Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Could Be Worse

Despite my words from yesterday about the Yanks needing to steamroll this pathetic D-Rays team if for nothing else but revenge, I’m not too miffed about the game last night. It was an experiment of sorts, and it failed. Worse things have happened. It’s not like Kevin Brown was out there and pulled the same stunt Henn did; I would have been pissed in that case. But when a rookie pitcher – who wasn’t even remotely impressive in his first outing – goes out and walks seven guys on his way to putting the game out of reach, it’s different. You kinda have to say, “okay, we made a mistake, so let’s learn from it and get this kid the help he’s going to need to be effective in the future.”

Then again, I’m not so sure that Sean Henn has a bright future in pinstripes. Yeah, he’s young and he’s a lefty, and he already has that confounded Tommy John surgery out of the way, but the kid has more than a thing or two to learn about control before he’s going to be able to step into the rotation. But the kid is 24 this year, and that makes you wonder if he’ll ever be ready for the Bigs.

So in two brief paragraphs I’ve written off the pitching problem as an aberration that most likely won’t repeat itself this year, as Henn – in all likelihood – won’t be making another appearance. But Brownie is still on the DL, and someone has to step into that fifth spot. Fortunately, just about anyone is going to be more productive in the rotation than Brown, which must have been the logic behind using Henn (that, and to showcase him for trade). Enter Tanyon Sturtze.

Admittedly, I got this idea from Sterling and Waldman on the radio, but it makes all the sense in the world. The Yanks are positively stuck right now with this situation, as they need a fifth starter come Saturday against the Mets. So instead of bringing up another schmuck from AAA, why not just let Tanyon start the game? Sure, you lose him out of the bullpen for a bit. But is there a better option at this point? Maybe bring up Jason Anderson to fill the void in the bullpen.

What about the rest of the season, though? I don’t think the team can count on Brown to stay healthy, and even if he does miraculously finish the season without another stint on the DL, his performance has been lackluster at best. So while the Yanks are supposedly entertaining the idea of speaking to Billy Beane as to the availability of Mark Kotsay, the need for pitching looms its head again.

Old demons seemed to have repossessed the Yanks’ bats last night, as Casey Fossum -- yes, THAT Casey Fossum – held the team to two hits through seven innings. But, before guys start calling in to sports radio saying that the Yanks can’t hit, let’s just point out one fact. Fossum was throwing heat between 92 and 95 mph last night, and mixed that with a low 70s curveball and a changeup. That’s just brutal, having to make a 20 mph adjustment. And as much as the guy sucks in the long run, when you’re on with that kinda stuff, even the best teams aren’t going to hit you.

You think George is making calls as to Fossum’s availability?

But then Lou Piniella made a fatal mistake in the top of the eighth. Apparently – and this is according to the YES broadcast team – Lou told Fossum “good game, hit the showers.” But why in the world would you send the game to a piss poor bullpen when your starter has allowed only two hits all game? Well, either Fossum made a stink about it or Lou came to his senses and sent Casey back for the bottom of the eighth.

My buddy Andy and I were watching the game, and had turned it off multiple times already out of disgust. After that situation, I turned to Andy and said, “I bet this rattles Fossum and we get to him in the bottom of the inning.” And then we turned it off for good.

Apparently Lou was on my wavelength, as he immediately gave the hook to Fossum after giving up a leadoff single to Cano. Not quite a meltdown, but at least one guy in the D-Rays dugout saw something coming. Unfortunately, when your bullpen consists of one man who is fit to work little more than one inning, you’re stuck.

Enter Lance Carter, who did what was human and gave up a hit to Jete. Then comes Womack, who predictably popped out. A single by Sheff brought in Jeter and gave the Yanks a bit of life with A-Rod coming to the plate with two on and one out. Alas, A-Rod further diminished his “close and late” batting average by popping out.

But who better to bail us out than Godzilla? His three run shot surely would have had Andy and I out of our seats had we been tuned in. So now Lou decides it’s time for his closer, and the Yanks catch a break as Jorge draws a walk against Baez. And up comes the hero from last week, that fat piece of crap Giambi, who proved true a comment I had made yesterday:

“For every walkoff homer Giambi hits, he strikes out four or five times in those situations.”

So I guess we have some waiting to do.