"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Ain’t No Party Like a Scranton Party

Tampa spanked a Scranton-New York mash up 15-8, and that score does not do the game justice. It was 12-0 after four innings. The American League East Champions are entitled to a sleeper after clinching last night.

From this game we should take the following, in decreasing order of importance: nobody got hurt, Bartolo Colon was terrible, and Jesus Montero went three for three with two walks after a couple of ghastly games. The only regulars in the lineup were Jeter, Swisher and Teixeira, and they all came out after the game was out of hand in the fourth. Mad props to the Scranton boys who scored eight runs in the final few frames.

If I didn’t mention it earlier, the Yankees are American League East Champions. Before the season, I thought they had little chance to take the East crown. During the season, they proved me wrong and stayed close to the top, but I still never thought they’d outclass Boston because Boston was murdering them head-to-head. So to win the East so early that the last series with the Sox means diddly squat? Inconceivable.

Happy to be wrong. Hope I’m as bad at prognosticating the Postseason results because I still can’t see this rotation getting it done. To me, we’re in 2004-2007 territory. A great season, a great run differential, but having to throw one bad starter after another in the Postseason. The good news is that in AL at least, looks like everybody is in a similar jam. The Yankees can coast home from here, win a couple of the remaining games, rest players liberally and still pick up the best record in the AL. That’s what they’ll probably do.

But of course, given the fact that they play out the string against Red Sox and the Rays, the Yankees will determine the Wild Card winner. Should the Yankees arrange the off-days for the regulars so that the Rays play Scranton four times and the Red Sox draw the Bronx Bombers for all three games at the Stadium? There are two possible reasons for doing this: 1) The Yankees hate the Red Sox and want to ruin their season as early as possible. 2) The Yankees fear the Red Sox and want to avoid them in the ALCS if possible.

Going out on a limb, I think the first one is purely a fan’s reaction. Yankee fans would love to stick to the Sox, but for the Yankee organization, I hope it’s low on the priority list. If it came down to the last day of the season, and everything else was set in stone, and the Yanks could twist the needle by starting Brackman in the final game at Tampa, I could see that happening. But not some week long choreography.

But the second one deserves consideration. The Yankees are 4-11 against the Red Sox. CC Sabathia has struggled in all five tries against them this year. Of all the teams in baseball, they seem the most comfortable against Mariano. The most able to lay off the cutters outside the zone anyway. As a scaredy cat fan, I think they should do whatever possible to end Boston’s season now so that they don’t have the chance of losing to them in the ALCS.

Luckily, the Yankees are not comprised of scaredy cat fans. When I was a player, I certainly was not upset to see a top team knocked out of a tournament before we had to deal with them. But I also didn’t get too worked up about it one way or the other. If a team wants to consider itself a true champion, they’ve got to have the huevos to take out all comers. Whatever lineup Girardi puts out there should just try to win every game they play, and let the chips fall where they may.

Give guys rest. Line things up for the ALDS. But manipulate the final week of the season to push a floundering team out of the Postseason in favor of an equally good surging team? Pass.

Categories:  1: Featured  Bronx Banter  Game Recap  Jon DeRosa  Yankees

Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email %PRINT_TEXT


1 a.O   ~  Sep 23, 2011 12:04 am

"I hate the Red Sox."

-- Russell Martin

2 RIYank   ~  Sep 23, 2011 7:23 am

[1] !

Jon, although I share Russell Martin's sentiments, from a sober and calculating point of view, I would rather eliminate the Rays. Because they're better.

I mean, if you're really serious about this "don't have the pitching" thing (meaning you think that pitching gains in importance and hitting declines when the playoffs arrive), then surely you have to be more afraid of the Rays. The Sox' pitching staff blows. They are terrible. I suppose they could suddenly come alive and dominate, but if you've watched them recently you'll be as doubtful as I am.

The Sox can't win a game without scoring 9 runs. Really. I think they have one such win since the hurricane.

The Rays, on the other hand, have great pitchers. Obviously.

3 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 23, 2011 7:34 am

[2] Yet the Yanks beat the Rays regularly and can't beat the Sox. Bad match-up for the Yanks, thus far.

But losing to the Rays in the ALCS would not be as bad as losing to the Sox. Wasn't 2004 worse than all of 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010 combined?

4 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 23, 2011 7:50 am

[2] When you say the Rays are better, do you mean they are the better team or that they are playing better right now? If the Sox are healthy, I think they're they better team by a wide margin. Big if though, and I have no idea if they will be.

5 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Sep 23, 2011 7:52 am

[3] Yes, it was. Much worse. :(

6 rbj   ~  Sep 23, 2011 9:05 am

My only concern with last night was Bartolo.

Rays or Red Sox? My take is that right now the Rays' rotation is healthier/better, so I wouldn't want to face them. On the other hand, stiffing the Red Sox. . .

7 RIYank   ~  Sep 23, 2011 9:10 am

[3] [4] Well, if you just look at the whole season, the Rays and Sox are very nearly equal teams. So it depends on which Small Sample Size you think is more important. If it's the games the teams played against the Yankees, then plainly Boston is more dangerous to us. If it's September, then the Rays are way more dangerous.
If you discount Small Samples (as I do), then there's one other bias that matters, and that's the Good Pitching factor. Some people think Good Pitching becomes much more important in the post-season (you seem to be one of those, Jon!). And in that case, the Rays are by far the bigger threat. Price, Hellickson, Shields, way more scary than Beckett, Lester, Lackey. Not close!

Good point about the prospective pain of losing, though. Yuck. Okay, let's give the Red Sox our best games and lay it down against Tampa.

8 Will Weiss   ~  Sep 23, 2011 9:12 am

[6] Laying in the weeds ... the Angels. No self-respecting Yankee fan wants to face them.

9 RIYank   ~  Sep 23, 2011 9:25 am

[8] Indeed.
But they're almost cooked.

10 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 23, 2011 9:33 am

[7] for the postseason, i like to have everything. the braves had the strongest starters and it didn't serve them as well as the balanced yanks. the yanks from 04-08 had excellent hitting and weak pitching, and that was their worst stretch.

having everything means you can win in multiple fashions. once day the lineup may carry you, one day the starter has to deliver 7 shoutout innings, etc...

burnett, colon, hughes, and garcia have allowed 6.07 r/9 since the all star break. i can't believe they will put out a good game in the playoffs, and that will require to the yanks to hit every time they pitch. i don't want to rely on that.

though it's not definitive in any way, can you think of one time since 1995 when the yanks have won a world series without good starting pitching? can you think of a time since 1995 when the yanks won any individual series without good starting pitching? of course the 2009 team didn't have a good rotation, but that year they sent CC out on short rest to make up for it, and andy and AJ came up big when needed.

11 RIYank   ~  Sep 23, 2011 9:53 am

[10] Obviously, it's always good to have everything.
As you say, the Yankees won in 2009 by having great hitting and one really good pitcher, with a couple of others stepping up. That sounds a whole lot like this team. Nova for Pettitte, say, and one of the other guys for AJ.

In 2008 the Phillies had good pitching, but their bats were their strongest point. (I think the current Yankees are in this category.)

The 2010 Giants got through with their pitchers, plainly.
The 2007 Red Sox had both.
The 2006 Cardinals and 2005 White Sox were mediocre teams who got hot.

I don't feel like checking every champ since 1995, but my bet is you'll find that Good Hitting and Good Pitching come out about equally important.

12 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 23, 2011 10:03 am

[11] My point was slightly different, i was just talking about the yanks. It seems to me that in making the playoffs every year since 1995 but 2008, the times they won it all, or at least went to the series they had good performances from starters.

and if ivan nova can be as good as andy pettitte, wow, just wow, i will be so stoked about that. i've really grown to like the guy and absolutely think he's the second best pitcher on this team, but if he becomes something like andy pettitte, that would blow me away.

13 RIYank   ~  Sep 23, 2011 10:14 am

[12] Hmmmm. Just out of curiosity, why would you think that other teams might win the WS without top-level pitching, but the Yankees can't? That seems like a weird hypothesis.

Nova doesn't have to be as a good a pitcher as Andy Pettitte. My thought was really just that he could be about as good as Andy was in 2009. For the regular season, Nova was quite a bit better this year than Andy was in '09. Of course, Pettitte had that superb Division Series performance, but he really wasn't great in the WS. (I hope to god that Weeping isn't reading this. Sacrilege!)

14 a.O   ~  Sep 23, 2011 10:33 am

Good discussion. My only thought is that if the Sux were the better team "by a wide margin" then the margin would be wider than 2 games. Great post in the PB yesterday about how all the pundits were WRONG about the Sux this year. When will the Boston worship end?

15 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 23, 2011 10:33 am

[13] well, i know any team can win good enough hitting and decent enough pitching, but i doubt any team ever wins with pitching that performs really badly, with starting pitching that gets creamed most of the time.

all the yanks can do is have guys on the roster who are likely to perform well and then hope it works out. the yanks had all the right guys in 2002, and they got rocked and lost. this year, i don't think they have the right guys.

if they perform well enough to win, that would be awesome, but it would seem kind of like an accident to me.

16 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 23, 2011 10:34 am

[14] Better by a wide margin when healthy. Weren't they up 9.5 games on the rays when the Sox were healthy?

17 a.O   ~  Sep 23, 2011 11:11 am

[16] Maybe, but we don't live in the Platonic world of ideals. Injuries are part of the game. That's why team depth is important. Makes me think how many Yanks have stepped into gaps this year, like our Rookie of the Year.

18 RIYank   ~  Sep 23, 2011 11:20 am

[15] Yes, I think it's pretty clear that teams don't win the World Series wheeling out "starting pitching that gets creamed most of the time." But teams don't finish the season with the best record in the American League with "starting pitching that gets creamed most of the time", either. The Yankees are going to have starters with the following ERA+:


(I am assuming that Hughes and Burnett will not be in the post-season rotation.)
That's not a crew who gets creamed most of the time. And I'll stack them up against anybody's starters except the Phillies'.

19 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 23, 2011 11:25 am

[18] i don't think that highly of colon and garcia, but if they pitch decent games, the yanks are going to be in great shape.

for very old guys who have not been good in a long time, i think their recent slides are likely the result of wearing down and not being any good any more. hopefully, it's just the natural ebb and flow ofthe season, but with them, i am inclined to read more into it than that.

20 a.O   ~  Sep 23, 2011 11:32 am

I would agree with that, Jon. Freddy and Bart seem to have worn down considerably in the 2d half. So, here's my question for yallz: Is it possible to do anything between now and Game 3/4 of the ALDS -- when these guys who will presumably pitch -- to get them "fresh" again? Or is it inevitable that we will see the same tired, weak sauce from these guys? I don't think it's overstating this to say that our (post)season may depend on it.

21 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 23, 2011 11:37 am

[20] i would let them throw another game, hope they had early success, and then yanks them quickly so they don't push themselves and have a shot of confidence. but there's not much they can do.

22 RIYank   ~  Sep 23, 2011 11:37 am

I guess that's right, we'd need a small handful of pretty good games out of Colon and Garcia, between them. Either that or win a couple of those games 9-6, which isn't far-fetched when you think about which pitchers would be up against them. I mean, you think our line-up couldn't knock out double digits against, say, Wakefield and the Boston relief corps? Against Brad Penny?

23 a.O   ~  Sep 23, 2011 11:54 am

[21] I guess a short, confidence-building outing is the best/only medicine. I'm hopeful that those two will step up in the playoffs. They seemed to be pitching like they had something to prove this year and as veterans I think that mindset will extend into the postseason. Fingers crossed anyway.

[22] Our lineup could knock the crap out of any of those guys, but what I see from guys like Tex, Swish, and Robbie when the playoffs come around is they get nothing but junk and swing at everything and consequently provide very little offense (sometimes).

24 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 23, 2011 12:03 pm

Every time I think about relying on the lineup I think of 2006 and watching Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman look like Koufax and Drysdale.

That murdered the rational person in me when it comes to this stuff.

25 a.O   ~  Sep 23, 2011 12:20 pm

LOL, indeed.

Hey, weird article on ESPN this morning quoting Cashman as saying that his meeting with Carl Crawford's agent last winter was an elaborate ruse to drive up the price for Boston. Why the hell would you admit that in public?

26 Raf   ~  Sep 24, 2011 5:47 am

[25] He admitted it in December

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver