Monday, July 25, 2005

Angels Send Yankees a Step Backwards

Till Sunday, it was a very good weekend. But even after Sunday, it was still a pretty good weekend.

Simply put, the Angels took advantage of the Yankees' weaknesses. On Thursday night, they took advantage of the Yanks' lack of bullpen depth by loading the bases against Proctor, then having Vlad hit a grand slam off Flush Gordon. And I can't give the Yankees a pass just because Johnson had to leave early. A team with a $200 million payroll should have a rock-solid bullpen, and should be built to deal exactly with situations like these. With all the failures of guys like Proctor and Franklin, nobody has given Cashman a hard time. But the guy has year in and year out screwed up the bullpen. Aside from Tanyon Sturtze (which may have been a stroke of luck, anyway), Cashman has never been able to get the man for the bullpen in mid-season. Seems like it's an issue every year for the Junkees. And while the Red Sox have gotten Bradford and are pursuing J.C. Romero, the Yankees are hoping for another Robby Cano-like prospect to suddenly shine in the bullpen. Surely this $200 million behemoth could do better.

After that, the Halos knocked around Leiter and Brown. Anyone who thought Leiter would pitch like he did against Boston was simply delusional. The guy couldn't do a thing in one of the biggest pitcher's parks in the NL, and you expect him to switch leagues, go to a smaller park, and actually improve? Come on. And Brown was Brown, as always. After starts like that, Junkee fans just hope he doesn't do anything stupid and that his hand stays intact.

Even with all the injuries that have happened to Yankee starters, I can't give Cashman a free pass there, either. Although the Wang thing was unexpected, Wright, Brown, and Pavano came into the Yankee organization with injury-filled histories. While Pavano has been healthy the past few years, anyone who thought Wright and Brown would last the year without a DL trip was simply out of their mind. And if RJ's back or knee acts up, it would be hard to me to give Cashman a pass there, either. Some injuries are freak occurrences; others are simply inevitable.

Shemp came along and ruined Sunday, but 3 out of 4 is still sweet. Give Moose credit for a well-pitched game, and hopefully he'll get knocked around next time out.

--- The Orioles are officially done. Getting swept by the Rays was their way of signing off on the 2005 season. Wait til' next year. And I was satisfied with the Sox splitting their series with Chicago. You can't expect much more than that when you're facing the league's best.

-- As for the origin of "Junkees": I grew up with my big brother Lloyd referring to the Yanks with that name, and my usage of that moniker is a tribute to the guy. Be kind, folks: Lloyd is a long-suffering Mets fan.


Anonymous said...

ahhh i see. the "junkees" dates back a bit, likely refering to howe, gooden and strawberry - all of which were quite literally "junkies". it actually makes sense now... and with giambi's recent transgressions i could see a still-present association. but i digress...

to the heart of the matter: you are dead on about leiter and brown. leiter will have maybe one or two more flashes of ability before he is overlooked for the playoff roster (and yes my yankee-hating friend, the yankees will make the playoffs - likely winning the al east). and with any luck at all brown will punch something very large and sturdy with his pitching hand (then get hit by the ambulance that was coming to take him away). groom and proctor were both experiments torre was looking at during a night in which he wanted to rest sturtze (wtf, an accident? - the yankees have one of the most prolific gms in baseball history and you refer to one of his successes as an accident? sure the yanks might have money to throw at 'potentials' and 'maybes' and they can afford the risk of making a mistake. but to refer to the ones that do work out as 'accidents' is folly - you should know better than to disrespect legends and legacies, it cheapens your blog). and after a 5-2 start to the road trip, i think torre figured taking the risk of testing his roster was more important than any one non-divisional game. and now with felix rodriguez (btw, three scoreless innings) healthy the yanks have a viable pitcher to spell sturtze and gordon - and gordon surely does need something... he is looking everyday of his age and then some out there. and hey, who knows, maybe cashman will make another 'mistake' or another 'accident' will occur and the yanks will 'magically' stumble into a great pitching prospect. we all know williams, jeter, posada, rivera, pettite, cano, etc, etc, etc were all 'mistakes'. long live the 'junkees' - success and quality attract hate and envy...

Mouse said...

Still can't believe the woeful D-Rays swept the Orioles, even with Bedard back on the mound. Lots of people seem to think the team will right itself when Javy Lopez comes back (I think he's going to be activated this week), but it might fall into the realm of "too little too late." Maybe not.

The Red Sox haven't been playing up to snuff of late, but I agree that a split with the team with the best record in all baseball is perfectly respectable. And there's every reason to believe Boston can get its mojo going again and clinch the AL East, which would hopefully lead to a Yankee-free October. I try to be optimistic.

Speaking of the Bronx boys, I wonder how they'll cope when the super-awesome Royals pay them a visit. Or when they square off against the Rays again. 'Cause, you know, the Royals and the D-Rays are two of the best teams in the majors...which is why they've been giving the Yankees no end of problems this year.

Manny Ortiz said...

as for the "groom and proctor experiment" - if the yanks finish one game out of the playoffs at the end of the year, then i'd have to say it's a pretty stupid experiment.

as for my take on sturtze - think about when the Yanks got sturtze. after starting '04 in AAA, the junkees brought him up as a spot starter, and that was his original role on the team (he started the game that featured the infamous varitek-a-schmuck fight). later in the year, when the yanks starting pitching was awful, they used the guy to mop up, and when he started doing well and when quantrill got tired, he basically entered his current role. but don't tell me that's what cashman had in mind when he signed the guy.

as for jeter, rivera, bernie, pettitte, etc. - those are all gene michael moves. all cashman did was overpay for them to stay with the club. and unlike most other teams in the game, the yanks can afford to hold on to their good young players.

and hold your horses on cano. let's see if this guy turns out to be the next angel berroa.