Angels Take 2 of Three: Jeter Passes The Babe; Aceves Impresses; Near-Brawl; Don’t Re-Sign Pettite

Sorry to have been away, people, but I’ve had a busy last several days.  I pulled an all-nighter writing Monday night, something that will become more commonplace the next couple months.  I did listen to a good deal of the 12-1 blowout loss but didn’t hear or see the brawl until highlights yesterday.  Pudge probably should have just let it all go, but I don’t blame the Yanks and Pudge especially for their frustration at Hunter stealing bases in a 6-1 game that anyone could see was going to be an Angels win.  I don’t know if that was Hunter going on his own or Scoscia being a jerk.  Either way, stealing second and third in quick succession in a 6-1 game at this point in the year is rubbing the Yanks’ noses in it.  A little fire in the belly before the last 20 games would have been advisable, however.

I conked out from exhaustion last night before the Yankees game even started so I missed every pitch, unfortunately. Between being up all night before and running the kids to various activities, I was spent.  I can’t say how impressed with Aceves’ performance I am, going seven strong innings and allowing one run in front of much of his family.  Great for the kid and the organization.  Who knows what Aceves can provide, and I’d advise people to be restrained in their assessment of the kid, who has pitched all of 14 innings in the majors.  However, another option for the staff cannot hurt and, if he isn’t in The Bronx next year–and it’s probably the case that he won’t–he and the organization will still be well-served with him at SWB.  Good for the kid, shutting down the playoff-bound Angels the night after pounding PaVoldemort and Giese in the sixth, Edwar in the seventh, and winning going away Monday night.

How special was it to hear Michael Kay say that, with his single Tuesday night, “Derek Jeter passes Babe Ruth on the all-time Yankees hit list.”  It’s really amazing, watching Jeter passing Ruth with a seeing-eye single through the hole, and hearing Kay say those words.  Ruth is a gigantic figure over seventy years after his playing days ended, just the biggest personality and most dominating player of his era by a mile–and arguably ever. That Jeter has more hits than Ruth did as a Yankees is truly remarkable, and he deserves all the accolades he gets and then some.  Jeter has had a down year at the plate for certain, but he doesn’t complain, he hustles all the time, he’s team-oriented, and he’s a winner.  No one on the team right now deserves such a historic accomplishment more save perhaps Mariano.  Amazing.

And, unfortunately, these were many of the Yankees’ highlights in Anaheim, not unexpectedly to be honest.  Good to see A-Rod and JD have good games in the 7-1 win last night.  But this team just can’t get out of its own way this year.  As has been so typical for the Yankees this season, they scored two runs early today and nothing the rest of the way, baffled by an erratic youngster whose ERA lowered to 7.36 after allowing the Yanks two runs in five innings.  Again, the hapless offense struggled and faded.  After Nady’s one-out single in the fourth, the Yankees had no hits until the ninth.  After Nady’s single that moved Ransom to third, Matsui struck out looking to end the game and move that histrionic dope K-Rod to within one save of Bobby Thigpen’s save record of 57 set in 1990 to help the Angels clinch the West.  Pathetic, yet again pathetic.

I have to add that while I’d have some misgiving about re-signing Pettite next year because of his age (turning 37 in June 2009) and how much would be left in his arm regardless, it’s about time to end the tenure of some Yanks.  Giambi is one in my mind and, for a couple different reasons, Pettite is another.  He’s had a terrible second half–3-6, 5.43 ERA–is going to be 37 and, honestly, at what price should the Yankees re-sign Pettite and risk another mediocre year or worse?  To be truthful, if Mussina hadn’t been under contract after 2007, I would not have advocated his re-signing, either. Few, except J-Boogie and Jimmy, saw his tremendous comeback 2008 season.  These are somewhat rare, to be fair, and I don’t want the Yankees to spend millions on the hope that Pettite might duplicate Mussina’s excellent if unforeseen resurgence this year.  So long Andy, and thanks for everything, but so long.  It’s time, Yankees fans.

There was an e-mail sent in to Yankee Fan Club Radio this past Sunday describing the Yankees’ issues with RISP and struggles overall as attributable to injuries, as the breaks not going the Yanks’ way, and the karmic pendulum swinging against the Yanks.  I have to disagree completely with this.  While there have been times that the Yanks have hit the ball hard in situations, as happened today with A-Rod, these have been far more the exception than the rule.  In the 10-game road trip a month ago, to reiterate what I discussed then, the Yankees squandered no fewer than 41 chances when they had runners on base who didn’t score in those 10 games, in which the team went 3-7 and effectively lost any realistic shot of making the playoffs–41.  That’s one runner stranded about every other inning during that stretch.  Look at all the times the Yankees had a runner on third who didn’t score due to a strikeout, a grounder to someone, or a pop-up or shallow fly ball instead of someone driving the ball, instead of someone rolling the wrists over to steer one to second base or hit a chopper to get the run in.  Time and time again, the Yankees blew it, getting runners on but not over and across nearly often enough.  The Yankees failed in these situations from impatience, from the inability to play team, winning baseball, from bad at-bats–not from injuries or a lack of the breaks.  The team has scored two or fewer runs 46 times this year.  That’s not injuries. Sorry. NO WAY.

Jorge’s absence for most of the year has hurt in ways we’d never see, certainly on the field but also and unquestionably in the locker room.  Matsui’s absence didn’t help either, and A-Rod missed a good stretch.  But really, honestly, the failures of the offense were mostly of their own doing, were the result of their having their fate in their own hands and repeatedly failing.  I can’t be told that the Yankees’ being on pace to score 184 fewer runs than last year has more to do with injuries and a lack of “the breaks” than their own poor approaches, not picking each other up, not playing as a team, not focusing, and I strongly suspect not for runs and wins but stats.  Period. A-Rod has picked it up with RISP and runners on way too late, Giambi at .216 with RISP is a joke at any salary.  They failed very often, and way too often as a still very talented offense to attribute this woeful, collective failure to injuries and happenstance.  No way.

Despite some good statistical offensive years from A-Rod, JD, Abreu, and Nady (split between the Bucs and the Yanks), and not terrible years from Jeter or Giambi (though unquestionably less than what the Yankees needed from both), the 2008 New York Yankees should be remembered as a team lesser than the sum of its parts.  There’s no other way for me to look at it.

Published in: on September 10, 2008 at 8:03 pm  Comments (14)  

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  1. great post jason- “the 2008 New York Yankees should be remembered as a team lesser than the sum of its parts. ”

    and this is exactly where a discussion of the manager should take place.

  2. Right on about Pettitte. Much of my most recent post addressed the same topic. It would definitely be an idiotic move if they brought him back. They only need 1 veteran and that’s my boy. And I’m not saying that b/c I’m bias. Everyone will admit he’s pitched well enough to deserve that spot. And i trust him far more than I do AP.

    i wanted to go to bed over an hour ago but I can’t turn myself away from the Sox/Rays game. Pena just hit a 3-run bomb off Mike Timlin!! Lovin’ it.

    Oh, I’m giving away some (5) Yankees DVD box sets, info on the blog. Everyone should come and check it out. Odds of winning are pretty good. If it’s like the last time I gave DVDs away, nobody really entered.



  3. Some stats:

    Somehow, Edwar is 2-1 vs. the Angels in his career. But Edwar has a 20.25 career ERA against the team that originally signed him. Edwar’s ERA is 4.08. Take away the Angels this year (3 games) and it’s 2.28.

    Pettitte falls to 13-13 and one mark Pettitte had is in jeopardy. Entering this year, Pettitte and Babe Ruth were the only pitchers to pitch in ten or more years and have a winning record in each season they pitched in. Pedro Martinez pitched in two games in 1992 and went 0-1, 2.25—just enough to disqualify him. If Andy wants to keep that mark, he better start winning. A peculiar record, and yes, Babe was 1-0 or 2-0 for a few of those years, but anytime it’s just you and the Babe, that’s saying something.

  4. Interesting stat about Pettitte and the Babe. I would have thought Moose would be on that list but he went 4-5 in his 1st season and has been rolling ever since.


  5. I don’t want Pettitte back. He lost it and he’s old. Did you read what Curt Schilling posted on his blog?

  6. thre’s no way they should bring him back-there is a bumper crop of really good SOP on the free agent market next year- thanks for everything andy- we love you, but i think even he knows he’s done.

    moose is a different story–his new style of pitching has extended his career for several years probably

  7. Hey, Jason …

    Sorry my “blog surfing” hasn’t traveled over to your site too often over the last few weeks to offer more comments; but, I have reviewed many of your posts, and am just trying to figure out how to find more hours in each day to include more time for my blogging activities.

    So, let me start by saying, your posts continue to be excellent viewing, as well as, your thoughts and comments !!!

    There has not been too much to be excited about regarding this Yankees team, and the way the 2008 New York Yankees season has turned out. The best way to sum it all up [and, I think all Yankee fans will agree], “very disappointing”. Fourth Place in the AL EAST is not what we all looked forward to during the Off-Season, and in Spring Training.

    I will not use all the injuries as an excuse, though, because I really think that the current Yankees “all-star” lineup is still good enough to win the AL EAST and even the AL Championship. But, for many reasons, this 2008 Yankees team has “FAILED” !!!

    In my view, I think the three main symbols of this failure are:

    * All the runners left on base; and, the total inability to drive home runners from third base with less than two outs. [Like you said Jason, “the 2008 Yankees are on pace to score 184 fewer runs than last year”]

    * Zero wins by Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.

    * The loss of Jorge Posada for most of the year. This is the only injury that I will say had the most affect on the Yankees losing season. You said it perfectly, Jason: “Jorge’s absence for most of the year has hurt in ways we’d never see”. The “leadership” of Jorge Poasada — on the field, and in the clubhouse — has been greatly missed.

    * Major “intangibles” to consider: How much different would this season be if Joe Torre, Larry Bowa, and Don Mattingly were still the braintrust of the Yankees, in the dugout and clubhouse? Especially, the Larry Bowa factor, regarding Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera, [and, the positive affect Bowa had on both those players].

    Anyway, with the season almost over, we have to look for some things to be positive about.

    So, it was good to see Alfredo Aceves have a great pitching performance in his first start for the Yankees. Hopefully, he will continue to pitch well the rest of the year, and be a new shining star in the starting rotation in 2009. But, if this season has taught us anything, it has certainly taught us, not to be too excited “by any” young prospects in the Yankees Organizaton, until they actually perform on a high level, on the big league roster, on a consistent basis, over a long period of time.

    We can only hope that Aceves continues to pitch well. But, Hopefully, Aceves, and all Yankee prospects were listening when Brian Cashman [who also has to take much of the blame for this disastrous season] said, “Hughes and Kennedy will have to earn spots on next year’s roster”. There are “no more guarantees” !!!

    And, finally, “A Great Moment For Derek Jeter” !!!

    If there is one Yankee player over the last 30 years who belongs to be listed with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, it is Derek Jeter. He is a true example of the great Yankees tradition that has been the standard of greatness [in this era of Yankees history] for all Yankee fans to praise and cheer for.

    Also, I think, Mariano Rivera and Thurman Munson, have to included with Derek Jeter, as the three standards of the great Yankees Tradition over the last 30 years !!!

    There are others, for sure. But, Jeter, Rivera, and Munson top the list !!!

    Congratulations to Derek Jeter for moving ahead of Babe Ruth, into second place on the Yankees all-time hit list.

    Lou Gehrig leads the list, and Jeter will pass him, maybe at the end of next year, or in the beginning of 2010. And, then, on to 3,000 career hits for Derek.

    In the great history of the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter will be the first Yankee player to reach the magic 3,000 hit mark. That really is awesome !!!

    If Jeter stays healthy, and plays long enough, how many career hits will he end up with ?

    3,500? … 3,750? … 4,000? … 4,250 ???

    Well, I think Jeter will play at least seven more years, and reach about 3,700. Then, who knows?

    But, I do think Derek Jeter would trade those hit totals for more World Series rings. To tie Yogi Berra’s total of “10” World Series rings, would be more valuable, and important, to Derek !!!

    The 2008 season is almost over; and, really already over for the Yankees. I just hope the Yankees continue to play hard and go down fighting. They should have pride in themselves, and always remember the great Yankees Tradition every time they take the field !!!

    As always, Go Yankees !!!

    Take care, Jason !!!

    — Jimmy [27NYY]

  8. I disappointed that Pettitte just went downhill toward the end of the season but I can’t help but want him back though, if only for one year. I just love the guy.
    They should definitely bring back Moose, no matter what his age is. He can pitch and that is that. I would love to see him pitch Opening Day too.
    P.S. Wow. Jimmy managed to write more than you. I’ve never seen so many exclamation points in my life, lol jk 🙂

  9. So much to respond to. First of all, thanks for the comments everyone. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there are many times when I’m truly amazed that people actually come by and read my screed. No joke. I just love the people who come by here, honestly. What a great group of fans, what a terrific network of people. You’re tremendous, and it’s my privilege to talk baseball or whatever with you. I mean that.

    Mike, my wing man, many thanks. Last game at Yankee Stadium HDLR? Count on it. I think that much of the team’s failure rests with the players’ performance or lack thereof, but your views of Girardi are well taken, and Jimmy seems to agree with you as well. I can’t help but think that, in the absence of public statements from the team about such meetings, that Girardi DIDN’T kick this team in the ass enough. I could be wrong. He and others could have done so behind closed doors but, when Torre did so, we as fans knew it because the players talked about it as if they were admonished by their father. I didn’t hear much of that this year. Maybe it happened and they didn’t say so. Maybe it didn’t because Girardi was still feeling his way through the team, or he was trying to cajole instead of crack the whip. I don’t know, but this team didn’t discuss anything or play with urgency until way, WAAAAAY too late. I definitely agree with you (and J-Boogie) about Mussina vis-a-vis Pettite. I’m not at all willing to take a big, expensive gamble on what Pettite MIGHT do in 2009 after a poor finish to 2008. Sorry if his routine was thrown off this past off-season from revelation of his own misdeeds with HGH, but that’s no one’s cross to bear but his own, and I’m not of the opinion that the team should sink another $16 million on the possibility of Lefty’s resurgence. Nope.

    J-Boogie, thanks for stopping by. For those who don’t read “Baseball and the Boogie-Down,” it’s good stuff and well worth the visit. Sorry I haven’t been around much, but I’ve been swamped with stuff the past few weeks. Your boy Mussina deserves a two-year deal, at least one of those will be good. I’ll take that and, with his re-invented stuff, it will fit nicely in a revamped 2009 staff. I’m already feeling good about next year, trying in no small part to salve the aggregate wound that has been 2008.

    Mike S., your main weakness is your lack of knowledge of statistics on this great game of ours, or any ability to translate them into an everyday sense of what they mean. 🙂 You know I’m teasing. When I saw that Pettite lost, I knew how you’d feel about that record of Pettite’s being in jeopardy since you’ve discussed it. How ironic, Jeter passing The Babe in one game and, in the next, The Babe perhaps staying alone in the annals of baseball history. The last week will tell a lot.

    Sean, congratulations on being recognized by that ignorant gas-bag Schilling. Great for you and the blog, honestly. I posted a lengthy response on the thread whose URL Sean left above, for anyone interested. I know and really like the Red Sox fans and bloggers I’ve encountered–Steve, Dan, Joe, and the long-lost Raoul–great fans and I was happy for them when the Red Sox won in 2007. But it’s the segment of assheads, a couple of whom posted on Sean’s blog, who don’t deserve a handshake if they were stuck in a pit of quicksand. Every fan base has them, alas.

    Jimmy, thanks a ton for coming by and I’m sorry that I’ve been a poor blog friend. As I’ve said with J-Boogie, I’ve been swamped and keeping it close to the vest, so to speak. Thanks also for the kind words. I totally agree about this season’s failures, especially RISP woes and, as with Mike above, one cannot help but question what the other coaches would have done. With Girardi versus Torre, I don’t know and cannot tell quite so neatly, but you’re SO right to point out Bowa. Absolutely. He kept guys loose but also got on them, especially Cano. He’s also the greatest third-base coach I’ve ever seen, though I loved Willie Randolph. Bowa made iffy judgments that I could count on one hand during his tenure with the Yanks–with fingers to spare. He was an asset at third, as a former infielder (and a good one), and as a personality. The Yankees missed him a ton, A TON, this season.

    Vanessa, Jimmy is the king of the exclamation point–THE KING!!! (those three !!! are for you, Jimmy). If Jimmy didn’t have at least a dozen exclamation points in a posted comment, I’d either need to check him for a pulse or check him into a hospital.

  10. refering to post on Bryan Hochs “Bombers Beat”. What do ya’ think guys? Scott Proctor says “burn this mother down!”

    kevin Long is completly out of line. Canoe is the reason for Longs paycheck. If canoe’ has failed there is blame to be placed on the staff. Canoe’s weak performence is a reflection of the biggest failure this season, the coaching.
    “Look at the rest of the guys in this room and they’ve had decent years” Decent enough to be in fourth place and miss a playoff birth in ten years? What room is this guy in? There is subpar seasons down the line-up. Someone go get Torre out of Hollywood and bring him back. ( Jeter misses him as does this city).

  11. curt scilling, lol.

  12. Yeah I’m not a Kevin Long fan. Canoe (?) isn’t the reason why this team is on pace to score almost 200 runs less than they did last year. I really wonder what Long does anyway. I’m guessing not much. I’ve been wondering why the Yankees consistently struggle against pitchers they haven’t seen before while other teams don’t. I can only bring it back to scouting and preparation. I’d think part of Long’s role is to learn what the opposing pitcher has and get that info out to the team. Not sure if it’s happening, or if that’s what’s supposed to happen, but it definitely doesn’t appear that they’re prepared to face these guys. Just a theory.


  13. good point j-boogie-they struggled against guys they hadnt faced last year as well as this year. other than toney pena i think they need to clean house with the coaching staff- obviously meacham, but the rest as well

  14. Jeter refers to Robinson as “Canoe”.

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