Sunday, August 19, 2018

No mention of Irabu.

I didn't see the ceremony, but I hope the Yankees paid some homage. Irabu is ridiculed and dismissed by a large portion of the fan base, but he won 13 games that season and deserves some recognition at a team reunion.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Yankees have a better chance of winning the World Series than they do of winning the division.

This should be plainly obvious, but most analysts don't seem to be able to figure this out.


"Andy Pettitte knows a little bit about how Luis Severino was feeling the last month. The former Yankee ace felt the weight of New York’s expectations on his shoulders before. He has struggled under the brightest spotlight and he has come through.


So the big lefthander who helped carry this organization to four World Series titles and was part of another in 2009 had some empathy for the Yankees current young ace, who is going through the worst month of his young career.
'It’s gonna happen. He’s got great stuff. He’s a No.1,' Pettitte said before the Yankees’ 11-6 win over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.



'He’s gonna be just fine. Sometimes it builds up and in New York you get an awful lot of attention and a lot of media coverage, so he just has to keep his focus as narrow as he can and things will turn around,' Pettitte added. 'He’ll be fine.' "

"... as long as he takes human growth hormone, he'll be fine."


"And while Pettitie was encouraging, his presence was a reminder of how urgent it is for Severino to get back on track. The Yankees celebrated their 1998 World Series championship team before Saturday’s game. Jorge Posada, Joe Torre and Mariano Rivera reminded everyone that the key to long runs in the playoffs and winning a World Series is good pitching."

Ha ha ha.

Thanks.

Because if it wasn't for the presence of Andy Pettitte at Yankee Stadium on an August afternoon, I would have forgotten about the Yankees' number one crisis at the moment.

I also would have forgotten about the importance of ... good pitching.


"Whatever the main issue is, the Yankees have to get him right. Saturday, they watched as the ’98 team celebrated a reunion. Pettitte, David Cone and David Wells were there on the field to remind everyone that the only way the 2018 Yankees have a long postseason run in them is if they get their pitching in order."

I could say the 1998 Yankees prove you need bench strength to win the World Series ... or a high team on-base percentage ... or a flawless bullpen ... or lots of other things.

We all know the 2018 Yankees are not nearly as good as the 1998 Yankees.

The good news is that they don't have to be as good as the 1998 Yankees to win the World Series.


Friday, August 17, 2018

Not too much to argue about in this analysis of Yankee retired numbers ...

... but a glaring omission in the category of "HOFers who are not properly honored."

Dave Winfield.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Greg Bird dream is dying.

I used to think he was a right-handed Andy Phillips. Now I think he's a right-handed Chris Carter.
  • Bird 2018, still starting: .211/.302/.396, 227 AB, 9 HR, 24 RBI, 67K.
  • Carter 2017, run out of town: .201/.287/.370, 184 AB, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 76 K.

I'm not sure how he'd get fatigued. It sure isn't from running the bases, ha cha cha.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Get rid of the Wild Card altogether and see how the Yankees like it.

"Here goes: Major League Baseball is proceeding with a playoff system that is just not fair to the New York Yankees. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and fans of all ages: The system is holding the Yankees down.

This is the seventh year of the current postseason format, but the potential Yank-apocalypse has spawned a wave of East Coast commentary about how the system must be changed. The Yankees could win 100 games, so the argument goes, but their terrific season could come down to one game: the sudden-death, wild-card game. How about some RE2PECT for the Yankees?"

You're protesting too much.


"Oh, it’s not about the Yankees? We did not hear all these insistent cries for reform three years ago, when the Pittsburgh Pirates won 98 games, and their postseason experience was one and done."

Yes.

But no one remembers because no one cares about the Wild Card in the first place.


So the conclusion that the postseason format is unfair to the Yankees is, indeed, "poppycock."

The Yankees, assuming they lose their division, shouldn't be in the playoffs in the first place.

Panic!

Chapman is slumping, Torres is slumping, Tanaka had a bad game, questions arise! Arise, I say, like a zombie from the grave:

"As the ball left Ronald Guzman’s bat, the Yankees righthander never looked up or turned around to watch the ball. Tanaka’s head dropped, his shoulders drooped as he stared at the ground for a few seconds while the Rangers’ first baseman rounded the bases.

After being the Yankees’ best pitcher over the last month, Tanaka could not find it Friday night, getting lit up for six runs on six hits in five innings. He took his first loss in 15 starts, dating back to April 17, with the Yankees’ 12-7 loss to the Rangers at the Stadium."

"First loss in 15 starts" sums it up quite nicely.


By the way, Porcello and Eovaldi got rocked back-to-back against the lowly Orioles.

So you know what that means when October rolls around?

It means the Red Sox are in good shape when they score 19 runs.

Monday, August 06, 2018

The AL will have a Wild Card game. This is true.

I wouldn't say it's inevitable that the Yankees will be one of the participants in the Wild Card gamge:

"Starting Monday, they need to begin finding some answers.

They have the second fewest innings pitched by their starters since the All-Star break, behind the Rays — who purposely don’t use a starter on some days. Miguel Andujar’s two errors on Sunday night and Gleyber Torres’ mindless plays over the last week bring up concerns about the young Yankees’ focus and defense. The lineup was silent for most of the weekend without Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez and it needs to find a way to score while they mend.


Sunday night also had to raise concerns about the bullpen, which has allowed at least a run in 12 of the last 15 games. Aroldis Chapman walked three, and then J.D. Martinez’s single scored two runs before Andujar’s error on Xander Bogaerts’ grounder to third — his second error of the night — allowed the Red Sox to score the tying run.

So right now, the Yankees leave Boston needing to change their focus."

Aside from the emotional turmoil and realization that they're not as good as they thought they were, I don't know what they're going to do differently strategically.

Some of the young players are going through growing pains, but that was one of the objectives of the 2018 season.


"Instead of expending all their energy on chasing the Red Sox, the Yankees need to put their house in order and prepare themselves for a fight in the Wild Card game.

They have time to get themselves ready."


I don't know what this means.

Like, Bird hits another ground ball to second base. Does he jog to first base because the Red Sox are 9.5 games up?


"Before you bemoan the myth that the Yankees cannot beat losing teams, their actual record is 36-19 against teams below .500. They have struggled against the Orioles, going 6-6 and do have seven games remaining against them."


Well, yeah.

Most people understand that the Yankees didn't get to 30 games over .500 by losing to everybody. The observation is that the Red Sox built a divisional lead by playing even better than the Yankees against bad teams.

 
"They can give their starters extra rest and maybe that will help get Luis Severino back on target and it would certainly keep CC Sabathia healthier and sharper down the stretch.



Most importantly, however, they can start by being cautious with the returns of Judge, who said Sunday he still had pain in the bone in his right wrist that he fractured, and Sanchez, who is on the disabled list with a groin injury for the second time. There is no rush now; it’s most important to make sure they are ready for September and October."

At least Ackert suggested something concrete, but I still don't see it. The long-term health and effectiveness of their players is a primary objective regardless of the AL East standings.

This was the biggest series of the season, a make-or-break series which broke the Yankees.

The Yankees didn't strain their starting pitchers or rush their players back from the DL.

Maybe it will be good in the long run to knock these guys off their pedestal. Maybe Torres and Andujar need to eat some humble pie and this will all be forgotten as they parade down the Canyon of Heroes in early November. Or maybe they get knocked down and can't get back up.

This team faces some challenges, both mentally and physically.

Everyone can acknowledge that the Red Sox are better ... if that somehow helps the Yankees play better in August and September, then I'm all for it. I fail to see how this realization changes anything.

Field better, work the counts, play some fundamentally strong baseball, get Judge and Sanchez healthy (and Ellsbury ha ha ha), and perhaps the young players need to adjust to the grind of a long season.

The focus and expenditure of energy should be the same as always. Each game and each at-bat is the focus.




Sunday, August 05, 2018

Of course the Yankees can't concede the division.

I'm not even sure what it means to concede the division.

They're all privately aware of the reality, but there are a lot of games to play, and you may as well try to win them.

Boone went as far as to say Boston is the best team in the AL.

Just how much honesty are you expecting from the Yankee players and manager?

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

It won't be difficult to contend in the NL East for the foreseeable future.

I have no idea why Reyes is still on this team, but I understand why the pitchers are still on this team:

"Steven Matz, one of the core four of pitchers the club refused to part with due to delusions of grandeur that they can contend in 2019 with this roster as currently constituted, got lit up by the Nationals. He didn’t make it out of the first inning, allowing eight hits and seven runs and recording just two outs."

Snark is easy enough when a baseball team loses by 21 runs, but the Mets surely don't have delusions of grandeur just because they held onto their pitchers.

1) The 2019 team won't have the roster "as currently constituted." Current is 2018. 2019 is an entirely different year than 2018, also known as the future.

2) The quickest path to contention is good starting pitching, even if Matz stunk it up today.

3) As for contending in the NL East in 2019, what is that going to require? 83 wins or so?

They're only 12.5 games back now.

I'd say 2018 contention is a pipe dream, but this current roster with a productive Cespedes, Bruce, and Conforto? That team would be in contention. If you're a .500 team in the NL East, you're in contention.

Mr. Net Negative has 6 RBIs vs. the Mets today ..

... and it's the third inning.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Too many armchair GMs.

Makes sense to keep good starting pitching and build around it. It's easier than finding good starting pitching. All these armchair GMs would trade deGrom for prospects and then, in a couple of years, trade the prospects for a starter.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

One of these things is not like the other.

"He was saving games when most of the country was sleeping.

He was becoming one of the greatest closers in baseball history despite his own general manager refusing to watch him.

He was the West Coast version of Mariano Rivera."

Well, no.

The playoffs, and World Series in particular, separated Mariano from Hoffman and all others.


Trevor Hoffman's WS ERA is 9.00 (very limited sample size).

Mariano's WS ERA is 0.99 ... which is worse than his ALDS ERA and ALCS ERA.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I'd take Bumgarner.

Very insightful column.

The reason the Yankees aren't going to acquire Bumgarner is because the Giants aren't going to trade him.

Felz Stat of the Day

Andujar has 30 doubles in 336 at-bats.

This is Mattingly territory.

Actually, at this pace, Andujar would crush the Yankee record.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

No excuses, but this is what I originally thoght.

Earlier in the game, Sanchez "doubled" down the LF line but stopped at first.

It isn't an excuse.

If you can't play properly, get out of the game.

I also don't think Sanchez has demonstrated a willingness to work hard, to improve his defense, to hustle, or even to get into peak physical condition.

I just think yesterday's performance in particular was a combination of laziness and injury.

The Return of the Passed Ball.

I never thought Austin Romine would outplay Gary Sanchez:

"But that wasn’t his only lackadaisical play. The Yankees were trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and two out when S├ínchez hit a sharp grounder to Rays second baseman Daniel Robertson, who flipped it to shortstop Willy Adames. Running from first base, Aaron Hicks got to second before Adames could step on the bag. But because Sanchez was jogging to first base, Adames was able to throw him out to end the game."

My initial impression was that Sanchez was jogging because his groin is not 100% and he was following the instructions of his coaches and his trainers. Maybe not.


"For much of the last month, the question shadowing the Yankees was whether they could overtake the surging Boston Red Sox in the American League East and escape the nail-biting proposition of a wild-card playoff game. But as the Red Sox inch further and further ahead, a hint of concern is creeping in about whether the Yankees will be able to hold on to one of the two wild card slots.

Not too long ago, such a question would seem ludicrous. But after Monday night’s loss, the Yankees’ wild-card cushion is down to seven games."


Yeah, it's funny how the whole world spends so much time worrying about the Yankees' playoff rotation when the first step is to make the playoffs.


"There is some reinforcement coming soon for the Yankees, with second baseman Gleyber Torres expected to rejoin the team for Wednesday’s final game of the three-game series. A 21-year-old rookie, Torres has been on the disabled list since July 5 with a right hip strain. Torres was in the vicinity Monday night, playing for the Yankees’ Florida State League team in Tampa.

Outfielder Clint Frazier isn’t expected to be available for the Yankees anytime soon, although the team received encouraging news on him Monday: Frazier received a diagnosis of post-concussive migraines, the team said, and Boone called it a 'better-case scenario.'

But the bigger issue right now is what to do with their catcher who is batting .188, struggling defensively and showing a disconcerting propensity for not hustling."


I'd be hard-pressed to think of a player who improved at this particular disconcerting propensity.

I'm expecting no improvement in defense or attitude, but a lot of talk about how his defense and attitude are improving.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

I've noticed he can't field and he can't run.

Always has demonstrated a lot of power and he will hit a lot of HRs at Yankee Stadium. He strikes out too much, like everybody else. The rather prominent predictions of a batting title seem fairly ridiculous, but so are lots of predictions.

Bird is young and cheap.

He hasn't accomplished nearly as much as several other Baby Bombers and I suspect a 14 at-bat hot streak is just a bad hitter having a good 14 at-bats.

Having said that, Lou Gehrig is not sitting on the bench awaiting his turn.

There is simply no reason for the Yankees to not stick with Bird.

Your weekly David Price Report.

"You have to say that July started out great for the Yankees, a Sunday night game at home, just like the kind of game they will play this Sunday against the Mets, an 11-1 victory over David Price and the Red Sox that made you wonder if Price would ever beat the Yankees in a big game, here or anywhere, on the first night of July or the last weekend of the regular season at Fenway."

Can I get a copy-and-paste job at the Daily News?


"The Yankees and Red Sox were still right there with each other at the top of the American League East, with the Yankees actually two games ahead in the loss column when the Red Sox left town. And since then, the Yankees have played the way they did at the start of the season, when they were 9-9 and then 10-9 at the same time the Red Sox were starting 17-2. Through Friday night, the Red Sox had lost one time since that Sunday night game. The Yankees? They ended up hanging on in the 9th on Saturday against the Mets, or would have been 8-8 since July 1."

"Hanging on in the 9th" is the same thing as "winning."

"Almost losing" is the same thing as "winning."

"Would have been 8-8" is the same thing as "9-7."

The Yankees have been hanging in there with a scorching hot Red Sox team. The Yankees have also done their part by beating the Red Sox head to head.

There is no move that Cashman can make that can prevent the Red Sox from winning.


"So now what does Brian Cashman do as his team moves up on the non-waiver trade deadline? Maybe they really can outscore everybody through October, the way they eventually did against the Mets Saturday afternoon. Or not. A month ago I thought the Yankees were the best team in the league. Not now."


A month ago, Lupica was wrong. The Yankees are not better than Houston or Boston, and I can only imagine Cleveland calmly laughing in their clubhouse at the notion of a 3-team AL Powerhouse.


"We’ll never know for sure how serious the Yankees actually were about adding Manny Machado to the stick they already have in their batting order. It would have been a dramatic and interesting play, of course, we’ve gone over that, and a statement from Cashman that he really did think his team could slug its way past the Red Sox, Astros, Indians."

I think most people with brains never took the notion seriously.

The Orioles trading Machado to the AL East?

The Yankees trading prospects to the AL East?


"The Yankees have a perfect right to think that the past three weeks look a lot differently if Torres and and Sanchez had been healthy. So no one would suggest that they aren’t still on track to win 100 games."

Kewl.

Let's get back to David Price.


"But still: When Price (him again) beat the Tigers 1-0 on Friday night, the Red Sox were 69-30, which sort of means this:

They no longer needed to even play .500 ball the rest of the way just to get to 100 wins."


Let me summarize:

The Yankees are 3 games back on the loss side, but will not catch the Red Sox if the Red Sox continue to win 70% of their games.

David Price.

The Yankees will probably need to add an impact player, but I can't think of who this player would be.

David Price.