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

Moving on

For the Yankees, in realistic terms, it means that the bullpen is one inning weaker. But also being realistic, the bullpen is the one area that can afford the hit. Even one inning weaker for the Yankee bullpen means a very strong unit out there. If push came to shove, Phil Hughes could easily make up that inning. Of course, we will have to debate the issue of sticking with Hughes in the rotation first. Much more pressing are the injuries to the outfield that have put the Yankees in a roster bind and have caused them to use far inferior players both defensively and offensively for the last week and for who knows how much longer.

In a long season, three straight losses is a drop in the proverbial bucket. A hot streak can erase such things from memory. What is perhaps being exposed is a team that lacks depth in position players. Perhaps only Joe Girardi and Tim McCarver may believe in Eduardo Nunez‘s potential.…

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Low expectations for Phelps start

Phelps has a couple of things going for him. He has already been able in this short season to get major league hitters to chase the ball out of the strike zone. His O-swing rate (SSS) sits at a very good 34 percent. The Royals are not the most patient and discriminating team in baseball. Only Mitch Maier and Alex Gordon have decent walk rates for their team. If Phelps can stay ahead in the counts, he can easily get the Royals to fish. The second thing he has going for him is these low expectations. He really has nothing to lose but to go out there and give it his best shot.

On the downside, Phelps does not possess overpowering stuff and a put-away pitch. He needs to be ultra-fine on the margins or he will get hit. The Royals have three hitters with very good power in Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler. Make a fat pitch to one of those guys and the ball will get lost in a hurry.…

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Arrieta blanks Yankees, 5-0

Of course, there are two sides to every story. You can credit the Orioles’ pitching or you can blame the Yankees’ offense. And that offense keeps taking some hits. The latest is Eric Chavez who dove for a ball hit down the line by J.J. Hardy and in the process gave himself whiplash or concussion-like symptoms. According to a tweet by Jeff Roberts, Chavez was sent to New York Presbyterian Hospital for head and neck scans and will not travel with the team to Kansas City. The Yankees are now without Chavez, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner and will be seriously impacted depth-wise for several games.

Ivan Nova‘s winning streak came to an end and perhaps that is a good thing in that we can focus on his pitching instead of “the streak.” Nova was clearly not at his best in this one. Nova uncharacteristically walked four batters and hit another. Of his 114 pitches, fifty of them were balls.…

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Pettitte less than convincing as prosecution witness

The presiding judge in the case, Reggie Walton, said that Pettitte’s testimony was conflicted and Pettitte doesn’t really know what Clemens said concerning use of HGH. The bottom line here seems to be that Pettitte’s testimony for the prosecution did more aid for Clemens’ case than it did against it and perhaps that will make Andy Pettitte sleep a little better.

Whatever the outcome, my opinion on the entire thing has not changed. This is a colossal waste of taxpayer money that resulted from congressional hearings (after the Mitchell Report was published) which were themselves a waste of the government’s time and resources. Those hearings were political grandstanding at its best.  Major League Baseball was clearly on the PED case as the Mitchell Report showed and though the league’s actions were a decade late, it was clearly making up for lost time. There was no need for Congress to get involved and spending all this time to try to prove that Clemens lied to them costs a phenomenal amount of money that we taxpayers would rather spend elsewhere.…

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Reliever mentality – another viewpoint

I am a big believer in body language. Frankly, Hughes’ mound presence and body language have left much to be desired. We have heard often that Hughes is a California dude with not a whole lot of tenacity in his mindset. Word was that this past off season, he put more effort into his conditioning and that was encouraging. Young players have to invest in their own careers at some point and Hughes seemed to be doing that. But then the season started and much of that investment seemed to go the way of a 1929 stock portfolio.

Much was also made last season of Hughes’ loss of velocity. That was the problem we were all told. What used to be a fastball in the 92 to 94 MPH range died down to 89-90. But his velocity is back. And yet the results are not. You can blame the lack of secondary pitches to put batters away and keep them off balance, and sure, that has a lot to do with it.…

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Basking in the glow of C.C. Sabathia

Mike Mussina once said that a very good pitcher will win half of his starts. And sure enough, Mussina can count himself among those as he won 270 of his career 536 starts–just a tick above half. Roger Clemens won 354 of his 709 starts. Just a tick over half. Andy Pettitte has won 240 of his 479 starts. Just a tick over half. C.C. Sabathia has made 106 starts for the Yankees and has won 62 of them. So, by the Mussina-scale, Sabathia is doing pretty darned well as a Yankee.

In his Yankee career, C.C. Sabathia has now gone 62 – 23. That is an unbelievable winning percentage of .729. Whitey Ford’s winning percentage with the Yankees was .690. Ron Guidry’s was .651. Andy Pettitte’s is .644. Roger Clemens with the Yankees was .664. Lefty Gomez’s was .652. Mike Mussina’s was .631. Herb Pennock’s was .643. C.C. Sabathia has been as sure of a thing as a pitcher the Yankees have ever seen.…

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