Yankees win 3-2 over Astros because the rules said they had to play on Friday

Game 160: The Final Series
Kuroda still undecided about 2014, hasn't ruled out retirement


Source: FanGraphs

The four-game losing streak that everyone forgot about is over. The Yankees won their third-to-last game of the season on Friday night, holding on for a 3-2 win over the last place Astros. Let’s recap the meaningless victory:

  • Spotted Start: Before the game, Joe Girardi said he was hoping to get about 50 pitches and three innings out of spot starter Adam Warren. He gave him 64 pitches and five shutout innings. Warren allowed just two singles and a walk in those five innings, and he retired each of the last nine men he faced. Can’t do much better. Assuming he doesn’t pitch on Sunday, Warren finishes the season with a 3.39 ERA and 4.32 FIP in 77 mostly long relief innings. Gotta think he’ll get a look as a starter in Spring Training. Nice season, Adam.
  • Three-Run Fourth: You can tell this was a late-season game between two teams eliminated from postseason contention because the two starters threw a combined 67 pitches to record the first 18 outs. That’s barely an average of 100 pitches per 27 outs. The Yankees didn’t make any offensive noise until the fourth, when four straight batters reached base to drive in three runs. Robinson Cano singled, Alfonso Soriano walked, Mark Reynolds singled (one run), and David Adams doubled into the right field corner (two runs). Just enough runs to show they tried. That’s all you need in a game like this.
  • Last Look?: I really hope that was Joba Chamberlain‘s final appearance as a Yankee, but I fear he will get into Sunday’s game. Joba allowed three of the four men he faced to reach base, including a booming two-run double to center and a line drive single to right on his first two pitches of the game. He then walked the bases loaded before escaping on a fly ball. What a waste of talent.
  • Leftovers: Following Adams’ double, 17 of the final 19 Yankees made outs. The two exceptions were Soriano’s sixth inning double and Reynolds’ ninth inning single … Preston Claiborne walked the leadoff man in the eighth but retired the next three guys in a row … David Robertson retired all three men he faced in the ninth for the save as angry fans chanted for Mariano Rivera. Hey, I’d be bummed too … Eduardo Nunez went 0-for-4 and saw seven total pitches.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. It’ll be Pettitte vs. Clemens — Andy Pettitte vs. Paul Clemens, no relation to Roger — in game two of this season-ended three-game set on Saturday. Andy will be making the final start of his career (for the second time). That’s a night game. Just had to sneak one more Saturday night game in before the end of the year, huh? Thanks, baseball gods.

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Game 160: The Final Series
Kuroda still undecided about 2014, hasn't ruled out retirement
  • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    If nothing else, this game will help me remember Joba as he was.

    The world’s fattest tee.

    • Chris Z

      And the trapper keeper is closed on this guy. Thanks for the memories Joba. Specifically the ones where we thought you were a good prospect.

      • I’m a looser baby so why don’t you kill me?

        He as a good prospect.

        • I’m a looser baby so why don’t you kill me?

          *was

  • Matthew

    I took my girls to this game for the sole purpose of seeing one of Mariano’s last appearances. Why on earth would Girardi bring in Robertson in a save situation? There might not be another.

    • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

      Supposedly Rivera is exhausted after last night.

      Honestly, it might be better to have him end on last nights note than pitch for no reason in meaningless games on the road this weekend

  • Nathan

    I’ll always remember Joba for that late 2007 season and it being all downhill from there.

    I remember thinking how bright the future was going to be for the Yankees: Joba was a lights-out setup man and IPK had just replaced a struggling Moose and done well. And then there was Phil Hughes, who was supposed to be the future ace.

    Funny how stuff doesn’t play out the way you think it will.

    • Bob Buttons

      Even funnier is Moose’s last season will probably be a better season than any of the three will ever have.

      (Moose’s 08 has slightly higher bWAR than IPK’s 20 win season. It’s a tie in fWAR)

  • Get Phelps Up

    Wow, imagine what the two wild card races would be like under the old system.

    • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

      Thanks, Bud.

      Fucking clown.

      • forensic

        That can go both ways, though. Imagine what the races would be like without any wild cards.

  • Dave M

    The fact that they barely beat the Astros to break our losing streak speaks volumes about how bad this Yankee team really is right now.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      One game doesn’t say much of anything about anything.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      The fact you think the run differential in one game means anything speaks volumes about your knowledge of how baseball works.

      • Darren

        You guys are being too hard on Dave M. The fact is that last night’s game, tiny sample or not, WAS pretty indicative of how bad this team is, at least offensively.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I laughed .

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Reply fail to Matt DiBari at the top of the thread.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Nice performance by Warren. It’s still amazing to watch the cliff that Joba Chamberlain has fallen off of this season. Just wow.

    Two more. Let’s make them memorable.

    • Bob Buttons

      Joba gets hit by a line drive in the loins would certainly be memorable. A tad vile but that’d probably be the only entertainment he provides us in the past few months.

  • Bob Buttons

    Now I’m hoping the Astros to IBB Robby Cano every single at bat and somehow the Yankees get enough hits to bring Robby bat 16 times for the next two games or so.

  • forensic

    Um, Hooray?

  • Rod

    Saving Mariano so that he can save 1 last Pettitte win!

  • Chris

    lol at Eduardo Nunez seeing 7 pitches in 4 at bats.
    the Yankees are so desperate for their “homegrown talent” to work out, they keep trotting out nunez, Hughes, and joba. end it already. all three

  • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

    So, umm, Moneyball, not that terrible, I guess. Not a bad movie, although for a blowhard like me who already feels like he knows everything about Moneyball despite never reading the book and never having watched the movie before, it didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know, be it the way the 2002 A’s season unfolded or the application of the Moneyball economic principle (which is so sorely misunderstood by many baseball fans – since the RAB core community is generally what I’d consider a notch or two above the average fan, I’ll spare giving my requisite primer on what Moneyball truly entails).

    One notable omission was that Billy Beane’s concept of the playoffs being randomness and galore and thus not really relevant, was averted. I approve. I always thought Billy Beane making those comments was partially out of the sheer fact that his wonderfully constructed A’s teams always crashed out in the ALDS, especially when they had a chance to advance to the next round. Think about it:

    2000: Winner-take-all Game 5 in Oakland, fresh off an 11-1 drubbing of the Yankees. Lost Game 5.
    2001: Up 2-0, with the next two games at home against the Yankees; lose next three games.
    2002: Up 2-1 on Minnesota, winning the 2nd and 3rd games, with two chances to wrap up the series. Lost the next two games.
    2003: Up 2-0 on Boston, and the Eric Byrnes and Miguel Tejada blunders on the basepaths helped pave the way for the Red Sox to win the next three games.

    That is NINE games they had a chance to advance to the ALCS in any of those given years. They went 0-9 in those games.

    • Kosmo

      Moneyball the movie is full of inconsistencies and fails to point out what amazing SP Oakland had. The movie fails to mention Chavez and Tejeda who were the engine that drove the offense. Hattenberg had a good season but was really the fourth or fifth wheel.

      • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

        This is true, but I think it was a bit of a necessary evil in order to convey the true point to the movie. It wasn’t really about drafting/IFA signing and developing players (and Chavez being a HS pick was inconsistent with Moneyball philosophy anyway), but about finding undervalued commodities.

        Some inconsistencies were annoying, yes. Jeremy Giambi was already an A, as was Chad Bradford (and I don’t even really remember what the great Moneyball-laden idea behind his “acquisition” was, anyway). Giambi and Pena were off-loaded two weeks apart, not at the same time. But there wasn’t a burning need for a movie to be so precise in that area when the main point was that Beane eventually forced Hatteberg into the lineup.

        Yes, the focus on Scott Hatteberg got to be annoying after a while, don’t get me wrong. It’s silly to think of him as the “hero” of that A’s team, though he was the hero of the climax (only because the 2002 A’s didn’t even have a playoff series victory to celebrate). But within the context of the movie, it was kind of required. Beane wouldn’t have redemption for his boldness if Chavez and Tejada were always the ones winning games on the offensive end. Ditto if there was always mention of how well Zito, Mulder, and Hudson were throwing.

        For me, I just kind of accepted this as a necessary evil. Obviously other valid opinions may vary.

    • I’m One

      since the RAB core community is generally what I’d consider a notch or two above the average fan, …

      I’d give us more credit than that. The average fans still looks at counting stats. Nearly everyone on here knows there are much better ways to evaluate current performance, anticipate what future performance may be and can probably tell you specific strengths or weaknesses not only of current team members, but also of potential signing or trade targets. This place and these posters are a wealth of information.

      • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

        That’s all well fine and everything, but I thought I was being pretty complimentary of this place to say “notch or two above”. It’s vaguely subjective, sure, because I’m not defining the intelligence level of each notch, but the main point I was getting at there is that, yes, we do know better forms of analysis, we do read more articles from informed baseball writers, both on RAB and elsewhere, and that we don’t just use the traditional Triple Crown stats, be it for hitters OR pitchers (sans pitcher K’s – those are still pretty valuable) to form our opinions on player value or quality.

        With regards, my point was simply that the rest of you understand Moneyball just as well, if not even better, than I do. On other sites I visit, I might feel the need to give a primer to some people so that they understand it better. With RAB, I know that it’s not only unnecessary, but might just feel insulting.

        • Luis Castillo

          It seems to me that the guy below (Chris z), needs that moneyball explanation.

      • Darren

        I consider myself fairly knowledgeable, and I think counting stats are still valuable, as long as you use SABR stats as well. Using SABR stats only is just as wrongheaded as only using counting stats.

    • Chris z

      I don’t like money all simply because I believe teams that use it get lucky when they win. If the A’s and other smaller market teams had consistent teams with some changes from year to year then I agree money ball works but those teams don’t value talent the way the Yankees do. They see it as an asset that can be traded for more, cheaper players. That’s not the point of baseball, running a team etc. billy Bean counter rips that team apart every off season hoping to find a combination that works. The fact they win to me is more based on sample size than anything else. After so many seasons you are bound to find a winning combination.

      I respect the Tampa Bay team WAY more than Oakland.

      • Luis Castillo

        What? this makes no sense.

  • Steinbrenner’s Ghost

    Dean Wormer to Joba: “Fat, drunk, and stoopid is no way to go through life, son”

    • I’m a looser baby so why don’t you kill me?

      +10000

  • Aussie Gary

    Aussie Gary3 hours ago

    Today’s post game press conference caught me by complete surprise. General manager Brian Cashman, flanked by team president Randy Levine, announced that the days of spending big were over. There would no longer be contracts greater than 4 years with no exceptions. Asked by a reporter if that meant Robinson Cano would play his last game on Sunday, Cashman reitterated by saying “weren’t you listening to what I just said? Robbie has a decision to make. If he wants to remain a Yankee then he signs for 4 years or fewer. It’s that simple.” Pandemonium then broke out with reporters firing questions left, right and center. “How do you compete and how do you justify the high ticket prices, shouted one reporter?” Cashman’s response was short and to the point. “We are going in a new direction. Our scouting department is being completely revamped. We are well aware that we have not done the greatest job in terms of the draft. We are more than doubling our scouting personel and supplying them with state of the art equipment. We have already established a central sabermetrics unit within Yankee Stadium. This is not some whimsical musing following a disappointing season where we missed the playoffs. The unit is currently up and running. We are seeking additional staff and will pay top dollar for those people. As for the matter of ticket prices, we are slashing prices dramatically next season. We want every game to be a sell out. We want families to attend those games and we therefore need to make tickets more affordable. Our bleacher tickets are capped at a $5 maximum amount and will remain at that price until such time that we win our next pennant. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. There is much work to be done and that work starts right now. Good night.” At that very moment my alarm went off and when I awoke I had a smile on my face.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I would too if I wrote a story in which I got everything I wanted at the end.

      Then I’d realize that I wrote it at 3:40 AM in the comment section of a baseball blog and, suddenly, my sense of self-satisfaction morphs into something quite different.

    • mt

      I think you have hit on where there is such a disconnect between management and fans – I think many Yankee fans (not all but a majority of them) could stand somewhat of a reloading even under the $189 million plan (as long as it is explained as part of a new vision) but not at the gouging prices Yanks charge.

      Because of this disconnect of “Yankee fans will never stand for a reloading” we end up with (given the $189 million mandate in place) the has-been/never-were brigade (Hafners, Stewart/Cervelli and Wells of the world) while yankee fans get charged high prices – like trying to serve hamburger meat as filet mignon.

      But it would take some true vision (and possibly accepting some hits to the bottom line) for Steinbrenners to cut prices in a reloading transition scenario – so we have “will not cut prices but will try to pass off the team made of has-beens and never weres as championship caliber”. I hope I am wrong but I hope this thinking does not cause us to pay Cano whatever he wants north of $180 million because Yanks need a star. Cano played all this year with not a lot of pieces around him (this year, largely due to injury; next year, it will be due to lack of injury recovery, free agency departures and lack of good new free agent options, retirement, and not a great upper level farm) and attendance and ratings were down.

      • The Other Sam

        Ok, but that’s saying it’s ok to put ‘has-beens and never weres’ out there if they just lower ticket prices. I’m not particularly thrilled with that.

        The problem with the $189 is that, because austerity and cutting spending is the plan even after the luxury tax is reset, the $189 is of no benefit to anyone but the Steinbrenners.

        Decisions should be based on smart, effective baseball, not self-serving budget plans.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Thank you.

      • I’m a looser baby so why don’t you kill me?

        Check out Robbie’s triple slash before he had first ARod and then Soriano behind him in the line up. Robbie is a wonderful player, but he cannot carry the team on his own (duh) so unless they truly build around him with talent, not the has beens and never weres, then overpaying him is even more of a waste.

    • The Other Sam

      Well, that was fun. Thanks Gary.

    • Kenny

      This was an incomplete dream. In light of the thread about moneyball, I’m surprised your dream didn’t mention that Cash’s old scouting team, composed of old-time bb guys, would be replaced by the many self-praising bb experts who post on this website.

  • mt

    If Mo gets in a game to pitch (which Joe has said is totally Mo’s decision, which it should be) tonight is the perfect night to relieve Andy (would be best if Andy has a lead but may happen even if Yanks are trailing).

    I can see Joe make pitching change but making Andy wait on mound until Mo gets there and Andy hands the ball directly to Mo – my only hesitation about this scenario is that they may skip it because it may seem too much like Thursday’s emotional high point.

    I know Mike advocated shutting people down but given circumstaces of Mo’s (if he pitches today or tomorrow) and Andy’s last games, people will want to play – for example, I see Arod possibly playing today.

    Also I understand them still using Robertson to close last night instead of a Daley or Betances – Yanks probably don’t want to end season on seven game losing streak including three to one of worst teams ever, the Astros. Ultimately it does not really matter but I am sure to Girardi it does not sit right (who knows? Maybe tomorrow is his last game managing Yanks also.)

  • I’m a looser baby so why don’t you kill me?

    I think Mo plays CF and pitches tonight, and manages tomorrow.

  • http://offthekuff.com Charles Kuffner

    In Nunez’s defense, he did hit two line drives. One was right at the shortstop, the other was tracked down by the centerfielder. On a somewhat better day, he’d have had a single and at least a double. Doesn’t change the big picture on Nunez, of course, but he did make good contact.