Tag Archives: Joba Chamberlain

World Series Game 4

Doing It As Drawn Up

Wow. The Yankees are up 3-1 in the World Series with a 7-4 win. Sabathia pitched 6.2 innings giving up 3, Joba blew the save but vultured a win as the Yankees erupted for 3 runs in the 9th and Mariano Rivera did his thing.

I don’t mean to be triumphalist, but I think it needs some pointing out that the 2009 Yankees won 103 games in the AL East. The 2009 Phillies won 93 games in the NL East where their potentially biggest rivals tanked due to injuries. Look, the Phillies are plenty good, but I think we’re beginning to see the gap in strength as the World Series rolls on. No disrespect to the Phillies who did win it all in 2008, but I think the 3 wins in a row to the Yankees reflects the relative difference in strengths.

That being said, the Yankees now face Cliff Lee against whom the bats stayed dormant, ad they send AJ Burnett to the mound. Of course, AJ Burnett is like Forest Gump’s Box of Chocolates – you just don’t know what you’re going to get. Okay, he did win Game 2 with style but will he get the Yankees past Phillies a second time is a reasonable question.

It’s not over yet.

Ain’t That Johnny Damon Something?

Here’s an excellent account of Damon’s one-pitch one-man double steal.

Take his at-bat against Lidge in the ninth. There were two outs. Lidge got ahead in the count 1-2. And then Damon, realizing that Lidge would try to put him away with that famous slider of his, decided to look only for that slider. “They really don’t teach you do it that way,” Damon says. “They normally tell you to look fastball because if you sit slider, it would be too tough to catch up to the fastball.”

But Damon just sensed that his best shot was to wait for the slider and hope for the best. He fouled off a slider, then another. Lidge tried to throw a couple of fastballs — one was called just off the outside corner (Damon was beaten on the pitch — the umpire could have called it either way), and the second was outside. Full count. Damon kept waiting for the slider. He fouled off a fastball. He fouled off another fastball. And finally, he hit the fastball for a single to left field.

It was remarkable stuff — “Just an unbelievable at-bat,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi would call it — and then Damon realized that he could steal second base on Lidge. You know the guy in your neighborhood basketball game, the one that plays ruthless defense, never-ending defense, in-your-face defense and you want to yell at him “Just STOP already.” Yeah, that’s Damon too.

He stole second base, and then he saw third base was open and in an instant he ran through all those calculations and decided to go for it. At first, Feliz reached out and looked like he had a chance to tag Damon. But he could not. Damon pulled away. “I’m just glad that when I started running, I still had some of my young legs behind me,” Damon would say.

Damon made it to third base. We’ll never know for sure if his play spooked Brad Lidge … I think it’s a fair guess to say that it did. Lidge promptly hit Mark Teixeira with a pitch. And then he threw two fastballs to A-Rod — one of the great fastball hitters in baseball history — and A-Rod ripped the second to left for a double. That scored Damon. Jorge Posada followed with a single that scored two more runs, and that was that.

Now, the Yankees have a stranglehold on the series. It’s hard to come up with a scenario where the Phillies come back from this. They do have Cliff Lee going tonight, which gives them a fair shot at sending the series back to New York. But they’re standing at the base of Mount Everest. And they know it. The Phillies really had to win Sunday night, and they played exactly the kind of gutsy game that it takes to win. They came from behind. They scored a late run to tie the game. They were at home, and Lidge seemed to be throwing well, and it all looked good.

But then Johnny Damon had the at-bat of the Series and he pulled off what might have been the first one-man double steal in World Series history. It was one of those plays that you never forget. The Phillies never quite recovered from that.

“I kinda had to see all that stuff develop,” was how Damon explained his play. Then he shrugged his shoulders because, hey, he isn’t really sure he saw any of it. He ran. His mind told him to go. Things just seem to work out for the guy. He’s lucky that way.

Well, that too.

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Yankees Update – 05/09/09

Rolling Right Along

The Yankees finished sweeping the White Sox, swept the Orioles and took 2 of the 4 game set with the Blue Jays this week. More importantly, the Yankees are ahead 8.5 in the AL East and have a 7.5 game edge on the Angels for the Home field advantage in the play offs. They have a 0.640 winning percentage for the season. This may in fact be the best Yankee team since 1998, because they’re on pace to finish with 104 wins.

Looking back, this past August was great.It was the month where this team put its signature on the season by all but eliminating the Red Sox from the AL East contention by going 21-7 scoring 175 runs and allowing 123.

All is good.

7 Guys With 20 Homers

The Yankees tied the MLB record for having 20HR guys on a team. The previous marks were set by the ’96 Orioles, ’00 Blue Jays and the ’05 Rangers. If Derek Jeter (17) can hit 3 more, they’ll be breaking that record too. He may not, but it’s something to aim for.

This might be the best lineup since 1980 according to the RLYW. Signing Tex might not have been so much a stroke of genius as a stroke of excess, but if there’s anything the Steinbrenner years have taught us, nothing succeeds like excess.

Not Relinquishing Leads

The Yankees are 59-1 in games going in to the 7th with a lead according to the NYT.

“It’s not often when you get to save games on the Yankees when your name’s not Mariano,” Hughes said after retiring the final four hitters Saturday to collect his third save of the season in the Yankees’ 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.

Hughes finished a relief relay that included Dave Robertson and Brian Bruney. They did not allow a hit in three innings and preserved the victory for Andy Pettitte, who had a rare second-half sluggish start.

“The bullpen again came in the game and did their job, every single one of them” Manager Joe Girardi said. “Sometimes you need a little bit more from your bullpen and we got it today.”

The Yankees (87-49) improved to 59-1 when leading after six innings. A day after they may as well have wielded white flags in place of bats during Roy Halladay’s one-hit gem, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano paced the offense with solo home runs.

The bullpen’s been pretty amazing as of late. If there’s one thing I like about Joe Girardi, it’s the fact that he goes with the effective arm rather than choose the veteran guys like Torre did.

If I Had To Nit Pick…

… but Joba is not pitching well. Regardless of the Joba rules and all else, he’s simply pitching like crap at the moment.

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Yankees Update 11/07/09

Thank God For The Twins

The Yankees had a good week where they finished off the series with Toronto by winning the 3rd and losing the 4th, only to roll into Minnesota to play the Twins. The Yankees wen ton to sweep the Twins, and then with all but the Angels remaining before the all star break, seemed to go on a mental holiday.

The Yankees have thus gone 4-3 this week.

The Twins this season seem to have some kind of mental block about playing the Yankees, a bit like how the Yankees have a mental block about playing Boston and so, they’ve not won a game against the Yankees this year in 7 encounters. This 7-0 record has helped the Yankees balance out the 0-9 record they have against the Red Sox, which sort of explains how the 2 teams are at around 2 games difference in standings.

Why Can’t They Beat These Guys? Part 4 – The Los Angeles Angels of Annaheim

When it gets down to it, the Angels have been the nightmare team for the Yankees this decade. They’re the only team that has a winning record against the Yankees in the AL this decade. Much of that has been them exploiting the weak defenses the many Yankees squads have had this decade, with their put-the-ball-in-play style.

The Angels always seem to have just enough pitching to hold the Yankees’ bats down and just enough contact hitting to outscore what their pitching gives up. What amazes me is that the Yankees don’t seem to have devised any tactic or strategy against this team over the years, except add more bats in Free Agency.

What’s disappointing this year is that even with improved defense and pitching, the Yankees are getting nickel-and-dimed to a tune of 10 runs by the Angels offense whils scoring 6 runs. You’ think 6 runs should be good enough to win most games.

Joba Sucked This Last Month

I should know, I have him on my lone fantasy roster this year. He was doing better earlier in the season but he seems to have lost a little zip. He’s striking out fewer and he’s got an ERA around 4.25. In the last month his ERA has been sitting at 5.16 with 23 Ks in 29.2 innings. I don’t think that’s really cutting it. Together with the inured Wang and Andy Pettitte who is a ERA 4.50 sort of guy now, the Yankees need better pitching out of all their home-grown starters.

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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 02/05/09

Doing It Tough But Phil Was Huge

The Yankees ended up being swept in Boston at the start of the week. Considering they had the Sox on the ropes in 2 of the games, it was hard to take those losses and to get swept.

They then rolled into Detroit where CC Sabathia pitched 8 innings and still lost 4-2. Then, something good started to show. Phil Hughes pitched 6 strong innings for a win, followed by Job Chamberlain who also pitched into the 6th and got his first win. The Yankees then returned home to face the Angels and won 2 interesting, edgy games with walk off hits by Melky Cabrera and Jorge Posada. That left the Yankees 2 games behind division leaders Toronto, unti of course they lost today’s game 8-4.

The Bullpen Is Flammable

The 2 games coughed up in Boston were in no small part due to the bullpen. In fact, the leads coughed up in the Angels game also were due to some bad outings from the pen.The ERA of these guys are looking really ugly as we speak:

  • Edwar Ramirez 5.40
  • Jose Veras 7.94
  • Damaso Marte 15.19
  • Jonathan Albaladejo 7.50
  • Mark Melancon 2.70
  • Phil Coke 3.72
  • Mariano Rivera 2.79

So right now, 3 of the 7 guys in the pen are good, the rest are dreck. Things can’t keep going this way, what with Joba pitching to about 5.2 innings and Phil Hughes filling in for Chine-Ming Wang. Surely there will be some changes shortly.

Ramiro Pena

The guys that the Yankees get to fill infor their injured superstars can be surprising. Erick Almonte in his stint filling in for Derek Jeter back in 2003 did all right. Cody Ransom filling in for A-Rod was less impressive, and then got injured. Right now, the man filling in at 3B for A-Rod and Ransom is Ramiro Pena who has hit 8-for 17 in the last 5 games. His line now sits at .333/.393/.367. Anybody can hit anything in 5 games, but it’s nice to get that out of your second string utility player. 

Tex, It’s May Now

So you can commence hitting.

A .189 Ave is pretty yuck, but he’s walked 5 times in the last week. As a result his OBP is sitting at .358. He’s still helping when he’s not hitting, but in an injured-Jason-Giambi kind of way. That being said, actually hitting some would be nicer.

A-Rod Miasma

There have been more leaks from Selena Roberts’ upcoming book about A-Rod, imaginatively titled ‘A-Rod’.

The new assertions are that he took steroids since high school and that he tipped pitches to opposing players back in Texas – Doug Mientkiewicz who played with him in High School said it was unlikely, because he was with him 20hours a day and didn’t see it. Other allegations include how A-Rod is totally obsessed with Derek Jeter and how he was playing up with strippers and hookers while his wife Cynthia was pregnant.

Even if you think 90% of these allegations are wrong in some way, it leaves the picture of a guy who isn’t exactly the kind of guy you’d want to have as role model for your children. All the same, you probably shouldn’t have superstar athletes as role models for your children – parents should be the role models for their own kids.

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