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Monthly Archives: September 2011

PREDICTION: Yankees win ALDS against Tigers in 4 or 5 games

I know this isn’t the most definitive prediction ever, but this is the best I can do with the information I have.

Justin Verlander (vs. Sabathia), Doug Fister (vs. Ivan Nova) and Max Scherzer (vs. Sweaty Feddy Garcia) will start the first three games against the Yankees. However, the Tigers’ 25 man roster also includes Rick Porcello and Brad Penny, who are the team’s other two starters. Whether Tigers manager Jim Leyland plans on using one of these guys in a potential game 4 or bringing Verlander back on short rest (which is the way Joe Girardi plans on using C.C. Sabathia), I don’t know – so that leaves my predicting powers a conditionally restricted.

CONDITIONAL PREDICTIONS:
If Verlander pitches games 1 and not game 4, I say Yankees in four.
If Verlander pitches games 1 and game 4, I say Yankees in five.

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Yankees 25 Man 2011 Playoff Roster Speculation

Now that regular season baseball is over, it’s time to cut the Yankees roster back to size. Here is who I expect to make the cut:

  1. A.J. Burnett
  2. Phil Hughes
  3. Boone Logan
  4. Hector Noesi or Luis Ayala
  5. Mariano Rivera
  6. David Robertson
  7. Rafael Soriano
  8. Cory Wade
  9. Ivan Nova
  10. Freddy Garcia
  11. CC Sabathia
  12. Russell Martin
  13. Austin Romine
  14. Robinson Cano
  15. Eric Chavez
  16. Derek Jeter
  17. Eduardo Nunez
  18. Alex Rodriguez
  19. Mark Teixeira
  20. Chris Dickerson
  21. Brett Gardner
  22. Curtis Granderson
  23. Andruw Jones
  24. Nick Swisher
  25. Jorge Posada

No Jesus
Given that the Detroit Tigers don’t have a left handed starter and I’m assuming that Francisco Cervelli is still hurt, I imagine it will be Austin Romine who is the back up catcher in the ALDS. He’s the superior catcher and Andruw Jones will be the left handed bat off the bench.

Bartolo Colon

Since the Yankees have decided to go with three starters in the first round (and probably will for the duration of the post season, should they advance), I don’t see any spot for Colon on the team. His velocity is down, and understandably so after an increased workload this season. I hope we can get him back for next year.

Hector Noesi or Luis Ayala
Well, one of these guys is going to be on the roster, but which? I tend to lean toward Ayala, who is older and more experienced rather than the young Noesi, who might have better stuff. It’s a tough call and you can’t go wrong either way because if either of these guys are in the game, it’s probably over anyway.

Bullpen
I see the Yankees carrying 8 relievers and 11 pitchers total. With Hughes and Burnett moving tot he pen… well, it’s pretty serious down there. Obviously, we’ll see the usual 3 headed monster combination of Soriano, Robertson and Rivera in the 7th, 8th and 9th, but I suppose Logan will be available to face Detroit’s Alex Avila, who is really their only lefty bat to speak of. So like you wold expect in any playoff game, starters will be on a short leash as Girardi can go to Phil Hughes for an inning (or maybe more, but I wouldn’t) of that sweet 95 MPH stuff he brandishes when he’s not starting. Shoot, even A.J. Burnett is good the first time through the order, so I don’t have any problem with him coming in for an inning and firing off the good stuff. Ideally, we get 6 strong innings out of our starters and don’t have to worry about this, but the combination of the three headed monster backed up by Hughes really ought to be enough to hold down a lead.

Let’s go Yankees!!!

Season Over

Are you ready for some baseball? That doesn’t start until after 830? What a delight for us on the east coast!

Yep, it all starts here: the chase for a 28th World Series Championship begins in the Bronx tonight as the Yankees meet the Tigers in game 1 of the ALDS, featuring a match up of titans in the persons of Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, C.C. Sabathia’s numbers from August until the close of the season concern me a bit, particularly when looking at his hits to innings pitched and his WHIP. Hopefully, the extra rest he’s received in the last week will bring him out of the box firing, but my understanding is that Sabathia is not particularly successful on extra rest, but we’ll have to hope for the best. So besides worrying about C.C. getting his butt kicked, we have to worry about Justin Verlander, too.

Verlander has faced the Yankees twice this year:

March 31: 6 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 ER, 1 homer, 4 BB, 8 Ks
May 2: 6 IP, 8 hits, 3 runs, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 Ks

In the early goings of the season, Verlander wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire… as opposed to June and July, when he was. Maybe he likes the warm weather… He’s not going to get much of that tonight when it rains ALL GAME LONG!

June: 6 wins in 6 starts, 0.92 ERA, 2 complete games, 49 IP, 29 hits, 5 runs, 5 ER, 3 homers, 3 hit batters, 6 walks, 0 IBB, 54 Ks
July: 4 wins and 2 loses in 6 starts, 1.99 ERA, 45.1 IP, 33 hits, 14 runs, 10 ER, 2 HR, 0 hit batters, 7 BB, 0 IBB, 48 Ks

Verlander was just good in August with a 3.12 ERA in August and better in September with a 2.55 ERA, but not dominating the planet earth like he had in June and July. Still, he wasn’t exactly facing the Yankees and the Red Sox in those months, and thanks to some inter-league in June, he got to throw 7 IP of 1 run ball against the Mets.

Weather permitting, we’ll find out whether it’s the opponent, just getting stronger in the middle of the year or the weather itself that makes Verlander so dominant.

His amazing arsenal of pitches probably helps.

Red Sox Fans

I caught myself feeling bad for Boston Red Sox fans last night and today – I won’t make that mistake again.

I wanted to hear what their fans were saying, and at OverTheMonster.com, I stumbled across this post:

The "Did That Really Just Happen?" Overflow Thread
by Ben Buchanan
Somehow, as always, the Yankees have made themselves the villains.

Really? The Yankees are the villians in this Red Sox tragedy? Really, Ben? That’s not even a little funny, ironic, or true in any way. When September started, the Red Sox had a lead on the division and the Yankees wild card lead was thought to be insurmountable. If you’re looking for a villain in all this, take a closer look at the Red Sox 40 man roster and the architects who put it together.

SB Nation user Tessie’s Dad has this as his tag line:

"What’s so special about Lou Gehrig? Shouldn’t EVERY Yankee have a disease named after him?"

I understand that Red Sox fans don’t like the Yankees, but really? No respect for ALS sufferers? And if you don’t know what’s so special about Gehrig, look up his numbers. Coincidentally, there is a disease named after you: Foot In Mouth Disease.
Also, he has Curt Schilling’s bloody sock as his avatar… meh.

And someone else attributed the fact that they didn’t recognize the handles of many of the posters who were making some of the negative comments to the fact that there were "Lot of Yankee fans here." Doing what, posing as depressed Red Sox fans who have every reason to be upset with the way their team played this month? Seems unlikely.

To be fair, most of the user comments got it right – the Red Sox have no one to blame but themselves. "Crawford, hustling like it’s an intra-squad game in March," "I don’t think I’ll ever be able to trust Papelbon again," or "That was pretty pathetic, death at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles." I’m sure the anger at Papelbon for blowing the save will dissipate, but it’s an understandable reaction, yet if you Red Sox fans want my opinion on which direction to cast stones, I would start with your pitching rotation, your general manager and yeah, the awful play of Carl Crawford is certainly worthy of a pebble or two. Red Sox would, however, do well to remember that Josh Beckett’s first season in Boston did not go very well, and it’s worked out pretty well since then.

Anyway, stay classy, Red Sox fans. Oh, and see you next year.

Season Over

Whew! That was the most exciting night in baseball I can recall when the Yankees had absolutely nothing at stake.

Completing the Sweep
I predicted it yesterday and it came to pass. The Yankees stuck to the plan and got in the work for everyone they wanted to and shelved the guys they wanted to rest. You might say it’s unfair to the Red Sox, but the Yankees first duty is to get themselves ready for the playoffs and the BoSox have no one to blame for the fact that they’re headed for the golf course but themselves.

The Harder They Fall
Again, I predicted it yesterday and it came to pass. The Red Sox just didn’t have enough left – or rather, Jonathan Papelbon didn’t have enough left after the Orioles worked him over hard on Tuesday night and put on great at bats last night. Again, The Red Sox have no one to blame but themselves – but what else can you say after a 6-20 September?

Be careful What You Wish For
I think it’s an easy bet to pick the Texas Rangers over the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round, but you never know. Tampa has mostly Boston’s ineptitude to thank for their playoff spot (and the Yankees, who were getting their house in order for October), but they might surprise us and take the Rangers down. Assuming the Yankees can navigate Justin Verlander, it could make for an interesting ALCS, bu we’re a long way’s off for that.

Facing Verlander
Brrr… Justin Verlander in a short series. This is why I wanted the Yankees to face the Rangers in the first round, but here we stand. On the other hand, if the Yankees can win game one, that puts Detroit in a pretty serious hole.

I Bet You Didn’t Know

A.J. Burnett is second to only C.C. Sabathia in team strike out totals with 173. Sabathia had 230 and Bartolo Colon is third with 135, so there is obviously a lot of separation between the Yankees strike out leaders.

PREDICTION: Rays Win Wildcard as Red Sox Complete Collapse

Tonight, the American League Wildcard Race could be decided (as could the National League Wildcard Race, but yawn), unless both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays have the same outcome, but that’s not what I foresee.

After last night’s victory over the Orioles, the Red Sox have to be a bit drained. Tonight, the BoSox are sending Jon Lester to the hill on short rest – I know it’s a must win game for them, but is this really their best option? Given the state of their pitching, it actually is. Also, Jonathan Papelbon threw over 25 pitches last night and although he had Monday off, he also threw a ton of pitches against he Yankees on Sunday. If they need him, how much does he have left? What about Daniel Bard? He also pitched yesterday. The Red Sox inabilty to keep the lowly Baltimore Orioles off the scoreboard is a problem that is bound to bite them in the butt again and although the Red Sox offense produced last night, it’s hard to have any faith in the team that has posted a 6-19 mark this month.

As for the Rays, they’re sitting pretty. The Rays will send power lefty David Price up against the Yankees starting pitcher To Be Decided – not to mention the fact that most position players not named Alex Rodriguez will probably ride the pine, and I don’t expect the Yankees to use any of their key relievers tonight, including Mariano Rivera, David Robertson or Rafael Soriano. Maybe the Yankees will start one of their kids like Dellin Betances and back him up with the likes of Andrew Brackman and Scott Proctor, although I also expect Phil Hughes to make an appearance out of the pen as that’s the role he’ll have in the playoffs. So yeah, I expect Tampa to beat the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees tonight. I mean the New York Yankees… whatever.

The Red Sox are certainly a better team than the Rays, but everything is against the Red Sox tonight while down in Tampa, every possible situation the Rays could ask for is coming to fruition. If you’re a gambler, put some money on Tampa to win.

Brad Pitt on the cover of Sports Illustrated

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I never thought I would see this day come to pass.  Am I the only one that is surprised to see Brad Pitt on the cover of Sports Illustrated starring in a sports movie that isn’t an inspirational sports movie?  I haven’t seen Money Ball yet, but I’m looking forward to it – still, Money Ball is  about business rather than sports, so it should be interesting to see how they dramatized the material.

Giants hit Michael Vick

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As I’ve mentioned before, I never root for someone to get hurt, but when it comes to Michael Vicky, I can’t help it.  The Giants busted up his hand in their win over the Eagles on Sunday and I’m glad.  I’m glad he’s in pain, because to hell with his degenerate ass.  He may have paid his debt to society, but he has a long way to go before earning any pity from me.  The AP’s Alex Brandon sure did make me happy with this double hit on Vick photo.

I just became aware of FromThisSeat.com, a site that covers NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB parks and stadiums and allows fans to leave comments on the seats they had, which is a pretty neat idea.  There Giants page can be found here.  Check it out!  There Giants page could use some comments!

A Tale of Two Colons

I know this isn’t new or good information, but Bartolo Colon just hasn’t been the same since he came back from the leg injury – but hey, the season is essentially over, so what else do we have to do? When you take a look at his game log, it shows you that every time he faces a good offense, he essentially gets hammered – and the only good hitting teams he’s faced are Toronto and Boston. Now if I recall correctly, the 0.2 IP start against Toronto was the alleged stealing signs game, so maybe you want to toss that one out, but even still, his numbers are kinda scarey in general. It’s hard to understand how he can get whipped so badly by a team like Tampa that gets a lot of it’s offensive production from Johnny Damon.

In other news (of a sort), Brian Cashman told ESPN New York that he only met with Carl Crawford’s agent to drive up the price for the Boston Red Sox. I think everyone knew that, but to actually hear him say it is pretty funny. And why would he say it now, right before the Red Sox pull into town? Maybe he is trying to pump everyone up for the series – including fans who might not be interested in coming to a wet, humid ballpark.

Also, I heard that Michael Vick is healthy enough to play with the Eagles against the Giants this weekend. I don’t usually hope someone gets hurt while playing a sport (or ever), but to the defensive players of the Giants: hit Vick. Hit him hard. Then do it again. Hit him so hard his Grandma hits him again because she remember why people hate him so much.

Fuck that prick.

Yankees Take First Half of Double Header & More

Phil Hughes missed yet another start due to injury – this time, it’s the back spasms again. The Yankees bullpen put together a superior effort after Hector Noesi’s start – well, I guess Howell didn’t get anyone out but the combination of Valdes, Kontos, Laffey, Wade, Logan, Ayala and Mariano Rivera blanks the Rays completely. Joe Madden probably left Big Game James Shields in the game too long and the 8th inning proved to be his undoing as Eduardo Nunez homered and he lost a hard fought battle with Brett Gardner and then walked Derek Jeter. Robinson Cano made Madden pay for going with JP Howell for a lefty on lefty match up by doubling in the rest of the damage – before that inning, the Yankees only other scoring that the could eek out was a double by A-Rod that plated Derek Jeter. The Yankees are so close to clinching the AL East I can taste it! (It tastes like… victory.)

And since I’m already being weird: Red Sox starter Erik Bedard was served legal papers by a Yankee fan attorney regarding a child support dispute – the mom wants a cost of living increase because Bedard’s salary has gone up since their original agreement. Anyway, the Yankee fan, Tom Cabral, posted about it on Facebook and Yahoo.com didn’t have any problem taking screen grabs of what he wrote – or, what anyone of his Facebook friends wrote. They didn’t even bother to obscure his friends’ names. You can view the torrid tale here. Other stupid crap that’s currently posted on the MLB page at Yahoo includes a video discussion regarding whether or not Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time. Was that ever a question, even before he broke the record? And if no Mo, then who? Trevor Hoffman? Don’t make me laugh.

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