Insufferable Red Sox fan and generally annoying know-it-all Bill Simmons referred to the Red Sox closer as John Papelbon in his most recent blog posting. Even Yankee fans who hate the Red Sox know that Papelbon’s first is Jonathan. The righty goes by Jon with nary an H in sight. As Yankee fans now know how to spell Mientkiewicz and Red Sox fans can’t even get the name Jon right, well, I leave the conclusions up to you. · (4) ·
Peter Abraham has an interesting piece up on the effect Bobby Abreu has had on Alex Rodriguez in the Yankee lineup. It seems that Abreu’s presence in front of Rodriguez has greatly helped the Yanks’ oft-beleaguered third baseman. I want to look at this more in depth later to see how Abreu stacks up with Sheffield in the three hole in A-Rod’s other years, but it’s an interesting find from Pete. · (3) ·
I won’t lie: I was afraid that this was going to be one of those games against an unknown or otherwise crappy pitcher where the Yanks can’t manage more than one or two runs. However, not even Sidney Ponson is that bad, apparently. The Yanks hit him hard and early, ending up with an 8-2 win.
Ben summed up the game well, so there’s no need to repeat material here. The only Pavano-related tidbit I can offer is that he was letting a lot of pitches sail early in the game. I suppose it’s one of those side effects of being out for a year and a half, and it did subside a bit as the game moved along.
Posada’s ground rule double was the biggest WPA shift in the game, moving the Yanks 13.2% closer to victory. It also came along with the game’s highest Leverage Index, so I suppose that was the most important at bat of the game.
For a different perspective, check out Aaron Gleeman’s recap. For the most part, I agree: the Twins played terrible defense and made some costly errors (Mike Cuddyer trying to advance from second on a grounder to short comes to mind, as well as Kubel’s misplay of Jorge’s aforementioned double). I initially took issue with his claim that the ump was squeezing Ponson, particularly on the walk to Giambi, but then I realized that the losing team’s fans tend to think they’re being squeezed. I do it all the time when the Yanks are down. When they’re up like last night, though, I tend not notice less and less.
Pettitte gets his shot at redemption tonight against Boof Bonser. Please, no jokes about his name.
A-Rod, right, sure can hit the ball. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
May 22 fell on a Sunday in 2005. I was a week away from my college graduation, and Carl Pavano stiffled the Mets for 7 innings en route to his fourth win of the year. At 4-2 and with a nifty 3.69 ERA, things were looking up for Pavano who had throw a complete game five-hit shut-out against the Mariners five days earlier.
Little did we know that Carl Pavano would not win his fifth game as a Yankee until April 9, 2007. But that’s the way the cookie â€” or elbow â€” crumbles sometimes.
Tonight, Carl Pavano became the first Yankee starter of 2007 to pitch into the sixth, and then he became the first Yankee starter to pitch into the 7th. When he came out after the 7th, the Yanks, powered by home runs off the bats of Bob Kelly Abreu and Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez, had an insurmountable 8-2 lead. Two innings later, the Yanks would make a winner out of Carl Pavano
It took Pavano 687 days or 1 year, 10 months and 18 days to record that win, but it was well worth it for those of us watching at home. Pavano was stingy with his pitchers. He faced 25 batters and threw just 79 pitches. That’s just 3.16 pitchers per plate appearance. Hew threw 48 strikes and generally kept the ball down as is his wont.
With some nifty fielding and timely two-out hitting by Abreu and Rodriguez, Pavano’s effort was more than enough to start the Yanks off on the right foot on the road. And hopefully, his next win is just five days away instead of 687.
While you await Joe’s WPA recap of the game, Tyler Kepner at The Times notes how Sydne Ponson and Carl Pavano are forever linked in Yankee history. It certainly made me wonder what a healthy Pavano would have meant for the Yanks over the last two seasons.
Triple-A Scranton (8-5 win over Richmond)
Kevin Reese: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Alberto Gonzalez 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 2 K- moved up to the 2-hole, right where he belongs
Bronson Sardinha: 0 for 4 -after a monster spring, he’s 0 for 2007
Andy Phillips:Â 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 KÂ - batted cleanup. No really.
Eric Duncan: 1 for 4, 3 K
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Chris Basak: 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Mighty Matt DeSalvo: 3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 5-1 GB/FB – 77 pitches (44 for strikes, 57.2%) is way to many to throw in 3 innings…
Ben Kozlowski: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K – once upon a time he was one of the best LHP prospects in the game…
Chriss Britton: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
With the Yankees starting pitching less than stellar recently, I’m sure Randy Johnson has crept into people’s minds. Say what you will about the Big Unit’s time in New York, but the man gave the team innings every year. But lest those doubts start to creep up on you, just turn to Will Carroll’s latest Under the Knife (Subscription well worth it):
Randy Johnson had a solid rehab start at Single-A, going six innings with six strikeouts against the kids. There was some concern about his velocity, which was off a bit, and that’s something to watch when he takes the mound again this Friday.So it’s the same old story with the Grumpy Old Man. His velocity – already down over the last two seasons – is still down. In other words, Randy ain’t getting any younger, and I’m still happy to see him far far away for us. · (4) ·
The offense can’t be counted on to come back from deficits like this every game. The Yanks have played this game five times so far this year, and it’s only going to result in a win every so often. Hopefully, a move to a climate-controlled environment helps out.
Pavano vs. Fat Ass Ponson tonight. If we don’t pound the crap out of this guy, I’m going to be very disappointed.
The bullpen has been a source of early-season strength for the Yankees. (Photo courtesy of flickr user Rodrigo Amorim.)
So we know that the Yanks’ starting pitching has left much to be desired. I covered that early today. I can only hope that warm weather and a few times through the rotation will clear up this messy picture.
But on the other hand, the Yanks’ bullpen deserves some credit. Let’s take a look.
So the Yanks’ bullpen has been the antithesis of the starting rotation. They’ve allowed less than a baserunner per inning and are recording just shy of a strike out per inning. Brian Bruney has been tremendous, and Mike Myers has been stellar in saving the arms as well. Even Andy Pettitte â€” not included on this list â€” got into the act today recording one more scoreless inning for the pen.
For Yankee fans, this early season bullpen success comes as a relief. For too long, we’ve watched Joe Torre trot out one subpar reliever after another. Remember Paul Quantrill? Steve Karsay? Felix Heredia?
Right now â€” and I know it’s early â€” those days seem behind us. The Yanks have a full slate of bullpen arms with whom I would feel confident seeing in any given situation. The blue door opens in left centerfield, and I feel relief instead of heartache.
Of course, the bullpen can’t keep pitching half of the team’s innings. But that’s a story for another day.