"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

How Humiliatin’

I never did like Carl Pavano much when he was in pinstripes but I didn’t necessarily enjoy ragging on him. It became inevitable at a certain point–he didn’t leave us any cherce but to bust on him–but it wasn’t something I relished. 


Now, I really don’t like the dude. With his fat arse and crooked nostrils and current success on the mound.  Whadda Bum.

On Sunday afternoon, Pavano pitched well against the Yankees for the second time this year. He was even better today than he was at Yankee Stadium in April, throwing slop effectively, mixing speeds, getting ahead, and keeping his pitch count low. A steady wind blocked fly balls from sailing into the seats and Pavano got by on a steady diet of fly ball outs. 

Phil Hughes regressed from his previous start in Texas. He got into trouble in the third inning and gave up three runs.  The Indians added another in fifth. Chien-Ming Wang relieved Hughes in the top of the sixth and pithced well. The sinker was diving. The movement was better–he’s throwing harder.

Mark Teixeira hit a two-run home run in the sixth to narrow the score to 4-2. Then, the humilation continued. Brett Gardner scorched a line drive with a runner on in the seventh (a sure extra base hit), but it was right at the first baseman, Ryan Garko. Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada was called out on a full count change-up to start the eighth. Then, Derek Jeter legged out an infield hit. We’ve seen less and less of this from Jeter this season, which is only natural for an veteran player. But Jeter smelled the hit and when he ran through the base he waved his arms out, making a safe sign. It was about as demonstrative play as we are likely to see from Jeter. It was as if he had had just about enough of Pavano. 

Eric Wedge walked to the mound and removed his starter, who had thrown just 89 pitches. Perhaps Wedge didn’t want things to go sour on Pavano’s watch. The YES announcers questioned the call and the Cleveland fans booed Wedge moments later after Rafael Perez gave up a double to Johnny Damon putting the tying run on second base with one out. 

Rafael Betancourt entered the game to face Teixeira with first base open, threw three pitches (two sinkers and a fastball, 2-1), and then began to flex his right leg. Wedge and the trainer went to check on him and he was pulled from the game. Matt Herges replaced Betancourt, threw a ball low, and a fastball that Teixeria fouled back. Teixeira smacked the next pitch, a change-up, off the wall in left center–the wind did not hold it up–and the game was tied. Pavano would not get the win. Herges got two ground outs (Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano) to end the inning.

Wang walked Mark DeRosa to start the bottom of the eighth; Ryan Garko bunted him to second. Then Wang struck Kelly Shoppach out on three pitches, finishing him off with a power sinker (it was Shoppach’s fourth K of the day). Luis Valbuena flew out to left.  Three scoreless for Wang and a job well done.

Kerry Wood walked Matsui to start the ninth and Ramiro Pena came in to run for Godzilla. Nick Swisher squared to bunt and took a ball. He got the next pitch down, looked decent in the process, and sacrificed Pena to second. Gardner followed and smacked a Baltimore chop off the plate for a single, Pena moving to third. Posada, in a nice position to hit, worked the count but Gardner did not attempt to steal.  So, Posada rolled into a easy, 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Phil Coke relieved Wang and promptly walked Trevor Crowe to start the last of the ninth. Walked him on a full count pitch. Wonderful. Lead-off walk. Asdrubal Cabrera sacrificed Crowe to second and David Robertson replaced Coke, walked Ben Francisco and fell behind Jhonny Peralta, 3-1 before giving up a base hit down the third base line. The game-winner.

Indians 5, Yanks 4.

At least Pavano didn’t get the win. Still, that is small comfort. This was a game the Yanks had.


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1 PJ   ~  May 31, 2009 4:26 pm

Considering they faced Cleveland without their three best players (Hafner, Martinez, and Sizemore), the only word I can think of for this effort is "sloppy," lack of errors be damned.

Their 1.5 game lead lasted less than 24 hours.


Hopefully, they "flip their switch" back to "On" tomorrow!

2 Mattpat11   ~  May 31, 2009 5:10 pm

I love that we have relievers that come in to just walk people. We lost some of that with the departure of Felix Heredia.

3 Mattpat11   ~  May 31, 2009 5:16 pm

Peter Abraham is saying that Gardner was given the steal sign in the ninth, saw in, and refused to run.

What in the holy hell?

4 The Hawk   ~  May 31, 2009 5:19 pm

[3] If that's true, he should be fired. Hard to believe though. I mean - that was the game. A lot of things contribute to a loss obviously, but only some are easily avoidable. I'm still not sure why they had Swisher bunt to bring up Gardner anyway - didn't seem like a high percentage play. But not attempting to steal with Posada at the plate is just crazy.

5 ms october   ~  May 31, 2009 5:20 pm

i guess i (maybe we) owe girardi an apology for one thing - gardner got the steal sign, saw it and din't run - apparently the issue has been addressed - gardner has done better of late, but he still has just one skill - he should be using it better

[2] they have got to find a couple of strike throwers

going to be interesting to see what happens with wang.

6 ms october   ~  May 31, 2009 5:21 pm

i took forever to submit - sorry mattpat [3]

7 randym77   ~  May 31, 2009 5:22 pm

Time to bring back Wang?

Meanwhile, in Scranton, they had another bullpen start yesterday, because they don't have enough starters.

8 The Hawk   ~  May 31, 2009 5:23 pm

[4] Just read it. Well I guess he did cost them the game. Bizarre. This is the same guy who tried to score on one of the more ummm "aggressive" plays I've seen this year, not too long ago.

Robertson couldn't find the plate, but someone's physical inability to perform their job is less frustrating than a bad choice made.

4 runs in 5 innings sucks. It's not a meltdown but it's pretty effin' bad.

9 Mattpat11   ~  May 31, 2009 5:27 pm

[8] A bad choice would be stealing on his own and getting thrown out.

Getting an order from the manager and saying "Nah" is not only completely inexcusable, but one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen.

10 The Hawk   ~  May 31, 2009 5:28 pm

Another thing about Gardner - it could be bad timing for him to do something stupid, if Cabrera is indeed coming back tomorrow.

11 The Hawk   ~  May 31, 2009 5:29 pm

[9] I said it was bizarre! Ha ... No it is really so strange.

12 randym77   ~  May 31, 2009 5:36 pm

Wow, Gardner's batting .270. When did that happen?

13 cult of basebaal   ~  May 31, 2009 5:37 pm

From Petey:

Then Gardner failed to steal second as ordered in the ninth inning. He saw the sign, he just didn’t run. Gardner explained he was worried about being picked off.

Sweet Jesus, "picked off" by Kerry Wood?

Are you kidding me?

Bad, bad case of HUA by Gardner there.

14 51cq24   ~  May 31, 2009 5:39 pm

well i'm glad it was gardner and not girardi, and especially glad that melky will be back soon.

15 cult of basebaal   ~  May 31, 2009 5:39 pm

[8] Gardner catches that ball in the 5th and we're quite possibly looking at 6ip/3er. At the very least, he would have started off the 6th on the mound. Not great, and maybe for the best, if it means CMW takes the next start.

I'd start CMW for Hughes in the next start, keep Phil around as a long relief to piggy back Wang until CMW proves he's ready to go 6-7 every time out.

16 The Hawk   ~  May 31, 2009 5:50 pm

[15] There are often "ifs" involved in a mediocre/bad start. That's why I said it wasn't a meltdown. But if Gardner catches that ball, maybe Hughes makes even more bad pitches and gives up six runs. I mean, who knows? You can't assume everything would be the same other than what you'd like to see changed for the better. I want Phil Hughes to do well but if he doesn't, I prefer just to call a spade a spade.

17 cult of basebaal   ~  May 31, 2009 6:11 pm

[16] i prefer to call it a shovel. i also prefer to call a hoe a hoe, a trowel a trowel and a pitchfork "my moseying stick".

18 rbj   ~  May 31, 2009 6:19 pm

Maybe Brett could sharpen his "steal when the manager damn well tells you to steal" practice down in Charleston. At the very least, the kangaroo court should weigh in on this. Extra laps instead of $$$.

19 cult of basebaal   ~  May 31, 2009 6:58 pm

[18] normally, i prefer push-ups for Slappy, but in this case, extra running is truly making the punishment fit the crime ...

20 Just Fair   ~  May 31, 2009 7:09 pm

I can undestand the homeplate play probably took a notch from Gardner's confidence belt. But if those words are accurate, I am sincerely annoyed. If he's worried, he shouldn't be playing. Cripes. It's the only gd reason your in the line-up to begin with. WTF!

21 seamus   ~  May 31, 2009 8:08 pm

Gardner is a youngster. These kinds of things happen with young guys. Call it a learning experience and a day. Gotta live with the good and the bad with the young talent.

22 Mattpat11   ~  May 31, 2009 8:22 pm

[21] Do these kind of things really happen? How often does a young player just completely disregard a manager's order without harsh consequences?

And if the "good" is that he can run, and the "bad" is that he's afraid to run, that's sort of hard to live with.

23 seamus   ~  May 31, 2009 8:49 pm

[22] umm, he didn't "disregard" so much as get overly cautious. And yes, part of growing pains for all workers is learning when to follow orders and when to follow their own judgement. Do all players make this specific mistake? Probably not, but all young players make mistakes and I'm sure Gardner isn't the first to make this specific mistake and won't be the last.

24 randym77   ~  May 31, 2009 8:51 pm

[21] Agreed. As long he doesn't make the same mistake twice, I'm fine with it.

He was probably just waiting for the right moment, and waited too long.

25 mehmattski   ~  May 31, 2009 9:25 pm

On another topic... remember how we all hated Joe Torre for not bringing in Rivera in tie games on the road? And how everyone thought that Joe Girardi would be a smarter manager and would Do The Right Thing, late in tie games on the road? And I got the baseball-reference out and proved that very few managers actually do use their closers in this way, especially since Girardi never brought in Joe Borowski into a tie game in the 9th? And everyone said that Girardi would be different with the Yankees, with Mo?

Well, what about the 9th inning tonight? The more things change....

26 Will Weiss   ~  Jun 1, 2009 12:05 am

[25] I had this same exact conversation with my father. I didn't understand it at all. Coke has proven time and time again that he can't deliver in a tight spot (the homers to lefty power hitters Mauer, Morneau and Chris Davis in the last two weeks notwithstanding). I don't understand the logic. Mo would have been in the game with a one-run lead had the Yankees converted in their half of the ninth. The game remained tied. Why not have the Indians lineup beat your best? It's baffling.

I've been intrigued by all the Brett Gardner talk. The baserunning issues over the past week have been questionable (trying to score on that late play, I blame Rob Thomson more than Gardner). I'm still waiting for him to hit a ball out of the infield on the fly. I'm sick of all the announcers touting his speed and how he makes a ground ball to second base close. Enough already. I didn't think I'd believe that Melky Cabrera was the best everyday option in any of the three outfield positions, but that day is here. Brett Gardner is Dave Roberts ... wait, Roberts would have run in that situation.

27 Rich   ~  Jun 1, 2009 12:50 am

If Robertson is shown patience, he will be fine.

28 monkeypants   ~  Jun 1, 2009 2:33 am

[26] I’ve been intrigued by all the Brett Gardner talk...

Good heavens, man, what do you want? If you have heard all of the talk, then you would know that he is a marginal prospect with a couple of strong assets (OBP and speed). He is hitting about .730 OPS, which is just about the best that could be hoped for, and he's stolen 9 out of 11 bases.

I didn't see the game, nor did I hear his comments, so it is hard to read the context of what he said. I don't know how much leeway the Yankees staff gives to players to "opt out" of signs depending on the situation--is the steal sign 100%, or does it mean steal unless you see the pitcher make a move to 1B? If he screwed up, I assume that he will be talked to and or chastised. If not, that is on the coaching staff.

From my vantage--i.e., in another country and not following very closely the last couple of weeks--this entire discussion seems a bit overwrought.

For the record, BTW, I am not convinced either Melky or Gardner should be starting, and neither can be considered the "best option." But I guess someone has to start.

29 monkeypants   ~  Jun 1, 2009 8:08 am


An addendum--

The only reason that anyone was talking about Gardner is because Melky had regressed for two straight seasons and was shit awful last year. All any reasonable person expected was for Gardner to be better than Melky 2008, and so far he has been.

That Melky 2009 has been even better--perhaps because the organization lit a fire under his ass??--is even better for the team.

30 Raf   ~  Jun 1, 2009 8:38 am

I was out so I didn't see the game, but was there any reason why CMW couldn't go another inning? Aceves is available as a long man/starter if Pettitte's back is acting up. Wang would have enough to go a couple of innings if needed as well, since Pettitte's start is on Wednesday. Worse comes to worst, they could fashion a start from the 7 guys they have in the pen.

31 Yankster   ~  Jun 1, 2009 10:54 am

[30] My question exactly. I thought the general idea was to lengthen Wang a bit in preparation for a start at some point? Pitching three after his two inning outing last time seems reasonable. On the other hand, he did use 42 pitches to go two innings, which is more like three innings of work than two.

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