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

Red Socked by Yanks, spoil Fenway’s party

The game started for the Red Sox with misfortune as Derek Jeter popped out to shallow right field. Dustin Pedroia called for the ball but lost it in the sun and the ball bounced out of his glove. The official scorer gave Pedroia an error, but it wasn’t a misplay, it was a fluke. The Yankees took the gift whichever way it was written down on the scorecard. Curtis Granderson flew out but a wild pitch (REALLY wild) sailed over Jared Saltalamacchia’s head and Jeter moved to second and then scored on a solid single to center by Alex Rodriguez.

Before the game, Joe Girardi was shown on video as stating the big difference with the new Ivan Nova and the old one was the pitcher’s ability to limit damage in an inning. Nova did that all day. Nova worked around  a single in the first inning to keep the score 1-0. After two straight games of Yankee pitchers giving up four runs in the first inning, this was a refreshing change for the Yankees.…

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Fenway Park and the Yankees

The Yankees have always had the short right field dimensions. Aside from Pesky’s Pole, Fenway Park is a detriment to the types of teams the Yankees built for themselves. Conversely, Fenway has always had that short left field with that Wall that seems to loom over the shortstop’s head. Balls the Red Sox would pepper off that Wall and over it become outs in the Death Valley of left and left center in Yankee Stadium.

Over the long history of the two teams, this has hurt the Red Sox more than the Yankees. The Yankees have a 609-427 record at home against the Red Sox. The Red Sox have a 527-523 record at home against the Yankees. That is the historical record. But how has it gone in the last decade? Here are the Yankees’ home/road records for these two teams as they have battled each other:

  • 2002: 5-4 (home), 5-5 (Fenway)
  • 2003: 5-5 (home), 5-4 (Fenway)
  • 2004: 5-4 (home), 3-7 (Fenway)
  • 2005: 5-4 (home), 5-5 (Fenway)
  • 2006: 4-6 (home), 7-2 (Fenway)
  • 2007: 6-3 (home), 4-5 (Fenway)
  • 2008: 4-5 (home), 5-4 (Fenway)
  • 2009: 7-2 (home), 2-7 (Fenway)
  • 2010: 4-5 (home), 5-4 (Fenway)
  • 2011: 2-7 (home), 4-5 (Fenway)

Totals: 47-45 (home), 45-48 (Fenway)

These two longtime American League rivals have pretty much played to a draw over the last ten seasons.…

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The elephant in the room

First of all, we do not know if Freddy’s agent beat Bartolo’s to the punch with the Yankees or what. We do not know what Brian Cashman was thinking and if he ever thought about keeping Bartolo Colon. Once Cashman signed Garcia and Phil Hughes was counted on for the rotation, Colon was a moot point. “Shrek” did sign with Oakland for less money than the Yankees paid Garcia and yes, Bartolo Colon is 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA while Garcia has jumped the shark in his first starts with the Yankees. So yes, it is easy at this point to beat our chests and say, “What the heck, Cashman?”

But if you were choosing without knowing this season’s results between Garcia and Colon, wouldn’t they have seemed equal to you? Their seasons a year ago were similar. Both pitched better than expected. Garcia maintained his game longer and Colon faded a bit down the stretch. Without knowing what you know now, wouldn’t you have a tough time choosing between the two of them?…

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Clunky Kuroda and blown chances sink Yankees

The Twins were all over Kuroda in the first inning. Denard Span started things with a single. Jamey Carroll doubled to left to score Span. Joe Mauer then hit an opposite field double to left that became a ground rule double and Carroll scored. After a Josh Willingham ground out, Justin Morneau then hit a bomb to right center that bounced off the back of the  to plate Mauer and himself and four runs had scored. Chris Parmelee singled and it seemed the inning would never end, but Kuroda managed to escape further damage.

The Yankees did not take long to welcome Jason Marquis to the American League in the bottom of the first. Derek Jeter started things off with a single. Curtis Granderson walked. Mark Teixeira just missed his first homer of the season as he flew out to deep center.  Robinson Cano doubled to drive in Jeter. Nick Swisher singled to center to score Granderson and Cano. Raul Ibanez then singled to send Swisher to third.…

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Game twelve – Game three with the Twins

Kuroda has never faced the Twins and will have some benefit from that team not knowing his stuff. Of the Twins, only Josh Willingham has any experience against him. Marquis is in the same boat as the Yankees haven’t faced him in over five years. Raul Ibanez has a good history against Marquis in 22 at bats including a .364 average and two homers (SSS). All members of the Yankee bullpen should be available with the exception of Cory Wade who has pitched two days in a row.

Mark Teixeira tweeted that he is feeling fine and should be back in the Yankees’ lineup tonight. Alex Rodriguez is feeling fine too, but has the day off. Swisher is at DH and Ibanez is playing right field. Ugh.

Tonight’s lineups:

Twins:

Denard Span CF

Jamey Carroll SS

Joe Mauer C

Josh Willingham LF

Justin Morneau DH

Chris Parmelee 1B

Sean Burroughs 3B

Clete Thomas RF

Alexi Casilla 2B

 Yankees: 

Derek Jeter SS

Curtis Granderson CF

Mark Teixeira 1B

Robinson Cano 2B

Nick Swisher DH

Raul Ibanez RF

Eric Chavez 3B

Russell Martin C

Brett Gardner LF

Quite a different lineup for both teams tonight.…

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State of the Yankees

The offense

The Yankees’ offense is certainly not clicking on all cylinders yet. And that is excellent news. Why is that excellent news? Because even with several key pieces missing thus far, the team still leads the American League in on-base percentage and is third in runs scored. Robinson Cano has yet to hit with regularity. Mark Teixeira has been mostly invisible. Alex Rodriguez has not hit well. Russell Martin is batting a buck-sixty. And yet, this offense is third in the AL in runs scored. Just how good will it be when some of these stragglers get going?

As of now, the Yankees have been led offensively by Derek Jeter, who has been a whole lot of fun to watch so far this season, and by Brett Gardner, who is batting .321 and getting on base 42 percent of the time. Curtis Granderson is batting only .227 but has three homers and is hitting line drives at a prodigious pace (40.6 percent!).…

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Twins need to move Liriano

From an outside observer, it seems evident that the Twins’ coaches and manager do not trust the guy. After his brilliant season in 2010, it seemed odd that some disparaging remarks were made about his strikeout rate. And it seemed doubly odd that he was not named as the Opening Day starter in 2011. In these eyes, that showed a lack of respect for what he had accomplished in 2010 and a lack of confidence that Liriano could be that good a pitcher again.

And obviously, he wasn’t. So maybe the coaches and the manager were right. Since the start of the 2011 season, Liriano has seen his strikeout rate dwindle and his walk rate elevate. In the years he was successful (2006, 2010), his walks per nine were 2.38 and 2.72 respectively. Since the start of the 2011 season and carrying it over into 2012, Liriano is struggling with a walk per nine rate over five. A quick look at the Pitch/FX data also shows that his velocity is down from 94.2 MPH in 2010 to 91.8 in 2011 and so far, 90.8 MPH this season.…

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