• I’m A Believer

    Posted by on October 13th, 2017 · Comments (27)

    Been away on business and crazy, insanely, busy lately.

    In any event, I am now a believer.

    Never thought that they had a chance after Game 2 of the ALDS. Now, they have won me over.

    Yes, Houston is a super team. But, I think the Yankees can beat them.

    This team has a ton of character guys. It’s actually amazing how many…Todd Frazier, CC, Gardy, Robertson, Didi, Headley, Judge, Holliday, Bird…and many others. It’s an easy team to like…

    Feels like 1996. Go Yankees!!

    Comments on I’m A Believer

    1. Evan3457
      October 13th, 2017 | 3:36 pm

      My Indians in 3 pick obviously went down the loo, but in fairness, it was about 1 foot away from happening (the foot of height Aaron Judge needed and had to haul in Lindor’s almost-HR in game 3).

      Now, that they’re in the ALCS…
      The Indians were strong in starting pitching, and weaker in the lineup, thanks to multiple key injuries (Brantley, Zimmer). But their edge in starting pitching vanished because, if the rumors are correct, Kluber was sub-par physically (vague rumors of a back problem are floating around).

      The Astros are healthy. Their strong in the lineup and everyone’s healthy. Their top two starters are pitching well, and can dominate a post-season game. Yanks are starting Tanaka (bad record against the Astros including a pounding this season) in game 1. Maybe the Yanks can knock a couple of their starters out early, and pound their middle relief for a game or two, but I don’t see any edge for the Yankees here, and I expect the Astros to win is say…oh…5 games.

    2. Evan3457
      October 13th, 2017 | 3:37 pm

      “They’re”, not “Their”. *sigh*.

    3. Greg H.
      October 13th, 2017 | 4:51 pm

      Bold prediction – optimism from S. Lombardi tips the scale: Yanks in 6 😉

    4. redbug
      October 13th, 2017 | 5:33 pm

      @ Greg H.:

      Greg, 1st…I’m so glad you and your house are OK.

      Yeah, optimism from Steve?! Yikes! LOL.

      As for me, I thought the Yanks would be swept by Cleveland – and that was before Girardi blew Game 2. I have to agree w/ Evan, the Astos are healthy and very good. The Yanks are healthy but I’m not confident they’re as good as the Astros.

      I’ll go back to what I said about the last series. Whatever happens, this young team will learn from this experience. I think it’ll be more like ’95 but hope it’s more like ’96.

    5. October 15th, 2017 | 7:31 am

      Two, 2-1, losses. Ugh.
      Bottom line, you are not going to win many games when you only score 1 run. Tip the cap to DK and JV on outstanding starts.
      Starting to feel like the 2001 World Series with Schilling and Johnson. Hopefully the Yankees make some noise home in NY – like they did in 2001. Get it back to Houston and make the Astros work for it.

    6. redbug
      October 15th, 2017 | 8:17 am

      You have to tip your hat to Verlander. But, the Yanks really need to work w/ Sanchez on catching balls. They shouldn’t wait for spring – start over the winter. He’s a terrific hitter, has a great arm, but he should’ve caught that ball last night.

    7. KPOcala
      October 15th, 2017 | 10:01 pm

      These close games are so much like high-skilled golf matches. The Yankees could have just as easily be two games up, just a “few inches”. At the same time, the Astros are a really disciplined and talented club. Seemingly, the pendulum of chance should swing back with Judge, Sanchez, “and the rest”, with the Yankees steamrolling the ‘stros. And the Yankees pitching has really been great through almost every playoff game. Who would have guessed this season, and who would have thought that the staff would be so excellent during most of the season? And Cashman was brilliant in his trades with Oakland and the White Sox. Why they didn’t try to block Verlander from going ANYWHERE is almost beyond me. Yeah, Cheap, er Prince Hal wants his new castle built, but still, Verlander could have possibly been traded during the off-season. One way, would have been to make him the “PTBNL”, plus MILers…… Huuuuuge mistake.

    8. Evan3457
      October 16th, 2017 | 5:27 am

      KPOcala wrote:

      These close games are so much like high-skilled golf matches. The Yankees could have just as easily be two games up, just a “few inches”. At the same time, the Astros are a really disciplined and talented club. Seemingly, the pendulum of chance should swing back with Judge, Sanchez, “and the rest”, with the Yankees steamrolling the ‘stros. And the Yankees pitching has really been great through almost every playoff game. Who would have guessed this season, and who would have thought that the staff would be so excellent during most of the season? And Cashman was brilliant in his trades with Oakland and the White Sox. Why they didn’t try to block Verlander from going ANYWHERE is almost beyond me. Yeah, Cheap, er Prince Hal wants his new castle built, but still, Verlander could have possibly been traded during the off-season. One way, would have been to make him the “PTBNL”, plus MILers…… Huuuuuge mistake.

      I’m not sold on Gray. He’s a good pitcher, not a great one, and his track record shows he has problems against AL East teams. At his best he’s a good #2.

      I said at the time of the Gray trade that it wasn’t a steal from the Yanks; if even one of the three guys traded reaches his potential or gets close it’s a break even for the A’s. If two make it, it’s a win for Beane.

      Yanks could not block a Verlander trade with a waiver claim, because, while unlikely, the Tigers might not have revoked his waivers, leaving the Yanks to pay Verlander $28 million for the next two seasons, and destroying Hal’s chance to get the team under the payroll cap necessary for a reset of the luxury tax. There was never any chance of that happening; the Yanks are getting under the tax. I’m not sure they’re going to use the reset to sign Harper and/or Machado. They might not sign either. But, come hell or high water, they’re getting under, even if it hurts the team in 2018. That’s Hal’s call, and his right to pursue that goal.

    9. Evan3457
      October 16th, 2017 | 5:29 am

      Oh, and it remains to be seen if Gray can pitch in New York, under the bright lights every start. There are already some people comparing him to Javy Vazquez. Just fans doing it in that regard. But analyst Joe Sheehan has written that he thinks Gray’s best days are being him, and he’s likely to decline to a #3 if he stays healthy, maybe even a #4.

    10. KPOcala
      October 16th, 2017 | 11:06 am

      I think that he’s full of crap. “Best days behind”, I mean, unless he has lingering effects from injuries which don’t heal properly, he’s too young for that kind of talk. And of course people in the biz always like to toss the trial “analysis” for their own agendas. As for “Javy Vazquez”, stupid overreaction. Most of us remember when Randy Johnson would “never get it together”, or Schilling, Sam Militello was deemed the ‘absolute definition of a can’t miss number one starter’ by no less than Bill James…..

    11. KPOcala
      October 16th, 2017 | 11:09 am

      @ Evan3457:I agree with most of what you say Evan. Again, they could have made the PTBN plus some prospects to pull it off.

    12. KPOcala
      October 16th, 2017 | 11:14 am

      @ Evan3457:”if even one of the three guys traded reaches his potential or gets close it’s a break even for the A’s. If two make it, it’s a win for Beane”. Well, what if Gray becomes an Ace, or hell, a top-shelf “#2” starter. Either scenario is tough to match, especially if he stays healthy. No, trading three injured (or how ever many) MILers, isn’t going to kill the farm system. I would say that I’m queasy about sending Rutherford off, he may turn into a “60-70” type player. Maybe….

    13. KPOcala
      October 16th, 2017 | 11:27 am

      PS, the announcing with the endless stream of stats, goooooood gawwwwwd. I’d rather hear about where to get “a good cannoli” than listen to that drivel…….

    14. G.I. Joey
      October 16th, 2017 | 3:19 pm

      Totally agree with KPOcala that the difference of these games were a few inches. Have to tip your cap to Keuchel and Verlander. Those guys pitched some gems. Hopefully the Yanks bats come alive. If they can’t hit Morton tonight, then they are totally f’d in my opinion. I have supreme confidence that CC will give us at least 5 solid and be that stopper.

    15. Greg H.
      October 17th, 2017 | 11:05 am

      Get one more tonight and even this thing up. FWIW, I’ve been listening to the games on FAN and although at one point a year or two ago I was fed up with Sterling/Waldman, it’s WAY better listening to them than the national TV announcers. Those guys are so annoying! Everything is some superlative laden stat-fest, gushing about this player and that. Drivel is right.

    16. G.I. Joey
      October 17th, 2017 | 11:52 am

      @ Greg H.:
      I know quite a few people watching the games with the volume muted and the FAN on because they can’t stand the Fox announcing.

    17. Evan3457
      October 17th, 2017 | 12:26 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      I think that he’s full of crap. “Best days behind”, I mean, unless he has lingering effects from injuries which don’t heal properly, he’s too young for that kind of talk. And of course people in the biz always like to toss the trial “analysis” for their own agendas. As for “Javy Vazquez”, stupid overreaction. Most of us remember when Randy Johnson would “never get it together”, or Schilling, Sam Militello was deemed the ‘absolute definition of a can’t miss number one starter’ by no less than Bill James…..

      Here’s a quote from a Sheehan facebook post on July 20:

      If you didn’t know that Sonny Gray had posted ERAs in the 2.00s in 2013 and 2015, and just had to evaluate him based on observation, his statistics, and data scouting, you wouldn’t see him as a #1 or #2. You’d see him as a #2/#3, maybe just a #3, with some durability issues that make projection a challenge. It’s fair to say the A’s are going to price him more highly than that, especially given what recent history says about starting pitcher prices. Gray isn’t Chris Sale or Jose Quintana, though; he’s less likely to make 30 starts and throw 200 innings (twice in four years), and he doesn’t have the run-prevention upside those pitchers do.

      You can disagree with him, and he might well be wrong. But it’s something to consider.

    18. Evan3457
      October 17th, 2017 | 12:29 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      @ Evan3457:”if even one of the three guys traded reaches his potential or gets close it’s a break even for the A’s. If two make it, it’s a win for Beane”. Well, what if Gray becomes an Ace, or hell, a top-shelf “#2” starter. Either scenario is tough to match, especially if he stays healthy. No, trading three injured (or how ever many) MILers, isn’t going to kill the farm system. I would say that I’m queasy about sending Rutherford off, he may turn into a “60-70” type player. Maybe….

      If two of the players traded reaches his potential, then Beane will have traded two and 1/3 years of an ace starter (roughly 15 WAR) from a team that won’t be ready to contend again for about two years for two good to excellent regulars (if not Kapriellan anywhere from 12-24 WAR; or if Kaprellian, a replacement for Gray plus another good player) for the next serious A’s contender. Either way, that’s a win for Beane.

    19. KPOcala
      October 17th, 2017 | 9:57 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      Evan, interesting “stuff” from Sheehan, who is no idiot. And I have to admit that pitching in Oakland has, like Dodger Stadium, makes guys look better than maybe they are. Still, it was a great buy. Regarding your other “re:”, I’d say that I’d bet money that at worst the trade works for both sides. One thing I noticed about today’s start, and earlier ones: he throws some wicked pitches which even eat the “Renowned Romine’s” glove up! His stuff is nasty, and as an aside, people should give Sanchez a break regarding his receiving skills. The Yankees have somehow acquired an entire staff of “stuff” pitchers (a few notable exceptions). And heah, how about the game today?! The Big M seems to have shifted, the Astros looked dismayed at the end 🙂

    20. Evan3457
      October 18th, 2017 | 12:07 am

      KPOcala wrote:

      @ Evan3457:
      Evan, interesting “stuff” from Sheehan, who is no idiot. And I have to admit that pitching in Oakland has, like Dodger Stadium, makes guys look better than maybe they are. Still, it was a great buy. Regarding your other “re:”, I’d say that I’d bet money that at worst the trade works for both sides. One thing I noticed about today’s start, and earlier ones: he throws some wicked pitches which even eat the “Renowned Romine’s” glove up! His stuff is nasty, and as an aside, people should give Sanchez a break regarding his receiving skills. The Yankees have somehow acquired an entire staff of “stuff” pitchers (a few notable exceptions). And heah, how about the game today?! The Big M seems to have shifted, the Astros looked dismayed at the end 🙂

      The starting Four right now contains:

      One starter they traded prospects to acquire…
      One starter they signed to a long term FA contract at the end of that contract…
      One starter they acquired through the NBL posting process and a big contract…
      One starter they signed as a Latin American Free Agent for just $225,000…
      And the fifth starter was a 4th round draft choice.

      That’s acquiring talent by almost every method conceivable.

    21. Evan3457
      October 18th, 2017 | 12:08 am

      And it has held the best offense in all of MLB to

      6 hits in game 1
      5 hits in game 2
      4 hits in game 3
      3 hits in game 4…

      So if they can get this to game 7…
      Well, you figure it out for yourselves. I can’t do all the heavy math around here.

    22. Evan3457
      October 19th, 2017 | 1:04 am

      One big win to get, and my ALCS prediction goes into the circular file to go keep company with my ALDS prediction.

      Predictions, feh. Win game 6, Yanks. 🙂

    23. KPOcala
      October 19th, 2017 | 3:09 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      Astute analysis. You have to be AND lucky, and parlaying your resources in varied ways helps you get both. 😉

    24. KPOcala
      October 19th, 2017 | 3:12 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      YEssssssssss! Who would have believed this in April. But then again, I wouldn’t have believed what was coming after the ’93 season. A trade that isn’t supposed to work, some veterans who are considered “spent”, with some young Talent. But this team really turned it all around, especially with the de facto salary cap….

    25. KPOcala
      October 19th, 2017 | 3:13 pm

      @ Greg H.:
      Do you know if the YES or Yankee broadcasts are on the web? I don’t have the luxury of living in the NYC area… THX.

    26. Greg H.
      October 21st, 2017 | 11:00 am

      @ KPOcala:
      I listen via subscription to MLB TV. Even if a game is blacked out you can get the Audio feed from either team’s home station.

      I have Apple TV not cable, which doesn’t include playoff games. That’s extra, and doesn’t include them all. For $25, you get some of the playoff games. That just pissed me off (it’s FOX not MLB) so I bagged it and either watch with friends or listen to the audio feed on FAN, which is still included in the regular season subscription.

    27. Greg H.
      October 26th, 2017 | 11:19 am

      So what do all the believers feel about the credit due for the incredibly positive state of the organization as we close out the series?

      For me, Cash still remind me of a moon elf, but over the last couple seasons, especially last season, he’s definitely improved the organization via trades. That along with some pretty sweet player development decisions, get a lot of credit.

      No credit to Trost and Co., the success is happening despite their best efforts, which makes it more impressive.

      I feel Girardi deserves a lot of credit as well – he seems more suited to managing young players than veterans. I don’t agree with all his moves, but on balance he’s done a hell of a job this year.

      Finally tons of credit goes to the following players, who really have stepped up into their important roles: Didi, Gary Sanchez, Judge of course, Green, and Robertson. CC maybe most of all for his comeback season – just as tough to do as stepping up as a rookie. Gardener deserves a nod for hanging in there like a rock despite many trade rumors. And Bird for showing he’s not a ghost.

      Let’s hope that we keep moving forward this offseason. Thanks as always Steve for making the season more enjoyable through this blog and all the great comments.

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