Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Can't Complain

If this is the worst we'll see of Randy from here on out, consider me a happy camper. Nearly every pitcher (with the possible exception of Johan “Shoe In” Santana) is susceptible to inadequate performances, and that factor is magnified once you're over the age of oh, say, 43. I don't mind this right now, but as Randy said following the game, that performance won't hold up in a playoff game, and – like last year – could be detrimental in a 5-game series.

Two things in baseball piss me off more than anything: losing winnable games, and failing to score runs off a pitcher with a 5+ ERA, particularly ones who lead the AL in losses. The Yanks nearly did both last night, but thanks to some late-innings heroics by Robinson Cano, the Yanks were able to salvage this one, despite Proctor insistence on allowing Ramon Hernandez to jack one.

And while we tout Cano for driving in the go-ahead run, let's not forget Brian Bruney. Some of us, myself included, have jumped to some serious conclusions about this kid and what he can do for the Yanks postseason run. It would be nice to have him step in like a Bobby Jenks or Francisco Rodriguez, but the difference is that the Yanks have a closer – or at least should have a closer. This makes Bruney more like what Kelvim Escobar was for the Angels last year, which, if you paid any attention to the ALDS, is a scary proposition.

Even with the emergence of Bruney, the Yanks still absolutely need Proctor, Farnsworth, and even Villone to pitch like they were in late July and early August. Thankfully, Torre has given Villone a few days off, resting his ostensibly tired arm. Proctor has received no such luxury, and pitched in his third straight game last night. Why Torre continues to do this I don't know. He wants to go to his best relievers because he wants to win the game at hand, and that's understandable. However, if by going to your best reliever too frequently you compromise his effectiveness, I cease to see the logic. Hopefully he'll get the Tampa Bay series off, but I think that's as likely as him getting the start on Wednesday.

A win is extra nice here, if for no other reason than the first inning omen. With Damon and Jeter having singled, the heart of the order was on with no outs and some speed on the bases. But then Abreu struck out. And then A-Rod was absolutely frozen by a 3-2 curveball, which immediately begs the question of how many times Lopez has thrown a 3-2 curve, and furthermore how many times he's gotten it over for a strike. I'm figuring that he throws a curve 3-2, eh, 1 out of 15 times, and probably gets that over for a strike 1 of 4. Of course, that's all anecdotal, and I'm simply not willing to pay Baseball Info Solutions for the hard data. Not yet, at least. After Posada dinked one to second, Lopez escaped the inning unfazed.

But, in the end, they all made up for their first-inning shortcoming in the seventh. Abreu hit a sac fly to get the ball rolling, Alex followed it up with an RBI single, and Jorge took one for the team, which set the table for Cano's rip shot. For Orioles fans, only one name comes to mind here: Fernando Tatis. As we say in the land of Deadspin, “Stupid Angelos.”

So remember all those bench guys who have gotten in the lineup lately? Yeah, that's all about to change, as we can expect Hideki Matsui to be penciled in as the DH tonight against Tampa Bay. It's especially nice because the game is at home, and I expect nothing less than a roaring ovation for Godzilla. One of the managers at my now-former place of employment predicted that Matsui would hit a homer in his first game back, but that's nothing more than a sensational prediction. Facing Tim Corcoran may assist said prediction, but in reality, I'd actually be happier if he drew a walk or two and slapped a single to left. Over his first week or so back, you have to be more concerned with timing and discipline than power.

Jason Giambi is also set to return to the lineup, as he'll become the everyday first baseman for the foreseeable future. He always complains of unbalanced splits and performing worse as a DH, but I've always blamed that on the fact that most of the time that he's DHing, he's suffering from some minor ailment. This year, however, he's been the DH to provide playing time to Andy Phillips and Craig Wilson. His splits:

1B .293/.463/.624
DH .215/.366/.518

Get this man out in the field, immediately and often.