"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Dustin, the Win

I’m guessing that even the most optimistic among us were a bit on edge heading into Sunday night’s game.  Josh Beckett was on the mound for the Red Sox, and the Yankees were countering with Dustin Moseley, starting in place of A.J. Burnett, who’s been at least temporarily shelved due to back spasms.  (Unconfirmed reports indicate that these “back spasms” could be the result of torque on the spine caused by his frequent need to snap his head around to follow the flight of home runs.)  The good news coming in, though, was that Moseley had showed promise in his last outing against Toronto while Beckett had struggled against the Yanks this year, allowing 19 runs in three starts.  Both trends would continue.

Moseley worked efficiently through the first four innings, yielding just two hits and two walks.  Bill Hall led off the fifth with a home run, but this was only a minor blip as Moseley needed just six pitches to retire the next three hitters.  On the other side of the scorecard, Beckett was struggling.  After working around two singles in the opening frame, he gave up two runs in the second inning thanks to a Lance Berkman double and consecutive two-out singles by Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, and Nick Swisher.  (Jeter’s hit was the 2,874th of his career, one more than Babe Ruth.)

Beckett appeared to settle down, looking disturbingly like the old Josh Beckett as he blitzed through the fourth, but Mark Teixeira opened the fifth with a no-doubt home run deep into the right field bleachers, and things unravelled from there.  A walk to A-Rod was followed by a plunking of Robinson Canó (no drama, though — the pitch just nicked Canó’s knee cap), and Berkman plated the fourth Yankee run when he laced a double down the left field line.  My daughter Alison and I looked at her scorebook and noticed that Fat Elvis was 3 for 3, and she said, “You were right when you said he’d have a good game tonight.”

But the inning wasn’t over.  A few batters later Jeter smacked Beckett’s last pitch of the night into the gap in right center, and suddenly it was 7-1.  Beckett grimaced atop the mound as he waited for Francona’s inevitable hook, and I tried to explain to Alison why it was extra delicious to watch Beckett suffer.  “Is he mean?”  Well, no, but he isn’t very nice.  “But if he isn’t nice, doesn’t that mean that he’s mean?”  I didn’t have an answer, so we just turned back to the game.

All that was left was to watch Joe Girardi mismanage the bullpen.  Moseley got in a bit of trouble in the seventh, putting runners on first and third with one out.  With a six-run lead and a low pitch-count (82), it seemed like it might’ve been a good idea to let him try to finish the inning, if only to see how he’d respond to a jam like that, but Girardi pulled him in favor of Joba Chamberlain.  Joba wasn’t bad, he just didn’t get the job done.  He allowed a run to score on an infield single, but that wasn’t the problem.  After getting Jacoby Ellsbury to pop up for the second out, he quickly jumped ahead of Marco Scutaro, and the inning looked to be over.  With a 1-2 count and a 96-MPH fastball in his quiver, Joba tried to get cute with his slider and walked the Boston shortstop to load the bases for David Ortíz.  Minutes earlier the game had been in hand, but suddenly it was just a swing away from being 7-6.  Lefty Boone Logan replaced Chamberlain and made things a bit sweaty by running the count full before getting Papi to ground out to end the inning.

But wait — there was more mismanagement.  Girardi brought David Robertson in to pitch the ninth inning, and I was thinking that it was nice that Mariano Rivera would have  the day off.  But when Robertson walked Ellsbury to put runners on first and second with two outs — and a five run lead on the eighth day of August — Girardi called for Rivera.  He threw one pitch.  Scutaro bounced a ball to Canó, who flipped to Jeter to end the game. Yankees 7, Red Sox 2.

The one good thing about all this is that Girardi’s machinations gave me an excuse to write a little more about Rivera.  In 1990 Dennis Eckersley had what is probably the best season any closer has had in the current era.  His ERA and WHIP were identical at 0.61, but here are the interesting numbers: 48 saves, 41 hits, 4 walks.  Right now Rivera has 23 saves, 19 hits, and 6 walks.  Following that 1990 campaign, Eckersley said (and I’m paraphrasing), “I had more saves than hits and walks combined.  If anyone ever does that, I’ll walk out to the pitcher’s mound and kiss his ass in front of 50,000 people.”  It just might be time to pucker up.

* You can get a cool scorebook just like Alison’s by visiting http://www.ilovetoscore.com/, a New York-based company operated by loyal Banterite, Michael Schwartz.


1 seamus   ~  Aug 9, 2010 7:06 am

I don't see how Girardi's use of the bullpen in the 7th inning was mismanagement. Moseley apparently had 87 pitches (not 82) which was the most he's thrown this season (with the big league club anyhow). Using Chamberlain in that situation seems reasonable enough (especially with the 6 run lead). And once Chamberlain got cute (I have no doubt that he did), bringing in Logan to face Ortiz makes complete sense. It does seem that he brought in Mo a little quick in the 9th for sure. That I would agree with. I still wouldn't call it mismanagement though. I'd call it over-cautious. Either way, i'll take the win.

2 seamus   ~  Aug 9, 2010 7:07 am

Oh, and I meant to add that I like the Eckersley bit. And that is one super clean scoresheet. Mine never look like that. Impressive.

3 RIYank   ~  Aug 9, 2010 7:28 am

Brilliant title for the post, Hank.

You can tell Alison that Beckett is a show-off. That's close to the reason we hate him, right? Closer than 'mean', anyway.

4 RIYank   ~  Aug 9, 2010 7:48 am

Also, the ESPN crew was particularly horrible. Here are the lowlights.
Near the end of the game, Morgan announced that the Yankees are not as good as last year because of their pitching. But we (and anyone who has been following the Yankees or knows how to google) know that the pitching is quite a bit better this year. He also said "starting pitching" in another sentence -- but the Yanks' starting pitching is also much better this year, even if you ignore those mind-numbing 18 starts from Mitre and Wang in '09. Still better this year.
Hershiser chimed in: the Yankees won 101 games last year (they won 103, as I don't have to tell BB readers) and are on pace for 94 this year (no, they are on pace for 101 this year).
Joe also said that a split for the Red Sox would mean a very successful series for them.

I guess this is probably no worse than they're usual idiocy, come to think of it. Just still stuck in my head and bothering the rational thoughts that were sitting quietly in there waiting for the day to begin.

5 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 9, 2010 8:14 am

[1] Seamus, once Joba screwed things up, Logan had to come in, and I actually liked that he kept him in for the eighth. I just would've preferred to have seen him leave Moseley in, at least for one more hitter. If he had gotten out of the inning, at least one of those arms could've been saved, whether it be Logan or Robertson.

[4] I noticed all of those comparisons to last year's team. I meant to add some of that to the recap, so I'll post it here since you brought it up. I checked the standings from August 8, 2009.

2009: 69-42; 619 RS; 525 RA; +94
2010: 69-41; 591 RS; 452 RA; +139

The numbers don't lie.

6 monkeypants   ~  Aug 9, 2010 8:41 am

4) No, RIYank, you are correct: the ESPN idiots were particularly horrible last night. You only touched on the highlights from near the end of the game...as you know, I think, they had been going full bore idiot since before the game started.

7 The Hawk   ~  Aug 9, 2010 9:05 am

ESPN announcers were atrocious last night. I was watching and chatting with people and I still heard more than my share of stupidity (from ESPN that is). It was almost like a joke.

8 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 9, 2010 9:09 am

I was sick all day yesterday, so I missed all the fun last night, and apparently all of the craptastic ESPN commentary [4] et al. So now I don't feel as bad for missing the game.

But let me say, to wake up this morning and find out that (1) the Yanks won and (2) it was Moseley(!) who beat Beckett and the Sox, not AJ, is very, very nice.

Almost as nice as that delicious-looking food pr0n Alex had at the top of yesterday's game thread.

9 bp1   ~  Aug 9, 2010 9:59 am

I can't add much to the ESPN bashing this morning. Good Lord. They take the shine off beating Josh Beckett, which is really hard to do.

10 Diane Firstman   ~  Aug 9, 2010 10:22 am


My mind must still be on vacation, cause it took me till just now to figure out the brilliance of the title.

Unlike Mr. Morgan, I think the Sox have reached "The Point of K(no)w Return"

11 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 9, 2010 12:16 pm

Yes, the title is awfully punnishing; it actually got a sigh from me. Great!

I have very little use for E@#$ as you know, and a little traipse around various sports sites indicates a growing chorus of boos. Being owned by Disney has not helped the network in terms of quality of its so-called journalism. But that's the thing, isn't it? Entertainment S/b>ports Programming Network; entertainment is first priority, facts are negligible when it comes to entertainment, especially with sports. These guys are mostly entertainers, not broadcast journalists, and to expect more of them is to kid yourself about the value of what they do. Seems to me they only have serious journalism when it can conveniently boost ratings for a short period of time.

But in all seriousness, is there really any competition? What other sports-oriented network can boast the coverage and resources that E@#$ has? And if they did, would actual journalism without the mediocre talent actually make headway among a nation of dimwitted sports fans who are mainly in love with the concept of hearing their own voices on the radio or seeing themselves on TV? It's all for naught. Stick to the blogs; at least we can decide for ourselves before we get bombarded with garbage.

12 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 9, 2010 1:26 pm

[11] Oh, and from the game thread about them not acknowledging Rodriguez' joining the 300/300 club, I've decided that it's more than bias, but a definite agenda against showing him in a positive light if they had any choice in the matter. There were at best passing references to his 300th steal and nothing more. Perhaps they felt it was minor in light of his pursuit of 600, but I detect ambivelence tilting to the negative in regard to him. So be it, they lost major credibility with the LeBron nonsense and I don't expect much more than that from them in this instance.

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