"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Bautista Takes Offense

Ivan Nova came out for his first Major League start spitting fire. With adrenaline flowing to his lanky right arm, and his spirits lifted by a fantastic Gardner-to-Cervelli double play, he blazed fastballs of 97 and 98 miles per hour to get himself out of trouble in the first inning. And Yankee fans rushed to mlb.com to check the pitchFX to validate the startling reading on the YES gun. They were not disappointed by those results, but they were disappointed that the Jays won the battle of the bullpens, 3-2.

Coming into the 2010 season, River Ave Blues filed this report on the young hurler. After being unprotected in the rule 5 draft, claimed and quickly returned, Nova put a few nice starts together in Trenton in 2009, earned a promotion to Scranton. With most of the Yankee pitching talent in the low minors to start 2010, Nova was an easy choice to add to the 40 man roster this offseason as there was a good chance he could provide depth for the Major League staff if injuries or Javy Vazquez came to pass. And here we are.

Nova comes in with a reputation as a bit of a worm-killer. He’s a tall-drink-of water, and his motion and action on the fastball (after he calmed down and found his 94 mph groove) and lack of a quality second pitch, reminded me of Chien Min Wang. I really liked Wang, even when he was forced to carry the load as the Yankees de facto ace. A healthy Wang is an ideal back-of-the-rotation innings eater. Solid, if unspectacular. I doubt that Nova could be as good as Wang, but, for now, I’d like to see more of him and less of some other guys.

Aside from a good fastball, however, Nova did not show much else. Filed under “not much else” should be that lame curve that Jose Bautista hit into the stands to pad his league leading total. The game was tied in the sixth when Nova sent a high fastball Bautista’s way (did he expect another non-breaking curve?). Notice I didn’t say high and inside. It might have been a little off the plate, but it never had a chance to hit the guy. It was exactly like that time Manny Ramirez lost his junk and caused all that commotion when Clemens threw a high, but not-that-inside, fastball back in the 2003 ALCS.

Anyway, Bautista decided to take serious offense and was looking to hit one a thousand feet his next time up in the eighth. He came  up a couple hundred feet short, but still deposited the game winning homer after turning on an inside heater by David Robertson. He styled to the extreme and relished his curtain call. Oh, how I wanted that to come back to bite his ass, but, alas. Earlier in the game, Flash mentioned Bautista has 38 home runs, and zero to the opposite field. He couldn’t imagine that the Yankees would pitch him inside in this series. He ended up hitting 2 inside pitches (mistakes, no doubt) over the left field wall for all of Toronto’s runs.

Bautista now has six home runs and twelve RBI versus the Yankees in 2010. And the Jays have taken six out of ten from the Yanks. The Red Sox already won, so all that’s left to do tonight is to root for the Angels (and clean the living room, do the dishes, take out the garbage, put the laundry away, check work emails). Go, uh, let’s see, Scott Kazmir. Hmm. That’s probably not going to work.

On another note, does anybody watch the Little League World Series? I tune in on occasion, but almost always turn it off quickly because the umpiring is so atrocious. The pitcher can get a strike any time he hits the catcher’s glove, no matter how far into the opposite batter’s box the catcher sets up. Jose Molina employs the same strategy. It never seemed to work for the Yankees, but it sure worked for the Blue Jays tonight. The one to Granderson in the ninth was closer to the on-deck circle than to home plate.

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1 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 23, 2010 10:54 pm

LLWS has always bored me to tears, to be honest.

2 The Hawk   ~  Aug 23, 2010 11:50 pm

I used to drive a car a lot like that. Same color, but a 77 not a 71.

Bautista is a jerk

3 Raf   ~  Aug 24, 2010 12:30 am

Listening to Dibble taking Stasburg to task for asking out his last start. What a moron.

4 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Aug 24, 2010 1:53 am

This was the most frustrating game of the year to me. At the outset, I figured this was a give-away game, what with the NYY AAAA lineup and a meat for his first start going against a gun. As the game progressed and it got chippy I wanted to put those hosers away (surrender pronto, or we'll level toronto, CB) and to have the mug Bautista (mark my words, on two years' time he will be flying rubber dog-shit outta hong kong) give us the high hat. dickhead. and then, THEN, to win the game on an absolute tape-measure shot and preen and ponce around. This is it. Gloves off. Bautista is now officially my #1 on my (non Red Sox) most hated list. To hang on to a game we really had no right to be in and then to lose to a bitch punk team (don't get me started on Cito Gaston). Boy, I'm gonna go home now, and punch yo momma in the mouth.

5 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 24, 2010 2:11 am

I hope you all give thought to the idea that you play into his fragile ego by hating him. Yes, he's an ass for spooging his pants after hitting a HR against a team they normally can't beat, but a winner pays no mind to a loser. To me, he only proved how vulnerable his psyche is; something of a distinct advantage if you are of a more secure constitution. So, I wouldn't give it a second thought; let the Yanks deal with it the baseball way.

6 Just Fair   ~  Aug 24, 2010 2:36 am

Fuck Bautista. Just watched the highlight on MLB for which seems like the umpteenth time. Loved how he spit and glared at Robertson. Good times. The non Yankee announcers were incredulous that a pitcher could get a warning in his debut. I'm still annoyed he was lifted at 71 pitches. Let him pitch for Mo's sake. Bah! And Bollocks.

7 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Aug 24, 2010 3:05 am

[5] what other way might there be?

8 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 24, 2010 3:08 am
9 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 24, 2010 3:19 am

[7] Stony silence, blase ignorance; like he doesn't matter. Because he doesn't; Toronto would be contenders if he did. I just think we're better than to hate on someone with that much bitterness and so little cause (outside of playing out the string against a playoff-bound team).

10 Sliced Bread   ~  Aug 24, 2010 8:35 am

[0] Nova hit 97 on the gun. He could turn out to be far better than the stoic and steady Wang.

11 The Hawk   ~  Aug 24, 2010 8:54 am

[5] You're right but at the same time, it's not like he knows I hate him. But you're right, it's pretty pathetic really.

[10] I forgot all about Wang. For shame

12 flycaster   ~  Aug 24, 2010 8:55 am

Bautista. Are you kidding me? Since May I've been saying, saw one of his bats in half and for chrissakes take a friggin blood sample...

13 monkeypants   ~  Aug 24, 2010 9:03 am

[0] A healthy Wang is an ideal back-of-the-rotation innings eater. Solid, if unspectacular.

Wow. A healthy Wang meant 200 innings of 120+ ERA+. And that's back of the rotation innings eater? High standards!

14 Jon DeRosa   ~  Aug 24, 2010 9:11 am

[13] For the Yanks, yeah, I'd like a guy like that to be the third, fourth or fifth best starter on the staff.

15 rbj   ~  Aug 24, 2010 9:13 am

What a total horseshit call on Granderson's strikeout in the ninth. Damn pitch wasn't even in the same postal code.

AAAA lineup, but when you have a AA umpiring crew it ain't gonna be easy.

Though I'd rather see Nova again than Javy.

16 monkeypants   ~  Aug 24, 2010 9:22 am

[13] Ah, OK, I didn't realize that you were including #3 in the back of the rotation.

17 monkeypants   ~  Aug 24, 2010 9:24 am

[12] Maybe Bautista took some advice from this guy.

18 Jon DeRosa   ~  Aug 24, 2010 9:28 am

[16] I just mean he wouldn't be the ace of my ideal rotation. Like he was in the 2007.

19 mhoward120   ~  Aug 24, 2010 10:01 am

Did the Yankees have to start a lineup that would have been more appropriate for the Little League World Series?

20 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 24, 2010 10:05 am

[19] If it happens again, the Yankees should look into signing the cleanup hitter from Taiwan. He is built like Cecil Fielder, but I think he has more power. If not for a nice catch against the wall, he would have had three home runs against Canada (take that Jose Bautista!).

21 Raf   ~  Aug 24, 2010 10:43 am

Bautista’s a dead pull hitter, that can torch a fastball. He’s on a pretty good run that started back in Sept 2009.

Like Jeter’s grounder rate has taken a spike, Bautista’s fly ball rate has taken a spike. Some of those fly balls are leaving the park. At any rate, Bautista isn’t the first to have a HR spike (Wade Boggs and Davey Johnson comes to mind), and chances are he probably won’t be the last.

22 seamus   ~  Aug 24, 2010 11:00 am

Why is everyone whining about the lineup? Wasn't there really only a-typical sub (nunez for jeter)? Cervelli needs to start 2 out of 5 games. Pena or nunez has to play for Arod who is injured. And weren't people complaining earlier in the day that jeter should get the day off instead of DH? Then he does and WTF? This place gives me whiplash sometimes.

23 monkeypants   ~  Aug 24, 2010 11:15 am

[22] Cervelli needs to start 2 out of 5 games.

I reject this assertion out of hand. There is no evidence that he *needs* to start as often as he does, and in fact, the more he plays the stronger the case his play makes for not starting him as often.

As for complaining about the lineup, I will continue to contend that there is no reason to start those three players at the same time. Yes, Peñuñez needs to start for ARod now, so that means Jeter should not get the day off the same day that Cervelli starts. It's really that simple.

24 ms october   ~  Aug 24, 2010 11:20 am

[23] i agree. if the training/coaching staff has concluded that po can only catch 3 out of 5 games (which seems a likely conclusion) then other provisions need to be made.
among the possibilities: get another catcher; have miranda up while berkman is on the dl to have a hitter off the bench to ph for cervelli.

25 seamus   ~  Aug 24, 2010 11:35 am

[23] Is it really that simple? Because that comment sounds downright patronizing to me. I don't think it is that simple at all.

I can't believe you would question that Po should play behind the plate more than he does. No way. The guy is falling apart at the seams.

Resting Jeter yesterday versus today doesn't really matter in terms of wins and losses (without knowing which is going to be the close game in advance which we can't know). But it may (or may not) matter in terms of Jeter's relative health. So many of the complaints around here assume way too much knowledge that we simply don't (and won't) have.

26 seamus   ~  Aug 24, 2010 11:38 am

[24] I don't agree that other provisions need to be made. Teams have won with worse BUCs than Cervex. I can't help think of a certain BUC fan in typing that sentence. We'll see Miranda in a week for sure though...

27 monkeypants   ~  Aug 24, 2010 11:40 am

[25] What really burns my toast is this silly catcher rotation. OK, let's assume that the original plan was to have Posada catch 130 games, but the coaching staff mid-season determined this was impossible, so mid-stream they are forced to play Cervelli too much. Fine. And let's further assume that the coaching staff is hamstrung by the front office, which refuses to get another catcher or promote Montero or Romine for various reason. Fine. That still does not justify only allowing certain pitchers pitch to certain catchers.

I mean, you just *know* that when the playoffs roll around, if the Yankees make it, the rotation during the year will be used as justification to continue it during the playoffs. Only unlike last season, when Molina was only the special best friend of one pitcher, Cervelli is now anchored to two pitchers. And depending on how things play out, we could have Frankie starting half of the games in the postseason. Though admittedly, this is doubtful, given that Jorge is apparently allowed to catch three of the four starters who will likely be in the PS rotation, assuming they go with four (though I would have him start every game in the PS, but it worked last year and I am not very good at chess).

28 monkeypants   ~  Aug 24, 2010 11:41 am

[26] This is true. But how many teams win with their backup catcher starting so many games and being so bad?

Some, I'm sure. I'll have to check.

29 monkeypants   ~  Aug 24, 2010 11:44 am

[26] I actually doubt that we see Miranda at least until the AAA playoffs are over (late September), or at least until Scranton is eliminated. And even then they may not want to add him to the 40-man roster.

30 ms october   ~  Aug 24, 2010 11:50 am

i think the frustrating thing about cervelli now is his defensive miscues. it is expected that a buc won't hit worth a damn, but he damn well better be an excellent backstop. cervelli has slipped in that regard for at least the last few months (moreover his defensive reputation was probably over blown because po is a poor backstop, so in comparison he looked so good).
and to top it off he is hitting less than not worth a damn.
having a buc that isn't an elite backstop is like having a uif that is a poor fielder.
wtf is the point?

31 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 24, 2010 11:53 am

Let's also not forget that in addition to be a very bad hitter, Cervelli is also a poor defensive player. At least with Molina, you knew you were getting a strong defender.

The bottom line for me is: (1) Cervelli should not be on the roster; (2) If he is going to be on the roster, he shouldn't be starting so many games and be assigned as a personal catcher to 2/5s of the rotation; and (3) If he is going to start so many games, the Yankees should be carrying three catchers so they can pinch hit more often.

Also, Girardi needs to use Cervelli like a pitcher, bunting as often as possible, but that's another story.

[23] I agree with that...unless Jeter is injured (Girardi said it was just a routine day off), it probably would have been better to not have him on the bench with Cervelli starting. Of course, the Yankees could have gone the other way and had Posada behind the plate (Sat. and Sun were day games). In any event, Girardi should try to avoid having a bottomless pit in the bottom third as much as possible.

32 ms october   ~  Aug 24, 2010 11:57 am

if there is indeed a 6 man rotation, and cervelli is catching nova, javy, and aj, that means we get him 3 out of 6 games, rather than 2 out of 5!!!

33 monkeypants   ~  Aug 24, 2010 12:10 pm

[29] Ha ha. Miranda WILL be called up within a week. I meant of course that MONTERO will not be called up until late September if at all this year.

34 seamus   ~  Aug 24, 2010 6:13 pm

[33] ok yeah, that confused me.

And I think I sounded grumpy earlier. Which I may have been. damn full moon! Lot's of good stuff in that discussion though. Unfortunately i'm too hungry to respond haha.

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