Monday, October 12, 2009


The Yankees take care of business and sweep the Twins to advance to the ALCS. Here's my quick take on the series.

The Good
A-Rod, Posada, and of course, the Captain. They really carried the offense going a combined 13-32 (.406) with 4 HR and 10 RBI. Jeter seemed to get the big hits when the team needed them. A-Rod came through huge in this series. Big hits, timely HRs, driving in runs. The guy did it all. Is the monkey off his back??? For now at least...

The pitching, front to back, dominated the Twins. As a team they had a 1.55 ERA. That's amazing in the post season. CC, AJ, and Pettitte all had great starts, and the bullpen didn't let them down.

The Bad
Damon (1-12), Swisher (1-12), Melky (2-12), Cano (2-12), and Teixeira (2-12), that's a combined 8 for 60 (.133). Teixeira gets a pass because he did come through with arguably the biggest hit of the series with the walk off HR for a Game 2 win. Those guys need to pick it up big time if they want to advance to the World Series. You can't have half the line-up batting .100 and expect to win.

Next Up
The Angels sweep the Sox. I really had mixed feelings about the Boston/LA series. On one hand I was really glad to see the Sox get swept, having the Angels celebrate in Fenway...but on the other hand did we really want to see the Angels advance??? Well if the Angels can beat the Sox in the post-season, no reason to think that the Yankees can't beat the Angels in the post-season.

In the NL, I really have no interest in the Rockies/Phillies series. All I know is they should not play baseball if it's under 40 degrees. I am amazed that the Dodgers swept the Cardinals. They beat 2 of the top pitchers in the game to do it. I'm officially rooting for a Yankees/Dodgers World Series. That would be great theater.

On a personal note, I'm looking forward to being at the Stadium for Game 2 Saturday night with Old Prof. It will be my first ALCS, and the first time Old Prof has been back to see the playoffs since 1996!!!


old professor said...

The sweep of the Twins had to be expected. Twins come from what can arguably be considered the weakest division in baseball. Nathan pitched as if he were afraid to throw the ball. You have to hope that Swisher, Cano, Cabrera and Tex hit better against the Angels. This series will come down to pitching and the pitcher that makes the least mistakes. Yankees need to consider keeping Joba in the pen. If they are close or ahead after six innings, Joba, Hughes and Mo close the game out.

Also looking forward to the ALCS. I will be bundled up the forecast is going to be COLD. To answer a question that you asked, I believe if Friday is rained out, Saturday will still be considered game 2 with the make up of game one on Sunday.

On a sad note - How bad are the Bills. The Browns complete 2 of 11 passes and win the game. Giants keep rolling along.

Crash said...

Hughes was actually the worst pitcher in the ALDS, and by "worst" I mean he gave up 2 runs. I think they do leave Joba in the pen, you can't essentially shut him down for 3 weeks and then all of sudden ask him to start again. Which means Gaudin gets the game 4 start with probably Aceves pitching an inning or 2 if Gaudin can't get through 5.

The only problem is there are not as many off days this round. So the bullpen needs to be managed better. You may be able to use Joba, Hughes, and Mo on back-to-back days. But probably not 3 days in a row.

The Giants have a big test this weekend with the Saints. I don't know if the Giants have the secondary to hang with Brees and company. I do think the NO defense is overrated and the Giants should be able to score points, but they will lose a shootout, so the D needs to step up big time. If they can hold the Saints to 10-14 points it would be amazing.

old professor said...

Interesting article on Joba in the NY Post. The decision apparently has been made that if there is a need for a fourth starter it will be Gaudin and Joba will stay in the pen.

The article strongly indicates that Joba may have fallen out of favor as to being the stud starter that management thought he was and that it could be likely Joba will be in the pen next year while Hughes goes to the rotation. The rationale being that Hughes actually thinks when he is on the mound while Joba is all emotion and adrenlin. The final shot at Joba in the article indicated there are some in management who are contemplating moving Joba over the winter.

Regarding the Saints-Giants match-up. I agree the Giants secondary could be an issue. BUT the Saints have not faced a pass rush like what the Giants can throw.

The Giants may actually be the best team in football.

Speaking of football. Last year the term that was overused by analysists and the league was parity. That with the contract structure and NFL agreeement with the Players Association, the league had reached parity. Where on any given Sunday any team could win. Well it is now the Fall of 2009 and the question that has to be asked is - Where is the parity in the league. The Chiefs, Bucs, Bills and Lions are pathetic. The Giants appear to be the class of the NFL (by the way, the Chancellor of the Board of Regents in NY is the wife of Robert Tisch owner of the Giants). There is a distinct fall off from Teams like the Giants, Saints, and Patriots to the rest of the league. The gap between Tampa, KC, Oakland, St. Louis and the Bills to the mediocre teams is a very wide one. Salary caps and CBA have not been kind to some teams.

Crash said...

Old Prof I disagree with you on this point. Parity in the NFL just means that different teams make the playoffs each year. And that will be the case this year as well. Last year Tampa Bay, Tennessee, and Carolina were in the playoffs, this year it's not looking good for any of those teams. Which means different teams are in. Teams like New Orleans, Chicago, Seattle, San Fran, Denver, and Cincinnati didn't make it last year and all are looking good for playoffs so far. That's the parity of the NFL and it can't be argued. The Salary Cap works in the NFL, the only thing that needs to change is the rookie/draft signings...

Buffalo was in the playoff hunt last year and fell apart in the last 4 or 5 games. They added TO in hopes he could add 2 or 3 wins. The coach has lost his team, that's all. It has nothing to do with league parity. Teams like KC, Oakland, and St Loius are bad organizations. You need to change a culture in those places...similar to what is happening in SF and Miami last year. If you don't do that you continue to foster a losing environment.

Crash said...

There is some conjecture that Girardi is considering keeping a 3 man rotation for the ALCS. This to me only makes sense if the Yankees are on the brink of elimination. Other wise you would potentially asking CC to pitch on short rest multiple times in the series (Game 1, Game 4 and then potentially Game 7). This would also mean you most likely lose him in the World Series, if they advance, until Game 3?

The short answer is Yes I would pick CC to pitch over Joba and Gaudin, but not like that. I would rather have him go in Game 1, Game 5, and then possibly as relief in Game 7 (since I would assume that would be his throw day anyway). And this would leave him available earlier in the World Series if they got that far.

old professor said...

Crash, it is no longer under consideration. Girardi has announced he will go with a three man rotation. The only thing that could screw that up is a number of rainouts or snowouts and the schedule becomes condensed.

Apparently we are going to have to dress warm for saturday.

Crash said...

So the series starts least in theory. And despite the wild weather forecasts calling from anywhere from 20% ashowers to 100% Biblical-like rain, all indications are they will do everything they can to get this game in.

I don't mind the three man rotation, I think if Hughes did figure out his mechanics the bullpen should be lights out as well.

If the Yankees get to the World Series and eventually win #27, I would love for them to go through the Angels to get it. I mean I would have really liked to see them pound the Sox again, but this is the team they have to beat. To prove to everyone, including themselves, they are the best team. For the better part of 10 years the Angels have been beating the Yankees, what better way to start the march for #27?

old professor said...

First visit to the new stadium and to say I was impressed would be an understatement. Great seats, great time, good coffee, Italian Sausage sub was not the best - figure I consumed only 150 of the 500 calories associated with the sandwich.

Great game results with the extra inning victory by the Yankees. I am beginning to get the sense that this team is destined to win when you start considering how they have won some of these games.

Mid too bad you could not join us. I can only assume the Dominican Republic had great weather.

Crash said...

A-Rod and Jeter are carrying this team offensively. Damon is getting on base now as well. While Tex, Cano, and Swisher need to get it going.

Teixeira has not come through at all when needed. Funny I don't hear anyone bashing Tex for choking in the postseason, but if that was A-Rod everyone would be killing him right now. Teixeira is now 1-10 in the ALCS...and that's after a 2-12 in the LDS. That's a .136 postseason so far. Everyone killed A-Rod and he had a career .279 postseason average entering this year. At least Tex is making big plays in the field. Which is more than I can say for Cano. He is single handedly trying to kill this team with both his fielding and hitting. He has made a couple of errors now and has failed to deliver the big hit when necessary...the lone exception to that is the triple to drive in the first run on Saturday. Yankees as a team are hitting .253. The only good thing you can say about that is that the Angels are batting .211. Let's credit the Yankees pitching for that.

Yankees head to LA for game 3 this afternoon. I like Pettitte in this situation. Hopefully it's 3-0 after today.

old professor said...

Game 3 ends with the person with the lowest batting average in the series lining one of the wall. Girardi used eight pitchers which could be a bad omen for game 4. This series pitching wise is starting to resembel 2004 all over again.

Crash said...

It does not even come close to resembling 2004. The Yankees have lost all of 1 game this post season and you want to compare that to 2004???

Girardi lost that game plain and simple. He micromanaged that game and cost the team the victory. I know Aceves pitched well for most of the season but from late August through now he has consistently given up hits and runs. He is not the same dominant pitcher that he was in June and July. I would not bring him in another post season game this all...ever.

Joba looked like a scared kid after he gave up the lead off hit. He missed badly with his fastball (by feet not inches) and got hammered. He wasn't the same after that first pitch.

I have no idea what Pettitte was doing throwing a hittable pitch to Vlad in that situation. He could have rolled it up there and Vlad would have swung at it. That was a terrible pitch.

The bottom third of the line up is killing this team offensively. I would bench Swisher and put in Gardner for a game to see if that wakes some folks up.

I think CC gets the W tonight, Kazmir gets roughed up a little bit. Kazmir doesn't have great #'s in the post season, he's 0-2 at his home park, and he's 6-5 against the Yankees career wise.

old professor said...

Crash, the comparision I was trying to make, which from your comments you confirm is that Girardi like Torre in 2004 overused and overthought his use of the bullpen. That overuse eventually came back to haunt the Yankees against Boston. To bring Aceves in after Robertson got the first two outs, was simply stupid.

You now have a situation where Chamberlain probably won't be available to be used, Mo would be asked to come in for the third straight day, Aceves has pitched in the two previous games as has Robertson. Somewhere down the line, the gas tank goes empty. The only individual who has not thrown a lot of pitches is Gaudin and Marte. I do not believe they will go with Burnett on short rest. The last time they tried that, he got lit up. So we could se Gaudin in game 5.

Crash said...

Old prof I think the overworked bullpen resulted from rainouts and extra inning games. In 2004 Games 3-7 were played on consecutive days (no off day for travel), with games 4 and 5 going to 12 and 14 innings respectively. Funny stats...both Bernie and Matsui had 10 RBI that series. The Yankees out hit (higher avg, more hits, more rbi, more hr) and out pitched (fewer hits, less runs, better whip) than the Sox.

I think everyone is available tonight. The one good thing about quick-hook Girardi is that Coke, Marte, Robertson, Hughes and Joba haven't pitched full/multiple innings, only Rivera. So that would mean that everyone is available and even Mo can go a full inning with 2 of the next 3 being off days (off tomorrow, then Game 5, off the next day if the series heads back to NY).

old professor said...

Sabathia was lights out last night. The guy has proven he is a stud of a pitcher and looks for challenges. A-Rod is on fire this post season. Tex, Cano, and Cabrera finally got hits when they counted (though Posada cost Cano an RBI).

The only negatives from last night were: (a) the umpires were terrible especially in the fourth inning. (b) Posada - costs Cano an RBI because Hunter was able to fake him out, started leaving the field with only two outs causing A-Rod and Sabathia to hustle to cover home and finally getting thrown out trying to score on a drawn in infield. Exactly where is his head at??

Yankees can wrap up the Championship with Burnett on Thursday.

Strange question - where is mid and scooter during the post season??

Crash said...

Amazing what happens when the bottom third of the lineup doesn't make outs. Cano, Swisher, & Melky start getting on base and all of sudden the Yankees hang a 10 spot on the Angels.

The Umps were terrible last night. Not just blowing 3 calls, but not even asking for help on any of them. They were all obvious calls. You have 6 umpires there, use them.

Posada was asleep at the wheel last night. First he didn't score on the Cano double, then he leaves early on the ground ball to cause that debacle at 3B, then he leaves the field with only 2 outs, leaving home plate unattended with a fast runner at third. Thankfully A-Rod was on top of the play and raced in to cover.

Interesting question assuming the Yankees wrap it up (and I'm not taking that for granted given -gasp- 2004) but who would the ALCS MVP be...A-Rod or CC? Personally I hope CC gets it then A-Rod gets the World Series MVP.

old professor said...

Crash, as for the MVP of the Championship series, if the Yankees win and A-Rod continues to hit, he will get the award. Rationale is simple - he has affected the outcome of more games than CC. Now if the series goes seven games and CC pitches another gem, he gets the award.

Crash said...

So the Phills are in. If the Yankees can complete their series it would make for a great World Series. The Phillies line up is deep. Their pitching hasn't been lights out though. And let's face it the Dodgers aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut.

You would also get Yankees vs. Pedro one more time. You get 2 former teammates squaring off for Game 1 (Lee & Sabathia). Not bad theater.

I'm hoping AJ pitches dominantly tonight and doesn't show the wildness he showed back in Game 2. He can't be bouncing balls up there and throwing stuff to the backstop. This could be a very low scoring game with Lackey on the mound. I wouldn't be surprised if the series came back to NY for at least a game 6, but I'm hoping it doesn't.

Crash said...

In an unprecedented move, I think the Yankees should fire Girardi during the ALCS. I am enraged.

old professor said...

Game five was a disaster from a Managerial aspect. Girardi watches as his team fights back from a four run deficit to forge a two run lead (all with two outs no less). Instead of going to his bullpen to start an inning, he lets Burnett go back out! First and foremost Burnett struggled during the game with command. While the firt four runs were scored in the first, he was not sharp. Second consideration when the Yankees scored six runs, Burnett was on the bench for a prolonged period of time thus bringing into question whether he should have sent back out. Third, Posada was moving behind the plate which means you now have a new catcher (one that the pitcher apparently has some issues with)so he is going to have to quickly figure out what is and isn't working for the pitcher.

Girardi sends Burnett to the mound and the first two batters immediately find themselves on base. Now Girardi goes to the pen and brings in a lefty to face Figgins - bunt - one out but runners on second and third. Let's bring in Hughes who apparently had trouble locating his fastball yet on a two strike count throws a fastball down the middle to Vlad. Result, Angels tie the game with Vlad on second and he eventually scores.

The Yankees had a well rested bullpen. They could have brought in a wide-range of relief to start the seventh inning - Robertson, Chamberlain, or Hughes. Instead Girardi waits until the situation is critical. He was out managed again. While he overthought game three he didn't think during this game.

Crash said...

I wasn't that concerned over Jorge catching Burnett. He did fine for 2 innings.

However, you don't send Burnett out there to start the inning. You certainly don't bring in the guy who has an ERA in the neighborhood of 10!!! You certainly don't bring in Joba in that situation who at best has been throwing BP fastballs. You start the inning with Robertson, then if you wanted to turn Figgins around you bring in Coke.

Then why on earth would Girardi flip-flop the roles of Joba and Hughes. Hughes has been the 8th inning guy for most of the year. Now all of sudden you bring him in for the 7th before Joba???

Lastly, if my wife can see that Swisher shouldn't be holding a bat right now, you would think the manager would see it. If you insert Gardner as a defensive sub late in games, that means you only have Swisher in there for his bat...if he's 0-for the postseason, he's only hurting the team, GET HIM OUT OF THERE!!!

You don't pinch run for A-Rod on second. He would have scored on a hit anyway. You pinch hit for Swisher. Either Cervelli or Gardner at that point. Hell you could even take a play from the Angels and try a suicide squeeze to tie the game. With Guzman on 3B and Gardner laying down the bunt that would be a perfect situation for it.

Girardi has lost both of these games, while the Yankees should have had the series already wrapped up.

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