Some dude ties some other dude by doing some stuff

If you haven’t heard by now, Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig for the all time hits record as a Yankee tonight. Jeter started the night with a bunt single to end an 0-12 skid, and then the hits came after that: a ground ruled double that BJ Upton probably had a play one (not that we’re complaining) and a “Jeterian” single to the right side that tied the record. After that hit, as you might expect, Yankee Stadium gave Jeter a tremendous ovation, and the Tampa Bay Rays applauded as well. For someone that grew up a Yankee fan, tonight’s Continue reading Some dude ties some other dude by doing some stuff

Baseball quote of the day

From Tampa Rays’ principle owner Stuart Sternberg:

“We know going in that we need to win 90-something games,” Sternberg said. “Is it 92 or is it 98? Eighty-nine, 88 don’t get it done in our division. It gets in done in a lot of other places. … Eighty-nine in our division translates into 93 in the Central and 147 in the National League.

“The division doesn’t allow for any fault.”

Why, yes, that’s probably a fair calculation.

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Best 4th Outfielder Ever

After his two home runs last night, Nick Swisher is now at .254/.378/.506, with 26 home runs and 4.31 pitches per plate appearance. He is having great at-bats, making consistently solid contact, and fielding his position adequately, with a UZR of 2.7 in the OF. The Swisher acquisition was a coup for Brian Cashman and his staff, and as Marc Carig notes, Swisher’s turnaround is not all that surprising: His line drive rate in 2008 was a career-high 20.9 percent. Based on that figure, his expected batting average for balls in play was .329, which would have been a just Continue reading Best 4th Outfielder Ever

Discussion: Which Series Should The Yankees Pick?

From Marc Carig: The top seed gets their choice of two possible schedules (check them out here at mlb.com) for the AL Division Series. Option A would give the Yankees a day off after Game 1, which means they would need only three starters. Option B, meanwhile, would have the teams play both Game 1 and 2 on back-to-back days before an off day for travel, meaning the Yankees would need four starters. In other words, the Yankees will have the choice of putting Joba Chamberlain, who stars Wednesday against the Rays, in the bullpen during the opening round. Steve Continue reading Discussion: Which Series Should The Yankees Pick?

Game 140: Rays 2, Yankees 3

After winning two games on Monday, the Yankees looked to take another from the Rays. With Chad Gaudin facing David Price, the batters on both teams seemed to have trouble getting on base, but the Yankees made their hits count, winning the game 3-2.

Chad Gaudin seemed to have some good stuff going for him last night. He kept the Rays scoreless through six. Nick Swisher put the Yankees on the board in the second inning, driving a solo homer to left. The Yankees picked up another run in the bottom of the sixth, when Johnny Damon walked, Mark Teixeira singled and Alex Rodriguez drove Damon in.

The Rays, however, made the game interesting. Evan Longoria, who was responsible for all of the Rays RBIs on Monday, drove the ball out over the left field fence, making the score 2-1 Yankees. Gaudin would give up another single and a walk before Girardi would bring out a reliever. In the eighth inning, the Yankees saw something that has been very rare this season – Phil Hughes giving up a run in relief. The first batter Hughes faced, Jason Bartlett, smacked a solo homer, tying the game at 2-2. He gave up a single to Carl Crawford, but was able to settle down. In the ninth, as the Yankees were getting the cream pie ready, Nick Swisher drove a line drive that stayed just above the right field fence for a walk-off solo homer. The Yankees celebrated and the Rays were left wondering what happened to that magical season they had last year.

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1998 redux?

After 140 games this season, the Yanks sit at 90-50.

Someone remarked to me yesterday that this team has a similar look and feel of the 1998 Yanks. While it’s just eleven years ago, that team was one of the best single-season teams in baseball history. They went a ridiculous 114-48, finishing 22 games ahead of the RedSox. The team scored 965 runs, allowed 656 runs. They even outperformed their Pythagorean W-L: 108-54. And they were well chronicled in the Verducci/Torre book, particularly in the 2nd chapter titled “A Desperation to Win“, something I think teams of recent vintage have lacked. Comparing ANY team to the 1998 Yanks is a tall order.

In the years since the last World Series title, the players the Yanks have brought in have seemingly tried to retrofit themselves into a personality from the dynastic years, or tried to simply fit in. A fun-loving Giambi was never going to be the intense, quiet Tino. ARod had to accept being second fiddle behind Jeter, despite being the superior player. No one could replicate the Stanton-Nelson bridge to Mo. Everyone just seemed to want to try to become part of the team of the past, rather than their own team, the team of the present.

Then came this off-season and the team has finally put the legacy of the dynastic years behind them and sought to become their own team with their own personalities. Swisher, CC, Burnett —all off-season acquisitions— have brought their own blend of personalities to what was called a “professional” clubhouse. That clubhouse had become fractured in recent years, post-2003, particularly with the ARod/Jeter rift. Melky and Cano are having fun. Damon, who perhaps was the first player of the current team to bring a breath of fresh air a few years back, is also reason for this change. ARod’s returned from surgery to quietly have a very good season with no distractions. Even Jeter, off a down 2008, has had a wonderful year. And Mo…wow.

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What To Watch For Over The Last 3 Weeks

With the Yankees having all but clinched the AL East, the results of the individual games become almost secondary to certain events and performances that take on a higher significance as the season closes and the playoffs approach. Here are a few things that might be interesting for a Yankees fan to watch for over the last 22 games: 1) Ramiro Pena’s playing time: The amount of time that Pena gets will clue us in to the roster construction that the Yankees plan to have for the postseason. Assuming Brian Bruney continues pitching adequately and David Robertson returns, there are Continue reading What To Watch For Over The Last 3 Weeks

Law of Averages–and Pies–Strikes Again

Coming into today’s game Nick Swisher had hit 24 home runs–and hit all but three of them on the road. Coming into today’s game, Phil Hughes had let to blow a lead in relief. Coming into today’s game, Chad Gaudin had yet to exceed five innings pitched. Metaphysical laws of averages don’t tend to like it when things are so one-sided. As you have probably devised from the lead, Nick Swisher hit two home runs, Phil Hughes blew a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning, and Chad Gaudin pitched an utter gem for six innings. Derek Jeter was again held Continue reading Law of Averages–and Pies–Strikes Again