"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Declaration Of Intent

Much like they did against in Tampa two weeks ago, the Yankees arrived in Baltimore last night and delivered a statement: they’re not fooling around this time. On a night when the Indians (due to the schedule) and the Red Sox (due to the rain) were idle, the Yankees beat up on the Orioles in Camden Yards, winning 11-3 in a game that wasn’t even that close.

Unlike the Devil Rays’ game, this one wasn’t a blowout from the start. In fact, the game almost didn’t start at all. Delayed an hour and a half by rain, the game finally got underway in a mild drizzle just after 8:30. The Yankees leapt into action, with Derek Jeter singling on Rodrigo Lopez’s second pitch, followed by an Alex Rodriguez walk, and, as the rain picked up, a Jason Giambi fly out to center that moved Jeter to third. Gary Sheffield then fouled off a pitch only to have his at-bat interrupted by a twenty-minute rain delay.

When the game resumed, Lopez worked out of the jam by striking out Sheffield looking on a pitch in off the plate and getting Hideki Matsui to ground out to second on a 3-0 count. He then settled down and exchanged zeros with Randy Johnson for a couple of innings before Hideki Matsui singled on the first pitch of the fourth.

Matsui’s single, a bouncer back up the middle, seemed innocent enough. The Yankees’ lead-off man had singled in the first and second without scoring either time. In the second, that batter was Ruben Sierra, who in the fourth followed Matsui’s single with a strikeout. Robinson Cano then singled to right to put runners at the corners, at which point Joe Torre signaled for the safety squeeze with John Flaherty at the plate. Flaherty squared to bunt, but pulled the bat back to take a strike as Matsui scampered back to third, where Melvin Mora, likely surprised by the squeeze attempt, failed to cover the bag. Flaherty then fouled off the next pitch from Lopez and, amid what seemed like a few hundred throws to first, took four straight balls to load the bases. Bubba Crosby then hacked at three pitches, missing the first two and popping the third to Tejada in shallow left field.

That left it to the Captain with the bases loaded and two outs. Jeter took a trio of pitches just off the plate, the first off the outside corner called a strike. The second off the inside corner called a ball, and the third in the same spot called a strike. Lopez then went back outside for a foul, then way outside, and way inside to run the count full, finally losing Jeter on a pitch high and inside to drive in the first run. Alex Rodriguez followed with a hard double past Mora at third to plate another pair of runs. Jason Giambi, then 1 for his last 17 since his back started acting up in Toronto, hit Lopez’s very next pitch into the bleachers in right center for a three-run home run to run the score to 6-0. It was his first homer in two weeks (since that opening statement against the Devil Rays, actually). After a four-pitch walk to Sheffield, Matsui hit a warning track shot to dead center for the third out.

Randy Johnson pitched around a pair of singles in the bottom of the fourth and with that the route was on. The Yanks added five more runs in the sixth off relievers Eric DuBose (who started the inning by walking Giambi, Sheffield and Matsui on twelve pitches to load the bases), and Jason Grimsley, thanks in part to a through-the-wickets error by Melvin Mora on a bases-loaded grounder by Flaherty.

By the time Derek Jeter singled to make it 10-0, Joe Torre began putting in his subs and, although the weather had long since cleared, when Randy Johnson got Tejada to fly out to Bubba Crosby in center to end the sixth and make the game official, the game was, for all intents and purposes, over.

With Tino Martinez, Felix Escalona, Mark Bellhorn, Matt Lawton and, yes, even Tony Womack (who singled in his first at-bat since September 2, his second AB since August 24) in the field, Scott Proctor and Felix Rodriguez pitched 1-2-3 seventh and eighth innings respectively.

With the Orioles turning to the likes of Walter Young, Eli Whiteside and Ed Rogers, Joe Torre then turned to maligned LOOGY Alan Embree for the ninth. After getting Chris Gomez to fly out on his first pitch, Embree surrendered an opposite field single to the left-handed Young, then gave up the right-handed Rogers’ first major league-hit, a two-run homer to left. After a four pitch-strikeout of Whiteside, Luis Matos lifted a fly to right that Matt Lawton failed to track, letting it drop for a double. Eric Byrnes then singled Matos home to run the final score to 11-3, hopefully eliminating the likelihood of Embree ever pitching in a Yankee uniform again.

Once again, the Yankees took advantage of the opportunity to effect a permanent half-game swing in the standings with a rival idle. In this case, they pulled even with the current Wild Card leaders, the Cleveland Indians. Meanwhile, the rain-out in Boston will force the Red Sox to play a double header against the Blue Jays today. Unfortunately, the change in schedule has wiped out Saturday’s dream match-up of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, as Schilling, who was scheduled to pitch last night, will now throw the night-cap of the double header and be pushed to Sunday’s season finale, with Tim Wakefield, who will pitch the day game, pitching on short rest on Saturday. Elsewhere, Curtis Granderson’s bottom of the ninth home run for the Tigers handed the White Sox yet another loss, leaving them just two games ahead of the Indians (and Yankees).

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1 Stormer Sports   ~  Sep 26, 2005 10:16 pm

1.  I'll tell ya', with Moose and Johnson both taking the mound twice down the stretch-run, our offense running like a 57 Chevy, I like our chances. Plain and simple.

2 The Bear   ~  Sep 27, 2005 12:07 am

2.  Well, I guess that Torre is gonna go with Samll for the finale on Baltimore this Thur.

The thing that I don't get is that y is Ruban Still on the DH role while he's not really good for the past 2 weeks or so... hitting 3 out of 40 ABs.. y not just use Posada as DH for the game..

oh well, maybe that Torre just wanna give Posada a break.. who knows...

3 mikeplugh   ~  Sep 27, 2005 1:03 am

3.  This from CNNSI on Joe Torre for Manager of the Year:


Now I'm not going to sit here and bash Joe. I'm not as critical of Torre as many of our friends here are at times, but I'm also not dim enough to think he deserves Manager of the Year. That honor has got to belong to Indians manager Eric Wedge.

While Torre has done a nice job juggling egos and injuries this year, his $200 million dollar advantage and blind allegiance to certain proven failures hurts him in any conversation about MOTY.

Eric Wedge may not even make the playoffs if the White Sox can punish them in the final 3 games. Boston and the Yankees are playing top baseball right now and any stumble will push the Indians out of the playoffs.

That having been said, Wedge has taken an unheralded group of young players to the brink of the division and the playoffs. Who would have thought that the season would turn out like this in May?

Wedge is one of those guys who could go from hero to goat in the span of a season or two depending on where the Tribe goes from here. If they fall backwards next season and if they can't challenge for the playoffs on a regular basis, fickle fans will call for his head.

This year, at least, he has put Cleveland on the map, and with a week remaining and the final 3 games against the division leading White Sox, he has his team in a position to win the WC, the division, and the hearts of the restless midwest. MOTY in my book.

4 rbj   ~  Sep 27, 2005 5:19 am

4.  I went to bed after the six spot. Nice to see that the bullpen didn't cough it up. I don't mind if Embree pitches again in the regular season, as long as it is the ninth inning and the Yankees are up by eleven. I'll trade run, out, run, out, run out.

Go Blue Jays.

5 Yanks in NH   ~  Sep 27, 2005 5:50 am

5.  1 down and 7 to go - hell yeeeeaaaaaahhhh, full steam ahead!

6 Yanks in NH   ~  Sep 27, 2005 5:54 am

6.  I really have no need to ever see Embree again unless he's pitching against us! Torre seemed to finally get it with Small vs. Wright, please get him to see the light and know that Embree is nothing but a batting practice pitcher!

7 mikeplugh   ~  Sep 27, 2005 5:57 am

7.  Before I go to bed....it's about 10pm over here....I wanted to chime in....

The game will go on while I'm at work tomorrow morning Japan time and I'll be sneaking Gameday in a minimized box on my desktop. Can't let the other teachers know I'm dividing my attention between my lack of work tomorrow and the Yankees. ;)

I get a feeling that A-Rod is about to stamp himself on the Yankees with an MVP worthy close to the 2005 regular season. I don't know why but I'm overcome by the sense that A-Rod will play out the rest of his career in pinstripes breaking into the pantheon reserved for the all-time greats. That's one of the reasons he agreed to move to 3B and come to the Yankees, right?

I think it starts here. I feel that he's about to carry the team on his back (of course with the help of the other Bombers) and put us in the playoffs as AL East Champs. I feel like he's going to put on a display of greatness over the remaining games that will leave no doubt as to his status as MVP, "True Yankee", all-time great, and hopefully Champion for the 1st time.

Giambi, Matsui, Jeter, and Sheff will undoubtedly have something to say about the outcome of the season and the pitching staff as well, but I sense something in the fabric of the baseball universe about to unfold for A-Rod that will propel him even higher in the esteem of the Hall of Fame. Fingers crossed. See you at game time. Good night.

8 JVarghese81   ~  Sep 27, 2005 6:41 am

8.  Just a couple of thoughts this morning. I went to bed last night thinking about Mariano's season and this morning I was taking a look at the Yankee leaderboards on baseball reference. It turns out that Mo leads all Yankees in ERA+ with an ERA+ of 190 for his career (just above Goose Gossage with an ERA+ of 180). So I started wondering what Mo has done this year against the league average and the Hardball Time graciously provided it - ERA+ currently of 338...yes, that's right - 338. And this is AFTER the run he gave up the other night against the Jays. The man is pure magic...

9 jkay   ~  Sep 27, 2005 6:44 am

9.  It will be Glorious!!

10 JVarghese81   ~  Sep 27, 2005 6:45 am

10.  Oh, and Yankees starters so far have a 3.88 ERA in September. (Keep in mind this includes Leiter's debacle in Oakland - 2/3rds of an inning, 6 earned runs).

ALso, Boston is right up there too - 3.90 ERA for the starters in Sept.

These teams look to be pretty evenly matched. It's a good thing we have an MVP third baseman :)

11 Max   ~  Sep 27, 2005 6:49 am

11.  Worst case scenario #1 averted: Yankees going to Fenway already out of the race. Of course, this scenario was laughably improbable, but hey, I'll take my small measures of relief wherever I can find them.

Sox likely to eliminate their similar worst case scenario with at least one win today. The matchups actually look pretty good today for a doubleheader sweep...it's the next two days, with Clement and Arroyo pitching, that are more of a crapshoot.

12 Max   ~  Sep 27, 2005 6:57 am

12.  JVarghese, I wonder what that ERA is with Wright's starts thrown out.

I think the real turnaround in this season occurred in early August when our starting pitching got a lot more reliable (the odd Mussina/RJ/Leiter hiccup notwithstanding). Again, the unheralded guys really saved our season in this respect.

13 Shaun P   ~  Sep 27, 2005 6:58 am

13.  I called it a night just before the 4th started. I had a feeling the Yanks would pull it out. A great, great win all-around. I think we've seen our last of Mr. Embedded Embree.

The sun is shining brightly here in Boston, and the forecast is sun and low 70s all day, and then clear and upper 40s tonight. I think very little work will get done in this city this afternoon.

FWIW - thunderstorms forecast for Thursday here . . .

14 Sam DC   ~  Sep 27, 2005 6:58 am

14.  Was at the game with a group of non-yankee-fans and we commented on the exact point you make: They looked seriously focused and intense, even after they were up 6-0.

And those hundred throws to first while Flaherty was batting really were something, esp. if you were sitting the drizzling remnants of a thunderstorm.

Great write up.

15 Dimelo   ~  Sep 27, 2005 7:32 am

15.  I sure it's the last of Embree.

16 Dimelo   ~  Sep 27, 2005 7:33 am

16.  Sorry....sure hope it's the last of Embree.

17 carl   ~  Sep 27, 2005 7:38 am

17.  Maybe that rain in Boston (which will force the Sox to play two today) will be a bigger help then we think. If so it will have been a Hard Rain for the sox nation. It's getting good.

18 Yanks in NH   ~  Sep 27, 2005 7:55 am

18.  Can you say doubleheader sweep for Toronto! Now that would rain on the sox nation parade.

Would be familiar territory, albeit a year removed, for sox fans as they are all used to the end of the season choke and love to wallow in their misery - and they need to get back into their proper place after last year's anomaly!

19 jkay   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:00 am

19.  Get 'em while they last!


New York Yankees 2005 AL East Division Champions Authentic Collection Youth Raglan T-shirt

Item no: 2114173

20 KYK   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:19 am

20.  One thing that confuses me is the poor performance of Matt Lawton. His career averages certainly don't indicate that his offense would be so bad. And I thought the word was that he would be a capable defender. What happened? Is it all just the pressure of NY and the pennant race?

21 markp   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:27 am

21.  Lawton made a few Matsui-type plays in RF, but he isn't "Mr. Fundamentals" like Hideki, so, coupled with a lousy 40 ABs or so, he's on the pine. I'd much rather see him vs. RHers than the awful Sierra, but Sierra is still one of Joe's guys, so...

22 Alex Belth   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:30 am

22.  I know everyone is putting good karma out there and I don't mean to be a downer, but a split today in Boston would be great. A sweep by the Jays seems highly unlikely. We feel happy today but the shoe could be on the other foot tomorrow. Cautioiusly optimistic, cautiously optimistic.

23 Shaun P   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:38 am

23.  KYK, some MSM sportswriter wrote how, if you look at Lawton's career numbers, the only time they're out of whack has been when he played in NY - first for the Mets, now for the Yanks. So, this writer concluded, obviously Lawton can't deal with the pressure of New York.

I think that's a load of crap. 40 ABs is way too small a sample to make a judgment on. With the Mets, only Lawton's batting average and power numbers were down - but Shea depresses average and power, especially for lefties. He'll probably be fine, if he were to get playing time.

24 Dimelo   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:38 am

24.  Alex, why could the shoe be on the other foot tomorrow?

25 Zack   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:39 am

25.  Doesn't everyone see it? Schilling set this all up. Somehow he managed to channel the weather so that he could pitch the final game of the season against the Yanks with playoffs possibly on the line. What better Schilling-type situation could he ask for? It's his dream. He was denied pitching game 7 last year, so this is his retribution. It's all lined up in his head to return to his status as Red Sox savior/God. I don't know how he did it (sold his soul most likely) but Schilling has once again managed to guarantee that his name will be in the spotlight even more than anyone elses. The Sat. matchup would be good, but he just couldn't pass up the chace.

26 Dimelo   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:41 am

26.  F' Schilling. Hate him.

27 Max   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:46 am

27.  To add to what Alex is saying, right now, the mood is great, but only because we got the first blow in, while the other guys have to sweat a doubleheader today. Even a Red Sox split today and a loss by us would change the mood considerably, I think.

And a loss isn't out of the question to the Os. Yeah, we handled Chen pretty well last week, but he's still a pretty hot pitcher -- didn't allow more than 2 runs in eight of his previous nine starts (and 3 runs in the one other start in that stretch). Plus Chen's numbers are better at home, I believe.

Even if Moose gives 6 1/3 or so good innings, that still leaves the 7th and 8th innings, which have never been breathe easy time around Yankeeland.

If we win today and tomorrow, then I start to look forward to the weekend. But only then.

28 Dimelo   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:51 am

28.  That Yanks will force the opposition take one on the Chen. Smack'em up Yanks, Smack'em up.

29 Nick from Washington Heights   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:52 am

29.  Jesus, Schilling is near insufferable:


Must he always play the holy victim? What a self-serving asshole.

I wonder why people think last night was Embree's last game. He's been doing what he did all year and Torre keeps on coming back to him. My guess is that we'll see him in Fenway as Torre will think given his experience in Boston he'll be able to handle his old mates.

30 jalexei   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:53 am

30.  The doubleheader helps, in terms of certain players getting a lot of innings today, but it figures it hits the team with the best pitching asset to deal with such a situation (i.e. a knuckleballer).

I'm taking faith in the fact that the Jays have done well against the Sox this year, and they seem fired up to play spoiler, but my real concern is Baltimore. Not so much on an intellectual level, the Yanks are clearly a better team, more just that nagging feeling that after so many losses, they're just due to win, no matter who they're playing.

Of course, what was that streak of consecutive wins we had against the Twins?

I don't have the constitution for this...

31 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Sep 27, 2005 8:55 am

31.  Lawton hit .273/.380/.433 with the Pirates through July 31 (a bit better than his career averages), finishing with a .301/.421/.430 July. He was then dealt to the Cubs and went into a slump, hitting just .244/.289/.308 in 19 games with the Cubs. He was then dealt to the Yankees where he went 3 for 22 with a homer and a pair of walks in his first seven games, was benched for two games, then went 0 for 12 with a walk in four more games while playing right field like he was blindfolded in the fourth game, that Saturday disaster against Curt Schilling. He's basically been a bench player since then. Not much of a chance to break out of his slump.

That said, I'm not sure he deserves one. Fellow lefty Bubba Crosby, despite an 0 for 5 last night, is hitting .333/.333/.431 on the month and playing outstanding defense. Meanwhile, Lawton has been a poor second half performer over the past several years:


Pre-break: .268/.359/.446
Post-break: .233/.337/.342

Oops. Lawton's a more valuable bat off the bench than Womack, as he can work a walk and hit a homer (he has two as a Yankee, one of which accounted for all of the runs in a Yankee win). But he falls short of even Womack in the field.

32 Dimelo   ~  Sep 27, 2005 9:08 am

32.  I love how Boston is using the whole Pedro refusing to pitch anymore this season as a reason they got rid of him. It really makes them look smat, they are busting a nutty all over themselves.

33 Schteeve   ~  Sep 27, 2005 9:09 am

33.  I laughed all the way through that Schilling piece. What a f'n drama queen. I fully buy Pedro Gomez's assesment of him.

34 Dimelo   ~  Sep 27, 2005 9:16 am

34.  Schteeve, what did Pedro Gomez say of Schilling?

35 unpopster   ~  Sep 27, 2005 9:16 am

35.  A few choice lines from that Boston Globe piece on Schilling:

["All the glory of last fall has not blunted the repercussions of a new season in which the Sox have gone from ''cowboys" and ''idiots" to injury-ravaged survivalists."]

Oh woe is us, Red Sox Nation! "Injury Ravaged Survivalists" my ass. maybe they should look South at the team in the Brownx before they cry about injuries. Do the names Pavano, Mussina, Wright, Sheffield, Wang, Brown, and Giambi mean anything? These were all major players and pitchers who have spent some time injured during this season.

["...He remembers Ed Wade, his former general manager with the Phillies, once saying Schilling was ''a horse every fifth day and a horse's ass the other four."]

HAHA, I couldnt have said it better myself.

["And he will never forget some other detractors, including Pedro Gomez, a former writer for the Arizona Republic, who chose the day Schilling started Game 7 of the 2001 World Series to describe him as ''a con man, someone more intent on polishing his personal image by whatever means possible."]

Pedro Gomez is my hero!

36 Schteeve   ~  Sep 27, 2005 9:25 am

36.  And the fact that he's roped his wife into his PR image machine is pretty laughable too. It's almost as bad as Barry Bonds using his kid as a prop to do the ol "woe is me" song and dance.

37 KJC   ~  Sep 27, 2005 9:26 am

37.  The NY Times would call the Yankees "injury-ravaged survivalists" as well, if they didn't hate the team so much...

Schilling's not the only player in the news today:
Tiger Woods Signs $15 Million Deal To Endorse Alex Rodriguez

38 JVarghese81   ~  Sep 27, 2005 9:36 am

38.  Hahah - I loved this part of Shilling's article:
Schilling has grown accustomed to the sniping. He remembers Ed Wade, his former general manager with the Phillies, once saying Schilling was ''a horse every fifth day and a horse's ass the other four."

39 Shaun P   ~  Sep 27, 2005 10:02 am

39.  Cliff, that's why I'd keep Lawton around for the postseason bench (presuming the Yanks get there, of course) - he knows how to draw a walk.

Keep Lawton for walks, Sierra for power, and Womack for speed - but mostly keep them stapled to the pine. Bubba plays RF or CF everyday here on out.

40 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Sep 27, 2005 10:06 am

40.  We're getting ahead of ourselves, but you can't bring seven outfielders into the postseason, especially not when you know you're going to have two first basemen as well.

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