• October 10th @ The Angels

    Posted by on October 10th, 2005 · Comments (30)

    I cannot help but wonder if things might have been different if the Yankees had the home field in this ALDS. And, I wonder if Joe and Stein are wondering that now too?

    5-3. Soooooooo close. Worse than close considering that the Yankees had so many chances in this game. Hey, at least they went down fighting (even the Big Unit) – with the possible exception of A-Rod.

    Hey, it’s Game 5 of a best-of-five, the 9th inning, and you bring the tying run to the plate with no outs – that’s being in it, to me. Of course, then that potential tying run hits into a DP and kills the chance for a comeback – that was clearly possible, as the singles by the next two batters showed. (Was there any doubt that A-Rod would K, or worse, in that 9th inning – based on his ALDS performance this year, to date?)

    Again, man, just two lousy runs short. What a tough loss. Basically, the loss tonight was because:

    1. After the Yankees catch a break with the Angels Ace, Colon, pulling a David Wells of 2003, they do next to nothing against a 22-year-old rookie with an ERA of 4.65. They allowed this kid to bend but not break for the span of the 2nd inning through the 6th inning. In fact, the Yankees, if they were to win this game (and the series) should have pounded this kid out of the game by the 4th inning – at the worst. This is unacceptable.

    2. So much for the Mussina plan. Maybe he should have stayed with the team this week? Actually, the 3rd inning mess didn’t bother me that much – the Angels were Wee Willie Keelering Moose to death that inning. What can you do? But, the 2nd inning – that was vintage Princess and the Pea Mussina. He sat for a long time in the top of the 2nd. And, I’m sure he allowed that to throw him off for the bottom of the 2nd. Again, for a game like this, allowing your guard to drop after a long half-inning is unacceptable.

    3. The Yankees bats lost this game in the 5th and 7th innings. In the 5th, New York had runners on 1st and 2nd, with no outs and their 4-5-6 hitters coming up! What happened? No runs. Unacceptable – yet again. Further, in the 7th, New York had a runner on 2nd with one out and their clean-up hitter (Sheffield) and 5th batter (Matsui) due up. What happened? Two straight pop-ups and the end of the inning.

    4. Defense. Like just about every game this series, the Angels turn hits into outs while the Yankees turn outs into base runners. That Crosby-Sheffield crash reminded me of Blair-Reggie collision back on May 12,1978 (when A.O. went inside the park). Sad part is, even without the crash, I don’t think Sheffield makes the grab there.

    I noticed something tonight. Anytime that a ball his hit to Giambi, and he has to throw it, I scream out “Oh, no!” as an unconscious reflex (because I know what is going to happen). And, anytime a ball is hit to Erstad on the Angels, I scream “Oh, no!” because he’s making a play to get an out. That’s the difference in these teams. (And, is it just me, or, does Erstad remind you of Trot Nixon enough to make you want to hate him?)

    Anyway, instead of spending Tuesday AM thinking about the match-up of the Yankees with the White Sox, now, I’ll spend a portion of the day thinking about why this Yankees team needs to be broken up and rebuilt – because it is obvious that this Yankees team, circa 2002-2005, is not built to win in the post-season.

    And, maybe a clue to what the problem is can be found when we’re watching El Duque, Pettitte, Contreras and Clemens battle in the World Series?

    Then again, maybe the Angels will win it all? I picked them to win last year and was shocked when Boston knocked them out. And, every team, since 2001, who has beaten the Yankees in the post-season has gone on to take the ring.

    Actually, the Angels are going to be around for a while. They have at least 20 hotshot prospects in the minors – really, that many. The Yankees better start thinking up ways to beat them, if they want to get back into the World Series.

    OK, in the end, think of it this way – it’s not a tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake. There are people in the world now dealing with that stuff. How can anyone allow a baseball team to get them down for too long when there are other things out there that could happen – and that are potential life-and-death matters?

    This is just a fun pastime. Hang in there. Soon enough, there will more Yankees events to get our minds off the ALDS of 2005 and allow it to become a fun pastime again.

    Refried Moose

    Posted by on October 10th, 2005 · Comments (32)

    Mussina has started games twice in a post-season series five times: the 1997 ALDS, the 1997 ALCS, the 2001 WS, the 2003 ALCS, and the 2004 ALCS.

    In every one of these times, Moose has provided a solid effort in his second start of the series.

    Therefore, I’m predicting at least 6 innings from Mussina tonight – with 3 earned runs allowed – at the most – and maybe less.

    October 9th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on October 9th, 2005 · Comments (10)

    I think that I actually got an ulcer during a Yankees win. Yeah, tonight. Wow.

    That shot of Brian Cashman in the 9th, when Vlad was batting, pretty much sums up the way I felt during much of this game.

    This is not going to be the prettiest game entry ever. There’s so much to say – so, I’m going to let it just fly and flow.

    I too was thinking that Shawn Chacón tonight was pulling an El Duque from the 1998 ALCS – which, by the way, was seven years ago tomorrow. But, I wanted to kill Torre when he said that as well on FOX during the game. Why whammy the guy? And, sure enough, then the Angels score some runs.

    Actually, if Giambi catches that SAC bunt from Finley on the fly, it’s a DP and perhaps the Angels score none in that inning – and Chacón’s wonderful night looks even better.

    Side thought: Does Chone Figgins look a little like Seth Green? Also, now that Giambi’s hair is getting a little longer, around the 4th inning of a game, when the sweat is really coming, is Jason starting to look a little like Richard Lewis?

    Second side thought: Just what happened to second “T” in “Scot” Shields? (Yes, I know that his full name is Robert Scot Shields. Still, it’s strange.) And, if the Halo’s bullpen is so great, just how the heck did Sheilds lose 11 games this season?

    By the way, the last two WasWatching.com entries have now mentioned Shields and Yarnall. Is my mind trying to tell me to shut up?

    I wanted to kill Torre when he lifted Chacón in the 7th, with one out and a slooooooow runner on 1st (Molina) to bring in Leiter to face Erstad. I think that Joe got lucky there.

    I also wanted to kill Torre when he had Bernie come out to play CF after Womack pinch ran for Sierra who pinch hit for Crosby. (Yeah, not a lot of love for Joe’s moves tonight.) At this stage of the thing, with a one-run game, I’d rather have Womack’s speed in CF than Bernie. I think Joe got lucky there too.

    Some funky slide there by Posada in the 7th. That’s two for him now. In Game 5 of the 2000 World Series, he was the one sliding into home (and Piazza) when the ball hit him and allowed the runners to advance. Magic things for Jorgie when he’s heading home. Or, maybe he’s just lucky?

    Speaking of luck, I thought for sure that after the Yankees left the bases loaded in the 7th – with the Giambi whiff and Sheffield pop – that would come back to haunt them, with the score remaining 3-2. But, they got lucky.

    Almost forgot – pretty big pinch-hit there for Big Rube. Lucky? Hey, I’d rather be lucky than good.

    Face it – really, face it. If I posted a picture here of the performance of the Yankees “big hitters” (Jeter, A-Rod, Giambi, Sheffield, etc.) during this game, and the ALDS as a whole, it would be so flat that you’d never be able to see it. The fact that this series is 2-2 is pretty lucky – for New York.

    These guys are going to have to hit in Game 5 to allow Mussina, Wang, and whoever, to do their thing and have a chance to win this series. Basically, it’s simple – Strike early, strike big, take the crowd out, and then tack on. Do not allow K-Rod to pitch in this game with a lead.

    The first pitch is in about 20 hours from now. It’s going to seem like 200 hours.

    Mussina Alone, Not Home

    Posted by on October 8th, 2005 · Comments (18)

    From the AP via SI:

    Mike Mussina can only wait, watch and hope.

    Bad weather is expected Saturday in New York, and if a rainout pushes Game 4 of the AL division series to Sunday, the Los Angeles Angels will consider bringing back Game 1 starter Bartolo Colon to pitch on four days’ rest.

    But the Yankees don’t plan to do the same with Mussina. They didn’t even bring him back to New York.

    Mussina stayed in Los Angeles when the series moved East. He was the winning pitcher in Game 1 and would be scheduled to start a deciding Game 5 in Anaheim — if the Yankees can force one. They trail 2-1 in the best-of-five series.

    So even if the weather forces a game in New York on Sunday, Mussina isn’t expected to be there.

    Whoever had this brilliant idea should be fired. I hate this for two reasons.

    First, it sent a terrible message to the team. “Yes, were 1-1 in the series with two games to come in our own park. But, we’re so convinced that we cannot win two games in a row, that we’re leaving Moose behind because we know before we even play the next two games that there will be a Game 5 back in L.A.”

    Second, and especially now that Game 4 is pushed back a day, what if the Yankees needed Mussina in Game 4? Face it, if the Yankees lose Game 4, there’s no Game 5. It’s all hands on deck – including Mussina. If it’s the kind of game were you need everyone to win it, you do it, and worry about tomorrow’s starter when tomorrow comes.

    I have no issue with sending a guy out the day before – in fact, I recommend it. But, this move with Mussina is not that type of situation (for the reasons stated above).

    When the Yankees lose this ALDS because of a spot in Game 4 where Mussina could have saved them, it will be another chapter in the legacy of Mike Mussina’s Days In Pinstripes. I’m starting to think that it’s no coincidence that they have zero rings since he showed up.

    Why anyone on this team felt there was a need to leave Moose out west this weekend is beyond me.

    Game 5 – If Necessary

    Posted by on October 8th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    If there is an ALDS Game 5 for the Yankees, it will be interesting to see if FOX would give the game to ESPN. Right now, on 10/10 – when the Yankees Game 5 would be played – FOX has a 4 pm and 8 pm EST game already lined-up. The 4 pm game is SD-STL. But, that’s probably not going to be played.

    Would FOX make the Yankees and Angels play a 1 pm CT game (4 pm EST) on 10/10 – after the teams have a night game in NYC the day before? Or, does FOX go for a 8 pm CT game on 10/10 – and make the NY market stay up all night with the 11 pm EST start?

    FOX is probably hoping that their 8 pm EST game on 10/10 (HOU/ATL) is not needed – then they could use that slot.

    It’s gong to be an interesting call. I just hope that it’s needed.

    Let’s-Go, Pre-Cip

    Posted by on October 8th, 2005 · Comments (12)

    A rainout today might be a good thing for the Yankees. It could reset the emotional clock of both teams. And, for sure, it gives Wang a chance to help in either Game 4 or 5. (If Game 4 was tomorrow instead of today, Wang has 3-days rest. A Game 5 on Monday would mean Wang has normal rest.)

    I’d rather see Wang following Chacón or Mussina in a game at this point than seeing the usual suspects.

    Start rain dancing Yankees fans.

    October 7th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on October 8th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    It was the night of the big game.
    From the skies fell much rain.
    Pitching for L.A. a guy, who, could be Frazier Crane.
    For the Yankees, the Unit, was busted and lame.
    By the top of the 4th, it was time to lay blame.
    Was this insane?
    No, I was in pain!
    Then, suddenly, after four, it was again a game.
    However, in the 6th, my temper began to flame.
    And, in the 7th and 8th, it was more of the same.
    In the end, this mess was too much for my brain.

    What was up with Randy Johnson? Just the LDS blues, or, was the mini-corset sighting a clue to be followed? Oh, well, maybe, if there’s a Game 5, he can help out there?

    Gordon. Why am I not surprised?

    Gotta say, it was risky of Torre to have Posada come in the game in the 4th. If something happened to him, ladies and gentlemen, now catching for the Yankees, number 26, Mark Bellhorn, number 26. Whew.

    This may sound crazy, but, after Bernie had the SF in the 5th to give the Yankees the lead, I would have taken him out for Crosby – to get the “D” in there with the slim lead. And, wouldn’t you know it, in the next inning Figgins hits a ball to CF to put the Angels in the driver’s seat for this game. And, it was a ball that Bernie could not reach and we’ll never know if Bubba Crosby would have made the play.

    As Jon Miller mentioned on ESPN’s coverage, this game was a lot like the one the Yankees played on September 27th. What happened the next night? Shawn Chacón came through with a good effort.

    I hope he can do it again in what is now later today. Look at the bright side, if he cannot, maybe there’s a commercial in it for the Yankees?

    Hey, we just lost the ALDS. But, there’s good news. We just saved a bunch of money on not having to pay for airfare and hotel for another day in L.A. Think A-Rod knows how to do the robot?

    Oh, Mudder

    Posted by on October 6th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    Here’s the current weather forecast for NYC: Friday, rain. Saturday, rain. Sunday, rain. Monday, rain. And, for good measure, Tuesday, rain.

    What a mess this is going to be for Games 3 and 4 of the Yanks-Angels ALCS. I know in the past, for April games where snow was expected, the Yankees would sometimes borrow a tarp from (if I recall correctly) Giants Stadium to help keep the OF dry during the night. That’s not going to happen now. At some point in one of these games, some outfielder is going to think he’s on a Slip’n Slide.

    And, of course, there’s the poor fans at the Stadium who are going to have to sit in and through all this. That’s not fun.

    How will this rain help/hurt the Yankees? The only way that it will possibly help is that a wet rack might slow down the Angels running game. But, that’s minor.

    Where it’s going to kill the Yankees is the bullpen – in the sense that their roster weakness will be exposed. If there’s a long rain delay, and the Yankees starting pitcher has to come out of the game, and it’s before the 7th inning, here comes the Leiters, Proctors, and Embrees of the world. On the flip side, the Angels have more quality arms in their pen to cover for the early loss of a starting pitcher.

    Just think, if the Yankees had won home field for this LDS, it wouldn’t matter if it was going to rain here tomorrow and Saturday, would it?

    October 5th @ The Angels

    Posted by on October 6th, 2005 · Comments (10)

    I was doing so good in terms of staying up to watch this game. And, just then, for a handful of minutes, I nodded off – and it just happened to be for the bottom of the 7th. I cannot describe the horror of waking up, realizing that I fell asleep, and seeing that the game was now in the top of the 8th, with Bernie batting, and the score was 4-2 Angels – when the last thing that I remembered was the game being tied, 2-2, in the top of the 7th.

    I didn’t miss much in terms of time, maybe just 15 minutes or so, but I sure missed a lot in terms of the breakdown for the Yankees.

    I actually started to get a bad feeling about this game before all this, and the Juan (Where’s that golf cart when you need it?) Rivera HR, and the costly A-Rod error in the 6th. It happened in the top of the 5th – when Jeter made like his idol Winnie and threw his bat into the stands.

    My first thought then was “Uh-oh. What’s Torre going to hold on to now for good luck when the team is on defense?” And, if I may say it now, look at the A-Rod and Wang errors that followed in the 6th and 7th. Hmmm.

    In any event, the Yankees are not going to win many games in this ALDS if they average 3.5 runs scored per game. They need to score 5-6 runs instead of 3-4 runs.

    And, to get that done going forward, I’m calling on Gary Sheffield to step up. The Angels have shown that they’re going to walk A-Rod as much as possible. Therefore, Sheff needs to make them pay for that – and, to date, that’s not happening.

    So, now, it’s a best two out of three series – with the Yankees having the home field. Still, I will offer this – the Yankees need to win on Friday to have a chance to take the series. They cannot get into the position where they need to win (to stay alive) on Saturday – and then have to fly all the way out west again to play a winner take all game.

    It’s a big spot for Randy Johnson. I saw the clip of Unit throwing today to get his work in. He was wearing a mini-corset. That’s disconcerting. What is also somewhat alarming is the weather forecast for Friday. It’s calling for PM showers at this moment. It would be terrible for the Yankees if Johnson threw three innings in Game 3 and then had to come out of the contest because of an hour rain delay.

    I hope Mystique and Aura remember to bring their umbrellas on Friday. And, that the Yankees remember to bring their bats and gloves too.

    John Lackey

    Posted by on October 5th, 2005 · Comments (9)

    Tonight, the Yankees face John Lackey. Personally, when I think of Lackey….

    000lackey.jpg

    ….I see a little bit of a Napoleon Dynamite smile there. In any event, I was surprised to hear Giambi talk about Lackey after the game last night. Jason said that he expects Lackey to win a Cy Young Award in the near future. Wow. Is this guy that good?

    Since the All-Star break this year, he has been that good. In fact, only Johan Santana and Kevin Millwood were better starters in the AL since the break.

    The Yankees have their hands full tonight with this guy.

    October 4th @ The Angels

    Posted by on October 4th, 2005 · Comments (14)

    OK, I think I get it. Rivera must be dressing up as John Wetteland for Halloween this year and just felt like trying out the costume 4 weeks early, right? Whew.

    Speaking of “looks-like” – is it just me, or, does Bartolo Colon look like the love child from the union of David Wells and Pedro Martinez. No matter, you have to give credit to Colon for keeping his team in the game after a rough start. I saw a lot of late swings after the 2nd inning.

    Speaking of late, at 10:00 pm EST, Mussina threw the 1st pitch in the bottom of the 5th. Poor kids today, they have no chance of watching these games. (Never mind what’s going to happen tomorrow.)

    Not a bad night for Moose. I kept waiting for the meltdown – after all, many times this season he’s been good and then just hits the wall from nowhere. Good thing Joe pulled him when he did in the 6th.

    Speaking of the 6th, as much as I want to credit Cano’s clutch hit in the 1st as the key to the game, I think the true key to this win was Vlad taking off for 2nd with 2 outs and down by four (in that 6th inning). Thanks Vladie.

    Last week, I said that it was sad “watching Sturtze served up nightly these days – cooked ala’ Torre.” Now it’s beyond sad – it’s dangerous. Torre has to make Small Mr. Seventh Inning now.

    Tonight was a good win. But, 1995, 1997, 2001, and 2004 were not that long ago. This is no time for Yankees fans to start getting giddy. If New York can get 10 more wins this post-season, then it’s time to start feeling frisky.

    Lastly, I have to wonder, what time will the Yankees land back in New York on Thursday? If the game tomorrow is starting in Cali at 7:20 pm PT, what’s the earliest that they’ll get on a plane back to the East Coast, 12:30 am PT on Thursday? So, would that have them landing in NYC around 9:00 am ET on Thursday, thereabouts. And, from there, they probably get home to their own beds around lunch-time on Thursday.

    I hope they all stay in on Thursday night to get ready for the game on Friday. And, if I’m Torre, I’m sending the Big Unit home on a plane first thing Wednesday morning.

    Stud To Stud

    Posted by on October 4th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    Since August 11th, the Angels pitching staff has an ERA of 3.66. And, during the same time, the Yankees pitching staff has an ERA of 4.36. There’s an edge for the Halos.

    However, if you just look at just Sturtze, Mussina, Johnson, Wang, Small, Chacon, Rivera and Gordon since 8/11, they have a collective ERA of 3.53.

    On the flip side, for the Angels, if you just use Donnelly, Gregg, Shields, Lackey, Colon, Washburn, Byrd, Rodriguez, and Escobar since 8/11, they have a collective ERA of 3.21.

    Is there much difference between 3.53 and 3.21?

    If the Yankees can manage to just throw their “good” pitchers in this LDS, they have a chance to go toe-to-toe with the Angels best. It’s not the pitching mismatch that some like to make it out to be, at least over the last 7 to 8 weeks of performance for both teams.

    It’s A Good Start

    Posted by on October 4th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    From the Post:

    Considering the players who have started postseason games in center field for the Yankees, Bubba Crosby will be in good company tonight in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Angels at Angel Stadium. After all, Crosby is never mentioned with Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Bernie Williams. Or even Mickey Rivers.

    Crosby, who made three trips between Triple-A Columbus and the Yankees this season and four a year ago, will be Joe Torre’s Game 1 starter in center against Bartolo Colon. Torre will use Bernie Williams as the DH.

    Crosby hit .276 in 76 games this season for the Yankees.

    “It’s an exciting feeling for them to have enough confidence in me from where I was two to three months ago,” Crosby said after yesterday’s workout. “I was able to come a long way in their eyes.”

    I guess that dreams can come true!

    Chacón = Mussina Insurance?

    Posted by on October 3rd, 2005 · Comments (2)

    I didn’t see this one coming – from an AP report:

    Torre announced his rotation for the series and his lineup for the opener, but hadn’t finalized the playoff roster after the team’s early evening workout. He expects to carry 11 pitchers, to 10 for the Angels.

    After Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang will start Game 2, followed by Randy Johnson and Shawn Chacon.

    So, it’s not Chacón or Johnson in Game 2. Interesting. Now, it will be Wang on normal rest for the game on Wednesday night.

    And, Chacón will get Game 4 – almost a week after his short relief appearance yesterday in Fenway and on nine days rest from his last start.

    If I read between the lines here, I think it says that the Yankees are concerned about Mussina in Game 1. Today would have been Chacón’s normal day to pitch. So, if he throws tomorrow, in Game 1, he’s pitching on 6 days rest – if you consider yesterday’s work just a “throw day.”

    It’s the perfect fit – if Moose bombs early, then bring in Chacón. Then Wang goes in Game 2, followed by Randy in Game 3. Then, if needed, and assuming that Chacón goes in Game 1 (after Mussina), Shawn can come back and pitch in Game 4 on three days rest – or, possibly Small takes the mound that day and then Chacón comes back in Game 5 on normal rest (assuming that Mussina is fried for the series).

    Or, in the best case, Mussina does well in Game 1, and then he comes back in Game 5 – and Wang, Unit and Chacón handle the middle.

    Very interesting…….and hopefully not stupid.

    LDS Rotation Plans

    Posted by on October 3rd, 2005 · Comments (3)

    It’s a given that Mussina will pitch Game 1. This also sets up Moose to pitch Game 5 (if needed) on his normal (4 days) rest.

    But, what about Games 2, 3, and 4?

    From most reports that I see now, it looks like Chacón going on Game 2 (on what would be 6 days rest – if you consider yesterday’s game a “throw day”) and the Big Unit for Game 3 (on 5 days rest).

    But, some reports suggest that Johnson might go on Wednesday, for Game 2, on three days rest. I understand the interest here – because Unit in Game 2 would then give him a chance to throw in Game 5 (albeit again on 3 days rest).

    Personally, I’d rather see a rested Johnson go once than try and make the old man go twice, back-to-back starts, on three days rest.

    In any event, it looks like Wang will throw Game 4 (on 7 days rest).

    The rotation is what it will be because of the fact that the Yankees had to play hard down to Game #161. But, it is scary to think that, if it goes to five games, in the end it will be Mussina – backed up by Johnson on one days rest, Wang on no days rest, and Chacón on three days rest.

    Maybe my Aaron Small prediction ends up coming true in Game 5?

    ESPN.com Picks ALDS Winner

    Posted by on October 3rd, 2005 · Comments (18)

    I was just checking out the ESPN.com page for this ALDS. Here’s what their experts are predicting:

    000alds.jpg

    It doesn’t bother me that most are picking the Angels. In a way, it’s good that they’re mostly predicting a 5-game series. That means it should be close.

    Moose In Game One

    Posted by on October 3rd, 2005 · Comments (7)

    This ALDS will be the 5th consecutive play-off series in which Mussina has started Game 1 for the Yankees. How did he do in the other four?

    Game 1 of the 2004 ALCS – Did good, but, ran out of gas in the 7th.
    Game 1 of the 2004 ALDS – He pitched very well for seven.
    Game 1 of the 2003 ALCS – He couldn’t make it out of the 6th inning – and allowed 4 runs.
    Game 1 of the 2003 ALDS – He pitched well for seven – but lost.

    Hopefully, tomorrow, Mussina can once again pitch well for seven innings. It’s what the Yankees need from him now.

    ALDS Roster Thoughts

    Posted by on October 3rd, 2005 · Comments (10)

    From mlb.com:

    Fourteen position players and 10 pitchers have secured spots on the active roster for the first round of the playoffs, but Torre and his coaches must decide whether it makes sense to take an 11th pitcher or a 15th position player.

    Infielders Jason Giambi, Tino Martinez, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Bellhorn; catchers Jorge Posada and John Flaherty and outfielders Gary Sheffield, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui, Ruben Sierra and Bubba Crosby will all be on the roster.

    The 14th spot should go to Tony Womack, who is the Yankees’ best stolen-base threat off the bench.

    Should they decide to take an 11th pitcher, it looks as though that decision will be between left-hander Alan Embree and right-hander Jaret Wright. If Torre opts for the position player, it would likely be Matt Lawton, unless he is taken as one of the 14 instead of Womack.

    The 10 pitchers on the roster are expected to be starters Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, Shawn Chacon, Chien-Ming Wang and Aaron Small, and relievers Mariano Rivera, Tom Gordon, Tanyon Sturtze, Al Leiter and Scott Proctor.

    Leiter and Proctor were informed by Torre before Sunday’s game that they had made the playoff roster.

    Reserve players Mike Vento, Andy Phillips and relievers Ramiro Mendoza and Felix Rodriguez will go home from Boston. Left-hander Wayne Franklin and infielder Felix Escalona will report to the Yankees’ complex in Tampa to work out in case they are needed beyond the first round.

    I thought this morning that Proctor and Leiter would probably make it. I’m thrilled that Felix Rodriguez was sent home. But, why not send Andy Phillips to Tampa too – just in case?

    So, it’s two spots with four names.

    Matt Lawton offers no value whatsoever – he can’t hit or field and is not a burner on the bases. He should be sent home as well. That leaves it to Wright, Embree, and Womack.

    Embree has not fooled any batters this year. He should go to Tampa as well – in case Leiter breaks an ankle or something. Therefore, by default, the last two spots should go to Womack and Wright.

    But, if Wright’s pitching now with some sort of shoulder issue, then I might even suggest considering Wayne Franklin over him.

    No-Doz With A Red Bull Chaser Please

    Posted by on October 2nd, 2005 · Comments (9)

    Game 2 of the ALDS between the Yankees and the Angels has a start time of 10 p.m. ET. (It will be on ESPN.)

    There’s going to be a lot of tired Yankees fans out there this Thursday.

    Beating The Angels

    Posted by on October 2nd, 2005 · Comments (3)

    Last year, I thought that the (then) Anaheim Angels should have been the post-season favorite to win the World Series. So, I was shocked when the Red Sox knocked them out of the playoffs in the ALDS with a sweep.

    How did the Red Sox do it? Good starting pitching helped – the Sox starters all went at least 6 IP in their three games.

    But, more so, the key to the 2004 ALDS between the Angels and Sox was batting. The Sox did a great job at shutting down Figgins, Vlad, and Anderson. And, on the Boston hitting side, Damon, Manny and Ortiz were just flat out from another world with their sticks.

    And, looking at this, I think this approach will be the same key for the Yankees in 2005 (against the Angels). New York must:

    1. Have their starting pitchers hold the game into the 7th inning.
    2. Do not allow Figgins, Vlad and Anderson to hit with success in the series.
    3. Have at least three batters on their team hit somewhere between .385 and .545 over the course of the series. It can be Jeter-Rodriguez-Sheffield, or Cano-Giambi-Matsui, or Posada-Bernie-Bubba, etc. The “who” is not as important as it actually happening.

    All three of these things are going to have to happen for New York to win. Preferably, they will all happen in the first three games and then the Yankees can have all of next weekend to prepare for the ALCS.

    Prevent Defense

    Posted by on October 2nd, 2005 · Comments (7)

    This will never happen – or, it will happen too late – but, I’ll suggest it anyway.

    If I’m the Yankees, for this series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, I would install Bubba Crosby as the everyday CF and play Bernie Williams at DH. Torre has been using Ruben Sierra at DH as of late. So, switching to Bernie there is no loss.

    Why Bubba in CF? I’d do it for his feet, arm, and glove – and if he hits at all, it’s a bonus. The Angels have guys who are very aggressive on the bases – Figgins, Erstad, Cabrera, Guerrero, etc. – and they will not be shy about testing the Yankees outfielders. In fact, three years ago in the ALDS, the Angels first-to-thirded Bernie Williams at will and to death. That was then – now, it would only be worse.

    Plus, it’s a pretty big CF in Anaheim (like the ballpark in the Bronx). From alley to dead center to alley it’s 395-406-395 (whereas in Yankees Stadium it’s 399-408-385). If a CF is not careful out there, singles can become doubles and doubles become triples pretty easily.

    With Donnelly, Shields, and K-Rod in the Angels pen, there will not be too many chances for large comebacks late in a game. It serves the Yankees better to keep the score close when they cannot have the lead. Every run that can be cut off because of good OF play will be an important run saved.

    If the Yankees had a monster bat at DH, I probably would say leave Bernie in CF, hope for the best, and cross your fingers for the 3-run HR from the DH. But, again, when your DH is a 39-year-old Ruben Sierra, this move (Bernie to DH, Bubba to CF) for this series, just seems to make a lot of sense – at least to me.