We questioned Turner’s decision to assign the Yankees-Indians series to Bob Brenly, Tony Gwynn and Chip Caray, a crew comprised of National League expertise. Caray calles Braves games during the regular season, Brenly analyzes the Cubs and Gwynn is a former Padre who, when he is actually audible over the most modest amount of crowd noise, fails to impress with his American League knowledge.
In Game three, when Chip was finished, for the time being, patting himself on the back for his “Yankees offense is ready to explode like a shaken up two liter bottle of soda” analogy, he fired out to his analysts, “So, who do you think will start game four” referencing the decision presumedly facing embattled skipper Joe Torre. The experts responded by eliminating both Phil Hughes, since he pitched 3 and 2/3 of relief that night, saving the Rocket’s failed launch and Andy Pettitte, since he was currently throwing a side session in the bullpen (not because he threw 92 pitches Friday night).
The crew, seemingly unfamiliar with the roster composition and track record of the players currently on the roster, continued to swing and miss through this relatively easy question. Finally, the group settled on Mike Mussina as the Game Four starter. While Mussina was certainly one of the only two options at the time, Game One starter Chien-Ming Wang was the other option. Anyone who followws the Yankees even remotely knows Wang’s splits this season, 10-4 with a 2.75 at Yankee Stadium this season and a 4.91 ERA on the road.
While the answer may have been unknown at the time, Wang’s name wasn’t even brought up in the conversation. One would presume Caray was asking the question based on the decision of Mussina vs. Wang and not Mussina vs. Pettitte on two days rest vs. Hughes on NO days rest. However, Caray didn’t mention Wang in the debate and both analysts, clearly not well-versed on the Yankees roster, even mentioned Wang.
In addition, with the injury to Roger Clemens, the Yankees would have the ability to add a player to replace Clemens for the remainder of this series, a new rule this post-season. The one caveat would be Clemens would be ineligible for the next series. The thought of Ian Kennedy, rehabbing in Tampa and coming off his wedding ceremony, would be a possible issue to address. I’m not sure if either analysts knew of the Kennedy option and whether or not he would be ready to pitch.
With a five run lead and needing to possibly use Joba Chamberlain backt-back nights, Joe Torre, with his job on the line, didn’t feel confident using Kyle Farnsworth for the 8th inning. I don’t blame the skipper on this one, but my Yankee reporter friend texted me “If you can’t use Farnsworth for an inning with a 5 run lead, why is he on the post-season roster?”
MIKE TIRICO SHOW CONFUSION
Two quick notes on the new ESPN Mike Tirico show. Mike’s rotating band of co-hosts and fill-ins is comprised of Michelle Tafoya, Kirk Herbstreit and Scott Van Pelt. With four “hosts” on the roster, why was the ever-annoying Doug Gottlieb going solo last Thursday? Yikes.
Then, on Friday, with the Yankees down 0-1 in the series, Tirco asked co-host of the day Van Pelt if this was a bigger game for the Indians or the Yankees. When Van Pelt responded “The Yankees,” Tirico seemed surprised. Hmm…best of five and the host of a national sports-talk radio show is wondering if it is important for a team with enormous pressure (see George Steinbrenner’s comments on Sunday) to not fall down 0-2?
Wow, what insight!?!
By the way, word on the street has it that Frank Caliendo will have a new TV show on TBS in November. Can anyone confirm this?