"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Max the Pain, Hide the Tears

Open skies! Pour forth your cleansing draught. Purify this field, this team, this season. Wash away age and rust. Leave gleaming life where spread decay and rot. And quietly, gently carry away the dead in your bubbling floodwaters. Give us the promise of a new day, with blazing sun, clean slate and the hope of…

What’s that? It stopped raining? Oh crap, they kept playing.

Javy Vazquez discharged pus for 105 pitches through four innings and made Sergio Mitre’s appearance a welcome sight. Until the ninth, the Yanks best offense was either a dropped pop-up or Francisco Cervelli’s feeble attempt to drive in the tying runs in the seventh (Granderson did have three hits, but batting in front Cervelli nullifies anything but a home run)

Just as Cervelli was failing in the seventh, Tampa was mounting a gutsy, late-inning comeback against Cliff Lee, the blazing sun, to settle the Rays into a first place tie in the AL East. They needn’t feel claustrophobic sharing the penthouse, the Yanks won’t be staying there long playing like this.

The ninth inning deserves its own paragraph. After Miguel Cabrera padded the lead to a really daunting 3-0, Valverde completely lost the strike zone and walked Cano, Cervelli and Gardner (none of them even took the bat off their shoulders) around one of Granderson’s singles. Derek Jeter’s season-long battle with his strike-zone judgment and weak ground balls reared its ugly head at the worst possible time. Instead of simply not swinging, he flailed at a 2-1 pitch out of the zone that would have made the count 3-1, and then tapped weakly into a game ending double play (amazing turn by Carlos Guillen) after the count ran full. By simply not swinging, I bet he would have walked and given the Yanks a real shot an undeserved victory.

Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher left the game with injuries. It seems the Yankees are really going to attempt to win the World Series with only a couple of guys having decent seasons. Color me skeptical. In losing to the reeling Tigers 3-1, they looked like a tired, broken-down mess.

After a herky-jerky motion Max Scherzer issues sick stuff from odd angles, so given the current state of the Yankee offense, he presented an insurmountable challenge. So much so that I was happy to see Curtis Granderson get a hit early, dispelling the very real chance of being no-hit. They looked slightly more comfortable against the bullpen, though they couldn’t break through until Valverde walked the park. As it was, that’s back-to-back games with eight total hits and one run. I ask that I be relieved of recapping duties until the Yankees produce a double-digit victory.

The team is not that interesting right now except as a scab to pick and then infect, so I’d like to think about other things. Let’s start with the much appreciated Johnny Damon and the nice hand he received today. For those Yankee fans whose heads exploded upon watching Vazquez pitch to Damon in Yankee Stadium (a new Stadium I know, but the look is similar, especially from TV) you should have been reading more baseball blogs since the Yankees traded for Javy. You would have learned how silly you were to harbor any ill-will towards Mr. Vazquez for sucking for most of his Yankee career. And you’d still have a head.

Sorry, I was talking about Johnny Damon. All of the Yankee offseason movement amounted to little more than sound and fury and Marcus Thames. Damon ended up on the Tigers for a number of reasons, but he would have been welcome back by just about all the fans and it looks like he’s having a good enough year with the bat that he would have made a difference on the Yanks if he could have been coaxed to be our DH. YES ran a poll to see which moment we should reduce Damon’s four-year Yankee tenure to, and unsurprisingly it was the double steal from the World Series. I prefer to remember his funky swing though, unattached to any specific performance, and it’s perfect fit for Yankee Stadium’s right field porch.

Many Yankee blogs have given recent space to examining the Yankees upcoming decision to offer Javy Vazquez arbitration in hopes of plucking the compensatory draft picks or to let him walk away for nothing. Whatever the case may be, I trust Brian Cashman to accurately predict the marketplace for his services, as he has for his free agents (one of them was the aforementioned Damon) each of the last two years, and to make the correct decision accordingly.

However, right now, with Texas sorting out their ownership situation, Andy Pettitte perpetually pondering retirement, and Carl Pavano being the second best pitcher on the open market, can you imagine a Plan C (Plan A being Lee and Andy, Plan B being either/or), in which the Yanks offer arbitration and are not crushed if he accepts? Hold onto your heads.

Categories:  Game Recap  Jon DeRosa

Tags:  Javier Vazquez  Johnny Damon

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1 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:14 pm

2-1 was strike two. As for everything else, this team sucks.

2 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:17 pm

And what the hell is Javy's excuse for sucking this year?

3 Jon DeRosa   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:18 pm

[1] It may have been in the zone, but given that he missed his spot by three feet and the catcher was stretching across the plate to try to nab it, there is no way he gets that call. it would have been called ball 3, i have little doubt.

4 jjmerlock   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:32 pm

This is a great line: "Javy Vazquez discharged pus for 105 pitches..."

I still say Jeter's DP was a massive achievement, a truly crowning moment, a chance to watch a master at work on his art.

That was the most glorious testament to the everlasting power of the double play these eyes have seen. He did have help, what with Valverde's 800 balls, the insanely improbable walk to Cervelli, the ridiculousness of the opportunity to steal that cow patty of a game - but then, a master requires the finest wood or marble or whatnot to execute his defining masterpiece.

It was supple clay in Jeter's hands.

Let us all prostrate ourselves in front of the awesome and horrifying power of Captain GIDP.

5 monkeypants   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:36 pm

3) but as you mentioned last thread, there is no way Jeter could have known the catcher was moving so much. So while he may have swung at a pitch that was likely to be called ball four (from our vantage), from Jeter's perspective he swung at a ball in the zone (can you flail at a ball over the plate? i guess, but...).

Again, I am not defending his decisin to swing per se. But it is unfair, I think, to paint a picture of Jeter fishing at a pitch clearly off the plate.

6 Jon DeRosa   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:40 pm

[5] agreed, it wasn't as bad as it first seemed. but i wish he would have taken, i'm sure it was going to be called a ball.

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:41 pm

It was mentioned that was Jeter's 2nd DP this game with 2 men on?

8 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:43 pm

[5] From last thread:

It may have been a strike, but PitchFX has three pitches that were called a ball as being with in the strike zone. In fact, one of the balls to Jeter was in the zone (same horizontal location but higher). Valverde was not going to be given a close call. It was Jeter’s job to test that theory.

9 Raf   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:44 pm

Even if the do offer Javy arbitration and he accepts, the team can still cut him by a certain time, can't they?

10 jjmerlock   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:49 pm

Is it unusual, btw, for a team to have a 45 games in 47 days type stretch like the Yankees are in right now? This feels different, but maybe I'm just forgetting that this sort of stretch is on the schedule most years.

11 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:49 pm

[9] Yep..and pay him a percentage. I just hope his inevitable late season collapse doesn't cost him Type-A status. Maybe the Yankees should consider shutting him down for that reason?

12 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:51 pm

[11] That seems like a lot of Chad Gaudin.

13 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:52 pm

The old boys have been playing in some extreme heat the last 2 weeks. Maybe when it cools off a bit, they will heat up?

14 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:53 pm

[12] Might as well make use of the reason we can't hit for Cervelli late in the game. If Javy is going to implode like he did last time, they might be better off with Gaudin anyway.

There are so many holes on this team right now, that the off season seems a lot closer.

15 jjmerlock   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:53 pm

I still can't believe that actually happened.

Jeter's DP was like watching a roomba seek out a land mine.

16 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 16, 2010 11:57 pm

Yankees signed Mason Williams, their fourth round pick. All of a sudden, I am in the mood to look toward the future.

17 Jon DeRosa   ~  Aug 17, 2010 12:05 am

Good news team, I'll be recapping Wednesday night's game too. So I've covered a Mo loss, a 2 hitter by KC, a choke job by jeter, the only thing i have left in the bag is either an epic arod fail (but i think those have gne out of style) or a 22-4 type loss.

After that, the Yanks are running the table.

18 Just Fair   ~  Aug 17, 2010 12:14 am

[13] I'm down with that. To hell with hot weather.

19 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 17, 2010 12:16 am

[17] I'm going to Thursday's game. Please don't recap that one.

20 The Hawk   ~  Aug 17, 2010 12:34 am

[4] More proof, if it was ever needed, that the fruit of hardship is often great art. And I mean the comment not the DP ; )


21 cult of basebaal   ~  Aug 17, 2010 12:57 am

[2] I'd say most of it is plainly obvious.


Now, as to why he somehow lost all that velocity in the off season, I suppose that's what the question is ...

22 jjmerlock   ~  Aug 17, 2010 5:12 am

[20] Many thanks. I felt some stirring of deeper meaning in the horrible pain Jeter brought to pass. I feared that the poisoned paintbrush Jeter thrust into my hand had created art that was doomed to be unappreciated and unloved.

How do you feel about the roomba? I thought I might be onto something there, after a lifelong search for an approximation of the concept of inevitability...

Again, much appreciated.

23 rbj   ~  Aug 17, 2010 9:17 am

[17] I think I'll go to the Mud Hens Wednesday. At least there I'll be outside while watching ineptitude.

I don't even care about getting draft picks for Javy. I just want him gone. At least with a Mitre/Gaudin combo I know I'm not going to have a good experience. AJ alone is frustrating enough on a staff, him & Javy on the same rotation is pure evil.

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