Strength Of Schedule

It was nearly three weeks ago when we were gearing up for the most important stretch run of the year. At that point, the Yankees were just coming to the realization that their 10 game lead wasn’t going to hold up in September. The 16 game streak, which included 7 games against the Orioles and 6 games against the Rays, had major playoff implications for all teams involved. With an injury dissolved team at the time, I warned that any sustained losing streak would result in a panic. So how did it all play out?

It started with the team going just 1-4 in their first 5 games. I’d call it the low point in the season, at this point the team was on a three game losing streak and the Orioles had tied the Yankees for first place in the American League East. With the return of Alex Rodriguez, the lineup started to get a bit deeper. Curtis Granderson started hitting the ball, Derek Jeter kept his hot bat alive, and Russell Martin stopped hitting so many damn line drives to outfielders.… Click here to read the rest

With Moore walks than hits, Yankees win, 6-4

Matt Moore looked nasty in the first two innings. He struck out the side in the first and worked around a one out walk to Nick Swisher. Moore recorded his fourth strikeout in the bottom of the second and worked around hitting Andruw Jones with a pitch. But, it was clear that his command was erratic and it would catch up with him in the bottom of the third. Moore started off that inning by walking Eduardo Nunez. Nunez then stole second base and scored on a single by Derek Jeter. Jeter took second on the throw home. Nick Swisher sacrificed (whuh?) to the pitcher and Jeter went to third. Alex Rodriguez then singled to center to score Jeter. Matt Moore further unraveled after that.

First, he uncorked a wild pitch and A-Rod went to second. Moore then walked Robinson Cano and on the fourth ball, A-Rod stole third. Russell Martin then capped off the five-run inning with a three-run homer to right that landed in the second row.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees, Kuroda, hang on, beat Rays 6-4

Hiroki is finally getting some run support!

This one wasn’t as close as the score suggests. The Yankees took a five to nothing lead in the bottom of the third inning, which would prove to be the ball game. Derek Jeter got the party started, knocking in Eduardo Nunez on a single after Nunez swiped second to put himself into scoring position. (Nunez stole three bases on the day, reminding us all that the Yankees have sorely lacked speed on the bases this year.) Alex Rodriguez then singled up the middle to score Jeter. Robinson Cano walked and then Russell Martin, who’s been red hot lately, hit a three-run homer, giving the Yankees five runs in the inning. No one knew it yet, but that was the ball game.

For a while it looked like Hiroki Kuroda was going cruise. He struck out the first six batters he faced, en route to ten K’s on the day. But the wheels came off in the sixth inning.… Click here to read the rest

Game 146: All Alone In First Again

The Yankees are alone if first place again, much thanks to the Athletics. Winning today, might help separate themselves with the Orioles, who are starting Randy Wolf, but it would more importantly knock the Rays back to 5 games. The O’s have been on an incredible hot streak, but I’m still convinced the Rays are the better team. If Hiroki Kuroda can pick up his 14th win, Tampa’s elimination number falls to 12.

Derek Jeter DH
Nick Swisher RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Russell Martin C
Andruw Jones LF
Curtis Granderson CF
Steve Pearce 1B
Eduardo Nunez SS

You can catch the game on YES and TBS at 1:05. Go Yankees!… Click here to read the rest

The Yankees are set up nicely

Hiroki Kuroda is that pitcher mentioned in the first paragraph. There are two nice things about his place on the mound today. The first is that he has been very good at home. He is 9-5 at the ballpark in the Bronx with a 2.38 ERA and a WHIP of only 0.950. His strikeout to walk rate at home is a very impressive 3.9 to one. That will due nicely. Combine that with the fact that he is not only pitching at home, but is pitching during the day. Kuroda has made six day game starts and is 4-1 in those starts with a minuscule ERA of  0.84 and a WHIP of 0.891. His strikeout to walk ratio in those day games is 6.80. Very nice.

The only dark cloud to this rosy picture is that his one loss in the daytime was to these same Tampa Bay Rays on the second day of the season. And that game was at home.… Click here to read the rest

Trenton loses the EL Championship to Akron

With one last chance to force a fifth game, Trenton got some life with two outs. A single by Maruszak gave them a batter and Murphy and Mahoney both drew walks, loading the bases. Unfortunately, Rob Segedin couldn’t keep the rally going, grounding into a force out at second and ending the game with Akron on top 6-1 and taking the EL crown.

Bronx Cheers:
Ramon Flores, David Adams, Rob Segedin: Each went 0-4 with two strikeouts. Segedin left two runners in scoring position. Flores had an error.

Ryan Pope: In just 0.1 innings of work, Pope gave up three runs on two hits and two walks.

Curtain Calls:
Addison Maruszak: He was arguably one of the most consistent players for Trenton this season and he carried that into the post season. He went 2-4, but his team couldn’t push him across the plate.

JR Murphy: He went 1-3 with a homer, the lone Thunder run. He also drew a walk and struck out once.… Click here to read the rest

Nova, Yankees down Rays 5-3

So I liked what Brien did last night recapping the game, so I’m going to follow his style. Let’s break it up!

The Objectively Good

  • Ivan Nova’s command. Normally, it takes at least a couple of starts to get back into the rhythm of starting pitching, but Nova jumped right back on the horse, and spotted the ball perfectly tonight. I rarely saw him miss his spots entirely (sure, he left one out there for Evan Longoria in the 6th, but, well, a mistake to Longoria is a homer; a mistake to others might be a foul ball…though I’m not sure that’s making my point). Anyways, the point is that he looked sharp–much sharper than I expected. I wonder if the shoulder injury that kept him out for the last month is something that we could at least think about retroactively applying to some of his catastrophic starts before he was shut down–that is, maybe his 4.50-plus ERA isn’t something to be too worried about.
Click here to read the rest