After giving up five runs in four innings, Roger Clemens left the game today. His first stop: New York-Presbyterian Hospital for an MRI. Even if it comes up completely clean, he’ll miss his next start. Mike Mussina, who didn’t look very impressive but at least was hitting 88 and 89 on the YES gun in his 3.2 innings, will start in his place.
Today was the last day of the regular season for the 4 full season affiliates, who finished the year with a combined 329-236 record. As I said the other day, that record shows not only how much depth & talent the Yanks have in the minors, but it’s also a testament to the quality of coaching and instruction they have in place.
DotF will of course keep you updated on all the minor league playoff action.
Triple-A Scranton (8-5 win over Pawtucket) Scranton will take on Richmond in the first round of the AAA playoffs, which kicks off on Wednesday…Chad Jennings reports the that postseason rotation could be Steven White in Game 1, followed in order by The Ghost of Kei Igawa, Mighty Matt DeSalvo & Jeff Karstens
Brett Gardner: 4 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3 SB
Austin Jackson: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 SB – even if it was just a 1 game cameo, how many of you had Ajax finishing the year in AAA?
Bronson Sardina: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 SB – his year was a lot better than it appears on the surface
Mike Kinkade: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 2 for 2, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB – finished the year on a nice little 26 for 100 streak with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 24 RBI, 10 walks & 23 K
Andy Cannizaro: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B
Anthony Claggett: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HB – 41 of 63 pitches were strikes (65.1%)
Eric Hacker: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Ben Kozlowski: 1.1 IP, zeroes
Roger Clemens is starting with Mike Mussina ready in the bullpen. Sound familiar?
Meanwhile, to address a point that Rich raised in the comments to this post, at some point, Joe Torre simply has to go with someone else from the bullpen. Sure, these guys won’t be consistent, but they will get outs. Edwar Ramirez had one great inning yesterday, and he could have done that in the 7th with Joba in the 8th.
No one has a sure-fire bullpen anymore, but other managers trust their relievers enough to go to them in close games. If Torre is willing to use only two people when the Yanks are fighting for a game, the rest of Septembe — not to mention the playoffs — could be problematic too. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than watching Andy Pettitte, who has a history of elbow problems, throw 119 pitches in back-to-back starts.
The lineup that will face King Felix today:
At the end of the 6th inning during Sunday’s painfully long loss to the Devil Rays, Andy Pettitte had topped the 100-pitch mark. His 103rd pitch of the day resulted in an inning-ended force-out off the bat of Josh Wilson. At that point, the score stood at 2-1, and there was no way Joe Torre would let Andy Pettitte come back for the 7th. Right?
Well, not quite. Joe Torre sent Andy Pettitte to the mound, inexplicably, in the 7th. Before the start of that ill-fated inning, six of the last 10 batters to face Pettitte had reached base, and only a great throw by Johnny Damon had kept the game close. So with a very well-rested Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen, Torre opted to have Pettitte throw 16 more pitches.
Following an eight-pitch strike out of Akinori Iwaumura and a two-pitch single off the bat of Carl Crawford, I announced to Emma that Carlos Peña was due for a home run. So instead of going with a well-rested right-handed strike out artist, sleeping Joe left Andy Pettitte in. Peña obliged my prediction by crushing a ball about 700 feet over the right field wall. Finally, Joe came out of the dugout, but it was too little too.
Two innings later, he left the one-inning Edwar Ramirez in for a few batters too many, and by the time we looked up, much of the 54,000 fans at Yankee Stadium had left because the score was 8-2. Ouch.
Now, I know we dump on Joe Torre a lot, but why in the name of Phil Rizzuto would you have Andy Pettitte throw 119 pitches in a 2-1 game when he hadn’t been particularly effective since striking out the side in the 4th inning? Why not use your bullpen? Why not employ the ace-in-the-hole?
Earlier in the day, Joe Torre opined to the New York media that he wanted to return to manage the Yanks next season. With the team getting younger, I can’t think of a worse idea right now. Torre’s inept pitching management killed the team today. Who knows what it will do to the likes of Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and others who may come up through the system? We need a manager that knows what to do in a 2-1 game against the Devil Rays. Joe today proved that he isn’t necessarily the right one for the job. And it cost the Yanks a chance to widen their Wild Card lead on the eve of a series against the Mariners.
Hey that rhymes!
Triple-A Scranton (4-0 win over Pawtucket)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K, 1 SB – boosts his BA up to .244
Eric Duncan, Bronson Sardinha & Raul Chavez: all 0 for 4 – Duncan K’ed twice…Sardinha drove a run in & swiped a bag
Mike Kinkade: 1 for 2, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SB, 1 HBP
Jose Cruz Jr.: 3 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K
Angel Chavez, Andy Cannizaro & Juan Francia: all 1 for 4 – Chavez swiped a bag & allowed a passed ball…Cannizaro doubled & K’ed…Francia scored a run & stole a base
Jeff Karstens: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 1 WP – 61 of 88 pitches were strikes (69.3%)…this can’t be the same Jeff Karstens that we saw 2 weeks ago, can it?
Ross Ohlendorf: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
TJ Beam: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K – since coming off the DL on June 23rd, he’s got a 27-3 K/BB ratio in 31.2 IP
Joba’s fosh 2 game suspension is over and he’s available out of the ‘pen. Pity the D-Rays.
1. Johnny Damon, LF – how good has he been out in left?
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. AL MVP, 3B
5. Hideki “don’t call me Kaz” Matsui, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robbie Cano, 2B
8. Andy Phillips, 1B
9. Melky Cabrera, CF
Toeing the rubber is Andy Pettitte, who’s been every bit the ace that no one outside of Yankeeland said he would be.
(sorry for the pathetic post, I guess that’s what happens when you leave it to the minor league guy to cover the big league squad)