Ken Rosenthal, in a notebook piece, on Bernie Williams:
The Yankees’ evolution this season justifies their decision not to re-sign Bernie Williams. Melky Cabrera probably would not have gotten the same number of at-bats if Williams were still with the club. Shelley Duncan probably would not have gotten a chance to be this season’s Shane Spencer. The Yankees’ roster also is more flexible without Williams, making it easier for them to carry a 12th pitcher.That’s a point no one has really made this year, and it’s one we should be making over and over again. I loved Bernie, but this team is much better off without him this year. · (7) ·
Over at The New York Times’ Bat blog, Tyler Kepner has an interesting piece up about Joe Torre’s bullpen management. Kepner notes that on July 20, when Edwar Ramirez, after sitting for two weeks, couldn’t find the plate, Joe Torre finally may have learned how to manage the bullpen and that the Joba Rules reinforce that view.
Torre is under strict instructions from the Front Office to use Joba but to use him according to these guidelines, and someone up there must have told him to use Edwar more often than once every 15 days. It doesn’t take a good manager to know this about pitchers. Time and again, we’ve seen Torre misuse his bullpen and abuse pitchers he likes and pitchers who can get outs. I take this micromanagement by the Yanks’ baseball operations staff as just one more sign that Joe Torre is managing under a vote of no confidence.
If the Yanks manage to overtake the Red Sox, Torre will earn a lot of praise for turning this team around. The media will fawn all over him, but it’s still time for him to exit gracefully.
A successful postseason will allow the Yanks and Joe to present a good public image. Torre goes out on top; the Yanks give him the honorary position he deserves for leading the team successfully for 12 seasons; and a successor arrives. That’s the way it should be as more young players move up through the system and the Yanks turn away from the Experienced Veteran formula so favored by Torre.
I won’t front like I watched yesterday’s game. After Matsui drove in the game’s initial run, I was disconnected, not to reconnect until 8 p.m. when I saw the ticker display a 9-3 win for the Yanks. Coupled by a 3-1 Boston loss to Anaheim, and we’re all the sudden back in good shape. Not that we were ever in bad shape; five games (now four) behind a suddenly inconsistent team is nothing to fret about. All we have to do is gain one game over the next seven and we can tie the division at home against Boston. Strangely, that’s not how I’d like it to go.
You may think I’m crazy, but there’s nothing I’d love more than to finish the day on August 30 one game behind Boston. That means we need to gain three games over the next two weeks — though that’s much tougher than it seems. I want Boston to leave the city knowing that we’re literally right on their heels. One slip up and we take first. However, I don’t want that slip-up to happen quite yet.
Over the two weeks following the Red Sox trip to the Stadium, the Yanks play Tampa Bay, Seattle, Kansas City, and Toronto. I’d like to gain one game during that stretch, tying the division as we head up to Fenway for a weekend series on September 14th. And that, like last year, is where I want to see the death blow dealt. Sweeping them and putting them three games behind with just two weeks left in the season would be the ultimate fist-pump moment.
It won’t be an easy ride to the end, not with two series against Baltimore following the Boston set. But by that point, I’d think the Yanks would be on enough of a roll to sustain a three-game lead.
All of this, of course, is just my ideal scenario; I’ll take the division any way we can get it. It’s just that I’d like to twist the Boston knife as much as possible. They were all so smug early in the season, with their constant response of “14 games” whenever you tried to talk to one of them about baseball. It’s all coming back to them now, and I’d like it to be as painful as possible.
And if we’re going to win the division this year, is it too much to as for Seattle to overtake Boston in the process? Or am I just getting greedy here?
What about you guys? What’s your ideal scenario for overtaking Boston?
The minor league regular season ends in a little less than 3 weeks, so let’s get you updated on the standings…
Triple-A Scranton (5-3 win over Rochester, walk-off style) 73-54, leads division by 4.0 games
Brett Gardner: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 2 SB
Eric Duncan: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB – 8 for his last 20 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer & 6 RBIs…sorry Eric, won’t fool me this time
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB – walk was intentional
Jose Cruz Jr.: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 1 K – this is pathetic, the Yanks signed Cruz to take playing time away from…Erubiel Durazo! how messed up is that? (walk was intentional)
Angel Chavez: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB – walk-off single (walk was intentional)
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB
Steven White: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 10-7 GB/FB – another solid Steven White start
Brian Bruney: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K – only 19 of 34 pitches were strikes…and he gave up a jack
Joba pumping 99 for an inning followed by Edwar’s filthy change? Yeah, good luck with that. Update: 2 IP, no baserunners, 5 K combined for Joba & Edwar. Update Part II: Edwar came back out for the 9th after the Yanks piled it on in the top of the frame. 3 IP, no baserunners, 5 K combined. FYI – Johan Santana’s kinda good. · (23) ·
Forgot to mention this last night, but Chris Basak was claimed off waivers by the Twins. Basak, as you may remember, was DFA’ed to make room on the 40-man roster for 1st rounder Andrew Brackman. So long Chris, thanks for that lone big league AB where you stood on second thinking you hit a double, but in reality you were out.
Triple-A Scranton (2-1 loss to Rochester in 10)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 CS – gunned Lew Ford down at the plate
Eric Duncan: 0 for 5, 1 BB, 1 K
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 5, 1 2B – 5 doubles, 1 triple & 1 homer in last 8 games
Jose Cruz Jr.: 0 for 5 – yes, it’s that Jose Cruz Jr….when did they pick him up, who knows
Bronson Sardinha & Andy Cannizaro: both 1 for 3
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 1, 3 BB
Ian Patrick Kennedy: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HBP, 1-11 GB/FB – another dominant outing, but that GB/FB ratio is kinda ugly
Ross Ohlendorf: 2 IP, bunch of zeroes, 1 K – nails
Jim Brower: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K