"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Don’t Ask


The Yankees won a taut, low-scoring affair with a big performance by a starting pitcher, some good defense and a solid bullpen. As long as you don’t have to answer any follow up questions, that’s our story for this game, OK? The Yanks can win close ones. All is well, everything will be OK from this point on, yada, yada. This 2-1
victory over the Blue Jays was the huge sigh of relief that the team needed after Monday’s disappointment. Got it?

Phil Hughes was good for the second straight game – a Yankee-Stadium-Special his only blemish. Never mind that he was up 1-2 on the hitter, and that the hitter was someone named Adeiny Hechavarria, who may or may not have discovered the silent “V”. It was Hechavarria’s first career home run, though I wonder if he’ll be fined in Kangaroo court for smiling – I’m not sure opposing batters are allowed count Hughes and Nova homers for personal milestones.

The Yankee offense jumped out to an early lead, that’s good right? Should it matter that the pitcher the Blue Jays sent against them is so lost this year he’s walked 5.1 batters per nine innings? He walked eight Tigers in his last start. He shut the Yanks down for seven innings.

But that’s not the whole story, because for Ricky Romero to have a shut-down game this year, something else must be at work. And yeah, there it is, the Yankees had recent re-acquisition Steve Pearce batting cleanup. Russell Martin batted fifth. Russell Martin, who may not be the fifth best hitting catcher in the Yankee system, was the fifth best hitter the Yanks could send out there tonight.

The game threatened to tilt in a tricky sixth inning, but the quick reactions of Robinson Cano saved the day. De-Fense, that’s important, right? Hughes walked the first two hitters and Adam Lind tried to order another Special, but the kitchen was all out of meatballs. He skied it to the wall in the right field corner. The tying run moved to third with one out. Yunel Escobar stung one Willie-McCovey style right to second. Cano snared and fired to third to catch Rasmus dancing by himself. The double play balm soothed those nagging doubts that began to appear.

If someone does start asking follow-up questions, like “why was that game against that pathetic team so damn close?” Or  ”can you imagine a team like the Yankees fielded tonight winning many future games?” you just say, “how about that Red Sox trade?” And cross your fingers.

 

Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty

Categories:  1: Featured  Game Recap  Jon DeRosa  Yankees

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35 comments

1 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 28, 2012 10:29 pm

All I know is that the word "shenanigans" was mentioned at least a dozen times today in at least a dozen different posts on my FB timeline (none of them mine, FYI) with the ensuing threat of pistol-whipping if it showed up again, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed regardless.

2 Ara Just Fair   ~  Aug 28, 2012 11:27 pm

[1] For what it is worth my friend told me last Friday that he did not realize hooliganism was a real word until recently I told him he did not watch enough soccer games. As for the game, it was to see a two out hit, a sac fly, Phil not sucking, and Alex taking bp before the game. Oh, and the legendary Pearce leading Murder's Row.

3 Sliced Bread   ~  Aug 29, 2012 6:55 am

Great, and beautiful night at the ballpark. My brother-in-law treated me, and my dad to some great seats, about 15 rows off the field between home, and the Yanks' dugout. Incredible view of the show.
Saw Ibanez crush a few during batting practice, while Mo was holding court near the dugout.
Not sure if they showed it on YES, but Ponson was in the house. He got a nice round of applause when they put his big mug up on the big screen.
The vibe was mostly relaxing at the Stadium, as if the whole joint knew the Yanks would win on a night like this. The only time I sensed anything close to anxiety was when Soriano entered the game. I trust him as much as anybody not named Mo, but the crowd definitely got jittery before he started mowing down Blue Jays.
I was home by 11, which is a damn fine thing considering I live about an hour from the Stadium without traffic. Great night.

4 bags   ~  Aug 29, 2012 8:41 am

Do you know what real word annoys the hell out of me?

Cornucopia.

I'm just saying'.

5 BobbyB   ~  Aug 29, 2012 8:46 am

“Why was that game against that pathetic team so damn close?”

6 rbj   ~  Aug 29, 2012 8:51 am

It's one more in the W column. And given that Pearce & Martin were the 4 & 5 hitters, pointing out the other team was pathetic, well that's not something I want to examine in great detail.

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 29, 2012 8:57 am

Look... we are missing our starting 1Bman, LFer and 3Bman, our Closer and 3 starters. It's nice to say 'we can't blame injuries', but that is just political correctness.

The BJs have be hit very hard with injuries... and they are under .500
The Sox have be hit very hard with injuries... and they are under .500
We have been hit very hard with injuries... and we are 21 games OVER .500.

The team we put on the field last night might be a .500 team. Nobody would expect that team to go anywhere, right? If Teix, and ARod, and Andy come back and perform, and Granderson gets his head out of his ass, then we have a PS team.

8 flycaster   ~  Aug 29, 2012 9:21 am

The fact that a guy is batting 5th in the lineup does not mean he's the 5th-best hitter in said lineup. Just sayin'.

9 BobbyB   ~  Aug 29, 2012 9:45 am

Joe Mauer on waivers. Boy, could we use a catcher.

10 monkeypants   ~  Aug 29, 2012 9:52 am

[7] If Teix, and ARod, and Andy come back and perform, and Granderson gets his head out of his ass, then we have a PS team.

If Teix, and ARod, and Andy come back and perform, and Granderson goes back to what he did during his increasingly anomalous 2011 season, then we have a PS team.

11 RIYank   ~  Aug 29, 2012 9:54 am

[9] I know, tempting. But, they wouldn't let him walk without something in exchange; and his contract is enormous. I mean, really huge -- he's owed $23/year for the next 6 years.

Here's some perspective: Baseball Prospectus gives the Yankees a 95% chance to win the Division. So take it easy -- objects in mirror are further than they appear.

12 RIYank   ~  Aug 29, 2012 9:57 am

Uh, $23 million.
I guess $23/year would be very team-friendly.

13 monkeypants   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:04 am

[11] The odds of winning the division are great because they built up a huge lead, a goodly part of which is still intact with only 30 or so games remaining. The more serious serious question is to what degree the team enters the postseason with a lineup resembling last night's.

Catcher has been an absolute black hole this season. It *may* be worth putting a claim on Mauer, if the goal is to bolster the lineup for the postseason.

Then again, that contract *is* really long.

14 BobbyB   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:05 am

Russell Martin is batting what? .195? Mauer is batting .406 since his return?

15 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:06 am

[12] I would volunteer to clean the stadium and deliver meals to the less fortunate if Mauer volunteers to play.

16 BobbyB   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:06 am

No one batting .195 should be in the major leagues. His lifetime stats show a total freefall. It's not going to get any better.

17 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:18 am

(1) "Baseball Prospectus gives the Yankees a 95% chance to win the Division. So take it easy"

(2)"The odds of winning the division are great because they built up a huge lead..."

Look... I'm not headed for a bridge but
1) Is that based on the players we have CURRENTLY on the field? I think not.
2) We have (only) a 3.5 lead on 1 team, and a 5 game lead on a very good team, that is CURRENTLY perofrming well.

Here's my question:
We have basically been a .500 team since the ASB, and that was with Teix mostly in the lineup (and FWIW) also Nova,

IF WE CONTINUE TO PLAY .500 (OR JUST ABOVE) BALL, WILL WE WIN THE DIVISION?

The truth is, for half a season, Jones, Ibanez and Chavy were big contributors. But they have slowed down big time, and that has really hurt us a lot. Will they pick it back up???

I still think the odds are in our favor, but it is pretty close.
How many games to we have left against Baltimore and TB?
If we play less then .500 ball against those 2 teams, things could go badly!

18 RIYank   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:18 am

Oh, Mauer would be extremely helpful, obviously!

It's just that he would be enormously overpaid for six years. He isn't going to bat .406, and his slugging is gone, and actually it's doubtful whether he's even a catcher anymore (he's played a third of his games at catcher this year, a third at first base, and a third as DH).

Just live with our weak-hitting catchers for now. Mike Napoli will be a free agent this winter. He'll be expensive, but a much better buy than Mauer.

19 monkeypants   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:25 am

[17] We have (only) a 3.5 lead on 1 team, and a 5 game lead on a very good team, that is CURRENTLY perofrming well.

Historically, even a seemingly small lead like 3.5 games is tough to overcome in only 30 or 35 games. 5 games is really big.

That said, I do understand what you are saying: the current Yankees' roster is very weak, and that increases the odds that the pursuing teams can actually make up the lead.

20 monkeypants   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:26 am

[18] actually it's doubtful whether he's even a catcher anymore (he's played a third of his games at catcher this year, a third at first base, and a third as DH).

Hm. Three positions where the Yankees have gaping holes right now.

21 RIYank   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:27 am

Is that based on the players we have CURRENTLY on the field? I think not.

It's based on the roster. So, no, the simulation doesn't know that Pearce is batting clean-up, but it knows that A-Rod is on the DL.

What I like about the BP page is that it doesn't get wildly overexcited about what's happened recently, as observers tend to do. That was my point about 'perspective'.

22 monkeypants   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:29 am

The more I think about it, Mauer could be an interesting option as a part time C/1B/DH going forward, especially if the team allows Swisher to walk.

23 RIYank   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:30 am

[19] 3.5 games is very tough for a team as mediocre as the Orioles to overcome, more to the point.

[20] Indeed. But I urge you to think about the implications of the 'right now' part.

Go get Mike Napoli and David Ortiz in the off-season, if the team is really concerned about C and DH for the future. Ortiz will be a much better hitter than Mauer, and you can get him relatively cheaply and on a 2-year contract. Napoli will probably give you similar production, but at a much lower price.

24 RIYank   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:31 am

[22] If you don't want to re-sign Cano, then yeah, I guess.

25 RIYank   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:31 am

Hmm, although, there is one option: do you think the Dodgers would be willing to pay some of Mauer's contract?

26 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:48 am

[2] I didn't realize you could get away with mentioning or printing "Pussy Riot" so many times in the mainstream media (and without the least bit of forced or unforced irony), but there you have it. Of course, when Brian Williams mentions it, it's no longer ironic...

Bags, if cornucopia (often preceded by "veritable") bugs you, you must also get a little pissed by "plethora", "insatiable" and "serendipitous".

In fact, put plethora and insatiable together and you get either "indefatigable" or more likely "improbable".

27 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:51 am

Silent "p" also annoys me. Why is it there, for gravitas?

28 monkeypants   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:54 am

[23] I'm actually concerned about 1B in the future, as well. In reality, I'm not convinced that Mauer would be a good fit necessarily. That said, do you think he or Teixera will be the better hitter over the next three or four years?

29 RIYank   ~  Aug 29, 2012 10:55 am

[26] It adds something to the swimming pool, but I don't think you call it 'gravitas'.

30 RIYank   ~  Aug 29, 2012 11:02 am

Teixeira or Mauer: hmmmmm.
Mauer will get on base more, Teixeira will hit more homers.
Teixeira is older, but Mauer has catcher-years...

Roughly equal?

(Mauer has two extra years on his contract, which are pretty nearly guaranteed to be among the very worst value years in baseball. And, we already have Teixeira, so unless Ned Coletti has a hankering for him, it's not a matter of Teix or Mauer.)

31 monkeypants   ~  Aug 29, 2012 11:06 am

And, we already have Teixeira, so unless Ned Coletti has a hankering for him, it's not a matter of Teix or Mauer.

I know. It was more of a forensic question. I think the last couple years of the Teixera contract are going to be disastrous.

32 RIYank   ~  Aug 29, 2012 11:16 am

Yeah, I wouldn't say disastrous. I mean, he'll be better than James Loney. Overpaid, but not horrible.
I actually think the Yankees are relatively free of terrible end-of-contract prospects. I hope they don't add any. I hope they don't go after Hamilton...

33 RIYank   ~  Aug 29, 2012 12:17 pm

Sigh.
I'm falling in love, all over again.

34 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 29, 2012 5:00 pm

Um guys.... don't we have a C in our system who is rated as highly, if not higher than Montero was? Yeah, he's 2-3 years away, but I can't see any long term contracts for a C right now. Ya never know in baseball what the future will bring, but I'd rather add a quality bat who plays COF, which is a more immediate need.

My guess is our 4 infielders are set for another 3 years, and I think we can stand a poor hitting C if he's decent on D and handles pitchers well (although I would like a bit better than a .200 BA). The good news is, Martin should be cheap going into FA. I'd be happy with 3/$12m, or something like that, and hope G.Sanchez stays healthy.

35 bags   ~  Aug 29, 2012 5:24 pm

[26] oooh. veritable + cornucopia makes me seethe. and plethora drives me bonkers.

there are valid uses for serendipity. i'm okay with it.

and valid but usually juvenile reasons for insatiable. i'm usually irked by it.

someone once told me he had an "inversion to ranch dressing". i know. i've changed the terms. now we're in the world of malapropisms. but i thought i should mention it because i sort of loved it.

it almost works. except it doesn't. at all.

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