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May 2, 2006

Do you really want to Sturtze me?
by SG

Last night, the Yankees lost a frustrating game to the Red Sox, 7-3. Chien-Ming Wang battled poor command through five innings, but left in a tie. Aaron Small made his return and pitched two mostly effective innings. However, after retiring Doug Mirabelli he walked Alex Cora on four pitches in the bottom of the eighth, which should have been a signal to get him out of the game. Instead, Joe Torre allowed him to pitch to Kevin Youkilis, who got hit by a pitch, setting up runners on first and second with one out.

At this point, the game was lost. Torre went to his personal favorite, Tanyon Sturtze. Based on a few good innings in 2004 and a decent first two months in 2005, Sturtze has become one of Torre's favorite relievers, belying a career of horrible pitching (784 innings, ERA+ of 88). Sturtze gave up a ground ball single up the middle that plated what would be the winning run. The ball was grounded to the third base side of second base, and Robinson Cano ranged over and the ball went under his glove. Derek Jeter, who the ball was closer to, was nowhere near the play. He does have two Gold Gloves though, so he's obviously a good defender. And this is not meant as a knock on Jeter, rather it's a knock on those who say he is a good defender.

Mike Myers then gave up a HR to David Ortiz, but for all intents and purposes that was meaningless, as the Yankees went out like wimps against Jon Papelbon in the ninth.

This was a team loss, but Joe Torre continued his horrible bullpen management. For some reason, Torre considers tie games on the road as a place to use his worst relievers. It already cost the team at least one game in Oakland, and may have cost them last night's as well, although I have no faith that the team would have scored again, not with Alex Rodriguez(.200/.356/.229 in his last 10 games) and Hideki Matsui (.156/.229/.219 in his last 8 games)mired in horrible slumps and Bubba Crosby being Bubba Crosby. I've said it before, but until Brian Cashman gets rid of Sturtze, Torre will continue to use him, and it will continue to cost the team games.

It sucked, but it was one game. I still think a healthy Yankee team is better than the Red Sox, and I am not too concerned about it. I'd like to see Rodriguez and Matsui wake up today against Josh "Respect the Game" Beckett.