Tag Archives: Derek Jeter

ALDS Game 1

Yankees Beat Tired Twins 7-2

Y’know, it’s almost unfair that the Twins stumble into the post-season after their amazing 163rd game of the season, an epic 12 inning win over Detroit, only to stumble into playing a rested Yankees. But that’s life.

C.C. Sabathia pitched like the Ace, the Bullpen slammed the door shut and the 2 runs in the 3rd was all the Twins would get.

Jeter remains a post-season God by hitting his 18th Post-Season homerun, tying Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle – but more importantly, the 2-run shot tied the game. What’s more Jeter-ian than that, he didn’t make an out by going 2-for-2 and drawing 2 walks and scoring 3 runs.it’s like he becomes extra-alive in October.

Hideki Matsui hit his 7th post-season homerun as well, putting the game out of reach for the depleted and tired Twins. A-Rod got the monkey off his back as well, hitting a pair of run-scoring singles with 2 outs.

It’s a good win. Now they just have to win 10 more.

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Yankees Update – 30/08/09

Getting There

Since the big series in Boston where the Yankees stamped their authority on the AL East, the last fortnight has been a process of working through the numbers. Their long road trip out west finished with a 7-3 record, and while they lot the series to Texas at home 2-1, they’ve won 2 so far of their 3 game series with the White Sox. While the tension has somewhat gone out of the AL East race, the Yankees still have to get through September.

Even losing 2 of 3 to the Texas Rangers was interesting in that, it makes it just that harder for the Red Sox to get their Wild Card berth; an while you wouldn’t exactly accuse the Yankees of tanking it, it’s actually a nice result given the context of the race for the post-season. The only time losing a series this season felt okay.

New Joba Rules

Joba came out of his 8 day break and sucked. So now they have new Joba rules. It’s a case where the desire to limit the innings and the need to get him to stay effective as a starter are beginning to work against each other. Clearly he needs the routine, so they’re going to give him the starts, just limit the innings. Fortunately the Sergio Mitre-Chad Gaudin combo of a 5th starter has begun to work. Today’s combined shut out by those guys is actually very useful. So it might be the case where Joba will pitch regularly, just not that long into the game any more. Certainly not until the post-season.

Andy Pettitte Wants To Keep Pitching

Most people were assuming he was going to retire but he’s now making noises about going a bit longer. Well, with the sort of money on the table, why wouldn’t you? Well, I’d be okay with that if he takes a similar incentive deal.

Derek Jeter’s Magic Run

Captain Intangibles is about to reach a Yankee milestone later this season. he is likely going to pass Lou Gehrig as the career hits leader for the Yankees. I’m sort of amazed he’s passed Bernie Williams let alone Babe Ruth, but there you go. Today, I consider him to be the luckiest man on the face of this earth. 🙂

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Yankees Update 31/05/09

Leaping To The Top

The 2 week drive that saw the Yankees go 8-2 placed them to be back in the race last weekend. This week the Yankees lost the third game to the World Champion Phillies, but won a series in Texas and the first game in Cleveland, going 3-2. It was enough to place the Yankees at the top of the AL East by half a game.

Jorge Posada has come back, and while Melky Cabrera fell and hurt his shoulder, Brett Gardner has been there to hit really well. The Yankees have finally got most of the lineup they thought they would have with the exception of Xavier Nady. That being said, the big turnaround was probably chracterised more by better pitching than hitting.

With a third of the season gone, we’re starting to see what this team is capable of doing. If they ca build on the lead and go to Boston with a few games in the standings, it would be a good thing, Winning there might just determine the season.

Joba To The Pen?

For some reason, this crowd just won’t shut up. It’s insane, but this week saw the Bleacher Report take the line that Joba was better as the intimidator in the 8th inning. As Joe Girardi noted, the good thing about Presidential debates is that they end. This one just keeps going.

Chien-Ming Wang In The Bullpen

With Phil Hughes pitching well as a starter in the last 2 outings, Wang is still consigned to the bullpen. It really comes down to the fact that between 6 pitchers going in to 5 spots. With three taken by Sabathia Pettitte & Burnett, it’s Joba, Hughes and Wang trying to fit into 2 spots.

After 2 relief outing, Wang looks like he has some of his sink back. It maybe the case that Wang pitches ‘Teh Eighth’ until such time that a starter is needed. I’s not a bad thing having pitching depth. This year, the Yankees have not had to dig deep down to option no. 7, 8 and 9, unlike 2005-2008. Ian Kennedy and Kei Igawa are not within shouting distance of the Bronx this year, while Alfredo Aceves is yet to make a start.

I know it’s early days but signing AJ Burnett in the off-season was a good deal.

Swisher’s Blues

After hitting like Ruth in April, Swisher has been struggling at the plate in May. He took a HBP to the elbow in early May and has been hititng like crud since. It’s reminiscent of Jeter last year when he got hit in the hand by Daniel Cabrera in May and he didn’t really hit the way he can until September.

I just wonder when Swisher is going to stop hurting and turn it around.

Derek Jeter Nudges .300

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Jeter’s BABIP was way below his career norm. In the last few weeks he has seen it rise to above league average, and with it, he has rasied his Average to close to.300. It doesn’t seem like Jeter is actually slowing down at all.

In the field, Jeter’s defense has been average for Shortstop, with a UZR/150 of 0.7. Even at 35, reports of his demise were probably premature.The Yankees actually need to figure out a way of not letting him get so banged up.

F*ck You Pavano

Carl Pavano went 5-1 for the Indians this May. It’s more wins than he ever got for the Yankees.

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Yankees Update 09/05/09

Well That Sucked

5 straight losses. 2 to the Bosox, 3 to the Rays. Phil Hughes lost. Joba lost. AJ Burnett lost. Andy lost. It was a really forgettable week. Joba struck out 12 in 5.1 innings, but that was about the highlight of the string of losses. They then won one behind CC but are in the process of losing today as I write.

Today’s probable loss will put them at 14-16, 2 games below .500. What’s becoming evident about this team as with the team last year is that they just don’t like they’re capable of going on a hot streak where they win 6 or 7 in a row, and do it a couple times before July which is what they need to get back above .500 and stay there. In a nutshell, they need 2 weeks of all-wins to make up for a week of all-losses and get back on a 95-win pace, which is what they’ll need just to sniff the post-season.

Guess Who’s Back?

In amongst all the losses, You-know-who came back and sent the first pitch over the wall. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Alex Rodriguez!  As he was meant to be. He said he didn’t take steroids as a teen. Beyond which he said he wasn’t going to address Selena Roberts’ book. At this point in time, it’s probably a good call. The return of A-Rod’s bat is probably the best news this week.

Injury Plagues More

Both Jorge Posada and Jose Molina have ended up on the DL. So, just as the Yankees make up the fall from A-Rod to a coterie of Ransom, Berroa and Pena, they get to los it in the drop from Posada-Molina to Cash-Cervelli. If the former was a 7 win drop, this is still like a 5 win drop. It sucks, believe you me.

Nady, Wang and Bruney are still out. It’s like a MASH unit again with Posada and Molina out.

Meanwhile Ian Kennedy at AAA got diagnosed with an aneurism in the arm and went under the knife. It’s notable on this list because the pitching has been atrocious and anything that depletes the depth is bad. It means that if Wang is out and Phil Hughes keeps stringing bad starts, they might have to look past Kennedy to look at Kei Igawa. Most fans don’t want another Igawa start in pinstripes ever again.

Phil Franchise

Not only did Phil Hughes lose against the Sawx, he took a shellacking today. I don’t know about you, but it seems the guy dominates AAA only to get hit hard at the major level. He does throw in a couple of good starts, so clearly he can pitch at the major level. Maybe he’s tipping his pitches? Maybe he’s being tentative? Maybe the jump from AAA to AL East is much bigger than we think? Whatever the case I hope he puts it together by the next start, if not now.

Derek Jeter And His declining BABIP

Derek Jeter is hitting .260 or so with a .770 OPS. His BABIP is sitting at .290 as of this writing. That’s about 80 points short of his career level, but when you go look at the fangraphs of BABIP over the years, you see a steady decline in the last 4 seasons. It’s either the case that the short stop position is catching up to his legs, or that there’s something different in his swing – he’s hit 4 HRs to date with an ISO of .150 which is uncharacteristic at this point.

Or it could just bee that he’s been a little unlucky again and this will all correct itself as the season progresses. I don’t know, but I just thought I’d mention it here.

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Yankees Update 19/04/09

Up And Down Week

This week saw the Yankees squeeze by the Royals in the third game of that series, win 2 of 3 from the Rays and then return to NY to open the new stadium. The troubling thing about the Rays an Indians series has been how the Yankees have lost the opening games of the respective series in blow outs.

The Yankees dropped their first game against the Rays in a horrific pitching meltdown by Wang, then won two pitching duels behind AJ Burnett (who took a no-hitter into the seventh) and Andy Pettitte.

With the Indians, CC Sabathia pitched a forgettable game against his old team for a loss, while Joba pitched an ugly 4.2 innings which eventually led to a Yankee win. Today. Wang has expolded on the mound again. Keeping in mind that teams tend to up their intensity with the Yankees, a pitcher in April can be vulnerable to a lineup trying to drive up the pitch count.

On the other hand, Wang has been pitching like a fireman trying to hose down the Towering Inferno with gasoline. His sinker has had no sink this season so far. This week saw two games where he pitched 1 inning of double digit ERA. Whatever it is that he’s doing wrong, he needs to fix it now.

After all that rigamorole, the Yankees still sit at .500.

Who Is That Masked Man?

Nick Swisher has been hitting like Ruth. Well, better than Ruth actually, with a .406/.486/1.000. line, he also managed to pitch a scoreless inning in his lone relief appearance in a blowout. If nothing else, picking up of Nick Swisher for Wilson Betemit has been paying immediate dividends to a club that is actually struggling with injuries.

Robinson Cano has also been hitting like his old self. Well, better than his old self in small sample-size heaven with his .421/.488/.632 line making him a very valuable bat in an otherwise flagging lineup.

Those Injuries

Xavier Nady who won the RF job from Swisher has a tear in his elbow tendon and may be looking at season ending surgery. The poor man is in his contract walk year. It’s very unfortunate for him, because the Yankees will have to move on from him and once they do, it’s unlikely they’ll bring him back after a second Tommy John surgery.

Hideki Matsui is also having trouble with his reconstructed knees. I might have mentiond this before but the years of playing on artificial turf at the Tokyo Dome and going for the consecutive games record may have taken their toll. Maybe it was symbolic that he got past Shigeo Nagashima’s Japanese homerun record with his lone homer in his first game.

On top of this, Mark Teixeira has been struggling with a sore wrist, for which he received a cortisone shot. There’s apparently no structural damage. Then there is Johnny Damon who has the flu, and then of course A-Rod who is rehabbing his hip. This means the Yankees have been fielding lineups with Cody Ransom, Ramiro Pena and Melky Cabrera. Brett Gardner hasn’t exactly been helping just yet.

It’s Early Days Yet – Part 1

It really is still too early, which brings about some small sample-size quirks. Derek Jeter is the best fielding shortstop though April 17. In the 10 game stretch, his zone rating is .920, and he’s fielding at a 30runs saved per 162 clip. That’s 3.4 wins with the glove! It won’t last.

It’s Early Days Yet – Part 2

A quick look at Scranton Wilkes-Barre had me smiling. Anthony Jackson is killing the ball with a 1.123 OPS. So is Juan Miranda with a q.092 OPS.Miranda of course got called up to replace the injured bats. A-Jax is going to be kept at AAA to get those at-bats, but it may turn out that he’ll be up at the big league level a lot sooner.

It’s Early Days Yet – Part 3

Hiding a bit further down the list is good frien Eric Duncan with a solid .895 OPS. For the first time in a long while, Duncan has gotten off to a good start.

I know, I know, every year I hope for Duncan to do well. He is the Yankees’ 2003 top pick after all. But when you consider that 2004’s top pick is also at AAA SWB (Phil Hughes); and 2005’s top pick got trade away for Abreu, boomeranged back as a waver pick up and left for basket ball; and 2006’s top pick is also at AAA SWB (Ian Kennedy), maybe he’s doing just fine. Duncan is still 24 going on 25. This is the year that will tell, so it’s good to see him doing well. If I have my maths right, he’s a Minor League Free Agent at the end of this year.

If the bats continue to get injured and falter at the big league club whileDuncan keeps hitting well at SWB, he too may make the big club yet this year.

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Yankees Update 25/03/09

Xavier Nady In RF Over Nick Swisher

This is not the choice I would make, but for the possibility that Nady is being burnished for a trade.

“If we were to break today,” Girardi said, “Xavier Nady would be my right fielder.”

At the start of camp, Girardi said right field would be a competition between Nady and Swisher. Each has played roughly to form, and because Nady had an edge at the start, Girardi said, he was comfortable giving Swisher the news Monday morning.

“I’ve been thinking all day about what I wanted to say,” Swisher told reporters after Monday’s game, an 8-3 loss to Philadelphia. “I’m the type of guy, I want to play every day, there’s no doubt about that. I guess we’re just going to see how it plays out.

“I love this team. I love the coaches, players, I love it all. I think it’s a great spot. But that’s the biggest thing; we’re going to have to wait and see how it plays out.”

Not happy to read that at all. Swisher is younger, more patient, has a better track record until his last season which was bad – which enabled him to be brought to NY, and he’s a better defender.

Another thing sort of did occur to me. Nady came up as a 3B. If they really like his bat that much they could throw him at 3B while A-Rod recovers and put Swisher in RF.

AJ Burnett Beats Bosox (in Spring)

The kind of news you have when it’s not news.

A.J. Burnett, who is 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA in his career against Boston, allowed one run on three hits and two walks in 5-2/3 innings, striking out four. He threw 82 pitches, 49 for strikes, extending his pitch count as high as any Yankees starter has this spring.
“I heard lots of cheers and boos,” Burnett said of his first Yanks-Sox experience. “When David (Ortiz) came up the first time, he was covered in them. It’s awesome. I can’t wait to get in there during the season and see what that’s all about.”

Well, it’s nice to know he can beat those guys so well, so often.

Jeter Is Back From The WBC

Jeter came back to Yankee land where he is most beloved and needed. His inability to lead the hastily assembled host of ‘yankees’ notwithstanding, that is.

Now that the whole world has seen just how bad his range is, you’d think the mystique has eroded on Captain Crunch.

“I need to play,” Jeter said. “I’ve had enough days off. We just had three days off before our last game. With tomorrow’s off-day, I didn’t feel I needed to miss three more days. I wanted to come and play today.”

Jeter hopes to play most of the Yankees’ final nine exhibition games, which is fine with Girardi. Even before Jeter arrived, Girardi penciled him in Tuesday’s lineup, batting second behind Johnny Damon. Girardi also listed Jeter on the travel squad to Clearwater for Thursday’s game with the Phillies.

“I told him, after today, give me what he wants to do, whether it’s one day off or two days off,” Girardi said. “Just let me know what you need, because you know better than what I do.

“I think there’s enough time for him to get ready. I do. But we’ll find out.”

Since Jeter has been gone for about three weeks, his return prompted a series of “hello stranger” moments. The bench coach Tony Peña greeted him with: “Cap’n Crunch! How you doing? About time you showed up.” Tino Martinez, Jeter’s former teammate and a special instructor in spring training, stopped by for a visit.

There were no insights if he had any, no new experiences he could incorporate or convey to the press, no new information. He remains oddly elusive from giving us a piece of his mind. You’d think he never went away and played those games for the USA. It’s bizarre.

Graig Nettles Is Better Now

Graig Nettles is recovering from prostate cancer. That’ good news.

*Feb 26 - 00:05*Nettles had surgery to remove his prostate in April of last year.
“Hopefully that’s all been taken care of and I’m cancer free,”  said Nettles, taking a break from working out with the Yankees in Tampa. “I still have to go every six months to get it checked out, but my health is good.”
Cancer hasn’t stopped the 64-year-old Gold Glove legend, who’s already talking about making his way to the Bronx this season.
“I’ll make it out there to the new (Yankee) Stadium a few times this year,” he says.
Nettles spends his springs with the current Yankees as an instructor and is more than familiar with the parade of havoc that comes with wearing pinstripes. He invited fans into his crazy days in the Bronx with his book entitled “Balls,” released in 1984, so he’s no stranger to the absurd. He once summed up his Yankee career succinctly and perfectly in 1978 by saying: “When I was a little boy, I wanted to be a baseball player and join the circus. With the Yankees, I have accomplished both.”

As with so many of my heroes in my life, I loved him because he was funny as well as good.

AFA 165588“I’m indebted to the Yankees for always inviting me out to spring training,” says Nettles, who came to Yanks in trade with Cleveland in 1972. “I know I can’t do the things I used to anymore, so I live through the players. It’s all in memory what I did.”
And Nettles did a lot, enjoying his best season in 1977, when he picked up his first of two Gold Glove and crushed 37 homers and 107 RBI in helping lead the Yankees to a World Series win over the Dodgers. The following season, Nettles earned his second Gold Glove and  made diving stop after diving stop against the Dodgers in what was back-to-back World Series championships in the Bronx.
But his most cherished memory?
“The biggest thrill I got was when (Chris) Chambliss hit the home run to put us in the World Series in 1976,” he says. “That was it.”

The memories that stay on and on. I remember that shot.

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Yankees Update 19/03/09

Injured Vets On The Comeback Are Doing Fine

Jorge Posada was mostly missing from the Yankee lineup last year, and Hideki Matsui was hampered by a knee problem for the better part of 2/3rds of the season. They’ve both had surgery – as has Mariano Rivera – but so far they’re doing well in spring training.

If Posada can healthily catch 120 or so games, then he’s certainly going to contribute to the offense. I’m bullish on Posada, in as much as his problem ilast year was his shoulder and not his knees, ankles and hips. His lower body still seems to have juice, an that’s important for a catcher.

Mastui is designated to DH duty and is unlikely to take the field this year until the Inter-league games begin, but his bat is going to help greatly. While it is often discussed as if he is now a spare part, his OBP and OPS still projects to be better than Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon, and Nick Swisher. Declarations that Matsui is passed his use-by-date for the Yankees  are just a little premature. If he doesn’t have to field, he can surely offer more than enough value over replacement level than the OF who will.

Mo? He’s Still Mo from all indications. Mariano Rivera is coming from surgery to remove some calcified tissue in his shoulder. Apparently he played the whole season with the pain last year. Goodness know how good he’s going to be this season without the pain. 🙂

So yeah, I’m bullish on all three.

The Predicted Demise Of Derek Jeter, Shortstop

Derek Jeter is 35. He’s at the point where most players who play shortstop  get moved off. Watching him in the USA-Puerto Rico game where he let 2 critical grounders go by sort of made me cringe. He never could get those, but now it’s pretty obvious he can’t get those.

“Past a diving Jeter!” – *Cringe!*

Still, his projection sits at about an .800 OPS, and that’s pretty darn good for a shortstop. He probably will stumble to the end of his contract as a shortstop and with the addition of Sabathia and Burnett, the Yankees are going to have to worry a lot less about balls in play than at any time in the last 6 seasons, so it just might not matter this season. When you do the maths, even in the recent past, his deficiency in Zone Rating has been worth 2 singles up the middle in a fortnight of games.

The future beyond this season is a lot more cloudy. It may come to pass that the Yankees do sign a real shortstop, but at that point they’re going to have to figure out where to play Derek Jeter, and live with the fact that new Shortstop is not likely to post an .800 OPS.

Aaron Boone Headed For Heart Surgery

Aaron Boone – that’s Aaron Fucking Boone in Boston – is going under the knife to correct an aortic valve.

aaron-boones-immortal-momentBoone, 36, has known about his heart condition since the early 1990s, when he played for the University of Southern California. A recent physical and follow-up exam revealed that he needs an operation soon, and Boone will schedule it in the coming days.

“I’ve monitored it all these years,” Boone said in an interview after the news conference. “I knew this day was out there. I just didn’t know it was now.”

For Boone, the news was another unexpected turn in an eventful career. In January 2004, three months after propelling the Yankees to the World Series with a homer in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox, Boone tore a knee ligament playing pickup basketball. He forfeited most of a $5.75 million salary and cleared a path for Alex Rodriguez to join the Yankees.

He’s not even in my Top 100 Yankees of all time, I’d imagine. He was only around for 3months, displacing Robin Ventura. Now Robin Ventura, I liked – he just never had a big moment for the Yankees, but he was a 3B who could hit for an .780-.820. OPS, and therefore a better bat than Scott Brosius who had retired at the end of 2001. I know Ventura was struggling at the time but Boone hardly seemed like an improvement at the time. He had about the same ISO as a declining Ventura, but Boone gave up 40 points in OBP for not even a marginally better glove.

But all that is mere detail. His resume has that one blast, and together with Bucky Dent – That’s Bucky Fucking Dent in Boston – I’ll never forget Aaron Boone. That, and the fact that he got himself foolishly injured in a game of basketball which paved the way for A-Rod to land in the Bronx. My goodness, the Yankees have been  soap opera this decade, and Aaron Boone was more than a bit player in that production.

So, here’s wishing the operation is a success and to many happy years for Aaron Boone.

That Brings Us Up To The Weirdness of A-Rod

I really don’t know what to make of A-Rod when he goes and gets pieces done on him like this.

a-rod-as-narcissusThe night before his life changes forever, Alex Rodriguez calls from Miami with an urgent request. A-Rod is worried about something he said during our interview last night. I’ve been hearing mysterious warnings all afternoon: Alex needs to talk. Alex wants to clarify something. Can’t say what. Alex will call you from his car.

“Listen,” Rodriguez says. “I was thinking about one thing that I spoke about—it’s something that’s kind of trivial but will give me a hard time for no reason.” He pauses. “The song.”

Aha. Last night, he let slip his favorite Madonna song. The curious relationship between A-Rod and the pop icon makes for delicious gossip, of course. Is Rodriguez terrified that Madonna will resent the tongue-wagging? Or, better still, has he picked the wrong song as his favorite, and fears that an offended Madge might march her stilettos over his back? No: Rodriguez believes that revealing the song would lead to its being played every time he stepped to the plate during an away game. “The last thing I want to do is go to every stadium and have them play that song,” he says. Fine—to be honest, it’s not even a great Madonna song (if it had been something juicy like “Justify My Love,” forget it).

Looking back, his preoccupation seems surreal. Just the day before, Selena Roberts, a reporter from Sports Illustrated, had confronted Rodriguez at a Miami gym, asking for his reaction to evidence that he’d tested positive for illegal steroids in 2003. And now here he was, sweating a Madonna song. It’s like worrying about the in-flight movie as your plane is belly flopping on the Hudson River.

At least he seems to be recovering nicely from surgery.

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