Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
As of today, Bubba Crosby is still a New York Yankee. Aaron Guiel was optioned to Columbus. He still has options, Bubba doesn't.
Even aside from the options considerations, Bubba is the more useful player. He's more versatile. Guiel has a better bat, but with Abreu on the team, we don't need his bat any more. We need defense, especially in CF, which Bubba can provide.
But the reprieve may be temporary. The Yankees traded Shawn Chacon for Craig Wilson today. This is widely viewed as bad news for Andy Phillips. However, Wilson also plays OF, and Cashman said he still considers Andy part of the team.
That suggests it's not Andy who'll be DFA'd tomorrow. Who will be? Some think it will be Bubba.
I'm hoping it will be Nick Green. Wilson plays IF as well as OF, so cutting Green makes sense. And I think Green still has options.
But the future looks rather grim. What happens when Cano comes back? Matsui? Sheff?
I suspect Bubba's not going to be sleeping too well tonight. :-(
Bubba was featured in the "Skillz" segment of Sunday's Kids On Deck. He demonstrated how to chase down a fly ball. Very cute!
Will try to post some screencaps and maybe a video clip later.
The show repeats several times a week on YES, so if you missed it, you can catch a rerun.
July 30, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 4, Tampa Bay 2
A solid day in the office for Moose. The Yanks seemed unaffected by yesterday's drubbing, bouncing back nicely to take the series.
The game was completely overshadowed by the news that the Yanks had acquired Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle from the Phillies, in exchange for Matt Smith and three other minor leaguers. As a Yankee fan, I had to be happy about the trade. It was highway robbery.
But as a Bubba fan, my feelings were decidedly mixed. With Abreu joining the team, the Yanks must cut an outfielder. The Yanks declined to say what the move would be. They don't play until Tuesday, so they have time to decide.
In all likelihood, it will be either Bubba or Guiel. I'm hoping it's Guiel. He still has options left, so he could be sent to Columbus without passing through waivers. It would be only for a few weeks, until the rosters expand September 1. And with Abreu as our full-time RFer, we'll probably need Bubba's defense more than Guiel's bat.
But who knows what the Yankees will do? Bubba is out of options, so he can't be sent to Columbus without passing through waivers. And I'm not sure he would pass through waivers without another team claiming him.
Bubba entered the game as a LIDR for Guiel in the ninth inning. I couldn't help wondering if that was the last time I'd see Bubba in pinstripes.
July 29, 2006: Tampa Bay 19, N.Y. Yankees 6
Well, it was Christmas in July for the Devil Rays, with Randy Johnson as Santa, handing out hits. It was clear he had nothing pretty early in the game. Joe left him in far too long, but you can't really blame him. The last thing the overworked bullpen needed was to pitch seven or eight innings.
Unfortunately, Chacon did not look as sharp today as he did the other night. He was as bad as Randy. So were Myers and Beam. Finally, Villone stopped the bleeding, but it was way too late.
Despite the pitching mess and the lopsided score, Torre didn't wave the white flag until the 8th inning. Bubba took over CF then. Green came in for Jeter, Andy moved to 3B, and Guiel took over 1B.
Yes, I said Guiel at 1B. Even though he is not a first baseman. And yes, it showed.
It really was not the Yankees' night. Everything that could go wrong, did. It was downright comedic. Nick Green's bat was stuck in the bat rack, and he could not get it out. He struggled with it so long I wondered if it had grown roots. (Well, it had been a long time since he's used it.) Bubba had a hard grounder to field. The ball had a lot of spin, moving away from where he expected it to be. He recovered, and threw it in, but it bounced up and hit Cairo in the mouth. Not really his fault, but ugh, did it look bad.
Bubba got one at bat, in the 8th. He grounded out to 1B. He was swinging for the fences. Might as well, I guess, at that point in the game.
All in all, a pretty awful game. Can't blame it on anyone but Randy Johnson, though. The best thing to do is forget it. "Turn the page," as Bobby Murcer says.
July 28, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 6, Tampa Bay 0
Chien-Ming Wang gave the Yanks and their exhausted bullpen exactly what they needed: a complete game shutout. A very relaxing game, that never seemed in doubt. The only tension was whether Wang would pitch a no-hitter (no), and whether Torre would let him go for the complete game (yes). A much sweeter ending than Wang's last complete game, that's for sure.
Bubba came in in the top of the 8th, as a defensive replacement for Bernie in RF. He didn't get any at bats, and didn't have to field any balls, either, but it's nice to see Joe trusts him, at least on D.
July 26, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 8, Texas 7
What is it about the Texas Rangers? This was one of those emotional roller coaster games. The Yanks jumped out in front in the first inning, only to lose the lead for what seemed like most of the game. Many fans gave up, even though the score was only 2-4. The New York offense just seemed hopeless.
But in the 8th inning, A-Rod hit a home run, and the bottom of the lineup rallied. A walk, a single, a double, a sacrifice, a wild pitch.
With one out, Torre put Aaron Guiel to pinch-hit for Miguel Cairo. He struck out. I can't help but think that may have been a mistake. Guiel has occasional power, but strikes out an awful lot. Cairo is awful with none on, but fantastic with RISP. He's like the anti-Cano:
NONE ON RISP
Cano .371 .227
Cairo .180 .341
July 25, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 7, Texas 4
Damon's back kept him from playing for the second night in a row, so Bubba started in CF again (third night in a row!). It was not a stellar night in the outfield for him. He dived for one ball but missed it. He could probably have gotten it if he'd gotten the right jump on it from the start.
I think the wind threw him off. It was blowing strongly in toward the plate, and a lot of balls were falling in shallower than expected. In any case, I seriously doubt any of the other Yankee outfielders would have gotten that one, either.
He did okay at the plate. No hits, but he moved the runner up in his first AB with a bunt in the 3rd. In the 4th, he worked a clutch, two-out walk on five pitches. He struck out on five pitches in the 6th, and flew out on a 1-0 count in the 9th. All in all, it was a decent night offensively.
Perhaps the most amusing moment of the game came when the "kiss cam" focused on A-Rod in the 6th inning. Usually, it focuses on a couple in the stands, and crowd exhorts them to kiss. A-Rod knew the drill, of course, being a former Ranger. When he noticed he was on camera, he leaned over, grabbed Andy Phillips, and kissed him on the top of the head.
When Rodriguez was shown on the giant video screen after the sixth inning, he reached over and playfully pecked teammate Andy Phillips on top of the head. The crowd, which has lustfully booed him this week, cheered after a smiling Rodriguez played along with the gag.
"That's the first kiss I've had in a long time. (The fans) loved it," said Rodriguez, whose struggles have led to plenty of boos at Yankee Stadium. He walked twice and was hit by a pitch.
"You better ask him how my hair tastes. It was funny," Phillips said. "I didn't know what he was doing, but that was fun. It's something I can tell my grandkids about."
July 24, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 6, Texas 2
Bubba got an unexpected chance at redemption today. Johnny Damon hurt his back climbing into the car to get to the stadium. It's not serious, but they decided to give Bubba the start, just to be safe.
His first at bat, he hit it up the middle and into no-man's land in short left-center, but Young raced over and made a nice over the shoulder catch to rob Bubba of a hit. Very Jeter-esque, damn him.
Bubba came up again in the fourth, and hit a high chopper to 1B that almost went over Teixeira, but he made a high, leaping catch. Drat. Robbed again.
In the sixth inning, Bubba grounded weakly to 1B for an easy out.
He did come through in the 8th inning, though. With one out and no one on, he hit a single to SS, beating the throw to first with his blazing speed. Wow. I really wasn't expecting that. Reliever C.J. Wilson was in by then, and he's a lefty. Not only that, he's a pretty tough lefty: lefties are batting only .189 against him.
Bubba's left/right splits are now completely whacked:
VS. LEFT: .300 / .600
VS. RIGHT: .205 / .571
Torre named Proctor and Farnsworth among the stars of Monday’s game. He also listed Aaron Guiel, who homered in the sixth; Miguel Cairo, who doubled in two runs in the fourth; and Bubba Crosby, who hauled in a deep drive to center with two on in the sixth.
July 21, 2006: Toronto 7, N.Y. Yankees 3
Ugh. Not much to say about this one, except Bubba had absolutely nothing to do with it. He didn't start, didn't pinch-run, didn't pinch-hit, and was not a defensive replacement. Can't blame this one on him. :-P
Wright got rocked. He was driven from the game in the 3rd inning. Sigh. I really thought he'd turned around. Now not only our fifth starter, but fourth is in question. Our bullpen can't take much more of this.
On a lighter note...I was amused by this account of what was going on in the Yankees clubhouse before the game:
Not much going on before the game. The Yankees watched that truck evading police in Houston for a while on CNN. Everybody was getting on Bubba Crosby, who is from Houston.
"That your father Bubba?" Johnny Damon said. "My brother," Crosby replied. Mariano Rivera, of all people, couldn't take his eyes off the screen. Who knew the greatest closer ever loved police chases?
July 20, 2006: Toronto 5, N.Y. Yankees 4
July 19, 2006: Seattle 3, N.Y. Yankees 2
Tough loss. Randy Johnson pitched well enough to win, but the offense just didn't come through. You can't really blame the kids and castoffs; they did very well. It was big name veterans who failed to step up this time. Perhaps because of the late night, they seemed a little flat.
Bubba did not get into this game at all. Guiel was in RF, and his defense is solid, so a LIDR wasn't really necessary.
Joe decided he wanted to bunt in the 7th. As we've seen before, Guiel is a terrible bunter. Bubba is probably the best bunter on the team (he does bunting drills every day), but Joe went with Cairo instead. Miggy has a reputation for being a tough out.
Kaat thought maybe Bubba would be brought in to pinch run for Miguel Cairo, but he wasn't. Cairo's not particularly slow, and Joe was probably reluctant to put an outfielder in for an infielder, after the defensive strangeness of last night.
Joe's substitutions turned out to be brilliant last night. Today, they didn't work out. Putting Bernie in for the red-hot Nick Green proved to be a mistake. One that was rather predictable, given Bernie's numbers against righties. Still, Joe trusts Bernie's bat over Bubba's, which is probably why he didn't put Bubba in for Bernie on defense. With the Yanks behind, Joe wanted offense over defense.
Joe should have left Green in. Barring that, he'd have been better off putting Bubba in instead of Bernie. I know, many would think that a ridiculous idea. But Bubba's been hitting well since the break, and he's a lefty. Plus, all that was needed was a sac fly. Bubba can do that.
I don't think Joe realizes that Bernie is not the hitter he used to be. GOB is just guessing these days. His eye may still be good, but his bat speed is not, so he guesses. And he's not hitting righties well at all.
Gee, the one game Bubba stays on the bench, the Yanks lose. Take a lesson from that, Joe! ;-)
July 17, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 4, Seattle 2
Nice win for the Yanks. Bubba came in at the top of the eighth, as a defensive replacement for Bernie. That was normal and expected. What wasn't expected was that Nick Green came in for A-Rod.
There was an immediate buzz. A-Rod made three throwing errors during the game, and people wondered if Joe was benching him for that reason. But no, Joe said that wasn't it. A-Rod fouled a ball off his toe during the 5th inning, and it was swelling, so Joe told him to go ice it. Many did not believe that excuse, though.
Bubba batted once, in the bottom of the 8th, and struck out. At least he put up a decent fight: ball, called strike, swinging strike, ball, swinging strike.
Link of the Day: A Secret No Longer
It's an article about Chien-Ming Wang, but told mostly through the eyes of his friend, Bubba Crosby.
Wang flung his glove in frustration, the ferocity of the act stunning Crosby as much as the pitcher's 96 mph fastball jolts hitters suckered into settling in due to his smooth, breezy windup.
"All of us were kind of like, '(Whoa),'" Crosby said. "We were all surprised in a good way. Obviously it showed that he cared. He was battling for us because we had a beat-up bullpen.
"It was nice to see him get a little aggressive. I can see him sitting at the end of the dugout. He keeps to himself. I know he's quiet, but he's (ticked) off inside. But that day, a walk-off homer, he couldn't keep it inside."
SportsCenter is running segments about Make-A-Wish this week. Today's segment is about Steven Castro, a boy with Crohn's disease whose dream was to meet Derek Jeter.
He ends up meeting a lot of the Yankees, including Bubba. The segment ends with Bubba telling him that when he gets big and strong, maybe he'll join them as a Yankee.
It will air again at 11pm tonight if you want to see it.
Bubba gives Steven a bat, warning him, "Don't swing it in the house." LOL! That sounds like the voice of experience speaking. One wonders what mayhem young Bubba got up to in his misspent youth. ;-)
Joe Torre comes over to introduce himself.
Bubba mans the camera, taking a photo of Steven with Melky Cabrera.
July 16, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 6, Chicago White Sox 4
The Yanks have had trouble sweeping series this season, but today, they came through. The entire team was solid. It was one of the best games of the year, with stellar defense and clutch hitting handing the Sox the loss...the first time this year that the Pale Hose have been swept.
Johnny Damon has had a stomach bug since Friday, and Joe decided to sit him. Damon said he felt fine, and was disappointed to be out of the lineup. He admitted his legs still hurt from the cramps yesterday, and Joe said he felt Damon was "heavy-legged." With a righty on the mound for Chicago and flyball-prone Wright going for the Yanks, Bubba got the start in centerfield.
Many fans were less than enthusiastic about a lineup that included Cabrera, Guiel, Phillips, Cairo, and Crosby. Some went so far as to call the bottom of the lineup a "black hole." Apprehensions rose when the bottom of the order went down in record time in the 2nd inning, with Bubba striking out swinging.
The fears were unwarranted. In the end, production was evenly spread over the entire lineup. Everyone except Guiel got a hit, and only A-Rod had two. Jeter got his first homer in what seems like forever, and A-Rod hit a two-run dinger.
But it was the 4th inning that was the most fun. Two outs, bottom of the lineup coming up. No one's expecting much. Then Andy Phillips hit a double to left. Cairo scored him with a single to right. Then, on the fifth pitch, with a 1-2 count, Bubba laced a double down the line into the right corner, scoring Miggy. Way to come through in the clutch, Bubba!
Bubba's third and last at bat was in the sixth. He came up with two outs, no one on. It was a pretty long battle - six pitches, only one a ball. Bubba kept fouling off pitches, most of them low, if not in the dirt. Finally, he grounded out to 3B. (Hey, Bubba - it's okay to take a walk. Even with two outs.)
What a great game. The entire team contributed to the win. Even Guiel, the only one who didn't get a hit, contributed on defense. He jumped on what looked to be a sure base hit and ended up turning it into a fielder's choice by throwing out Thome at 2B. Very heads-up play at a critical point in the game, and great hustle. He saw Thome hesitate before running, and knew he had a chance. Sheff wouldn't have made that play, because he would never charge the ball like Guiel did. And Bernie wouldn't have made it, either, because he doesn't have the arm to throw it in like that.
And Bubba seems to have really turned it around. Maybe he just needed a few days off. Maybe that WebGem of a catch gave him a shot of confidence. Maybe it was just inevitable that he would bounce back; he is not a .100 hitter.
(Hee. ESPN's "last seven days" for Bubba right now is .500 / .500 / 2.000. What a slugger! :-)
In any case, it's been a great series for him. Flashing the leather Friday, a homer on Saturday, then a clutch RBI double today. He just seems a lot calmer and more confident. Not as visibly anxious. Here's hoping he goes on a tear. He's due. :-)
July 15, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 14, Chicago White Sox 3
An unexpected delight today, as the supposedly offense-challenged Yanks pulled ahead early and turned it into a blowout. And they did it mostly with small ball. There were four bunts...and according to Torre, none were called from the bench.
I wasn't expecting to see Bubba today with a lefty on the mound, but he came in at the top of the 7th. Johnny Damon had heat cramps in his legs, and with the Yanks already up 11-3, they sat him.
Bubba led off at the bottom of the 7th - and hit a home run! The first pitch was a ball, way high. Then a foul, and a swinging strike. The fourth pitch was a hanging curve, and Bubba smacked it to right center. No one was sure if it was going out or not, including Bubba. He didn't stop to look at the shot, hustling out of the box toward 1B. But it carried well in the hot, humid air, landing several rows back, well out of reach for rightfielder Jermaine Dye. Bubba had his fourth career home run.
And I had to laugh at the way AP wrote it up:
Even little Bubba Crosby got in on it, hitting his first home run since a game-winning shot last Sept. 19 against Baltimore.
BUBBA CROSBY: C-
Injured just when he might have gotten a chance to sub for Hideki Matsui or Gary Sheffield. He hasn't come through in sub role the way he has in past.
July 9, 2006: Tampa Bay 6, N.Y. Yankees 5
Bubba at the dugout rail, hoping in vain to get in the game.
An ugly loss. The Yanks went up 5-0 in the top of the 3rd, but were unable to hold it. Young Kris Wilson collapsed in the bottom of the 3rd, meaning a long row to hoe for the bullpen.
Bubba never got to play in this game. With the Yanks down by one by the 7th inning, Joe wanted to keep his best hitters in. Not only did Bubba not get in, Kevin Thompson, in right field, ended up being pulled in favor of Johnny Damon and Bernie Williams.
Just as well. This was such a downer of a game I'm glad he wasn't part of it.
Not a good note to on which to start the All-Star break. :-P
July 8, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 5, Tampa Bay 1
When Wang's on his game, there's groundball after groundball. He was on his game last night; he came close to pitching a complete game, in fact.
I wasn't expecting to see Bubba at all in this game, with tough lefty Scott Kazmir on the mound. But with the Yankees up 3-0 in the bottom of the 7th, Joe decided to put his best defender in CF, pulling Bernie in favor of Bubba.
Bubba's defense was solid but not flashy. (With groundballer Wang on the mound, there's little opportunity for flashiness in the outfield.)
Bubba got one at bat in the 9th. He struck out swinging on the fifth pitch. Foul, ball, ball, then two swinging strikes. At least he showed a bit of patience.
Nice to know Joe trusts Bubba's glove, if not his bat.
July 7, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 1, Tampa Bay 0
Talk about a pitchers' duel. Defense counted, and Torre's decision to put Bubba in CF proved to be the right one, even though he didn't hit.
Wright got into a jam in the first inning. The first batter, Lugo, should have fouled out to right, but Bernie in RF was just too slow to get there. Lugo eventually got on base with a single. Crawford then hit a monster double to CF. It went way over Bubba's head, and he played it off the wall (very wisely, I think). But Lugo thought he was going to catch it, and rather than head for home, held on 3B. Bubba faked him out, running after it as if he could catch it.
That would not have happened if Bernie was in CF. They'd have run on him without even looking up. But they had to respect Bubba's speed, and his arm.
And that turned out to be the key play of the game. The D-Rays gave him credit:
ST. PETERSBURG - Bubba Crosby raised his glove over his head as if he were going to run down Carl Crawford's first-inning drive to center field. He wasn't, of course. No one was going to catch that ball as it headed toward the deepest part of Tropicana Field.
But Crosby's heads-up fake was enough to freeze Julio Lugo between first and second base.
"A great deke," Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Enough to prevent Lugo from advancing past third and turning Crawford's RBI triple into a double.
And when the Rays couldn't score Lugo or either of the other two runners who reached third base later in the game, Crosby's play was enough to make the New York Yankees 1-0 winners against the Rays on Friday night in front of 25,584.
Leiter: "Ooh, Jae Seo better not do that too often to Joe West, the home plate umpire."
Kay: "Now, you think he did that because he was unhappy with the call or unhappy with himself."
Leiter: "No, unhappy with the call."
Kay: "Oh. That's the wrong guy to show up."
Leiter: "Although this stadium, even for Joe West who can be crabby once in awhile, this is a QuesTec stadium. So the home plate umpires...they're being graded. So for as much as an umpire like Joe West might want to not call a strike a strike, here they've got to make sure their percentages are high enough."
Kay: "Crabby? How does that manifest itself? Squeeze you?"
Leiter: "Take a look."
July 6, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 10, Cleveland 4
Pretty easy game. Randy Johnson cruised for the first six innings or so, then ran out of gas. But by then, the Yanks had such a solid lead it didn't matter.
Bubba came in as a defensive substitution in the bottom of the 7th, taking over CF from Bernie. He got one at-bat in the top of the ninth. Ball, swinging strike, then a looooooong out to right center. He whaled on it. But it's a big park, and it fell just short. Would have been a homerun in Yankee Stadium for sure.
Didn't do Bubba's batting stats any good, but I thought it was a positive sign. I think he's coming out of his slump, with the hit the game before and that almost-homer last night. Not only did he hit it hard, it was against Perez, a tough lefty.
Perhaps Joe was impressed, too. Bubba's starting in CF tonight, against Tampa. With Damon injured, and a huge park with slick turf, Joe decided to go with the good glove.
I just wish Bubba would relax and play his game. He had another "too much hustle" moment last night. He dived for a ball, which dropped in, then got past him. He did slow it down at least, but it would have been better if he'd played it on the hop.
Not to mention the risk of injury. Matsui broke his wrist diving like that. Bubba himself pulled his hamstring on dive like that. The Yanks had a solid lead and a shortage of OFers; there was no need for heroics.
I know he's fighting for playing time. Once Damon is healthy, it will be Bernie and Guiel platooned in right, and Bubba on the bench.
But I think it'll be okay. Torre clearly respects Bubba's glove. Bubba doesn't have to prove anything on defense. Joe never put Thompson or Reese in as LIDRs, but he always puts Bubba in. I think Bubba will get a chance to play almost every day, if only in the late innings. Plus, Damon being as old and broken down as he is, he'll likely be needed time off even when the current injury heals. If Bubba calms down and plays well, he'll get his chances to prove himself. It's what happened last year. They tried Womack and Lawton in the outfield, but ended up going to Bubba down the stretch.
July 5, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 11, Cleveland 3
During batting practice before the game, Bubba was chasing the batted balls in the outfield. He won over at least one Cleveland fan by giving them a ball after catching it. I didn't expect to see any more of him last night, since Torre once again left him out of the lineup.
As it turned out, he got to play a lot...though not under the circumstances I would have wished. Damon didn't take BP, because he felt some pain in an abdominal muscle. He soaked in the hot tub instead, but realized after his first AB that the pain was getting worse. Before going out to play CF in the bottom of the 2nd, he told Bubba Crosby, "Get ready."
Bubba was of course the only OFer left on the bench, Reese having been sent down to make room for Kris Wilson. He really had to get ready in a hurry, because Damon was leading off in the top of the 3rd.
Perhaps that's why he didn't do very well. Ball, called strike, ground out to 1B.
He came up again in the 4th. (Yes, the 4th. The Yanks batted around in the fourth, and Melky got his first career grand slam.)
When Bubba came up, there was one out. Miguel Cairo was on 1B. Ball, foul, ball. On the 2-1 count, Torre called for a hit and run. Bubba swung and missed - out in front of a changeup. But Cairo made it anyway. (He got a good jump, and Martinez is really awful at throwing out basestealers.) But the very next pitch was looped to CF. Cairo scored from 2B. RBI single for Bubba!
Jeter came up next and hit a single, moving Bubba to 2B. Giambi hit a sac fly, and Bubba moved to 3B. Then A-Rod hit a single. Bubba scored easily.
When all was said and done, the Yanks scored eight runs in the 4th inning.
Bubba struck out his last two times at bat, alas. He came up again in the 5th. Two outs, Cairo on first. Called strike, foul, ball, called strike.
And in the 8th: No outs, Cairo on 3B. Ball, foul, foul, ball, called strike. Sigh. I was hoping he'd get at least a sac fly.
Can't complain, though. It was a great night for Yankees fans. And Bubba did get a hit, an RBI, and scored a run.
There was a scary moment on offense. Bubba dived after a ball in the center-left gap, and Melky, also pursuing the ball, crashed into him. Melky managed to jump over him (kicked Bubba's shoulder a little), and neither was hurt. Phew.
Melky probably had a better shot at getting that ball. We all love Bubba's hustle, but he sometimes carries it too far. Trying too hard to make an impression and get some playing time, I think. At the time, there was no one base, the Yanks were up by 8 runs - and there were no OFers left on the bench. A little more caution and a little less hustle were in order.
After the game, they interviewed Melky, with Octavio Dotel doing the translation. They asked him what happpened on the play with Bubba. He gave a two-word answer that didn't require translation: "No comunicación."
July 4, 2006: Cleveland 19, N.Y. Yankees 1
Poor Shawn Chacon may have pitched his way out of the starting rotation last night. It was beyond ugly; it was hideous. The exhausted bullpen once again had to pitch more than six innings. Ugh.
Reese got the start in RF. Some saw that is a diss of Bubba, but I kind of wondered if that meant they were sending Reese down. I've noticed Joe likes to do that. He use his bench players when they first come up, and when he's about to send them down. I guess to get one last look at them, just in case.
Bubba did get to play eventually, but didn't help his cause much. He was brought in as a pinch-hitter for Jorge Posada in the 6th, basically because the game was over. He didn't strike out, but he didn't get any hits, either.
6th: One out, A-Rod on first. Called strike, ball, ball. Then a really weird lineout to 1B. It was hit hard, and Broussard leaped up and barely got a glove on it. He didn't catch it, though. He dropped it. But the umpire ruled it a catch, and Bubba was out. Just as well, I guess, since A-Rod was headed back to 1B.
8th: One out, A-Rod on 1B, Stinnett on 2B. Ball, then a soft ground out to 1B. A-Rod and Stinnett advance.
Not too terrible, really; he got wood on the ball both times. He was robbed the first time, and moved the runners up the second time. But his batting average is looking pretty scary now.
Bubba took over Damon's spot in CF, but didn't have to work too hard out there. Not much for the fielders to do when the pitcher's giving up monster homeruns. :-P
And the Yankees are officially in panic mode. Starting pitcher Kris Wilson was called up from Columbus today, and sure enough, Bubba's pal Kevin Reese was sent down. The Yankees also picked up outfielder Aaron Guiel off the Royals' trash pile. He's a stopgap - 33 years old, DFA'd from the pathetic Royals. He strikes out a lot, walks some, and has some pop. Not a very good player, but he hits okay against righties. Unfortunately, this probably means he'll be platooned with Bernie in RF, leaving Bubba on the bench. Unless he really stinks up the joint.
I'm reminded of last year, when the Yanks experimented with Tony Womack, Matt Lawton, and Ruben Sierra, only to end up using Bubba in the end...quite successfully, too.
Joe doesn't seem to remember that:
Bubba Crosby has had just 20 at-bats since being reinstated from the disabled list June 15, collecting only three hits in that time. Crosby remains on the bench for the Yankees, and Torre seems content to save him for pinch-running and late-inning defensive purposes.
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.
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.
July 2, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 16, N.Y. Mets 7
One minute, everything was going good. And the next minute, their offense exploded. - David Wright
What a roller coaster ride this game was. It started out horribly. Jaret Wright, who had been looking good his last few starts, had nothing last night. His sinker wasn't sinking. By the end of the 2nd, Wright was gone, and we were down 4-0. It was early, but given the problems the Yanks have had on offense lately, it seemed unsurmountable. Many fans despaired.
But Alay Soler proved to be as hittable as Wright. Jorgie offered the first ray of hope, hitting a solo homer off him in the bottom of 2nd. Villone shut down the Mets, giving the Yanks a chance. And they took it in the bottom of the 3rd.
Soler walked Nick Green, the #9 hitter, and that opened the floodgates. Walks, hits, and errors loaded the bases, then A-Rod hit a monster grand slam. Still, Willie didn't take Soler out. He wanted to spare his bullpen, and was willing to sacrifice young Soler. By the time the inning was over, eleven batters had come to the plate, and eight runs had scored.
It was pretty much a laugher after that. The Mets had clearly given up, while the Yanks, having been burned before with big leads, did not. They scored four more in the 4th, and three more in the 5th, including another homer, a three-run shot, for A-Rod.
Nick Green also hit a homerun. A Devil Rays castoff much-maligned for his .077 batting average, he had a monster inning in the 3rd. A walk, a steal, a two-run homer, a curtain call...the kind of debut young players dream of. Nick Green now joins Marcus Thames, Todd Zeile, Andy Phillips, and, yes, Bubba Crosby, on the list of players who homered in their first ABs as Yankees.
Bubba came in as a defensive replacement for Bernie in RF at the top of the 6th (and should have been brought in much sooner, IMO). In the 7th, Reese took over RF, and Bubba took over CF. He provided his usual sterling defense, though no heroics were required.
He got one AB, lining out to right in the 7th. No one else hit Feliciano, either, but I was hoping he'd get a hit. It's been awhile now.
It ended well, but this game really exposed Bernie Williams. His defense is terrible, and even when he hits well, it doesn't make up for the runs he gives away.
The top of the 2nd inning was a case in point. Two outs, one run in. Reyes hits a fly ball to RF. The way Bernie plays it, it's a two-RBI triple.
Bubba would have caught that one. It would have been inning over, one run scored. Instead, the inning dragged on. Thanks to Bernie's "defense," four more batters come to the plate and three runs scored that would not have scored with Bubba in RF.
Something similar happened in the 5th. A "double" to RF scored one run, which Bubba would have caught for the third out. By my count, Bernie's defense put four runs on the board for the Mets. They were not only running on his arm, they were intentionally hitting toward him. There's no way his bat can make up for it.
Even if Bubba's a deadweight in the lineup, he'd be better than Bernie. And he won't be a deadweight in the lineup, given a fair chance. Torre should just tell him he's starting from now on, for his defense, and it's okay if he doesn't hit. That would take some of the pressure off, and I bet he would hit.
And it's not just runs. It's the way Bernie's poor defense lengthens innings for the pitchers. Wright and Chacon can't go deep right now, our bullpen is overworked...and we have Bernie, giving away extra outs. All those extra batters faced, all those extra pitches thrown. We can't afford it.
Well, we actually lost a game yesterday, and the traditional wailing and gnashing of teeth has ensued. We need a starting pitcher! We need a slugging outfielder! We need relievers! We have too many holes and might as well give up now!
I am still not panicked. We're doing okay. We've won 7 out of our last 10, and 7 out of 9 of our last series. Last year at this time, we were at the .500 mark, and fourth in the division.
It seems like we are struggling, because Toronto and the Red Sox are on real hot streaks. But they won't stay that hot all season, and we'll likely have a hot streak or two of our own along the way.
One thing is rather troubling, though: the number of runners we are stranding. Our OBP is #5 in the AL, and the number of homers hit is #7. But in runs scored, we are #12 - third from the bottom. We're getting on base, we're getting some big hits...but not at the same time.
Not sure if this is an actual problem or just a statistical fluke. We do miss Hideki and Sheff, no doubt, but we scored plenty of runs without them last month. And we're actually winning more games without them. Fox put this graphic up yesterday:
Here's a look at the Yankees' stats with RISP:
AB AVG OBP SLG
Jeter 70 .357 .489 .486
Damon 55 .345 .394 .564
Rodriguez 88 .295 .442 .523
Cairo 31 .290 .290 .323
Posada 67 .284 .433 .463
Giambi 60 .283 .494 .750
Williams 64 .266 .316 .328
Cabrera 46 .261 .382 .326
Phillips 43 .256 .277 .419
Stinnett 17 .235 .381 .412
Cano 75 .227 .268 .320
Crosby 16 .125 .176 .125
July 1, 2006: N.Y. Mets 8, N.Y. Yankees 3
Bubba starting: Bubba Crosby was thankful to be in Saturday's starting lineup. It meant the outfielder could warm up his once-ailing hamstring a little bit easier.
Since being activated from the disabled list on June 15, Crosby said he's had more trouble getting ready to come in late in games.
"I used to be able to take half an inning [to get ready]," Crosby said. "If I knew I was going in in the eighth, I would start getting loose in the seventh. Now I get moving around in the fourth.
"It's a lot easier [starting]," he added. "I know what time the game starts, so I can start moving around."
June 30, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 2, N.Y. Mets 0
A classic pitchers' duel between El Duque and...just about the entire Yankees pitching staff. ;-)
Luck just doesn't seem to be with the Yanks this year. Last night, at long last, the weather showed all clear for the night. It seemed we'd finally have a game with no threat of a rain delay. Hah! Out of the blue, a line of strong thunderstorms bringing heavy rain descended on the Bronx. Weather.com was still saying it wasn't raining, even as buckets came down and the radar showed ominous splotches of red and yellow as well as green.
There was a rain delay of over an hour, which took Moose out of the game. Villone came in for him, and gave up a hit to Endy Chavez, ruining the no-hitter. However, I forgave him when he got it back by picking off Chavez at first. He worked really hard on it, changing his timing, using the slide step, and just keeping at it until the payoff. Great stuff.
To my amazement, Proctor and Farnsworth also pitched well. And Mo, was, well, Mo.
I can't really complain about playing Bernie this time. He went 2 for 3, stole a base (so lackadaisically that even Torre commented on it, but it worked), and scored a run. And he wasn't a liability in the OF, mainly because hardly anything got out there.
Bubba came in for Bernie at the top of the 8th. He really didn't help the Yanks yesterday, I'm sorry to say. He was brought in for defense, but nothing was hit his way.
Bubba came to bat at the bottom of the 8th. Jeter led off with a double. Giambi struck out, then A-Rod flied out. (To scattered boos. Short memories these fans have.) Posada was intentionally walked to reach Bubba. Alas, Bubba didn't make them pay. He took one ball, then popped out to 3B on the second pitch. Again, he threw his bat hard to the ground in visible frustration as he ran it out.
To be fair, Giambi and A-Rod didn't get the job done, either. Still, I'd hoped Bubba could bring Jeter home. A contact hitter can often hit pitchers a slugger can't. Bubba was over-anxious, I think. Trying too hard. He needs to be more patient at the plate. He has a good eye and quick hands. He can afford to take more than one pitch.
I can understand why he's so wired, though. Bernie is hitting well from both sides now. And Andy has taken over at 1B. That means Giambi DHs. Which means Bernie can't. So Bernie is getting the lion's share of starts in LF, when it was supposed to be Bubba. The only way Bubba is going to get more playing time is if he starts hitting better than Bernie. Or better than Andy.
Bubba gets another chance today. Torre is starting him in RF. C'mon, Bubba! Please start hitting, so the Ghost of Bernie Williams can be laid to rest on the bench, where it belongs.
On another subject...the Middletown Times Herald-Record has a nice article about Miguel Cairo.