Sunday, October 10, 2010

Round 2

Yanks really took care of business in the ALDS didn't they?

I feel somewhat bad for the Twins - they've got a great club, play ball the right way, have a great manger, solid roster, the works - except they can't win in the playoffs. They'll break through - they need a good #3 and a closer and they're there.

Phil Hughes looked great. Bullpen did OK, and the heros were not the superstars.

Rays tie up the series with the Rangers and we now have to wait until Friday for the Bombers to take the field again.

Which brings me to my next point - I hate the scheduling of the playoffs. Having the series close together rewards the teams that take care of business and stresses the teams that don't. It adds drama with each passing round.

Now, you can get through the playoffs with 3 pitchers with all these days off. Not good.

Let me use my own life as a guide. 12 years ago this week - I was headed to Aruba for my honeymoon and I was watching the Fall Classic down there (Tino with his grandslam). Now, the WS won't even start for two more weeks.

This aint' the NBA - let's play ball!


Looking ahead: Would not surprise if Joe continued with a 3 man rotation until it is shown it can't work. Hopefully AJ brought a novel or two with him for the month to help pass the time.

I'd rather see a Texas/NY matchup rather than NY/Rays. Don't know why, I just would.


NFL: Don't look now but the Giants D-Line seems to have found the '07 championship form. Finally an attitude has arrived on that defense that has been so sorely lacking. Hakim Nix is the man - and I think he's only 21. Scary.


Crash said...

Mid I disagree about the Twins needs. They already have a decent #3, in fact they have a couple of them. They need a legit ace. Like Cliff Lee type ace. Until they get that caliber of player they're not going anywhere.

The biggest question for the Yankees by the "pro" analysts was their rotation after CC. Well consider the question answered. Starters gave up 5 runs in 20 innings (2.25 ERA) and get better with each start (3ER, 2ER, 0ER).

AJ gets a start if the Yankees have a lead in the series.

This is the best scenario for the Yankees, both Price and Lee have to pitch game 5. Which means Yankees wouldn't face them until game 2 and that's on short rest. More than likely they would both be held out until game 3. I think Yankees have a better shot at Texas, even if Lee goes twice.

I've been disappointed with the poor umpiring and sloppy fielding in both NLDS.

Crash said...

Looking ahead to the offseason and possible additions to the team...there is an increasing amount of buzz around Yu Darvish. He is the next big pitcher from Japan, problem is I'm still waiting for the first big thing not the next big thing. This guy has a lot of hype surrounding him already and there a bunch of teams interested. I hope the Yankees have had their fill on Japanese pitching and skip this guy altogether. Maybe just place a low bid, to drive the price up on the Red Sox or any other team looking to land him. He has a ton of awards already and has a career ERA around 2.00. I think he's young too, maybe 24 or so...yeah I guess this guy could be the pitcher equivalent of Ichiro or Matsui, but more than likely he's just another Irabu or Igawa.

Crash said...

Just saw that Marte is heading for shoulder surgery. He will miss some of next year. Talk about a waste of $12M.

Carl Pavano said...

Crash - you're wrong on the Twins.

The Twins have two good top rotation guys - and I think we showed that.

We need a #3, and we need a bullpen to help close out some of my quality starts.

Mid - great blog and post.

old professor said...

Mid, Twins have a solid team. All the Division series shows is that in a short series anything can happen.

It is hard to determine the real strength of the ball club - they played in the central division and when you have 18 games against the Indians and 18 against the Royals that can tend to inflate their record. Bottom line they were the best team in the central and got beaten by the Yankees.

If the Rays come back and win their series they will be on a real high going into the championship series. It is difficult to see that kind of momentum coming in when the other team has had a week off.

I have to agree with your assessment of the playoff schedule. Baseball needs to shorten the time between the divisional series and get back to ending everything in October.

Crash as for the pitcher from Japan. He may be the biggest next thing in Japan but not here. The Japanese use a slightly smaller ball. When coming over here, there is a grip difference that can make a significant difference in how they pitch. I don't think the Yankees should waste their money on him. I also agree that the $12 million paid to Marte was a waste.

Crash said...

Watching the Rangers celebrate by spraying Sprite. No champagne or beer because of Hamilton. Odd to see but nice/smart move by the team.

Truly best case scenario for Yankees, Lee pitches complete game well over 100 pitches. Shouldn't see him until game 3 back at the Stadium...does that mean AJ starts game 3??? Why waste a start by one of your top starters.

Crash said...

Saw this news this morning:

Chien-Ming Wang pitched again in the instructional league today, and Bob Klapisch tweets word from a scout that he looked "filthy." Wang hit 89 mph and got four groundballs in 17 pitches, reports MASN's Ben Goessling.

I hope he makes back, maybe not to the Yankees, but at least pitching in the majors at a high level. The Nationals would be foolish not to sign him to bring him back. I think they only have to offer him $1.6M.

Mid said...

Good update Crash - was wondering what happened there, thought he was supposed to hit Syracuse (AAA) by Aug, but nothing ever happened

The Nats re-habbed conservatively on purpose all season long - with Strasburg on the shelf - they have no option not too.

sign him for 1 year, with an option for a 2nd.


Mid said...

Why mess around with AJ getting a start?

CC, AP, and Phil are rested - they should get the first 3, and if we're up 3-0 then I say lock with CC for game 4 given the spacing of the games.

I only want to see AJ coming out of the pen to mop up should a blow out be taking place.

Expect a HUGE series from A-Rod.

Crash said...

Mid I wouldn't argue with your reasoning if it was the World Series, but the fact is the Yankees don't need to start anyone on short rest. Texas just doesn't have the pitching outside of Lee that scares anyone.

I know the Yankees split the season series with the Rangers...but a closer look at those games and you can see it was VERY close to a dominant performance by the Yankees.

August 10th Yankees lost in the 10th inning (with Mo getting the loss). Mo then coughed up another one on September 11th...Yankees lost in extra innings on 9/10 with Chad Gaudin on the mound, a game in which Javy Vazquez started and lasted 5 innings giving up 4 runs. Mo isn't losing in the post-season and Vazquez & Gaudin are not even on the post-season roster so neither of those things are happening. The only game the Yankees truly lost was September 12th...Cliff Lee pitched into the 9th inning only giving up 1 Run. Yankees did get to Lee on August 11th, he was out after 6innings allowing 8 hits and 4 runs.

Another plus, Hughes has not faced the Rangers this year (ok 1 inning in relief but that's it). Advantage Yankees. Lee pitches game 3 at the Stadium...a little colder than Texas, he may have problems gripping his change and curveball...advantage Yankees.

Yankees take this series in 5 games, possibly sweep.

And by the way, the layoff between the LDS and the LCS is way too long. They should get one day off after game 5 and that's it, and if both teams end the LDS early start the LCS sooner. If both the Yanks and Texas swept they both would have been off for a week, that's just ridiculous.

Mid said...

I say they go to a double header format.

On game 5's - play them early, then at the conclusion, fly them to the market for 8pm start.

Iron Man Playoffs!

old professor said...

Crash, don't underestimate the Rangers pitching staff. Lee will get game three and game seven if necessary. Wilson has matured as a pitcher and is left handed (Yankees were 0-9 against lefties the last month of the season).

It is odd how in most instances the media tries to indicate the road team must take one game as the visitor to even out the home field advantage. Yet for this series media types are saying if the Rangers win one of the first two they have to have confidence going to Yankee stadium. Doesn't seem to make sense unless they are counting on taking game three and figure to knock AJ around in game four.

As for cold weather affecting Lee. Don't wish for that - if you want Lee to come to NY next season, you don't want him to have trouble with October weather - which could have him opting to stay in Texas.

Crash said...

CJ Wilson has definitely evolved into a nice starting pitcher this year and seems very down to earth. He was a regular guest throughout the season on MLB radio on XM so I've heard him a ton and he is a good guy. But this is his first playoff taste, it's his first season as a starter, and to get the pressure of game 1, against the Yankees...nothing like diving into the deep end. The Yankees will score off him. Maybe not a ton, but 2 or 3 should be enough for CC. Keep in mind Wilson was 0-1 in 3 starts with an ERA over 5.50 against the Yankees this season. In 3 starts he goes a total of 14 innings...not going to get it done.

old professor said...

Crash, can't argue the statistical or emotional aspects. No matter how many times you go through the process, there is still an emotional high that cannot be controlled. In addition, CC will have addtional rest from his last start and historically, he does not do well with additional rest - they should have sent him to the Florida instructional league to pitch a few innings just to get back in rythm.

mid said...

that's why they're the yanees!

Crash said...

7 years ago today...October 16, 2003 Aaron Boone hits a walk-off HR in the 11th inning of game 7 of the ALCS to beat the Red Sox and send the Yankees to the World Series.

old professor said...

Aaron Boone is no longer with the Yankees and seven years ago is a career for many players. The Yankees better hope the bats come alive against Lee and they win behind Pettitte. No faith in AJ being able to pitch a respectable game 4 and you don't want to fall behind 3games to 1.

The starting rotation was pathetic through game 1 and 2. CC lacked command and Hughes looked like a frightened kitten on the mound.

if they have any hope of repeating, the bats have to emerge early and often and they have to get good length from the rotation.

It would appear that I was correct, the time off between series hurt the Yankees.

Crash said...

Yeah I agree about the time off. Especially in Hughes' case. I know he had innings limits imposed by Cash and Girardi...but you remember how bad he through after he was skipped last time. It took him about 4 starts to get right. And that layoff between starts was like being skipped.

In the broadcast Smoltz and Darling were talking about Hughes should throw more inside on this hitter or outside on this guy. ANd as soon as they said that, Posada would lineup in the opposite place. How much of that, pitch selection and location goes on the pitcher and how much goes to Posada? Maybe with a veteran pitcher like CC on the mound is one thing, but a young guy like Hughes I would think is more on the catcher. Hughes was putting where Posada called for it and he was getting rocked.

Posada has looked absolutely terrible behind the plate. He looks very old, slow, and weak. can't stop balls in the dirt has balls bounce off the glove, and he's calling a bad game.

I think tonight is going to be a great duel. Pettitte will match Lee every step of the way. I think the Yankees need to be aggressive early and get to Lee in the first or second inning. They can't play catch up baseball here. They need to play with the lead and put this game away early.

old professor said...

Crash, the pitch selection and location are called many times from the dugout. If you watch Posada, he will always look to the dugout prior to calling a pitch. The signs are coming from Pena.

I agree that Posada looks old and slow, but so do other members of this supposed younger more athletic team. A-Rod is 35 and his average dropped this year; Jeter will be or is 36 and his average dropped significantly; Posada is 39 cannot throw anyone out or block a pitch in the dirt. Let's not forget Mo is 40. Pettitte is 38 or 39 as well. They need to make a number of changes in the off-season. I see Posada going to DH next year. Austin Romaine will probably get a shot to catch or Montero. Cervelli is what he is a serviceable backup.

Crash said...

Montero is closer than Romine. Romine only hit .268 at AA this year. He's in AFL now, in 3 games batting .385. Montero is not at the AFL but he may be participating in winter ball somewhere.

Montero finished really strong at AAA, .289, 21, 75. That was his first year at AAA and he was only 20!!! He started slow but really picked up in July and August.

Posada and Montero should be nearly a 50/50 split at catcher next year. In spring training I would immediately have him catching for CC and Hughes (and Cliff Lee if he's acquired).

Yankees are faced with some interesting scenarios coming up. They have pieces from their farm (Hughes, Joba, Gardner, Montero & Romine are coming up). But they need that next Jeter/Mattingly type player. The kid that comes up and sets the tone for the team for the next 10+ years. Even though Montero seems to be a good player and may be around for a while, not sure if he has "it". We'll have to see.

Crash said...

Saw an interesting fact from Buster O...we all know Andy Pettitte has a great pickoff move to first and that should help neutralize the Rangers running game...but he has been called for a balk 11 times. The 1B umpire in tonight's game Angel Hernandez has called 3 of them. Should be interesting to see if he calls him on it tonight.

old professor said...

The game was interesting until the ninth inning when the bullpen imploded. Pettitte pitched a game that the team should have won.

Lee pitched extremely well. That said, the Yankees will not win with Posada and Jeter looking like candidates for an AARP Commercial and TExiera and A-Rod not hitting. Tex is 0 for the entire series.

Joel Sherman made a real point in his NY Post Article that it will be easy to blame Burnett if the Yankees fall, but he has not thrown a pitch and the Yankees are down 2-1. Excluding the eighth inning of the first game they have scored 3 runs in 26 innings - PATHETIC.

The unfortunate fact is this team will be pretty much in tact for next year's attempted run and will be one year older and slower.

Crash said...

That game was pretty much what I expected up until the 9th. Pettitte left a cutter out on the plate a little too much and Hamilton made him pay. He didn't give up anything after that gave his team a chance to get back in the game. Lee was awesome. I have never seen a guy hit the black as consistently as Lee. He's better at it than Maddux right now. I love watching the "Pitch Track" on the games. And he was always on the lines. He was hitting either corner and then moving 2 or 3 inches further. If something was in the middle of the plate it was down. He made 2 mistakes and neither were put in play. Swisher missed a hanging breaking ball and Jorge watched one go right down the middle. The only hard hit ball off Lee was A-Rod's fly ball to left-center in that "rally" that resulted in 0 runs.

Regardless of how it got to this point, I think the Yankees are exactly where they thought they would be. They split at Texas and lost a close one to Cliff Lee. I hope AJ can pitch the game of his life tonight. If he shuts down the Texas hitters the crowd will go nuts for him.

Old Prof you're right about the offense. The only one hitting is Cano. Swisher, Tex, A-Rod, and Posada need to show up if the Yankees are going to make this a series. You can't 2/3 of your lineup not hitting.

If the game is tight late, don't think Robertson is getting the call. Bet Girardi goes to Joba.

Crash said...

Just to break it up a little...last week I brought up the next big Japanese pitcher to be coming to MLB, Yu Darvish. Darvish himself has confirmed that he will be staying in Japan for at least another season and will not be in MLB next year.

old professor said...

Interesting post game statement from Nolan Ryan after the game. He was asked by a reporter how much did Ryan think it would take to keep Cliff Lee in Texas. To paraphrase his response: Go across the hall and ask the Yankees what they will be paying, we don't have the means to match their offer.

As for the championship series, I said the Yankees would win in five. I believe it will go five games, but Texas will prevail. I can't see AJ pitching to the level that he needs to tonight. He has had to much time off. That could put the Yankees in a 3-1 hole and unless they begin to hit, it won't matter how good CC pitches you can't win without scoring runs.

Crash said...

I often accuse Mets fans and Boston fans of being overly dramatic...but this post season Yankee fans, including myself, have been way over the edge here...The Yankees are down 1 game with a max of 4 left to play. The Yankees have rattled off 3 wins in a row. And their offense can show up any given night and crank out 10 runs. I'm not ready to count them out yet. Tonight is a HUGE game...I hope AJ shows up and pitches the game of his life tonight.

Crash said...

AJ's ERA in the 3rd inning this year...8.62.

old professor said...

Crash, reality check time, the Yankees are done. They are now down 3 games to 1. CC is pitching today against Wilson. Girardi has not managed this series well at all. Twenty-twenty hindsight - He should have started Pettitte in game 2 not game 3.

It would have been better to have Hughes lit up against Cliff Lee than waste a great performance from Pettitte.

Next bad call that cost a game - Texas has a man on second two outs AJ is ordered to walk a batter to get to Molina. It was obvious that AJ was beginning to struggle. Instead of bringing in a relief pitcher (Chamberlain had been warming up for most of the inning) he elects to leave Burnett in who immediately misses his location by two feet and the ball is deposited in the leftfield seats for a three run homer. Game over series will soon be over and no one will be watching a world series that involves the Rangers and Giants.

old professor said...

Just a minor news flash - Melky Cabrera has been released by the Braves. The kid is only 26 and hit .255 with four or five homeruns.

Who knows - he may be signed to a minor league contract by the team that traded him to the Braves.

Crash said...

I was stunned at how quickly that game turn last night. Literally one pitch, the Yankees went from totally in control to on the verge of elimination. Walking Murphy to get to Molina was the right baseball move. The problem was the pitch selection and location. Molina is a dead-red first pitch fastball hitter. Cervelli wanted the fastball down and away, AJ missed his spot by about 4 feet and it went up and in and then out.

AJ didn't pitch as poorly as his line indicates. I thought he pitched pretty well up until that pitch. He actually pitched better than CC or Hughes. If he gets Molina instead of giving up the HR he gets a standing ovation instead of booed off the field.

That being said I was yelling at my TV when Girardi sent him out for the 6th inning. Thought he was playing with fire at that point, especially for a guy that hasn't pitched in nearly 3 weeks. I was also yelling at Teixeira for sliding into first base, thinking he would get hurt. But after seeing the replay realizing he slide because he hadn't already blown the hammy. His season is done. If this series is prolonged the Yankees will miss his glove, but not the bat. He was 0-14 at that point I think. This is the second postseason that Teixeira hasn't hit well. He is good for 1 big hit a series and that's it.

I have been really impressed by Elvis Andrus, he is the next superstar in MLB.

Crash said...

Big win to keep the series alive. Thought CC really battled a couple times to keep the runs off the board. Kerry Wood had 2 solid innings. Swisher, Granderson, Berkman, and Posada had some big hits and Cano stayed hot (series MVP if the Yanks can comeback).

Back to Texas where Hughes needs to step up big time.

And anyone notice the Philly/SanFran series has been really good?

old professor said...

Let's hope that Hughes is ready for the game of his life versus putting the nail in the teams coffin.

Two different philosophies will be on display in Texas - Yankees with all hands on deck to prevent elimination and Texas with hey no problem, we have Lee for Game 7.

As for CC hanging tough. When was the last time you saw the other team collect so many hits and end up with only two runs. He did a great job staying out of serious trouble.

Bullpen with Woods and Mo closed the deal. Anyone want to bet that Woods will be back with the team next year and Joba will be an afterthought.

Crash said...

I would love to see Wood back with the Yankees next season. But I think it's going to be an ego check for him. He has an $11M club option that will certainly be declined. That's big boy closer money, not 8th inning setup man money. If the Yankees were willing to give Marte $12M, I could see them offering Wood a 2 or 3 year deal at $5M per. Wood would need to accept the role of setup and lesser money for consistent winning. I hope he does it but I doubt he will. His market value is going up as the playoffs go on. He's played a big role and proved that he can still pitch in big situations...when healthy.

old professor said...

Crash, the amount offered to Wood will depend a great deal as to what Mo will do. Will Mo come back next year or not? If he comes back then Wood is the setup guy. If Mo retires, what is the alternative to bringing Wood back as the closer - Joba? I think not.

Crash said...

Valid point Old Prof...but since Mo has said he feels he can pitch another 3 years I would assume he's coming back next season.

Speaking of Wood the deal for him is finally complete, that's to say the Player To Be Named Later have actually been named. The Yankees have sent Andrew Shive and Matt Cusick to Cleveland for Wood. Shive is a low A level pitcher. While Cusick is an IF who spent time at AA and AAA. is last 2 seasons he's been around a .240 average, no power, no speed, an ok glove but nothing special. Yankees make out real well in this deal. Gave up very replaceable parts in the minor league, that most likely would not see the majors any time soon if at all.

Crash said...

Man the Giants got hosed on a call that eventually end up costing them the game.

If the Yankees have to go 7 to get to the series I hope the NLCS goes 7 as well. Just so all the main starters get used a little bit more. Good points on MLB radio this morning, guys like Halladay, Lincecum and Cain have never been in the post season. Their bodies are used to it. Guys like CC, Jeter, Pettitte, et al have been there done that for years. Their bodies are more accustomed to the grind and are less likely to wear down.

I honestly think the Yankees win tonight and force a game 7. Possibility of rain in Texas the next couple of nights. Could play havoc with the games.

old professor said...

If game six gets rained out in Texas, does that mean that Lee gets game six or do the Rangers just keep him out until game 7?

Crash said...

If I'm Ron Washington I would start Lee on Saturday, regardless if it's game 6 or game 7. You want to wrap up the series as soon as possible and that means going with your best available starter.

Crash said...

Hughes is missing his spots by feet not inches. Breaking ball is hanging bad.

Granderson got hosed on that bad call on his SB attempt.

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