Thursday, September 07, 2006

What I Learned While Beating the Royals

It seems kind of boring to recap an 8-0 win, no? I mean, I could, but it would look something like:

Jorge hit two three-run blasts and Randy Johnson threw seven innings of shutout ball, and over the first six allowed zero hits. Kyle Farnsworth sucks. The end.

How happily humdrum that was. But instead of leaving it like that, let's move to a list of things I learned last night while watching the game:

  • Exciting as no-hitters are, I'd prefer Randy Johnson never again flirt with one. It obviously gets in his head – Jorge had to go out to the mound in the sixth and tell him to get it off his mind – and it has some kind of tryptophan-esque effect on him. I guess the nerves get to him, making him unable to finish what he started, despite the fact that he still hadn't given up a run at the end of seven and had only tossed 81 pitches. At that pace, he would have finished the game with just over 100 pitches, which doesn't seem to be much an issue for RJ. And while I'm very pleased with his performances of late, everyone has to understand that he's going to throw garbage at least one more time this season. And as long as it doesn't come at a critical time (i.e. the Red Sox series), I'll be fine with it. That is, just so long as he handles his biz in the playoffs. All in favor of making sure he starts on the road, say “eye!”

  • Apparently, Joe Torre doesn't think Scott Proctor could use a few days off. Nevermind that he leads the league in appearances. No, that doesn't matter to Torre. What matters is keeping him sharp, sharp for the Orioles series. Because, you know, there are going to be some hard-fought battles with the orange-birds, and Proctor will need to be sharp for some tough seventh- and eighth-inning situations.

    In a more serious tone, I would much rather give him an extended break now and worry about re-acclimating him at a later point in the season. Remember, we're not done until October 1.

  • Riddle me this: if Kyle Farnsworth is surrendering ninth-inning home runs to the Royals in 8-1 games, how is he going to fare against White Sox hitters in a 2-1 game in the playoffs? On second thought, that's not a riddle, it's a rhetorical question. Please do not answer, for I fear what you all might say.

  • Every time Bobby Abreu does something good, I like him more. Every time he does something bad, I mutter to myself, “three out of ten is a Hall of Famer, three out of ten is a Hall of Famer.” And then I look up the stats and realize that yes, Bobby Abreu is kicking some mighty fine ass. Idiot Chicago newspaper columnist Phil Rogers (doesn't even get the dignity of a link) claims that the Dodger's acquisition of Greg Maddux was the best deadline deal. I ask him: have you watched a single Yankees game since the trade? Do you not realize that the trade filled two significant holes in the Yankees lineup? The Dodgers acquired a good pitcher in Greg Maddux (and that's all he is at this point in his career, though he likely doubles as a pitching coach), but the Yanks acquired a player perfectly fit for their scheme in Abreu and a serviceable starter in Lidle. Call me biased, but I don't think there's much of an argument against this being the deal of the deadline.

  • Areas where the Red Sox are terrible: shortstop, starting pitching. What they gave up this winter: Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez, a shortstop and starter. And a starter who (as you know, unless you avoid any non-Yankees news) pitched a no-no last nigh, and on the whole looks promising. Good thing they got that good starter Beckett in return. Oh, wait...

    If you don't think I'm working on a diatribe about Theo's blunders, you don't know me well at all (and in which case I invite you to read some of the archives). Theo and Ricciardi have made far too many mistakes in their attempt to catch the Yankees, and it's all starting to manifest now. It will be interesting to see who makes the more batshit insane move during the Winter Meetings. I'm a betting man, so my money is on Ricciardi, if he even has his job at that point (which, if I'm Ted Rogers, he doesn't).

  • Today is September 7. The season ends on October 1. The Yankees Magic Number is 15. Yeah, I think that's do-able, don't you?

  • Lest we forget the Trenton Thunder, who began their Eastern League playoff run last night by defeating the Portland Sea Dogs 3-1. Phil Hughes was his usual brilliant self, tossing six innings of one-run ball, over which time he walked just one and struck out THIRTEEN. Hideki Matsui took his first live swings, and struck out in the bottom of the first. He recovered, though, lining a ball to right in his next at-bat, followed by an intentional walk and finally an RBI single in the seventh. He'll have another go at it tonight, as Tyler Clippard takes the mound for the Thunder. In a few short years, these two men (Hughes and Clippard) could be pitching back-to-back in the Yankees rotation.

  • From the reliable, interesting, and informative Pete Abraham:

    Back in the spring, when he was struggling, Johnson was unusually talkative after games. He would smile, crack jokes about his age and expound on what he was trying to accomplish and the difficulties he was facing.

    Now Johnson is back to pitching like an ace and the snarl is back on the face of the Big Unit. If you're a fan of the Yankees, it's a good sign. If you're a reporter looking for a good quote, it's time to go talk to Jorge Posada.
    For Randy, being happy means being upset. If that makes any sense.

    When we got Randy, I completely expected him to be a sniveling prick who doesn't get along with teammates. That's fine; I can accept that so long as he's dominating the opposition, and would much rather have that than have a cheerful Randy Johnson that gets rocked every other start. If he's gotta be a dick, he's gotta be a dick. No complaints on this end.