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

Too early to worry about Teixeira

Teixeira has battled slow starts in April his entire career. He has hit twenty less homers in April than in any other month on the calendar. Historically, Mark Teixeira has a .767 OPS if you combine all his Aprils. His lowest other month is .899. Unfortunately, the first baseman has been through this before. His history was somewhat forgotten because last season, Teixeira had an OPS of .941 in April. It was his best month of the season (though he hit ten homers in May). Perhaps you can build a case of concern in that Teixeira had an OPS of .790 in the second half of last season and hasn’t started this season well. You could logically build a case that Teixeira’s OPS has declined for in each of his seasons in New York after beginning his Yankee career at .948 in 2009.

You could also tie it to the same dip in offense in all of the major leagues from 2009.…

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Bullpen, Ibanez carry Yanks past O’s

Freddy Garcia’s evening started innocently enough as the first batter, Endy Chavez flew out weakly to center. But then J.J. Hardy crushed a fastball that tailed over the plate for a homer to tie the game. Garcia then walked Nick Markakis. Adam Jones flew out and then Matt Wieters singled. Garcia’s first wild pitch while facing Nick Johnson moved Markakis to third and Wieters to second. A second wild pitch plated Markakis for the Orioles’ second run. Nick Johnson grounded out to end the inning.

Chen settled down after the first inning and retired the Yankees in order in the second, third and fourth innings. Garcia surrendered a walk to Mark Reynolds in the second, but Reynolds was thrown out at second on a failed Hit and Run. The Yankees’ starter set the Orioles down in order in the third but ran into further trouble in the fourth.

Adam Jones led off the inning with a double and then wild pitch number three sent him to third.…

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Ivan Nova’s good is good enough

What Nova does well for the Yankees is not without precedent. He is in the same mold as Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte. Neither of those two were ever among the leaders as pitchers, they were just good enough to pile up the wins. Pettitte has pitched his particular brand of “good” for so long that there will be a Hall of Fame debate. But we all know that Andy Pettitte has never been an elite pitcher just like Wang in his good years with the Yankees was not elite. The skills they possessed while Yankees is the same as Nova’s: Keep the team in the game, bend and don’t break and pile up the wins. Here is a breakdown of some areas we can compare between the three:

  • Pettitte with the Yankees: 3.88 ERA, 1.357 WHIP, 9.5 hits per nine innings, 0.8 homers per nine, .635 winning percentage.
  • Wang with Yankees: 4.10 ERA, 1.339 WHIP, 9.3 hits per nine innings, 0.6 homers per nine, .679 winning percentage.

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When it rains, it snows. Yankees now 0-3

Phil Hughes started for the Yankees and though he was not great, he was at least better than C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda were in the two previous games. Hughes ran into some misfortune in the first. He quickly dispatched the first two batters, Desmond Jennings and Carlos Pena and had two quick strikes to Evan Longoria. Hughes then made a beautiful pitch that froze Longoria and according to the TBS k-zone thing, appeared to be strike three. But Hughes did not get the call. As happens so often, Longoria then roped a double.  Matt Joyce was the next batter and Hughes broke Joyce’s bat to induce a little flare to right. Joe Girardi, in his infinite wisdom, started Raul Ibanez in right field and had Nick Swisher as the DH. While we can agree that it is too early to judge Ibanez and his bat, his glove is a known entity and the former Phillie has no business wearing one.…

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Opening Day in the Core Four Era

The search for answers was conducted with the full knowledge that in the grand scheme of a 162-game schedule, Opening Day means very little. As does the opening week of the season. After all, whatever happened on the first day and in the first week, fifteen of those sixteen teams made the playoffs. And the one year the team didn’t reach the post season, the Yankees won on Opening Day. So that did not mean too much either. Perhaps part of this exercise is to remind all of us that whatever happens today or in the first seven days of the season, we should not get overly excited.

For further proof of the meaninglessness of putting too much stock in the day’s results, consider that this will be C.C. Sabathia‘s fourth Opening Day assignment with the Yankees. We are talking about a guy who has won 72 percent of his decisions as a Yankee. Yet he is 0-1 in his three Opening Day starts with the team with two no-decisions and only pitched decently in one of them.…

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Guilt over Cervelli and Ibanez

I mean, the poor schmo had to be thinking that life was good. Cervelli was heading into his third season as the backup catcher. Austin Romine made it easy by hurting his back so there were no contenders unless you count a non-Molina Molina. So Cervelli was mentally packing his suitcase and making his checklists and looking forward to the season and suddenly someone was tapping him on the shoulder and telling him the skip wanted to see him. The next thing he knew, he was heading to Triple-A as one of the last cuts on the last day of Spring Training. Ouch. There is no way he could have seen that one coming. Yes, Cervelli has made over $850,000 in his two year run and lived the high life. But this had to rip his heart out.

And who took his job? Chris Stewart. Chris Stewart!? Cervelli knows him! The two played together in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2009. Cervelli had out-survived Stewart after Stewart was one of those players to be named later and sent packing to the White Sox later that same 2009 season.…

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