ALDS Game 4 preview: Finish them!

Phil Hughes:

If you had told me back in April that Phil Hughes would be the Yankees fourth starter in the playoffs, I probably wouldn’t have been very happy about the prospect. But after that terrible start to the season, Hughes has really turned it around to the point where there was never any debate that he’d be the team’s fourth option, and frankly one of the better fourth starters in the entire postseason. He’s still got a problem with giving up home runs, of course, but he’s been able to limit the damage in part by becoming a strike throwing machine that rarely hands out a free pass. He might consider taking the Orioles out of the zone a bit early tonight, however, given their high strikeout rate as a team and the fact that they could well come out pressing as they face the possible end of their season.

Hughes made four starts against the Orioles, with the last one coming back on September 7th.…

Read more

A New Phase in Alex Rodriguez's Career

When Joe Torre moved Alex Rodriguez down to the 8th spot in the order in Game 4 of the 2006 ALDS, it was a terribly stupid move. Arod was struggling, like the rest of the team at the time, but was one of the best hitters in the American League that year. A combination of...

Read more

The Granderson problem

Granderson’s struggles are palpable. His second half had these putrid numbers: .212/.278/.480. The Orioles’ starter tonight is Joe Saunders, a left-handed pitcher. Granderson’s strikeout rate the entire season against left-handers is 31.9 percent. And again, Granderson has struck out six times in this series in twelve plate appearances. It seems that Granderson is always in an 0-2 or 1-2 hole. It seems that he cannot stop himself from swinging at a ball outside the strike zone for the third strike. It seems that at this point of the proceedings, a Russell Martin plate appearance is much more appealing.

So what should Joe Girardi do? Andruw Jones is not on the roster, nor should be. And even with his struggles, Granderson drove in 56 runs in the second half and led the Yankees in that category for the season. Without him in the lineup, the Yankees do not seem so circular or scary. But with him in the lineup, there has been a black hole where his name is penciled in.…

Read more

Big moment was A-Rod’s too

The thing is, if you take away the names involved, the move itself was a pretty obvious one. Not because Alex can’t handle the big moment (2009 should have put that notion to bed forever), or because he chokes in the postseason or because the boo birds were in his head, but because he’s not that far removed from a broken wrist, has been struggling against right-handed pitchers ever since returning, and because he’d been struck out relatively easily by Jim Johnson in the first two games of the series. That’s the thing that’s been left out of all of the A-Rod chatter in this series: the point is not to disparage Alex, but merely to acknowledge that he’s getting older, he’s recovering from an injury that tends to linger, and that he’s not going to be The Man forever just because he has 600+ home runs in his career. The point is to acknowledge his limitations and adjust accordingly.

That’s what Joe Girardi did last night, and the baseball gods (and Raul Ibanez) rewarded him with an amazing and potentially season altering victory.…

Read more

Pinch Me, Am I Dreaming? Ibanez Pinch-Hits Himself Into The History Books

“It seemed like it was something out of a cartoon. It was unbelievable.”
Hiroki Kuroda

Despite what the headlines say, last night’s game was exceedingly difficult to watch. It had a pretty ending, but there was a lot of ugly baseball on the Yankees’ side.

Let’s start with Hiroki...

Read more

Quotes of the day, Jack City style

And from the quotatious Nick Swisher:

“You dream about stuff like that,” Nick Swisher said. “I wasn’t even the guy who hit it, and I was jumping up and down going crazy. For Raul, I could not be more happy for him, man. You gotta be pro to step up in a situation like that. Especially pinch hitting, come up against a guy like Johnson, and then to just get that one pitch — because he doesn’t give you that many pitches to hit — and then he comes up in the 12th inning, and he goes Jack City again! You can’t script something like that.”

Added Eric Chavez:

“(This game) is my best baseball moment in my whole career, without a doubt,” Chavez said. “…There’s not even a close second.”

Feel good, friends. Last night was a good night.

Read more