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.

July 20, 2005

by SG

Learning nothing from Mike Stanton's last pitch as a Yankee, Joe Torre blew another one tonight. I'm too annoyed to write anything more about the terrible decision to pitch Wayne Franklin in the 8th inning of a 1-0 game in Texas.

Earlier tonight, I criticized Joe Torre's decision to bring in Wayne Franklin to preserve a 1-0 lead in the 8th inning. Here was the situation that led up to this point.

The Yankee offense mistook Chan Ho Park for Roy Halladay for seven innings, managing just five hits and no runs. Mike Mussina struggled with his command, pitching the most painful shutout baseball I've ever seen, needing 109 pitches to complete six scoreless innings. Fresh off the DL, Felix Rodriguez pitched shutout seventh inning.

Finally, in the 8th, the Yankees scratched out a run when Robinson Cano drove home Bubba Crosby from second for a 1-0 lead.

Torre had an interesting decision to make for who would pitch the 8th inning. Mariano Rivera and Tanyon Sturtze were not available to pitch last night, due to lots of work over the past week. This made Tom Gordon the closer, which meant it was not possible for him to pitch before the 9th inning, since closers aren't supposed to do that. This left as slim a lead as possible to be protected by one of 3 people. Scott Proctor, Edsel Groom, or Wayne Franklin.

We've seen Proctor enough to know that right now, his stuff doesn't match his results. He pitched with a bigger lead yesterday and could not find the strike zone. That left the choice of the two lefties, Groom or Franklin. With David Dellucci, Michael Young, and Mark Teixeira due up, Torre felt that Franklin was the better choice.

Franklin is a 31 year old journeyman, with a career ERA of 5.47. This year, in Columbus, he has pitched in 38 games and 32.2 innings, in which he's allowed 29 hits, 15 runs, 3 HR, 11 BB, and 39 K, for an ERA of 4.13. He has one job, and that is to get lefties out. As his innings pitched total shows, he rarely pitched to anyone but a lefty. Even then, they hit him at a .277 clip. From 2002-2005, lefties hit .249/ .310/.480, for a .790 OPS. So, in his job as a lefty specialist, lefties hit him about as well as Jorge Posada, Eric Chavez, and Dmitri Young have hit all pitchers this year.

Groom's splits aren't a ton better, but they are better. .261/.304/.406 for an OPS against of .710.

So this was my first issue, the choice of Franklin over Groom, although it wasn't as bad as Stanton over Rivera in Baltimore.

What happened next was where I took issue. Dellucci, the only lefty due up, singled. Michael Young singled. This brought up Mark Teixeira, who has hit 25 HRs this year. He smoked a ball to Alex Rodriguez that could very easily have been a 2 run double. However, it went right to Rodriguez for a double play, and brought up Hank Blalock.

At this point, there were 2 outs and a runner on 3rd. There were only 4 outs left to win the game. Granting that Blalock struggles against lefties, Franklin had been getting hit hard, and I would have preferred to go with the best pitcher remaining against Blalock, since THIS WAS WHEN THE GAME WOULD BE DECIDED. There is no sense in saving your closer for a ninth inning that may never come, while a pitcher who is lucky to be in the major leagues is pissing away your lead.

Anyway, as a wise man once said, "It was a loss. It sucked." The Yankees will try to win the series behind another pitcher who doesn't belong in the majors.

And, if you've seen Derek Jeter's bat, please call Brian Cashman and let him know.