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.

The Yankees’ flagging bullpen

To Girardi’s credit, he has made it work for most of the season. The Cody Eppley, Clay Rapada, Boone Logan road show was given a cast of other characters like Chad Qualls and Cory Wade, etc. David Phelps was a big help too but he is now forced to make starts and has been missed. If you expose the Eppleys and Rapadas of the world, sooner or later they will get exposed as marginal pitching talents.

Then along came Joba Chamberlain. Joba was supposed to be a godsend. His big arm would ride into the corral and rescue the flagging bullpen. Reports out of the minors were that he was throwing gas and Yankee fans had visions of the 2007 Joba. It hasn’t happened. Chamberlain has had no confidence in his fastball and when he does throw it, the pitch gets whacked somewhere in a hurry. Joba has a 2.85 WHIP and has given up two homers, fifteen hits and four walks in his six-plus innings thus far.… Click here to read the rest

Freddy and bullpen crack – Yankees lose, 9-6

The Yankees did score six runs, thanks in part to another huge night by Derek Jeter and some timely hitting by Mark Teixeira. But the Bombers did leave eleven men on base and ran into an out at home to end another threat. In the first inning, after a lead-off single by Jeter and a walk by Nick Swisher set the table, a great play by Gordon Beckham at second robbed Robinson Cano of a hit and forced Swisher at second. Teixeira, playing his first game after missing a few with a sore wrist, then singled in Jeter. Curtis Granderson walked to load the bases and Gavin Floyd was really struggling. But Eric Chavez grounded weakly to third to score Cano and after Raul Ibanez was hit by a pitch, Ichiro Suzuki could not keep the rally going and grounded weakly to second.

With two out in the top of the second, Swisher singled and Robinson Cano singled. Teixeira walked to load the bases and the Yankees had Floyd on the ropes.… Click here to read the rest

Thoughts on the Red Sox series

The Red Sox have a terrific infield defense. Dustin Pedroia at second, Adrian Gonzalez at first, the combination of Mike Aviles and Pedro Ciriaco at short and Will Middlebrooks and now Nick Punto at third are all having terrific seasons in the field. But Middlebrooks is gone. Kevin Youkilis is gone.  Pedroia, for all his accolades, has given the Red Sox only 2.4 batting runs all season (due in part to nagging injuries).  Aviles has a .285 on-base percentage. Despite his Yankee-killing, Ciriaco has walked twice in 112 plate appearances and Punto, who is useful in doses, is an offensive pit as a regular.

Carl Crawford, despite some offense this season once he came off the DL, has not looked like the same player he was in his Tampa days. Plus, Crawford has only walked three times in 125 plate appearances. A decision will be made today, apparently, to see if he is going to be shut down for the rest of the season.… Click here to read the rest

Counting on Kuroda

Let’s start with those Yankee Stadium concerns. Um…there are not any Yankee Stadium concerns. Kuroda is 8-4 at home with a 2.22 ERA. His strikeout to walk ratio is higher at home. He gives up less home runs at home. Batters have a combined OPS of only .589 against Kuroda in his fifteen home starts. In fact, it is a much scarier proposition when Kuroda pitches on the road this season where he is a mundane 3-4 with an ERA of 4.23. Kuroda has allowed nine homers on the road in ten starts and only eight at Yankee Stadium in fifteen starts. Let’s just say that Kuroda feels pretty good pitching at home.

The concern that Hiroki Kuroda would have difficulty in the meat grinder of the American League was well founded. The recent trade deadline deals concerning Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster and Zack Greinke have proved again (it seems) that the American League is a much tougher place to pitch than in the National League.… Click here to read the rest

Bullpen falters, Yankees lose, 10-6

The Yankees took the opportunity after winning the first three games of this series to rest Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano against the lefty Holland. Russell Martin was the designated hitter to give the game a real Spring Training feel. Cano is dealing with a stiff neck and sat out his second straight game. The makeshift lineup seemed no match for Derek Holland during the first five innings. Meanwhile, Ivan Nova looked like Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  At times, Nova seemed dominant and at others like he had no idea where the strike zone was or how to command his pitches.

Nova gave up two quick runs in the first inning. After Elvis Andrus grounded out, Michael Young singled, Josh Hamilton doubled to the wall in left and then Adrian Beltre singled to score both Young and Hamilton. Beltre gave Nova a break by trying for second and was thrown out easily.

Nova then pitched four scoreless innings and three of them were in order.… Click here to read the rest

Jeter’s bunt

It was a play that screamed for second guessing and almost led to a triple play. It did lead to a double play, which obviously, Girardi was trying to avoid. Here is how it unfolded: Ichiro Suzuki led off the inning against Mike Adams, the Rangers’ setup guy. Adams was in the game to keep it close and give the Rangers a chance to win it in the ninth. Ichiro pounded an Adams pitch into the dirt for a high chop that Adrian Beltre put in his pocket. It was the second time in a row that Ichiro had beat out an infield single. That brought up Jayson Nix.

It needs to be mentioned here that Mike Adams is one of the easiest pitchers in baseball to steal a base against. The ESPN broadcast of the game pointed it out and the numbers back it up.  For his career, 38 base steal attempts have been successful against Adams in 43 attempts.… Click here to read the rest

Who would have thought…

Who would have thought…

  • The Yankees’ pitching staff would allow the fewest walks in the American League after finishing ninth the past two seasons?
  • That same pitching staff would lead the American League in strikeout to walk ratio?
  • That at this point in the season, Eric Chavez would have 220 plate appearances and still have his highest wOBA since 2004?
  • That Derek Jeter would have a lower walk percentage than Robinson Cano and still have his best OBP since 2009?
  • That his same Jeter would have his highest wOBA and slugging percentage since 2009 and be batting .320 in the middle of August?
  • Raul Ibanez would field his position better than Curtis Granderson has fielded his?
  • That Raul Ibanez would field at all?
  • That after last season, Cory Wade would disappear?
  • That two castoffs named Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada would have important roles and both have an ERA of 3.00 or better?
  • That Joba Chamberlain would throw any innings this season after that trampoline accident?
Click here to read the rest