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How do these things happen?

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc, Podcast on Apr 27, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

I was in Toronto on May 29, 2007 when Aaron Hill of the Jays stole home on Andy Pettitte. It wasn’t the back end of a double steal or some other trickery, it was a straight, Jackie Robinson mad dash and Pettitte was furious about it.

“It’s embarrassing,” he said. “I’ll never let that happen again.”

Less than two years later, Pettitte had the bases loaded and a 2-1 lead when he went into a full wind-up against J.D. Drew. Jacoby Ellsbury, watching from third base, joked with third base coach DeMarlo Hale that he should try and steal home.

On the third pitch, he did just that. Ellsbury stumbled as he arrived at the plate, unsure of how he wanted to slide. He went head first and beat the tag of Jorge Posada. It wasn’t close.

“When I saw Andy go into his wind-up the previous pitch, I was thinking, ‘I can make it.’ It’s just a matter of going at that point,” Ellsbury said. “The biggest thing is getting the courage to go.”

Pettitte admitted that Posada told him to watch Ellsbury. He also chastised himself for not pitching out of the stretch. It’s inexcusable given that Ellsbury is one of a handful of players in the game who has the speed to pull that play off.

Joe Girardi, a staunch defender of his players, offered no excuses for Pettitte.

“He needs to check,” Girardi said. “He knows to check and he just didn’t do it. … It shouldn’t happen. It shouldn’t happen and it did.”

Here’s Girardi’s postgame press conference from tonight:

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The Yankees are 9-9, hardly reason to panic. But they tossed away games they should have won on Friday and Saturday and got shut down by a No. 5 starter and three fringy relievers tonight. Hunter Jones has pitched in one game. Michael Bowden was called up earlier in the day and Takashi Saito had a 5.06 ERA.

Now the Yankees very badly need CC Sabathia to be CC Sabathia tonight in Detroit or the wolves will start snapping at the heels of Girardi. It’s unfair to evaluate the Yankees until they get Alex Rodriguez back. Girardi also can’t be faulted for Chien-Ming Wang having a 34.50 ERA.

But a new Stadium with empty premium seats, a huge payroll and memories of finishing third last season won’t give Girardi much of a cushion. The Yankees need to actually get off to that good start they keep talking about.

 
 

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42 Responses to “How do these things happen?”

  1. BOOGAS April 27th, 2009 at 1:23 am

    How will the Yankees let us down tonight in Detroit?

  2. REZ April 27th, 2009 at 1:23 am

    “The Yankees need to actually get off to that good start they keep talking about.”

    It’s not in their DNA. They like being under .500 in April and watching the Sox run away with the division.

    And you’re right… it’s not his fault but Joe isin’t going to survive this. He didn’t ask Burnett to choke away a 6-0 lead or ask his lineup to feature Berroa-Cabera-Gardner, but thats the nature of the business,

  3. BOOGAS April 27th, 2009 at 1:24 am

    The Yankees are last in the league in pitching – how many of us thought THAT would happen?

  4. Matt April 27th, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Thanks Pete, nice read

    I think I am the only optimistic Yankee fan…It is April and to lose 3 games in fenway sucks but it is not Sept, people need to relax….We can sweep the Tigers and the Tribe could sweep the Sox and we are back to square one….not that big of a deal right now….

  5. X-Mann April 27th, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Boogas –

    Detroit’s right handed power bats against CC in April = disaster

    But that is just a preview… Hughes and Joba go the next 2 nights after that, then we come home to play the Angels.

    Rebounding during these next few weeks is going to be a monumental task.

  6. G. Love April 27th, 2009 at 1:26 am

    I think this series has more to do with the Yankees futility this weekend than the Sox’s dominance.

    I think any Yankee fan who watched this series sat there and thought “the Yankees are beating themselves”.

    They made mistakes. They pitched poorly. They left important runners on base even though they scored a good amount of runs.

    There’s a mental issue with this team. I think they are not ready to be confident yet.

    They’re still learning. It’s amazing to say that about a team with Jeter as captain and Mo as closer, but I think it’s the truth.

    They need to show themselves and each other what they are capable of still.

    The Sox are confident. You don’t steal home with 2 outs and the bases loaded unless you are confident.

    The Yanks are trying to learn how to be confident. If it takes smacking around the lesser teams, so be it.

    I think there’s a tense quality to the Yankees and something has to come along and ease the tension. Maybe it’s Arod coming back. Maybe it’s CC throwing a CGSO.

    The team has to get some swagger and confidence.

    That said, I’ve laid off Cashman for awhile, but it’s inexcusable that he couldn’t find some real 3b who actually plays the position for a living to fill in for Arod.

    I’m not talking Beltre. I’m talking Mike Lamb. Someone. Anyone who can play 3b in Arod’s absence. Ransom wasn’t capable and neither is Berroa.

    The other thing he needs to address is CF. I don’t think the Gardner/Melky thing is going to work.

    Gardner looks horrible up there at the plate and Melky looks like Melky. He’ll be exposed for what he is with more playing time. Bat Melky enough and his batting average and power numbers will drop like stones.

    I don’t know where he’s going to find a CF at this point in the season, but hopefully he’s looking. The team is giving away at bats again like last season.

    It’s a shame because I was pulling for Gardner because of his speed, but he is a mess at the plate.

    He’s going up there looking for a walk so hard that he is letting balls go right over the plate. Then he gets into the 2 strike count and you know he’s going to K.

    He needs to show some kind of adjustment this week.

  7. BOOGAS April 27th, 2009 at 1:27 am

    The Yankees need to blow out somebody. Every game has been either close or the Yankees have been blown out themselves. Yanks need to do something about that bullpen

  8. Harper M April 27th, 2009 at 1:28 am

    If Girardi gets fired this year, that means in the last 3 years, we would have had 3 different managers.

    Welcome to the 80s!

  9. jldraw April 27th, 2009 at 1:28 am

    Got news for you Pete, the wolves have already started snapping – The voltage on the hot seat will only get hotter if The Yanks drop a significant number of games over the next two series.

  10. Joe April 27th, 2009 at 1:34 am

    Cashman is the sole reason that the franchise has become 2nd fiddle to Boston.

    Our problems go a lot deeper than Girardi. This weekend displayed an organizational failure at every level. The Sox outclassed us and got the lucky breaks.

  11. Giuseppe Franco April 27th, 2009 at 1:34 am

    Girardi isn’t getting fired. The wolves can howl all they want – but it’s not going to happen.

    He has the full 2009 season before they decide anything – good or bad.

    The Yanks will get their swagger back when Sabathia pitches like Sabathia, Wang comes back and pitches like Wang, and the rest of the rotation does what their supposed to do.

    Of course, getting A-Rod and Bruney back will help as well.

    This team will be fine. There’s no reason to panic.

  12. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 27th, 2009 at 1:34 am

    The steal of home is emblematic of the whole series–namely that it was stolen from us…particularly the first two games…

    No need to panic–it’s too early for that, but I can’t remember a more dissapointing series against the Red Sox in the regular season, can you?

  13. Al from BK(Mark Sanchez is a NY JET!) April 27th, 2009 at 1:36 am

    If my memory serves me correctly CC got destroyed by the Tigers in ST and is historically awful against them. I think we are looking at yet another disappointing game unless CC puts on his game face and pitches like the Ace.

  14. BOOGAS April 27th, 2009 at 1:36 am

    The Yankees have given up 10 runs on opening day, got blow out 10-2 in the home opener, Lost a game 22-4 , got embarassed in three games at Fenway, got blown out 15-5 where they had a position player pitch.

    I know its April and the Yankees are 9-9 but geez.

    Not many games YES will be showing on Yankees Classics here.

  15. Wangawa April 27th, 2009 at 1:37 am

    I don’t think we’re that bad, I just think the Red Sox are on fire right now and we came into Fenway at the wrong time. Youkilis has like a .550 OBP. Let them come back to earth a little bit.

    That being said, it’s time for Sabathia to step up and actually be a dominant pitcher.

  16. jldraw April 27th, 2009 at 1:39 am

    I respectfully disagree Giuseppe Franco. If the team has losing record come June, Girardi will be gone.

    There is no way management stands pat and risks missing the playoffs with all the money they invested into this team in the offseason without trying to alter the chemistry of the team midseason. Usually that means the manager loses his job (just look at Willie Randolph)

    Hopefully like you said however it doesn’t come to that and the team performs up to its abilities.

  17. pat April 27th, 2009 at 1:41 am

    “this marked the seventh time in nine years the Yankees made an April visit to Fenway. They have a collective 5-19 record in those games. Yet last year marked the first time the Yankees missed the playoffs.

    As a matter of fact, the Yankees left Fenway a year ago with the identical 9-9 record, and they certainly had their chances to get back into the race. Two years ago, they departed here with an 8-9 record, and they proceeded to capture the American League wild card.”

    http://www.newsday.com/sports/.....499.column

  18. G. Love April 27th, 2009 at 1:44 am

    Giuseppe,

    Respectfully disagree with you on Girardi.

    If the Yankees are under .500 in June he’ll be out by all star break and they’ll turn the team over to Pena or someone like Bobby V who Cashman admittedly has a mancrush on.

    Probably Pena though and then they’ll court Donnie for next year. Although I could see Pena get them to play and make the post season.

    Girardi has every advantage. He’s got an organization willing to get him the best available players. If they can’t relax and perform under him and his staff, it’s an indictment of him.

    The team may end needing a manager more like Torre who relaxes guys. Not a pushover, but a more seasoned communicative type.

    I’m not saying this is going to happen. But if the team struggles and stays inconsistent, the wolves will call for his head and I think they’ll get it.

    I’m sure Sherman at the post is licking his lips that the Yankees get smacked around in Detroit.

  19. Giuseppe Franco April 27th, 2009 at 1:46 am

    Overreactions increase 1000% when the Yanks lose to Boston. That’s just the way it goes.

    But losing this series just continues a trend that hasn’t changed for several years.

    I posted this on Friday but it bears repeating since people have already grabbed their torches and pitchforks.

    Yanks record versus Red Sox in April and May:

    13-24 (.351)

    2004: 1-6
    2005: 4-5
    2006: 3-4
    2007: 3-6
    2008: 2-3

    Yanks record versus Red Sox from June through Sept:

    35-22 (.614)

    2004: 7-6
    2005: 6-4
    2006: 8-4
    2007: 7-2
    2008: 7-6

    No idea why this has been the trend for 5 years but these are the facts.

    I suspect history will repeat itself when the rotation starts rolling as we expect them to do and A-Rod returns to the lineup.

    Just be patient and put down that loaded firearm.

  20. RSM April 27th, 2009 at 1:46 am

    Things that seem painfully obvious:

    1. Starters need to get deeper into the games. Bullpen is overtaxed. Hopefully this will fix itself with some time.

    2. Line up is too short, like a National League line up. Arod coming back will help tremendously, but Cashman needs to find a center fielder that can hit major league pitching. Melky is a 4th outfielder good for a late inning defensive replacement (I was a big fan, but he just never developed as I thought he would) and Gardner is a pinch runner.

    3. Bench is too thin. Getting Nady back later in the season will help, but a better back up for the infield would be nice too.

    Too early to panic, but some fine tuning is needed.

  21. Paulie April 27th, 2009 at 1:47 am

    So if you fire Giradi, who do you replace him with? Pena? Stump Merril?

  22. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 27th, 2009 at 1:47 am

    As bad as it was it could have been worse…think about it:

    As disappointing as this series was, when Melancon loads the bases in the 8th, what if he DOESN’T get out of the jam?

    What if they had scored runs in bunches…

    How would that have felt after all that came before it…

    Except, it didn’t happen that way… he weathered the storm and came away unscathed…

    That’s what you call composure…

    That’s what you call Hope…

    Let’s Go Yanks!

  23. talltenor April 27th, 2009 at 1:48 am

    I know I wrote this in the game thread, but I made an over/under bet with a buddy that Girardi would make it past Memorial Day. I took the over…

  24. bodhisattva April 27th, 2009 at 1:52 am

    Cabrera can give the Yankees .280/.350. That is perfectly acceptable w/our lineup and well above replacement level. I seriously doubt Cashman is feeling the “urgency” to go get a CF. They’ll simply replace Gardner with Melky and look to turning it over to Jackson next season.

  25. Giuseppe Franco April 27th, 2009 at 1:54 am

    There is no way management stands pat and risks missing the playoffs with all the money they invested into this team in the offseason without trying to alter the chemistry of the team midseason. Usually that means the manager loses his job (just look at Willie Randolph)

    ———–

    First off, this team isn’t going to be under .500 when the players start performing to the backs of their baseball cards.

    Secondly, Girardi is Cashman’s guy. He’s going to get the opportunity to turn things around.

    This is no longer the George Steinbrenner era when he changed managers as often as he changed his underwear.

    Sane people don’t run a franchise that way. The Yanks did almost all of their winning when they had stability in the dugout.

    Here’s a fun fact….George won all six of his championships and nine pennants with two managers – Billy Martin and Joe Torre.

    Panicking this early in the year and firing managers has never helped this team win a damn thing throughout their history.

  26. G. Love April 27th, 2009 at 1:56 am

    No one is calling for Girardi’s head here. I don’t blame him.

    Frankly, I think some of the players are a bunch of head cases who are mentally making the game harder for them.

    We’re just saying it’s possible that if the team continues with the up and down hovering at .500 type play, the media will go after Girardi hard.

    It’s the story to write and talk about if they struggle.

    You haven’t been a fan of this team for very long if you don’t know that. It’s how it goes here.

    If the team can’t win consistently with this payroll and talent, it’s not out of the realm that the blame will fall to the manager.

    If they did make a change in season, I’d think it was Pena who got the nod since he interviewed for the job already.

    Hopefully, the team starts to perform and gets hot enough to get several games over .500.

    Even w/o Arod, they have no excuse to perform this poorly. There’s more than enough quality hitters to win and there is an abundance of quality starting pitching to win.

    It just seems like they are not meshing yet. It’s early, but it’s almost May. May turns to June fast.

    The team needs to get it together and stop making excuses.

    If they don’t, Girardi may have to pay for it.

  27. bodhisattva April 27th, 2009 at 1:58 am

    DYNASTY IS DESTINY!
    April 27th, 2009 at 1:47 am
    As bad as it was it could have been worse…think about it:
    As disappointing as this series was, when Melancon loads the bases in the 8th, what if he DOESN’T get out of the jam?
    What if they had scored runs in bunches…
    How would that have felt after all that came before it…
    Except, it didn’t happen that way… he weathered the storm and came away unscathed…
    That’s what you call composure…
    That’s what you call Hope…
    Let’s Go Yanks!
    ======================
    Well absolutely. I knew he’d take care of Varitek and have seen him wriggle out of trouble many times. MM changes our team.

  28. Giuseppe Franco April 27th, 2009 at 1:58 am

    the wolves will call for his head and I think they’ll get it.

    ————

    The wolves don’t run the team. Hal and Cashman do.

    And these same wolves were all over the place howling on talk radio and the blogosphere when this team lost their first two games of the season when Sabathia and Wang were terrible.

    Do you really think Cashman and Hal take their cues and make big organizational decisions based on these sociopaths?

    I tend to doubt it. They probably shake their heads in disbelief like most sane people do.

  29. bodhisattva April 27th, 2009 at 2:00 am

    If they did Santana would be a Yankee.

  30. Giuseppe Franco April 27th, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Cabrera can give the Yankees .280/.350.

    ————

    No he can’t.

    His 1500 ABs as a major leaguer are a much better indicator of what Melky is – not his 35 ABs this season.

  31. Giuseppe Franco April 27th, 2009 at 2:07 am

    It’s the story to write and talk about if they struggle.

    You haven’t been a fan of this team for very long if you don’t know that. It’s how it goes here.

    ———-

    Uh, I’ve been a Yankee fan for 30 years. Try again.

    But as I said, the George Steinbrenner era is over. He cared more about what the media says on a daily basis than Cashman and Hal do.

    They Yanks aren’t run that way anymore. Cooler heads tend to prevail now and that wasn’t the case for many years.

  32. bodhisattva April 27th, 2009 at 2:09 am

    You’re assuming only the 35 ABs this season are of value, and that’s clearly not accurate. His 2006 season shows he was able to put up those numbers for a full ML season.

    And as for those 35 ABs this year, he’s way above those numbers, and therefore has somewhere to fall to. I certainly don’t expect him to carry a .378 OBP & .667 slug across a full season, nor does he need to as the No. 9 hitter. Everything has its context.

  33. jldraw April 27th, 2009 at 2:10 am

    First off, this team isn’t going to be under .500 when the players start performing to the backs of their baseball cards.
    ===========================
    Well thats all you need to know then. If that happens we’re not even having this discussion come June. If it doesn’t thats a whole other ball of wax in my opinion.

  34. Giuseppe Franco April 27th, 2009 at 2:16 am

    You’re assuming only the 35 ABs this season are of value, and that’s clearly not accurate. His 2006 season shows he was able to put up those numbers for a full ML season.

    ———–

    But he hasn’t done that since. In fact, he hasn’t really been close. Instead he’s regressed considerably.

    Maybe they just caught lightning in a bottle with Melky in 2006.

    Don’t forget Melky was red hot last April and his season was completely downhill from there.

    Hitting those bombs last week were probably the worst thing that could have happened to him because he’s not a home run hitter and it changes his approach at the plate.

    Just like last season.

  35. bodhisattva April 27th, 2009 at 2:26 am

    Well, in a sense I agree with you. The bombs he hit though, reflect real medium range power – they were not flukes. The reason it could be “the worst thing” is because it did damage a much better approach. He’s still young, so he has to go back to the chalkboard and rebuild the approach again.

    Had he had more time in the minors, I have little doubt that he would be a much better hitter today. Up here, he takes a step forward and two steps back.

    What’s contextually relevant here, however, is not the player’s upside, which I see no point in debating, but the relative contribution he can offer vs. Brett Gardner. There’s no one else competing for the job. Given the terms, his numbers – even his worst numbers – say he is in a much better position to contribute above replacement numbers than Gardner, who doesn’t even approach them.

    In that context, there’s nothing wrong with him holding down the No. 9 spot. He offers stability until Austin Jackson is ready to assume the job.

  36. GreenBeret7 April 27th, 2009 at 2:35 am

    Cabrera was also at .273 in ’07 with 73 RBI, so a .275 with 65+ RBI would be closer to what he is than a .249 hitter with 39 RBI. NYY can certainly support that output with better than decent defense. The cost of a better replacement is more than it’s worth. NYY would be asking. They aren’t getting it for a minor leaguer and the cost of an expensive contract.

  37. Roger(from amsterdam) April 27th, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Melky is 24 years old…..he doing really well this season so why so much hate?he’s not the only one who had a bad season last year. His hitting 300!give him some credit

  38. Todd April 27th, 2009 at 3:35 am

    You Yank’s fans are screwed this year. Talk yourself up if you will, but gimme a break with the “we beat ourselves” bull. The Sox nearly “beat themselves” Friday with letting Joba the Gut off the hook just about every inning. Your pitching stinks.

  39. Todd April 27th, 2009 at 3:54 am

    Love the “No. 5 starter” and “three fringy relievers” considering the entire Yanks bullpen (of course minus Mo) are on the “fringe” of being one of the worst bullpens I’ve ever seen. And that “No. 5 starter” and call-up Michael Bowden would each be massive upgrades over the garbage in the Yank’s pen.

  40. Brian NYY April 27th, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Toad, blog on your own site.

    The Yankees GAVE Boston 2 games and last night, they played like they didn’t want to be there.

    It’s extremely frustrating watching a team play with no heart. After last year, do you guys still think the Playoffs are just handed to you?!

    This team needs a SERIOUS gut-check since when they get men on base, they decide to go into their shell. News Flash, when you get men on base, hit singles, no need for homers. Keep their pitcher on the ropes and keep hitting him in the ribs. I hate watching them go for the knock-out punch and fall flat on their face.

  41. FIRE GIRARDI April 27th, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Hes arrogant, the team hates him and hes annoying to listen to- you always get this feeling that hes lying through his teeth.

    Yanks need a manager that the team can respect.

  42. Eric April 27th, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    It’s the WAY the Yankees are losing that bothers me. I can’t remember a season this early, with this many embarrassing losses. The thing is, THAT is on the manager. When you lose this many times in ridiculous 10+ run games. Also getting swept by the Red Sox in a game in which your third baseman is trying to hold on a runner from the SS position while your pitcher pitches out of the windup. How does he not notice these things? Was he asleep? I just don’t know that Girardi is the right guy for this team.


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