Author Archives: William Tasker

We could have had Don Mattingly

I remember those days really well. It was a personal blow to lose Torre, who for some of us, was like the uncle figure to our Yankee universe. Others were happy to see him go. And as those days unfolded, the choice for the Yankees’ brain trust came down to Mattingly and Girardi. Personally, I don’t think Mattingly was ever strongly considered. Yes, he was a Yankee icon and hero and was billed as a tragic figure for never getting his ring and for losing his MVP-caliber career to back troubles. But he had no managerial experience and Girardi had won the Manager of the Year Award for his time leading the Miami Marlins. The choice may have been personally disappointing for fans who loved Mattingly, but it seemed a pretty clear-cut decision.

So Mattingly followed Joe Torre to the Dodgers and once Torre retired, inherited the job there. Last season brought no glaring triumphs in Mattingly’s first season in LA other than the emergence of Matt Kemp as a superstar.…

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Yankees escape California with a 6-5 win

Nova certainly did not have a good outing. He does get a little credit for throwing a couple of scoreless innings after the fourth and got the first two outs in the seventh to give his team a chance to bail him out. Nova gave up eight hits, three walks and a home run to Mark Trumbo, who killed Yankee pitching the entire series. Boone Logan was called upon to get the last out in the seventh after relieving Nova, but could not retire a batter. After two straight line drive singles, Joe Girardi called for Cory Wade who struck out Howie Kendrick to end the threat. Nova has now given up thirteen homers this season, matching his total for all of last season.

There was one key play in the ninth inning that is worth mentioning. After Soriano retired Mike Trout with a grounder to short that Derek Jeter charged and threw on the run to get the speedy Trout, Soriano then walked Alberto Callaspo.…

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Yankees season frustrating to say the least

And the list of frustrating events continues to mount. Phil Hughes throws this straight fastball and is either moderately successful or crashes and burns spectacularly. Derek Jeter, after an unbelievable start, has had the predictable regression and has a pedestrian .699 OPS for the month of May and has hit into six double plays this month. And yet he still second of the regulars in wOBA. While it is nice that all things considered, Jeter is having a fine season, if, with this offense, he is second on the team in wOBA, the team has a problem.

And yes, the Yankees can score runs in bunches. The team has scored six or more runs in 21 different contests. They have lost only one of those games. But they have also scored two runs or less in sixteen contests and have only won two of those. They are still without a win in games without hitting a homer. They are 0-11 in such contests.…

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A catching debate for the Yankees?

During the 2012 season, not only has Russell Martin struggled mightily at the plate (last night notwithstanding), but the pitching staff was floundering. Enter Chris Stewart who was obtained on the last day of Spring Training in a sudden spin of events that landed Francisco Cervelli in Triple-A. We were all kind of stunned at the event. And then C.C. Sabathia sort of fell in love with Stewart and whether Joe Girardi admits it or not, Stewart is Sabathia’s personal catcher. And then Stewart caught Andy Pettitte, who threw eight scoreless innings. Anjd then Chris Stewart caught Hiroki Kuroda, who threw eight scoreless innings and suddenly we have a debate to talk about. Stewart, who is even less capable offensively than Martin, is suddenly the darling of many for his catching skills. But is it a proper debate?

The numbers are so peripheral that they do not even make sense to talk about. Yes, the Yankees are 8-3 when Stewart catches.…

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Trumbo’s walk-off bomb sinks Yankees, 9-8

Hughes hung in there for five and a third innings, but the Angels roughed him up for eleven hits and seven runs. Hughes struck out three and did not walk a batter, but could not keep his fastball out of the sweet spots in the hitting zone and he paid for every one of his mistakes. Even the outs he recorded were hit to the warning track. Those kinds of outings happen once in a while and Hughes will just have to take the ball the next time out and have a better outing.

Bobby Cassevah relieved Weaver and pitched three and a third innings and besides allowing one of Weaver’s base runners to score in the first, kept the Angels in the game. Cassevah did allow a solo homer to Curtis Granderson (his fifteenth of the season) that tied the game and he walked three, but Cassevah probably saved the Angels this ballgame.

Hughes gave up single runs in the third and fourth.…

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Yankees ride Kuroda, sweep A’s, 2-0

It looked early like Milone might have a very short outing. Derek Jeter led off the game with a single to left. Curtis Granderson walked. But then Mark Teixeira fouled out to third. The third baseman had to run forty yards to make the catch and once again, that was out out in Oakland that would not be an out in any other ballpark in baseball. Alex Rodriguez singled to right in a nifty bit of going with the pitch. But Jeter was conservatively held at third to load the bases. Two terrible at-bats followed as both Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher limply popped out to end the threat.

Jones started the top of the second with his monster homer on the first pitch he saw and then Jayson Nix hit a booming double to the wall in right-center. But in a moment of complete insanity, Joe Girardi had Chris Stewart bunt for a sacrifice. Stewart popped the bunt up and it was caught by the charging third baseman for a gift out.…

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One man’s review of New York broadcasters

The Yankees:

The YES Network gives us endless possibilities. You never know from series to series who the analysts will be. Bob Lorenz has been added to the play by play team so Michael Kay doesn’t have to make so many road trips. And Ken Singleton will do play-by-play from time to time. With a wide variety of color analysts, all made up of former players, there is a general geniality among whatever groupings YES puts together and broadcasts are all generally good. On to the reviews.

Play-by-play:

Michael Kay. Kay has really grown on me. When he first starting doing Yankee games, his voice grated on me. He was not your typical play-by-play “voice” with a deep vibrato. He is more Rod Stewart than John Lennon.  But it works in the long run, perhaps because of familiarity. Kay has a tendency to stick on themes over the course of games, especially when the team is not going well. That tendency will cause him to look for events in a game that can be bent to the theme he has been espousing.…

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Oakland’s ballpark is an embarrassment to baseball

The Oakland Coliseum might be a good place for a football game. But it is no place for baseball. One of only two parks left in Major League Baseball that doubles as both a baseball and football stadium, the football field runs horizontal to home plate. That means that the fans are a million miles away from the action in even the best seats and as the Yankees’ broadcast team mentioned in the telecast last night, the foul ground it causes has ensured that no Oakland Athletic has ever won a batting title. The statistic that was thrown out last night was that the Coliseum leads the majors with over three foul outs a game.

Nobody is paying good money to watch foul outs. And despite last night’s large crowd of over thirty-three thousand, the Athletics currently rank next to last in the American League in attendance. And who can blame the fans for staying away? The place is old and cold and is not set up for baseball.…

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The day Mantle played short and Yogi played third

And so it was. On the last game of the 1954 season, September 26, the Yankees’ brilliant center fielder started at short and their fiery little catcher started at third. Irv Noren, a pretty good part-time player in his career, played center. Moose Skowron, long known as a first baseman was in his rookie year and he started the game at second base, one of only two times in his career that he would play there. The immortal Lou Berberet was the starting catcher. It was his only start of the year and only his fifth appearance. The starting pitcher was Tommy Byrne, one of the most unpredictable pitchers of all time. Byrne somehow had a major league record of 85-69 with an ERA of 4.11 despite walking 6.9 batters per nine innings. He walked more batters in his career than he had strikeouts. The next year, in 1955, at the age of 35, Byrne would win 16 games for the Yankees with three shutouts and two saves.…

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