"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Close Don’t Count

Rookie Sean Henn walked seven batters in less than five innings of work last night. By the time he was relieved by Paul Quantrill, the Devil Rays had a 3-0 lead. A bloop single made it 4-0, and Tampa Bay added another run in the following inning. All of which seemed more than enough for Casey Fossum who cruised through the Yankee lineup for the first six innings (the first hit for the Bombers–a double by Hideki Matsui–didn’t come until the fifth). Alex Rodriguez doubled to lead off the seventh, narrowly missing a home run (run dummy!), then Matsui walked. But the Yanks couldn’t do anything else as Posada flew out to left, Giambi whiffed, and Williams grounded out to third.

In the eighth, however, Cano singled, chasing Fossum from the game. Lance Carter replaced him and promptly allowed a single to Jeter. After retiring Womack–who got an earful from the boo birds–Sheffield chopped a base hit to left scoring Cano. Rodriguez went fishing after a breaking ball and popped out to second, but then Matsui hooked a change up over the right field fence and the Yankees were suddenly down by just one run.

That was as close as they would get. Posada walked and Giambi whiffed again (he still can’t catch up with those good heaters). Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth, uncharacteristically walking two men. But the Bombers went down in order against Danys Baez in the bottom of the ninth, as the Devil Rays pulled out a 5-4 win.

“We’ve got to come out and play with our hair on fire, and I don’t think we did that today,” said Alex Rodriguez…”Today we were a little lazy.”

…”Just a disappointing performance by us tonight. We have to do better than that.”

Tonight gives Johnson vs. Nomo. Bank on the Yankees doing better.

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1 Simone   ~  Jun 21, 2005 5:53 am

1.  Whatever, A-Rod. I'm so bored/tired of the excuses for the Yankees' streakiness and poor play against bad teams. The Yankees play like a mediocre team which is what they apparently are this season until they prove otherwise. They are either very good or very bad with no consistency either way. I just hope that this is just one loss and we aren't embarking on another bad stretch of baseball.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 21, 2005 6:28 am

2.  I don't think they are a very good team, but I think it's just one loss. I think they'll win four or five of the next six against the D-Rays and Mets.

3 Knuckles   ~  Jun 21, 2005 6:52 am

3.  Frustrating loss. It reminded me of earlier this season, the A's were shut down by Nomo and Tampa, and after the game Chavez went nuts, saying he couldn't believe they couldn't hit the guy, and his stuff stinks. Hopefully they bounce back tonight (with Womack batting 9th or on the bench) and pound Nomo, and RJ punishes their lineup.

4 Mick S   ~  Jun 21, 2005 6:59 am

4.  I am not happy about the lose, but I want to see how they respond. They need to play consistently well for at least a month before I will get my hopes up again.

5 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 21, 2005 7:16 am

5.  Honestly, with Henn (who began the year in double-A) starting, the Yanks did well to hold the D-Rays to five runs. The problem was their inability to hit Fossum. Now, I'm not going to try to convince anyone that Casey Fossum is Roy Halladay, but for those who refered to him in last night's comments as a "spot starter," last night was his seventh start of the year (though only his second quality start) and the 67th of his five-year career. Also, the D-Ray's road ERA is a horrendous 6.61, but among Tampa pitchers with more than 3 IP on the road, Fossum has the best road ERA on the team (or does after last night, tying Doug Waechter).

I do think the Yankees should have been able to get to Fossum, but even bad pitchers have good nights and the fact that Fossum was pulled from the game after giving up just three hits was a break that the Yankees came thisclose to taking advantage of.

The good news is that, while Giambi remains a mystery, Matsui is staying on the good foot, which should make a major difference in the way this offense performs. Getting those four runs in the eighth, to me, was a sign that this team is not rolling over as easily as they have at other times this season. A single one-run loss after a six-game win streak and an 8-2 run, especially one with a nervous rookie spot starter (wink) taking the ball, even if it is to the Devil Rays, is not something worth complaining about.

That said, if they lose a second game in this series, complain all you want.

6 uburoisc   ~  Jun 21, 2005 7:52 am

6.  Nope, I suspect Johnson is going to mow 'em down again. I think he's finding that groove of his.

7 STONER   ~  Jun 21, 2005 7:55 am

7.  #&#((#$(#(&&%)#&^%*% - FOSSUM ! Geesus, he used to mow the Yankees down when he was with the Bosox...I had a bad feeling about that game coming in with Henn starting and FOSSUM - I'm willing to bet anyone he won't win any of his next five starts...depressing loss.

8 Dan M   ~  Jun 21, 2005 9:18 am

8.  I think the fact that the majority of Fossum's appearances this year have been in relief (11 of 18) justifies me calling him a "spot starter." Yes, he was the man the Sox refused to trade for Bartolo Colon, but he also hadn't (at least up until last night) nailed down a spot in the Rays' starting rotation. Maybe the word "spot" is technically wrong, but that's splitting hairs.

9 willdthrill   ~  Jun 21, 2005 9:35 am

9.  Did anyone read Larry Brooks' article in the NY Post? I guess Larry's second article ever written for a newspaper must have won a Pulitzer. The lazy and shortsighted media basically have written off Henn. Most of them sound incredulous that he didn't do better last night. Thus taking away a viable trade bait or helpful sixth starter. I guess the long term is something the newspaper guys rarely ever worry about. It's always about the next best story you can get into the next edition. But then they write stories about Brad Halsey, Nick Johnson and Javier Vazquez and wonder why the Yankees didn't hold on to them. Henn needs another four to five starts of facing Major League hitting to even give an indication of his abilities. But the NY newspaper guys have already shown that they have no potential for anything except possibly feeding at the post game buffets.

10 Dan M   ~  Jun 21, 2005 9:40 am

10.  For me the most depressing part of last night's game was Waldman reporting that Ruben Sierra "acts as a second batting coach" for many on the team, including Cano. Why Joe, Don and Derek allow this to happen is beyond me.

11 Knuckles   ~  Jun 21, 2005 10:09 am

11.  I've seen Ruben sitting with his arm around Cano on the bench a few times, and just assumed it was a big brotherly thing due to the fact they both speak Espanol. Why is it Derek's problem if Ruben gives out advice? Or is this an indicator that Donnie must go and it's Jeter's place to call for his head? I really don't see that happening, given the fact that the Yankee leadership torch was passed directly between the two in the mid 90's...but maybe this is the place where Jeter has to stand up and be the Cap'n, old idolatry be damned?

12 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 21, 2005 10:15 am

12.  I don't know why there should be a problem with Sierra giving out any tips. He's just doing what Rock Raines and Chili Davis did before him. Heck, considering the lack of production the Yanks get for him it's good that he's got some use. I would not assume that his giving advice to younger players, especially Latinos, in any way undermines what Mattingly is trying to do.

I could be wrong, but that's my impression. And Sierra evidentally has a long history of taking care of young Latin players. In a recent Sports Illustrated article, Sammy Sosa gave Sierra a lot of credit for treating him so well as a young player.

13 rbj   ~  Jun 21, 2005 10:16 am

13.  Given Cano's stats as a rookie 2 bagger:
.283/.312/.448/.760 20rbi & 23rs, I don't think that Ruben's doing the kid any harm.

14 Dan M   ~  Jun 21, 2005 10:28 am

14.  I have no problem if he's doling out "how to handle the bigs" advice, but, as I said, Waldman reported that he was giving hitting advice (and made it sound like it wasn't just Cano). A free-swinging, pull-happy, swing for the fences hitter like Ruben really shouldn't be giving hitting advice.

And as Captain, I think it's Jeter's job to make sure that the players go to Don for hitting instruction, not whomever they please. That's why I included him - not for him to call for Don's head.

15 Simone   ~  Jun 21, 2005 10:29 am

15.  I also don't have a problem with Ruben giving out hitting tips. Before his career when south, Ruben was a stud hitter in his prime so I'm sure that he has some helpful advice to give a young guy like Cano.

"Womack is having good at-bats now and I like him where he is," Torre said. The madness has got to STOP!!! Tony Womack hitting 2nd in the line up isn't just making me crazy. Steven Goldman devotes much of today's "Pinstriped Bible" to the disaster that is Tony Womack hitting 2nd in the Yankee line up. He titles it, "NOTHING STRANDS RUNNERS LIKE A WOMACK" How appropriate. Check it out here: http://www.yesnetwork.com/yankees/pinstripedbible.asp

16 Knuckles   ~  Jun 21, 2005 10:39 am

16.  Also from Goldmand:
"It has been said here before but it's worth repeating: as long as Womack is allowed to soak up outs at the top of the order and otherwise, the Yankees aren't serious about trying to come back in this race. Through Sunday, Baseball Prospectus says that Womack has been worth approximately six runs less than a replacement level player. That means that you could pick a triple-A veteran outfielder — Ernie Young, George Lombard, Mike Vento, Esix bloody Snead — and he could be expected not only to match Womack's numbers but exceed (exSnead?) him by at least six runs."

This is the point I've been trying to make. There is no way you could not pointa finger at any of the Columbus OF and have them be as detrimental to the Yankees lineup and LF defense as Womack is.

Watching Torre continue to play him is like watching a 5 year old kid with scissors and an electric outlet, with no adult around to slap his hand and say, "NO."

17 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 21, 2005 11:44 am

17.  which just backs up my point. in what manner or form has Torre ever shown disfavor or utter disdain for ANY player move made by the George/Cashman team? He has never uttered one word and the only players he's voted off the island were players who either challenged his authority or were nuisances to him (Sierra I, Mondesi, Spencer, Leyritz, Wells, to name a few). Far be it for me to think that a manager with tens years tenure, two more years of security at $14 million, 4 rings, universal worship by unquestionning fans, and skilled at playing the media like a violin would be a shrinking violet when faced with personnel moves that threaten to not only sabotage the team but besmirch his own stainless reputation and image. So, not believing Torre is a wimp, I can only conclude that he, for instance, really thinks Womack "adds variety" to his line-up and that Jason Giambi just needs to regain his confidence and that "we need to be intense without being tense." Need I remind everyone that, damn Cashman all you want, it was a direct order from him that made Torre play Wang and Cano. The idea did not come from Torre and his henchmen. Unless you can point to a number of specific instances where he was unhappy with or refused to implement management's dicta, please stop projecting your fans' feelings and wishes on Mr. Torre. He has shown no sign of agreeing with you.

18 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 21, 2005 11:57 am

18.  I'm sure Sweet Lou was cackling and guffawing all the way back to the hotel bar last night. With good reason.

19 BklynBomber   ~  Jun 21, 2005 12:37 pm

19.  To all who were saying the Yanks need to get back to playin' NL style ball, well they are. Kinda.

But instead of an automatic out in the 9 hole, we have one wherever Torre bats Tony Womack.

Don't mean to put our spotty play on one guy, but losing him and getting Kotsay would upgrade the OF defensively while adding a decent contact hitter in the lineup. Maybe actually keep a rally going, or at least getting on base to start one.

Anyone hear something new in the rumor mill?

20 Murray   ~  Jun 21, 2005 1:02 pm

20.  The decision to play Enrique Wilson in the outfield in 2002 in the Saturday afternoon game against the Mets comes to mind as a Torre move to criticize the composition of the roster. Granted, it led to the Mondesi deal, but Torre has done subtle things like this at other times, too. I just don't remember them right now.

21 Dan M   ~  Jun 21, 2005 1:38 pm

21.  You're right, Murry, and his constant use of Felix Heredia last June and July is another example. When questioned, Torre would say things like "he's my only lefty, I have to use him."

22 Nick from Washington Heights   ~  Jun 21, 2005 1:48 pm

22.  Buster Olney's book brings up the fact Torre would every now and then make public pleas for the front office to improve the personnel on the roster.

23 atc   ~  Jun 21, 2005 2:38 pm

23.  Is it wrong that this Womack situation has me so distraught that I check the internet every 5 minutes to see if he's been traded yet?

24 Knuckles   ~  Jun 21, 2005 3:16 pm

24.  ATC, you think that's bad? For the past 3 weeks, my brother and I have been paying a cab to idle outside the Stadium, for the sole purpose of whisking Tony to the airport when he gets traded/cut, so we can get his ass outta town before someone changes their mind.

If anyone wants to chip in, our website is:

It's draining my funds but it'll be worth it some day.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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