I’ll Show You the Bronx Banter Breakdown III

The third installment of the series shot Monday with Bronx Banter’s Alex Belth, Cliff Corcoran and myself is now up at the SNY.tv video channel. This one discusses the Twins, the Yankees’ first-round opponents (given that it was shot before Tuesday night’s Game 163 play-in, we also shot a Tigers’ segment that will never air). The Twins come in having won 17 out of 21 including the play-in, but as I showed the other day, late-season performance has no reliable bearing on playoff performance. That was my key point here. Also a bit of talk about Alex Rodriguez.

Not surprisingly, I had lots of Yankees-Twins questions in today’s chat. A sampling of them:

David (Evanston, IL): Do this year’s Twins have one of the least intimidating starting rotations in postseason history?
JJ: It’s fairly unimpressive, for sure, and certainly belongs in the discussion. What I’d like to know is why Scott Baker wasn’t tabbed for Game Three instead of Carl Pavano, given that after throwing last night, he’d have four days of rest. You’ve *got* to guarantee your best pitcher a start in that series.

ssteadman (St. Louis, MO): Obviously it’s hard to predict because he is just 26, but are we potentially seeing the greatest catcher of all time (maybe excluding Josh Gibson) in Joe Mauer?
JJ: Mauer is great, but best catcher of all time is a tall order even for a three-time batting champion, because Johnny Bench was so incredible on both sides of the ball — his defense made Jose Molina look like Mike Piazza.

Eli (Brooklyn): As a Yankee fan, please talk me off the ledge Joe Girardi has me on. The Molina start is exactly the kind of over-managing that I’m terrified off all postseason — Jeter bunting in the fifth, Coke facing Mauer in the 8th, etc…
JJ: The Molina start is a pretty stupid thing that has me gritting my teeth, but the fact of the matter is that it’s a pretty small thing, too, and it’s not like it’s deviating from something Girardi has done all year by putting him into the mix. Last I checked, they won 103 games, so it worked out OK. 

I’m far more worried about the team’s lefty relief situation going into the playoffs than I am about the catching. Neither Coke nor Damaso Marte give me much confidence, and there are a fair number of key lefties they’ll need to get through to win another World Championship. Despite that complaint, Girardi has shown that he deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to handling that bullpen — it might be his strongest area as a manager.

William (Orange Beach, AL): What type of player with Delmon Young be 5 years from now ? If not for the 50 something games he sat out this year, its not crazy to think that he could have hit .290-18-80.
JJ: Yes, Young might have approached those Triple Crown numbers, but given his plate discipline (92/12 K/BB this year), all that would tell you is that Triple Crown numbers do a poor job of telling you what a disappointment he is. .284/.308/.425 isn’t remotely acceptable for a 23-year-old corner outfielder with his caliber of tools, and I don’t know if he’s ever going to fulfill the promise that the scouts saw in him a few years back. Five year’s from now we’ll be watching him hang on for dear life to a major league career.

Ballgame’s about to start, second game of the tripleheader to which I’m glued. Go Yanks!

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