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 got to be a pretty cool thing.

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Now, about the game…

Tonight’s game started as many a Joba Chamberlain 2009 start has: with much frustration and, well, frustration.

Chamberlain allowed a lead-off home run in the first inning and went on to throw over 30 pitches in that inning. He looked, again, tentative and uncomfortable–and given that he seemed to respond to a tongue-lashing from his teammates, it seems the only one to blame here is Chamberlain himself.… Click here to read the rest

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 reward for hitting the ball hard. But instead, even though he pounded the baseball, Swisher’s BABIP was a criminally low .251, a number that can be attributed to lots of terrible luck.

So, despite the fact that his walk rates and strikeout rates were roughly the same in 2008 as they were compared to the rest of his career, Swisher’s productivity went into the tank, thus earning himself a one-way ticket out of the Windy City……

According to Fangraphs, Swisher’s line drive rate this season is 16.5, which is actually a dropoff from his miserable 2008 campaign.

Click here to read the rest

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 elaborated on this today by further explaining the Yankee options:

He’s telling you is that as Yankee manager he will factor in both who his starting pitcher is in Game 4 and who the opponents starter will be. If Joba is throwing the ball reasonably well down the stretch and you’re playing the Tigers, who would be looking at Nate Robertson Jarrod Washburn for Game 4, then I think it’s a safe bet you’ll see the 4 man format.

Click here to read the rest

Game 140: Rays 2, Yankees 3

Bronx Cheers:
Jeter: Derek continued to struggle at the plate as he pursues Lou Gehrig’s all-time hit record. He went 0-4 and struck out three times. The last time one pitcher struck out Jeter three times in one game was Curt Schilling on April 19, 2004. There have been a couple times the last two days where I thought Jeter was going to get a hit, but he was unlucky. I doubt this slump goes much longer.

Hughes: Phil Hughes has seemed almost as automatic as Mariano since moving to the pen. Last night we saw that he is indeed human, as he gave up the tying run to Jason Bartlett.

Curtain Calls:

Swisher: The Yankee outfielder hit two homers, each giving the Yankees the lead. Not bad for a guy who hits all his homers on the road.

Gaudin: In six innings pitched, Chad gave up six hits for one earned run. He walked two and struck out six.… Click here to read the rest

1998 redux?

So after 140 games this year, are the 2009 Yanks going to be like the 1998 Yanks, unrelentingly plowing through every opponent with a desperation to win, as they seemed to be last night?

After 140 games in 1998, the Yanks were an absurd 100-40, 19.5 games up. If this year’s Yanks team were playing in the same league as the 1998 Yanks, they’d have to settle for a wild card with what will likely be a 100+ win season. That’s how good the 1998 club was.

David Cone was 20-7, David Wells was 18-4, Andy Pettitte was 16-11, El Duque was 12-4 and even the fat toad Hideki Irabu was 13-9. Everyone delivered, including swing man Ramiro Mendoza who was 10-2, starting 14 games as El Duque only started 21.

Tino Martinez lead the team with 28 home runs; Bernie Williams was second with 26. Knoblauch and Jeter each stole 30+ bases. The team had 50 comeback wins, including 7 walk-offs.Click here to read the rest

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 13 position players and 11 pitchers who are locks to make the playoff roster. The final spot will be filled either by Pena or by another reliever, likely Chad Gaudin. Personally, I would go with Gaudin, who is tough on righties, but I could see why the Yankees may want an additional pinch runner off the bench. Thus far, Hairston and Hinske have gotten the bulk of the playing time available to bench players in recent days, suggesting that Joe is trying to get them plenty of action prior to the playoffs.… Click here to read the rest

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 hitless, and it’s beginning to look like he’s pressing–not for sake of a record, but because Jeter is now in his longest 0-fer for the season.

Still, it’s hard to feel too down when one’s team has been playing .750 baseball since the All Star break.

Yes, you read that right.

It was especially gratifying to see Swisher hit two home runs and earn a place in the Pie Club (with Cabrera, Canó, Rodriguez, Damon, Matsui, Posada and Luis Castillo) because of how much Swisher has meant to the team, especially on the road.… Click here to read the rest