"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


When Derek Jeter was thrown out at home in the first inning last night, trying to score from first on a double, I had a bad feeling about how the game was going to unfold for the Yanks. Garret Anderson made a great throw, and Jeter came up limping after colliding with Jose Molina. Sure, it was only the first inning, but sometimes, you just get a feeling. (Luis Sojo’s aggresiveness has backfired twice in the past week.) Jared Washburn had the Yankee hitters off-balance all evening, and benefitted from three double plays. Dag. Meanwhile, Mike Mussina continues to struggle. He made several mistakes–to Vlad, Anderson and Finely, and paid the price as the Angels beat the Bombers, 5-1. Jeter, Sheffield and Rodriguez were the only Yankees to swing the bat well in defeat.

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1 rbj   ~  Apr 28, 2005 5:40 am

1.  I dunno, I like agressive baserunning, sometimes you have to take chances; it's still early in the season and now the Yankees have learned the lesson not to test the Angels' outfield this year. Only one run on 9 hits, ugh. Let's hope Moose figures out his problem, and maybe knock down a couple guys.

2 Simone   ~  Apr 28, 2005 5:56 am

2.  Eh. The Yankees can't win them all. At least, they are hitting. Once Matsui comes out of his slump, the offense will take off. Mussina had no velocity and was lucky he didn't get touched up even more. He has to work to get his velocity up.

Sojo was wrong to send Jeter. Why so aggressive that early in the game with no outs and Sheff coming up? When Jeter came up limping, I was like "oh shit." Risking injury for no good reason. Luis needs to figure out when it is right to send these guys.

3 unpopster   ~  Apr 28, 2005 6:32 am

3.  //Eh. The Yankees can't win them all. At least, they are hitting.//

Actually, the Yanks are not hitting. Take Arod's offensive outbursts over the last two nights, the rest of the Yankee offense has driven in 2 runs in the last 2 games.

I am starting to worry that this vaunted Yankee offense has gotten very old very fast. Tino, Giambi, Bernie and Posada look lost at the plate. Sheff will be fine..as will Matsui. Jeter and Arod both look like they will have above average years. Womack is still a big question mark and who knows what we'll get from Phillips and Sierra.

If Pavano or Johnson have sub-par years, we are in BIG trouble.

But that's just me looking at the glass half empty. Then again, with a 9-12 record, the glass is more than just HALF empty.

4 Simone   ~  Apr 28, 2005 6:48 am

4.  "Actually, the Yanks are not hitting."

The Yankees got 9 hits last night. How is that not hitting? They weren't able to string together the hits and get some runs, but they are hitting.

5 Alvaro Espinoza   ~  Apr 28, 2005 7:00 am

5.  I'm all for agressive play but trying to score in the 1st w/ no one out and your 3-4-5 hitters coming up isn't agressive, it's assinine and Sojo admitted as much after the game. They turned a potentially very short outing for Washburn into a long one.

Yanks smoked a lot of shots last night. Unfortunately, they all found Angels gloves. So I don't think hitting is really a concern (btw - when was the last time Jeter pulled the ball in one game EVERY time at bat?). What should be a concern is Moose. He continues to be a doormat and his performance speaks for itself.

Not a big deal, it was only the 3rd inning but going to bring it up anyway: when you have your best bunter up in a bunting situation, YOU BUNT HIM. Torre occasionally tries to get cute. This time he decided to start the runners to no avail - Jeter still hit into the DP (though he hit the ball well). Yanks had opportunities to bury the Angels twice in the first 3 innings and failed. Now they have to rely on the unreliable Kevin Brown today to take the rubber game.

6 Murray   ~  Apr 28, 2005 7:05 am

6.  Agressive coaching in the third-base box has been a Yankee bugaboo for nearly ten years. As a result, I can't say that I'm surprised Sojo waved Jeter home yesterday. He's just following tradition.

That doesn't make the play less stupid, however. You could see Jeter running out of gas as the play unfolded. I saw only bits and pieces of the rest of the game, but what I saw disappointed me. Mussina wasn't even close to sharp. I know it's April, and, sure, it was damp and nasty here in the City yesterday night, but I think that weather conditions during his starts cannot be used as an excuse for poor performance any longer. 43 hits in 29 innings is a lot more than he should allow, even considering how terrible the Yankee defense is.

It also bothered me that they were unable to double up DaVanon on what should have been an easy play. The one thing at which Jeter has always excelled defensively is cutoff throws. Matsui airmailed a bad throw in instead.

I haven't seen as much of the Yankees this year as I normally would due to other personal obligations. But I'm not sure that I missed anything. I will say this: whoever is doing the scheduling now is doing a terrible disservice to contending teams by making them play their chief opponents a lot in April. All they do is beat each other up, and I don't care what anybody says: three games between the Yanks and the Sox at Fenway are way more grueling than a weekend series at SkyDome.

7 JohnnyC   ~  Apr 28, 2005 7:30 am

7.  Moose has to make adjustments...quick. Inevitably, a finesse pitcher who features an above average fastball loses velocity as he ages. Moose is 36, his fastball has been in decline for two seasons, now residing in the slider-speed 86-88 mph range. What he needs to do (and it's not that difficult for a smart guy who knows how to pitch) is come up with a pitch that's even slower than his knuckle-curve. Then his fastball looks faster in context. Right now, after the first time thru the line-up, they just sit on the breaking ball, knowing he can't throw it by them. His walks per 9 have increased proportional to the growing perception that his fastball has lost juice. Of course, and this is the crux of the matter, he won't be getting help from Mr. side-to-side-all-one-speed Stottlemyre.

8 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Apr 28, 2005 8:14 am

8.  Alvaro, you don't bunt in the third inning against Jarrod Washburn ever. I don't care if the love child of Phil Rizzuto and Jessie Owens is at the plate. You just don't do it. And again, Jeter leads the team in AVG and OBP. You don't hand the other team an out with a guy with a nearly .500 OBP at the plate.

9 Murray   ~  Apr 28, 2005 8:48 am

9.  Exactly right, Cliff. Why throw away the chance at a big inning? The weather forecast at that point indicated no additional rain would be expected, so the old "Get the runs you need fast" idea espoused by the Jim Kaats of the world doesn't, er, hold water.

10 singledd   ~  Apr 28, 2005 9:25 am

10.  Aggressive MUST be coupled with SMART.
Sending Jeter, instead of having 2nd and 3rd, with NO outs, and Sheff, Matsui and ARod coming up is PLAIN STUPID, not aggressive. Aggressive means talking reasonable, calculated chances. It was not the 9th inning, with one out, in a one run game. If you take every mistake thats costs a game and add them up, it may be the difference between post season or NOT. We used to be a smart, well managed team. What Happened?

9 hits, 27 outs = .250 BA. Is this what we expect from THIS team? This is NOT 'Hitting' for a team going to the post season.

It is possible and maybe expected that Tino, Giambi, Bernie and Womack together average .250 or less. This is 44% of our offense. If this happens, the Pitching and the rest of the offense will need to get in gear.

Anybody have an idea on how good Posada is at calling games? With a guy like Moose, who is not overpowering, 'fooling' a batter is helpful. He will really need to hit his spots to be effective. He does not have the speed or movement any more to make mistakes.
When is Messina's contract up? He is making BIG bucks.... and I don't know if he will ever be a #1 or #2 guy again. Any opinions on Posada?

In general, I don't like sacrifice bunts but... a DP is a moral killer and a big boost for the defense. Jetes is a ground ball hitter. 2nd and 3rd, one out, and Bernie, Shef and Matsui should be good for one run, more with a hit. I love the big inning, but getting a run or 2 is a good thing unless you are way behind late in the game. Plus, a good bunter and fast runner can sometimes translate into a hit or defensive error.... it is not an automatic out.

I think Baltimore will fade. They are pitching and hitting way over their heads. Boston has not done well, and the Schill/Wells injuries should hold then back to a little over .500 baseball. This is about the only good thing happening (OK... I nice burst from ARod)

11 seamus   ~  Apr 28, 2005 9:45 am

11.  "9 hits, 27 outs = .250 BA."

There were 3 double plays and one sacrifice. Also one player thrown out at the plate. This means that there were 9 hits but no more than 22 outs at the plate. That is a .290 BA, not .250. I think that a .290 team BA is excellent.

12 Alvaro Espinoza   ~  Apr 28, 2005 11:29 am

12.  Cliff - we just disagree plain and simple. What you call giving up an out I call fundamental baseball. What Felipe Alou did in Tuesday's SF-SD game (bunting Alfonzo in the 7th) is giving up an out. The fact that Washburn (or anyone else for that matter) is pitching and Jeter is hot is irrelevant to the basic fundamentals of the game. Bunting is a good play here for several reasons:

1) It's a CLASSIC bunting situation. This fact is uncontestable.
2) Your best bunter is up. Again, no argument.
3) The heart of your order follows your lead-off man (see #1).
4) There's a long and illustrious track record of this player bunting in exactly the same situation (it's not like I pulled the bunt out of thin air).
5) Incidental - the previous batter bunted and LAA blew the play. Maybe even 2 beats it out.
6) Believe it or not, it's an aggressive play. You put both runners in scoring position and more pressure on Washburn by having him pitch to the heart of your order w/ no conventional DP option. Don't go bouncing any curveballs either, Jarrod!
7) Hypothetical #1: would your opinion change if it was the 8th inning?
8) Hypothetical #2: would your opinion change if it was a playoff game?

My point: it doesn't matter if it's the 1st inning or the 8th inning. Nor should it matter that it's April or October. The game is played the same.

Bottom line: The game doesn't change b/c he's hot. Jeter has been the most versatile Yankee we've seen in some time. You've got the heart of your order coming up. It's their job to knock in those RISP. Why not giftwrap the task by putting both runners in scoring position w/ your best bunter? That's baseball at it's core. It's been that way forever.

Sorry about the length. I'll drop it here. Final word is yours.

13 Simone   ~  Apr 28, 2005 11:29 am

13.  I forgot about the bunting. Jeter is this team's most consistent hitter and they have him squaring to bunt. What was that about? By the time he gets the signal to hit, his concentration for the at bat is ruined. Let the guy hit, for goodness sake.

14 brockdc   ~  Apr 28, 2005 11:55 am

14.  Bunting can be risky, too, especially with the collection of plodders in the Yankee lineup. Remember when Womak bunted - Tino would've easily been nailed at second had Molina's throw not been air-mailed into CF.

15 brockdc   ~  Apr 28, 2005 11:59 am

15.  Also, I've always been a Mussina guy. He's performed exceptionally well in big games over the past several seasons - at times better than Clemens or Pettitte. I'd really like to think he can turn this thing around. If he can't, this rotation goes from solid to mediocre in a hurry.

16 jeroboam   ~  Apr 28, 2005 1:03 pm

16.  In 2004-05, I'm afraid that history--the history of 1964-65, to be exact--is repeating itself exactly 40 years later. The 2004 Yankees reminded me a lot of the 1964 Yankees--a team past its prime by a couple of years that won the pennant more out of habit than anything else. So far the 2005 edition is reminding me strongly of the 1965 Yankees--a genuinely awful team that had still been very good only a few years earlier.

17 Marcus   ~  Apr 28, 2005 3:57 pm

17.  Did anyone else see this:

//"Torre even floated the idea of keeping 13 pitchers on the roster, though that scenario is unlikely.

"We have to figure it out," Torre said. "If the concern is that we don't want to lose anybody, we may go with 13." //


Here's the link:


He's referring to when Sturtze comes back, since none of the relievers have minor league options.

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--Earl Weaver