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

Game 127 – Here we go a-Carrolling

The Yankees need to win on Joe Torre Day, right? Well, they didn’t win on Paul O’Neill Day. But the team does have a two-game winning streak thanks in part to some of the parts Brian Cashman brought in at the trade deadline. Once the Torre festivities are over, it will be Hiroki Kuroda versus Scott Carroll.

Once upon a time, a day game with Kuroda on the mound at home meant nothing but good things. But Hirok has not been quite the same pitcher. He sports the 16th lowest strikeout percentage of 96 qualified starters this season. Not being able to finish off batters compared to past years has been a problem.

Scott Carroll continues to be a nice story of a guy who pitched for years and years in the minors and finally got his shot. His actual performance has been up and down and he has been lit up pretty well in his last three starts.

Derek Jeter gets the day off and Stephen Drew will handle short.…

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1994: The Yanks coulda been a contenda

I really enjoyed Domenic’s piece yesterday about the 1994 Expos and Yankees playing each other in the 1994 World Series. As Domenic mentions, much has been written about the 1994 Expos and how the labor stoppage not only killed the Expos’ greatest chance at post season history, but perhaps killed the franchise as well. While the Yankees franchise has survived the labor unrest quite well, the team was poised to erase twelve years of post season inaction and it was quite possible the Yankees’ great dynasty at the turn of the millennium might have started two seasons earlier. What if the 1994 Yankees were able to complete that 1994 season?

The more I thought about this piece, the more variables I came up with. I am not going to present simulations. Number one, I’m not that savvy. Number two, Bill James did that for us back in 1995. What interests me more is the individual seasons it cut short and whether the team would have actually made it to the World Series.…

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Game 122 – Another pop at the Trop

One more day looking at the muted tones of that ballpark in St. Pete means another game between the Rays and Yankees. I would call it the rubber game of the series, but I hate cliches. Today features a match-up between Hiroki Kuroda and Jeremy Hellickson.

Kuroda has not been reliable the past month and in his last four starts he is sporting a 4.81 ERA and a 1.397 WHIP. Hellickson, in his first five starts since coming off of the disabled list has a pretty 2.05 ERA, but in typical Hellickson fashion, sports a much higher FIP at 3.88.

There is good news for the Yankees as Brian McCann is back from his seven-day concussion DL stint. Well…I think that is good news. The Yankees activated McCann and sent Austin Romine (we hardly knew ya) back down to the minors.

Carlos Beltran is back in right field, Prado is at second. Stephen Drew is at short and Derek Jeter is again at the designated hitter position.…

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Yankees individual clutch hitting

Yesterday, Katie Sharp had a terrific piece on the historic fail of the Yankees in the clutch hitting department. Like all great writing, the post made me think and it also confirmed (judging by the comments) what most of us have been seeing with our eyes all season. To call it bleak has been an understatement. The first question it raised was: Is this a total team breakdown or just certain segments of the lineup? So I decided to piggyback on Katie’s work and take a look.

Katie focused on three statistics: Runners in Scoring Position (RISP), Runners in Scoring Position with Two Outs (I’ll shorten that to RISP2) and Late and Close. She found the Yankees as a team to not only be way below league average in all three of these categories, but historically bad for Yankee teams since 1973 when this sort of data started to be compiled.

I took a look at the twelve players with more than fifty plate appearances that have only played for the Yankees this season.…

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Game 117 – Indians haven’t a Kluber today

Sometimes you just have to tip your cap and play another day. Corey Kluber was too much for the Yankees yesterday and there is no shame in that as Kluber has had a real breakout season. But today is that other day and the Yankees face a pitcher not nearly as talented in Carlos Carrasco. But I probably shouldn’t sell Carrasco short. He has some good peripherals this season.

You have to like the Yankees’ chances, however, with Hiroki Kuroda pitching a day game at YS3. That is usually a pretty good formula. Plus, the Indians will be missing Nick Swisher and David Murphy due to injuries. The way Swisher’s season has been going, that might not be much of a miss.

The Yankees will see Zach Walters who called up today. Walters is a power-hitting, high strikeout, low walk kind of guy that the Indians got back as part of the Asdrubal Cabrera trade with the Nationals. Walters is a switch-hitter and not a guy you want to groove a fastball against.…

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Ichiro’s roster spot

Ichiro Suzuki is not a player that is easy to categorize or capture in words of objectivity. He carries himself like a proud Japanese warrior from a different time. And despite the sometimes one-dimensional side of his hitting, he has had a great career. He is nearly the same age as Derek Jeter and should be venerated for the career he has compiled. Instead, he has become the last man on the New York Yankees’ 25-man roster and it is up for debate if he should even be in the pecking order at all.

Ichiro has not been a good player since 2010. He still shows flashes of his old self like when he joined the Yankees in 2012 and the first month of his 2014 season. The rest is a whole bunch of mediocrity that rests more on his reputation than on his play.

His 2014 is playing out very similarly to his 2013–except that it might be worse. He started both seasons being fairly productive and then tanked right about the same time.…

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The young Al Downing was filthy

The 1963 New York Yankees won 104 games that season and finished over ten games in front of its nearest American League rival. And it wasn’t the offense that propelled them that season. Mickey Mantle only played 65 games due to injury and Roger Maris‘ run of greatness with the Yankees had ended as he only played 90 games himself. It was the pitching that propelled that team. Along with Whitey Ford and Jim Bouton having their best career years, a 22-year-old Al Downing was mowing down hitters at a league-leading rate.

Alphonso Downing, a kid from Trenton, was only twenty when he was signed by the Yankees in 1961. Assigned to the A-level Binghampton Triplets, he proceeded to go 9-1 for that New York State club with a 1.84 ERA. The success led the Yankees to give him a cup of coffee on that powerhouse 1961 Yankees team and in a handful of games, proceeded to strike out twelve batters per nine innings.…

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Game 103 – Winning is addictive

The New York Yankees host the Toronto Blue Jays and the Blue Jays are desperate to break this seventeen game losing streak they have put together at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees, meanwhile, would very much like to keep that streak going and also keep what has been a terrific home stand chugging along. Winning is addictive after all. It sure beats the alternative.

Drew Hutchison starts for the Blue Jays and this will be his fourth start this season against the Yankees. He has lost all three…another streak the Yankees would like to continue. Hutchison has great stuff but has thus far not been able to string together impressive performances. That said, he is capable of shutting down a team if he harnesses his power pitching. It’s funny how baseball works. He has the exact same WHIP as Mark Buehrle and nearly the same FIP but with completely different stuff.

The Yankees start Chris Capuano. Brad told you some information about Capuano earlier today that is worth the read.…

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