"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Villains Always Blink Their Eyes

I have a confession to make. I don’t hate Carl Pavano. I know that’s not the Banter-party line, and I often exploit his rampant unpopularity for jokes at his expense, but really, I don’t have any hard feelings about the guy. When the Yankees acquire someone via free agency, I don’t care how much they spend on that player, just so long as I never hear them use that contract as an excuse for why they can’t go obtain another player down the line. After 2004, the Yankees needed starting pitching. The free-agent market was not strong, and they foolishly sent some money Pavano’s way. And then he never really pitched for the Yankees over the four years of his contract.

Yeah, that sucked, but it’s not like that money prevented them from getting Roy Halladay or some other great pitcher. He didn’t even occupy a spot in the rotation after 2005, so it’s not like he blocked a spot for some promising prospect or tied Cashman’s hands when it came to other trades or signings. I know that $40 million would have been better spent elsewhere and it probably would have benefitted the Yankees in some tangible way, but sometimes free agent signings don’t work out. If you must hold a grudge, I say pin at least some of it on Cashman or George.

I have no painful memories of the guy – he never disappointed me in any way. He was off my radar-screen by the middle of the 2005 season, only popping up occasionally (ok, more than occasionally) as the butt of a joke. But the rest of the Twins are either bland or likable or absurd (yeah, I’m talking about you, Orlando Cabrera), so Carl Pavano is the easy choice for villain of this ALDS. And he has graciously accepted this role and donned the facial hair to support his performance.

How do you spot such a villain?

And he probably throws a change-up.

Pavano pitched well enough into the seventh, but he was not dominant. The Yankees lined up a few hits in front of Arod’s sac fly and Lance Berkman whipped out his fairway wood for a home run to the opposite field. Pavano may have sustained more damage if Robinson Cano had run hard out of the box in the fourth, or if Cano had waited for a good pitch to hit in the sixth. In the sixth Cano was overanxious, but not offensively so. But in the fourth Cano posed and postured on his liner to the right field wall and when Swisher followed, the double play was still very much in order and the Yankees could not cash in a runner on third with less than two outs. I would love it if all Yankees would just run hard out of the box every time, but I think that’s just a thing of the past.

In the seventh, the Yankees finally dismissed Pavano – hopefully for the rest of the ALDS. Jorge Posada worked the first Yankee walk of the night and Berkman, opting for the 3 iron this time, lined one over the center fielder’s head for a run scoring double. Berkman was victimized on a soft change-up off the outside corner in his first at bat and seemed to sit on it as he tagged a similar pitch for both the home run and the double. He was sitting on the outside change so hard in the seventh, that Pavano was able to slip a fastball in there for what should have been the third strike, but the home plate umpire missed the call. Irate due to the double, Ron Gardenhire argued the call and was thrown out of the game. I guess he decided his team needed firing up, because with the score only 3-2 Yankees, the game was still firmly in reach.

After the ejection, third baseman Danny Valencia misplayed a very good bunt by Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter lunged out into the opposite batter’s box to serve one into right field just in front of the diving Jason Kubel to plate Berkman. Jeter’s exaggerated follow through as he moved up the first baseline was priceless – he knew he was getting away with something. That was it for Carl Pavano and, unfortunately, that was it for the Yankees in the seventh. After Gardner’s attempt to give the Twins the first out of the inning failed, Granderson succeeded. His sacrifice paved the way for an intentional walk to Teixeira, thus loading the bases for Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano. Arod got a meat ball on the first pitch from Jon Rauch, but could only foul it back. He went down swinging and Cano popped out to second. The game was hanging there for the Yankees, and they just couldn’t blow it open.

Andy Pettitte was just wonderful tonight. He had one bad inning, which wasn’t even that bad. He allowed a pair of singles, a walk and a pair of productive outs in the second. That made the score 1-0 Twins. And then he was just straight nails for the rest of the game, apart from a hanging cutter to Orlando Hudson in the sixth. Hudson lashed it over the left field wall to match Berkman’s homer and tie the score at two. Now that I have seen Andy Pettitte go seven strong, I am far more optimistic about this entire postseason.

Backing up Andy Pettitte was Walter Johnson. Or was it Bob Feller? Whoever he was, he was wearing Kerry Wood’s jersey and throwing sinister stuff. Put it this way, Kerry Wood was brilliant for the Yankees this year allowing only two runs in 26 innings and striking out 31. Apart from a surplus of walks he was almost like the Joba Chamberlain of 2007. And his eighth inning tonight blew any of those previous 26 out of the water.

The Yankees got another run in the ninth when Gardner and Granderson conspired to speed around the bases. Old man Derek Jeter tried to join them, but couldn’t leg out an infield hit. Still, his dribbler advanced Gardner to second. For there Gardner stole third and scored when Granderson won a tough battle with fireballer Matt Capps and dumped a single into center.

With a 5-2 lead headed into the bottom of the ninth inning, Mariano Rivera came in with more margin for error that he has had lately. He didn’t need it. Mauer’s a great hitter and I look forward to his at bats against Mariano. He really just can’t get comfortable up there. He managed a single as he fisted it into left field, but I think the confusion remains. Delmon Young rapped into a 6-4-3 and Mariano retired Jim Thome on a pop out to left to end the game for a second night in a row. The Yankees won 5-2 and now lead the ALDS two games to none. How about the positioning of Gardner on that play? Jim Thome’s farts go more than 300 feet, and yet there was Brett, perfectly placed, hugging the line in shallow left. I bet Jim Thome gets a hit on that ball 99% of the time.

Before the series, I was assigned the “Why the Twins Will Beat The Yankees” article. I thought the Twins had something special brewing in Minnesota, and I wasn’t sold on Andy Pettitte’s health. But with CC, Andy, Mariano and Wood throwing darts, and a deep, powerful lineup with newcomers Curtis Granderson and Lance Berkman getting big hits, this Yankee team is superior to the Twins and they have showed it. This series is not over, but the Yankees have put themselves in the best possible position to advance. Phil Hughes will start the biggest game of his life in game 3, but with a lot less pressure on him than could have been. Can’t wait.

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Game Recap  Jon DeRosa  Playoffs  Yankees

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1 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:53 pm

Pasta Pavano
Remember when the Giants signed Barry Zito to a SEVEN year $126m contract... four years ago?

"The Giants this morning will announce a Division Series roster that does not include pitcher Barry Zito, the team's highest-paid player, a source said Wednesday night, several hours after manager... "

Wow... talk about eating it.

2 RIYank   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:01 pm

"I don’t hate Carl Pavano."

Booooo. Booo, Jon.
We want Emma.
We want Emma.

(Good write-up, though.)

3 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:04 pm

[1] Great point OYF, Zito goes out there and gives his all, pitches every 5th day, and is not good. If the guy is not good, i'd rather he was hurt all the time and out of the picture. I guess that's a POV only a Yankee-fan could adopt.

4 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:04 pm

[2] Ha, yeah, I knew that would be controversial. I wasn't going to admit it if the yanks lost!

5 Just Fair   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:05 pm

I hate him. I also hate Orlando Cabrera. An 04 Sock and Scioscia Angel. He's practically the devil incarnate. His homer off Andy this eve didn't help. @$#@$ Pavano : ) Seriously.
Great win and nice thoughts. It's going to be a nice Friday.

6 thelarmis   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:11 pm

[5] don't forget brenly and luis gonzalez with his popeye arms...

7 RIYank   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:12 pm

Uh, Just Fair, Orlando Cabrera ≠ Orlando Hudson. Or did I miss the joke?

8 RIYank   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:13 pm

[6] Hey, welcome back. You missed good fun. (Also some gnashing of teeth, but hey, what's a post-season game without a little gnashing? Or at least noshing. Maybe a k'nish.)

9 patrick b   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:13 pm

Guys, this year's Orlando is Hudson not Cabrera. Orlando Cabrera is now a Red which is uncanny because he's on another playoff team. Maybe the Pirates should sign him in the offseason.

10 thelarmis   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:14 pm

lincecum has 6 k's, in 8 outs.

that's pretty good.

11 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:14 pm

[0] best. recap title. ever. "....and women never really faint.........."
World Title Contender Every Year: $200 million
Beating The Idle: Priceless

Query - who do you want to throw out the 1st pitch for Game 3?

12 thelarmis   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:18 pm

[11] Yogi.

13 Just Fair   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:20 pm

[7] Holy brain cramp. These last 2 nights I've been funneling irrational hatred for the wrong reason. Whoops. So to clarify.
Hatred for Pavano. Check. For Cabrera. Check. For Hudson. Check for the wrong reason unil his homer tonight. Now for Tony Orlando and Orlando Cepeda, that's for another night.
Thanks for clarifying my stupidity, RIYank. ; )

14 thelarmis   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:24 pm

error. i have NO idea why bobby has conrad at 2nd and infante at 3rd. they should be switched.

rundown at home.

15 thelarmis   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:26 pm

[8] ooh, i'd like to nosh on a k'nish.

i got to see a tiny tiny bit of the game. hopefully i'll be around saturday.

yeah, this orlando is the O-Dog. the guy who said his gm (ricciardi) dressed like a pimp, when he was north of the border. i'm not a big fan of any of the orlando's - hudson, cabrera, city in florida. cepeda is fine.

16 thelarmis   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:30 pm

heyward with the leadoff walk...

17 The Hawk   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:34 pm

The thing about disliking Pavano is, it's personal. It doesn't matter so much what ills he caused the team but how he caused whatever problems he caused.

It's hard not to think of him as the guy who was lazy and shitty when he played for the Yanks but good elsewhere. It's just annoying. **** him.

18 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:35 pm

I've always liked Orlando Hudson...

19 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:41 pm

[12] Would love Yogi. Wouldn't mind the Hideki either. Money's on Joe T.

Pretty good day of ball for the lonestar state.

20 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:45 pm


Agreed. Hate-ons for various people are part of the fan game, but O Dog is a class act by all reports.

Pavano is just irritating: beats us with Fish, gets paid lots by us, is injury-useless for years, then leaves and is ... quite good again. Can't imagine any of the being hurt and useless was planned, what athlete would ever want that, but the annoyance level is ... really high.

21 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:49 pm

I didn't mean to suggest Orlando Cabrera was on this year's team, just that was a Twin and he is absurd. Sorry for the confusion, that's obviously not clear in the story. I have no problem with Hudson.

22 seamus   ~  Oct 7, 2010 11:28 pm

good game folks! I will probably miss hanging with y'all on saturday too. but at least it's for a good cause (playing in hurling tournament).

23 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Oct 8, 2010 12:10 am

Lincecum with a complete game, 14 SOs, 1-0 victory. He is something else, and with the rest of the Giants rotation, they have to be considered worthy opponents to the Phillies for the NL pennant.

Imagine if he got run support?

I'd love for him to be a Yankee someday, but he wouldn't cut his hair.

24 monkeypants   ~  Oct 8, 2010 12:14 am

1) I remember plenty of Yankees fans pining to sign Zito...lucky Cash and Co. missed out on that one, huh?!

25 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 8, 2010 12:26 am

Some really sterling pitching so far this post-season.
[23] Lincecum is awesome, love the hair!

26 monkeypants   ~  Oct 8, 2010 12:29 am

25) It's too bad that the Giants-Braves game, otherwise a sterling pitching duel, was marred a bit by yet another blown call.

27 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 8, 2010 12:31 am

[26] C'mon man, it's just "The Human Element"!! I'm sure George Will can enlighten us on that..

28 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 8, 2010 12:44 am

[24] Or for Johan Santana (not cause of the off-field stuff that's yet to be resolved, but because of the injuries..)

29 monkeypants   ~  Oct 8, 2010 12:46 am

28) actually, Santana has been better post-Minnesota than I predicted he would be...and I am still overjoyed the Yanks didn't get him.

Now, if they can just manage to lose out on the Cliff Leee sweepstakes...

30 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 8, 2010 12:52 am

[29] Yeah, he has that stink of loserdom by being a Met, but he has pitched well overall. His Twins seasons were insane though..won't match those again.

I agree about Lee..Cashman will hold off I am sure.

31 MDF   ~  Oct 8, 2010 3:31 am

Jon: I think you might be confusing baseball hate with real hate. When we say we hate Pavano, we mean we baseball hate him, not real hate him. To be a Yankee fan, you really need to [baseball] hate Pavano.

32 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 8, 2010 7:11 am

[31] I really don't like losing to him, or that he was so good for the Twins this year. So maybe I'm approaching something like you are talking about. But when the Yankees beat him, I don't revel in it that much extra.

[29 & 30] Since Cashman was willing to trade Montero for him in July, and since the rotation is in worse shape in November than it was then, I think there's a very good chance he'll be a Yankee. I hope at that time, you guys can get excited about having the best left handed pitcher in baseball on your squad.

33 monkeypants   ~  Oct 8, 2010 7:58 am

32) my prediction is that he is going to fall off the table in terms of performance. I really do think that the 110 ERA+ that he had with the Rangers is going to be the norm, not his crazy good two years. But we will of course have memories of when he was the best LHP in the league, before he was a Yankee.

34 chrsm   ~  Oct 8, 2010 8:35 am

Andy looking HOF to me. Birkman, well, I've been waiting and watching for The Birk to show up. Good timing. Swish called it the Texas Two Step. Only Andy is from Baton Rouge. Still, nice game and all. (Great frigging' game!)

35 rbj   ~  Oct 8, 2010 8:55 am

I do hate Pavano. I don't mind if a guy isn't good, or if he's injured, or just can't handle the pressure of NY -- so I can't hate even Ed Whitson. It's just that basically Carl has been healthy and good before NY and after NY. But for 4 years he was always injured. 26 starts in 4 years, with 9 in the last three years?

Whitson couldn't handle NY, but at least he took the ball. To me, Carl hid. If you're going to hide, don't take $10 million a year.

36 flycaster   ~  Oct 8, 2010 9:03 am

What's the deal with Joba? Has Joe decided to bury him? Obviously he made the right decision to go with Wood last night (and he seldom gets credit for good decisions in this forum) but I kind of figured since Kerry worked Wednesday night that last night would be Joba's turn. And since TBS never shows us the bullpen, we have no idea if he has even gotten up. Anybody heard anything?

37 YankeeAbby   ~  Oct 8, 2010 9:05 am

Hey Will Weiss - if you're reading this morning - this was from your thread yesterday:

[[Prediction: Twins 5, Yankees 2]]

You happen to know tonight's winning lottery numbers?? ;-)

38 YankeeAbby   ~  Oct 8, 2010 9:06 am

Oh. crap.


I got the damned thing backwards. Crawling back into my hole!

39 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 8, 2010 9:12 am

[33] Maybe you're right. I remember many people not wanting any part of Roy Halladay either. Maybe they were right too. Why do you think those starts with the Rangers are more telling than the 2.5 years preceeding them?

If they sign him for 6 years, he probably won't be good for all 6, but I think he's got several good years ahead of him. The other question is if not Lee, then the next best free agent pitcher is possibly...

Carl Pavano.

40 Dimelo   ~  Oct 8, 2010 9:18 am

[0] Regarding Cano, what makes you think he wasn't hustling? The ball he scorched - do we agree there? - he couldn't round first assuming Tex was going to 3rd, plus Kubel has + arm, I thought Cano played that right. I never get why people think he's not hustling, I thought he was, IMHO.

41 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 8, 2010 9:36 am

[40] I saw him dmiring what he probably thought was a homer. And then he had no chance to kick it in gear and get to second. maybe he would have been held to a single anyway, but he gave himself no chance.

it's not a lack of hustle, it's a lack of priority. and, as i said, it's not just cano. it's a lot of players.

42 Dimelo   ~  Oct 8, 2010 9:48 am

[41] That's fine, I had a different opinion of the same event.

43 Yankee Mama   ~  Oct 8, 2010 9:55 am

I think Joba must have some unreported injury. There were too many times later in the season when he was simply unavailable without explanation. Or, his manager doesn't trust him to get the job done.

I like that, baseball hate, not to be confused with everyday hate. I'm in.

44 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 8, 2010 10:05 am

[42] Maybe he was just so invested in the swing that he wasn't able to get the motor going right away?

45 Dimelo   ~  Oct 8, 2010 10:13 am

[43] I just hate Pavano period, I don't have baseball hate, rather it doesn't exist for me. I have a binary: hate or respect. I hate Pavano, but I respect Pedroia and Youk. Respect can come out as dislike or hate, but if they were on my team then I'd be ecstatic. Pavano I just have a lot of hate for, he wants to act like it was all one big misunderstanding (his time with the Yanks) but he was a douche-bag, a quitter. Jaret Wright at least tried, he just sucked, Pavano...he'll always fall under the category of people that can go GFY (Themselves).

46 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 8, 2010 10:19 am

What I object to is that we were told that we were such ignorant babies for hating on Javy Vazquez and that it's accepted as gospel to hate on pavano. well vazquez has harmed me in much more direct and lasting fashion than has pavano.

and javy, by all accounts is a good dude, who pitched thru pain and took the ball w/o excuses (wel, now he has excuses, but they took years to come out). pavano was the opposite. but the results, in wins and losses, were much more influenced by javy's crappiness than by pavano's absence.

47 Yankee Mama   ~  Oct 8, 2010 10:33 am

Javy did more direct damage, while Pavano had more to do with what he didn't do. I was actually ok with Pavano until he covered up the car accident. His teammates were disgusted and frustrated with him and were verbal about it. How often does that happen? Usually, their disdain is hidden within the shadows.

Anyway, it's always good to have a villain.

48 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 8, 2010 10:52 am

[46] I always thought it was silly to hate on Javy, because to me, the hate seemed to stem primarily from the grand slam. That, of course, is what everyone remembers. The reason the Yanks lost the ALCS was not solely Javy - but that's how he's been treated. Way too many parallels to Buckner's treatment by Sox fans for my liking.

How can you hate on a guy for being a part of a losing effort, when he's only responsible for himself? It just doesn't make any sense to me.

Pavano, though . . . what an ass. His situation was entirely in his control - and that makes him far more reprehensible than Javy, whether the outcomes were of their respective situations. I don't know if I hate him, or even baseball hate him, but like Dimelo [45], I sure don't respect him.

49 seamus   ~  Oct 8, 2010 11:02 am

[45] how in the world do you *know* he was a quitter? You and I don't know jack about what was really going on with him. Assumptions like that bug the crap out of me.

50 Dimelo   ~  Oct 8, 2010 11:20 am

[49] what makes us different, sorry, but there was enough out there that he was quitter for me to make that judgement. Torre's book for one. And when Mussina spoke out against him and in a roundabout way calling him a quitter, "why don't you talk about the people who aren't here?", I'm definitely paraphrasing there, then I think he was indirectly saying he was a quitter. And the players, at least to me, are the best people to address that issue. Just like my co-workers are the root authority to tell you what my work-ethic and dedication is to a project.

Javy was never a villain to me, I think Shaun [48] said it best. I still respect Javy, sometimes people just aren't good enough. It happens. But Pavano's issue wasn't that, he just seemed like someone who didn't want to deal with none of the melodrama any longer.

51 seamus   ~  Oct 8, 2010 3:00 pm

[50] All you have there is a whole lot of hearsay. If you've ever known or worked with someone who had a mysterious ailment (or suffered from something non-obvious to observers), co-workers and managers almost always assume the worst about their work ethic. All that verifies is what we already know. We don't know squat about his work ethic (they seem to like it fine in Minnie from everything i've heard though). He's a celebrity. Hate him if you want to. But please don't pretend you know something you don't know. I have my own guesses about what was going on but all they are are guesses based on my own experiences. I could be totally wrong and I recognize that.

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