Category: Dailies

2011 Yankee Season Musings. Pitching

 OK….I know it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged and my loyal readership is probably disappointed in me because of that. But being that the vast majority of that loyal readership exists mostly in my own head, I don’t think that not writing about the Yankees for months is that big of a deal.


So Cliff Lee didn’t sign with the Yankees. You know what?….Fine.

He’s a great pitcher and he could’ve helped. But the fact is that he just didn’t want to be a Yankee. And if that’s his attitude, I would rather he not be in pinstripes. Plus, he had expressed that he didn’t want to be traded from the Phillies in the first place. So he’s right where he wants to be.


So CC Sabathia will be the opening day starter. And it’s already been announced that AJ Burnett will be the number two starter.


Is anyone really surprised by this?


The Yankees didn’t pay AJ to be a long reliever. So the question has never been whether or not he would start. But rather whether or not he would rebound from last year’s failure.


He’s had a decent spring….He got hit pretty hard in his last outing.


There is no doubt that he can be an asset to the Yankees. It’s not his pitching ability as much as it is what’s going on between his ears that will determine his success or failure.


Of one thing I’m sure….If AJ fails, it won’t be for lack of trying….And that in and of itself is enough for me to root for him.



I think Phil Hughes will be in the rotation….And I think he should be.

Yes, he struggled down the stretch last year.

 But I still think he’s got the physical tools and the mental make up to help the Yankees win.


I am intrigued at the thought of Ivan Nova getting a shot to start. When he pitched last year there were times that he just looked unhittable. The problem that I remember is that he was less impressive once he got through the batting order the first time. Then, it seemed he was exposed. I don’t know if it was because the hitters were able to anticipate his pitch selection or because he ran out of steam.

But both issues could have/should have been addressed in the offseason….And judging from his last outing, it looks like they have been.


So that leaves Sergio Mitre, Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon to contend along with Nova for rotation spots.


The most impressive thing about Sergio Mitre is the fact that he has Pedro Martinez’s number (#45) As a pitcher he’s been very pedestrian. So I’m going to throw out that I wouldn’t mind seeing him off of the opening day MLB roster.


I’ve always liked Freddy Garcia…..But he’s gotten rocked in his last two spring training outings.


Right now it looks like Bartolo Colon is in the lead for a rotation spot.


I don’t know if I like that. He’s looked really good during the spring of 2011…..But Jeff Weaver looked really strong in the spring of 2003. By the time the Yankees were in the 03 World Series he was out of the rotation…Which didn’t keep him from giving up a walk off homerun to Alex Gonzalez in Game Four.


Colon can help. But pitchers with weight issues always seem to have problems staying healthy. Everyone remembers David Well’s perfect game in 1998.  But I also remember him having to leave Game Five of the 03 World Series because of back issues which were no doubt caused by that large fuel tank for a sex machine he had below his chest and above his waste.


I have a feeling that the rotation issues will be something Yankee fans will discuss until the trade deadline. And although Brian Cashman has made some boneheaded moves in the recent past (Javier Vazquez and Nick Johnson?…..Really?…..) He has pulled off some good mid season trades over the years as well. (Shawn Chacon, Bobby Abreu and Corey Lidle (RIP) )



As far as the bullpen is concerned, I am convinced that there is no way you can predict whether or not the ‘pen will be an asset or a detriment until the season is well underway.


 I like that the Yankees picked up Rafael Soriano. And of course having Mariano Rivera to close out games is comforting.


But the fact that Joba Chamberlain came to camp heavier than last year is cause for the same concern that I have about Colon.

But if Joba can recapture what caused all the hype about him before the whole ‘Joba in the rotation’ experiment BS, than hopefully the slimming effect caused by pinstripes will be proven again in 2011.


Boone Logan can be an asset. He expressed that his failure against the Rangers will motivate him to do better….I like that.


And I’ve always liked David Robertson. He’s got good stuff and velocity.


So can the Yankees compete without Cliff Lee?….Absolutely.



In coming days, I’ll throw in my two cents about the line up.


Take care


Go Yankees





Cliff Lee….Back and Forth

I keep going back and forth on Lee. I remember how unhittable he was in the 2009 World Series and the 2010 ALCS.

Yesterday out of curiousity I looked up his stats over the last three years. Here they are:

2008-His CY Young Season in Cleveland: 22 wins and 3 losses with an ERA of 2.54.

2009-A combined record between Cleveland and Philly 14 and 13 with a combined ERA of 3.27.
(Cleveland 7 wins and 9 losses with and ERA of 3.14 and Philly 7 wins and 4 losses with an ERA of 3.39)

2010 -A combined record of 12 wins and 9 losses with an ERA of 3.18 between Seattle and Texas. (Seattle 8 wins and 3 losses with an ERA of 2.34 and Texas 4 wins and 6 losses with and ERA of 3.98)

There are other issues. While in Seattle, he started last year on the DL due to abdominal issues. And in Texas he had to skip at least one start due to back issue.

Now there are posters on this board who just flip out when I point this out about Lee. And interestingly enough, those same posters thought that giving Jeter a six year deal at twenty million or more a year was insanity.

But those issues notwithstanding, I still want the Yankees to sign Lee. I understand why the Yankees had to go to a seventh year and that they are prepared to deal with him being overpaid and pitching badly towards the end of the contract.

Do I hope they do the deal?… Yes. But do I fear that this could lead the Yankees to a very bad place in seven years?….Yes.

Then again, he may not even sign with the Yankees.

The baseball offseason…..Gotta love it.

To those of us who have disparaged Jeter

First of all, to anyone who may have missed me….I know it’s been a long time. Trying to blog regularly has really increased my respect for people like Jerome Preisler who write for a living. It takes alot of energy to try to wite something that sounds interesting.

I will try to give you all something to read on a more regular basis….Provided you all actually exist.

Anyway, here’s my two cents on the Jeter saga.


While I’m a little dissappointed in Jeter, I’ve also tried to look at this thing from his perspective.

He’s been a Yankee his entire career. He was friends with Alex Rodriguez until Alex disparaged him in an article.
Then out of the blue, A Rod is traded to the Yankees…..Where he promptly establishes himself as the guy who slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s hand and tried to sell it as a legit baseball play in game seven of the 04 collapse. In the playoff runs after that, he was the guy who disappeared in the playoffs year after year.

Once after being dropped to 8th in the order against Detroit in the ALDS, he made headlines the night after the game by going to a club in NYC and telling the dj to ‘pump up the hip hop’.

He then got tagged as ‘Stray Rod’ after cheating on his wife and the mother of his children.

Then he opted out of his contract in a way that made him, the Yankees and the game of baseball in general look bad during the World Series.

Then after making arguments to the contrary blasing A Rod for opting out and actually praising Jeter for wanting to be a Yankee, Hank Steinbrenner and the rest Yankees brass caved in and signed A Rod to a ten year deal that will pay him at least 20 million dollars a year until his 42 years old.

THEN A Rod got implicated in the steroid mess.

All the while Jeter has been Jeter. He has never been implicated in a scandal involving infidelity because he’s smart enough to not get married. His name has never come up with steroids and he has always handled himself in a way that has been beyond reproach.

My point: Jeter seeing A Rod getting paid after causing the Yankee organization embarrassment and BEFORE he found his post season form in 2009 had to be a little discouraging…..Derek Jeter is human, after all.

And to compare him and his contract situation with that of Mariano Rivera is unfair. While those two wear the same uniform they are different people with different temperments.

It’s really easy to disperage Derek Jeter for wanting to get paid as much as possible. But I can’t say that I wouldn’t do the same if I were in his position….And neither can you.

Getting old, getting hurt and putting last nights loss in it’s proper perspective.

So after getting their picture on the cover of SI, two of the four players seen as the core of the Yankees go down with injuries.  Guys, it’s called getting old. Yankee fans don’t beleive in curses….If that’s what you want, go buy your Red Sox Nation membership card.


OK….I get that Nick Johnson has a big OBP, but he’s a designated hitter and he’s on the DL with a sore wrist……The same injury that hampered him during his first stint through pinstripes. I’m glad that Cashman didn’t move when Boras, the baseball anti-christ, said jump. But I sure would like to see Damon as the DH.


Looks like AJ hasn’t shaken whatever it is that prevents him from pitching well at Fenway…..That only reared it’s ugly head after he signed with the Yankees…

But lest not forget that the Yankees did take the series. But you would think after talking to some Yankee fans that the world was coming to an end…..And I’ve got to be honest….I am kind of glad to see it.

After reading posts on the Yankees message board as to how the Red Sox’s season is already over and seeing facebook messages about how fun it was going to be to watch the Yankeees sweep the Red Sox, I have to say that the pinstriped fan base was due for a small slice of humble pie.

Does nobody remember last year when the Red Sox owned the Yankees for the first half of the season?  I sure do.

There is no way to predict how the season is going to end up. And all of the baseball big brains who have been pronouncing the Red Sox dead (many of whom write for Boston papers, no less) seem to be forgetting just how long the regular season is. Too much can happen between now and September to be taunting fans of any other baseball team.

I’m an agnostic and as I said earlier, I don’t beleive in curses. But I do think that there is an unseen force that really doesn’t like it when fans start planning World Series watching parties (Yankees 2004)  or city mayors released Championship Parade Routes (Dallas Mavericks 2006) and reacts in a subtle yet profound manner when they do.

We are not even a third of the way through a season yet, fellow Yankee fans. We have no reason to be cocky…..About anything.





We Are Not Entitled

After a wonderful season and an offseason that has left Yankee fans with more than a few questions, another spring training is upon us.

I saw a report on ESPN yesterday talking about Roy Halladay’s spring training debut against the Yankees. Alot seemed to be made of the fact that Roy had some k’s and CC had some walks.

I see Nick Johnson will have to sit until monday with a stiff lower back…I fear we may have to get used to that story.

One thing that has crossed my mind since last season’s triumph….Many Yankee fans are again starting to assume that a World Series parade down the Avenue of the Americas is our right.

Hate to break it to all of my fellow members of the Pinstriped Faithful, but it’s not. It doesn’t matter what kind of money the Yankees have spent, there is no guarantee that we will be jumping up and down come next fall classic.

Nick Johnson is great….if he can stay healthy.  The pitching staff is great….Probably the best the Yankees have had in a long time….But that doesn’t mean they are without weaknesses…AJ Burnett is prone to one disastrious inning in every start….Joba and Hughes didn’t look great today.

So, enjoy the fact that baseball is under way again. I know I am…But it would be nice if we could keep the predictions of another year of Yankee glory to a minimum.

Because I just can’t stop ranting about the Steroid Era

Bud Selig is a textbook example as to why the head of any sport should never just ‘go with the flow’.
He just kind of sat on his hands while McGwire and Sosa cheated their way to the history books while they were chasing Maris.
It was after the strike and he was too gutless to really do anything about PED’s because the homerun chase was putting butts in seats.
HeII, if you read the article quoted, he and the other big wigs in MLB were made aware of the prescence of steroids in baseball back in the early nineties and just sort of threw up their hands and did nothing just because they had no testing in place.
It would’ve been nice if he or someone else would’ve grown a pair and actually done something back when it could’ve made a difference. But nobody did, and now he’s concerned about his legacy.
His legacy is this: He will be known as the commissioner who allowed the game to be poisened by PED’s and then tried to cover his behind by taking measures that were purely cosmetic. (Having a report done by someone tied to a major league team and testing that allowed players to be warned in advance and trying to make it seem like Jose Conseco was the lone steroid user.)

He’s a gutless individual who can only make the game better by resigning.

Great Article in today’s New York Daily News about McGwire


Check it out. It tells the story of the FBI informant involved in operation Equine back in the early nineties.

The last part of it is was drives me the craziest:


“Operation Equine was led by FBI agents Greg Stejskal and Bill Randall, both now retired. After Operation Equine ended, Stejskal tried to alert Major League Baseball to their discoveries, but was met with stony, institutional silence.

They had lots of informants in gyms across the country. One dealer caught up in the investigation was Curt Wenzlaff, who knew major league ballplayers.

“If we had pursued any of the players like we did the dealers, yeah we would have easily put together cases,” Stejskal told the Daily News this week. “All we would have done is wired up Wenzlaff, or we would have sent Bill (Randall) in with Wenzlaff and said, ‘This is my buddy. He’s one of my suppliers.'”

Stejskal said their investigative resources were slim, and the prosecutors were telling them to move up the ladder. Going after players “didn’t fit the philosophy of the case,” he said. But he regrets MLB never followed up.

“It was late in the game, but we still probably could have done something,” Stejskal said. “But I suspect they really didn’t want to know. That’s sort of the feeling I got. The feeling I got was, ‘We can’t test and we really don’t want to know.’ ” “


So according to this, MLB was told about the problem way back when, but they didn’t want to know.
That makes the grandstanding by McGwire, Selig, LaRussa and everyone else all the more nausaiting.