- I still do not understand what happened to turn Scott Proctor from a prospective starter on his way to AAA Columbus into a first-class middle reliever with a stomach lined with iron. Or, is it teflon? Actually, I think it is All-Clad. (There is nothing I have burned onto an All-Clad pot that I could not wipe off, and that is saying quite a lot. With the amount of cooking I do, I will settle for admiring it from afar, however.) Proctor says it is a matter of confidence, which he gained during the one start he was allowed last year. Readers know that I have felt he is a starter at heart for some time, and, yes, I felt gratified to learn that "the powers" had planned to send him down to turn into just that. That, however, was before we lost our pitching Now we all sigh in relief when he comes in, as we used to for Tanyon Sturtze, who, after another troublesome outing preceding Proctor’s today, finally admitted he is hurt.
- I think Joe Torre might really be upset. The locker room was clear by the time Suzyn Waldman was allowed in after the game. She compared Sturtze’s failure to report his injury (he did this last year, too) — and Torre’s apparent reaction — to the Kenny Rogers episodes back in 1995.
- Kerry Wood is on his way back! He encourages me by his caution.
Keep an eye on these guys, if you like:
A’s: Loaiza, Street Reds: Claussen, Harang, Womack Diamondbacks: Clark Boston: R. Seanez, Mota (+ Foulke no less!) (Wells says he commits) Beckett, Lowell Padres: Peavy, Estes, Greene Tigers: Rogers, Maroth, Robertson, Bonderman, Seay, Inge, Leyland Cleveland: Sabathia Rockies: Fogg Orioles: Benson (Bottalico, Yates), Duquette, Mazzone Mets: Trachsel, Heilman (+obvious Billy Wagner), Keppinger Angels: Figgins Cardinals: David Eckstein Cubs: Eyre, Jacque Jones Brewers: Capuano Tampa Bay: Marlins: Girardi Pirates: Zach Duke, Ty Wigginton Phillies: Rowand (great fielder, does not hit under pressure, though) Dodgers: Sele White Sox: McCarthy Rangers: Benoit, Eaton, Dellucci, Durazo Royals: Runelvys Hernandez, McEwing Astros: Taveras Yankees: Chacon, Small, Wang, Proctor (as a starter), Sturtze, Mendoza, Ron Guidry (Hughes, Cox)
- 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?
Off my proverbial chest I foist the following:
- ERRORS are not being called on sloppy and questionable fielding plays. Managers are taking out pitchers for relievers when sharper fielding would prevent baserunners. This undermines pitchers and destabilizes weary late-season teams. To paraphrase a dazzled, recently traded starter: ” It’s so different when there are people behind you who might catch the ball.” Losers: Esteban Loaiza: WAS @ PHI — 8-17-05, Aaron Heilman: NYM — at least twice this season — I haven’t followed the Mets closely lately. Steve Trachsel: NYM — several times over the last couple years. David Wells: as a NYY (I’m not talking about the first time, when Jeter talked to him about trusting that his teammate-trust needed work) If I were a pitcher, I would feel secure, even fortunate, if Aaron Rowand had my back in Center, Tino Martinez covered 1B, etc. More on this to come.
- STRATEGICALLY SIGNIFICANT CALLS AGAINST SOME TEAMS IN HIGH PLACES ARE INCREASING (and not against their opponents): Losers: CWS, NYY, WAS, etc. I stick my neck out with the inference, but announcers wonder about the calls even when their own team benefits. Full disclosure: I support the Yankees, obviously. However, to me, they do not appear prepared for this year’s post-season. I have no interest in false wins. It’s hard that everyone comes to the park with their best game when they play the Yankees, but the players are paid well because they are expected to handle the extra attitude and prepartion that opponents bring to the game. When they fail to do that, they fail, and an umpire has naught to contribute. They can fail on their own, and I have seen them fall by their own hand a lot this season. They can handle the responsibility. I don’t need to blame umpires for stupid mistakes that players make on on their own. Given that every fan wants their teams to get lucky breaks, “we’re all in” the same boat as I see it. However,… keep your eyes open if your team is doing too well, is too popular, or is too rich to BE popular!) More on this to come.
- That said, GET OFF THE LATE-SEASON YANKEE-BASHING! I mean it. It’s amazingly predictable to correlate cheap shots about the Yankees with poorly-researched commentary. You really can’t buy a World Series team. They would have. Look at the last 4 years. If you could buy one, they’d have 29-30 rings by now, not 26. Can you buy advantage that may be unfair? Sure. Before we go there, please find out and tell me what the low-performing and under-funded teams DO with the dollar-for-dollar cash that Steinbrenner hands over when the Yankee payroll exceeds the salary cap. When their payrolls hold steadily low, and when they annually collect the Yankee subsidy, do they really think that building a newer-than-Yankee-Stadium (est 1923, fyi) will foster a fanbase more reliably than investing in a productive farm system? I grow cliched. I stop. in new stadiums that lose money rather than invest i continue Serious observers have noted fatalistically that the Yanks have been “building” up not just a hugely talented and expensive team, but also a twisted underdog status — as in, how could they possibly keep losing? This is complex as well as painful to write about. Unless you believe they are intentionally dropping games for betting, or are covertly planning some sneaky (and risky) come-from-behind surprise (WHEN? After how many losing postseasons?! Hurry!! Just kidding), you are wise and sane enough to be weighing alternatives. Your stomach may be stronger than mine. More on this later.
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.”
Relieved of conviction, of hope, of belief. Belief? We don’t need belief. These are the Yankees!
They CONSTITUTE belief!
But they have no RELIEF.
Sturtze. "The big right-hander." Steady. Sharp. Refreshing. Successful. Eats up innings. Usually. Today, he served up runs.
Stanton. "The big lefty veteran." Great under pressure. Gets righties out too. Goes multiple innings. Usually. Today, he some wonder if he’s still got it.
Yankees 3 Cardinals 5 L Sturtze W King SV Isringhausen (18)
Relievers need to pitch-in consistently. Not to pitch inconsistently. Joe likes going to Gor-Mo’. He needs to set a rhythm for the others in the bullpen too. You can’t go-to-Mo’ every day, especially when there are consecutive games to save (which there SHOULD be again someday). I’ve never quite figured out why we don’t have a 2nd closer, or why we haven’t made a closing specialist out of our longer relievers. Call to the bullpen. Line’s busy. Did Mel knock the phone off the hook, again?