• Week 26 – 2009

    Posted by on October 4th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees had six meaningless games against the Royals and Rays, and went 3-3 playing them, in a period of time that seemed to take forever to pass by…

    really

    …it was very hard to have any interest in these games…outside of having the hope that no one on the Yankees got injured playing these contests.

    And, now, it’s over…finally.

    Next up: The first two games of the ALDS, to be played in the Bronx, next Wednesday and Friday – at 6:07 p.m. ET, each day. (Yeah, a six o’clock start – nice break for the kiddies…but a bit of a bummer for us working-stiffs.)

    Actually, this is going to be very strange week coming up…with no Yankees baseball to watch sans those two games. Nada on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Zip, zero, zilch…

    Very strange, indeed…

    Week 25 – 2009

    Posted by on September 28th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is how the Yankees played against the Angels and Red Sox.

    But, first, you have look at how New York was going before they met up with Los Angeles and Boston (in back-to-back series). In the nine games prior to the six games against the Halos and Bosox, the Bombers went 4-5. And, they were not looking good – at all.

    Nonetheless, the Yanks took two of three against the Angels – on the road; and, then they took three in a row from the Red Sox. Nice turnaround there – for sure.

    Granted, some of the games were close – by scores of 6-5, 3-2, 3-0 and 4-2. And, while the Yankees batters reached base 37% of the time in these games, New York only scored 27 runs, overall, in these 6 games – which is an average of 4.5 runs per game. (Something tells me that scoring 4.5 runs a game, in the post-season, will make things pretty tight for the Yankees – if they’re going to score that way in October…prittay, prittay, tight.)

    But, in the end, the Yankees won these big games – locking up the A.L. East and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Not bad for a week’s work…not bad at all.

    Week 24 – 2009

    Posted by on September 20th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    The Yankees went 4-3 this week…which is not terrible.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not great. But, it’s not terrible.

    In any event, what stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the last game of this week was a loss, to the Mariners. And, with that loss, the Yankees have now dropped 5 of their last 9 games. During this time, they’ve gone from being 9 games ahead of second place Boston to being just 5 games ahead of the Red Sox.

    Actually, since September 4th, the Yankees are 9-7. But, that includes going 4-0 against the Tampa Bay Rays who were pretty bad when they played in New York. So, in their last 12 games where they played someone other than the Rays, the Yankees have gone 5-7. That’s not exactly sprinting for the finish line, is it?

    Week 23 – 2009

    Posted by on September 13th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, besides Derek Jeter breaking the record for most hits in a Yankees career – which is the story of the week, by the way – was that the defending league champion Tampa Bay Rays came into Yankeeland and lost four games in a row to New York.

    In fact, when you take the four games that the Rays played before that set with the Yankees, and the three games that they have played since, you’ll see that Tampa Bay currently has an 11-game losing streak going for themselves.

    And, overall the Rays have lost 16 of their last 21 games – going from being just 3 games back of the Red Sox, in the Wildcard chase, to being 12 1/2 games behind Boston. Imagine losing about 10 games in the standings in a span of three weeks? Talk about a free fall…

    The Yankees last three games of the season are at Tampa Bay. Hopefully, the Yankees will have clinched the A.L. East about four days before that series…making it a “Spring Training” like match for New York…because it will be for the Rays…for sure.

    But, Tampa should be back next year…and the Yankees should not lose sight of that.

    Week 22 – 2009

    Posted by on September 7th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that it was for the birds – with the Yankees playing the Orioles and Blue Jays. Over the span of the week, facing Baltimore and Toronto, New York went 5-2. (And, one of those losses was against Doc Halladay and the other was a game started by Sergio Mitre.)

    In any event, now, the Yankees are 23-8 this season when playing the Orioles and Blue Jays. And, they’re 19-3 when facing the Twins, A’s and Mets (combined) too.

    Combined that’s 42-11 when facing the O’s, Jays, Twins, A’s and Mets. That’s .792 baseball. Which means they’re 45-39 against everyone else. And, that’s .536 baseball.

    When this season is over, the Yankees really should send a dozen roses to the O’s, Jays, Twins, A’s and Mets – because, this year, those teams have shown New York a really good time.

    Weeks 20 & 21 – 2009

    Posted by on August 31st, 2009 · Comments (2)

    I missed last week’s report. (Disney trip and all.) So, with this report, you get two for the price of one!

    What stands out the most in my mind, during week twenty, was that the Yankees, with the results of those games up at Fenway Park, basically relegated the Red Sox to the chase for the Wildcard (and out of the race for the A.L. East crown).

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees lost two of three to the Rangers – who are also in the hunt for the Wildcard – and then swept the White Sox – without breaking much of a sweat. It also makes me wonder if New York eased off the throttle…just a bit…when playing Texas to somewhat stick it to the Sox…

    ah…but that’s probably more suited for a Wild Thought rather than a Weekly Report…or, is it?

    Week 19 – 2009

    Posted by on August 17th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 5-2 in a week where they could have let down their guard after taking four in a row from the Red Sox. And, in the process, New York actually gained another game in their lead over Boston – and closed the week being in first place, now up by 7.5 games.

    Now, at this junction, if the Yankees play just .500 baseball from here until the end of the season, then the Red Sox would have to win 31 of their remaining 45 games to pass them in the standings.

    Can Boston play .689 baseball for the rest of the year? Maybe. But, then again, what are the odds of the Yankees playing just .500 at the same time?

    Say the Yankees play .568 baseball for the rest of the season. (And, I think that’s doable. Basically, it’s winning 4 out of every 7 games.) Then the Red Sox would have to play .756 baseball from here until season end to catch them. (Now, that, I don’t think is doable.)

    Boston is in a race…but it’s a race for the A.L. Wildcard. And, they have company there – with the Rangers and Rays also fighting for that playoff berth. (The Sox have 6 games left with the Rays this season too.)

    Sure, I know…what about the Mets in 2007 and 2008? Sorry. That ain’t gonna happen in Yankeeland. And, if it does, and the Red Sox do end up catching the Yankees this season in the A.L. East…well…won’t that make 2004 seem like it was just a coming attraction?

    Week 18 – 2009

    Posted by on August 10th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees, with their four game sweep of the Boston Red Sox, have now convinced me that they are a legitimate post-season contender.

    Yes…sure…the win on Friday for New York was a close one. And, granted, the Red Sox were in the games, late, on Saturday and Sunday.

    Also, I understand that Boston had to start John Smoltz and Clay Buchholz in two of the games (because Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka are out). And, Jason Bay missed the first three games with a sore leg. Further, Nancy Drew is reportedly somewhat banged up. Lastly…of course…Big Papi is besieged with his regret over not choosing Flintstones chewable vitamins back in the day…

    But, Boston was still able to start their two best pitchers in two of these games: Josh Beckett and Jon Lester (and they both pitched like aces). And, the Red Sox still had Victor Martinez and Jacoby Ellsbury in the line-up. Lastly, Boston also had the two prides of Red Sox Nation playing, without issues, in these contests…you know…Yooooooouk and the reigning league MVP Dustin Gaedel…

    So, let’s not make this out as if the Yankees just took four straight games from 1899 Cleveland Spiders. The 2009 Boston Red Sox, even with their current issues, are a very dangerous baseball team…or…they should be…

    Brass tacks, the Yankees pitchers just took it to the Sox in these four games. Only Joba Chamberlain, Anthony Claggett and Phil Coke had some issues in this series. Otherwise, everyone else who threw the pill for New York was exceptional. And, if the Yankees pitchers throw like this, more times than not, over the remaining third of the 2009 season, it should be a cakewalk into the post-season.

    Week 17 – 2009

    Posted by on August 2nd, 2009 · Comments (3)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is the “good news/bad news” nature of the last seven days in Yankeeland. Facing Tampa Bay and Chicago, on the road, the Yankees went 3-4, overall. And, while that doesn’t seem like there’s any good news in there…there is…as New York did take two of three games from the Rays.

    Of course, the bad news is that the Yankees lost 4 of 7 games this week – and their play in those four losses was just terrible. They looked like chumps in those games…in as many ways as a team can look like chumps.

    And, that’s scary – because the Yankees now play Toronto for two, Boston for four, then Toronto for another three, and then New York heads out to the West Coast for seven games. Yes, that’s 16 games in a row, meaning no days off, including facing Boston four times, Roy Halladay once, and then having to deal with adjusting to a different time zone…oh, and, then, after one day off, then the Yankees have to head to Fenway Park for three games.

    The next nineteen games, given the Yankees position in the standings and the calendar, are make-or-break time for New York. If the Yankees don’t show up for half these games, like they didn’t show up for those four games this week, it’s possible that New York might go something like 5-14 between now and August 23rd. And, if that happens, you can stick a fork in the Yankees chances this season – because they will be done.

    Me? Being realistic, I expect the Yankees to go 10-9 in their next 19 games. And, hopefully, if that happens, Boston and/or Tampa won’t use that result to pass the Yankees in the standings. Or course, in a dream world, I could hope for the Yankees to go 14-5 over their next 19 games and send a message to the league. But, I don’t think that’s really going to happen…based on what we’ve seen from New York so far this season…when they’ve had to play tough.

    What do you think? Will the Yankees go 5-14, 10-9, or 14-5 over this span? Or, will it be something else? And, why do you feel this way?

    Week 16 – 2009

    Posted by on July 26th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees beat up on the Orioles and A’s, going 6-1 in the process. And, watching that, it’s sad to see what’s happened to Oakland and Baltimore.

    I became a baseball fan in 1973. And, at that time, the O’s and A’s were the two best teams in the American League.

    Now, granted, 1973 was a long time ago. But, Baltimore was very good in 1996 and 1997 – when the Yankees began their return to glory. And, while the Yankees were going great under Joe Torre, New York had to deal with Oakland in the post-seasons of 2000 and 2001.

    And…sure…the Orioles and A’s have some good prospects today…but, right now, I’m not so sure if the starting line-ups of Oakland and Baltimore are better than the Louisville Bats or Durham Bulls?

    Wait. I take that back. They’re better – just not all that much better. The Yankees should have gone 6-1 this week. Actually, it was almost a gimmie.

    Week 15 – 2009

    Posted by on July 19th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees played the Tigers for three games and won all three contests. Then again, with the All-Star break, and all, the Yankees only played those three games this week – so, what else should stand out the most in my mind from this week?

    Actually, drilling down on the Tigers series for a moment, we can see that Burnett gave a professional six innings in one game, Sabathia didn’t allow a run over seven in another game, and Chamberlain was making celebratory faces like this one:

    Joba Roars OTD2009

    during the six-plus innings he worked in his game. Oh, and Mariano Rivera pitched in all three games. Oooops, wait a minute…Phil Hughes was also lights in two of these games as well.

    And, that’s actually what stands out the most to me from this week…if the Yankees starter can go six-or-seven solid innings, and that’s followed by Hughes and Rivera, then I like the Yankees chances in that game…and that just may be New York’s formula for success the rest of this season.

    Week 14 – 2009

    Posted by on July 13th, 2009 · Comments (11)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is what Peter Abraham wrote at the close of it:

    [The Yankees] are 51-37 and if the playoffs started tomorrow, they would be the wild card.

    But the Yankees have played four teams (the Angels, Red Sox, Phillies and Tigers) who lead their respective divisions at the break and they are 5-15 against those teams. That’s why you can’t just dismiss this weekend as just some bad luck.

    The idea for a $210 million team in a $1.5 billion ballpark isn’t to make the playoffs, it’s to win them. For now, the Yankees have not been especially competitive against the best teams.

    Back in the end of May, I pointed out that this issue has been a Yankees trend since 2004. When Cashman’s Crew faces a strong opponent, they have not been able to win as often as they lose.

    It would be great to see this stop…and soon…for the Yankees. But, it’s starting to feel like this one of those “I’ll believe it when I see it” things…

    Week 13 – 2009

    Posted by on July 6th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 5-1 and only had two “strong” efforts from their starting pitchers: Pettitte against the M’s and Burnett against the Jays. To me, this says this week was all about the bats and the bullpen in Yankeeland.

    Ideally, you’d like to see the starting pitchers doing more of the heavy lifting here – because the bullpen could burn out (this way) and the bats will not be able to perform like this in October (when they face teams with strong pitching staffs). Think: 2004 ALCS. I don’t think anyone in Yankeeland wants to see that happen to the team again – ever.

    Week 12 – 2009

    Posted by on June 29th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Tampa Bay Rays now have the best record in the American League over the last 60 days. And, on June 28th, the Rays became the fastest team ever to reach 100 homers and 100 steals by the All-Star break. It took the Rays 77 games to reach that mark – and the previous fastest were Cincinnati (1977) and Cleveland (1994), who both did it in 84 games. Watch out Yanks, the Rays are coming, and fast.

    Week 11 – 2009

    Posted by on June 21st, 2009 · Comments (6)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 2-4 and that came playing against the Nationals and the Marlins – two N.L. teams not playing .500 baseball on the season, to date. (And, it came close to being 1-5 on the week…since one of those wins, against the Nats, was a close call.) In two words: Not good.

    Overall this season, through June 21st, the Yankees are 16-9 when playing a team with a .475 record or less and the Yankees are 11-15 when playing a team with a record better than .525 (to date this season). That “seven games over .500″ against teams with a .475 record or less is important, because, on the season, the Yankees are now 38-31, which is “seven games over .500.”

    Take away that small feasting off bad teams this season and what you have left tells you how the Yankees fare when they have to play a team that’s decent or better. Basically, they lose as much as they win (22-22).

    I don’t know about you, but, for me…I’m expecting a little bit more than that from a team with a payroll of $201,449,289.

    Week 10 – 2009

    Posted by on June 14th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 3-4 and that doesn’t tell the whole story of this seven day period. Three of those four losses came in a sweep at Fenway Park. And, the other one came against the Mets…who also gave the Yanks a gift win on June 12th. So, in reality, the Yankees “played” like a 2-5 team this week. Further, they started out the week in first place, up by a half-game, and ended the week in second place – two games back of first. All told, this may just have been the Yankees worst week of the season to date.

    It will be interesting to see where New York goes from here. They do get to fatten up with three against the Nats, in the Bronx, to start Week 11. And, Washington is a team in crisis right now. Just watch, with the Yankees luck, the Nationals will axe their manager the day before the Yankees series and then Washington will be all fired up, under a new skipper, when they play in New York.

    After that three game set with the Nationals, the Yankees have a funky nine-game road-trip against N.L. East teams…the Marins, Braves and Mets…three teams who have been playing about .500 ball this season…but there are some good pitchers on those teams who the Yanks may have to face…like Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad, Jair Jurrjens, Derek Lowe, and Johan Santana.

    Come June 30th, where will the Yankees be in the A.L. East standings? Will the next two weeks be “fun time” for New York? Or, will it be a huge let-down? Or, will it just be another period in the schedule where the Yankees play .500 ball? Time will tell…

    Week 9 – 2009

    Posted by on June 8th, 2009 · Comments (11)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 4-2, overall, but, in their last four games of the week they went 2-2 – with the two wins being exciting comeback wins. And, I’m not quite sure what to make of that?

    If those comebacks had not occurred, the Yankees would be sitting on a four-game losing streak now…and would be 2-4 on the week and not 4-2. But, the comebacks did happen, so, you cannot discount them.

    Can they be qualified? Were the comebacks more a matter of Yankees greatness, or, were they the result of some bad Texas pitching and some inferior Rays fielding? Or, was it a combination of Yankees talent and opponent’s shortcomings?

    To date, there have been 29 times where the Yankees started the 7th inning and they were behind in the game. And, in 5 of those 29 times, they have comeback to tie the score or take the lead. Further, there have been 26 times where the Yankees started the 8th inning and they were behind in the game. In 6 of those 26 times they have comeback to tie the score or take the lead. Lastly, there have been 21 times where the Yankees started the 9th inning and they were behind in the game. In 4 of those 21 times they have comeback to tie the score or take the lead.

    That may not seem like a lot comebacks – but it is. Generally, teams don’t come back late in ballgames. Are the Yankees the “Comeback Kids” of baseball this year – as it does seem that, every season, there’s one team who has a lot of comeback wins. (I’m saying this in the conventional wisdom way…because I don’t know if it’s true.)

    Yeah, comebacks…that’s what I’m thinking about the most…when I look at this past week in Yankeeland…and wondering if they’ll keep happening in the weeks to follow.

    Week 8 – 2009

    Posted by on May 31st, 2009 · Comments (1)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 4-2, overall, with their two losses coming in games started by Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. And, in both those losses, the young Yankees starter failed to pitch more than five innings -with Chamberlain going four innings (allowing three runs) and Hughes going five innings (allowing four runs).

    Then again, to Hughes’ credit, Phil did offset his bad game this week with a stellar outing last Monday.

    With Andy Pettitte’s back acting up, and the Yankees bullpen performing as badly as it is, if Hughes and Chamberlain are going to pull “five and fly” numbers, more often than not, that puts a lot of pressure on CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett to pitch very deep into their games – each time out. And, I’m not sure this all adds up to be a long-term recipe for success this season in Yankeeland.

    When your bullpen is populated with three or four guys who cannot be trusted, you cannot have 40-60% of your starting rotation not pitching deep into games.

    Well, it’s not that it’s against the law, or anything…but…

    …it just means that you’re counting on two starting pitchers to carry the pitching staff. And, everyone knows what happens when you put too many eggs into one or two baskets…eventually, you’re going to end up with a bunch of broken eggs…and perhaps a busted basket too.

    Week 7 – 2009

    Posted by on May 25th, 2009 · Comments (15)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 5-2…however, if not for a Brad Lidge meltdown on Saturday, it would have been a 4-3 mark…with three of those four wins coming against a weak Baltimore Orioles team. It just seems like the Yankees are feasting off bad teams this season and having issues with the “better” teams (when they play them).

    In fact, overall this season, through May 24th, the Yankees are 18-9 when playing a team with a .500 record or less and the Yankees are 7-10 when playing a team with a record better than .500 (to date this season).

    Further, through May 24th, the Yankees are 10-5 when playing a team with a .450 record or less and the Yankees are 5-9 when playing a team with a record better than .550 (to date this season).

    These numbers support the theory that the Yankees are feasting off bad teams this season and having issues with the “better” teams, no?

    Week 6 – 2009

    Posted by on May 18th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that, if not for having to face Doc Halladay in one game, this could have been a perfect week for the Yankees. Still, while 6-0 would have been sweet, there’s nothing to apologize about when you go 5-1, right?

    Yet, it was a “close” week for the Yankees – three one-run victories and three walk-off wins within those five victories. One could make a case that the Yankees were lucky not to go 3-3 this week. It will be interesting to see how the next two weeks go for New York – and where their record is on June 1st.

    It would be nice to have a bit of a cushion in their record by then – as, to start June, the Yanks have to play Texas, Tampa Bay, Boston and the Mets. And, that’s going to be a tough road. Therefore, it would make sense to try and pile on some more wins over the next two weeks.

    Week 5 – 2009

    Posted by on May 11th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is the big bat of Johnny Damon. Yes, sure, this was the week where A-Rod returned and he went big fly on this first pitch he saw this season. But, com’on…how about that Johnny Damon? In 31 At Bats this week, Damon hit five homeruns. How crazy is that rate? Put it this way…with that rate…it would equal 97 homeruns in 600 At Bats. Man, what’s got into Johnny?

    Week 4 – 2009

    Posted by on May 3rd, 2009 · Comments (5)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 4-2, which is always good. However, they did most of their heavy lifting this week beating up on inexperienced pitching. So, the same question from Week 3 remains. Is this a Yankees team who can beat the weaker teams; but, who cannot go toe-to-toe with a team like the Red Sox? Well, in Week 5, weather providing, we’ll find out some more when Boston comes to the Bronx for two games.

    Week 3 – 2009

    Posted by on April 27th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees, for the most part, barely got by a weak Oakland A’s team (in two games) and then went up to Fenway Park and were treated like a fish in drop-seat pajamas walking backwards into Folsom State Prison (for three games).

    That said, this makes “Week 4″ an interesting week in Yankeeland. Will it be better than last week for the Yankees? The same? Worse? Heck, can it even get worse?

    In seven days, we’ll know the answer.

    Week 2 – 2009

    Posted by on April 20th, 2009 · Comments (13)

    As mentioned last week, each Monday I’m going to do a quick post looking back at “the week that was in Yankeeland” and comment on something that stands out the most from that time period (for me).

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 4-3 – but, it could have been much, much, worse than that. Let’s look at each game:

    • Last Monday, lost, getting whipped, 15-5
    • Last Tuesday, won, thanks to A.J. and D.J., 7-2
    • Last Wednesday, won, barely, 4-3 – squeaking by via one run
    • Last Thursday, lost, getting whipped, 10-2
    • Last Friday, won, barely, 6-5 – squeaking by via one run
    • Last Saturday, lost, getting whipped, 22-4
    • Yesterday, Sunday, won, 7-3 – but it should have been a “barely, squeaking by via one run” thing if not for Shin-Soo Choo playing a third out into a 3-run double

    Therefore, in total, the week that was in “Week 2″ for the Yankees was three whippings, two games barely won, another that should have been a barely won if not for a gift, and one clean win. That’s not a stellar week. But, hey, better lucky than good, right?

    As it is, the Yankees start “Week 3″ just 2.5 games back of the first place “10-4″ Toronto Blue Jays. While that’s not great news, it’s a lot better than being five games back…and in last place.

    Week 1 – 2009

    Posted by on April 13th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    This is a new wrinkle for WasWatching.com.

    Each Monday I’m going to do a quick post looking back at “the week that was in Yankeeland” and comment on something that stands out the most from that time period (for me).

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 3-3 and that record, with some better bullpen usage/results, could have been 5-1. Granted, it’s just a week’s worth of games – and it’s the first week of games to boot – but, could this be a tip that the Yankees bullpen will be a concern this season? I think it’s possible. What do you think?