Indians 3 Yankees 0: Lee Dominates Lackluster Offense

Cliff Lee won a good pitchers’ duel, hand-cuffing a dormant and confused offense that looked on its heels all night. He threw a lot of strikes early, and got the Yanks lunging forward for weak ground outs. On the whole, Wang was good and did more than his share to keep the team in the game, yet got absolutely no run support. Wang went seven, allowing five hits, three runs earned, walked three and fanned four on 99 pitches/65 strikes. The lead-off walk to Sizemore cost Wang in the first, leading to a run. A hanging slider that resulted in a Marte single, combined with the follow-up walk to Sizemore, helped make it 3-0 Indians.

But the bats were the downfall tonight. Credit Lee for locating very well, throwing strikes, and keeping the Yankees confused. But the Yanks hurt their own cause by chasing some bad pitches. Melky tried unsuccessfully to check his swing on an 0-2 eye-high fastball in the second. Matsui fanned in the sixth on a curveball that was almost a foot off the plate. Cano weakly grounded out to second yet again, getting jammed on a fastball nearly a foot inside as well. Again, credit Lee for a job well done; he was excellent. But blame the Yankees for assisting his cause.

Abreu was 2-4 to raise his average to .305. Duncan, Matsui, Melky and Cano each went 1-4 and Ensberg 1-3 on a 45-foot chopped bunt. But fully half the Yankees’ hits were excuse-me hits, bloops, or just placed by divine providence. They didn’t hit much hard at all tonight. The team clearly misses both A-Rod and Posada. I love Molina, and he’s a terrific defensive catcher, but somewhat predictably the Yankees aren’t getting much from Molina offensively. I really like Shelley, but as Frank the Sage and I discussed during the game, while it’s understandable to break up the knot of lefties the Yanks trot out, Shelley is quite simply not a clean-up hitter. At best, he’s a six or seven-hole hitter. Of course, he wouldn’t have to hit up there were it not for the injuries and the incredibly unproductive play from Giambi thus far. JD and Jeter were 0-8 combined, and JD really looked bad at the plate tonight, with four ground outs–two to second, one to first and one to short. Jeter hit the ball hard but at fielders twice. The bottom of the lineup, not unlike last year during the early-season struggles, is very weak, especially as Cano continues to flail and flounder. Another thing The Sage and I discussed and agreed upon was the disgust with Cano’s poor, sulking posture. Suck it up and stop sulking, Cano, dropping your shoulders and head and flipping your bat over poor plate appearances that are so often your own fault. Stop looking like every pitcher who takes the mound is inside your head. Act like a professional, even when not hitting like one.  Jeter in 2004, though farther along, never acted like this–as Torre reminded us during Jeter’s prolonged slump that season.  Cano would do well emulating him instead of proffering the appearance of sniveling.

Another garbage effort, another good start wasted from a lack of run support. Mussina faces Byrd tomorrow to try to avoid the second sweep this home stand.

Published in: on May 7, 2008 at 10:36 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. a brutal and i might add, fair assessment from you and the sage. you know yesterday i was just angry, but i’m almost beginning to be numb to this team. we managed to sweep a terrible team but lets face facts, the tribe is mediocre and they are making us look bad. half of our current hitters are just plain bad. I give molina a pass because he’s doing a great job behind the plate, guys like damon and jeter can’t just disappear every other day, but that’s what they’re doing. but you know all this- i just wanted to let you know i read your good piece and that i appreciate it.

    BTW a really interesting show on PBS tonight on Olympic doping from the former GDR – some of these poor women were forced to take so many untested steroids that they look like men-a real travesty just to win medals for a corrupt regime.

  2. listen to the BS from jeter:

    Jeter doesn’t believe that the team has played all that differently in the Cleveland games.

    “We’ve played well against Seattle, and I thought we played well [on Tuesday], but they stole one from us,” Jeter said, referring to David Dellucci’s pinch-hit three-run homer off Joba Chamberlain. “I like our chances if we’re in that position more often than not.

    “[On Wednesday] we just didn’t score any runs. I really think we’ve been playing pretty good, even though we lost two games we’d obviously like to win.”

  3. Thanks Mike. I know Cano is still somewhat young, but this is his fourth year. Not only is he struggling badly, he’s handling his struggles just as badly, and I don’t respect the way he’s wearing it on his sleeve. Frank The Sage had a few, shall we say, choice words that I left out but that characterized Cano’s demeanor in somewhat harsher terms. I never expected .350 from Molina, but it shows how valuable Posada is to the team. During his amazing 2007 I often referred to him as “the guts of the team.” That holds just as true in his unfortunate absence, I’d say. I’ll check out the PBS special and see if it’s broadcasting locally.

    I ca understand where Jeter’s coming from as far as his likely intentionally boosting his team when it’s clearly down. If so, it’s nice leadership. Half of it in my opinion is also unvarnished nonsense. He’s certainly boosting Joba, and he’s right to say that they’ll usually win those games in such situations. Not so yesterday. That was a garbage effort–and I’m not saying they didn’t try. They almost always do, and that’s impossible to accurately measure collectively. But they were taken out of their game by Lee, with the examples mentioned above being just some ways in which they were impatient and just not smart at the plate. Matsui’s flailing swing on that inside curve killed me. Exactly what could he have done with that ball? ripped it 60 feet foul off the upper deck facade? That’s about it, certainly not hit it fair. I don’t know if that and the others were a lack of recognition, outright frustration, or both, but regardless, it’s not smart baseball. I would hope Jeter knows that.

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