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

This week in Yankees baseball

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Well…there has to be a positive spin in here somewhere. June is over? Yeah, that works. June is over. By any standard thrown out there by any team–never mind by Yankees’ standards–June was a horrid month. The New York Yankees went 11-16 in June. They lost four and a half games in the standings. They were outscored by 32 runs in the month. The team came in last or next to last in all of baseball in most offensive categories. This current Yankees team has had so little going for them on the offensive side, that is has been…well…offensive. Wait. I started by searching for a positive spin. June is over. That is it. June.

As I was watching the game last night and watching the fans of the Baltimore Orioles celebrate and rock Camden Yards, I was happy for them. This success has been a long time coming. They have a fun team to watch. Feeling any other way is not being a good sport and not being a fan of the overall game of baseball.

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Mike Torrez and his unique Yankees history

Mike Torrez is now 66 years old. Where does the time go? He pitched eighteen years in the big leagues. He started his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. That is hard to believe and to remember. He won more of his career starts than he lost (185-160) and he was one of the first free agent hired guns when the Boston Red Sox signed him to a big contract in 1978. It was that deal that brought him to that fateful moment that would forever become one of the New York Yankees’ signature moments: The Bucky Dent home run. Dent hit his Fenway miracle off of Mike Torrez, and the Carl Yastrzemski reaction is almost as memorable as the euphoria that swept through the Yankees as Dent rounded the bases. That moment prolonged the Red Sox curse another sixteen years until it was finally broken in 2004.

Mike Torrez was not an especially great pitcher. He finished his career with a 98 ERA+.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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I was Sunday’s game away from being dead on in my prediction for this past week. But the Yankee bats went silent against Chris Archer and the Rays’ bullpen and pushed across just a single first-inning run. Sunday’s loss left them at 3-3 for the week. And while playing .500 ball at home is a disappointment, the Yankees still managed to gain some ground on both the Red Sox and Orioles as both of those teams stumbled this past week. I feel like I am living in a glass-half-full / glass-half-empty kind of world. The good news is that the Yankees are still hanging in the same zip code as the division leader. The bad news is that what has kept them at nearly a .500 team for the last month continues: paltry offense, uneven starting pitching and inconsistency in the bullpen for people other than David Robertson and Mariano Rivera.

While Brett Gardner continues to be the best player on the team, the debut week of Zoilo Almonte sure was fun.…

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Limp Yankees lose the nightcap to the Dodgers

Chris Capuano returned from the disabled list to face the New York Yankees. Apparently the rest was good for him. Capuano entered the game with a 1.515 WHIP and a 5.50 ERA. He was giving up 10.1 hits per nine innings and 3.5 walks per nine. All the Yankees could manage against him were three singles and no walks in six scoreless innings and then managed only one more base runner via a hit by pitch against two relievers. Phil Hughes continued his home Mr. Hyde act and gave up ten hits and a hit by pitch in six innings of work and gave up five runs on the way to a final score of 6-0. The tone of this one was set in the first inning and once that frame was over, the game was effectively over.

Hughes reached a 1-2 count on lead-off batter, Skip Schumaker, and then promptly left a fastball in the middle of the plate for a sharp single.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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The last three weeks have been a wild ride for those of us who observe the New York Yankees on a regular basis. The last three weeks have produced the following results: 1-5, 6-1, 1-5. What the heck do you make of that mess? My predictions each week have not been remotely close with those kinds of wild swings. We all know the offense is putrid. We all know the pitching has been spotty. And the last couple of weeks have shown us that as much as we love our 43 year old closer, his last season is not going to be dominating as in the past. We can celebrate each one of his saves, but our hearts get in our throats just a little bit more than usual.

This week will be very interesting. First off, the Yankees come home finally after a long trip out west. That means that we can go back to normal sleeping patterns here on the East Coast.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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Last week’s post was all doom and gloom as the New York Yankees completed a 1-6 week. What a difference a week makes as the Yankees reversed that fortune exactly with a 6-1 week after sweeping the Indians and winning three of four from the Seattle Mariners. That one loss was, of course, the most frustrating game of the week as the Yankees allowed Jeremy Bonderman to win his first game since 2010. But, ah well, that was all but forgotten after coming out with a final series victory on a game that was started by Felix Hernandez, the great ace of the Mariners. That was a beautifully played game with Brett Gardner and Chris Stewart paving the way. The week allowed the Yankees to keep pace with the still-flying Boston Red Sox and the Yankees remain a game and a half off the pace.

The Yankees remain on the West Coast and will be out there all week, which is not easy on sleep patterns for those of us in the east.…

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The team that pulls together…

Day after day as I watch these New York Yankees play, I see two basic patterns. The first is that whenever the Yankees have men on base, they try to pull the ball and usually do not have much success doing so. And other teams that they play hurt them by going the other way. It drives me crazy. It drives me crazy when Mark Teixeira and Travis Hafner cannot hit a ground ball to third base once in a while when no one is playing there. So I wanted to see if my observations were all wet or if there was any truth to what I have been sputtering about. What I found was that most of my suspicions were correct.

For example, based on batted ball data, the Yankees have driven in the grand total of twelve runs on opposite field batted balls. Twelve! They have hit one opposite field home run. Opponents have hit five opposite field homers against them.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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The New York Yankees had about as ugly a week as you can possibly imagine. They went 1-6 by losing four straight to the New York Mets and two of three to the Boston Red Sox. The team has now lost seven of their last eight and has scored more than four runs only once in its last eleven games. The pitching faltered too as David Phelps and Phil Hughes had horrid starts and the bullpen lost two games. The raging question is whether this is just a bad spell or the true leveling of where this team should have been playing all along. Just about the only encouraging sign seen this week was the brilliant outing CC Sabathia had against the Red Sox.

The return of Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira made little difference on what has become a staid and feeble offense. The bloom is off the Vernon Wells rose as he cannot help himself from swinging at outside sliders.…

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On this date the Iron Horse started chugging

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Eighty-eight years ago on June 1, 1925, Ludwick Heinrich Gehrig pinch hit for Pee-Wee Wanninger and was put out by the Washington Senators. He would go on to play 2,129 more games in a row to finish his iron man streak at 2,130 games (not including World Series Games). Thus was started a record that would stand until Cal Ripkin, Jr. broke it. Many of us have seen the movie, Pride of the Yankees, and to this day the Gary Cooper biopic has remained one of my favorite baseball movies of all time. And while the movie is fantastic, there were a few creative licences taken with how the streak started.

First, many think the streak started as Lou Gehrig‘s career started. But Gehrig had actually played twenty-three games in 1923 and 1924 and had played in eleven previous games in the early part of the Yankees’ 1925 season before Wally Pipp could not play on June 2, 1925.…

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