Sunday, September 20, 2009
SEATTLE—Whether the Yankees want to admit it or not, the primary goal of this month’s gauntlet is to get through healthy for when their second season begins, needing all cylinders firing in unison to make their October one to remember.
So the looks in the dugout were of pained concern in the fifth inning on Saturday, as CC Sabathia took a line drive off his chest. Losing their ace at this point in the schedule is not an option, and only when the left-hander shrugged it off and went back to work could the Yankees truly exhale.
Sabathia may have bruised, but once again, he could not be beaten. Backed by plenty of support, including a two-homer showing by Mark Teixeira, Sabathia moved into a tie for the Major League lead with his 18th win as the Yankees posted a 10-1 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field.
Yeah, that was scary. Nice rebound after yesterday’s heart-breaker.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
SEATTLE—The Yankees have seen Mariano Rivera make that slow walk off the field a handful of times over the years, the head-down trudge toward the dugout as an opposing player celebrates touching up one of the game’s best.
Yet, since it takes place so infrequently, it never seems any more believable. Ichiro Suzuki put Rivera through the unfamiliar ritual in the ninth inning on Friday, belting a two-run homer to rescue the Mariners with a 3-2 victory.
“It just shows that he is human,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “When it happens, you’re somewhat surprised. But no one is going to be perfect in this game.”
-Burnett pitched well, albeit against probably the worst offense in the AL.
-Sergio Mitre is not scheduled to start today
Saturday, August 15, 2009
SEATTLE—Mark Teixeira isn’t quite ready to say he’s having his dream season, but this much is for sure: the Yankees are enjoying every minute of having the legitimate Most Valuable Player candidate on their roster.
The first-year Bomber came through with another big hit on Friday, belting a go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth inning as the Yankees defeated the Mariners, 4-2, at Safeco Field.
The Yanks are 30 games over .500 now, and would finish with 96 wins if they just play .500 from here on out.
Friday, August 14, 2009
SEATTLE—Hideki Matsui homered twice and Derek Jeter also went deep to back CC Sabathia and help the Yankees pound out an 11-1 victory over the Mariners on Thursday at Safeco Field.
Beginning a 10-game, three-city road trip, Sabathia offered the Yankees everything they needed on the first day of the journey, limiting the Mariners to just a Josh Wilson home run over eight innings of commanding ball.
The C.C. we’ve been waiting for all year looks like he may finally be here. It’s nice to see Matsui hitting well too.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
NEW YORK—Like Mark Teixeira before him, Alex Rodriguez has gone from puzzlingly cold to exceptionally hot in a flash. And with him have gone the Yankees. In such a funk as they slogged through the Interleague portion of their schedule, the Yankees won their last two games in Atlanta and have been soaring since.
They are now winning games—and quite a lot of them—with both efficiency and precision. The latest example came on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, when Andy Pettitte thrived, Rodriguez hit a towering home run and the Yankees won their seventh straight game, this one a 4-2 decision over the Mariners.
I love me a winning streak.
NEW YORK—When Brian Bruney came off the disabled list, the plan was to immediately insert him back into the eighth-inning setup role. That was about two weeks ago, when there was nothing but doubt surrounding the Yankees’ bullpen situation. When the bridge to Mariano Rivera was teetering and in danger of crumbling, the Yankees took comfort in knowing Bruney would soon be back.
Then, suddenly, the bullpen without Bruney righted itself. Alfredo Aceves and David Robertson demonstrated they could pitch key innings. Phil Hughes went from being a struggling starter to a seemingly unhittable reliever. It wasn’t that they didn’t need Bruney. Instead, he would fit in as just another cog in a sturdy machine.
It hasn’t been quite that easy. Bruney has struggled of late in the eighth and has not slid back into the bullpen the way the Yankees hoped. True, they won on Tuesday, beating the Mariners, 8-5, in front of 46,181 at Yankee Stadium for their sixth straight victory. But in many ways the contest raised more questions than it answered.
PHil Hughes should pitch the eighth…
Bruney’s struggles were the major negative in last night’s win. I didn’t get to watch the game as I was on the road, but I listened and it sounded like Joba wasn’t great, but serviceable. It sounded like Phil Coke and Hughes were great, and then Bruney just stunk. Of course, John Sterling’s too busy telling us that you can’t predict baseball to give much in the way of details about how the game is actually unfolding, although I digress.
Anyway, the Yankees win coupled with the Red Sox blowing a 10-1 seventh inning lead made for a fun night in the AL East, with the Yankees moving within two games in the loss column of the AL East lead.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
NEW YORK—Johnny Damon, who took a breather while the Yankees snapped a three-game losing streak on Friday night, was a one-man wrecking crew at the plate in leading his team to a 6-1 victory over the Mariners at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The outfielder’s effort helped support a third straight strong start from veteran right-hander Mike Mussina, who improved to 4-3 by pitching six innings of one-run ball, during which he struck out five and walked none.
Don’t question how Moose is doing what he’s doing - you’ll only make yourself dizzy.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Well, they needed that one. It was actually a close game until the bottom of the sixth. Hopefully the seventh inning fireworks are a sign of things to come.
Alex Rodriguez is the AL MVP, and it’s not particularly close. The question that’s starting to get more interesting is if Chien-Ming Wang may steal the Cy Young. He doesn’t really deserve it right now, but he does lead the AL in wins. If he ends up as the only 20 game winner in the AL he could steal it.
Thursday, May 8, 2003
Yankees 7, Mariners 2 Update
Well, there was so much good about last night’s game.
The first, of course, is Moose. He was unbelievably brilliant last night: 8 innings, 2 earned runs, 12 strikeouts, NO walks. Aside from being 7-0 with a 1.70 ERA, Moose has given up only two homers, and has struck out 63 this year against only 8 walks. This is the guy the Yankees paid so much for, the guy they need in the postseason. Obviously he’s not likely to keep it at this level all season, but it definitely looks like Mussina is going to be fantastic this season, and could win the Cy Young.
Godzilla finally had a big game with a double and an important homer, his first since April 14th. It figures that the game after I say they should sit him he has a great game. You suck, Hideki. Keep it up.
And Giambi had a couple of hits, but I don’t think that’s going to get him out of his slump. Surfing the news stories this moring I saw this in the Newark Star Ledger:
Things have gotten so bad that there even have been internal discussions in the organization about allowing Bob Alejo, Giambi’s friend and personal trainer, to have the clubhouse access he was allowed last year.
“It’s something to think about, if it really would help Jason,” a Yankees official said.
I doubt that’s really the problem, but if it’ll help him relax more, then it’s not really that bad an idea.
Speaking of slumps, Soriano’s in a doozy of one. He’s 5 for his last 33 (.152) with one extra base hit, his homer against Seattle last Thursday, but he also has 7 BBs in that span.
Wow, did you ever think you’d see Soriano have an extended streak where he had more walks than hits? Hopefully this slump won’t put him off the whole plate discipline concept.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention OBP Jesus: Nick Johnson. 3 for 5 with a homer (no walks, though). His OBP is .473, his OPS is 1.028, and he’s just gonna get better as he starts hitting with more power. And he’s on the cheap for the next few years, too! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Screw you
Yankees 7, Mariners 2
No time for an update tonight, I’ve got a paper due in the morning that I need to finish. I’ll try to write something later.
Wednesday, May 7, 2003
Mariners 12, Yankees 7
Yikes. Three game losing streak. 2-3 since I started this blog. It must be me.
On the bright side, they did get into the bullpen early, which might pay off in the next two games. Although they only got 18 pitches out of Rhodes and 13 out of Nelson.
Almont-E’s gotta go. His offense has been weak, but it’s his defense that’s killed them. He’s not only not getting to the ball, he’s screwing up easy plays. Tonight he ran into Zeile while he tried to make a play, and an earlier error led to three unearned runs. I don’t see how Enrique Wilson could be any worse. Fortunately, Jeter should be back soon.
Why the hell wasn’t Nick Johnson playing? He’s only had 16 ABs vs. lefties this season, but how is he going to improve against tough lefties if he doesn’t play against them? And why wasn’t he in there in the eighth against Nelson?
I think Torre should shake things up a little. He said he doesn’t want to take Godzilla out of the lineup because of his consecutive games streak (here and Japan), but these aren’t the early ‘90s Orioles, who could afford to live with a slumping Ripken to keep the streak intact, the Yankees need production out of Left Field. I’m not saying to bench him, but maybe plug Trammell in left a few times instead of sitting Johnson. At least move him down the lineup.
Well, the Yankees are finally coming back to earth. Soriano’s in a honest-to-goodness slump (amazingly, just as his walk rate has surged), and Giambi and Matsui haven’t rebounded to counter that. Coupled with improved competition, the Yankees should be in for a challenging stretch. And I think it’s safe to discount the likelihood of 117 wins now. The Yankees seem certain to have a great record, but nothing historic is likely to happen.
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Alfonso Soriano - The Exception To The Rule?
Guys who don’t draw walks and strike out a lot usually don’t have a very high batting average. This is because a low walk total and high strikeout total are indicative of a overly agressive batter, who swings at everything. Before long, pitchers figure that out and stop throwing them strikes. Either the batter starts to draw walks, or they start to make a lot of outs.
Alfonso Soriano batted .300 last season. So far this season, he’s been batting over .370. Many statheads are starting to concede that Soriano is an exception to the rule—a “Freak of Nature” as Aaron Gleeman dubbed him last week. Maybe. Maybe it’s still April, too. More importantly, simply saying that Soriano is an exception is not good sabermetrics (Yeah, like I would know what good sabermetrics is—but it’s not good science). If the rules don’t apply to Soriano, you have to find out why he’s different, and maybe that the rules are—*GASP!*—wrong!
Not that I’m saying they are. But then, there’s Soriano, hitting in the upper .300’s, crushing balls over the wall. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s facing lesser pitchers, and we should wait until the Yankees are done with Seattle and Oakland to make a judgement, or even until the end of the season. Some have said that it’s because he’s batting leadoff, and getting better pitches to hit, though that would require discarding another sabermetric theory—that protection doesn’t matter.
Here’s my crackpot theory. Feel free to disregard it.
It’s the bat.
No, it’s not corked. Well, probably not. But that’s not my point. I think it’s too heavy.
See, my theory goes like this. Because of the extra weight of his bat, Soriano needs to start his swing a little earlier, and has less time to recognize a pitch. So, he gets fooled sometimes by the movement of a pitch, and swings through a ball in the strike zone, or a ball that drops out of it. Further, he swings at anything in the strike zone, since, like Vlad Guerrero, he can crush anything in the strike zone. Thus the low walks, thus the high strikeouts without fishing for stuff in the dirt. The way to get Soriano out is not to throw him lousy pitches, but to throw him great pitches. Of course, that’s how to get everyone out, which is why Soriano isn’t more prone to extended slumps than anyone else.
A lighter bat would probably cut back on his strikeouts with this theory, but not increase his walks. That would take a change of approach. And he really does need to change his approach, because as great as he has been, his value has been limited by the fact that he makes so many outs. An approach at the plate more like Barry Bonds (or at least Jason Giambi, although he’s not a good example thus far, what with his slump), would not only lead to more walks, but better pitches to hit. That’s a nice thought.
In other news, the Yankees beat the Mariners tonight, but almost blew it in the 8th because they insisted on using Acevedo and Hammond rather than bringing in Mariano Rivera. Yes, I understand that it’s Rivera’s first game back, so you might not trust him quite as much in a situation with runners on base as you normally would, but this is exactly what Bill James is talking about. You bring in your ace reliever with a four-run lead in the ninth, and leave your lesser relievers to get you out of a bases-loaded jam with a one-run lead in the eighth. How does that make any sense?
In a related story, the Red Sox have blown only one ninth-inning lead this season. The problem with the Sox’s pen is the pitchers, not the system.
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