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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Third Time's The Bomb: Yankees 10, Angels 1

I just knew Bartolo Colón — aka Mr. Fastball — was going to get into trouble, and sure enough, with the Yankees he did. Joe Torre, not one to panic, changed the top of his lineup not one bit despite the gruesome non-hitting going on at the top of his order in the prior four games. Well, mostly: he did switch Giambi to the DH position, calling in Miguel Cairo to play first base. Posada got a pair of bombs, his first — and second — of the year, off Colón and Yan respectively, the first with a pair of Yankees aboard, and A-Rod teed off as well. In all, five Yankees collected seven extra-base hits, four off Colón. Of course, we find out now that Colón's missing some velocity:
"He keeps getting finer and finer with his stuff," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Although he's not throwing as hard as he once did, he's still adept at hitting spots, changing speeds and keeping hitters off-balance. He just knows how to pitch, knows what he wants to do, and he's very good at it."
This, by the way, is not a good sign, Angels fans. The scoreboard operator shut down the radar gun early, and so we surmised Bartolo's pending demise despite a promising 1-2-3 first inning. The five-run second inning told you all you needed to know; Bart lives and dies on his fastball velocity and command. Somewhere, Buddy Black is busy having a very serious conversation with the Angels' shaky ace. By the time he failed to get anyone out in the top of the third after two batters, I half expected major league scoring records to fall once I spied Esteban Yan in the bullpen. As he came in, Helen asked me who the Angels' long man was, and I replied that there wasn't one, and that Mike had by that time simply given up on the game, Yan being the last pitcher to earn a spot on the roster. Yet somehow, he only managed to give up a pair of runs, one on Posada's second homer and the other on a Hideki Matsui single. Considering how similar those two are, it's amazing it wasn't 27-1 by the end of the game.

Offensively, the Angels failed to do much of anything, the team's only RBI coming off Figgins' bat. Worse, the same suspects at the bottom of the order continued their puzzling slumps, and by this I mean Salmon and Kotchman. Salmon made noise a couple of times, with one flyball out going all the way to the wall with the bases loaded. I have never in my life seen so much cheering for so little result. Not that Timmy hasn't earned it for his pre-2004 efforts, but I'm less than enthusiastic about his presence on the club, especially as a DH, a position Mike likes to use as a resting spot for whichever veteran comes up gimpy this week. His lack of regular season production stands in stark contrast to his impressive spring; it may be something that will take the corrective of seeing Rangers pitching in the remaining games of the homestand to fix.

Kotchman, who stayed out of yesterday's proceedings because of his left-handedness, continued his flailing. His last at bat against Mussina was particularly painful to watch, making me wonder just how long a cord he'll get before Mike sits him in favor of (gulp) Erstad at first.

Finally, some speculation about Jered Weaver. Weaver pitched seven innings in Saturday's game, and the Angels used Hector Carrasco, their notional long reliever, today for a pair. Kelvim Escobar's turn would come on Wednesday against Texas, meaning Weaver would have to pitch on short rest if he did get a callup. My own feeling is, nah, it won't happen; maybe they go to a chain of relievers, or flip-flop one of the other starters. But maybe they do.

ESPN BoxRecap

Dude, don't you think you are jumping the gun just a little on Kotchman, Salmon, and Jered Weaver? It's a week in and you already seem to want the team to fix problems that may not exist.
Colon lives and dies with his fastball he throws hard but whats more important is what kind of movement he has on his fastball to me that's more important.Think Salamon will be ok his bat speed looks good casey will be ok don't expect great numbers from him remember this is his first full year thats is if mike sticks with him as far as weaver goes,money is the root of all evil why they let the wash and the bird man go is beoned me weaver pitch well in detroit in ny he was terrible. Last year he was ok he does eat up a lot of innings but does that equall winning? I would have kept wash and the byrd man over weaver but then again I'm not the GM.
Well, Josh, I'm not saying he has to be replaced now or anything... but I do wonder what Mike's level of patience will be for a rookie vs. a guy like Steve Finley.
Well, they did let Dallas work through his problems for the first two months of last season before he got hurt. Indications were if he could have come back, they would have let him start. I would say they give Kotchman at least until July, which should be ample time to show what he has got.
Salmon with 2 HRs in his first week (starting only half the games) and leading the team in SLG is not enough? (and one of those starts was against Randy Johnson.)
I look at the differential in the quality of pitching and scratch my beard a bit.

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