"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Stopper?

I didn’t catch much of last night’s 6-3 Yankee loss to the Twins, though from what I saw, I caught plenty of it the first three times they played it in Kansas City. The big difference last night was that the Yanks got out to an early 3-0 lead, thanks in large part to a 2-run dinger from Gary Sheffield. But Moose couldn’t hold it, losing the lead when Lew Ford smacked a 3-run dinger in the fifth to add to the solo shot hit earlier in the game by . . . Brent Abernathy?! The Yanks didn’t get Abernathy out all night, as it turns out. I think that about says it all.

Tonight, Chein-Ming Wang finally gets to take his turn in the rotation following his turn as Yankee tournaquet last Sunday against Boston. At this point I have more confidence with Wang on the mound than with any other starter, Johnson included. That said, Wang’s only poor major league start came on the turf in Tampa Bay when those groundouts he unerringly throws kept scooting past the Yankee defenders. Of course, even if Wang is effective, it likely won’t mean much unless the Yankees can score more than three runs for the first time in a week.

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1 atc   ~  Jun 4, 2005 3:52 pm

1.  Tonight's 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup: Womack and Sanchez

2 Simone   ~  Jun 4, 2005 4:08 pm

2.  Plus, the Yankees hottest hitter, Bernie Williams isn't playing tonight. Why? Why? Making it worse, Wang is due for a stinker. Ugh. I'm prepared for anything.

3 rbj   ~  Jun 4, 2005 4:16 pm

3.  It's Posada's scheduled day off, and Jeter's sick. Put Sanchez at third and move A-Rod to short.

4 rbj   ~  Jun 4, 2005 4:16 pm

4.  Ah, and Bernie's sick too.

5 Marcus   ~  Jun 4, 2005 4:18 pm

5.  This is almost funny. This is probably the worst possible lineup you can create with the Yankee's roster. While Torre's at it, why doesn't he put Giambi in CF?

6 atc   ~  Jun 4, 2005 4:21 pm

6.  I'm listening to the game on the radio and Sterling just said regarding Womack, "the Yankees love him but he either needs to hit for a much higher average or get on base more." Joe Torre MUST know this. Is he just being defiant by batting this clown leadoff or does he really think this is what's best for the team?

7 yankee23   ~  Jun 4, 2005 4:44 pm

7.  Seriously, Rickey was right. He'd have at least a .360 OBP right now, plus he actually knows how to play left. Maybe George should give the SurfDawgs a call...

8 redshift   ~  Jun 4, 2005 5:10 pm

8.  Ugh, why does a 3 run defecit in the fourth inning seem insurmountable to me?

9 debris   ~  Jun 4, 2005 5:12 pm

9.  The American League league average ERA is 4.27. Wang, despite pitching the vast majority of his innings against light hitting second division clubs, has an ERA of 4.06, slightly lower that league average. What does it say about the state of this franchise that Wang is considered the Stopper?

3 earned runs in 3+ innings tonight.

10 Marcus   ~  Jun 4, 2005 5:29 pm

10.  Nothing beats having Tony Womack as your next man up during a 2-out rally.

11 singledd   ~  Jun 4, 2005 6:41 pm

11.  3-3, bottom of the 9th. Rivera?
Wang gave up 5 hits and 1 bb in 7. Aside from one long ball, he pitched very well.

If our offense gets over it's collective stroke, we should win 3 out of 4 when a starter only gives up 3 runs in 7 innings.
Tonights heros: Wang and Cano

12 singledd   ~  Jun 4, 2005 6:50 pm

12.  Womacks OPS is now .584. We could be looking at history.

13 yankee23   ~  Jun 4, 2005 7:12 pm

13.  I spell relief R-I-V-E-R-A. That was worth staying up until 4am to see. Auf geht's!

14 Upperdeck   ~  Jun 4, 2005 7:14 pm

14.  I haven't been this happy about a Yankee win in a long time!

15 Simone   ~  Jun 4, 2005 7:16 pm

15.  Whew! I was terrified that they wouldn't win for another week.

16 rilkefan   ~  Jun 4, 2005 7:27 pm

16.  So who wants to bid on Womack's minimum OPS for this season starting now? Do I hear .450?

Just remembered 1998. Every game I thought, whatever the deficit and inning: How will they win today? This season I think: What's going to go wrong today? Well, it's off for a brief honeymoon away from civilization for me and my lovely bride, and I'll be striving to stay in a 1998 mindset.

17 Simone   ~  Jun 4, 2005 7:33 pm

17.  Joe has got to stop putting Womack in the line up on a regular basis. Why does he have Womack hitting lead off? Womack has got to go to the bench.

18 Jordan   ~  Jun 5, 2005 11:59 am

18.  Us Cubs fans could have warned you from the start. We had to deal with him all 2003, sucking and sucking and sucking.

Somehow, he managed to uncork some lightning he had stored in a bottle with Stl last season, but it's an exception to the rule. Womack is bad, and I know Steinbrenner can afford to go get someone better. Maybe he could figure out a way to get Corey Patterson off our hands...he'd be a modest upgrade and would get him outta Chicago.

19 Marcus   ~  Jun 5, 2005 12:57 pm

19.  Clemens is not likely to be traded. This is good news for the Yanks:


Hmmm, HBP to walk in a run. Probably time to take Brown out.

20 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 5, 2005 12:59 pm

20.  bases loaded, need a strikout or two...Sturze ready...Brown still pitching...Torre obviously comatose...says it all...another Yankee loss...

21 atc   ~  Jun 5, 2005 1:08 pm

21.  I'm listening on the radio - should Sheffield have caught that double?

22 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 5, 2005 1:09 pm

22.  The non-availability of Gordon is not an excuse to lose the game. After all, there are five other pitchers in the bullpen...unless Torre's murdered them. Is the man ready to stop torturing us anytime soon? Is this all just his revenge on Steinbrenner? Fine. You made your point. Just go away. Now.

23 Simone   ~  Jun 5, 2005 1:23 pm

23.  What other choice did Joe have? Sturtze is the best reliever in the bullpen after Gordon and Mo. There is no one else to put in the game, if the Yankees were going to have a chance to hold the Twins. Sturtze just stunk as he is prone to do when he reverts to his true pitching ability.

When Wright comes back, Brown should go into the bullpen so Wang can stay in the rotation.

24 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jun 5, 2005 1:43 pm

24.  Ummm...why would Posada swing at the first pitch in such a tight spot after Giambi just ran the count full?

I'm not watching so please, someone tell me it was a meatball.

25 rbj   ~  Jun 5, 2005 2:14 pm

25.  Oh good. ESPN Classic is showing the 1978 playoff game. Nice to hear the Scooter again. I have a feeling that Bucky Dent's going to hit a home run.

26 JeremyM   ~  Jun 5, 2005 2:25 pm

26.  How did Sturtez stink? He gave up a bunt single and that's it. I didn't see the game, but it sounds like he wasn't the problem here. He's been one of the few things going right this season.

27 JeremyM   ~  Jun 5, 2005 2:26 pm

27.  Well, I guess he gave up the sac fly too.

28 Simone   ~  Jun 5, 2005 2:33 pm

28.  I may have been a tad bit unfair describing Sturtze's performance as stinking. I was just pissed off when I saw the runs score. Sturtze did the best that he could. The Yankees have gotten to the point where Tanyon Sturtze is the 3rd best reliever in the bullpen.

29 rbj   ~  Jun 5, 2005 3:43 pm

29.  Sturtze isn't bad, probably the Braves could use him as a closer. The Yankees have gotten to the point where a rookie is their best starter.

30 brockdc   ~  Jun 5, 2005 5:14 pm

30.  I would characterize today's managerial performance by Torre as LAZY: "Just write up any old batting order, what the hell. Oh, and, Womack's fast, right? Bat him leadoff. And Quantrill was good for us at some point last season - throw him in there while we still have a chance to win this thing."


31 Simone   ~  Jun 5, 2005 5:31 pm

31.  I agree about Womack, but who other than Quantrill who was left in that bullpen would you have put into the game? Other than Gordon and Mo who was left that could be considered half-way decent? It is time to look long and hard at the players who aren't doing their jobs.

32 seamus   ~  Jun 5, 2005 7:01 pm

32.  Well, Torre should have brought Sturtze in earlier for sure. ALthough I totally understand why he didn't so I'm torn. Quantrill, Groom, and Stanton are taking up too much cumulative space. In particular, I don't understand keeping Groom AND Stanton. I'm hopeful that Wright can work out of the pen when he returns. He would be valuable.

Womack should be benched in favor of Bernie. I'm really struggling with Tino too. I'm glad he had that HR streak and letting him play every day during that stretch made sense. But now? Surely, we have a better option. Maybe even Giambi who seems to be finding his stroke some.

I really want Russ Johnson sent down in favor of Phillips. Phillips just has much more upside.

33 JeremyM   ~  Jun 5, 2005 8:09 pm

33.  Well, Russ Johnson doesn't have any options left. If we put him on the waiver wire, someone is liable to snap him up!

Sarasm aside, I think I'd rather keep him around than Rey Sanchez. Sanchez really brings nothing to the table. And for the love of God, stick Womack on the bench. He's killing us.

34 sabo   ~  Jun 5, 2005 9:16 pm

34.  If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that Sturtze would have a 2.50 ERA & sub 1 WHIP in 28 innings, I would have said your were crazy. The Yankees are getting their money's worth with him.

I think tonight is another good reason why saves are stupid. With the bases loaded in the 6th, needing outs, bring Rivera in. Sturtze & Gordon are fine when they are brought in to start an inning. THAT was the most important moment of the night. The idea of brining our "3rd best reliever" in only because that's the usual spot of the game he pitches is silly.

Ok, you can rip that apart if you want..I'm just venting.

35 brockdc   ~  Jun 5, 2005 11:24 pm

35.  I've read on and on about how some guys just don't have the "make up" to be considered end-of-the-game material. Okay, so that's the strongest counterpoint I can summon against your argument, Sabo.

With that said, Sturtze would've been my no-brainer going into that inning. As you've already stated, THAT was the pivotal inning of the game.

As for Quantrill, he has very little life and movement on his pitches anymore and, without a changeup in his arsenal, is little more than glorified BP for major league hitters. We've all come to terms with this. My question is: How come Joe hasn't?

36 Jeff P   ~  Jun 6, 2005 1:51 am

36.  "Sturtze would've been my no-brainer going into that inning."

Say anything you want about Kevin Brown, but going into that inning he'd thrown 5 shutout innings with 5 hits, a walk, and four Ks. He was doing fine going in, the single he gave up to Jones wasn't hard hit, and any respectable right fielder should have come down with that double. Yes, it was hit to the track, but the track in the Baggy Dome is only 360 feet away. When you factor in how thin the Yanks bullpen is, it only makes sense to leave Brown in. To trade for him, on the other hand...

Also, it might have been prudent to bring Rivera on in the bottom of the eighth and hope the Yanks get a run. RJ's pitching tomorrow, and he's averaging over 7 innings a start, there's a good chance they won't need him tomorrow anyway.

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