Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Red Sox & Their Fans' Misguided Confidence

As promised, a blog entry. Wow, 2 days in a row. The kid is on fire.

I listen to a lot of baseball talk on XM radio. I probably listen to it for 10-11 hours per day. A lot of the talk has been about the Red Sox and what their fans perceive to be the greatest team ever assembled. I think it's funny how overly-confident they are about what I consider to be marginal upgrades. Ya know? They remind me a lot of some Yankee fans. I think we can all say over the last several years we've thought going into the season the Yankees were the best team ever, only to have them miss the playoffs or lose in the ALDS. Building a team that's great on paper often doesn't translate into glory. You think Sox fans would have noticed that by now.

Now don't get me wrong. The Sox improved their team by trading for Adrian Gonzalez and by signing Carl Crawford. But they didn't improve by leaps and bounds. They did lose both Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez. Here's a quick comparison:

  • Beltre/V-Mart = 338 for 1082 (.312), 81 2B, 3 3B, 48 HR, 181 RBI
  • Crawford/Gonzalez = 360 for 1191 (.302), 63 2B, 13 3B, 50 HR, 191 RBI

Pretty close, eh? And yes I know, different parks, blah blah blah. Either way, you're not going to see the monumental gains you're expecting. Here's another point to consider: V-Mart was a catcher and his production is a lot harder to replace than that of a LF. Another point: Crawford isn't going to have the Red Sox to run all over either so expect fewer SBs. Again, marginal upgrades in my opinion.

The Red Sox really need those guys to over-perform. They also need Youkilis and Pedroia to bounce back from their injuries. Why, you ask? They need as much offense as they can get to make up for what I consider to be an average/below average starting rotation. On names alone their rotation is pretty good. But let's face it, after Lester and Buchholz, it's pretty bad.

  • Josh Beckett = 6-6 w/5.78 ERA, 1.54 WHIP & 20 HR allowed in 127.2 IP
  • John Lackey = 14-11 w/4.40 ERA, 1.42 WHIP
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka = 9-6 w/4.69 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
  • Tim Wakefield = 4-10 w/5.34 ERA, 1.35 WHIP

Ok, maybe pretty bad is an overstatement. But they're not good. I've heard many a Red Sox fan exclaim, "They'll bounce back. That was an off year." Blah blah blah. If that argument has any merit to it, then I can make the case that A.J. Burnett will also. While I'm at it, Jeter, A-Rod, and Teixeira will all perform to the numbers on the back of their baseball cards. No way those 3 all hit .270ish again, right? That argument is weak. Either way you want to slice it, the Red Sox rotation is not as good as the Yankees. Assuming of course Andy Pettitte comes back (which he will). If he doesn't, then I'll concede that point based on the 3 for-sure Yankee starters (Sabathia, Hughes & Burnett).

Do the Red Sox remind you of anyone? Maybe the Yankees from 2001-2009? Think about it. Their lineup is stacked with all-stars. Their rotation, while good on paper and high on name recognition, is for the most part, average to below average. The goal is to score a lot of runs because the pitchers are going to give up a lot. Sound familiar Sox fans? Your team is basically following the Yankees formula. Not surprising. the Sox and their fans suffer from a massive inferiority/jealousy complex. Can someone remind me how that formula for success worked out for the Yankees? Oh yeah. No rings and a bunch of first round eliminations from the playoffs. Good luck with that.

Having said all of that, I don't see why people are touting the Red Sox as heavy favorites. Based on the current rosters (Yankees without Pettitte), I'd give the Sox the edge. But not nearly to the extent that the run-of-the-mill Red Sox fan thinks. I'm failing to see where all of the confidence and chest pumping is coming from. I really am. Allow me to further explain.

If Pettitte comes back, the Yankees have pretty much the same rotation as they did last season. That rotation led them to 95 wins and the wild card. The Sox rotation, which is the same as last season, got them to 89 wins. The additions of Crawford and Gonzalez only marginally make up for the loss of Martinez and Beltre. I don't think you can assume that a healthier Sox team could have made up for the 6 game difference. There's no way of knowing what would have happened. Injuries are part of the game. Every team has their share of them, some more so then others, and the good teams rise above them. That's baseball.

So someone explain it to me because I don't get it. Why are Sox fans overly confident about their team? Maybe their a little better on paper than the Yankees right now, but only by a small margin. I don't see how anybody can call them heavy favorites. Sox fans should have also learned by now that the best teams on paper (see the 2001-2009 Yankees) don't often win. I don't understand how their confidence level is so high and I look forward to saying "I told you so" come October.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cliff Lee Went To Philly, B.F.D.

Greetings everyone. Long time, no talk. I have no good reason to explain my absence. I've just been super-busy with work, life, and all that jazz. I've been meaning to blog an entry here and there but it's been hard to find the time. I told myself I would when the whole Cliff Lee drama resolved itself. So here I am.

I can sum up my feelings about Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies in 2 simple words: don't care. Would it have been nice if Cliff Lee signed with the Yankees? Abso-freaking-loutely. But is it the end of the world that he didn't? Not even close. Adding Lee to the Yankees rotation would have been a huge improvement to the team. No doubt about that. But they're still fine without him, as long as one thing happens, and that is Andy Pettitte returning to the Yankees.

Had Lee signed with the Yankees it would have made losing Pettitte not such a big deal. Lee would have been like a super-awesome insurance policy. The fact of the matter is that last year's Yankee rotation, which included a horrible A.J. Burnett and a revolving door of 5th SPs, won 95 games and made the playoffs. If Pettitte resigns, the rotation, is for all intents and purposes, the same as it was last year. Sure the 5th spot is open but let's face it, anybody could step into that spot and do as well as Vazquez, Moseley, Mitre & Nova. A rotation of Sabathia, Hughes, Pettitte, Burnett and Lee would have been awesome. A rotation of Sabathia, Hughes, Pettitte, Burnett, and ?? would still be pretty damn good. Again, that tandem won 95 games last year. They'd be formidable enough to win that many again. Right now, Pettitte is the key to that happening. If he retires, then we have a problem.

It seems pretty clear to me that Lee never wanted to be a Yankee. If anybody out there is blaming Brian Cashman for messing things up, and there are people saying he did, they need to stop. Silly irrational fans. There isn't anything he could have done, except for mortgaging the entire future of the franchise, to sign Lee. He was never coming here. I can understand why he went to Philly. I think it gives him the best chance to win. The NL East pales in comparison to the AL East. The Phillies should pretty much roll over that division with ease. Their rotation is pretty sick and is arguably the best in MLB. I'd give that nod to the Giants. They did after all beat Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels and Lee in last year's playoffs. If Lee comes out and says he chose Philly because it gives him the best chance to win, I can kind of respect that. But, it's kind of a wuss move. The AL East is without question the toughest division in baseball. Maybe Cliff was afraid of a little tough competition? Everybody knows NL pitchers have better numbers. I can't blame him for not wanting to face the teams in the AL East 19 times each per season. That's my slightly-irrational view on that. I can admit it.

I also get that Lee loves the city of Philly. I know he has a child with cancer and the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, aka the CHOP, is one of, if not the, best cancer center for children in the country. Makes sense that he'd want to be close to that. Signing with Philly was a good move for Lee. Even at what could be $40-50 million less in guaranteed money.

And those are my thoughts on Lee. Again, not a big deal to me. Assuming of course that Andy Pettitte comes back. I'm inclined to think he will but who knows. The Yankees have been down this road with him before. He'll be back. I hope.

Tomorrow, I'll have up a post about the Red Sox and their fans' misguided confidence about next season. I'm going to write it now and have it come up about this time tomorrow. I also hope to blog more regularly but I make no promises.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Some Golden Glove Love

I'm sure everybody knows by now that the Yankees had 3 guys pick up 2010 Gold Glove Awards. One I think was very deserving. One I think was deserving but may not have been the most deserving. One probably didn't deserve but I'm happy he did and respect the players and coaches enough to back their decision.

Can you figure out who is who? Here is one thing I do find funny about the Gold Glove Awards. They are voted on by players and coaches. I'm surprised that Derek Jeter keeps winning this award considering he's been voted the most overrated player by his peers in those yearly polls taken by Sports Illustrated. You'd think if they really thought he was overrated that he wouldn't keep winning. I've always found that odd.

Congrats to Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano on picking up the GG. The Yankees truly do have one of the best defensive infields. Not a bad thing to have behind you, eh Cliff Lee?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Show Him (Derek Jeter) The Money

The offseason has just started and the hot stove is already roaring. I wrote a week or so ago that this was going to be an interesting offseason because both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are free agents. We've been down this road before with Mo. Derek Jeter being a free agent is a different story. He's the face of the Yankee franchise and pretty much the poster boy for MLB. He's the team captain. He's one of the greatest Yankees ever. There is no way the Yankees can let him go somewhere else.

There are a lot of rumors and theories flying around that this is going to be a messy situation for the Yankees. I don't really think that it will be. I think that the current negative buzz out there surrounding this story is purely to sell papers and generate page-hits. The comments that have been made by both sides are standard for this type of thing. I think the media is going a little nuts with it to try and keep people interested in the story. Right now there isn't much of a story there. I think the two sides will work things out timely and amicably. I think both sides will work toward the same goal and at the end of the day everybody will win and feelings won't be hurt.

Hal Steinbrenner mentioned the other day that the Yankees have a business to run. They can't just cut DJ a blank check. Fact of the matter is DJ had a pretty bad year in 2010. It was, without question, the worst of his career. He arguably doesn't deserve a heck of a lot of money based on his age and recent performance. Personally, I think the Yankees should do whatever is needed to re-sign him. I think Derek's value to the franchise extends way beyond what happens on the field.

I can't imagine how much money Jeter makes for the Yankees when you look at every facet of their business. I'm sure somebody can put a figure on it. I'm sure that figure is out there somewhere. I'd bet that their return on investment exceeds what they're paying him. Jeter puts butts in the seats. People are constantly buying Yankees-related Jeter merchandise. As he gets closer to certain milestones and nears retirement I think that will create additional revenue. the longer he plays the more new fans he'll also bring in. The Yankees stand to lose quite a bit of coin if he takes his talents to say, South Beach. At least that's my perception.

That being said the Yankees can't just bend over and take it. They do need to come out with some kind of victory, even if it's a small one. If things start to turn ugly I hope they realize that they stand to lose quite a bit if he goes somewhere else. The last thing they should do is nickel-and-dime him. Again, I'd have to think his total value to the franchise will exceed his salary. My perception is that it definitely has in the past.

Thoughts anyone? Am I glossing over anything? Anyone share a different perception of his total value to the Yankees?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brian Cashman's To-Do List Just Got A Little Shorter

As expected and predicted, the Yankees have re-signed Joe Girardi to be manager of the team. The deal is being reported as a 3-year deal worth $9 million. Welcome back, Joe. He may not be my most favorite Yankee manager, but he's done a fairly decent job. I wish he'd put a little less faith in his binder, but I get why he uses it.

Signing a manager had to be the top item on Brian Cashman's offseason to-do list. Cross that one off the list. Next up I would imagine is hiring a pitching coach. I don't expect that to be a long and drawn out process. I wouldn't be surprised if that's signed, sealed and delivered by this time next week. Once that's done things will start to get interesting. Both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are free agents. There's no doubt in my mind that both Derek and Mo will be back in Pinstripes for another go-around. The real questions (and the interesting parts) are for how much and for how long. I'm most curious to see what happens with Jeter. He's in the latter half of his career and is coming off a down year, arguably the worst in his career. But he's Derek Jeter. He's the Yankee captain. They have to show him some kind of respect, right? Can't wait to see how that develops.

In other news, the Yankees officially declined options on Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman, and Nick Johnson. Don't be shocked by that. It all comes down to money. The amount the Yanks would have had to pay to pick up their options was a lot higher than their value. They could always try to re-sign them at lower salaries. Personally, I don't think they will. Wood will sign with someone that needs a closer and earn more than he would as a setup guy for the Yankees. Berkman is a possibility but only at a much lower salary, like in the $5-10 million range. And Nick Johnson? Yeah, we won't go there. No chance Cashman makes that mistake again, right?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Knee Surgery For CC

Story this morning from the NY Post dropping the bomb that CC Sabathia needs knee surgery. When I saw the headline I was like, "Woah." When I read the article I was like, "Eh, that's not so bad." According to the report, CC has a minor meniscus tear in the right knee. Per the article, the Yankees don't feel it's a significant procedure and recovery should take about 3 weeks. If the recovery time is indeed that short CC will be ready in plenty of time for Opening Day. Hopefully this is a no harm no foul type of situation.

Two questions immediately come to mind. How long has CC had knee trouble? Will this have a lingering effect on a guy of CC's size? Answer to first question: probably a while I would guess. I'm sure it had some impact on his postseason. Not saying it's the reason he didn't pitch as well as expected but I'm sure the problem didn't sprout up after the ALCS. The answer to the 2nd question we might not like the answer to. There's no real way of knowing. Odds are that CC will be perfectly fine. But he's a big dude and his right knee is on his landing leg so it's going to get pounded. The article talks a little about CC's "weight and workload." Both certainly will have an impact on the long-term effects this knee problem has. Do the math: 200+ innings at 290 or so pounds can certainly equal knee problems. It's amazing he hasn't had any yet. Prediction: it will be a non-issue. Though I'd be lying if I said wasn't a tiny bit concerned.

This also makes me wonder who else was playing hurt??

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, October 25, 2010

Cashman & Girardi Drop Bombs On Ya Moms When They Met The Media

Still reeling from the Rangers beating the Yankees in the ALCS? Yeah, me too. I was planning in blogging about the series but I decided not to. Instead, I'll wrap that up in one short sentence: The Rangers were/are the better team and deserved to go to the World Series. OK, maybe not a short sentence. I think the Yankees were better than they played in those 6 games but looking back on the final month or so of the season, I'm not so sure. September was a struggle and in hindsight I think they team ran out of gas. I'll probably blog about the season at some point this offseason, but not today. As for the World Series, go Giants! I have no real vested interest in who wins and don't really care either way. I'd just like to see the "claws and antlers" go away. I think those are highly absurd. And at least it's not Philly. I think we can all agree we're happy about that.

Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi met the media today and answered a bunch of questions and dropped a bomb or two on everyone. I was following along with some of the beat writer's accounts on Twitter while it was happening. Fun stuff. The LoHud Yankees Blog has a bunch of tidbits on the meeting. Here are my thoughts on the major stuff:

  • The biggest bombshell dropped today was that the Yankees have fired Dave Eiland. It was Cashman's decision and he described the reasoning as "private." He also said it had nothing to do with performance. Interesting. Something seems a little off on this, don't you think? Bottom line for me is that Eiland just didn't get the job done. Too many struggles from too many pitchers. But wouldn't that be performance based? Yeah, I don't get it either. After I read about Eiland's dismissal, a thought popped into my head: What if Dave Eiland gave A.J. Burnett his black eye? Yeah, I'm reaching, I know. But then again who really knows? I'm sure it has to do something with the personal leave Eiland took in June. You'd think Cashman's decision would be related to that, right? Almost has to be? I know there were rumors that Eiland was in rehab on his LOA and I don't want to get into that. Bottom line, regardless of the "private" reason is that he's out as pitching coach. No big loss. Again as I mentioned, too many pitchers had too many struggles, namely A.J. Burnett and Joba Chamberlain. I have no problem with the Yankees bringing in somebody else to take on that role.
  • Cashman plans to talk with Joe Girardi's agent ASAP to try and lock Girardi into another contract. Both sides want the deal to happen which means that it will. It'll probably happen soon. I'd expect it to be signed, sealed and delivered by the end of the week. Hiring a manager should be and is Cashman's top priority. You can't really move on without one. I have no issue with the Yankees bringing Girardi back. He does make some boneheaded moves but by and large he's doing a decent job. Then again, it's the Yankees. I could guide that team to 90+ wins.
  • The team views Joba Chamberlain as a back-of-the-bullpen pitcher and not as a starter. That should forever put to rest that debate as it sounds like Joba will always be a reliever as long as he's a Yankee. Works for me. Yeah, I'm not a Joba guy. Never really have been. He's had flashes of brilliance but for the most part I think he's a middle-of-the-pack pitcher. I wouldn't be surprised if he's traded before Spring Training.
  • Andy Pettitte pitched hurt during the playoffs. During the ALDS Andy felt tightness in both his back and his hamstrings. Pettitte's injuries were the driving factor in the Yankees' decision to pitch him in games 3 and 7 of the ALCS. I can respect that and have no problem with their decision to do so. The part of have minor issue with is people, mainly certain media members, hammered Girardi for not disclosing that info. C'mon now. If Girardi dropped that on everyone that could change everything. You don't want your opponent knowing your weaknesses. Why would any logical mind think that he should have to disclose that? Oh yeah, we're talking about the media, and again, it's only certain ones.
  • The Yankees don't plan on picking up any player options, of which there are only 3. Kerry Wood @ $11 million, Lance Berkman @ $15 million. Nick Johnson @ $5.75 million. Yeah, I'm with the team on that. There's no need to drop that much coin on any of those guys. I like Wood, but who needs an $11mm set-up guy. $15 million for a part-time DH? No thanks. Nick Johnson? We won't go there.
  • Cashman admitted he had a bad offseason. Nick Johnson was apparently plan C, behind Johnny Damon @ plan A and Hideki Matsui @ plan B. Yeah, Cashman blew that one. Trading for Javy Vazquez was almost as bad. The big plus in that deal was that they got rid of Melky Cabrera, which I think made Robinson Cano a better player.

That's the main stuff. There were some other nuggets dropped but nothing major. This should be a very interesting offseason. Cashman has a lot of work to do and he's already attacking it. I don't think it will take long to re-hire Girardi and then re-sign Mariano Rivera & Derek Jeter. I would expect the Yankees to move pretty quick on bringing back those guys. The Hot Stove is heating up. Won't be long before it's raging.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, October 22, 2010

Yankees Go Down Without A Fight, Congrats To Texas Rangers The 2010 AL Champs

This is not going to be a long post. I'm a little bummed right now. The season is over and the Yankees went down without very much of a fight. They were outplayed the whole series and the Rangers totally deserve to advance to the World Series. There are no excuses to be made. The Yankees were dominated pretty much from start to finish.

People on Twitter are blaming Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman. Girardi did make some bad moves along the way but I can't put much of this on him. Same with Cashman. He put a winner on the field. His biggest fault in my opinion was signing Nick Johnson and not getting Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, or Vlad Guerero. Maybe he should have given Texas everything they wanted for Cliff Lee but I understand why he didn't. This loss is totally on the players. They didn't pitch. They didn't hit. You can't win games when you don't score. One lousy run tonight and it was a BS one at that.

Hat tip to the Rangers. They deserved it. Not sure I'll root for you in the World Series but congrats.

Peace, love and Forever Pinstripes,


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yankees Take Game 5 To Stay Alive, ALCS Heads Back To Texas

If you're a Yankee fan, or a Yankee for the matter, you have to be relieved that the Yankees won today and will live to fight another day. Elimination games are always tough and extremely tense. I wonder who it's more tense for, the players or the fans? I, for one, was extremely nervous even though I was confident that they'd pull out the W. I think it was more tense than normal because I didn't get to see much of it on TV. I caught most of it on the radio and some of it on the MLB app on my phone. I've got to say there is nothing as nerve-racking as following along with MLB gameday. But more on that later.

Big up to CC Sabathia for battling his way through that start. It could have been an ugly game. It's not often you see a pitcher give up 11 hits and only 2 runs. CC made the pitches that he needed to when he needed to. He didn't issue any walks and he got some big DPs. That combination will definitely neutralize a lot of baserunners. It definitely wasn't his sharpest outing but it got the job done. I hope his next start is better than this one. Yeah, I'm confident we'll see him get the ball again. But more on that later.

The Yankees offense wasn't anything to brag about today. They weren't bad. They were definitely better than they've been recently. But it still felt off. But only a little. When they hit the ball they hit it well, racking up 9 hits, 6 of which went for extra bases. But they were 2-11 with RISP. They're not getting the big hits. I'm hoping today is a building block for game 6. Bottom line for me is they need to improve. Great job by Granderson. Ever since he worked with Kevin Long he's been doing fairly decent against the LHPs. The Yankees MVP of this series has to be Robbie Cano. If they pull this off he's a shoe-in for MVP. I'm liking him in the 3-hole too.

Great job by Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera. I turned the game on just in time to see Wood pick off Elvis Andrus. That made me very happy to see. I don't know what it is about Andrus but he's quickly becoming my least favorite player in MLB. I think it's because I find the whole "antler" thing to be beyond stupid. Just looking at him kind of annoys me. I took great pleasure in seeing Yankee fans mocking the antlers when TBS went to commercial after that pickoff. So glad I caught that. Who knew Kerry Wood was so adept at picking off runners?

So the series is headed back to Texas and the Yankees have another must-win game staring them in the face. As I wrote yesterday they need to worry about game 6 and only game 6. Phil Hughes gets the start and I feel pretty about it. I wrote before the series started that I thought the Yankees had the advantage in the games Hughes started against Colby Lewis. Despite Phil's terrible game 2 start I still think the matchup favors the Yankees. Hughes is better than that and I think he's going to pitch with a lot of confidence in game 6. The real worry is will the Yankee bats be able to hit Lewis? They should be able to and I think they will. Can't wait until Friday.

When I got home from work today my wife immediately sent back out to go pick up some prescriptions for our 2 sick boys. I could listen to the radio on the way there but inside the store I was relying on MLB's app to keep me informed. I had the "gamecast" on while I was filling the order and "saw" Sabathia whiff Vlad Guerrerro. I then took a seat and while I waited I turned on the WCBS feed to listen to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. I turned it on and was greeted with 3 straight singles. Being the superstitious guy that I am I turned off the audio and went back to the gamecast. Bases loaded and 1 out and I'm following along on gamecast. That was incredibly tense. First of all, when you don't have picture or sound and you're not getting updates you have no idea what's happening. You wait anxiously for it to tell you the result of the pitch. So with bases loaded and 1 out I get this, "in play, run(s)." So now I'm anxiously awaiting the update to tell me what happened. I'm having thoughts like, "please don't be a grand slam," "aw man here it comes," and other thoughts of that nature. So I wait, and wait, and wait. Give me the update already. What's going on? Tell me!! Ground out, run scores. Phew. Incredibly tense. Thankfully, they filled the order right after that and I got out of there and back to the car. I don't think I could have taken much more of that.

Game 6 is Friday. Let's worry about that and not loom ahead to Cliff Lee. One game at a time. Win and then worry about game 7. Can't wait until Friday.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


A.J. Pitches Well But Yankees Get Blown Out Anyway, It's Do Or Die Time

Aargh. I'm not sure I even want to blog at this point. These games are getting more and more painful to watch. It seems like there is no fight in this dog. They get on the verge of breaking things open and they flounder. The game is close and then the pitching implodes. Same story, different night, same outcome. Their backs are against the wall. They need to pick themselves up off the ground, shake off the cobwebs, and figure out how to get this done. Where's the heart? Where's the fire? They need to find it and they need to find it fast.

Before getting into my game thoughts I'll start with my little sliver of positivity. I'm still not giving up on this team. They've got what it takes to pull this off. They've done it before. They can do it again. They need to take it one game at a time. As I stated in my last entry, CC, Phil, and Andy can rattle off 3 straight. It can be done. But the way this team is playing, they're making it hard to believe.

I thought A.J. pitched a good game and I still believe it was the right call having him start tonight. He gave the team enough and if not for the mistake to Molina, this could have had a different ending. I don't put the Molina HR solely on A.J. though. They never should have walked Moreland to get to Molina. Those IBBs never work out. Fault Joe Girardi and his stupid binder for that one. It's also fair to ask if Burnett should have even been out there to face Molina.

Girardi is having a rough series at the helm. Pretty much every decision he has made has backfired on him. Walking Moreland. Leaving A.J. out there. Bringing in Logan to face Hamilton (twice)--I guess it didn't matter who he brought in. J-Ham has toasted everybody. Bringing in Robertson yesterday. Mitre tonight. It's tough to like the guy right now. He goes too by the book for my taste.

Back to Burnett for a second. A blogged earlier today that the keys to victory were: A.J. not walking anybody, A.J. not hitting anybody, and A.J. not throwing any wild pitches. The 1st 2 runs he allowed came from exactly those 3 things. Funny how that worked out.

What the freak happened to the Yankees offense? Holy RISP-fails Batman! They've had a lot of chances this series to score some runs and by and large have come up empty. Pop outs. Strikeouts. Double plays. If there's a way to kill a rally the Yankees have done it. The 8th inning tonight was the perfect example. Down 4, bases loaded and 1 out. Weak fly out by Swisher and then Berkman with the inning ending ground out.

The only ones hitting are Jeter (.278) and Cano (.467). Two guys unfortunately can't carry the rest. Granderson (.182), Teixeira (.000), A-Rod (.133), and everyone's favorite "Rally Killer" Nick Swisher (.067) need to step it up. Unfortunately, the Yankees are probably going to have to make their postseason run without Mark Teixeira. He appears to be out indefinitely with a hamstring injury. Nothing confirmed but it didn't look good. He won't be returning. Hopefully the rest of the bats show up for game 5 and beyond.

I really hope the Yankees pull off a win in game 5. I'd hate to miss the final game of the season. I'll be at work for the start of the game and at my 3-year old son's "Sports Explorers" program from 6-7. I'd love to bail on that but I don't want the little guy of the fun he has. I'm confident that CC will pitch them to victory. Like I said, they need to take it one game at a time. Don't look down the road. Win and then worry about the next one. Everyone should be confident that they can. Even though it should be, and even though it feels like it, it ain't over yet.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why A.J. Burnett Should Start Game 4 Of The ALCS

There's a lot of discussion going back and forth about who should start game 4 for the Yankees: A.J. Burnett or CC Sabathia on short rest? I personally think it's a no-brainer. They have to go with Burnett. Follow me if you will.

To win the ALCS the Yankees need to win 3 of the next 4 games. Here's a question for you: Do you think the Yankees better off trying to win those 3 by starting Burnett in game 4 and then CC, Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte on regular rest, or, are they better off trying to go after those 3 wins by pitching just CC, Hughes and Pettitte, with each pitching on short rest? CC I'm sure could handle it, but I'm not so sure that Hughes and Pettitte could.

A.J.'s start is being viewed in the same manner as Cliff Lee's start. Everyone was assuming Lee's start was a slam dunk win for the Rangers, and it was. Everyone is assuming that Burnett's start is going to be a slam dunk loss for the Yankees. Now if that's the case, the Yankees still need those 3 wins to come from the other 3. I think their chances to win those 3 are higher with Hughes and Pettitte pitching on regular rest, than with all of them pitching on short rest with CC getting 2 starts, the last being against a freshly-rested Cliff Lee.

Here's another question for you: Are you confident that CC, Phil and Andy could rattle off 3 straight wins on regular rest with the Yankees being down 3 games to 1? I sure as hell am. I feel so much better about that then having them all go on short rest. Am I alone on this? Maybe not alone but I feel in the minority.

Now, what if Burnett happens to steal game 4? It's certainly possible. He has the stuff to win games. It's by no means a slam dunk that the Yankees will lose game 4 if Burnett starts. I'm totally on board with them using A.J. to win this game and then using CC, Phil and Andy on regular rest to take 2 out of 3. I'll take that over the other option.

Also, just think, if CC pitched and happened to lose tonight, we'd be faced with having a fully-rested A.J., or Phil Hughes on short rest, pitching to keep the season going. No thanks. Now on the flip CC could of course win tonight. Then what? Burnett vs C.J. Wilson or Hughes (short-rest) vs C.J. Wilson? If you say Burnett then you're still probably thinking the Yankees leave NY down 3-2, same as you're thinking with Burnett starting game 4 and CC starting game 5. I wouldn't like the Hughes/Wilson match-up either if they skipped A.J. altogether.

Bottom line, the Yankees need to pitch Burnett this series. It provides them with their best chances to win the series to do it in game 4 than it is to pitch everyone on short rest. As nice as it would be to have another option, they don't. Again, A.J. could surprise and steal this game. The series would be knotted at 2 with a fully-rested Sabathia starting to send it back to Texas. If the Yankees win tonight, they have the momentum back.

that all said, I hope A.J. gets the job done tonight. And if he doesn't I'm still not sweating it. CC, Andy and Phil are very capable of pitching this team to 3 straight victories. I'm confident that whether they're tied at 2 or down 3-1 after tonight they still get it done.

Please let it be 2-2 though.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


The Keys To A Game 4 Yankee Victory

A.J. Burnett pitches today and if you're like me you have no idea what to expect from him. If the Yankees are going to win the following need to happen. Call them the keys to victory.

  1. A.J. Burnett can't walk anybody
  2. A.J. Burnett can't hit anybody
  3. A.J. Burnett can't throw any wild pitches

Yeah, we're screwed. Bottom line, A.J. can't really allow any baserunners. It would be smart of the Rangers to be overly aggressive on the basepaths, especially with Burnett pitching. He'll become a total head case if the Rangers start running all over the place. And we all know what happens to A.J. when he gets flustered and pitches angry. Not good.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, October 18, 2010

Cliff Lee Lives Up To The Hype, Yanks Down 2-1 In ALCS

Well, that just sucked. I was really hoping that the Yankees were going to pound Cliff Lee tonight. I had talked myself into believing it was going to happen. Then I saw the first inning and knew we were in for a long night.

Lee flat out dominated the Yankees. There wasn't one moment in the game where I thought they were going to get something going. I thought for a brief second that maybe they were going to when Brett Gardner swiped 2nd with no outs. Wrong. Lee slammed the door. He's good. Real good.

Here's how I look at it. The Yankees weren't supposed to win this game. Everyone knew, whether they want to admit it or not, that the odds of winning this game were slim. Sure a win would have been nice but losing isn't the end of the world. I don't think losing today makes tomorrow's game a must-win either. Losing game 4 would definitely make winning the ALCS a tall task but even down 3-1, the Yankees would have CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte getting a chance to win ballgames. The Yankees could very easily run off 3 straight.

The scary thing right now though is that the Rangers have flat out dominated this series. The Yankees were lucky to pull out game 1. They very easily could be down 3-0. But they're not, and being down 2-1 isn't the end of the world. This team has the make-up to get it done.

Tomorrow's game 4 should be an adventure. A.J. Burnett vs. Tommy Hunter. I have no idea what to expect. A.J. has the stuff but which A.J. will show up? I sure as hell hope it's the good A.J. and not the bad one. Like I said, tomorrow is not a must-win, but evening up the series would be pretty nice.

Andy Pettitte looked pretty damn good tonight. It would really suck if it turned out to be his last start as a Yankee. I don't think it will be though. I'm optimistic that it won't be. He looked sharp and if not for the one bad pitch to Hamilton in the first this could have been a different game.

It was very frustrating to watch the Yankee hitters tonight. Swing the freaking bats guys. You know CL doesn't walk anyone and he throws a lot of strikes. What are you guys looking at? Jesus.

I thought the game itself was great up until the 9th inning. Headed to the 9th I was optimistic about the Yanks scoring in the 9th. I was contemplating getting the "rally baby" out of bed for it. That would have ticked off the wife but I was willing to go down that road. Thanks to Boone Logan and David Robertson I didn't have to worry about that. As soon as I saw Logan on the hill I said to my buddy Dan something along the lines of, "Oh crap. The lefty specialist to get out the lefty. This never works." Now, I know that usually it does but sometimes you can just tell when it's not going to. That's how I felt there in the 9th. Logan and Robertson were terrible. Way to keep the game close fellas.

So now we need A.J. to be our savior. Yikes. All I can say is I hope his head is in the right place.

Still not ready to panic.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Hate It When I'm Wrong

After the Yankees came back from 5 runs down to beat the Rangers I blogged that the series was pretty much over and that the Rangers were done. It was such a devastating way to lose that I was sure that the Yankees were going to walk all over them. I was wrong. Today's Rangers victory pretty much wiped all of that out. The momentum has definitely shifted. The Rangers are very much alive. The Yankees have a fight on their hands.

I was also dead wrong about how I viewed the pitching matchups. CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes have both looked terrible. I thought the Yankees had the distinct advantage in this series when it came to the pitching matchups. So far, not so much. I'm hoping that the trend of me being wrong continues for at least one more game. I blogged that the Rangers had the advantage in game 3 with Cliff Lee starting. Maybe the Yankees will put a hurting on him. Fingers crossed.

All things considered I'm pretty happy that the Yankees are leaving Texas with a split. Leaving up 2-0 would have been ideal but winning one on the road is still big. You can't win the series if you don't win on the road. The Yankees have done that. The Rangers haven't. Advantage Yankees. The boys could also very easily be down 2 games to none. I'll happily take 1-1. Even if the Yankees lose in game 3 I'm still feeling confident they'll put this one out. Hopefully I'm right on that one.

A lot of wasted opportunities today. There's a lot of room for improvement across the board. They've got a day to figure it out. I'm really looking forward to game 3. I'd love for the Yankees to sweep these next 3. It would mean that they'd be back in the World Series and it would mean no more frigging antlers. Yeah, I'm sorry. That's pretty dumb. Real teams don't need gimmicks and real fans don't need props to support their team. Last year it was the thundersticks, this year it's the towels. Very lame. Use your hands and your mouths like real fans.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Who's Going To Win "The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood"

Seven people entered for a chance to win a copy of Jane Leavy's new book, "The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood." The winner is the person who comes closest to guessing how many total runs the Yankees and Rangers will score in the ALCS. Surprisingly, none of the 7 guessed the same total and everyone is in the same ballpark. The only way the tie-breakers come into play is if the two teams score less than 38 runs. Here are the contestants and their guesses:

Scott = 38 (76 hits, 60 K, 17 BB)
Dan = 43 (65 hits, 45 K, 24 BB)
Joe = 44 (37 hits, 50 Ks 36 BB)
Don = 45 (61 hits, 69 K, 13 BB)
Dave = 46 (82 hits, 36 K, 18 BB)
Andy = 47 (103 hits, 60 K, 24 BB)
Nick = 49 (104 hits, 47 K, 26 BB)

Good luck guys.


Yankees Comeback And Pull Off An Improbable Game 1 Win

Like the Goonies, the New York Yankees never say die. What an incredible Yankees victory! Unbelievable. I'm still kind of shocked that they pulled it out. If you told me before the game that CC Sabathia was going to get pulled after 4 innings I'd have thought that the Yankees would have been blown out. I'd have to think that tonight's come-from-behind victory took all of the wind out of the Rangers' sails. I wouldn't be surprised if the Yankees sweep this series now. CC Sabathia was terrible. C.J. Wilson was awesome. Yankees have a 5-run 8th inning and win 6-5. Sorry Texas. You guys are done. You can't beat up CC like that and lose the game. Again, you're done.

Play of the game had to be Brett Gardner's leadoff single in the 8th inning. That was a great heads up, or should I say heads down play. They always say that diving into first base is not as fast as running through the bag. If GGBG doesn't dive there he's probably out. If that had happened this would be a totally different blog.

The 8th inning was a great inning. After Jeter doubled Gardner home I said to myself that if Cano made it to the plate that the Yankees would win this game. I would have tweeted that but I had my hands full. Literally. Stay tuned for the story. The back-to-back walks by Swisher and Teixeira were almost as huge as Gardner's single. Those were two great ABs. I loved seeing the Yankees hammer one Texas RP after another. A-Rod sees 1 pitch and knocks in a run. Cano sees 1 pitch and knocks in another. When Robbie was up I said to myself, "C'mon Robbie. One pitch, one out. I mean one pitch one hit." Thank God I corrected myself. Cano had a monster game. M-V-P! M-V-P! Robbie is quickly becoming my favorite Yankee. I hope he's a Yankee-for-life.

There were a lot of huge contributors in tonight's win. The bullpen came up big. Joba, despite looking like he's packed on a few pounds, looked good. Dustin Moseley, of all people, looked phenomenal. He had a huge 2 innings. Kerry Wood had a HUGE pickoff of Ian Kinsler to wipe out a leadoff walk. For shame Ian. Talk about a boneheaded mistake. You can't be doing that at this level and in the ALCS. But thanks for doing it. I think I speak for Yankee fans everywhere when I say, thanks! And as we've seen so many times before in October, the Almighty Mo picks up the save. Mo is a God and I worship him. I think that statement violates one of the 10 Commandments. I think God would agree with me though. Mo is God.

The worst part of this great Yankee victory was CC's performance. He looked downright awful. It could have very well been his worst start of the season. Had the Yankees lost it definitely would have been. Let's chalk this one up to rust and inactivity. Everyone knows pitchers are creatures of habit and pitching every 5 days is what they're used to. It's been 10 days since his last start. I won't worry too much about it. But if his next start isn't vintage CC, I'll begin to worry.

The real hero of this great Yankees win is my little 2 year old daughter. I originally put her to bed at about 10pm. She woke up at around 10:35 or so. My wife wasn't home so I was on a solo mission with her. I went up to get her and brought her back downstairs to get her back to sleep. I brought her down right before Brett Gardner's 8th inning leadoff single. I stood there in our dark living room, holding her and rocking her back-and-forth. Jeter doubles. Swisher walks. Teixeira walks. A-Rod singles. Cano singles. Thames singles and the Yankees are winning. It was during that rally that I dubbed my daughter "The Rally Baby." Being a baseball nut I'm very superstitious. I stood in my living room, holding and rocking her until Mo got the final out. There was no chance I was putting her down. My arm was killing me when all was said and done. But no pain no gain, right? LOL.

Phil Hughes gets the start tomorrow, err, I mean later today. I'm expecting big things tomorrow. The Yankees have all of the momentum right now and the Rangers have to feel defeated. I'm confident the Yankees will be leaving Texas up 2-0. 4 down, 7 to go.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Contest Giveaway: Win A Copy Of The New Mickey Mantle Bio

Just a reminder that I'm giving away a copy of Jane Leavy's new book, "The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood." Entering is simple. All you need to do is this:

1)Send me an e-mail (address in upper left) with how many total runs will be scored by both teams in the ALCS. Just need one total. Subject can be "Mantle book contest"

2)Include in your e-mail how many combined total hits, and combined total strikeouts, and combined total walks there will be in the ALCS. These will be used (in order) to break ties.

Pretty simple, eh? Deadline to enter is 1st pitch of the ALCS. Winner will be the person closest to the combined runs total, without going over of course. In the event a tie-breaker is needed, also guess the following: total combined hits, total combined strikeouts, total combined walks. Hits will be tie-breaker #1, Ks will be tie-breaker #2, and walks will be #3. So if two people predict the same # of runs and hits, I'll go to Ks. If still tied, I'll go with walks. If still tied, I'm not sure what I'll do.

Good luck.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yankees Announce ALCS Pitching Rotation, Matchups Favor Yankees

Both the Rangers and the Yankees announced their starting rotations for the ALCS today. In my opinion, I think the matchups favor the Yankees in potentially 5, if not 6, of the games. Let's take a look:

Game 1: CC Sabathia vs. C.J. Wilson - A perennial Cy Young Award winner vs a pretty decent 1st year SP. Wilson had a pretty good year but let's face it, he's not CC Sabathia nor is he close to being CC Sabathia. The Yankees faced Wilson 3 times this year and he didn't fare very well. In those 3 starts Wilson 15.1 IP, allowing 11 R (9 ER) on 18 hits and 9 walks. Yeah, that's not spectacular. CC only faced the Rangers once this season and it was his 3rd start of the year. 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 0 BB and 9 K. Not too shabby. And again, it's CC Sabathia. Advantage = Yankees

Game 2: Phil Hughes vs. Colby Lewis - I think starting Hughes in game 2 is an extremely wise move by the Yankees and it may prove to be why they win the series. Hughes, albeit in a small sample size, pitches lights out in Arlington and he absolutely owns the Rangers. In 3 games against Texas, Hughes is 2-0 with 15.1 IP and get this, he's only allowed 3 hits and 4 walks. That's a WHIP of 0.46! Amazing. But again, small sample size so take it for what it's worth. PH is also better on the road than at home. On the road this year he's 7-4 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. He keeps the ball in the park also, having allowed only 5 of his 20 HRs on the road. Colby Lewis, like C.J. Wilson, had a decent year. He didn't match up against the Yanks this year but against them historically, he's been God-awful, allowing 12 ER in 15.2 IP. I'm not putting a lot of stock in that as again, small sample size. It should be a decent match up but again I have to give the advantage to the Yankees.

Game 3: Andy Pettitte vs. Cliff Lee - This is the match up I want to see. The advantage in this game goes to the Rangers but I don't think it's by a really large margin. Despite having only pitched in the postseason, Cliff Lee could already be the best postseason pitcher ever. In 7 starts, he's 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 3 CG. He's been the man. Andy Pettitte though warrants being near the top of that list. Andy holds the record for most postseason wins and he's 7-1 all-time in the ALCS. Both are lefties and both should pitch well in Yankee Stadium. The advantage in this game clearly goes to Lee. But I wouldn't be surprised if Andy figures out a way to make this a close one.

Game 4: A.J. Burnett vs. Tommy Hunter - Yeah, I have no clue in this game. It's a total toss up. It really depends on which A.J. Burnett shows up to pitch. A.J. can be flat out unhittable. He can also be a head case that shouldn't be anywhere near a pitcher's mound. Hunter is a decent pitcher but is also hittable. The Yankees went 6-20 against him back in September and they've hit him well in the past. This one could go either way.

Game 5: Sabathia vs. Wilson - see game 1

Game 6: Hughes vs. Lewis - see game 2

Game 7: Pettitte vs, Lee - see game 4 but for me it's almost a toss-up. Lee doesn't like pitching in Texas. He's pitched decently there this year but his career ERA pitching in Arlington is 5.07. If there is a start he could falter in it could be this one.

I think the only game the Rangers have a clear advantage in is game 4. The Yankees in my opinion have the advantage in 4 of the games, with the other 2 being toss-ups. I think this is going to be a great series but I think when the dust settles the Yankees will be advancing to another World Series. If they do, I've got tickets to game 3. I hope I'm right.

Yankees in 5.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Win A Copy of "The Last Boy:Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood"

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Jane Leavy's new book, "The Last Boy:Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood" to give away to one of my blog readers. First, some background on the book. Second, the contest details. If you don't feel like reading through the book description just keep scrolling. If you don't feel like participating in the contest, the book is available now.

Here's a book description, as listed on the publisher's website:

Jane Leavy, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy, returns with a biography of an American original—number 7, Mickey Mantle. Drawing on more than five hundred interviews with friends and family, teammates, and opponents, she delivers the definitive account of Mantle's life, mining the mythology of The Mick for the true story of a luminous and illustrious talent with an achingly damaged soul.

Meticulously reported and elegantly written, The Last Boy is a baseball tapestry that weaves together episodes from the author's weekend with The Mick in Atlantic City, where she interviewed her hero in 1983, after he was banned from baseball, with reminiscences from friends and family of the boy from Commerce, Oklahoma, who would lead the Yankees to seven world championships, be voted the American League's Most Valuable Player three times, win the Triple Crown in 1956, and duel teammate Roger Maris for Babe Ruth's home run crown in the summer of 1961—the same boy who would never grow up.

As she did so memorably in her biography of Sandy Koufax, Jane Leavy transcends the hyperbole of hero worship to reveal the man behind the coast-to-coast smile, who grappled with a wrenching childhood, crippling injuries, and a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. In The Last Boy she chronicles her search to find out more about the person he was and, given what she discovers, to explain his mystifying hold on a generation of baseball fans, who were seduced by that lopsided, gap-toothed grin. It is an uncommon biography, with literary overtones: not only a portrait of an icon, but an investigation of memory itself. How long was the Tape Measure Home Run? Did Mantle swing the same way right-handed and left-handed? What really happened to his knee in the 1951 World Series? What happened to the red-haired, freckle-faced boy known back home as Mickey Charles?

"I believe in memory, not memorabilia," Leavy writes in her preface. But in The Last Boy, she discovers that what we remember of our heroes—and even what they remember of themselves—is only where the story begins.

Sounds like a good read, eh? I can't wait to get into it and write up a review for my Boogie Down Book Club. As mentioned, I have a copy to give away. So here's what we're going to do. It's simple: Send me an e-mail (contact info in upper left) with your prediction on how many total runs will be scored by both teams in this year's ALCS. I'd say to leave your guess in the comments but an e-mail prevents people from "price is righting" one another.

Winner will be the person closest to the combined runs total, without going over of course. In the event a tie-breaker is needed, also guess the following: total combined hits, total combined strikeouts, total combined walks. Hits will be tie-breaker #1, Ks will be tie-breaker #2, and walks will be #3. So if two people predict the same # of runs and hits, I'll go to Ks. If still tied, I'll go with walks. If still tied, I'm not sure what I'll do. Here's a summary of what to do:

1)Send me an e-mail (address in upper left) with how many total runs will be scored by both teams in the ALCS. Just need one total. Subject can be "Mantle book contest"
2)Include in your e-mail how many combined total hits, and combined total strikeouts, and combined total walks there will be in the ALCS.

I'll take it from there. Any questions, feel free to fire off a comment. Good luck and go Yankees!

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Better Late Than Never Yankees ALDS Game 3 Post

I had every intent on blogging right after the series-clinching victory the other night but I fell asleep with the game on sometime in the bottom of the 8th inning. I woke up sometime a few minutes later, fired off a tweet, and then unintentionally fell asleep on the couch with the TV blaring and the lights on, for the next 4 hours. When I woke up I was in an incredible daze. It took me a second to figure out where I was and what was going on. It was an odd feeling to say the least. Sunday got away from me because it was my birthday and we also had to take a road trip to a birthday party for our friends' two-year old. Next thing I know, here I am. Better late than never, right?

Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuughes! Man, he was awesome in game 3, eh? Count the Us and you'll get 19. One for each victory, both regular season and postseason. Hughes is the man. I think his outing on Saturday turned everybody into believers, something I've been since before day 1. I've maintained all along that Phil was going to be the man. People were (prematurely) shouting Joba's praises while I was singing Phil's. People were killing Brian Cashman for not dealing Hughes to Minnesota for Johan Santana. I saw a lot of tweets and whatnot during Saturday's game about that. My how things change. I went back through all of my posts tagged with "Phil Hughes" to see what I wrote about that proposed deal between Minnesota and New York but I couldn't find it. But I did find this, from a post dated April 3, 2008:

For those of you that don't know me or are new to this blog, likely don't know I'm a big Phil Hughes guy. I frequent his blog. I drove 5 hours just to watch him pitch in Scranton (only to have it rained out). I have a Phil Hughes BP Jersey. I have a Hughes 65 t-shirt. I drove to Erie, PA two years ago just to try and get his autograph, which I did. I also bought one of those "I Want To Thank The Good Lord" Joe DiMaggio signs that they sell on Steiner Sports that's signed by Phil. I got it from MLB auctions for $100. I was biting my nails all off season while rumors were flying about him going to Minnesota for Johan. Thank God the Yankees were smart enough to hold onto Phil.

I bolded the last statement because I'm 99.9% sure it's how every Yankee fan is feeling about PJH right about now. Just imagine if the Yankees pulled that deal. Hughes would be a Twin, Johan would be a Yankee, and CC wouldn't. Thank God (and Brian Cashman) that it all worked out. Phil is going to be an integral part of this playoff run. Any doubts on how he'll perform should be tossed out the window.

Overall it was a pretty great ALDS for the Yankees. I can't believe how much they dominate the Twins come October. It's unreal. I had to fire off another e-mail today to our sister site in Duluth, Minnesota. This one provided the staff out there the suggestion that they contact our Employee Assistance Program if they needed to discuss the sweep with a trained grief counselor. I also suggested they use their Homer Hankies to wipe away the tears and the shame that comes with another ALDS meltdown. Good stuff.

I really should have blogged sooner than now. I'm struggling to remember what I wanted to blog about. Phil Hughes love-fest? Check. Big series win? Check. What am I leaving out? Hmmm. Maybe it was how great the bullpen was during the series? Rivera, Wood, Logan and Robertson combined for 7 innings of 1 run ball. Or maybe it was about how the Yankees apparently do have pitching after CC Sabathia? Pettitte and Hughes = 14 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 10 K, 2 ER, 1.29 ERA. Or could it have been that the offense was running on overdrive? The lineup went a combined 33-105 (.314) with 11 XBH, 4 SB and 17 runs scored. Everyone had at least 1 RBI and everyone with the exception of Derek Jeter scored a run. How surprising is that? Take your pick. It could have been any of those topics.

And now we wait. We wait to see who the Yankees will meet in the ALCS. We wait to see them take the field again this Friday. I really don't care who the Yankees meet in the ALCS. If I had to go with one team over the other I probably go with the Rays. Call it nothing more than a gut instinct. I really have no preference. I like Tampa because they don't have a guy named Cliff Lee and for the most part, Tampa is like New York south. The Rays won't have a tremendous home-field advantage. The Yankees win either way however because both Lee and Rays' ace David Price will pitch Tuesday night. That means they're out for game 1 of the ALCS and likely out for game 2, unless they pitch on short rest. Advantage = Yankees. But we've got lots of time to discuss that. The series doesn't start for another 4 days. Be back later.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Yankees Postseason Domination Of Twins Continue, Take Commanding 2-0 Series Lead

Sometimes it really sucks having kids. I only got to ctach the last 2 innings of tonight's game because my night was filled with giving baths, changing diapers, watching Jungle Junction, putting kids to bed, and feeding the little one. By the time all of that wrapped up the game was pretty much over. I'm definitely ecstatic with the outcome, just wish I could have seen more of it. Following along on my phone just isn't the same.

The only comment I'll make about the win is that Andy Pettitte is the man. I was skeptical about Andy pitching game 2. I had blogged before that I would have gone with Phil Hughes in game 2 and Pettitte in game 3. So far the flip-flop is working out pretty well. I'm still a little worried about how Phil will do in game 3. As I previously wrote, PH has been much better on the road. I hope he pitches well. The last thing I want is for the Twins to win game 3. When you're up 2-0 you have all the momentum. I don't want the Look-alikes to get any of that back. I hope Phil shuts them down.

If you're a Yankee fan you have to feel pretty damn good about how this postseason has started. Winning 2 on the road in a best-of-5 is huge. It's going to extremely tough for the Twins to get back into this series. It could happen but based on the Yankees complete and utter domination of the Twins in the ALDS, the odds of them taking the next 3 are very slim. What's the stat? The Twins have had the lead in the last 10 postseason games versus the Yankees and have lost them all. That's pretty bad.

I did a little gloating at work today. Our sister site is in Duluth, Minnesota. I sent out an e-mail disguised as a "knowledge builder." The e-mail read, "It has come to our attention that there is a serious knowledge gap that needs to be addressed to all, but this applies more to those working out of the Duluth office. Everyone in Great Lakes should be aware of this but we figured a reminder is necessary. Please take a quick second to print this out and tape it to your desks. Thank you for your attention to this matter." A PowerPoint slide was attached and when viewed they were treated to a giant interlocking NY with the message "Yankees Rule!!! Twins drool!!!" That got a lot of laughs and a lot of nasty, yet respectful, replies. I was hoping not to have to eat crow and thanks to tonight's Yankee victory I don't think I'm going to have to.

Take care of business Phil.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Yankees Take Game 1 Over Twins In ALDS

It's late and one of my kids will without a doubt be waking me up by 5:30 so I'm making this quick. here goes, buckle up.

  • Big win tonight. Huge to take a game on the road especially in game 1 against their ace.
  • CC wasn't great but he was definitely good. Not vintage CC but he pitched well enough and deserved the W. He almost blew it in a painful 6th inning but the team picked him up.
  • Mariano Rivera is God. Do I need to expand on that? No.
  • Took awhile for the offense to get going but they came through and picked up CC. Teixeira's blast sealed the deal. Gotta love getting a Tex-message.
  • Can't believe how bad the umpires continue to be. They want nothing to do with instant replay but you wouldn't know it from the terrible calls. That non-out in the 9th was an obvious catch. Can't believe a 6-man crew couldn't get that one right. Actually, I can.
  • TBS is terrible. Can't stand their broadcasts. Craig Sager has to be color blind, right?
  • Pettitte vs. Pavano tomorrow. Last thing that can happen tomorrow is Pavano pitching a decent game. I'm hoping Yankees made right call by starting Pettitte over Hughes. We'll see. I would have gone with Phil.
  • Roy Halladay is the man. Best pitcher in the game without question.

First pitch tomorrow @ 6pm. Leaving Minnesota up 2-0 would be killer. Take it to 'em Andy.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yankees Announce ALDS Roster & Rotation, No Real Surprises

A little behind on this as the update came down earlier this morning, but better late than never, right. I really wish I could post things right after they happen. Sucks to have real things to do. The Yankees really should rule all things in the universe.

No major shocks to me on the ALDS roster. A little surprised Javy Vazquez got left off and by little I mean very little. But really, what role would he fill. I'm also a little surprised Dustin Moseley made the roster over Ivan Nova but I can see that going either way. Not at all surprised and I'm rather thankful that Chad Gaudin isn't on the roster. I'd be happy if he didn't throw in another game this year. Sergio Mitre on the roster. Like Gaudin, I hope he doesn't pitch either. You could make a case for keeping Nova on the roster over Mitre and I'd think prefer that but whatever.

Offensively, no big shocks. I probably would have kept Eduardo Nunez over Greg Golson but again, I could go either way on that. Outside of that, I'm cool.

The only real area where I would consider making a change is with the rotation. And like with the roster, I can live with and understand behind doing it how they're doing it. The only thing I'd do differently, and I've mentioned this in my last few blogs, is I'd flip-flop Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte. As I wrote the other day Phil's #s are much better on the road then they are at home. I think it's also better to pitch the 2 LHPs in back-to-back games in Yankee Stadium. But on the flip-side, we are talking about Andy Pettitte, one of the best postseason pitchers there is. I'd prefer Andy on the mound in a game 5 (if necessary) than Phil Hughes. I thought yesterday that the game 2 SP would be starting game 5 on short rest but I was wrong. I have a problem counting to 5 I guess. I'm also skeptical on Andy being 100%. All things considered I'd like to see Hughes in games 2 and 5 but again, no problem with the decision to go with Andy.

It also appears the Yankees are going with a 3-man rotation for the ALDS. I'm a big fan of that. The only SP that could possibly go on short rest is CC (games 1 and 4) and let's face it, if there is any guy that can go on short rest, it's CC Sabathia. That makes A.J. Burnett the odd man out. I think Yankee fans everywhere are rejoicing over that one. I only saw them using A.J. in game 4 if they had a 2 games to 1 lead. As I think more about it, what would be the point when CC is the horse that he is. I like A.J. being in the pen rather than being left off the roster altogether. He does have some value, albeit it's not a lot.

To sum up all that drivel, I have no major problems with how the Yankees are going after the Twins. I might have done a thing or two differently, but I can totally see why the roster and rotation are the way they are. To me, it's all good.

Less than 24 hours til first pitch. Excitement is building!

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Swish's Wishes Giving Campaign Update

As I'm sure you know, if you're a regular blog reader, a couple of us Yankee fans got together this season to donate some money to Nick Swisher's charity, Swish's Wishes. Basically, every time Nick went deep, his charity earned some money. It worked out to be $41 per HR, and we also kicked in some extra for his appearance in the HR Derby. I'm happy to report that altogether our total contribution came out to $1249!! If you're interested in seeing a more detailed breakdown, you can see it in the upper left.

Hopefully, everybody comes through on their promise to send his charity the money. It's totally on the honor system. I sent my portion off this morning through my work's annual giving campaign. It would have been real nice if Nick's charity was eligible for an employer match but it wasn't.

I did want to take a second to thank everyone that pledged to donate. Thanks Dan, Conor, Conor's Dad, Chris, Mike D, Elyse, Danny Mac & Fernando. I again appreciate you stepping up and donating along with me. Much appreciated. Thanks again. If you need the info on where to send the donation, you can find it here.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, October 4, 2010

Time For The Second Season

I love this time of the year. October is by far my favorite month. Nothing beats baseball's second season, the postseason. It's truly the most exciting time of the year.

I don't know about you but I for one am very happy that the Yankees finished the season as the wild card winner. I think they're better off facing the Twins than the Rangers in the ALDS. I kind of wrote about this in my last entry and with the regular season now over it makes a little sense to revisit it.

The main reason I prefer the Yankees facing the Twins is simple and it can be explained in 2 words: Cliff Lee. Had the Yankees won the East they'd be hosting the Rangers and would undoubtedly face Cliff Lee in game 1. Cliff Lee is a stud and a much better pitcher outside of Texas. Pitching in Yankee Stadium would greatly benefit Lee as Yankee Stadium plays to LHPs. The Yankees know this and that's one of the major reasons they tried to trade for him before the deadline and it's one of the biggest reasons the Yankees will go hard after Lee once the free agent market opens. It would have been tough to beat him in game 1. Real tough.

I would assume, if the Rangers were smart, that they would have started C.J. Wilson, another LHP, in game 2. The Yankees have struggled mightily in recent weeks, losing something like 9 straight games against LH starters. I say something like because I don't know the actual number. I recall hearing the stat on the radio before the last series with Boston and I'm too lazy to look it up. Anyway, point is, facing 2 decent LHPs in Yankee Stadium in a short series could be a death sentence.

I personally think the Yankees match-up much better with the Twins. They're pitching staff isn't as strong and they'll avoid facing the tough lefty, Francisco Liriano, in Yankee Stadium. I also think the Yankees are in a good position to break up their two LHPs. If the Yankees were at home to start the ALDS it would make perfect sense to start Sabathia in game 1 and Pettitte in game 2. Again, Yankee Stadium plays to LHPs. I think they would have shot themselves in the foot if they started Pettitte in game 3 had they hosted Texas. The right move now in my opinion is to start CC in game 1 and Phil Hughes in game 2. Hughes has pitched much better on the road this year and I think he'll fare rather well pitching in Target Field. Pettitte should start game 3.

The game four starter is the big question mark. Here's how I would play it. If the Yankees are up 2-1, I'd start A.J. Burnett. I don't think you can let A.J. pitch in a big game. If the Yankees were down 2-1 or tied 2-2 I'd struggle to give the ball to Burnett. If they're down 2-1 I think they need to bring CC back on short rest. The only hiccup in that plan is that they then probably need to bring Hughes back on short rest to start game 5. That's the only roadbump in my plan. Not sure I want to see them go down that road but I think it makes the most sense. I wouldn't want A.J. to pitch and I'm not sure how I feel about Pettitte pitching on short rest based on how he finished out the season. I could live with Hughes in game 5. Hopefully, it doesn't go that far.

Another plus to facing the Twins is that they don't run that much. The Twins had 68 stolen bases on the year compared to 123 for the Rangers. The Yankees ranked dead last in the AL in caught stealing percentage, stopping only 15% of would-be base-stealers. If the Twins were smart they'd run all over Posada and Cervelli. But it doesn't look like it's part if their game. Advantage Yankees.

Another thing working in the Yankees' favor is that Justin Morneau is out for the playoffs. That's pretty big. The Twins' lineup is definitely not the same without him. On the flip side, Josh Hamilton just came off the DL and returned to the Rangers' lineup. Hamilton, had he played all season, would probably win the AL MVP award. Anytime you don't have to face him, you win.

I definitely like the Yankees chances in the ALDS. They've owned the Twins in the postseason and I expect them to get past them again. If only we didn't have to wait 46 hours to get it started.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Taking A Look At What Could Lie Ahead For The Yankees

Just got back from Toronto about 5 minutes ago. It's about 2:30am and I'm going to have to get up with my kids in about 3 hours. I'm super-tired but I had to blog. Got some stuff I wanted to drop sooner rather than later. First things first, Toronto was fun. Went to 2 of the 3 games. Unfortunately they were the 2 games the Yankees lost. Guess I had that kind of luck this trip. Did get some good autographs though. That made the trip worth it. While there I got into some spirited debate with some fellow Yankee fans about the end of the season and preferences for the postseason. Here's my take:

Tomorrow's Rays' game is pretty huge. The way I see it is if the Rays win the Yankees are the wild card team. A Rays' win puts the Yankees 1 game back with 3 to play. The Rays hold the tie-breaker so if they finish the season tied that means the Yanks are the WC. So the Yanks would have to gain 2 games on the Rays over the final 3 days. The only way they can do that is if the Rays lose at least 2 of their last 3 games, which is highly unlikely since they're playing the 65-93 Kansas City Royals. The only chance the Yankees have of winning the division is if the Rays lose tomorrow, err, I mean later today as it's 2:30am. I don't see TB losing 2 of final 3. Possible, but really doubtful. Now here's where the debate comes in.

What playoff scenario do you prefer? Winning the AL East and hosting the Texas Rangers in the ALDS and having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, or, being the wild card and going to Minnesota in the ALDS and not having HFA at all throughout the playoffs? The way I'm currently looking at it, I'd take the wild card. Follow me on this.

If the Yankees win the East that means they play the Rangers and that means they'd face Cliff Lee, possibly twice, both times likely in Yankee Stadium, where LHPs fare quite well. If Texas were smart, they'd throw CJ Wilson, another LHP, in game 2. They may have a winning record against them but the Yankees struggle against LHPs. Don't quote me on this but I thought I heard it somewhere recently and I'm too lazy to look it up, but I think the Yankees have lost 8-9 straight against LHPs. Again, not 100% on the stat but regardless they haven't done well recently against LHPs. I think facing Lee and Wilson in Yankee Stadium could be a death sentence. The Yankees would have to counter with Sabathia & Pettitte. Beating Texas wouldn't be out of the question. I think it might be a tall order, especially when you consider how the Yankees have been playing.

Now if the Yankees end up the WC they'll head to Minnesota where they'll face LHP Francisco Liriano in game 1 and not sure who they'd face in game 2. I'd guess Carl Pavano. If I'm Ron Gardenhire I'd have them face LHP Brian Duensing in game 3 in Yankee Stadium. CC would obviously go in game 1 for the Yankees. If I'm Joe Girardi I throw Phil Hughes in game 2. Hughes has fared better on the road this year. His ERA is 3.52 on the road vs. 4.66 at home. He's allowed 5 HRs on the road versus 20 at home. The Yankees are better off if Hughes pitches on the road. Target Field also seems to be a pitcher's park. I think it'll work in the Yankees favor to have Hughes start there in game 2, as opposed to game 3 in Texas, which is a hitter's park. A 1-2 of CC and Hughes would allow you to break up the LHPs by starting Andy Pettitte in game 3 at Yankee Stadium. If the Yankees happen to find themselves down 2-1 after 3 they'd probably bring back CC on short rest. Again, Yankee Stadium is a park where LHPs typically do better. Pettitte & CC back-to-back in Yankee Stadium works for me, especially when Cliff Lee isn't in the opposing dugout. It would also neutralize Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau (assuming he's cleared to play-guessing won't be). And let's face it, come playoff time, the Yankees own the Twins. They may in fact own them altogether. They did after all take 4 of 6 against them this year, winning 2 of 3 both at Yankee Stadium and at Target Field.

I don't know. Maybe I haven't thought this through all the way. As I typed it all out I began to question my preference to face the Twins a little bit. My gut is telling me "wild card." My head is starting to say "home field advantage." HFA is really important, especially to a team that's 52-29 at home. But Cliff Lee in a short series, likely pitching twice in Yankee Stadium? That scares me. It scares me a lot.


Peace, love and Pinstripes,