"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


Derek Jeter was robbed on the first play of the game last night, which set the tone for the evening as the the Bombers fell to the lowly Royals, 5-3 in Kansas City. Robinson Cano made a key error, Tony Womack got himself picked off of first to thwart a rally in the seventh, and the Yankees managed only five hits all night (including two doubles by Bernie Williams and a dinger–yes a long ball–by Godziller Matsui). They chased “Baby-faced Finster” Grenike early enough but then didn’t do anything against the Royals’ bullpen. Oy veh. It was one of those games. The kind where I find myself getting way too emotional about things I’ve got absolutely no control over, grinding my teeth, mumbling to myself. So, without getting irrational about it, let’s just say that it was a discouraging performance by the Yanks.

While I’m moaning, in the late edition of the New York Times sports section today, there is a tiny picture of Greinke, a slightly larger one of Jose Reyes and a huge one of Johnny Damon. I know the Times owns a piece of the Red Sox, but for a regular season game, that editorial choice was insulting for New York baseball fans. However, there is a nice piece of a great Yankee fan in the Metro section, which makes up for the papers’ New Englandish disposition.

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1 Simone   ~  Jun 1, 2005 5:43 am

1.  No comment on the Ugly Game.

The New York Times might as well rename it sports section, "The New York/Boston Times." I actually find it puzzling how a corporation that owns the biggest national newspaper located in the most cosmopolitan and diverse city in the world would adopt the provincial attitude of an insecure northern city in a major section of its product. Their extensive in depth coverage of the Red Sox is simply ridiculous. I'll never forget going to the sports page at the beginning of the season and the only featured article was on Kevin Millar. The Red Sox get more coverage than the Mets in the NY Times, for goodness sake. Are there more Red Sox fans than Mets fans in NY? Not last time I checked.

2 Dan M   ~  Jun 1, 2005 6:15 am

2.  Last night was the kind of night I've been dreading ever since that cold December morning when I saw a picture of Tony Womack on the Post's back page. When he can't even help them with his small ball "skills," they need to find him a permanent seat on the bench.

3 rsmith51   ~  Jun 1, 2005 6:45 am

3.  I thought last night's game highlighted a real defensive CF versus a well below average CF. If we had DeJesus, the Stairs double would have been an out. Jeter's long out would have been a double if Bernie was playing CF for them. I think it is time to put Bernie in LF, Matsui in CF and sit Womack. Why don't they see it my way? Girardi didn't do anything different than Torre did. I would have pinch hit Womack with Sheffield with 2 on and nobody out in the seventh. Of course, I would probably never start Womack in LF but that is beside the point. Also why didn't they give Sheffield the day off when Johnson is pitching????? I hate seeing Womack bat second, especially when he can't freakin' bunt.

4 rsmith51   ~  Jun 1, 2005 6:47 am

4.  It was nice to see Bernie drive a couple of balls. When Bernie is on, he is driving doubles to the gaps. That was how he got to .500 SLG nearly every year for 8 years.

5 STONER   ~  Jun 1, 2005 6:49 am

5.  Ugly loss, no doubt to the WORST team in baseball. But, you just knew this would happen with a new manager (wonder if Elias has stats on that). Brownies pitches were flat = line drives. But, I know this sounds like sour grapes, but the home plate ump, Dale Scott, sure seemed like he was 'calling' them so old Buddy Bell could get his inaugural win...some gawd-awful calls against Bernie and Sheff and Derek. I didn't see the same calls going to Brown...0h well, still only 4 games out of 1st. Need a retro-game from the Big Unit tonight, mow those little Royals down.

6 billyfrombelfast   ~  Jun 1, 2005 6:59 am

6.  Simone, the Times is going to be charging for online access to the sports section fairly shortly, so enjoy those Sawx articles while you can!

7 Simone   ~  Jun 1, 2005 7:18 am

7.  billyfrombelfast, no problem. I've been reading Newsday since the beginning of the season. My friends who are big Mets' fans have long sworn by Newsday and it turns out that they were right all along. Newsday has the best sports section and their beat writers have the best sources into the Yankees organization.

8 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 1, 2005 7:22 am

8.  rsmith51, the first run also scored because of the horrendous defensive outfield fielded by Torre (don't put this on Girardi) with Matsui over-compensating for Bernie's lack of range in center by playing in right-center instead of straightaway. He would have caught that blooper if he had been positioned correctly. You are right. Bernie's gotta play LF, Matsui CF, and Sheffield RF with Womack on the bench or off the team entirely. Missing two bunt opportunities is even more unforgiveable than getting picked off first. Also, after not putting down a bunt both times, he pulled the ball...insuring that the runner on first be forced and inviting the inning-killing 4-6-3 DP. Forget about the stolen bases. We need someone who can get on base and move runners...let's bat Bernie in the 2 hole already! Cash is traveling with the team so maybe something will get done. Of course, the best solution would be to get rid of the brain-less trust on the bench. Nuff said. Off-day for Sheffield? Review the line-ups the Yankees have put out in the last 3 games and explain any of it to me. Any of it.

9 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 1, 2005 7:30 am

9.  Addendum to my previous post: Mattingly was unfairly questioned about the Yankees' mini-slump in the last 3 games post-game last night. He doesn't make out the line-up, media people! He didn't give futile ABs to Flaherty, Giambi, Sanchez, and Johnson while sitting for no discernible reason (considering there was an off-day on Monday)Posada, Martinez, Cano, and Sheffield. It's difficult to score runs when a third of your line-up has no hope of hitting major league pitching and your clean up hitter hasn't homered in 46 games. Whose fault is that?

10 rbj   ~  Jun 1, 2005 7:55 am

10.  Hey, Giambi did get a two out hit to drive in Bernie (he says, clutching at straws).

11 singledd   ~  Jun 1, 2005 9:35 am

11.  The Mets rested Floyd against the Yanks. The Sox rested Veritek against the Yanks. It seems a player's off day is listed on a calendar somewhere, without regard for the opponent or the pitcher. You can't blame someone for resting Shef against KC... we had enough bats to beat them, ESPECIALLY since Bernie and Giambi both got hits. And Giambi at least has done decent (not great) since the 'West Coast Test'. A HR, .250ba and a couple of 2 out RBI.

Since Cashman's BIG move was to move Womack to LF, Womack will probably have to bleed from the eyes and ears before they bench him. The Brain Trust won't want to give the impression their BIG move was a BAD move.

I can't believe it's Torre. Last year they brought in Lofton specifically to replace Bernie, and Torre still played Bernie. So if Torre sat Lofton (a player with a lot more upside then Womack), why would Torre bench Bernie for Womack? The word must come from above.

Womacks REAL value is to pinch run late in a one run/tie game (ala Dave Roberts). That said, from what I've read, a base stealer ONLY helps the team if he is successful 70+% of the time. Wo-is-me-mack is 16 for 19 (84%) with 2 pickoffs, or 76% (16 for 21). So his speed has helped some, but isn't shaking the world. And with Sheff, ARod and Matsui behind him, being one first is often enough. If he batted 8th or 9th, then getting to 2nd in front of a singles hitter might help.

Last year Jetes was 23 of 27 or 85% (although pick-offs aren't figured into that number). ARod was 28 of 32 or 87% (ditto about pickoffs).

I fear because we have Cash(man) invested in Womack, he will continue to make fans suicidal. We can only hope that Torre bats him 9th (or 10th) soon.

12 Upperdeck   ~  Jun 1, 2005 10:24 am

12.  What I still don't understand is how the hell did Womack hit a double of Mariano in Game 7?

13 rbj   ~  Jun 1, 2005 10:28 am

13.  Rather than getting Clemens, I'd prefer (if he'd go for it) to trade Womack and Brown for Pettitte.

14 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 1, 2005 10:57 am

14.  The Yankees need a centerfielder far more than they need a starting pitcher. I'm willing to trust Unit, Moose, Meat, Tiger and Mr. Nasty if the Yanks can get their OF defense up to league average and replace Womack in the order with a similarly average or better bat, both of which could be accomplished in one move.

15 rsmith51   ~  Jun 1, 2005 11:05 am

15.  UpperDeck,

Everytime I see Womack's hit off of Rivera, I think it was just a hanging Cutter. It looked like the ball was sitting on a tee. He was a little off that inning(hitting Counsell with 2 strikes, throw to second.) Nice play on the next bunt, however. It annoys me because Brenly made so many stupid blunders, he didn't deserve to win. That's baseball for you. Sometimes you can't explain it.

16 jedi   ~  Jun 1, 2005 11:42 am

16.  UpperDeck,

All I know is that signing Womack was no way an upgrade in replacing Cairo. No one in yankee management has yet to see this, except for one yankee who is now crosstown replacing "Bizarro Matsui" with Miguel as the permanent 2b as we speak.

Maybe next year we can grab Grudzielanek at 2B, we havent had a "weird, but cool" last name since Knoblauch

17 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 1, 2005 12:15 pm

17.  singledd,

Varitek was not "rested" against the Yankees. He had a lifetime BA of under .100 against Mussina. Under .100. Floyd wasn't "rested" either. He was in a slump coming into the Subway Series and the last thing Randolph wanted was for Floyd to get the Golden Sombrero against Randy Johnson. This is late May. You have an off-day on Memorial Day. Why are we resting multiple players in the most important series this season-to-date? Why are we not fielding our best offensive and defensive line-ups? Are these orders from above? Do you think George wanted Rey Sanchez and Russ Johnson starting in the rubber match of a Red Sox-Yankees series at home? Get real.

18 Jen   ~  Jun 1, 2005 12:32 pm

18.  "All I know is that signing Womack was no way an upgrade in replacing Cairo."

I had heard a rumor that the Yankees had actually made an offer to Cairo but his agent never told him. Not sure if it's true though.

19 singledd   ~  Jun 1, 2005 12:54 pm

19.  Johnny C....I agree that was an ugly lineup, and I have no idea why who rests when. Maybe its true that Torre is plain stupid... but he has been in baseball for over 30 years... so maybe there is something I don't know. I believe Sanchez was in because Cano is batting .136 against LH and Sanches is batting .300. Tino was resting, batting .222 against LH. I certainly didn't like it, but it made some sense.

And I'm not daying the brass are in on Torre's decisions EXCEPT for maybe Womack in LF.... which appears to be a decision from above. You know Torre is very loyal to Bernie and Bernie has been hitting of late.

My problem is that because they can't admit Womack in LF is a mistake, when Bernie does play, it's in CF. I'd rather KEEP Matsui there, and put Bernie in LF(his new position), where his D will do less damage.

Also, while Veritek's numbers against Mosse were real ugly, I think there were a few other Sox also with ugly stats against Moose. I'd like to look it up, but I don't know where. I don't remember Veritek resting in all the Moose/Pedro games last year. But there is a LOT I don't know.

20 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 1, 2005 1:08 pm

20.  Sheffield was rested against KC so that he could have two straight days off. They rested him against KC not Bost, so I can't see a reason to complain there, plus Girardi used him well as a PH and he almost came through.

As for Johnson/Sanchez. As Steve Goldman pointed out to me on IM last night, Sanchez actually can hit lefties (.285/.328/.369 over the past three years). Not exactly Sheffield, but Cano's not exactly stinging the ball and is 3 for 22 vs. lefties with a .273 overal OBP. Plus you don't lose anything on D with Sanchez in the field.

Russ Johnson, meanwhile, does out-hit Tino against lefties, and got some solid swings on Wells, only he hit 'em right at the fielders.

These line-ups may look bad, but they do make a certain amount of sense. Credit to Torre for looking at the numbers not the names in making these decisions. Note also that Matsui did not hit clean-up in either of those two games.

21 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 1, 2005 2:51 pm

21.  That would be a good explanation. But did Torre really look at the numbers as you say?
David Wells' splits this season: Vs. Lefties .889 OPS, Vs. Righties .834 OPS, 2004 splits: Vs. Lefties .820 OPS, Vs. Righties .658 OPS. Let's not assume Joe has suddenly become a sabermetric manager.

22 singledd   ~  Jun 1, 2005 6:52 pm

22.  7th inning: Is this June or April?

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