The Yanks Take The Rubber Game

July 24th, 2011 by Jane Heller

Before I even get to the game and our players, what is up with Oakland pitcher Joey Devine? He was anything but divine the last couple of days.

Yesterday I chalked up his wildness to sweat. Today? He was just ridiculously wild. You can’t keep throwing behind hitters and call yourself a major leaguer.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, I need to say a word or two about Eduardo Scissorhands.

Photo: Christopher Pasatieri/

I haven’t been a fan of his defense, but not only does he drive in runs with increasing regularity… he’s also an excellent baserunner. I like his speed and aggressiveness. There. I had to get that off my chest too.

Colon pitched well and I’m glad the Yankees scored some runs for him. (Keep up the homers, Grandy. And way to come off the bench, Andruw Jones.) He couldn’t get Matsui out but then neither could anybody else.

Which brings me to Dave Robertson. He’s been amazing, no question, and today was an off-day for him. But should we be at all concerned that he gets himself into trouble and then gets himself out of it? It seems pathological. Or is it just the tightrope that good closer-types walk because they actually like living on the edge?


And speaking of closers, um, Mo? Not a comfortable ninth inning there. And I can’t believe that two-pitch eighth had anything to do with it.

And finally, in case anybody missed it, there was an article about Kei Igawa in today’s NYT – a very long, very thorough, very depressing article. The guy didn’t pitch well at the major league level, granted, and the Yankees paid a lot of money to bring him over from Japan, probably because they felt they had to counter the Red Sox’s acquisition of Dice K. But seriously. Why has he been passed over time after time when pitchers with less talent are brought up? (Yes, I know. There are roster issues but still.) And why would Cashman say outright, “He’s been a disaster?” There had to be a more graceful way for our GM to express himself. If somebody said that about me, I’d be pretty upset.

Baseball can be a cruel business.

P.S. On the not-cruel-at-all side, Friend of the Blog John had mentioned the other day that his daughter was going to the game with her friend and the friend’s eight-year-old son, who would be seeing Yankee Stadium for the first time. Here’s a pic of him eating his first big-league sandwich. Looks pretty happy to me.


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21 Responses to “The Yanks Take The Rubber Game”

  1. Corinne says:

    Living in Syracuse, we’ve gone to triple-A Syracuse Chiefs games when they’ve played Scranton. One time, Igawa was coaching first base while Scranton was up, and the last time he was sitting in the stands with the speed gun, and keeping track of pitches. I felt kind of sad to see him, although I do recognize that there were money compensations for this. After reading that article today, I couldn’t help but wonder, in all that search for left-handed pitching, couldn’t we have given him a cup of coffee to see if he might have been a help – even as a reliever. I hope some other team offers him something before he returns to Japan.

  2. Jane Heller says:

    I agree with you that Igawa could have been given a cup of coffee this season, Corinne. As for his big contract, no one twisted Cashman’s arm to pay that much. I do hope he’s given another chance in the majors when his time with the Yankees is over. He’s paid his dues and deserves a shot at realizing his dream even if it couldn’t be in New York.

  3. Rachel says:

    Not sure if they showed this on TV or not, but DRob complained to the home plate umpire… seemed like he was unhappy about the balls… someone in the stands next to me said that they thought the balls were wet… and when he went into the dugout he apparently kicked the bench pretty hard in frustration. Then Mo comes on and has an equally difficult time. Coincidence? Maybe something else was going on? I’d prob believe that since it is kind of weird that two consistent pitchers have bad games at the same time against a not-so good team… but I guess you never know!

    I also read the article about Igawa. He pissed me off when he pitched for us, but I guess everyone deserves another chance… at the very least he does not deserve to be called a disaster. But Cashman has lacked tact on numerous occasions, as we all know.

  4. Nadine says:

    Too bad the Yanks lost yesterday, but today was a great game. I just love being at Yankee Stadium. And everyone we meet thinks we’re crazy, coming from Germany to watch 9 Yankee Games. I guess every guy at the ticket office knows us now, because the guy where we picked up our tickets told everyone. Maybe you saw us today!? A lot of foul balls came our way (right outfield). It’s just so much fun and I will miss it once we have to go back. Until then we try everything to support the Yankees! :)

  5. Jane Heller says:

    YES did show D-Rob going off in the dugout, Rachel. It was very Paul O’Neill-ish! I doubt the wet balls were the problem with both Robertson and Mo, since it only took Mo two pitches to finish off the eighth inning. And Robertson has put guys on base before. That said, I’m sure the conditions were tough during the rain. (Hope you stayed dry.) And yeah, being called a disaster can’t be fun. I don’t recall Cashman using the word to describe other bad signings (like Pavano).

    I wish I’d seen you on TV, Nadine, but I don’t even know what you look like! Send a pic. I understand how addictive it can be to go to a lot of games in a row, so I can imagine how you’ll miss being at YS when you have to fly back. Enjoy it all while you can!

  6. Barbara says:

    the game was a great way to get through a drive from my in laws in PA home to Boston. i had a radio with head phones because the car driver (sox fan) won’t listen to the yankees and i got to hear the whole game. it got nerve racking in the end but it sure made the trip go by faster and happier. i sure am glad that nunez does something good because there has to be some reason for him to be with the team. you can’t have a major league fielder make an error everyday. i like your nickname for him.

  7. John says:

    Wife, daughter and her friend and 8yr old son enjoyed game. They said it was beastly hot and humid with no breeze at all. Train ride from Ct was great.

    The boy was in awe of everything. He wanted to know everything about the scoreboard and his head keep turning between the field, the scoreboard and the TV monitor above and behind his head. My daughter explained everything to him and answered all his questions.

    They saw a good game with a little of everything.

    It would have been nice if Mariners could have won a game before coming to NY.

  8. Melissa says:

    I’m not a fan of Cashman’s people skills, but I have to correct something. The article said: “Asked last week to assess Igawa’s five years in the Yankee organization, General Manager Brian Cashman answered: “It was a disaster. We failed.””
    He didn’t say Igawa was a disaster, but that the deal was and said the Yankees failed. And he’s right about that.
    The article was depressing in many ways. Sad for Igawa. And what about his poor wife and kids who never see him? If any of you want to read about the culture of Japanese baseball, I recommend “The Meaning of Ichiro” by Robert Whiting. Apparently he’s written other books about it as well. I found it interesting to see how differently the two cultures think about this “game.”
    Though I do feel sad of Igawa, I also think he’s an adult and he made choices to do what he’s doing. I’m not sure why the Yankees won’t let him come up again, though I cringe when I think of his last stint.

    On to other things: Jane, I thought that about DRob yesterday also. Mo sometimes used to do the same thing. He’d come in with a big lead and give up hits until the lead looked in jeopardy, then he’d strike out the side. Could be the need for adrenaline.
    I am a fan of Nunez. He’s a great offensive player and I like his swing. I think he could have used another year or so in the minors to work on fielding. He doesn’t look as young as he is, so it’s hard to remember that he’s only 24. He’s had to switch between two positions and probably take practice at both for much of the season. Most of the Yankee utility guys over the years have been seasoned players who’ve had years of experience learning to play the different positions. So I’m willing to give him a break for now. But he does have to prove that he is willing to work at this and do better. And if he commits an error that costs us an important game I will not be responsible for the words that come out of my mouth.
    It’s been a tough week in NY with the high temps and humidity. Unbearable. Poor Joey Devine couldn’t find the plate. Paul O’Neill couldn’t help but giggle with each pitch.
    I have one more thing I’ve noticed. Not wanting to jinx anything, I’ll just say that a certain player who has a lot of hits in his lifetime, seems to have found his old form lately. Clutch hits with his inside out swing. I am confident again when he comes to the plate.
    John, loved hearing about the new young fan!!!

  9. Jeff says:

    Baseball can be very cruel. As for Robertson, I wonder if he went to the Kyle Farnsworth school of relieving.

  10. Jane Heller says:

    Really glad you got to listen to the game during the drive, Barbara. There’s nothing that makes the time go faster than a Yankees ballgame (especially a winning one). Sounds like those headphones came in handy too. Nunez has been awful defensively, but he’s shown flashes of real talent at the plate and on the bases.

    Thanks for the pic of John Robert, John. Sweet that he saw the Yanks win his first time out. I agree about the Mariners. I do not want them to pick our series to wake up from their slumber.

    True that Cashman didn’t directly call Igawa a disaster, Melissa, but how would you interpret if you were the player in question? I still don’t think the answer was handled well. I don’t remember Mo getting himself into trouble with hitters with the regularity that D-Rob does. What I remember about Mo, for the most part, is that he’s had a history of letting runners get on via bloops, broken-bat singles and the like. D-Rob walks far too many before he strikes everybody out. As for Nunez, I agree that he’s still young, but the question is do we really want to go down the stretch in important games with someone who does make costly errors? Some of his miscues don’t result in the opposing team scoring but they make the pitcher throw more pitches. He’s been terrific with the bat, so hopefully Mick Kelleher will continue to work with him. And yes, Jeter has been swinging the bat great!

    HAHA, Jeff. The good news for Yankee fans is that Robertson is much more versatile than Farnsworth, who just throws hard.

  11. Audrey says:

    I had a lovely long post all written out about yesterday’s game and how my family experienced it but somehow it got lost, even though I thought I had copied it just in case. So, since I have company coming in a couple of hours, here are the highlights:

    – Sometimes what looks like a problem turns into a better choice, such as when you miss a train because a certain male personage does not take directions well but the next one turns out to be a Yankee express that takes you right to the stadium with hardly any stops.
    – Curtis Granderson wants his name on every Yankee fan’s back as he proved yesterday when he hit that homerun right after I made a deal with my son to buy him a Granderson shirt if Grandy got either three hits or a homerun. He quickly ended the suspense with the long ball. Of course, if I buy for one I have to buy for all so that homerun wil cost me a hundred bucks. Loooks like Gardner and Posada will also be represented in Vermont.
    – The heat and humidity were almost unbearable yesterday and then the rain came quickly yesterday and I think it threw D-Rob off. Not only did he not like the balls, I don’t think he was liking the mound either. He does seem to pitch best under pressure so I guess when they put him in a non-pressure situation he just creates some of his own.
    – Daughter #1 was disappointed that Gardner wasn’t playing – we all were, actually – but Andruw Jones definitely pulled his weight. And Brett did play the outfield in the ninth. I was worried that we wouldn’t see D-Rob or Mo when the score was 6-2 but that situation was remedied. Only Daughter #2 missed seeing her favorite player, Posada.
    – As I look back, it was the perfect game to attend in person. It had everything – pitching, hitting, great defense (A couple of Grandy’s catches, Martin’s play at the plate and Tex’s game-ending double-play), drama, suspense and, ultiimately, victory. We got to see almost all of our favorite Yankees and broke the jinx of watching the Yankees lose when we’re in attendance. A very long day – up at six, out of the house by 7:30 and not home until 11 p.m. – but worth every minute.

  12. Bob Cerv says:

    Hoo-wee. It is hotter than a wildfire in Hades. And the humidity is MISERABLE. I wouldn’t blame any player for any mistakes over the past weekend. Had to play 2 softball games Thursday nite, and sweated out a few quarts…it was STILL 90 DEGREES at 11pm here! Notice how even Roy Halliday had to come out of a game last week, exhausted due to the H&H? Nothin’s fun when you can’t stop sweating…
    Having said all that, I was “privileged” to catch the top of the 9th on TV yesterday, and it wasn’t pretty. When Godzilla came up, runners already on 1st and 2nd, I was just saying “please don’t hit it out.” Sounded like he broke his bat on the swing, and STILL hit a line drive single to right. He was THAT hot. And that liner by DeJesus coulda been a game-tying (or game-losing) double…thank you, Tex…let’s get Mo a little rest tonight, shall we??
    My Natural Pessimism tells me that the stinking M’s will break their losing streak this week…but if our boyz can just win the series, gotta still be satisfied. As for Senor Scissorhands? Yeah, he IS frustrating… but if a major leaguer can hit, they’ll find a home…good-field, no-hit ballplayers are a dime a dozen, but NOT the reverse. For comparison…the Nats’ Ian Desmond (a SS) let the National League in errors last year as a rookie, but he hit well (and he had Adam Dunn at 1B). This year, his defense is WAAAY better…but his BA is down around .225. Truly a devil’s choice. Guess I’ll sit around here in East Hell, sweat off a few more quarts, and think about what’s better and what’s worse…
    Oh…and a quick P.S. before sign-off — happy to see those 3 guys make the HOF. Alomar was HUGE for the Jays in their back2back title years, despite his shortcomings…Gillick has been a GREAT G.M. — and I’m personally thrilled for Blyleven, having gotten to know him at a fantasy camp. Great guy; congrats, all…

  13. Jane Heller says:

    Yay, Audrey. Your jinx was broken! Really glad you and your family had a great time at YS yesterday, despite the long travel day and the heat and humidity. You did get to see a game that had everything, as you noted in your comment. (Sorry the other one got erased.)

    You sure do make me think twice about coming east, Dave. I love warm weather, but the sweating doesn’t sound very appealing. Maybe the heat wave will pass by the time I get there at the end of the week. And thanks for reminding me about the HOF inductions. Congrats to all.

  14. Audrey says:

    It’s better today, Jane, at least in VT. I think the temperatures are supposed to be more reasonable this week and next.

  15. Jane Heller says:

    Thank you for that, Audrey!

  16. Nadine says:

    Oh, just take a look at my facebook pictures. My current profile picture is the one with the Yankees Snoopy. ;) Can’t wait to go to the Stadium today, I’m probably going to buy everything in the store there. ;) It really is addictive. ;)

  17. Jane Heller says:

    Will try to find you on Facebook, Nadine. If you get a chance though, send along the link. Meanwhile, have fun tonight. I heard it’s raining in NY so I hope it stops by game time.

  18. Melissa says:

    Jane, I absolutely agree that Cashman did not handle the situation well. He seems to have lost all tact in the past few years and some of his statements have been shameful.

    My husband and I have always commented on Mo letting runners on base when he was more than 2 runs ahead. It hasn’t happened as much in the last few years because they haven’t put him in in those situations as much. DRob is a little worse, I agree.

  19. Jane Heller says:

    Yup, Mo has certainly given us palpitations over the years, Melissa – especially when he’s brought in when it’s not a save situation or in a tie game. Adrenaline seems to be the key!

  20. Nadine says:

    We’re friends on facebook. :) Nadine Karnowske…and yes, it’s raining. :( I really hope it won’t be a rain out, I would really hate to miss a game!

  21. Jane Heller says:

    Nadine, I just looked at your pics for the first time and they’re great! Love the one with Snoopy. I see the game is in a rain delay, so I hope they’ll play for you.