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
Let me set the scene for you.
It’s 5-2 Yanks after six innings. Roger Clemens, over 100 pitches, had given up his share of hits, but a nifty variation of the strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play kept the Tigers from really breaking out against the Yanks.
Farnsworth had lost the set-up job after months of inconsistency. Recently, he had pitched better but only in non-pressure situations. Today, it would be different. Farnsworth would have to protect a three-run lead against the Tigers’ 2-3-4 hitters including the hated Gary Sheffield.
Well, Krazy Kyle kame through. He K’d the last two hitters he faced and got the first out after running the count full to start the inning. The crowd erupted. On Tuesday, we came to bury – or is that boo? – Farnsworth. Today, we came to praise him.
Luis Vizcaino pitched the 8th, and our fears were assuaged when Mariano nailed down the save. All was well in Yankeeland.
Seeing Farnsworth throw well is huge for the team. If he can throw consistently and get outs, the Yanks could have a stellar and solid bullpen. For now, though, we’ll take this inning. One day at a time for the Yanks and Farns.
And, hey, when all is said and done, Farnsworth is no Eric Gagne. Just ask the Red Sox fans.
Yes, it’s a small sample. But in 24 plate appearances since returning, Jason Giambi it hitting .348/.375/.870, with half of his eight hits clearing the fence. Before sustaining the injury to his plantar fascia, he hit .322/.404/.517 in April. Giambi will help the Yankees in whatever role he can. I just hope he gets to play four or more days a week. · (9) ·
Did Eric Gagne really blow another save tonight? Sheesh…
Triple-A Scranton (6-1 win over Syracuse)
Brett Gardner, Andy Cannizaro, Angel Chavez & Eric Duncan: all 2 for 4, 1 R – Gardner stole a base & K’ed twice…Cannizaro & Chavez drove a run in…Duncan tripled, drove in 2 & walked
Alberto Gonzalez & Bronson Sardinha: both 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 K
Wil Nieves: 2 for 3, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 SB – yes ladies & gentlemen, Wil Nieves stole a base
Ben Kozlowski: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K – 51 of 78 pitches were strikes
Jeff Karstens: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K – guess the move to the ‘pen was permanent
TJ Beam: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K – 17 of 21 pitches were strikes…this is the TJ Beam that was so dominant in the minors last year