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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Sloppy Cardinals Force Game 7

The New York Times’ Tyler Kepner called game 6 of his year’s World Series “a sublime game 6 that will rank among the greatest in World Series history.”

Really?  That sloppy, error filled mess was one of the great games in world series history?  Not only can I think of better world series games, I can think of a better game 6 – see the 2001 world series.

But whatever – I’m glad the Cardinals won, because who wants to root for Texas?

I picked the Cardinals to win it all and I’m sticking with that.

Babe Ruth for Values.com

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I don’t know anything about values.com and I have no idea how Babe Ruth would have felt about this ad, but using dead people in advertisements rubs me the wrong way.  The man is dead – I say let him rest.  Sure, this isn’t a John Wayne styled promotion by any stretch of the imagination, but if it was me, I wouldn’t go there.

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Bills Mistakes + Giants Achievements = W for New York

I’m a huge fan of Corey Webster – not only is he an outstanding play maker (2 interceptions this week!), he’s also keenly aware of reality:

“We still have a long ways to go, but it is easily corrected off of a ‘W’ instead of a ‘L.’ We made some mistakes, but we get to correct them. We have two weeks to do that so hopefully we get started moving in the right direction now.”

This is the sort of comment he makes after a win – no wonder I admire his play so much. Webster must know that yesterday’s win was achieved not only due to some good play by the Giants, of course, but also some tremendous mistakes by the Buffalo Bills. Both teams committed 3 penalties, but the Bills pass interference and face mask penalties in the fourth quarter were back breakers for them and W makers for the Giants. If the Bills don’t commit those blatant fourth quarter penalties, we could be looking at a different outcome, and I think Corey Webster understands that.

Eli Manning had a stellar game – 21 of 32 for 292 yards and no interceptions! Coupling this with Ahmad Bradshaw’s 104 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns and that’s good offensive production. The defense also had a great second half by allowing the Bills to score only once.Still, the New York Giants problems are there for all to see. I don’t expect Bradshaw to rush for 100 yards every week and although it seems that Victor Cruz is quickly becoming a fan favorite, I don’t see him being the answer at wide receive any more than I do Hakeem Nicks or Mario Manningham. I have always believed that to win a Super Bowl, a team has to have an elite receive, and I just don’t see that guy on the Giants roster at this time.

Enjoy the bye week!

CJ Wilson: Yea or Nay?

If you’re like me, you’re already looking past the end of this Yankee-less post season and on to free agency and trades, when the Yankees can hopefully find ways to upgrade their starting rotation. The most obvious candidate is free agent lefty C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers.

CJ Wilson is a tough one – despite being nearly 31, he’s only been a starting pitcher for 2 years It should be pointed out that he’s pitched well as a start in home ballpark that is hard to pitch in – the numbers speak for themselves:

2010: 204 IP, 3.35 ERA, 161 hits, 170 Ks, 93 BB, 10 HR
2011: 223.1 IP, 2.94 ERA, 191 hits, 206 Ks, 74 BB, 16 HR

Those are pretty good numbers. He got his ERA and walk rate down and strike out rate up, but the hits per nine and homers per nine also went up. You could also argue that since he has not started much in his career, he has a lot left in the tank, but who really knows what that could mean for his longevity. He’s also left handed, and that usually works well in Yankee Stadium – or at least it did in the Old House, but the dimensions are comparable, so it’s safe to assume he’d be able to pitch to the big part of the park, Andy Pettitte style.

Should the Yankees pursue Wilson aggressively? It’s a tough call. Does Wilson even want to come to The Bronx? I have no idea – I’ve also read that he wants one of those $100 million dollar deals, and as desperate as the Yankees are for starting pitchers, I’m not sure this is the sort of financial commitment they want to make right now. Then again, I could easily argue that the Yankees don’t really have much of an alternative – assuming the Yankees can resign CC Sabathia after he inevitably opts out, that’s really only one proven starter in your rotation. Sure, AJ Burnett is still under contract, but the only good thing I can say about AJ these days is that he takes the ball every time it’s his turn. As good as Ivan Nova was last year, he’s still just a kid, and we can’t really trust him. And Phil Hughes is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get! (I’m wincing at that last line, too.)

This is a case where you have to put contracts and money aside and just decide if you think: A. Wilson is a real number two starter; B. Can handle pitching in New York; C. Two years of work as a starter is enough to make that determination.

After watching the way Brian Cashman has conducted business since he got full autonomy of the team, I think he will make Wilson an offer, but it won’t be good enough to land him. I don’t think the Yankees front office wants to turn around in five years to see another wounded 36 year old stinking up the joint. As for me, I’m willing to wait and see how the prospects develop – I just don’t believe that Wilson is the answer for the Yankees.

CC Sabathia’s Post Season Numbers

I know the thing to do in regard to post season numbers is to pick on A-Rod until there’s nothing left, so I thought I’d take a look at C.C. Sabathia‘s numbers instead.  Guess what?  Outside of 2009, they ain’t so good.

Why is this a problem?  It’s not, really – but it is the exact same argument everyone makes when they take A-Rod out back behind the shed and shoot him.

old-yeller

It was all fun and games until A-Rod didn't hit a home run in the ALDS...

Year Tm Series Opp ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2001 CLE ALDS SEA 3 1 1 6 6 2 2 0 5 1 5 0 0 0 28 1.833 9 0 7.5 7.5 1
2007 CLE ALDS NYY 5.40 1 1 5 4 3 3 2 6 1 5 0 0 0 24 2 7.2 3.6 10.8 9 0.83
2007 CLE ALCS BOS 10.45 2 2 10 17 12 12 1 7 1 9 3 0 1 53 2.323 15 0.9 6.1 7.8 1.29
2008 MIL NLDS PHI 12.27 1 1 3.2 6 5 5 1 4 1 5 0 0 0 21 2.727 15 2.5 9.8 12.3 1.25
2009 NYY ALDS MIN 1.35 1 1 6.2 8 2 1 0 0 0 8 1 0 1 28 1.2 11 0 0 10.8
2009 NYY ALCS LAA 1.13 2 2 16 9 2 2 1 3 0 12 0 0 0 59 0.75 5.1 0.6 1.7 6.8 4
2009 NYY WS PHI 3.29 2 2 13 11 5 5 3 6 2 12 0 0 0 57 1.244 7.2 2 4 7.9 2
2010 NYY ALDS MIN 4.50 1 1 6 5 4 3 1 3 0 5 1 0 0 27 1.333 7.5 1.5 4.5 7.5 1.67
2010 NYY ALCS TEX 6.30 2 2 10 17 7 7 2 4 0 10 0 1 1 48 2.1 15 1.8 3.6 9 2.5
2011 NYY ALDS DET 6.23 3 2 8.2 10 6 6 1 8 2 11 0 0 1 41 2.077 10 1 8.3 11.4 1.38
6 Seasons (10 Series) 4.81 16 15 86 93 48 46 12 46 8 82 5 1 4 386 1.616 9.7 1.3 4.8 8.6 1.78
5 ALDS 4.18 7 6 32 33 17 15 4 22 4 34 2 0 2 148 1.701 9.2 1.1 6.1 9.5 1.55
1 NLDS 12.27 1 1 3.2 6 5 5 1 4 1 5 0 0 0 21 2.727 15 2.5 9.8 12.3 1.25
3 ALCS 5.20 6 6 36 43 21 21 4 14 1 31 3 1 2 160 1.569 11 1 3.5 7.7 2.21
1 WS 3.29 2 2 13 11 5 5 3 6 2 12 0 0 0 57 1.244 7.2 2 4 7.9 2

See?  2009 is sparkling, but the other years… CC is not really getting it done.  I guess way back in 2001 was a fine start, but recently, outside of 2009, the guy hasn’t done much of anything.  How many more years of this are going to be acceptable until the A-Rod haters turn on CC?  Maybe none – after all, Sabathia is the guy who gets the Yankees there during the regular season – but you have to admit, 2010 and 2011 have been a bust.

Even After Horrible Loss, NY Giants Season Still Alive

The good teams are supposed to beat up on the bad teams – but the 2011 New York Giants can’t even do that.

The Seattle Seahawks stink even worse than the Giants (supposedly), but the G-Men played like crap all game long, so they get saddled with another soul crushing loss at home.  Against the Seahawks.  I cannot emphasis enough that they lost to the Seahawks.  With their backup quarterback at the helm for a good potion of the game.

I doubt the casual NFL fan knows who Seahawk starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, and as hard as it is to believe that there are starting quarterbacks in the NFL you never heard of, then  Charlie Whitehurst came into the game and passed all of the Giants asses!  It’s ridiculous.  I’d like to point fingers, make recommendations and just kick ass in general, but it’s not going to happen – the Giants mediocre roster just doesn’t inspire the words.

Wait, just one:  who on earth was Eli Manning throwing to at the end of the fourth quarter when the tip off of Victor Cruz (love those indirect interceptions!) was intercepted and run back for a touchdown?  They literally had four defenders on Cruz, so naturally, Eli throws to Cruz.

eagles-at-giants

It's like a mugging scene in an 80s crime drama.

As insane as the following fact is, I still have to say it:  the Giants are still in contention to win the division and make the playoffs.  Yeah, I know it’s still early and the NFC East is a joke (although it’s awesome the the Eagles are 1-4 as I hate Michael Vick), but the Giants, who are an affront to my very eyes, are not finished yet.  In a way, it’s almost cruel – they’re good enough to hang around but not good enough to truly go anywhere.

Fickle Fan’s Yankee Player Shit List – OCT 7

yankee-stadium-facadeSometimes, players don’t perform to expectations – other times, they just suck in general. Either way, they’ll find a home (whether temporary or permanent) on the Fickle Fan’s Yankee Player Shit List.

LIST DATE: OCTOBER 7, 2011

PLAYER: Alex Rodriguez
TRANSGRESSION: An easy target – his sleepy bat and two of the most painful strike outs (one with the bases loaded, one to end the game) will probably keep him on the list all winter.

PLAYER:
C.C. Sabathia
TRANSGRESSION: He gave up a run in an elimination game and his 6.23 post season ERA – an easy addition to the list.

PLAYER: Ivan Nova
TRANSGRESSION: Back to back dingers in an elimination game will get you on the list.

PLAYER: Mark Teixeira
TRANSGRESSION: His batting average is an eyesore!  But hats off to the RBI walk.

PLAYER: Nick Swisher
TRANSGRESSION: His batting average is an eyesore and that strikeout with the bases loaded haunts my dreams!

Submit your suggestions for the Fickle Fan’s Yankee Player Shit List in the comments below.

ALDS Post Mortem: RISP Fail

Here’s some numbers for ya from last night’s ALDS game 5 between the Yankees and the Tigers:

Yankees Offense:
LOB: 20
Team LOB: 11
RBI: Cano (9), Teixeira (1)
2-out RBI: Cano; Teixeira
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Posada; Cano; Gardner 2; Swisher 2
Team RISP: 2-for-9

Pretty abysmal, right? I wonder why they couldn’t get the big hit last night – they certainly ran into some good pitching, that’s part of it, but maybe not the whole story. I really thought someone was going to come up with a single the second time the bases were loaded, but we all know now that Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher bot struck out – not to be confused with Russell Martin and Brett Gardner grounding out the first time the bases were juiced. Maybe I can find the answer if I drift through the local papers…

OK, this was a mistake. When I am going to learn to stop reading NYPost.com?

The richest team in baseball history, the most talented in the game, and you could almost hear the players’ knees knocking over the din of the crowd. Does that come from the manager? Girardi was forced to his bullpen early when Ivan Nova’s forearm started to bark, but it was his choice to use Phil Hughes for only four outs, his choice to use CC Sabathia, his choice to use seven pitchers.

Those relievers, save for Sabathia, were perfect. And you could argue Girardi was merely matching the urgency of the situation.

But you could also argue that anxiety and stress flow from the top down.

Here are the batting averages for the ALDS for the following players:

Alex Rodriguez:.111
Mark Teixeira:
.167
Nick Swisher: .211
Derek Jeter: .250

Obviously, batting average isn’t the best measure of offensive production (especially across such a small sample size), but since Mike Vaccaro went with batting average elsewhere in his article, I might as well, too. Obviously, the dominance of Justin Verlander and some of the other Tigers starters has a lot to say about this, but really, Mr. Vaccaro? You think these guys didn’t get the big hit last night because Joe Girardi was too anxious and his players fed off that same anxiety? Talk about having no respect for the guy throwing the ball… I’m not trying to let the Yankees’ bats off the hook, but that’s a pretty far leap from these guys just not getting it done to some psycho-semantic stress response that induced knee knocking tension. “Does that come from the manager?” Really? I have no idea where Mr. Vaccaro got that from. I guess that in the search for answers, some grasp at straws… or just make shit up.

I checked some other papers, but to no avail: Mike Lupica just complained that the Yankees are the most expensive team in baseball and have only won one ring over the last 10 years. This seems like a silly argument because most teams don’t even make the playoffs every year, which the Yankees have save one – never mind win the World Series. If 1-10 over the last decade isn’t enough for Mr. Lupica, how many World Series victories would be? Two? Three? Four? Five? Does he expect them to win the whole damn thing every single year because they have the highest payroll? Surely he knows that’s not how it works… Anyway, the NY Times just offered reporting as that’s what they’re best at.

What else can I say? It was a close game, the Yankees lost, and it was probably closer than it should have been considering the Yankees fashioned 7 innings out of their bullpen. Once Ivan Nova left the game, visions of the 2003 World Series and David Wells‘ balky back began to drift across my mind – not to mention the fact that teams hardly ever win games when their starter doesn’t give them at least 5 innings. I’m forced to go back to my musings from Spring Training – at that point, I thought the Yankees didn’t have the pitching to win a World Series, but when it came down to this game 5, they just couldn’t muster the offense.

In the end, I don’t feel to bad about this loss – the Yankees just couldn’t get the big hit and for whatever reason, I’m OK with that. At least they didn’t get shelled – that would have really bothered me.

In Praise of Curtis Granderson

Where would the Yankees be last night without the impeccable defense of Curtis Granderson? Or his bat? Hell, where would they have been all year?

You’ll note that this morning, a lot of folks are vindicating A.J. Burnett for his performance last night, and I’m not here to say he doesn’t deserve some acolades for how he pitched, but let’s be real – if Curtis Granderson doesn’t make that catch in the 1st inning, we’re looking at a very different game going forward form there. If that ball is dropped or worse, gets passed Granderson and rolls to the wall, we’re looking at a bases clearing double or triple AT BEST. Granderson’s catch saved an in the park grand slam at worst – can you imagine? Then he saved Rafael Soriano’s proverbial bacon with that full extension grab that sent him sliding across the outfield for several feet! Hitting the ground completely emptied the air out of Granderson’s lungs, but he still held onto the ball and somehow managed to raise his glove.

I was so happy when the Yankees acquired Granderson over the 2009-10 off season and although things didn’t go well from the get go, it’s fair to say that his 2011 performance has exceeded even my high expectations. Before yesterday’s game, I was encouraging people to pray for Burnett – maybe we should be praying to Granderson.

Have Faith in Burnett & Yankees

I think we’re all feeling the pressure here in Yankeeland – the season potentially comes down to this elimination game. And A.J. Burnett is starting. Why is it that people only ask themselves deep questions or turn to prayer in times like these?

But cheer up – it’s not so bad. It’s really pitching that has killed the Yankees in their two losses to the Tigers – giving up 5 runs is too many, while scoring 3 or 4 ought to be enough to win – the Yankees shouldn’t have to score 9 runs to win a playoff game. There are two good things about tonight’s elimination game: it’s all hands on deck, so all relievers are available and Burnett’s numbers earlier in games aren’t that bad.

Consider: in the first three innings of games, hitters are hitting Burnett around .200 and in the first five innings of games, hitters are hitting him around .215. According to River Ave Blues, the Burnett gets hit to the tune of a .900 OPS the third time hitters see him and a 918 OPS in the sixth inning. There’s no reason for hitters to see Burnett a third time or for him to appear in the 6th inning.

Now those numbers through the first three and fist five inning aren’t astounding, but they’re not terrible (like Burnett’s ERA) and tonight, the Yankees don’t need six or even five innings from A.J. – four should be plenty. If A.J. Burnett can give the Yankees 4 innings of 0, 1 or 2 run ball, they ought to be able to hand the game over to some combination of Phil Hughes, Corey Wade and (God help us) Boone Logan to get through sixth – and from there, the three headed monster takes over.

Keep in mind, this plan doesn’t take extra innings into account, so that’s a concern – but if the Yankee bats can do their part and scratch out 3 or 4 runs (they did against Justin Verlander’s triple digit fast balls with nothing from the middle of the line up), then this series should be headed back to the Bronx.

Nevertheless – feel free to stop off and pray at your local house of worship on the way home tonight!

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