Thursday, June 01, 2006

Winning With the B Team


Screw Magglio Ordonez. And that’s all I have to say about that.

What more could you have asked for last night? Everything went right for the Yanks as they continued their pummeling of the Tigers, 6-1. All this, as you know, without Sheffield, Damon, and Jeter, all out with various injuries. Of course, I had the reaction of an irrational fan when I glanced at the lineup.

“Well, I guess Moose is going to have to toss a gem. We’re not scoring more than two runs with this lineup.”

I was obviously blind to the middle of the order, which boasted Giambi, A-Rod, Posada, and Cano. Because had I seen them, I wouldn’t have made such a ridiculous statement. The only problems with the lineup, really, were 1) Miguel Cairo batting second and 2) Terrence Long batting anywhere. Other than that, they were prime to plate a few.

[MORE]But they didn’t need to. Moose was magnificent, marred only by A-Rod’s error and a mistake up in the zone to Magglio Ordonez. The complete game was not only a boost for Mussina, but precluded Torre from wasting a bullpen arm – though he visibly wanted to following the Ordonez hit. Thankfully, Mussina knew that he had enough to finish the game and save Torre from himself.

What is Joe Torre’s aversion to the complete game? Why, after an error and a single, did he want to remove Moose from a 6-1 game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth – when he was still under 100 pitches? It’s not only baffling, it’s frustrating to see him constantly go to his bullpen when the move is not only unnecessary, but possibly detrimental to a relief corps that’s going to be in higher demand come August and September.

There is a solution to this, however. Joe Torre is a good manager of men and the media. He keeps the reporters in order, and knows how to deal with his players. But when it comes to in-game strategy, he’s a senile old man. He mistakenly has no trust in his starters to pitch more than seven innings at a time, and will only use certain relievers late in games, no matter what the score. Joe Torre is very comparable to former Jets coach Herman Edwards in that they both know how to manage the players. Also like Torre, Edwards has a gaping strategic flaw: he can’t manage the clock. What did the Jets do to amend this problem? Hired a clock guy. It’s clear that Cashman should be posting Help Wanted signs for a bullpen guy.

This will end our Torre bashing session.

Tonight’s game kind of scares me, mainly because rookie Justin Verlander is on the mound. He’s 7-3 with a 2.55 ERA, and looks all sorts of nasty. With Jeter and Damon back in the lineup (speculatively), maybe the Yanks can muster a few runs off this guy. That puts the pressure on Chien-Ming Wang, not only to hold the Tigers but to save the bullpen further wear and tear. I’m not expecting much, though. The Tigers are, as they say, due.