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Who's in Charge?
2007-10-15 05:52
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

According to a report in the New York Post yesterday:

Hank and Hal Steinbrenner will share leadership of father George's beloved Bronx Bombers in an arrangement to be further ironed out at top-level meetings in Tampa this week.

"George has taken on a role like the chairman of a major corporation," said team president Randy Levine. "He's been saying for years he's wanted to get his sons involved in the family business. Both of them have stepped up and are taking on the day-to-day duties of what's required to run the Yankees."

"There's always been a succession - and that's myself and my brother," Hank told The Post in an exclusive interview.

He said he and Hal will have final say on baseball decisions as well as the running of the YES Network and the construction of the new Yankee Stadium.

"I'll pay more attention to the baseball part. The stadium, that's more Hal. But basically everything will be decided jointly."

"What's nice is the Boss is there - he's an office door away," said Levine.

The Yankee brass will arrive later today in Tampa for the organizational meetings that are due to begin tomorrow. First up: the fate of Joe Torre.

Elsewhere, BP's Joe Sheehan had a piece in the NY Times over the weekend. He sums up what we've been saying around these parts for years:

When looking at the big picture, though, the Yankees' recent futility does not stand out. What is notable and unusual is their four championships in five years. The correlation between regular-season quality and postseason success is weak, and the Yankees' achievements from 1996 to 2000 are a statistical anomaly.

Some Yankees fans say that the championship teams had certain qualities that subsequent teams have lacked. Those dominant Yankees teams featured power pitching, good defense and a great closer — factors that correlate well with postseason success, according to a study by Baseball Prospectus...

The important point is that the Yankees from 1996 through 2000, and not the more recent editions, are the odd case. It's not unusual for a good baseball team to lose frequently in the postseason, as the Athletics and the Atlanta Braves have shown.

Holding the current Yankees to the standards of a statistical anomaly, and looking for scapegoats when they show themselves to be as vulnerable to short-season baseball as any other team, is a mistake. The regular season, not the postseason, remains the best test of a team's quality.

Nice job, Joe.

Comments (219)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-10-15 06:33:19
1.   OldYanksFan
Well... the Yankees were is remission for a number of years, but you never know when the big 'G' will rear it's ugly head.

If George was looking for press, he got it.
I have to guess they had not thought much about Torre's replacement. It's Shock & Awe and what do we do now?

2007-10-15 06:34:02
2.   Chyll Will
Nice Job indeed, and I hope that those kind of thoughts and analyses are among the items considered during this powwow. Is this to say though that there is a larger element of luck involved than many people would be willing to admit involving playoff success? Players are not robots after all, so statistics can basically measure what they did and measure the probability of what they would do in a given situation.

I don't think George ever understood or cared to beyond what he likely wanted them to do. But if I argue on other fronts (birthright vs. self-made) then the board will spin wildly out of control and into the sun, so I'll just stop myself and deal with the amount of madness I can enjoy >;)

2007-10-15 07:01:22
3.   Sliced Bread
2 Players are not robots, but HAL 9000 is in charge.
2007-10-15 07:09:55
4.   mehmattski
NO NO NO! This team was doomed from the beginning! It lacked grit. Is there any doubt that with David Eckstein at third instead of Choke-Rod, with Darrin Erstad (the football player!) at first, and Scott Podsednik in right field, the Yankees would be sweeping their way into the world series right now?

What the Yankees need to do, in order to get better, is replace all the top OBP guys with top BFUG guys. Sure, they may not even get close to making the post-season... but once they're there? Ooo boy, once they're there!

2007-10-15 07:10:18
5.   dianagramr
re: Torre's possible successor ...

Has there been any consideration given to Chris Chambliss?

His name popped up all over the place in the 90s as a candidate for ML manager jobs.

Has his window of opportunity shut?

2007-10-15 07:37:03
6.   Jersey
4 Darin Erstad, the Football AND Hockey player, you mean.

Don't forget Juan Pierre, one of the few non-white members of the All-Scrappy McHustle club. He always tries REALLY HARD.

2007-10-15 07:40:19
7.   OldYanksFan
Whomever the Yankees pick to manage will come in with shit all over him. If George/the FO really wanted Torre out, George literally did this in the most destructive way. I don't know what he could have done to potentially hurt the team more.

It's possible that they could replace Torre and:
... the new manager has a smooth transition
... all players who are Torre loyalists re-sign
... all players have the same/better energy next next
... all the coaches come back
... nobody resents the new manager
... nobody feels the Yankee FO is fucked up

The Yankees are letting Torre go because they want the team to be/play better, right? Under the current circumstances, what are the chances of this happening? We are using words like 'salvage' and 'damage control'. We are talking about losing 2 or 3 (Andy, Mo, Po) lifetime core Yankees.
How did this happen?

This is a little like years ago when Steinbrenner's interference created no-win situations. Now, the issue of 'who's a better manager' is not really inplay. The issue is damage control. This was such an incredibly stupid move, and letting Joe twist in the wind isn't helping.

2007-10-15 07:47:11
8.   mehmattski
6 Ah, but aren't Reggie Willits and Eric Byrnes now ahead of Pierre at CF on the All-Grit depth chart?
2007-10-15 07:57:56
9.   Yankee Fan In Boston
4 6 8 please. i beg you. remember that erstad was a punter. this is crucial and entirely relevant to baseball. he wore one of those single bar helmets. while playing football. "american" football. they use their hands in that one.

grit. guts. ganador.

2007-10-15 08:23:32
10.   Count Zero
0 While it's certainly true that winning a WS shouldn't ever be expected, there's a little flaw in that reasoning.

Supposing that a playoff series (either 5 game or 7 game) is in fact, a crapshoot, then a team should have a 50/50 shot of winning. So basically, the chances of losing a 50/50 shot four times in a row are 6.25% correct?

So losing four playoff series in a row is not statistically likely even if it is a crap shoot. It's not horribly out of whack, but it certainly isn't to be expected. Winning a WS only requires that you win three crap shoots in a row (12.5%) so that is in fact more likely than losing four series in a row.

Not that I buy into this "crap-shoot" theory you understand -- I would agree with the thinking that holds power pitching, great defense and a good closer in high regard. So basically, the reason our four in a row streak isn't that improbable is because we're building the wrong team for the PS -- it's not because we've been "unlucky."

2007-10-15 08:31:18
11.   Schteeve
10 Interesting hypothesis. Our bats go to sleep at inconvenient times in the post season. What is it about the nature of our hitters that leads you to believe that they are the "wrong team for the PS?" Do they do something that works well in the regular season, but doesn't hold water in the post season? What is it? Why doesn't it translate into the postseason?
2007-10-15 08:34:39
12.   weeping for brunnhilde
10 Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads...
2007-10-15 08:39:43
13.   NJYankee41
11 About regular season vs. postseason success. I haven't looked into it too deeply, but my guess would be that their stats get a bit padded by beating the hell out of bad pitchers. They have always been relentless against bad pitchers, but good ones often seem to hold them down a bit. Of course there are exceptions, but looking at the big picture thats what it has seemed like.
2007-10-15 08:40:59
14.   Jersey
10 Even less statistically likely is winning eleven crapshoots in a row, but they did that (if only it had been twelve! Damn you DBacks!). Which I think is further evidence against the crapshoot argument.
2007-10-15 08:41:08
15.   51cq24
7 as long as torre still wants to manage the yankees, which he apparently does even though he said in like 1999 that he would retire after his then-current contract was up, how could they let him go in a way that isn't messy? i don't think this is nearly as big a deal as you seem to think. pettitte played 2 years for a different team, so why does everyone think he's so devoted to joe? posada and mo aren't gonna leave. and if a new manager actually is better than joe (and i'm sure most of us agree that that is very possible), it's entirely possible that the players will put this behind them and play as well as they can.

10 0 is it power pitching, or just consistently good pitching 1-4? i don't know if pettitte, cone, wells, and duque were really power pitchers in the late 90s. they all topped out around 92. and when did we ever have great defense? and we still have a great closer, i think it's that we need an all-around great bullpen. plus i think that more contact hitters is a plus against better pitching.

2007-10-15 08:42:59
16.   51cq24
15 sorry, 3 years for a different team, and it seemed even longer
2007-10-15 08:51:10
17.   NJYankee41
15 Those Yankee teams were consistently top 5 in the league in SO. While non of them were Johanesqe. Cone is the franchise leader in k/9 and guys like Clemens, Hernandez and Pettitte were very capable of getting a SO here and there. Throw in Nelson, Stanton and MO and you have guys in the pen who get strikeouts too. I'm sure its not the only reason, but I think there is something there.
2007-10-15 08:52:56
18.   monkeypants
15

Yes, and thank you. I think all of this loyalty stuff is getting pretty overblown. Loyalty doesn't seem to prevent them from opting out or leveraging free agency or actually leaving the team. I'm not saying that's bad--more power to the players to get what they can. But when it comes down to it, these players will likely stay for the green, so long as the Yankees offer the right price. And you are entirely correct about there being no un-messy way out. If they fire him right off the bat, they look bad. if they wait to discuss the manager's position at their meetings (a sensible thing), they look bad for letting Torre "twist in the wind"--as if he is really suffering from the extra week or so before he knows if he will be making millions for the Yankees or another club.

Frankly, if some of these players are so devoted to Torre personally, I wonder if the best thing isn't to get of him anyway. I mean, what if decides to go all Connie Mack and keep managing until he's a million years old and clearly insane? Will the team be forced to keep him lest an aging Mo Rivera--or David Ortiz????--make public statements in his support?

As for your second part--I also agree, power pitching is not really the issue. However, the staff in those yearas did generate a lot of Ks with very few BBS, which went a long way in hiding any defensive shortcomings.

2007-10-15 08:55:53
19.   Cliff Corcoran
Speaking of pitching and the Steinbrenners junior, Hank has said that he will insist that Joba moves into the starting rotation next year. I don't like the invasive manner, but I do like the decision.
2007-10-15 09:01:47
20.   Sliced Bread
19 We like it now, but how about in August when Hank is demanding that Joba keep getting starts when he's already thrown 180 innings?
2007-10-15 09:02:46
21.   Schteeve
19 My reaction exactly when I read that yesterday.
2007-10-15 09:08:21
22.   Sarasota
pitching, pitching, and more pitching is the answer. The Yanks front office has been manhandled by the Red Sox management team. First they didn't get Beckett from the fire sale Marlins......... they got Pavano instead (bust of the decade!!!), and then they lost out on Dice K. We signed Rocket and extended Mussina who is clearly past his prime. Firing Torre is not the answer to our problems. Getting a #1 starter is. We are desperate for high caliber starting pitching that can be held accountable. You can't pin your hopes on #3 rotation type starters. The past season remains a dissapointment because of poor pitching performances.
2007-10-15 09:09:49
23.   monkeypants
20 I'm not sure one follows from the other. Hank's statement may reflect an organizational philosophy, with which Cashman is probably in full agreement: these guys should be starters. If so, it is just as likely that he understands the organizational philosophy to protect the young arms by adding limited innings per year.

I'm not sure that "we want him to start" must necessarily imply "we want him to pitch 300 innings," and it's more welcome than "we need a closer because the end of the game is more important than the beginning."

2007-10-15 09:11:46
24.   monkeypants
22 It was clever of the Red Sox actually to want to sign Pavano firt but get outbid by the Yankees, then fall into Beckett as their "seconf choice" (wink-wink), and equally clever of them to pay 100 million dollars for a glorified #3 starter. Now, all you have to do is show me how the FO got manhandled by losing out on Gagné.
2007-10-15 09:12:54
25.   monkeypants
22 Oh yeah, and the FO gets no credit for signing Pettitte. Compare Pettitte's and Dice-K's season stats, sit quietly and reflect on them, then come back and discuss.
2007-10-15 09:19:39
26.   ms october
13 I agree. Does anyone have access to some stats that we could see what the BA or runs scored or something against pitchers with a "good era" (whatever you consider a good era)?
I also think we have too many hitters that are extremely streaky (ex. Matsui, ARod) that effects PS performance.
17 18 Also agreed. While those Yanks teams did not necessarily have pure power pitchers they had guys that could shut you down in some form. Not being able to bear down and get 3rd outs and giving up so many hits/runs when they the Yanks had 2 outs against Cleveland IMO speaks to too many pitchers on the staff that can't put you away.
19 et al. While I too am happy that Joba will be starting, why is Hank involved in BB decisions - and what does he know about BB? Why are some of the papers so hard on the son-in-law Lopez's BB knowledge (it can fit in a thimble) but are not pointing out what H&H don't know about BB - they seemingly have barely been interested in the Yanks all these years?
2007-10-15 09:26:27
27.   Sliced Bread
23 Hank is already demonstrating the touch of a bull in a china shop.
Here's hoping he doesn't take a "I broke it, you pay for it" approach to the young pitchers.
2007-10-15 09:28:21
28.   monkeypants
26 How do we know what the Steinbrenner boys do or don't know about baseball? And what does his statement about Joba prove about his direct influence on baseball decisions? Again, his answer may simply reflect organizational philosophy, which I would expect the owner to take part in, at least to a degree.
2007-10-15 09:31:37
29.   Sarasota
24 so they made a mistake on Gagne. We posted and "won" Kei. Absolute scandal.......$100million for a #2/3 or $46 for a minor leaguer w/ no future value to Yanks??? As much as I dislike the Sox FO they made better choices. Beckett has payed off big time. Finally, they are still playing while we rotate on the coming and going of Torre.
2007-10-15 09:31:53
30.   ms october
28 We don't - that's my point. I don't think it is the content that has some people concerned as much as how involved he will be in the baseball decisions. If he does not in fact know much about BB, then it is certainly best he leaves those decision to BB people.
2007-10-15 09:34:00
31.   monkeypants
29 Touché. They screwed up Gagnee, overpaid for Dice-K, and lucked out of Pavano, and didn't sign Pettitte. But they are still playing, so they made the better decisions. No defeating that line of argument.
2007-10-15 09:37:32
32.   monkeypants
30 My point is that there seems to be overreaction, IMHO, to what he said. He's the owner (basically), he should have final say on any deals. What he said did not strike me as particularly intrusive or particularly problematic--indeed, the fact that he seems to be insisting on the correct course of action (again, IMO) strikes me as encouraging. So rather than wring our collective hands, let's worry about more importnat things, like how the Red Sox FO keeps manhandling the YAnkees by making so many great signings for pitchers( 29 et al : ) )
2007-10-15 09:37:50
33.   Sarasota
29 yes and what still concerns me is who/what will this "crack' committee come up with??..if in fact Gene Michael has influence I hope he can exercise it because the Steinbrenners (the sons because george apparently is lost in the weeds) and Cashman have a lot to answer for.
2007-10-15 09:43:47
34.   JL25and3
29 , 31 Let's not forget the inspired signings of Julio Lugo and J.D. Drew.

They're still playing, but that doesn't necessarily mean that their decisions were right.

2007-10-15 09:45:26
35.   ms october
32 There probably is overaction because of George's history. And because the decision on whether Joba is in the rotation or in the pen is almost a pure BB decision (in comparsion to the decision on the manager which encompasses more than just BB). But if we are to move on to the Red Sox FO, maybe we can pick up Manny as a DH the next time they put him on waivers :)
2007-10-15 09:48:09
36.   Adrian
Oh my god, I can't even begin to talk about why the "4 postseason washouts in a row -- what are the odds? Torre must go!" argument is wrong. Each series is an independent event. The number of series that you have won/lost in the past has no bearing on the likelihood of winning the next one. You can't say anything meaningful about the Yankees postseason record because the law of large numbers doesn't apply.

Now, you can make a better argument for the regular season with its much larger number of games. Because N (number of games) is larger, freak events (like, say, a swarm of midges) have less effect on the overall outcome. And, looking at the past decade of regular seasons, it sure looks like the Yankees have been doing well.

Now, that is all predicated on your belief that there is a set probability that the Yankees win a game, which there isn't. So it's all a big pile of bullshot.

I think that it's far more likely that everybody's rabid fixation on the Yankees winning the WS puts a lot of pressure on the team that doesn't exist during the regular season, and, feeling like they're up against the wall, they don't play the relaxed, superior baseball we've come to expect. We focus on their failures, instead of appreciating their successes.

2007-10-15 09:55:25
37.   Shaun P
22 29 I'm sorry, but you've got your story wrong. The Marlins sold off all their expensive players after the 2005 season. Pavano was a free agent the year before. There is absolutely no link between the two. (Matt Clement is who the Sox signed when they lost out on Pavano. He was almost as a big a bust as CP.)

And who would the Yanks have traded to get Josh Beckett? The Yanks at the time had exactly two young chips of real value: Cano and Wang. The Sox had the goods to give up, and the Yanks did not.

I agree that poor pitching has plagued the Yanks, but the farm system is now bursting with quality, young pitching. How you can evaluate the Yanks' FO and not factor that in is beyond me.

2007-10-15 10:16:20
38.   NJYankee41
26 I don't feel like listing detailed stats, but I looked up many of the top pitchers in the league to see how they did against the Yanks. Here are some of the top pitchers who had an ERA under 3.00 against the Yanks; Halladay, Burnett, Bedard, Kazmir, Verlander, Santana, and Lackey. Those are pretty much the cream of the crop in the AL. The big names missing are Beckett, Escobar, Haren, Carmona and Blanton. Those guys, except Haren, did ok but not great.

I'm probably missing some guys, but from glancing at the numbers some of the top pitchers put up against the Yanks, I'm guessing there is some truth to them not hitting great pitching very well.

2007-10-15 10:18:35
39.   51cq24
36 so it is just probability, or it's pressure/expectations? wasn't there pressure on a 114-win team to win the world series? on the team that followed it? on the next one (facing the cross-town rivals)?

it's either just probability or not. and if the problem is that there's too much pressure for the players and manager to handle, then those players and manager should be replaced.

2007-10-15 10:18:39
40.   mehmattski
26 Ah, you speak of consistency- the hobgoblin of straw-grasping when it comes to baseball analysis. A hitter doesn't perform when you want them to, so he's inconsistent. A pitcher doesn't always pitch 1-2-3 innings, so he's inconsistent. When it comes down to it, these terms are so vague and so untestable that they usually fail to add anything meaningful to a discussion about baseball players. They are results-based thinking, similar to the Texas Hold 'Em player who says, "I never play pocket queens; they always lose!"

To illustrate the point, here are two pitchers. One is from the infallible 1998 team which must have gotten 2 outs all the time, otherwise they'd be inconsistent pitchers, right?

Pitcher A: Overall .274/.344/.395 against
With 2 outs: .267/.354/.402

Pitcher B: Overall .265/.324/.368 against
With 2 outs: .258/.324/.339

Pitcher A is 1998 Andy Pettitte, and Pitcher B is 2007 Chien-Ming Wang. I don't see anything intrinsically wrong with Wang's ability to get hitters out with two outs. If there is a way to quantify this "consistency" thing, I would love to see it, and if it at all correlates with other, more traditional metrics.

If, instead, you speak of "intangibles," which by definition cannot be measured, well then we're out of luck. Statistics are, and should be, the main method of comparing what players have done on the field when constructing a roster. If you want to throw certain players out because they don't fit the team's philosophy, then fine. But the kinds of results-based thinking suggested by classifying Matsui and A-Rod as "streaky" would be irresponsible if shared by the Yankees' front office.

2007-10-15 10:21:02
41.   JL25and3
36 Well put. Here's another way to look at it: since the start of the 2004 LCS (the first of the 4! consecutive series losses), the Yankees have played 506 games. In that string of 506 chances, there have been many, many instnces where they've lost 3 of 5, or 4 of 7.

The fallacy, as I see it, is in assuming that playoff games are somehow fundamentally different from other games.

2007-10-15 10:22:38
42.   JL25and3
38 No one hits great pitching very well. That's why it's great pitching.
2007-10-15 10:23:56
43.   yankz
38 "I'm guessing there is some truth to them not hitting great pitching very well. "

Who, exactly, does?

2007-10-15 10:24:13
44.   yankz
42 Aw darn it.
2007-10-15 10:32:08
45.   JL25and3
43 , 44 Jinx. Owe me a Coke.
2007-10-15 10:32:38
46.   yankz
45 You got it.
2007-10-15 10:34:40
47.   Count Zero
36 I don't believe I used the "4 postseason washouts in a row" as any sort of indicator that "Torre must go!" I don't believe I even mentioned his name? Let me go back and check...nope -- no occurrence of the string "t-o-r-r-e" anywhere in my post. :-P

I understand the probability math. If you believe the "crap shoot" theory (which again, I don't), then our chances in the next series we play are once again 50/50. I get it -- thank you Dr. Stats.

And the parallel to that is that each playoff series we played from 1998 - 2000 we had a 50/50 shot of winning. So I guess by your logic a run of three straight championships is not statistically improbable -- the odds are always 50/50 in every series, so...

Moving on...

My main point is that, like Sheehan, I believe that pitching which can produce Ks (i.e., limit balls in play), good defense behind that pitching, and a dominant closer (i.e., Mo 97-00) definitely increase the odds of advancing. Yet, every time we discuss someone like say...Giambi...we argue that his bat makes up for his poor defense. We argue that Jorge is the best hitting catcher in the AL, and so the fact that defensively he is below average is OK. And going forward we will argue that Jeter is the best hitting SS in MLB, so the fact that he is possibly the worst defensive SS in MLB is OK too.

If one really believes in Sheehan's theory, then we continually build the wrong team to win in the PS. We build a lineup around offense first, and defense second.

Honestly -- look at our defense this year. Other than Melky (who people always want out of the lineup because he doesn't hit) and Cano, is there anyone out there who is an above-average defender? Abreu RF, Damon LF - average. A-Rod 3B - average. Jeter SS, Posada C - below-average. Matsui in LF - below-average.

Next up -- pitching staff keeping balls out of play. Yankees = 12th in AL in K/9. In 2007 ALDS we start three guys who have a 5.49 K/9 while leaving Hughes and his 7.18 K/9 out of the rotation.

Finally -- dominant closer. Mo still qualifies...barely.

Thus, my point is, if you credit Sheehan's theory at all, we clearly fail on 2 out of the 3 qualifications. This team was not built to Sheehan's specs.

2007-10-15 10:44:44
48.   Sarasota
37 And there you have it....... they had "no chips" is as strong a condemnation of what was/may be still a hugely dysfunctional FO as can be made. Credit has to be given to the recent stockpiling, and refusal by Cashman to trade young arms for immediate mercenaries, but there is no doubt that the Red Sox (with warts of their own) have made better decisions. The Red Sox front line with an ageing Schilling and perhaps at this point a tired Wakefield are still playing. We are not. Go Indians!
2007-10-15 10:48:38
49.   mehmattski
Oh, and as for the Yankees not being able to hit "good pitching..." Take a look at the pitchers the Yankees defeated on the way to winning their four rings:

1996:
John Burkett (124 ERA+)
Ken Hill (139)
Darren Oliver (108)
Roger Pavlick (97)

Scott Erickson (98)
Mike Mussina (102)
David Wells (95)
Rocky Coppinger (95)

John Smoltz (149)
Greg Maddux (162)
Tom Glavine (147)
Denny Neagle (79)

It should be noted that in the 1996 World Series, the Yankees were completely shut down by the Braves' big three, and for Neagle for five innings in Game 5.

1998:
Todd Stottlemyer (112)
Rick Helling (110)
Aaron Sele (114)

Jaret Wright (102)
Chuck Nagy (92)
Bartolo Colon (129)
Chad Ogea (85)

Kevin Brown (160)
Andy Ashby (114)
Sterling Hitchcock (97)

Now, in 1999 the Yankees did have to take out the Red Sox through Pedro (and his historical 245 ERA+) and Saberhagen (179) and then swept the Braves' big three. In 2000, the only outstanding pitchers the Yankees faced was Barry Zito (179), tho Mike Hampton (136) and Al Leiter (139) were good.

Where am I going with this? Over the past three years the Yankees have faced:

Bartolo Colon (122), John Lackey (120), Paul Byrd (112)

Nate Robertson (118), Justin Verlander (125), Kenny Rogers (118), Jeremy Bonderman (111)

C.C. Sabathia (138), Fausto Carmona (145), Jake Westbrook (102), Paul Byrd (98).

It's pretty clear that, especially in the Division Series, the Yankees have faced much tougher pitching in the last three seasons than they did from 1996-2001. Beating the Texas Rangers so many times was easy not because the Yankees' hitters were better (they most certainly were not), but because the opposing pitchers were much worse.

2007-10-15 10:52:47
50.   51cq24
49 the numbers you cite don't seem to support your strong conclusion.

and they got lucky that pedro could only pitch (and dominate) once in that series.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-10-15 11:04:19
51.   mehmattski
For completeness sake, here's the Division Series I didn't mention:

1997 Cleveland Indians:
Orel Hershiser (105)
Jaret Wright (107)
Chuck Nagy (110)

1999 Texas Rangers:
Aaron Sele (105)
Rick Helling (104)
Estaban Loaiza (110)

2000 Oakland A's
Gil Heredia (115)
Kevin Appier (105)
Tim Hudson (114)
Barry Zito (179)

2001 Oakland A's
Mark Mulder (126)
Tim Hudson (129)
Barry Zito (125)
Cory Lidle (121)

2002 Anaheim Angels
Jarrod Washburn (138)
Kevin Appier (111)
Ramon Ortiz (113)

2003 Minnesota Twins
Johan Santana (151, but was worse as a starter than as a reliever that year)
Brad Radke (103)
Kyle Loshe (100)

2004 Minnesota Twins
Johan Santana (182- and 0 ER in 13 IP)
Brad Radke (136)
Carlos Silva (112)

With the exception of beating the 2001 A's, I think the trend still holds- more recently the Yankees have faced better pitching in the Division series.

2007-10-15 11:04:49
52.   monkeypants
48 Wow, that was a selective reading of post 37 .
2007-10-15 11:12:47
53.   mehmattski
50 The point was that in the World Series title years, the Yankees blew through some pretty awful pitching in the ALDS and ALCS, and were indeed shut down by excellent pitching, as expected. The pitching the Yankees faced in the 2005-2007 ALDS is significantly better than those faced in 1998, 1999, and 2000. The 1996 ALDS against the Rangers is comparable to this year's, but I doubt that John Burkett and Ken Hill struck as much fear into the opposition as do Sabathia and Carmona.
2007-10-15 11:21:19
54.   51cq24
53 ok it looks like the pitching of the last few years has been a little better, but certainly not "much tougher." i happen to agree that the hitting now isn't really the problem. so many of the games we won then were very close, low-scoring competitions. but i don't think you can explain it by the greatness of the recent opposition pitching. it's more about the failures of our own pitching.
2007-10-15 11:21:25
55.   Shaun P
47 What Sheehan is talking about is not a theory. Its a study from BP's "Baseball Between the Numbers" book. BP refers to it as the "Secret Sauce", and the ingredients are:

Translated (that is, adjusted for league, park, etc) K/9 rate for the everyone who threw a pitch for the team that year

Team Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA), a BP metric, for everyone who played in the field for the team that year

WXRL (another BP stat) for the reliever on the team with the most save opportunities

The Yanks ranked, respectively:

22nd in MLB in translated K/9 rate

5th in MLB in FRAA

And Mo was 11th among "closers" in WXRL

I'm not saying the study is perfect - IIRC, it predicted a Cubs-Red Sox World Serious for 2007. YMMV on FRAA as well (I'm not a huge fan). But I don't think you can fault the team's defense (the Yanks also did well in defensive efficiency), or Mo. Starting pitching, on the other hand . . . but the team's translated K/9 rate is about to skyrocket, thanks to the kids. So I'd say the Yanks are doing just fine.

2007-10-15 11:21:39
56.   Schteeve
Question for the Banter Brain Trust:

Are the Yankees paying for any players that are on other teams? The way the Rangers are paying for part of A-Rod?

2007-10-15 11:22:19
57.   NJYankee41
42 ,43 But the question that has to be asked is why are the great pitchers in the league posting a sub 3.00 ERA against the best offense in baseball? These pitchers don't put up these numbers against the league as a whole. I understand offenses are suppose to be held in check by the best pitching, but why are the Yankees significantly worse against the top tier pitching than the rest of the league?

Here are who I believe to be the very top tier in pitching in the AL. I excluded Boston pitchers because it is well known that the actually hit those guys very well.

Halladay MLB(3.71), NYY(2.38)
Burnett MLB(3.75), NYY(0.60)
Bedard MLB(3.16), NYY(2.25)
Kazmir MLB(3.48), NYY(2.66)
Verlander MLB(3.66), NYY(2.19)
Santana MLB(3.33), NYY(2.57)
Lackey MLB(3.01), NYY(2.35)

As I stated in my earlier comment 38 there are a few who they do hit pretty well. But it seems there really is a trend of underperforming against the best pitchers and that will kill a team in the postseason. Once again, I don't think that this is issue #1, but I do think there is some basis behind saying the Yanks don't hit good pitching because they hit a lot worse than an offense of their caliber should.

I welcome anyone to find better numbers because all I used was ERA. I'm sure someone can show a better sample in support or against my claims.

2007-10-15 11:25:50
58.   yankz
56 Carl Pavano only plays for a PlayStation 3 team.
2007-10-15 11:26:55
59.   yankz
57 Are those career stats vs. NYY or just this year? Because one or two starts mean nothing.
2007-10-15 11:27:42
60.   Shaun P
56 Cot's baseball contracts says:

# 2007 payroll obligations for former players:

* $ 4,000,000 (Jaret Wright)
* $ 3,000,000 (Javier Vazquez)
* $ 2,000,000 (Randy Johnson)

The Yanks owe no such money going forward.

2007-10-15 11:40:57
61.   NJYankee41
59 It's this year because we are talking about this team. Who cares what Roy Halladay did against them in 2000? He wasn't the same pitcher. I understand those are small sample sizes but those pitchers made up 18 of this year's starts against the Yankees. Small sample sizes can't always be dismissed. Especially when it has been apparent all year that they get shut down easily by good pitching. All I'm saying is there seems to be some evidence of what people have been saying all year.
2007-10-15 11:42:20
62.   Schteeve
60 Thanks Shaun!
2007-10-15 11:44:35
63.   Adrian
Count Zero,

1. I agree with the second part of your post wholeheartedly. If two teams play and one has good fielding and pitching and below average hitting, and the other has good hitting and below average fielding and pitching, I agree that the superior fielding/pitching combo has the advantage.

2. Looking at the free agent pool this year, do you really think the Yankees can become the pitching/fielding team you want them to be by next April? I don't. I'd like to see a team with solid defense and pitching, and a few stand out hitters (A-Rod) with good protection. Are we going to be that team anytime soon? No. I'm a big believer in phasing out the current strategy slowly and gracefully while cultivating talent from within. Nevertheless, Torre is the right manager for the team we have, and, were I H&H Steinbrenner, I'd keep him around and plan the major changes for next year.

3. My first diatribe wasn't directed at you, but your misapprehension of my argument was pretty epic. I explicitly say that there's no such thing as a probability that a given team wins a given game.

4. You're also misunderstanding the way the words "crap shoot" are being used around here. What people are getting at is that in a short series events beyond the control of the manager can have a huge impact on the game. All a manager can do in those situations is make the best decisions he can based on the information he has. In essence, the role of manager in a short series is similar to that of a gambler at a table in Vegas, except the odds are always changing and periodically random events throw off your entire calculation. I didn't see situations this postseason where Torre, knowing what he knew, made a clearly boneheaded move. He played the odds and lost, but at least he got to the big tables.

2007-10-15 11:58:16
64.   tommyl
I still think the main difference between the 2004-2007 team and the dynasty one was starting pitching. Steven Goldman had a nice little blurb about this, showing the team ERA+ and strikeouts and how it has steadily declined in the years since 2001. I suppose you could throw the pen in there, but if your starters are going deep into games the 4th and 5th guy out of the pen is less of a worry in the PS. As we all said before the DS, if Veras and Ohlendorf are in the game, it likely means we're in deep trouble already.

On a more anecdotal note, I found myself watching a bit of the '98 Serious Game 1 on YES this morning and was struck by the fact that Michael Kay at one point said that the Yankees to this point had not been hitting at all, with Jeter and Knoblauch being the main culprits. He basically said they had squeezed by on their pitching alone but had to start scoring runs.

Contrast that to our last few years, when we've had repeated poor starts from Wang, Moose and (especially) RJ. In a 5 game series, you can overcome a bad start, but anything like 2 or more and you are basically done. That's basically what happened in the Cleveland series. Yes, there was the midges game, but if Wang doesn't have two awful starts, we likely win at least one of those two and then we're talking about a game 5 and Pettite vs. Sabathia/Carmona. In contrast, Cleveland only had one bad start.

I wonder also if there's an argument to be made that good pitching is somewhat less streaky than good hitting. So in a short series you're more likely to find your amazing offense going 0 fer, than you are Clemens, Cone and Pettite giving up 5+ runs a game. Anyone know? or have thoughts?

2007-10-15 12:00:58
65.   monkeypants
63 "What people are getting at is that in a short series events beyond the control of the manager can have a huge impact on the game. All a manager can do in those situations is make the best decisions he can based on the information he has. In essence, the role of manager in a short series is similar to that of a gambler at a table in Vegas, except the odds are always changing and periodically random events throw off your entire calculation. I didn't see situations this postseason where Torre, knowing what he knew, made a clearly boneheaded move. He played the odds and lost, but at least he got to the big tables."

Ah, but in a short series, a couple of a manager's tactical decisions have a much greater chance of affecting the outcome of the series that it does in teh course of a long season.

I believe that the "crap shoot" arguement actually refers more to the greater probablility that a fluke (aberrant performance by individual player(s), lucky bounce, etc.) can influence the outcome of a short series in a way that they don't over the course of a full season. Thus, A-Rod's occasional 0-9 stretch in the long season is swallowed up by 162 games of excellence; in 5 games he may not have the chance to make up for a couple of bad games.

I'm not sure that the "crap shoot" notion translates as easily to teh managing side of the game, though sure--sometimes the 'right' managing move (going to Joba in game two against the Indians) could blow up in your face.

2007-10-15 12:02:33
66.   Schteeve
Ok here's another question:

It looks like Melky, Wang and Cano were all on one year contracts in 2007. How does that work? Does the team control their rights for next year?

2007-10-15 12:02:43
67.   51cq24
63 .3 huh? i thought you meant that there is no exact chance that the yankees will win any given game. that is, it's never 60% or 43% or 89%. are you now saying that probability has no role whatsoever in determining the outcome of a game?

.4 do you think that torre has done all the things that he COULD do to enable the yankees to win?

2007-10-15 12:04:48
68.   mehmattski
63 Re, #4, manager mistakes:

1) Throwing Ross Ohlendorf, inexperienced rookie, into the fifth inning of a 6-3 game and a runner on second base.
2) Waiting until the 11th inning to pinch hit for Doug Out in a tie game on the road.
3) Using Joba Chamberlain for two innings in game 3, after the game had entered blowout territory. I think even Kyle Farnsworth could get three outs before allowing four runs.

And, in fairness, things he did right:
1) Pinch hit for Doug Out in the sixth inning of game 4.
2) Pitched Mariano Rivera in a tie game on the road.
3) Went to Hughes early in game 3.
4) Took out Wang early in game 4.

So, the manager can have an effect on the performance of his team in a short series. You've got the definition of "crap shoot" wrong. It's the performance of the players on the field which is a crap shoot when you funnel a 162 game season in to a 5 game division series. Building a winning roster in the large sample of the regular season means devoting yourself to players who get on base and hit for power, and to pitchers who keep the HR and BB down and the Ks up. Every pitcher is going to have a crappy start, and every hitter is going to go through a slump. No baseball player can decide when to have those slumps. If they happen to occur during a 4 game series in May, no one cares- if they happen during the ALDS, everyone tears their hair out about it. That's why it's a "crap shoot."

2007-10-15 12:07:41
69.   tommyl
66 I think (but not sure) it means they are arbitration eligible after this year.
2007-10-15 12:07:43
70.   Schteeve
the use or non-use of Giambi and Betemit in the Cleveland series drove me batshit insane.
2007-10-15 12:07:48
71.   JL25and3
66 The team retains exclusive rights to a player for 6 years.
2007-10-15 12:08:11
72.   51cq24
68 i'm not sure i agree with (4) as a thing he did right. it may have been necessary, it may have seemed necessary. but i actually thought wang had a good chance of settling in and being at least as effective for the rest of the game as mussina would be. i have no idea if he actually could have been, but up until that point he had given up a long home run, a small bloop, a bunch of ground balls, and a foul ball/hit batsman. i think that one is very arguable.
2007-10-15 12:10:19
73.   tommyl
72 I was at that game. Wang had next to nothing. The groundballs he had given up (even the outs) were all hit very hard, he was all over the place in terms of command and was leaving a lot of balls up. When Joe lifted him, he had given up two runs and had the bases loaded with no outs in the second. It was the right move.
2007-10-15 12:11:49
74.   Schteeve
71 Thanks, do any of those three guys stand to make significantly more money in 2008 than they did in 2007?
2007-10-15 12:11:57
75.   JL25and3
68 I was fine with leaving Chamberlain in for a second inning. I thought it was most important to nail down that win right there, and no, I didn't trust the rest of the bullpen.
2007-10-15 12:12:09
76.   mehmattski
66 Players who have been on major league (40 man) rosters for three seasons but are ineligible for free agency (which requires six years), are eligible for salary arbitration.

Melky only has two years (plus a tiny bit from that awful 2005) of service time, so he'll probably get another year at league minimum. Cano and Wang most certainly will qualify for "Super Two" status, meaning that they had a significant amount of playing time even though they didn't start their first year with the team. This means they'll likely go to an arbiter and grab higher one-year contracts, probably in the $750K-$1 million range, unless they prefer to sign long-term deals.

Look to the recent contracts of Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for similar circumstances.

2007-10-15 12:12:39
77.   NJYankee41
64 I buy the starting pitcher trend. Jaret Wright starting a playoff game should say everything.

The other day I was thinking about how Ramiro Mendoza was an unsung hero of those teams. It was quite valuable having a guy that could fill every role imaginable. Start here, long relieve there, maybe set up Mo on occasion.

Your right in saying when Veres or Dorf are in the game it is probably beyond reach. I think then pen during "the run" was much more solid at the set up end with Nelson and Stanton. In the last few years, up until Joba, they haven't had a go to guy other than Mo. But if you need to depend on the pitchers who are last in the pecking order, you haven't done the job in other areas. Solid starters, Mo and a dependable guy or 2 should be enough.

I do think it is less likely for a good pitcher to bomb than for a good hitter to go 0-fer.

2007-10-15 12:13:43
78.   JL25and3
74 Wang and Cano, not Melky.
2007-10-15 12:14:26
79.   51cq24
73 you may be right. i don't think all the ground balls were hit hard, but a few of them were. still, i thought he might be able to settle down and pitch fine afterwards. and i've always found that it's easier to analyze pitching from the tv (depending on the quality of the broadcast) than from the stadium.
2007-10-15 12:15:57
80.   tommyl
77 I agree with most everything you say there except that Tom Gordon was one hell of a setup man. Had Joe not run him into the ground, we'd likely be talking about the 2004 WS team.

Of course, I also agree with 68 that Ohlendorf never should have been in game 1, but that speaks more to the manager than 'Dorf. At least we weren't watching Gagne out there ;).

2007-10-15 12:16:13
81.   JL25and3
76 "This means they'll likely go to an arbiter and grab higher one-year contracts, probably in the $750K-$1 million range, unless they prefer to sign long-term deals."

Seriously? I expect them to quite a bit more than that.

2007-10-15 12:18:39
82.   tommyl
79 I can buy the TV thing, but I've been to enough Wang games at this point to have a good feel for when he is pitching well but giving up seeing eye grounders and for when he is just getting hammered. Game 4 was the latter.

If Wang is getting hit hard, gives up a homerun and is walking people, that means he is no control and is up in the zone. That means disaster. In a regular season game, I could buy sticking with him and seeing what he gives you for 2 more innings, but not in a postseason elimination game. It could easily have been 6-0 after 2.

2007-10-15 12:20:26
83.   mehmattski
81 Hmm... Check out the contract Miggy Cabrera signed in 2006:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2351588

He got quite a bit more ($7.4 M for one year) for 2007.

Willis, on the other hand, meanwhile, did get $4.35 M in 2006, and a raise to $6.45 M in 2007.

2007-10-15 12:21:30
84.   Schteeve
76 78 81

Thanks guys, very helpful info.

2007-10-15 12:21:48
85.   NJYankee41
80 I agree that Gordon was great (in the regular season). The reason I didn't mention him is because I can't get over that puke bucket incident. He is just an awful postseason pitcher. His nerves must get the better of him.
2007-10-15 12:26:38
86.   tommyl
85 Eh, I chalk it up more to overuse, but tomato tomaato.
2007-10-15 12:32:02
87.   51cq24
85 86 gordon pitched 89.2 innings in the regular season of 2004. he then gave up 6 earned runs in the alcs, 4 less than mo has given up in the postseason for his career (mo pitched 78.2 innings in 2004 and gave up 1 run in that series, 4 in the LCS for his career).
2007-10-15 12:56:19
88.   Zack
Don't forget that in 2001, the Yankees set the record for worst offensive showing (well, at least BA) in the PS...

The yankees were aided A LOT by their starting pitching during the run, which is why they are in better shape, in theory, going forward with Joba/hughes et all...

And would be in even better shape with the man from the northlands :)

2007-10-15 12:59:40
89.   yankz
Better a crap shoot than a crap chute, I always say!
2007-10-15 13:00:23
90.   Adrian
Somebody's got to tell me how to do that comment referral link thingy. I'm new here, can you tell?

In answer to #65 -- all of those things, lucky bounce, uneven performance, etc, are out of the control of the manager. I agree with you. Heck, not only do I agree with you but that's the exact point I was trying to make. Torre wasn't a bonehead to put Wang in on short rest for G4. He had a reasonable expectation that Wang would pitch well at home on short rest, based on past performance.

Responding to #67 -- yeah, that's EXACTLY what I mean. A probability is something that can be quantified explicity, like the probability of drawing a spade from a 52 card deck.

There is no way to take the information you have about two teams before they play and say "Team A has a 62.141% of winning this game" nor can you say that an injury or an error reduces those chances by X%.

An expectation of victory or the status of being a favorite to win is something different and unquantifiable. We know, for example, that (Rally-Eater-)Jeter's bum leg and Matsui's trick knee made it harder for them to perform, but before they got in the box and took their chops we couldn't assign a number to that decline.

The major point here is that all baseball statistics are retrospective, and are good at identifying broad trends in a player's performance. The more information we have, the more meaningful things we can say about a player or a team, but we can never, and I mean NEVER say that the Yankees have a 50% chance of winning a game before it is played. It's possible that Wang pitches his best baseball when Mars is in the third house of Gemini's 3rd testicle, but unless someone's looking for that condition we'll never know.

I know it's a tired saying, but baseball is played on the field and not on paper. Even a team with everything going for it can suffer a catastrophic meltdown. Witness: Tom Glavine, the New York Mets, the Philadelphia Phillies, and, perhaps the finest illustration of this phenomenon, the classic Simpsons episode, Homer at the Bat. I'll leave you with a quote from that magnum opus of American culture:

Umpire: Okay, let's go over the ground rules. You can't leave first until you chug a beer. Any man scoring has to chug a beer. You have to chug a beer at the top of all odd-numbered innings. Oh, and the fourth inning is the beer inning.

2007-10-15 13:12:24
91.   yankz
Whoa, since when are there instructions for posting comments?
2007-10-15 13:12:47
92.   yankz
Questions? Quit messing with my mind, Ken!
2007-10-15 13:25:10
93.   NJYankee41
90 Put the number of the comment you are referring to in these brackets: "[" "]"

*Without the quotations

2007-10-15 13:26:24
94.   monkeypants
87 Yes, but that c. 90 innings represented a career high (at least for relief innings), in a season where he also had a career high 80 appearances (!). I think it's almost certain he was burned out by the end of the year. Anyway, that's ancient history, as they say.
2007-10-15 13:37:20
95.   Ken Arneson
92 OK, yankz. I have stopped. For now.
2007-10-15 13:47:58
96.   51cq24
94 but don't you think it had at least a little to do with his nerves as well?
2007-10-15 13:53:26
97.   monkeypants
96 How could I possibly evaluate that? He pitched poorly against a very good hitting team. He threw a lot of innings (and wasn't this the year he compleined about having dead arm, or was that 2005) and made a ton of appearances. I could conclude: 1] small sample size, tough team, one of those things; 2] tired arm (for which there is some indirect evidence to support); 3] fear and/or some other moral failing, for which the only evidence is the event of the failure itself.

I certainly can't disprove nerves, but I find solution 1 and/or 2 more convincing.

2007-10-15 13:53:48
98.   mehmattski
90 You make it seem like there is nothing to be learned from the statistics that a team compiles throughout its 162 game season. That we can't look at the number of runs a team has scored/allowed, or their EQA for and against and make predictions about which team is more likely to win. No, you cannot make these predictions with absolute accuracy, but formulae like the Pythagorean Winning Percentage and its derivatives do a better job, mid-season, at predicting a team's future performance than does a team's actual record.

Taking individuals' statistics to predict team performance has been done with accuracy for more than a decade. I suggest you check out the archives of Replacement Level Yankees Weblog for detailed breakdowns of how each player contributes to the whole of the Yankees' production.

And with that information you can say that Team A has this expectation and Team B has this expectation, and if we were to play that game 10,000 times, Team A would likely win this percentage of the games. It's just like any other statistical model, which depends on its input for accuracy. The more correllated an input is to actual results, the better the model. And if we're looking at just once of those 10,000 runs, we could see vastly different results than any other individual run. That's what people mean when they say that a team has a 60% chance of winning.

2007-10-15 14:05:03
99.   51cq24
97 and throwing up before coming in to each game. didn't he admit that he was terrified?
2007-10-15 14:15:52
100.   monkeypants
99 I don't recall. If he said that, then I would stand corrected and admit that nerves were quite plausibly a contributing factor.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-10-15 14:18:36
101.   51cq24
100 well i don't remember exactly. i do remember that torre left him in 2 batters too long in game 5.
2007-10-15 14:33:47
102.   Adrian
98 Agreed, but you don't play each game 10,000 times, and you don't play it in a vacuum.

Look, I'm perfectly fine with the idea that a team can be favored to win, but the sheer number of factors that are external to the analysis, combined with the fact that rigorous tracking of baseball statistics is relatively new, makes me less confident about them than I would otherwise be. It's not that we learn nothing, it's that what we learn is less useful than many people make it out to be.

It seems to me that the intangibles of baseball are very difficult to measure, predict or account for (by definition, being intangible). Additionally, none of the things we can measure are static, be it weather, player performance, different pitching matchups and the like.

In other words, I think entirely too many people who know entire too little about statistics place entirely too much importance on them. Grab a beer, watch the game, root for your team.

But now I'm getting out of my depth. I'm sure there's someone out there who is both a hardcore baseball fan and a master of Bayesian statistics who can tear me a new one.

2007-10-15 15:39:33
103.   mhmitch
99 I once read that Bill Russell (the Celtic not the Dodger) vomited before every big game and he's known as one of the most clutch playoff performers of all time. Go figure.
2007-10-15 16:58:32
104.   yankz
Sigh...Kenny Lofton has hit a 2-R home run.
2007-10-15 16:59:48
105.   yankz
102 "Look, I'm perfectly fine with the idea that a team can be favored to win, but the sheer number of factors that are external to the analysis, combined with the fact that rigorous tracking of baseball statistics is relatively new, makes me less confident about them than I would otherwise be. It's not that we learn nothing, it's that what we learn is less useful than many people make it out to be."

Agreed. As I posted here a few weeks back, some people try to explain everything with numbers and ignore the mental/environmental aspect of the game. (No, I'm not looking at anyone here. At least, not right now.)

2007-10-15 17:00:55
106.   yankz
The finalists for "Sexiest fan alive": http://tinyurl.com/yqeogw

You know, I'm 100% sure that Jessica Alba likes baseball. I heard it in an interview once.

2007-10-15 17:07:25
107.   OldYanksFan
106 Do you have a link to the bathing suit portion of the contest?
102 Welcome aboard Adrian. I like much of what you said.
2007-10-15 17:10:44
108.   yankz
107 The Yankee fan representative (mired in 7th place) is kind of a moron. When asked what rule he would change, he said, "I would allow the pitcher to pitch inside. I'm not talking about allowing headhunting thugs the right to throw at someone, but allowing the pitcher to remind the hitter, he's on the defensive."

Um, dude, you're allowed to do that. Ever watch Roger Clemens pitch a single inning?

2007-10-15 17:26:37
109.   yankz
Oh my stars and stripes, Jessica Alba is a Yankee fan because she's friends with the Captain!!!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=hbna-UV3mKw

(Go to about 1:45, unless you want to listen to her talk about how her dad likes EVERY SoCal team)

2007-10-15 17:31:00
110.   yankz
109 That asshat Sox fan is a moron.

The video is from 6/15/07- so, before this year's playoffs. His joke:

"You know what the difference is between a Fenway Frank and a Yankee Dog? They don't serve Yankee Dogs in October no more...OH!!!"

Hey DOUCHEBAG, at the time of the interview, the Yankees had made the playoffs the previous year but Boston hadn't. What a tool. I now hate "The Thing."

2007-10-15 17:52:22
111.   Adrian
Friends with the Jeter? Man, he gave her herpes. Giving a beautiful woman a recurring disease -- if that's not a metaphor for his postseason performance, I don't know what is.

http://people.monstersandcritics.com/news/article_1341360.php/Did_Jeter_give_Alba_the_Herpes

2007-10-15 17:54:50
112.   yankz
111 We've been over that, like 5 months ago or whatever. Low-class rumor mongering that didn't have a source. I thought that was pretty much universally agreed.
2007-10-15 17:55:21
113.   Bob B
I was just wondering, with all the changes everyone is discussing, why change anything? after the abysmal start to the season, didn't the Yankees absolutely smoke the rest of the league. Sure, the BP needs some serious attention, but maybe the best scenario for the Tampa boys would be to try and keep what they had together for another season. 94 wins with the start this team had is impressive. I know I've kicked dirt on some players but all in all, would you not take the postseason roster (without Clemens who will certainly retire, Fartsworth who shousl also consider the same). Looks like the Indians were a better team than we gave them credit for.
2007-10-15 17:56:59
114.   monkeypants
I have the Giants game on. I don't watch much NFL any more these days--is it always this unwatchable? I don't mean the quality of play--with the Giants it has been unwatchable for years. I mean the whole way it is produced, announced, the commercials, etc. It's like FOX baseball broadcasts on steroids.
2007-10-15 18:01:50
115.   monkeypants
113 Some changes are inevitable, though. As you point out, there should be some changes on the pitching staff; the starting rotation will look a good bit different. There are a number of free agents--they may stay, they may not, regardless of the Yankees plans.
2007-10-15 18:05:40
116.   Bob B
115 Yes, some are inevitable, but you increase your chances of keeping Posada and Rivera by rehiring Torre and maybe even A-Rod too. Indians keep producing with 2 outs, maybe it wasn't a fluke against us.
2007-10-15 18:07:44
117.   tommyl
114 Yes.
2007-10-15 18:08:28
118.   monkeypants
116 Maybe the chances increase...I personally don't buy it, but that seesm to be the consensus.
2007-10-15 18:08:43
119.   tommyl
Hey that Dice-K really looks worth $100 million doesn't he? 4 2/3 innings, 4 ER. Didn't we have a guy who used to do that? What was his name? Oh yeah, Jaret Wright.
2007-10-15 18:23:19
120.   RIYank
Westbrook has been lucky.
I mean, gritty.
2007-10-15 18:37:03
121.   Zack
Why the heck was/is Westbrook still pitching?
2007-10-15 18:39:08
122.   RIYank
Yeah. Well, if he gets out of the seventh with no further damage, the Tribe is still in pretty good shape. But, yeah, I wonder. It's not as if he's a good pitcher. You'd much rather have your Rafaels in there.
2007-10-15 18:40:20
123.   Zack
They were set up for the Rafaels and then Borowski with a "safe" lead. Now, do you even trust him at all with a 2 run lead, if that?
2007-10-15 18:41:31
124.   Zack
And what is the deal with the whole "hanky"/"towel" waiving thing? I don't get the point, they don't make any noise or anything...
2007-10-15 18:42:24
125.   Zack
They need to pull him, Wedge is flirting with blowing this game
2007-10-15 18:42:36
126.   monkeypants
124 It's to distract the shooter when he tries to make a free throw...
2007-10-15 18:42:59
127.   RIYank
Huh. Now he's gone?
Pitch count, I guess.
2007-10-15 18:44:28
128.   Zack
I thought Wedge managed game #2 great, but this inning has really been questionable. With a guy like Westbrook, you've got to take 6 innings of 0 runs and a 4 run lead and hand it over to your dominant BP...Oh well
2007-10-15 18:45:40
129.   Zack
And he brings in Lewis now? Ok, I don't get it
2007-10-15 18:50:56
130.   RIYank
There ya go.
Ekstein East strikes out.
2007-10-15 18:53:07
131.   RIYank
Lewis is a good pitcher.
If the Indians win this one with a bunch of innings left in the Rafaels' arms, Wedge looks really good. If their bullpen blows it, he looks really bad.
2007-10-15 18:54:14
132.   Zack
Hey, when did that little "help" link show up? Has it always there? Crazy!

Would certainly like to see some more runs for the Indians...

2007-10-15 18:54:51
133.   Zack
Oh those Indians, they are so funny, with those bug themes...sigh
2007-10-15 18:55:46
134.   RIYank
Okajima.
I don't get that at all.
Mystifying bullpen moves tonight!
2007-10-15 18:57:47
135.   RIYank
132 No, it's new.

I think I get Wedge's move now. The Sox have the scary guys coming up next inning, so Lewis got the easy job.

2007-10-15 18:58:52
136.   Zack
135 yeah, I was thinking that too when they mentioned who was coming up. Of course, if it were the 9th, it would be Borowski, because he is the closer, which would infuriate me...
2007-10-15 19:00:25
137.   RIYank
Damn, Grady. Almost.
2007-10-15 19:01:54
138.   Zack
This is the big one here. I think I go with Betancourt...
2007-10-15 19:06:44
139.   RIYank
We'll see if you're right.
Youk is the key batter...
2007-10-15 19:09:36
140.   Zack
Yes! one down
2007-10-15 19:09:48
141.   RIYank
Raf had amazing concentration. Hats off.
2007-10-15 19:10:27
142.   Zack
Wow, played perfectly, two down
2007-10-15 19:10:47
143.   RIYank
Whew! And the Tribe gets just a little lucky again. Man can Ortiz hit. Jeez.
2007-10-15 19:11:37
144.   yankz
Borowski's going to blow this. Does anyone doubt that?
2007-10-15 19:13:09
145.   Zack
Wow was that a strike
2007-10-15 19:13:57
146.   RIYank
Wow.

Where can we find middle relievers like this?

2007-10-15 19:13:57
147.   Zack
Crazy to see a pitcher just pound strike after strike to batters, eh?

Wow, that was an impressive performance

2007-10-15 19:15:13
148.   Zack
Crazy to see a pitcher just pound strike after strike to batters, eh?

What a performance by Raef

2007-10-15 19:15:21
149.   Zack
oops!
2007-10-15 19:15:49
150.   RIYank
144 Maybe he won't get into the game.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-10-15 19:18:06
151.   Zack
Oh God, not sure if I can watch Borowski pitch
2007-10-15 19:19:55
152.   RIYank
Hm, Lowell, Drew, Varitek.
Yeah. Maybe just leave Betancourt in?
2007-10-15 19:20:25
153.   monkeypants
I'm not really watching the game--have the announcers spent the whole time stroking Dice-K for a "gritty" performance?
2007-10-15 19:23:26
154.   RIYank
153 I don't think so. Truth is I don't pay much attention to Buck and McC.
2007-10-15 19:24:57
155.   RIYank
So, is Okajima burnt for tomorrow? He threw 20 pitches, but it looked like Tito pulled him for fatigue. Timlin, Okajima, now Delcarmen.

Maybe the idea is that tomorrow, if Wake is no good, they go with Lester for five innings.

2007-10-15 19:25:22
156.   Zack
They should def. leave in betancourt, but they won't.
2007-10-15 19:26:12
157.   Zack
155 There's always Gagne...
2007-10-15 19:26:53
158.   Zack
Oh boy
2007-10-15 19:28:10
159.   JL25and3
The score stands four to two, with but one inning left to play.
2007-10-15 19:29:36
160.   cult of basebaal
well, let's hope borowski gets through this one
2007-10-15 19:29:48
161.   RIYank
157 Hee hee.
Yesterday when my son woke up and looked at the paper, he was dismayed to find that it didn't have the result of the game. I told him, "Gagne pitched the eleventh," and he got a big smile on his face.
2007-10-15 19:30:17
162.   Zack
I can't watch!
2007-10-15 19:30:51
163.   Zack
One down
2007-10-15 19:30:58
164.   RIYank
159 Mmmmm.
But no Casey counterparts in sight.

And so when Lowell popped to first...

2007-10-15 19:33:05
165.   RIYank
... and J.D. did the same (sort of)...
2007-10-15 19:33:15
166.   Zack
Two down
2007-10-15 19:36:02
167.   RIYank
Eric Wedge looking phlegmatic.
2007-10-15 19:36:10
168.   JL25and3
164 Wrong home team, anyway.
2007-10-15 19:36:23
169.   RIYank
Walking Tek would be real real bad.
2007-10-15 19:36:56
170.   RIYank
168 Oh yeah. No sickly silence falling upon the patrons here.
2007-10-15 19:38:19
171.   cult of basebaal
two down, two to go
2007-10-15 19:38:20
172.   Zack
Wow, nice win!
2007-10-15 19:38:44
173.   Zack
267 Nice use of outdated medical theory!
2007-10-15 19:39:16
174.   RIYank
Gotta hand it to the Cleveland pitchers today. That one mistake to Varitek in the seventh, and there was that Ortiz double, but the staff really shut down the Red Sox.
2007-10-15 19:39:31
175.   yankz
173 No way am I staying up late enough to make a joke out of that typo.

Well, actually, I probably am.

2007-10-15 19:40:21
176.   RIYank
173 And a very gutsy prediction by you!
But yeah, I never really bought that whole 'germ theory' thing. I'm a humor man.
2007-10-15 19:40:44
177.   yankz
So Cleveland needs to win 2, with Sabathia and Carmona set to pitch again. Boston needs to win 3, with Beckett only slated to start once. Nice.
2007-10-15 19:40:49
178.   Zack
So, do they throw Beckett tomorrow? If I were the Indians, i would throw Sabathia, but they won't...
2007-10-15 19:41:09
179.   RIYank
175 You may get a chance tomorrow. Unless Alex posts something before this thread gets there, which I bet he will.
2007-10-15 19:41:49
180.   RIYank
178 No, Tito was adamant. Wakefield pitches tomorrow no matter what.
2007-10-15 19:42:21
181.   Zack
175 typo?
2007-10-15 19:43:22
182.   Zack
180 which is dumb, IMHO. Wakefield vs. Byrd is a wash, but Byrd vs. Beckett isn't. Obviously, if wake starts, then the Indians should og with byrd too
2007-10-15 19:44:00
183.   RIYank
This morning BP had the odds of this series almost dead even. I think maybe the Sox had one percentage point advantage. Now (or whenever they run their next simulation) it should be 65-35 or so. Maybe not quite.

Also, I found this interesting: the Rockies would be favored against Boston, but underdogs against Cleveland, according to BP. (Something to do with LH pitching.)

2007-10-15 19:44:17
184.   yankz
181 You predicted the future!
2007-10-15 19:45:17
185.   RIYank
181 Yeah, you typed the wrong numeral to refer to my 'phlegm' comment. So it looked like you were predicting post 267.

Yeah, I think I'd throw Beckett. To get potentially two starts out of him. But Francona is serious about the short rest thing, and he may be right.

2007-10-15 19:46:34
186.   RIYank
In 185 , I meant to get potentially two more starts out of Beckett, of course. But you do still have to win the WS, and the Rox are almost sure to be well-rested. And that short-rest thing. So I don't really blame Francona.
2007-10-15 19:47:03
187.   RIYank
Aright, later. I'm not staying up for the NLCS tonight.
2007-10-15 19:47:51
188.   yankz
Boston has lost 16 of the 34 games started by Dice-K this year.

And people on a Yankees board are using that as evidence of the genius of the Boston FO?

2007-10-15 19:57:54
189.   yankz
Of course, to quote "the Frog" from RLYW, "Yeah, but we can't talk, because we spent 2/3 as much money for a #7 pitcher who can't hack it in the regular season."
2007-10-15 19:58:08
190.   tommyl
Wait, did Eric Wedge bring in his third best reliever to get a key out to line up his best reliever for the most difficult inning to pitch? I don't understand, don't they have labels like, 6 7 8? What's with this switching things around. I thought pitchers need defined roles?
2007-10-15 20:00:13
191.   tommyl
189 Ah, but the real pain of the Gagne trade will manifest in a couple of years if and when Beltre turns into the player they think he will be and JD Drew is still playing the OF for Boston :). I mean, at least we only payed money for our Kyle Farnsworth.
2007-10-15 20:02:23
192.   tommyl
Woah:

http://tinyurl.com/2gqllr

that is a big deal. Looking more and more likely that Joe is going to come back. Does Donny not realize that at some point, someone will have to replace Joe? I mean is he going to manage till he's 100?

2007-10-15 20:04:00
193.   mehmattski
192 Mattingly should know something about no-win situations in NY. Just ask Tino Martinez.
2007-10-15 20:05:38
194.   yankz
192 As Alex always says, you don't want to replace Joe, you want to replace the guy that replaces Joe. Or something like that.
2007-10-15 20:07:09
195.   Zack
185 wow, I totally missed that! I can post all night by myself I guess and then make a comment about needing some leeches perhaps?

I just think that tomorrow's game is huge for the Sox. If they win, they regain the advantage, but if they lose, they are in deep trouble. Its a huge swing game...

I can't believe the NLCS game is on so late!

2007-10-15 20:33:42
196.   Jersey
Giants are having one of their "watchable" games. They've had a few of those lately.
2007-10-15 20:34:42
197.   Jersey
Of course, Kornheiser and company are trying their damnedest to render it entirely unwatchable.
2007-10-15 20:37:40
198.   monkeypants
193 And that worked out pretty well for Tino. Sometimes you really can replace a legend and succeed.
2007-10-15 20:39:30
199.   tommyl
193 194 I see what you guys are saying, but that's not exactly showing guts. If you want to be the manager of the Yankees, you better be ready for a host of no-win situations. Replacing Joe is just the tip of the iceberg.
2007-10-15 20:40:06
200.   tommyl
Of course, my mother thinks the Yankees are unable to win due to the curse of Don Mattingly and swears they will never win a WS as long as he is on the team in some way.
Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2007-10-15 21:08:06
201.   monkeypants
Man, the Rockies are rolling...So really, how did the D-Backs go so wrong compared to the other three recent expansion teams?
2007-10-15 21:29:02
202.   yankz
This has to be the most amazing run in ML history, right? I mean, Oakland didn't do it in the playoffs, facing the best competition in the league and with many days off in the midst of the hot streak.
2007-10-15 21:29:36
203.   51cq24
200 between the 00 and 01 world series, i had sex for the first time and moved out of my parents' house. i considered staying at home for this postseason. maybe next year. can't ever get virginity back, but not for lack of trying.
2007-10-15 21:30:10
204.   51cq24
202 no, but they did do it against the al.
2007-10-15 21:34:48
205.   yankz
204 I don't know how much better the A's opponents were than the D'Backs, the cruising Phillies, the Padres, and whoever else they played at the end of September.

They HAD to go on that amazing run just to make the playoffs, and then it continued right through October. Fucking incredible.

2007-10-15 21:40:27
206.   yankz
The Onion is awesome, courtesy RAB:

http://tinyurl.com/2w3okw

2007-10-15 21:43:35
207.   51cq24
205 yes, definitely incredible and unbelievable.
2007-10-15 21:47:30
208.   yankz
207 Especially when you factor in how much luck has to go into a streak like that. I mean, sure, they've played out of their minds, but baseball is so unpredictable. A bloop here, a swarm of bugs there, and you lose the game.
2007-10-15 22:28:32
209.   Zack
Of course, the NL is so crappy that saying its the "best competition" is all relative...

It is impressive, and I have nothing against the Rox, but on the other hand, the thought of the Rockies winning the WS is still somewhat offensive. I have a hard time buying them as the best team in baseball, and as a model expansion team and a major factor in the explosion of offense, it does rub me somehwhat the wrong way.

But still, its damn impressive

2007-10-15 22:33:10
210.   yankz
It's not over yet: 6-4 Rox in the B8.
2007-10-15 22:33:43
211.   yankz
T9 now. 3 outs to go...
2007-10-15 22:35:54
212.   yankz
Tying run comes to the plate for AZ
2007-10-15 22:38:41
213.   yankz
Drew swings 3-0 and pops out to 2nd. Yikes. 1 out to go. Oh please let it be Eric Byrnes.
2007-10-15 22:39:53
214.   yankz
Yes, Eric Byrnes ends AZ's season! Colorado is going to the World Series!

Congratulations, Rockies!

2007-10-15 22:42:40
215.   51cq24
209 no i like them, kind of remind me of 96 yankees.

pop up on 3-0 pitch and then dive into 1b on a close play. probably out either way but that time the slide definitely slowed him down.

2007-10-15 22:44:56
216.   yankz
I like these Rockies a lot, especially since Tulowitzki idolized the Captain growing up.
2007-10-15 23:00:43
217.   thelarmis
216 i like Hanley Ramirez a lot, 'coz:

1) he kicks ass as a ballplayer!

2) boston lost him as a prospect!

3) he wears #2 'coz he idolized the Captain growing up! : )

Congrats, Rox! Beat the AL!!!

2007-10-16 05:38:20
218.   NJYankee41
This is from Tom Verducci:

"OK, you've probably heard too much already about those infamous sacrifice flies of Cleveland, the mighty midges that, unlike almost all AL hitters, knocked Yankees phenom Joba Chamberlain off his game. But this is too good not to pass on: When the bugs started swarming Chamberlain, a local insect expert in Cleveland telephoned the Indians with an urgent message -- those bugs are called midges, and whatever you do, do NOT use insect repellent; midges are attracted to the stuff. The Yankees practically bathed in bug spray; the more Chamberlain put on, the more the bugs swarmed him. So there you go. The Yankees can spend $190 million on payroll and still leave a blatant weakness: no, not their middle relief -- their lack of an entymology expert."

Why haven't the Yankees employed one of these?

2007-10-16 06:03:48
219.   JL25and3
Tom Verducci could use an orthography expert, or maybe just a dictionary. It's nitpicking, but if his punchline depends on the word "entomology," he really should spell it correctly.

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