May 17, 2007
May 16th @ The White Sox - Game 2
I'm happy any time that the Yankees beat Jose Contreras.
It's not at the level when the Yankees beat Schilling, Beckett, or, once upon a time, Pedro. After all, those guys are/were in Boston and are loud mouths. That makes them easy to hate.
Beating Contreras is on the same pleasure level as beating Jeff Weaver, Randy Johnson, Kenny Rogers, or Javy Vazquez. You know the type - guys who wasted our time in New York.
It's not all ex-Yankees pitchers fall into this "love to beat" thing. I don't feel this way about Ted Lilly, Jaret Wright or Jon Lieber. And, it's not all "good" pitchers in general. While I am sad to see the Yankees lose to guys like Johan Santana or Roy Halladay, I don't feel extra pleasure when the Yankees beat them...just normal satisfaction.
But, as stated, I do enjoy seeing Jose Contreras lose to the Yankees. So, regardless of the Yankees overall record, or their place in the standings right now, this game was an extra special one (for this Yankees fan) to see New York win.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at May 17, 2007 09:30 AM
I get no extra joy from it. I don't think Contreras was THAT awful in NY and he had one GREAT season outside of NY.
Last night they showed his NY ERA and his CHI ERA. It was something like 4.64 to 4.16. A difference. But certainly nothing dramatic.
This is just me though. I don't hate Contreras. He doesn't rub me the wrong way. And maybe he's just getting the help he needed in Chicago that he couldn't get in NY. That certainly wouldn't be his fault.
Contreras' success can be traced to the fact that he was throwing strikes. He has done it every year he was in the states except 2004.
You don't think Wright wasted our time in NY? I'd rather RJ, Rogers, Vazquez or Contreras than Wright. Hell, I'd take Weaver over him.
Actually SL, the record and the place in the standings should be on the front of our minds because the team can massively improve their fortunes in the next 6 days.
The last 4 weeks can be erased with a surge from now until Wednesday.
"I'd take Weaver over him."
Bite your tongue! Seriously, who wasn't frustrated to see the White Sox win the World Series on the backs of a pitching staff that included El Duque, Javier Vasquez and Jose Contreras. I suppose that is what Steve is referring to. Same with the 2006 post season - all I could think of was that Kenny Rogers and Jeff Weaver were somehow replaced with pitching robots (that don't cry or whine).
Perhaps it just proves one thing for these pitchers we love to beat - we sometimes underestimate the pressure of playing on our stage. Either that, or this guys are all just a bunch of mary's.
Go Melky go!!! The sparkplug of the team!
Lots of positives in the second game. Wang having great stuff, Melky going yard and throwing a runner out from CF, Farnsworth even though he allowed 2 baserunners and threw 25 pitches, not allowing a run, and Mo breaking a bat in half. All signs of good things to come. Let's hope they keep coming and soon.
Vazquez wasn't with the Sox when they won the World Series, and El Duque wasn't in the rotation (he got three big outs against Boston, but otherwise didn't pitch in the playoffs).
But you do raise an interesting point: over the two years, three failed Yankee pitchers have led their teams to the World Series (and in two cases won it). They all pitched well -- and Rogers, Weaver and Contreras all failed in the World Series for us (and melted down in general while here).
Weaver just happened to get hot at the right time; he stunk while with the Cardinals. Even though he was tagged with the loss in 03, he had pitched well the inning prior. The inability of Boone & Flaherty to plate a runner was just as bad.
Contreras had one good year splitting between the rotation & the pen, and one bad 1/2 year as a starter.
Rogers' first year in NY was in line with his career, his second wasn't.
Perhaps it just proves one thing for these pitchers we love to beat - we sometimes underestimate the pressure of playing on our stage.
IIRC, Rogers, Contreras, Vazquez, Weaver all pitched better @ home than on the road
Wang made me happy today. Farnsworth still made me nervous--especially with the walks. Mo made me a bit nervous too, but once I saw the shards of flying bat, I knew it'll all be fine soon.
I have an intense, almost unreasonable, disliking of Kenny Rogers. And then that whole pine tar thing just makes me all kinds of angry.
"Contreras had one good year splitting between the rotation & the pen, and one bad 1/2 year as a starter"
I seem to recall a stretch for Contreras that spanned the end of 05 (from August or so) to the beginning of 06 where he was the best pitcher in baseball (ERA, Wins, WHIP, average innings/start). I don't have the stats in front of me, but it's still frustrating.
"IIRC, Rogers, Contreras, Vazquez, Weaver all pitched better @ home than on the road"
Way to miss the point. Stage = playing for the New York Yankees. Stage <> (necessarily) playing for the Yankees in Yankee Stadium. Thought that was obvious.
"Wang made me happy today."
Hey now, this is a family forum. And isn't it a little early?
I wasn't clear about Contreras' stats; they were for his time in NY. Apologies for the misconfusion. But you are right about the run he put together. Matter of fact, it was mentioned that going into last night that he was working on a scoreless inning streak (15, IIRC)
As for the "difficulty of playing for/in NY," it's a myth, probably perpetuated by the media. You either have game or you don't. If you can play you can play anywhere. The opposite is also true. For instance, take a look at Jeff Weaver. He stunk as a Yank, an Angel, a Cardinal, and currently as a Mariner. I haven't heard anything about his failures due to the "pressures" of pitching in SoCal, or the Pacific Northwest.
Yeah, I agree Raf. But ARod has shown us that some players do let it get in there heads. Who knows if that's what happened with those other guys.
I also recall the big issue with Contreras being that he was without his family, and once he was reunited, he started pitching much better.
It's interesting to go back and look at Contreras' gamelog while he was with the Yanks. Once they let him start in '03, he was dominant. Outside of one bad start against the Sox (who killed him when he was with the Yankees) he was terrific. The next year, he was really inconsistent. Occasionally good -- rarely great -- and often terrible.
Looking at the numbers, it does look like Contreras "melted down" when things went bad. If he got hit hard early, he totally imploded.
I think his two back-to-back games against the Mets sum up his '04 season: in the first, he threw six scoreless innings and struck out ten (and I remember he only left because his finger cramped) and in the second he got bombed for seven runs (three home runs) in five innings.
It was going to be a problem if Contreras couldn't pitch against the Sox, but you have to wonder, just looking at the numbers, and considering what they got back, if they gave up on him too soon. The perception was "oh, thank God, he's gone -- they got someone to take him." But in reality, if someone in this organization could actually help a pitcher with his mechanics -- where was that other Contreras, Nardi, when we needed him? -- he might have had that monster '05 for us, and saved us the sight of the scrubs who made appearances here that year.
"Hey now, this is a family forum. And isn't it a little early?"
Why did I not see that coming?
It was going to be a problem if Contreras couldn't pitch against the Sox, but you have to wonder, just looking at the numbers, and considering what they got back, if they gave up on him too soon. The perception was "oh, thank God, he's gone -- they got someone to take him."
I wasn't happy to see him go, but I understood why he was dealt. Wasn't too thrilled with getting Loaiza back; why swap one project with another? I was a bit suprised that they didn't pay more attention to Loaiza (even though he didn't show much) after the season, I would rather have had him than Wright (IIRC their similarity scores were quite similar at the time).