"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Giambian Bargain

Needing just one win to clinch a tie for the American League East, the Yankees went to Fenway Park last night and lost a game they could have won. The decisive play came with the bases full of Red Sox in the sixth inning, one man out, the score 3-1 in favor of Boston, and an 0-2 count on Jason Varitek. Varitek hit a weak grounder to Jason Giambi at first, who charged the ball and fired to Jorge Posada to force David Ortiz at home. But Giambi failed to set himself before making the throw, despite the fact that the lumbering Ortiz was the runner at third. His throw tailed down and to the foul side of home, bouncing short of Posada, who was unable to handle the hop. Ortiz scored safely and the Yankees failed to get an out. John Olerud, who started at first base, then flew out to Bernie Williams in center–the only one of the twenty outs Yankee starter Chein-Ming Wang recorded that came via a fly ball to the outfield. Olerud’s fly scored Manny Ramirez from third, pushing the score to 5-1. Had Giambi’s throw been on target, Olerud’s fly would have been the final out of the inning and the score would have held at 3-1, allowing Derek Jeter’s two-run homer in the seventh inning to tie the game. Instead, the Yankees lost 5-3.

That’s not to say that Giambi’s error was the only missed opportunity of the night.


After Boston starter David Wells struck out Derek Jeter on three pitches to start the game, Wells issued a pair of full-count walks to Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. Rodriguez stole third on Wells’ first pitch to Gary Sheffield. Wells’ second pitch to Sheffield hit the Yankee right fielder in the back foot, loading the bases. Hideki Matsui then singled to center on Wells’ next offering, plating Rodriguez.

This was another situation in which Jason Giambi’s limitations cost the Yankees. Though Matsui’s single was hit very hard, a faster runner than Giambi would likely have scored from second on Johnny Damon’s Bernie Williams-like rag arm. That left the bases loaded for Jorge Posada with one out.

Wells started Posada off with a sweeping curve that Posada flailed at as it dove into the dirt. Posada then took a second breaking pitch that dove from shoulder height into the strike zone for strike two. Posada got a hold of Wells’ next pitch, pulling it just foul down the third base line, fouled off another pitch, then finally struckout on a sinking fastball in the dirt. Ruben Sierra, who has started at DH for four of the last five games, then flied out to right to leave the bases loaded and the score at 1-0 Yankees.

Staked to an early lead, Chien-Ming Wang showed an early case of nerves, throwing his first three pitches for balls before walking lead-off hitter Johnny Damon. As Wang was in the process of starting Edgar Renteria off with another 3-0 count, Damon stole second. After Renteria grounded out, David Ortiz grounded a 1-0 pitch into right center to plate Damon and tie the game at 1-1.

Wang, then settled down to strike out Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon, but Jason Varitek lead of the second by blasting Wang’s first pitch into the far centerfield portion of the monster seats. From there Wang, who was leaving his pitches up early, likely due to over throwing, settled down, getting the next three men to ground out. From there Wang and Wells, who got through the top of the second on eight pitches, exchanged zeros until the sixth, when Damon again singled and stole second leading off the inning. Wang then struck out Renteria.

With Damon on second and one out, Joe Torre decided to have Wang intentionally walk David Ortiz, who picked up an RBI single in this situation in the first, and pitch to Manny Ramirez, whom Wang struck out following Ortiz’s RBI single. Unfortunately, Wang then walked Trot Nixon on five pitches, bringing Varitek to the plate with one out and the bases loaded. That’s when Giambi made his throwing error and Olerud hit his sac fly, running the score to 5-1.

The Yanks came right back in the top of the seventh when Derek Jeter followed a one-out Robinson Cano single by working a full count then lifting an opposite field homer into the Red Sox’s bullpen to push the score to 5-3.

But that was all they’d get. The Yanks had squandered another opportunity in the sixth when Giambi lead off with a single and, after a Sheffield fly out, Matsui doubled to deep right. Again, Giambi was unable to score on Matsui’s hit, holding at third where he was stranded by a Jorge Posada ground out and a Ruben Sierra fly out on a total of four pitches.

Wells threw 70 of 101 pitches for strikes through seven innings, then yielded to Chad Bradford and Mike Myers who retired Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui respectively in the eight, and Mike Timlin, who recorded the final four outs and the save. Robinson Cano did single with two outs in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate in the body of Derek Jeter, but Jeter grounded out to Renteria to end the game and even the AL East Standings with two games left to play.


Red Sox Heroes

David Wells Despite a shaky first inning and Jeter’s home run, he got the job done: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K, 69 percent of 101 pitches for strikes.

Johnny Damon Despite a baserunning blunder in the third, he reached base twice in four trips (actually three times, the third on a grounder Bucknered by Alex Rodriguez, erased by that poor baserunning play) on a walk and a single, stealing second and scoring both times.

David Ortiz His single in the first evened the game after the Yanks got out to an early lead. The threat of a big hit prompted the Yankees to intentionally walk him in the sixth leading to the big inning that won the game for the Sox.

Bradford, Myers and Timlin Bradford and Myers neutralized the Yankees two best clutch hitters in the eighth and Timlin retired four of the five batters he faced to seal the deal.

Yankee Heroes

Hideki Matsui 3 for 4, with a bases loaded single in the first to give the Yankees their only lead of the game. If Giambi could run he would have had three RBIs.

Derek Jeter Despite making the 27th out, Jeter’s homer in the seventh drove in two of the Yanks’ three runs and was one of just two extra-base hits off Wells (the other being Matsui’s double).

Scott Proctor Featured his curve to retire all four batters he faced, throwing 69 percent of 16 pitches for strikes

Red Sox Goats


Yankee Goats

Jason Giambi His throwing error in the sixth cost the Yankees two runs, the difference in the game. The same can be said of his baserunning. Combined he swung the score from what could have been 5-3 Yankees to the actual 5-3 Red Sox victory. In his defense, Giambi also made a pair of nice defensive plays in the third, including a cross-diamond throw to capitalize on Damon’s baserunning mistake. He also reached base twice in his four trips to the plate. That’s the Giambian Bargain. The Yankees wouldn’t be here without his bat and his bat isn’t as productive when he’s not in the field. In order to get that production, the Yankees have to agree to sacrifice a little bit of defense and a little bit of speed on the bases. Unfortunately, that bill came due at the worst (or perhaps third-worst) possible time.

Jorge Posada 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. Made two huge outs with a runner at third and one-out, failing to plate a run in either case. He also failed to glove Giambi’s wild throw, which he very well could have done, retiring Ortiz and keeping the game 3-1. Falls just a hair short of Giambi as the goat of the game.

Ruben Sierra Sierra shouldn’t be starting, but since he is, it would help if he didn’t go 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, twice making the third out with a runner on third. He and Posada stranded the same six runners, accounting for all but one of the Yankee runners left on base (the last being Cano in the ninth).

Al Leiter Brought in to retire David Ortiz in the seventh. Walked him on four pitches.


The Yankees have no idea what, if anything they’ll get from Mike Mussina on Sunday. As a result, they have to win today’s match-up between Tim Wakefield and Randy Johnson. Johnson beat Wakefield in a stirring 1-0 game on Sunday September 11 and the Yankees are bringing in retired Yankee knuckleballer Joe Ausanio to pitch batting practice in the hope that they it will help their approach to Wakefield’s flutterball. That smacks of desperation, but now is the time for desperate measures.

The good news is that the Indians lost 3-2 in extra innings last night, increasing the chances of the second place team in the AL East winning the Wild Card. If the Indians lose again today, the loser of the series in Boston is guaranteed to at least play a one-game playoff for the Wild Card on Monday. Thus the Yankees can clinch a one-game playoff game with an Indian loss or a win of their own today.


My appearance on Open Source radio on Thursday night has been archived here. The program, which discusses this weekend’s series and baseball blogging in general, also includes guest appearances from The Futility Infielder‘s Jay Jaffe and Ryan Toohil of The House That Dewey Built.

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1 debris   ~  Oct 1, 2005 2:48 am

1.  A tough loss for you guys, could've gone either way, but didn't. Enjoyed your appearance on the radio, Cliff.

I was thinking about this last night, vis a vis the MVP race.

You're down by a run, last of the ninth, two out, men on first and second. You can send up any hitter you want. Who do you send?

If I'm the Sox, no question. I send up Papi.
If I'm the Yanks, again, no question. I send up Sheffield.

2 Paul in Boston   ~  Oct 1, 2005 5:18 am

2.  The radio piece was terrific -- including the Sox bloggers -- but the host gave me a big pain. I remember him from "The Connection" in Boston, and his palpable bias was awful.

When the host said he "cried" when reading Bill Simmons' stuff, that "there's no better baseball voice in baseball" -- this made me want to vomit.

3 Simone   ~  Oct 1, 2005 5:32 am

3.  Tough loss for the Yankees. Let's see how they do today. At least, Cleveland lost last night.

4 debris   ~  Oct 1, 2005 5:45 am

4.  Paul,

Actually, the guy who gave me a pain was Luke Salisbury, who I know from several SABR National Conventions. His whole infatuation with the "rhapsodic elements" of the rivalry and Sox history is quite worn out.

Cliff, on the other hand, was a breath of fresh air.

5 Alvaro Espinoza   ~  Oct 1, 2005 6:20 am

5.  Cliff,

Amen regarding your comments about Sierra. You would think that Torre learned this lesson after last year's postseason. Are we the only ones who realize that he simultaneously weakens his bench AND his starting line-up by inserting Sierra into the order. Sierra's best AND ONLY contribution to this team is as a late inning PH. The only way you start him is if the entire roster, save 9 guys, falls sick prior to the game and EVEN THEN you do NOT bat Posada and Sierra consecutively in the order.

Was it Joe's fault they lost last night? Absolutely not. The Yanks had plenty of opportunities to pull this game out but no big hits, too many walks and a costly error put them behind the 8 ball (and they were still able to bring the tying run to the plate in the 9th). But once again, Torre failed to put his team in the best possible position to win.

Just to end on a positive note: I did like his in-game mgmt. And I think the Yanks spank these guys today.

6 Popcult   ~  Oct 1, 2005 6:27 am

6.  Great summary of the sad events of last night Cliff. But I'd say it was a tie between the Giambino and Posada for Goat of The Game. When is the last time Posada had a clutch hit?! Going 0-4 and stranding six on base was the difference last night. He should not be batting behind Matsui. At least we have Flaherty playing today-the numbers of course don't back me up, but I actually feel more confident with him at the plate in clutch situations.

7 randym77   ~  Oct 1, 2005 6:45 am

7.  I was disappointed Posada didn't hit better against Wells. He's done well against him before. Having caught him so often, I thought he might see the ball a little better than the average guy. Guess not.

But I'm not ready to throw Posada overboard yet. He had a bad night. So did a lot of others. Overall, he's been hitting better lately. Posada was the winning run in Wednesday's game against the Orioles, and made sure that lead stood by throwing out Matos in the bottom of that inning. I don't think Flaherty would have made that throw.

8 Patrick   ~  Oct 1, 2005 7:25 am

8.  Switch Sierra and Posada and Sierra has 2 RBI.

9 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Oct 1, 2005 8:35 am

9.  Patrick, excellent point. Sierra didn't K in either of those situations.

Thanks for the compliments on the radio thing, folks. Paul, I hear you on the Simmons thing, I enjoy his stuff, but he's been coasting on in-jokes and formula for years now and even when he was at his best, he doesn't provide any real insight into the game, only into his personal fan experience.

10 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 1, 2005 8:40 am

10.  Yo, I went to watch the game with my friend Johnny Red Sox last night at his office. He works for an ad agency and is in audio engineering. We've watched roughly 20-25 Yankee games together since the late nineties and we've got a mutual respect for each other as fans.

When I got there John told me that the gang, who had been at work all day naturally, wanted to go out and catch the game at a local bar. A bar. I don't drink, I'm not crazy about shouting, so I wasn't exactly thrilled, but when in Rome. I could have watched the game sitting outside on the curb so long as I had a good view of a TV.

So we went to one of these bars in midtown with a lot of twenty-something business dudes, lots of guys, lots of TV screens all over the place. Lots of Sox fans, a pretty mixed fanbase crowd. Dude, inbetween innings they'd turn off the sound on the TV and blare really cheesy music, club records. The lowest moment came in eighth inning during a pitching change when they cranked out the PM Dawn. Yo, you know I was dying.

Anyhow, my immediate company was fun even if the surroundings were not my cup of tea in the slightest. I understand the appeal of watching a game in a bar because there is a lot of energy there. But for me the energy is chaotic and haphazzard, often more about getting loaded than the game.

But I was able to get myself into a quiet zone despite all of the noise swirling around me. And the funny thing is, like when I'm at the game live, I felt less nuerotic watching the game around so many people. Or at least I had a more profound feeling that hey, I don't have any say or control over what is going to happen out there on the field. At home, it's easier for me to fall into the trap of thinking, oh, if I sit in this position good things/bad things are going to happen.

So I was disappointed by the outcome of the game, but not red in the face. The Yankees simply didn't play very well. They haven't had too many clunkers of late, so perhaps they had to get one out of their system.

When I left the place, I walked over to Grand Central station to grab the shuttle train over to Broadway. Before ducking inside the station I paused to appreciate the magnificence of the Chyrsler Building, possibly my favorite skyscraper in the city. Then as I walked through a bustling Grand Central, I took a moment to look up at the cieling, recalling how dingy it was when I was growing up. The place really is grand, and both of these city landmarks cheered me up when I was feeling temporarily blue.

Huge game today. Must to hope and pray for a win.

Go Yankees.

11 JohnnyC   ~  Oct 1, 2005 8:50 am

11.  Nice column by Steve Goldman on last night's game in his Pinstriped Blog. Reiterates all the things we all know about Sierra...but it's good to see it in an authoritative and hilarious form. But, and I really like Steve's work, toward the end, Goldman blames Torre, Cashman, and the organization for bad roster management, the overweaning use of Sierra (especially as a righty platoon DH, for chrissake)being the most obvious example. The love cult that surrounds Joe Torre can even cloud the reasoning of someone as astute as Steve. Is not Ruben Sierra Joe Torre's own peculiar Frankenstein's Monster? Do you really think that he's on the team OVER the objections of Torre rather than by his consent? Torre loves the guy, now that he performs the proper obeisances to his royal highness in the clubhouse. Do you really think Brian Cashman, who's been rightly commended for his mid-season moves to bolster the rotation and the infield, FORCES Torre to give Sierra 300 ABs a year? If so, why doesn't Torre play Matt Lawton every day? Or, for that matter, why isn't Bubba Crosby his everyday CFer? Surely, Cashman or Tampa or the tooth fairy would prefer Torre to do that than play Sierra against lefties, put him in the outfield ever, forget Andy Phillips ever existed, or continue to pitch Alan Embree in high leverage situations.

12 vockins   ~  Oct 1, 2005 9:01 am

12.  That was a tough loss, but during the top of the 9th, my 7 month old daughter grabbed my hand, looked me in the face and said, "Dada." That was pretty sweet. (Yes, the kid should be in bed before 10:30, but she had a big nap at 7:00, so give me a break)

I want to thank the real Scott Proctor for finally escaping that basement in southern Ohio that he had been trapped in, killing his doppleganger, and pitching great middle relief. That final out in the eighth was a nice silver lining. I hope he keeps showing up.

I watched the ALDS at 7B last year. I liked it even though the jukebox was on the entire time. Everyone was pretty focused on the game. I'll take a Yankees game with a Stooges soundtrack over Tim McCarver any day of the week. Not everyone's cup of tea, though.

13 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 1, 2005 9:09 am

13.  I think Posada has to overtake Giambi as goat of the game. Besides every other way he fucked up, the two stolen bases against him scored

14 unpopster   ~  Oct 1, 2005 9:33 am

14.  vockins,

7B has always been my favorite bar in NYC...I used to live on the corner of 7th and A (above Niagara Bar) and considered 7B (Vazack Bar) my neighborhood haunt.

My friends and I loved the crowd, LOVED the jukebox, and shared many a beer with a local music scenester and musician.

Now I'm a reluctant New Jersyite who who give mt right arm for a local bar like 7B.

ALCS at 7B, huh? I thinki I'm going to try that this year!

15 atc   ~  Oct 1, 2005 9:47 am

15.  Not that you guys don't do it ordinarilly, but I would really appreciate good descriptions of anything that may be confusing without picture, as Fox has taken away my eyes. Thanks!!

16 markp   ~  Oct 1, 2005 9:56 am

16.  why does Wang get a pass? He's the one that loaded the bases in that inning and gave up the other runs. Giambi's throw wasn't so wild that Posada didn't have a shot at it, but there was no defense for Wang's walks.

17 Fred Vincy   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:03 am

17.  I'd say Jorge was the goat because his at bat in the first was so critical, and so thoughtless. I don't blame someone for going o-fer, but he didn't seem to have any plan up there at all. Why start hacking at pitches out of the strike zone when Wells was obviously having control problems?

18 Zack   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:05 am

18.  I man I forgot that Fox games don't start until 1:15 at least. I have to be out of the house at 12:30 my time and was hoping the game would be well on its way by then (west coast time). Between the delayed start, the long commercial breaks, Tim McCarver, and everything else Fox does, I might be very surly for this meeting...

19 randym77   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:08 am

19.  It wasn't one of Wang's better games. But he's only a rookie. And he was pitching under tough conditions. The umpire was terrible. The offense didn't give him much support. And the infield at Fenway is as bad or worse than Tropicana was. A-Rod would not have missed that grounder in Yankee Stadium.

20 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:15 am

20.  We just need an all around solid day. Solid play on the bases, in the field, and at the plate. We beat Boston if we get it. The Yankees clearly outclass the Red Sox in those departments, now lets show it.

Big day for RJ.

Big day for Arod!
Big Day for Giambi, I can smell it!

Yankees win and Cleveland loss clinches the division, letg go!

21 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:16 am

21.  randym.

We held them to 5, that should have been plenty. The offense cost the team, not Wang or the Umpire.

22 Zack   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:22 am

22.  Oh gosh, Mccarver looks downright scary...bad suit, scary glassess, over tanned skin...

23 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:24 am

23.  Randy is going to be downright scary today!

24 atc   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:24 am

24.  Zack, maybe not having the game on tv isn't so bad then

25 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:27 am

25.  Cliff.

Am I wrong or have we not won since Jeter became leadoff full time?

1996-2000, we had other lead-off guys?


26 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:28 am

26.  Jete, you show them how to play these games!

27 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:28 am

27.  Now can we capitalize?

Where are the LOB-itis pills?

28 atc   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:29 am

28.  Stormer, Jeter led off in the 2000 world series - he hit a homer to lead off either game 4 or 5. I don't remember when he started leading off that year.

29 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:30 am

29.  Where were all Arod's SB's earlier in the year?

30 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:31 am

30.  Looks like the extra knuckleball BP might pay off! Small price to pay, hiring some knuckleball pitchers to throw BP.

31 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:32 am

31.  Good slide Arod!

32 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:33 am

32.  atc.

Thanks, my memory needed jogging.

33 Zack   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:35 am


34 Zack   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:35 am

34.  2 run Bomb by the Sheff!!

35 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:35 am

35.  That ball is HIGH!

Do you snell what the Sheff is cooking!

36 Zack   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:36 am

36.  I just lept up and scared the crap out of my cat when he hit that

37 atc   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:36 am

37.  There you go Randy, now go shut em down

38 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:36 am

38.  Keep em' coming guys!

39 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:37 am

39.  Shawn Chacon may pitch for us for 5 years. I sure hope so. He is what we need to spark this franchise, some youth, some youth with fight in them.

40 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:39 am

40.  Uh, guys, you're on the wrong thread. I thought it was quite today.

41 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:40 am

41.  Randy is going to be like the Devil up there today, I can feel it!

We must get to their bullpen first.

Am I the only one who gets odd 8mm vibes when they chant "machine machine" in that Pepsi commercial?

42 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:41 am

42.  Walk? What, huh?

43 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:42 am

43.  Where did they dig up the Umps for this series?

44 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:43 am

44.  Okay. Suit yourself. But there are two more recent posts on this site, and the game thread is two posts up.

45 Stormer Sports   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:43 am

45.  Gotcha Cliff.

46 Zack   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:45 am

46.  Don't know what Mccarver and Buck are talkin about, as usual, but that pitch DID NOT hit Ortiz

47 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Oct 1, 2005 10:51 am

47.  Zack, see #44.

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