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

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.…

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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.…

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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.…

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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?
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Kuroda shuts out Rangers, wins, 3-0

As good as Kuroda was in this game, the outcome of the game was in doubt until the seventh inning as the Rangers’ starter, Matt Harrison, matched Kuroda zero for zero for the first six innings. The Yankees had Harrison on the ropes early and could not deliver the knockout blow. Two-out rallies in the second and third pushed Harrison’s pitch count to 60+ pitches by the end of the third inning. Inexplicably after the third, the Yankees started swinging and putting in play first-pitch pitches by Harrison to allow him some quick innings and hang in the game through six plus.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees finally pushed across some runs. Harrison retired Nix to start the inning. But then Derek Jeter laced a line drive single to center and Ron Washington came out to pull Harrison. With what happened after, it is easy to second guess Washington’s decision. Harrison was at 106 pitches when Washington came out.…

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Yankees pitch better with Stewart behind the plate

During the game on Saturday, David Cone, the Yankees’ best color analyst, went out of his way to praise Chris Stewart for how he handled Nova, the game Stewart called behind the plate and for the targets he gave his pitcher. Cone was effusive in his praise for Chris Stewart the entire game. The only positive thing Cone said about Martin during Sunday’s games was that Russell Martin had cat-like reflexes as a catcher. Does David Cone know something the Yankees should know?

Catcher ERA is a statistic that is not widely regarded. So much of the statistic depends on sample size and circumstance. But the simple fact is that when Chris Stewart catches, the Yankees pitch better. Russell Martin has caught 88 games for a total of 712.2 innings. Yankee pitchers during those 712.2 innings have an ERA of 4.10, an OPS against of .762 and a strikeout to walk ratio of 2.91. Chris Stewart has caught 38 games for a total of 301.1 innings and during those innings, pitchers have an ERA of 3.17, an OPS against of .676 and a strikeout to walk ratio of 3.51.…

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