• August 31st vs. The Tigers

    Posted by on August 31st, 2006 · Comments (26)

    This game is a reason why I will not miss Joe Torre when his time is done in New York.

    Sure, Damon, Jeter, Abreu, A-Rod, Bernie and Melky had nice days at the plate this afternoon, but, the story of today was Randy Johnson.

    Through eight, the Big Unit was the real deal – allowing only two Han Solos and an infield hit. But, after eight, he was bumping up against 100 pitches.

    At that time, the Yankees had a 4-run lead heading into the 9th. This would have been the perfect time for someone like Dotel or Myers to pitch the last frame – where a grand slam would only tie you, at the worst (or best, depending on your position).

    But, noooooooooo……..

    Joe Torre tries to milk another inning from Johnson and it back-fires. Unit allows a walk and then a homer and now it’s a 2-run contest – and then there’s a need to bring in a sore-armed Mariano Rivera for the save.

    Rivera never should have been used in this game – if Torre had gone to another, fresh, pitcher in the 9th. As bad as some of the “B-men” in the pen may be, I’m sure that one of them could have gotten three outs before allowing four runs. Or, at least try and use someone else, who is rested – and then if they allow two, then bring in Rivera.

    “Joe Torre” is to “handling pitchers” as “Clark Griswold” is to “family vacations.”

    August 30th vs. The Tigers – Game 2

    Posted by on August 30th, 2006 · Comments (29)

    Damn, just one out away from a “W”………

    But, really, rather than blame Proctor, or what may be a developing “he said, she said” situation between Torre and Farnsworth, the fact of the matter in this evening’s contest was that the Yankees had just 3 hits and 3 walks, on offense, in this game – and it’s real hard to win a ballgame when you put so few runners on base.

    Speaking of Everyday Scottie Proctor, I noticed something this evening that could be a concern for the Yankees.

    Proctor had a lot of pine-tar on the bill of his cap this evening – both on the top and the under-side. And, Scott was going to the bill of his cap just about before every pitch.

    Now, this is nothing shocking – lots of pitchers use the stuff to get a better grip on their breaking pitches in very humid or cold conditions. I’m sure that Proctor is using it to help get that big twelve-to-six curveball of his to do its thing.

    I’m fearful that some smart manager, say, in a post-season game against the Yankees this October, could point to the pine-tar cap and get Proctor ejected from a game – and maybe suspended. It’s happened before – just last year, with Brendan Donnelly.

    Hey, if it happens, I warned you.

    OK, let’s move to the bright side of things: Jaret Wright got an out in 7th inning! And, the Red Sox (and Curt Schilling!) got beat today.

    Add the Yankees win this afternoon to these two items and it’s not such a bad day today, after all, even with this tough loss.

    August 30th vs. The Tigers – Game 1

    Posted by on August 30th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    Vintage Worm Killer Wang.

    By the way, I suggested the “Worm Killer” handle back on July 17th of this season – and, it seems like Yankees fans on the ‘net are, pardon the pun, diggin’ it. Coooool…..

    Seven and two-thirds.
    Three hits, two walks.
    No runs.
    109 pitches – 67 for strikes.
    And, 13 groundouts.

    Worm Killer’s record is now 16-5 for the season. Since 1973, only four Yankees pitchers have had seasons with 16+ wins and 5 losses or less:

    David Wells, 1998 (18-4).
    Roger Clemens, 2001 (20-3).
    Jimmy Key, 1994 (17-4).
    Ron Guidry, 1978 (25-3).

    I think that tells you how special Wang has been this season.

    August 27th @ The Angels

    Posted by on August 27th, 2006 · Comments (12)

    Watching Bernie Williams have a big day in this game reminds me of something that I saw the other day over at Yankees WPA Rundown.

    The study there was through August 19th. But, if you look at it, in terms of WPA, when the Yankees win, Giambi, A-Rod, and Bernie bat well. But, when the Yankees lose, Giambi and Bernie do very poorly in terms of helping with the bat.

    Does this mean that Bernie Williams is the MVP for the Yankees this season?

    No, it does not. What I think this all means is that it’s another confirmation of the theory that the Yankees are very capable of beating bad pitching – but, if they face someone who has the stuff to get you out (which is the kind of pitcher that Bernie dies against now) then New York will lose.

    The next 9 games will be another test for this theory – since the Yanks will face good pitching for the next six games and then bad pitching for the three after those contests.

    While I would love to see the Yankees go 6-3 over their next 9 games, I am also prepared to see them go 3-6 as well.

    Boston still has 10 games to play in a row now. Hopefully, the Red Sox will go something like 4-6 and that will help offset what the Yankees really do in their next 9 games.

    August 26th @ The Angels

    Posted by on August 26th, 2006 · Comments (7)

    I’m guessing that the Yankees game was rained out today. I turned on the T.V. to watch it on FOX this afternoon, but, instead of seeing the current first place team from the A.L. East play a 5th place team from the A.L. West, I saw a replay of one of the games between the Yankees and Angels from the 2002 ALDS instead. Weird, huh?

    O.K., back to being serious, tomorrow is the end of the “21 games in 20 days Gauntlet.” Back when this journey started, I wrote:

    Personally, I believe, if the Yankees go 13-8 in the next 21 games, that would be amazing. And, it would probably lock up the A.L. East.

    Basically, the Yankees need to go, at least, 11-10 over the next three weeks – just to hold their ground.

    And, how have the Yankees done, to date?

    After this mess today, the Yankees are 10-10.

    I guess it’s now up to young Mr. Jeff Karstens to try and get New York to that 11-10 “hold your own” mark.

    The Yankees are very lucky that Boston stinks this season.

    Lastly, here’s a little fun fact for you in closing. Coming into this game, A-Rod was batting .283 for the season.

    But, he’s batting .165 (in 79 ABs) against the Devil Rays and Orioles, combined, this year. If you take out what Alex has done against Tampa and Baltimore this season, then Rodriguez is batting .307 coming into this game – with a slugging average of .565 (according to my rough math) against everyone else.

    I wish someone could tell A-Rod that he’s only stunk against the D-Rays and the O’s this season – and that, otherwise, he has nothing to be stressed about now. Maybe that would help him relax?

    Because, right now, Alex’s head is more messed up than Vlad Guerrero’s hair on game day. If Rodriguez doesn’t start to chill soon, he’s going to end up acting like Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys.

    August 25th @ The Angels

    Posted by on August 26th, 2006 · Comments (12)

    Jaret Wright did well for the Yankees this past May. But, it’s time to face facts. Over the last three months, Wright has pitched like former Yankees Rich Dotson, Joe Cowley, Dave LaPoint, Andy Hawkins, Chuck Cary, and Hideki Irabu. And, as crazy as this sounds, it’s also time to replace him with Carl Pavano.

    Taking it a step further, I would not include Jaret Wright on the post-season roster at this point. He just cannot be counted on – as you never know how he will pitch in a given appearance.

    As to this game, for a Yankees perspective – let’s just say this: “Every Yankees fan in the world should cross their fingers that the Yankees do not have to face the Angels in the post-season – because the Angels play with a ton of confidence against the Yankees.”

    Lastly, according to some “Golden Sombrero” stats that I’ve been able to locate, Alex Rodriguez is the first Yankees player to ever have two 4-strikeout games in the same season. And, only he and Bernie Williams have ever done it twice ever in a Yankees uniform. One more time and A-Rod will be the king.

    GoldenARod.jpg

    August 24th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on August 25th, 2006 · Comments (11)

    Look at the bright side, the bullpen got the night off.

    The Yankees played this game like a team that was hung-over and suffering from jet-lag.

    New York’s 3-4-5 hitters went 0-11 with 6 strikeouts in this contest.

    Now, the first reaction to this outcome would be to say “They’ve been playing everyday for a while now. And, they’re just coming off the tough Boston series. And, the move to the West Coast always hits on the second or third day. It’s only natural for them to be playing like lead weights now.”

    But, on the other hand, let’s not forget that, in the three series before the Red Sox series, the Yankees were playing poorly (against normal expectations). If you look at their last five series, it goes like this for New York:

    @ the White Sox – lost 2 of 3
    vs. the Angels – split 4 games
    vs. the Orioles – lost 2 of 3
    @ the Red Sox – swept 5 games
    @ the Mariners – lost 2 of 3

    As you can see, the only series that the Yankees have won, out of their last five, was the set up at Fenway.

    It does make me (and others?) wonder, just a wee bit, now, if the result of the series in Boston was the Yankees being a great team, or, just the Red Sox being a poor team.

    Now, it does seem silly to wonder this – even just a wee bit of a wonder – because the Yankees are playing .600-baseball this year, and, only one team has more wins than them in the A.L. right now.

    The Yankees are 26 games over .500 at this moment. Is there something inside that number that we should be concerned about?

    New York, this season to date, has a 26-10 (.722) record against three teams, combined – the Red Sox, Devil Rays and Rangers. This means that the Yankees are 50-40 (.556) against everyone else.

    It should be noted that the Red Sox, Devil Rays and Rangers are 10th-11th-and-12th in the A.L. right now in team ERA. (Only the Orioles and Royals are worse than these three teams.)

    Does this mean that the Yankees can only man-handle teams with very weak pitching, and, against other teams, New York is more like a barely-90-win team (in terms of pace) than a team that would win close to 100 games?

    I’m starting to think that the answer here is “yes.”

    This is not to say that the Yankees will not make the post-season – because they will, without question.

    But, this does make me strongly consider the notion that, once the Yankees are in the post-season and start facing teams with better than average pitching, each series is going to be a challenge for them – and, I expect them to have to struggle and push the series to the max (in terms of the number of games) in order to win (and advance). Also, they’re going to need some breaks in the post-season to succeed.

    Yes, I’m talking “Jeffrey Maier HR” and “Tim Welke Block” type breaks here. A “Mark Wohler’s Slider” would be helpful as well.

    These things can happen – they did in 1996 – but, without them, when the Yankees hit the playoffs this year, it’s going to be just like 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 all over again (when they reach the teams with pitchers who can stop them).

    August 23rd @ The Mariners

    Posted by on August 24th, 2006 · Comments (17)

    What can possibly be said about Worm Killer Wang that hasn’t already been said this year? If you want to say that “Mussina=Schilling” and “Johnson=Beckett,” then Wang is the difference between the Yankees and the Red Sox this year. And, it’s a big difference.

    Watching the Yankees man-handle “King Felix” last night (who, this time last year, was the best pitching prospect in baseball) and how the Yankees battered the Red Sox pitching prospect jewels Craig Hansen and Jon Lester this past series in Boston, is actually a good primer for Yankees fans to (again) level set their expectations on Philip Hughes.

    It’s one thing to star in the minors and it’s another thing to get that to translate into big league success.

    And, it also tells you how special it is to see Wang doing what he’s doing now – just in his second year.

    August 22nd @ The Mariners

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2006 · Comments (20)

    You always hate to lose by a run in the bottom of the 9th. But, given the streaks that both the Yankees and M’s were on, you knew, coming into this game, that it was going to be a hard game for the Yankees to win. The odds were too strong against them. So, the sting of the walk-off loss here is offset, somewhat, by the knowledge of odds strength in this contest, I suppose.

    If you had to lay blame on this one, I would not assign it to Villone. I give it to Torre. Close game, 7th inning, and you leave Jaret Wright in the game as a relief pitcher? Wright allows too many base runners to be trusted in a spot like that one – and, of course, he loaded the bases.

    Not a bad first start for Jeff Karstens. I think he showed the Yankees something in this game. Sure, he might look a little like Steve-O, but, the kid did not melt out there. I’m looking forward to his next start.

    Hey, look at the bright side – the Red Sox lost too. Yankees are still up by 7 in the loss column and there’s now just 38 games left to the season.

    New York can just shake this game off and come back in the next one.

    If there’s any concern from this game – let it be about Giambi’s hammy. The Yankees need him to be fine – if he’s not, that’s a hole in the line-up.

    August 21st @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 21st, 2006 · Comments (17)

    Sweep Fancy Moses!

    Los calcetines rojos son muertos!

    It’s over in the A.L. East. What a story!

    Forty-two games ago, on July 4th, the standings in the A.L. East were as follows:

    000704standings.jpg

    And, now, today, with the Yankees taking 5 games in a row from the Red Sox, in dramatic fashion, at Fenway Park, the Yankees presently lead the Boston Red Sox by 6 1/2 games in the standings.

    This is a swing of 10.5 games in the standings over a period of seven weeks.

    From here, if the Yankees just play .500 baseball over the rest of the season, the Red Sox need to play nearly .700 baseball (.698 actually) to beat New York.

    It’s over Boston. The New York Yankees will win the A.L. East for the 9th year in a row – thanks to the results of this 5-game series.

    If the Yankees go on to win the World Series, I want to see a box-set of DVDs released covering the Yankees run this year – and every one of these 5 games should be included in the set, in their entirety.

    What a great plane ride the Yankees are going to have – as they head out to Seattle. And, they earned it.

    August 20th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 21st, 2006 · Comments (14)

    Overheard….Boston’s David Ortiz to his manager, Terry Francona, at the end of this game:

    Tito, I don’t think we’re in 2004 anymore.”

    It’s late. So, I’ll just close with a question. Is it just me, or, does Jonathan Papelbon’s stupid game face remind you of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Private Pyle towards the end of “Full Metal Jacket“?

    Gosh, I hope the YES Network one day over the winter does a marathon of the last four games. Each one is better than the one before it.

    I hope Lidle can top this contest later today. It just seems like it has to happen now.

    August 19th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 19th, 2006 · Comments (14)

    When it comes to the Yankees playing the Red Sox, there was a time where there was nothing better than beating Pedro Martinez. And, once Slippery Pete decided to move his Mango Tree to Queens, the ultimate “Beat the Sox pleasure” became taking the tar and feathers to Curt Schilling.

    While Schilling will always be Blanco Primera, pounding the stuffing out of Josh “You Can Take The Boy Out Of The Trailer Park, But Not The Trailer Park Out Of The Boy” Beckett is as sweet as rock candy too. So, this game was very enjoyable.

    There’s just something about Beckett. I’ve always felt that, if Roseanne Barr – the original one, before all the plastic surgery – had a sex change, she/he would look just like Josh Beckett, and act just like Josh Beckett, today. And, that’s one annoying fem-dude. I guess that’s it about Beckett – the fem-dude-ness that he gives off with all the strutting, whining and the can’t-grow-any-facial-hair thing.

    In any event, watching the way the Yankees and the Red Sox have each conducted their business in these first three games has gotten my blood thirst up – and, now, I want the sweep.

    It’s just a shame that we have to wait over 24 hours (from the last out of this game) until the first pitch of Game Four.

    The Yankees will have to change their game plan for this next one because Schilling will not walk people. And, Mussina will have to be on his game. But, seeing the results of the first three games makes me now feel that the next two should be fun too.

    August 18th @ The Red Sox – Game 2

    Posted by on August 19th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    After watching this game for 4 hours and 45 minutes, I only have the strength left to say two things:

    1. Boy, am I glad that the Yankees won this one. And,
    2. After these two games today, the day game tomorrow, er, I mean later today, is going to be very interesting – because of lots of very tired players.

    In the interim, if you want to know what happened in this game – feel free to see the “Official WasWatching.com Scorecard for the Night Game of August 18, 2006.”

    (Yes, I kept score this evening. It’s something that I almost never do – really – in the last twenty years, I’ve maybe kept score of less than a half-dozen games. But, for some reason, tonight, during dinner, I thought “Maybe keeping score will prevent me from stressing on this one – with Ponson pitching?” Talk about picking the wrong game to score! Note that I had to use extra pages on this one.)

    August 18th @ The Red Sox – Game 1

    Posted by on August 18th, 2006 · Comments (1)

    Nothing like a four-hour, 9-inning game – when you win.

    The Yankees hitters did what they should do in this game. The faced very weak pitching and put a 12-spot on the board. The Yankees one-through-five batters were outstanding today. And, Wang kept it together just long enough as to not burn the pen.

    As great as this game was, to a Yankees fan, I can’t help but wonder if tonight will be Boston’s turn to score 12 runs when they face Ponson. I hope Torre takes Ponson out of the game the minute he allows his 4th run – no matter what the inning. It would be nice to keep the team in the game and go for the sweep.

    August 17th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on August 17th, 2006 · Comments (14)

    At this point, it’s a good idea to look at the last three series that the Yankees have played – and see how they did.

    August 8th-10th, @ the White Sox:

    The Yankees lost 2 of 3 games and barely won the one game. In the win, the Yankees had a 7-0 lead after 6 1/2 innings and allowed the White Sox to get within a run. And, if the White Sox’ Joey Cora uses his head in the 9th inning of that game, it’s a tie-game with the White Sox still batting in the 9th.

    August 11th-14th, vs. the Angels:

    The Yankees split the four game series. But, if not for some terrible relief pitching by the Angels’ Brendan Donnelly in one game, the Yankees could have lost three of the four games to the Angels.

    August 15th-17th, vs. the Orioles:

    The Yankees lose 2 of the 3 games against the Orioles. In the two losses, they get killed in one game and blow many chances to win in the other. And, in the one game that they won, the O’s LaTroy Hawkins helped them out.

    In total, the Yankees have gone 4-6 in their last ten games – and their record could have easily been 1-9 in these ten games.

    Face it, it’s the make-it-or-break-it point in the Yankees schedule and New York is playing bad baseball now. And, if you think that’s the bad news, get ready for this:

    The Yankees now go up to Boston, to play the rested Red Sox – five times in four days.

    At this point, I expect to see the Yankees be one game out of first place on the morning of August 22nd – but, tied in the loss column with the Red Sox.

    That would turn the season into a 40-game contest. The Yankees better start to play better over those 40 games – or else they may miss the post-season for the first time since 1995.

    August 16th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on August 16th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    It’s because of games like these that I should keep a Gatorade bucket and a Louisville Slugger close to the T.V.

    OK, trying to stay positive for those who want to see some of that…..tonight, Cory Lidle reminded me of someone. Little – as in under 6 feet – right-handed pitcher. A bit of an extra chin on an otherwise normal sized frame. And, his full-wind-up…….well, I’m seeing a little of Greg Maddux on the hill. Of course, Maddux is one of the best pitchers ever and Lidle is a journeyman. But, to the eye, Lidle, in the way he carries himself, now reminds me of Maddux.

    And, that’s the most positive thing that I have to say about this game.

    August 15th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on August 16th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    Regarding the game prior to this one, I wrote:

    It’s amazing what great starting pitching and 7 hits and 2 walks (combined) in the 7th and 8th inning can do for a fan’s worry.

    And, now, about this game, I can write:

    It’s amazing what great starting pitching and 7 hits and 1 walk (combined) in the 7th and 8th inning can do for a fan’s worry.

    And, it probably helps A-Rod get a pass on both another key error in the field and a terrible AB in the 7th with the score tied, one out, and runners on 1st and 3rd.

    I have to give credit to Cano. Ever since I called him out, he’s getting big hits with runners on base.

    Anyone else think Larry Bowa was amped up for this game? Between the head slap on Abreu in the 7th and Larry’s running down the line towards the plate in the 8th, do we need any more evidence of Bowa’s intensity?

    Speaking of the 8th inning, someone has to work on Melky and his sliding style. He always seems to be rumbling into the plate and rolling around. He’s going to get hurt on a bad slide, soon, if this is not corrected.

    Lastly, thank you, Mr. Bonderman. It’s sweet to hit the pillow knowing that the Yankees are now 4 up in the loss column.

    August 14th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on August 14th, 2006 · Comments (1)

    When Giambi got thrown out at home tonight in the 2nd inning, and then A-Rod got thrown out at 3rd in the 4th inning, I thought “Those two plays might come back to haunt the Yankees in this game.”

    And, when the score of the game was 2-2 after six, I was starting to think “Those two plays are coming back to haunt the Yankees…..”

    But, two innings after that, all was good. It’s amazing what great starting pitching and 7 hits and 2 walks (combined) in the 7th and 8th inning can do for a fan’s worry.

    Funny, I wonder how many people are still concerned about Jeter’s “slump” and Posada’s “slide” now?

    Lastly, watching the post-game on YES tonight, something came to my mind. When Bobby Abreu joined the Yankees, did he get stuck with Shawn Chacon’s locker in the clubhouse? How does that work when a “star” joins you mid-season and there’s no “star” leaving? Guys like Abreu are used to great lockers – in terms of size and location. Watch, next year, Abreu will have a better locker than Pavano – and, he should.

    August 13th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on August 13th, 2006 · Comments (13)

    Too little, too late.

    Bill Clinton would hate this game.
    Close, but, no cigar.

    Boston is now just one game behind the Yankees in the A.L. East.

    Looked like it was perfect baseball weather in the Bronx today. Lots of sun, not too hot. It was a very bright day. Full of light.

    To borrow from the lyrics of an ol’ Romeo Void song (“Your Life Is A Lie”) after today’s performance, it would not be a reach to say to the Yankees:

    You’re a great silhouette
    You cast a shadow
    But you don’t stand up to the light

    August 12th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on August 12th, 2006 · Comments (3)

    Back in the late 1980′s, the Baltimore Orioles had a batting prospect by the name of Luis Mercedes. He was a batting title contender for three years in a row – at Single-A, Double-A, and Triple A. Basically, in the minors, with his high batting averages, Mercedes was an on-base machine – and Luis was just 23-years old when he was already starring at Triple-A.

    How come you never heard of him? Well, if I recall correctly, he had a bit of a temper – which worked against him. But, worse for him, even though he had speed, he was a base-running nightmare. It was said that his philosophy of running the bases was “When you reach base, keep running until you score or they tag you out.”

    I’m guessing that the Angels’ Vlad Guerrero went to the “Luis Mercedes School of Base Running” back when he was a kid growing in the Dominican Republic. And, as a Yankees fan, today, I thank him for doing that.

    Credit Cano and Damon for hitting the snot out of two mistake pitches today. That was the Yankees scoring machine this afternoon. And, credit today is also due to Five-And-Fly Wright and “ProcFarnMo” ™ (towards the Yankees win).

    But, Guerrero’s stupid base running in the first might have taken Wright off the early hook. And, Vlad’s getting picked off second to end the sixth was being “bone-headed at a bad time” as bad as being “bone-headed at a bad time” gets.

    In any event, considering that Boston won today, I’ll take the Yankees win regardless of who deserves the credit. In Yankeeland, today was a good day to win.

    August 11th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on August 11th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    I know that he wasn’t feeling well prior to this game, but, I have to wonder if giving Cory Lidle 8 days rest (before this start) impacted his effectiveness. At the least, for sure, we know the extra rest didn’t help him.

    Watching the Angels’ Joe Saunders work tonight, for the first time, I thought I saw something that reminded me of someone else. It’s the look in his eye, the expression on his face, and somewhat the way he pitches from the full wind-up. It took a few minutes, but, then it came into focus for me. He reminds me of a young, thin, left-handed Curt Schilling. I stress “thin” because I don’t think Schilling was ever thin – even as a young pitcher. It looks like the Angels have a keeper in Saunders.

    By the way, tonight, it became official for me. After seeing that Orlando Cabrera “double” in the 5th – which was just really Alex Rodriguez playing third base like that “Baginsky” guy from the lotto commerical – I’m now finding myself saying “Please don’t hit the ball to A-Rod!” very often as pitches are being delivered in big spots.

    Lastly, how about Jason Giambi’s new budding mustache?

    Maybe the rest of the team should follow his lead? The way the team has played in their last seven games (meaning going 3-4 and being lucky in two of those three wins), perhaps the Yankees should look into something that might, as a team, change their luck?

    August 10th @ The White Sox

    Posted by on August 11th, 2006 · Comments (15)

    Peter Abraham said it best, late last night:

    The Red Sox lost five straight games against the Devil Rays and Royals and the Yankees picked up only two games in the standings. When you have a chance to throw your rivals under the train, you have to do it. The Red Sox are in a free-fall but they’re one series away from being back in first.

    Like the game on Tuesday against the Chisox, this was a tough game to lose.

    Forget about the defensive play (or lack there of) of A-Rod, Melky, Posada and Cano in the 2nd inning of this game – at least for a moment. Let’s just look at the Yankees batting last night in this one-run loss.

    1st inning: Yankees have runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. A-Rod strikes out swinging.

    2nd inning: Cano doubles to lead it off. Wilson and Cabrera cannot move him along.

    4th inning: Yankees have the bases loaded – albeit with two outs. Giambi strikes out looking.

    6th inning: Yankees have runners on 1st and 3rd with one out. A-Rod flies out and Giambi strikes out.

    9th inning: Yankees have runners on 1st and 2nd – but with two outs. Damon grounds out to end the game.

    Giambi and A-Rod’s name seems to come up a lot in the above comments, no?

    Still, Giambi did have a 2-run homer in this game. And, A-Rod did have the big, inexcusable, throwing error in the 2nd.

    But, if I were to say now “The Yankees lost this game, for the most part, because Alex Rodriguez played it like it was the 2005 ALDS” what would be the reaction (by many Yankees fans) to that statement?

    “Oh, there goes the A-Rod basher again!”
    “What are you obsessed with A-Rod?”

    And, those would probably be the polite responses.

    So, I’m going to say that Mickey Klutts lost this game for the Yankees against the White Sox. Yes, I know that Klutts last played for the Yankees in 1978. But, I’d rather have people come after me today for that statement than listen to complaints about getting on A-Rod – even if Alex had a huge hand in losing this game.

    August 9th @ The White Sox

    Posted by on August 10th, 2006 · Comments (11)

    This morning, I “heart” two grown men – Mike Sweeney and Joey Cora. Sweeney got me for taking it to the Red Sox last night. And, Cora got me for not sending Brian Anderson home, and holding him at third, in the bottom of the 9th of the Yankees-Chisox game.

    Considering it was Bernie throwing the ball to Cano, which means Cano had to go out and get the lob, and factoring in Anderson’s speed, I’m thinking it’s a tie game if Cora doesn’t throw up the stop sign to Anderson.

    How about New York heroes in this one? There were many Yankees who did well in this game, but, in retrospect, if I’m giving out the game ball, it goes to Ron Villone. His work in the 7th is the key to this victory – especially given what Farnsworth and Rivera did in the 8th and 9th.

    It was nice to see Randy Johnson be nasty again on the mound. By the way, when did he switch from the black glove to the brown one? Maybe this new mitt is a good luck charm in the making? Still, to be honest, I feel that every start with Unit is “you never know what you’re going to see” material. This start is not going to move me from that position.

    Speaking of “see” – is it just me, or, does anyone else see a little Lance Kerwin of “James at 15” fame when they look at Craig Wilson?

    OK, now, time for a rant. Has someone dropped acid in Joe Torre’s green tea? He puts Bobby Abreu in CF when Damon has to leave the game? Did you see Ozzie Guillen’s reaction when the umps told him about the switch? (You could read his lips. “Abreu’s in centerfield? Oh, boy!’) Come on now Joe. Why not move Cabrera to CF and then put Wilson in LF? If Melky can play LF in Yankees Stadium, he can play CF in Chicago. And, then, you never have to put Bernie in CF at all.

    But, you know what? I think Torre gets off on playing Bernie in CF. It gives him the jollies or something. That has to be the reason. Because, otherwise, any sane man would try and avoid doing that at all costs. And, by putting Abreu in CF, it’s an excuse to later move Bernie from DH to CF in the late innings.

    At this point, it’s time to take Sidney Ponson off the 40-man roster and get Bubba Crosby back on the team and admit that cutting Bubba for Veras was a mistake. With this run of games the Yankees are on, and given the nature of Damon’s injury, you need a quality defensive-minded back-up CF on this team – and pronto.

    August 8th @ The White Sox

    Posted by on August 8th, 2006 · Comments (27)

    As soon as A-Rod did not catch that foul pop in the 11th, albeit requiring a long run, I knew the Yankees would lose the game in that frame. And, it happened on the next pitch.

    It’s a shame that A-Rod had an “event” (for lack of a better word) in the deciding inning of this loss as he had an awesome game at the plate today.

    With the Yankees losing, 3-2, in the 3rd, Rodriguez hit a clutch two-out 2-run homer to give the Yankees the lead. Then, in the 8th inning, Rodriguez got a clutch single on an 0-2 pitch to load the bases – which led to the Yankees scoring and taking a 5-4 lead in the game. And, later, in the 10th inning, Rodriguez got a 2-out walk with the bases empty, and then had a clutch steal of second to put himself in scoring position (before Bernie Williams whiffed to end the inning).

    Personally, if not for A-Rod’s bat tonight, the Yankees probably lose this game by a score of 4-2 in 9 innings and then there never would be an 11th inning missed pop-up. Still, I bet that Alex gets questioned about not making that play.

    This loss is a stinger – and not the best way to start this run of 21 games in 20 days. Plus, the Yankees had to burn their whole pen (Villone, Farnsworth, Proctor and Rivera) today. You hate to unload the whole clip when you’re shooting at a shadow.

    Oh, well, at least Boston lost to the Royals.

    August 6th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on August 6th, 2006 · Comments (15)

    Is it just me, or, does A-Rod’s “0 for 5″ with 5 LOB and 2 Ks standout in the middle of this boxscore today like a sore thumb?

    Other than that, it was a near-picture-perfect win today. The guys in the line-up that you expect to do well (Damon, Jeter, Abreu, Giambi, and Melky) all came through nicely. Wright got 6 IP out of 95 pitches. Proctor and Mo shut the door.

    And, the cherry on top today was the way that the Boston Red Sox lost their game.

    Oh, by the way, for the record – if letting Bubba Crosby go means that Bernie Williams is the back-up CF, then, I hate the idea.

    Melky Cabrera is supposed to be the 4th OF super-sub in 2007 – which means he’ll play LF, CF, and RF (giving everyone a break now and then, and, filling in when someone goes on the D.L.).

    If that’s the plan, then why not use Melky as the back-up CF this year as well (now)?

    August 5th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on August 5th, 2006 · Comments (15)

    Hey, look at the bright side: The Yankees were not “no-hit” today and Derek Jeter did not suffer a disabling injury. And, yes, those are the highlights from this game.

    August 4th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on August 4th, 2006 · Comments (8)

    First off, Ken Singleton should win the Emmy for “Outstanding Performance By A Baseball Announcer In A One Man Booth” for his performance this evening on YES. Yankees fans all over should be thankful that it wasn’t Michael Kay or Bobby Murcer who was left alone in the booth tonight.

    Randy Johnson was not good tonight – locating, that is – but he was good enough to win. Ron Villone deserves another gold star for his hand in this game tonight as well.

    Torre, in the post-game, on YES cracked me up tonight. In complimenting the guys from the pen, he gave credit to the starting staff as well – saying that (thanks to the starters) ‘We haven’t had to overuse the bullpen.’

    Meanwhile, Scott Proctor’s right arm was recently mistaken for Sally Kirkland because it’s so used and abused.

    Good game for Craig Wilson too – who seems to have a pretty big reach at first base, by the way, for a guy listed at six-two. Maybe it’s just the baggy uniform?

    And, Damon, Posada, and Melky played well…….shoot, it was just a good team win. Feels like 1996 all over again.

    August 3rd vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 3rd, 2006 · Comments (32)

    I’m going to try and do some semi-live blogging for this game today. Stay tuned for updates.

    1:03 pm ET: Hey, hey, hey. Looks like Torre has figured out that Abreu should bat third and Giambi should bat fifth.

    1:15 pm ET: If you would have told me this past April, that I’d be checking out a Yankees game in August, and I would see Cory Lidle (pitching for the Yankees) getting a batter to ground out to Yankees second baseman Nick Green who would throw over to Yankees first baseman Craig Wilson for the out, I would have said “Get off that pipe, my friend!” Go figure.

    1:27 pm ET: A Giambi-jack! There’s three for you Cory.

    1:43 pm ET: Based on his 22-pitch inning in the 2nd, I’m thinking that Lidle is not going 8 innings today.

    1:50 pm ET: Sal Fasano’s picture on mlb.com Gameday makes him look like Jeffrey Tambor:

    Jtambor.jpg

    1:59 pm ET: An 11-pitch 3rd for Lidle. That’s much better.

    2:07 pm ET: In his first two PAs today, Abreu has seen 12 pitches. Maybe his nickname should be “The Human Arm Fatiguer”?

    2:19 pm ET: Darn, based load, albeit with two outs, and no runs. That was a chance to put this game on ice – early.

    2:25 pm ET: Wow. A 10-pitch 4th for Lidle. That’s quick!

    2:31 pm ET: A 9-pitch PA by Melky Cabrera leads to a walk. A love this kid.

    2:33 pm ET: I think Fasano is striking out on purpose today just so that he doesn’t have to run the bases in 100-degree heat.

    2:40 pm ET: My gut is starting to tell me that the Yankees are going to need more than 3 runs today, by the time this game is over. It would be nice to see a run or two from them soon.

    2:58 pm ET: OK, bottom five, 1st and 2nd, no outs. Four-Five-Six due up. Let’s go Yan-kees!

    3:03 pm ET: Bases-juiced. No outs. Craig Wilson – good morning, good afternoon, good night. That’s bad.

    3:10 pm ET: Attaboy Melky! That RBI, making the score 5-1, is big. Aside, maybe Fasano and Green should not play on the same day? That’s like a free inning for the pitcher when they come up to the plate back-to-back.

    3:17 pm ET: Sweet, clutch, DP to end the top of the 6th. Hey, Artie Rhodes, Lidle’s gone more than five-and-a-third today!

    3:32 pm ET: I believe that this one is now in the bag. It’s Ponson Time fellas.

    3:34 pm ET: Why is Proctor in this game?

    August 2nd vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 2nd, 2006 · Comments (11)

    Since the Abreu deal, the Yankees have found a new religion. Clearly, they’ve become believers of “In The Big Inning.” It was the 6th inning tonight – and the 4th inning last night.

    I believe that we’re going to see innings like those very often over the rest of the season – where the Yankees bat for a half-hour, see somewhere around 35 pitches, and plate a bunch of runs. Thinking about it, I’m starting to wish that boxscores would now show “Pitches Seen” for each batter – along with the AB/R/H/BI/LOB totals that are there (in every boxscore). I want to see that for each Yankees game now. It’s fun to watch this team conga-line pitchers to death.

    And, of course, W-K-W 40 (“Worm Killer” Wang) was his usual Robo-Stopper self this evening – which always helps. And, it’s very much appreciated.

    Lastly, nice deke-slide on that double in the 4th by A-Gust A-Rod, huh? The YES boys are right – Alex is lookin’ real loose these days. For him, probably more than it is true for any player, this is very important – in terms of enabling success.

    Speaking of loose, I see that Yankees dugout this evening, and I see signs that Dr. Scholl would love to see in there. The Yankees are gellin’ like a felon in there. I see lots of energy and smiles.

    It’s all good – so good that no one should care about what happened in Boston today. Hey, the Red Sox beat the Indians today – barely. Big whoop-de-doodle. If they want to act like they just won the World Series over that, then, have a party Boston.

    August 1st vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 1st, 2006 · Comments (6)

    Welcome to first place – albeit by percentage points.

    Abreu’s nine-pitch walk in the 4th really took a toll on A.J. Burnett – and helped set up Bernie’s record double. That was the whole ballgame to me (this evening).

    Villone and Proctor combining for three good innings, and bridging the game to the ninth, was also a key.

    Outside of Giambi having to leave the game with cramps, this was a very good day for the Yankees. A-Rod looks to be in August form already. And, Boston seems to be getting nothing but bad news these days.

    Yankees fans will sleep well this evening – assuming their AC is working if they live in the NY/NJ/CT area.