2011 ALDS Preview, Part 1 | The 2011 Yankee offense, top to bottom

Remember what Curtis did last postseason? (Spoiler alert: .476 wOBA)

There may be a few more games left, but the 2011 season for the New York Yankees is over, and it has been a stunning, unexpected success. While it is not the topic of this post, it warrants re-mentioning here: The 2011 Yankees have exceeded all expectations. The Yankees were not meant to win their division, let alone the American League. Now, they are legitimate contender to win the World Series. This is a uniquely satisfying season.

With the playoffs looming, TYA will begin exploring the Yankees’ season, and laying expectations for October. This post examines the team’s offense. All the data are from Fangraphs, and exclude the games played on Sunday.

Simply put, the Yankees have an excellent offense. They’ve had either the best or second-best run output in baseball all season long, occasionally trailing the Red Sox. Far, far more importantly, the team has had a stranglehold on the best run-differential in all of baseball.… Click here to read the rest

Looking back in order to appreciate

Over the weekend, my girlfriend and I went to the movies to see the re-release of “The Lion King.” I’m beyond certain that we were the only non-parent adults in the theater. I’m sure I’ve seen the film between the first time I saw it and then, but I’d never really reflected on it.

Silly as it may sound, “The Lion King” will probably always hold a special place in my movie-going heart. Why? Because it’s the first movie I remember going to see in theaters. My dad took me, probably on a Saturday, to a theater that no longer exists (there’s an Apple store now!), and of course, I loved it. How could I not? It was a great, great film. Mostly, I appreciated the experience. I had a great time watching it because there was some excitement, good songs, and generally funny characters. Upon seeing it again this weekend, I appreciated it for the same things, but others as well.… Click here to read the rest

Oh noes, it’s alive!

Oh well, it was a fun season while it lasted. Should have signed Carl Crawford.

Here in the real world, on the other hand, the Red Sox aren’t really doing any better than they were when yesterday started. Sure they’re better off than they would have been had they lost last night’s game, but after playing 23 innings yesterday, they now how to travel to Baltimore to face an Orioles team that, while not very good, is quite enthusiastic about the chance to ruin Boston’s season. Meanwhile the Rays will have their best three starters lined up to face a Yankees’ team with literally nothing to play for beyond getting ready for Friday night, and I assume Joe Girardi is going to be sending a B-lineup at best out to face James Shields tonight. The Yankees’ pitchers for the series will be Hector Noesi, the corpse of Bartolo Colon, and someone who is not C.C. Sabathia, Freddy Garcia, A.J.Click here to read the rest

Series Preview | Yankees vs. Rays VI: The end

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Beginning tonight, the Yanks and Rays duke it out in the final regular season series of the year. The Yanks can win the season series with one win this week; the best the Rays can do is tie it. Aside from exacting a small measure of revenge against Tampa — who won the season series between these two teams for only the second time in team history last season — this series is essentially completely devoid of meaning for the Yankees, having locked up best record in the AL over the weekend, although with the Rays still clinging to a postseason dream, you can rest assured that the Tampa Bay Tampas will be playing all out until they’re officially eliminated. While you may not see all of your favorite Yankees in game action this week, rest assured that the likes of Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and others will stay fresh by taking batting practice against the finest, state-of-the-art pitching machines available.… Click here to read the rest

Game 159: Red Sox 7, Yankees 4 (14 innings)

The Bombers had an opportunity to add to their lead in the second, when Jesus Montero led off with a double.  He was thrown out at third on a fielder’s choice by Chris Dickerson.  Austin Romine followed with a single, but Lackey seemed to settle in after that, escaping the inning with the Yankees lead still 3-0.

Nova kept the Red Sox hitters guessing through the early innings and Lackey put his struggles behind him.  A one out triple by Jed Lowrie had Boston threatening in the top of the fifth.  J.D. Drew followed with a single and the Red Sox were on the board.  Nova got Marco Scutaro to fly out, but hit Varitek with a pitch, putting two on with two out.  He came back and got Ellsbury to ground the ball back to Cano for an easy out, keeping the score at 3-1.

In the top of the sixth, Nova continued to lose a bit of his momentum.  … Click here to read the rest

Yanks can't complete sweep; fall to Sox in extras 7-4

Obvious home run is obvious. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

So finally winning a series at home against the Red Sox for the first time in 2011 was quite enjoyable, although the spoiled part of me really wanted the sweep, having been swept by the Sox at home twice this season in historic fashion. Unfortunately with Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Russell Martin getting the nightcap off, and various pinch-runners being installed late in the game, the Yankee lineup was pretty close to something Scranton Wilkes-Barre would’ve run out by the time the bottom of the ninth inning rolled around, and the Bombers couldn’t get anything going against an exceptionally stingy Boston bullpen, ultimately falling to the Sox 7-4 in 14 innings.

In fact, the Yankee offense was almost completely MIA after John Lackey departed after six strong innings of three-run ball, mustering one(!) hit over eight innings against five different Boston relievers. Jonathan Papelbon retired all seven men he faced, but the MVP of the game may have been left Franklin Morales, who kept the Yankees off-balance with an impressive array of offerings while also hitting 97mp on the gun, picking up the win with two shutout innings.… Click here to read the rest

Game 158-Send ’em off tied

Another new lineup, same results

With a loss tonight, the Red Sox will head out of town tied for the Wild Card with the Tampa Bay Rays, who were 5-2 winners this afternoon. It’s been an amazing collapse, one that no one could have seen coming. Their 6.09 September ERA is the worst in franchise history, and beating a record that stood for close to 80 years (5.27 ERA in 1932) by a wide margin. They’re 5-18 for the month and are on track for the worst September since 1926. Game 2 starter John Lackey shoulders much of the blame for their poor showing, he’s dead last in the American League for ERA (6.49) and has managed to be even worse (10.70) since the end of August.

Now we are hearing reports that the Sox aren’t well conditioned, that there’s a growing disconnect between Francona and Epstien, and even that Tito’s job may be in jeopardy. You didn’t think the Red Sox could lose without there being a scapegoat, did you?… Click here to read the rest

Game 158-Send 'em off tied

Another new lineup, same results

With a loss tonight, the Red Sox will head out of town tied for the Wild Card with the Tampa Bay Rays, who were 5-2 winners this afternoon. It’s been an amazing collapse, one that no one could have seen coming. Their 6.09 September ERA is the worst in franchise history, and beating a record that stood for close to 80 years (5.27 ERA in 1932) by a wide margin. They’re 5-18 for the month and are on track for the worst September since 1926. Game 2 starter John Lackey shoulders much of the blame for their poor showing, he’s dead last in the American League for ERA (6.49) and has managed to be even worse (10.70) since the end of August.

Now we are hearing reports that the Sox aren’t well conditioned, that there’s a growing disconnect between Francona and Epstien, and even that Tito’s job may be in jeopardy. You didn’t think the Red Sox could lose without there being a scapegoat, did you?… Click here to read the rest