Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Stop Drinking Protein Shakes You Meathead

I'd like to point out that after starting 2-0, tonight's loss makes it four in a row for me in games at the Stadium this year, dropping my overall record to 2-4. This is the first time I have ever lost four in a row in my career. I am on pace to achieve my goal, which was to hit every homestand on the season (I'm 5 for 5, with one extra game during the Cleveland series), but I'm thinking I need a series off with this losing streak I have going.

There are a lot of things I could say about this game. And I'm going to say a lot of them. But only one really, honestly, and truly matters. Joe Girardi is an idiot. Either that or he hasn't been paying attention, or a combination of the two. An absolute, total, 100% space cadet. Everything about the madness that was tonight aside, the Yankees were in this game, down one run, to perhaps the most dominant pitcher in the AL to date going into the 7th inning. Dan Giese, a starter, had allowed 1 run in his 3.2 innings of relief work on 65 (SIXTY-FIVE) pitches. Yet for some reason, Joe Girardi went to Jose Veras, then Edwar Ramirez, then Latroy Hawkins. NEWSFLASH JOE, each of these players stink! They have stunk before and they stunk again tonight, allowing SIX runs in the 7th. But you haven't been paying attention. You wanted to lift a guy who was being totally effective for guys who all they do is stink. Nice job.

Another thing you haven't been paying attention to is who is ACTUALLY pitching well in your bullpen. His name is Chris Britton. He now has a 1.29 ERA, but you NEVER use him. And Cashman can feel some of the love here as well, as he has inexplicably been sent up and down four times, all the while doing NOTHING but pitch well. Very well. Which is more than can be said for anyone else in the bullpen. If it were up to me, Chris Britton would be the set-up man right now. That's right, 87 mph fastball and all. You know why? HE GETS FREAKIN OUTS. It doesn't matter that Veras throws 96. It doesn't matter that Ramirez has a plus plus changeup. It doesn't matter that Farnsworth sucks. Oh wait, that last one does matter. They all SUCK. Use someone who can get outs. Chris Britton.

And nice job with the bullpen Brian Cashman. If you really thought Joba was going to start this soon, how did you not have something better planned for the bullpen when he did transition. As I wrote a few weeks ago, with Joba, the bullpen was a strength of this team, as everyone else is a middle reliver, and a somewhat effective one. But none should ever be thoughts for the 8th inning. And now they all are stinking that inning up in every way they can. If you can't find anyone to do the job now, how do you not at least have someone pitching who could possibly do it at some point getting work (Cox/Melancon). This bullpen has literally given away four games since Joba was converted. A lot of this falls on Cashman. I can take losing. But if I'm losing, I at least need something developing for the future (Cox/Melancon). This is losing with 6th inning guys pitching key innings late in games.

Back to Mr. Protein Shake. You are the manager. You can tell Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera that they don't have to swing at the first pitch in every at bat. If you've been watching (which you haven't), you'll notice that they haven't been getting the ball out of the infield with this first pitch hacking approach. So put the friggin take sign on. It is within your power. Again, you are the manager.

I anticipated Joba losses. I knew they were coming. But I didn't think they were coming in this kind of bulk this fast. Four Joba losses in 10 days is quite a bit. You have the two games in Baltimore last week, last night in Minnesota, and tonight. All games where he would have been pitching out of the pen, and instead Farnsworthless, Veras, Ramirez, Hawkins, and Ohlendorf (who I can't hate on too much because there clearly is a way he can be used effectively, but Mr. Protein shake doesn't undersand it) are blowing the whole thing up. This is very frustrating. But it is the right thing. However, inexcusable not to have something better ready on Cashman's part. And inexcusable on Mr. Protein Shake's part for not using his most viable options, and just sticking with the same stiffs.

15 comments:

from the bronx said...

i'll grant you that it was odd that giese was pulled when he was being effective and hadn't thrown that many pitches, but i am not sure i understand some of these other criticisms. for cano and melky, you don't think the coaching staff has said anything to these guys yet? you don't think kevin long is in their ear every day, or that girardi has told them to be more discerning in pitch selection? of course cano and melky have been told to lay off the first pitch of the AB, especially when its out of the zone. cano especially, because last year the blue print for cano's success was to be patient at the plate. when cano was patient (second half of the year) he was impossible to get out. when cano was impatient (first half of the year) he was an automatic out. cano knows this.

as for the bullpen blowing games and you not wanting to move joba to the rotation until cox/melancon were ready to takeover the 8th inning... where is this coming from? i also think you are wrong about this. joba's timetable and cox's/melancon's timetable should have nothing to do with each other. with joba, it is about getting him to an innings threshold, with cox and melancon, it is about rehabbing from TJ surgery. Melancon is still throwing 3 or 4 innings at a time... clearly, the yankees are more concerned with his arm strength getting back to normal than with preparing him for his future role. and i believe all of this is to cashman's credit. if we want to win now and develop at the same time, there are some things we can do (like replace melky with gardner, or replace duncan with lane so duncan can go back to AAA and work on being more than a dead pull hitter, or DFA Hawkins and give alfredo aceves a chance to be the long man so that ohlendorf can be the one inning guy he's been prepared to be, etc).

but, again, i'm surprised by your comments. in the offseason, you were definitely in the mindset that developing for the future is more important than the 2008 season. my biggest problem with cashman has always been his inability to handle free agent pitching, but also his inability to walk and chew gum at the same time. he should take the steps i mentioned above (maybe not the aceves one, but the other two), but that still might not get us over the hump. if it doesn't, you have to console yourself with the knowledge that you did take a positive step forward for next year. you got joba's innings up so that he is ready to start a whole season. you got an 8th inning plan in motion with melancon (and don't sleep on humberto sanchez for next season, either), and hopefully you get rid of the bum you have stationed in CF. maybe you also get some positive steps from hughes and ipk, and maybe we see something from mccutchen and horne down the stretch. and next year we also get that much closer to andrew brackman.

i'm not a fan of losing under any circumstances, but if we're going to lose games i want it to be because we're taking steps for the future. one of those steps is putting joba in the rotation when he is ready for it, regardless of where melancon and cox are in their seasons. it is to cashman's credit that he is sticking to that part of the plan.

the gm at work said...

The cause of many great PF posts would be Yankee losses (preferably close) in winnable games while he is sitting at Yankee Stadium. Most of the best are written out of frustration between 12:30 and 3:00 AM. Of course, this post is no exception.

The Giese thing is absolutely strange. Sixty-five pitches is not a lot. Eighty? Okay. Sixty-five is weird, unless he was working on short rest (was he?).

I wrote earlier this year, probably repeatedly, that the Red Sox starters (and manager) must maximize their innings pitched because each inning pitched by Lester, Buchholz, Matsuzaka, and Wakefield is one less inning thrown by Timlin, Lopez, Timlin, Delcarmen, Lopez, Okajima, Timlin, Lopez, and Timlin. The same goes with the Yankees: Their bullpen (especially without Chamberlain) is not deep, hence the four Joba Losses in ten games. There are a lot of guys who absolutely suck, with Latrine (surprisingly not Farnsworthless) headlining the bunch.

I don't know enough about Cox and Maricon to make any judgment on them. Both are recovering from TJ surgery? And Bronx, is Maricon projected to be a starter? I always thought he was a reliever. Either way, I'm sure the Yankees don't want to Cla Meredith these two guys, rushing them to the majors to fill a gap, only to realize they're not ready by seeing them get lit up. It's not good for the team in the short-term (though it might be better than pitching Latrine), and it's not good for the team in the long term (messing with the young guys).

I'm surprised so far this morning by Bronx backing off slightly from his justified "They're not paying $200 million to rebuild" position, and by Pat calling out Cashman for poorly constructing this bullpen.

from the bronx said...

yeah, i kind of thought pat was just a little fired up after watching a tough loss from the seats. still... he should know better.

some of these so-called "joba losses" aren't really fair. not to defend farnsworth for giving up a run in minnesota on Monday, but pettitte was staked to three leads in that game and managed to blow all of them. if anyone is the goat, it was pettitte. the whole point of putting joba in the rotation is recognizing that starting pitching trumps relieving, so it seems kind of silly to be blaming relievers for losses when the starting pitchers can't keep the team ahead.

in answer to your questions, cox and melancon are both recovering from TJ surgery (like humberto sanchez and andrew brackman), and the yankees have no plans to make melancon a starter. he was a closer in college, and the yankees drafted him thinking he'd come out of the pen. the reason they're throwing him in 3-4 inning stints (14.2 innings over his last 5 outings) is to build his arm strength, which is a big part of the rehab process, supposedly. i don't think the yankees are worried about calling up melancon and damaging his psyche. the guy is a pitbull, and the people that like joba for his intensity will LOVE melancon. i think his rehab is the prime concern, and the yankees will let the rehab process dictate where, and how much, melancon pitches.

i'm not backing off the "we're not paying $200 million to rebuild" position. maybe i'm not being clear about that. this is cashman's team. he's the one that didn't sign off on IPK + Melky + b-level prospect for Santana (he has also said publicly that offer was on the table). if hughes and ipk were lighting the world on fire, he'd deserve the credit. as it is, we're dealing with a $200 million disaster (albeit, one that is still a game or two ahead of last year's playoff team). my point was that if we have to suffer through one of "those seasons," i want to make sure we are doing some things to make next year better. right now, some steps we could take to get better now and for the future would be to demote duncan and promote gardner.

its also worth restressing that the AL East hasn't gotten away from the Yankees yet, and that some of the things that happened last season to resurrect the season could still happen this season. Last year, the rotation stabilized, which it can still do. Wang has had 4 or 5 shaky starts in a row, Pettitte is traditionally a "second half-pitcher" (although it remains to be seen how his endurance holds up after he's been outed as drug cheat), and in a few weeks Joba will be able to give us 7 or 8. Last year, the offense also took off during the summer months when the lefty hitters finally started to earn their money. This season, we've been without Posada, Jeter has been struggling since getting hit in the hand, Cano is not hitting, and Brett Gardner is waiting for a chance to demonstrate what I have been saying for the past 9 months: he is much, much better than Melky Cabrera. Some or all of these things can change, and that will do a lot for the Yankees' chances. Last season, Joba came up and shore up the bull pen. This season, we could see contributions from JB Cox, Melancon, and possibly Horne and McCutchen. Last season, and a lot of people forget this, the Yankees had a six week stretch where they played miserable teams. From July through mid-August, they were unstoppable. The Yankees have a pretty similar schedule coming up for the next month or so. 16 games against KC, San Diego, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Texas before the AS Break, and 11 more divisional games before the AS Break. It will be possible to make up some ground over the next 6 weeks.

That said, some changes do need to be made.

Pat F said...

bronx,
you missed my point. farnsworth, veras, hawkins, and ramirez literally all suck. they have zero talent. zero. if you are the general manager of a baseball team, and you know that you are going to be losing your dominant set up man to the rotation (the right move) you need to have something in mind to replace him. one is to find someone who doesn't suck (again, farnsworth, veras, hawkins, and ramirez wouldn't be the best pitcher for above average high school teams right now), and two is to have something in place in the bullpen that is making us better for the future. sure, it isn't the end of the world right now, because at least we are doing something right with joba. but finding someone better than these stiffs is not difficult. it isn't. and if you aren't going to go that route, at least get someone up who can, and get them experience for the future. doesn't have to be cox and melancon. believe me, i'm very well aware of their respective situations, and am not saying it would have to be them. but anybody, anything. go find someone off the scrap heap who could MAYBE help us in the future and it would be more productive than the bullpen right now. and that is the problem. not productive. these guys can't help us in the future. and they can't help us right now. farnsworth SUCKS. veras REALLY SUCKS. ramirez SUCKS. and hawkins REALLY REALLY REALLY SUCKS. hawkins should be dfa'd. right behind him should be veras. right behind him farnsworth. and right behind him ramirez. this is PRODUCTIVE.

i can handle losing for rebuilding. but this is losing for losing. yes, joba to rotation is great. how about getting something ready for when he does so we don't waste our time.

on cano and melky, if in fact the coaching staff has been in their ear (i'm not sold), they are THE COACHES. they have FULL POWER. if you tell cano not to swing at the first pitch, and he continually does it, BENCH HIM. is cano running this team?!!???!?! when i played basketball, and i didn't do what i was told, I GOT MY ASS SAT DOWN ON THE BENCH. so GRAB YOUR BALLS GIRARDI, and BENCH THE KID.

off topic, and i hope it doesn't side track us, but i have to ponit this out. melky + ipk + a mid-level prospect for santana and $126 million? you would have taken this deal? have you watched santana pitch this year? in the national league? the mets win the games he starts yada yada i know. he's not nearly the same santana he was two years ago. he wasn't last year, and he hasn't been this year. i'd much rather wait to see what kennedy could be and SAVE ALL THIS MONEY that the mets are wasting on this guy. (also, that b level prospect was rumored to be someone of significance, so i want to see what they can be too). not trading for johan santana is the best thing cashman has done since he's been here, outside of implementing the youth movement.

the gm at work said...

Pat,

I understand what you mean about DFAing half of your bullpen. I do, I honestly do. I feel the same way about Timlin and Javier Lopez. But do you REALLY think the independent Atlantic League, the Japanese league, and the Israeli league (that's just to get Kaplan talking today) have better alternatives?

Take a step back, brother. Every team in baseball has a crappy back half of the bullpen. There are not enough good pitchers in baseball to fill thirty rosters. It's just the current state of the talent pool. Every team has a Timlin or a Latrine Hawkins. The job of the manager is to make sure that their damage is minimized.

I'm glad to see you're no less fired up twelve hours later.

from the bronx said...

we can't evaluate the trade for johan just yet. you very well may be right, and i tend to come down on the side of those who didn't want to trade for him, but its too early to evaluate that deal. all i'm saying is that it was cashman's decision, and as of right now ipk and hughes have 0 wins between them in 14 starts, while santana is 7-3. and you're coming down a little hard on the bull pen. hawkins should be dfa'd, veras should be sent down, we disagree about farnsworth, but edwar has only had a couple shaky outings all year... they just have all come in the last week. he's still got a 2.81 era and a 15:9 k:BB ratio. its not mind boggling, but its not bad either.

the season is still young. get a hold of yourself.

from the bronx said...

one more thing, and it is about brett gardner...

two months into the season, this is how Gardner ranks among international league players in some significant offensive categories:

First: stolen bases (20), walks (39), sac bunts
Second: runs scored (42), triples (7)
Sixth: OBP (.403)

not bad for only 55 games played.

mr.h said...

I have to agree with DV on how the Yankees BP troubles wouldn't be so magnified if the starters lasted longer. The Sox BP sucks a bunch too. But they're not alone, a lot of teams have at least a few relievers capable of blowing a game about half the time they set foot on the mound. The key is making sure these shitty middle relievers don't have to eat up so many innings, especially in the same game.

Sure, even on good days starters might only last 6-7 innings. But one set up man can't be that hard to find right? I wouldn't be surprised if the Yanks (or even the Sox really) make a deal for someone like Fuentes, Rauch, Sherril, or some other out of contention late inning reliever that will let the others settle into their less important roles.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts:

On the one hand, DV and Bronx are right here. Pat can go off about the Yanks bullpen, but there's really no one else out there.

On the other hand, Pat also makes a legit point and I think people are overlooking this.

You know that a lot of Yankees relievers suck. How much do you have to lose by getting rid of them and trying someone else? I don't think you have much to lose. You might as well start taking fliers on minor leaguers or free agents now, so you can see if you can find something by the end of the year. What doesn't make a lot of sense is keeping Hawkins on the roster. Just bring up or sign anyone. Who knows, you may get lucky.

-Bandi

Pat F said...

mr. h, bronx, and dv,
mr. h hit it right on the head. ONE SET UP MAN????? can you find that???? just one???? i don't care if the rest of the BP is as bad as farnsworth, veras, and hawkins are (three worst relievers in the game), but how about one set up man? just one? either that, or let a kid who might be able to help you in the future get the innings for experience. that was my point. i understand bullpens suck in general. but you can find one set up man. or you can find a kid to do it. not that hard. nice job cashman. nice job girardi (britton can at least get outs).

Pat F said...

bandi,
right on the head. absolutely right on the head. great spot.

the gm at work said...

The hothead in me has no problem with that, actually. It would send a message of "if you suck, you get fired." You know, like in every other job in the United States of America except for in the public sector, the administration of NESCAC schools, the title of NCAA Compliance Coordinator at the University of Albany*, and the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball.

*Long story

Anonymous said...

Mike Mussina 9-4!

Wouldn't it be amazing if this was the year he won 20 games.

-Bandi

Anonymous said...

Also, thoughts on Okajima last night. I was distracted by losing at poker last night so I was only partially watching. Pretty much more of the same- not awful, but nothing to indicate to me that you would ever want to insert him in the game with runners on base.

-Bandi

Craig said...

Bandi:

I thought Oki was fine last night, he surrendered a lead off single but then came back to K the next two guys, then got out of the inning on a nice play on a tough one hopper by Lowell. He was much better in terms of command then he was in Baltimore on Monday.

I really don't understand why people around here are so down on Oki, especially in light of Pat's post about the Yankees bullpen struggles. He put up a 2.22 ERA last year while striking out nearly a batter per inning, putting up a great K:BB rate, and keeping the ball in the yard, all of which translated to a 214 OPS+. He has done pretty much the same thus far this season, with an identical 214 OPS+.

He did struggle with inherited runners early this year, but Fancona has been better lately about letting him start his own innings. The Yankees would kill for Okajima right now, and the Sox are lucky to have him.