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September 15, 2005

Gordon, When It Counts

I thought that Tom Gordon looked good in the game last night. And, I saw him interviewed in the YES post-game coverage that followed. He impressed me. I know that I've probably heard him interviewed in the past, but, for some reason, I don't recall taking anything away from those times - like I did last night.

The Tom Gordon that I heard yesterday sounded intelligent - both in a baseball-sense and in a practical-sense. Listening to him, I thought "He could have a career in broadcasting, if he wants, when he is done."

So, what I'm about to suggest on Gordon is not a personal thing. I like the man, at least on what I know at this minute - albeit limited. But, what I'm bringing up here is something that concerns me - thus the need to make this entry.

Gordon has been an All-Star, won awards, and even (in 1998) garnered some MVP-votes in his time. It's a career to be very proud of - that is, his regular season career. In the post-season, it's been a whole different experience for Tom.

In his post-season career, Gordon has pitched in 16 games - registering 17.3 IP. In those IP, he's allowed 28 base runners and fashioned an ERA of 7.79.

And, this is just not one post-season or series that is weighing down his post-season career numbers. Gordon was terrible in the 1998 ALDS, the 1999 ALCS, and the 2004 ALCS.

Further, there were reports last year that Tom was so unnerved in the ALCS that he was tossing his cookies in the bullpen before failing to hold the lead in Game 5. (Gordon, this past February, denied that this happened.)

So, where I am going with this? I'm started to get concerned about that big series at the end of the year - at Fenway. Tanyon Sturtze is having issues these days. And, if you cannot count on Gordon to come through in the heat, who does that leave left to bridge into Mo Rivera?

Scott Proctor? Felix Rodriguez? Alan Embree?

That's not going to work. So, some way and how, the Yankees are going to have to get Tom Gordon to be able to perform efficiently during those games at Fenway - and, good-fortune providing, in the series that follow those games.

Otherwise, bring on the pain.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at September 15, 2005 12:38 PM


Steve, those are some compelling numbers on Gordon that frankly scare the crap out of me.

My optomistic-side has only one response - though spread over many different series, 17.3IP is a small sample size!

I'd also be curious as to how many of those runs Gordon himself let score, versus runners he put on that others let score. Might not make much difference, but youneverknow.

Posted by: Shaun P. at September 15, 2005 01:37 PM

Alright, I looked - it doesn't matter at all.

But there's still small sample size! =)

Posted by: Shaun P. at September 15, 2005 01:49 PM

You may want to take a closer look @ the numbers via retrosheet.

Many times either team was comfortably ahead, so we don't know if that changed his approach. We also don't know if he was hurt, missing a chunk of the season with a bum elbow.

Also, 17+ innings is a small sample size to work with.

Overall, I wouldn't be too concerned. The more innings he pitches, the closer he gets to his career line

Posted by: Raf at September 15, 2005 03:15 PM

I don't know about the other years, Steve, but 2004 was all about Joe Torre Quantrillizing poor old Flash. He was flaying his dead carcass even in the ALCS with an 11 run lead (Game 3).

Posted by: JohnnyC at September 15, 2005 03:36 PM

Maybe Gordon can get some advice on not puking from Johan Santana. It seemed to work last year for him.

Posted by: JeremyM at September 15, 2005 07:19 PM