How to manage the bullpen without really trying

I too would like to keep Brian Bruney an arm’s length away from pitching ever again for the Yanks. (Photo courtesy of Bombers Beat)

On the one hand, it’s hard to get too worked up over last night’s loss. On a night when the Yanks’ pitching staff hands out 11 walks and Kei Igawa throws the ugliest five shut-out innings you’ll ever see, it’s tough to expect a loss.

Furthermore, the Yanks, in need of just one win to clinch a postseason berth, will record that victory before the season is out. And seeing Alex Rodriguez crush a grand slam is a comforting thought for those of us a bit worried by his recent dearth of power.

But on the other hand, haven’t we seen this before? A Yanks starter struggles through five innings with the lead, and Joe Torre cannot once again put together a good combination of relievers to hold a five-run lead for four innings.

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Justifying my position: Melky Cabrera

Lots of disagreeing in Yankeeland nowadays; streaks of poor hitting and pitching down the stretch tends to do that to us. Everyone is going to have a different opinion on each individual player, but it seems we’re to the point of thinking less of one another because of our various opinions. For instance, one commenter suggest that the only bad thing about this site is our collective view on Melky. Well, let’s take a look at Mr. Cabrera month to month:

April: .200/.237/.213 in 75 AB

People were coming to Melky’s defense in April, saying that he needed regular playing time to get in a groove. Yeah, that’s all fine and good, but he had one more at bat than Jorge Posada in April, so he can’t be complaining too much about limited playing time.

May: .254/.338/.424 in 59 AB

So the “he needs more consistent playing time” crew was proven wrong this month. Not a terrible line, and I appreciate the eight walks and five XBH over his 59 AB. You’d like to see more than a .254 BA from a slap hitter, though.

June: .298/.364/.447 in 94 AB

If this was normal Melky, I’d have no problem whatsoever with him starting in center. So you chalk up April to a poor streak, May is a slight recover, and June is the real Melky. However, we just don’t know if this is the real Melky. July will provide a case in this favor, however.

July: .368/.410/.528 in 106 AB

Clearly an outlier for Melk, but we’ll take it. Once again, if he has one month like this, one month like May, and the rest of the months like June over the course of the season, he’s a winner.

August: .306/.350/.468 in 111 AB

Perfect. Just like June.

September: .186/.234/.221 in 86 AB — and that counts last Saturday, when you all were calling us out on being harsh on Melky

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I never want to hear the Red Sox cry poverty again

The next time some Red Sox fan starts bemoaning economic inequities in baseball, just point them toward this article. John Henry, Red Sox owner, is so rich that he bought a $16-million estate in Brookline, Massachusetts, just so he could tear it down and build a bigger house. Henry is referred to in the article as “a millionaire, many times over.” But waaaah, the Yankees have so much money.

Game 157: Win and in

The Yanks are 5.5 games up in the Wild Card with 6 games left this season. Against the odds, they’ve climbed back from a dreadful start to the season, and if they win tonight, it’s as easy as that.

Now, raise your hands: Who among you had Kei Igawa tabbed as the starter who could clinch the Yanks’ postseason berth? In a way, it’s fitting that Igawa is going for redemption and the playoffs for the Yanks tonight. His numbers, in a word, terrible. He’s 2-3 with a 6.75 ERA in 62.2 IP this year. He’s allowed 74 hits and 15 HR while striking out 51 and walking 32.

Meanwhile, the Yanks will once again go without Jason Giambi. Who knows why? Maybe Giambi’s foot is still hurting from his injury last week. Maybe Joe Torre wants to get Hideki Matsui or Melky Cabrera out of their respective slumps through perseverance. Giambi should be in. He needs to get a chance to swing the bat before October.

Anyway, while a Detroit loss could deliver the Yanks to October, it’s much more fun to go in winning. So a win and the Yanks are in. It’s that simple.

Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Bob Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B
Melky Cabrera CF

Kei “Flying Monkey” Igawa LHP