Sunday, July 05, 2015

Pace

At the season's midpoint, I'm sure we all can agree that we predicted the Yankees would be on pace for 88 wins and Teixeira would be on pace for 118 RBIs.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

God Bless America and God Bless the Yankees.

I mean, I don't think anyone really cares about ARod's bonus or ARod's ball.

But at least it provided Mike Lupica a chance to write a masterpiece:

"In the end, Hal Steinbrenner is better than this whole business with Alex Rodriguez and his records and his milestones, tainted by as famous a user of sports drugs as Barry Bonds or Lance Armstrong ever was."

Those three are the Mount Rushmore of Famous Users of Sports Drugs.

They all took "sports drugs." Alex Rodriguez is not a famous athlete who used drugs. He is a famous athlete who used "sports drugs."


"After what Rodriguez put the Yankees through a couple of years ago, calling the president of the team the 'Devil' and accusing a team doctor of malpractice and threatening to sue everybody and everything except the monuments in Monument Park to save his sorry reputation, Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine, the guy Rodriguez called the Devil, could have fought him on those bonuses the way baseball fought Rodriguez on the lies he told about Biogenesis."

Think of the children.


"But at least some good comes out of this. It has hardly anything to do with Rodriguez and everything to do with the Yankees, the ones who broker this deal so that the bonus money goes to charity, and the baseball Rodriguez hit over the fence to get to 3,000 hits goes back to Rodriguez and his daughters."

The Yankees are Saints.


"The Yankees were not just better than Rodriguez, whose ability to still hit has been the fuel for one of the great and relentless public relations campaigns in history. Steinbrenner and Levine were bigger, and not in an artificial and inflated and even dishonest way."

Okay:

1) I don't trust Mike Lupica's ability to judge a person's honesty.

2) He just wrote ... he actually wrote this, in actual English words ... that ARod's ability to hit in the 2015 baseball season has been the fuel for "one of the great and relentless public relations campaigns in history."

So, dear reader, is this a non sequitur dropped into a serious column? Or is the whole column a prank?

Or, most likely, Lupica is so deluded and lacking perspective that he truly believes that the general acknowledgement of ARod's surprisingly good 2015 offensive output qualifies as "one of the great and relentless public relations campaigns in history."

Goebbels had nothing on Steve Serby.


"This had nothing to do with the old and out-of-date concept that the Yankees are still the Evil Empire of baseball. This was about the Yankees taking the high road here. Even the point-missers who thought Rodriguez had some sort of sacred right to those 'milestone' bonuses must be able to figure that out."

The concept that the Yankees are the Evil Empire can't really be out of date, because it was never in date. Only foolish people like Mike Lupica gave it any credence in the first place.

I think the Yankees always had a strong case against ARod regarding the milestone bonuses. Nobody cares anymore because he cheated. I personally never cared much in the first place -- a "3k hit" tee shirt just isn't my thing.

But the so-called "point-missers" may just be stringent supporters of Contract Law in the USA.



"This isn’t about what kind of numbers Rodriguez would have put into the record books if he hadn’t started juicing, whenever he actually started doing that in his baseball career."

It's about the children


"This isn’t about whether you think he’s still getting away with something now, or simply still reaping the benefits of baseball drugs, which studies say can benefit you for a long time."

 "Studies say they can benefit you for a long time." Very detailed observation, thanks for the information. Unnamed studies say that "baseball drugs" can be beneficial for "a long time."


1) PEDs are not "baseball drugs," just like they're not "sports drugs." They're just drugs. If a baseball player uses a drug, the drug is not transformed into a "baseball drug."

2) As for the time frame, I'd say the time frame is easy to determine. Start with the last time Robinson Cano took a PED and then end with Opening Day 2015. Subtract those two dates and that is the definitive length of time "baseball drugs" can benefit you.



"This isn’t even about what it will be like at Yankee Stadium someday if Rodriguez actually passes Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list."

Unlikely event, but now that you've explained all the things it's not about, please tell us what it's about.


"This is about the Yankees showing class toward a guy who showed them none when he was caught as captain of the Biogenesis All-Stars."

Because the Yankee are, above all, classy.

Now Kate Smith will sing God Bless America.



Friday, July 03, 2015

Sure, let's get an ace.

Let's say Tanaka throws a no-hitter tonight with 22 strikeouts. The Yankees could still use an ace:

"Say hello to Masahiro Tanaka’s start Friday night at Yankee Stadium against the Rays. At this time last year, the Yankees’ $175 million investment looked like a bargain. Tanaka was 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA and the favorite to win the AL Cy Young and Rookie of the Year."

He was also in the midst of a hand-wringing losing streak.


"Now, with the July 31 trading deadline approaching, the Yankees would like to know what they have in Tanaka. And if it comes back that the 26-year-old pitcher is more of the same hurler who was spanked in his previous two outings, then the Yankees might have to part with prospects they would rather not trade to acquire a front-end starter, because the AL East is wide open and the Yankees have missed the postseason for two straight seasons."

The Yankees would like to know what they have in Tanaka! Tonight's game is the final determinant!

Can I please say something?

The Yankees could always use an ace. If Tanaka does not qualify as an ace, then are there even any aces left in MLB?

If the Yankees did this ... if the Yankees traded unnamed prospects to acquire an unnamed front-end starter ... this front-end starter certainly wouldn't replace Tanaka in the rotation.

You know which pitcher would be replaced. He is a large man who uses his initials to identify himself instead of his full first name and full middle name, but for some reason, doesn't use periods to signify the abbreviation.


"When Tanaka returned from the wrist and forearm issues June 3 in Seattle, the Yankees were encouraged for three starts — in which he went 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA, allowed 17 hits, didn’t issue a walk and whiffed 21.

The next two starts against the Tigers and Astros tripped loud alarms. In 10 innings Tanaka gave up 17 hits (six homers), 11 earned runs, four walks and struck out 11. Most disturbing was he flushed a 6-0 lead in Houston in his last start."

Tanaka will probably pitch well tonight.

If he gets defensive support, offensive support, and bullpen support, then I predict a Yankee victory.
 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

A Joyless Exercise

I saw this show on SNY after the Mets game. Two grown men with disproportionate affectations for Bud Harrelson bear-hugging because they bludgeoned two Mets fans. The final score was, like, 610 - 105:

"Gary Cohen of SNY and Howie Rose of WOR radio surely qualify, and then some. Both are lifers with encyclopedic knowledge of Mets history.


...

No spoilers here about who won when they faced two teams of avid fans. But it is no spoiler to say it was a nerve-wracking experience.

'These people are studying and preparing and reading,' Cohen said between shows. 'We have our memories, but these people are obviously rehearsing themselves, so yeah, it's very pressurized.'


Rose said he was impressed by the fans' knowledge but added he and Cohen had an edge going in because of their comfort in front of bright lights and cameras."

Similar experience I have when I watch Cohen on TV or listen to Rose on the radio.

Lighten up, fellas.

It's supposed to be fun.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Can he hit with runners in scoring position?

"Young pitching can give a starting rotation and an entire team a tremendous shot in the arm."

Then it's a good thing the Yankees have so much young pitching.


"Just look at what Steven Matz did for the Mets on Sunday. Now the Mets have a trio of young pitching studs in Matz, Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey — the Tommy John Trio.

The Yankees have their young ace, 21-year-old Luis Severino, at Triple-A, waiting for a call-up to the major leagues."

 Look at what Steven Matz did on Sunday!


"Talking to several Yankees hitters, they say Severino is the real deal, and one told The Post, 'I’d love to see Severino get a shot up here.'

Players get enthused when a young player can give the team a boost. It’s like making a trade — it energizes the team."

Well, sure. Assuming the young player is good ... or the player received in the imaginary trade is good.


"There is a lot of baseball to be played, but if the Yankees add some much-needed youth to the rotation now, and it works out, they would not be in such a desperate search for starting pitching before the trade deadline."

I don't think anyone will stand in your way if you want to get CC out of the rotation.

If you click "more stats" for CC Sabathia at baseball-reference.com, you will find an AL MVP candidate: 384 at-bats, .299/.329/.505, 19 HRs, approximately 59 RBIs. That's the AL (some NL, too) vs. CC Sabathia this season.

So, yeah, CC stinks. No particular reason to think Severino or anybody else would be worse.

But the Yankees' rotation that supposedly badly needs youth? Nova (28) just replaced Warren (27). The other three non-Sabathians are 26, 26, and 25.






Monday, June 29, 2015

Getaway Day

Am I hallucinating, or do the elderly Yankees tend to mail it in on Sundays?

Two hits in the whole game?

Somnambulistic feilding?

I mean, it's 1 day out of 7, fellas. The games count in the standings and stuff.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The problem is he had two bumpy starts.

"With every bad start by Masahiro Tanaka, it’s only a matter of time before the questions begin.

Is his elbow healthy? Should he have had Tommy John surgery? Will he make it through the entire season?"

Questions don't ask themselves.


"Tanaka posted his second straight dreadful outing on Saturday, flushing a 6-0 lead while allowing three home runs for the second time in six days. Jose Altuve’s game-tying shot actually made Tanaka’s jaw drop, which of course surfaced on the web as a GIF within about 15 minutes.

But what if these past two outings had nothing to do with Tanaka’s elbow at all?"


Was he going to be the first pitcher in MLB history to win every game?


"The Yankees insist he’s healthy. Tanaka says he feels fine. Who are we not to believe them?

Here’s the thing: If Tanaka truly is healthy, then there may be an even greater challenge ahead of him now than the partially torn ligament in his elbow.

He needs to figure out why he’s become so darn hittable."


Mechanics. It's a feeling. It's not always easy to make good pitches. Professional major league batters sometimes hit your bad pitches.


"Tanaka has proven to be a bona fide ace since joining the Yankees. His first 14 starts last year were as good as we’ve seen in years, and although he had a few bumpy starts in June and July, he never had a chance to work through his problems thanks to the elbow injury that sidelined him for more than two months."

So when he had few bumpy starts last year ... did you write a whole big column about it?


"When he came off the disabled list less than three weeks ago, Tanaka looked like his old self, allowing four runs over three starts, striking out 21 batters without issuing a walk in 21 innings."



Right.

So it's not his elbow.


"These have been the worst two consecutive outings of his brief big-league career. If it’s not his elbow — and I’ll take the Yanks at their word that it’s not — then what’s the problem?

'It’s really a feeling thing,' Tanaka said through a translator. 'It’s just that the mechanics are off and that’s causing my pitches to not go where I want them to. That’s all I can say.'

He better get it figured out soon or the Yankees will be in real trouble."



Well, gee.

The Yankees' best pitcher had better not give up six runs every game or the Yankees are in trouble.



"If you’re waiting for Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto to save the day before the trade deadline, you’re probably going to be disappointed as the Yankees are unlikely to part with the necessary prospects — read: Aaron Judge and/or Luis Severino — to land one of those aces in a deal.

They already have an ace. He’s just not pitching like one."


Except when he is, which is most of the time.


By the way? Nobody is waiting for Hamels or Cueto ... and when either of them have a bad start (Hamels just got tagged by the Yankees, actually), do you wonder out loud if their elbows are OK?

When Matt Harvey gets smoked, do you question his decision to have Tommy John surgery?

This is just one more person keeping score, rooting against Tanaka so he can gleefully proclaim "I told ya so."



4-3, 3,88 ERA.

Too many HRs allowed after yesterday's misadventures in Coors Park South.

When Ivan Nova allows six runs in his next start, I wonder if anyone will blame Tommy John surgery.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I'm confused. I thought Alex Rodriguez was Lance Armstrong.

"Clearly it wasn’t just a practical matter that brought Alex Rodriguez to Barry Bonds for hitting instruction during the last baseball winter. It was destiny that brought the two of them together. Because they are the same."

Untrue. One of them bats left-handed and one of them bats right-handed.


"Bonds, who once was one of the best and most gifted all-around players in baseball, who seemed to have the same skill set when he was young and with the Pirates that his godfather, Willie Mays, once had, finally made the decision to change his body with baseball drugs — and ultimately alter his place in baseball history — because he wanted to be the home run king of baseball. Which he became, finally hitting more home runs than anybody ever had in one season and more career home runs than anybody, Babe Ruth or the great Henry Aaron, had ever hit."

Run on sentence, dude.

Quick tip: it helps if you read the sentence out loud.


"Rodriguez came along with the Mariners as a teenager when Bonds had already gone to San Francisco, back in 1994, when Rodriguez got the first of his 3,000 hits at Fenway Park for the Mariners. And when Rodriguez arguably had his greatest season in baseball, for the Yankees in 2007, the one that earned him the most famous contract extension in all of sports history, Bonds was still playing for the Giants, at the age of 43."

I see the connection!

No, wait.

I don't see the connection.

The careers of two baseball players intersected? Yeah, that happens when people on Earth, you know, do things? ... and those things occur in the same general time-space continuum? ... so ... yeah.

In 1994, I was starting a job in Central NJ. I stayed there for four years. Some people joined the company during that time and some people left the company during that time. Some baseball players were starting their careers during that time and some players were ending their careers during that time.

All of us are connected in the ocean of life.

Thank you, Mike Lupica.


"When Jeter hit a home run off David Price to get to 3,000, Michael Kay’s wonderful call was this: 'History . . . with an exclamation point!' With Rodriguez it was history with a question mark, and even those who worship him with the fervor of One Direction fans have to understand that."

Sweet Michael Kay reference.

Sweet play on words.

Sweet cultural reference ... "One Direction."

Top. Of. His. Game.


"So he has officially become Bonds of the Yankees, still hitting home runs, probably thinking if Bonds was still hitting them at 43, he can still be hitting them at 42; maybe thinking that 762 is still in reach for him. And if there are enough people who will always wonder how much of a stink there is to the home run numbers, for any of them, he doesn’t care. Bonds never did.

They both were blessed with a gift for baseball. Only it wasn’t enough for either one of them. It’s no longer worth wondering why they made the choices they made, or the lies they told along the way. They both got rich. They both figured out there are all sorts of ways to be famous. They’re the same."

In the final analysis, we are all the same.

Ebony and ivory
Live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard
Oh, Lord, why can't we?

Friday, June 19, 2015

We can't believe in ARod because he couldn't believe in himself.

And we can't believe in Santa Claus because he's a fictional cover for American consumerism. Which, actually, is something to believe in because it's the most important part of the US economy.

But I digress.

We were talking about people believing in other people.

You may pursue this idea by reading Wallace Matthews's thoughts on the subject, if you wish to do so.

I'm not going to read the article by Wallace Matthews. But I am inspired by the title.

Even though I can't believe in ARod ... I'm going to BELIEVE IN MYSELF! I CAN DO IT!

I think it is great. Go KC.

Besides, it isn't possible to make the All Star Game farcical. That's like trying to moisten the Atlantic Ocean.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pineda is Finished!

"In the five starts since he struck out 16 Baltimore Orioles on May 10, Yankees' right-hander Michael Pineda's ERA has jumped almost a full run (2.97 to 3.74) and he's walked six batters, three times as many as he had in the his first seven starts."

He walked 6 batters in 5 starts!



"Will he turn things around, or was May 10 the beginning of the end to Pineda's season?"

It was:

The Beginning of the End.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Biogenesis.

"Mariners designated hitter/right fielder Nelson Cruz was slightly behind in the bid to win the starting DH spot for the American League in the All-Star Game, according to the latest voting update issued this week, but there should be no doubt that he should be the one."

Biogenesis.


"Cruz fell behind Kansas City's Kendrys Morales, but does it matter? There is plenty of time remaining to vote, and Cruz has continued to put up the kind of numbers that should give him an eventual edge in the balloting against Morales."

Biogenesis.


"Cruz has shown in the past couple of years that he's one of the most productive hitters in the big leagues. After leading the Majors with 40 home runs while hitting .271 with 108 RBIs last season in Baltimore, he signed with the Mariners this past offseason. Eyebrows were raised at the idea of a power hitter flourishing in a park with the deep dimensions of Safeco Field."

Biogenesis.


"Cruz has been an All-Star three times, including serving as the AL's starting DH last year. He has quietly answered all questions doubters had about him."

Biogenesis.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Mike Lupica is wrong and I am going to explain why.

Teixeira is certainly playing better that I expected. I'm a big fan of Teixeira. Are you not convinced?:
  • I have stopped eating gluten and started playing 2525 in the Pick Four. 
  •  I revisited the Foul Territory clips on YES Network, and you know what? They're actually kind of funny if you give them a chance. (I take that back. Sorry, that just went too far.)
  • I want Teixeira to challenge Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016. 
  •  I waited in line to to get his autograph so I can secretly steal a swab of his DNA and clone him. 
Having said all of that, Teixeira isn't the AL MVP unless you revert to looking at RBIs and nothing else:

"Mark Teixeira hasn't just been the MVP of the Yankee season so far. He has been the MVP of the American League, whatever his batting average is right now. Of all the surprises of the season for the Yankees, and that includes Alex Rodriguez, the biggest of all has been Teixeira, and the way his hitting has carried his team.

'I would say he has been (MVP),' Brian Cashman, the Yankee general manager, said Saturday."

That settles it.


"Teixeira came out of Friday night’s game against the Angels with 17 home runs, one behind Nelson Cruz, and leading the league in RBI. And even though he feels like he is a thousand batting-average points behind Prince Fielder, having a monster season of his own as he carries the Texas Rangers back to respectability, Teixeira is the most important reason of all that the Yankees are in first place in the AL East."

I guess I agree with the last part, but there are two other teams in the AL who are in first place in their division.

So if that's your thing ... "best player on best team" ... then you still haven't made a convincing case for Teixeira.


"It is a rundown neighborhood, of course, the weakest in baseball when it was once the strongest and best. The Red Sox have been the biggest disappointment in the sport, the Orioles aren't close to being the team they were last season when they ran away with the thing, the Rays being in second place is a head scratcher."

You're not helping your case.


"But the Yankees are just another under-.500 team if Teixeira hasn't hit the ball out of the ballpark and knocked in runs the way he has."

Complete nonsense:
  • With RISP, Teixeira is hitting .224.
  •  With RISP and two outs, Teixeira is hitting .179.
  •  Late and close, if you pay attention to that? .192.
  •  Overall batting average .242.
Your AL MVP is batting .242? 


As for the under-.500 claim, Math disagrees with you.

The Yankees are 6 games over .500. You'd have to subtract 4 wins to make the Yankees under .500 at this stage -- 1/3rd into the season.

So Lupica is indirectly stating that Teixeira is worth 4 wins so far (at least). On pace for 12 wins for the season (at least). This is simply not accurate. It would be one of the most valuable seasons in baseball history.


"Rodriguez has exceeded expectations, and wildly, because nobody knew what reasonable expectations were for him coming into the season."

When I say "nobody," I mean "myself."


"He’s already hit more home runs than people thought he might hit all year."

When I say "people," I mean "myself."


"But coming out of Friday night, and even after a four-hit game, Rodriguez had one less RBI than Daniel Murphy, and five more than Wilmer Flores."

... and, therefore, Mark Teixeira is the AL MVP? Because neither ARod, Murphy, or Flores are driving in a lot of runs this season?


"He’s not the only hitter to watch in the American League this season, not by a long shot. He’s just taken the biggest shots so far. You know the qualifiers: Only a third of the way in, so much baseball to be played. Teixeira could get hurt again. But if he doesn’t hit the way he has, and that means hit the ball over the fence, the Yankees would likely be where the Red Sox are."

Well, I thought we were talking about the 2015 AL MVP.

Teixeira adds little value on the basepaths or in the field. His fielding has deteriorated in recent years, but even if he was still a Gold Glover, he's just a first baseman.

Which brings me to my final point: When figuring where the Yankees would be without Teixeira, one must resist the impulse to compare Teixeira to a void, a null, a cipher.

When determining a player's relative value -- which is precisely what an AL MVP attempts to do -- one must compare Teixeira to other AL first basemen (really, all AL players, but I can stick to first baseman in Replacement Fantasy Land).


"If Teixeira doesn't hit the way he has, the Yankees would be under .500."

No way. Not if I get to replace Teixeira with Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Eric Hosmer, or Kendrys Morales ... and maybe even Steven Vogt, whose biggest crime is playing in Oakland for a bad team.



Prince Fielder is batting .356.

.356/.412/.545.


If Fielder was batting fourth and playing first base for the Yankees in 2015, the Yankees would not be under .500. They'd be even better than they are with Teixeira.



Saturday, June 06, 2015

Madden!

"As for the Yankees, they continue to lead the AL East despite the fact that none of GM Brian Cashman’s trades last winter have worked out particularly well, and that drastically improved defense they talked about last winter has been anything but."

Eovaldi is working out fine so far.

Miller is working out fine so far, even though he wasn't technically acquired via trade.

Gregorius hasn't been too good, but he might be better than Brendan Ryan or Stephen Drew. Derek Jeter retired, in case you didn't notice. The Yankees really didn't give up much for Gregorius -- I'm not sure I'd rather have Shane Greene (though the Cashman Bashers have stopped paying attention to Greene as Greene's ERA has ballooned above 5.00).


So what's your complaint? What's your point?

Cashman stuck with his team and they're 30-25 and in first place. I'm shocked they're playing so well. Cashman's trades have, in fact, worked out ... all of the trades he didn't make.


"Second base has been mostly a black hole, Didi Gregorius has played horribly at short (eight errors), Chase Headley has 12 errors at third base, Carlos Beltran has been a liability in right field, ..."

You're talking specifically about defense ... right? It seems that's what you're doing, based on the previous sentence and the remainder of the list.

Second base has not been a black hole ... defensively.

But it's also really hard to even figure out precisely what you're trying to say.


"CC Sabathia, if he wasn’t making $23 million, would have pitched his way out of the rotation by now, and the middle relief has been mostly lousy."

The middle relief has not been mostly lousy. It's all kind of relative, don't you think?

It's basically economically impossible for a pro baseball team to have effective middle relief.

If the middle relief pitcher is good, he will not settle for a middle relief role. He will demand starter money or closer money.

If a middle relief pitcher is bad, he will be replaced by another middle relief pitcher.

So Esmil Rogers has tanked lately, and he is still on the roster for now, but his ineffectiveness has not really cost the Yankees any games. Why? Because he's a mop up guy who isn't used when the games are close. Reviewing his game log, he has really only had two bad games. The Yankees won one and lost one.


"But with Michael Pineda and now Masahiro Tanaka back, the Yankees have two No. 1-caliber starters who seldom turn in a bad outing, and with the best closing tandem in baseball in Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, they may nevertheless have enough to win baseball’s worst division. There’s no guarantee, however, they’ll have a winning record."

Madden might be joking here, but once again, it's not easy to tell.

If he's really saying the Yankees might win the AL East with 81 wins, then I think he'll need a math lesson. The Yankees will lose at least 56 more times in the remaining 107 games. The majority of these remaining games will be vs. the AL East. So if the Yankees are losing, then another AL East team will be will be winning.

Lots of permutations. I certainly haven't attempted to work this out. I just know it's really not likely that 81 wins win win a division.


Maybe Madden is intentionally vague. It may be a strategy. He can backtrack if need be:

"It is probably no surprise that Josh Hamilton and Slade Heathcott, both of whom have a history of substance/alcohol abuse problems and associated injuries, landed on the disabled list last week, barely a week after joining their respective teams (Rangers and Yankees), and will now be out indefinitely."

Are you saying "quad strain" is a euphemism for substance abuse relapse?

Because a quad strain, in and of itself, is certainly not associated with substance/alcohol abuse.

Do you know something we don't know?

Or are you making unsupported accusations?

Or are you simply a bad writer who is unable to convey what he is trying to say?

Which brings up a point ... when you say it's "probably no surprise" that Hamilton and Heathcott went on the DL ... what the heck are you trying to say?