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August 13, 2006

Stein: [I'm] Always Worried About Boston

From Newsday:

Flanked by four men, George Steinbrenner entered Yankee Stadium at 12:05 p.m. yesterday to watch his first-place club.

When asked if he was pleased with the Yankees' play in recent weeks, Steinbrenner said, "I'm not happy about [Friday's 7-4 loss], I'll tell you that."

Four hours later, he acknowledged that the win put him in a good mood and that he's "always worried about Boston."

Just looking at the Yankees pitching rotation, and their upcoming schedule, the Boss should be worried.

Joe Torre and his staff have a big question on how to handle that day-night double-dip up at Fenway on August 18th.

Wang will pitch one of those games - as his regular turn. But, who pitches the other game?

The Yankees could use Randy Johnson on short rest for the second game. But, then, Mussina, Lidle and Wright all have to pitch the next three games on short rest as well. And, do you really want Wright pitching in Fenway, at all?

Or, the Yankees could use a spot starter in that non-Wang game on the 18th, and then have Johnson, Mussina and Lidle pitch the last three games of the series on full/normal rest. I like that idea except for one issue. Who would that spot starter be? Knowing Torre, it's going to be Sidney Ponson.

Just thinking of that makes my stomach turn.

Again, and, sorry to beat a dead horse, but, this is why is was stupid of the Yankees to skip Lidle the other day. That extra day of rest for the Yankees rotation would have been nice to have in the bank - and helped with the decision to ask Johnson, Mussina, and the others to pitch on short rest in Boston.

It's a shame that Torre & Crew are not capable of forward thinking. Then again, seeing how Torre burns out relief pitchers, it's probably safe to say that forward thinking is not something that Torre ever considers. (Unless, of course, it's something like leaving Mussina on the West Coast during the post-season last year.)

For what it's worth, Boston has some noodling to do on the Yankees upcoming visit to Fenway as well. The Red Sox have an off-day on August 17th. Do they use that off-day to skip Jason Johnson? If they do, then Beckett and Schilling will have to face the Yankees on short rest.

If I had to guess, I would predict that the Red Sox do not skip Johnson. And, if they don't, then the Yankees might try and match up Wang against him - to try and lock in at least one great shot at a win in Fenway.

It's going to a very interesting series in Fenway. And, Big Stein has a legit reason to be worried.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 13, 2006 10:20 AM

Comments

WE have to worry about OUR pitching staff? You know our team gets to face the Red Sox's pitching staff, right? I'd give us the clear edge there. Since even their "big guns" -- Schill and Beckett -- haven't been doing much lately.

Also, Wright pitched five scoreless innings in Fenway this year. You don't have to fear him pitching anywhere.

If the Yankees use a spot-starter, it HAS to be Ponson. Who else could they use? The alternative would be using Villone, which is a horrible idea, or calling up Steven White (or one of the other scrubs in AAA), which is just as bad. I'll take Ponson over Small, Mendonza, DePaula, Wilson, etc., etc.

Let's not even worry about those guys just yet. We have to hope Jeff Weaver's little brother isn't hell-bent on revenge today in Yankee Stadium.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 11:38 AM

I can't take Alex Rodriguez' butchery of 3rd base any more. He has cost this team so many runs in 2006, and how many balls that he should have played were called 'hits'? How much added pressure has his incompetence put on the pitching staff?

Time to seriously think of moving him in the off season, for his good and the team's good.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 01:46 PM

Amazing how quick the highs and lows come in baseball. 10 days ago the Yanks looked indestructable as they were sweeping Toronto. They scuffled a bit in Baltimore, played 3 shitty games in Chicago and choked on a serious chance to sweep and now they look flat as hell against the Angels. 10 days ago I was convinced they were going to win the division. Now I'm going to have to wait until the end of this month to even know if the playoffs are still a possibility.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 02:13 PM

MJ, this is a flawed team, a team that so far has not shown it knows how to really win. The 2004 ALCS debacle, the miserable play against the Angels in 2005 ALDS. Lots of money, not enough heart? You can't buy heart.

Jeter, Mo, who else has that extra something these days? To me, not Alex Rodriguez, not Giambi or Sheffield. Matsui? I think we had our answer in 2004 and that debacle from this group.

I hope I'm wrong, but so far this is what it appears to me to be. All cash, no action. Enough talent to overcome this in the regualr season, perhaps, but not in post-season.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 03:00 PM

The Curse of Bubba

Since Bubba Crosby was DFAed before the first game in Baltimore the Yanks have played 4-4 not including today's result, which appears to be heading for a loss.

There are so many variables including a number of intangibles like drive and intensity. Players like Phillips and Bubba seemed to bring that every game. Granted they are not as talented but the sample of everyday play is small, yet they seemed to be bring more desire to win.

I am not sure what the answer is but the team seems tired before even the halfway point in the 21 games in 20 days marathon.

It is time to shake up the batting order at the very least. I would like to see:

Melky
Damon
Abreu
Jeter
Cano
ARod
Giambi
Wilson
Posada

Posted by: Paul [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 03:56 PM

Wow, thanks for the laugh. Yes, let's bat the guy with 92 RBI seventh. Smart idea.

I was basically shouted down the other day when I lamented that the Yanks didn't bury the Red Sox while they got swept by the Royals. I thought it was a flat-out failure when they lost those winnable games against Chicago. Because I knew the Angels would come in here and AT THE VERY LEAST take two out of four. The Angels always beat us. You can name reasons why, but it always happens. And I also knew Baltimore would roll over for Boston. So we were in a situation where we were playing a team that always beats us and the Sox were playing a team they always beat. It's easy math. I even said we'd be lucky to have a one-game lead after this series.

At this point, we have to wonder if we'll have any lead going into the five-game series against the Sox.

This Angels series was so obvious to predict. Not only is it the Angels team that always beats us, but we had to face two rookie pitchers. And the Yankees don't do much against those.

I think you guys might be burying this team too soon, though. It has nothing to do with Phillips and Bubba not playing. What would they have done that Wilson and Damon did not? I think the team is fine as a whole -- it's just that they didn't take advantage of a situation knowing that their schedule would soon be working against them.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 05:22 PM

Bosox just won, Lowell saving Papelbon's fanny with a major league play at 3rd and bases loaded.

Over to two-out-nobody-on-down-by-four-hit-a-HR Alex.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 05:53 PM

The only good thing that came out of the O's-Sox game today is that Papelbon continues to skid. He came in after Hansen let two on in the ninth. After an error, he walked in a batter. He went to a three-ball count on every hitter he saw. Papelbon hitting a rookie wall could be a good thing for the Yankees.

Since the debate about A-Rod rages on elsewhere, a thought occurred to me: if A-Rod goes nuts in Fenway, and has a killer series (knocking home runs over the monster, stealing bags, driving in key runs, making great plays at third) and is just an absolute force in a series win, will the burden lift from him and will he be back in the fans' good graces? Would that performance erase what he's done this year?

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 06:08 PM

Steve, I'm sorry to see you taking Mr. Torre to task for doing something every other contending team does in advance of a very important series...re-arranging his rotation for maxiumum effectiveness. Do you want Cory Lidle pitching the all-important opener of a five game series in Fenway? No, sir, I knew you wouldn't. That's why we skipped his turn. To line it up so that he starts the all-important last game of this very important series. That's exactly what Ozzie Guillen and Mike Sciosia did in advance of playing the Yankees. They what? They didn't change their rotation for us? Well...they should have. Look at the results. They cost their teams sweeps! Boy, it's the wrong time of the season to be playing with "house money." I hope they both learn from this. Also, I agree with Don, about "heart." It was quite obviously "heart" that impelled the talent-less Angels to hit and run successfully by taking the ball the other way consistently defeating the Yankees' predictably orthodox infield positioning (yeah, give 'em holes they can shoot for). It was "heart" and not a team that applies advance scouting on the opposing pitcher to an offensive gameplan. Sciosia thinks he's clever but we all know it's his players who have "heart" carrying his sorry ass.

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 06:09 PM

Bailey, yes, if Alex has a DiMaggio series up in the Fens, much will go away. I won't hold my breath though.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 06:25 PM

JohnnyC, you haven't got a clue. Not an iota of one.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 06:28 PM

Since the debate about A-Rod rages on elsewhere, a thought occurred to me: if A-Rod goes nuts in Fenway, and has a killer series (knocking home runs over the monster, stealing bags, driving in key runs, making great plays at third) and is just an absolute force in a series win, will the burden lift from him and will he be back in the fans' good graces?
''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Yes, and it'll last until the next time he makes an error, or doesn't knock a runner in.

This has been going on for 3 years, why should it change now?

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 06:31 PM

Perhaps, Don, you could call up Brian Cashman and tell him which players with "heart" the Yankees should acquire. I'm not sure their scouting staff has discovered the metric for that. They'll need your input.

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 06:37 PM

Thanks JohnnyC. I've already told Cashman all about it. He doesn't pick up his cell too quickly at times, which is rather annoying, but I get through..........

Anyway, you obviously don't think heart had a thing to do 1996-2001, so be it. Think Alex pulls a Brosius in the 2001 WS at the Stadium?

I think the 2004 ALCS debacle is proof for my belief. Money bought Alex, Giambi, Sheffield and Matsui. And they shrunk when the going got tough.

You can't buy heart.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 07:00 PM

Wow, is it just me, or has the comments section of WasWatching gotten a little....confrontational?

Posted by: DFLNJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 07:29 PM

Don,
You have to be kidding about all of this "heart" stuff. Winning baseball is about scoring runs while preventing your opponents from scoring runs. These two abilities are skills that are easily measured. Bubba Crosby and Andy Phillips did not have these skills; a team of Crosby's and Phillips would probably have abouta .333 winning percentage.

Is your real name Don? Are you Dallas Green? Syd Thrift?

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 07:44 PM

Anyway, you obviously don't think heart had a thing to do 1996-2001, so be it. Think Alex pulls a Brosius in the 2001 WS at the Stadium?
¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿

How'd that series turn out

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 08:17 PM

Those pitching staffs from the dynasty days were absolutely stacked. With a playoff rotation of Cone, Pettite, Wells or Clemens, Pettite, Cone, who needs farging heart?

Posted by: brockdc [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2006 03:31 AM

If you don't think that team had heart then you are dumber than dumb.

How did the series turn out? MO blew the save in game seven. And they chipped him to do it.

That was a dead team after losing the first two in Arizona. Heart got them a 3-2 lead in the series. So they lost, but went down battling, unlike the 2004 ALCS when they whimpered away. Or 2005 ALDS.

Finally, I never mentioned Bubba or Philips. As usual you are dyslexic and have confused posters.

That is all.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2006 03:41 AM

Heart = Balls. Got it children, now that I had to spell it out so crudely.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2006 03:45 AM

That was a dead team after losing the first two in Arizona. Heart got them a 3-2 lead in the series. So they lost, but went down battling, unlike the 2004 ALCS when they whimpered away. Or 2005 ALDS.
==================
If heart was such a big deal, then they would've willed themselves to a series win in 2001. Would've been the perfect time to do it, given the circumstances in NYC at the time...

Heart didn't give them a 3-2 lead, ineffective relief from Kim did.

Games 4-6 were winnable games in 2004. Boston put together a 10 game streak earlier in the season, they put together an 8 game streak to win it all. They also beat the Yanks in April with a healthy Vazquez & Brown.

What you've seen the past few years is "sh!t happens."

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2006 07:15 AM

I can see, Don, your grasp of anatomy easily exceeds your grasp of baseball.

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2006 10:15 AM