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

History by the fours

Since today was a day off in the current 2014 New York Yankees season, I thought I might take a look at the past versions of the Yankees during all of their “4″ seasons. This entry will look at every Yankee season that ended with a four and present the best pitcher and batter of that particular season. We begin with the 1904 New York Highlanders.

1904. The New York Highlanders were managed by the 34-year-old Clark Griffith who also pitched ches100+ innings that season and went 7-5 with a 2.86 ERA. The team won 92 games and finished a game and a half behind Boston. The best player on the team was pitcher, Happy Jack Chesbro. Chesbro had his best season and led the league in games pitched, starts, complete games, wins, innings pitched and had the lowest hits per nine allowed in the league. He went 41-12 with a 1.82 ERA (2.19 FIP) and completed 48 of his 51 starts.…

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The Girardi name game

If you have not read this article by Daniel Barbarisi this morning, it is well worth a look. The article is all about how Joe Girardi gives all his players nicknames. You will want to read it just to figure out why Dean Anna is called, “Raccoon.” The article received a lot of traction in our staff e-mails this morning and I decided to play this Girardi name game for our staff generals and soldiers. Here is what I came up with.

Some of them are not real original, but then again, some of Girardi’s are either. “Jeets,” is rather bland is it not? Therefore Stacey Gotsulias simply becomes, “Gots.” Without further ado, here are the rest of our staff in Girardi form:

  • Jason Rosenberg = “Skip.”  I’d call him, “Rosie,” but I like writing here.
  • Larry Koestler = “Coast.”
  • Moshe Mandel = “Mosh.”
  • Brien Jackson = “Jackie.”
  • We’ll just call Michael Eder, “E.”
  • Tamar Chalker = “Tam.”
  • E.J. Fagan already has one in, “EJ.”
  • Brad Vietrogoski = “Veet.”
  • Domenic Lanza = “Major,” as in Major Domo.

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Game 9: Tanaka’s home debut

Masahiro Tanaka makes his Yankee Stadium debut tonight for the New York Yankees as the team plays the third game of its series against the Baltimore Orioles. The new pitcher for the Yankees has a tough test against a very good lineup.

Here are the lineups:

Baltimore Orioles:

  1. Nick Markakis – RF
  2. Delmon Young – DH
  3. Chris Davis – 1B
  4. Adam Jones – CF
  5. Matt Wieters – C
  6. Nelson Cruz – LF
  7. Steve Lombardozzi – 2B
  8. Ryan Flaherty – SS
  9. Jonathan Schoop – 3B

SP – Miguel Gonzalez

New York Yankees:

  1. Brett Gardner – CF
  2. Derek Jeter – SS
  3. Jacoby Ellsbury – DH
  4. Carlos Beltran – RF
  5. Brian McCann – C
  6. Alfonso Soriano – LF
  7. Kelly Johnson – 1B
  8. Brian Roberts – 2B
  9. Yangervis Solarte – 3B

SP – Masahiro Tanaka

Some things to look for:

  • Matt Wieters has an eight game hitting streak and loves hitting at Yankee Stadium.
  • Leading off the game or an inning, Brett Gardner is 0-11 with three walks and five strikeouts.

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Yankees finally hit a homer, beat Blue Jays, 6-4

The New York Yankees scored six runs before the fourth inning was over, all off Blue Jays’ starter, Drew Hutchison. The last two runs were the result of a Brett Gardner line drive homer, the Yankees’ first of the season. Hutchison took the loss and is now 1-1. David Robertson put two base runners on in the ninth for a little tension, but got Colby Rasmus to pop out to third and Melky Cabrera on a line drive to right for his second save. CC Sabathia picked up the win to even his record to 1-1.

CC Sabathia’s outing was mostly encouraging. He gave up a home run to Melky Cabrera, the first batter he faced, but then shut down the Blue Jays for the next five innings. At one point, he had thrown first-pitch strikes to nineteen straight batters. He then got the first two outs in the sixth inning and ran into trouble.

Jose Bautista hit a pop up off the end of his bat that had all kinds of English on it.…

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Pineda is great-a but the offense duds, Blue Jays win

Michael Pineda made it worth the wait with a six-inning stellar performance that showed he can really help the Yankees’ rotation this year. Unfortunately, despite four really decent chances, the Yankees could not get the big hit they needed and laid an egg. In the eighth inning, David Phelps yielded a homer, a double and then another homer to put the game out of reach. R.A. Dickey got the win to even his record at 1-1 and Sergio Santos got a four out save.for his second of the year. Pineda got the hard luck loss and is 0-1.

Before we get to the bad stuff, let’s talk about Pineda.  He has been away from the Majors as long as Grady Sizemore. Think about that for a second. After working hard all winter and spring, he earned the opportunity to head north with the Yankees as the fifth starter. And what a fifth starter he can be!

Michael Pineda pitched six innings against a tough lineup and gave up six hits and no walks He struck out five.…

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Quit yer stallin’ for relief pitchers

Originally published at The Flagrant Fan

Although I am on the high side of my fifties, I am in large part still a kid inside. Baseball works very well for that. And when I yell at players on my television screen, I often yell in the voices of Bugs Bunny characters. If you don’t believe me, ask my wife. Such an occasion occurred last night in the Blue Jays – Yankees game when Toronto manager, John Gibbons, clearly stalled the game trying to give a relief pitcher in the bullpen a few more reps before he came in to pitch. Out of my mouth, Yosemite Sam’s, “Quit yer stallin’!”

This is how it happened. Starter, Dustin McGowan was having a rough night. Gibbons had been forced to start up the bullpen in the first when the Yankees started cuffing McGowan around and had the bases loaded with two runs already in. But McGowan got out of the jam without further damage and then pitched a successful second inning.…

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Bullpen arms and anti-regression velocity

(Originally published at The Flagrant Fan)

In a post yesterday, I pondered relief pitchers like Chad QuallsMatt Albers and Jake McGee who have unexpectedly increased their fastball velocity with age. Their careers piqued my curiosity. And so I took a look at pitchers who have pitched in relief since 2010 and if their velocity has regressed or not. Let me share what I have discovered.

First, let me disclaim a few things. As always the disclaimer that I am not a math guy with a great handle on how to figure these things out. I am more like Joe Posnanski in knowing enough to be dangerous but not nearly as good at him at writing about my feeble discoveries and calculations.

Secondly, I am using Fangraphs.com’s Pitch Type tool which lumps all fastball types together (4-seam, 2-seam, sinker). While that is inconvenient, it does make it easier than tracking three different pitch types.

And lastly, I am not talking about success rates, movement, the value of the fastball or anything but velocity.…

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Opening Day Trivia with answers

Bill must have taken an open book test? Heh. Here are the questions with the answers:

Ten Years Ago

  • In the 2004 opener, the Yankees played the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Tokyo, Japan. Who was the only Japanese player to play in the game? An easy one to start with, right? – Hideki Matsui
  • Which...
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Yankees Opening Day Trivia

While we wait impatiently for the season to really start, I figured we could play a little game of trivia concerning Yankee Opening Days through the years. You are on your honor system for not cheating (All you B-R searchers) and the answers will be posted tomorrow:

Ten Years Ago

  • In the 2004 opener, the Yankees played the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Tokyo, Japan. Who was the only Japanese player to play in the game? An easy one to start with, right?
  • Which Yankee pitcher was the Opening Day starter and lost?
  • What former Yankee player went three for three for the Devil Rays including a double and homer?

Twenty Years Ago

  • 1994 was the year that ended with shame, wasting a great Yankee team that could have xhgone far in the post season. On Opening Day of that season, what Yankee pitcher–who would end up with a winning percentage over .800 for the season–got the win?
  • What Yankee pitcher got the save?

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