Zen blogging

On Monday morning TYU’s Moshe Mandel and I had an interesting back-and-forth that began on Twitter and spilled over to e-mail. The crux of our discussion was Moshe’s initial contention that Greg Cohen of Sliding Into Home “probably shouldn’t be blogging” for his “gutless bitch” comment re: Javy Vazquez, which ended up getting a fair amount of attention (thereby supporting Greg’s reasoning for writing it in the first place).

This got me thinking somewhat about my own reasons for blogging about the Yankees, and the level of difficulty a passionate blogger can face when trying to check his or her emotions at the door while writing about the team they’ve loved for their entire life.

I’ve greatly enjoyed authoring Yankeeist since last fall. I don’t get any monetary compensation out of doing so; this is strictly a labor of love. Quite simply, I’ve found that I love chronicling my experience watching the Yankees, and if others enjoy what I have to say about them, then it makes it that much more fun.… Click here to read the rest

Notes, Reactions, and Observations from Game 19

Last night’s loss to the Orioles was definitely frustrating for a number of reasons. Let’s start from the end and work our way back a bit.

–The top of the ninth was incredibly bitter sweet, as are all comebacks that fall just short. Seriously, where the hell was Julio Lugo playing on that ball Alex Rodriguez hit to end the game? If he’s playing a normal second base, the game is tied. Alex definitely needs to go sacrifice a whole chicken or give the BABIP god some rum after tonight; he hit the ball hard three times and had nothing to show for it.

–Alfredo Aceves was the sharpest of the Yankee pitchers tonight, but that’s not really saying much is it?

–Mark Teixeira also had a few hard hit balls tonight, one of which went for an RBI single in the ninth, so that’s nice to see.

–Seriously, who wasn’t expecting the walk from Nick Johnson in the ninth? That was Nick’s 19th walk of the season, moving his OBP up to .3836.… Click here to read the rest

Cano v. Pedroia (Now Including Intangibles!)

So, statistically speaking, Cano is about 6-7 runs better offensively while Pedroia is about 12 runs better defensively. Theoretically, that should make Pedroia about half a win better than Cano. According to WAR, Pedroia has been worth 3.8, 6.9, and 4.9 wins while Cano has been worth 2.9, 4.6, 0.2, and 4.9 wins. According to WARP, Pedroia has been worth 4.6, 8.4, and 4.7 wins with Cano worth 5.1, 5.7, 1.8, and 6.0. So depending on whom you believe, they are either equals (WAR—both tend to be around 4.5) or Cano’s a bit better (WARP likes him, but I’m not sure how much defense plays a part there). Regardless, what we’ve found is about what we expected to find—they’re pretty even.

But what about those intangibles I promised? I know you expect me to rail against intangibles and how they don’t exist, but I’m not here to do that. When it comes down to picking between the two players, intangibles can make a difference.… Click here to read the rest

Bats, bullpen and baserunning betray Yanks in alliterative 5-4 loss to O's

It’s pretty hard to win a game in the American League when you score only two runs (at least, through the first eight innings of a game), although the Yankees seemed poised to do just that after Phil Hughes threw 5 2/3 innings of wild yet ultimately effective one-run ball.

With Hughes in line for the win after setting Matt Wieters and Miguel Tejada down to get the first two outs of the sixth, Joe Girardi went to Boone Logan to get lefty Luke Scott and preserve the Yanks’ 2-1 lead. Logan couldn’t get the job done, walking Scott. Girardi then went to the mis-/under-used and ineffective-of-late David Robertson, who then hit Ty Wigginton to put runners on 1st and 2nd, and proceeded to give up three straight hits culminating in Cesar Izturis’ — the number nine hitter — third RBI of the night. After the damage was done, the O’s led 4-2 and the bullpen vultured what would have been Hughes’ 3rd win in three tries.… Click here to read the rest

Game 19: Yankees 4, Orioles 5

Hughes got a quick two outs to start, but had thrown a lot of pitches so Joe Girardi pulled him out instead of letting him finish the inning.  Boone Logan came in to face Luke Scott, but walked him.  David Robertson then came in for Logan and hit Ty Wigginton with a pitch after running out to an 0-2 count.  Rhyne Hughes then singled in Scott, followed by a RBI single by Reimold.  A single by Izturis gave the Orioles their third run of the inning and a 4-2 lead after six innings.  The Orioles picked up another run in the eighth, an inning that started with an error by Jeter.

Down 5-2, the Yankees rallied in the ninth.  A one out single by Swisher got the Bombers started.  Nick Johnson, pinch “hitting” for Winn, drew a walk.  Jeter struck out for the second out of the inning, but Gardner managed to get on base for the second time due to an error, this time by Izturis.  … Click here to read the rest

Hughes grinds one out

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

The mark of a savvy, veteran pitcher is being able to get through a game even when you don’t have your best stuff. Every pitcher will have to deal with that from time to time, and the top performers avoid the David Wells-ian two inning 8-run performances that inflate your ERA by making in-game adjustments that help them get through an evening when they have nothing. Last night, we watched a 23 year old Phil Hughes do just that. Some of the credit goes to pitching coach Dave Eiland, who saw Phil was off his game early and suggested a mechanical adjustment. NJ.com’s Marc Carig has the story:

Part of it was an adjustment. Sensing that he wasn’t on top of his game, Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland suggested that Hughes shorten his stride, an adjustment that catcher Jorge Posada said would encourage Hughes to smooth out his mechanics.

Said Hughes: “I had to do something because I was out of whack.”

The adjustment didn’t make Hughes’ outing any prettier, but it worked well enough to keep the pitcher in the game, which impressed Posada.… Click here to read the rest

Who Is Better, Pedroia or Cano?

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From the NY Post:

Reggie Jackson’s belief that Robinson Cano has passed Dustin Pedroia as the premier second baseman in the American League isn’t simply Mr. October’s bias because he works for the Yankees.

“After this season he will be the best second baseman in the American League and then chase Chase [Utley],” Jackson told The Post. “He is a better player than Pedroia and I think Pedroia is a great player, an MVP.”

Jackson has company from the fraternity that scouts everything from tools to makeup.

The Post contacted six scouts and asked them who was better. Three clearly favored the sizzling Cano, another said it was close but went with Cano and while the fourth picked Pedroia, he admitted Cano was the better hitter. The sixth said Cano had better skills but Pedroia’s all-out effort every game made it a push.

I started this post to dispel the notion that Robbie is better, as I was certain that Pedroia has been the better player since he entered the league.… Click here to read the rest

The Great Debate: Closing Arguments for the ’98 Yankees

Listen, I can’t sit here and pretend that the 2010 Yankees aren’t an excellent team. They are well-constructed from top to bottom and off to a very hot start. They have exactly one weak spot in their lineup, but that spot is more than balanced out by the excellent defense that Brett Gardner will provide in LF. Their starting pitching, despite the slow start by Javy Vazquez, is going to be strong. The bullpen, after Rivera, is a potential weakness, but one that is easily addressed midseason. Barring a string of key injuries, the 2010 Yankees are going to finish with more than 90 wins, and probably will be in the playoffs.

But Will’s making a lot out of a small difference on offense. Five points of weighted OBA is virtually nothing. And will the 2010 club perform better than the ’09 club? Through 18 games (yes, it’s a small sample size), the ’10 club has scored 96 runs. The ’09 club scored 100 through its first 18.… Click here to read the rest