"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


Neither Joba Chamberlain nor Brandon Morrow was particularly impressive Tuesday night, though neither got hit particularly hard either. Morrow gave up a pair of runs in the second, thanks in part to an error by replacement third baseman Chris Woodward, then allowed another run in the process of wiggling out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. Chamberlain gave up a solo homer to light-hitting replacement shortstop Ronny Cedeño in the third, then in the fifth gave up a run to Ichiro Suzuki (who reached on an infield hit, stole second and third, and scored on a Russell Branyan single), and another when Jose Lopez (who replaced Branyan via fielder’s choice) stole second and scored on another single.

Morrow loaded the bases again in the fifth and was pulled with two outs having thrown 98 pitches. Chris Jakubauskas came on to get Hideki Matsui to ground out to end the threat. Joba was pulled with one out and a man on second after throwing 96 pitches through 5 1/3. Phil Coke came on to retire Ichiro and Branyan to strand the runner.

With both starters out, the game held at 3-3 until the bottom of the seventh. With Jakubauskas still on the hill, Johnny Damon led off by lacing a ground-rule double down the left field line, and Alex Rodriguez cashed him in with a no-doubter two-run jack into the 200 level in left field.

Phil Hughes had used just nine pitches in working a 1-2-3 seventh inning before the Rodriguez homer, but Joe Girardi, determined to restablish Brian Bruney as the eighth-inning guy, went to Bruney in the eighth to protect the two-run lead against the bottom of the Mariners’ weak-hitting order.

Here’s how that went: single, single, single (run scores), runners bunted up to second and third, intentional walk to Ichiro, sac fly (run scored game tied), groundout.

With the game tied 5-5 and Sean White on in place of Jakubauskas, Hideki Matsui, who had his family in the house, led off the bottom of the eighth with a double to the wall in the right-center-field gap. Nick Swisher then laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line and beat it out to put runners on the corners, and Melky Cabrera put the Yankees back out front with a double. Derek Jeter then cashed in both Swisher and Cabrera with a single, and Mariano Rivera got save number 501 with 11 pitches in the ninth. Yankees win, 8-5.

Mo also threw out the ceremonial first pitch in recognition of his 500th save on Sunday. He’s the baddest man alive, don’tcha know (and one cool customer).

Bruney, meanwhile, had the worst night of the 15 Yankees to get into the game, but came away with the win, again underlining the absurdity of that statistic.

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Game Recap

Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email %PRINT_TEXT


1 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:16 am

Oh my fucking God:

As long as Phil Hughes stays in the bullpen, he is not building innings for his future role as a starter. But there are no plans for him to return to the minors. “I can’t look Mariano Rivera in the face and say, ‘I’m going to weaken your bullpen right now for the future,’ ” General Manager Brian Cashman said. Helping Hughes’s case to stay is the veteran Sergio Mitre, who is 2-0 with a 2.88 E.R.A. in four starts for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Having Mitre as insurance for the rotation lessens the need for Hughes to fill that role.

I don't how much of that is Kepner and how much is Cashman, but if this scenario comes to pass I may just have to hunt down the GM and waterboard him.

2 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:20 am

I'm giving the manager slack on Bruney. Last year he tried set roles then let performance mostly dictate use. I see no reason to question that logic now with Bruney just coming back. If he's the same suck in a month, then I'll have issues if he's still "the 8th inning guy". But Girardi has shown a knack for managing the bullpen that his predecessor never showed. The bullpen is already turning around. Having Hughes helps, of course. But Coke is another reliever that Girardi gets credit for.

3 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:23 am

That's non-news. If someone in the rotation goes down, Hughes or Aceves will go in before Mitre, who's not on the 40-man. Kepner said Hughes isn't going to the minors, which was the consensus decision among Banterites as well; keep him in the majors so he can learn to get major league hitters out. The Yankees still view Hughes as a starter. I'm sure they expect him to take Pettitte's spot in next year's rotation. In the meantime, he's building confidence and learning how to pitch in the majors and dominating out of the pen. Oh how horrible!

4 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:28 am

Bum, I don't understand how Girardi gets credit for Coke and Hughes and Bruney, but Cashman--who called up Coke last year despite him not being a prospect of any kind, picked Bruney off waivers, and kept Hughes in the major league pen when it would have been easy to demote him and keep him starting in Triple-A--is the target of all your hatred. Familiarity breeds contempt, I suspect.

5 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:35 am

Whoops, the link on #1 is Kepner's recap.

One more note on Hinske:

Here's Cashman:

"He knows his role. He can help us at third, first, left, right, D.H. He can pinch-hit, and that’s a difficult thing, to be used to doing something like that and handling it. And he’s a pro. He’s been through the trenches in the American League East.”

Hinske as a PH: .260 .374 .385 .759
Hinske as a starter: .253 .335 .434 .769

At 3B?:

All of 130 innings since 2006, none in 2007, and 68 innings (or 7.5 games) over the last two seasons. If he plays more than four or five games there he will be utterly exposed.

How about all that post-season experience?

How about a total of 4 plate appearances. The same as...Shelley Duncan.

What the hell is it with Pittsburgh? Nady and Marte weren't uninspiring enough?

6 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:36 am

[3] I'm just concerned that if he spends the rest of the season in the BP--especially if it's more often one inning a pop--he will only manage about 100 innings or so this year. So it will be tough for him to take Andy's spot next season, unless they throw out the "add 50 innings" (or whatever it is) rule.

7 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:44 am

Sorry, Cliff, forgot to close that tag.


If you're correct then no problem. But why is anyone talking about Mitre? Seriously, why? I've watched the Yankees start Sid Ponson and Scott Erickson. Mitre wouldn't surprise me.

@ 4

His primary job is to give them a decent roster and he fails except for spending money and receiving dumped contracts.

Sure, credit him for keeping Hughes and Coke and Bruney (even though I'm dubious on the latter two). Problem is, who's at fault for cutting Wang's rehab short? Or for planning on Nady as a starter? Or butchering all three of Melky options? Or carrying two backup infielders for two months? Or re-signing Marte? Or no bench to speak of?

If the best you've got is the feeble bullpen slowly coming together, then I wonder where your hatred is?

8 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:45 am

I certainly would like to see Girardi use Hughes for multiple-inning outings. Two last night would have been nice. I agree, he needs to get his innings up, but a hole in the rotation might open back up. Some have also suggested that Joba will get close to his limit and he and Hughes will switch roles. I don't know if that will actually happen, but it sounds good. The problem is unless Wang comes all the way back, Joba will be needed in the postseason rotation. Of course, if Wang has a set-back, it could suck Hughes back into the rotation.

I'll say this: the team has done everything right with Joba and, other than perhaps rushing Hughes in 2007, has handled Hughes well as well. They're obviously being smart about pitch and inning counts. I'm going to trust they they'll figure it out. There are too many unknowns over the course of the season to worry too much about it before you see how things unfold.

9 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:47 am

@ 6

Hughes himself has said 100 IP. I think they've told him that's the target.

And you're right. It's 20% and that means at most 140 innings.

Between Hughes, Wang and Burnett, I'm not sure they should let Pettitte go. That's the big problem with the Burnett deal. You can't count on him, but with the money invested, you have to assume you can.

10 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:48 am

[8] Fair enough. We shall see!

And with that, off to bed.

11 Rich   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:53 am

I understand the need for a set of rules to govern how Hughes will be used, similar to those that were in effect when Joba was first put in the pen in 2007 (although I really thought they should have been called the "Torre Rules"), but reasonable people know that every rule has its exceptions, and if an exception isn't made after a nine pitch inning, then there is something terribly wrong with the person in charge of applying the rules.

12 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:58 am

I’ll say this: the team has done everything right with Joba and, other than perhaps rushing Hughes in 2007, has handled Hughes well as well.

I agree. If that's one thing that Cashman has done right, it is very valuable. But then he goes and throws all that progressive thinking away on Burnett.

Even if they stumbled into the old Weaver template, it's not a bad path forward for most pitching prospects. Getting out AAA lineups is very different from MLB lineups. Better to practice against the best then slowly ramp into higher leverage spots.

13 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2009 1:58 am

[9] Are you referring to this (from Pete Abe):

Hughes said he would feel differently if he were 26 and not 23. But he pointed out, quite correctly, that he has proven he can get AAA hitters out. He thinks he’s better off here learning how to get big-league hitters out in high leverage situations. “Then when the times comes, I’ll start,” he said. “If I get 100 good innings this year, I’ll be fine,” he said.

If so, then I'm not sure you can adduce this statement to show that his limit is 100 INN. It sounds to me like an athlete saying "I want to start, just give me 100 INN this year and I'll be good to go next season."

14 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:00 am

Bum, Mitre is just 28, and he was a "free talent" pickup, that is, they got him on a minor league deal. I'm sure he's here because Girardi, who was his manager in his only full season as a major league starter in 2007, put in a good word, just like Tony Peña did for his former Royals charge Angel Berroa. I don't see the harm in it (Mitre that is, not Berroa). He'll either help or go away. He's hardly a veteran retread like Ponson or Erickson (who boiled my blood as well). In fact, he was doing pretty darn well at age 26 in 2007. A young groundballer, he had a 3.64 ERA after 21 starts before his arm started to go on him, and due to TJ surgery he's been on the shelf ever since. He's hardly a proven failure like Ponson.

Oh, and it was Cashman that acquired Swisher, but Girardi that wanted to start Nady anyway. The manager and GM tend to collaborate on a lot of decisions (like keeping the extra infielder). I'm not going to get into a point-by-point argument with you. My point is simply that you can't always separate the GM's decisions from the manager's decisions, neither should be spared credit nor blame for the sort of decisions you're complaining about.

15 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:04 am

@ 11

And yet, if they don't try to rely on Bruney, what happens if Hughes is needed in the rotation. You're right back to a crappy bullpen and no safety net.

In the second half if Girardi isn't using Hughes more aggressively, I'm right with you. But he deserves slack for last year's bullpen alone. He did more in one year than Torre did in 12.

16 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:11 am

@ 14

Fair enough.

On the collaboration, sure. But I just don't think it's equal. One guy has been the GM for (too) long and the manager is the guy he hired. There's a power imbalance even if the manager's opinions are considered. It also easy to blame Cashman for things that have happened across his tenure (crappy free agents, horrid trades, and no bench for th last five years).

Do you have a source for the Nady decision? Girardi said that in Spring Training, but it had also been clear to him who was the starter and who was brought in as a spare part/salry dump (before Teixeira). We also had Cashman saying Swisher was the 1B....before he signed another.

@ 13

Yes, but that number seems too conveniently correct. It's not like he's pulling it out of his ass (like most athletes). It's like he's heard the plan and now wants to meet expectations.

17 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:11 am

Rich, I believe I just heard Girardi say on the "Joe Girardi Show" that they don't want to use Hughes in back-to-back days, but that they will use him multiple innings when, for example, Bruney needs a day off. So that's a little bit of "Joba Rules," yes.

18 PJ   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:15 am

[8] Here are the numbers with respect to Joba's inning count to date, as well as what may happen the rest of the way, Cliff.

Including tonight's start, Joba has pitched in 81 innings in 15 starts.

There are 86 games left in the regular season.

He has averaged just over five innings per start (5.4 or five and a third).

If he pitched in the rest of his turns, he'd get 17 more starts and exceed his 150 limit, which isn't going to happen.

Based on his average duration, he can miss three turns, start 14 more games, and will wind up with somewhere between 145 - 155 innings for the year, which is a rough estimate due to partial innings.

That amounts to missing one start per month for the duration of the regular season, which he can get with some of the remaining off days in the schedule. It's doubtful he will spend time in the pen between now and the end of the regular season as he's right on schedule for his limit, in fact it should work out fairly accurately that way. As to whether or not he's used in the pen for the playoffs, I would argue that depends on how firm that 150 number is. If he shows signs of improvement between now and then, he may even start in the playoffs if he can miss additional starts in the meantime. If he continues in the second half the way he's produced to date, it's possible they will shut him down once he's at 150, depending on both needs, and how fatigued he is, the latter being the priority.

In the meantime, as they've said all along, he's starting indefinitely. I'm reasonably sure it will take something very drastic to change that.

19 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:17 am

@ 13

That said, 100 IP may not be a hard cap. He's hit that before and I don't know how that's treated. Even with his short 2008, it seems like 120 IP is doable if necessary. (And now I realized I screwed up the simple math in #9 - 20% of 100 is 20.)

20 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:17 am

Bum, on the Hughes 100, again, it's non-news. He spat out a round number. It's like saying "I've told you 100 times . . ." or Sabathia saying "give me 200 innings . . ." though he usually pitches 250.

As for Nady, wasn't it obvious? There was a spring training competition, neither guy did well, and Girardi said it would be Nady because he had the better 2007 season and had some track record as a Yankee. Besides, there's no saying that a slow start by Nady and Swisher's hot start wouldn't have reversed their roles even before the injury (as it was, Nady started seven of the first eight games and Swisher started six). I have a hard time blaming Cashman for something that didn't even happen particularly given that Cashman was the guy who pulled off the brilliant trade for Swisher in the first place.

21 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:25 am

@ 20

What you call a brilliant trade I call a salary dump. Was the Abreu acquisition also a brilliant trade? Is it a brilliant trade if you're the only team willing to take a player at his full contract?

On a related note, what about going into a season with a $200 million payroll but without one outfielder that can slug .500? That idiocy doesn't make your blood boil even a little?

22 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:29 am

Of course, the Yankee DH doesn't slug .500 either. It's like free offense, given their resources and the off-season, and they don't even try? Because their infield is "good enough" the offense can "afford" not one power hitter among three power-based slots?

23 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:31 am

@ 20

What do you think Hughes' cap is? How do folks talk about arm development when a year is missed. Is it back to the beginning?

24 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:34 am

Nope. Not with Damon slugging .526 and Swisher slugging .500, and not with the best team slugging percentage in the majors (.468). Doesn't bother me one bit.

25 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:37 am

Hughes cap just might be 100 innings based on the fact that he threw 70 last year and the rule is no more than 30 beyond the previous year for young arms, regardless of previous career high. Of course, you can't hold a pitcher who missed a year to 30 innings, so that doesn't always apply. Hughes career high was 146 IP in 2006. He won't go past that, for sure, where he falls between 100 and 140, however, I can't say, but if he can throw 150 next year, he'll be as free as Joba this year, which is working out per PJ's math above.

26 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:40 am

@ 24

Great, then if you believe that production from Damon is real, they should re-sign him. It's the best production available on this year's free agent market. Instead they sign Holliday for more dollars and years.

And Swisher, you want to bet the over on that SLG for $50? I'll even give you 2-to-1 odds.

27 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:43 am

@ 25

See, that's where the coincidence is too much. We all see 100 IP as the marker for Hughes. He's no moron, but it just seems like he's clued into the same expectation. Of course, I have no idea if that's the team or him or him just talking. But it wouldn't surprise me if he knew coming into the season that he was good for 100-120.

28 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:47 am

If I had any sort of cash flow at all, I'd take your Swisher bet, not necessarily because I think he's a good bet to finish above .500, but just for the fun of it. For what it's worth, his line this year looks a lot like 2006, when he slugged .493 playing his home games in Oakland's pitchers' park. If he warms up at home, he'll beat .500 easy. Remember, he too is just 28, an up-tick in performance (or a spike) at this age is not uncommon.

As for Holliday, don't criticize people for things they haven't done. Meanwhile, if they opt to re-up Damon for a year or two and promote Austin Jackson instead of signing Holliday, will you complain about Jackson's lack of power as well?

29 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:48 am

We all see 100 IP as the marker for Hughes.

So what's the problem?

Of course, I have no idea if that’s the team or him or him just talking.

Exactly. Move along . . .

30 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 2:58 am

@ 28

We could work out other arrangements. I hear you're a great editor...

All great points on Swisher. I like him and his game. He's a great 8 or 9 hitter, or even 2. But next year he could easily be the number 5. They shouldn't have to rely on him for that much offense, esp. with how his 2008 went. He's a nice bonus for an offense, not a backbone.

@ 29

Did I say there was a problem? I think there might be a problem with rotation depth in 2010 if they let Pettitte walk, but that's more the combination of Hughes, Burnett, and Wang.

31 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 3:09 am

will you complain about Jackson’s lack of power as well?

Not if they recognize the problem and acquire someone like Dunn to DH and pop homers out to rightfield.

But if they go into the season with an outfield of Damon, two of Jackson/Melky/Gardner, and Swisher with a revolving DH, then yes, yes I will. But re-signing Damon for two or, if necessary - at most, three years is much better than an outfield of Jackson, Gardner/Melky, and Swisher. The latter puts loads of offensive weight on the infield when sooner or later the ages will catch up to them for longer stretches than a month or two.

32 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 3:22 am

Of course, if Montero keeps this up he could split a DH/C role with Jorge next year. They won't promote him that aggressively, but folks seem to think his bat is ready for The Show. It's crazy but let him DH 70% of the time and work with Pena every day.

33 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jul 1, 2009 3:31 am

I hate button-fly jeans, but would gladly switch at the request of that bar maiden...

Too happy and excited to read or contribute to the above discussion. Go Team!!

34 seamus   ~  Jul 1, 2009 7:11 am

[31] are you still complaining about slugging? THis team has the most outfielders slugging .500 in the AL, the #4 slugger in the AL, the highest slugging shortstop in the AL, the third highest slugging 2B, the highest slugging Catcher, etc... A-Rod's slugging is 100 points below his normal level and even if you assume that Damon and Swisher will go back to the .450+ slugging they are used to, and then you've gotta assume A-Rod will be back above .500, the Yankees will still be tied for most .500 slugging players in their lineup. And we will most likely still lead the majors in slugging. Facts are useful.

35 The Mick536   ~  Jul 1, 2009 8:10 am

Looked at the ad before reading the recap of the game. Drained my brain for a few minutes. Not fair, but berry, berry smart.

Left the Sox winning 9-1. Great joy to see their final too, especially with Paps second blown save in a row. Sorry for Lowell, though.

36 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 1, 2009 8:44 am
37 The Hawk   ~  Jul 1, 2009 9:18 am

Yeah the slugging outfield argument really should take a rest. Of course I say that as a proponent of, if possible, getting more speed - and thus probably less slugging - in the OF. I'd like to have one burner on the team that doesn't need to be monitored a la Gardner - in other words a dependable player. And even if Gardner becomes consistently decent, I'd like another.

38 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2009 10:15 am

I am sensitive to the argument that the Yankees should not squander unusual production at one position (e.g. SS and C) by signing players who underperform at another position (e.g. corner OF). At the same time, the offense and roster have to be looked at corporately, as well. More importantly, it is a mistake to fixate on SLG. Rather, one should look at the offensive performance as a whole, of which SLG is but one (albeit important) component. I don't care so much if a player slugs .450, so long as his (for example) his OPS is .850. Of course, OPS is an imperfect measure of offensive ability, but it does combine the two more important factors of offensive production--the ability not to make outs and the ability to get bases. Of course, straight OPS (OBP + SLG) undervalues the more important of the two, OBP, which is valued at something like 1.4 times that of SLG. So, if there is any single stat to focus on, it's OBP rather than SLG.

That was my main beef with Nady: not that his career SLG was about .460, but rather that his career OBP was only around .335.

39 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 1, 2009 10:18 am

[36] great minds . . .

40 Bum Rush   ~  Jul 1, 2009 10:35 am

@ 34

Facts are useful.

Yup, they are. Like the fact that teams that don't have power in the outfield don't tend to win championships.


Because slugging outfielders are where you usually find power if you're going to find it at all. Just because the Yankees have it in the infield is not a reason to ignore it in the outfield.

Damon and Swisher have performed really well. But there can't be expectation of that going forward because it's not in their histories, especially Damon. Swisher may peak late, as Cliff notes, but he also could get really cold. Of course, there's also what happened in 2008. They lost just one of their significant infield bats and they lost all hope of a playoff spot because they were thin where they could easily be strong. The lesson of 2008 was Not Enough Offense. And yet they signed just one bat.

The outfield is the place to rack up cheap runs (see the contracts in this past off-season). For instance, with the Yankee resources, they could have easily afforded Dunn. It's a dumb mistake that could cost them this year and next year too. When Damon is the best value in the outfield, there should have been more forethought.

@ 38

I agree with everything you've said. If Swisher finds some consistency over this year and next, he's that guy. But who wants to bet on it?

With how cheap offense is, the Yankees should have an overabundance. We've already seen what happens to the offense when they lose Jorge or A-Rod for significant stretches. They've gotten lucky with Jeter. With $200 million spent, they shouldn't have an offense that's feast or famine.

41 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2009 10:51 am

[40] Swisher has had an isolated patience over .100 every year. I'd be willing to take my chances.

42 seamus   ~  Jul 1, 2009 11:59 am

[40] "Like the fact that teams that don’t have power in the outfield don’t tend to win championships." That isn't a fact. That is a debatable opinion. Lineups require slugging, not particular positions. Fielding positions are defensive not offensive positions.

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver