Late-Night HDLR 9/6/08: Yankees @ Mariners

Hi everyone and welcome to the Heartland Digital Living Room where the hot dogs and chicken wings are still always fresh, the beverages are still always cold, and the chin-wagging is (hopefully) still always lively.  Tonight, after a long hiatus, the HDLR makes its triumphant return to The Heartland for a late-night chinwag as the Yankees hope to rebound from last night’s near no-no against the even more lowly Mariners.  Although this is the preferred blog of Yankees managers and ex-managers (hey, regular reader Mike always said that Torre would read and adhere to my repeated text messages to him during the game on strategy), Sidney Ponson and his portly 6.22 ERA with the Yankees makes yet another start for the boys in pinstripes.  I hope the clubhouse staff has the post-game buffet ready early just in case Ponson keeps up his trend of early exits.  Below, as per Pete Abraham, is tonight’s starting lineup for the Yanks.

Before getting to that, a few items.  Mike Sommer has a good post up discussing the Yankees’ lack of walks and an overall assessment of the repercussions of the Yanks’ poor collective plate approach this year.  Couple their inability to draw walks with their woeful incapability to move and score runners, and the Yanks have cooked up one hell of a sh*t stew for failure this year.  Not enough walks + not advancing and scoring runners = not winning.  Period.  It sounds cliche but it’s anything but.

Why is it not cliche? Take a look at some numbers in the recent dynastic run that is about to come to an end this year.  Here is how the Yanks hit with RISP and with runners on, correlated with their ability to score and get on base, from 1995 to 2007 when the Yankees not only made the playoffs every single year but won four World Series titles, six pennants, and 10 straight AL East titles:

  1. 1995: .276 w/ RISP [AL AVG .273]; .282 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .277]; 6th in runs/game at 5.17; 2nd in OBP at .357; 1st in BBs w. 625 [in the strike–>lockout shortened 1995 of 145 games].
  2. 1996: .293 w/ RISP [AL AVG .278]; .290 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .283]; 9th in runs/game at 5.38; 2nd in OBP at .360; 8th in BBs with 632.
  3. 1997: .298 w/ RISP [AL AVG .270]; .295 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .277]; 2nd in runs/game at 5.5; 1st in OBP at .362; 1st in BBs with 676.
  4. 1998: .299 w/ RISP [AL AVG .269]; .296 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .278]; 1st in runs/game at .596; 1st in OBP at .362; 1st in BBs with 653.
  5. 1999: .292 w/ RISP [AL AVG .272]; .286 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .279]; 3rd in runs/game at 5.56; 2nd in OBP at .364; 3rd in BBs with 718.
  6. 2000: .273 w/ RISP [AL AVG .276]; .294 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .281] 6th in runs/game at 5.41; 5th in OBP at .354; 4th in BBs with 631.
  7. 2001: .255 w/ RISP .AL AVG .268]; .268 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .274]; 5th in runs/game at 4.99; 6th in OBP at .334; 7th in BBs with 519.
  8. 2002: .289 w/ RISP [AL AVG .271]; .284 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .274]; 1st in runs/game at 5.57; 1st in OBP at ..354; 1st in BBs with 640.
  9. 2003: .263 w/ RISP [AL AVG .273]; .272 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .276]; 3rd in runs/game at 5.38; 2nd in OBP at .356; 1st in BBs with 684.
  10. 2004: .272 w/ RISP [AL AVG .272]; .281 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .276]; 2nd in runs/game at 5.54; 2nd in OBP at .353; 1st in BBs with 670.
  11. 2005: .272 w/ RISP [AL AVG .273]; .283 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .278]; 2nd in runs/game at 5.47; 2nd in OBP at .355; 2nd in BBs with 637.
  12. 2006: .286 w/ RISP [AL AVG .276]; .289 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .283]; 1st in runs/game with 5.74; 1st in OBP with .363; 2nd in BBs with 649.
  13. 2007: .293 w/ RISP [AL AVG .275]; .291 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .280]; 1st in runs/game at 5.98; 1st in OBP at .366; 2nd in BBs with 637.

How have the Yankees fared in 2008? .262 w/ RISP [AL AVG .273]; .273 w/ Runners on [AL AVG .276]; 8th in runs/game at 4.86; 3rd in OBP at .343; 9th in BBs with 472.

More often than not, I’d argue, the Yankees in these years had the right plate approach as a team that went beyond scoring runs, clearly important, but generating offense even when not laden with players hitting 30+ homers.  To wit: Tino Martinez led the Yankees with homers in 1998–with 28.  But 10 players–Martinez, Bernie, Strawberry, Jeter, O’Neill, Spencer, Curtis, Knoblauch, Brosius, and Posada–had at least 10 homers that magical year, and the team was unstoppable offensively, including drawing 4 walks/game.  In some years, there is not a neat statistical correlation between success (the 2000-2001 Yankees experienced precipitous if somewhat understandable declines offensively but won in 2000 and came without a Gonzo bloop of stealing another in 2001) and big offensive numbers (which the 2002 and 2007 teams had, yet experienced ignominious first-round exits).  But more often than not, the teams that hit well in the clutch, advance and score runners, and also have the patience to get on base and move runners in myriad ways (all of which the late 1990s teams did very well) are the teams best equipped to win, again which the late 1990s Yankees did.  This year’s Yankees are not and it shows, statistically and in the standings. They are where they are for far more than the nasty spate of injuries, damaging though they have been.

At long last, tonight’s lineup:

YANKEES (75-66)
Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
A. Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
I. Rodriguez C

Come on in, grab a dusty digital leather recliner and a cold one, and enjoy the game.  Let’s Go, Yankees!

Published in: on September 6, 2008 at 8:43 pm  Comments (113)  

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113 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Jason is in.

  2. V is in.

  3. Hey V. How have you been?

  4. good, good. happy that this is my last year in high school. and you?

  5. All is well but very busy. I’m hitting the job market this year and have lots to do and write.

  6. I been looking for a job for after school but haven’t been able to find one yet.
    What you think about where the Yanks are sitting right now? Pretty pitiful huh?

  7. Very pitiful, V, but not too surprising given the numbers I mentioned above, and their abject inability to advance and score runners as we’ve seen all year. I don’t want to throw out the injuries as a big reason for their struggles, but there’s so much more to the picture for the Yanks than that.

  8. It’s amazing how parts of the Yankees blogosphere have gone quiet with the Yanks’ struggles. The BPS is one, and I’m sure Geoff has a lot going on otherwise, but the Yanks’ woes must have something to do with his conspicuous absence.

  9. I agree. The Yanks never had what it takes this year. The only time they looked like a credible team was during the 8 game winning streak after the ASG. After the break it seemed things were coming together but only to fall apart again. I can’t believe the Stadium will not witness October baseball in it’s last year but, it’s the Yankees’ own fault.

  10. A career-high 22nd GIDP for Jeter erases JD’s lead-off walk.

  11. No doubt. If it weren’t for the fun of making fun of the Yanks, I’d be too depressed to blog about the Yanks. They really have become a bag of garbage. Every loss is another stab in chest and Girardi’s false statements of positivity are only twisting the knife.

  12. Why oh why does Abreu sit on a grooved 2-0 fastball?

    Oh, that’s why, his 16th homer, 1-0 Yankees.

  13. Solid smack to center by Bobby.

  14. I thought that A-Rod got that for a second. Still, a nice first despite Jeter’s DP.

  15. It’s only been half an inning but do the Yanks look oddly not dead today? Not with the bat, but the looks on their faces. Maybe they realize the pressure is off now that they’re pretty much out of it.

  16. Do you have a busy school schedule this year, V?

  17. I’ve wondered that too when they’ve hit, V. If that’s so, it bothers me even more how they’ve performed this year. Their mediocrity has been astounding.

  18. Heck of a goalie save by Giambi, one down. Nice throw, Ponson.

  19. Actually no, my schedule this year is as great as a schedule can get. I only have one day where I have all of my 6 classes, as opposed to last year when I had all my classes 3 days a week. Plus, seniors get to leave at 12:20 on Fridays. This should be an easy year.

  20. Lots o’ leather thus far from the Yankees. Cano has great range. Too bad he took a powder at the plate the first three months.

    Sorry to lament.

  21. Hell of a quick inning on both sides.

  22. Right up your alley, V. It sounds like the local coffee houses will get some attention from you this year.

    7-pitch first for Ponson. He can grab a few sandwiches now.

  23. You’re right, V.

  24. Slow roller that doesn’t go foul. The Yanks have luck. What is happening?

  25. Giambi pounded the crap out of that. Maybe things can go our way…

  26. Spoke too soon.

  27. I really thought the trades would jump-start the Yanks and it just didn’t happen, through no fault of of Nady–though that 6-4-3 DP is irksome.

  28. Nice double the opposite way for Matsui. I’d like to see him back next year, but can’t help but think the Yankees will package him for some pitching in the off-season.

    I love hearing the loud train whistle in the background.

  29. I thought that too. It looked as if the Yanks would be making the comeback that they usually do make to disappoint everyone, but instead they’re only disappointing their fans.

  30. The Yanks and Mariners are playing like they have 9 p.m. local dinner times.

  31. I love Safeco field. That stadium and the city looks like a beauty, and that’s just on TV. I would love to go there, but it is on the entire opposite side of the country.

  32. I’ve heard great things about Seattle too, and Sterling and Kay rave about Safeco. It looks like the press box is in plum position, right above the first section.

    How do you feel about the coming end of this version of Yankee Stadium?

  33. My mind is spinning right now. Is Ponson actually hitting the glove?… more than once?

  34. The buffet must be beckoning Ponson. He’s been very good to start tonight.

  35. I’ll miss the Stadium. I’ve loved it from the moment I first stepped into it. The first baseball game I ever went to was a Met game and I don’t remember much, but my second game was at Yankee Stadium and though I only saw about 3 or 4 innings of the game, as it was raining on and off that day, I remember everything. It wasn’t a beautiful day but I still wanted to stay in the stadium all day and night. No matter how rugged it looks sometimes, it’s beautiful, especially at night.

  36. Be right back, my son is on the phone.

  37. Bases juiced for the juicer Giambi.

  38. The Yanks are actually getting baserunners today.

  39. Shift and a dive robs Giambi of a hit and the Yanks of two runs.

    Sorry, my wife and kids are away it my sister’s, so I wanted to chat with them before bed.

    I completely understand where you’re coming from, and anticipate lots of emotions when it closes this year. I personally think the team has done a terrible job of lining up historically relevant people to help count down the Stadium.

  40. I agree. Like Bernie. Haven’t seen him all season.

  41. That’s a terrible call on Ponson as interference, since the runner was on the grass. Horrible.

  42. Bernie has hard feelings. Part of me doesn’t blame him, but the Yankees needed to move on and get younger, and better. But they should have done better patching things up with him.

  43. I would’ve thought they’d bring Bernie in once to at least pull that lever counting down the number of games in the stadium.

  44. That is one hell of a play from Jeter to snag that liner, two outs. He’s been good in the field this year.

  45. The two sides haven’t played nice together in some time.

  46. The game is going by pretty fast.

  47. Great play by Cano keeps that runner from scoring.

    I just read an article where Matsui says he may be able to play first base next year. I’d like to think so, but really don’t want another scenario where the Yanks bank on a converted outfielder playing first, and not doing a good job, such as that asshead Sheffield in 2006. It’s not a gimme position.

  48. Yeah, I don’t think I would like to see Matsui at first. I would say he should be left at DH, but there’s always that big problem of injuries when resorting a player only to DH. If someone else can’t play in the field, he’ll have to go back out.

  49. I agree about his being DH, V. I’m more than willing to part with Giambi. The Yankees need to get someone who can play both ways at first.

  50. At this rate, the game will barely be more than 2 hours old when done. As long as it’s 1-0 Yanks, that’s fine with me.

    I saw “The Dark Knight” last week and it was excellent.

  51. I’ve seen it twice and want to see it at least 2 more times lol. I love that movie. It’s that kind of movie that even though you know the outcome, it gives you goosebumps every time.

  52. That was a hell of a throw from Nady in left, but a little off line and couldn’t get Reed. Terrible situational hitting from Beltre, thankfully.

  53. I thought it was tremendous and, though it’s gotten a lot of flak about a frayed plot, thought it held together quite well as it went along. Ledger was incredibly good, and I really like Bale as Batman/Wayne. I saw “Batman Begins” for the first time last night, and thought it was very good. I like Michael Caine in it.

  54. Terrific 5-3 DP turned from A-Rod.

  55. I was in love with the job Ledger did. It seemed the Joker part was meant for him. I don’t think anyone could of played it more perfectly. It’s a shame that he’s gone.
    The one thing the Yanks have done right this season, is serving up solid defense. They make the usual mistakes here and there, but I think they have one of the top fielding percentages.

  56. I agree about Ledger, V. He was much better than Nicholson, and Jack was good in the original Batman.

    Good point about the defense, part of what salvages some of my personal evaluations of some players such as Jeter and Cano, preventing their grades I’ll give them at the end of the year from being lower.

  57. Ponson is at 44 pitches through 4 2/3 IP. Wow.

  58. What is with Ponson’s new found… talent?

  59. Well, the team he’s facing is more on his level… the worst.

  60. Ponson at 47 pitches through 5. I’m flabbergasted.

  61. True about the Mariners, V, but I’ll take it. It could be against a bunch of retired priests and nuns in a Catholic league and I’d take it right now.

  62. I agree. Another pitiful performance is way too predictable. It’s nice to have the surprise great outing by Sir Sidney.

  63. Wow, what a shooot by Big G.

  64. Big G says “Up Yours” to the guy from The Heartland looking to get rid of him, 2-0 Yankees. This reminds me of a game between the Yanks and Mariners in 2005, when Johnson out-dueled King Felix, 2-0, only the pitching participants are a couple of utter forgettables.

  65. Ahh, I remember that game. The oldie proved that the young still have much to learn.

  66. Yes, and I believe that, like this, it was two solo homers that provided the Yankee runs. I’ll check that out.

  67. Yes, that asshead Sheffield and Cano hit the two homers off Hernandez.

  68. Lol. Ponson giving up two back to back hits now though.

  69. Of course…

  70. The one place Ponson couldn’t miss–down and in–and Ponson made one bad mistake, 3-2 Seattle. I’ve always love Ibanez. The guy can flat-out hit.

  71. His one mistakes cost the Yanks the lead. It’s not even surprising anymore how the Yanks’ games turn bad fast. Crappy luck.

  72. OK Pudge, nice start with the single.

  73. And crappy pitching even if it’s one crappy pitch. It was entirely predictable that Ponson couldn’t pitch it THERE, but would at some point.

  74. Nice breakup of the DP by Pudge as well.

  75. Nice slide from Pudge to help wipe out the Dp attempt, abetted by the slow cover to first.

  76. 0-4 with RISP hasn’t helped the Yanks, either.

  77. two steals by JD. speedy gonzalez.

  78. That’s great base running from JD, who stole third as Jeter walked, first and third for BA.

  79. Have you taken the SATs yet, V?

  80. Yes I did. The test felt incredibly longer than the PSATs. I’m supposed to be registering to take it again soon. Our teachers said it’s always best to take it twice.

  81. Great baserunning by Jeet. I think that’s a quiet strength of his game. He doesn’t need a 3rd base coach.

  82. “Thank you, Phillies.
    Happy are we
    for Bobby Abray-hoo.”
    –Frank the Sage’s song in appreciation for Abreu’s productivity as a Yankee [set to the tune of “Ali Baba” from “Aladdin.”

  83. Totally agree, Vanessa. The Captain was running hard all the way, which was good because it was a close play at the plate from a terrific throw from one of my very favorite non-Yankees of all-time, Ichiro.

  84. The Yanks are scoring runs without sweating. These are the Yankees I know.

  85. Big G kicking ass with the ground-rule double, 5-3 Good Guys.

  86. 6 runs.
    The baserunning is taking control.

  87. That’s why Matsui must stay around. Mat-su can hit, 7-3 Yankees. After going 0-4 with RISP, the Yankees are now 3-8. Not bad.

  88. Before I forget, many thanks for keeping me company in the HDLR. It seems others had plans or weren’t interested.

  89. No problem. Any time.
    I’ll probably regret staying up for the game tomorrow morning when I head to the gym but this is what I sacrifice for my team, no matter how much they suckk 🙂 .

  90. Ah, the gym. Good for you, Vanessa. Mine is unfortunately closed tomorrow, so I’ll probably hit the road for a few miles.

  91. The weather is rarely perfect for a run outside in New York. It seems it’s either the sun is beaming too bright to even breathe or the cold is griping you through any amount of layers of clothing or the rain is pouring down on and off.

  92. which is probably why the gyms charge people so much money.

  93. I don’t need too much to keep warm, thankfully. We’ll see how well I hold up this winter, which can be quite cold here–lots of overnights near or below zero.

  94. I think you’re spot on about the gyms, V.

  95. #2,516 for The Captain, two shy of The Babe.

  96. No matter how much I see it, I gotta say I love Jeter’s swing.
    It doesn’t look so pretty when he strikes out but it does have flair.

  97. Amen, V. Amen. If only this team had its offense on the same page for more than eight straight days in mid-July…

  98. Yeah. I think the big problem this season was having the bats on the same beat. They all performed more than well at some point or another but could not do it all at the same time.

  99. As you’ve said a million times V, how many times has Abreu’s beating out a ground ball (DP ball or no) scored a run or moved a runner? Abreu’s hustle has been a big difference maker this year for a stagnant Yankees offense, tonight no exception.

  100. Yeah, I don’t know if the number of times he has beat them out is a good thing or bad. He seems to hit into what looks like a DP a lot, but avoids them by hustling every time out. I’ll take the positive.

  101. A-Rod got robbed of at least an RBI, not his fault there for the RISP wasted. Good defense in center.

  102. Joba has been on a hell of a roller coaster. Reliever, starter, DL, reliever. Nonetheless, the guy never seems to act different. He takes whatever comes to him and takes out whoever is in front of him.

  103. I know V. I’m totally impressed with the guy’s comportment. I’m convinced that his working-class background has a lot to do with it, just rolling with things that, comparatively to life’s hardships, aren’t that tough with some perspective.

  104. Good point J. That would explain his easiness.
    It’s familiar to that of Mariano growing up in poor Panama. His father made him work hard and wasn’t easy on him and look at him now. He holds that solid, almost austere expression, and never lets things get to him.
    And Mo comes in as I write this.

  105. Mariano needs to get four outs now. He hasn’t pitched in a week.

    A-Rod has had a very good defensive game, 7-4 Yanks.

  106. I love seeing when A-Rod can catch a guy easily with a rocket throw.
    If/When the Yanks get eliminated early, I would love to see A-Rod and Jeter switch positions for a game just because it would be something to see lol.

  107. I’d love to see Big G hit for the cycle. Nope.

  108. It won’t happen V, but A-Rod does have a hell of a gun. When he played short, he had a rocket from the hole. A rocket.

  109. I wonder why teams don’t just do crazy things like that like play in positions they aren’t supposed to when the games don’t matter anymore. The Yanks play Baltimore in the last series at the stadium. If both teams are eliminated, the game doesn’t matter, so do something crazy lol.

  110. Game over. A week off didn’t seem to faze Mo. The Yanks gain the game back they lost yesterday.

  111. Mariano shuts it down, good to have a winning HDLR.

    Vanessa, as usual, thanks for stopping by and bringing good tidings. I have a good feeling abolut Mussina tomorrowm afternoon.

  112. Your welcome. Same here about the Moose. He really deserves 20 wins. I hope he gets it.
    Have a good night J.

  113. […] into not only a good OBP but a very good average.  Crucially and unlike A-Rod, Giambi, and much of the rest of the team, Abreu has been very good with RISP and runners on–.299 and .327, respectively.  The guy […]

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