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.

Russell Martin’s ready for late peak?

Russell Martin is hot in the month of August. In seven games this month, he is batting .308 with a .400 on-base percentage. The late push has closed his batting average within a whisper of the Mendoza Line for one of the few times all season. His eight hits in seven games is only one less than he had the entire month of April and three less than his entire month of July. His offensive numbers are almost silly this season. But perhaps he could be finally peaking and late in the season is not that bad of a time to do so.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Russell Martin’s ready for late peak?

Manager ejections and the tired old saw

We here at It’s About the Money, Stupid do not like to pick on the main stream media or Wallace Matthews of ESPN (whistling innocently). But sometimes, the story lines they come up with just need to be poked with a stick. For example, you probably did not know the Yankees won their game yesterday against the Detroit Tigers and escaped the series with a split because Joe Girardi got thrown out of the game. That’s right. According to Mr. Matthews, the reason the Yankees won was because Joe got all fired up and fired his team up by getting tossed from the game. The two homers at the end of the game by Mark Teixeira and Eric Chavez were prompted by old Joe’s fireworks. Get this sub-headline:

“Skipper shows fire, gets tossed and sparks lethargic Yankees to victory”

Oh please. If a team needs to get fired up, then there is something wrong with the make up of the players. And of course, this tired old saw has been around so long that those after-game interviews have to cull the same idiotic quotes we hear from players all the time. “Our manager has our back.” “It’s good to have a manager that protects us.” And so on. The players have to say those kinds of things because that is what they are supposed to say. They have been exposed to this tired old saw for as long as they have been playing the game.

Come on, already. This joke of a meme has already been proven false by Beyond the Box Score. This old saw again heaps too much credit on a manager for a team winning a game. But it also takes away from the players who brought the results to bear. The Yankees won yesterday because they turned in a good pitching effort and allowed their potent bats an opportunity to do what they do.

So what is going to happen if we finally get more replay and there will be less managers arguing and getting tossed from the game? Whatever will those “lethargic” teams do to get fired up enough to win? Look! This post just gave fodder to the anti-replay people! Adding more replay will take away some opportunities to win games for their team by blowing up at the umpire. Until that day, managers will have to argue with calls they think were blown by the umpire. That is part of what managers do. But please, Matthews and you others out there, stop making more of it than it is. Players win games. Managers put them in position to succeed. An ejection causes nothing more than an automatic fine from the league. Continue reading Manager ejections and the tired old saw

Mark Teixeira no longer cringe-worthy

One of the bright spots of this sort of tepid Yankees run of late is the play of Mark Teixeira. As recently as the end of June, Teixeira seemed to be a clog in the Yankees’ lineup that was hitting more like a number eight hitter than a middle of the order guy. Teixeira has always been a notoriously slow starter, but he was sick early in the season and that rough start seemed to drag on forever. After a 4-2 win against the Chicago White Sox on July 1, Teixeira hit a low point as his average fell to .242, his OBP to .323 and his slugging down to .448. The slugging wasn’t that bad, but a .771 OPS from what is supposed to be one of your better players was alarming.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Mark Teixeira no longer cringe-worthy

Maxwell > Jones > Wise > Ichiro

Judging Ichiro Suzuki‘s performance for the Yankees thus far seems wildly unfair from the small sample size we have. After all, he has played all of fifteen games and come to the plate only 61 times. And yet it is not wildly unfair when you add in consideration for what he did for Seattle for all those games before being traded to the New York Yankees. The numbers in the fifteen games are a small sample size by themselves, but they are remarkably similar to his numbers this year in Seattle. In fact, they are a little worse. When the trade was made, many critics said Ichiro’s numbers in Seattle were who he is now. Those critics are looking pretty good right now.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Maxwell > Jones > Wise > Ichiro

Yankees lose to Tigers again, 6-5

This is one of those game recaps where the urge to rant is stronger than the urge to report what happened in the game. Let’s see if you’ve heard this before. A Yankee starter starts with a couple of good innings. The Yankees break through on a screamer of a line drive over the fence to the opposite field by Eric Chavez to take a 2-0 lead. The Yankee starter then gives the runs right back in the next half inning and then some and the Yankees lose the game. Sound familiar? It will take some research tomorrow, but it seems like that scenario has played out several times over the course of this team slump for the Yankees. As we shall see, Joe Girardi had a critical role late in the game with a pitching decision. And, oh yeah, Miguel Cabrera hurt the Yankees again. Go figure.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Yankees lose to Tigers again, 6-5

Game 109 – Time to end the Tigers’ winning streak

With the sounds of howling hawks in my ears, it is time to prepare for the second game of the series between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. The Tigers are starting to hit their stride and have won five straight games. Their ace, Justin Verlander, made the visiting Yankees twist in the wind yesterday and tonight send out Rick Porcello. The Yankees counter with Phil Hughes who is asked once again to give the Yankees a stop after following a wallowing Ivan Nova.

Porcello has not had a great season. Batters from both sides of the plate are batting over .300 against him and he has been hurt particularly bad by left-handed batters. Plus, he has struggled historically against the Yankees, going 2-2 with a 5.36 ERA and a WHIP of 1.54. Hughes has fared better against the Tigers with a 4-3 record with an ERA of 4.54 and a WHIP of 1.15. Hughes pitched a complete game against the Tigers this season and the match-up appears to favor the Yankees. But as they say, they still have to play the game.

The keys for the game will be if Hughes can keep the ball inside Comerica as his 25 homers allowed this season are near the top in the league in that category. He needs to get Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder out. Good luck with all of that. Rick Porcello has to get ground balls by keeping the ball down and hope the grounders are hit where his infielders can field them. Porcello does not have better numbers at home than on the road like you would expect.

The lineups:

New York Yankees:

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

Detroit Tigers:

  1. Austin Jackson – CF
  2. Omar Infante – 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera – 3B
  4. Prince Fielder – 1B
  5. Brennan Boesch – RF
  6. Delmon Young – DH
  7. Jhonny Peralta – SS
  8. Alex Avila – C
  9. Andy Dirks – LF

The game starts at 7:05 and can be seen locally on the YES Network and nationally on the MLB Network. Continue reading Game 109 – Time to end the Tigers’ winning streak

Granderson’s worrisome second half

Curtis Granderson is having a tough second half and his season numbers for 2012 are starting to take a hit from his slide. Yes, he has the 29 homers. But he has a sub-.500 slugging percentage. Yes, he has scored 76 runs. And yes, his OPS+ is a healthy 119 for the season. Perhaps part of the problem is that he was so good last season that we raised our expectation level way too high for him this season. After all, Granderson has been great, but to think he is a 140 OPS+ player every season is a bit of a stretch. But the problem has gotten particularly problematic in the second half of this season. His numbers are masked a bit by a successful first half.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Granderson’s worrisome second half

Freddy Garcia does something remarkable

According to Zach Schonbrun of the New York Times, Freddy Garcia does something remarkable. What he does is so remarkable in fact that it caught the notice of Mike Fast, the noted baseball researcher. Fast then got physicists involved to study this rare baseball phenomenon. And no, the remarkable feat is not finally getting a win after three straight losses. Nor is it holding the Mariners to two runs in five innings despite nine base runners. No, those things are the mundane Freddy Garcia we have come to not love. All these people got involved to study the break of Garcia’s split-fingered pitch. Apparently, the pitch sometimes moves in ways you would not expect it to move.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Freddy Garcia does something remarkable

August 3, 1998

On this date in 1998, the New York Yankees were on a West Coast swing and faced the Oakland Athletics on a warm summer night at the Coliseum. The game really did not mean that much for the Yankees or their opponent. The Yankees were an astounding fifty games over .500 with a record of 78-28 and held a commanding fifteen game lead in the AL East. The A’s were spinning in third place of a four-team AL West and nine full games behind the division leading Texas Rangers. The A’s, under Art Howe, would end up in last place in the division when all was said and done. The Yankees of 1998 would become one of the greatest teams of all times. But on this night, it was just another Monday night game for the two teams. The game would end up being historic.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading August 3, 1998