Yankees 13 Orioles 3: Yankees Salvage a Little Dignity, Gain Lots With Pudge

I’ve been very busy all day, so this is the first chance I’ve had to write in some peace. Big day, starting first with the Yankees managing to at least win one game and finally getting some offense, pounding Baltimore 13-3. Joba had a strong start, going 6 and allowing one earned run. The offense, for all its improvement after the break, has come too much in fits and spasms for my tastes, but at least this was a good, productive fit before the big four-game series against the Superfluous Acronyms. Abreu belted two homers as part of his huge day, continuing to make a case for a deal to stay a Yankee after this year, in my opinion. A-Rod creamed his 541st homer, Nady just might be loosening up with his 2 doubles and 2 RBIs, and several Yanks added singles. Edwar got the boot for tossing one over Millar’s head, presumably in retaliation for Cabrera’s beaning A-Rod. Additionally, the Yankees traded my boy Nuke LaFarnsworth to the Tigers for catcher Pudge Rodriguez, a big and I would say excellent move for various reasons I’ll discuss below. So long, Nuke.

The Orioles scored first on Huff’s two-out single after Roberts reached via Cano’s error. But the Yanks responded with three in the bottom half. Jeter and Abreu each walked on four pitches, and A-Rod drove them in with a single that Markakis sailed to the backstop, allowing Abreu to score all the way from first, 2-1 Yanks. With Cano up, a passed ball allowed A-Rod to score, 3-1 Yanks. After Markakis’s single scored Fahey to close it to 3-2 in the top of the third, the Yankees again responded right away, always a good sign. JD walked, Jeter K’d for the first of three times today, but Abreu lined one into the foul-pole screen in right to make it 5-2.

Each side went in order in the fourth and fifth before the Yankees exploded in the sixth and seventh.  Abreu led off the sixth with a double and Giambi singled him in after A-Rod lined out to left, 6-2 Yanks.  Cano’s single moved Giambi to third, and Nady’s ground-rule double plated Giambi, 7-2.  Melky was intentionally walked to load the bases to face Molina, who K’d. JD’s walk scored Cano, 8-2, and a wild pitch during Jeter’s at-bat eventually ending in a K scored Nady, 9-2. The Yanks salted it in the seventh when Abreu and A-Rod led off with back-to-back homers, 11-2, Sexson singled, Cano’s 3-1 moved Sexson to second, and Nady’s second double scored him, 12-2.  After Molina was hit by a pitch but Castillo not ejected, Christian’s single scored Nady, 13-2.  Castro homered off Robertson in the eighth to cap the scoring.

Abreu was huge, going 3-4 with 4 runs (64), 3 RBIs (71), 2 homers (13) and a double (29th), batting .288 now and on fire lately.  He’s 11 for his last 21 (.523) with 8 runs, 7 RBI and 7 XBH.  A-Rod has also been on a tear, going 2-4 with 2 runs and 2 RBIs (65 now) with his team-high 23rd homer of the year and 541st of his illustrious career, batting .328.  He’s 16 for his last 35 (.457).  Nady’s 2-4 with 2 doubles, 2 runs, and 2 RBIs follows nicely on his HR in Monday’s game, and the Yanks need him to roll over the bottom of the lineup, and Pudge will no doubt help that endeavor.  Christian, Giambi, Sexson, and Cano each had a single, while Jeter was 0-3 with a walk and 3 K’s, yeeesh.  With 11 hits and 6 walks, the Yanks’ offense bounced back well.  Now they need to be consistently good with their production.  The more I thought about last night’s bothersome loss, the more I hoped that the late-inning rally would at least warm up the bats for today.  Maybe that occurred, but they need fewer outbursts and more consistently good games.  Granted, they faced three good pitchers in a row, two of whom have been historically bothersome.  That said, their schedule the rest of the way will show them lots of good pitching, so no excuses.

Joba was again very good–6  IP, 5 hits, 2 runs 1 earned, no walks (only 2 over his last four starts, 25 2/3 IP), and 6 K’s.  The kid is nothing short of vital for the Yanks, really as important as any other starter the Yanks have.  He’s just that good, and has had to be at his young age. Good for Edwar sticking up for A-Rod.  Robertson allowed his second professional homer, and his second in two appearances.  Clearly, his career is over.

Speaking of which, the Yankee phase of Nuke’s career has come to an end with his trade to the Tigers straight-up for Pudge.  Again Cashman, very good trade.  While Nuke was better this year than the previous two, was he 100% trustworthy? No, certainly no Joba nor Scot Shields.  He was more reliable this season and did a heck of a job lately, but was never worth the 3-year, $17 million contract he got to be the set-up guy for Mariano. Again, so long, Nuke, my love-hate whipping boy.

He may help the Tigers, but there’ no question in my mind that Pudge will help the Yankees.  He’s batting .295/.338 with 5 HRs and 32 RBIs, fairly even versus righties (.295) and lefties (.293) this year.  He’s in the option year of his contract at $13 million, so whether or not the Yanks will want him next year will surely depend a good deal on Posada’s shoulder rehabilitation as well the potential cost, which would not likely be the 4-year, $40 million he signed with the Tigers for in 2004 since he will turn 37 this off-season.  Yet he’s a heck of a defensive catcher, throwing out 36% of the base runners trying to steal on him this year.  He’s great at handling pitchers, should do wonders with the kids pitching for the Yanks, and his signing allows Molina to be fresher and the excellent back-up he can be.  Pudge should also add punch to the bottom of the lineup, probably batting eighth in what is becoming a deep lineup again.  No offense to Molina, but Pudge’s bat, while not what it was several years ago, is still a significant upgrade over Molina, hands down.  He steers the ball to right, is a good contact guy, and can hopefully make the lineup more threatening.

Let’s face it, the Yankees needed offense to replace Jorge and Matsui.  Nady and Pudge should do that, if not with power then certainly with XBH ability and good at-bats.  Without Nuke (yet again, so long Nuke), the Yanks can move Veras to the eighth inning spot, can have Marte there, Edwar can certainly pitch the seventh, and Bruney is due back anytime. Perhaps even Melancon gets a shot at some point.  But the bullpen was not a big concern; quite the opposite, it’s been a big plus this year, deep and with lots of options.  Conversely, catcher has lagged from the get-go both offensively and defensively (with Posada and Moeller, that is) because of Posada’s injury.

Cashman has pulled off two excellent trades that shored up major problem areas–left field, lefty bullpen (less a problem area than an upgrade with options), and catcher.  Huge moves for a team that, recent slide notwithstanding, is in the hunt just four games behind Tampa.

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Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 8:06 pm  Comments (12)  

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  1. god, i feel bad for farns. he finally starts pitching well, and then gets traded. i was actually starting to like him out of the pen. but wow, the should start giving out a “gm of the year award”. cash would take it every year. good trade. ivan-molina sounds a lot better than molina-moeller.
    also, i’m thinking of doing another in-gamer tomorrow night. i wonder if you’d be able to stop by?

  2. the series was a disgrace, but yes, we salvaged sone dignity-well put jason

    i love getting pudge for all the obvious reasons—but also think about this- we’re about to face the angels–we have GOT to stop their running game and i really believe that with our combo of jose and pudge–i dare them to run on us. great move by cash—

  3. What runnning game? Teixeira, Guerrero, Hunter & Anderson have a combined sixty five (56) bombs on the season. The Yankees only carry eight (8) more homers than the LAA as a team. The LAA despite scoring thirty (30) less than the Yankees hold the best record in baseball due too there steller pitching.

  4. “Baseball is measured in pinstripes”

  5. whatever leo….

  6. steve phillips on baseball tonight-desperate to find something negative to say about the trade came up with this:

    well it may well cost the yankees a game or two with pudge learning to deal with their pitching staff.

    pathetic…is that all you could come up with steve? really?

  7. Well, the 13-3 Yankees win was big [all wins are big] but, the “really big news” today was: the Yankees [finally] traded Kyle Farnsworth !!! … What more can I say about this move that already has not been said, many, many, many, times before … Farnsworth was just not dependable, and my fear has always been that there would be a very big game, some time this season, I didn’t know when, but it would happen, that he would blow a very big lead, and cost the Yankees a game that may have prevented them from getting into the playoffs; or, even, worse, a game in the World Series would be lost because of Farnsworth …

    I’m so happy the Yankees traded Kyle Farnsworth !!!

    Very Big four-game series this weekend against the L.A. Angels, that could be a preview of the 2008 American League Championship Series …

    Go Yankees !!!

    Take care, Jason …

    – Jimmy [27NYY]

    http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

  8. Good move for both sides. Seems Pudge was working his way out of Detroit. Didn’t realize he had a little Manny in him. Luckily it’s only a little.

  9. I felt somewhat bad on a human level for Nuke, Vanessa, because he was clearly emotional after learning of the trade. I respect that he wanted to be here and that he clearly improved himself this year. It’s a sign of hard work. Yet that’s a must-make trade, and I too feel it was the right one. My presence for your in-game thread is unlikely only because I’m hosting a friend in from out of town. If something changes I’ll pop over, but it’s unfortunately unlikely.

    On the Angels’ running game, I have to agree with Mike. The Superfluous Acronyms are 3rd in the AL in stolen bases, and they’ve historically looked to run against the Yanks even when Posada was healthy. I too dare the Angels–ANYONE–to run against the Yanks, Mike. With two excellent defensive catchers, the Yankees have made a big upgrade at back stop.

    I’ll go on record as saying that while he’s sometimes accurate, simply because everyone is occasionally, Steve Phillips is a pathetically doltish jackass.

    I figured you’d be thrilled with the trade, Jimmy, knowing your deep and abiding affection for our boy Nuke :-) That said, he was good this year. But I too never felt about him like I felt about Joba as the eighth-inning guy. Good in 2o08? Yes. Really trustworthy? Meeeeeeeh, not quite. Geoff at The BPS put it well, saying that Nuke wasn’t a guy to necessarily win games, to be a difference-maker. In part I think it’s the nature of set-up roles, but he’s right. Nuke was good–THIS YEAR. The bullpen was a place the Yanks could afford to trade a guy, and they traded the right guy to me. I see absolutely no reason why Marte couldn’t do what Nuke did.

  10. Hey Steve. I also think that the Tigers weren’t going to re-up him after this year–his option year–anyway. It’s too bad you’ve had to endure all that Ramirez nonsense. In a way, Ramirez has a point–Boston too infrequently doesn’t hold their own to let them retire as Red Sox, but they’ve actually made good moves lately–Pedro was on the downside of a great career, Mo Vaughn, Nomar, heck even Clemens since in all likelihood he was on the juice. Boston has paid many players, more and more lately, VERY WELL. Ramirez agreed to that deal with the option years to increase the overall value of the contract. He got it, then is whining about the “limitations” of being paid $20 million per. I’m a pro-player guy generally, but selfishness is selfishness. I sure let A-Rod have it in the off-season when he opted out. Also, I would have had enough of Ramirez’s act loooooooong ago–preening over homers, missing a pitch by ducking behind the monster, looking like a dope in left all too often (the double cut-off, rolling around like a pig in mud and having the ball stuck under his ass), loafing on the way to first. The shove of the 64-year-old man was just disgraceful, and I’m convinced that he quit on Boston the last few weeks of 2006. Great bat, all-time great bat, but a meat-head.

  11. I was showing some sarcasm Mike. I’m just teasing but the Angels do have homerun power even now with the addition of Tex. I can’t beleive Manny is not a RedSox and he plays for Torre? Jason Bay is a great ball but surely not Manny. This is has to have a affect on Ortiz doesn’t it?

  12. Good points, Leo. Ortiz may have to shoulder more of the load, but who knows? Maybe Bay can use the monster and not have Ramirez’s power numbers, but may have a high average, and lots of RBIs–not unlike Lowell. I’m not counting Boston out, but it will mean that the play of supplementary players such as Varitek, Crisp, and Ellsbury matters even more now.


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