Sunday, August 08, 2004

Today's game

Watching the game at home, due to family business and D having work related deliverables I gave our tickets away. Beautiful day for a ballgame, weather's perfect in the low 80s. Would have been a great day to take the ferry up.
On to the game...
Ist inning
Leiber appears to have good downward movement on his pitches. Tough play to Jeter's right and a high off balance throw to Olerud, but Olerud makes a perfect jumping catch and tag. Another ground out and a tapper in front of the plate handled by Leiber for a 1-3 and the inning is over. An economical 14 pitches.
Yankee half
Just complaining that Bernie batting in the 6 hole with the bases loaded is a shame, as his power numbers are down this year, when he jacks Bautista's 3 pitch into the right field bleachers. Just like that Yanks up 4-0.
2nd inning
Leiber continues to have good movement, though Delgado took the first pitch of the inning to death valley for a double. Hinske's single to left makes the score 4-1.
But two more tappers in front of the mound and a strikeout end the inning.
Yankee half
Michael K waxes poetic "cerulean blue skies..."
Wilson singles up the middle and Lofton shows his 80, err, 36 year old legs can still move by legging out a single on a tapper up the first base line that Delgado simply holds in his hand after running down the line to grab it.
Jeter follows, and Bautista demonstrates why he's chasing Zambrano's record of 96 batters walked. Jeter grounds into a DP (6-4-3) and the inning is over.
3rd inning
Woodward strikes out on a nasty sinker, Rios taps another ball in front of the plate 1-3. And Catalanotto goes down 4-3. Olerud's a busy boy today.
Yankee half
Sheff looks uncomfortable today, grounds the first pitch to third (5-3). ARod's up, skies the fourth pitch to right-center. Matsui continues his hot hitting for the month of August and inside outs the fourth pitch up the middle for a single. Bernie works a five pitch walk. And Olerud (why didn't anyone pick this guy up?) drives a ball deep into right-center and both Matsui and Bernie score. Flagherty continues to show mad skills by finding new and interesting ways to strikeout. But the Yanks are up 6-1.
4th inning
V. Wells puts a ball right into Sheff's three quarters elevated glove (it's scary how he can't raise that arm). Delgado grounds out 4-3 and Matsui makes a pretty catch in the corner to get Zaun back to the tools of ignorance as quickly as possible.
Yankee half
Wislon strikesout.
Lofton singles to short left.
Bautista makes a nice play towards the third base line and throws across the mound to get Jeter out by a half foot.
Sheff (does Bautista cringe when he comes to the plate) sends a monster drive that slams into the facing of the left field upper deck, Yanks up 8-1. ARod's fooled, pops up to short center.
5th inning
Begins inauspiciously, Jeter commits (thanks to Kaye and his lackeys for jinxiing him) his first error in 46 games as he short hops a throw to Olerud which squirts out of his glove. And catchers interfernce (huh?) gets called on Flagherty (D we have to come up with a name for this guy) to put men at 1st and 3rd. Dave Berg strikes out, and Lofton makes a couple of nifty plays (right-center and then left-center) to close the inning out.

Mid game commentary
The Jays look flat, Bautista looked defeated the minute Bernie got the slam and the hitters look like the are in a rush to get back to the bench.
Leiber appears to lose his downward movement as the game progresses, I wonder if this is a consequence of Tommy John surgery (Ulnar Collateral Ligament-UCL-reconstruction to us Docs). I'm going to check retrosheet for Leiber's year to date, but if memory serves he starts to become hittable in the 5th or 6th inning.

Yankee half
Matsui, Bernie and Olerud have quite at bats.
6th inning
Wilson misses a sharply hit ball by Catalonatto over his head, but Wells promptly grounds into a force and Catalonatto is retired. Delgado lines a double down the right field line and Wells holds at third. And now things get interesting.... Instead of having someone ready, we need to watch Zaun work a walk on 8 pitches to know it's time and then it occurs to Torre and Stott to get a reliever up in the pen. Wislon makes a couple of nice plays, including a diving stop to his left, to get Hinske and Gross out (4-3). Wells managed to score though, on Hinske's groundout.
But honestly, UCL surgery recovery can take from 18 to 24 months, Torre and Stott treated Leiber as a 6 inning pitcher how much better would his ERA, WHIP and K/IP be to date? Kaye and the other idiots insane commentary aside, Leiber has no business trying to match Brown's, Vasquez' and Duque's 8 inning trifecta of the past few days. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that he begins to elevate the ball after 5-6 innings. And, on another note, why does Quantrill get up in the bullpen? The pen's thrown 3 innings in the past three days and Quantrill's right leg is ready to fall off. You can't trust a 6 run lead to Proctor, Nitowski and Sturtze?
Yankee half
Wilson hits a squib, as does Flagherty, Lofton walks....bases loaded with no outs and Tosca finally pulls his beleagured Ace off the mound.
Kerry Ligtenberg comes into replace Bautista.
Bautista's line for the game: 5.0 I, 11 Hits, 8 runs, 1 walk, 3 Ks and 2 Hrs (Not very Ace like).
Ligtenberg comes in and gets the job done, making Jeter look bad and striking him out, getting Sheff to popout to Hinske and ARod to groundout to short.
7th inning
And (aarrrrgh) Leiber trots back out to the mound.
I mean whatthef... are these guy watching the same pitcher I am?
Olerud gets Berg out in foul territory, Woodward grounds to ARod (5-3) and Rios popsout to short right -nice play by Wilson.
Yankee half
Matsui popsout to left.
Bernie, battles back from 0-2 to 3-2 and then takes the next pitch up the middle for a single.
Olerud groundsout.
But Flagherty singles to left, Bernie to third.
And Wilson popsout to center to end the inning.
8th inning
And more aarrgggh, here's Leiber again. Torre and Stott seem intent to prove this rotation can play with the other big rotations (Cubs, Cards, A's).
Of course Leiber shows me what I know by inducing 2 groundouts and strikingout the oft booed Delgado on a beautiful change on the outside corner.
Yankee half
Quiet three up and down.
Many congrats on the bench for Leiber, who's pitched 8 innings for the first time in 2 years.
9th inning
The under utilized Paul Quantrill comes in to finish the game.
2 groundball outs sandwich a strikeout and the game is over.
Final line on Leiber 8.0 I, 5 HIts, 2 runs, 1 walk, 5 Ks, 0 HR total pitches 107.
Leiber's herculean effort and Torre's confidence in him have led to 4 consecutive 8 inning starts by the Yanks.
Kudos to Leiber on his best pitched game as a Yankee. Barring some heroics(or conversely some horrible outting) on his part during the playoffs, I think today's game may just have assured him that the Yanks will pick up his option for next year.
Well guys, not much controversy here, so not much to argue over. Let's talk theoriticals here, do you think that Torre and Stott left Leiber in today to send a message to the Boss and "those who shan't be named and live to the north of us"?
Was this a message to our rivals? And Torre's attempt to validate Cash's brilliance as a GM? Was it a political move?


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