Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yanks Steamroll Cleveland Off The Reservation

Yanks complete the season sweep of the Tribe, outscoring them 22-6 in the latest three game set.

Where does one begin when discussing the level of play the bombers have been exhibiting since the All-Star break? What I think is amazing, and probably has other teams fearing, is that they appear to be gaining momentum every game - no peak, no weakness.

For August, the Yanks are 9 -2. Since the break they are 24-8, 4 back in the Division, and tied with Seattle (Jeff Weaver is once again red hot for a playoff team) for the Wild Card lead.

The Yanks starting lineup has acceptable production at every position and at every spot in the batting order. Their bench, once a weakness, now quite possibly could be the strongest in baseball with Molina, Betemit, Duncan and Giambi ready to go at a moments notice - all of them seem to have the bigger goal in mind of winning, and playing for a winner than caring about daily playing time. How refreshing. Oh, I don't know, dare I say it? - how 1996 like.

Speaking of 1996, that's how long it has been since had "the formula". While it is to soon to tell if Chamberlain is truly ready or not, based on what we have seen, he is the two innings of shutdown relief to get to Rivera that we have all been waiting for. In my opinion, when Chamberlain is available (right now he gets two days of rest after every outing) and the Bombers have the lead by the end of the 6th, the game is over - period of story, it's over.

Very glad to see Giambi produce the instant he came back with the club. Cano is the best contact hitter in baseball. While everyone was sad to see Will Nieves go, it is clear that Jose Molina is a huge upgrade and am almost of the opinion that he is a defensive upgrade over Posada.

Next up:
Three games with Baltimore. While the O's are not in contention for a playoff spot, they have been playing quality ball the last month and a half - it'll be a test to take 2 out of 3 from these guys, let's see if Wang can get back to being Wang and keep this momentum going.

Around the League: The two most nervous teams in the league right now have to be Boston and the New York Mets. Boston's "big" acquisition at the deadline of Eric Gagne appears to be a real dud as in 3 1/3 innings of work has given up 6 earned runs and has cost the Sox two victories that were in hand. The Mets are playing in the weakest division in baseball and have watched their division lead shrink to 3 games to the Braves and Phillies after losing two series in a row. Can Willie right the sinking ship? I don't think Queens will be satisfied with anything other than an appearance in the Fall Classic.. Other than yours truly (see post on 2/25/07), how many people do you know had the D-Backs winning West???

32 comments:

The Scooter said...

Yes Mid, we are witnessing a pretty special run. Lot's of work yet to do, but I like the Yanks chances. The Red Sox have some spectacular starting pitching, but the Gagne failures have to be a huge kick in the gut. I'm pretty sure he will right himself, but for now I'm happy to see Francona going to him in a big spot instead of the Japanese guy.

Can Torre afford to keep Giambi out of the lineup (especially against right handers) and if not, Damon is not going to be a happy camper. Keep an eye on that one.

Cano is Rod Carew with more pop.

Duncan is a lunatic. Mid, you were right about him....I love him.

I wonder if Karstens gets Clemens' start or if they will go to Kennedy.

Ridiculous story on SI.com about LaRussa being the choice to replace Torre. Please say it aint so. If Joe gets them to the playoffs he should be manager of the year.

Mid Relief said...

LaRussa is the last candidate that will replace Torre. I think the top three will be Mattingly, Girardi, and Randolph (who may find himself unemployed in a few months)

On the Damon and Giambi playing time thing, I think it will be a non-issue as long as the team is winning. And if they do keep winning and carry this thing through to the end, then I could see Damon quietly asking Cashman for a deal to a team where he could be a full time OF.

Torre mentioned he plans on starting Karstens in today's pre-game - but, I wouldn't mind seeing Kennedy have a round either.

Joe Torre has an interesting problem in finding the balance in terms of the right amount of playing time - enough to keep the bench players sharp and without griping, and enough to not mess with a starter's grove.

CrashDavis said...

I read a great quite in the Post today...it was something along the lines that Gagne has faltered so badly he's making Farnsworth look like a superstar.

Anonymous said...

How many more seasons, after this one, is Farnsworth under contract for with the Yanks?

I think when they are allowed to expand the rosters they'll bring up Bruney, and then leave Farnsworth off of the postseason roster.

Mid

The Scooter said...

Farnsworth has one more year at between $6 and $7 mil. I still think there is a possibility for a trade, as I am sure they ran him through waivers. I too would much prefer Bruney on the playoff roster.

old professor said...

it is great to see the Yankees on a surge. How long can the offense fire like it is. The surge started without Giambi and it can continue without him. Damon adds an element to the offense that Giambi doesn't - speed and flexibility. He can play left and center and DH, oh ya, he can run too.

Torre may have learned his lesson last year by trying to find the playing time for Sheffield and the team unravelled.

Chamberlain can be the real deal if he avoids injury. I had the opportunity to speak to a former professional pitcher who was the victim of elbow and arm surgery. Not to put a play on words, but his career was CUT short. He was worried that Chamberlain's 90 mph slider will eventually tear his elbow apart - read into this - Tommy John Surgery. (Similar to what has derailed Francisco Liariano and Humberto Sanchez).

The Yankees are catching Detroit and Cleveland at the right time - they are slumping. Gagne will come back around once he realizes where he is slated to pitch. The good news with Gagne is he is taking time away from Okajima, who can't be happy.

57 said...

There is a lot of baseball left. First of all, Mattingly would not be the front runner...managing a starting rotation is not an easy thing to do.

Give me a Mets team who is 100% healthy and then I'll show you a 10 game lead in the East...but for now, i'll show you a 2 1/2 game lead limping into each night. They WILL sweep Pittsburgh this week...mark it down.

Thanks Yanks have been winning without Giambi..why fix what is not broken?

Randolph will NOT get fired... Minaya will if we don't win it all this year. Wilpon can only stand so much! We had a chance for a lot of talent at the break, and decided to polish our laurels and stick with what we have. Ok.. Castillo is not going to make or break a playoff series...

But mind you this, quietly Moises Alou is making a BIG comback since returning from the DL. He smacked 4 home runs in the last 3 games... he is on-fire. If he stays healthy, Delgado starts enjoying this heat like his numbers have shown recently and Beltran starts being Beltran we'll have a 7 game lead within 2 weeks and there will be no looking back from there.

Bring on a Subway Series!!

Anonymous said...

Alou and his drug use makes Giambi look like a choir boy.

Atlanta will win the East.

Mid

The Scooter said...

Nice bullpen, 57

Portland State said...

I am rather insulted by your "off the reservation" comment.

CrashDavis said...

Scooter: Farnsworth did clear waivers and he is due $5.5M next year.

57 every team has injuries...The Mets should have a 10 game lead but stink...hence only the 2 game lead and that will soon evaporate to the Braves. Whom last I checked also have injuries....as do the Phillies...and the Marlins...etc. And that's just in the East.

I'm really glad about the season sweep of the Tribe. Really couldn't stand them since '97.

CrashDavis said...

This is off the topic a bit (ok - a lot)...did anyone see the most ridiculous article on ESPN today? It was on Page 2 and was written by some jackass named Eric Neel. He's asking the question which is a bigger disappointment in baseball: Bonds on juice and hitting HRs or Mickey Mantle's alcoholism shortening his career.

First, and despite some recent posting about the greatest players of all time, there is no comparison between the Mick and Bonds. The Mick is a folk hero in sport lore and Bonds is just an * in the books. Second, no doubt Mantle had a drinking problem, but it was his knees that cut his career short.So there is an initial fallacy to the argument. This article just infuriated me.

If anyone else wants a read, here's the link: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=neel/070809

Middle Relief said...

Chamberlain continues to impress.

Rivera two runs in two games.

And No One gives two shits whether or not anyone from Portland or the entire state of Oregon is offended by the Off The Reservation comment.. stop harboring criminal illegal aliens then maybe your opinion counts.

Middle Relief said...

And seriously, we need to get off the Mick's greatest of all-time kick. Just like Mattingly, he was the best for a few seasons, then body breaks down and becomes a shadow of former self.

Because Donnie B was the best for 4 seasons, then had a bad back, are we ready to put him in the g.o.a.t conversation??

The Mick was the best for a brief moment in time and that is about it.

Anonymous said...

This is from Bob Costas' eulogy at Mantle's funeral in 1995. It says it all.........

"It brings to mind a story Mickey liked to tell on himself and maybe some of you have heard it. He pictured himself at the pearly gates, met by St. Peter who shook his head and said 'Mick, we checked the record. We know some of what went on. Sorry, we can't let you in. But before you go, God wants to know if you'd sign these six dozen baseballs.'

No matter what he did off of the field, he was one of the best ever on it; so much so that kids would bet that even God would want his autograph.

Pinstripe Postings has Mantle rolling in his grave. Too much disrespect to handle. #4 at least.

Mickey Mantle said...

"this website sucks... and i've been banging Marilyn Monroe behind DiMaggio's back up here"

Middle Relief said...

You are crazy!!!

The numbers do not back up your assertion. #4 of all-time???!!!!!!

Ahead of who? Gehrig? Ted Williams? Ty Cobb? Stan Musial? - the all-time hits leader Pete Rose?

Mantle was great, then good, then very much not so good. HOF for sure, best for a few seasons fine, no freaking way was he number 4 of all-time.

Anonymous said...

How many rings did Ted Williams have? Ty Cobb? ok.. now Mantle?

Middle Relief said...

Ok, so by that logic then, Yogi Berra is the greatest of all-time.

And it was moderately amusing to read that Mantle is tagging Monroe in the sky, which might be good for one move up, but still not close to #4 on the list.

Keith Hernandez said...

that is like saying Mike Tyson would have kicked the crap out of Muhammed Ali.. would have never happened and neither should Mantle be behind Ty Cobb and Pete Rose

57 said...

Nothing spells champions like a walk-off FIELDER'S CHOICE after your stopper blows a save.

The Scooter said...

I would like to hear Old Prof's take on the Mick vs Ty Cobb...He's the only one here who saw them both play.


And Heinz....how the hell would you know how to spell Championship? And by the way...it was scored an infield hit.

Anonymous said...

Proctor has been doing well with the Dodgers so far - 9 2/3 and 3 earned, couple of victories.

Mid

old professor said...

Okay Scooter you asked for it - Mantle was one of the greatest players to EVER play the game (Mid - Mantle had an 18 year career and knew when to call it quits). When he came up, he was blessed with speed, a great arm and power from both sides of the plate. He was and still is the all-time leader in homeruns by a switch-hitter.

His career was longer than Gehrigs and Ruths. Williams was probably a better pure hitter, but did not have the arm that Mantle possessed nor did he have the range in the outfield nor his speed.

Ty Cobb was one of the best hitters in the history of the game. His problems were the teams he played on were not the best and he was a real SOB to his teammates and his opponents. He is number one on the list of all-time players that you can hate list. However, he did not have the speed of Mantle, his arm, or range. Comparing a second baseman to an outfielder for that time period of baseball (early to mid Twentieth Century is like comparing apples to oranges). Using the fruit comparison will probably keep the professors at Portland State happy. (By the way Mid, what exactly have you done to PSU to tick them off?).

During the 1950's there were three great centerfielders in NY: Mantle, Snyder, and Mays (Yes Mid, Mays played for the NY Giants before they moved to San Francisco and for some reason at the end of his career chose to be traded to the Mets to finish his career in NY).

As for the ESPN story Mantle played 18 years exactly how many more years would he have played had he not been an alcoholic? It wasn't the alcohol that cut his career short (that cut his life short); the knee surgeries did him in. They didn't have Micro-surgery during his playing time - Mantle's knees looked like a railroad yard with all of the tracks coming to the station.

Mantle's career was cut short by the use of alcohol and not rehabbing properly from injuries.

One last point to cover - Berra was a good hitting catcher, but not the best. I would place Bench, Munson and Fisk ahead of him. Berra is best known because of the number of World Series Teams and Champions he played on. Was he important to those teams - Yes. Would those teams have won without him - Yes.

Anonymous said...

same can be said about Mantle - Roger Marris carried the water of those teams, prior to that it was Berra, DiMaggio, etc. - Mantle just riding coat tails.

The Scooter said...

anon...that's just foolish.

Anonymous said...

Scooter passed away - age 89

Mid

The Scooter said...

Ahhh my namesake has lost the battle with Father Time.

Rest in Peace, Phil. A truer Yankee there never was.

old professor said...

Anon,
Let's get real, Maris was with the Yankees a very short time (four or five years). He had one outstanding year and a couple of very good years. Eventually got shipped to St. Louis. Defensively Maris was outstanding and played both right and center. Having said that, he was no Mantle. Maris was blessed to play on a very talented team that included: Bobby Richardson, Elston Howard, Moose Skowron, and Clete Boyer. The pitching staff was anchored by Whitey Ford. He was one part of what could conceivably been the best team in baseball history (including the 1998 Yankees).

Sad day with the passing of the Scooter. His banter with Bill White in the booth was classic. Don't be surprised if he is buried in a Yankee uniform with the service at the stadium.

57 said...

Baseball lost a true face of the game today.

R.I.P Phil Rizzuto

57 said...

Gary Carter was one of the best catcher's in NY history. Check out the numbers... and I just did..never mind my comment. Bera and Munson were pretty damn good. I yield to them...

The Scooter said...

OK, it's starting to sink in....and I'm getting pretty melancholy thinking about Rizzuto.

My father actually knew Phil, he engineered some work at his house in West Orange, and he would drop by to see him from time to time. He has told me that Phil was one of the nicest most down to earth guys he had ever met. Always willing to share a story about Mick or Billy or Whitey....always had a tray of cannolis or a plate of manicotti to offer.

He sat my dad down one afternoon and told him a story about how one time Mantle decided to play a joke on Billy Martin. I have nothing better to do so I might as well share it with you:

I guess the Mick was friends with some who guy who had a horse farm up in upstate New York. This friend of his owned a cow that had gotten old and sick and had to be put down. The problem was that every time the guy went out to the barn with his shotgun, he just couldn't bring himself to shoot the cow. Knowing that his buddy Mick was a hunter, the horse farmer asked him if he would take a ride up and do the deed for him. Mick agreed but the more he thought about it, the less he really wanted to just walk up to an old cow and shoot it. That's where Billy came in.

Mickey concocted a story and told Billy that this guy he knew owed him money and Mick was having a hard time collecting. He asked Billy if he would take a ride up to the guy's farm with him to exert some pressure. Billy (always game for some action) said "sure Mick, whattya have in mind?"

Mickey told him that he just wanted to scare the guy so they would go up to his farm and kill one of his cows or something. Billy was all over it. When they got to the farm, Mickey said I'll stand guard, Billy you go into that barn over there and kill the bastard's cow. Billy took the gun and walked into the barn....after a few minutes Mickey heard "BOOM"....and then "BOOM BOOM" and then Billy came running out of the barn.

Mickey said "Billy, what the hell happened in there, did you kill the cow?"

To which Billy replied, "Yea, that jerk will pay you now cause I killed two of the f#cker's horses too."

My dad said Phil swore it was true.

Anyway...I guess heaven finally has it's shortstop..Once again RIP.

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