Monday, May 3, 2010

Wallace Matthews (who else?) finds black clouds in Yankeeland

The Yankees had a great win yesterday, especially given that both Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson were out of the lineup. Phil Hughes, with his 1.44 ERA and seven scoreless innings Sunday, is pitching more like an ace than a No. 5 starter. Now that the calendar has flipped to May, Mark Teixeira has remembered how to hit again. Brett Gardner (!) hit a homer, and Nick Swisher hit a homer and went 3-4 in the cleanup spot. So what's not to like?

Well, ESPN NY's Wallace Matthews found plenty to complain about in Sunday's 12-3 win. You see, he and Joel Sherman of the New York Post have been reporting about the latest A-Rod controversy - that Joe Girardi at first simply said Alex needed a day off, and then, after questioning, admitted that the third baseman felt a little something this weekend. In the meantime, Matthews had talked to Brian Cashman, who said something about it being muscle-related. (An aside - Cash should know better than to say something that may sound like it's contradicting Joe G. This isn't the first time it's happened.)

Anyhow, I really don't think it's anything to worry about yet, as long as Rodriguez is playing on Monday. But Matthews made a huge deal about it in the postgame, prefacing his question with Girardi with a sarcastic, snotty comment about "let's try this again." Huh? I thought reporters were supposed to be objective, not come loaded with attitude.

Matthews kept up his negative tone in his piece on the game:
But scratch below the surface, and what looks to have been an ideal three days of Yankees baseball might also contain some ominous rumblings, as preseason worries masked by early-season success come back to haunt them.
Straw man alert. Who is calling this "an ideal three days of Yankees baseball," other than Matthews? Friday was a good game, with Derek Jeter showing why he's so acclaimed. Sunday was a laugher. But Saturday was hardly an "ideal" day of Yankee baseball. It might have been the most frustrating loss of the year, with Javy Vazquez imploding, David Robertson and Damaso Marte giving back a lead, and Curtis Granderson getting hurt.

Wally continues:
We had the manager before the game evading the truth on why A-Rod was sitting out. And we had the manager backpedaling, but still obfuscating, after the game regarding the same subject.
And when the final out was recorded, the Yankees had Mark Melancon on the mound, Ramiro Pena at short, and Francisco Cervelli -- yes, that Francisco Cervelli -- playing third base.
Two things:

* Nobody really cares about this A-Rod tempest in a teapot issue but the media. And it was clear, no matter what happened in the game, that it was going to be all Matthews was interested in exploring. Put it this way. If Hughes had pitched a no-hitter, I still would bet that the first question out of Wally's mouth would still have been about A-Rod!

* On that note, you wonder if Matthews was too busy writing his Girardi interrogation during the ninth for him to be bothered looking at the scoreboard. The game was 12-0 Yankees going into that inning. Yes, putting Cervelli at third, and moving Pena to short to replace Jeter, was unorthodox. But if you can't give Jeter a breather in a game like that, when can you give him an inning or two of rest? And what's wrong with having Melancon pitch there? What, was Wally expecting Mo to pitch or something?

Here's the "best" part of Matthews' piece:
Suddenly, the roster that appeared rock-solid throughout April is beginning to look like what some feared it would back in March -- highly skilled but aging, and as such, injury-prone. Aside from Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees suffered almost no important injuries during their 2009 championship season; already, they have suffered one we know of, and another we merely suspect.
1. Wang wasn't the only important injury in 2009. Guess Matthews forget that a dude by the name of Alex Rodriguez missed five weeks due to a hip injury last year. You know, the same guy Wally is foaming at the mouth about right now because he missed ONE GAME this year.

2. The injured Curtis Granderson is 29 years old. Don't think "aging" is the reason he got hurt.

3. The Yankees' biggest problem right now is Javier Vazquez. Old age isn't really the reason he stinks, either.

At any rate, if you want a good laugh, read the comments section for his piece. It looks like ESPN NY's readers aren't buying what Wally is selling, either! As one reader put it, "It takes real skill to turn a 12 run, series clinching Yankee victory without the bats of ARod or Granderson into a negative story."

What do you think? Leave us a comment!


MONDOAS said...

It gets REAL OLD reading that the tabloids have to say about A-Rod everyday. It's like they have nothing else to report about. Is there a secret bonus given for the best A-Rod story of the day? If I was a journalist in New York, I would try to stay away from sensationalized A-Rod stories because everyone is doing them. Do something else and set yourself apart from the others.

Uncle Mike said...

Clearly, Wallace Matthews is intent on reminding us that he used to write for the New York Post, and is thus a graduate of the Rupert Murdoch School of Sensational (And Sometimes Even Truthful) Journalism.

Which is not a bad segue into Mike Lupica. He's suggesting that the Yankees trade Vazquez to the Mets, which would solve both teams' biggest problems: The Yanks would be rid of a guy who can't pitch in the American League, and the Mets would get a starter who can pitch in the National League -- which is more than can be said, for the moment, of Oliver Perez.

I thought about going to Saturday's game. I'm glad I didn't, because Vazquez couldn't find the plate with a map. And when did find it, he was serving up more meatballs than the Olive Garden (which I also don't ever want to see again).

Remember Felix Heredia? I thought his name sounded like a skin condition. Somebody on this blog's predecessor site said Heredia was "throwing meatballs," and, since he was a reliever instead of a starter, I started calling him "The Meatball Sub." Vazquez being a starter, I can't call him a "sub." But he has been a bit of a meatball.

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