Author Archives: William Tasker

This week in Yankees baseball

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The New York Yankees had about as ugly a week as you can possibly imagine. They went 1-6 by losing four straight to the New York Mets and two of three to the Boston Red Sox. The team has now lost seven of their last eight and has scored more than four runs only once in its last eleven games. The pitching faltered too as David Phelps and Phil Hughes had horrid starts and the bullpen lost two games. The raging question is whether this is just a bad spell or the true leveling of where this team should have been playing all along. Just about the only encouraging sign seen this week was the brilliant outing CC Sabathia had against the Red Sox.

The return of Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira made little difference on what has become a staid and feeble offense. The bloom is off the Vernon Wells rose as he cannot help himself from swinging at outside sliders.…

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On this date the Iron Horse started chugging

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Eighty-eight years ago on June 1, 1925, Ludwick Heinrich Gehrig pinch hit for Pee-Wee Wanninger and was put out by the Washington Senators. He would go on to play 2,129 more games in a row to finish his iron man streak at 2,130 games (not including World Series Games). Thus was started a record that would stand until Cal Ripkin, Jr. broke it. Many of us have seen the movie, Pride of the Yankees, and to this day the Gary Cooper biopic has remained one of my favorite baseball movies of all time. And while the movie is fantastic, there were a few creative licences taken with how the streak started.

First, many think the streak started as Lou Gehrig‘s career started. But Gehrig had actually played twenty-three games in 1923 and 1924 and had played in eleven previous games in the early part of the Yankees’ 1925 season before Wally Pipp could not play on June 2, 1925.…

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What happens when Teixeira and Youkilis come back?

I was thinking about Brad’s very timely post yesterday on the Yankees being in need of getting their horses back. His reasoning was dead on and though I have grown sort of emotionally attached to this band of vagabond overachievers, Brad is right that their shelf life is starting to expire. The biggest weakness of this current group of Yankees is their lack of patience at the plate. Wearing down starters is what the Yankees and known for. But that simply is not happening and the weakness has been glaring of late. The Yankees (before last night’s no-walk performance against Matt Harvey) have a .290 on-base percentage as a team in May. Brad is correct that the Yankees need Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis to return in the next week or so. But what happens when they do? Who stays and who goes?

Both Youkilis and Teixeira are corner infielders. The only current backup outfielder on the team is Brennan Boesch.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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Happy Memorial Day! I hope your weather is better than mine here in Maine. We are working on our seventh rainy day in a row and everything here is soggier than a vanilla wafer that broke off in your milk glass. There will not be a barbecue here today.

Speaking of flame broiled, the Yankees were not exactly red hot this week. But finishing the week, 3-3, while on the road against division rival like the Orioles and Rays, is plenty acceptable. The middling week did cause the team to finish in a virtual tie with the Red Sox thanks to a total meltdown of the Indians’ closer on Sunday. Curtis Granderson broke another bone after just a few games back. We said goodbye to Ben Francisco, which was not a bad thing, and hello to David “hassle” Huff, which was not a good thing.

This week, the Yankees play four games against the Mets, the first two at Citi Field and the second two at home.…

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His one game was Bliss

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You never know what you will find when scouring through obscure Yankee statistics. Most of what I find and tell you about is at least in somewhat recent history. But what I bring to you today is from the way-back machine. I found a pitcher named, Elmer Bliss, who holds a record of sorts. That obscure record is the most innings pitched in his one and only game outing without giving up an earned run. Bliss made one relief pitching appearance in his career and pitched seven full innings without yielding an earned run. He also won the game. In those seven innings, he gave up just four hits, did not walk anybody and struck out three. The date was September 28, 1903.

There are no box scores from that early a date. All we can ascertain is that he must have relieved a struggling starter and then pitched well enough to allow his team to come back and win the game, 7-6, against the Detroit Tigers at Hilltop Park.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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I predicted that the New York Yankees would go 5-3 last week. They went 4-3 and it would have been 5-3 if the game yesterday had not been rained out. The postponement was the second time this year that was problematic. Earlier in the season, the Yankees lost two games to the weather against the Indians. At the time, the Indians were playing awfully and their pitching was a mess. It was the perfect time for the Yankees to catch them. Instead, those two games were made up after the Indians had time to regroup and start rolling. The result was a split of those two games. Yesterday could have concluded a second sweep of the Blue Jays at a time when the Blue Jays are really floundering. Will history repeat itself? As a team, you want to catch a team when they are down. The opportunity was lost.

So we enter a new week and the Yankees are back out on the road.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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Last week, I predicted this little-engine-that-could New York Yankees’ team would go 3-3 and figured that was a reasonable expectation. I was way off base as the team finished the week 5-1 with five straight wins after opening the week with a loss. I also noted that Vernon Wells‘ Cinderella story was turning back into a pumpkin. But somebody kept the clock from reaching midnight as Wells again became the carriage that carried the Yankees this week. He hit two homers in the five games with five ribbies and only struck out once all week. Of course, he did not walk all week either, but why quibble. Wells also made a couple of great plays in the outfield.

Lyle Overbay had a very good week with two doubles and a homer for an OPS in the last five games of .929. And my perennial punching bag, Jayson Nix, had a great week and finished the week with an OPS over one.…

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Larry Gowell batted 1.000

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I mentioned in an article last week that I enjoy pouring over Yankee lists using the Play Index at Baseball-reference.com. This time, on a whim, I searched for players who finished their Yankee career with a 1.000 batting average. I found five. Two of them do not really count because they also played elsewhere in the majors. Those two were Chris Latham, who had two plate appearances for the Yankees and recorded two hits and scored three runs in 2003. He was a Twins’ product and put in parts of five years in the majors. Then there was Mickey Witek who played six years for the New York Giants, mostly during the WWII years before his one at bat and one hit with the Yankees in 1949. So those two really do not count. The other three included a guy who piqued my interest because he was born and still lives in Maine where I live and because his one hit has a lot of history to it.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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The Yankees finished their ten-game home stand by winning seven of those contests. That perhaps blunts the two of three they lost to the Oakland A’s over this past weekend and masks a bit that the Yankees should have swept the Astros. In the long view, seven wins out of ten is a lot better than the other way around, so quit complaining, right? Hey, it is my column and I will if I want to. After a day off today, the Yankees begin a road trip that starts at dreaded Coors Field where anything can happen, and then finish the week at Kauffman Stadium against a Royals’ team that is no longer a pushover and sits currently a half game behind the Tigers in the AL Central. It should be a wild ride.

The Yankees will lose the DH in Denver and that is a problem on an offense that should not scare anyone despite a pleasant beginning to the season.

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