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

Kuroda and Gardner lead the way to Yankee victory over the Orioles

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The New York Yankees, behind a complete game shutout by Hiroki Kuroda, and a three-run fifth inning by the Yankees’ makeshift lineup, took the series from the Baltimore Orioles, two games to one. Jayson Nix drove in the first run in the fifth inning off of Orioles’ starter Wei-Yin Chen with a sacrifice fly and then Brett Gardner hit a booming two-run homer to round out the scoring.

Kuroda was magnificent. He had all of his pitches working and induced 21 ground balls on 25 batted balls by the Orioles, allowing only five hits and no walks. Kuroda struck out five and even worked around two errors by the left side of his infield. The Yankees’ starter threw 70% of his 113 pitches for strikes and it was not until the ninth inning when a runner got to second on defensive indifference, did the Orioles get a runner into scoring position.

Wei-Yin Chen matched Kuroda for the first four innings though he was not as sharp as Kuroda.…

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This week in Yankees baseball – Week Two

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After a very troubling first week of the season, the New York Yankees will continue on the road for the first four days of the week with a four game set with the Cleveland Indians before coming back home to play the Baltimore Orioles for the weekend. Many expected the banged up offense to be a problem for the Yankees but the pitching was expected to hold up the injury-riddled team to at least make them competitive. With the exception of Andy Pettitte, both the starting pitching and the bullpen has not been sharp and has not held up anything. So what lies ahead and is this team as in trouble as it looks? Let’s take a look.

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Four games in Cleveland is not the worst thing in the world for the Yankees. For one, the rotation in Cleveland is not deep and once the Yankees get by Ubaldo Jimenez on Monday, the underbelly of the Indians rotation will be exposed for the Yankees to exploit.…

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Way more than just a Yankee win

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers, Game 6

Writing for a New York Yankees site and maintaining a somewhat journalistic objectivity is already difficult enough after spending a lifetime watching this team. Last night’s win over the Boston Red Sox threw that objectivity about as far off the cliff as a pumpkin chunkin. Andy Pettitte made his 409th start for the Yankees and won his 209th game for the team with eight glorious innings. According to one stat I read this morning, Andy Pettitte is now 18-3 lifetime in helping the Yankees avoid a sweep. Mariano Rivera then gave his fans a bit of heartburn, but in the end, froze Jackie Bradley Jr. for his 609th career save–all for the Yankees. It was a combination that will never again be matched in baseball as two pitchers who started their careers together nineteen years ago. According to some of the game recaps I read, this was the 69th time that Rivera has saved a win for Andy Pettitte, an all time record.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

After all the discussion following a spring full of injuries to key players, the season opens this week and we will get our first real glimpse of what the 2013 season will bring for the New York Yankees.  Right off the bat (pun intended), the Yankees will open the season with a series against old rivals, the Boston Red Sox. After three games with the beantowners, the Yankees will finish off the week with a series in Detroit, the place where last season ended.

Every week for the season, Monday morning will bring you a preview of the week to come. Early in the season, the preview will not only talk about the pitching match ups and the games scheduled, but also the weather, which is always a dicey proposition in April. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and let’s play ball!

The season starts today at 1:05 at Yankee Stadium III. The weather forecast is for a high temperature of 57, but showers are predicted for the afternoon.

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It’s about the predictions…

The season starts in a few days and predictions are like opinions–everybody has one. Now is the time to poll our top notch panel of IIATMS / YA writers to see who is on the money when it comes to predictions. Each one of us was asked to name the division winners, the wild cards, the post season awards and make one additional bold prediction. The only thing we forgot was to predict which league will win the All Star game.

Did any of us predict the Yankees to win the American League East? It should be in the bag now that Juan Rivera was jettisoned, right?

Let’s start with the founders and emeritus types:

Jason:

AL East: Blue Jays
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Angels
AL WC1: Tampa Bay
AL WC2: Rangers

NL East: Nationals
NL Central: Reds
NL West: Giants
NL WC1: Braves
NL WC2: Cardinals

ALCS Winner: Tigers
NLCS Winner: Nationals
WS: Winner: Nationals

AL MVP: Prince Fielder
NL MVP: Joey Votto

AL CY: Justin Verlander (again)
NL CY: Stephen Strasburg

AL ROY: Wil Myers
NL ROY: Shelby Miller

AL MOY: Joe Maddon
NL MOY: Bruce Bochy

Bold prediction: Robinson Cano traded midyear to Dodgers for Andre Ethier, CASH, and a high level prospect.…

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Uniform number two through Yankee history

Derek Jeter

No one knows how much longer Derek Jeter will be wearing the pinstripes’ number two for the New York Yankees. But one thing we know for sure is that no one will ever wear that uniform for the Yankees again. A comment from Hawaiian Dave mentioned Jerry Kenney, another Yankee who wore number two for the Yankees back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That got me thinking about all those Yankees who wore number two before the Captain entered the scene. So what follows is a list of them all from 1929 until the Captain himself.

Most people are not aware that there were no uniform numbers for the Yankees before 1929. And once the Yankees did assign numbers, the starting lineup received the lower numbers. But those lineup positions were not set in stone. Only the first, third and fourth positions in the lineup stayed the same all season.

But that first game of the 1929 season did feature numbers one through eight in the lineup wearing those corresponding numbers.…

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What to expect from Ichiro

Ichiro Suzuki

Many Yankee experts were less than thrilled when the Yankees acquired Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners on July 23, 2012. And yet, despite a year and a half of far-diminished results prior to joining the Yankees, Suzuki had a bit of a renaissance in pinstripes. In 67 games for the Yankees, Ichiro put together a triple slash line of .322/.340/.454. He then was one of the few bright spots in the debacle of an ALCS and has been (cliche alert) tearing the cover off the ball this spring. The interesting question for a 39 year old Ichiro is whether we are to believe his last year and a half as a Mariner or his few months with the Yankees.

There is disagreement in the projection systems. His OPS projections range from a low of .653 to a high of .729 and a wOBA from a low of .283 to a high of .313. The interesting part of the projections was the range on his walk percentage.…

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An unscientific early look at April’s schedule

A year ago, I took a look at April’s schedule and thought about what a good outcome would be for that first month of the 2012 season. It was also a look based on the opponents and the location of the games without rose-colored glasses. The post was the least scientific “projection” you could possibly write. After considering last April’s schedule, I predicted the Yankees would go 14-9 in their opening month and such a record would be a good outcome and start to the season. There was one postponement during April of 2012 and the Yankees went 13-9. Rather than quitting when ahead or perhaps because such a close outcome gives me a false sense of security, I figured I would do the same thing this season.

The Yankees open the season with a three-game home series against the Red Sox. I happen to believe the Red Sox are going to be much tougher this season than they were last season.…

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When Don Mattingly played third base

Have you ever seen a left-handed throwing third baseman in the Major Leagues? I have not. And generations have not. Apparently in the early 1900s, Wee Willie Keeler, normally a left-handed throwing outfielder, played 44 games at third base, 19 games at second base and even played two games at shortstop. According to the Sabr Bio Project, nobody did it again until Don Mattingly played three games at third in 1986. The first thought that came to my mind was the four players (Tovar, Campinaris, Sheldon and Halter) that played all nine positions in a game.  But, nope, they were all right-handed throwers. The Sabr Bio Project mentioned earlier talks about Mattingly’s feat in passing as part of his larger biography. Here is the rest of the story.

The Yankees’ regular third baseman in 1986 was Mike Pagliarulo. “Pags” was a bit of a cult hero in New York because he had some home run pop in his bat and was kind of a blue-color kind of player.…

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