"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Sunday night’s rubber game between the Yankees and Dodgers didn’t deliver on its promise as a pitchers duel. Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was nails, but Andy Pettitte made two throwing errors on bunts in the third, putting the Yankees in an 3-0 hole, then coughed up two more runs in the fourth, the latter on a Ronnie Belliard solo homer, to put the Yanks down 5-0.

Kershaw, meanwhile, allowed just three baserunners through five innings, those coming on a Derek Jeter leadoff single, a pitch that hit Brett Gardner in the wrist, and a single by Gardner’s replacement, Chad Huffman (Gardner will see the team doctor on Monday). Jeter singled again to lead of the sixth, but Kershaw struck out Nick Swisher, and Casey Blake made a nice play on a hard grounder to his right by Mark Teixeira to force Jeter at second. That brought up Alex Rodriguez with two out. Rodriguez worked the count full, then turned on an inside fastball, sending it over the “Mannywood” sign in left for a two-run home run, his third jack in the last five games, to bring the Yankees within 5-2.

The Dodgers added an insurance run against Joba Chamberlain in the eighth, handing a 6-2 lead to their dominant closer, Jonathon Broxton, in the ninth. Broxton entered the game with some ridiculous numbers, including a 0.83 ERA, 13.2 K/9, and 9.60 K/B, and had allowed just one earned run in his previous 23 appearance, including 1 1/3 hitless innings against the Yankees on Saturday.

The Ox started his night by striking out Teixeira on four pitches, but Rodriguez singled on his fifth. Alex took second on defensive indifference on the first pitch to Robinson Cano, and when Cano connected for a double to right, Rodriguez scored to make it 6-3 Dodgers.

That brought up Jorge Posada, who quickly fell into a 0-2 hole, then battled Broxton for seven more pitches, working the count full before singling to right to bring the tying run to the plate. Following Posada’s nine-pitch battle, Curtis Granderson worked Broxton over for an eight-pitch walk, putting the tying run on base and loading the bases for . . . Chad Huffman?

With Brett Gardner knocked out of the game and no designated hitter, the Yankees’ rally came down to Chad Huffman and Colin Curtis, who had gone in for Nick Swisher as part of a double-switch, a pair of rookies who to that point in their major league careers had combined for three hits and three walks in 15 plate appearances. Joe Girardi’s bench at that point consisted of Francisco Cervelli, the backup catcher, and Ramiro Peña. On the mound stood the 300-pound Broxton, one of the game’s most dominating closers. It hurt to watch.

Until Huffman singled to right on a 1-1 pitch, scoring Cano and Posada and pushing Granderson to third. Suddenly all Curtis had to do was deliver a productive out with a speedy runner at third to tie the game. Curtis fell into a quick 0-2 hole, but then took three balls, one of which looked like strike three at the knees, and one of which, a slider in the dirt, almost tied the game on its own. With the count full, Curtis fouled off four pitches. Then, on the tenth pitch of his at-bat and Broxton’s 40th of the inning, he hit a hard grounder to James Loney at first base.

With two outs, Huffman on first, and Granderson on third as the potential tying run, Loney had two choices. He could either throw home to prevent the run, allowing the inning to continue, or he could throw to second in the hope of turning a game-ending double play. Loney chose neither of those options, instead trying to accomplish both at once by scrambling over to force out Curtis at first, then firing home to get Granderson. Only Loney’s throw tailed away from the runner and the time it took him to get the force was enough to allow Granderson so slide in clearly ahead of Russell Martin’s tag with the game-tying run.

From there, the Dodgers lost their cool as both Garret Anderson (who entered the game in the ninth as a defensive replacement for Manny Ramirez) and Martin got ejected for arguing over called strikes that were indeed strikes, while the Yankees made it look easy. Mariano Rivera worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth around Anderson’s ejection. Robinson Cano responded to Joe Torre’s decision to bring in lefty George Sherrill to face him in the top of the tenth by launching a two-run home run to left center, and Rivera worked around an infield single and Martin’s ejection to nail down the 8-6 win in the bottom of the tenth.

Meanwhile, the ESPN camera’s lingered on Joe Torre, who had the look of a man watching his ex-wife make out with an underwear model. Torre said before the game that he was looking forward to putting this much-hyped and emotionally charged series behind him. I don’t imagine that was ever more true than when he was watching Mariano Rivera nail down a comeback win against him for the first time.

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Game Recap

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1 Mattpat11   ~  Jun 28, 2010 4:35 am

I love that picture for some reason

2 RIYank   ~  Jun 28, 2010 6:39 am

Funny, Cliff, I was thinking the same thing about the shot of Torre watching. I wanted to write a caption: "I CAN HAZ MO?"

It must really piss off serious Dodger fans that their stadium empties in the ninth inning like that. I'd go look at Dodger Thoughts, but that seems like bad form.

3 RIYank   ~  Jun 28, 2010 7:56 am

For Fangraph aficionados, yesterday's graph is magnificent. For most of the game, the pinstripe chance was reduced to the tiny sliver of white space between the green line and the top of the image, and when Teix struck out in the ninth, that space was actually squeezed out by the width of the green line. (The Yankees' win probability at that point was .004, which means you can expect to win one game out of 250 in that situation.) And then the Dodger chances come whooshing down the roller coaster, with the little blip near the bottom when Loney singles, and then the ride ends. Awesome graph.

4 The Mick536   ~  Jun 28, 2010 9:06 am

Need your opinions. Morgan did a bit on ESPN comparing A-Rod's swing then and now. He says, despite the HR last night and Friday, that his hip problems somehow impede his swing. As a person with severe hip problems, Me and Phil Jackson have two replacements, I can see it when he goes down to meet the sliders in the dirt. He isn't leaning into the outside balls and driving them consistently and confidently to right center.

5 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 28, 2010 9:15 am

[3] Nice find. I poked around on Fangraphs to see where Mariano ranked on the rleiever value list this year. Broxton's first by a ton, Mariano's 13th.

Broxton's WAR is almost twice that of Mo's. His FIP has him saving alost twice as many runs as Mariano this year in only 4 more innnings. FIP is a great tool, but it just doesn't get Mo. And I don't think WAR, which is a value stat should be based solely on runs saved derived from FIP, which is at best a predictive stat.

Broxton is awesome, deserving of the top spot, but Mariano's season (career?) just doesn't get the credit he deserves in this system.

6 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 28, 2010 9:20 am

Speaking of the ESPN announcers, was I the only one who had real difficulty hearing them over the crowd noise last night? I've had that problem on YES as well. It could be my crappy hearing, but it seems like the networks are mixing the crowd higher and higher lately and drowning out their own announcers (which I don't entirely mind except it is a bit maddening to hear someone talk but not be able to make out what they're saying)

7 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 28, 2010 9:24 am

[5] I have yet to find reason to use/trust Fangraphs' stats. WAR especially is suspect in my opinion (and distinct from the "WAR" on Baseball-Reference, by the way). There is good info on that site, however, but grains of salt are required in many places.

8 RIYank   ~  Jun 28, 2010 9:41 am

Yeah, WAR is suspect -- and as a matter of fact I had noticed that it's a different stat on BR and Fangraphs (a couple of us were looking at Jeter's WAR last week and saw the discrepancy). As Jon says, looking at FIP may be a better predictor, but it's worse at gauging value. Broxton and Mo are tied in WPA, for whatever that's worth (I don't really like WPA, but as a measure of closer value it's not bad).

9 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 28, 2010 9:45 am

[7] yeah, grains of salt required, fo sho.

10 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 28, 2010 9:50 am

[7,8] What's kind of funny is that FIP sees Mariano as lucky for his career, getting more help from his defense than could be reliably expected, on a team with consistently shitty defense, especially at SS, where these same systems kill Jeter's career.

oh well, even the people who love WAR and FIP as be-all stats know that it doesn't get Rivera, we'll never have to wage this argument when he's strolling into the HOF.

i just hope one day 50 years from now somebody digs into the numbers and tries to tell my grandkids how trevor hoffman was actually better than mariano, or some such revisionist crap.

11 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 28, 2010 9:56 am

[7] [8] Agreed all the way around - anything that relies on UZR/150 to figure out defensive value has got to be suspect (Fangraphs' WAR calculation).

I don't know enough about b-r.com's WAR to comment on it positively or negatively.

I would say BP's WXRL is still the best reliever metric (at least for closers; for middle relievers, one could argue that BP's ARP is better, or at least more appropriate, as those guys often get called in the middle of an inning with men on base). Broxton is 8th overall in WXRL (2.214), while Mo is 13th (2.111).

Sadly I don't think BP has a career WXRL stat sheet (they should!), but I bet Mo is way up there.

12 RIYank   ~  Jun 28, 2010 10:06 am

[10] Right. The fact that balls hit into play against Mo are so often a batter fighting off a cutter on the wrists for a weak fly or an easy grounder gets lost in FIP. (His high K rate doesn't, of course, but Broxton has that too.) As a general rule the thought is that a pitcher has no control over his BAABIP in the course of his whole career. Seems like Mo has to be an exception to this.

Or, maybe he's really, really lucky!

13 bp1   ~  Jun 28, 2010 10:25 am

[6] Hey Cliff - yes I have had that same problem on YES broadcasts, more often when I flip the audio through a amp and decent speakers. When it's just my crappy old TV, it's not so bad. The stereo effects make it far more pronounced, and yeah sometimes I have trouble hearing the announcers over the crowd noise.

(not that that's always a bad thing, lol)

14 bp1   ~  Jun 28, 2010 10:30 am

[6] And I think I'm done w/ ESPN baseball. I just can't handle their broadcast team. You'd think a network like ESPN could find the creme de la creme, but no. They make the games almost unwatchable. It's a real shame, 'cause they always finagle to get good games.

Listening to them talk about Andy that first inning - man. Bad analysis. "Winning on reputation". WTF?!?

(deep breathe - in and out - calm down - it's gonna be ok)

15 monkeypants   ~  Jun 28, 2010 10:38 am

[12] Or, maybe he’s really, really lucky!

16 cult of basebaal   ~  Jun 28, 2010 12:07 pm

Goodness that might just have been the most satisfying win of the season.

Joe Torre so obviously pulling out the stops to win the last 2 games, bringing in Broxton in back-to-back non-save situations ... then slagging his closer to the tune of 67 pitches in back-to-back games, with 48 pitches in last night's game alone.

Ahhh, schadenfreude, you make me seem so childish, but you're soooooo sweet and tasty!

It must really piss off serious Dodger fans that their stadium empties in the ninth inning like that.

Not really, serious Dodger fans appreciate the hell that is leaving Chavez Ravine after a game.

17 MichiganYankee   ~  Jun 28, 2010 12:43 pm

With A-Rod's current home run rate, it looks quite likely that he will hit #600 in Seattle. That should be fun.

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