On Losing

Losing is something we are not used to as Yankee fans. The Yankees haven’t been a below .500 team since 1992 and have missed the playoffs just once since 1995. Still, though, there are many times when many Yankee fans act as if the team is constantly losing. Those fans are, seemingly, never satisfied. Now, perhaps this is unfair to me. Rooting for a team is an emotional thing to do and when the team is losing, a lot of people overreact. Despite my knowledge of that, there is still one thing that annoys me to no end: when people Continue reading On Losing

Does late-season play translate into October success?

It is a common refrain that everything resets in the postseason. This is true strategically. Suddenly, in a sport with a 162-game regular season a single game becomes far more important than it was previously. Is it true with respect to player performance? While managers can make different choices in a tight playoff situation, players may not be as capable of adjusting simply because the consequences of the games have changed. Does the quality of a player’s play from late in the regular season carry over into a player’s postseason? This is the first of two posts that examine this Continue reading Does late-season play translate into October success?

2011 chatter gaining volume

A few tidbits to point out and discuss today. Leading off, Ken Rosenthal on the Yanks’ 2011 financial committments and more silliness about trading Granderson:

At least at this point, the Yankees do not figure to be a major player for Crawford or Werth unless they plan to increase their payroll from $206 million to the $225 million range.

The Yankees already have $140.25 million committed to nine players next season. Re-signing closer Mariano Rivera, shortstop Derek Jeter and left-hander Andy Pettitte probably would cost at least $45 million in 2011 salary, free-agent left-hander Cliff Lee at least $20 million.

That’s about $206 million right there.

The Yankees could trade center fielder Curtis Granderson and save $8.25 million, but right-handers Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are arbitration-eligible for the first time and the team also will need to fill other holes.

Sorry, but the Yanks are NOT trading Granderson, at least as I see it. Granderson has improved at the plate in the second half and, by all accounts, a great fit in the locker room. His salary is not onerous by Yankees standards and I can’t see how or why the team would trade him to replace him at twice the cost.

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Another Look at the Playoff Rotation

With the magic number for clinching a playoff spot reduced to just 1, meaning that the good guys need merely to win one more game or have the Red Sox lose just one game to earn a playoff spot (and in the absolute worst case scenario are guaranteed at least a one-game playoff with Boston), the Yankees can really begin thinking about aligning their rotation for next week, as well as beginning to think about just who is going to be used to start which games.

On the latter question, I think the answer is fairly clear. C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte have been the teams two best pitchers all season, and should clearly be the top two starters in the playoffs. It may not shake out that way, especially if Pettitte throws another clunker in his next start, but it should. After that though, we come to the question of whether A.J. Burnett or Phil Hughes is the 3rd starter. Again, this is an open and shut case to me. Hughes might have faded a little bit after the dominant fashion in which he opened the season, but on the whole he’s been a better, more dependable pitcher than Burnett. In fact, if it weren’t for Javier Vazquez’s arm issues, I’m not sure Burnett would even have a spot in a 4 man rotation. As it is, I think he’ll probably need to pitch a game each in the ALCS and World Series, if the Yankees make it that far, but that’s basically all he should get. Sabathia, Pettitte, and Hughes have been the Yankees best starters this season, and Joe Girardi should ride those arms as much as possible in the playoffs. Continue reading Another Look at the Playoff Rotation

Game 157: Yankees 5, Blue Jays 7

Last night, the Yankees were stuck trying to claw their way back into yet another game where their starting pitcher gave up a big early lead.  A.J. Burnett had a terrible start, but the bullpen was effective in holding the Blue Jays while the Yankees mounted a comeback.  Unfortunately, it was too little too late for New York, who fell to Toronto 7-5.

Travis Snider started the bottom of the first with a ground-rule double to left.  Yunel Escobar grounded out to second, letting Snider move to third.  Jose Bautista grounded one to short and Snider scored for the first run of the game.  A solo homer by John Buck started the bottom of the second gave the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead.

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Looking inside Posada vs Cervelli CS%

A recent piece in Joel Sherman’s Hardball blog gives me a good jumping off point to discuss the Yankee catching situation in light of the recent 4 steal 9th inning. Joel is frustrating as a writer because his reporting can be so good, and his analysis ranges from thoughtful and insightful to just horrendous. This one unfortunately falls into the latter category. He writes: Among potential AL playoff foes, the Rays already know how to exploit the speed issue, having stolen 22 bases in 23 tries against the Yankees this season. Tampa leads the majors in steals at 167. Texas Continue reading Looking inside Posada vs Cervelli CS%

Dual overarching 2010 storylines of A.J. Burnett being terrible and Blue Jays (and Vernon Wells) positively owning Yankees collide in 7-5 laugher

The Blue Jays beat the Yankees 7-5 Monday night, continuing what has been a season-long stretch of dominance over New York. The win improved the Jays’ season record against the Yankees to 9-7 (only the Rays have beaten the Yankees more times, with 10 victories), a mark that includes a 5-2 record at Rogers Centre. Unless the Yankees can win the next two games they will set a new record for futility on the road at Toronto in the Unbalanced Schedule Era, as they’d never previously won less than four games at Skydome since 2001. Here’s some startling news: The Continue reading Dual overarching 2010 storylines of A.J. Burnett being terrible and Blue Jays (and Vernon Wells) positively owning Yankees collide in 7-5 laugher

Going to WAR with the league’s catchers

After the approximately 8 million stolen bases thieved by Boston during last night’s ninth inning, it’s rather appropriate that in today’s post we’re landing on the catcher position. Determining a catcher’s value can be a tricky business. Therefore, for the purpose of getting a better overall perspective, I’ve increased the number of players in the analysis from the top 10 to top 15. More than anything, I think the added players will better exemplify just how challenging it is to find a consistently well-rounded catcher and just how lucky the Yankees have been all these years. Earlier this month, I Continue reading Going to WAR with the league’s catchers

In Which I Defend the Steinbrenner Memorial

Rob Neyer has been blogging a little bit about the Monument Park tribute to George Steinbrenner. Suffice it to say, he’s not a fan. Now obviously I respect Rob as a writer and an analyst and I agree with him a heckuva lot more than I disagree with him, but this is one of the times where I do disagree with him, and quite a bit.

Let me preface this by saying that this is one of those times where everyone has a right to their opinion. There’s no right or wrong answer to whether you like the monument or not. Speaking for myself (and Jason), I actually do like it. Not just in the sense that I don’t dislike it, but in the sense that I actually have a positive opinion of the thing. Continue reading In Which I Defend the Steinbrenner Memorial