Thursday, June 09, 2005

Whoo Hoo!

Phew. What a dubya, and just in the nick of time. Sure, we could have used one of those earlier in the week, but at this point, I think the Yankees (and their fans) will take what they can get.

But before I go getting all excited over a breakout win of sorts, I must digress and take a gander at previous “breakout” games this season. When the team dropped to 4-8 on the 17th of April, they responded the next night by beating the tar out of the Devil Rays 19-8, only see Randy go out and drop the next game 6-2. Then on the 26th, with the team sitting at 9-11 (following Randy’s most dominant performance this season), A-Rod had that memorable three homer night as the Yanks steamrolled Bartolo Colon and the Angels 12-4. Too bad they only mustered up one run against Jarrod Washburn the following night.

But both of those games were breakouts with the bats, not necessarily with the arms. It should be of interest to note that the infamous 10-game winning streak was spurred by back to back shutouts by Mussina and Brown. Mussina got the ball rolling again last night, though not in as dominant a fashion as his streak-starting shutout against Oakland. His only faults came off the bats of Carlos Lee and Lyle Overbay, which is more forgivable than giving up a dinger to Bill Hall. And to go with his six innings pitched, three earned run performance, Moose struck out eight and walked only one.

Normally, a day off following a series of events like the Yanks have experienced this week would come at the worst possible time, but this seems to be a different situation. The bats came alive simultaneously with solid pitching for the first time since we beat Boston 6-3 in the last series opener – though the solidity of Randy’s outing is questionable at best. Now the team has a travel day in which to prepare for the National League leading St. Louis Cardinals.

And who better to be on the hill Friday than Chien-Ming Wang? It’s strange that with a rotation that boasts Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano and Kevin Brown everyone (with a brain, that is) wants a 25-year-old rookie pitching in these situations. And when (I’d say if, but I have confidence in the kid) he comes up with another impressive performance Friday night, we might be able to sleep better knowing that this kid might just be sticking around. I mean, why would George trade the only solid pitcher in his rotation, the only one with any consistency at this point? Then again, it’s George Steinbrenner. ‘Nuff said.

Now for some stuff from last night, and I’ll begin with what didn’t happen. Tony Womack and Jason Giambi. I find it hardly a coincidence that the team came around with these two bums sitting on the bench, and if Torre has any sense, he’ll continue to sit them. Of course, they’ll get sporadic PT, especially when they’re back to intra-league play. But Joe can’t continue to play them on a consistent basis, considering their lack of production.

I was watching the game with my buddy Andy last night, and once we hit the 7th and were up 8-3, I broke out the, “See what we do with Giambi and Womack warming the bench?” remark. I was surprised by his quick retort, in which he mentioned that Cano and Matsui also were sitting tonight, and that I’d have to factor that into my analysis. Thankfully Cano is the man and shut Andy up in the top of the 7th with a homer that got out in a hurry, and Matsui had a meaningless pinch-hit single in the 9th. But a hit is a hit. And I’m confident that neither of the benchwarmers would have found such success last night.

A few quick notes before I depart:
-I can only imagine the scene in the dugout prior to Torre's ejection last night.
Torre: Hm, it seems Tino disagrees with that check swing call.
Girardi: You win some, you lose some.
Torre: Hold on a second. Think Joe, think. What would Billy Martin do?
(Pauses for a second)
Torre: Joe, take over. I'm getting tossed.
Girardi: Heh, good one Joe. Wait, where are you going? Oh geeze, he's serious! JOE!

-There was a bit in a local newspaper about Lyle Overbay possibly become available because the Brew Crew has a monster prospect in AAA at first base. Interesting prospect, but I would have to think Cashman would be reluctant to bring in another first baseman, considering Torre’s having enough trouble juggling Giambi and Tino. But the guy is a doubles machine. If we bench/dish Womack, there may be a spot on the roster for Overbay. I’m just worried that we’d have to give up Wang, Sean Henn, or Eric Duncan in the deal. Just not something I think the team should do under any circumstances.

- I know this blog is about the Yankees, but I just have to mention something I heard on WFAN this morning. Jerry Recco – a personal favorite of mine – was hosting the overnight show, and some crazed Mets fan called up and proposed one of his fantasy trades: Heath Bell, Kaz Matsui, Victor Zambrano and Aaron Heilman for Barry Zito and Octavio Dotel. This is just exemplary of how Mets fans are off their freakin’ rockers. Yes, I’m sure Billy Beane – the epitome of frugality – would want to take on Zambrano’s and Matsui’s contracts. Suuuuuuuuuuuuure. What makes this call(er) worse is that he didn’t take into consideration that Dotel is done for the year, as he’s undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery. Yeah, there are some ludicrous Yankees calls in the same tone as that, but come on. To think Billy Beane would take on the age and contracts of those four guys just means the guy is clueless as to the current state of baseball.