Touching Base

Sorry for being out of contact for a few days, and missing a scheduled HDLR. It was not due to the shellackings at the hands of the Mets and Orioles, though coincidentally it occurred as it was 10-0 O’s Tuesday night. Rather, the Internet connection at the rental house fizzled out, rendering us sans Internet for a couple days until the tech guy could stop by and fix things, which he did in about 30 minutes today. Good thing, for I had a couple important e-mails to send, and also wanted to touch base with everyone, especially after the big win last night.

I wish everyone could have been with us this afternoon–sunny skies, 75 degrees, lots of time in the pool and the hot tub and, to top it off, I made Alaskan King Crab legs. At $5.99/lb., it was an incredible steal, and we had about 9 pounds worth–four rounds in the steamer pot. That, with melted butter and a very cold bottle of Ommegang, made this one of the truly great lunches in the history of lunch. Frank the Sage, my wife, my sister-in-law, nephew, niece, and I positively destroyed the legs in no time. Since it was my first time cooking them, I was pleasantly relieved that they were positively reviewed.

I was equally pleased to see on the ESPN ticker that the Yanks blasted the Orioles 8-0 last night, and it’s about time. Surely, A-Rod’s presence makes a big difference in the lineup, all the more so when he’s tattooing the ball as he did. Good to see JD and Melky warming back up a bit, though they have a ways to go to make up for their May swoons. Rasner was outstanding, reaching 3-0 by working seven smooth innings allowing only five hits, a walks, and fanning six in only 95 pitches.

I see that the Yanks are stretching out Joba to move into the rotation. Although I haven’t seen a timetable, I’d imagine that he could be ready to start with some long bullpen stints in about a month. Although in favor of moving Joba into the rotation on the whole, I’ve been leery about moving Joba into the rotation now simply because it forces the Yanks to find a good replacement (and not just a replacement) for him as set-up man, with none currently in the majors. But let’s be honest–the Yankees simply cannot continue to waste at least one out of every five starts, regardless of whether or not it’s a youngster or veteran wasting it. The need for patience notwithstanding, Kennedy has done the Yankees no favors this year. For the most part, neither has Pettite, though I love the guy. The formula is to shorten games and rely on a still-strong bullpen. The flipside of that is to have starters get fairly deep into games–at least six innings. That the Yankees have promoted players such as McCutchen, J. Brent Cox and David Robertson to SWB is a good sign that they will quite likely supplement the bullpen from the minors, regardless of whether or not the pitcher(s) there currently starts. That’s what the Yanks did with Joba, and it worked very well. I said back in March that this would be a team to replace bullpen parts, especially poorly performing parts, from within on a rotation basis if necessary given the plethora of arms available. The competition is strong and, while the bullpen has been a legitimate strong suit of the Yanks, if there is an opening, the team should look within for answers. That should happen before any consideration of a trade.

Boy, did Frank The Sage and I let it rip on the Yankees Tuesday night, justifiably so. Not only were they losing 10-0 at one point, and not only did they lose 12-2. They also did so in contra-distinction to how they’ve played. To wit, the Orioles scored a lot of unearned runs, but scored their first nine runs with two outs. How contrary to what the Yankees have done lately–allowing the two-out rallies they themselves fail to muster. It’s too bad that Mussina struggled so badly, but he’s been dynamite lately. What window has there been for starters lately? What must they be thinking when they surrender a few? Probably what the fans have thought–good luck finding support. That needs to end now, and hopefully A-Rod’s presence and his ripple effect on the rest of the team can help rectify that. I heard that the fans were lustily booing the team in the early innings Tuesday night. Good. They deserved it. Despite the absence of A-Rod and Posada, a lineup with JD, Jeter, Abreu, Matsui, Giambi, Cano and Melky could be followed by me and still be a very good lineup. The Sage and I covered familiar but important ground–showing fire, the ability to come back, boxing in pitchers with the lack of offense, plating runners and scoring with two outs, and more. It also wasn’t nicely put, probably making the radio silence a good thing.

Thanks for everyone checking in the last few days, and I wish I could have interacted with you. I appreciated all the commentary and found it excellent as usual. I hope I didn’t give the impression that because I ripped the team, I lacked faith in them. Not so, and those of you who mentioned keeping faith and remembering great Yankee turnarounds were right to do so. I’ve not lost sight of the fact that the Yankees have 116 games remaining. This is no time to panic by any stretch. My point was just that bad baseball is bad baseball, and the Yankees have done little to show that this was just a bad stretch. Instead, they showed that they were bad, period. But this team has plenty of time and talent to turn things around. They need to score more, hit and score in the clutch, stop stranding runners, stop wasting good starts, and find a way to come back when trailing instead of sinking like a stone in a river. I hang with my guys–always have, always will. They’ve shown great ability to come back in years past and can do so now. But as a historian, I’m not a believer in history neatly repeating itself. It never does so in the same way. There may be historical similarities, or the same results from myriad conditions, but history doesn’t simply repeat itself. There is too much variation, too much contingency, too much agency from extremely varied sources, for current events and historical conditions to work as such. The 2008 Yankees have begun not unlike the 2007 Yankees, but for quite different reasons. History, in sum, is one word to describe an enormously complex amalgam of events, thoughts, sequences, and factors. That the Yankees came back in 2007 does not necessarily mean the same will happen in 2008, though that would be great. Like last year, the team needs to do many right things, but with different players and different team strengths–heck, with a different manager and leaders in ownership.

I may pop in later. Enjoy the game, everyone. As per Pete Abraham, below is the starting lineup:

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Matsui DH
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Duncan RF
Cano 2B
Molina C
Cabrera CF

Tonight, Kennedy (0-3, 8.48 ERA) faces lefty Burres (4-4, 3.47 ERA) as the Yankees try for the series win. Get some momentum here, guys

Published in: on May 22, 2008 at 3:30 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. So I read that the process to move Joba to the rotation has begun . So too has begun the process of not finding a closer after Mo . I dunno , but in my opinion he should stay in the pen . He has GREAT CLOSER written all over him . Too bad our pitching rotation is making the move appear more tempting by the minute . Let us all hope it all works out for the best , though this is definitely a desperation move .

    Will forever say , first thing in the morning :

    Go Yankees !!!

    p.s. That Kennedy guy sure looks like he will never pan out like everyone thought . Better make a package that sends him , Igawa , Giambi , Damon , etc… to the Padres. lolololololololololololololololololol!!!

  2. Albert might have done us a great deal by destroying the Padres literlly.” I’am Albert Pujos we Spartans are descended from Hercules himself!”

  3. I don’t think you can miss any more games. The team does not respond well!

    About Joba, I really do not like Joba him moving to the rotation. I think he could be a top closer and he shortens games pitching in the 8th inning.

    Not a good move.

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