The ''I Always Know Better Than The Manager''Syndrome

As fans, we often get fairly cocky about our knowledge of the sport. We make sweeping generalizations about a manager and a decision based upon our own store of experience, often criticizing moves as being clearly wrong. However, in actuallity, baseball is a complex sport that often presents multiple reasonable courses of action. Yet we tend to see things in absolutes: my way or the highway.

Let me give an example. In the 6th inning of last night’s game, Robbie Cano hit a leadoff double. Jerry Hairston Jr was not bunting, the Yankees did not score, and lost by one run. Many at Lohud were livid, and are still complaining about that idiot Girardi costing the Yankees the game. Conversely, most fans at RAB were pleased by the non-bunt. Two fan bases, both sure of the correctness of their convictions. Yet, to be honest, neither is really right or wrong. Either course of action would have been reasonable and defensible, yet as fans we automatically assume that we know better than the manager.… Click here to read the rest

The Coke Decision

When Alex Rodriguez went deep in the 7th inning of last night’s game, most Yankees fans were already planning the next two innings. Coke for Ellsbury, then Hughes to finish the 8th, and Mariano for the 9th. When Coke was left in to face a righty in Pedroia, then a switch hitter in Martinez, and then two more righties in Youkilis and Bay, most of us were dumbfounded. Where was Hughes?

Here is what Joe Girardi had to say:

“He was off today,” Girardi said of Hughes, who has dominated as Mariano Rivera’s set up man and had thrown a total of nine pitches Friday and Saturday. “I don’t like using any of our pitchers three days in a row. You risk hurting them.”

Although Hughes had only thrown 9 pitches over the last two days, the Yankees were not going to let him warm up and enter the game for the third straight day. Pitching last night would have been the 5th appearance in 6 days, a definite no-no, no matter what the situation.… Click here to read the rest

Spoiling The Mood: It Is Not Over

Many pundits and have declared the AL East race to be over. The Yankees have opened up a 6.5 game lead on Boston, while putting 8 games between themselves and Tampa Bay. While it does seem at this point that the Yankees have all but sewn up the division, I would like to be a wet blanket and suggest a bit of caution in making that assertion. I am not going to reference the Mets or Phillies of years past as evidence, because this Yankee club is better than those teams that have blown leads in the past. Instead, I urge you to look at the current season for a bit of perspective.

On June 24th of this season, the Yankees trailed the Red Sox by 5 games. Exactly a month and a half later, the Yankees lead Boston by 6.5 games. It took 6 weeks for the Yankees to gain 11.5 games on Boston in the standings. With about 6 weeks remaining in the season, there is no reason that a club as talented as the Red Sox cannot make up 6.5 games.… Click here to read the rest

Baseball Is The Greatest Sport In The World

After an always exciting, often euphoric weekend, I have so many thoughts jumbling around my head that it has taken a while for me to distill them into some reasonable, conveyable thoughts. There are two in particular that I would like to share about the greatness of baseball.

1) I was at the game last night, and the Stadium was electric from about the 4th inning forward. Once Pettitte got Jason Varitek to fly out with the bases loaded in the fourth, the buzz in the building began to slowly grow, to the point where the fans were just ready to explode each time the Yankees came to bat. When A-Rod homered to lead off the 7th, the ballpark got as loud as the I ever remember the old place across the street getting. When Phil Coke served up a two run bomb in the 8th, some of the euphoria dissipated, but there was still a buzz in the air, as if the fans knew that the game was far from over.… Click here to read the rest

Despite everything we've seen, Smoltz still drawing interest

Smoltz, a lion of a man if there every was one, has looked awful. Not just bad, flat out awful. He’s 42 and coming back from a shoulder surgery that wasn’t his first. He, by all accounts, is the most competitive guy in the game, and that’s more than respectable. His legacy in the game is secure, no matter what has happened, or will happen, this season. But what would some general manager, scout, manager, or pitching coach see in his 2009 game to warrant a coveted 25 man roster spot? Just extra arms for when rosters expand?

His numbers are ugly:

  • 8.32 ERA
  • 57 ERA+
  • 1.70 WHIP
  • 8 HR allowed in 40 IP
  • 13.3 Hits/9IP

Players don’t hang around and worry how we, the fans, will view their legacy. They hang around for one of any of these reasons (feel free to add your own):

  • Love of the game (“They’ll have to rip the jersey from my back“)
  • Fear of leaving the game (“It’s all I know“)
  • Love of competition (“Love being one of the boys“)
  • The paycheck (“It’s about the money, stupid“)

I don’t care if Smoltzie wants to play until he’s 50.… Click here to read the rest

Game 111: Red Sox 2, Yankees 5

Bronx Cheers:
Coke: Coke coughed up the lead in the eighth inning. He gave up 2 earned runs on 3 hits in one inning of work. His ERA now hovers just below 5.

Melky: The Melkman was the lone hitless Yankee starter, his post-cycle slide continues

RISP: Both teams had chances to score early in the game, but couldn’t capitalize. The Bombers were 1-8 with runners in scoring position.

Curtain Calls:
Pettitte: Another solid performance by a starter in pinstripes. He didn’t always have his best stuff, but it was good enough. He went seven innings, giving up five hits, no runs and striking out four.

Damon/Teixeira: Their back-to-back shots gave the Yankees the lead and probably took some (not all) of the heat off of Girardi for the Phil Coke decision. This is the sixth time this season that Damon and Teix have sent back-to-back jacks into the stands.

Posada: He went 2-4 with a run and a double.… Click here to read the rest

Minors Recap, 8/10

Scranton defeats Lehigh Valley, 6-1

  • Jason Hirsh put together a strong outing, giving up a run on 6 hits and a walk in 6 innings, with 2 strikkeouts.
  • Damaso Marte walked 1 in a shutout inning of relief.
  • Mark Melancon gave up 2 hits in 1 inning of work.
  • Jon Albaladejo pitched a perfect 9th.
  • Kevin Russo was 3 for 4 with a double and a walk, but was caught stealing.
  • Austin Jackson was 2 for 5 with 2 strikeouts.
  • Shelley Duncan was 1 for 4 with a walk.
  • Juan Miranda was 3 for 5 with a double.
  • John Rodriguez and Eric Duncan were 1 for 4.  Rodriguez also doubled and walked.

Trenton falls to Harrisburg, 2-1 (11 innings)

  • Wilkins De La Rosa started for the Thunder, giving up 3 hits and 4 walks in 6 shutout innings, and striking out 5.
  • Chris Malec was 2 for 5 with a double.
  • Richie Robnett was 2 for 5 with 2 doubles.
  • James Cooper was 1 for 4 with a double.
Click here to read the rest

Schadenfreude

A series of tweets from ESPN’s Sports Guy (and vocal Red Sox fan) Bill Simmons.  Enjoy:

10:41 PM:  Welcome to the Red Sox, Victor Martinez! I’d like to thank NYY for inexplicably pitching Phil Coke for this entire inning.

10:48 PM:  Note to America: Meet the Boston Red Sox closer from 2011 through 2015 (and hopefully beyond), Mr. Daniel Bard.

10:53 PM: OK, this is devastating. Bard was my favorite subplot of the season. I can’t even type.

11:05 PM: Note to America. Reacquaint yourself with the NY Yankees closer from 1997 through 2015 (and hopefully beyond), Mr. Mariano Rivera!

What’s Schadenfreude? Take a listen.… Click here to read the rest