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

The Goliath Syndrome

“Parker (W), Doolittle (SV), Cespedes (HR) — all rookies. Instrumental in defeating the #Yankees and their $209,792,900 payroll.”

And the personal favorite:

“The #Yankees just paid $78,167 for that A-Rod flyout to end the inning.”

Why not focus on the real story? A hot A’s team has won three straight with brilliant young pitching. Isn’t that enough of a great story without pulling out the old Goliath Syndrome? Like, whatever, dude. For a supposed journalist like Pratt, this is a chance to build up the drama. Painting the team you are covering like they are the pathetic underdogs is one way to build the story. For those of us that have read the story, the David story is compelling, isn’t it? Look! He toppled the giant.

In case anyone has not noticed, there is a lot of money floating everywhere in baseball. The sport is rolling in the dough with its television deals, its merchandising arm and the success of the MLB Network.…

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Cutting Nova some slack

That is not to sugarcoat the fact that Ivan Nova is super-prone to giving up extra base hits. They showed a graphic on the YES Network telecast last night revealing that Ivan Nova has given up more extra base hits than anyone in the American League–by far. Opposing batters are hitting .283 against Nova with a slugging percentage of .510. That is like All Star slugging. Nova does have a 1.5 homers per nine rate. All of those things are unacceptable and troublesome.

So what causes the problem because it is easy to see from his K/9 that Nova has had good stuff all season? The possibilities can be: lack of concentration, lack of execution, tipping pitches, poor pitch selection, good advanced scouting or bad luck. All of those possibilities look good. Too many times, a pitch is called to be inside and Nova’s pitch will drift out to the middle of the plate. That is either concentration or mechanics.  Every mistake he makes is bashed.…

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Freddy and the dreamers

David Phelps showed the Yankees again in tantalizing fashion that he could be a better option than Garcia. Phelps has made three starts this season. None of them lasted five innings. All three featured far too many pitches thrown per inning. But all in all, they were not bad innings. In those three starts, he has pitched twelve and a third innings. He has allowed eleven hits and three runs. The walks are a problem as he has allowed six of those in his three starts. His game scores were 47, 57 and 60 (51 is average). That is a far better game score average than Freddy.

It would seem silly for the Yankees to pick up a starter in trade as Pettitte will be back in September and should be ready for the post season. Any starter brought in would be a stopgap that would either cost money or prospects. Why not give Phelps the job until Pettitte returns? Seriously, what could it hurt?…

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Kuroda sharp, Yankees strike early and finish sweep

Kuroda cruised through the early innings. He worked around a two-base throwing error by A-Rod in the first and a two-out single in the second. Kuroda then had two straight 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth.

It appeared that Romero had settled down after the first and retired the Yankees without incident in the second and third. But he ran into trouble again in the bottom of the fourth.  He retired Andruw Jones on a ground out to start the inning, but Jayson Nix hit a ringing double to the gap in left. Russell Martin walked. And then Dewayne Wise–making a rare start against a left-handed pitcher–hit a ground rule double to right to score Nix and make the score, 5-0. Romero would then walk Derek Jeter to load the bases, but Nick Swisher hit into a double play to end the inning.

Kuroda, with the help of his defense, did great work to prevent a run in the top of the fifth.…

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Rivera – What if he does come back this season?

First of all, we won’t know until Rivera pitches what he will be able to do. After all, 99 percent of Rivera’s success came from his leg drive, always one of the longest in baseball. With his legs being the key to his success, can he again be Mo with a surgically repaired knee? We won’t know until (and unfortunately, if) he tries to pitch again.

Secondly, Rafael Soriano, the relief pitcher we all tried to hate initially, is pitching quite Mo-like. Soriano has blown only one save all season and has consistently rescued Joe Girardi’s relief-pitcher-roulette in the ninth as well. When Soriano has come into the game, we have all rested quite comfortably knowing that the game is probably over. Soriano has been a consistent and important cog in this great run the Yankees are having. Do you want to mess with that?

These thoughts are most certainly the oddest and most unexpected thoughts that have ever entered this tangled brain.…

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Yankees – A tough offense to dominate

Game score is a statistic for starting pitchers. At the start of each game, the starter begins with a score of 50. The number of outs and innings pitched beyond the fourth inning and strikeouts add to the score. Walks, unearned runs, earned runs and hits take away from the score. The average game score for a starting pitcher in the majors in 2012 is 51. If a pitcher compiles a game score of 70 or higher, that pitcher has had a dominant outing. So if an offense has been dominated a lot by starters, there would be a lot of 70 or higher scores. The fewer the 70 or higher starts against an offense, then that is an offense that is hard to dominate.

The Yankees have been the most difficult offense to dominate in baseball this season. There have only been four occasions all season where the Yankees were dominated by a starting pitcher.  Believe it or not, the Royals are second with five.…

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