Archive for September, 2010

Yankees clinch in Toronto

September 29, 2010

Both AL East powers celebrated clinching playoff berths Tuesday night, the Yankees did so in Toronto while the Rays got to clinch at home. However, only one team will celebrate winning the division and it’s likely that one of these two teams will celebrate winning the AL pennant. But, that’s getting ahead of ourselves. For now we can all enjoy the pictures of Yankees doused in champagne as they come in off the wire.

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Still up in the air

September 28, 2010

Nothing is set in stone yet. The Yankees still need a win or a Red Sox loss to clinch. Hopefully that changes tonight.

Other issues:

  • A.J. Burnett certainly has pitched terribly, but whether he takes the mound for the Yankees in October is still up in the air. Jon Paul Morosi inexplicably (because he’s usually terrible) and astutely comes to the conclusion that he should not.
  • Just a note on why I didn’t do a game story last night. Um, I was too disgusted to watch the rest of the game after Burnett defecated on the mound continued to serve up homers to the Blue Jays.
  • Regardless of who is on the mound in the playoffs, this team needs to hit. That means not getting dominated by guys like Marc Rzepczynski and his 5.56 ERA. Work the count, get on base, and hit the ball out of the ballpark. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Tony Dungy totally ruins everything

September 25, 2010

A four game losing streak at home certainly wasn’t what the Bronx Bombers had in mind after taking the first two from Tampa earlier this week. After Joba Chamberlain saved Phil Hughes’ 17th win on Tuesday, the Yankees proceeded to lose a crazy rain delay induced bullpen game followed by a game they looked to have in their grasp—CC on the mound at home, lead in hand—until a one out bases loaded 3-2 pitch at the knees to Sean Rodriguez didn’t go their way leading to a seven-run sixth inning. Then, after Andy Pettitte, who the Yankees are going to be counting on once again in October, really had nothing Friday night, they don’t get a hit off of Jon Lester until the sixth inning.

Now, are there things they could’ve done differently? Of course, one painfully obvious idea would be using Chad Gaudin and his 5.86 ERA a lot less. Another would be not calling on someone as boring and lame as Tony Dungy to give a “life lessons” pep talk before Saturday’s game. That would explain why they were almost no-hit. The hitter’s didn’t wake up until the sixth inning. Well, it was probably half Dungy and half the big zone Lester was getting. Oh, and a little credit to Lester for, you know, being a really good pitcher.

Anyway, the point remains: it’s very easy to lose four games in a row. Especially in September, when the front office has told manager Joe Girardi to rest guys, which he then decides to interpret as reason to start Austin Kearns just because he bats right-handed for two plate appearances before lifting him for the clearly superior Brett Gardner who, of course, has no platoon split.

So, the magic number is three for another day and the Red Sox postseason chances are mathematically intact while at the same time virtually impossible (just the way we like it). There isn’t a real reason to panic yet, but this will likely ease any concerns.

Yankees really wanted to win last night’s game

September 23, 2010

That’s why they used Royce Ring, Dustin Moseley, Chad Gaudin, and Jonathan Albaladejo in relief of starter A.J. Burnett after the rain delay last night. Talk about calling on the cavalry.

CC and Price again tonight. Hold on to your butts!

Boras starting early this year

September 21, 2010

Ask Scott Boras about his newest client, Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth, and the first words out of the agent’s mouth are, “He can play center field.”

Werth, a free agent at the end of the season, has made 18 starts in center this season – mostly while Shane Victorino was on the disabled list – and 77 in his career.

Because few center fielders hit like Werth, his marketability will only increase if prospective suitors consider him a viable defender at the position.

“He has the closing speed to play center,” Boras says. “It makes your team so different. Normally you get that production out of a corner outfielder.” (Source)

Bologna

Oh, you again

September 20, 2010

Yep, back in the sack just in time for the stretch run and the playoffs. Let’s not waste time with intros, I missed you too.

Alright, so last week the Yankees and the Rays played a very tight series that the Rays took 2-1. Those three games felt close to a playoff atmosphere or as close as you can get to a playoff atmosphere when the stands are half full. Anyway, tonight we get another Matt Garza-Ivan Nova matchup. Last week, the Yankees got all over Garza early and Nova seemed to be in control of the game, which some were calling his “postseason audition.”  This was all fine and dandy until Nova lost the zone in the fifth and an overworked Boone Logan surrendered a three-run homer to Willie Aybar to cap a seven run inning for the Rays.

Now, after yesterday’s return of the great Andy Pettitte, it’s pretty clear as to how the Yankees playoff rotation should shake out. CC Sabathia will start game one in every series and likely be brought back on short rest in as many series as the Yankees play this October. After CC, the Yankees only need three other starters. Most likely that will be Pettitte, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes in some order.

I would advise and be much more comfortable with Pettitte and his 2.81 ERA being the number two starter. Of course, even with Pettitte’s extensive postseason resume, that’s not a sure thing (the only sure thing at this point is that Javy Vazquez and his 5.35 FIP will be nowhere near a major league mound in October). When slotting their rotation this year and last year it is clear that the Yankees believe that Burnett is better at home.  They wouldn’t be wrong (4.66 ERA at home, 5.42 on the road in ’10, 3.51 at home 4.59 on road in ’09). Should the Yankees win the division and have home field advantage in the first round, it will be interesting to see who is the number two starter. The Family Man with the most postseason wins or the guy with a 5.61 ERA in the second half this year who was clearly punched in the face the other night? What do you think?

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