All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"The answer is Bubba"

July 3, 2006: Cleveland 5, N.Y. Yankees 2

I guess it was to be expected after Sunday's offensive explosion. The Yanks seemed a bit flat the following night. Perhaps they were tired. The Sunday night ESPN game meant a late start, made later by a rain delay. It was well past 1am when the game ended, then they had jump on the plance to Cleveland. They didn't arrive at their hotel until 5am. And no "greenies" allowed this year.

The Yanks often struggle against young pitchers they haven't seen before. At Bronx Banter, they call it "URPs" (Unfamiliar Rookie Pitcheritis). Sowers didn't have overwhelming stuff; the Yanks just didn't get the breaks. The strike zone was constantly changing. A lot of balls were hit hard - right at a fielder. And there were some bizarre calls, like Giambi striking out when the umpire decided an inside ball had hit the knob of his bat.

The usually sharp Chien-Ming Wang struggled. His sinker wasn't working; he was getting more outs with his changeup. He really didn't do that badly, all things considered. Every pitcher has days when his stuff's not working very well. Wang adjusted, and kept the Yanks in the game. Impressive for a young guy like him, IMO.

Unfortunately, the defense struggled as well. Melky had a bad night in the outfield, looking totally out of his depth. He doesn't get the kind of read on the ball that Bubba does, alas. Not only did he take a bad route to the ball, he misplayed it off the wall. And he still hasn't learned to use cutoff men.

But he wasn't the only one. Jeter, A-Rod, Wang, and Green missed balls that they might have gotten to on another night. It just wasn't the Yankees' night. Best to just forget about this one and move on.

Bubba did not see any playing time. I wasn't expecting him to, with a southpaw on the mound for Cleveland. And with the Yanks behind 5-2, Torre didn't want to pull Bernie in the late innings like he usually does.

Bernie's defense didn't hurt us much, mostly because not much was hit his way. But his offense didn't help any, either. His hot streak seems to be over.

Today on the Newsday On the Yankees Beat blog, a spontaneous "play Bubba" campaign has broken out.

"Larry" started it:

The truth of the matter things are getting bad when we hold a team to 5 runs and do not win. The roll player at bats are starting to show their level of performance. Melky is down to .250, Andy is sliding down to .275. Bernie is hitting .100 in the last 45 at bats. Kevin Reese is chosen as a pinch hitter over Crosby which leads me to another point. Joe plays the player who is hot and disgards when the cooling period begins. This works for the most part. Bobby Murcer stated on TV that Crosby could be a guy who hits 20 homers if given the opportunity with some work with his hands through the ball. The HR total is high in my opinion. This is the same Crosby who Cashman was happy to enter the season with as the starting CF if no free agent was aquired. I believe Bernie is being over played at expense of the team. Bubba should go out there everyday for a month or rested against tough lefites and given a try. He brings defense and small ball to the table. This will help save runs and score them with one player replacement. He's not the answer long term but for now deserves the chance.

Several other people posted their agreement, including "Paul":

The Yanks have the answer to the problem and it is Bubba.

Bubba stepped up last September and was one of the keys to the division title drive.

Twenty home runs? Who cares? He can hit more than adequately in small ball, run the bases and Bubba and Melky on the corners will stop runners thinking of turning a single into a double or more.

Bernie is a Yankee icon and has been a tremendous team player over so many years. He is worthy of every accolade. However he should not play regularly in the field; his skills are not what they used to be.

Bubba should play every day. His bat will follow suit.

If only we could Torre on board.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:54 AM


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