Sunday, October 7, 2007

Is That a Rocket in Your Pocket?

(Newsday / Kathy Kmonicek / October 7, 2007)

Well, I guess now we know Phil Hughes can handle playoff pressure. That was an extremely impressive outing from the rookie under those circumstances -- 2 hits, 4 strike outs, no walks in 3.2 innings. Meanwhile, someone reminded the Yankees that the guy standing on the mound in the Indians hat was Jake Westbrook, and they finally managed to string some hits together, highlighted by Johnny Damon's three-run homer, and a Robinson Cano single that, thanks to a Trot Nixon error, became a three-run hit (Trot Nixon giveth, and Trot Nixon taketh away).

Chip Caray: "And what was the point I made earlier, the metaphor of the shaken soda bottle, with the Yankees?"
Me: [sobbing]

In the seventh inning Joba Chamberlain set out to prove that the hype is real, as long as you leave entymology out of it. After Ronan Tynan finished singing the slowest version of "God Bless America" I've ever heard in my life, though, Chamberlain went back out for the 8th and struggled, allowing a run and getting his pitch count up to 38 before it was over.

And so, for the "What Will We Be Second-Guessing Joe Torre About Tomorrow?" segment of our program, I can't say I really understand the thinking behind leaving Chamberlain in for two innings with a five-run lead -- not that I blame Torre for not trusting the rest of the bullpen, but now Chamberlain's questionable for tomorrow, and who knows if there'll be a four- or five-run lead to work with then? If the Yankee bullpen blows a lead in Game 4, you will be hearing a lot more about this.

However, they had to get to Game 4 for that to become an issue, and give Torre credit for some good moves tonight: he didn't wait too long to yank Clemens; he made the right but risky call in going to Hughes. And I like that he's starting "the Wanger" tomorrow, too.

Speaking of which: like Paul O'Neill, who was talking to Michael Kay on YES, I still can't believe the Indians are really going to start Paul Byrd tomorrow, instead of Sabathia on three days' rest. This is all part of an elaborate fake-out, right? Unless there are health concerns with Sabathia that I'm not aware of, which is possible, I don't get this at all. And Sabathia would have set up Fausto Carmona, who totally dominated the Yanks on Friday, for a possible Game 5 on normal rest -- wouldn't that be ideal?

Who knows, though: maybe Paul Byrd pitches the game of his life and there is no Game 5... or maybe O'Neill is right, and Eric Wedge will change his mind after getting a good night's sleep.

Finally, after the game Johnny Damon said they were "playing for Joe". Hmmm. Is George Steinbrenner just a loudmouthed autocrat with lucky timing, or does he actually know what he's doing with these ultimatums? I don't really believe there's a connection, but if the Yankees make it out of this series alive, we'll certainly be hearing about The Boss's motivational tactics throughout the ALCS.


Anonymous said...

Okay, breathing again here.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the boss knows what he's doing, but no, I don't believe his comments were meant strictly to "motivate" the team so much as they were intended to give the press something to focus on other than A-Rod. I almost wonder if Torre and perhaps others were given a heads-up about it beforehand...

Whatever it was, it's hard to argue that it didn't work.

Rob in CT said...

The only thing I can think of re: Sabathia is that he did throw 115 pitches in game 1, and they were 115 stressful pitches (several jams).

That's all I got.

Anonymous said...

Roger Clemens line:
IP: 2.1
H: 4
R: 3
ER: 3
BB: 2
K: 1
HR: 1
ERA: 11.57
I guess $26 million doesn't get you much these days, does it? Was this one of the dramatic moments Suzyn Waldman was screeching about back in May for this fat pig?

Anonymous said...

Well, outings can be dramatically bad as well as dramatically otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Eric Wedge not pitching Sabathia tonight on three days' rest, people act as if pitching on short rest is no big deal, kind of like getting up an hour early one morning a week. The fact is, few pitchers fare well on short rest. They're just not conditioned for it. They pitch once a week in high school and college, then every fifth day once they get into pro ball. And it's not like Sabathia has a long history of working on three days' rest. In fact, he has not pitched on short rest in years. And remember, tonight's game is an elimination game for only one team, not for the visitors. If need be, the Indians will piggyback Sabathia and Carmona on Wednesday night. And without Bruce Froemming behind the plate squeezing the corners, look for C.C. to be much more effective than he was last Thursday.

-- Dougheadsdq

Lefty said...

It wouldn't benefit the Indians to use sabathia on 3 days rest because he's a power pitcher, not a sinker-baller or off-speed type of guy. As Rob said, he threw 115 pitches against the Yankees on Thursday and he was in trouble a lot. They only have to win 1 out of 2 while today is a must for the Yanks. If the Yanks win today, then Cleveland can have a rested Sabathia AND a rested Carmona for game 5.

Emma said...

Good points on Sabathia... those arguments make the decision more comprehensible to me, but I'm still not sure -- while acknowledging that Eric Wedge knows his pitchers a lot better than I do -- that it's the right move. I know it's not an elimination game, but don't you want to do everything in your power to avoid getting to that point?

crow said...

Boy, is this annoying. We wanted every series to have a sweep and the Yankees just wouldn't play along.

I'm also thinking that Torre said to the boss "hey, let's give the boys something to motivate them..." On the other hand, Steinbrenner IS that insane that he'd threaten Torre that way.

hazmat said...

It wasn't a threat to Torre - just fact.

Joe has earned millions of dollars being the Avis of MLB for the past 9 years. That's enough. Time to pass the reins to someone else with some fresh ideas.

Torre doesn't need the crying towel, he can wipe the tears away with that hoard of Steinbrenner cash he has collected.

Hope he takes A-Rod with him, wherever he goes in 2008.

Anonymous said...

Hey Stankee Fans,
How do you like Clemens' pitching line? And to think that General George called one of his former pitchers a "big fat toad". If the Stankees lost last night, it would be time for George to bring back that label.

Mr. Met

Steve said...

The point I think everyone has missed is that Clemens should not have been out there at all. He nearly cost the Yankees the game and the series. He should have been honest about his injuries, with himself and with his team before the most important game of the year..

Although this post was brutal:

...I just think it is clear the guy lacks judgment; he is dishonest and only has ever looked out for number one... despite his "team" comments.