Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Randy Wards Off Old Age, Tosses Six Shutout Innings


Randy…pitched…well. Very well, even. And while this kind of performance is more than welcome, it does beg the question of whether he’s got a few more of these in his back pocket. I guess it’s best to table those worries for another four days. We have bigger things to worry about for the time being, like Aaron Small pitching tonight.

[MORE]Little scare from Jeter yesterday, jamming his right hand while sliding into second. He says it’s nothing and that he’ll play today, which is reassuring when you hear it from Jete. What bothers me is that it took four innings for the YES commentators (sans Michael Kay, yay!) to inform us. It’s not like he was headed to the hospital for an MRI; he just had to throw some ice on it to reduce the swelling. They likely had an ice pack waiting for him upon his removal in the fifth, and it’s just baffling that we can’t get that information until the ninth inning.

Would it really be a Yankees game if someone didn’t complain about Joe Torre’s bullpen usage? I questioned his decision to remove Randy in the seventh (he had been pitching brilliantly to that point, and the leadoff double wasn’t hit particularly hard), but he knows more about the physical condition of the pitchers, so I’ll defer to his decision making on that one. The fact that he brought in Ron Villone made me happy, too. But Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth inning of a 4-0 game? Scott Erickson can’t handle that kind of situation? Or what about Matt Smith, who has aptly rotted away since being recalled last week? Farny has now been used three times in four days, meaning he’s unavailable tonight, maybe tomorrow. Give him the day off yesterday, however, and you have him for the rest of the week.

This is your daily reminder that Terrance Long has no place on a Major League roster, even an injury-depleted one and especially that of the Yankees. I know we’re still in small sample size territory, but Long is sitting pretty at .200/.273/.200. These numbers are especially telling because Long’s duty has been at the corner outfield positions and DH, three of the most premium offensive positions. I’d honestly rather have Kevin Reese on the bench at this point (well, I’d really rather have Kevin Thompson, but I’d be arguing a moot point there).

As for the rest of the week: there’s no excuse to not beat up on Roman Colon tonight. Nate Robertson is riding a long string of luck, or at least that’s what his peripherals will tell you. He’s slightly up from his 2005 K/9 mark (5.63 this year vs. 5.55 last year), and is actually walking more batters – 3.41 per nine – than last year – 2.95. His groundball to flyball ratio is right on par, though he has done a better job of keeping the ball in the park in 2006 – 1.29 HR/9 last year vs. 0.89 this year. But the Yankees have a propensity for the long ball, so that’s a good sign.

Then we get into Justin Verlander, and I just don’t have a good feeling right there. His only kryptonite comes in the form of averaging four pitches per batter faced. This is fine for high strikeout pitchers like Scott Kazmir, Johan Santana, and Mike Mussina (!!), but for the finesse guys, Verlander just doesn’t stack up. Other low strikeout pitchers, such as Jose Contreras, Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay, and even the aforementioned Nate Robertson, have Pitches per Batter Faced numbers down around 3.5. The patient Yankees should take advantage.