Saturday, September 26, 2009

Yankees Tie...The-e-e-e Yankees Tie!

By skunking the Roid Sox 3-0 today, the Yankees clinched at least a tie in both their division, the AL East (best in baseball) and for the best record in baseball and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Yankees were AWFUL today with runners on base. Finally, in the 6th, Cano parked one and then Damon got a two-out bases-loaded hit in the bottom of the eighth. Mariano got his 43rd save and the Yankees lead both Boston and California by 7 games with 7 games left.

Yanks have taken 8 of 9 from Boston and tomorrow will go for the remarkable feat of tying the season series with the Evils, after going down 0-8 in the first couple of months.

Folks, if CC Sabathia does not get the Cy Young, its a rip. This guy has been an absolute stud the second half. The Sox only got one hit against him. Absolute domination.

And there is good hope that CC might still have some strength for the playoffs. Last year, the Brewers rode him like draft horse down the stretch, pitching him long innings on short rest. By the time the playoffs came around, he wasn't sharp.

CC hasn't been going more than 100 pitches or so for his last few starts and has been pitching on 5 days rest (sometimes 6).

The AL playoffs are almost set. The Yankees will play either Detroit or Minnesota - whichever one of them gets out of the woeful AL Central. Boston will go to California for the first round. The Angels should win that, but Boston seems to have their number. The Yanks should have no problem in the first round, but we have to break our bad playoff mojo. We will see.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pass in the Song Books

The good guys beat the bad guys 9-5 tonight, putting the Yankees up 6 games in the loss column and pretty much finishing any chances the Sox have to win the AL East (magic number is 3 with 8 games left).

Significant happenings:

  • Joba looked Very good, for the first time since the Joba rules were imposed. He gave up home runs to Martinez and Ortiz, but he looked in command.

  • Lester got hit in the knee by a line drive. Looks like he's going to be okay, and it is so wrong to cheer for injuries. But if Lester were out of the rotation, Boston's goose would be cooked.

  • The bats were booming. A-rod is hot, Teixeira is going good - lots of Yankees are hitting. We scored 9 runs and probably should have had more.

  • What a comeback in the second half. The Yankees lost the first 8 games of the season to the Red Sox. They are now 7-9. If we win the next two games, we will be even for the season. Not many people would have predicted a split series for the year. We have a chance to make it a reality.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An ANGELic Series

The Yankees did exactly what we needed to do - we got two wins in our three games in Anaheim - first Yankees series win in Anaheim since 2004. Boston has lost two of three to KC (they are playing now - no score), allowing the Yankees to get back to a five game lead in the loss column. We've got 9 regular season games left. Our "magic" number is 5 (any combination of 5 Yankees wins and Evils losses gives us the division). Shouldn't be too hard.

Perhaps the biggest thing is that AJ Burnett looked good for the second game in a row. We need him on a roll in the playoffs.

Biggest problem is Joba. The "Joba Rules" have messed him up royally, at least for this year. His start against the Evils tomorrow night is a big deal.

Yanks need to win one of the games against the Sox. Two would be great. Three would be heavenly - and clinch the AL East.

Let's go Yankees.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Three Big Outs

Yankees got a sac fly in the top of the ninth (by A-rod) to take a 6-5 lead. Mariano is coming in to get three outs in the ninth. If we win, we will have a 6 game lead (5 in the loss column) with 10 games left. I think it will all be over.

The bigger thing is two-fold. 1) We really need to beat the Angels in Anaheim - just for confidence.
2) Mariano needs to get back on track after the fiasco in Seattle.

A-rod has a home run, a sac fly and a great play with the bases loaded to stop the Angels from taking the lead. Let's go Yankees - finish it off!

First up - Morales, who is 5 for his last 5 at-bats. Full Count. Morales swung at ball four. Walked him. Tying run on with no outs. We can't get this Morales guy out.

Juan Rivera - ball one. Mariano does not look sharp tonight. WOW! A strike-em-out throw-em-out double play. Two outs and no one on.

Erick Aybar - grounds out on first pitch.

Yankees Win! Yankees Win! The-e-e-e Yankees Win.

A big day for the Yankees! I am going to breath a little easier now.

Baseball is a WEIRD Game

The Red Sox have been almost unbeatable recently, and I was actually starting to be afraid that they might catch the Yankees for the AL East title. Then, they go into KC to play one of the truly bad teams in baseball. Low and behold, the Evils lose two straight to the Royals - my new second favorite team.

The Yankees are stinking it up again tonight in Anaheim. They had runners at first and third in the first, so A-rod struck out and we stranded the runners. Then, Cano led off the second with a double and we stranded him at third.

If we could somehow win tonight in Anaheim, the magic number will be 6. It stands at 7 now.

Another weird thing: I mentioned above how bad the Yankees are doing, and within a minute or two of publishing that, both A-rod and Jorge have hit 2-run home runs. Now, Chad Gaudin has got to keep throwing blanks!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gotta LOVE the Royals!

I'm now a huge Royals fan. Tonight was looking pretty depressing. The Yankees are down 3-0 in the 6th inning and they just aren't hitting (haven't been since they flew to the West Coast.) The Boston Evils were up 6-0 against the Kansas City Royals, one of the worst teams in baseball. It was looking bleak. The Yankees lead is down to 5 games, 4 in the loss column. Another Yankees lose, Evils win night would suddenly make this thing a race.

Then, KC's bats came alive. They started scoring and just kept on going. They beat Boston 12-9 and took the pressure off a little. The magic number is now 8.

If only the Yankees can come back and win tonight! If only...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I LOVE CC Sabathia!

After a difficult loss yesterday, and another win by the Red Evils today, we really needed a win tonight. We got it. CC was masterful. Texeira brought the bat (2 HR's, a triple and a single). It was a much needed win.

Our magic number is now 9. Any combination of Yankee wins or Evil losses totaling 9 and we win the AL East. We have 13 games left. So, if we go 9-4, we are in. If the Red Evils lose 2 games, then we have to go 7-6.

Let's go, Joba! A win tomorrow in Seattle would be great. And, for Pete's sake, couldn't you Evils lose one tomorrow?

Friday, September 18, 2009

That One Stung a Little

Mariano struck out the first two batters.
Then, in two pitches the game was lost. Sweeney double. Ichiro home run.

That Ichiro is amazing. AAARRRGGGHHH!

Boston picks up a game.

The Irrelevance of ERA

A pitcher's ERA (earned run average) is one of the key statistics used to judge a pitcher's quality. It is probably that CC Sabathia will lose the Cy Young this year to Zach Grienke because of the difference in their ERA's, even though CC has more wins.

But, watching the Yanks in Seattle tonight, I thought about how skewed that statistic can be. The Yankees have only gotten 2 runs so far (lead 2-1 at this point in the seventh). But if this game was being played at Yankee stadium they would have 5 or 6 runs. They have hit several balls that would have been out of the park at New Yankee Stadium , which went for harmless outs in Seattle. Swisher crushed one that was caught at the wall.

It is no wonder, with half his starts at Yankee stadium that CC's ERA is a little higher than pitchers like Felix Hernandez (pitching against us tonight) who pitches half his games in the cavern they call Safeco field.

I am not saying that ERA is insignificant. I'm just saying that since ballparks are so different, it is a statistic that will be skewed, like hitting stats in Colorado.

(One more thing, while I'm at it - the Yankees hit into more double plays than any team in the history of baseball - it is FRUSTRATING!!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Big Win for the Angels!

I haven't been writing much, because I have been busy and because I haven't felt much distress about the state of the Yankees. But the last couple of days have made me just a touch nervous. Boston won seven in a row, and the Yankees were in a minor funk (winning one, losing one, etc) and the Evils had cut a once nine game lead down to 6.5 games (only 5 in the loss column).

Last night, the umpire cheated the Angels out of a win that would have made things a little more comfortable, but tonight, the Angels squeaked out a 4-3 win. The Yanks are now up 7 games (6 in the loss column) and things are a little more comfortable.

The Yankees are 94-53. The Evils are now 86-59. That means that the Yankees have to win 6 games the rest of the way (6 wins, 9 losses) to reach 100 wins. If we do that, Boston has to go 14-3 to tie. They now embark on a 10 game road trip. The first two series are against two of the worst teams in baseball. They will go to Baltimore for three and to Kansas City for 4. The good news is that Grienke should be pitching one of those games, unless that line drive yesterday messed him up. The Yankees are headed to the West Coast to play Seattle and LA three games apiece. Then we are home to play the Red Sox and KC. Then, we go to Tampa Bay for our last three games.

  • Someone has to tell me why on EARTH the Yankees have two trips to LA this year! The next nine games are the last big stretch of the season. We need to win two of three in every series.

  • We seldom play well on the West Coast, so winning a good percentage of the next 6 games is big.

  • We may play LA in the playoffs, so we need to establish that we can win out there. That is a crucial series psychologically.

  • We need to beat Boston two of three to stop their momentum. They have really been hot recently.

In the last 24 hours, two good things have happened. First, we came back last night from being down 2 in the eighth to beat Toronto. Then, Boston blew a 2 run lead tonight to lose. Had those games gone wrong, thing could be way too tense right now.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Yankees play about 500 ball from here on out. We are pretty much guaranteed to be in the playoffs, and have a good lead on the home field advantage. We are resting pitchers and players, getting ready for the postseason.

I just hope we can do that without losing our edge.

I'm going out on a limb, here. We are going to go (at least) 8-7 the rest of the way to finish at 102-60. (That is 3 of 6 on the West coast, 1 of three with Boston, then two of three with each KC and Tampa Bay.) Boston may well win 12 of their remaining 17 games to finish the season at 98-64. That means that we get Detroit (or Minnesota if a miracle occurs) in the first round and Boston and LA will go back at. Boston wins that, setting up what will probably be another Empire/Nation Pennant series.

NOTE: The best thing would be more simple. The Yanks get hot this week, win 5 of 6 on the West Coast, win 2 or 3 against the Sox and make the last week of the season absolutely meaningless. Tough to imagine the Sox losing many to Baltimore or KC, even on the road.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nick Swisher Can Hit .250 for My Team EVERY Year

Nick is not a good fielder, often turning routine fly balls into adventures. He bats .250 when he's hot, strikes out a lot and hits some weak ground balls.

And I love him. He is such a great guy to have on a team. He gets big hits (walk-off home run tonight). He brings fun to the clubhouse. The Yankees can probably go out in the off season and pay 15 million for another outfielder (Matt Holliday or someone like that). But I like having Nick Swisher up there. He's my kind of Yankee!

FYI - Yankees are 90-50 with 22 games left. We will probably end up with around 100 wins, up to 105. We are resting guys and playing a different lineup every night. Just got to keep the pitching staff sharp.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Today's Most Important Event

The Yanks have pretty much wrapped up the AL East, forging a 9 game lead with 23 games left by sweeping the Bay Rays. Lots of good things happened today. Good pitching (1 run allowed in both games) good hitting (2 HR for Tex) and other stuff.

But the most important thing that happened was the game pitched by AJ Burnett. In the postseason, we need to have three dominant pitchers (four would be nice). CC and Andy have been consistently good. AJ has not. He looked pretty good tonight. Now, we just need to get these stupid Joba Rules nullified and get him back on track.

Stick a Fork in the Red Sox

The Yankees won the first of a double header today. We are 88-50 with an 8.5 game lead with 24 games to go. Using the calculation we used before, if the Yankees go 12-12, they will will 100 games. To catch us, the Red Sox have to go 21-4. That's if we just keep on splitting games.

Update: We won both, and are 89-50 with a 9 game lead. "See ya!"

The AL East is over.

Unfortunately, Texas can't seem to get it going (losing Young and Hamilton dI idn't help) and so the Evils still have a lead in the Wild Card. I'm hoping that they get hot and push the Evils out of the playoffs completely.

Honestly, the Red Sox keep on scaring me. Beckett can't keep getting beat forever. They have good starting pitching and a good bullpen. If they make the playoffs, they can win it all. That is evil beyond consideration. We must not let that thought cross our minds, folks.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Not Loving the Joba Rules

After the All-Star break, Joba Chamberlain was firing blanks. He was amazing, solid, consistent. Then, the Yankees started monkeying with his innings, to "save" his arm. There may be good reason in the long run to do that, but they have royally messed him up right now. He can't throw strikes and his fastball is 6-8 mph slower than it was. If they are going to do this kind of stuff, they should just put him in the bullpen for the rest of the season.

One more thing - why did Halladay have to choose tonight to break out of his slump? Why couldn't he have shut the Red Sox out last time?

The only bright note of the evening is that the Red Sox are down 12-1 right now in Chicago.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Something to Think About

The Yankees are 86-48 (38 games over .500). If we go 14-14 in our remaining games, we will finish 100-62.

If we finish 100-62, then Boston has to finish 22-7 to tie us (and win the division). They have 15 games at home and 14 on the road, including three at Yankee Stadium.

In other words, it will take a massive collapse by the New York Yankees to give the Evils a chance to win the division.

However, stick a fork in the Rays. They are done! We need to cheer for the Texas Rangers to get hot and knock the Evils out of the playoffs.

I Have a Problem with Robinson Cano

I think he is a remarkably good second baseman and hitter. But he does something I have observed a couple of times that bothers me. Just a moment ago, he hit into an inning ending double play in the first inning. He hit the ball, then looked at it for a second, then headed to first, getting thrown out by a hair. Had he just lit out for first base, perhaps he could have beaten the throw and the inning would have continued. Its not the first time I have observed him doing that. He hits the ball, watches it for a bit, then starts running. Its not a good habit.

Anyone else observed that?

Update: I hope it won't matter, but Romero came back to strike out the side in the second inning. The break seemed to help him regain his bearing. We should have blown his doors off in the first inning. Cano's lack of hustle hindered that.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I (Almost) Feel Sorry for the Red Sox

If I didn't find the failure of the Red Sox to be one of the great joys of life, I would be moved to compassion for them over the last couple of weeks. First, they blew a 5 game lead over the Yankees and now trail by 7.5 games. That's strike one. Second, they once were rejoicing that they had beaten the good guys 8 straight games. Now, we have taken 6 of 7. Strike two.

But what makes me feel sorry for them is what dominating baseball they have been playing over the last 10 games. They have been fantastic. Good pitching. Great hitting. And in the at time they have picked up exactly ZERO games on the Yankees. We were up 7.5 then, we are up 7.5 now. It must be discouraging to play that well and gain NO ground.

I think I'm about to call it. I will have a massive amount of mud on my face if I'm wrong, but the New York Yankees are the American League East Champions.

However, if we are going to go on and win the World Series, there are a couple of things that we need to do.

1) We need to get AJ Burnett straightened out.

2) We need to stay healthy and get rested without letting guys go cold.

3) We need to Joba back on form.

4) It wouldn't hurt if Josh Beckett kept stinking and if the Red Sox got a couple of key season-ending injuries.

Something to think about:

Yankees are 85-48 (37 games over .500). If we go 15-14 in our remaining games, we will finish 100-62. If we finish 100-62, then Boston has to finish 23-7 to tie us (and win the division).