All Things Bubba

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

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Is it Halloween already?

September 24, 2006: Tampa Bay 11, N.Y. Yankees 4

Because this game was a horror show.

Once again, the Yankees struggled to deal with an URP (Unknown Rookie Pitcher). This pattern has become so obvious that Joe was actually asked about it in an interview today. He got quite testy, saying that the Yankees' opponents would be hard-pressed to find new rookie pitchers in time for the post-season.

But it wasn't just the bats that were sluggish today. Moose wasn't at his best. In particular, he had a really rough fourth inning, giving up six runs. Only two were earned. But despite the error on Jeter, the runs were Moose's fault. Jeter may have made a bad throw, but he didn't make Moose give up a wild pitch, three singles, a walk, and a double.

Speaking of the error...Jeter did make a poor throw, but I think another first baseman might have caught it. Sheffield was not only pulled off the bag, he fell over awkwardly trying to reach for the ball. Unlike yesterday, he made some mistakes today. I don't know if he can be trusted to play first base in the post season.

As if things weren't bad enough, Moose was hit by a comebacker in the 5th inning. He left the game with a bruised left thumb. Villone, the usually reliable Rasner, and lefty specialist Myers took over, and gave up another five runs among them. Ugh. If I were in charge, I would not carry Villone on the post-season roster. He's not just burned out. He's a mediocre pitcher who went on a hot streak for awhile there. He can't be expected to repeat it.

But of course, if I were in charge, Bubba Crosby would be patrolling the Yankee outfield, not golfing in Houston. Joe was asked about Villone's chances of making the post-season roster, and seemed shocked that anyone would think he wouldn't make it.

Beam and Karstens finally stopped the bleeding, but since the score was 11-3 by then, the Rays probably weren't trying all that hard any more.

I know, I know. The Yankees have already clinched. But they still have home field advantage to play for. That might not be as important in baseball as it is in football, but it still matters. I can't help but think that if we'd had home field advantage against the Angels last year, we'd have beat them. The infamous collision between Bubba and Sheff...the crowd noise was so deafening they couldn't possibly hear each other. (Stupid thundersticks should be illegal.)

I'm not too worried. It's natural for teams to slump once they've clinched a post-season berth. The Yanks have played hard all year, and deserve to relax a little. But this game did highlight some possible concerns.

The starting pitching is shakier than I like. Wang is probably our ace. Randy has been inconsistent all year. Moose appears to be struggling (perhaps because he's tired?). Wright is also inconsistent, and he's only good for five innings.

Sheff may not be ready in time for the post-season. At first base or at the plate. He did get his first hit today, but he doesn't look like the Sheff of old yet, and he may be weeks away.

Giambi was out of the lineup. Torn ligament in his wrist. He says he can play injured, but how well? He's been in a heck of slump.

Speaking of slumps...Damon went 0 for 5 today. I don't know if he's still injured or just tired, but he hasn't been hitting well. We should probably rest him. And Joe should consider a backup CFer who isn't named Bernabe. Just in case.

I guess what I'm really worried about is that Joe will fall back into his old habit of favoring veterans, even if they are slumping, injured, or past their primes. If we carry Giambi, Sheff, Bernie, and Matsui, all basically DHs, we're going to be a one-dimensional team. I'd like to see some speed and defense mixed in. Doesn't look likely. Similarly, I'd like to see Rasner, Bruney, Karstens, and/or Veras instead of Villone and Myers. Again, not likely. Sigh.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:57 PM


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