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

Bullpen blows it in seventh. Rays beat Yanks, 4-3

The Yankees could not have been happier at Freddy Garcia’s outing. He pitched five and a third innings and gave up five hits and no walks while striking out four. B.J. Upton took Garcia deep in the third and Carlos Pena took Garcia deep for a solo homer to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Pena’s solo drive tied the game at two. Cody Eppley relieved Garcia to keep the score tied, 2-2, heading into the top of the seventh.

The Yankees scored their two runs in the first inning. Derek Jeter led off the game with a line drive double to the gap in right-center. After Curtis Granderson struck out, the Yankees caught a break at the expense of an old friend. The Rays were greatly shifted around to the left against a right-handed hitting Mark Teixeira. Teixeira caught one weakly and sent it toward the right field line. Hideki Matsui, greatly misplaced by playing right field, charged over toward the ball but overran it and never touched it.…

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The Yankee Stadium thing

All three versions of Yankee Stadium have had a short right-field porch. But since the new version opened in 2009, the criticism has mounted and this new park does seem to allow the ball to travel further. Where a 100 score is considered neutral for park factor, Yankee Stadium III is currently rated at 106, a figure that does favor batters. But is the Yankees’ success dependent upon the configurations of their home ballpark? Hardly.

The figures show that the Yankees are more apt to hit a homer at home. But it is not a factor as big as people would lead you to believe. At home, the Yankees’ batters hit homers in 5.2 percent of their at bats. On the road, that figure goes down to 4.1 percent. That seems somewhat significant. But it doesn’t necessarily lead to more runs. The Yankees have scored 186 runs at home in 40 games and 183 in 37 games on the road. There is no major breakdown in the team’s OPS on the road (compare that with the Rockies).…

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Two two-run homers are all Phil Hughes needed. Yanks win, 4-2

The story for this game is Phil Hughes. Early in the game, he kept his fastball down to get ahead in the count and then threw it higher in the zone to produce harmless pop-ups or fly balls or finished the batter off with a strikeout. Hughes pitched a full eight innings and allowed only six hits (three of them in the first inning) and one walk. He struck out eight.

Gavin Floyd struggled his entire outing. Though those two homers were the only runs the Yankees could use to score runs, Floyd really labored. He only lasted five and a third innings and threw 122 pitches. His troubles began right away and in the bottom of the first inning, the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs on Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson singles and a Mark Teixeira walk. But the bases loaded thing bit the Yankees again as Robinson Cano put the ball in play to the only place that would not score a run: Back to the pitcher.…

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Kuroda brilliant. Yankees beat the White Sox, 4-0

Granderson started the scoring for the Yankees in the first inning with a blast to right into the second deck. The Yankees scored again in the second inning. Nick Swisher led off the inning with a single. But then Raul Ibanez popped out and Russell Martin struck out. But then Dewayne Wise jumped on a Peavy fastball and drove it into the gap in right-center. Nick Swisher chugged all the way around from first to score.

The game settled into a pitcher’s duel after Wise’s double. But it was Wise again who again provided some fireworks when he hit a solo shot with one out in the fifth inning. Wise’s homer landed half way up the second deck in right field. Peavy then hit Derek Jeter (0-3) with a pitch but no further damaged resulted.

Robinson Cano rounded out the scoring with a solo shot of his own that landed in just about the same spot as Wise’s homer. The homer was Cano’s eleventh in the month of June.…

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AL East competition helping Yankees

The Baltimore Orioles are starting to fall under the weight of reality as some of their weaknesses are being exposed. They are currently at 12-12 for the month of June and have been outscored by 24 runs this month. The Rays still have some of the fear factor, but losing Evan Longoria leaves too many holes in the lineup. They are now 11-14 in the month of June and have also been outscored this month.

The Red Sox are perhaps another story. Their bullpen has been far better than expected and continue to get surprising work from Franklin Morales as a starting pitcher. They now have a decent rotation and have given up more than twenty runs less in June than they have in the previous two months (granted, with a few more games to play this month). But they are 14-11 this month despite outscoring their opponents by 34 runs in June.

But the Red Sox are not without their own flaws.…

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Three-run homer in ninth sinks Yanks, 4-3

Both starting pitchers did an excellent job of keeping their teams in the game. Ivan Nova started for the Yankees and his sole blemish was a homer to Alejandro De Aza in the top of the fifth. De Aza had four hits in the game. Nova pitched seven and a third innings and allowed six hits and three walks. Nova struck out five in the game and was in line for his tenth victory if the Yankees could have hung on for the win.

The White Sox starter, Dylan Axelrod, did a fine job of keeping the Yankees just off balance enough to give his team a chance to win. The Yankees would score their only two runs off of him in the bottom of the fifth. In that frame, Curtis Granderson hit a single with two outs and then Alex Rodriguez hit a long drive to the left-center gap and after a long run, De Aza had the ball hit off the heel of his glove for what was ruled a double.…

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Freddy Garcia could surprise us

Unlike Rapada and Eppley before him, Freddy Garcia looked like a professional pitcher the moment he stepped on the mound. Suddenly, the game had possibilities. It was those thoughts that led to another thought: Perhaps having to fill one of the gaps in the rotation with Freddy Garcia is not a bad thing. Maybe it is a good thing. Could that be possible?

Garcia has been the butt of so many Yankee jokes this season that such a thought seems inconceivable. This is the same guy that threw five wild pitches in one game. This is the same guy who might have had the worst April as a Yankee pitcher since Chien-Ming Wang‘s disastrous 2009 version.  Garcia’s ERA at the end of April was 12.51. His game scores in his four starts in April were 42, 36, 21 and 22. In 14.2 innings of work, Garcia gave up 31 base runners. You cannot get much worse than that.

But June has been an entirely different story.…

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