Author Archives: William Tasker

Bobby Murcer – WPA Hero

Searching for and creating all-time Yankee lists is one of the things I like to do in my spare time. As such, it seems that Baseball-reference.com’s Play Index was personally made just for me. I do not consider paying for that service an inconvenience. I consider it one of life’s necessary expenses. This time, I was trying to get a sense of which Yankee player has had the biggest hits. I decided to use WPA (Win Probability Added). I will try to define that statistic in a moment. But for the sake of getting this article off the ground, suffice it to say for now that WPA measures how a plate appearance affects the outcome of a game. I found fifteen games where the WPA score for a game was over .800 (roughly 80% of a win). Bobby Murcer had five of them. No other Yankee has ever had more than two such games.

alg_murcer-undatedTom Tango is mostly responsible for the win expectancy and game leverage type statistics.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

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The New York Yankees won five out of seven this week as they swept the Toronto Blue Jays four games to none over the weekend. I expected the team to lose two of three down in St. Pete against the Rays. I did not expect a sweep of the Blue Jays, though I did believe the team would win the series. My prediction was 4-3 for the week. The only trouble for the team is that its counterparts in the American League East keep winning too. The Red Sox continue their blistering pace and the Orioles won all week as well.  All four teams in the AL East other than the Toronto Blue Jays have won seven of their last ten. The Yankees remain two and a half games behind the Red Sox in second place, a half a game up on the Orioles.

In theory, this week coming up works really well for them. They remain home for the entire week and the next weekend is sandwiched in between two off days on Thursday and Monday before the team  heads out on a road trip.…

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This week in Yankees baseball – Heading into Week 4

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The New York Yankees have won four straight series and that is what Joe Girardi likes. C.C. Sabathia picked up another win. Andy Pettitte won another start. Heck, even Ivan Nova won one of his two starts. Hiroki Kuroda pitched well enough to win his start but that game became a bullpen win after the bullpen blew Kuroda’s. And perhaps we are a greedy and spoiled bunch, but it certainly seemed like the last two series should have been sweeps. The team went ahead, 4-2 on Sunday just to see the bullpen cough up four runs to give the Blue Jays the last game of the series. Back on Thursday, the Yankees were down a run heading into the ninth and Francisco Cervelli smacked a homer to tie the game. But David Phelps–who figured prominently in both losses this week–got roughed up in the twelfth inning. The week could have been better…should have been better. But it could have been worse too.…

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Joba Chamberlain as Lenny Pike

Joba Chamberlain has been a personal favorite ever since his sizzling debut in 2007. There is just something about the guy that makes me root for him. But in the entire time he has been with the Yankees, it has always been at the back of my mind that he reminds me of somebody. For years, I could not put my finger on who it was. The round face, the straight-billed cap, his sometimes blank looking expression all hearkened back to someone from my past. I gave up a long time ago of figuring out who it was.

And then Jonathan Winters died recently. Winters had been a guy that has made me laugh for decades on end. To celebrate Winters’ life, I took a stroll on YouTube to see if I could watch some video of Winters in action. And then it struck me. When Winters played Lenny Pike in It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, his performance was the highlight of a movie I enjoyed as a boy seeing in a drive-in movie theater.…

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This week in Yankee baseball

The second week of the season went quite a bit better for the New York Yankees than the first week did.  The team is holding its own in the standings despite its rag-tag offense. Other than Phil Hughes, the rotation had a good week with Andy Pettitte, C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda all pitching well. It was too bad that there were two postponements in Cleveland as the Yankees could have further enjoyed the soft underbelly of the Indians’ rotation. But otherwise, it was a good week, concluding with a series win against the rival Orioles.

Monday is an off day so the Yankees uniform manager will not have to worry about preparing all those #42 uniform numbers (unless the team wears them on Tuesday—have not heard). And then Tuesday, open a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Stadium.

The first game of that series will feature Ivan Nova (pronounced, “Nover,” up here in Maine) versus Brandon McCarthy.…

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Kuroda and Gardner lead the way to Yankee victory over the Orioles

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The New York Yankees, behind a complete game shutout by Hiroki Kuroda, and a three-run fifth inning by the Yankees’ makeshift lineup, took the series from the Baltimore Orioles, two games to one. Jayson Nix drove in the first run in the fifth inning off of Orioles’ starter Wei-Yin Chen with a sacrifice fly and then Brett Gardner hit a booming two-run homer to round out the scoring.

Kuroda was magnificent. He had all of his pitches working and induced 21 ground balls on 25 batted balls by the Orioles, allowing only five hits and no walks. Kuroda struck out five and even worked around two errors by the left side of his infield. The Yankees’ starter threw 70% of his 113 pitches for strikes and it was not until the ninth inning when a runner got to second on defensive indifference, did the Orioles get a runner into scoring position.

Wei-Yin Chen matched Kuroda for the first four innings though he was not as sharp as Kuroda.…

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This week in Yankees baseball – Week Two

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After a very troubling first week of the season, the New York Yankees will continue on the road for the first four days of the week with a four game set with the Cleveland Indians before coming back home to play the Baltimore Orioles for the weekend. Many expected the banged up offense to be a problem for the Yankees but the pitching was expected to hold up the injury-riddled team to at least make them competitive. With the exception of Andy Pettitte, both the starting pitching and the bullpen has not been sharp and has not held up anything. So what lies ahead and is this team as in trouble as it looks? Let’s take a look.

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Four games in Cleveland is not the worst thing in the world for the Yankees. For one, the rotation in Cleveland is not deep and once the Yankees get by Ubaldo Jimenez on Monday, the underbelly of the Indians rotation will be exposed for the Yankees to exploit.…

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Way more than just a Yankee win

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers, Game 6

Writing for a New York Yankees site and maintaining a somewhat journalistic objectivity is already difficult enough after spending a lifetime watching this team. Last night’s win over the Boston Red Sox threw that objectivity about as far off the cliff as a pumpkin chunkin. Andy Pettitte made his 409th start for the Yankees and won his 209th game for the team with eight glorious innings. According to one stat I read this morning, Andy Pettitte is now 18-3 lifetime in helping the Yankees avoid a sweep. Mariano Rivera then gave his fans a bit of heartburn, but in the end, froze Jackie Bradley Jr. for his 609th career save–all for the Yankees. It was a combination that will never again be matched in baseball as two pitchers who started their careers together nineteen years ago. According to some of the game recaps I read, this was the 69th time that Rivera has saved a win for Andy Pettitte, an all time record.…

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This week in Yankees baseball

After all the discussion following a spring full of injuries to key players, the season opens this week and we will get our first real glimpse of what the 2013 season will bring for the New York Yankees.  Right off the bat (pun intended), the Yankees will open the season with a series against old rivals, the Boston Red Sox. After three games with the beantowners, the Yankees will finish off the week with a series in Detroit, the place where last season ended.

Every week for the season, Monday morning will bring you a preview of the week to come. Early in the season, the preview will not only talk about the pitching match ups and the games scheduled, but also the weather, which is always a dicey proposition in April. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and let’s play ball!

The season starts today at 1:05 at Yankee Stadium III. The weather forecast is for a high temperature of 57, but showers are predicted for the afternoon.

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