• Yanks Front Office Waiving The White Flag

    Posted by on August 28th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Via George King

    Carl “American Idle” Pavano is scheduled to start tomorrow night against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium – unless another team wants him.

    The Post has learned Pavano was put on waivers within the last 24 hours and available to be claimed and then traded if the Yankees find a match.

    They would be wise to see what they could get for Pavano before he leaves via free agency when the Yankees don’t pick up a $13 million option.

    With John Maine a strong possibility to be done for the season because of a shoulder problem, the Mets might be interested in Pavano if the Yankees agree to pick up some of the $3.78 million left on the contract. There is approximately $1.83 million remaining this year and a $1.95 million buyout on his contract.

    With the Yankees needing starting pitching, there would be no way that they would try and trade Pavano, now, if the front office thought they had a prayer of making the post-season. (By the way, this is a smart move – if they can manage to get a prospect for Pavano at this point.)

    Related, just about this time of the season is when the Yankees would send out invoices for post-season tickets to season ticket holders. Well, unless my postal carrier delivers something in the next day or two, it looks like that’s not happening this year. Just another sign that the Yankees front office feels there’s no chance of October baseball this year in the Bronx.

    August 27th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 27th, 2008 · Comments (23)

    Time of death: The 8th inning of Game 132 – approximately 9:55 pm EST on August 27, 2008.

    Yes, that’s when the Yankees 2008 season, in terms of any possibility of being a championship contender, ended. When Dustin Pedroia (pictured, right) hit a grand slam for the Sox in the 8th inning of this game it not only locked up this contest for Boston…it killed any hope for the Yankees to remain in the chase for the American League Wildcard.

    With this loss, New York now sits seven games back of Boston, in the loss column, in the A.L. Wildcard standings – with only thirty games left remaining on the Yankees schedule.

    Do the math on that puppy, if you must. If the Red Sox play just .500 ball for the rest of this season, the Yankees would have to win 23 of 30 games – a winning percentage of .767 – to pass them.

    Forget the fact that Boston has many home games left on their ticket as well as some games against teams with less-than-great records…and that it’s very remote that they would ever play just .500 ball from here out. Just focus on the Yankees, for this moment.

    The Yankees have one more game against the Red Sox in this series – facing Jon Lester who is murder on left-handed batters. Then, New York has to play Toronto for three games. In these games, the Yankees will have to face A.J. Burnett and Roy Halladay.

    After those four games, the Yankees go on the road: Playing one against the Tigers, three against the Rays, three against the Mariners, and three against the Angels.

    After that insane road-trip, New York returns to Yankee Stadium to play three games against the Rays and then four against the White Sox.

    In total, between tomorrow and September 18th, the Yankees will play 21 games. (And will have nine left after that.) To have any hope, whatsoever, the Yankees will need to win at least 16 of these 21 games.

    So, basically, for the Yankees to get back into this thing, this is what needs to happen:

    They have to play Boston again, the Jays for three – including Burnett and Halladay, then play the road-trip from hell for 10 games, and then play the best team in the A.L. East for three and the best team in the A.L. Central for four…and only lose five (or less!) of those 21 games. Further, on top of that, they need the Boston Red Sox to play no better than .500 ball between now and September 18th.

    Yeah, like that’s really going to happen.

    Sorry, it’s over for this Yankees team – as far as having any chance to play some games in October. It’s wait till next year time…turn out the lights, the party’s over.

    Dustin Pedroia’s Slam 8th

    Posted by on August 27th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    It’s time to sing this song now…

    Beware Big Papi This Evening!

    Posted by on August 27th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    This season, Sidney Ponson has allowed left-handed batters to produce the following BA/OBA/SLG line against him: .343/.412/.515 (in 275 PA)

    And, in his career, David Ortiz has the following BA/OBA/SLG line when facing Ponson: .462/.569/.795 (in 51 PA). No, those numbers are not a misprint. That’s an OPS of 1.364!

    I sense a Papi Perfect Storm forming over Sir Sidney’s head tonight. Anyone else see it? Maybe it would make more sense for Ponson to just walk Ortiz each time he has to face him this evening?

    Opening Before The Opener

    Posted by on August 27th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    MetsBlog reports that the Red Sox and Mets will play a two-game set, for kicks, next season at Citi Field just before Opening Day.

    The Yankees will probably now opt to do the same. Bummer.

    I wonder who they would play? Probably some National League team that trains in Florida. Too bad that the Dodgers left Vero Beach….

    And, I wonder how both the Mets and Yankees will handle these exhibitions…if they open up 2009 on the road?

    SNY New York Baseball Today Video

    Posted by on August 27th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    To watch SNY.tv’s “New York Baseball Today,” which features a rotating panel of analysts and previews today’s local baseball action, click play below:

    SNY Yankees Postgame Video

    Posted by on August 27th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    To watch postgame video from last night’s loss to the Red Sox, click play below:

    Do Hank & Hal Need $ This Badly?

    Posted by on August 27th, 2008 · Comments (8)

    The Yankees version of Mortimer and Randolph Duke – and, yes, this would make Brian Cashman to be Louis Winthorpe – reached a low-point to me with this one. Via the Post

    The Red Sox fan who paid $175,100 for the tattered David Ortiz jersey buried in the foundation of the new Yankee Stadium had the best seats in the house at last night’s game: The Boss’ box.

    Massachusetts car dealer Kevin Meehan rooted for the hated Sox from the Steinbrenner box after snapping up the luxe seats in a charity auction. Boston won 7-3.

    He bought the seats months before the jersey was found buried in two feet of freshly laid concrete.

    “I suppose I could have worn the shirt, but it would have caused a bloodbath,” Meehan said. But he called his first ever trip to the Stadium “a great experience,” adding, “Everyone was really friendly.”

    The Ortiz jersey was jackhammered out of the concrete in April after Sox-loving Bronx hardhat Gino Castignoli buried it behind home plate in an effort to curse the Yanks. Proceeds from its sale went to a cancer-research charity.

    Com’on guys – just leave the box empty, rather than sell it to a Sox fan, if you can’t be there. And, if you want to give money to charity, then just reach into your pocket and do it that way. You still get the write-off.

    August 2008 Survey Question #8

    Posted by on August 27th, 2008 · Comments (10)

    Please consider taking the following poll:


    Thanks in advance. And, please feel free to add comments on your opinion in the comments section below.

    Did Paulie Hit Baseball’s 200,000th HR?

    Posted by on August 27th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Baseball-Reference.com says that it’s a close call. The question is: Who will hit # 250,000?

    C.J. Henry To Play NCAA Hoops Again

    Posted by on August 27th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Here we go again.

    Yes, I know: Why are we even still talking about this guy? At this point, hearing about Phil Hughes beating Ian Kennedy in a game of Backyard Baseball on Hughes’ Wii is bigger Yankees news.

    August 26th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 26th, 2008 · Comments (29)

    The Yankees entered this game sitting in hot water. And, now, they’re just about cooked.

    As a result of this loss, New York needs to win the next two games – just to stay somewhat alive in the Wildcard chase. Yes, winning the next two only keeps them slightly alive – as New York would still be ice skating uphill after that…having to face the Blue Jays next and then go on a killer road trip for ten games starting on September 1st.

    Worse, while the Yankees must win the next two games – again, just to barely stay alive in the ‘card race – Boston is sitting in the driver’s seat now (for this series) as they get to face Sidney Ponson tomorrow and they will have Jon Lester (who is murder on left-handed batters) pitching for them on Thursday.

    It’s not over for the Yankees – but, it’s as close to being over as it can be in terms of their place in the standings, the calendar, and the remaining schedule for them and the teams that they’re chasing.

    You can blame the home plate umpire for squeezing Pettitte tonight. You can blame all those seeing-eye hits for Boston. You can blame all those 2-out hits for the Sox with runners in scoring position. You can blame Giambi’s defensive play. But, those are all excuses.

    The Red Sox played without Drew and Lowell. They don’t have Manny anymore. And, they started a rusty Tim Wakefield. Yet, they won this game.

    Was it just me, or, did this game have the look and feel of a cheap reenactment of Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS? Man, the Yankees just didn’t look good…except…

    You have to give credit to Damon, Jeter and Abreu for doing a great job setting the table in this one. You really couldn’t ask for anything more from those three. However, the “meat” of the Yankees line-up was…well…let’s just say “lacking” tonight.

    And, how about Alex Rodriguez’ big symmetrical evening (K- GIDP-FO8-GIDP-K)?

    Let us review each PA in this game for A-Rod:

    1st inning: Yanks leading, 1-0. No one on base. Two out. Alex goes down on strikes.
    3rd inning: Yanks losing, 3-2. Runner on first. One out. Alex hits into a double-play.
    5th inning: Yanks losing, 6-3. Runners on first and second. One out. Alex flies out to shallow center.
    7th inning: Yanks losing, 7-3. Bases loaded. One out. Alex hits into a double-play.
    9th inning: Yanks losing, 7-3. Runner on first. Two outs. Alex goes down swinging.

    It will be interesting to hear A-Rod’s post-game quotes after this one…

    SNY New York Baseball Today Video

    Posted by on August 26th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    To watch SNY.tv’s “New York Baseball Today,” which features a rotating panel of analysts and previews today’s local baseball action, click play below:

    Just For The Record…

    Posted by on August 26th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    …no, I’m not the person who sent that e-mail to Brian Cashman.

    If I had been the one to send it, I probably would have said “You’re no Mark Shapiro, Terry Ryan, or Larry Beinfest…”

    Speaking Of Red Sox…

    Posted by on August 26th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Like the Yankees, the Boston Red Sox have a rich history of great players. And, whenever I think about the Sox, and those, players, Tris Speaker always comes to mind.

    For those who don’t know it, I’m a bit of a Speaker-groupie. In fact, back in February of 2006, I went on record with the following statement:

    … in Tris Speaker, we have someone who ranks as one of the best ever (if not the best) with the glove at his playing position and who is one of the ten best batters to ever wield a stick at the plate – in the entire history of baseball. A case could easily be made that Tris Speaker is the best all-around player in baseball history. However, in the general public, his name does not carry the same hardball-fame-cache of players such as Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and others.

    And, I still feel this way about Tris Speaker. Why his name doesn’t come up in every conversation that includes Cobb, Mays, Mantle, etc., I don’t know? It’s truly a shame.

    Last year, Charles C. Alexander (who has written baseball books about John McGraw, Rogers Hornsby and Ty Cobb) released a book on Speaker – it’s entitled “Spoke: A Biography of Tris Speaker.”

    I’ve recently had a chance to thumb through “Spoke” and it seems like a very detailed account of Speaker’s career. It’s currently in my “to read” queue. And, when I get to it, I will share more about it. But, in the interim, I thought it was worth mentioning now…in case some were interested.

    Can Pavano Help The Yankees?

    Posted by on August 26th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Adam Schein and Chris Carlin, yesterday on SNY’s Loud Mouths, discuss the question. Here’s the video:

    It’s interesting that the fellas brought Pedro Martinez into the conversation – as Pavano was traded for Pedro way back on November 18, 1997.

    Me? Well…let’s put it this way…what other “better” options do the Yankees have, now, over Pavano? Yeah, I know…it sounds crazy to say that…but, it is the reality of the situation.

    Hank: We Can Make It If We Go On A Run

    Posted by on August 26th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Via George King

    Sweep dreams? How about sweep and still weep?

    What Yankees fans have conveniently forgotten is the Red Sox are not the only other team in the AL wild-card hunt. Boston led the Yankees by five games and the Twins by 1½ after Minnesota’s 4-2 loss at Seattle last night. The Twins also are one game behind the White Sox in the AL Central.

    Five games back with 32 left means the Yankees have to sweep three from the Red Sox, then negotiate a brutal schedule across the final 29 games that ends with three games at Fenway Park.

    In other words, don’t cancel that order for pinstriped coffins – although Hank Steinbrenner, who last week admitted the Yankees were looking to next year, now believes in his team.

    “If we put on a run here, there’s no question we can make it,” Steinbrenner said yesterday in Tampa. “There’s no question with the number of games we have left, it’s possible.”

    Yet, do the math. And leave the AL East-leading Rays out of the equation, because the Yankees aren’t catching them.

    The Red Sox, Twins and Yankees had 32 games remaining after Sunday; the White Sox had 31. If the Red Sox finish 16-16, they would have 91 wins. For the Yankees to win 91, they would have to go 21-11. If the Twins post a 16-16 record, they would get to 90 wins. If the White Sox go 16-15, they also would have 90 wins. For the Yankees to match that, they would have to go 20-12.

    On the surface, the Yankees have a chance to post those numbers, but remember, the other clubs have to play .500 for the math to work. And it starts tonight against Boston.

    An exclusive WasWatching.com photo of Hank Stein – shortly after he made those comments to George King:

    Cafardo Q&A With Joba

    Posted by on August 26th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    I just came acorss this from Nick Cafardo in the Boston Globe the other day:

    A few questions for injured Yankees starter Joba Chamberlain:

    I know you’re good friends with Clay Buchholz. Have you had a chance to talk to him recently about his demotion?

    JC: “I haven’t, but I will. I spoke to Justin [Masterson] the other day about it. It’s a shame for Clay and I know he must be disappointed, but all you have to do is look at his stuff to know that this is only a temporary setback for him. He’s got nasty, great stuff, and he’s going to figure it out because here’s a guy who’s pitched a no-hitter in the majors already.

    “Sometimes as young pitchers, we get ourselves out of our mechanics and we have to be reminded of things. It’s a constant process of making one adjustment after another. I’ve had to do it myself. Now I’m trying to come back from this shoulder thing.”

    Are you pleased about the way your rehab is going?

    JC: “I’m getting excited. I’ve been able to throw off flat ground without any discomfort. Throwing fastballs and changeups right now, and I feel it’s coming along, so I hope it won’t be too much longer.”

    What’s with the exchanges between you and Kevin Youkilis?

    JC: “Nothing on my part. I’ve never said a word to him. I guess it’s just one of those things.”

    I know you’ve always idolized Roger Clemens. Have you had a chance to speak to him recently?

    JC: “Not recently, but we keep in touch. He’s helped me so much with my pitching and the thought process of pitching, it’s unbelievable. I’d be crazy not to listen to a guy with those credentials who’s one of the greatest pitchers ever. He taught me a lot when he was in this clubhouse. I remember talking to his sister out in Hawaii and I’ll never forget she said to me that I reminded her of a young Roger. I was so flattered by that. Got a long way to go before I’m ever that. But it’s nice to hear.”

    Chamberlain is good friends with Clay Buchholz? He also talks with Justin Masterson? Well, you could knock me over with a feather after learning this…

    Heyman: Yanks Brass Concerned About A-Rod’s Off-Field Action

    Posted by on August 26th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    Via Jon Heyman

    Yankees people believe their oddly mediocre offense is what’s killing them, even moreso than the injuries to Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain, the disappointing seasons and subsequent injuries of Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy and seeming lack of bullpen depth. Yankees higherups point to offensive underperformance from just about everyone, the notable exceptions all being outfielders: Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon and perhaps Bobby Abreu.

    The Yankees are going to come up many, many runs short of the baseball-best 968 they posted in 2007, and it’s not all due to the long absences of Jorge Posada and the just-returned Hideki Matsui. The individual disappointments from the perspective of club decision makers include Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano (“terrible on offense and defense” this year, according to one AL executive), and doesn’t nearly stop there. It even extends to Alex Rodriguez, whose numbers don’t look all that disappointing. A-Rod actually possesses the AL’s second best OPS at .992 (to Milton Bradley’s 1.029) but has come up limp in the clutch.

    He may be partially a victim of high standards, his otherworldy 2007 season and his second gargantuan contract, this one for $275 guaranteed plus $30 million in makeable incentives. But A-Rod is batting only .244 with runners in scoring position, so that stat line of .309, 28 homers and 78 RBIs isn’t quite what it seems.

    Club higherups are concerned enough about A-Rod that they are even wondering aloud whether his off-field distractions are affecting his play. But while he hasn’t been his best, to be sure, this team has far bigger worries than A-Rod, like missing the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

    No one had more off-field distractions than Babe Ruth. But, then again, I doubt that Ruth ever hit .244 with runners in scoring position. Ditto, across the board, for Mickey Mantle.

    Previewing The Showdown In The Bronx

    Posted by on August 25th, 2008 · Comments (12)

    Here’s some thoughts on the upcoming Sox-Yanks series…

    Tuesday, Wakefield vs. Pettitte

    The last time that Wakefield pitched was August 6th – nearly three weeks ago. He’s been sidelined with tightness behind his right shoulder. David Pauley could pitch for Boston if Wakefield cannot answer the bell. Before he got hurt, Wakefield was dealing. In his last 13 starts, he threw 88 IP with an ERA of 2.66. In those games, batters only hit .194 against him.

    Andy Pettitte has gone seven innings and allowed three runs or less in his last three starts. However, his home ERA this season is 4.72 (in 82 IP) compared to 3.67 on the road (in 88.1 IP).

    Wednesday, Byrd vs. Ponson

    In his last seven starts, Byrd has an ERA of 2.79 (in 48.1 IP). He’s allowed exactly 4 runs in each of his last two starts – both for Boston.

    In his last start, Ponson allowed seven earned runs in just two innings of work. He’s started 10 games for the Yankees this season, allowing a BA/OBA/SLG line of .313/.383/.479 to the 249 batters that he has faced.

    Thursday, Lester vs. Mussina

    Lester got hammered in his last start. He allowed seven earned runs in 2.1 IP. However, in the 6 starts prior to that one, he pitched 42.2 IP with an ERA of 2.53. This season he’s been a much better pitcher at Fenway Park (2.93 ERA in 89 IP) than on the road (4.11 ERA in 81 IP). This season, to date, left-handed batters have a .227/.274/.318 (BA/OBA/SLG) line against him in 212 PA.

    In his last 11 starts, Mike Mussina is 6-2 with an ERA of 2.83 in 70 IP. During this time, he’s faced 280 batters and allowed an BA/OBA/SLG line of .280./.300/.394. Clearly, the secret to his success is not walking anyone and keeping the ball in the park.

    For the Red Sox, Pedroia, Bay, Youkilis, Ortiz, and Crisp have been swinging hot bats over the last two weeks. Varitek has been batting well over the last week.

    Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie have been ice cold, lately, for the Red Sox.

    For the Yankees, Abreu, Jeter and Cano have been swinging hot bats over the last two weeks. Damon and Nady have also been batting well over the last week.

    Pudge Rodriguez and Jason Giambi have been ice cold, lately, for the Yankees.

    My prediction? Tuesday and Thursday should be close games. They both could go either way. However, the Red Sox have the edge on Wednesday because of Ponson. Girardi should remove him from the game the minute he allows a fourth run – no matter what the inning.

    I don’t think either team will sweep this series. But, I cannot tell you which team will win the series. What do you think?

    Non-Star Favs By The Numbers

    Posted by on August 25th, 2008 · Comments (10)

    Somewhat inspired by Paul Vagnoni, here are my personal “non-star” favorites for Yankees uniform numbers:

    #1 – Bobby Murcer (Yeah, I know, he was a star. But, I’m being loose and easy here.)
    #2 – Wayne Tolleson
    #3, #4, #5, #7, #8, #15, #16 and #23 – Gotta skip, for the obvious reasons.
    # 6 – Roy White
    # 9 – Graig Nettles
    #10 – Rick Cerone (I am too young to remember the Scooter as a player.)
    #11 – Fred Stanley and Toby Harrah (tied)
    #12 – Ron Blomberg
    #13 – Walt Williams and Bobby Brown (tied)
    #14 – Lou Piniella
    #17 – Gene Michael and Mickey Rivers (tied)
    #18 – Claudell Washington and Randy Velarde (tied)
    #19 – Dave Righetti
    #20 – Bucky Dent
    #21 – Steve Kemp and Dan Pasqua (tied)
    #22 – Jerry Mumphrey
    #24 – Otto Velez and Kevin Maas (tied)
    #25 – Brian Doyle

    O.K., that’s enough for now. Maybe I do more later. How about you for #1 through #25? What non-star Yankees do you think of for each number?

    Cash, Theo, Are You Listening?

    Posted by on August 25th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Via Chad Jennings

    Lehigh Valley IronPigs general manager Kurt Landis served as a bat boy [yesterday] after losing a public bet with Yankees GM Jeremy Ruby over which team would win the season series between the IronPigs and Yankees. The Yankees won in a landslide, so Landis picked up bats while wearing a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre uniform.

    Wouldn’t it be great if Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein made a bet like this over the next three games between the Yankees and Red Sox – with the loser than having to serve as batboy when the teams meet next at Fenway Park?

    McFarlane Says No To Melky Figurine

    Posted by on August 25th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Jim Baumbach has the story.

    Meanwhile, five days ago, the Trenton Thunder still had a Jose Tabata Bobble-Head Night.

    Looks like the Yankees Leche has been replaced with Plaster of Paris. Don’t drink the milk! It’s spoiled!

    The Way They Were…And What It Means Now

    Posted by on August 24th, 2008 · Comments (12)

    So, it’s August 24th and the Yankees are five back (in the loss column) in the Wildcard chase. What does that mean? Well, let’s see where some recent A.L. Wildcard “champs” were on this same date:

    2007: Yankees were 4 games back, in the loss column, of the Mariners
    2006: Tigers were in first place in the A.L. Central – by 5.5 games
    2005: Red Sox were in first place in the A.L. East – by 3.5 games
    2004: Red Sox were one game ahead, in the loss column, of the Angels
    2003: Red Sox were tied with the A’s for the Wildcard lead
    2002: Angels were one game ahead, in the loss column, of the Mariners
    2001: The A’s were one game ahead of the Red Sox – but tied in the loss column
    2000: Mariners were in first place in the A.L West – by 2.5 games
    1999: Red Sox were tied with the A’s for the Wildcard lead
    1998: Red Sox were nine games ahead, in the loss column, of the Rangers
    1997: Yankees were eight games ahead, in the loss column, of the Angels
    1996: Orioles were two games ahead, in the loss column, of the White Sox
    1995: Yankees were 4 games back, in the loss column, of the Rangers

    Therefore, if my research is correct, there’s never been an eventual A.L. Wildcard winner that was five, or more, games back in the loss column (of the ‘card lead) on August 24th. And, the only two teams, in 13 years of Wildcard play, to comeback from being 4 games back (and win the ‘card) were the 1995 and 2007 Yankees.

    But, the 1995 Yankees had to go 26-9 while the Texas Rangers went 16-18 to reverse the gap. And, the 2007 Yankees had to go 23-11 while the Seattle Mariners went 15-21 to reverse the gap.

    So, for the 2008 Yankees to win the Wildcard, they’re going to have to win something like 22 out of their remaining 32 games…and hope that the Red Sox, Twins and White Sox all play .500 ball, or worse, for the rest of the season.

    Can that happen? Sure. Anything can happen. But, what are the odds of this happening?

    WasWatching.com Live Chat 08/24/08

    Posted by on August 24th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    August 24th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on August 24th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Four hours and one minute for nine innings of baseball…well, if you call this game “baseball,” this is…

    No question about it. When you have a 7-2 lead, needing 18 more outs for the win, and then you allow the other team to tie the score, that’s not pretty at all. But, on the plus-side, the Yanks did manage to eek-out an 8-7 win in this one…and, winning is all that matters, right?

    So what if it’s not exactly a fine display of championship level play…or even just a good display of baseball, period?

    Thank the stars for the off-day in Yankeeland tomorrow. After the way the Yankees had to use their pen in this series, they can use it.

    Live Chat This Evening 9 PM ET

    Posted by on August 24th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    We’re going to try and have our second “live chat” at WasWatching.com this evening at 9 pm ET. Stop by, if you can, and join in on the fun.

    To see our last chat, click here.

    August 23rd @ The Orioles

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2008 · Comments (1)

    This storyline tells you all you need to know about the Yankees 2008 season:

    At the close of business on August 23rd, Carl Pavano had more wins for the Yankees than Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, combined.

    Baseball is such a funny game, isn’t it?

    I watched the first two innings of this game. During that time, I saw Carl Pavano throw 50 pitches – allowing 3 runs in two frames…where more balls were hit hard, including the outs, there were not.

    At that point, it was 8 pm EST, and “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry” was starting on HBO. My wife and I had not seen this movie yet…and it was the first time it was on HBO…and, well, Pavano was looking shaky (and that’s being polite)…so, I switched off the game.

    But, I do remember thinking, to myself, “What’s Girardi thinking? Every game is must win, just about, at this point. You cannot let any one of these games get away from you too quickly. Get this guy out of here. Monday is an off-day. If you have to go to the pen in the third inning…so be it. You would do it in ‘Game Seven’ of a playoff. Do it now. If you keep Pavano out there, it’s going to be six-two, or something like that, in a heartbeat.”

    When the movie – which, by the way, had some very funny moments/lines – was over, I tuned back to the game. It was then the bottom of the eighth, with the Yanks up, five-three, and Veras was pitching to Millar. Within a minute or two, Michael Kay and Ken Singleton (on the YES coverage) started to talk about how Pavano went five in the game – and was followed by Bruney for two and now Veras.

    Pavano for five? Did they really say that?

    Wow. Good thing that Girardi is managing this team and not me, huh?

    I did watch the close of the game, from there, and caught up on all the highlights via the post-game coverage.

    Pretty interesting game. In the top of the first, if Hernandez makes a better tag on Damon, or, if Roberts and Guthrie make a better play on Giambi’s grounder, New York is not scoring two runs in that frame. Also, if Guthrie doesn’t hit A-Rod with a pitch in the third, then the Yankees are also not scoing two runs in that inning. So, in this one, New York was helped out by Baltimore mistakes. Still, at this point, it’s all about the “what” and not about the “how.” Same thing goes for Pavano, in terms of getting the “W.”

    As a kid…I want to say back in 1975…I remember a quote that I once saw attributed to Thurman Munson (which had to do with his unorthodox style of throwing to second base). It went to the tune of “Don’t measure me by my methods. Measure me by my results.”

    At this point of the season, considering where they are and what they need to do, that should be the Yankees mantra from here out. And, for this one, that’s what it was all about. Good job. Now, they have to come back and do it again tomorrow.

    Why The Yankees Are Where They Are…

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2008 · Comments (8)

    Over at Baseball-Reference.com, one of the stats that they keep in their league standings breakdown is how a team has performed against winning and losing teams.

    Here, they show a team’s record against opponents who have a winning percentage “>= .500” (meaning a winning team) and opponents who have a winning percentage “< .500" (meaning a losing team). Let's look at each split...with games through last night. First, A.L. team's records against teams with a winning percentage ">= .500″:

    Team	W	L	Pct
    LAA	36	23	.610
    TBR	42	28	.600
    NYY	34	31	.523
    TOR	28	30	.483
    MIN	25	27	.481
    CLE	29	33	.468
    BOS	31	37	.456
    CHW	22	28	.440
    BAL	33	44	.429
    TEX	29	39	.426
    DET	28	40	.412
    OAK	29	43	.403
    KCR	29	47	.382
    SEA	21	39	.350

    Clearly, in this situation, the Angels and Rays are the class of the league. But, the Yankees, while not “great” here, are “holding their own” (so to speak) against the “winning teams” that they’ve faced this season.

    Next, A.L. team’s records against teams with a winning percentage “< .500":

    Team	W	L	Pct
    BOS	43	17	.717
    CHW	51	26	.662
    MIN	49	27	.645
    TBR	36	21	.632
    LAA	41	27	.603
    DET	35	25	.583
    BAL	28	22	.560
    TEX	34	27	.557
    TOR	38	32	.543
    NYY	34	29	.540
    OAK	29	27	.518
    KCR	26	26	.500
    CLE	31	34	.477
    SEA	26	42	.382

    You see? Here’s the problem for the Yankees this season. Sure, they’ve won more than they have lost against “losing teams” – so far this season. But, compare their record to what the Red Sox have done in these situations. Boston has feasted against “losing teams” this year. In fact, all the teams that the Yankees looking up at, in terms of their overall record, meaning the Red Sox, White Sox, Twins, Rays and Angels, are playing .600 ball (or much better) when they face a “losing team.”

    If the Yankees do not make the post-season this year, when they look back at this season, they should lament about how they played teams like the Orioles, Indians, Tigers, Royals and Rangers. Throw in the Reds and Pirates too. To date, here’s how New York has done against these seven teams:

    Team	W	L
    BAL	6	7
    KCR	5	5
    CLE	3	4
    TEX	3	4
    DET	1	4
    CIN	1	2
    PIT	1	2
    Total	20	28

    Wow. Twenty and twenty-eight against these seven “losing” teams. If New York had managed to just play .500 against these seven losing teams, and went 24-24 instead of 20-28, then the Yankees would be just two games back (in the loss column) of the Wildcard chase – and not six back, like they are now.

    That’s a huge difference.

    Bottom line, the Yankee are where they are now because of how they have played against “losing teams.” Their failure to go for the kill against weaker prey is the reason why New York will probably miss out on the post-season for the first time since 1993.

    Nice Company For Jeter

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Now that Derek Jeter has 2,500 career hits, he needs just 7 more RBI for 1,000 career RBI. Once Jeter has that, he will become only the tenth player in baseball history to have 2,500+ hits, 200+ HR, 250+ SB, 1,400+ runs and 1,000+ RBI in his career. Via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia here’s the ten:

    Player		PA	H	HR	SB	R	RBI
    Rickey Henderson	13346	3055	297	1406	2295	1115
    Barry Bonds	12606	2935	762	514	2227	1996
    Craig Biggio	12503	3060	291	414	1844	1175
    Willie Mays	12492	3283	660	338	2062	1903
    Robin Yount	12249	3142	251	271	1632	1406
    Paul Molitor	12160	3319	234	504	1782	1307
    Joe Morgan	11329	2517	268	689	1650	1133
    Steve Finley	10460	2548	304	320	1443	1167
    Roberto Alomar	10400	2724	210	474	1508	1134
    Derek Jeter	8967	2500	203	273	1450	993

    If Jeter can get to 3,000 career hits and 1,400 career RBI, then, he will join Willie Mays and Robin Yount as the only players in baseball history to have 3,000+ hits, 200+ HR, 250+ SB, 1,400+ runs and 1,400+ RBI in his career.

    Now, that would be something, wouldn’t it?

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