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

Pace Made In New York City

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Before the 2015 season started, Major League Baseball made a major push to speed up the game. MLB did not go as drastic as some wanted and more so than some (read David Ortiz) liked. A half a season has gone by and most of the reports about the pace of the game were from early April. Let’s take a look at what a half season has brought.

The emphasis placed on pace of the game has made a difference. The average game this season across the board is 2:57. That is a full ten minutes shorter per game than last year and the first time the average game has been under three hours since 2011.

Last year set a record for slowness. Baseball started keeping track of game times permanently in 1920. The average game back then was 1:51. Imagine how much earlier you would get to bed on those game recaps!

In 2014, every team in baseball except for the Seattle Mariners averaged over three hours per game.…

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About Last Night And Other Thoughts

Teix-McCann vs TB

The New York Yankees have now won seven games in a row and have built back their AL East leading margin to two and a half games. Life is feeling pretty good right now. Masahiro Tanaka has given the team two great starts and the Yankees are getting timely hits of the big fly variety and the one base at a time type too. Let’s look at a few things to bask in this little glow (before dark clouds roll in).

The impressive part of this win streak is that Yankee starting pitchers have won six of the seven games. In other words, they have all pitched well enough to stay in the game, have competed and have come out ahead. Tanaka, of course, has been VERY encouraging. But CC Sabathia, Adam Warren, Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Pineda have all won games in this streak. That is encouraging and impressive.

With Ivan Nova in the wings and the way these starters are pitching, does that buzz for Cole Hamels at the expense of prospects still sound like a good idea?…

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About Last Night and Other Hump Day Thoughts

Despite another game of poor defense and batter befuddlement at the hands of Mike Montgomery making his MLB debut, the Yankees came back to tie the game off of closer, Fernando Rodney, and won the game in extras. Two of the key contributors to the comeback and the win were guys who have been kicked all over New York by the fans and the media. You go, Stephen Drew and Garrett Jones!

Here are some of the random thoughts I had while staying up way too late to watch the game:

First, why does the defense always seem to get all jelly-legged when behind CC Sabathia? Yes, the big pitcher is not what he used to be and cannot just power his way out of jams like in the past, but man, the defense puts him in these messes quite often. Chase Headley booted a double-play ball and then Carlos Beltran misplayed a ball hit out to him in right.…

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Dellin Betances and Must See Baseball

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I had a brief conversation on Twitter with Katie Sharp last night. I asked her (since she is so good at such things) if the Royals had been struck out in order in any inning this season. Her reply was, “You mean, how many times have they been Betances’d?” I laughed and said exactly. She later came back and said that it did not appear to have happened to them before Dellin Betances put them away in order last night on fourteen pitches. Betances has become must see TV.

There are several players that I would pay more to watch play baseball. Mike Trout comes to mind, Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw. Dellin Betances has become in that company for me. As soon as he comes in the game, adrenalin kicks in, the heart rate rises, anticipation becomes overwhelming and then awe once the inning (or two) is over. His outings are mesmerizing.

I am not sure even those of us who watch baseball every day understand what we are seeing.…

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About Last Night: Eovaldi, The Fifth Inning, and Other Thoughts

Eovaldi vs WAS II

Courtesy of Getty Images

The New York Yankees keep giving Nathan Eovaldi leads and the pitcher just cannot seem to handle the windfall. Last night, the Yankees had just spotted Eovaldi with a 6-2 lead after scoring four runs in the fourth and another two in the top of the fifth. Eovaldi’s response was the walk the first batter he faced in the bottom of the fifth. Yankee fans everywhere threw stuff.

Sure enough, it was the start of a bad inning that turned a good chance for a win (calculated at 89% at that moment) to a loss. Eovaldi only recorded one out in the inning.

You get to the point where you wonder if Nathan Eovaldi needs a good sports psychologist. Like many starting pitchers, Eovaldi has trouble with the first inning. His ERA this season in that frame is 7.88. But then he settles down nicely in the second through the fourth inning. In the fifth inning, it gets ugly.…

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Sound the Alarm! Relievers Are Overworked!

When it comes to the New York Yankees, there always has to be an alarm bell. Call it a meme or a talking point, a clarion bell, whatever: There always has to be one. Remember a few years ago when the Yankees were hitting too many homers? Yeah, we still yuk it up over that one. The latest seems to be about the Yankees’ bullpen being overworked. Is it really?

Mike Axisa probably had it drilled down a little bit better. He only mentioned Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller the other day. But are even those two overworked? Part of their workload is the success the Yankees have had this season. The Yankees are winning…a lot. Thus there is more need for your setup and closer to finish out games. But again. are they overworked?

How can you tell with Dellin Betances? He pitched 70 times last season and compiled 90 innings. That’s a new breed of animal. Was that abuse?…

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Game 31 – Where we Wei in on Whitley

A lovely Saturday afternoon game is a perfect setting for baseball at Yankee Stadium III. Although, there is a light mist falling in the Bronx and the temperature is at 54 F. Today’s match-up features Chase Whitley versus Wei-Yin Chen. The Game is on the YES Network and starts at 1:05. The Yankees have already taken the first two games of the series.

The Lineups:

Baltimore Orioles

  1. Manny Machado – 3B
  2. Jimmy Paredes – DH
  3. Adam Jones – CF
  4. Delmon Young – RF
  5. Chris Davis – 1B
  6. Steve Pearce – 2B
  7. J.J. Hardy – SS
  8. Alejandro De Aza – LF
  9. Ryan Lavarnway – C

New York Yankees

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury – CF
  2. Brett Gardner – LF
  3. Chris Young – RF
  4. Mark Teixeira – 1B
  5. Carlos Beltran – DH
  6. Jose Pirela – 2B
  7. Chase Headley – 3B
  8. Stephen Drew – SS
  9. John Ryan Murphy – C

Why you wouldn’t start Alex Rodriguez against a left-hander is beyond me. Anyway, enjoy the game!…

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The Yankees’ Upgraded Fielding

Much was made during the off season on how the New York Yankees focused on defense in targeting acquisitions. And while none of us saw this good of a start to the season the team has brokered to this point, one question is how much that defensive upgrade applies to the current success. According to the major statistical sites, the answer is: Not very much.

Let’s get a few valid points out of the way. First, unlike batting and pitching statistics, fielding statistics to this point have had a larger margin for error. While we feel good about what the two former categories are telling us these days, fielding statistics have been perceived to be on less solid ground. Secondly–and perhaps because of the last statement–we are strongly cautioned against taking much stock in fielding statistics on a short sample size. We have been told in the past that such statistics should be viewed on the long term, perhaps over several years, to take seriously.…

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Yankees can survive a month without Tanaka

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

But longer than a month? Let’s not jump there yet.

I am sure you have all heard by now that Masahiro Tanaka came to the Yankees yesterday and complained of soreness in his wrist. The sequence of events was mentioned all during the Yankees’ broadcast during the game last night. Brian Cashman said that an MRI showed no significant damage but did show inflammation of the wrist and possibly the forearm. He called it tendonitis. The team felt that shutting Tanaka down for a month was the call for now and Cashman believes Tanaka will be back after that.

The part that has everyone concerned is the mention of the forearm and the Yankees’ broadcast team kicked that around quite a bit. Time will tell as this all plays out and because of the concern of the partial tear of the ulnar ligament, most followers of the Yankees will fear the worst. Who knows what will happen.…

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