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Slumping Into The Subway Series

May 16th 2008 20:54
Donít tell Johan Santana but The Tampa Bay Rays just changed the approach to pitching The New York Yankees. The Yankee organization has prided itself as a team that takes a lot pitches, works counts and are more than happy with a free pass to first base. During the four game set with The Rays, The Yanks only walked a total of 10 times.

Other stats from the Rays series, which resulted in one very lucky Yankee win:
Team Batting Average: .197 (26-132)
Average with Runners in Scoring Position: .160
6 Total Runs Scored in 4 Games
Last Place American League East

When Akinori Iwamura hit the leadoff homer against Ian Kennedy on Thursday afternoon, that one run seemed nearly insurmountable. The Yankee Brass should not be concentrating so heavily on who is going to be the fifth starter. It really doesnít matter if the team is averaging fewer than 2 runs a game.

The team looks flat only because they are not hitting. Perhaps they are trying too hard? One possible explanation for the massive team wide slump could be Johnny Damon who was 3-23 (.150) over The Tampa Series. Damon is certainly one of those leadoff hitters who has a direct effect on the performance of his team. When he gets hot (as he was for several weeks this season), the team will follow.

Johnny Damon

The Yanks play the first interleague game of the year against a struggling Mets team. The Mets are also having a problem scoring runs. However, one can never tell, and itís possible that both teams force/will one another into a shootout this weekend.


Double Play Machines

May 14th 2008 19:34
You know things are bad when your baseball team goes down one run and that puts you in a state of fear. You feel that there is little chance of even scoring one single run forgetaboutit if the opposition goes on to score one moreÖor God forbid two more.

The Yanks are playing without Posada and A. Rod. However, there is absolutely no reason why guys like: Jeter, Abreu, Giambi and Damon (to name just a few guys on the team earning over $10 million this season) canít put up a few runs.

Last year the Yankees scored on average almost 6 runs a game. This year, if an opposing team scores more than 4 runs, there is little chance the team will be able to make up that kind of deficit.

Last nightís game against Tampa proved no different. Another stellar starting pitching outing from Wang was wasted because The Yanks could not score one single run off of Edwin Jackson. Please note, that itís Edwin Jackson. Not Josh Beckett. Not Johan Santana. Lately however, if a pitcher wants to appear like Cy Young, they should look forward to playing the Yanks. Itís almost a guarantee to polish up their resume.

Joe DiMaggio
Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?

The Yanks have once again fallen to two games under .500. Every inning seems to be killed by an automatic double play. During the Dynasty years of the late 90s, the trademark of the Yanks was to punish teams who made mistakes, to get runs when given extra outs. Last night, in the 6th inning, Hinske misplayed a diving attempt at a ball, which landed Jeter on third base with one out. The infield was pulled in, Abreu grounded out to the short stop, forcing Jeter to stay put. Then Matsui popped up to the outfield. Those are fundamental hitting situations that need to be capitalized upon especially when the team is not producing. The Yankees went 0 Ė 9 with runners in scoring position during the first two games with Tampa.

Last night, a ray of hope came in the ninth inning when Matsui belted a homer off of Tampa closer Troy Percival to tie the score at 1 Ė 1. Rivera did a nice job of getting out of 10th but failed to put up a 0 in the 11th. It was the first time all season that Rivera has given up a run.

The Yanks have now lost 5 of 7. The suddenly confident Rays are in first place in the AL East. This is the first time in their 11-year franchise history that The Rays have been in first place after the first week of the season. They also have the best record in the American League.

Rasner Gets it Done

May 11th 2008 18:49
There was one consistent quality in many of the Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes starts this season. For the most part, they were painful to watch. It is difficult to witness a pitcher who canít throw strikes, are afraid to throw strikes and ultimately wind up walking the opposition. Or worse yet, laying cookies in the middle of the plate because they constantly pitch themselves into hitterís counts.

Enter Darrell Rasner. An under the radar right-hander who failed to make the team out of spring training when The Yankees opted not to carry a traditional long-man. Down to the minors goes Kennedy and onto what will probably be a home away from home for Hughes, the DL. The Yanks called for Rasner who went 4-0 with 0.87 in five minor league starts this season.

Darrell Rasner

The secret to Rasnerís success is simple. He doesnít have the stuff of Phil Hughes. Nor, is he going to overpower hitters with a 95 MPH fastball. In Rasnerís two starts, he has faced 45 hitters, walked only one, and had only 6 three-ball counts. The result has been 12 innings, two quality starts and 4 earned runs.

More importantly, Rasner keeps the defense on its toes. He works quickly and goes after hitters. Heís not afraid of contact and attacks the strikezone. He features a cutter, curveball, changeup and fastball, which he moves around the zone. Basically he is using the same tools that have reinvented Mike Mussina; locate and change speeds. Nothing fancy, nothing that is going to win him a Cy Young. Itís not sexy but itís effective.

Other Notes: The rubber match of Sundayís game against Detroit was postponed due to rain. No makeup date has been set.

Also, Derek Jeter ended the worst homerun drought of his career on Saturday afternoon (128 at-bats).

Win two games, lose two games, win three in a row, lose three in a row. Thatís the pattern of the Yankee season so far. They donít go on awful losing streaks (see last year losing 9 and 10 games in a row) nor do they go on extended winning streaks. All that adds up to an 18-18 record. A possible indication of mediocrity or perhaps treading water with brighter days to come.

The Yankee offense will get better. A. Rod is due back within the week and Posada hopefully by the end of month. Right now the lineup is too left-handed and can easily be matched up against in later innings. Also, Robinson Cano is hitting .172 and Jason Giambi is hitting .163. No one expects Giambi to play on the MVP level from what seems like a thousand years ago, but heís actually making solid contact and shows signs of life in his swing. Cano has looked more or less dreadful at the plate. He is guessing often and guessing wrong. However, he did hit an upper-deck homer on Thursday. So if the Yanks can get them going even a little bit, then add A. Rod and Posada, the offense will look to improve dramatically. The Yanks will hit, no doubt about it. Itís just a question of when

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Making A Case For Bernie

May 6th 2008 19:53
Being elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame is perhaps the most prestigious honor an organization can ever bestow upon a player. Hundreds of players have outstanding stellar careers and are not elected into the elite group. In fact, presently, there are only 199 Major League Players in the Hall of Fame.

Is the selection too hard? How can members of the Hall of Fame Committee compare modern players to players from 50 years ago? How will steroids, playerís physical conditioning, smaller ballparks, vamped up bullpens and inflated contracts affect voting? I think the Hall is still trying to figure that out. However, the basic facts remain the same. A player must play at least ten seasons of Major League Baseball, be retired 5 years and receive 75% of the votes

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Back on Track

May 4th 2008 23:47
What a difference a few days make. On Thursday night, I had some concerns. May baseball concerns but concerns nonetheless. Iíve reveled over the past few years about how fast Yankee haters, fans alike and analysts had written the team off after horrid starts. However, even last year, when the team was a billion games under .500 and a million games out of first place to the Red Sox, there was still hope. We still had A. Rod. No matter the problems in the rotation, bullpen and lineup. No opponentís lead was too insurmountable, the man was beast, inhuman, unreal. Each smooth swing was another RBI, another homer, another ninth inning comeback. I actually thought at times when he crushed the ball that clichť or no, the cover was literally going to come off.

This year Iíve been feeling a little panicky. The clutch, stalwart Posada went on the DL. Then news that A. Rod would follow. I began to wonder. How will the team react? Who is going to come up with clutch hits? Things looked rather bleak while Detroit came to NYC and brought the brooms. The Yanks inning after inning left runners in scoring position. I often ask aloud but to no one listening, ďwho wants to be the hero tonight?Ē The answer never came during the Detroit series

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Just Saying...

May 1st 2008 18:59
So the New York Yankee season began with a rain delay. Then something very strange happened. The Yankees played 19 games in a row without a day off. The Major League limit is 20. Because of the still potentially inclement weather in April, most teams have several days off to start the season. During this incredible streak of games, the team played 18 of 20 games on the road. This massive road trip included cold weather visits to Kansas City, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland and Baltimore.

After The Yanks arrived back in NY after playing 18 straight days on the road, one would think that they would have a day off before starting their series against Detroit. However, they did not. Instead they opened up on Monday night, the perfect day of the week for an off day

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On the first game of the series on Friday night, Pettitte took the loss on the strength of Jhonny Peralta's three run home run in the third inning. Paul Byrd picked up his first win of the season. The good news for the Yanks was that Jason Giambi finally cashed in with two hard hit homeruns. Also, the team called up Jonathan Albaladejo to replace the injured Brian Bruney. He pitched two innings of no run ball.

Ian Kennedy took the mound on Saturday afternoon in search of his first win of the season. He got a no-decision but improved on past performances with a 5 inning, 3 ER day. He looked more comfortable on the mound despite a three run inning by Cleveland. Kennedy has been highly touted as a control pitcher in the vain of Greg Maddux and Kennedy's idol Mike Mussina. So far this season, he has been anything but. He has 17 walks to only 15 strikeouts. Since he is not overpowering, he cannot succeed in the Majors without an absolute command of the strikezone

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What is Giradi Thinking?

April 27th 2008 20:04
Almost a full month into the baseball season, I find myself continually asking one question: What is Joe Giradi thinking? Giradi has made the wrong move in so many fundamentally black and white key decisions. First base open, Yankee killer Manny Ramirez up in a big spot, my grandmother would know to walk him. Mussina pitches to Manny, he lines a double up the middle. Game over.

Giradi's recent overuse of Ross Ohlendorf is reminding me Joe Torre's mismanagment of Scott Proctor. The one glaring difference is that Proctor gave the Yankees over 80 innings of excellent middle relief before falling apart. Ohlendorf has proved nothing. He's had a couple good innings but this year he has been wild, inconsistent and proven that he can't throw strikes in big spots. During Saturday afternoon's ninth inning tied game, instead of sticking with Farnsworth, Giradi again places Ohlendorf in a big spot two days after he gave up five runs to the White Sox in one dreadful inning where he should have been removed before the Yanks blew the lead

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The Yankees Will Not Be Bugged

April 25th 2008 21:44
It's pivotal Game 2 of the 2007 American League Division Series: New York against Cleveland. After a performance that saw a valiant Andy Pettitte work in and out of trouble, Joba Chamberlain takes the mound with a precarious one run lead in the bottom of the 8th. Then, of course, history happened. Swarms of tiny flying insects called Lake Eerie Midges inundate Jacob's Field. The Yankee fielders swat, use bug spray, and attempt to clear the minute pests from their eye sights. Close up camera shots of the back of Joba's neck reveal layers of the flying critters sticking to his sweat.

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