• Elsewhere

    Posted by on September 26th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    In addition to rooting for the Yankees and the Blue Jays this week, Yankees fans should do the following:

    1. Root for the Devil Rays to take 2 of 3 from the Indians this week.

    2. Root for the White Sox and the Tigers to split their four games this week.

    3. Root for the Indians to win on September 30th – but, for the White Sox to win on October 1st and 2nd.

    This will leave the Indians with just the Wild Card as an option – and with 94 wins on the season.

    Hey, it never hurts to have a safety net.

    Deep To Left

    Posted by on September 26th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    When the Yankees play their last game of the 2005 regular season, at Fenway, on October 2nd, what’s the under/over line on how many times the YES Network will show the clip of Bucky Dent’s HR at Fenway, hit 27 years before (to the day)?

    Twenty-seven? Why does that number resonate in my head?

    April 6th, Slowly I Turn, Step By Step……

    Posted by on September 25th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    If the Yankees end up losing this thing by one game, I wonder how many will look back to that ugly top of the 9th on April 6th?

    It was just the 3rd game of the season – but, a terrible loss. Up 3-2, heading into the 9th, and then a leadoff walk (man, those things kill you every time), two singles, a big A-Rod error, a squib, and another single later, it’s 5 runs in and the game is over.

    Sure, there are probably a dozen games this season that the Yankees let get away where it cost them a win. But, for some reason, tonight, this one game is starting to stick out to me.

    Funny, many say that A-Rod should be the MVP because of his defense. Others say it should be Mo for his brilliance this season. Yet, this one crushing loss has their fingerprints all over it.

    Hopefully, in the next seven days, Mo, Alex, and the gang, will have enough chances and success that it will drive this game way back into the ancient history files.

    Bring It On

    Posted by on September 25th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    When I look at these pictures…..

    cheer.jpg

    I have to wonder if Jeter told the fellas: “Let’s get one thing straight – this is not a cheerocracy. I’m the cheertator. I make the cheercisions around here.”

    Man, that’s a funny movie.

    I have to say, I’ve been impressed with the production level of the outfits the last few years. The Yankees don’t thrift shop this stunt. They even had player’s numbers on them this year? That’s funny.

    Are We Going Down To Florida Tonight?

    Posted by on September 25th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    And he hits one into the hole.
    They’re gonna have to hurry.
    They’ll never get him!
    They got him.
    How do you like that?

    Holy cow!

    And a “Happy Birthday!” to Fiero Francis Rizzuto who is eighty-eight today.

    How about these cannolis, White?

    September 25th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on September 25th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    A nice little comeback victory on Bernie Appreciation Day at the Stadium really hits the spot today.

    For those who missed it at the very end of the YES Post-game, Bernie’s comment, when asked about the fans today, was funny. He said it was a lot different today than back in 1991 when they were yelling “Go back to Columbus!” at him. Good memory Bernie.

    To the game, what can be said about Obi Wang that has not been said already? Wang, Small, and Chacón have been the glue to this Yankees comeback this season. Amazing – three guys not on the Yankees radar this April. You never really know in baseball, do you?

    And, it was nice to see Sheffield play RF and blast a HR. This would be an excellent time for him to go on a roll and hit something like 8 homers in seven days. Camden and Fenway are the perfect parks for him too.

    So, now, it’s a seven game season. Why do I think that I’m not going to be sleeping very well this week?

    It really bothers me that Boston swept the O’s – for two reasons. First, there’s the obvious one. But, secondly, Baltimore has now lost eight games in a row – and five of them have been by one-run. By virtue of the laws of probability alone, they’re due for a fluke win over the next four games.

    To be honest, when I factor this in, it just adds to the not so warm and fuzzy feeling that I’m starting to get about this race.

    At this minute, I truly feel that the Yankees need to be tied or up by one or two, going into Fenway, to have a chance at this.

    If New York is down by one, maybe they can take 2 of 3 in Fenway and force a tiebreaker – and that’s a big “maybe.” If they’re down by two, they need a sweep to win. With Wakefield on Sunday, they’re not going to sweep. (And, if anyone is up by two going into Fenway, it’s either win or lose – and there can be no tie.) And, if the Yankees are down by three, they would need a sweep just to tie.

    Of course, as we learned last year, over the course of a few games, anything can happen. So, I would never be placing any bets on any of this.

    No One Goes There Anymore, It’s Too Crowded

    Posted by on September 25th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    From Yankees.com:

    Sheppard instead thanked the crowd on behalf of the Yankees organization. After attracting a crowd of 53,911 for Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays, the Yankees’ home attendance surpassed 4 million for the season.

    They are the second American League team to draw 4 million fans — the Blue Jays are the other — and third in the Majors. Toronto and Colorado each surpassed the mark in 1993; the Blue Jays had done so in 1992 as well.

    “It’s an incredible achievement, particularly when I remember that when I bought the Yankees, we had trouble drawing one million to the Stadium,” George Steinbrenner said. “We have the greatest fans in the world. I cheer our fans as they cheer us, day in and day out. And I thank everyone in our organization, on and off the field, for helping to reach this amazing milestone.”

    With one home game remaining this season, the Yankees lead the Majors in total home attendance, as well as per game average after selling out 41 of 80 home games thus far. The team’s average of 50,444, entering Sunday, would place second in Major League history, behind only Colorado’s 55,350 average in 1993. If the Yankees reach that total again Sunday, they would overtake Toronto (4,057,947) and post the second-highest single season mark.

    This is the eighth straight year the Yankees have set a new season-high in attendance, and the seventh consecutive year they have welcomed at least 3 million fans through the Stadium gates.

    I wonder, if they end up breaking some record, will someone moan about the 324 home game tickets used by the YES Network Road-Trippers?

    With A Cherry On Top

    Posted by on September 24th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    Tomorrow, Sunday, could be a very big day for the Yankees and Red Sox.

    After tomorrow, Boston hosts the Blue Jays for four and the Yankees head to Baltimore for four. And, then New York and Boston square off for three in Fenway.

    The Red Sox are only 5-9 against the Blue Jays so far this year. But, some of those losses were against Doc Halladay – and he’s out of the picture now. Throw in the Fenway Factor, and Boston should take at least 3 of 4 from Toronto.

    Likewise, I expect the Yankees to take 3 of 4 from the O’s. Baltimore is really struggling now – and the Yankees are playing well.

    Therefore, the Sox and Yanks should cancel each other out on their upcoming four game series – meaning that tomorrow’s game is the chance for one team to get a leg up on the other (before the big and final showdown).

    I wish the games were starting right now – instead tomorrow afternoon. Tom Petty was right. The waiting is the hardest part.

    September 24th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on September 24th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    Yesterday, I wrote:

    If Jaret Wright can pitch into the 7th tomorrow, I like the Yankees chances to make that (magic) number go down some more.

    What I should have added on to that was: “Of course, if Wright is only able to register three outs and allows 7 runners to cross home plate, then I don’t like the Yankees chances.” Ah, hindsight, it’s so much easier.

    They say that the sun does not shine on the same dog’s ass everyday. Clearly, it was not shining on Wright’s fanny today – for sure. Still, the Yankees had several chances to get back into this game today – and failed. In truth, there were quite a few Yankees’ behinds not feeling the sun’s rays today. What can you do? I guess the Yankees are not a squad of David Dunns? It’s just a shame to waste that wonderful relief effort by Roy Hobbs today in what was ultimately a losing cause.

    And, despite a semi-good fight by the O’s, the Red Sox won today. So, what does this all mean?

    It means that today, and the 173 days that preceded it, are completely irrelevant. Yes, you got it. All the marks on the blackboard have now been erased. Why? Because, as of this moment in time, it’s all been rendered meaningless.

    The only true reality now is that the 2005 season for the Yankees is an 8-game set – no more, no less. And, there’s only one other team in the league: The Boston Red Sox. One of these two teams will win more games than the other in their next 8 contests and that team will be the one to get the glory. Now, it could end up as a tie – but, that should not be the aim of either team. The goal for both sides is the same: Win as many of these 8 games as possible. It’s pretty simple.

    Tomorrow is the only home game for the Yankees in this new eight game season. It would be nice if they took advantage of it, had some fun, and got a win.

    Eight Eleven

    Posted by on September 24th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    From the Toronto Star:

    This is only the 11th day this season on which the Yankees have either held or shared the lead in the AL East. That may seem low for a team trying to win its ninth consecutive division title, but given the chronology of discontent that has rocked the Bronx Bombers, it’s actually a lot.

    The Yankees were a season-high nine games behind the O’s on May 7; were in fourth place on June 13; and were 5 1/2 games behind Boston on Aug. 10.

    Indeed, August 11th, that’s when the magic started. Scott Proctor, of all people, got the start – filling in for the Big Unit – and pitched well. And, even though the middle guys in the pen allowed the Rangers to come back, the Yankees pulled it out with a Jeter HR in the 7th and some Rivera magic (as usual).

    Including that win, since then, the Yankees have gone 30-11 (which is a blistering .732 winning percentage). At the same time, Boston went 23-17 (which, at .575, is pretty good darn ball too).

    When this is all said and done, the Yankees can look back to “Eight Eleven” – it’s when the rabbit came out of the pinstriped hat.

    September 23rd vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on September 23rd, 2005 · Comments (5)

    From a Bob Klapisch feature on ESPN.com, earlier today:

    “Anyone who tells you they could’ve predicted what Shawn’s done, or did predict it, is lying,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. “When we got him [July 28] we needed a pitcher, and he was better than what we had on the roster. That was about it. The rest you can credit to Shawn.”

    Seriously, how could anyone have predicted that Chacón would channel the pitching skill of Don Newcombe (say, around age 30) once he hit the Bronx? As long as he keeps pitching the way he’s been doing, including tonight, let’s just join hands and keep riding the C-Train. Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo!

    Memo to Yankees: Find a way to trade with the Jays for that Shaun Marcum kid and use him out of the pen. He’s not afraid of pressure, throws strikes, and has some stuff. He’s going to be a good one.

    So, ho-hum, the Yankees win another game today. And, it’s the 14th shutout victory for the team this year – tops in the A.L. (Lousy Yankees starting pitching, huh?)

    Again, it (meaning a win) just seems like a given thing these days – even when they do something like tonight, where they have the bases loaded with no outs (in the 2nd) and the heart of the order up, and plate no one. It just doesn’t seem to matter. They’re just going to win.

    Further, the Yankees actually now have a great shot at posting the best record in the league and getting home field in the post-season. How did that happen? Man, they’ve come a loooong way baby.

    During the game today, I did allow my mind to wander a bit – towards the game on Sunday.

    Will the Yankees fans do something for Bernie Williams, in what may be his last regular season game? I’m thinking no (at the moment) – as they probably expect him to have some post-season games coming in the Bronx. And, he’s not retiring, so maybe there’s no sense of urgency? I’m not sure.

    Also, I wonder what the Yankees rookies will be forced to wear going into the last road trip of the season? Didn’t they do Elvis last year? Or, was last year the pimp suits? I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures for this year – whatever they decide. Wang, Cano, and the boys better get ready.

    I did have one rant from today. It’s the 9th inning, there are 2 outs, you’re up by five, and you have Rivera start to get loose? Torre, man, you’re killing me.

    Lastly, thanks to Miggy (B-12) Tejada, the O’s let down Daniel Cabrera tonight (and cost my prediction from coming true) and Boston won this evening. Nonetheless, the Yankees magic number is now 9. Any combination of Boston losses and Yankees wins that equal 9 means the Yankees will win the A.L. East. And, there are 9 games to go.

    If Jaret Wright can pitch into the 7th tomorrow, I like the Yankees chances to make that number go down some more.

    Aaaaaah, Yessssssss…….

    Posted by on September 23rd, 2005 · Comments (6)

    tkts.jpg

    The post-season tickets have arrived!

    Yankees Fall Classic Collector’s Edition DVD Set

    Posted by on September 23rd, 2005 · Comments (6)

    Thanks to friend of WasWatching.com JeremyM for giving me the heads-up on the upcoming release of “The New York Yankees Fall Classic Collector’s Edition 1996-2001” on DVD.

    I was excited to hear about this – since I’ve been ticked ever since baseball released the “The Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series Collector’s Edition” DVD set. Why was I upset? It’s simple – because the Sox DVD set included the “unedited original broadcasts of all seven ALCS games against the New York Yankees and all four World Series games against the St. Louis Cardinals.”

    Now, this is great for Red Sox fans – but, what about the Yankees fans in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000? During those years, all Yankees fans got from baseball was the “World Series film.” And, you can ditto that “How about?” in 2001 and 2003 as well. Why, all of a sudden, get generous with the release of full gamecasts in 2004? Just because it’s a team that hasn’t won in 86 years?

    In any event, after further review, I’m not as thrilled as I was at first about the news of the soon to be released Yankees DVD set – as it only includes the following original complete game broadcasts: 1996 WS Game 4, 1998 WS Game 3, 1999 WS Game 3, 2000 WS Game 5, and 2001 WS Game 4.

    To me, if you’re going to do it right, this should be the list of full gamecasts that must be included (and those in italics are the ones that are part of the actual set):

    1996 ALCS Game 1
    1996 World Series Game 4
    1996 World Series Game 6

    1998 ALCS Game 4
    1998 World Series Game 1
    1998 World Series Game 3

    1999 ALCS Game 1
    1999 ALCS Game 2
    1999 World Series Game 3

    2000 ALDS Game 5
    2000 ALCS Game 4
    2000 ALCS Game 6
    2000 World Series Game 1
    2000 World Series Game 2
    2000 World Series Game 5

    2001 ALDS Game 3
    2001 World Series Game 4
    2001 World Series Game 5

    OK, maybe I’m greedy with some of these LDS and LCS games. But, no 1996 World Series Game 6, 2000 World Series Game 1, or 2001 World Series Game 5? That’s a major no-no in my book.

    Also, the DVD set includes the “official MLB World Series films from 96, 98, 99, and 00.” What happened to 2001? I’ve seen that one – and, despite it being a loss for New York – there’s plenty in that film that Yankees fans would enjoy.

    I truly wish they had put more thought into the making of this DVD set.

    The Series This Weekend

    Posted by on September 23rd, 2005 · Comments (5)

    It would be in the best interests of the Yankees to win this current series against the Blue Jays – because I believe that the Red Sox are going to have issues this weekend in Baltimore.

    Look at the Sox-O’s pitching match-ups.

    It’s Arroyo-Cabrera tonight. Arroyo is a better pitcher on the road this season (compared to at Fenway). But, he’s not had luck this year against the Orioles. Cabrera is a much better pitcher at home (than on the road) and he’s been having a super September. This game is not a slam dunk for the Red Sox.

    Tomorrow, it’s Clement-Bedard. Since the All-Star break, and especially this month, Clement has been a turd. While Bedard has been a better pitcher at home than on the road this year, he’s been bad after the All-Star break as well. This one could be a slug-fest that will be determined by the bullpens. That’s not a Boston strength.

    The Red Sox should win on Sunday. That’s Wells-Maine. Wells has been bad on the road this season, and has the knee issue, but, he’s great this season pitching in Camden Yards. Plus, he loves the big game.

    With the chances being in favor of the Red Sox losing 2 of 3 this weekend, the Yankees will serve themselves well to win 2 of 3 and get a nice 2-game lead heading into the season’s final 7 games.

    With the Sox heading back to Fenway to finish their year, this could be the one chance to pad the lead before the big show-down 7 days from now.

    Millar’s Diary

    Posted by on September 23rd, 2005 · Comments (6)

    From Millar’s Diary on mlb.com:

    We went through a little stretch and we were 4 ½ up and now we’re a half-game out and we lost two out of three in Tampa Bay. The only choice we have is to come fired up in Baltimore this weekend and to come with a positive attitude. We do that as a team better than anybody. We know how to shower off the bad games. We know how to shower off the negative stuff that’s written about us, that’s talked about us, better than any other team.

    These next 10 days, we have that choice, to come out positive, or to feel sorry for ourselves because we’re a little banged up and guys are going through some tough injuries and guys are battling with tough years statistically. We just have to bring that positive energy to this club the next 10 days.

    Personally, I think that Millar should consider writing Dear Abby instead of Dear Diary. In any event, get ready for the cries of this “injury excuse” from RSN if they lose this year.

    Millar is using it above. And, I’ve seen others in RSN start to throw it around lately as well.

    Gee, I guess that Wright, Brown, Mussina, Pavano, Johnson, Williams, Sheffield, Giambi, Jeter, Sturtze, and Gordon were just the pictures of health all season and that’s why the Yankees are in first today, huh?

    Jeter Doing 60 Minutes

    Posted by on September 23rd, 2005 · Comments (0)

    From the News:

    Yankees star Derek Jeter gives his mom a heads-up when he’s going to try to hit one out of the park.

    “Sometimes he’ll just stick his head up and go like [raising his eyes]. It means he’s going to try to hit a home run,” Dorothy Jeter tells “60 Minutes” interviewer Ed Bradley.

    “I shouldn’t give that away, should I?” she added.

    The “60 Minutes” profile of the Yankees shortstop airs Sunday on CBS at 7 p.m. It also includes an interview with the Yankees captain.

    Bradley asks Jeter who was more difficult to negotiate with – his father, with whom he made a contract as a boy outlining the conditions under which he could play baseball, or Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

    “The Boss is definitely harder to deal with,” Jeter tells Bradley.

    Sometimes he’ll just stick his head up and go like (raising his eyes).

    Shame on Derek for giving his own mom the Hey, how you doin’? look!

    Prison Break?

    Posted by on September 23rd, 2005 · Comments (1)

    From MSNBC today:

    Brian Cashman is flittering around the batting cage at Yankee Stadium, making small talk with Alex Rodriguez, cracking jokes with Joe Torre, slapping Ruben Sierra’s back. “Loosest I’ve seen him in ages,” says one longtime associate, eyeballing the New York Yankees’ general manager admiringly. If outsiders didn’t know any better, they might mistake Cashman for a prisoner who has passed his parole-board hearing and is counting down the days until he is freed.

    Hmmm, Brian Cashman doing a Michael Scofield? What about the rest of the cast?

    Could Giambi be Lincoln Burrows? Kevn Brown as Haywore Patoshik? A-Rod as Fernando Sucre? Gary Sheffield as John Abruzzi? Mo Rivera as Charles Westmoreland? Big Stein as Warden Pope?

    And, of course, Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino gets to play T-bag Bagwell.

    September 22nd vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on September 22nd, 2005 · Comments (16)

    As this game was coming to a close this evening, all I could think about was how much things have changed this season.

    When the year started, I would watch the games thinking that the Yankees would win, and they didn’t. After a while, I started watching games hoping that they would win, and sometimes they would – but, sometimes they would lose too.

    But, now, I watch the Yankees play and I expect them to win, and, they do – just about every time – regardless if they sputter with the bats in the early innings, or give up runs in the middle of the game, or have pitchers allow runners to reach late in the game. It doesn’t seem to matter. They just win. It’s incredible.

    Lately, it’s like watching a movie where you know the hero is going to get the girl, save the day, and be shining at the film’s close – it’s just that you don’t know what’s going to happen in between the start and the expected end. And, that’s the point to watching the movie – just to see the currents of the story. But, no matter what you see in that “in between” time, it’s pure and clear to you all along that the good guy wins at the end – and he does.

    How sweet would it be if the Yankees kept this up for 10 more games and into the post-season? It would be like “having just thirty dollars to your name and then winning the Lotto” sweet.

    And, in a way, what makes it that sweet is how they are doing it now (in this time of winning).

    Of course, if the Yankees manage to win it all this year, people are going to point to their payroll. But, it’s not that “payroll” which is entirely responsible for what’s happening now – as some large chucks of that (like Brown amd Pavano) have not been contributing to this effort. It’s been the Smalls, Wangs, and Chacóns, etc., who have been a bigger part of this turnaround. And, in the grand scheme of things, they’re in the “take a penny, leave a penny” dish in terms of the total payroll picture.

    To the game today, it was nice to see Mussina shine – although I thought he was going to kill Lawton in the 6th when that ball dropped for a cheap hit. (How has Lawton survived all these years in the bigs being such a butcher with the glove?) And, Posada has been smokin’ the last three weeks with the bat. Also, it’s good for the scouts to see Sheffield drive the ball (like he did tonight). On the downside, Leiter could have done better – and may have hurt his chance to make a post-season roster.

    In the end, while it’s obvious that every win is important now, this one was nice for me – because it gives the Yankees a full game lead. As I stated earlier today, it’s very important to have a 2-game lead heading into the final weekend of the season. And, before you can have a 2-game lead, you need a one-game lead.

    Now, all the Yankees need to do is win one more game than the Red Sox over the next week and they will have that two-game lead heading into that important series in Fenway.

    The Yankees magic number is now 10. Any combination of Boston losses and Yankees wins that equal 10 means the Yankees will win the A.L. East. And, there are 10 games to go.

    It’s hard to believe that on the morning of July 2nd of this year that the Yankees were in 4th place in the A.L. East, with a record of 39-39, six games behind the first place Red Sox. Less than 12 weeks later, here are the Yankees – with a magic number just outside single digits. It’s some story, huh? And, as a Yankees fan, it’s an even better feeling.

    The Final Series Match-Ups

    Posted by on September 22nd, 2005 · Comments (6)

    Two days ago, I figured that it will be Wang, Johnson and Mussina for the Yankees last three games of the season. (This assumes that Wang stays in the rotation and that Mussina is able to take a normal turn.) But, who’s on schedule to pitch for the Red Sox? As of now, assuming no injuries, skipped turns, etc., it would be Wells, Schilling and Wakefield.

    So, the Friday night game on 9/30 will be Wang-Wells. On Saturday, 10/1, it will be the game that everyone wants to see: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. And, on Sunday, 10/2, it will be Mussina and Wakefield.

    That Sunday match-up is bad news for the Yankees. Yes, Mussina pitches well in Fenway. But, this is not an in-shape Mussina and the Yankees have issues with Wakefield. If this whole thing comes down to the last game of the season, the Red Sox have an edge there.

    It’s looking more and more important to the Yankees to have a 2-game lead heading into that series – and then take a shot with Wang on Friday for the clinch, and have Johnson as a great back-up on October 1st.

    Locking it up by Game 161 would do wonders for this Yankees fan’s old ticker.

    Besides, think of all those in RSN who probably paid thousands for seats to that last game of the year. How cool would it be for them to get to watch the Sox play against the Yankees’ Wil Nieves, Andy Phillips, Felix Escalona, Mike Vento, Mark Bellhorn, and Jorge De Paula in a meaningless game?

    Wells Takes Shot At A-Rod

    Posted by on September 22nd, 2005 · Comments (9)

    From The Herald – David Wells says:

    “David (Ortiz) right now is in a league all by himself,” Wells said last night at Tropicana Field, where the Red Sox lost to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 7-4, in the finale of a three-game series.

    “There’s no (expletive) question what he means to this team. (The MVP) is David Ortiz. The guy’s as humble as (expletive). He jokes around every day and doesn’t say a bad thing about anybody. He makes people laugh on the bus and at the park, and if we’re going to talk about defense, let’s talk about (clubhouse contributions), too. He’s not going to say that he’s working out before everyone else wakes up in the morning.

    “If they’re going to do that and personality comes into play, he’s got it unanimously.”

    He’s not going to say that he’s working out before everyone else wakes up in the morning.

    Uh, maybe he can’t say it because he’s not doing that? Or, maybe he doesn’t have to do that since he’s not required to field or expected to run during games?

    You don’t need to be in shape to do stand-up on a bus, right?

    Nah, that can’t be it, huh?

    The A.L. MVP

    Posted by on September 22nd, 2005 · Comments (5)

    In defense of Alex Rodriquez’ chances for the A.L. MVP, I want to share two things that I think those in the “David Ortiz for MVP” camp are missing.

    The first item that RSN likes to point to, in favor of their Big Papi, is his “clutch” performance.

    But, what is clutch? I think most would say that it’s batting with runners on (RISP). Many in RSN think no one is better than Ortiz in the clutch. However, Ortiz is not even the best clutch hitter on the Sox.

    As of today, John Olerud is batting .404 w/RISP. Manny Ramirez is batting .351 w/RISP. What about Ortiz? He’s batting .345 w/RISP. That’s not only below some of his teammates, but, it’s less than Gary Sheffield, Michael Young, Mark Kotsay, Mark Teixeira and Travis Hafner in the AL. In fact, the Tigers’ Rondell White has a higher batting average, right now, than Ortiz, w/RISP.

    Now, some others like to point to “late and close” ABs w/RISP. So, where is Big Papi in that stat? Well, as of today, he’s behind Vladimir Guerrero, Raul Ibanez, Mark Kotsay, and Victor Martinez (among others). In fact, as of this morning, Ortiz has the same batting average in “late and close” situations as the Yankees Hideki Matsui (.338).

    So, is David Ortiz the best clutch hitter in the game today? No. He’s very good. But, he’s not the best.

    Therefore, to say that Ortiz should get the award because he’s head and shoulders above everyone else in the clutch is not true.

    Is Big Papi better than A-Rod in the clutch? Yes, he is better. But, so is Manny Ramirez (in terms of batting average w/RISP). And, Manny has a better number here than Ortiz too. Should Manny then get the MVP? Why don’t we hear that from RSN?

    Secondly, in defense of those who say that Ortiz should not win the award because he is a DH, many in RSN like to say that no DH has ever had a season with the bat, on a winner, like Big Papi has this season.

    This is 100% untrue. In 1995, Edgar Martinez (the DH) of the Seattle Mariners was by far the best hitter in the league. In fact, Martinez’ 1995 season was probably the best season (in terms of relative batting value) by a RH batter in the AL since 1941. And, his team won their division and made it to the ALCS.

    And, who won the AL MVP in 1995? Mo Vaughn (the 1B) of the Boston Red Sox. (Edgar finished a distant 3rd in the voting.) Why? Probably because Mo was a position player who hit a lot of HRs and had many RBI for a team that won.

    Doesn’t that sound a lot like Alex Rodriguez?

    September 21st vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on September 21st, 2005 · Comments (14)

    rope.jpg

    Another close game. Wow. But, it’s another win.

    September 16, 1964 – the Yankees are a 1/2 game out of first.
    September 19, 1964 – the Yankees take first place and don’t look back.

    September 16, 2005 – the Yankees are 1.5 games out of first.
    September 21, 2005 – the Yankees take first place for the first time since July 18th.

    This year is really starting to look like 1964.

    Tonight’s game is a credit to the good people on staff with the Yankees.

    On July 24th, Joe Kerrigan sits with Randy Johnson. Since then, including tonight, in his last 6 starts, the Big Unit is 4-0 with an ERA of 1.91. He’s only allowed 1 homer in those games and the league is only hitting .158 against him.

    Matt Lawton comes to New York and can’t hit planet earth if he fell out of a space ship. Don Mattingly works with him and tonight he hits the big HR that provided the runs to win this game.

    Wow. Have I said that already?

    And, elsewhere, Mike Timlin blows a game in the 8th inning for the Red Sox. In their last 20 games, Boston has a record of 10-10. Something is happening with that team.

    Is it O.K. to say “Wow” again? Wow.

    Wow-we-wow-wow, in fact.

    There are two concerns from this otherwise wonderful evening. First, Giambi looks like a guy who should be on the DL because of his back. Secondly, Mariano Rivera is not going to have a shoulder left come October the way he has to pitch just about every game these days.

    Nonetheless, the Yankees magic number is now 11. Any combination of Boston losses and Yankees wins that equal 11 means the Yankees will win the A.L. East. And, there are 11 games to go.

    Torre better have a very short leash on Mussina tomorrow. While a loss on Thursday would not be the end of the world, a win, giving the Yankees a full game lead, with just 10 games to go, is a gazillion times better than allowing the idle Red Sox to regain a share of first place.

    This is the time to put the pedal to the metal.

    Damon Oppenheimer

    Posted by on September 21st, 2005 · Comments (10)

    Bob Nightengale speculates on Cashman’s survival rate:

    Brian Cashman, Yankees

    • Survival odds: 25%

    Cashman, the most popular GM among his peers, has grown tired of being owner George Steinbrenner’s whipping boy. Then again, if the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, Steinbrenner won’t give him a choice.

    Cashman is telling friends that he is gone. He would love to work in Baltimore, apparently figuring that even with Angelos and his sons running the show, Camden Yards would be like Club Med compared to dealing with Steinbrenner.

    Prediction: Cashman departs, and vice president Damon Oppenheimer replaces him.

    So, who is Damon Oppenheimer? From a recent Madden column:

    Oppenheimer, 43, played college baseball at USC and then joined the San Diego Padres (where his mother, Priscilla, was director of minor league operations) as an amateur scout. He was hired by the Yankees in 1994 as a cross-checker in their player development department, but he managed to get himself assigned to Michael’s major league postseason scouting team.

    “Stick was like a mentor to him,” said one Yankee organization man, referring to Michael. “But after time, Damon kind of separated himself from him as he rose in power down in Tampa.”

    Ever see the movie Coneheads? If you did, do you remember the character of the suck-up INS Agent played by David Spade? Why can’t I get that image out of my head when I’m reading that summary on Damon Oppenheimer?

    The Final Head-To-Head

    Posted by on September 21st, 2005 · Comments (0)

    I was just looking at some of the Win Shares (WS) data over at The Hardball Times site, which is as of 9/15, and was matching up the WS “values” of some of the Red Sox and Yankees. This I found:

    That the combined value (in terms of WS) of A-Rod and Sheffield is 60 whereas the combined number for Ortiz and Manny is 55. Further, the combined WS total for Jeter, Giambi, and Matsui is 65 whereas the number for Damon, Varitek and Mueller is 58.

    Continuing, Posada and Williams combine for 28 compared to Nixon and Renteria who pair for 27. Also, Tino and Cano add to 15 versus Olerud and Millar who total 17.

    What about the starting pitchers? Schilling, Wells, Clement, Arroyo, and Wakefield total 53 Win Shares. For the Yankees, Johnson, Mussina, Wang, Chacon and Small total 39. But, it should be noted that Schilling, Chacon and Small have not made as many starts as the others here.

    In the bullpen, it’s not close. TanGorMo is at 30 and Timlin/Foulke/Myers/Bradford are at 18.

    Two fairly equal attacks here in terms of position players. To me, when these teams go head-to-head, it’s going to come down to the pitching.

    For the Yankees, their starters are going to have to step up and out pitch the Red Sox starters, for New York to do well. On the flip side, for Boston to do well, they’re going to need their pen to get big outs and prevent add-on and/or comeback runs.

    It should be fun to see what happens.

    Best Season With The Bat Since 1973 – Pt. II

    Posted by on September 21st, 2005 · Comments (3)

    Following up on something from August 15th, don’t look now, but, Alex Rodriguez has 72 RCAA at this moment. He’s in excellent position to lay claim towards the title of “Best Season With The Bat Since 1973″ for the Yankees.

    Further, when he’s done this year, A-Rod might also have the “Best Season With The Bat Since 1937 By A Right-Handed Batter” title for the Yankees as well.

    Not So Uphill Anymore?

    Posted by on September 21st, 2005 · Comments (4)

    On September 12th, I shared this:

    The latest “odds” from CoolStandings.com:

    Boston: Win AL East = 79.5%.
    Cleveland: Win AL Wildcard = 71.4%.

    Yankees: Win AL East = 20.5%, Win AL Wildcard = 9.6%.

    Well, just nine days later, this is what they say now:

    Boston: Win AL East = 55.5%.
    Cleveland: Win AL Wildcard = 67.0%.

    Yankees: Win AL East = 44.5%, Win AL Wildcard = 7.6%.

    New York is still not the favorite, huh? That’s O.K. It will just make it sweeter if they win it.

    The Natural

    Posted by on September 21st, 2005 · Comments (6)

    I know that Aaron Small, in his last 3 appearances, has been smacked around lately (to say the least) – with 13 ER in 19 IP.

    However, I still have a feeling about him – that he’s going to come up big when it counts (either doing something to get the Yankees into the post-season and/or helping them win a post-season series).

    Why? It’s probably because of the Roy Hobbs nature of his story. He was the “nobody from nowhere” who showed up one day in the Yankees dugout like that famous “middle-aged rookie” from Bernard Malamud’s classic tale.

    And, on the day that Small was called up, the Yankees were a .544 ballclub. Since that time, they’ve played .633 baseball.

    Remember, in the movie-version of The Natural, Hobbs hit a speed bump of sorts just before coming back to lead the team into the promised land. This could be one of those times where life imitates art.

    With just 12 games left until the end of the season, we’ll know soon enough.

    September 20th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on September 20th, 2005 · Comments (24)

    The good news: How many times do you allow 18 hits, 2 walks, and make an error in a game and win?

    The bad news: When you’re winning 10-3 after five, you probably should be able to close the game out without using your primary set-up man and your closer. The use of Mo in this game was very disturbing – especially since he was warmed, then sat down, and then later brought up again to come into the game.

    Related, just what is the deal with Ramiro Mendoza? He hasn’t been used in three weeks. If he’s not able to throw, just why was he activated at all? And, hearing the stats on YES tonight about Leiter against LH batters as a Yankee (it was something like 0 BB and HR allowed), it’s time to start using him as a LOOGY and forget about Alan Embree.

    Aw, what the hey? The important thing is the “W” tonight. Just keep on keeping on, that’s the thing. Who cares if it’s pretty and/or pristine at this stage? In the end, it doesn’t matter – as long as you win.

    I guess those reports of Sheffield not being to hit for power were not spot on, huh?

    And, that bomb from A-Rod in the 8th, well, I’ve been watching games since 1973 and I cannot ever remember seeing a RH batter go upper-tank at the Stadium before. That’s power.

    The Yankees magic number is now 13. Any combination of Boston losses and Yankees wins that equal 13 means the Yankees will win the A.L. East. And, there are 12 games to go.

    It’s a big game for Randy Johnson tomorrow. His ERA of 3.60 for September (to date) is the best mark that he’s posted for any month so far this season. Ditto his opponent’s batting average of .185 this month. He needs to keep pace with that now.

    Mussina Coming Back Would Help

    Posted by on September 20th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    A month ago, I guessed at who would start for the Yankees in the last series of the season. At that time, it looked like it would be Mussina, Chacón, and Randy Johnson.

    Looking at it now, it appears to me that it will be Wang, Johnson and Mussina (in that order) – assuming that Moose comes back this Thursday and is OK.

    Now, if Mussina stays out, it looks like it will be Small, Johnson and Chacón.

    Either way, I’m fine with this. But, where it hurts is if a tie-breaker is needed. If Mussina is in the rotation, then Chacón would pitch the tie-breaker. That’s cool. But, if Mussina does not come back to the rotation, then it would be Wright or Leiter in the tie-breaker. Yikes. The only way around this would be to use Wang on three-days rest.

    As you can see, Mussina coming back would help.

    Disabling The Fenway Series?

    Posted by on September 20th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    I was just thinking to myself “Is there a way that the Yankees can take the steam out of that season ending series at Fenway?”

    Of course, the answer is to be 4 games up in the standings at the start of that three game set. But, can that be done?

    Well, considering that the Yankees have taken 3.5 games off Boston’s lead in the last 9 days (9/11 to 9/19), one would have to assume that it’s possible to add 3.5 games in 9 days as well, no?

    From today, through 9/28, the Yankees play 9 games and the Red Sox play 8 games. If the Red Sox split their 8 games, then the Yankees would have to win all 9 games to have a 4 game lead over Boston on 9/29. OK, that’s not going to happen.

    Of course, there are the games of 9/29 that have to played as well before the Yanks-Sox finale. What if that is factored in?

    Suppose that Boston goes 5-4 in their final 9 games before the Yankees series. Then the Yankees would need to go 10-0 to have that four game lead going into Fenway. Yeah, that’s not going to happen either.

    Therefore, it’s going to come down to those final three games of the season – unless Boston tanks it, big-time, in the next 9 games. Or, of course, unless the Yankees play terrible and then it won’t matter.

    Clear your calendars: 9/30, 10/1 and 10/2 – and possibly a tie-breaker after that. Oh, my stars and garters.

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