- First things first: Credit goes to Marc Marc for the title of this post.
- Games of Sun. 9-18-05:
- EMBREE — Toronto 6 Yankees 5. Wright lets in 3 runs, gets HBB — hit by bat — and leaves for Leiter. Thank goodness Leiter’s willing to work long relief. He lets in only 1 run. Sturtze
relieves Leiter. (To paraphrase Joe Torre, he’s back.) Torre starts “that righty-lefty ****,” as Marc calls it. He pulls righty Sturtze for Embree, who throws the pitch that allows Toronto to score off a Jeter error. Convince me Embree’s not a Boston spy. You just know Boston said, “Fine, you want Mendoza back, you take Embree with him. Otherwise, no deal.” Convince me Mendoza wasn’t a Yankee spy. Remember, he beat the Yankees at the Stadium as a Boston starter, and couldn’t do a thing for his new team after that. Now he can die a Yankee like he always wanted. (I’ve got to find that quote.) Let’s just hope his recent starts in Columbus represent what he can still do better than that promising – turned – disastrous appearance out west. He’s got my vote.
- EISCHEN (I’ll give Majewski a break, or will I?) — San Diego 2, Nationals 1 Loaiza pitches 7 scoreless innings on 3 days’ rest. Gets a no-decision. Can we buy him back, please? I won’t rub it in, I promise. Majewski let one in in the eighth to tie it. (I do like that Khalil Greene.) Eischen let in the winning run on a throwing error. From Sept. 6 through yesterday, Majewski hasn’t had more than 1 day off. Like almost every pitcher, he won’t admit he might not be at his best without a couple days’ rest thrown in. Eischen works a little under every other day. Here are some revealing quotes from Bill Ladson‘s MLB.com article on the game:
“The Nationals relievers have given up 10 runs — nine earned — in their last six innings. Asked if being overworked was the reason for their ineffectiveness of late, [Manager Frank] Robinson said, ‘Those are excuses. If you do have a tired arm, there is no reason to hit people or walk people. Just put the ball over the plate.'”
“‘It’s one of those games. I didn’t get the job done. The control wasn’t there where I wanted it,’ Majewski said.
“Majewski said that his arm is not tired. His 73 appearances puts him in the NL’s top 10, and he’s never appeared in more than 57 games in his professional career.
“‘Everything is good. I told [Nationals manager Frank Robinson] to put me out there. I want the ball. I’ll do the best that I can every time out,’ Majewski said.”
Pardon me, but, after reading what his manager said (see quote above this one), what else is he going to say?
- TRACHSEL– WOW. Welcome back to the Mets. Your pitching presence was praised as iconic. Your absence was bemoaned. Your minor league rehab starts were celebrated. Hard to believe, right, after the abuse you garnered as an active player? Fear not. After a win backed by 12 runs, Zambrano — who was rumored to be fighting for his starting life — may have your slot. So, pitch your heart out, Steve! And if things don’t work out, the Yankees have been eying you for years. Toss a baseball-in-a-bottle into the East River, and the message will get to Uncle George. (Right, Mr. Steinbrenner? Right?!)
- LOAIZA– Will Nationals’ fielding and run-support FINALLY allow him to reach .500? Tonight the Nationals host the newly-crowned best-in-baseball Cardinals, sans their star Scott Rolen, and led by Suppan (RHP- 12-8, 3.94). Home-Field Advantage? Loaiza (RHP- 8-9, 3.66) could use any advantage the his own team can spare. Remember, except for that one pitch to first-day-in-the-majors Jacobs, he shut out the Mets in New York last week.
- PLAYING FAVORITES? Randy Johnson (LHP- 11-8, 4.34) starts at the Stadium tonight (against Kansas City’s Mike Woods: RHP- 4-4, 4.09). We — I speak loosely — laid into Randy Johnson for giving up 6 runs in the 4th on Sunday in Chicago, and chose not to emphasize the multiple shutout innings he pitched on either side of the anomaly. The same “we” took in stride Mussina’s 8-run 5th inning a few days later against Toronto, noting with regret that Moose has been known to “throw” a single inning in an otherwise well-pitched game. With outrage, the same “we” flogged and sent away Kevin Brown for losing his first rehab start following weeks on the DL — rather than admitting that we may have destroyed the closing of a great pitcher’s career by denying him even one real rehab start, which is a low-pressure, innings-limited outing in a minor league game. We have descended to misrepresenting an epiphany he made the mistake of announcing — that he is pitching the last games of his career — to mean that he is unsure about continuing to pitch. I suppose I could continue this list by contrasting the huge leash Clemens was given to lose games as he adjusted to New York with the few games Loaiza was allowed before being sent to the bullpen in a move that may have lost the Yankees the 2004 ALCS.
- SABATHIA– In Chicago, where I spent last week, commentators spoke with respect of the strength of Cleveland’s CC Sabathia (LHP- 10-9, 4.76). I don’t hear much good about the inconsistent lefty here in NYC, though I have been curious about him for some time. Of course, fans here were spared seeing him beat us as the Indians — featuring slugger Aaron Boone — laid us flat at the Stadium. And, the White Sox have to watch their backs in their own division, and the Indians are nipping at their heels from closer than they have been for some time this season. He faces a weaker link in the Blue Jays’ rotation, Dustin McGowan (RHP- 1-1, 8.63), who is filling-in for Yankee-Killer Roy Halladay, who is on the DL. Go, CC. (By the way, watch out for Vernon Wells.)
- A RAMIRO MENDOZA SIGHTING! After months of invisibility on Yankee minor league webpages, Mendoza (RHP, middle reliever) has made an appearance. He is now with the AAA Columbus Clippers, after a short stint with the Gulf Coast Yankees. Can the Bronx be far off? No rush. He needs to take care of that shoulder. Maybe he really can “die a Yankee,” as he confessed was his dream just before he was handed off to the Red Sox for the 2003 season. Mr. Steinbrenner, are you listening? Please? (As evidence that I was am only a recently-converted Red Sox scorner, I produce the support and pride I sent out to the mound from my Saturday Tier Reserved season-seat, as Mendoza not only started for Boston but WON!) (Continuing your rescues from the Red Sox, Mr. Steinbrenner, might you consider scraping-up #16, who sold-off his #3 to Renteria right before beating us at home? A faded, fabled, #33 tattoo may be visible under his jersey.)
The Yankees have won their nearly-annual July 4th contest against the Orioles. Mariano Rivera gets the save. His third in 3 days.
Now, you know that John Sterling is beside himself. The more he anguishes that Mo doesn’t get to pitch, the more likely it seems that Mo will pitch. In consecutive games, no less. To “Suzy’s” credit [Was that a slip, or have John and Suzyn Waldman been bumping knees beneath the mikes?], she asserted on air today that even the great need to rest. Did she read yesterday’s blog? No, of course not. It’s just that obvious. It’s so obvious that no one talks about it. Right?
I love Sturtze. Floraine Kay calls his zone “The Tanyon Canyon.” As in, here it comes, strike, another one down the Tanyon Canyon. Sturtze was game, as he should be, to be a starter for the day. Joe Torre is sometimes too quick to plant people in the bullpen before their range has been explored. I’ll never quite forgive him for demoting Esteban Loaiza last year. The bullpen is not a demotion for pitchers who carve out a place for themselves there. Aaron Heilman, for example, may be considered a bullpen success for the Mets, though I think it’s still too early to label him, especially since his record this season does not adequately reflect the circumstances that compromised it. Same with Ramiro Mendoza, who started for the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in the last game in which I could in good conscience support a Boston win. He beat us good, much like David Wells did earlier this year, also at the Stadium. We deserved it. We let them go, and they were YANKEES. They loved nothing so much as this team, and they dug-in their best for those W’s. Remember when Mendoza said “I want to die as a Yankee”? We had already screwballed Wells once by then, in exchange for Clemens, who never did his best work with the Yanks. Then we sent Mendoza to the Red Sox, redeemed ourselves with Wells, then sent him to Boston too, albeit the long way, with an incentive-and-insult-ridden minor league offer of $300,000 at the end of the 2003 season. Now that Mendoza is allegedly back with us, let’s hope we do things right by him, though our second dispatch of Mike Stanton doesn’t bode well for our karma.
Stanton and Paul Quantrill are entitled to bolt down a round of scotch shots on Steinbrenner’s tab for each run given up by Scott Proctor and Jason Anderson in long relief for the sole long reliever we have left. But if revenge is sweeter than cognac, I hope our veterans prefer vodka. Since they were dropped, Flash Gordon has stepped up, and our fair closer has risked his arm for games we didn’t have a fly ball’s chance of winning.
I’ve got to track down Torre’s spring 2003 quotation. It went something like this: “There’s such a thing as too many pitchers.”