May 8th, 2008
53,227 fans settled in at The Stadium, and watched Mike Mussina, the story of the day today, in an overcast blustery day, with 15 mph winds, and watched on in awe as the Moose led the Yankees in a win over the Cleveland Indians, 6-3, breaking up yet another "sweep."
Mussina was "living on the edge" again today, painting the corners, and getting 8 straight outs in 4 shut out innings after giving up only one hit to the first batter of the game. Mike is consistently efficient, throwing a total of 86 pitches today, with 58 strikes, and grabbing three strike outs against the Tribe. His ERA is now 4.36.
The Moose is big as an outstanding ground ball pitcher, and thrived in The Stadium improving his stats to 5 wins and 3 losses, with a questionable loss to Boston. Skipper Joe Girardi left Mussina in against Manny Ramirez, giving up his lead, and costing him the win. In other words, he should be 6 and 2, and might be, but for a coaching error.
Mr. Mussina is coming off an injury year, and took a lot of heat by fans in the off season for his injury prone 2007 performance. Fans must have forgotten that, when healthy, Mike has 3 of the last 6 Yankee low ERA, last being in 2006. In his healthy years with the Yankees, Mike has gone over 200 innings each year, and led the team with the lowest ERA each time. He has defintely earned an apology by many fans, and some of those in the Yankees' Front Office.
Moose gave up a 3 run 5th inning due to a ever so "wall-shying Bobby Abreu." A fly ball to right went over Bobby Abreu’s head, as David Cone observed that, "Abreu is too slow getting to the wall." On a side note, Bobby missed another catch able ball in the 9th, again not getting back fast enough to catch the ball allowing for a one- hit double off of Mariano Rivera.
Jason Giambi showed a defensive prowess, as he robbed one in foul territory while leaning over the first base wall making a great snag, and marking the beginning a one helluva game for “The Ghiambino.” Jason went 1 for 3 with a homer, a run scored and two more RBI. He is a key to a questionable Yankee offense, and Giambi leads the team in Home Runs, along with Cabrera, though Jason has way fewer at bats than Melky. If the Yankees want more runs they had better have Giambi in the line up. His on base percentage is .324, with an OPS (slugging percentage with runners on) of .733 this season, for a career .944. Considering how many runners the Yanks have stranded this year, Giambi brings an important ingredient to the mix.
Today he upped his RBI to 20 this year, 2nd on the team, and one behind Yankee RBI leader Bobby Abreu, but with 48 fewer at bats. With only 86 at bats, Giambi is fourth on the Yankees in Runs Scored. Home Runs, RBI and Runs Scored is what Giambi brings to the plate, along with a high percentage of hitting with runners' on. All this explains why he is 3rd on the team in walks all while being 8th in total at bats!
Damon, Cano and Betimet
Johnny Damon improved his Average to a respectable 280, going 2 for 4 today, with a run scored and 2 RBI. Damon is on fire lately leading off the 4th with a homer. Afterward Jeter singled, Abreu then hit into a double play. Matsui followed up with another single, when Giambi hammered one into the triple decks giving the Yanks a 3 run 4th.
Robby Cano also improved his average going 2 for 3, with two runs scored and 1 RBI. Robby hit a hard line drive homer into the right field stands in the 7th extending the Yankee lead to 5 to 3.
Following Cano’s home run was a Wilson Betimet shot over the center field wall giving the Yanks a final 6 runs after a sputtering offensive showing last night, scoring no runs at all. By the way, Giambi sat it out last night. Betimet also improved his average going 1 for 3, 1 run, and 1 RBI.
Hiedki Matsui extends his hitting streak to 17 games, getting two more hits improving his average to .345, while scoring one run. He is second in the league in Batting Average.
Mr. Ohlendorf is making a case for himself to replace Joba in the set up role, coming in relief for Mussina in the 6th, allowing one hit in two innings work, giving up no runs. He threw 20 pitches over 2 innings with 15 strikes. That 94 mph slider “Ollie” touts was effective again today. Hopefully, he doesn't have to go in anymore extended inning showings. Not good for a youth, finding his way.
“Joba Cometh” struck out one, no runs in one innings’ work. He threw 12 pitches, 9 of which were strikes. An excellent "bounce back" after letting one go, and taking his second loss this season in his last appearance. A good sign for a budding star, looking to start.
Nuff said. Gave up no runs, and one “hit” that streaked over a “wall shy Abreu.” He kept his ERA a perfect Zero. "Just give him the Cy now."
A Lacking Defense in Right Field Hurts
In past games Abreu has pulled up on 2 fly balls in one game against Kansas, allowing for 2 runs in a Yankee loss, while tossing up two errant throws to the plate. He let another ball over his head, grazing off his glove, while failing to jump to catch the ball in Fenway Park. The Abreu - Boston malay ended up in a JD Drew home run, breaking up a Wang no hitter in the 8th. Abreu allowed more runs against Detroit with 2 flies over his head, ending up in a Detroit Sweep of the Yankees. 2 more today, again, over his head, ended up with 3 runs scoring as result, and one “Mad Moose” who was putting up a shut out into the 5th inning until the Abreu mishap. Paul O'Neil must cringe as shots are hit to right field now a day.
Abreu went 0 for 3 today, but on a positive note for Bobby, he is hitting .299 so far this year. Maybe the Yankees could consider Shelly “I'm Hungry, Give Me Some Dirt to Eat” Duncan in Right field, moving Abreu to platoon at first with his ever so golden glove; and swapping out as a DH. Or Damon in left, with Matsui in right might prove more beneficial, considering the offense.
On that note, the Yankees have not had a power bench, with clutch pinch hitting since losing "Ru-bang" Sierra several years ago. A power bench was definitely present during the Dynasty Years of the 1990’s, with the likes of Daryl Strawberry, Cecil Fielder, Tim Raines, David Justice, and later, Tino Martinez. A better bench could be the cure for a ailing Yankee Offense.
David Cone, now Yankee YES Analyst, stated that, “The new generation likes Joba’s emotions (after strike outs.)” Cone warns though, that baseball purist, “the old school”, does not like that emotion at all, as it shows the other team up. Mr. Cone must have forgotten about "Old Schooler", The Mad Hungarian, Al Hraboki! See Mad's video here, you'll love it! Of course this was all before Cones' time. Cone further opined that Joba is, “still learning how to act in the bigs."
Joba is one humble dude, check out his video Q-n-A here, with Michael Kay, and Jobas' High School Prom date. A must see for any Joba fan. His humility off the field is refreshing. Some in the booth who afford us their color commentary, constantly reliving the “perfect game” thrown in Yankee History, "showing up" the other teams' fans. Loved Cone on the mound, not so much in the booth.
I liked Al Leiter, and Jim Kaat in the booth. Conie will work into it, without being so critical of Yankee Players who show emotion. Just analyze the game, and the positions, not the players themselves. That same emotion becomes a weapon when they can't hit ya', a la The Mad Hungarian. Want to end emotion that shows up the other team? Start with Manny "The Hammy", who gazes at his work with out stretched arms putting himself above his team. I wonder what the Japanese fans thought of his act. Showing up pitchers should concern Conie more.
And a BIG welcome back to Bobby Murcer , recovering from cancer, who played with "Number 15....My Friend Thurm", in the 1970s, winning 2 World Series. Thurman Munson hit 550 in the 1978 World Series Championship, he still remains "number one in life, and in our hearts (-Murcer Eulogy)."
Mr. Murcer, you are one class act, sir!! I will always remember your home run after the Munson Ceremony, what a tribute!