What should the Yankees do with Tanaka?

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Masahiro Tanaka’s hamstring injury doesn’t seem to be too serious. Sure, he was held out of last night’s start, but that’s to be expected right now. Tanaka needs to be fresh for the postseason, which likely will start October 6 for the Yankees.

Tanaka is supposed to see a doctor today to determine when he is able to come back.

October 6 – the date of the American League Wild Card Game – is a Tuesday. Yankees are still 3.5 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays and can’t seem to overcome the hurdle known as the Blue Jays this season.

Part of me is relegating to the Yankees to the Wild Card Game even though there is still time left. Yankees and Toronto both play some pretty bad teams the rest of the way.

So this all comes down to what should the Yankees do about Tanaka?

At this point, there is no other pitcher I would rather see on the hill for the Yankees in the first game of their postseason other than Tanaka.… Click here to read the rest

CC And Cano Preparing To Carry The Postseason Load

Oh so smoove. Courtesy of the AP

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

Big time players make big time plays in big time games.  That’s a generic sports cliche that, despite my friends and I readily ignoring it when it was repeated to us over and over by our college dropout assistant coach during over sophomore lacrosse season, does ring very true.  There’s a reason Reggie Jackson is called Mr. October, there’s a reason that nickname was altered to Mr. November for Derek Jeter in 2001, and there’s a reason that Aaron Effing Boone will always be a legend in New York despite having a relatively mediocre Major League career.  The Yankees have a lot of big time players on their roster, at least in name, but too often this season those players have come up small in big time games.  2 guys who have stepped up as the pressure has risen these past few weeks are CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano. … Click here to read the rest

A brief reflection

I find it’s particularly easy at times to get lost in the vastness of baseball. The regular season goes on seemingly forever; all the while, it supplements our daily routine in a way no other sport is capable. As the months go by, injuries, hot streaks, heart breaking extra-inning losses and walk off wins all begin to blur together forcing profound moments into a largely irrelevant haze. Then the season ends in rather abrupt (albeit occasionally dramatic) fashion leaving us wondering how those 162 games of baseball disappeared so seamlessly. While our friends in Boston are desperately grasping for insight into how their season went astray, Yankee fans have fortunately been thrown into the frantic, more-often-than-not-heart-wrenching, yet-totally-welcomed plight that is the playoffs. If ever there was a time for us to take off our zen-baseball cap and not murmur the cheap cliché of “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”, it’d certainly be now.

October has arrived; and we watch. We watch with bated breath and fickle temper as each game promises an opportunity to feel anything on the emotional spectrum.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks end regular season swept on road for first time all year following Rays' dramatic late-inning comeback to clinch Wild Card

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Yankees capped off the 2011 regular season by getting swept on the road for the first time all year — and swept for only the third time all season — as the Tampa Bay Rays came storming back from a 7-0 deficit to win 8-7 in extra innings. The loss was the Yankees’ fourth in a row, and dropped their record in extra-inning games to a fluky 4-12 on the season. Additionally, the sweep was Tampa’s second-ever sweep of the Yankees, both of which came at Tropicana Field, and it was the first time the Yanks had been swept on the road since last September following that miserable series in Texas when Ron Washington used 8,000 relievers.

Oh, and the Rays’ win combined with a stunning ninth-inning 4-3 Red Sox loss to the Orioles in which Jonathan Papelbon blew a 3-2 lead and Carl Crawford muffed a potential inning-ending catch ensured that Boston’s historical collapse actually came to fruition, and catapulted the Rays into a rather shocking playoff berth via the Wild Card.… Click here to read the rest

Transitioning into the postseason; some observations

Over the past few days, we’ve been privy to some pretty enthralling baseball. As the final days of the season come to an end, the Sox, Rays, Cardinals, and Braves having taken center stage as they desperately fight for October admittance. With all of this added mania, I’ve found myself watching even more baseball than usual so I thought it’d be fun to take a few moments to jot down some observations.

1) Bizzaro Jesus

We are all well aware by now know of Jesus Montero. As it turns out though, the Sox have a “wicked good” hitting prospect of their own (who also happens to be a backstop), Ryan Lavarnway. His two monster homeruns yesterday couldn’t have been better timed as the Sox find themselves muddling through the final days of what has otherwise been an awful September. While Lavarnway doesn’t have quite the hype surrounding him that Jesus does, he certainly has caught some attention nevertheless. His power stroke is legitimate (.317 ISO in AAA), and he’s put together a very solid season in the minors (.295/.390/.612).… Click here to read the rest

Dismissing Freddy Garcia

Over the last few days, I have had a number of discussions with readers, Twitter users, and media members about what the Yankees’ starting rotation will look like in October. One thing that came up repeatedly that I found to be quite surprising is that many fans do not see Freddy Garcia getting a start in the postseason. Despite the fact that his results point to him being the second best starter on the team to this point, many see his low-80’s stuff coming up short in the playoffs, as the perception is that power stuff is what wins in October. While there is some merit to that argument generally, I think it misses the point when it comes to Garcia. Let’s take a look at Freddy’s statistical place among his fellow Yankee starters, and then examine the possible reasons for keeping Garcia out of the postseason rotation.

Here is where Freddy ranks among Yankee starters in 2011 in the following statistical categories:

ERA: 2nd
FIP: 2nd
K/9: 4th
BB/9: 3rd
WHIP: 3rd
WAR: 2nd

I am pretty comfortable concluding that Garcia has been one of the Yankees top 4 starters this season, and an argument can be made that he has been their best pitcher after CC Sabathia.… Click here to read the rest

Why baseball needs to get rid of the rigid six-division format, shorten the playoffs and move to a tiered system

I’m pleased to present the following guest post from friend-of-the-blog Lenny Vaisman. Lenny’s a die-hard Yankee fan and was actually a semi-regular contributor to my initial foray into Yankee blogging, Save Phil Hughes, posting as HitMan23. Lenny comes to us today with a great (and fairly radical) argument for how baseball can vastly improve the regular season and playoffs.

To paraphrase Howard Bryant from Ken Burns’ “The Tenth Inning,” there are two ways to measure the success of Major League Baseball: If your only criterion is money, then MLB is more successful than ever. But if you measure baseball’s ability to maintain its mythic qualities and capture the hearts and minds of its fans, then baseball has become a depressing failure.

The point is not to mock capitalism. After all, baseball is an industry like any other. What I am trying to highlight is the feeling that Bud Selig and his cronies at both MLB and MLBPA have given making money an infinitely higher priority over their custodial duties relating to what used to be America’s Pastime.… Click here to read the rest

Top (and bottom) Yankee team batting and pitching performances in the postseason since 1995

I promise I’m just about done reliving the horror show that was the 2010 ALCS, but as I kept thinking about the Yankees’ heinous collective offensive line of .201/.300/.370 along with even more brutal pitching numbers, I couldn’t help but wonder how poorly the 2010 ALCS stood with regards to the Yankees’ team performances in the 31 postseason series they’ve played since the playoffs were expanded to three rounds in 1995.

So I decided to make some charts.

Yankee team hitting performances in postseason series since 1995, sorted by OPS (yellow highlight indicates series victory; green highlight indicates World Series championship):

This chart revealed a couple of factoids I was previously unaware of:

– The Yankees’ greatest offensive performance by OPS was in the 1998 World Series against the Padres.

– The just-completed 2010 ALDS was second, and actually marked the only time in any of these 31 series that the Yankees slugged over .500.

– The Yankees apparently raked in the 1995 ALDS vs.… Click here to read the rest

UPDATED | Yankees vs. Twins ALDS Games 1, 2 and 3 start times

Per MLB’s Twitter feed, Game 1 of the ALDS between the Yankees and Twins starts at 8:37pm Eastern.

More game start time updates to come as we see ’em.

Edited to Add (8:22pm): Mark Feinsand just Tweeted that Thursday’s Game 2 will start at 6:07pm Eastern. Better start honing those get-out-of-work-at-a-reasonable-time excuses.

Edited to Add (8:43pm): Per RAB’s Twitter, Saturday’s Game 3 at Yankee Stadium will start at 8:37pm Eastern.… Click here to read the rest