In 2003, Roger Clemens took the mound for the Yanks in a potential elimination game in the ALCS. While Clemens struggled, the Yankees won the game in grand fashion. That game would be one of the last elimination games the Yankees would win in the playoffs this deceade.
Today, the Yanks find themselves again facing elimination and again turning to Roger Clemens as a savior. Clemens has long been expected to fulfill that role for the 2007 Bombers, and this is the biggest stage for one of the game’s all-time greats.
Ideally, Clemens would have thrown more than 10 innings since September 1 and more than zero in the last 23 days. But such is the state of the Yankees pitching.
Meanwhile, it’s win or face changes for the Yankees. If the lose today, Joe Torre is gone and so are many coaches. Brian Cashman, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera may see their days in the Bronx numbered, and no one knows what the future holds for Alex Rodriguez.
Right now, it doesn’t matter. Win today; play tomorrow. It’s that easy. Just win today.
Besides playing for their season, the Yankees are playing for Joe Torre’s career. While we could debate for hours whether or not Torre should have been fired a few years ago, the Boss has issued an unequivocal statement: If the Yanks do not beat the Indians, Torre will not be back next year. · (16) ·
HWB Honolulu (5-1 loss to North Shore)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 1 K – 2 for 19 with 8 K
Bradley Suttle: 0 for 4, 1 K – 0 for 13, but at least he’s only K’ed 3 times
George Kontos: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 4-1 GB/FB, 1 E (pickoff) – 93 baserunners & 45 runs allowed in 59.1 IP since July 9th
Anthony Claggett: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 2-0 GB/FB – see, it’s not all bad
The Honolulu Sharks switched Yankees relievers, getting righthander Anthony Claggett rather than righthander Mark Melancon, who is coming off elbow surgery.
I’m sure the elbow is okay, probably just playing it safe. Have to say though, I’m kinda disappointed.
Reportedly, a Red Sox fan left the hospital after suffering injuries at the hands of a Yankee fan. The source is in The New York Post so take it with a grain or four of salt. · (2) ·
Garrett Atkins just singled to left in the 8th inning of the Rox-Phils game. As Jayson Werth fielded the ball, a second ball landed next to him, presumably thrown from the stands. The fantastic TBS analyst says (paraphrased):
You can see here as Werth handles the ball it lands next to him, it’s either a ball or a piece of fruit.
A piece of fruit, huh? Really? · (0) ·
First, a plague of locusts descends on the Jake during the bottom of the 8th. Then, we learn that Bob Sheppard will miss his first postseason game at Yankee Stadium since Oct. 4, 1951. But I’m not superstitious; are you? · (4) ·
The Yanks’ loss tonight sure was disheartening. They failed to hit; their star set-up kid — and remember, he’s just a kid — couldn’t deal with a swarm of bugs and was a little wild; the back end of their weak bullpen failed to get outs in key situations.
For a small but vocal minority of Yankee fans, the fault for this team lies with Brian Cashman. The Yankees GM hasn’t been able to field a World Champion team since 2000, and even then, that team was largely the product of his predecessors Bob Watson and Gene Michael. So Cashman, because his teams are continually flawed, despite a payroll that has finally grown to $200 million, should be fired.
Well, I do not buy it for one second. When Brian Cashman inherited the Yankees — a team he, as an assistant general manager, helped construct — they were at the start of a great run of World Series championships. His work led the team to three World Series championships, five American League Championships and a playoff berth every single season.
But for some Yankee fans, the team has failed every year after 2000. Who cares about the two AL Championships and the seven playoff appearances? Who cares about the 686-445 record with a.607 winning percentage tops among all Major League teams from 2001-2007.
So are we supposed to blame Brian Cashman because he’s put together a team that wins during the regular season but can’t win during the playoffs? I don’t think so. If you put together teams that win in the postseason but can’t get there, what’s the point?
The bad part are these best-of-five series. While I hate to make excuses, they’re hardly indicative of a team’s ability over the course of 162 games. Cashman has, while working with a very overbearing boss who insisted on giving Jason Giambi a contract about two years and $40 million too long, to name one, put together one of the most successful baseball games of all time. You can’t top that no matter how poorly the Yanks have done in October.
Meanwhile, the Yanks are down but not out at all. They face Jake Westbrook on Sunday and, if they survive, Paul Byrd on Monday. If the team clicks, there’s no reason to count them out and every reason to expect a game five. If they make it that far, you’ll see far less criticism of a team that, while flawed, isn’t exactly a disaster.
Nothing. Who cares? When your $200 million team has only two guys who get outs in the bullpen, you won’t win playoff games. It’s that simple.
Blame Luis Vizcaino for being utterly terrible. Blame Cashman if you want. Blame Torre for sticking with Matsui. Blame the bugs for the distraction and Posada for his inability to block Joba’s sliders in the dirt. But really, you need more guys who can get outs in the bullpen against the 7-8-9 hitters and you need hitters who are going to hit. What can you do?
The Yanks can easily beat Paul Byrd and Jake Westbrook in the Bronx. That’s hardly a tall order. Clemens on Sunday; Wang on Monday; Pettitte in Cleveland on Wednesday. We can do it.
So we’re seeing Joe Torre repeating the past.
Fact: Hideki Matsui is slumping badly and has been since mid-August. The guess is that his recently drained knee is bothering him more than we realize.
So what does Joe do? He puts Matsui, the weak link, in between Jorge and A-Rod. I guess he figures Carmona will attack Matsui while pitching against A-Rod and Posada. I would much rather see Giambi there, but such are things.
Win today and everything looks rosy.