Friday, October 06, 2006

Up Against It

So here we are. Up against it. Down 2 games to 1 with our shaky number 4 picther taking the mound against a very good 24 year old, Jeremy Bonderman. The Tigers crowd is about all you can ask for if you are the home team. They are loud, enthusiastic about every pitch, and don't engage in too much "Yankees Suck" nonsense. They love the home team and appreciate the opportunity to be here competing. I would imagine it's pretty difficult to hear yourself think in that park right now.

Kenny Rogers was lights out against the Bombers. The "best lineup money can buy" looked like Columbus against him. It was a mixture of our own sorry stench, and a super pumped pitcher looking to erase his past failures. It looked at time like Rogers head was going to explode while he paced around the mound shouting to himself, "Let's go!! Let's go!! C'mon!!!" I was worried for his mental health, but that worry was trumped by my worry for the overmatched and lackluster Yankees. Randy Johnson wasn't bad. You'd hope that the Yankees would win a ballgame that he started so effectively. The 2nd and 3rd Tigers runs were aided by a blown call at third base. The Tigers still scored the runners by capitalizing and working Randy for a few more hits. Hats off. The rest of his outing was very good. He lost it in the end, but it was already one-sided in many ways at that point.

The last two games have felt a bit like some mad scientist has clamped brain wave translators to the tops of the Yankees heads and the Tigers heads and have swapped bodies. You see Tigers batters working counts, building rallies, slugging homers and the Yankees boys are swinging early and often, striking out, and generally looking overmatched. Could that have happened? Halloween is near.....

As for the next game, we have to win or we go home. Actually, IF we win we go home, which is a good thing. I was very bleak about the poor performance we witnessed, knowing that the Game Two winner of a 1-1 series goes on to win 76% of the time. It occurred to me that the Yankees lineup is still the Yankees lineup, whatever they've done the last 13 or 14 innings. Wright may be shaky, but he pitched well down the stretch and, hell, if Rogers could do it, why not Wright? I've heard that same sentiment already at Bronx Banter and Was Watching and I echo it. He's had 10 good starts since the All-Star break, and 2 stinkers. In addition, he worked one good bullpen outing, and another awful showing against Seattle in relief. By "good" outing, I qualify that as 5+ innings pitched and 3 or fewer runs. His final outing of the year is mixed in, although he gave up 4. The relief appearances are also split into the numbers:
10 outings (8 wins and no losses)
48.2 IP
3.89 ERA
1.521 WHIP
5.92 K/9
1.52 K/BB

4 outings (no wins and 2 losses)
10.1 IP
13.07 ERA
2.807 WHIP
6.10 K/9
.778 K/BB

If you get the good Wright from his post-All Star performances, you have a shot. If you get the bad one, you are playing golf with Torii Hunter and company. The best case scenario in my book is a Yankees lineup scores early and often. Wright goes 5 innings, 6 hits, 2 walks, 2 runs and passes the baton to Proctor for one, Bruney for one, and then Mo for two. The way I think Joe will play it is Proctor for two, Farnsworth for one, and Mo for one.

Bonderman, since the All Star break has been up and down. Here's his breakdown using the same criteria:

8 outings (5 wins and 1 loss)
52.2 IP
2.91 ERA
1.082 WHIP
7.18 K/9
3.00 K/BB

8 outings (1 win and 3 losses)
41.2 IP
7.34 ERA
2.016 WHIP
9.50 K/9
2.20 K/BB

The odd thing about Bonderman's split is the better K-rate in the games he's stunk up. Regardless, if the 1st guy shows up, we can book plane reservations to the Bahamas. If the second guy shows up, hello Yankee Stadium. Only time will tell. Hang in there people. We won't go down without a fight. See you tomorrow. Go Yanks!!!!

UPDATE: Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched a complete game shutout on 137 pitches and 13 Ks in the Lions' playoff opener against Kazumi Saito(1.75 ERA!!!) and the SoftBank Hawks. Check out the grizzly details at Matsuzaka Watch.


mars2001 said...

Mike -

Another outstanding post... I didn't know where you were going to go with your post after tonight's game... Frankly, I'm grinning ear-to-ear as I read that you 'enjoyed' the same amazing game I heard tonight...

I'm not sure whether you caught the A's clinch as well... but I must say that they're looking like a different animal with Frank Thomas. He, like Rogers tonight, REALLY wants it and is looking to lead his team to the WS... I have a feeling that the ALCS is going to be epic.

In considering what you could say about the Yanks tonight (other than the fact that suddenly they're not playing like the Yanks - not taking pitches, where the Tigers made RJ work early)... is that leadership seems to be lacking from the Yankees right now... not sure what I could point to in this game - but that's just it... something is missing... I might have taken a stroll to the mound & told RJ to put one in Inge's ear after the terrible call at 3B, but I don't think that loading the bases would have been the smart play... it's going to take a similar act to get ya'll fired up (and shift the momentum of the series)...

Rogers was amazing tonight... didn't expect that sort of performance out of him... didn't know that sort of performance was in him... and... showed some balls of steel to go & throw Giambi 3 fastballs to freeze him. The point he went out to make tonight was made emphatically.

I really like the slant on your graphic... my thought was 'Shock and Awe'... the love that you mentioned on 'they love the home team' was amazing to hear during the broadcast.... reminded me of Turner Field in the early '90s...

Anyway - I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. I kinda wish that the Yanks would secretly jet Wang to the park tomorrow (his extremely low pitch count in Game 1 justifies having him start on 3 days rest make even more sense).... that's the only way I can see tomorrow being even more of a climax to the series... I really think it hinges here (not in Game 5)... the Tigers need to take a cue from the A's today and close it out - or they'll be reeling for their raucous return to the Bronx...

ami said...

When I watched Game 2, I thought Moose was just unlucky to get caught in a game which finished ugly. However, after watching Game 3 tonight, I am speechless! I seriously think that the Yankees might let their chance of winning the ALCS slip away again(like last year).....
By looking at what the A's has done to the Twins and how the Yankees got shut down in Game 3 has truly sent chills up to my spine.....
I guess I might not be able to see CMW pitch in Game 5.

Anonymous said...

"... there is no 'Paul O'neil' on this team..."

ami said...

Dear Mike
It is official now, the Yankees blew it.
No CMW pitching game 5, no ring, and no baseball until next spring.
I hate this.

Anonymous said...

The curse of A-Rod strikes again. So I wonder what team he will be playing for next season.


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