Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Torre and Pitching Fail Yanks Yet Again

Tonight's loss to the D-Rays is the Yanks 5th straight, their 2nd consecutive swept-by series, and have sole ownership of last place in the A.L. East. Not the best start to a season for sure.

The good news is that a Yankee starting pitcher actually threw a pitch in the 7th inning. Of course, the bull pen could not hold.

That's the story that media will focus on right there: Bull pen this, pitching that. Yet, the real story is the one that has been developing since the '01 season and is the one that goes unreported because no one has the guts to. The real, untold story is that at least once, usually twice a game, a decision by Joe Torre happens to put his (our) team at a distinct disadvantage undermining the ability to win the game. Tonight he held his average:

Mistake #1 - his choice of bull pen relief:
1 - opting to go with a pitcher that cannot find the strike zone in his last several outings and when he does, it is up in the zone for a big plate of meat, in Vizcaino (the guy is tired). Tonight he took the count full, and was lucky when his mistake pitch that was up in the zone was lined to Cairo. Lucky break for the Yanks on that one - but should have never been put in that position to begin with.

2 - from there, Torre decided to go for a washed up over the hill reliever who gives up a grand slam in Myers.

When you have a tight lead and are in a jam, why not go to those who have been the most reliable (Bruney for example, was ready to go) over those that have been the least lately? Common sense right? - not to Torre. He falls in love with a player without regard to performance and makes his decision from there.

Mistake #2 - inappropriate substitution
3 - the famous Torre Pinch Run move strikes again! (and again, and again, and again) / Josh Phelps, who was given an opportunity to play, and again, produced when called upon going 1 for 3 with an RBI, and is now batting .304 on the season. Tonight, he was pinch ran for by the sub .200 hitting Melkey Cabrera in the 7th. Phelp's spot comes up in the 9th (of course), and Cabrera does what he's done all season and makes an out. But wait - it gets even better from there!!! Because of the Pinch Runner move, he had to pull a double switch to have a first baseman. What did that mean? It meant, that when down to their last out, what would have been the top of the order and Johnny Damon coming to bat to keep the inning alive, you had an even worse hitter than Cabrera come to the plate in the .163 hitting Doug Mientkiewicz. Dougey Fresh promptly struck out ending the game and completing the 2nd straight swept series.

Perhaps a strong showing by Pettitte and Hughes to start the series against the Jays can get this ship turning in the right direction.

Are we the 2003 Texas Rangers???


old professor said...

Seldom do I tend to agree with a lot of what mid-relief has to say, however, he raises some interesting points. Entering the 7th inning, Wang had pitched effectively. A single and double brought Joe to the mound for a call to the pen which would be appropriate. However, he went with Vizciano who would now be asked to pitch for the 5th time in six games. He is tired and he has not been effective.

Baseloaded and bring on Myers whose fastball tops out at 79. His breaking stuff is much lower than that. The curve he served up allowed Crawford to reload and deliver.

Bruney was also brought in after it was announced he would not be used because of over use.

There are few options available for this team and it may not get any better. Yes Mussina is coming back, but he is effective only through six - result bring on the pen.

The Yankees are now cellar dwellars.

Anonymous said...

My critique of Torre may be harsh - it is however fair in my view.

Over the last three seasons, how many times has the Torre Pinch Run moved paid off? or, can you think of one at least? Now, can you think of 1 , 2, 3, 5 times or more it proved to the detriment???

He shows little ability to evolve as a manger...


The Scooter said...

You know how much I disagree with your criticism of Torre....but now you're even killing him for moves that worked...lol.

Vizcaino got the guy out...Geez, this is a tough crowd.

Myers is on the team to get tough lefties out...end of story...thats his job. He failed. If you have a problem with him being on the roster, then bitch at Cashman. Once again, Torre can't throw the pitches. He put the right guy out there and the guy threw a gopher ball.

I can't believe you have jumped ship on Melky already. Do we forget what this guy did for the Yankees last year? Slump or no slump, do you actually think Phelps is a better hitter than Melky? Be honest with yourself AND us. I would rather have Melky up in a tough spot then Phelps any day of the week.

Do all of Torre's moves work out perfectly? Name me a manager's that do. But I can't believe that he has not built up any equity at all with you. The team last year was a friggin train wreck and he guided them to 97 wins...they got beat by a hot Tigers pitching staff...It's baseball, sometimes the best team doesn't win.

The Yankees have a flawed roster...Maybe Cashman is a bum, or maybe this is necessary in re-tooling post Bernie and the rest of the late 90's guys...but admit that the roster is flawed. Joe will get them straight and at the end of the year you will see 95 to 97 wins again.

old professor said...


Mid-relief may be harsh, but the Torre moves are not working. Let's take a clear look at Myers and his job being to get tough lefties out. He was signed specifically as a weapon against David Ortiz. Ortiz has hit Myers very well last year and this year. Myers was brought in against Crawford and gave up a grand slam. Henn may have been a better choice. While he doesn't come from the side like Myers, his velocity allows him to get away with a mistake pitch. Myers' mistake came in at mid 60's. The pitch allowed Crawford to commit and then re-load before driving the ball out.

In the split data on Myers this year, lefties are doing better than right handed hitters (can't really figure that one out).

As for Cabrera, baseball is a sport where you have to produce in the present. Cabrera can't live on last year's accomplishments. Last year doesn't help the team win now.

As for Cashman, his job was to re-tool and re-build the farm system and he has done that. During the Spring, it was Torre and his braintrust (????) that made the decisions regarding the 25 man squad.

Bottom line, if Torre doesn't trust some of the arms in the bullpen, then go to the GM and make some changes. If he doesn't trust Farnsworth enough to bring him in then unload him. Don't let someone take one of the twenty-five spots just to sit.

From the beginning of Sping Training there were questions about the Yankees carrying three first basemen. The decision to go that route has weakened the bench. Minky cannot continue to hit .135 and be given a spot on the team let alone be giving the majority of time at first.

The biggest concern the Yankees have is they have not had their starting team on the field since April 7th, and the starting rotation is going to haunt them the entire season.

ESPN had a good analysis for the Yankees. The view was that if it takes 92-93 wins to win the division the Yankees will slug past enough teams to win the division. If they need 97-98 wins to win the division, their rotation and bullpen will cause them to lose the division.

The Scooter said...


OK...I see where your'e coming from and I don't really disagree with many of the deficiencies that you pointed out....but I disagree on where you put the blame.

Myers/Crawford....First of all, Ortiz hits everyone. They could bring back Whitey Ford and Ortiz would take him deep. The Myers vs. Crawford matchup is the one that makes most sense. Again, he failed. Maybe based on this failure he gets released today, or Maybe Joe goes with Henn next time (who by the way has been overused himself). But with the information available at the time, I stand by the contention that this was the right move.

Torre did not sign Mike Myers.

Cabrera......I brought up last year, not to imply that because he did well then, that he should now have a free ride. I mentioned it simply to underscore the fact that he hit well for pretty much the entire year. To me, this means he can hit, period. Slumps aside, he did not just lose the ability to hit overnight. I stand by the contention that I would rather he be up at the plate in a big spot over Phelps.

Cashman.....do you really feel that his job was only to rebuild the farm system? What about giving the manager a pitching staff that doesn't have to rely on 4 rookies?
Yes, Cash was charged with rebuilding the farm system, but his MAIN focus is putting a Championship caliber team on the field at Yankee Stadium. He has failed to do that.

You say that if Torre doesn't like some of the personnel choices he has available to him then he should go to Cashman for changes....I agree, but how do you know he hasn't? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that the roster is mis-contructed...I would assume that he has made his feelings known...or all Cashman has to do is watch the games to figure it out on his own.

My main issue with both you and Mid is that you're not being consistent in your criticism...On one hand you kill him for using Myers because he has failed in the past, but on the other hand you kill him for NOT using Farnsworth.

In Parcellsian terms, Joe did not shop for the groceries. He is trying to make Filet Mignon with Ground Chuck and I think if he is able to keep them above water it may be the best work he has ever done.

Anonymous said...

All right, all right both of you settle down. Here's the main thing:
On the Phelps/Melkey compare - I am a Phelps believer. He earned his way on the team and when given the chance to play he produces - both at the plate AND in the field.

On Pitching - Bruney was ready to go with the bases loaded and he opted for Vizcaino. Opted for the tired, no find strike zone player.

It worked because of a great play by Cairo.

Anonymous said...

2nd - on the pinch running - do ever recall when its worked to the benefit??

Deep down, I suspect it has less to do with a strategic benefit, and has more to do with Torre's belief in getting people playing time so they feel relevant.. any comments on that??


The Scooter said...

Mid, I'm good....I took a Zanax...LMAO

Middle Relief said...

rain out - could be just what the Dr. ordered.

old professor said...

With the rainout, does Hughes still start Thursday and Pettitte goes against the Sox or does Hughes go to the pen to be used if called upon??

Would like to see him pitch against Toronto. It looks like Thursday's game could also be a washout.

Anonymous said...

according to yankees.com huges is making the start tonight.

if takes mother nature to rest the bull pen then so be it - two rainouts in a row would not be a bad thing.

old professor said...

Well Hughes made his debut, did not pitch badly (4runs, 7 hits 5 strikeouts). Gave up two in the first inning.

Only went 4.1 innings and Joe had to go to the pen. The kid probably earned a second shot at a start in the majors, but still may need some more seasoning in AAA.

Anonymous said...

it is worth mentioning that he went against a solid line up - Thomas, Rios, Wells etc.

The Scooter said...

Not bad.

All the things we've heard about his make up seemed true. While he may have had some first inning jitters, he didn't seem to be overwhelmed.

I liked what I saw of his stuff. His command just wasn't there. I expect that to improve rather quickly as he becomes more acclimated to "The Bigs".

I have a feeling that he is up for good (unless he gets completely lit up in his next couple of outings). It allows Torre to slot Igawa into the long-man role that this team so desperately needs.

With all the bad that has happened this year, if the Yankees sweep the Red Sox this weekend then they are right back in good shape. Two out of three is a MUST.

old professor said...

Anonymous - Most of the line-ups the Yankees will be facing are solid line-ups including Tampa Bay. Hguhes had an okay outting an I hope he gets another start, but (a) he will have to get good hitters out consistently and (b) he will have to go more than 4.1 innings [something it seems most of the Yankee starters have been unable to do over the last six games].

If the Yankees get swept by Boston this weekend, look for some wholesale changes. George will begin to panic.

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