• October 8th vs. The Indians

    Posted by on October 8th, 2007 · Comments (9)

    Four-plus hours is way too long for a funeral.

    Hey, congrats to the Cleveland Indians and to their fans. The Tribe out-pitched, out-hit, and out-played the Yankees in this ALDS. They deserved to win this round of the playoffs.

    Now, if it’s not too much trouble, Cleveland, will you please promise to play the Red Sox in the ALCS this tough as well?

    Can The Yankees Replace Rocket On LDS Roster?

    Posted by on October 8th, 2007 · Comments (4)

    Dan Graziano covered the new rules on this two weeks ago:

    A memo that was recently sent to GMs by the commissioner’s office detailed changes in this year’s postseason roster rules. The most significant is that a team now may, with the permission of the commissioner’s office, replace an injured player during the course of a postseason series.

    For example, if Roger Clemens were to injure himself pitching in Game 1 of the Yankees’ first-round Division Series, the Yankees could petition the commissioner’s office to replace him with another pitcher for the remainder of the series. Under the old rules, the Yankees would be out of luck, and would have to play with only 24 players until the Division Series ended, at which point they could submit a new 25-man roster for the ALCS.

    The new rule has a couple of restrictions:

    * The memo says the injury must occur after the roster submission deadline for the series, so a pre-existing condition might not be eligible.

    * The team seeking to replace the player must provide the commissioner’s office with all necessary medical information, and the commissioner’s office has the power to accept or reject the appeal.

    * If the injured player is a pitcher, his replacement must be another pitcher. And if the injured player is a non-pitcher, he must be replaced by another non-pitcher.

    * If a player is replaced, he is ineligible to play in the next series.

    The “pre-existing condition” clause may mean that the Yankees are S.O.L. here. Plus, if the Yankees think Clemens can help in the ALCS, should the Yankees get that far, if you take him off the LDS roster, then you lose Rocket for the next round.

    But, if Clemens is now cooked for October (and longer?), I think you have to take a shot and try to replace him on the roster. It could be a break to add an arm like Villone who may be able to LOOGY Pronk Hafner in a big spot during Game Four (or Five).

    Lefty batters had a BABIP of .230 against Villone in 2007 – and it was .231 in 2006.

    Let’s Not Count Our Byrds Before They’re Cooked

    Posted by on October 8th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    Everyone likes to talk about how the Yankees pounded Paul Byrd back in August of this year. What about before that game?

    On July 5, 2006, the Yankees batted Byrd around pretty good – but, Byrd’s team also hurt him with bad defense in that game. Prior to that, on June 13, 2006, Byrd pitched a great game against the Yankees. And, the time before that, on July 30, 2005, Byrd had a solid outing against New York too.

    So, when you look at the last four starts that Byrd had against the Yankees, it’s not like New York has owned him all the time.

    The big number for New York tonight is Byrd’s last 5 starts this season – where he’s thrown 29 IP with an ERA of 6.83 (over that time). If you’re a Yankees fan, you like those numbers.

    But, Byrd’s had 10 days rest now since he’s last pitched. In the six games that he’s pitched this season with 6+ days rest, Byrd’s ERA is 3.86 in 37.1 IP. As a Yankees fan, that concerns me, somewhat, this evening.

    There’s a chance that Paul Byrd could give the Indians a good start tonight and then turn the ball over to Rafael Perez and Rafael Betancourt for three or four innings. And, it might be as much as a 50-50 chance too.

    Worm Killer Wang On Three Days Rest

    Posted by on October 8th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    May 29, 2005 was the only time that Wanger has pitched on three days rest in the big leagues. That day, if relief of Moose Mussina, he went 4.2 IP and allowed 2 runs. I think the Yankees would be happy with 5 innings and just 2 runs allowed tonight from Chien-Ming.

    Yes, Wang also once pitched on one day’s rest – on June 3, 2006 – but, that was just to close out a game in a pinch.

    Every other time Wang has pitched in the majors, besides these two aforementioned games, he’s always had at least 4 days rest.

    The Yankees will probably need someone to come into this game after Wang and before Rivera (assuming that Mo is the last pitcher of the game). Let’s hope the bullpen is ready for the call.

    October 7th vs. The Indians

    Posted by on October 7th, 2007 · Comments (8)

    When this game started, and Roger Clemens was shaky, my first thoughts were: “Here we go again. Another sudden-death October game where the Yanks are counting on an old and/or injured starter to get them another day of life…and, it’s still not working.”

    And, then, the call was made to the pen. May I start the music?

    Don’t the best of them bleed it out,
    While the rest of them peter out.
    Truth or consequence, say it aloud,
    Use that evidence, race it around.

    There goes my hero.
    Watch him as he goes.
    There goes my hero.
    He’s Philip Hughes.

    Phil Hughes was the reason why the Yankees won this game. One cannot say enough about his effort in this contest. I know that I’ve been critical of his “stuff” at times this season. But, in this game, Hughes showed that he has what’s needed when the rubber meets the road. Big time.

    Oh, and, by the way, it’s nice to see that Trot Nixon still has issues charging in on basehits. That miscue was a huge play in this game.

    It is too bad for Clemens, if this is the end. Still, as cheerleaders go, you could have worse ones on your bench than Rocket. Maybe he can help the team in that way the rest of the way?

    Now, the Yankees mission is clear: Get a big lead early tomorrow. Use Wang, Mussina, or whoever you need to shutdown the Tribe batters. Take Rafael Perez’ and Rafael Betancourt’s impact on the game out of the picture for Cleveland. And, bring this series back to Jacobs Field for Game Five.

    And, you can worry about Game Five when you have to play Game Five.

    Breaking Yankees LDS News!

    Posted by on October 6th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    This just in:

    It’s almost impossible to win a game in the post-season when you allow 12 runs to score or when you only score one run.

    Yes, I know this is bad news. But, on the brighter side, we know for a fact that the Yankees will not allow 12 runs to score today – and they will not be limited to only one run either.

    There’s no game today.

    The Yankees next 2007 LDS game is Sunday, October 7, 2007 at 6:30 p.m. ET. Nothing bad, outside maybe some missing flowers at Ian Kennedy’s wedding today, should happen in Yankeeland until that time – we hope.

    October 5th @ The Indians

    Posted by on October 5th, 2007 · Comments (19)

    The Indians’ starter Fausto Carmona was dominating in this game. The Yankees’ starter Andy Pettitte was simply, flat-out, heroic in this contest. They both deserved to win this game. But, in the end, it came down to the bullpens.

    As soon as this game went to extra innings, I thought of “Doug in Seattle.” Thanks to his question last week, we know, that, in “extra innings,” during the regular season, Yankees batters had an OPS of .567 (in 107 PA) and Yankees pitchers allowed an OPS of .845 (in 108 PA).

    Why should this game be any different?

    Now, about Joba and the bugs. The flying ants were annoying for him in the eighth. Heck, I was getting itchy just watching. But, the bugs didn’t prevent Carmona from pitching a good ninth for Cleveland. And, the bugs didn’t prevent Perez from pitching a good tenth for the Tribe either. If anyone wants to blame the bugs for what happened in the bottom of the eighth, it’s an excuse. Besides, Joba actually got lucky in that frame when the missle from Pronk Hafner was aimed right at Rico Bergman.

    Now, here comes the shocker. The Yankees are not dead in this LDS – yet. A win on Sunday gets them to a spot where they probably get to face Paul Byrd in Game Four (on Monday). If the Yankees win Game Three, and then get to face Byrd in Game Four, I like their chances to get back to Cleveland for Game Five.

    But, it starts with having to win on Sunday. Clemens better be sharp – and able to go at least six. And, the Yankees bats better come alive when they return to the Bronx – especially their clean-up hitter.

    Andy’s No Lock Tonight

    Posted by on October 5th, 2007 · Comments (14)

    I’m a big Andy Pettitte fan. I thought the Yankees should have never let him get away.

    But, that said, when I now look at the worst games started by Yankees pitchers in the post-season, of all-time, I can make a case that Andy Pettitte has “authored” 6 of the 12 worst post-season “Games Started” flops in Yankees history. See the following bad outings that Pettitte has made while with New York:

    2001 World Series – Game 6
    1996 World Series – Game 1
    1999 World Series – Game 3
    1998 ALCS – Game 3
    2000 ALDS – Game 5
    1997 ALDS – Game 2

    Let’s hope that tonight doesn’t give Andy seven in the top twelve.

    October 4th @ The Indians

    Posted by on October 4th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    This was the 337th post-season game in Yankees history.

    It was the 8th time that the Yankees allowed 12+ runs in a post-season game. The Yankees have lost all 8 of these games.

    The was the first time that the Yankees have allowed 12+ runs in a LDS-game. (They’ve done it 2 times in LCS-games and 5 times in the World Series.)

    Six of the 8 times that the Yankees have allowed 12+ runs in a post-season game, it’s happened on the road.

    Here’s a breakdown of the post-season series, prior to this one, where the Yankees had a game where they allowed 12+ runs:

    2001 World Series: Lost in 7 games.
    2001 ALCS: Won in 5 games.
    1999 ALCS: Won In 5 games.
    1996 World Series: Won in 6 games.
    1958 World Series: Won in 7 games.
    1956 World Series: Won in 7 games.
    1921 World Series: Lost in 8 games.

    This was the 20th time (out of 337 games) in Yankees post-season history where the team has allowed 19+ baserunners in a game of 9 innings or less. The Yankees have lost 19 of these 20 games. Nine of the twenty games have happened to Yankees teams managed by Joe Torre.

    Now, this all said, you just have to forget about this game and look towards the contest of Game 2. This ones just counts as one loss. A victory in Game 2 for New York gives the Yankees a split and turns this series into a “best 2 of 3” match – with the Yankees having home-field advantage (and the Indians having to throw two starters in the games that New York should be able to handle).

    It will be a good test for the Yankees to see if they can quickly shake this one off and answer the bell tomorrow.

    Mientkiewicz Injured By Cleveland Camera Man

    Posted by on October 4th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    From Mark Feinsand

    …Doug Mientkiewicz was apparently run over by a Cleveland cameraman as he got off the team bus at Jacobs Field.

    Mientkiewicz was taken to the Yankees clubhouse on a cart, according to one witness, where he was examined by team trainers. After having his left ankle taped up, he went to the field to test it out under the watchful eye of Joe Torre and Don Mattingly.

    …The cameraman tripped and fell on the back of Mientkiewicz’s foot, rolling the Yankee first baseman’s ankle.

    “I was walking up the ramp and he was backpedaling while filming. He tripped into me; my left foot was up and he landed on the back of it and rolled it,” Mientkiewicz said.

    If there wasn’t reason enough to start Shelley Duncan at first tonight, with Big Bad C.C. on the mound for the Tribe, shouldn’t this be the clincher to get Duncan in there?

    Yanks/Tribe Batter/Pitcher Match-ups

    Posted by on October 4th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    I just noticed that Brian at Depressed Fan has created a spreadsheet with all of the Yanks/Tribe batter/pitcher match ups for both teams. As Brian told me: “I thought it would be fun to see the logic behind bullpen moves, and also see where the managers are going against the grain.” Sound like fun, indeed.

    Click here to download the file from Brian.

    Sheppard May Miss LDS

    Posted by on October 4th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    From the AP

    Bob Sheppard, the Yankees’ public-address announcer since 1951, could miss the team’s postseason home opener Sunday night.

    Sheppard wasn’t at the final homestand of the season because of laryngitis, and as of Wednesday it wasn’t clear whether “The Voice of God” will recover by the weekend. If Sheppard isn’t back, longtime backup Jim Hall will be behind the mike.

    Sheppard doesn’t like to give his age, but a former Yankees official confirmed last year that Sheppard was born on Oct. 12, 1910.

    Isn’t laryngitis usually a short-lived irritation? Sheppard is 97. There could be more going on here than is being reported. I hope that I’m wrong on this one.

    Losing Scooter and Sheppard in the same year just doesn’t seem fair.

    Veras & Ohlendorf On LDS Roster

    Posted by on October 4th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    When it was announced that the Yankees would have 11 pitchers on their ALDS roster, I figured that they would go with:

    Chamberlain, Clemens, Farnsworth, Hughes, Mussina, Pettitte, Rivera, Vizcaíno, Villone, Ramírez and Wang.

    In the end, they decided to go with:

    Chamberlain, Clemens, Farnsworth, Hughes, Mussina, Pettitte, Rivera, Vizcaíno, Veras, Ohlendorf and Wang.

    When I made my prediction on the 11, this is what I wrote:

    Knowing Torre, and watching who he has been using lately, in Joe’s mind, it’s probably either Bruney, Ramírez, or Veras. If it’s Torre’s say that is the final vote, I bet Joe takes Ramírez.

    That’s a shame, because, Ohlendorf could be a sleeper here – much like Mo Rivera in the 1995 ALDS.

    So, I’m happy that Ohlendorf made the final cut here. I still would have taken Villone over Veras – since he’s been around the block, has gotten lefties out in the past, and could give you 3+ innings in a blow-out to save the pen.

    I know that batters only hit .176 against Veras since he was called-up this season. But, most of that was in work against the Devil Rays. When Veras faced Boston and Toronto, they hit him pretty good. He’s also walked 7 of the 41 batters that he’s faced in the bigs this season.

    I fear Torre bringing in Veras, in a tight game, in the 6th or 7th inning, and then having the game become less close 25 pitches later. That’s why I would have went with Villone for the last spot.

    Diamond Mind: Yanks Win LDS In Four

    Posted by on October 3rd, 2007 · Comments (8)

    That’s if they win Game One. Click here for the details. See, I told you Game One was the key.

    Something To Ponder Until Game One

    Posted by on October 2nd, 2007 · Comments (3)

    Paul Brewer, over at BaseballThinkFactory.org, takes an interesting look at the playoff match-ups this season. (If the Vinay Kumar reference made by Paul rings a bell, it’s because I just mentioned Kumar’s work here the other day.)

    This is what Paul has to say about the Yankees-Tribe LDS:

    New York’s powerful offense gives them a clear advantage in overall totals, leading in ten categories compared with Cleveland’s. However, Cleveland have a clear advantage in the strong categories, five to one. Nor is this the first time the Bronx Bombers have relied on dominance in the weak categories to carry them through. The result has been two first-round exits, and the catastrophe of 2004. I’d expect more of the same, to be honest.

    As I pointed out the other day, the Yankees starting rotation has been weak the past few seasons. Still, the 2006 and 2007 staffs have been better than 2004 and 2005. And, recent history has shown that you might be able to get through the post-season with a thin starting rotation.

    Game One could be the key to this series – if the Yankees beat C.C. Sabathia, that takes away a huge pitching edge for the Indians. But, if Sabathia beats the Yankees in Game One, then some of the pressure is off Carmona in Game Two – as you usually expect a split in the first two games, and a win in Game One means you’re playing with house money in Game Two.

    How many hours now until Game One?

    Bruney Go Home

    Posted by on October 2nd, 2007 · Comments (2)

    I missed this one until now. (Hat tip to YanksBlog.com.) From the Post:

    How far did Brian Bruney fall?

    A year ago, he pitched in three of the four ALDS games. Yesterday, the Yankees told him to go home, opting to not include the right-handed reliever around like they did with Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Britton and Jose Veras.

    “I was shocked,” Bruney said.

    As former Yankees manager Dallas Green once said to outfielder Stanley Jefferson: “Look in the mirror, big boy.”

    Yanks Need To Attack Sabathia Early

    Posted by on October 2nd, 2007 · Comments (1)

    In 2007, on the whole, batters had 975 Plate Appearances (PA) against (the Indians’) C.C. Sabathia and had the following BA/OBA/SLG results: .259/.292/.392.

    However, in the 123 PA where batter puts first pitch in play (meaning on a 0-0 count) the numbers against Sabathia are: .407/.402/.695.

    Reading this, I have to wonder if the Yankees will try and jump on the first pitch when they face Sabathia in Game One of the 2007 ALDS?

    Further, in the 86 PA where batter hit the pitch on a 0-1 count against Sabathia, they went: .305/.298/.488. Seeing this, it seems that, even if the Yankees swing at the first pitch, and miss it, or foul it off, it makes sense for them to hack on the second pitch from Sabathia as well.

    Further, looking at the stats some more tells you that you’re dead once Sabathia gets two strikes on you. The batting average allowed in those counts is less than .200.

    The Yankees should be aggressive with the bats against Sabathia on Thursday. If their plan is to try and tire him out, by working deep counts, they might find themselves in a game where it’s the sixth or seventh inning and they’ve yet to put any runs up on the board.

    Sardinha On LDS Roster

    Posted by on October 2nd, 2007 · Comments (0)

    From the Honolulu Advertiser

    Bronson Sardinha, a 2001 Kamehameha Schools graduate who was called up by the New York Yankees last month, has been asked to accompany the team for the AL Division Series that starts Thursday in Cleveland, according to his father, Dexter Sardinha.

    Dexter Sardinha said his son called him yesterday saying he was told by one of the coaches that he would be on the postseason roster. Dexter Sardinha said Dane is likely to find out for certain today.

    The Yankees have been mulling over personnel moves because of injuries. Sardinha’s versatility makes him a logical choice, as he has played right field, left field and third base in his nine games with the Yankees.

    Andy Phillips’ bad luck is someone else’s good luck, it appears.

    Yanks LDS Game Times Set

    Posted by on October 1st, 2007 · Comments (8)

    From MLB.com

    One Division Series begins Thursday — the Yankees and Indians, who will meet at Jacobs Field at 6:30 p.m. ET.

    Two games will be played Friday. The Yankees and Indians will play at 5 p.m. ET, and the Angels and Red Sox get the prime-time slot at 8:30 p.m. ET.

    On Sunday, the Red Sox and Angels will play in Anaheim at 3 p.m. ET. Game 3 of the Indians and Yankees series will follow at 6:30 p.m. ET.

    Monday will feature Game 4 of the Indians-Yankees series (6 p.m. ET) and the Red Sox at Angels (9:30 p.m ET). If only one game is to be played that day, game time shifts to 7:30 p.m. ET.

    Wednesday, Oct. 10 is the final scheduled day of Divison Series play. If Game 5 is necessary that day, the Yankees and Indians will play in Cleveland at 5 p.m. ET and the Angels and Red Sox will face off at Fenway at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game time for Yankees-Indians moves to 8:30 p.m ET if only one game is to be played that day.

    Thursday at 6:30, Friday at 5 pm, Sunday at 6:30, Monday at 6 pm or 7:30 pm, Wednesday at 5 pm or 8:30 pm.

    Game 5 at 5 pm? That’s a bummer if it works out that way. With that exception, the Yankees did O.K. with their slots. Many work from home on Fridays or take half-days, so, that 5 pm on Friday is not terrible. On the whole, better with these slots than with games that start at 8:30 pm ET (and that end around mid-night).

    Yankees To Carry 11 Pitchers In ALDS

    Posted by on September 30th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    You know that Chamberlain, Clemens, Farnsworth, Hughes, Mussina, Pettitte, Rivera, Vizcaíno and Wang will be on the team. That’s nine.

    This means that Torre and Cashman will pick two from the following: Britton, Bruney, Igawa, Ohlendorf, Ramírez, Veras and Villone.

    I have a feeling that Villone is a lock – being a lefty and someone who can go long in a blow-out.

    This leaves one spot between Britton, Bruney, Igawa, Ohlendorf, Ramírez, and Veras.

    It’s not going to be Igawa, for sure. It will be a choice among the right-handed RPs: Britton, Bruney, Ohlendorf, Ramírez, and Veras.

    Knowing Torre, and watching who he has been using lately, in Joe’s mind, it’s probably either Bruney, Ramírez, or Veras. If it’s Torre’s say that is the final vote, I bet Joe takes Ramírez.

    That’s a shame, because, Ohlendorf could be a sleeper here – much like Mo Rivera in the 1995 ALDS.

    And, let’s watch Bruney’s reaction to being left off the roster. It could mark the end of his Yankees’ career.

    ALDS Dates Are Set

    Posted by on September 30th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    The Red Sox have opted for the eight-day ALDS set-up. This means that the Yankees-Indians ALDS will be played across seven days – and, therefore, the Indians can’t C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona twice in the series on normal rest.

    Here’s the schedule:

    Thursday, Oct. 4: Game One at Cleveland
    Friday, Oct. 5: Game Two at Cleveland
    Sunday Oct. 7: Game Three at New York
    Monday Oct. 8: Game Four at New York (if necessary)
    Wednesday Oct. 10: Game Five at Cleveland (if necessary)

    It’s going to seem like forever, going Monday morning until Thursday, to wait for Game One. And, it’s going to feel empty on Saturday, October 6th, with no game on a weekend-day.