Sunday, July 11, 2010

Quality Is Not Joba One

Remember Ford Motor Company's old slogan? "Quality is Job 1." Well, quality was not Joba One last night.

Javier Vazquez again looked like the pitcher the Yankees were hoping he'd be when they reacquired him, putting his awful start to the season firmly into the past with 7 shutout innings against the Mariners in Seattle last night. Then Joba Chamberlain blew it in the 8th, showing no command, loading the bases, and allowing a grand slam.

The Yankees got a home run from Nick Swisher in the 3rd to give Javy a 1-0 lead, which he handed over to Joba, who should have been able to hand it over to The Man. But The Man remained in the bullpen as the slam left the yard. The Yanks did mount a comeback attempt in the 9th, getting 2 men on and thus the tying run to the plate, but Felix Hernandez finished the complete game. Mariners 4, Yankees 1.

Maybe Joe Girardi should have taken another one of Ford's old slogan's: "Ford's Got a Better Idea." The better idea would have been to bring in Mariano Rivera for a 5-out save. It's not like he's going to be overused, with the All-Star Break coming up. At most, he would have pitched just 2 more innings in the next 5 days.

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Today is the series, and 1st-half, finale, with CC Sabathia going against Ryan Rowland-Smith. Which is an entry in "Who's Who" going up against an entry in "Who's He?"

Reminds me of a joke Phyllis Diller used to tell -- she's still alive, and Saturday will be her 93rd birthday, but age and infirmity have led her to retire from performing. The Janeane Garofalo of her time, she liked to make jokes about her appearance: "I'm not mentioned in Who's Who, but I'm featured in What's That!"

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Speaking of Hernandez, why is he called King Felix? Sure, he's a really good pitcher, went 19-5 for an 85-win team last season, and at age 24 already has 65 wins with a "career" (better term to use in this case than "lifetime") ERA+ of a very strong 127. But he's never appeared in the postseason.

And there's no precedent for the name, either. At least when LeBron James, bum and idiot that he is, is called "King James," even though he's a consistent postseason choker, James has been a name given to a number of kings, including the man who was King James VI in Scotland before becoming King James I of England, sponsor of what became the defining Protestant text of the next 300 years, the King James Bible. (The Revised Standard or RSV set the tone for the 20th Century, and the New International Version or NIV seems to be the preferred for my generation and the one that's followed.) I can find no reference to a king named Felix in any country.

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Cliff Lee started for the Texas Rangers last night, and got rocked. At home. By the hopeless Baltimore Orioles. Nice trade, Arlington.

The Mets got only 4 hits off Tim Hudson of the Atlanta Braves last night. Three of them by Angel Pagan. Mike Pelfrey didn't get the job done. The Mets have begun their annual September Swoon in July this time. And Jose Reyes got hurt again. Seriously, when was the last time a New York baseball player was as overrated as Reyes? Probably never, because anybody who was, was so overrated before the ability of even New York's media to make a mountain out of a molehill on a modern, cable-news scale.

The Phillies did another extra-inning walkoff against the surprising NL Central leaders, the Cincinnati Reds. They were being no-hit into the 9th, but won it in the 12th. Looks like the Phils remembered they're the 3-time defending NL East champions, the 2-time defending NL champions, and a World Champion just 2 years ago. Now, if only somebody can beat the Braves... ah, but the Mets aren't somebodies, they're nobodies.

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I saw the New York Red Bulls play D.C. United last night. The game had its moments, but ended 0-0. Still, with Metro having beaten their arch-rivals 2-0 at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in D.C. earlier in the season, they won 2-0 on aggregate, and claimed the Atlantic Cup, the trophy awarded to the winner of the season series between them. First time in 7 years.

United have now won it 10 times, the MetroStars/Red Bulls (the name was changed in 2005) 5. The all-time series between the teams is 27-17-7 in United's scummy favor.

Just 4 more days until the MLS transfer window opens, and the Red Bulls can announce their new signing. If it's not former Arsenal star Thierry Henry, there's going to be a lot of people who are pissed. That's "pissed" in the American sense, meaning "very, very angry"; not in the British sense, meaning "drunk." Though that may soon follow for some.

Three and a half hours to the World Cup Final. Come on, Netherlands. Current Arsenal star Robin van Persie, this Gooner is behind you! As for current Arsenal Captain Cesc Fabregas, remember: Not playing on this Spain team full of Barcelona stars is what you have to look forward to if you play for Barcelona, whereas with Arsenal, you will lead the way... if you stay. So, stay.

In other words, Robin, bring back the Cup... and Cesc!

3 comments:

larnov said...

When is Cashman or Hal going to pull the plug on Joba, You know if George was still in charge Joba would be gone already, And if Girardi is serious about Joba remaining his 8th inning guy he would be and may be gone by seasons end.

Uncle Mike said...

If George was still in charge, a lot of guys would have been gone and the 2009 title wouldn't have happened.

Other than that, you're right: The time has come to determine if Joba is part of the solution, and not part of the problem. In their glory days, the Yanks almost never had the same top relief pitcher 2 years in a row. Even after 1977, when Sparky won the Cy Young Award, George got greedy and signed the Goose, and it worked. Maybe this is now true for the setup man.

larnov said...

You are right that 2009 would not have happened, The attitude and Money George provided is why the Yankees won, In 1970s it was Gabe Paul who built most of the team, in the early 90s when George was banned it was Gene Michael and Buck Showalter that got the Yankees going in the right direction and in recent years allowing Cashman to stay the course and not mortgaging the future provided the foundation of 2009.