I liked the interview with Pythagoras much better than the Slade Heathcott interview.

  • ARX

    Did they lift Martis because of pitch count? 109 pitches, seems like they couldve left him in for the 7th, especially since “the Nats go to the bullpen” seem to be six of the most horrifying words in baseball atm.

  • dkidd

    i wish i didn’t know about cano visiting the school and promising a big game because it just plays into my irrational belief that he could hit .400 if he tried a little harder

    • Andrew

      No. Not nearly a selective enough hitter to bat even close to .400. His OBP will never be .400, let alone his BA.

      • Bo

        Cano hit .400??

        And people think some fans expectations are out of whack. The nerve.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I guess I should at least be happy that you acknowledged that your belief is irrational.

      It’s a start.

  • Bonos

    No, getting on base is good most of the time but not in that inning, you’re trying to seal the win with a tack on run. Rivera is at a low point and Dunn is coming up in the next inning. Mo went 20 pitches in the next inning. Even at other times in man on third, one out, SF or better beats a walk.

    • Brooklyn Ed

      the reply button is your friend, use it.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’m still trying to figure out how and why you’re complaining about us failing to execute properly to add the tack on run… when we ACTUALLY DID ADD THE TACK ON RUN.

  • E-ROC

    Elijah Dukes had a tough time in the field tonight, but it was great to watch him during his ABs.

    Cano’s glovework was great tonight. He could be prepping himself for great second half of baseball.

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    This stuff about the Nats playing a lot of close games just doesn’t fly. Their run differential is 2nd worst in Baseball. They may be playing some close games, but they’re getting blown out a lot as well.

    BTW-Here come the Rays. Won 6 in a row and at +75 have the 2nd highest Run differential in the game. Dodgers are +83 in the weak NL West, Rays are doing it in the AL East.

    • JP

      Yeah….Rays are scoring buckets of runs. But I don’t think their offense is that good–good, but not best-in-league good. It’s something odd happening. Is Bartlett back?

      • Bo

        The Rays have some monster hitters in that lineup. Pena, Longoria, Crawford. A nice foundation of a lineup.

        • JP

          I’ll give you Pena and Longoria. Crawford? Meh….

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Crawford’s rocking an .818 OPS right now, though. It is worth nothing, however, that his .441 SLG is above his career .435 SLG, but below where it was in ’04-’07.

  • jonathan

    Alright this is the game we have all been waiting for, the Wanger gets the start that will decide his fate. I really dont know how the guy is going to respond to having this sort of pressure on him…plus where is the cut off?
    -Do we pull him if his stuff looks bad?
    -Do we wait and see how it translates into walks and hit?
    -Do we said CMW if you give up more than 4 runs than you get the hook?
    I really hate facing new pitching because suck against it, guys like Lannan and Stammen will shut us down completely yet we can tag johan for 9 runs. A guy like Volstad that the sox pounded would end up 4 hitting us over 7 innings of 1 run ball….I dont get it.

    • jonathan

      My point being that we cannot afford to spot a team with a fresh face pitcher 4 or 5 runs because we seem to struggle against new pitchers. So Wang shape up or ship out dude…

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

        Lannan’s pretty good, too.

  • ArodMVP217 FTW!

    y’all better vote Robinson into the ASG, meow

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Um, what’s with the “meow”?

      • Jamal G.

        I have to say, this is the first time I’ve ever been scared after reading a comment on RAB. I’m quite unnerved at the moment.

        • jsbrendog

          what seems to be the problem meow?

          • LoveSuperTroopers

            Stop it right meow!

  • ChrisS

    Great game all around and I like to see Melky taking walks. I think it’s the key thing that elevates his game and keeps him in the .775 OPS neighborhood. Otherwise, he’s just hacking.

    Good pitching, could have been a shut-out. Bruney looked good for a brief appearance, hopefully his arm feels fine today.

    Does Jeter get that grounder that ends the game?

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      This year, yes. He’s at 6.1 UZR/150 so far. I’m not holding my breath for him to keep that up, but even just visually, it’s seemed as if he’s getting to a lot more balls up the middle and behind the bag, though he does still seem to have trouble on balls to his right.

  • Bo

    Did people really expect this team to come out here and win all 3 games 10-0? As bad as they are they are a major league club.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Bo = 1
      Strawman = 0

  • donttradecano

    Newsday focused their paper on how the Yankees almost “lost” the game. Part of the reason im not sad to see newspapers starting to die.

  • JP

    If we could “combine” Melky and Cano, taking the best properties of each, would you do it? Or would you rather have two players? Melky gets more walks, hits from both sides, and seems a bit more disciplined and controlled at the plate. Melky seems to do about the same no matter how good the pitcher, whereas Cano seems to struggle more against better pitchers, especially the ones who can exploit his aggressiveness. I realize the last 2 statements are “soft” judgements…but anyway, you get the idea.

    Would you rather have Mobinson Canera, a .300/.375/.500 guy, or the two existing guys?

    • JP

      I left out the part about Cano’s advantages, which, of course, are elite or near-elite level bat speed, power, line drives, etc. He’s a dangerous hitter who can drive the ball to any part of the park and can, when he isn’t being taken off-stride by a pitcher, hit a 98 mph fastball into the seats.

      So, Melky’s patience, discipline, resourcefulness, and switch hitting, combined with Cano’s better natural power, bat speed, and line drive hitting ability.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Probably the two players because I don’t know if the performance Mobinson Canera or Melkinson Cabno or whatever would make up for the replacement at either CF or 2B. Also, it depends on what position this hybrid is playing.

      • JP

        Ok, we’ll extend it to defense…they are similar. Cano has better range, probably, they both have great arms. You can either have a CF with better range than Melky, but a very good glove and great arm, or a 2b with the good arm but slightly less range than Cano.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          They both have negative UZR/150 totals at 2B and CF (Cano: -5.5, Cabrera: -7.9), FWIW. But, if it’s a vacuum, I guess I take the CF. But, since it’s not a vacuum, I’ll split the two players like they are.

          • JP

            Oh for cripes sake can we have one discussion without talking about UZR or WAR or BABIP or sOAR or whatever the hell it is.

            I don’t know if you’re citing this season’s numbers or career ones, but I do know that defensive metrics are very tough to interpret, and are of questionable validity. Cano has had above average range numbers, we see Melky’s arm, and we see him get to alot of balls.

            Anyway, sorry.

            Personally, I would rather have the combined player. I’d take 2b, since I think a good hitting 2b is overall a bigger boon for your team and harder to find than a good hitting CF.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Oh for cripes sake can we have one discussion without talking about UZR or WAR or BABIP or sOAR or whatever the hell it is.

              Sure, we can.

              Stop talking about how good or bad a player is defensively, and we’ll stop mentioning UZR.

              Stop talking about how good or bad a player is offensively, and we’ll stop talking about WAR, BABIP, and wOBA.

              Stop making subjective analysis about people, and we’ll stop citing objective analysis to help round out the discussion.

              It’s that simple. Would you like to talk about crocheting now?

              • JP

                Just because the stats are there don’t mean they have to be the focus, centerpiece, and proof of every discussion.

                Risking sounding arrogant, most people have no reasonable understanding of statistics. The fact that you can create a numeric value for something – UZR, whatever – is not de facto evidence that it’s meaningful. Even when you are relatively confident that a statistic is valid (valid, in this context, means “UZR is a number which accurately and proportionally represents defensive ability in baseball”), there is the whole question of whether the difference between two players, or a player and the reference point, is significant, and not due to random chance.

                I have no idea how to validate UZR, or to determine whether a fluctuation from + to – between 2 seasons is even something significant.

                And to tell you the truth, I don’t think anyone does.

                I’m not “anti-statistics,” at all. I love them; I use them daily; I have a crush on Bill James.

                But I prefer stats which are reliable, which we can put our finger on, which have tangible correlates in reality. OPS, for instance, correlates with run production; run differential correlates with winning. It’s simple, it makes sense.

                UZR is not simple, and I’m not sure how sensible it is.

                It is just frustrating because on many baseball blogs today, there aren’t really very interesting arguments. Interesting questions are asked, but the final word often consists of people just dredging the web and fire salvos of impressive sounding stats, the validity of which are sometimes in question.

                /rant

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              They’re career numbers. With any defensive metric, the larger the sample size, the better. This season, Melky’s doing real well and Cano’s doing not so great.

              And, yeah, what Tommie said.

      • JP

        Mobinson Canera, 2b
        or
        Relky Cabro, CF

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

    Just a friendly reminder to all: Please read the RAB Commenting Guidelines, and make sure to keep the comments on topic. Off-topic comments will be deleted, and don’t sass back at me, Joe or Mike when we gently remind of you that fact. That won’t be tolerated.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Damnit, and I had just typed out a great rebuttal to that off-topic nonsense, and you just swallowed it up with your mighty admin powers.

      Oh, well.

      • jsbrendog

        /sass’d

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Heh.

    • JP

      Do you consider my hypothetical Cabrera/Cano fusion question to be off-topic?

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

        Not at all. The recap was about Robbie. It’s certainly fair to discuss him. We’re generally happy to give some leeway within the topic. Items that are blatantly off topic — such as unrelated trade speculation — aren’t okay.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    Matsui can’t play outfield and we’re unsure if Nady can throw. No NL team will want them. Plus, they could just wait til the end of the year and have them for money and not players.

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

    Per the RAB Commenting Guidelines, please keep comments on topic. This isn’t the place to talk about some fantasy trade with the Giants.

  • Jonathan

    Its just wishful thinking, and plus there is no proof that Matsui cant play the field…Joe just doesnt take the risk. I believe that Matsui was quoted as saying that he is completely healthy and ready to contribute in anyway. I think that if the Giants think they are contenders and all they need is a bat and have a pitching surplus they would do it. That way they get what they need in the form of a bat and a servicable pitcher in tomko…and we get a young power arm that they have cooled on.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    It’s not wishful thinking.

    Wishful thinking is, “Hmm, i hope one of the security guards at YS3 doesn’t pay close attention so I can sneak down into the field level seats by the third base line.”

    Thinking that we can trade Matsui or Nady for Jonathan Sanchez is pipedream thinking.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    Hideki’s -14.4 UZR/150 in LF is proof enough that he can’t play the OF anymore. Hideki looks fragile just running the bases I can’t imagine him playing the OF for more than a few games.

  • JP

    Maybe if we salt the deal with Jose Veras.

  • Jonathan

    Have to say that I think your wrong, especially since we got demaso marte and nady last year for nothing…we got abreu and lidle for a bag of balls. I think that bad trades happen, its just a matter of exploting the other teams needs and knowing their strengths. The Giants have excess pitching both in the majors and in the minors…they dont have an impact bad for that lineup.
    I would bet that Matsui could play the field fine, christ they had the Bonds statue out in left for years. I think that you are underestimating the value of a bat when a team thinks “all we need is an impact bat”

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    If we add Veras, they’ve got to throw in Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    We didn’t get Marte and Nady for nothing, we got Marte and Nady for a top 100 prospect (Tabata) a good young SP (Ohlendorf) and two other decent arms.

    We got Abreu and Lidle because we were eating huge salaries.

    Both of those trades would be wholly different than the Giants trading a 25 year old lefty for a 87-year old DH who hasn’t been healthy in 2 years and who, when he was healthy, was one of the WORST defensive outfielders in baseball (career -79.1 OF UZR).

    Matsui doesn’t play the OF for us for two reasons:
    1) His knees are a FEMA disaster area
    2) He has horrible range and a horrible arm

    If you’re OPSing 1200 like Barry Bonds, sure, you can put up with that kind of defensive suckitude in left. When you’re OPSing .834 like Hideki is now, it’s unbearable. The Giants would only have interest in Matsui as a pinch hitting bat off the bench. They’re not going to give up Sanchez for that.

    Even if they’ve cooled on him, I’m quite certain they could find a better offer for him than that. And I’ve actually advocated for this trade in the past, before I thought it through more and realized how insane it was.