It’s starting to look a little like 2005

The Importance of Nick Swisher
The Future of Right Field

The Baltimore Orioles find themselves in a strange position today. At 19-9 they hold the best record of any major league team. True, we’re through just 28 games, less than 20 percent of the season. But it’s still a remarkable feat for a consensus last-place team.

It seems like forever ago, but just seven years ago the Orioles found themselves in nearly the identical position. In 2005 they surged out to a 19-9 record through 28 games; only the 22-7 White Sox owned a better record. At the same time the Yankees got off to their infamously poor start, going 11-19 through the first 28 games. It certainly seemed like an odd twist of fate.

I’m not certain what the expectations were for the 2005 Orioles, but with the powerhouse Yankees and Red Sox in the division they couldn’t have been too high. The O’s had finished six games below .500 in 2004, despite having RBI leader Miguel Tejada and doubles leader Brian Roberts powering the offense. They made few changes on the offensive side of the ball in 2005, and it appeared their pitching staff could improve. Perhaps their performance wasn’t so out of line, then.

As we know, though, the Orioles slid heavily after their hot start. From Game 29 through Game 162 they went 55-79, done in by an underperforming outfield crew and horrible starting pitching. They avoided a last-place finish, however, due to Tampa Bay’s still-inept team; they finished 67-95, still two full seasons of losing away from their first winning season.

This isn’t so much to rag on the Orioles’ inevitable fall from the top as it is to put the Yankees’ record in perspective. At 15-13 they’re still fourth in the AL East, but in 2005 they were tied for last with the Rays. They also had a negative-19 run differential through 30 games in 2005, while through 28 games this year they’re plus-12. Things aren’t so bad from that vantage point.

From Game-31 through Game-162 in 2005 the Yankees went 84-48, the best record in the AL by four games. Yet this year they appear perhaps better equipped for a surge. The pitching staff is solider and deeper — there will be no Sidney Ponson appearances this year. The offense, too, has a few more weapons than the 2005 team. They might have had the heavy hitters, and Jason Giambi‘s second-half surge certainly played into the Yanks’ winning ways, but the 2012 Yankees have a bit more speed to go with their power. The current team also doesn’t have to overcome one of the worst defenses in baseball history.

Slow starts are never fun, but sometimes it just takes the Yankees a while to click. It’s happened plenty of times in the past, and it’s likely to happen again this year. Hell, through 28 games in 2009 the Yankees were 13-15, again with a negative run differential. The Yankees have the right players in place; it’s just a matter of time before they start rolling.

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The Importance of Nick Swisher
The Future of Right Field
  • Bonnie Parker

    I wouldn’t say the pitching staff is solider. Who is besides CC? Kuroda has one good start, one bad, one good, one bad. Nova has been ok at best. Hughes has been awful. Garcia was dreadful and Phelps is a rookie.

    What is there to be confident in besides CC? Andy is a 40 year old who didn’t pitch last season. They have a 6 ERA. Our hope is that games vs the Mariners, As and National League will get the staff back on track.

    • Ted Nelson

      Hooray for small samples baseless speculation!

      • Bonnie Parker

        It’s baseless to say that Garcia and Hughes have been awful? Phil hasn’t been good since the 1st half of 2010. This season and last he’s pitching to a 6 ERA. How is that good or baseless? Hiroki and Nova will be ok but they don’t inspire much confidence when they’re so inconsistent. Hopefully going up against worse offenses will help them find their grooves.

        • Slugger27

          what you’re wanting is unrealistic. most teams dont have shutdown guys after their ace. the angels is really the only team in the AL that does, maybe the rays. but both those teams have major questions on the offensive side.

          • Brian S.

            The Rays don’t have questions on offense. Even without Longoria they have six players with a wRC+ over 120.

            • Slugger27

              they dont? jose molina, jeff keppinger, and sean rodriguez are everyday players and make up 1/3 of the lineup. sure they have some guys off to hot starts, but theyll cool off and settle into the 105 OPS+ range, same as they do every year. not bad, but lower than a WS contender would like to be at.

              the season isnt 20% over yet, im going to judge players based on their body of work over their careers, not how theyve done in april 2012.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

          Do you know who was in the ’05 rotation? At various times, they used Chacon, Small, a rookie Wang, Brown, Wright, Pavano, Leiter, and Tim Redding.

        • Ted Nelson

          Was supposed to say “and baseless speculation.” But I mis-typed it. Little of both: small samples and speculation.

          Small sample on Kuroda. Been a solid SP for years. Same with Nova to a lesser extent.

          Speculation on Pettitte. Plenty of 40 years olds have been solid MLB starters. Not many guys get there healthy and effective, but Pettitte is a good candidate to do just that.

        • Michael Mirabella

          How is Nova “so inconsistent” when he put himself Ina position to win for more than 15 straight appearances?

          • Ted Nelson

            He has been inconsistent this season (but it’s a small sample). He owns a 5.5 ERA, 4.75 FIP, and has basically alternated good and bad starts until he stunk each of the past two: http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/...../ivan-nova

            His offense put him in a position to win games. They averaged 7.5 R/Game in the first four games he started this season. Wins are a team stat.

        • Michael Mirabella

          How is Nova “so inconsistent” when he put himself in a position to win for more than 15 straight appearances?

    • CP

      I wouldn’t say the pitching staff is solider.

      I agree. I would tend to use ‘more solid’.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        They did not possess as much solitidity. That’s for sure.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      When you were three, or before you lost long-term memory, back in 2005, before you based your screen names on whatever book report you were doing at the time (or whatever movie was on TNT that night), there were pretty much the same number of questions as to the pitching staff.

      There’s some pretty shitty rotation stuff going on, but we’re still a ways away from some of the riffraff that donned Yankee uniforms, as members of the rotation, in the middle part of the last decade. We won’t be there until, at least, 2013.

      • Erica

        Agreed with the last part. This team isn’t as bad as it seems. It’s really not. They just need to get rolling (and we’ve all said it — they will) and they’ll be totally fine.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          The absolute nadir, for me, as a Yankee fan post-1995 was watching Darrell May and Tim Redding actually cheapen the value of the franchise by pitching for it, albeit for one game. I hated that game with every bit of my being. That would not happen this year.

          • Erica

            Please tell me more, as I know not of this game.

            • Robinson Tilapia
              • Erica

                Thanks! Going to read this now to pass time at work.

                OH NO, not Stryper! The lowest I’ll sink is Slaughter!

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  Every now and then, I’ve been known to dig into a little “Stick It To Ya.”

                  Hell, highlight of my weekend was, during one of the rare times in my life where I actually went to a hairdresser instead of a barber, and “Nobody’s Fool” by Cinderella was part of the soundtrack.

                  • Erica

                    Just finished reading and checked out the boxscore. Gross, simply gross. Sad. Dark. Depressing. I HIGHLY doubt the 2012 Yankees have the ability to sink to those levels.

                    Never be ashamed to sing along to Cinderella! They’re the best to roll down your windows for and blast at red lights, just to see the reactions of the other drivers around you!

          • handtius

            i sadly remember…

          • Darren

            They may have been bad pitchers, but I kind of think Sheffield, Lofton, Womack cheapened the franchise more than those Redding and May.

            Also, “Soldiers Under Command” is a good song. And “To Hell with the Devil” isn’t awful.

      • TomG

        Bullshit. I don’t know where you were in 2005, but the Johnson, Mussina, Pavano, Brown and Wright rotation probably looked better on paper that May than the 2012 rotation looks right now. Even Shawn Chacon had more major league success by the 2005 trade than Hughes or Nova has at this point. There’s more high minors depth now than there was then, but let’s not shit on this guy just because he’s a tad pessimistic.

        • Havok9120

          I can see where you’re coming from, but I don’t agree with that at all.

          Who’s the ace? Heck, who’s the #2? We knew Johnson wasn’t going to be either of those coming into that season and Moose, much as I love him, wasn’t either. It is fair to say Pavano could also be put in that category at the time. Brown and Wright? I say “meh” now and I said “meh” then.

          This year the results haven’t been there consistently so far, but we’ve seen flashes of it, and we’ll know if it’s coming around after this turn or the next. The potential is there and, possibly, waking up. The same could not be said on May 7, 2005.

          • Plank

            Randy Johnson was coming off one of the most epic runs of dominance in 2005. Literally one of the best in the history of baseball. You doubted him?

            Mussina and Brown both had solid years in 2004 and were 2 of the best pitchers of the past decade not named Randy Johnson. You doubted them?

            Carl Pavano was obviously injury plagued, but the general sentiment was that if he could stay healthy, he would be good. He didn’t even have the injury plagued tag at that point.

            Jaret Wright was the #5 starter. If you want to say there was no faith in him, that’s fine, but again he was the back end of an epic rotation.

            • MannyGeee

              Kevin Brown was in his age 40 season in 2005.

              Randy Jonson came in at 41 years old with some health issues.

              Ironically, Mussina was coming off one of his worst seasons in 2004.

              While history has not been kind to Pavano, i will agree with you that the book on Pavano was a guy who (if healthy) could be a very good to great pitcher.

              again, I would take today’s rotation 1000 times over 2005’s

            • CP

              Mussina was coming off the worst year of his career in 2004 and was 36. Kevin Brown was 40 and coming off an injury filled year in 2004.

              Carl Pavano was not (at this point in 2005) injury plagued.

              Randy Johnson actually had a very solid 2005 season, just not exactly what you expect from an ace.

              The problem with 2005 (and most years since) is not that they top 5 or 6 pitchers are bad. The problem is that when those pitchers struggle, there are no quality backups to throw out there – you end up with the Chase Wrights and Tim Reddings making starts. This year, the Yankees have a lot of quality starters that they can throw out there. They’re not going to be aces, but they should be able to hold down the fort. And if they don’t, then the Yankees will just try the next guy on the list.

              • Robinson Tilapia

                Carl Pavano had a year and a half of success as an MLB pitcher before recieving that contract. Even if he hadn’t somehow claimed to have hurt every part of his body, ass included, in the following four years, there were a hell of a lot of questions about signing him.

                And, yes, half of baseball wanted him. It doesn’t mean half of baseball wasn’t out of its mind that off-season.

              • Plank

                They were thin, certainly. Good point.

                I think you are selling Johnson’s 2004 short by more than a little bit. He was second in CYA after winning 4 of the previous 5 Cy Young Awards.

                The idea that they weren’t good on paper, though is silly. They didn’t pitch all that well, but no one knew that before the season started.

                Brown pitched well when he pitched and he still managed 132 IP, and Mussina’s season could have just as easily been a one year blip rather than the start of a new level of play. Even if it was his new level, he was still a League Average Innings eater in 2004. There is value in that.

                Pavano was a young pitcher coming off a great year.

                • Havok9120

                  I’m not saying that none of them were “good.” Just that there was no ace. No #2 is a stretch, because I did forget about his age 40 season but, that said, he was 41 and transitioning from the NL West (!!) to the AL East. So no, I didn’t expect him to preform anywhere near ’04. I was very happy to have him, because I expected him to be our best pitcher, but I wasn’t surprised by the lines he put up with us.

                  And after him we had nothing but question marks. Moose was 36 and had had his worst season at 35. He still hadn’t quite made the transition to Mike “Smoke ‘n Mirrors” Mussina and there were reasonable doubts that he wouldn’t. Pavano wasn’t injury plagued yet, which is why I actually thought he’d be solid as I said above. I didn’t like the signing but there was no reaason to expect him to come apart in the first year. But there was no reason to expect him to be even a reliable #2. We had 3 guys we could expect to throw up the performances of 4s or 5s, Pavano (#3?) and Johnson, who was old and making the transition to the toughest division from what was even then one of (the?) weakest. And you’ve alreaddy mentioned the total lack of depth, especially crucial with Pavano coming in with an injury history, Brown have been hurting in ’04, and Johnson being 41.

                  I’m not saying that the ’05 Yanks had a terrible staff on paper. I’m not even saying that it wasn’t “decent” on paper. I’m just saying there were more questions about it, both before the season and certainly by May ’05, then there were, or even are, about this one.

                  • Plank

                    Randy Johnson was the ace. He was second in the CYA the previous year and had won 4 of them in the preceding 5 years. What do you see in his numbers up to 2004 that I am missing?

                    Mussina was the #2 and Kevin Brown could be considered for that role too. They could both have been considered for the role of ace, even.

                    Again, this is going into 2005, not their actual performance in 2005.

                    • Havok9120

                      I disagree with both Brown and Moose. I expected both of them to continue their trends, not hold steady or improve. And I was apparently just a lot more doubtful of RJ coming from his division and his league to ours at his age and performing anywhere near that level. With him, I got about what I expected and was happy with it.

                      We apparently had differing opinions on these guys then. *shrug* I wish you’d been right.

                  • Slugger27

                    pretty hard to not view randy johnson as an ace going into 2005. sure, he didnt pitch like one, but the yankees cant be expected to predict the future. at the time they acquired him, he was a stud, even at his age.

                    • Havok9120

                      Pretty hard, but I did it anyway at the time. I just didn’t think he’d pitch much better than he actually did in ’05 at his age and making the league transition.

        • Plank

          I wouldn’t even say it’s pessimistic. It’s sober, but accurate.

        • jjyank

          Those are fair points, however, I think that it is debatable that the 2005 rotation was better on paper.

          The 2012 rotation features the single best pitcher in that group (at their respective times, of course) in CC. Kuroda and Nova are solid. Hughes has potential. Garcia had a good year in 2011 was was expected to be at least league average on the backend. That 2005 team doesn’t really have an ace. It’s not a slam dunk, but I wouldn’t say that it was better than 2012 on paper.

          • Plank

            You are comparing a rotation with 3 HOF worthy pitchers to the 2012 rotation? That’s a bit out there.

            Randy Johnson is one of the greatest pitchers ever. Maybe the best lefty ever. Top 3 easily.

            • jjyank

              Fine, you have me there. But the rest of that rotation is “meh”. On paper alone, I take the 2012 rotation, but you are free to disagree.

            • Havok9120

              Yes, yes he is. Could he be reasonably expected to be so again making the league and division transitions he was at age 41? I didn’t think so at the time and time (and the results he had) hasn’t changed that outlook.

              • Plank

                He was excellent in 2005. He had a historically awful defense behind him which make his numbers look slightly worse than they really were. All the pitchers did actually.

                • Havok9120

                  I know he was. I’m asking if it could be expected, especially with said defense. We can’t compare results half the time and the “on paper” the other half. Heck, that’s half the reason having this discussion has been so hard. Everyone keeps shifting back and forth.

            • Darren

              Randy Johnson was cooked by the time he became a Yankee and everyone knew it. It was first guessed as a horrible move in every way.

              • Havok9120

                0_o

                That isn’t true at all. Nor does it match up with what he actually did in ’05.

                • Darren

                  I just checked Wiki and his stats and you’re right, he was nowhere near cooked.

                  I think the problem was that when he was acquired, people expected him to be the dominat ultra ace he had been for so long and it seemed obvious that it was unlikely to happen at age 40.

                  Also, his prominent and dominant role in two of the worst Yankee losses ever (95 and 2001) made him an unwlecome sight – it felt like the typical lets get the over the hill veteran who used to kill us and hope for the best.

                  And of course, his horrible starts in the post-season colored his season.

                  I’m shocked he had a sub 4.00 ERA and won 17 – it felt much less impressive at the time.

                  Thanks for correcting me.

                  D.

          • Kosmo

            Kuroda is a good pitcher with a decent track record. No one can go on record at this point in the season and claim Nova is solid. He had a very good rookie season which I doubt is repeatable for him. Speculation on my part. I´ve seen alot of pitchers flame out after a good rookie season. Let´s wait to annoint him as “solid“ until he´s proven it this season or at least by mid-season. 15 more hits than IP is not good.

        • MannyGeee

          Sir Randall Johnson and Kevin Brown were well on their declines at this point

          Mussina was what he was, an unspectacular if not effective innings eater

          Jaret Wright & Carl Pavano were horrible. not even worth talking about.

          Chacon was the prototypical ‘flash in the pan’ pick up. so he was Freddy Garcia circa 2005.

          I would take today’s rotation (even with Hughes and Phelps) than 2005’s in a cocaine heartbeat. at least they have youth behind them with the outside chance of getting better.

          • Plank

            That sounds accurate after the fact, but if you look at their numbers, none of those portrayals are accurate.

            • MannyGeee

              have YOU looked at their numbers? the guys you mention, save for Pavano, had some major red flags in 2004.

              http://www.baseball-reference......ke01.shtml

              http://www.baseball-reference......ra05.shtml

              http://www.baseball-reference......mi01.shtml

              • Robinson Tilapia

                I already menioned Pavano enough above, but I’d say that, if you were watching Pavano at the time, the red flags were screaming there as well. There wasn’t a whole lot to him until halfway through 2003. That’s not someone you give that kind of contract to, yet someone he deserved it more than Wright did.

              • Plank

                They also all had good years in 2004. They also all had amazing decades for the years before 2005.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  Brown was sick for the Marlins. Just sick.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            I’d take today’s rotation as well, easily, even though I take issue with your portrayal of Mussina there.

            Chacon wasn’t as much as a “flash in the pan” as he was an attempted reclamation project who had some very brief moments of glory. Garcia’s had more success as a Yankee.

            Wright and Pavano were massive mistakes by this franchise. There was no excusing giving pitchers with that minute a track record the contracts they received. Not at the time, and not in restrospect.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      I don’t know why everyone attacked you and I agree that behind CC, the rotation is currently a bunch of question marks.

      If you’re an optimist, you can say out of Kuroda, Nova, Hughes, Phelps, Pettitte and Garcia group, you can piece together a fairly solid rotation but none of those guys are even close to a sure thing to pitch well the remainder of this year.

      • Slugger27

        by my count, ted was the only one that attacked him. and i agree with what he said in general, its just that what he said isnt controversial, and therefore there isnt much to reply to it. “we have questions marks after our surefire ace” … well, yeah, no shit. same with everyone else but 3 or 4 teams in all of baseball.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I did sort of claim he/she was three years old back in ’05. That wasn’t exactly a nice retort back.

          I don’t have an issue with questionning the current rotation. I question it as well. It’s the simplistic “If/then” thinking that follows that I had an issue with.

        • Manny’s BanWagon

          Yeah but the Yankees aren’t part of the “everyone else” group. The have the biggest payroll and the most resources so they should be compared to the best 2-3 teams in baseball, not the rest of the riffraff.

          • Slugger27

            well, their roster should be compared with the best teams in baseball, not necessarily their pitching staff specifically. the yankees have a top offense and bullpen (even without mo). the rays have a stronger staff, but im sure they look at their lineup and say “man, we have question marks at a lot of positions, the yankees hardly have any”. it works both ways.

      • Havok9120

        Well, he did say, or at least imply, that their are as many or more questions with the 2012 rotation as there were with the 2005 rotation and that’s kinda silly. Heck, their are roughly the same number of questions with the rotation this year as their were this time LAST year. The difference is that we expected there to be vast, gaping holes in our rotation in ’05 and 2011, whereas this year we thought it would be a consistent strength. It hasn’t been, and its led to some statements that don’t make a ton of sense except with rose colored glasses and by ignoring the weaknesses of virtually every other team in the league.

        • Havok9120

          Wow. Their/there failure. Twice. Exam periods suck.

          • jjyank

            Haha I saw that, but I’m writing a paper at the moment, so I’m in the grammar zone right now.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Seems like you both need a visit to the Plouffenator.

              • jjyank

                Haha nothing would make me happier, but alas I had to give that up. I do have a beer in my other hand though. Gotta stay sane somehow.

                • handtius

                  you drink too much. you need to talk to my friend with a failed liver. you just need to learn to laugh at these people and play at their game or ignore. i love your comments, but i hope the drinking is more tongue and cheek then serious.

                  • jjyank

                    It is most of the time. Having a beer (which I am actually) has nothing to do with the comments on this thread, it’s just a nice way to distract myself a bit from the stress of writing a final paper for my last graduate school class ever. I don’t see the harm of one or two beers while I write a 30 page paper on global environmental policy.

                  • Robinson Tilapia

                    Wow. And I’m the one who actually posts cocktail recipes on here!

                    FWIW, don’t worry a bit about my drinking. It’s all good over here.

                    • jjyank

                      I’m pretty sure I said something about drinking during in a couple of game threads (Friday and Saturday) but outside of that…I appreciate the concern, but it’s all good.

                    • Plank

                      To jj,

                      You really do talk about drinking a lot. I’ve noticed it.

                    • jjyank

                      Plank, like I said, it’s mostly tongue in cheek. If it bothers you, then I apologize.

                    • Plank

                      And the way you were talking about smoking pot the other day sounded ‘substance abusey’ not ‘unwind after a long day-like’.

                      But do whatever you want.

                      I would never mention it, but I had the same thought as that guy.

                    • Plank

                      I’m really not bothered by it.

                    • jjyank

                      The Plouffenator and I were having a conversation about it. So what? Way to judge someone over the internet without knowing anything. For someone that likes to post about facts, you sure are jumping to conclusions about someone you don’t know.

                    • jsbrendog

                      what’s wrong with 2 or 3 beers a night and 5-8 on fri and sat?

                    • Plank

                      Sorry if I offended you or I have the wrong impression. Reading your posts, I got that impression and apparently so did handitis.

                      I won’t mention it again.

                    • jjyank

                      It’s funny, I tried running a search of my name and the word “drink”, and I came up with more results from other people than myself. I mentioned it in a couple of game threads this weekend and that’s about it. Maybe once or twice elsewhere, but that’s a huge jump to borderline call me an alcoholic. Kind of offensive too to judge someone based on a couple of comments on a baseball blog. So go ahead and “don’t mention it again”. I usually enjoy reading your opinion, but not when you make huge leaps in logic like this.

                    • Plank

                      Sorry, again.

                      2 people independently came to the same thought, though, so it’s not like it’s coming from thin air.

                      I didn’t mean to imply you have a drinking problem if you don’t, but reading your posts made me wonder if you did. If not, maybe you should be aware that’s how it came across to me and apparently Handitis (though obviously I don’t want to speak for him).

                      Again, my apologies.

                    • jjyank

                      I think my references were spaced close together, maybe that’s why. And any reference to pot comes from my undergrad days several years ago. I have since quit completely two years ago, and I drink a couple of times a week. So there are the facts, if you were curious. I didn’t realize tongue-in-cheek comments about taking a shot when Eduardo Nunez makes an error would come across like that, but if it did, you should know that it wasn’t supposed to.

        • jjyank

          Right. What teams in baseball don’t have rotation questions? Angels, Rays, Giants, Phillies? That’s all I got off the top of my head.

          • Havok9120

            Even the Angels….if they had to deal with a Pineda type injury to one of the front 4 or Garcia-type futility from their #5, who exactly is supposed to step in? Roy Oswalt?

            • jjyank

              Right. Other than the Rays (and maybe the Giants, I’m not very familiar with their farm system) the teams with a solid rotation are also ones with little depth. Even after the issues the Yankees have dealt with, there is still Garcia in the bullpen, Pettitte on his way back, and Mitchell and Warren in AAA.

            • Kosmo

              I´m banking on Garrett Richards from within their org.

              • Kosmo

                Angels org. that is

        • Manny’s BanWagon

          You’re right in the fact that there are so many questions with the rotation is magnified by the fact that this was the year that starting pitching was expected to be a major strength with so much starting pitching depth and front line performances expected out of CC and Pineda and at least solid middle rotation performace expected from Kuroda and Nova with Hughes having the potential to move into that group.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Yeah, 2005 is hitting the nail right on the head. I expect nothing from the Orioles and, while I don’t expect a crazy run like that, I expect some continued slow distance away from .500.

  • jjyank

    Thanks for putting 2012 in perspective, Joe, great article. The 2012 O’s certainly have some talent on that roster, but the Yankees have more. I’m very confident that this team will go on a crazy tear at some point over the summer and we’ll look back at the first 5-6 weeks of the season and laugh.

    • Slugger27

      something should be said for the april schedule, too. 2/3 or their games played were against tampa, LAA, boston, tex, detroit, and only detroit and LAA at home.

      • jjyank

        Yeah, I agree. If at this point in 2009 they were under .500 and ended up winning the world series, there’s no reason that this can’t happen in 2012 too. Keep the faith.

  • http://none Ton Lon ton

    Er perhaps our pitching staff just needs some inspiration

    • jjyank

      They must be bored.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        We need a good Chacon/Ponson type to push them a bit.

        • vin

          Two words for you…

          Aaron Small.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          An Aaron Small performance from someone would be quite welcome.

          • jjyank

            I’m looking at you, David Phelps. Get it done!

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Ramon Ortiz, come on down?

              I still can’t believe a guy who couldn’t crack a bad Marlin bullpen wound up going 10-0 as a starter for the Yanks in the stretch run. God bless you, Aaron Small.

              • jjyank

                I was rather partial to Shane Spencer myself. You can’t predict baseball, Suzyn.

              • Slugger27

                stuff like that is what makes baseball fun. everyone knew it wouldnt keep up. the guy would go 5 innings at a time without a swing and miss. and every game had at least 3 fly balls caught at the warning track. everyone enjoyed the moment though.

  • vin

    I wish ARod would think it was 2005.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      Until Octover anyway:)

      • jjyank

        Then he can think it’s 2009!

  • http://none Ton Lon ton

    Might be more exciting season if every game was a doubleheader — more to discusd

    • jjyank

      I think Girardi’s binder would explode.

      • Erica

        Nah, he’d have to have more than one binder and would wind up toting around his papers like a high school freshman too afraid to go back to his locker.

  • steve s

    Sign me up for the 2005 offense please.

    • Plank

      With the accompanying defense? Yikes!

    • handtius

      those players couldn’t catch a beach ball.

      • MannyGeee

        resisting the obligatory Jeter/Herpes joke…

  • A.D.

    Issue for the Yankees will be that the 2005 Rays & Jays were a whole lot worse than their 2012 counterparts

    • Brian S.

      In 2005 the Devil Rays went 11-8 against the Yankees.

      • Plank

        That’s the second time you’ve used facts to dispute brewing false narratives. Watch it, buddy.

        • Plank

          If you keep using facts you will get a reputation as a pessimist.

          • Havok9120

            Oh stop. The whole reason Bonnie got hammered up top was because he DIDN’T use any facts. Well, that and his reputation in game threads. And that he MAY be posting the same thing in the same thread under different names to make his opinion seem more prevalent.

            • Plank

              I have no idea who Bonnie is. I was making a joke because he used numbers to show the Rays are a good hitting team this year, then he used numbers to show the Yankees didn’t pad their numbers by beating up on the Devil Rays in 2005. Both times he countered what someone was saying when they presented it as a conclusion.

              Did I do something to offend you?

              • Havok9120

                No, I thought you were taking up the cause of the “you’ll be labeled a pessimist if you ever disagree” crowd, not making a joke.

                I hate trying to judge such things over text.

  • http://none GrandyManCan

    I see a definite comparison is the numbers so far in our staffs make up. One large overpriced ace, and a bunch of rif raf. Now, though I believe our staff deserves the benefit of the doubt for a while longer. Many pitchers start off slow but turn it around.

  • Plank

    Am I taking crazy pills? The Yankees rotation on paper going into 2005 was epic. Why does it seem like everyone is acting like it was clear they sucked?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It wasn’t epic. I actually think the description offered somewhere above was just right.

      Johnson and Brown had clearly seen much better days. Pavano and Wright were given multi-year contracts off about a 1 1/2 years of success for one and one rebound year after an injury-filled career from the other. Mussina was Mike Mussina.

      It was the type of rotation where you hoped for the best, and there was certainly a whole lot of upside, but there was a whole lot of places where it could wrong. And it did.

      I feel this way now. I felt this way in 2005. I hated the signings. I thought both Johnson and Brown in pinstripes happened a bit too late.

      • Ted Nelson

        I agree with everything else and he was at least a risk with age, but RJ did had a 9.9 fWAR 245 IP season in 2004.

        I would agree he was on the decline, but I expected an ace. He was something close in the end giving when 225 IP of 3.8 FIP ball worth 4.6 fWAR.

        • Havok9120

          You were more charitable at the time then me. I was happy to have him and expected him to be our best pitcher, as he was. But I didn’t see him being the ace at age 41 with that transition to make.

          • Ted Nelson

            I would have bet on a decline between age and division switch, but probably more in the low-3s FIP area than the high-3s. HRs really spiked.

    • Ted Nelson

      I wouldn’t say it was “epic,” but I also wouldn’t say that it sucked.

    • Kosmo

      I agree with you FWIW. Unit, Pavano, Wright all had excellent seasons in 2004 with Mussina and Brown having OK, but not up to their expected levels, 2004 seasons . So on paper for 2005 a great rotation.
      Wang,Chacon and Small pretty much saved the 2005 season.

      • Ted Nelson

        What were the odds of Wright repeating that season, though?

        Some people are acting like Pettitte is a big long-shot at 40… but Kevin Brown and Moose who were already showing their ages in 2004 weren’t expected to deteriorate further? RJ to a lesser extent.

        The name value and salaries were much better in 2005, but 2012 was a good staff going into the season too. Compare, say, 2011 CC to 2004 RJ, Kuroda to Pavano, Garcia/Hughes to Wright, Nova to Brown, and Pineda to Moose. Pretty similar, and this season’s rotation had more depth on paper.

        • Kosmo

          The Yanks thought 13.5 million worth that Wright could repeat his 2004 success. I was totally opposed to that signing but at the time it was more an act of desperation on the Yanks part. In 2006 Mussina rebounded with a fine overall season and won 20 games in 2008.
          I would take the 2004 version of Pavano over Kuroda. Moose and Brown despite age get the nod over two somewhat unproven pitchers. I agree it is very close but one has a tendency to go with veterans with proven track records.

          • Ted Nelson

            I would say that salary shows that they didn’t think he could repeat 2004.

            The stats are close. The trends probably in 2012’s direction.

            Kuroda is a veteran with a proven track record, and you took Pavano over him… Pavano had a shorter and worse track record. Pettitte has about as proven a track record as anyone. Same with CC.

            • Kosmo

              for the 2 seasons prior to the Yankee signing Pavano posted a 7.7 WAR .Kuroda 2 seasons prior to signing 6.5.
              flip a coin.
              What does Pettitte have to do with anything? He isn´t part of the equation. CC,Kuroda,Nova,Hughes and Pineda or Garcia the projected starting 5 to begin the season.

    • MannyGeee

      the 2005 rotation was epic… in 2002.

      • Plank

        and…2004.

        • Ted Nelson

          Expect… no. Brown and Moose were 4 FIP guys in 2004. Pavano was high-3s in the NL. RJ and Wright were “epic,” but there were reasons to expect decline from both coming over to the AL East: age for RJ and one year wonder risk for Wright.

    • handtius

      age.

      • Plank

        Yeah, that’s what it seems like.

        I guess I just think liking Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes over 2004 Kevin Brown and 2004 Mike Mussina even with their ages is wrong*. I mean, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova? Non-Yankees fans will probably have only a vague recollection of them in 10 years.

        Liking CC over RJ is defensible, probably even correct, because of age, but still RJ was in the midst of one of the greatest multi-season runs of domination ever.

        It would be like going with Cory Wade over Mariano Rivera because of their respective ages.

        *I realize that’s a bit of a strawman, since Kuroda should be mentioned in there somewhere. But the Kuroda signing kind of cancels out the Pavano signing in terms of expected talent and Pavano was much younger.

        • Ted Nelson

          “It would be like going with Cory Wade over Mariano Rivera because of their respective ages.”

          That’s where you’re wrong: this is not Wade vs. Mo. Some people are exaggerating too much to one extreme, but you’re going way too far in the other direction. 2005 was not an “epic” rotation. Brown and Moose were not pitching like Mo in 2004, and they were only expected to get worse in 2005. Pavano was not pitching as well as Kuroda in 2004, though he should have been on the upswing still. You’re also ignoring Pineda, who was part of the rotation entering the season. He was not Corey Wade, and the other guys outside of RJ were no longer Mo-like. It’s pretty close, really, especially given the depth of 2012.

          Ironically if you liked Wade better than Mo going into the season–which I certainly did not–you were probably right and it’s very possible age was the exact reason you were right (Wade just has to be replacement level from here on out to equal Mo’s season fWAR).

    • Havok9120

      I don’t think it was clear they sucked on paper. I also don’t think it was epic. There were serious red flags and no depth to speak of. Why should we have been expecting Brown and Moose to improve with injury, age, and dimished stuff? Moose did, and I’m very glad he did, but there’s no way we expect that. And, if anything, we should be thankful that both of our guys over 40 didn’t crash and burn. Randy Johnson or no.

      The contracts aside, Wright and Pavano were almost as unproven as anyone we had coming into this season. I expected better from both and didn’t get it. Oh well.

      I think part of the disconnect is that those who are more bullish about the ’05 rotation were bullish at the time. You’re arguing against people who had doubts X, Y, or Z at the time and generally had them confirmed AND against another set of people who are looking at the results and saying “erm?” Its not fair for people to do that in the context of this debate, but they still have something of a point.

  • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection)

    Some of you people need to get jobs.