Larry Mahnken and SG's

Replacement Level Yankees Weblog

"Hey, it's free!"

The Replacement Level Yankees Weblog has moved!  Our new home is:

Larry Mahnken
Sean McNally
Fabian McNally
John Brattain

This is an awesome FREE site, where you can win money and gift certificates with no skill involved! If you're bored, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out!


Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away.

May 27, 2004

Winning Ugly
by Larry Mahnken

Boy, did Derek Jeter ever need that game. Gary Sheffield, too. To illustrate how early it still is, Jeter's AVG jumped 11 points yesterday, and Sheffield's went up 16 points, and they gained 30 and 43 points of OPS respectively. To hit .300 this season, with the number of at-bats he's on a pace to get, Jeter has to hit .338 the rest of the way. Not likely, but not unreasonable, either, especially considering that he's only batting .200 right now.

Anyway, the Yanks got a win last night the hard way, falling behind early, coming back to take the lead, giving the lead away, then taking it right back. Jeter got three hits, Sheffield four and a homer, Matsui cracked his fifth homer this month, and Enrique Wilson continued to be surprisingly useful, smacking the game-tying single in the seventh.

The pitching wasn't very good, as Mussina struggled early, settled down for a few innings, and then lost it in the sixth. Without the rain delay, he might have ended up with seven decent innings, instead his ERA jumped back up to 5.00 and he got a no-decision. Quantrill made his 83rd appearance of the season and was terrible, giving up a homer to B.J. Surhoff to bring the Orioles within one, then following it with a single by Matos, who would eventually come around to tie the game. White was little better, allowing the tying run to score and leaving the game having retired only one batter and leaving two men on. Tanyon Sturtze proceeded to let both of those runners score before getting Rafael Palmeiro to ground out to first, mercifully ending the inning.

But the Yanks came right back. Godzilla led off the seventh with his seventh homer, and Ruben Sierra lined a ball off the top of Miguel Tejada's glove for a single. After Sierra moved to second on a high bouncer to short by Clark, Enrique Wilson slapped a 3-1 pitch to left field, and Sierra got home just before the tag, tying the game. Bernie got a pinch-hit single to bring Enrique around, Jeter doubled over the first baseman to move him to third, and after an intentional walk to A-Rod, Sheff ripped a single past a diving Palmeiro to bring two home.

Gordon shut the O's down for the next two innings, and Mo closed it out in the ninth. Tanyon Sturtze was given the win, and it was one of the least-deserved wins all seasons. The only reasons I can think of for the official scorer to give him the win are laziness or ignorance of the rules. Sturtze was the pitcher of record when the Yankees took the lead, but Rule 10.19 (4) states:
Do not credit a victory to a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when a succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain the lead. In such cases, credit the succeeding relief pitcher with the victory.
Gordon was the rightful winning pitcher, but Sturtze got it anyway.

And why was Sturtze in the game anyway? Hell, I would have brought Felix Heredia in before him. Sturtze should be used strictly for mop-up.

Gabe White's terrible performance probably got him sent back to the doghouse for a couple more weeks, though one has to wonder if not having pitched for ten days before Tuesday hurt his effectiveness. Well, Joe Torre certainly isn't going to wonder about that. He doesn't care about sample sizes, he likes to play the "hot hand", which is what he's doing at second base.

I can't really advocate that strategy. Like every player, Wilson is capable of being useful in short spurts, but you'll never know when those spurts will be. Cairo's clearly a better hitter than Wilson, and neither is a particularly good defensive second baseman. Cairo should be the one starting. In these past few days while Wilson has hit well, the Yankees have been better off, but how long are these past few days going to keep Wilson in the lineup after he starts hitting like himself again, probably by the end of the week? I suspect that when the Yankees get a new second baseman (if they do), they'll have ended up with worse production from second base by "playing the hot hand" than they probably could have expected by playing Cairo every day. It sure would make for an interesting study.

* * *

Computer problems abound; my PC keeps locking up, so my sister bought me a new motherboard and rebuilt my computer. But there are many other problems arising from the new setup, which we won't be able to fix for the next couple of days. Hopefully I'll get a blog post up tomorrow night, but don't count on it.