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

Thoughts on Joe Girardi

As far as I can tell, there is no statistical way to quantify a manager’s affect on wins and losses. Some say that managers have no bearing, that only performance by the players leads to victories and losses. Others lay of lot of credit to the guy that makes out the lineup card, makes pitching changes and is somewhat responsible for the way the team is run. It seems that most managers that have managed a long time have those value decisions made for them. But what do you go by? Many times, a manager’s overall record over time is considered. But again, a guy could get four jobs managing really bad teams. Does that make him a lousy manager? Joe Girardi has an overall managerial record of .570 and is .591 with the Yankees. That’s impressive. But how much credit can you give him?

I have often wondered if the Pythagorean won-loss record is any indication of a manager’s ability.…

Read more

Sabathia wins battle of aces – Yankees win the series

About that bad start. The Rays scored single runs in both the first and second innings thanks in large parts to a pair of errors by Eduardo Nunez. The first error in the first inning would have been the third out and extended the inning. It could have been worse though as after the error, Carlo Pena hit a bloop over Cano’s head to score a run. Jeff Keppinger tried to score from second but Nick Swisher charged the ball and threw a strike to the plate to get the third out and prevent the inning from blowing up.

After Price worked around two singles in the bottom of the first, Elliot Johnson led off the inning with a single. The Chris Gimenez grounded to Nunez and he threw the ball away. Two innings, two errors–one with the glove, the other with his arm. Sabathia almost worked out of the jam as he got the next two batters. But he made a bad two-strike pitch to Sean Rodriguez, who singled to plate the second run.…

Read more

Learning to live with Raul Ibanez

Now here is a bit of a confession. I hated the Raul Ibanez deal. Absolutely hated it. And then he went like two for Spring Training and diatribes spewed regularly from my mouth. But here he was in the fourth inning and I sat there totally dejected in my beat up recliner. And he hit a homer. He hit a two-run homer! Okay, some will call it a “Yankee porch” homer. At least it wasn’t in the front row. Carlos Pena denigrated it in a post game interview. But Pena would have taken it, right? In a huge series…oh wait…I said we couldn’t call it that…oh what the heck…In a huge series, the Yankees had a two to zip lead thanks to Raul Ibanez.

Ibanez would hit a second shot in the bottom of the seventh off of Badenhop. That homer was big too because the Bay Rays had hit two solo homers off of Ivan Nova to cut the lead to one run.…

Read more

Of course the new closer was nervous!

“A little nerve-wracking,” Robertson said of his first save since becoming the man who would replace Mariano Rivera as the Yankees closer. “I didn’t mean to put so many guys on.”

and:

“I had some nerves out there,” Robertson admitted. “I knew it was the first time without Mo and I wanted to get the job done quickly. But it didn’t work out that way.”

and:

“I was thinking, ‘Don’t blow your first opportunity,’ ” Robertson said. “I was afraid Mo might come back in here and slap me around.”

Whenever your mind is playing those kinds of tricks on you, succeeding becomes doubly difficult. David Robertson was fortunate. He squeaked by his first save opportunity and that should help settle him down in future efforts. There is some good news here. Robertson struck out two more batters, giving him 23 in just 13 innings of work. How does 15.9 strikeouts per nine innings grab you?

Here is Robertson’s Pitch/FX for the outing.…

Read more

Mickey Mantle’s 500th homer

On this Mothers Day in 1967, Mantle was stuck on 499 career home runs. It had been eleven days since he had belted 499 in Minnesota. It looked like it took an act of will for him to even step on the field at that point and so we wondered how long it would take.

For once, we boys were not sitting glued to the television watching the game. Choosing between watching the Yankees and having one of those Emerson steak dinners would have been an impossible choice. But it was Mothers Day and that trumped the decision. So we missed the game. Mel Stottlemyre got the start for the Yankees and Steve Barber, a left-handed pitcher who lost eighteen games in 1967, started for the Orioles. Barber would later pitch for the Yankees. With Barber pitching, the switch-hitting Mantle would bat from the right side and reached on an error in the first by Brooks Robinson. That didn’t happen often!…

Read more

Playing with Jeter’s numbers

Jeff Passan is right in his article on Yahoo this morning. Derek Jeter will regress. There is no way he can sustain a .428 BABIP with a 62.5 percent ground ball rate. But where will Jeter end up by the end of the season? Passan doesn’t speculate. So I will pick up the slack. Dan Szymborski of Baseball Think Factory has already done some of that work with his ZiPS Projections. Before the season started, that projections system thought that Derek Jeter would play 110 games and finish with a triple slash line of, .285/.344/.395. And let’s be honest, if those projections were close, Yankee fans would have been thrilled. That isn’t bad for a 37 year old shortstop. But his amazing start has already tilted Symborski’s updated projections.

The most recent update of ZiPS now predicts Jeter will end up with 138 games played and a triple slash line of, .308/.364/.437. Wouldn’t we all be thrilled if those were Jeter’s final tallies?…

Read more