William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

Author Archives: William Tasker

The House Is Not A Home

The New York Yankees are now only one game over .500 since the last day of July and it has been tough watching the team crawl to the finish line. This really isn’t the way you want to watch a team eek into a playoff spot (if you still consider the wild card game a playoff spot). And just two things are on my mind this morning:

  1. I remember Buster Olney doing a column on favorable schedules after the All Star Break and the Yankees having one of the most favorable because of the number of home games..
  2. I have to watch Yankee games against the Red Sox on NESN because of blackouts and one of the text questions on their broadcast last night was: “Does the new Yankee Stadium give the Yankees the same home field advantage.”

Olney’s conclusion did not work out, obviously, because of the nearly .500 clip the Yankees have played the last two months. And if I would have texted my answer to NESN’s question, I probably would have said no.…

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The Yankee Offense Drives Me Insane

I know. You are tired of me writing about the Yankees’ offense. I have railed all year about it and I don’t blame you for being sick of it. It’s just that misery loves company. If I have to watch this team hit every night and drive myself to distraction, then I might as well take someone with me. Frankly, I hate this offense.

As thrilling a win as Monday night was with Slade Heathcott‘s three-run dinger to win it, the Yankees had just four hits. Last night they had five. Just a random couple of games? Hardly. The Yankees have had five or less hits in a game 29 times. That is tied for sixth most in the Majors. That is also 20% of their games or a fifth of them. Is that a lot? Well…the 2009 Yankees did that only fourteen times all season. Which is also how many times the Blue Jays have done it this season.…

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Tanaka Is Still An Ace

Tanaka vs BAL III

Courtesy of Getty Images

Before watching the sadness of what was a lousy offensive performance by the Yankees last night, I watched a little bit of Baseball Tonight on The MLB Network. Pedro Martinez and Dan Plesac were discussing the Matt Harvey situation. Plesac talked about every team having a “pecking order” with its starters and relief pitchers. The point made was that Harvey was #1 on the Mets’ pecking order and they needed him. Masahiro Tanaka is still at the top of the Yankees’ pecking order.

During this season, two other pitchers have been handed that spot by the fans and the media. Earlier in the season, Michael Pineda was dominant and he was the ace of the staff. In the second half of the season, that title went to Nathan Eovaldi (sigh). But all along–except for the seven starts he missed–Tanaka has been right there giving the Yankees a chance to win.

I will admit up front that I am going to “cherry pick” some numbers.…

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A Sweet Golden Sombrero


This post is not going to be an analytical gem. It is not going to be some biting analysis about what happened in a game. It is certainly not a journalistic endeavor. Okay, you might be saying, “So what else is new?” Yes, I know. I’ve been writing about baseball on the Internet for twelve years. Let’s be real. Nobody has ever called me a journalist or an analyst. After all, my Twitter handle has always been, “@FlagrantFan.” No, this post is none of those things you can hang a shingle on. This is a post of a one-man celebration of an event that has never happened before. The Yankees struck out David Ortiz swinging four times in four at bats. That, friends, was a sweet Golden Sombrero.

Oh, the Yankees have struck out David Ortiz four times in a game before. It happened twice before it happened last night. The first time was on May 24, 2006. Randy Johnson started the game for the Yankees and got Ortiz swinging in the first.…

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Game 128 – Wisler While They Work

Severino vs BOS

The New York Yankees continue their interleague match-up against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta. The Yankees have young stud, Luis Severino, on the mound squaring up with the Braves’ Matt Wisler. Severino is coming off his first win of the season and sports a very promising 2.74 ERA along with 9.39 strikeouts per nine innings.

Matt Wisler will be making his thirteenth start for the Braves and though he has a winning record of 5-4, his statistical line does not look pretty. His ERA and FIP are over five and his home run per nine rate is very high. Wisler does not strike out a lot of batters so his stuff is not the kind that misses bats.

But as always, the game is played on the field and you never know what is going to happen until it does. The Blue Jays have already won (what a surprise…) by tomahawking the Tigers, 15-1. Thanks for showing up, Tigers!…

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The Yankees’ One-Dimensional Offense

The game last night between the now-second place New York Yankees and the Houston Astros was a glaring look at the flaws of this 2015 team. I am not really talking about the pitching because every team’s pitching staff will get blown out like that occasionally (although the Yankees’ love affair with Chris Capuano is stunning). The real weakness of the 2015 Yankees is the one-dimentional offense. If they do not homer, they do not score.

The Yankees have now played 34 games in which the team did not hit a home run. The team is 10-24 in those games. In those games, the Yankees have averaged 2.184 runs scored a game. In one of those games, they managed to score ten runs. If you throw that game out, the average goes down to 1.94 runs per game. Just imagine the standings if the Yankees could have managed to be five or six wins better in those games.

To be fair, the Blue Jays, who never seem to lose these days, are even worse with a record of 6-25 when that team does not hit a homer.…

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Game 123: Andy Pettitte Day

Andy Pettitte

The New York Yankees won on Jorge Posada Day so let’s see if the team can square up the series on Andy Pettitte Day at the Stadium. It will be a warm afternoon with CC Sabathia on the mound for the Yankees facing Trevor Bauer of the Cleveland Indians. Alex Rodriguez will sit this one out as once again, Brian McCann will be the DH with John Ryan Murphy behind the plate.

The Lineups

Cleveland Indians:

  1. Francisco Lindor – SS
  2. Mike Aviles – 2B
  3. Michael Brantley – LF
  4. Carlos Santana – 1B
  5. Ryan Raburn – DH
  6. Yan Gomes – C
  7. Abraham Almonte – CF
  8. Jerry Sands – RF
  9. Giovanny Urshela – 3B

Trevor Bauer – SP

New York Yankees:

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury – CF
  2. Brett Gardner – LF
  3. Carlos Beltran – RF
  4. Brian McCann – DH
  5. Gregory Bird – 1B
  6. Chase Headley – 3B
  7. Didi Gregorius – SS
  8. Stephen Drew – 2B
  9. John Ryan Murphy – C

CC Sabathia – SP

In other news: Brian Cashman announced that Michael Pineda will not pitch for the Yankees until September.…

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Nathan Eovolving – Part 2

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees

Looking at most leader boards on statistic sites, you cannot find a Yankee starting pitcher anywhere. They are not present in any of the big categories like FIP, ERA+, WAR or pretty much anything else. Yankee starters are deemed serviceable but not able to go long into games and at least most of the time, give the very good offense a chance to win the game. So imagine the glee of sorts to find a Yankee starter on top of one of a big-time writer’s lists–Keith Law’s list..

In a post last week, Keith Law ranked pitchers with the best pitches in various categories. For example, Law ranked Clayton Kershaw‘s curve as the best in baseball. Well, duh. Then we get to the split-fingered fastball and sitting on top of Law’s list is Nathan Eovaldi!

This is remarkable for a couple of reasons. First, Nathan Eovaldi did not have a split-fingered fastball before 2015. It’s a brand new baby of a pitch.…

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That Happened Fast

Welcome to second place, Yankee fans. That happened quickly didn’t it? Thirteen days ago, the Yankees had a seven game lead in the division. Now they are a half a game behind the Blue Jays. I suppose if there is any good news, they are still two and a half games up in the wild card standings. The other good news is that this collapse did not happen at the end of the season. Gene Mauch is safe in that legacy.

What happened here? The bottom line is pretty easy to see. The Blue Jays have won ten in a row and seem incapable of losing (at the moment) while the Yankees have gone 3-7 in that stretch and have lost their last five in a row. Yes, that will do it right there.

If you dig deeper, then two trends emerge: The offense has tanked and the bullpen is built to protect leads, not ties. Let’s start with the offense.…

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