"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Anchor

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are fifth in the American League (ninth in the majors) in runs scored. They’re also fifth in the majors in EQA. Thus far this season they are 6-3 against the Yankees, who are second in the majors in both categories. The Devil Rays have now won seven games on the road this year, three of them in the Bronx. Tampa has scored 7.2 runs per game against the Yankees, scoring five or more in eight of their nine meetings. The Yankees have scored 7.4 runs against Tampa, scoring four or fewer runs in five of their nine meetings, but scoring a total of 39 runs in just two games.

Those are a lot of ugly numbers. Chien-Ming Wang, whom I’m officially dubbing the anchor of this Yankee rotation (Moose and Unit are the aces, Meat and Mr. Nasty are the question marks, Tiger is the anchor), looks to keep the top half of the scoreboard neat and tidy tonight as the Yanks try to save some face by salvaging a split of this four game series with the worst team in their league.

Wang’s mound opponent is 6’9″ lefty Mark Hendrickson (whose official name, by the way, is “6’9″ Lefty Mark Hendrickson”). Hendrickson has some ugly numbers of his own (5.83 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 4.18 K/9, 1.50 K/BB, 1.27 HR/9, opponents hitting .322/.371/.516, 7.55 road ERA, 9.43 June ERA). The only thing Hendrickson does well is stifle lefties (.219/.269/.329). That should mean more bench time for Tony Mowack. Whether or not we’ll see Russ Johnson (2 for 9 vs. lefties this year after an 0 for 2 against Scott Kazmir yesterday) get his second consecutive start at first, well, I doubt it, but we’ll find out soon enough.

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1 Upperdeck   ~  Jun 23, 2005 3:58 pm

1.  Apropos of nothing, this quote from Todd Jones cracks me up.

re: cheating
"For hitters, boning bats in the bathroom is not considered cheating…Guys bone their bats in broad daylight:

2 Simone   ~  Jun 23, 2005 4:15 pm

2.  One of the Yankees two reliable pitchers just gave up a 2 run homerun in the 1st inning. We can safely say it is going to be a long night. Thank goodness for game 7 of the NBA finals.

3 Marcus   ~  Jun 23, 2005 4:15 pm

3.  Those damned bases on balls (prior to home runs). This is an inauspicious beginning...

4 Mike Z   ~  Jun 23, 2005 4:17 pm

4.  It all depends on how the hitters do. Those two runs could be insurmountable, or worth nothing at all.

5 yankee23   ~  Jun 23, 2005 5:08 pm

5.  Well at least it's no longer a guaranteed loss, eh?

6 uburoisc   ~  Jun 23, 2005 5:32 pm

6.  Mark Kotsay will not make enough of a difference if the Yankee pitchers continue their mediocrity (at best). Also, does anyone know if Erstad will be a free agent next year?

7 Marcus   ~  Jun 23, 2005 5:41 pm

7.  Derek Jeter is the reason the Yankees are losing; I can't say I like that. Well, him and Jorge Cantu.

8 Marcus   ~  Jun 23, 2005 5:55 pm

8.  Ok, Jeter hasn't had a great game, but it's not his fault. Wang is getting rocked.

9 Simone   ~  Jun 23, 2005 5:58 pm

9.  If that is Jeter on the mound, I completely agree. If not, I'm saying that Wang is doing a bang up job to losing this game all by himself.

10 Hank   ~  Jun 23, 2005 5:58 pm

10.  Erstad is signed at least through '06, but he's clearly not the answer. Milton Bradley, though, would seem to be a perfect fit -- young, switch-hitting, solid defensively. I'd love to see him in center next year. Hopefully the Dodgers will let him get away...

11 Simone   ~  Jun 23, 2005 6:03 pm

11.  Milton Bradley is definitely the Yankees best choice for center field in the off season. The Yankees can make a competitive offer that won't break the bank and lock him up for 5 years.

12 Mike Z   ~  Jun 23, 2005 6:51 pm

12.  Dammit, I would've put in Tino with the bases loaded instead of the .182-against-righties Sierra.

13 bp1   ~  Jun 23, 2005 6:58 pm

13.  Cliff,

That stat about the DRays being 5th in runs scored would be a heck of a lot more impressive if most of them weren't scored against the Yankees. (sigh)

Yeah - a sarcastic remark. It's all I can think of at the moment. This game is depressing. Can we pull off a 9th inning comeback against Baez? Geez - I hope so. Losing 3-of-4 to the DRays (again!) is just no fun.


14 Zack   ~  Jun 23, 2005 7:00 pm

14.  Bradley is the answer if we want to continue our string of jerks on the team. Really the answer is Jeter in center, A-Rod at short, and find a 3B. But seeing as that won't happen, I'd take Bradley.

Now that we are about to drop three of four to the Devil Rays, can we please make some changes (read NOT trading away our kids)

15 Zack   ~  Jun 23, 2005 7:04 pm

15.  Anyone have any idea why Gordon was pitching there? Now that he has made the game all but over, let the real bitching begin!

16 Simone   ~  Jun 23, 2005 7:23 pm

16.  Game over, should that be, "season over?" I hope not, but it doesn't look good.

"Bradley is the answer if we want to continue our string of jerks on the team."

Bradley may have some anger issues, but from all reports his teammates like him and he is good in the clubhouse.

17 Hank   ~  Jun 23, 2005 7:26 pm

17.  With regards to Milton Bradley, I've met the man and believe he's changed. Here's the link:


18 domvjr   ~  Jun 23, 2005 7:34 pm

18.  Unless the Yanks are playing with us, this looks like a .500 team. The pitching has been woeful, other than Mussina, and Wang, until tonight. Maybe they are pulling a Red Sox, play like crap for 3 months and then turn it on in the second half. Unfortunately, the wild card, looks like its coming out of another division. I hate sounding like a pessimist, but they haven't given me any reasons to believe that they are going to be the team that we thought they would be!!

19 yankee23   ~  Jun 23, 2005 7:38 pm

19.  I dunno, if the Orioles' pitching somehow keeps up (doubtful, I know), then I suppose the WC could come from the East as well...

god this is depressing.

20 brockdc   ~  Jun 23, 2005 7:52 pm

20.  You know how Sierra's taken Cano under his wing? Well, maybe Wang has been getting mentored by Pavano. His slider-speed meatballs-turn-gopherballs were eerily reminiscent of Hot Carl himself.

21 BklynBomber   ~  Jun 23, 2005 7:57 pm

21.  Hey, if the 'Village Idiot' can turn it around and then some, I'm willing to give Bradley a chance at this point. As Simone stated above, I've heard similar that Bradley is a well-liked, team player despite his media rep.

As the trade deadline looms, call me crazy but outside of the obvious pitching help, it sure wouldn't hurt to add some attitude to the roster. Jeter, Sheff, and MatsZilla lead quietly by example, while A-Rod is yet to find a really comfortable place for himself — which he will, it's coming. It's almost as everyone is a little "too respectful".

Hard to describe, but we need some kind of 'spark' who understands the dynamics of the roster (superstars, vets and kids), and can bring some intensity to the team both on the field and in the clubhouse. If we're throwing names around, Bradley fits that bill more than anyone I can think would be available.

And — yes, tonight was yet another frustrating game. But 4.5 behind the team we really need to worry about with 90 to go. I'm not about to panic — yet.

22 jedi   ~  Jun 24, 2005 5:08 am

22.  So who still feels bad for Harper these days? Anyone want to retract their posts?

23 rbj   ~  Jun 24, 2005 7:20 am

23.  Didn't the Yankees used to play poorly against the old, bad, Mariners teams? Or was that just in the Kingdome. (he says, grasping at straws.)

Plus, the Yankees have come from further back than 5 games.

24 Upperdeck   ~  Jun 24, 2005 7:24 am

24.  Where was Wang's 97 mph fastball Cashman told us about? I guess there wasn't a GM that believed him either.

25 Zack   ~  Jun 24, 2005 8:37 am

25.  I'm not too worried about Wang, he is allowed his rough starts every now and then, though two in his last three isn't the best sign.

Lets be realistic for a moment here:
The only way the Yankees can shake up their roster is to first cut/tade Womack, that is the most obvious. No one is going to take giambi or brown off of our hands, so we would have to cut them too. We could trade Quantrill and cut Stanton and bring up Anderson and anyone to sit on the bench for Stanton.

Is Bradley a free agent next year? If not, I don't see what we could offer that would satisfy the Dodgers. Maybe Cano, Wang, and Duncan, but that doesn't seem like the right move.

So, what ideas are there out there to shake things up and start over, anybody?

26 Hank   ~  Jun 24, 2005 8:57 am

26.  Yes, Bradley's contract is up after this season, but based on things I'm reading in the LA press, they're interested in bringing him back. Hopefully DePodesta will decide to go in another direction and Bradley will be available.

27 Max   ~  Jun 24, 2005 9:02 am

27.  Hank, that account of Milton Bradley's visit to the school and the transcript of his talk was one of the best baseball-related things I've read in a while, and a very welcome respite from the latest Yankee handwringing. Thanks for sharing that.

28 uburoisc   ~  Jun 24, 2005 9:05 am

28.  I like Bradley; I had a lot of LA fans moaning when the Dodgers picked him up, and told them he was maybe the best player for the money out there. He has played real well and I kind of like his weird intensity. People said Sheff was a cancer, too and that was mostly unfounded. As for being a jerk, Bonds is a jerk, MB is just testy. Thanks for the Erstad info. He is getting a bit long in the tooth (age is definately something the Yanks don't need), and is a little injury prone, and doesn't hit enough HR's, but he plays D as well as anyone in baseball, has excellent baseball IQ, and plays with heart. I'd love him at 1B if they let Tino go and cut Giambi (he plays great OF but it gets him hurt). But '06 is too far away. If the Dodgers keep slumping, could MB come up before deadline?

29 Oscar Azocar   ~  Jun 24, 2005 9:55 am

29.  I like Bradley also, as long as it's verified that he's good in the clubhouse. A differentiation needs to be made between those who are a-holes in the clubhouse and to everyone else, and those who are good in the clubhouse, but a-holes to everyone else. Sheffield probably fits into the latter category, which is fine. A guy like Albert Belle probably fits into the first category - not good. One thing that does concern me about MB is that he is injury prone. I think he has been on the DL just about every year, including this year. Last year, he played in 141 games, which was his career high. If the Yanks are going to get this guy for the longer term, can he stay healthy? Also, if the Yanks get him via free agency, he grew up around LA so he may be inclined to stay. We might have to pay him a stupid amount of money to get him, not that the Yanks haven't done that before.

30 Harley   ~  Jun 24, 2005 10:15 am

30.  Putting Erstadt at first, heart or not, isn't much different than putting Womack in left field. You're losing a whole lotta production at a power spot. Particularly at first. (And as for Erstad generally, hustle is no replacement for talent. And I never thought the 'he plays with a football attitude' description to be all that complimentary.)

31 Simone   ~  Jun 24, 2005 10:30 am

31.  Hank, thanks for posting the link to Bradley's visit with your students. It was a great read. It is nice to see all good things that Bradley's teammates say about him verified. I'll be sure to pass it on to other Yankee fans, maybe people will start giving the guy a break.

32 uburoisc   ~  Jun 24, 2005 4:37 pm

32.  You may be right about too great a giveaway at the position, but wrong about the Woemack analogy. Erstad is a much, much better player and has much better #'s (about .200 difference OPS). Also, he is probably one of the best defensive players in the game, so he hardly plays like a football player. But 1B will be an issue next year. Who else is available?

33 Harley   ~  Jun 25, 2005 12:51 am

33.  ubu --

Fair enuf. Tho' I still think Erstad is wildly overrated. As for first base, I dunno, Mike Sweeney? Andy Phillips?

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