Author Archives: William Tasker

Guthrie shuts down Yankees, wins 5-1

Here is some logic for you. All Yankees except Mariano Rivera and Robinson Cano will have a four day vacation next week. But the Yankees were concerned about the team getting overtired and so they activated Travis Ishikawa to give Lyle Overbay a day off. Vernon Wells got a start against a right-handed pitcher to give Ichiro Suzuki a break. Austin Romine got a start to rest Chris Stewart and Alberto Gonzalez started in place of Eduardo Nunez because he had played three games in a row. When the bottom four guys in your lineup would not look good even in a Spring Training game, Jeremy Guthrie looks like Greg Maddux.

Here is more logic. The short porch in Yankee Stadium is right field. So Phil Hughes and Romine decided to throw Billy Butler an outside fastball so he can hit the ball to right field. Gee, a Hughes-allowed homer. How novel.

In fairness to Hughes, he did not get a chance to get a quality start.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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If someone were to tell me that the New York Yankees were to go 6-1 in the last week after the week they had  previously, I would have thought they were crazy. But as good a week as it was, that last game against the Orioles really hurt. Speaking as a fan here and not a journalist, I would rather see the Yankees lose in any other way than via a Mariano Rivera blown save. Ugh. The pits. That was brutal. And the thing about that Adam Jones homer was that, not only was it poor execution by Rivera on the pitch, but it was bad strategy by the battery as a whole. Jones will swing at everything, so to throw him strikes is…well…you saw the results.

All in all, it was a good week. So what will this week bring? Let’s take a look in this latest version of “This week in Yankees baseball.”

The first bit of good news is that the Yankees are at home at Yankee Stadium all week.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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Well…there has to be a positive spin in here somewhere. June is over? Yeah, that works. June is over. By any standard thrown out there by any team–never mind by Yankees’ standards–June was a horrid month. The New York Yankees went 11-16 in June. They lost four and a half games in the standings. They were outscored by 32 runs in the month. The team came in last or next to last in all of baseball in most offensive categories. This current Yankees team has had so little going for them on the offensive side, that is has been…well…offensive. Wait. I started by searching for a positive spin. June is over. That is it. June.

As I was watching the game last night and watching the fans of the Baltimore Orioles celebrate and rock Camden Yards, I was happy for them. This success has been a long time coming. They have a fun team to watch. Feeling any other way is not being a good sport and not being a fan of the overall game of baseball.

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Mike Torrez and his unique Yankees history

Mike Torrez is now 66 years old. Where does the time go? He pitched eighteen years in the big leagues. He started his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. That is hard to believe and to remember. He won more of his career starts than he lost (185-160) and he was one of the first free agent hired guns when the Boston Red Sox signed him to a big contract in 1978. It was that deal that brought him to that fateful moment that would forever become one of the New York Yankees’ signature moments: The Bucky Dent home run. Dent hit his Fenway miracle off of Mike Torrez, and the Carl Yastrzemski reaction is almost as memorable as the euphoria that swept through the Yankees as Dent rounded the bases. That moment prolonged the Red Sox curse another sixteen years until it was finally broken in 2004.

Mike Torrez was not an especially great pitcher. He finished his career with a 98 ERA+.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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I was Sunday’s game away from being dead on in my prediction for this past week. But the Yankee bats went silent against Chris Archer and the Rays’ bullpen and pushed across just a single first-inning run. Sunday’s loss left them at 3-3 for the week. And while playing .500 ball at home is a disappointment, the Yankees still managed to gain some ground on both the Red Sox and Orioles as both of those teams stumbled this past week. I feel like I am living in a glass-half-full / glass-half-empty kind of world. The good news is that the Yankees are still hanging in the same zip code as the division leader. The bad news is that what has kept them at nearly a .500 team for the last month continues: paltry offense, uneven starting pitching and inconsistency in the bullpen for people other than David Robertson and Mariano Rivera.

While Brett Gardner continues to be the best player on the team, the debut week of Zoilo Almonte sure was fun.…

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Limp Yankees lose the nightcap to the Dodgers

Chris Capuano returned from the disabled list to face the New York Yankees. Apparently the rest was good for him. Capuano entered the game with a 1.515 WHIP and a 5.50 ERA. He was giving up 10.1 hits per nine innings and 3.5 walks per nine. All the Yankees could manage against him were three singles and no walks in six scoreless innings and then managed only one more base runner via a hit by pitch against two relievers. Phil Hughes continued his home Mr. Hyde act and gave up ten hits and a hit by pitch in six innings of work and gave up five runs on the way to a final score of 6-0. The tone of this one was set in the first inning and once that frame was over, the game was effectively over.

Hughes reached a 1-2 count on lead-off batter, Skip Schumaker, and then promptly left a fastball in the middle of the plate for a sharp single.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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The last three weeks have been a wild ride for those of us who observe the New York Yankees on a regular basis. The last three weeks have produced the following results: 1-5, 6-1, 1-5. What the heck do you make of that mess? My predictions each week have not been remotely close with those kinds of wild swings. We all know the offense is putrid. We all know the pitching has been spotty. And the last couple of weeks have shown us that as much as we love our 43 year old closer, his last season is not going to be dominating as in the past. We can celebrate each one of his saves, but our hearts get in our throats just a little bit more than usual.

This week will be very interesting. First off, the Yankees come home finally after a long trip out west. That means that we can go back to normal sleeping patterns here on the East Coast.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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Last week’s post was all doom and gloom as the New York Yankees completed a 1-6 week. What a difference a week makes as the Yankees reversed that fortune exactly with a 6-1 week after sweeping the Indians and winning three of four from the Seattle Mariners. That one loss was, of course, the most frustrating game of the week as the Yankees allowed Jeremy Bonderman to win his first game since 2010. But, ah well, that was all but forgotten after coming out with a final series victory on a game that was started by Felix Hernandez, the great ace of the Mariners. That was a beautifully played game with Brett Gardner and Chris Stewart paving the way. The week allowed the Yankees to keep pace with the still-flying Boston Red Sox and the Yankees remain a game and a half off the pace.

The Yankees remain on the West Coast and will be out there all week, which is not easy on sleep patterns for those of us in the east.…

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The team that pulls together…

Day after day as I watch these New York Yankees play, I see two basic patterns. The first is that whenever the Yankees have men on base, they try to pull the ball and usually do not have much success doing so. And other teams that they play hurt them by going the other way. It drives me crazy. It drives me crazy when Mark Teixeira and Travis Hafner cannot hit a ground ball to third base once in a while when no one is playing there. So I wanted to see if my observations were all wet or if there was any truth to what I have been sputtering about. What I found was that most of my suspicions were correct.

For example, based on batted ball data, the Yankees have driven in the grand total of twelve runs on opposite field batted balls. Twelve! They have hit one opposite field home run. Opponents have hit five opposite field homers against them.…

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