All Things Bubba

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

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A 406' Out

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, 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!

posted by BubbaFan, 10:44 AM


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