1985, 9/11, Buehrle, Gibbons, Stroman, Teixeira

By Bob Elliott

NEW YORK _ Marcus Stroman starts the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Lefty Mark Buehrle will sit and cheer on his pal.

The Blue Jays have 22 games remaining.

Are the Blue Jays disrespecting Buehrle by going with Stroman?

This late, this deep into the season, they should be going with the arm who gives them the best chance to win. 

Never mind hurting anyone’s feelings. 

Montreal Expos boss John McHale used to tell managers Jim Fanning and Bill Virdon “worry about a upsetting a player the first four months of the season. The final two months? They are ours. It’s win at all costs. We may never get this close again.”

Buerhle is 2-14 with a 6.06 ERA in 22 career starts against the Yankees. He’s 0-7 with a 6.22 mark in nine career starts at new Yankees Stadium and this year against the New Yorkers is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA (one run allowed in five innings).

Stroman is 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA in three starts against the Yankees and is 1-1 with a 3.72 mark in two career starts in the Bronx.

What would the Jays get from Buehrle? He’d probably allow three or four runs like normal. If the Jays score more than that they win. If they score less they lose. The lefty allowed five in 3 1/3 innings Monday in Boston. 

What will the Jays get from Stroman?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Will he mow down the 2015 Yankees like he did facing the class-A Great Lake Loons in his first rehab start? He did not allow a hit and struck out seven allowing one walk in 4 2/3 innings.

Or will he have trouble with his fastball command as he did facing the Pawtucket Paw Sox on Monday? He worked three innings allowing four runs on eight hits and four walks, while striking out three.

Stroman should be congratulated, appreciated and admired for his speedy recovery from spring surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, yet giving the ball to a Long Island youngster for his first start of the season in a playoff atmosphere of Yankee Stadium is not ideal.

We wonder about the Blue Jays making public the Buehrle had a cortisone shot in Toronto earlier this week. It was his third injection this year. This was the first time the club has deemed it newsworthy to announce.

Balancing the scales of the Saturday’s decision?

Buehrle, 36, the loyal employee, who likes to hunt and take the ball every five days, only wears one fragrance. It’s called Eau de Cortisone. With the Chicago White Sox he used to take a shot to get through spring training. 

We asked six scouts what they would advise their general manager if the choice was Stroman in his first start or Buehrle in his 28th of the season on Saturday?

Four went with Stroman.

“There’s a big risk going with Stroman, but think what a lift it would be for Toronto if Stroman goes out and throws five scoreless,” said one. “They have a fresh arm for the post-season and they want to know if he can contribute.

“I’m sure their doctors have checked out his knee and he’s mobile enough to handle it. For a kid to work that hard to get back, you would not want to see him walk the park.”

On the other side of the argument a scout said: “I’d go with the veteran. Especially a left-hander at Yankee Stadium. I don’t know what the kid is going to do making his first start on Sept. 12. That’s a tough spot for a young guy.”

In his 16th year Buehrle isn’t rocking boats saying he’s “an employee, I’ll pitch when they give me the ball.”

And that is likely Tuesday in Atlanta.

By then the Jays will know how the Stroman experiment worked. 

Umpiring change: Scheduled to work the four-game series was Bill Miller’s crew of Doug Eddings, Adrian Johnson and Jim Wolf. Eddings and hitting coach Brook Jacoby became involved in a shouting match in the tunnel leaving Fenway Park after a 4-1 loss at Fenway Park in April.

Jacoby was suspended for 14 games without pay. Rather than put the same crew with the Jays, crew chief Dale Scott was at first with Cory Blaser working the plate. Brian Knight was at second and Chris Guccione was at third.


Tex out for season: The Yankees lost first baseman Mark Teixeira for the season when they discovered he had a fracture in his right leg on Friday.

Teixeira, who had 31 homers, 79 RBIs, a .255 average and a .906 OPS, fouled a ball off his leg Aug. 17. Initial tests showed a bone bruise, but when the leg didn’t heal, he was tested again.
An MRI on Friday revealed the fracture. He will be on crutches for the next month. 


Replay: The first-place Blue Jays have played 139 games heading into their four-game series in the Bronx.

The second-place Yankees have played 138 in what is basically a replay of the Jays-Yankees series the second week of September in 1985. 

That series 30 years ago didn’t have a rain out and the resulting Saturday make-up doubleheader. 

Back then the Jays opened with their ace Dave Stieb. And Friday night the stars aligned so that their best David Price was on the mound.

Knuckleballer Phil Niekro started the second game for the Yanks, while dance-and-dart artist R.A. Dickey starts for the Jays on Sunday afternoon. 

Stieb had Game 1 in his back pocket, up 4-1 with a man on first when Tony Fernandez muffed a double play ball. Stieb walked the next hitter, then manager Bobby Cox went to Gary Lavelle. Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield singled in runs and then Ron Hassey homered off Dennis Lamp.

Lavelle won the next night on three unearned runs as Al Oliver hit a two-run triple and a run-scoring single to beat Niekro.

On Saturday after saloon singer Mary O’Dowd muffed. butchered and mangled Oh Canada, Jimmy Key pitched a complete game. Jesse Barfield homered, while Lloyd Moseby and Cliff Johnson each knocked in a pair of runs in a 7-4 win. 

Former Yankee Doyle Alexander, Lavelle and Tom Henke pitched on Sunday, an 8-5 Toronto win. George Bell and Mosbey doubled, with Johnson knocking in three runs.

The Blue Jays charter headed off to Boston with a 4 1/2-game lead.

A lesson to be learned from whomever sits second on Sunday night is the fact that the Jays did not win until Game 161 when Alexander beat the Yankees and Joe Cowley at Exhibition Stadium their first division title.

What’s it like for manager John Gibbons to be able to pencil in a lineup of competent hitters and an true No. 1 arm, as he has since Troy Tulowitzki, lefty David Price and left fielder Ben Revere arrived at the deadline?

“It’s Buddy Bell’s line from when he was managing but I like it: Buddy used to say ‘I wish I could manage a team that I didn’t have to coach so much.’ That’s the way I feel about this team.”

Asked if he had been under the gun since the new arrivals, Gibbons responded “I’ve been under the gun since we made the trade with the Miami Marlins.” 
His best day: Gibbons’ best day in a New York Mets uniform? It may have been Aug. 27, 1986. Ed Hearn and Gibbons were sharing catching duties since Gary Carter was hurt. On the final day of their west coast trip to San Diego, Padres Gary Templeton opened the bottom of the 11th with a double with the Mets leading 6-5. 
One out later Tim Flannery singled.

Lenny Dykstra threw a strike, as Templeton cracked Gibbons at the plate, was the way Marty Noble of MLB.com remembers it.

“Hold on, it was a tough throw on a short hop, most catchers wouldn’t have picked it,” interjected Gibbons, who did a somersault, righted himself and came up throwing to third baseman Howard Johnson, who applied the tag on Flannery. Three out. Warm up the bus. The 8-1 road trip was completed. Gibbons also had two hits on the day. 


9/11: Waking up to WPIX we saw sons, daughters, mothers and fathers at podiums take turns reading the list of 2,753 names at the National September 11 Memorial plaza. Each speaker read a section of names before ending with their own loved one, many breaking down into tears.

Terrorists intentionally crashed American Airlines Flight 11 hit the north tower at 8:46 a.m. and United Airlines Flight 175 flew into south tower at 9:03 a.m. 14 years ago.

More than 300 firefighters perished in the collapse of the towers. Dozens were police officers.

A month later after the Sept. 11 terror attack a pal, a New York policeman, gave me a white hard hat and took me inside the police tape, I ventured across the street from Ground Zero. You could smell an awful stench you did not pick up watching CNN. 

A skyscraper a block away was still standing -- its windows pierced by three beams from the World Trade Center. 

There were four inches of ash, “like someone turned their vacuum cleaner inside out and had blown it on to the street” one policeman told us.  

Another compared the morning of to one of those “Godzilla movies we saw as kids, the way people were in a panic, running through the streets.” 

There was a book for people to sign, like a book in a funeral home. 

“Our hearts are with you, from your Canadian brothers. God Bless” -- John Hamilton, Gord Thorpe, Brian Foley, Steve Carmichael, OFD. 

“In the hours of the darkest days, your bravery is the only light that shines.” -- Capt. Tom Ewald, LAFD. 


Finally: “For me and my family personally, September 11 was a reminder that life is fleeting, impermanent, and uncertain. Therefore, we must make use of every moment and nurture it with affection, tenderness, beauty, creativity, and laughter.” _ Deepak Chopra.