Game 156: Red Sox 2, Yankees 4

Bronx Cheers:
it’s hard to say anything bad about a game as exciting as this one, but here goes:

Gardner: With Damon sitting the game out, Gardner was in the number two spot. He went 0-3, leaving one runner on. He did make a great catch to start the game, however, which probably saved a run or two in the end.

RISP: The Bombers were 1-5 with runners in scoring position.

Curtain Calls:
Pettitte: Andy got into a couple jams early, but was able to limit the damage. He went six innings, giving up seven hits for two runs while striking out four and walking three. He seemed to get better as the game went on and picked up his 14th win of the season.

Bruney: It looks like perhaps Bruney has started to pull everything together just in time for the post-season. He has had a couple good outings and on Sunday he entered the game in a key situation and delivered.… Click here to read the rest

Joe Mauer: Dream or Reality?

From Charley Walters (TwinCities):

Joe Mauer, despite catching regularly for the Minnesota Twins and missing the first 22 games with a sore back, still has 179 hits this season — without steroids. That’s just two fewer hits than Barry Bonds had in one season during his 22-year major league career. The most hits Bonds had in one season was 181 in 1993 for the San Francisco Giants.

Mauer is not only leading the American League in batting average (.371), but in on-base percentage (.442) and slugging percentage (.606).

Mauer, 26, can become a free agent after the 2010 season. When contract talks get serious after this season, the Twins are expected to try to sign Mauer for about $120 million over seven years.

The New York Yankees, however, with catcher Jorge Posada at 38 years old, are expected to offer more money and possibly more years.

If the Twins offer Mauer 7 years at $120 million, they’ll be undervaluing him. According to FanGraphs, Mauer has been worth an eye-popping $35.6 million this year (7.9 WAR).… Click here to read the rest

Let the clutch debate begin…

From R.J. Anderson (FanGraphs):

With that in mind let’s address the topic before the headlines do.Alex Rodriguez does not hit well in the playoffs

His career wOBA in the regular season is .412. His career post-season wOBA is .368. Relative to his standards he doesn’t hit well in the playoffs.

He’s been the invisible man with the Yankees

Let’s drop wOBA for a moment and simply look at his playoff series lines in pinstripes:

2004 ALDS: .421/.476/.737 (21 PA)
2004 ALCS: .258/.378/.561 (37 PA)
2005 ALDS: .133/.381/.200 (21 PA)
2006 ALDS: .071/.071/.071 (14 PA)
2007 ALDS: .267/.353/.467 (17 PA)

You have one great series and two awful, and two below A-Rod standards. Invisible? No. Not as good as his regular season self? Yes. The sample size isn’t big enough to say whether this is simply random fluctuation or a fear of the post-season stage.

What do you think? Will A-Rod show up this October or will we witness a meltdown?… Click here to read the rest

Kansas City Royals Series Preview 9/28-9/30

Hitting:

Team wOBA: .318. 24th in MLB, 13th in the AL.

Aside from being pretty bad, the Royals aren’t particularly interesting offensively. They feature a collection of decent batting averages, low OBP’s, and little power. Billy Butler looks like he will develop into a pretty good hitter. He’s only twenty-three years old, and he is second in the league in doubles with an even fifty. He’s also popped twenty-one home runs. There is a lot of reason for Royal fans to expect a further breakout next year. Beyond Butler, catcher Miguel Olivo has somehow hit twenty-three homers and only fourteen doubles, while walking seventeen times. Unusual to say the least. Alberto Callaspo provides good pop for a second basemen, with a .351 wOBA. David Dejesus is about a league average hitter with a .334 mark.

Fielding:

Team UZR: -40.1. 28th in MLB, 13th in the AL.

Dejesus is having a good year defensively in left. He’s posted a UZR/150 of 16.4, far and away the highest figure on the team.… Click here to read the rest

Your 2009 AL East Champs: The New York Yankees

Although part of me was hoping the Yankees would clinch tomorrow so I could watch it live, I must say it felt great to finally take the division back. And to do it by sweeping the Red Sox, locking up 100 wins, and the best record in baseball, well, that just makes it even sweeter. I think it’s safe to say that, with consecutive series wins against the Angels and Red Sox, not to mention their domination this year of the Tigers and Twins, the Yankees are in the heads of the other playoff teams (and not, as we often like to complain, the other way around.) As such, this seemed like as good a point as any to reflect on the team’s season.

Success starts at the top, and even though I’m as big a Cashman hater as there’s been over the years, color me impressed with his work this year. For once, he didn’t just make the big moves, he made the right moves (OK, they were pretty big,) and I’d hate to think about where this team would be without CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Andy Pettitte, and even A.J.
Click here to read the rest

Joba Will Rise to the Occasion

Do I know for sure what the heck is going on with Joba Chamberlain?  No.  Let’s get that out of the way before I pretend that I can actually predict with any strong degree of certainty, what the young man is going to throw from start to start.  That being said, however, I just happen to have a crystal ball in my desk drawer here, somewhere…. ah, here it is!  Actually, it’s a paperweight-snowglobey thingie, but it will have to do in a pinch.  Oohh magical, snowglobey, fortune telling, future predicting, prognosticating, pretty, christmasy snowglobey thingie, will Joba Chamberlain give the Yankees solid innings if called on in the playoffs?  Good news, folks, I’m getting a strong yes vibe from the erstwhile paperweight, and it’s never been wrong before (actually, I’ve never tried to predict future events by staring blankly into a snow globe before, so that piece of data doesn’t bear much weight).

I figured that I’d look on the interweb to see if I could find some actual statistics to back up Globey, and the only way I could think of doing that reliably was to go through each start that I would consider a “big start” against a top team in order to judge if he seemed to be stepping up in the big spots. … Click here to read the rest

Bring on October!

The Yankees swept the Boston Red Sox this weekend, and in doing so clinched the AL East title for the first time since 2006. After settling for the Wild Card in 2007 and missing out entirely in 2008, the Yankees are back where many believe they rightfully belong.

It was not an easy win–Andy Pettitte struggled early, even having the bases loaded with no one out in the early innings–but as has so often been the case this season, the Yankees grew stronger as the game went on.

The Yankees received their offense today from a Melky Cabrera home run, a 2-run Hideki Matsui single and a Mark Teixeira home run–and this is quite fitting: Cabrera, Matsui and Teixeira have been clutch for the Yankees all season.

Also worth noting is Brian Bruney’s strong performance–getting all five batters he faced–easily his best performance in a long time. Whether or not it’s enough to warrant him a spot on the postseason roster is up for debate, but it certainly helped today.… Click here to read the rest

Game 156: Red Sox @ Yankees

Here are the lineups, courtesy of PA (LoHud):

YANKEES (99-56)
Jeter SS
Gardner CF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Swisher RF
Cano 2B
Cabrera LF
Molina C

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (13-7, 4.15).

RED SOX (91-63)
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Bay LF
Youkilis 1B
Ortiz DH
Lowell 3B
Drew RF
Varitek C
Gonzalez SS

Pitching: RHP Paul Byrd (1-2, 6.04).

TIME/TV: 1:05, ESPN.

The Yankees could very well clinch the division today, weather permitting.

UPDATE – The game will start at 2:05.… Click here to read the rest