About William Tasker

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.

No runs in six, Pettitte wins, 6-3

Andy Pettitte has made two starts since coming off the DL. He did not give up a run in either of them. With Pettitte pitching to form and the Yankees bashing out four homers off of Twins’ starter, Liam Hendriks, the Yankees built a comfortable lead of 6-0 before some secondary Yankee relievers gave three of the runs back to make the game appear closer than it was. With the win and a split in an Orioles double-header, the Yankees have increased their lead in the AL East to a game and a half, two games in the all important loss column.

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Game 153 – Andy on Target…Field

The New York Yankees open a three game series with the Minnesota Twins tonight at Target Field. Andy Pettitte will make his second start since returning from the disabled list and will face Liam Hendriks. Hendriks is a right-handed pitcher so the Yankees will have their premier left-handed bats in the lineup (minus Mark Teixeira, of course) while the Twins have not altered their lineup very much to face the left-handed Pettitte. Pettitte will be on a somewhat higher pitch count than the 75 he was limited to his first start. His new limit is 85 to 90 pitches for tonight’s game with the possibility of going longer if his innings are not too stressful.

An earlier post today gave you a bit of a preview of Liam Hendriks.  But here is a bit more information. His line drive percentage is high at 24.5%. He is not really a ground ball pitcher though he throws a two-seam fastball about 28% of the time. He does not walk a lot of batters but does not strike out many either. He has been too loose giving up the long ball. And so far, he has given up 11.6 hits per nine innings and has a WHIP of 1.611. If those statistics hold form for tonight, the Yankees should have a good offensive night. But anything, of course, can happen. Just to round out the information, Hendriks throws a curve, a slider and a change along with his two and four-seam fastballs. He is not a hard thrower and hits about 89-90 on the radar gun.

As for Pettitte, the top two guys in the Twins’ lineup can run so it would be good to keep them off the bases. Josh Willingham is a bat that Pettitte will need to be careful with. Four of the other top hitters for the Twins are left-handed batters, giving Pettitte a slight edge in their match ups.

The Lineups:

New York Yankees:

  1.  Derek Jeter – SS
  2. Ichiro Suzuki – RF
  3. Alex Rodriguez – DH
  4. Robinson Cano – 2B
  5. Nick Swisher – 1B
  6. Curtis Granderson – CF
  7. Raul Ibanez – LF
  8. Russell Martin – C
  9. Eric Chavez – 3B

Andy Pettitte – SP

Minnesota Twins:

  1. Denard Span – CF
  2. Ben Revere – RF
  3. Joe Mauer – 1B
  4. Josh Willingham – LF
  5. Justin Morneau – DH
  6. Ryan Doumit – C
  7. Trevor Plouffe – 3B
  8. Jimmy Carroll – 2B
  9. Pedro Florimon – SS

Liam Hendriks – SP

The game starts at 8:10 ET and can be seen locally on the YES Network. Continue reading Game 153 – Andy on Target…Field

This week in Yankees baseball

The New York Yankees have to assume that the Baltimore Orioles will just keep winning. That may happen or it may not, but as far as the team is concerned, just go ahead and assume that the Birds will keep finding ways to win. With a slim, one-game lead (in the loss column too), the Yankees basically have their fate in their own hands. They have to keep winning too. Theoretically, the team from the Bronx just finished a series with their last tough opponent of the regular season and finish the remainder of the season with the Twins, the Blue Jays and the Red Sox. Those three teams have a combined record of 199-259. While the old saw goes that on any given day, any team can beat any other team, the Yankees should beat these teams and should do so handily. The Orioles finish with the Blue Jays and Red Sox at home and a three game set against the Rays in St. Pete. Those last three games could be key.

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Nova’s clunker lost in the euphoria

The outcome of yesterday’s marathon between the New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics glossed over a lot of stuff that happened in the game that was not ideal. There were questionable decisions by the manager. There were seventeen men left on base by the Yankees’ offense. There was less than stellar relief pitching. But most troublesome of them all was the start by Ivan Nova. After Nova’s promising (and surprising) success in his previous outing against the Tampa Bay Rays, Nova came into this game with the thought by many that perhaps he was going to fit into the playoff plans after all. Forget about that after yesterday’s debacle. You have to look pretty darn bad for Joe Girardi to pull you after two-plus innings when the bullpen is already gassed. Girardi did not like what he saw and neither did the rest of us.

What we all saw was an Ivan Nova that could not hold a lead if there was a moat around the infield. He gave up five hits, four of which were booming extra base hits–three doubles and a homer. Each inning he pitched, his strike percentage went down. He ended up throwing 58 pitches and only 33 of them were strikes. The frustrating part is that his stuff was there. The fastball was popping in there at a good rate. He struck out two batters and topped out at 95.1 MPH on the radar gun. But again, his command was fleeting and just like his pattern for the entire season, he would just make fatal mistakes and the A’s killed them every time.

There is nothing profound to say in this post and there are no real answers. Nova will have one more start before the season ends to see where he is. But for all intent and purposes, he pitched himself out of the playoff picture with that outing and will be lucky to even make a post season roster. That sounds overly dramatic. But his outing was that poor. At the beginning of the season, I thought Ivan Nova was much better than people thought. At this point, he is as bad as any starter in baseball. Continue reading Nova’s clunker lost in the euphoria

Who is the 2012 Yankees’ MVP?

There are twelve games to play in this 2012 season. And it looks pretty good for the Yankees to grab a playoff spot of some sort. The hope, of course, is that they can hold on to the division. That one game thing is dicey at best and even more of a crap shoot than a five game playoff series. But both the Angels and the Rays would have to go without a loss the rest of the season and still not get in if the Yankees go at least 6-6 in their last twelve games. So some sort of playoff spot looks pretty good right now. As I was pondering their situations this morning, the thought occurred to me to wonder who this team’s MVP was this season. At least in this mind, there is not one player that outright runs away with such an award (if there was one). So who then?

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Sabathia brilliant. Soriano blows save. Martin homers to win it.

Phew! How do you create a heading that captures a game like the one just won by the New York Yankees over the Oakland Athletics? In today’s game thread, it was mentioned that C.C. Sabathia needed to come up with a big game. Did he ever. It was also mentioned that the A’s struck out a lot and hit homers. They struck out thirteen times. But they did hit that homer. And it came off of Rafael Soriano in the top of the ninth inning. The solo homer by Brandon Moss in a pinch hit situation tied the game at 1-1. But in the bottom of the tenth inning, Russell Martin hit a walk-off homer off of reliever Sean Doolittle (1-1) to win the game for the Yankees in dramatic fashion. David Robertson pitched a perfect top of the tenth to earn the victory.

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Game 150 – May CC be thrifty and the lineup be nifty

The New York Yankees open a new series tonight at the Stadium and this opponent is tougher than the last one. The Oakland Athletics are in for three games and are one of the teams the Yankees could possibly face in the playoffs. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are thirteen more battles to go including this one before we can talk about that! The Yankees will pitch C.C. Sabathia with the hope once again that he can find his dominant form that has been lacking since he has come off the disabled list.  The A’s are an all or nothing bunch prone to strikeouts but able to put the ball out of the yard with regularity. Sabathia will need to get plenty of the former without yielding the latter. It would also be great for the Yankees if he could go very deep into the game with the bullpen busy lately and no days off until the season ends.

The A’s will send Jarrod Parker to the mound. Parker pitched a brilliant game against the Yankees in Oakland on July 21–two months ago today. That series is an awful memory the Yankees can either use to try to get even or fall prey to once again. Parker has not pitched as well on the road as he has at home. Parker has a 1.117 WHIP at the huge Oakland Coliseum but a WHIP of 1.441 on the road. Parker throws from the right side which should mean a stronger lineup in there for the Yankees tonight.

The Lineups:

Oakland Athletics:

  1. Collin Cowgill – CF
  2. Jonny Gomes – DH
  3. Josh Reddick – RF
  4. Yoenis Cespedes – LF
  5. Chris Carter – 1B
  6. Josh Donaldson – 3B
  7. Derek Norris – C
  8. Stephen Drew – SS
  9. Adam Rosales – 2B
Jarrod Parker – SP

New York Yankees:

  1. Derek Jeter – DH
  2. Nick Swisher – RF
  3. Robinson Cano – 2B
  4. Alex Rodriguez – 3B
  5. Curtis Granderson – CF
  6. Russell Martin – C
  7. Eric Chavez – 1B
  8. Ichiro Suzuki – LF
  9. Eduardo Nunez – SS

C.C. Sabathia – SP

That is a pretty good looking lineup for the Yankees with Jeter at DH again and Chavez at first. There is speed at the bottom of the lineup and power 2-7.

The game starts at 7:05 and can be seen locally on MY9 and nationally on the MLB Network. Continue reading Game 150 – May CC be thrifty and the lineup be nifty

Phil Hughes has a problem against right-handed batters

This probably is not ground-breaking news to those of you who watch all the games when Phil Hughes pitches. And it is probably not news to those of you are deep into the stats on a daily basis. But for the rest of us, it is somewhat surprising that a right-handed pitcher cannot get right-handed batters out. Right-handed batters have hit Hughes to the tune of a .938 OPS with a wOBA of .398. Whoa. That is the equivalent of every right-handed batter going up to the plate and being a Giancarlo Stanton. So if Hughes faces five RHBs in a lineup, he is facing five Stantons. That is a huge problem. Twenty-three of his thirty-four homers allowed have been hit by RHBs. If an opposing manager stacks his lineup with LHBs to face Hughes, they are doing him and the Yankees a huge favor. So what is the problem? Why can’t he get those guys out?

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