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

Peeking inside the narrative

We live in an age of instant data. Numbers are at our fingertips in an instant. And we can often build a case for just about any narrative we want to make. Post season statistics, especially offensive ones, have to be taken with two very strong reminders. The first is that the offensive statistics are extremely small sample sizes. Orioles’ fans and writers could be blasting Adam Jones right now because he is batting .091 in this post season. But if you are reminded that Jones’ post season is only thirteen or fourteen plate appearances deep, what conclusions can you actually draw from that?

The second reminder is that batters have to hit against pitchers. That sound simplistic but it is amazing how much that simple fact is overlooked. The Jones in our example has had to face some of the best pitching in baseball. The teams that make the playoffs would not (in most cases) be there if they did not have strong pitching.…

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Alex Rodriguez is beyond redemption

The heading on this piece sounds harsh and it was not meant to be. A-Rod had his 2009. That was the last season that he was the former Alex Rodriguez, the superstar version. And he came up big in that post season. He performed in that post season the way you expected a superstar to perform. He is beyond being a superstar now. Now, Alex Rodriguez is just a better than good player. And that is all the Yankees need and expect him to be. And as such, the meaning of the heading is that he is beyond his capability to be the big bat that hoists the Yankees on his shoulders and leads the team to glory.

For those that focus on the money Alex Rodriguez makes, let it go. That money is a sunk cost and yes it is a problem because of 2014 and the hard cap that Boy Steinbrenner is dictating. But there is nothing the Yankees or Alex Rodriguez can do about that.…

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The 1962 World Series

Both teams were the offensive leaders in their respective leagues. The Giants had scored 878 runs that season and with the second best pitching staff in the National League, gave them a +188 run differential. The Yankees scored 817 runs in 1962 and had the fourth best pitching staff in the American League. They had a +137 run differential. Both teams featured eight players with double-digit homer totals.

And both teams had second year managers. Ralph Houk had been given the job in 1961 after Casey Stengel was fired after bringing the Yankees to seven world titles in his twelve years as the manager. And Houk couldn’t have had a better situation in 1961 when Mickey Mantle an Roger Maris had their famous home run battle as the Yankees cruised to the world title that season.

The Giants were under the leadership of Al Dark, their former star shortstop who was a part of their 1954 championship club. Dark finished his playing days in 1960 as a member of the Milwaukee Braves and became the Giants’ manager in 1961.  …

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This week in Yankees baseball – hello October

Today.

C.C. Sabathia pitches against Clay Buchholz. Clay Buchholz is arguably the Red Sox best pitcher. Buchholz has had a funny season. In the first half, he went 8-2, but his ERA was 5.53 with a WHIP of 1.541. In the second half, he has pitched much better with an ERA of 3.11 but a WHIP of only 1.086. And yet, Buchholz is only 3-5 in the second half. Buchholz has gotten absolutely stingy in allowing base hits in the second half after a first half where his hits per nine were over ten hits. This half, he has only given up 82 hits in 101.1 innings of work. That is impressive. Buchholz is also better on the road. The one caveat here is that Buchholz has historically struggled pitching against the Yankees and that continued the one time he faced them this season.

Sabathia, on the other hand, is coming off two of his best starts of the season.…

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Every scrape needs a scapegoat

The injury to Mark Teixeira seriously weakened the Yankees’ attack against left-handed pitching. Guys like Andruw Jones needed to step up. Not only has not done so, he’s fallen into an open manhole cover. He has four hits in September. Four! In 29 at bats.  That gives him a tidy little batting average of .137 for September. And that followed an August where he had only six hits in 37 at bats. That meant a .162 batting average for August and a lovely 10-66 over the two month span to give him a .151 batting average down the stretch. Only two of those hits were homers, one in August, one in September.

And it goes further back than that. Before yesterday’s two strikeouts in two at bats performance, his second half triple slash line looked like this: .146/.262/.262. Just typing that made the coffee curdle a little in the mouth this morning. How is a guy with that kind of prolonged ineptitude not DFAed?…

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