"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

A Delicate Balance

Andy Pettitte is a big man with a huge ass and strong legs, but watching him pitch, the word that comes to mind is: touch. Petttitte was everything the Yankees could have expected today, allowing one run over six innings on 79 pitches and he was a pleasure to watch, adding, subtracting–pitching.

It was a sleepy afternoon at Camden Yards with the Yanks leading most of the way. But the O’s rallied late, scoring once in the eighth and again in the ninth to force extra innings–Mariano Rivera allowed just his second home run of the year, this one to Luke Scott. It was on the second pitch of the at-bat, a cutter that was low but right over the plate, and Scott popped it over the tall right field wall. And like that, a seemingly casual win turned into a ballgame.

In the 11th, Alex Rodriguez led off with a pinch-hit walk against the lefty Mike Gonzalez. Eduardo Nunez replaced Rodriguez as a pinch runner, Ramiro Pena squared to bunt and took a strike. Then Gonzalez threw the ball away trying to keep Nunez close at first,  a one-hoper into the stands. Joe Girardi replaced Pena with Marcus Thames who worked the count full and then waved over a slider for the first out.

Mark Teixeira pinch hit for Brett Gardner and was intentionally walked. Derek Jeter was next and he too was given a free pass, bringing up Fat Elvis, who has struggled as right-handed hitter. Berkman hit a high chopper to third base and as the Orioles started the 5-4-3 double play, it looked like even Fat Elvis would be able to leg it out. But he didn’t make it, out by a step. The play took forever to unfold and once Berkman was called out it was clear to this viewer that the Yanks were not going to win. Twelve runners left on base is too much.

At least it was swift. Scott led off with a bloop double then Ty Wigginton hit a rocket in the gap to end it. Final Score: O’s 4, Yanks 3.

Regrettable loss for the Yanks–aren’t they all regrettable, though?–as they blow a chance to gain another game on Tampa, who lost to the Angels.

Yanks, Rays, four games back home in the Bronx starting tomorrow. Then the Red Sox over the weekend.

Should be lively.

[Pictures by Bags]


1 williamnyy23   ~  Sep 19, 2010 5:25 pm

Buck Showalter was the reason the Orioles won this game. It'd be nice if the Yankees had a manager capable of doing the same.

2 Chyll Will   ~  Sep 19, 2010 5:48 pm

[1] The Yanks need Mike Singletary to come in and rip the clubhouse a new one. Then we need Jerry Manuel to come over and laugh and explain to the press how none of this matters.

But seriously, even Buck could not make guys hit the ball when and where they're supposed to. That's what it comes down to; the hitters fail to execute at an exceedingly high level in scoring situations. You can't blame anyone but the player for that.

3 Chyll Will   ~  Sep 19, 2010 5:52 pm

Meanwhile, the Mutts give Bobby Cox a nice sendoff by honoring him at the beginning of the series (Thanks for beating the crap out of us all these years!) and get swept by the Braves at the end. So, I guess it could be worse?

4 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Sep 19, 2010 6:05 pm

(I posted this on the game thread, not knowing that the wrap-up done. Thanks Alex)

Is it too much to ask for the Yankees to be better than a loss column tie with the Rays, before they start a four game series with them…the most pivotal series of the season? Apparently so.

At least Andy P.’s performance instills confidence that he will be ready for the remainder and post season.

Here’s to Andy:


(I am obsessed with this song since I heard it for the first time last week…always appropriate)

5 williamnyy23   ~  Sep 19, 2010 6:27 pm

[2] The players have to do the job, but the manager can try to put them in the best position to do so. Girardi didn't do that, and Showalter did. Setting up the inning for Berkman from the right side was genius. Putting yourself in a position where you had no alternative to Berkman from the right side was a mistake. Ultimately, players need to perform, but good manager can make a difference. Buck Showalter is a good manager.

6 Bruce Markusen   ~  Sep 19, 2010 6:51 pm

My biggest problem here was giving A-Rod yet another day off. What, is this guy made of china? They just had a day off on Thursday; is he not capable of playing three straight games?

People keep talking about the Yankees needing to rest up for the postseason. My goodness, they have been rested all year. Outside of Cano and Jeter, and perhaps Sabathia, how is it possible for any of these players to be tired?

7 Chyll Will   ~  Sep 19, 2010 7:00 pm

[5] But the fair assumption was that once Alex was on third (by virtue of the pitcher shotgunning the ball into RF off the mound), Thames would at least get a fly ball into the outfield. Ramiro was up before the third base opportunity occurred and was prepared to sacrifice Alex into scoring position, in which you could have either Thames or Jeter plate him and it never would have come to Berkman. Thames failed to do his job. Teix and Jeter didn't get a chance and the bench was virtually done. You can fault Girardi for not letting Pena finish the at-bat and you still would have had Thames and let Teix bat for Berkman, but that's asking a lot more of Pena than anyone here would give him credit for.

Girardi went for the kill and it backfired because the batter, starting with Thames, failed to execute. Would it have been better to count on Pena getting a fly ball or base hit when the chances are that he wouldn't? Maybe, but the chances are better that Thames makes contact and gets the ball in the air. He didn't even do that; his fault. It shouldn't have come to Berkman because Thames should have hit the ball in the outfield.

There re other ways this could have played out, but I don't believe you'd expect Pena to get Alex in from third or even get on base, and Joe's been killed for pinch-hitting for Pena in situations like that. And Berkman doesn't go to bat thinking he'll bounce into a double play any more than Jeter does, no matter how often it happens. Blame the batter for not doing his job; Thames and Berkman.

8 Chyll Will   ~  Sep 19, 2010 7:09 pm

[6] Not that the Yanks are wont to tell us what's really going on with these guys, Bruce. For all we know, Alex and Jeter are walking injury reports that never made it to the office, and only now did Teix admit that he's been playing injured. It annoys me too that these guys are not playing more often, but maybe they are playing to their capacity and we just don't know. If they are, I would not expect them to make it to the Series, which nobody wants to believe even if it were true.

Would knowing the truth make a bit of difference? Would we still expect them to play beyond their natural capacity if we knew they were injured or just worn out? Only the off-season will tell, especially if coaching changes happen to be made.

9 rufuswashere   ~  Sep 19, 2010 7:32 pm

These late inning one-run losses hurt big time.

Lots of experience with them over the last 1-2 weeks, no?

Makes you realize how spoiled Yanks've been with Mo over the years ... and us fans too.

And what's the record of getting in the run from 3rd base with < 2 outs during this period since the winning streak ended?

ARRRGHHHHH. (Charlie Brown, kite in tree.)

Boo hoo.

10 randym77   ~  Sep 19, 2010 7:56 pm

I have to say, I'm impressed with what Showalter has done so far.

Why did he and the Yankees part ways?

11 jeaner   ~  Sep 19, 2010 8:19 pm

Intenionally walking 2 with only 1 out to load the bases? Sheer idiocy, unless you're facing a batter who can't stay out of the double play. A friggin strikeout would have been better in that position, and we didn't even need a hit. grrrnarrgghhh

12 Raf   ~  Sep 19, 2010 8:36 pm

[10] Because the Yanks (Steinbrenner?) didn't like the way the Yanks performed during the 1995 postseason, ignoring the stretch drive the Yanks (under Showalter) put together to get there.

13 Raf   ~  Sep 19, 2010 8:39 pm

[7] Was squeezing with Pena or Gardner an option?

14 Chyll Will   ~  Sep 19, 2010 8:46 pm

[10] A lot of speculation is that he is very controlling and calculated, which is good if you are a front office executive (see how he built up the Diamondbacks organization during the last round expansion, how the Yanks came back into prominence in the absence of George Steinbrenner, how the Rangers became competitive when he came aboard), but not good for a manager, or at least that style has a short shelf life. i.e. how he left all said organizations. It was told as a populist revolt; maybe it was more of a power struggle. At any rate, he's made quite a few enemies along the way, some of whom are still employed with the Yanks.

I think that if he were to come here, it would not be as a manager, but in a development capacity (Damon Oppenheimer) as this is an especially strong quality he's demonstrated in each organization he's been with. But Buck obviously wants to manage and probably wants to be in charge, which is not likely to happen with the Yanks for some time if ever again. Do you think he'd allow himself to be in Baltimore if he didn't get a specific promise of non-involvement from Angelos and Co.? I sincerely doubt Cashman or even Hal would do the same.

But just wait; Buck will wear out his welcome in Baltimore in a few years as he does everywhere, unless he decides he doesn't need to manage anymore in jumps up into the front office.

15 Chyll Will   ~  Sep 19, 2010 8:48 pm

[12] That especially. >;) Whose idea was it to hire Torre? I sure don't believe George would have called that...

16 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2010 8:55 pm

Its is what it is. Awful road trip, but we need to put it behind us and wrap up the playoffs at home

17 randym77   ~  Sep 19, 2010 9:19 pm

The Orioles' owner seems to be a meddler. If Showalter wants full control, he won't last long there.

But if he does...uh, boy. Things will be interesting in the AL East, with the Yanks, Rays, Sox, Orioles, maybe even the Jays all contending.

18 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2010 11:34 pm
19 williamnyy23   ~  Sep 20, 2010 7:55 am

[7] Once Nunez gets to third, you can do a number of things, including squeeze with Pena and/or Gardner. It's tough to use a PH with a 1-1 count, but assuming it was a good idea, once it fails, you can't use Tex for Gardner because you have to anticipate that Showalter will then throw the game in Berkman's lap. It's too easy to say the players when failed when they are put in a position to do so. This season, Berkman is .177/.270/.266 against lefties. So, when a manager bats him against a lefty in a big spot, you can't throw your hands up and blame the player.

[10] It was really a power play. The Boss wanted to fire some coaches and Buck refused. Of course, even after Torre was hired, George tried to get Buck back, but he had already signed an agreement with the Dbacks.

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