Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
YEAR RANK RESULT
1998 1 World Series Champs
1999 7 World Series Champs
2000 10 World Series Champs
2001 25 Lost World Series
2002 17 Lost Division Series
2003 28 Lost World Series
2004 24 Lost AL championship series (Boston ranked #8)
2005 22 Lost Division Series
2006 7 ???
June 27, 2006: Atlanta 5, N.Y. Yankees 2
At least that's my theory. The Yanks were flat, flat, flat last night. Except Melky Cabrera, who had a banner night, including a ninth-inning homer. The only one not invited to Derek Jeter's birthday party Monday night?
Yet another no-name pitcher shuts the Yanks down. What really drove me nuts was the impatience. Everyone was swinging like Soriano. Maybe they were in a hurry to go home and sleep it off.
Bubba wasn't even brought in as a LIDR. Perhaps because Bernie was due up in the 9th, and Torre trusted Bernie's bat over Bubba's.
If so, it was the wrong move. Bernie popped up weakly on an 2-0 count. He was 0-for-4 for the night. Not even a walk, which Bubba got the night before. Even hitting from the right, usually Bernie's stronger side, he sucked.
And his defense may have cost us at least two runs. In the 8th, Francoeur golfed a very good pitch by Beam into shallow right field. It dropped in among Damon, Cairo, and Bernie. I think Bubba could have gotten that one. Cano probably could have, too (unfortunately, he's on the DL, so Cairo was in).
Then in the 9th, Chipper Jones hit a line drive to right center for an RBI. Damon fielded it right in front of the 385' sign. Bubba might have gotten that one; Damon almost did, and Bubba's faster. Bernie wasn't even in the picture. Seriously. Usually, when the ball goes toward that section of the field, you see both fielders going for it. Bernie didn't even get close. He wasn't even in the camera view. It looked like Damon was playing both CF and RF by himself.
Righty Smoltz on the mound today for the Braves. It'll be interesting to see if Torre goes with Bubba or Bernie in RF. With groundballer Wang pitching, he may go with Bernie. When Wang is pitching well, few balls get to the OF, so Bernie's terrible D won't matter as much.
I'd still go with Bubba. Wang is an extreme groundballer, but he does get hit for a few fly balls.
June 26, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 5, Atlanta 2
These Braves aren't the Braves of old, that's for sure. It was an easier win than the score suggests, though harder than it needed to be. Proctor gave up a two-run homer in the 9th, forcing Mo in for the save. Sigh. And it would be freakin' Chipper Jones who hit it. I can't stand him.
Bubba got the start in RF tonight because Bernie's numbers against Tim Hudson are terrible. Bubba didn't have a great night at the plate, unfortunately.
He came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the 1st. (Yes, the first. Hudson had a rough first inning.) Ball, ball, foul - on what would have been ball three. Then he hit a hard liner...unfortunately, directly at Giles. Sigh. It was a hard hit, but in exactly the wrong place.
To the plate again in the 3rd. Andy on 1B, no outs. Ball, ball, strike, ball, ball. Bubba works a walk! But Melky, Damon, and Cairo all got outs - no runs scored. Bubba was out at second on a fielder's choice by Damon. At least he slid in hard and helped break up the DP.
Up again at the bottom of the 5th. Andy on 2B, one out. Bubba took one ball, then flied out to RF. Got just under it and popped it up. Bubba flung his bat to the ground in disgust as he ran it out. I was pretty annoyed myself. Two pitches? Have a little patience, Bubba! Who do you think you are, Soriano?
Last at bat was in the 7th. Andy on 3B, two outs. Bubba put up a battle this time. Watched a strike go by, fouled the next pitch off. Down 0-2. Ball, ball, foul. Then grounded out really weakly to the pitcher. Sigh. At least he made a battle of it. Six pitches is better than two.
Bubba still earned his keep - with his glove. He ran down a couple of balls to RF that Bernie would never have gotten. Still...I wish he'd hit. Or at least walk. His BA and OBP are now below Melky's and headed toward the Cairo zone. If he doesn't start getting on base, his cute butt is going to be glued to the bench.
Lefty on the mound for Atlanta tonight, so it will be Bernie in RF. But there are righties pitching the rest of the week. Please, Joe, start Bubba! He'll start hitting if he gets enough at bats. He always does.
June 25, 2006: Florida 5, N.Y. Yankees 0
Last night was one of the "bug" times. The Yanks were blanked for the first time this season. They were the last MLB team to have never been shut out, so I guess it had to happen sometime. Still...what an ugly game.
Bubba started in center because Joe didn't want Johnny Damon playing two games in one day. Unfortunately, that meant Giambi couldn't DH, and that came back to bite us. He made two errors at 1B that gave away three runs. Andy Phillips should be our starting first baseman. Giambi's defense, never great, is noticeably declining:
2006 7 (so far)
June 25, 2006, Game 1: N.Y. Yankees 2, Florida 1
The D-Train was rolling today. He's murder on lefties, to the point that Torre planned to sit Cano. Giambi had back spasms, though, so Giambi ended up sitting while Cano played. I was not expecting Bubba to be in the lineup against a lefty, let alone a lefty like Willis.
The D-Train went the distance, and was excellent...but not quite good enough. Oddly, it was a lefty who drove in both runs: Johnny Damon. He'd never seen Willis before, but still singled to drive in Andy Phillips, and hit a solo homer for the game-winner.
For some reason, the YES camera crew showed Bubba's reaction in the dugout while Johnny circled the bases. Perhaps just because he was so enthusiastic. While the other guys were in the dugout (probably sheltering from the rain), Bubba stood at the rail. He raised his arm in triumph, then headed to the steps to congratulate the hero.
Meanwhile, Mike Mussina was so crisp at first that fans were whispering about a possible no-no. But it ended in the 4th inning, and he was not as sharp after that. He was good enough, though - and good enough to notch his 2,500th career strikeout in the 7th inning. (Congrats, Moose!)
Kyle Farnsworth came in for the 8th, and so did Bubba Crosby, taking Bernie's place in RF. Good move. Farnsy had his usual indigestion-inducing inning. He got out of it...thanks to Bubba. With Borchard on 2nd, Ramirez smoked one to right. But Bubba was waiting for it, charged the ball, and made a great throw toward home. Borchard was held at 3B. They might have tried running on Bernie's arm, but they weren't going to run on Bubba's. Bubba saved a run there, and that turned out to be the game. (I shudder to think of what extra innings would do to the bullpen on a day when there's a doubleheader.)
Farnsy acknowledged Bubba after the play:
The NY Daily News describes it thus:
With the Marlins trailing 2-1 and a runner on second with one out, Hanley Ramirez lined a single to right that was fielded by Bubba Crosby, who had replaced Williams for the eighth.
But instead of giving the green light to Joe Borchard, Meacham put up the stop sign. It was probably the right play since the ball was hit so hard and Crosby, who has a much better arm than Williams, was playing shallow. Torre said Crosby had just been ordered to move a few steps in by bench coach Lee Mazzilli.
Ramirez stole second to put runners on second and third with one out. Jacobs struck out and Cabrera was intentionally walked. Then Josh Willingham flied out, leaving the bases loaded.
"When Bubba got the ball," Torre said, "I didn't think there was a chance they'd send the runner."
Not only was yesterday's Old Timers' game rained out, so was the regular game. There was a delay of over an hour, then they started...only to stop after half an inning was played.
Very annoying. I liked the lineup for the game: Phillips at 1B, Bubba in RF, Giambi DHing, Bernie riding pine. With Obi-Shawn Chacon on the mound, you need the good gloves in.
There was a last minute change in the lineup: Stinnett was put in for Posada, presumably because it was a day game after a night game. (Though by the time it started, it was really a night game.) That meant Bubba was batting 8th, before Stinnett, not 9th.
Bubba got one fly ball to field. It was actually foul, as the replay showed. It bounced off the wall in the right corner, just outside the white line...but the umpire called it fair. Bubba played it off the wall and got it in fast enough to hold Miguel Cabrera to an RBI single. (Probably would have been a triple with Bernie in RF.)
And check out this thread at YES. It's got a link to a Bubba Crosby tribute someone posted at YouTube, and some nice comments about Bubba. (Ignore the Red Sox troll who just had to weigh in.)
And in other sports news...
Tennis great Andre Agassi announced yesterday that he will retire this year, after the U.S. Open. He made the announcement at Wimbledon, where he first "broke through" and won his first Grand Slam tournament.
Hard to believe that it's been 20 years since people wondered if 16-year-old Andre was ever going to have any substance to go with his sizzle. I feel old.
June 23, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 6, Florida 5
Last night, Bubba sat in favor of Bernie, but did come in at the top of the 8th as a defensive replacement. He ended up getting one at-bat. In the bottom of the 8th, Robinson Cano was walked so Marlins reliever Chris Resop could face Bubba instead. (The way Robbie swings, I was almost expecting him to hit one of the intentional balls, the way Miguel Cabrera did the previous night.)
So Bubba came to the plate with runners at the corners and two outs. Definitely a clutch situation. The fans were chanting, "Let's go, Bubba!" so loud they were drowning out Kay & Co.
Ball, swinging strike, ball, then a deep fly out to center. It was a 406' out. A couple feet more, or pulled just a little more to right, and it would have been gone. For a moment, the fans thought it was. But balls weren't traveling well last night (perhaps due to the rain), and it was caught on the warning track. Drat. A three-run homer would have been most welcome.
If anyone's wondering...no, it wasn't his "walkoff homer" swing. The pitch was at his knees, and it's kind of hard to avoid lifting the ball when it's that low. I suppose you could argue that with a 2-1 count, he should have waited for a better pitch, but given how hard he hit it, I really can't complain. Indeed, the feeling among the fans watching the game and commenting on the net seemed to be that that swing might earn Bubba a start today over either Bernie or Melky.
And as it turned out, the Yankees had all they needed. Mariano Rivera made the 6-5 lead stand up. The Yan-kees win!
Wang pitched fairly well after his heartbreaking, heroic loss last time. The newspaper accounts all note that he had a rough second inning. What they don't say is that if it had been Bubba instead of Bernie in RF, it would not have been rough. It would have been a 1-2-3 inning. Bernie badly misplayed the first "double"; I have no doubt Bubba would have caught that one. It would have been the 3rd out. Inning over. The second "double" was to the corner. Bernie just couldn't get there fast enough. I think Bubba could have, though it would have been tougher than the first one.
And then Wang gave up a homer. Yes, that was bad on him...but if either one of those "doubles" was caught, Wang would have gotten out of the inning unscathed.
Bernie's "defense" cost us three runs last night. He did get an RBI on a sac fly, but that doesn't make up for the runs he gave up. Even if Bubba doesn't hit at all, he's a better option than Bernie.
Defense counts. It's not as noticeable as big hits, but it may matter more. Missing those "doubles" not only put 3 runs on the board for the Marlins, it took 9 or 10 extra pitches out of Wang's arm. Given the state of our bullpen, and with Shawn "4 innings" Chacon going today, that could be a big deal.
UPDATE: Lineup's been posted. Bubba's starting in RF, batting ninth. Go, Bubba!
Steven Goldman had an article in yesterday's New York Sun, called Bernie's Indian Summer Should Not Delude Yankees:
Williams is batting .362/.371/.672 in June, which is good enough for right field or any other position you might name.
Of course, Williams was never that kind of hitter, and it's unlikely he's found untapped reserves of power at age 37. In fact, Williams isn't hitting like he used to in any way - his younger version had a higher on-base average thanks to his good eye at the plate. With 13 walks all season, Williams is no longer working the count. He's just getting his pitch and letting it rip, doing all of his hitting on the first or second pitch of his at bats.
June 21, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 5, Philadelphia 0
Sweet win tonight. And a great game. Wright only lasted 5 innings, as usual, but he was lights-out, twice striking out even the feared Ryan Howard.
Wright also got the first RBI of the game. Miguel Cairo hit a triple, then Wright got him home with a long sac fly. He thought it was a homer for a moment. (Yes, believe it or not, for awhile our only offense was provided by Miguel Cairo and Jaret Wright.)
The adrenaline rush seemed to take a lot out of him; he wasn't the same when he returned to the mound. But the bullpen was able to hold the lead, while the Yanks tacked on more runs.
With Cole Hamels on the mound, I wasn't expecting Bubba to start. Hamels eats lefties for breakfast. Torre sat Cano and started Cairo at 2B for this reason, and probably should have done something similar with Jason Giambi (ridiculous as that sounds). The Giambino was hopeless against Hamel, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
But with Hamels out and righty Geoff Geary in, Bubba got the call to pinch-hit for Scott Proctor.
June 20, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 9, Philadelphia 7
Last night's game was enough to give any fan an ulcer. In the first inning, Moose threw an obvious strike across the plate, and the umpire blew the call. Ball four, walk. It should have been strike 3, you're out, end of inning. Moose was furious; I was afraid he was going to get ejected for a moment there. Perhaps he let it get to him, because the very next pitch was hit out of the park - a three-run homer.
It was like a knife in the heart. The way the Yanks had been (not) scoring lately, three runs, even in the first inning, seemed almost insurmountable. And the way it happened, with that bad call, was incredibly aggravating. I wanted to put Bubba in so he could hit one to the umpire's nuts like he did the day before. :-P
But the Yanks came back, run by run. They finally managed to tie it in the top of the 7th, only to have the Phillies pull ahead again in the bottom. Finally, a triple by Damon put them up in the 8th, for good this time.
It was a tense, gritty game, and a great win. Bubba, alas, didn't have a part in it. He was just a dugout decoration, not even brought in as a defensive replacement. Perhaps because Joe was afraid it would go into OT, and he wanted Bernie in there.
I can understand that. Bernie is really hitting well, from both sides. He had a slow start, but he's looking like the Bernie of old now.
But I wish Joe would just DH him. Once we get the DH back, anyway. He's a liability on defense. Last night, if he caught Burrell's hit, there would have been no one on base when Howard hit his second homer. One less run scored. Howard's triple would have been a double with someone other than Bernie in RF. Utley's single in the 9th should have been an out. Etc. Bernie gives up about as much on defense as he scores on offense.
And at his age, he can't take the wear and tear he took when he was younger. Heck, the wear and tear he took when he was younger is what's causing his problems now. He should be used sparingly in the OF, not just because his defense is lacking, but to keep him fresh for a long season, and hopefully, the postseason.
Joe knows this intellectually, but Bernie is special to him, and he's so used to playing him every day. He does it without even realizing it, I think.
After the game, Torre talked about the outfield:
Torre stressed that Cabrera was still the Yankees' everyday left fielder, and that he would be in the lineup on Wednesday against lefty Cole Hamels. Right field will continue to be a rotating position between Bernie Williams, Bubba Crosby and possibly Reese.
"We have to mix and match somewhere," Torre said. "That seems to be the most comfortable position for Bernie right now, and he's not going to play every day."
June 19, 2006: Philadelphia 4, N.Y. Yankees 2
At long last, Bubba got a start last night. I was really surprised; I thought he'd be riding pine until the NL games were over.
Unfortunately, he didn't do much with the opportunity he was given (unless you count nailing the umpire in the cup with a foul ball). I had a feeling Bubba might be a bit rusty, not getting an AB since Thursday. And the Phillies pitcher, Brett Myers, was on his game and pitched extremely well. He had a sharp breaking ball that buckled batters' knees or had them swinging at air. Bubba struck out twice, then grounded out. It was sort of a productive out; he moved Cano over. Probably would have been a DP, except Bubba's speed made the fielder nervous.
Randy Johnson was the next batter, and he almost got a single and brought Cano home, but was robbed by the Phillies second baseman.
Bernie pinch-hit for Bubba his next time up...and hacked at the first pitch, grounding out weakly to 2B.
Melky Cabrera was 0-for-5 for the night, and is now hitting .169 for the month of June.
Joe said Melky's swing is "getting a little long" and that he thinks he could use a rest. People are beginning to talk about sending Melky back to Columbus to mature more.
This could have been a golden opportunity for Bubba, if he'd hit, but he didn't, so Joe is starting Kevin Reese in LF tonight. Bernie's in right; Bubba's on the bench.
Sigh. Poor Bubba just can't catch a break.
I wish Joe would give Bubba the same chance he gave Melky. If he got a chance to play every day, he'd hit.
June 18, 2006: Washington 3, N.Y. Yankees 2
Crushed was the walkoff homer by rookie Ryan Zimmerman. And crushed was young Chien-Ming Wang, who was only two outs from a complete game win. Wang is always cool as a cucumber, but this time, as he entered the dugout after the game, he flung his glove to the ground in a rare show of emotion. I've never seen him so upset.
But it's understandable. I thought Wang would get the win and the CG. A GIDP, like so many he's gotten before, would do it. But with one swing of the bat, the game was over. Instead of being two outs from the win, we had lost. It was like being punched in the gut. I can only imagine what it was like for Wang.
Wang was clearly tiring by that last inning. But I can understand Joe leaving him in. The bullpen was exhausted. Wang hadn't thrown 100 pitches yet, and he'd gone 110 in a previous start.
As heartbreaking as this game was, the Yankees and their fans have to be pleased with Wang's performance. His stock is high and rising. He's now seen as a solid #2 pitcher, and maybe even an ace one day. Tiger, you can hold your head up. You gave us everything we could ask for today. Just didn't work out. That's baseball.
Bubba's main role in this game was cheerleader from the bench. I caught a brief glimpse of him in his usual position, hanging over the dugout rail, cheering a nice running catch by Melky Cabrera. He slapped hands with Melky as he came back to the dugout, then slapped his butt a couple of times as he went by. He's always so energetic, I get tired just watching him. ;-)
Bubba did go in as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the 9th inning. Got one grounder to field, and no ABs.
I wish Joe would make Bubba the first string RFer, instead of Bernie. Bernie should be a PHer or DH.
AVG OBP SLG OPS
Melky Cabrera .254 .361 .325 .686
Bernie Williams .277 .318 .426 .744
Bubba Crosby .275 .341 .375 .716
June 17, 2006: Washington 11, N.Y. Yankees 9
There's nothing better than coming from way behind to win. The flip side, of course, is there's nothing worse than blowing a big lead and losing. You'd almost rather it was a blowout from the beginning. :-P
Nine runs was not enough today. Chacon melted down on the mound in the 4th inning. The rest of the bullpen folded, too, including Mariano Rivera. It was pretty ugly.
I suspect the real problem is that Chacon and Wright both pitched only five innings (yesterday and today). Since they are back to back in the rotation, that's a lot of work on a bullpen that was already short Kyle Farnsworth (back spasms). This could be a problem down the stretch, unless they get sorted (or Torre resorts the rotation).
And I fear I was all too right about Bernie Williams. Hot as he was yesterday, he was stone-cold today. And Torre put him in the two-hole. It was a disaster. Bernie went 0-for-5, with 4 LOB and a GIDP.
His defense was poor as well. The Nats were running on his arm. If Bubba were in RF, maybe some of those runs don't score. (They were running on Damon's arm, too, but Damon more than made up for it with his bat today, going 4-for-6 with two doubles and a grand slam.)
Bubba did come in as a pinch runner for Giambi in the top of the 8th, then moved to RF in the bottom of the 8th. He didn't get to actually run. He did field a Jose Guillen triple that was smoked into the gap. If it were Bernie in RF, it would have been a inside-the-park homerun. (I now understand why there are so few triples in that stadium.)
Bubba grabs his batting helmet and comes in to pinch-run.
June 16, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 7, Washington 5
I was hoping Bubba would start in this game. Yes, Bernie's hitting well, even from the left, but RFK is bloody 'uuuge. It just seemed like an awful lot of real estate for the Ghost of Bernie to cover.
But Bernie had such a hot night, any Yankees fan had to be glad he was in. He was en fuego at the plate: 4 for 5, with a double, a homer, and two RBI.
I was very happy for him. But I couldn't help noticing... what his bat giveth, his glove taketh away. He probably gave away two runs yesterday with his play in RF, which balanced those two RBI. :-/
Bernie's bat is hot right now, but it won't stay hot. His his defense is as cold as ever, and it's not going to heat up. It's a long season, and there will hopefully also be a post-season. With that in mind, it might be better to play Bubba more often in RF. That will rest Bernie, and keep Bubba from getting rusty. Bernie should be a DH or pinch-hitter, not the starting RFer.
Bubba did come in as a defensive replacement in the 9th inning, but didn't have to do anything. Didn't get to bat, and no fielding, either.
June 15, 2006: Cleveland 8, N.Y. Yankees 4
Well, not a great day for the Yankees, but a pretty good day for Bubba. It was an early game - 1pm - and he was there before it started, so he must have taken the redeye or gotten up pretty early in the morning after that night game.
Bubba's back: Outfielder Bubba Crosby, who had been on the disabled list since May 19, was activated.
Crosby was 3 for 16 in five minor-league rehab games but homered and hit the ball hard two other times Wednesday night playing for Class AAA Columbus.
Crosby played two innings in center for Damon and was 1 for 2 with a double.
"I guess I'm fine if I can run to second," he said.
Crosby provided a good scouting report on right-hander Octavio Dotel, who is close to joining the Yankees after having elbow surgery a year ago. Dotel is now with Columbus.
"A couple of his outings down in Tampa were so-so. He was kind of all over the place," Crosby said. "But (Wednesday) night he was throwing 93 to 95 and throwing strikes with a lot of movement. He had a lot better command."
Crosby said Dotel needed to refine his slider and get used to warming up quickly. His next outing with Columbus, probably tomorrow, will be in the middle of an inning.
June 14, 2006: Ottawa Lynx 7, Columbus Clippers 2
Bubba Crosby led off with a homer last night in Columbus. The Columbus Dispatch described it as a "towering home run."
The rest of the night didn't seem to go as well, as near as I could tell from the online gamelog: line out, bunt groundout, fly out. And one of the Ottawa players hit a line drive triple to RF. Jeez, how'd someone get a triple on Bubba?
I wasn't sure if that was going to be good enough to get him off the DL. However, by this morning, the rumor was going around that Bubba was off the DL and already on his way to NY. It was finally confirmed in the pre-game show: Bubba activated, Nick Green DFA'd. Yay!
I love this story from MLB.com:
Bubba Crosby was welcomed back to the Yankees clubhouse Thursday with a bear hug from first-base coach Tony Pena and a "Bubba-licious!" call from infielder Miguel Cairo.
"You're going to put me back on the DL," Crosby shouted out as he dangled from Pena's arms.
June 13, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 1, Cleveland 0
Despite the score, this was a strangely un-tense game. The Yanks got a lot of runners on base in the first two innings, though none scored. Still, it left you with the feeling that they could break out at any moment. And Wanger was so lights-out there was little reason to be tense.
The one run was a homer by Robby Cano (who is often dissed for not hitting enough homers).
It's kind of neat that last year's pair of rookies won the game for us last night, Wang on the mound, Cano at the plate. I was thrilled when they were brought up last year, and I've supported them ever since. Do not trade them!
After this game, I am more convinced than ever that defense is the key this year. Melky and KT both had impressive catches in the OF that likely saved runs. Bernie would not have gotten either of them. It was a one-run game, so those catches may have been game-winners. Defense can win games.
And it's cheap. It's something we can solve from within. Play Bubba instead of Bernie. Let Giambi DH and put Andy at 1B. That might be all we need.
As Yankees Chick points out, the addition of a power hitting outfielder would make very little difference in the number of games we're likely to win.
A starting pitcher would make a bigger difference...but I'm not sure we can get one. Not without giving up too much and mortgaging our future.
Defense, though...that would make a big difference, too, and we might not have to give anything away for it.
My hope for the rest of the season: play the young, speedy kids. (Including Bubba in RF.) Trust their defense will make up for any lack of offensive production. Save the young talent; don't bother going after Willis or Zito. Maybe go after a reliever who can bail out Randy Johnson when he gets in trouble.
The kids are all right...
Crosby, who played parts of the past three years with the Clippers, was slated for right field, but his equipment did not arrive in time for the game and he became the designated hitter. He went 1 for 4.
Bubba Crosby also played for Columbus on Tuesday, going 1-for-4 as the DH. Crosby could return by Wednesday or Thursday.
Torre said before the game that Crosby was feeling "a little sore" from playing over the weekend, but that the soreness was not related to the hamstring injury that landed him on the DL to begin with.
June 13, 2006: Ottawa 7, Columbus 0
The Yankees finally realized that baseball wasn't likely in Tampa while a hurricane was passing through. They flew Bubba and Dotel to Columbus today, to play with the Clippers.
One nice thing: the Clippers have a Web site. Nothing fancy, but it does have a game log page with real-time updates. (Well, almost real-time.) So I was able to follow Bubba's game, in a limited way.
It wasn't encouraging at first. Dotel came in and promptly gave up a single, a homer, a double, and a HBP. His ERA is 18.0.
Bubba didn't seem to be doing any better, being 0 for 3 at one point. But he finally got a hit. He ended the night 1 for 4, with no strikeouts. Hopefully, he's turning the corner.
Okay, it's not a hurricane yet, but it's on the verge of becoming one. Rotten timing.
From the Hartford Courant:
The Yankees are still figuring out when to bring back outfielder Bubba Crosby from his minor league rehab assignment with Class A Tampa. Crosby, recovering from a hamstring injury, was hitless in five at-bats Saturday. Sunday's game was rained out. "He played the outfield flawlessly, but the report was that his timing was a little off," Torre said. "We'll probably wait until that resolves itself. We'd like him to be a little more comfortable."
June 11, 2006: Oakland 6, N.Y. Yankees 5
Well, it's now a four-game skid, and fans are in a panic. It's ridiculous, really. It's a long season. Losing four games would be a disaster in football. In baseball? These things happen. Jeter is clearly still hurting, and is playing very poorly. Giambi was out of the lineup altogether. But they aren't another Sheff and Matsui - they'll be back soon.
The only thing I'm worried about is that front office will panic, and do something stupid like sell the farm for some over-the-hill veteran, mortgaging our future...again.
As far as I'm concerned, the last few games have proved my point that what we need is not another big bat, but better defense. Yesterday, A-Rod had an error and Posada had an error and a passed ball. The day before, Cano had an error that basically gave away two runs.
Then there are the misplays that are not scored as errors, as when Cabrera and Damon collided in center left yesterday, giving Swisher an inside-the-park homerun. (Many were reminded of the collision between Bubba and Sheff last year that ended the Yankees season.)
Better defense, and we win those games, not lose them. Defense counts more than the Yankees seem to realize. A bunch of DH-type players may be able to slug their way to victory in the regular season, but in the postseason, where the pitching tends to be very good, you need more than sluggers. You need speed and defense and contact hitters as well as power hitters. In short, you need a balanced, well-rounded game.
Defense is the big hole for the Yanks now, and it's probably also the easiest thing to fix. Put Bubba in RF instead of Bernie. DH Giambi as much as possible, and play Andy at 1B. Keep Kevin Thompson sharp by letting him play OF to rest Damon often.
And most of all, don't panic.
The Daily Record agrees with me:
Sit Bernie: The Yankees should stick with their plan to use Bernie Williams as a part-time player. They would be better off giving regular at-bats to Bubba Crosby or even Kevin Thompson in right field. The defense would be better, too.
Where's Bubba? Disabled outfielder Bubba Crosby went 0-for-5 in a rehabilitation start for Class A Tampa on Saturday. Torre said there's nothing physically wrong with Crosby at this point, but that the player isn't quite comfortable at the plate. A Tuesday return to active duty remains a possibility.
June 10, 2006: Oakland 5, N.Y. Yankees 2
Well, the Yanks are now in a three-game skid. Which of course means New Yorkers are out on the ledges, ready to jump off high buildings as they wail and gnash their teeth.
Relax. There's no need to panic. Mark Gallagher points out that the 2006 Yanks are back on track to score almost 1,000 runs. If they continue as they have so far, they'll end up with more runs than the 1998 Yankees.
The problem is that they aren't doing as good a job of preventing opponents' runs. Better pitching is always good, but the pitching really isn't that bad - Randy Johnson and all. They have the second best ERA in the AL, which ain't too shabby.
What's killing them is defense. Or lack thereof. They've made twice the number of errors as AL-leading Boston (42 vs. 21). Never mind the various adventures (often involving Bernie Williams in RF) that aren't scored errors.
The Yanks were too one-dimensional last year. Too many old, slow, DH-type players. The acclaimed 1998 Yankees didn't have even one 30 HR hitter. Our missing piece just might be defense, not another slugger.
On a cost/benefit basis, putting Bubba in for Bernie might be the best move we can make now.
Bubba back on Tuesday?
Peter Abraham reports that Brian Cashman told him that Bubba would be back with the team Tuesday. Makes sense. There's an early game today, and no game tomorrow. Tuesday gives him time to play more rehab games.
Bubba Crosby played for Class A Tampa again last night. He went 0 for 5 with a walk.
June 9, 2006: Oakland 6, N.Y. Yankees 5
Perhaps there's something to Randy Johnson's claim that he pitches best when the weather is hot. He was the Randy Johnson of old in Detroit a couple of weeks ago, when the weather was 94F and humid as a sauna. But on this chilly, rainy night in the Bronx, he was unbelievably bad. Oakland's far from fearsome lineup spanked the Big Unit - including a homer by Antonio Perez, who was batting .030 until then. (Later in the game, Aaron Small struck him out on three pitches.)
After a rain delay of an hour and a half, the Yankees got back in it when Jason Giambi knocked the second pitch he saw into the bleachers, scoring Cabrera and Jeter, who each worked walks before the rain delay. Posada walked, and Cano plated him with a triple. The Yanks were back in the game.
But they couldn't make up that last run. The game ended on a fly out by A-Rod (giving yet more ammo to the "not clutch" complainers).
Already there are people saying that if we had bigger bats, we could have won the game. I'm not convinced. The A's have good pitching, and our big bats often come up dry against good pitching. With a slugger in the lineup and Melky Cabrera out of it, maybe there would have been one less man on base when Giambi hit his homer.
We might have won this one with better defense. If Kevin Thompson (or Bubba!) was in RF instead of Bernie, he might have been able to make the throw home in the 4th and get Rouse out. One run was the difference in this game.
Tampa 2, Dunedin 1
And if you're wondering how Bubba's game went last night, he was 1 for 3, with a single and a hit by pitch. (The kid seems to get hit by pitches an awful lot.) He reportedly played all three outfield positions. (Not all at once, I assume, though with Bubba, you never know. ;-)
Torre says he could be back as soon as tomorrow, and definitely by Tuesday.
June 8, 2006: Boston 9, N.Y. Yankees 3
Okay, "bloodbath" may be overstated. But it wasn't pretty. The first half of the game was close as could be. But then Wright collapsed, while Schilling soldiered on. Dunno if Wright just isn't game-fit yet, or if he's just not the type to pitch past the 5th inning.
I can't be too upset, since we took two out of three. Still...this one really seemed like it was in reach.
And on the Bubba front...from MLB.com:
Bubba almost back Bubba Crosby took eight at-bats in a simulated game on Wednesday, then got 10 more on Thursday in an extended spring game.
Crosby, on the DL with a right hamstring injury, will begin with Class A Tampa on Friday. Crosby will likely play a few games in the Minors before rejoining the Yankees.
"In his situation as a role player, he hadn't had that much activity," Cashman said. "We want to make sure that when we bring him up, he's not getting rust knocked off at the plate if Joe is going to have to use him more."
Bubba Crosby will play for Single-A Tampa tonight. Crosby, who went 1-for-5 in an extended spring training game yesterday and played all three outfield positions, will start a rehab assignment in Tampa because Triple-A Columbus is playing on turf and Double-A Trenton is on the road. Crosby said the right hamstring problem that has had him on the DL since May 19 is 100 percent healed. GM Brian Cashman hasn't put a timetable on Crosby's return, which is more important with Gary Sheffield undergoing surgery Tuesday.
They're not bludgeoning people with their $200 million payroll, either. They're winning with defense and solid, situational hitting. The Yankees are 10th in the AL in home runs, but first in on-base percentage and runs scored. They're reminiscent of the great 1998 team, which won with class and a relentless, fundamental charm.
Amazingly, they're doing it with home-grown players. The Yankee farm system is supposedly bereft of talent. Tell that to Robinson Cano, their young second baseman. Andy Phillips has established himself at first base in recent weeks, allowing Joe Torre to use Jason Giambi at DH.
Melky Cabrera, who came up from the farm when Sheffield and Matsui were hurt, is making a case for himself as the left fielder of the future. Cabrera scored from first base on a wild pitch in the opener of this week's series against the Red Sox. The next night, he made an astonishing catch to rob Manny Ramirez of a homer.
How do you hate a guy named Melky? He's only 21 years old. He called his mother and grandmother back in the Dominican Republic after making his big catch against Boston. How do you summon up a healthy loathing for Bubba Crosby, or Chien-Ming Wang, or Scott Proctor?
This afternoon, Peter Abraham reported:
Crosby will play in a rehab game with Class A Tampa tonight and should be back in the majors soon.
The weather report is a bit better than it was last night. Now they are calling for "showers" rather than "rain" tonight. The radar doesn't look too bad. Maybe they'll get a game in tonight. Though it will likely be messy.
Also good news on the Bubba front.
From today's Star-Ledger
Bubba Crosby, on the disabled list because of a strained right hamstring, was scheduled to play yesterday in extended spring training.
"I think (activation) some point this weekend is a possibility," Torre said.
BUBBA BACK? Bubba Crosby (pulled hamstring) has increased his activity at the Yanks' Tampa complex and Torre said it is "very realistic" that the reserve outfielder could be activated during this weekend's series against the A's. Kevin Thompson figures to be sent back to Columbus.
Because there's nothing else to watch. We're rained out. And it's not looking good for tomorrow night, either. Boo! I had a good feeling about the rest of this series. We had 'em on the ropes.
Well, that means we've won the series. We may have swept it. :-/
News appears to be very good on the Bubba Crosby front, though. It's really odd how quickly it changed. On Monday, there were reports like this:
Bubba Crosby -- strained right hamstring -- still not playing rehab games yet
Surprising how long this injury has sidelined Crosby. Both he and the Yankees thought he would be ready before his 15 days were up, but he was eligible to return already, and is still probably a week away, at least.
The Yankees were so encouraged by Bubba Crosby's progress rehabbing his right hamstring strain, they developed a plan to get him enough at-bats to be ready as early as Friday ...
“It’s been a blast to kind of show what you can do,” Dickerson said. “Here in Tampa I was hitting and throwing with Bubba Crosby, who was on a rehab assignment. That was fun.”
June 6, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 2, Boston 1
A completely different kind of game from last night's slugfest...but the outcome is the same. The Yaaaan-keeees win! I wasn't sure how this one would turn out, because Wanger struggled at first. He threw 49 pitches by the end of the second inning, which put him on par to last about three innings. But he settled down, even pitching pretty well from the stretch, his bugaboo this year. Went seven innings, and despite giving up a homer to Big Papi, it was a good night's work. Thanks, Tiger. You done good!
At first, the team seemed flat, and the crowd, too. It just didn't seem like it was going to end happily, especially after the Ortiz homer. But the feeling of the game changed when Bernie Williams hit a homerun. Andy Phillips and Melky Cabrera did not get any hits, but they won the game with their gloves. Melky in a spectacular, downright Bubba-esque way. (Note to Torre and Co.: A run prevented is as good as a run scored.)
Everyone's talking about how special this team seems. Heart, chemistry, energy, whatever you want to call it, they have something the Yankees haven't had in years.
And I was pleased that Bubba was invoked in the postgame show. I think it was Kitty who commented that they always thought Bubba Crosby added a special energy and enthusiasm to any game he played in. And now they have Melky, and Andy, and other Baby Bombers doing the same.
As for Bubba...the news on him is good today. The Yankees DFA'd Terrence Long (so long, T-ball!) and called up Nick Green, an infielder. With Jeter ailing, they felt they needed another infielder.
The Yankees designated an outfielder because Bubba Crosby, disabled since May 19 with a strained right hamstring, appears close to a return.
"He's feeling great, running without a problem," Torre said of Crosby, who is at extended Spring Training in Tampa. "Two more days, if he gets enough at-bats, and he could join us for the weekend."
June 5, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 13, Boston 5
I wasn't sure what to expect last night, but this sure wasn't it. Believe it or not, it wasn't as close as the score suggests. The Yanks just teed off on the Boy Wonder. He was gone after barely more than one inning. I almost felt sorry for him.
Every Yankee got at least one hit. Fun stat-padding for all.
OF Bubba Crosby said his injured hamstring is "about 99 percent" healthy. He could start playing in minor league games in the next couple days. "He still feels it,'' manager Joe Torre said.
My inclination is that Thompson's stay in New York will last as long as it takes Crosby to get his hamstring back in shape, which should be another 7-10 days.
Gamescribe makes The Case for Bubba Crosby - complete with charts. When given a chance to play every day, he hits.
And check out this scouting report from Bubba's Columbus Clippers days. He hit better than Andy Phillips, who was playing at the same time, with a similar number of ABs.
Then there's this:
Bubba Crosby. Again and again and...
He really likes Bubba, and thinks the problem might be that walkoff homer last year. Bubba started thinking he was Barry Bonds. And lost Joe's trust. I confess, I've thought similar things myself. That walkoff homer swing of his usually results in a flyout to right field. As long as he remembers to go for contact instead of power, he's fine. And will even get a few homers.
June 4, 2006: Baltimore 11, N.Y. Yankees 4
Well, this one was ugly in more ways than one. Aaron Small's Cinderella story appears to be over. At least, he turned into a pumpkin on the mound today.
As for the bad...A-Rod was back in the lineup, but did nothing (still feeling the effects of that stomach virus, no doubt). Giambi was out, still sick with the same thing.
Even worse: Jeter was hit on the hand by a fastball, and had to leave the game in the 6th. X-rays were negative, and he says he'll play tomorrow. (He always says he's fine and he'll play. Whether he actually will, and whether he'll be any good if he does, is another question.)
Was the HBP intentional? Quite possibly. Millar hit a three-run homer off Small. Erickson then plunked him in the arm the next time he came up. Then Jeter was drilled. Coincidence? Probably not.
The good: the kids and castoffs continued to do well. The Yankees now have an eleven game streak of hitting 10 or more runs. Two more, and they'll break a record that has stood since 1937. Andy had a great night, Melky continued his hitting streak, Cairo had a hit, run, and RBI. Kevin Thompson had a nice double. Even Stinnett got a nice hit. The game did not seem out of reach until the very end, because they kept rallying, though there were far too many LOBs. (Thanks a lot, A-Rod and Jorgie.)
T-Ball was terrible, but even that may be a good thing. Torre PH Bernie for him, suggesting that he's starting to realize Long can't hit. Here's hoping that Terrence "Magellan" Long will be heading out of town on the plane Bubba comes in on.
And I must admit, it was amusing to see the defense Joe Torre cobbled together when Jeter had to leave. Already shorthanded, he was forced to be creative. The two bench infielders, Cairo and Phillips, were already in (Cairo at 3B because A-Rod wasn't 100%, Phillips at 1B to replace the ailing Giambi). With Jeter gone, Posada was moved to 1B, moving Stinnett to catcher. Phillips went to 3B, freeing Cairo to play SS. Got that?
No Bubba news today, though I'm gratified by the number of fans who are pining for his return after watching Long play this afternoon.
Definitely not ugly: Here's a vidcap, taken from one of Bubba's old postgame interviews. Just because I feel like it.
(See my comments on that game, and a video of the interview, here.)
June 3, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 6, Baltimore 5
Joe Torre has gotten a lot of criticism, particularly for the way he manages the bullpen. Much of it is deserved. But I have to give him credit today. Last night, he spun straw into gold, using Chien-Ming Wang on his throw day as a make-do closer.
It seemed a terrible idea at first blush. Wang is still playing his first full season in the majors, and doesn't always handle high-pressure situations well. He has almost no experience as a reliever. Throwing the kid into the bottom of the 10th to hold a one-run lead seemed more than a little risky. Not just to the chances of winning, but to Wang's young psyche.
Not that there was much choice. Mo was down due to back problems. Rasner was DLed, and his replacement, Matt Smith, was still on the train from Columbus. Farnsworth had pitched so much over the past week Joe felt he had to rest him. He wanted to rest Proctor, too, but was forced to ask him to get five outs. Instead, he coughed up the lead.
But the gamble paid off. Myers got the lefty out. (Actually, it was Brian Roberts, a switch-hitter who hits much better against right-handers. Bubba's old roommate, and the guy whose elbow he accidentally dislocated last year.) Then Wang came in and got the second out - his typical groundball out - and things were looking up for the Bombers. Then the kid gave up two seeing-eye singles. Yankees fans despaired. Wang has struggled with pitching from the stretch this year - so much so that's becoming a mental thing for him.
But Wang hung tough this time, and got Javy Lopez to fly out to Kevin Thompson (playing his first Major League game). Hallelujah! Chien-Ming Wang gets the first save of his young career.
All in all, a very satisfying win. Randy Johnson got off to a rocky start, but was solid after that. Andy Phillips hit a homer, as did Johnny Damon. (It proved to be the game-winner, and Damon said it was the best swing of his career.) Bernie Williams drove in three runs. Only Scott Proctor was unhappy, because he failed to get Randy the win.
What a thrilling game. I enjoy this type of balanced baseball much more than the K, K, homer, K type of ball we were playing with all the big bats in the lineup. This team is tough and scrappy and playing for love of the game in a way I haven't seen since 1996. And it's a beautiful thing. Can't wait until Bubba gets back. This is his kind of baseball.
June 2, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 6, Baltimore 5
Another close one. A-Rod was out with the stomach flu (will it never end??), but Jeter was back, and was almost unbearably clutch. He ended up hitting the winning RBI single in the top of the 9th. Farnsy redeemed himself by making it stand.
Bubba on the bases
Bubba is still in Tampa, and seems to be progressing, slowly but surely.
From the NY Daily News:
REHAB-BING CROSBY: Bubba Crosby (pulled hamstring) did outfield drills and ran the bases yesterday in Tampa, and the Yanks hope he will be able to rejoin them by next weekend.
June 1, 2006: Detroit 7, N.Y. Yankees 6
No sweep. Okay, hoping for 4 out of 4 is pretty greedy. Can't complain about 3 out of 4. But being up 5-0 in the 3rd, you start to get ideas.
Part of the problem was the injury bug continues to bite the Yankees. Mariano Rivera was unavailable because...get this...he threw out his back when bending over to tie his shoe before the game. Unbelievable. Farnsy came in the close - and coughed up the lead.
I also think having Bubba in the outfield might have prevented this. He might have been able to rob a hit or two. Ah, well. Tomorrow is another day.
No Bubba until next weekend
Looks like Bubba won't be available for the Red Sox series. From MLB.com:
Waiting on Bubba: Bubba Crosby, on the DL with a strained right hamstring, won't begin playing in extended Spring Training games until the middle of next week.
"He still feels it," Torre said. "I don't want to say he's gone backwards, he just hasn't progressed as we had hoped. It's going to be a little while."
Crosby could return to the Yankees by next weekend's series at home against Oakland.
May 31, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 6, Detroit 1
Moose went the distance yesterday, throwing his first complete game of the year. Way to go, Moose. It was just what our exhausted bullpen needed. Torre joked the day before that his plan for the game was to let Moose pitch eight innings, then send Gator in for the ninth. Thankfully, Mussina made that unnecessary. ;-)
The most amusing part was when Torre tried to remove Mussina in the 9th, after Polanco scored on an error by A-Rod, precluding a shutout. The usually calm Moose yelled, "Get back in there!" Torre laughed, and sat back down. Moose later said he didn't mean to yell. Torre was walking up the dugout steps with his head down. Since he had already been to the mound once, Moose had to get his attention quickly.
Another amusing moment came after the game, when Moose was asked if it was important to him to stay in the game. He hesitated for a long moment, as if he wasn't sure, then said, "Yeah, I guess." ROFL!
See for yourself:
Moose vs. Torre (RealMedia, about 4 Mb)
(Has both the incident on the field and clips from Torre's and Moose's post-game interviews.)
No ESP game for Bubba until Sunday or Monday
Sigh. It's confirmed. Bubba Crosby isn't going to be ready to come off the DL Sunday, the first day he is eligible.
"He hasn't done any outfield drills yet," Cashman said of Crosby, who is on the shelf with a right hamstring injury. "He won't be ready for [rehab] game action for four or five days."
General manager Brian Cashman said Crosby, on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, will not play in extended spring training games until Sunday or Monday. Crosby is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday.
"I think he feels it just a little bit still," Cashman said. "Until it's completely gone, we're not going to push him."
OH BUBBA: It appears the Yankees will have to wait a little longer before Bubba Crosby (pulled hamstring) returns to their ailing outfield. Although Crosby is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday, GM Brian Cashman said yesterday that Crosby may not play in an extended spring training game until June 4 or 5. He may be ready for activation shortly thereafter, but first needs to do outfield drills.
"That's the schedule as I know it now," Cashman said. "It could change. We'll have to see."