• Weather Rains On Yanks ALDS Hopes?

    Posted by on September 30th, 2011 · Comments (16)

    So, CC Sabathia gets heated up tonight and it’s wasted.

    And, tomorrow is now “Game 1″ – picking up from the bottom of the second inning. And, Sunday is now “Game 2″ – thus meaning that there’s no more off days in this ALDS.

    I suspect that Ivan Nova will get the “start” – which is now a relief appearance – in “Game 1.” And, Freddy Garcia will get the ball in “Game 2″ on Sunday. This will have Sabathia come back on Monday for “Game 3.” But, then, who pitches Game 4? Would it be A.J. Burnett? Who else can it be? And, what about Game 5? That would probably be Nova.

    Ah, this is what you get when your rotation is about as deep as an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.

    Oh, Mudder

    Posted by on September 30th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    Rain delay…

    You know this game ain’t ending until Saturday morning.

    A Happy Yankees LDS Memory

    Posted by on September 30th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    Even as a NRI to the post-season, Jeter was a top stepper…

    I share this with the hope it brings the boys some luck tonight. Enjoy the game ya’ll.

    Yankees Triple-A Team To Be Road Warriors In 2012

    Posted by on September 30th, 2011 · Comments (5)

    Via Mike Ashmore -

    Scranton playing its home games in SIX different stadiums in 2012. Rochester, Batavia, Syracuse, Allentown, Buffalo and Pawtucket are Scranton’s home sites in 2012. Crazyness.

    What a nightmare for the players in terms of housing. Triple-A is supposed to be one step from the big leagues…not like being treated as if you were the worst team in an Independent League.

    Francona Out Of Beantown?

    Posted by on September 30th, 2011 · Comments (8)

    Here’s the story.

    Good for him. No need to stick around there now, after this season. He’ll get another job in a heartbeat. There are a lot worse people managing big league teams. He can help a lot of teams.

    More On The Cashman Affair

    Posted by on September 30th, 2011 · Comments (11)

    Deadspin shares more details on the story from the other day -

    The Yankees general manager’s relationship with the woman in these photos has been known or suspected among New York reporters for years, but has been just too darn shady, complicated, and expensive to pursue, especially at the risk of antagonizing the Yankees.

    But now the pictures are out. When these photos were snapped by a private investigator, the woman in them was named Kimberley Brennan, and she was married to a man named Brian Brennan, who had hired the private investigator. The couple, who lived in Westchester, have since divorced, in no small part because of the photos.

    How did the story get out, then? We first caught wind of it in 2009, when we were contacted by a source who claimed that word of the Cashman affair was about to break, pending finalization of a deal for a book about famous people and the private investigators who trailed them. We spoke with the private investigator, Tony De Lorenzo, and he confirmed the story was being circulated. But the book deal fell apart, the PI clammed up, and the Cashman affair story never reached the mainstream press, though we’re told a number of reporters around the Yankees knew of it. (When we contacted De Lorenzo two days ago, he had no comment, either.) A number of Brennan’s friends had apparently taken it upon themselves to shop Brian’s story to the New York Post and at least one other New York newspaper, a source tells us. They didn’t find any takers. In August, we received the photos from a friend of Deadspin contributor Pete Nash, free of charge.

    Usually, I would not pay much attention to the personal lives of front office personnel – unless they do something unlawful. And, if Cashman wants to do the tube snake boogie with some chick and totally trash his marriage and make things uncomfortable for his children, that’s a call which he has a right to make, on his own, and deal with the consequences.

    But, what bothers me with this whole thing – if it’s all true – is that Cashman was messing with a married woman. By doing that, he’s not just messing with his own family, but, he’s wrecking another family in the process. That’s just not cool.

    There’s enough loose trim in the world that there’s no need to tap on someone else’s squeeze. That should be a given in the man code. And, if Cashman can’t respect that, then it speaks volumes as to what kind of dude he is…shifty.

    Pre-ALDS Headlines

    Posted by on September 30th, 2011 · Comments (11)

    Why is it that these three headlines from MLB.com concern me?  Here they are:

    • Yanks to use Posada as DH during ALDS
    • Girardi will rely on Burnett out of bullpen
    • A-Rod pushing through nagging pains

    I love Posada. But, it’s a shame not to get Montero’s bat in the line-up, somehow. He could be an X-Factor. He’s just too hot right now to sit. And, Burnett out of the bullpen has Jeff Weaver ’03 written all over it. Lastly, A-Rod…what can I say? If he’s not good to go, then, as crazy as it sounds, I’d rather have Chavez playing third. This is the post-season, and, a five game series. It’s not time to see if someone can or cannot play because of injuries and/or rust.

    A Month In Review–The September 2011 Edition

    Posted by on September 29th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    Awesome Endings and New Beginnings

    I realize that the month doesn’t end until tomorrow, but I wanted to get this post out before the postseason started.  So, for the first time this season, I will actually have my Month In Review post out in a timely manner.

    September Record: 16-12 (@ BOS, 1-0; vs TOR, 3-0; vs BAL, 2-1; @ BAL, 0-1; @ LAA, 1-2; @ SEA, 2-1; @ TOR, 1-2; vs MIN, 1-0; vs TB, 3-1; vs BOS, 2-1; @ TB, 0-3)

    Season Standings: New York*, Tampa Bay** (-6), Boston (-7), Toronto (-16), Baltimore (-28)

    • *New York (duh) won the AL East and have home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
    • **Tampa Bay completed the epic comeback (or more accurately, I think, Boston completed the epic collapse) and will be the AL wildcard team.

    Team Offense: .722 OPS

    The Good:

    • Robinson Cano–Cano posted a .888 OPS for September.  Cano has played so well to end the season, that Girardi has decided he will bat third in the post season and Teixeira has been moved to fifth.  His season ended with a 129 OPS+ second only to Curtis Granderson for the team lead.
    • Jesus Montero–Excellent, excellent debut, by Jesus Montero.  I am looking forward to what I am assuming will be a full season in 2012.  In September he batted .328/.406/.590.  He did so well that he has earned himself a spot on the post season roster, and he will probably get several starts this October.  (By the by, is he allowed on the post season roster because Cervelli is hurt ala K-Rod in 2002?)
    • Derek Jeter– I am putting him here, dammit!  His OPS was only .777, but I am damn proud of Derek Jeter this season, and I want to honor him again.  It is my post, I can do whatever I want to, thankyouverymuch.

    The Bad:

    • Alex Rodriguez–Wow, was ARod epically bad in September.  His numbers were .196/.369/.353.  And no, I did not transpose those numbers.  Alex Rodriguez, the man known for his power, had a higher on base percentage than a slugging percentage. His OBP was higher than his SLG.  I think at this point it is safe to say that I wasted my first round pick on Arod in my fantasy draft this past March.
    • Russell Martin–Marin did not have the best 2011 season.  He has dropped a long way from his awesome, awesome April (.293/.376/.587), but his .732 OPS from the catcher position is respectable enough for me (though his OPS+ was only 92 for the season. Russell has made my list this month, because his September numbers are well below his season numbers.  He sported a .657 OPS.  I just hope he isn’t a black hole in the lineup.
    • Brett Gardner–As far as I’m concerned, Gardner had a disappointing season.  A .713 OPS just isn’t that great.  I want more out of him.  Luckily, his defense helped cancel out that offense.  For September he had a line of .219/.345/.342.  Yes, his slugging is less than his on base percentage, but this is Brett Gardner, not Alex Rodriguez.  It is basically expected.

    Offensive Highlight of 2011:  July 9, 2011–Derek Jeter goes 5-5 against the Tampa Bay Rays and collecting his 3,000th hit via a booming home run against David Price.

    The Pitching: 3.94 ERA

    The Good

    • David Robertson–Robertson’s already excellent ERA of 1.33 lowered to 1.08 over the month of September.  During his 13 appearances he allowed zero runs. He struck out 19.  He is awesome.
    • Ivan Nova–He had a hell of a rookie year, yeah?  This September Nova had a 2.62 ERA and he went 2-0 during that time.  Although, it probably should be noted that the Yankees did lose the three games in which he did not get a decision, and only 1 of those three were considered a quality start.  His overall season ended with a 3.70 ERA.  Nova has had such a remarkable season, that Girardi is entrusting him to pitch game two of the upcoming playoff series against Detroit, which means, should the series go five games, Nova will get the nod in a Win-Or-Go-Home situation.
    • Mariano Rivera–How awesome is Mariano Rivera?  He capped off his age 41 season by posting a .87 ERA.  He had 9 saves.  He made 11 appearances, and only allowed a six hits.  His batting average against was .171.  His slugging against was also .171.

    The Bad

    • Bartolo Colon–Colon’s pixie dust has definitely worn off.  The Yankees got a ton of effective innings out of Colon this year, far more than any reasonable expectation, but I think he is finally cooked.  His 5.96 ERA was troubling.  His inability to go at least 6 innings in most starts was disappointing.  His .861 OPS against was downright horrifying.  Colon’s September may have knocked him off the postseason roster.
    • Freddy Garcia–Like with Colon, the Yankees got a lot more effective innings out of Freddy Garcia than they could hoped for.  His September, however, was scary.  His ERA was 7.36 and his OPS against was .973.  Unlike with Colon, however, Garcia’s September has earned him the third start in the ALDS?  I imagine this decision was made due to his 6.0 IP 0 ER against the reeling Boston Red Sox.  I guess?

    Pitching Highlight of 2011: September 19, 2011–Mariano Rivera becomes the all time saves leader as he sets the Twins down in order to record save number 602.

    Jeteupthemiddle’s Season Awards (listed in first, second, and third place respectively):

    • Team MVP: Curtis Granderson, Mariano Rivera, Robinson Cano
    • Team Cy Young: CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera, David Robertson
    • Team Rookie of the Year: Ivan Nova, Jesus Montero, Hector Noesi
    • Comeback Player of the Year: Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Derek Jeter
    • Most Pleasant Surprise: Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, David Robertson
    • Most Unpleasant Surprise: Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez (and his DL stints), Brett Gardner

    In other news, I saw Moneyball and have a couple of thoughts about it that I thought I would share, but I don’t want to necessarily spoil it for anyone who plans on seeing it.  Conundrum.

    Until the next Month in Review Post…enjoy the postseason.

    25 Things You Didn’t Know About The 2011 Yankees

    Posted by on September 29th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    Now that the regular season has concluded, it is time to look back at some of the awesome, ridiculous, and crazy moments of the 2011 season. Every year I enjoy Jeff Passan’s column on the ’25 things you don’t know about baseball,’ and I thought it was only fitting to do a similar column for the Yankees.

    I’m a college student, so here’s what I did: I bought a cup of coffee, walked to the library with my laptop, and went into baseball-nerd mode for a few hours. I doubt most people would voluntarily spend a Thursday afternoon researching baseball stats, but I like math, I like numbers, and I like baseball, so I really enjoyed the few hours I spent writing this.

    Much of the research I did is sabermetrics-focused, so if you don’t like sabermetrics or don’t know much about it, I highly recommend the River Avenue Blues Guide to Stats.

    Before we get started, here are a few notes:

    - This is a long post. But I’ll do my best to keep you entertained along the way.
    - I used Baseball Reference’s version of WAR. I don’t really have a preference between B-Ref and Fangraphs, but I had to choose one.
    - I did a similar post for the 2010 Yankees. You can read it here.
    - Shameless plug: follow me on Twitter here.

    Alright, here we go:

    1. The Yankees had a team ERA of 3.73. It was their lowest since 1985. 

    Yup. Lower than 1996. And 1998. And 2003.

    Much of this has to do with an offensive environment that has drastically slowed down, but I think a lot of the credit has to go to Larry Rothschild and the job he has done with guys like Ivan Nova and David Robertson. Also Cashman should get major props for signing Luis Ayala and Cory Wade, both of whom had ERA’s in the low 2′s.

    2. Curtis Granderson was excellent hitting fastballs this year. Eduardo Nunez, not so much.

    One of the things I love about Fangraphs is that they calculate Pitch Type Values, which assigns a run value for hitters against specific pitches. Here were the best hitters for each pitch:

    Fastball: Curtis Granderson, 30.3 runs
    Slider: Robinson Cano, 6.2 runs
    Cutter: Robinson Cano, 3.8 runs
    Curveball: Derek Jeter, 4.7 runs
    Changeup: Curtis Granderson, 5.0 runs
    Knuckleball: Jeter/Posada, 1.5 runs

    And here were the worst hitters for each pitch:

    Fastball: Eduardo Nunez, -9.8 runs
    Slider: Eric Chavez, -3.6 runs
    Cutter: Alex Rodriguez, -3.8 runs
    Curveball: Eric Chavez, -3.1 runs
    Changeup: Jorge Posada, -6.8 runs
    Knuckleball: Curtis Granderson, -2.6 runs

    3. The most effective pitch in 2011 was CC Sabathia’s slider.

    Fangraphs also calculates Pitch Type Values in terms of run saved for pitchers. Sabathia’s slider saved 18.2 runs. Here is how the Yankees stacked up for other some pitches:

    Fastball: David Robertson, 16.3 runs saved
    Slider: CC Sabathia, 18.2 runs saved
    Cutter: Mariano Rivera, 14.3 runs saved
    Curveball: A.J. Burnett, 13.2 runs saved
    Changeup: Luis Ayala, 3.7 runs saved

    And here are the least runs saved for each pitch (excluding the fastball, which I’ll get to later):

    Slider: Bartolo Colon, -7.3 runs saved
    Cutter: Phil Hughes, -4.8 runs saved
    Curveball: Phil Hughes, -4.6 runs saved
    Changeup: Bartolo Colon, -3.9 runs saved

    4. A.J. Burnett’s fastball was awful.

    I mean, like, historically awful. Burnett’s fastball registered a staggering -31.4 runs saved. It was by far the worst in baseball; second-worst was Pavano’s fastball (-24.5 runs saved), followed by Bronson Arroyo (-20.8), Chris Volstad (-20.0), and Jeff Francis (-18.2).

    After I found this out, I went back to see how often pitchers have a fastball that was that is worse than Burnett’s. And guess what? It’s never happened.

    Well ok, that’s probably not true. Someone has most likely, at some point, posted lower than -31.4 runs saved, but the Fangraphs Pitch Type Value data only goes back to 2002. And in that time, A.J. Burnett’s 2011 fastball was the worst. Pretty amazing.

    5. Brett Gardner led baseball in dWAR…by a lot.

    The advanced stats love Brett Gardner. His dWAR was a staggering 3.2, by far the highest in baseball (the second-highest was Carlos Lee’s 2.1, what?).

    How rare is a dWAR of 3.2? It was the 13th highest EVER in the history of baseball and also the highest ever a Yankee. Only Barry Bonds has had a higher single-season dWAR in left field (3.9 in 1989).

    6. Derek Jeter, from July 9th through August 25th: .373/.427/.491

    This really came out of nowhere. On June 13th, when Jeter went on the D.L., he was hitting .260 – and after struggling for most of 2010, it seemed clear that he was done as a productive hitter. But once he returned from the D.L. and collected his 3,000th hit, Jeter had one of the best stretches of his career. All things considered, it is amazing that he finished the season with a .297 average and a .355 OBP.

    7. Derek Jeter’s on-base percentage was higher than Robinson Cano’s.

    Even though Cano led the team with a .302 average, his .349 OBP was lower than Jeter’s.

    Yeah, I didn’t see that coming.

    8. Speaking of OBP, Nick Swisher led the team with a .374 clip.

    Swisher led the team with 95 walks, and from May 29th through the end of the season, he was one of the best hitters on the team: .285/.397/.519.

    Here’s an amazing stat: Nick Swisher’s OBP over the last three years has been higher than Mark Teixeira’s (.368 vs. .363).

    9. When Curtis Granderson got on base, he scored a run 54.4% of the time.

    How ridiculous is that? Let’s compare that percentage to some other prolific run-scorers in baseball this year:

    Granderson: 54.4%
    Ian Kinsler: 47.4%
    Jacoby Ellsbury: 43.6%
    Matt Kemp: 41.8%
    Miguel Cabrera: 36.0%

    The major league average is about 32.5%. Not surprisingly, Jorge Posada was well below that.

    10. The Yankees had five players (Sabathia, Burnett, Nova, Colon, Garcia) with over 25 starts. The last time that happened was 1999. 

    The five in 1999 were El Duque, David Cone, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, and Hideki Irabu. The difference was that three of those five (Pettitte, Clemens, Irabu) had ERA’s over 4.60. Only one this year (Burnett, of course) had an ERA over 4.

    11. At age 41, Mariano Rivera was as good as ever.

    Ok, this goes without saying. But the numbers are still remarkable: in 2011, Rivera posted his fifth-lowest WHIP, his fourth-most saves, his second-fewest walks, and his second-highest strikeout-to-walk ratio (a ridiculous 7.5).

    Oh, here’s another amazing stat: 2011 was Rivera’s ELEVENTH season with an ERA under 2. And he also posted the lowest ERA (1.91) for any American League closer (only one National League closer, Joel Hanrahan, had a lower ERA). In fact, since 2003, Rivera has posted an ERA over 2 just once (2007). Absurd.

    12. Mariano Rivera was otherworldly after August 15th

    On August 11th, Mariano Rivera was coming off a stretch where he had allowed runs in three consecutive appearances, including a blown save to the Red Sox on August 7th and a ninth-inning loss to the Angels on August 9th. But from August 15th until the end of the season, he reminded everyone that he is still the best closer in baseball. Here is how he finished the season:

    17 appearances, 16.1 innings, 14 saves, 3 walks, 21 strikeouts, 0.55 ERA

    Ridiculous.

    Even more ridiculous, this was the slash line of opposing hitters: .130/.148/.203

    Oh, and he also set the all-time saves record.

    13. As great as Rivera was, David Robertson might have had a more dominant stretch of pitching.

    David Robertson had an unbelievably dominant season. The numbers speak for themselves: 70 games, 34 holds, 66.2 innings, 40 hits allowed, 100 strikeouts, and a 1.08 ERA. He gave up one home run.

    ‘Houdini’ made a name for himself by constantly getting out of jams and rarely giving up big hits. Robertson was already having an excellent season on July 26th, with a 1.57 ERA, but he kicked it up a notch from then on.

    D-Rob, 7/26 thru the end of the season: 26.2 innings, 11 hits, ONE RUN ALLOWED (a home run to J.J. Hardy), 9 walks, 37 strikeouts. That’s a 0.34 ERA if you’re keeping score at home.

    14. Speaking of David Robertson, he posted the highest WAR (3.9) by a Yankee relief pitcher* since Tom Gordon (4.0) in 2004. 

    *We’ll exclude Mariano Rivera.

    Thanks to Joe Torre, Gordon also had the luxury of pitching in 23 more innings than Robertson. Before Gordon, the last Yankee reliever with a WAR over 3.9 was Goose Gossage in 1982.

    Also, here’s an amazing stat- in 1990, when the Yankees went 67-95, the team had NO pitchers (and just two hitters) with a WAR over 1.5. The team’s best pitcher that year was Tim Leary, who went 9-19 with a 4.11 ERA.

    For those wondering, this year’s team had six pitchers (and six hitters) and with a WAR over 1.5.

    15. Of all the stats that speak to Robertson’s dominance, here’s one that really stands out: with a 1.08 ERA, he still allowed a .291 BABIP. That’s higher than Ivan Nova, Luis Ayala, and nearly identical to A.J. Burnett. 

    I went back to take a look at opposing BABIP’s for famously-low ERA seasons – Robertson’s ridiculous 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings easily make him an outlier:

    Dennis Eckersley, 1990: .213
    Bob Gibson, 1968: .234
    Pedro Martinez, 2000: .237
    Mariano Rivera, 2005: .238
    Eric Gagne, 2003: .250
    David Robertson, 2011: .291

    Basically Robertson struck out so many hitters that it offset his league-average BABIP.

    16. Wait, I have a few left over stats on David Robertson.

    - With runners in scoring position, hitters hit .140 (13-for-93) with 47 strikeouts
    - With the bases loaded, hitters were 1-for-19 with 14 strikeouts
    - Left-handed hitters against Robertson: 122 at bats, 19 hits, 58 strikeouts
    - In high leverage situations, Robertson’s opposing slash line was .126/.236/.171 (127 plate appearances).

    I think he’ll get a few Cy Young votes.

    17. Curtis Granderson led the league in RBI’s and runs. That doesn’t happen very often.

    As Joe Posnanski pointed out on Monday, the RBI/runs combination has only happened eight times in the American League the last 50 years. Twice it was done by a Yankee:

    A-Rod, 2007
    Ken Griffey Jr., 1997
    Albert Belle, 1995
    Don Baylor, 1979
    Reggie Jackson, 1973
    Carl Yastrzemski, 1967
    Frank Robinson, 1966
    Roger Maris, 1961

    Six of those eight won the MVP. I suspect Granderson won’t win the MVP this year,* probably for three reasons: 1) he hit .262, 2) so many others are having MVP seasons in the A.L., and 3) the writers are continuing to put less emphasis on conventional stats like RBI’s and more emphasis on advanced stats.

    *I obviously don’t have a vote for MVP and Cy Young this year, but if I did, here would be my ballot:

    A.L. MVP: Verlander
    A.L. Cy Young: Verlander
    N.L. MVP: Braun
    N.L. Cy Young: Kershaw

    Feel free to agree or disagree as you please.

    18. Granderson also set the all-time Yankee record for single-season strikeouts.

    As good as Granderson was in 2011, he struck out once every 3.4 at bats, and his 169 strikeouts are an all time Yankee record. I’ll give him a pass because the guy was so good otherwise.

    19. The Yankees made 33 more errors in 2011 than they did in 2010.

    But here is where advanced stats can show a deeper truth. We’ve learned that errors aren’t everything – in fact, they’re mostly at the discretion of the official scorer. So if you go by errors, then yeah, the Yankees were worse in 2011.

    But if you look at UZR, the Yankees were actually better, despite making 33 more errors.

    UZR, 2010: 20.5
    UZR, 2011: 22.9

    Oh, and just to bring back some good memories, their UZR in 2005 was -138.1.

    20. Brett Gardner had 588 plate appearances. He swung at the first pitch 34 times.

    And he actually faired pretty well those 34 times: he hit .382/.485/.559.

    But basically, if you’re a pitcher, there’s no reason not to throw Brett Gardner a first-pitch strike.

    Gardner, after a 1-0 count: .300/.419/.430
    Garnder, after an 0-1 count: .203/.258/.285

    21. Brett Gardner’s 49 steals were the most by a Yankee since 1989.

    Gardner stole 47 bases last year, which was the most ever in my lifetime. This year he stole two more (despite being caught four more times) to lead the league. The last Yankee with more than 49 SB’s in a season was Rickey Henderson, who stole a ridiculous 93 bases in 1989.

    22. From August 3rd through September 5th, the Yankees had a team ERA of 4.69.

    And yet they still managed to go 20-11 over this stretch.

    Why did they fare so well with poor pitching? The offense was unbelievable: as a team, they hit .286/.369/.500.

    Yes, the team slugged .500 over a full month of the season. I doubt that happens very often.

    23. CC Sabathia won at least 19 games for the third straight year. And his 6.9 WAR was the highest by a Yankee pitcher in 14 years.

    Here are the highest WAR’s by a Yankee pitcher since 1998:

    1) CC Sabathia, 2011: 6.9
    2) Mike Mussina, 2001: 6.5
    3) Mike Mussina, 2003: 6.2
    4) CC Sabathia, 2010: 5.5
    5) Roger Clemens, 2001: 5.4

    The last Yankee with a higher WAR was Andy Pettitte in 1997.

    It really can’t be overstated how great Sabathia was this year: 33 starts, 237 innings, 230 strikeouts, a 3.00 ERA. He was every bit the horse the Yankees needed him to be.

    24. Jesus Montero became the fifth Yankee ever to hit four or more home runs in his first 15 games.

    The other four: Shelley Duncan, Steve Whitaker, Oscar Azocar, and Kevin Maas.

    Let’s hope Montero’s career ends up better than these guys (though Shelley Duncan is still going strong!)

    25. Mariano Rivera’s career postseason WPA is 11.62.

    This isn’t really a stat about the 2011 season, but I thought it was a good way to wrap up the post.

    I read this stat a few days ago over at Beyond the Box Score, and what really stands out is how far in front of everyone else Rivera is. Here are the top postseason WPA’s ever:

    Rivera: 11.62
    Schilling: 3.57
    Smoltz: 3.11
    Pettitte: 3.06
    Ruth: 3.00

    Let’s just hope that Rivera will continue to build on his WPA lead this October.

    Phew. We’re done! Thanks for reading, and if you have anything you’d like to add feel free to comment below.

    The Cashman Affair

    Posted by on September 29th, 2011 · Comments (16)

    Really bad timing for this story to break.  But, if it’s true, I’m not shocked.

    Yankees 2011 ALDS Preview

    Posted by on September 29th, 2011 · Comments (11)

    It begins – and ends? – with starting pitching.

    CC Sabathia is the Yankees ace. And, he’s by far their best starting pitcher option. But, let’s not pretend that he’s Curt Schilling in October. The big lefty is far from a lock in the post-season. Just look at how he did last year in October against the Twins and Rangers. In fact, overall, outside of 2009, CC has not been a stellar post-season performer.

    Next, we have Ivan Nova. Now, he may excel against the Tigers. Then again, he might be like Worm Killer Wang back in the day – great in the regular season, deer in the headlights in the post-season. We just don’t know…and have to wait and see.

    And, Freddy Garcia gets the start in Game Three. Anyone else having Jaret Wright and/or Cory Lidle flashbacks? Heck, maybe Freddy pulls a Jon Lieber and gives the Yankees a good effort? Shoot, I trust him now more than Burnett, Colon or Hughes. But, I’m not feeling all that confident about his start.

    The whole thing is not very hopeful. Maybe the Yankees’ bats and bullpen make up for where their starting pitchers may stumble? But, we’ve seen where guys like A-Rod and Teixeira go cold in the post-season. If that happens again, it’s not helping the Yankees. And, this team no longer has guys like Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui – who seemed to come through in October, sometimes.

    This all said, I will not be shocked if the Yankees lose the ALDS – and I probably will not be upset. I realize that they are not the best team, without question, out there – no matter if they did have the best record in the league this season. Maybe I would be upset if they choke/blow the ALDS in some manner. But, on the whole, I’m not feeling groovy on the Yankees chances here – and, that’s what has level set my expectations for the ALDS.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’ll be rooting for the Yanks, 100%, like I always do. And, I will be thrilled if they win this ALDS. However, I think we (in Yankeeland) better be prepared for this being a short ALDS with an outcome that’s not good for New York.

    Starting pitching. This Yankees team just doesn’t have it…at least now…when they need it the most. And, I don’t need Brian Cashman’s objective pipe to figure that out.

    O’s Rally

    Posted by on September 29th, 2011 · Comments (26)

    Down to their last out. Against Papelbon.

    Sweet.

    Rays Rally

    Posted by on September 28th, 2011 · Comments (5)

    I know it was against the Yankees B-team in the field and the bottom end of New York’s bullpen. But, really, coming back from 7-0 in the 8th to get within a run…and then that Johnson homer with two outs and two strikes in the ninth?

    That’s just crazy…fairy tale stuff.

    After that, to be candid, I was just hoping that Scott Proctor would serve up BP fastballs in the tenth inning and get the game over with…it means nothing to the Yankees…and better to get it done, shower, hit the road and get out of town…since you have to start the LDS on Friday.

    Boston’s Pitching Is This Bad?

    Posted by on September 28th, 2011 · Comments (5)

    Via Pete Abe -

    If there’s a play-in game tomorrow, who pitches for the Red Sox?

    How about Bruce Chen?

    Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting today that the Red Sox are investigating trade possibilities at this late hour to find a pitcher for a possible Game 163.

    The particulars:

    • Any traded player must have cleared waivers already.
    • The player would not be eligible for the postseason roster, having been obtained after Aug. 31.
    • The Sox would have to find space on the 40-man roster.

    Chen, 34, is a well-traveled lefty from Panama who is 12-8 with a 3.98 ERA this season. He has not faced the Rays this season but was 1-1, 0.92 in six appearances (two starts) from 2007-2010. Over 19.2 innings he allowed six runs (2 earned) on 11 hits with six walks and 17 strikeouts.

    Wow. Imagine having to play a do-or-die game to make the post-season and starting a guy who you just traded for…

    That’s bad.

    Yankees 2011 ALDS Roster

    Posted by on September 28th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    David Waldstein has a great post on this matter.  If it were up to me, I would go with:

    CC Sabathia
    Ivan Nova
    A.J. Burnett
    Freddy Garcia

    Luis Ayala
    Phil Hughes
    Aaron Laffey
    Boone Logan
    Mariano Rivera
    David Robertson
    Rafael Soriano
    Cory Wade

    Russell Martin
    Jesus Montero
    Jorge Posada

    Robinson Cano
    Eric Chavez
    Derek Jeter
    Eduardo Nunez
    Alex Rodriguez
    Mark Teixeira

    Brett Gardner
    Curtis Granderson
    Andruw Jones
    Nick Swisher

    Yup, no Bartolo Colon. And, I think Girardi will also leave him off. Maybe that’s too many RP? I would have no issue if one of them was left off and Romine was added to the roster.

    BP+

    Posted by on September 28th, 2011 · Comments (0)

    This is just crazy.

    The Bosox, Russell Martin, Rays Oreo Cookie

    Posted by on September 27th, 2011 · Comments (6)

    It’s funny.

    Some think that Russell Martin’s 7th inning At Bat on September 1st this year was the beginning of the end for the Red Sox this season.

    And, now, Martin’s 6th inning At Bat today just might have been the spark that got the Rays into the post-season this year.

    The dude is like Zelig or something.

    From Adam

    Posted by on September 27th, 2011 · Comments (5)

    I soooooo wanted Adam Jones  to take Pucker Face Papelboob downtown in the 9th tonight…

    Bummer.

    Game 5 = Game 2

    Posted by on September 27th, 2011 · Comments (6)

    We know that CC Sabathia is starting Game 1 of the 2011 ALDS for the Yankees.  And, he’ll probably come back on three days rest and pitch Game 4, if necessary.  But, if CC does that, then whomever will pitch Game 2 for the Yankees will come back and pitch Game 5, if necessary, on October 6th.

    I suppose that you could hold Sabathia and have him pitch Game 5 on five days rest.  But, then you have to use a whole bunch of other starters in between – and you don’t want that to happen.

    This said, who would rather have starting in a Game 5, winner-take-all, Ivan Nova or Freddy Garcia?  Once you know, then that’s your #2 starter for the Yankees behind CC this ALDS.

    It’s Cashman’s Call To Stay Or Go

    Posted by on September 27th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    Via Andrew Marchand -

    After a successful regular season, the New York Yankees would like Brian Cashman to remain as the team’s general manager beyond this year.

    “Clearly, we want him back,” Yankees president Randy Levine told ESPNNewYork.com.

    Cashman is in the final year of a three-year contract, with a reported total value of around $6 million. As per team policy the two sides are waiting until the offseason before talking about a new agreement. However, both sides have now said they want to continue the relationship.

    “We have a great relationship,” Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com on Monday. “I work for a great owner, but we really haven’t talked about the future. Now is not the time to talk about that, to be quite honest. That’s all for another day. They know that I would like to come back and we have a good working relationship, but we’ll deal with that stuff on another day.”

    Last week, in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian O’Connor, Cashman outlined the plusses and minuses of his job.

    “I like what I do, and you couldn’t find a better place to do it, with the best fan base, tremendous facilities and an ownership with a full commitment,” he said.

    “But at the same time, it comes at a price of time, effort, expectations, pressure, stress levels, all that different stuff. Like everything else, there are positives and negatives. There’s stuff in this job that can bury you if you let it.”

    With possible interest from the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles or other clubs that might have openings, Cashman could have options. In the past he has often been rumored to be sought after by other clubs, but has never left.

    Sounds like the ball is in Cash’s court, no?

    9 & 24

    Posted by on September 27th, 2011 · Comments (8)

    So, if the Red Sox blow it this year, does “9 & 24″ become the new “1918″ chant?

    You know..a nine game lead with 24 games to play

    Like the Mets with 7 and 17 in 2007…

    Sweet Caroline!

    Posted by on September 27th, 2011 · Comments (1)

    Great stuff on the choking Sox from Nate Silver today -

    After beating the Texas Rangers on Sept. 3, the Boston Red Sox were 84-54. Although half a game behind the Yankees in the American League East, the Red Sox had a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild card and roughly a 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs.

    Since then, however, the Red Sox are 5-16, and following their loss to Baltimore Monday night, their lead over the Rays has evaporated into a tie.

    The season isn’t over, of course, and the Red Sox do have one big advantage: their games Tuesday night and Wednesday are against the 68-win Orioles, while the Rays are playing New York. But there is obviously the potential for a catastrophic collapse.

    There are different ways to measure the magnitude of pennant race collapses. One approach, which I’ve used in the past, is to calculate a team’s playoff probability after every game of the season, and to see which team had the highest probability of making the playoffs but failed to do so.

    By that standard, the Red Sox collapse — if it comes to fruition — might rank as high as the second or third worst of all time, rivaling that of the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers and the 2007 New York Mets. It wouldn’t be quite as bad, however, as that of the 1995 California Angels, who had in excess of a 99.9 percent chance of making the playoffs on Aug. 20, 1995, when they held a 9-and-a-half-game lead over the Texas Rangers in the A.L. West, and were 12 games ahead of the Yankees for the wild card, but missed the playoffs after finishing their year 12-26.

    Not all these collapses were created equal, however. The 1951 Dodgers, for instance, played well enough down the stretch, going 25-24 over their final 49 ballgames, but were caught by the streaking (and possibly cheating) New York Giants, who went 39-8 over their final 47 games.

    The problems facing the Red Sox, on the other hand, are mostly of their own making. Tampa Bay has not even played all that well: they are 15-10 in September, but if not for their 5-1 record against the Red Sox, they’d be a pedestrian 9-9.

    I think this does get lost in this story sometimes. The Rays are not making a charge. It’s all on the Sox. They’ve really earned this one…major league choke job.

    September 2011 Survey Question #1

    Posted by on September 27th, 2011 · Comments (4)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:120}

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

    Yanks Rookies Rock The 80′s Look

    Posted by on September 27th, 2011 · Comments (0)

    Here is the picture.

    I was hoping that they would go for a Jersey Shore look…with one of the players having to dress like Snooki.

    Mets Block Yankees Triple-A Team From Playing In Newark For One Year

    Posted by on September 27th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    Via Jerry “I’m Not Dead!” Izenberg -

    The Yankees’ current Triple-A franchise is anchored in the twin cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, an area in northeast Pennsylvania that has always supported baseball on some level. But the Yankees organization decided that PNC Field, the Triple-A team’s home park, is in desperate need of renovation. The job will take all of 2012.

    And back in New York, management came up with a magnificent public relations idea. Newark had been the bellwether of all Yankee minor league teams dating as far back as when Jacob Ruppert was paying Babe Ruth’s salary across the river. Newark, through horrendous mismanagement, has seen its minor league team dissolve.

    Newark has a ballpark. With that in mind, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman visited the city’s Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium, which does need work. He met with Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. Together, they hammered out an agreement that could be done for the least money.

    To understand the mechanics of what followed, you have to understand that Major League Baseball has a 90-year-old Supreme Court ruling giving it an antitrust exemption. The Boy Scouts of America have no such exemption. The NFL, NBA and NHL have no such blanket exemption. Chains of cloistered nuns or Trappist monasteries do not have an antitrust exemption.

    Under baseball’s rules, the exclusivity of the Yankees and Mets territory is shared. The Yankees called the Mets and asked permission to put their Triple-A team in Newark for only a single year.

    The Mets declined.

    The Yankees tried again. They pointed out that it was only for a single year.

    The Mets declined again.

    The Yankees tried once more. They repeated that this was just for a single year. They said that if the Mets agreed for just that one season they would offer an evergreen matching proposal. In essence, they would give the Mets the same shot if they had a team with a minor league park in jeopardy, no matter how many eons into the future.

    The Mets declined, saying their organization would only do something like that with mutual and immediate reciprocity as they did when the Yanks put a minor league team in Staten Island and allowed the Mets to do the same in Brooklyn.

    But those were permanent moves. This was only for a year, the Yankees argued. They also offered a permanent waiver if a similar situation ever arose for the Mets. In addition, there was Yankee money involved in this final offer.

    And once again, the Mets declined.

    Today, DiVincenzo thanked the Yankees for their consideration and Brian Cashman, the Yankee GM, for his “professionalism.” But he could not hide his obvious disappointment:

    “Unfortunately, the Mets exercised their territorial rights to block this temporary partnership and have prevented the chance for baseball fans to come to Newark and Essex County to watch players in minor league baseball’s highest classification on their way up to the major leagues. It would have rejuvenated interest in one of the highest levels of the sport in an important urban area.”

    One of the concerns that influenced the Mets was their belief that a minor league team in Newark might have weaned potential Mets fans away from the affluent New Jersey suburbs.

    Man, are the Mutts looking like big league arse-holes for making this call. And, if I’m the Yankees, I file this one away – but never forget it. And, the first time that they have the chance to screw the Mets in the future, the Yankees should call upon this memory and stick it to the Mets…right between the ears.

    Firing The Cannon @ Fort Lack Of Courage – Circa 1975

    Posted by on September 27th, 2011 · Comments (0)

    Great find by Dan Epstein with a h/t to BBTF -

    It’s Wild & Fit To Be Tied

    Posted by on September 26th, 2011 · Comments (9)

    Extra, extra, read all about it -

    The Boston Red Sox are face-to-face with a destiny no one wants: the biggest September choke in baseball history.

    The Sox were nine games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays at the end of play on Sept. 3, a lead that seemed insurmountable.

    No team has ever blown a nine-game that late to miss the postseason. But now that lead is gone.

    The Sox lost 6-3 Monday night to the Orioles at Camden Yards. That defeat, paired with the Rays’ 5-2 win over the Yankees, leaves the clubs deadlocked at 89-71 with two games left in the regular season.

    Boston has lost 17 of its last 22. It has pitched horribly, played unsound defense and Monday night looked like it even had the baseball Gods lining up against it.

    And, more from Gordon Edes -

    The Red Sox are now looking directly into the same abyss that previously consumed the ’51 Dodgers, ‘64 Phillies, ’69 Cubs, ’78 Red Sox and ’07 Mets, teams that took the Perp Walk of Shame after epic collapses.

    Silent John W. Henry, who hasn’t been heard from at all during this hellacious month, is liking soccer more each day.

    So, what would be better – seeing the Red Sox blow this over the next two games, or, seeing them fight to force a tie and then see them lose a one-game playoff on Thursday?

    As much as I would love to hear laments over Reid “Bleeping” Brignac from Red Sox Nation, I’m thinking I want Boston to lose their next two games and choke on it. How about you?

    Still Playing? Doesn’t Matter. Dead Sox Walking

    Posted by on September 25th, 2011 · Comments (17)

    I was at this game tonight.  Had to leave after 9 innings – since my daughter has school tomorrow and I have a loooooong day planned at work.  We left the parking garage around 9:50 PM and got home in about 60 minutes.  That’s an all-time record.

    Once home, I had some things to take care of…and it’s now 11:28 PM and they’re still playing.  Top fourteen and Scottie Proctor is in…

    Doesn’t matter at this point.  Even if the Red Sox win, they had to empty their tank, and then some, to get it done.  They’ll be on fumes now.  The Yankees did their job with this series.  It’s perhaps the most proud that I’ve been of them all year.

    Of course, it would be sweet if the Yankees win this one.  That would break Boston’s back, for sure.

    I can give it a few more minutes.  But, 5:15 AM comes early.  So, I may have to read about this one in the morning.

    2011 = 2002

    Posted by on September 25th, 2011 · Comments (11)

    Does this year’s Yankees team seem a lot like the 2002 Yankees to anyone else besides me?  Or, am I just the only one seeing that?

    Geno Speaks

    Posted by on September 25th, 2011 · Comments (6)

    Great stuff from Steve Serby’s Sunday Q & A with… Gene Monahan -

    Q: Favorite Yankees moments?

    A: There’ve been thousands of ’em. On the field, one of my favorites is when Chris Chambliss hit the home run to put us in our first World Series when I was the trainer here in ’76. Obviously, Bucky Dent’s home run in ’78, with Reggie [Jackson’s] following in the same game. The no-hitters and the perfect games, all tremendous things. Mo Rivera getting his 602nd save. That was a big emotional moment for me personally ’cause … saw just about every one of ’em … and off the field, the birth of my (two) daughters.

    Q: What was your reaction the moment Bucky Dent hit the ball?

    A: Well, Bucky had just fouled a ball off his ankle, and we had to go out there and we were trying to get it calmed down and talk him down through the soreness of that, and sprayed it off a little bit, and we were talking, Mickey Rivers was on deck. He came over and said, “Buck, you got a cracked bat there, brother. Use this one.” So he gave him a different bat, we went back to the dugout and I turned around, and the crack of the bat, and the ball went to left field and we thought, “Hey, that ball’s got a chance.” And [Carl] Yastrzemski went over in the corner and looked up and it was in the net.

    Q: Favorite Yankees team?

    A: This year’s because it’s the most current.

    Q: Most devastating defeat?

    A: Well, I would have to say it was the playoffs with the Red Sox when we were up three games to none with an inning to play in Game 4.

    Q: And after the game?

    A: It was just kind of a weird quietness, and I knew I didn’t like it. And when you have games like that, even as the athletic trainer, you can’t wait till tomorrow to get back out there.

    Q: When the Red Sox won Game 7?

    A: I remember wanting pretty much to say goodbyes to guys, and then I wanted to go home. I just wanted some private time, quiet time with my family, and that’s what I did.

    I have to say, 2004 still haunts me. I’m over 2001. (It’s easy to joke that the Yankees won that World Series, three games to four.) And, I let go of 1997 minutes after it happened. Also, in time, the pain from 1995 went away. But, I cannot get 2004 out of my head.

    Even if the Red Sox collapse this year, and you add 2011 to 1978, it doesn’t make up for 2004. The Yankees had the Red Sox on the mat since 1918. And, 2004 let them back up. Shoot, I can even live with 2007 – since it didn’t happen in the Yankees face (and that one is more on the Indians). Although I do wonder if 2007 ever happens if the Red Sox lost in 2004…

    But, 2004 changed everything. And, it’s never been the same since…

    It was a sin that the Yankees let that happen. An unforgivable one.

    Yeah, I know…it was the Red Sox who really choked in the 2004 ALCS…for letting the Yankees win the first three games when, clearly, Boston had he better team.

    Nope. As much as I tell myself that, it doesn’t work.

    In any event, read the Q&A – it’s super. I’ve always wished the Geno would write a book. His time with the big league club covers my entire fandom of the team. But, I know he would never do that. So, this Q&A may be as close as we get to that. Check it out – every page. Great stuff.

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