Record: 101-56, American League East champions
Accomplishments: 26-time world champion; 39-time American League champion; 16-time AL East champion including 11 times in the past 14 years; considered by many to be the greatest organization in professional sports history.
Special skills: Good offensive team (lead the majors in HRs with 233, walks with 642 free passes and runs scored at 879). An above satisfactory starting rotation and a extremely dangerous bullpen (lead the AL in strikeouts with 1,207, saves with 50, and their .253 batting average allowed is second in the league).
Payroll: $208,097,414, down $1 million from 2008. Hope the Yankees will keep this up every season. Get good young players, not overpaid free-agents.
Home-grown Talent: Seasoned veterans like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte. And new breeds like Robinson Cano, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Brett Gardner.
Excellent Free Agent pick-ups: CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, AJ Burnett, Nick Swisher. The Yankees made a good run from their money. They won't be in the post-season without these players.
What to watch out for: Over-confidence! Don't take things for granted. Remember what the Red Sox did to the Yanks during the 2004 ALCS.
Bench improvement: The Yankees have improved their bench this year. A surprising pitcher like Francisco Cervelli. Super sub and Mr. can play all field positions Jerry Hairston Jr. Slugger and Home run threat Eric Hinske. And the most underrated trade was fifth starter Chad Gaudin, who has proved to be perfectly mediocre, but the Yankees have won his last five starts.
Goal for this year: Win the World Series championship! Failure is not an option!
Chad Gaudin came to the Yankees at the right moment. With only CC Sabathia being consistent on the Yankees rotation all season long. It's nice to have an extra guy at the back of the rotation and provide long relief at the bullpen. In fact Girardi is convinced to install the 26 year old right hander to the post-season roster.
Since the acquisition from the San Diego Padres on Aug. 6, Gaudin has taken the mound 10 times, making 6 starts and 4 relief appearance. The Yankees are undefeated when he starts. Exactly what the Yanks needed. The nice thing about Gaudin is he is effective as a starter or reliever. He has some experience in the post-season (2006 play-offs with the Oakland A's) and can handle pressure games.
Question is what will be Gaudin's role in ALDS? Will he start in Game 4? or will he provide long relief from the bullpen? Only time will tell.
Who would you want the Yankees to face in the play-offs? The Tigers or the Twins? The race is close in the American League Central. While the Yankees are relaxing and trading pie recipes, the 2 teams are battling it out and putting a lot of energy from the star players.
For Detroit: Pitcher Rick Porcello and Cy Young contender Justin Verlander needs to use their power arms just to get into the play-offs. Team manager Jim Leyland is aware that their ace Verlander has pitch "nine" 120-pitch games. The most by any pitcher in any of the past 4 seasons.
For Twins: They have to use another starter either Carl Pavano or Scott Baker. Not the dominant pitcher we are looking for. They need rest and don't have that luxury.
It's a tough task to these 2 teams. The winner at the end of the season would then have to hop on a plane after the game and fly to New York to play the Yankees the next night. The Yankees are well rested, have an advantage in the match-ups against these 2 teams, and have home court advantage.
A new limited edition Yankees cap, which cost $75, will be sold at New Era's flagship stores and select lid stores. This new navy blue cap bears the New York Yankees logo and is emblazoned with each year the team has won the World Series Championships. Go and grab one! Only 750 hats will be sold.
Director Spike Lee said the "Spike Lee Joint 2.0" is the 2nd cap in the Lee-designed "Spike Lee Joint" series and the 3rd cap he has designed.
"I was waiting for it", Miranda said through an interpreter. Juan Miranda, a late September call-up from the Minor league, delivered and giving a 15th walk-off victory for the Yankees. The Cuban left hander scorched a ground ball up the middle, where it glanced off the leg of the Royals relief pitcher Farnsworth and bounded toward the home dugout.
This gave Eric Hinske, who singled and stole 2nd base earlier in the bottom of the 9th inning, raced home with the winning run. Final score: Yankees 4 Royals 3.
Walk-off wins has become a norm for the Yankees this season. Lets track back on the walk-off wins this season:
1. April 22
Yankees 9, A’s 7
Melky Cabrera hits a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourteenth.
2. May 1
Yankees 10, Angels 9
Jorge Posada knocks in the winning runs with a single off closer Brian Fuentes.
3. May 15
Yankees 5, Twins 4
The Yanks rally against All-Star Joe Nathan; Melky Cabrera’s two-out bloop single wins it.
4. May 16
Yankees 6, Twins 4
A-Rod blasts a two-run shot for the win, his first hit at the new stadium.
5. May 17
Yankees 3, Twins 2
Johnny Damon homers in the tenth to sweep the Twins. He tosses his helmet in the air; A-Rod and Melky Cabrera leap for it like fans chasing a foul ball.
6. May 23
Yankees 5, Phillies 4
A Melky Cabrera single off Brad Lidge beats the defending champs.
7. June 12
Yankees 9, Mets 8
A-Rod pops up to Mets second-baseman Luis Castillo … who drops the ball, allowing the two winning runs to score. It’s instantly the signature moment of the season—the Mets’ season.
8. July 4
Yankees 6, Blue Jays 5
On the anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech and Dave Righetti’s no-hitter, Jorge Posada singles off Shawn Camp in the twelfth to win.
9. July 20
Yankees 2, Orioles 1
Hideki Matsui homers in the ninth.
10. August 7
Yankees 2, Red Sox 0
A-Rod breaks a scoreless tie with a homer in the fifteenth inning of a five-hour, 33-minute game.
11. August 12
Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3
Shawn Camp plays the goat once again, allowing a Robinson Cano RBI single in the eleventh.
12. August 28
Yankees 5, White Sox 2
Cano lines a homer into the Yankees’ bullpen to win.
13. September 8
Yankees 3, Rays 2
Nick Swisher hits his second home run of the game in the bottom of the ninth to break a tie.
14. September 16
Yankees 5, Blue Jays 4
The Yanks walk off on the Jays yet again on catcher Francisco Cervelli’s single. It’s their 34th comeback win at home, tying a team record.
Yankees 4, Royals 3
Juan Miranda scorched a ground ball up the middle, this gave Eric Hinske, who singled and stole 2nd base earlier in the bottom of the 9th inning, raced home with the winning run.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi indicated that he will have 10-11 pitchers in the ALDS. The team don't need a lot of pitchers since it is a short series. We have 3 of our starting rotation (Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte). Plus 6 staple guys in the bullpen (Rivera, Hughes, Coke, Aceves, Joba, and Gaudin). That's a total of 9 pitchers.
With 1-2 pitchers to choose from, Girardi is considering adding another lefty (Damaso Marte) and/or power pitcher David Robertson (if he is healthy).
That means there is no spot left for Brian Bruney. Bruney was destined to be a set-up guy for Mariano Rivera during the start of the 2009 season. But injuries has kept him from doing that. Bruney struggled for much of the season after spending two stints on the DL with elbow problems.
But that didn't stop Bruney. Since Aug. 7, Bruney has allowed just 3 earned runs over his last 18 appearances for a 1.69 ERA. And he received a standing ovation from the crowd after recording 5 key outs against the Red Sox for the division clincher.
There is still a chance for Bruney. So to top it off, here is what i can suggest for Bruney's status in the post-season. ALDS spot-No!, ALCS-Yes! What do you suggest?
That World Series was 6 years ago. Until now Matsui is still without a MLB championship ring. This year might be his last chance to win that elusive title in pinstripes since he will become a free agent after this season. I love Matsui. Especially when Matsui hits home runs, Yankee radio announcer John Sterling often says "And that's an upper-decki for Hideki!" or "It's a thrilla, from Godzilla!". But let's be realistic, with aging stars like Posada and Jeter, there is a strong possibility that the Yankees will let go of Matsui after this season and let Posada be their next Designated Hitter in the 2010 season. So here is the deal. If the Yankees is not going to sign Matsui to a new deal, then Matsui has no choice but to cap his Yankee career going out a World Series champion.
Hideki Matsui, a popular baseball player in Japan, arrived in New York in 2003. Nicknamed Godzilla, this powerful left handed slugger gave the Yankees another potent weapon in their formidable line-up. Since then, the Yankees came to know Matsui as an RBI machine. Producing runs when the Yanks needs it the most. Matsui was a big part of the Yankees surge into the World Series against Florida.
That World Series was 6 years ago. Until now Matsui is still without a MLB championship ring. This year might be his last chance to win that elusive title in pinstripes since he will become a free agent after this season. I love Matsui. Especially when Matsui hits home runs, Yankee radio announcer John Sterling often says "And that's an upper-decki for Hideki!" or "It's a thrilla, from Godzilla!". But let's be realistic, with aging stars like Posada and Jeter, there is a strong possibility that the Yankees will let go of Matsui after this season and let Posada be their next Designated Hitter in the 2010 season.
So here is the deal. If the Yankees is not going to sign Matsui to a new deal, then Matsui has no choice but to cap his Yankee career going out a World Series champion.
The Yankees added another dimension to their arsenal this season, Stealing bases. This isn't their regular approach, and for good reason, with the bats they have especially in the middle of the order, it could be very costly to run out of a big inning. But it wouldn't hurt if we steal a base or two. Stealing bases place runners into scoring position. And with the offense that we have, this will add more runs to our team.
We don't have superb base stealers like Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, or Chone Figgins. Neither are the Yanks a running team compared to the Angels. But they steal bases when it matters the most. Do you know that the top 4 Yankee basestealers have an 86% success rate whereas a team like the Angels has only a 73% success rate from their top basestealers. This is proof that the Yankees steal bases when it makes sense. The Yankees can run when the opportunity presents itself, and our guys are smart enough to go only in situations where they can be highly successful.
This is also a shout-out to the Boston Red Sox, whom the Yankees might face in the ALCS. Boston's biggest weakness is their catchers (Varitek & Martinez are terrible at throwing out runners). The Yankees will steal a base every chance that they get. They are like Great White Sharks. If they smell blood, they will attack and go for the kill.
After clinching the American League East, it's now time to rest our players. Let the bench start and play the remaining 6 games (3 with the Royals, 3 with the Rays). The main goal here is to stay sharp, stay relaxed and STAY HEALTHY!
The Yanks should all be fresh and healthy come play-off time. With a lot of veterans in the roster, it is a necessity to give some time off to avoid any injuries. Hideki Matsui has wobbly knees. In able to keep Matsui for the rest of the season, Joe Girardi gave Matsui a week off in Interleague games (since there is no DH). The same also applies to other Yankees veteran like A-Rod (surgical repaired hip), Posada (shoulder), and Damon (leg). The Yankees manager Girardi, will start Melky Cabrera in left and batted Brett Gardner in Damon's No. 2 spot. This is to avoid any leg injury to Johnny Damon who might be playing on the wet grass.
This is the perfect time to test other players and see what can they offer. By keeping Brett Gardner in the mix, it will give the speedster some momentum and confidence in the post-season. This is also an opportunity for Girardi to test David Robertson's condition and if the pitcher is capable of playing in the postseason. If Robertson doesn't have a setback in his right shoulder, Girardi is looking at getting him in the game against the Royals. The reliever has been inactive since feeling stiffness after a Sept. 5 outing against the Blue Jays.
Even with 6 no bearing games, the Yankees certainly must strike a balance between resting players and keeping them sharp for October.
Captain Clutch! Mr. October! These are a few names that describes Derek Jeter. He is been known to deliver time and time again. So what does he gives to the Yankees? What does he need to improve on? Let's break down the details:
Clutch: A phenomenal clutch player. His instincts are also first-rate. A guy that can handle pressure and has been to many play-offs games.
Hitting: A .300 plus AVG hitter with very high on base percentage. Jeter aggressively attacks pitches early in the count, but has shown patience when he needs to. His ability to stay inside the ball and let it get deep is well documented. Jeter will use the whole field, but his power stroke is the opposite way. He effectively inside-outs many of these pitches and is capable of getting the bat head out front when needed. Jeter has tremendous gap-to-gap power.
Baserunning: Jeter is a plus runner who takes the extra base. Very efficient on the base-paths.
He can steal a base if he needs to.
Needs to Improve:
Fielding: Age is finally catching up on Jeter. He must compensate his diminishing skills by positioning well on the field and be more assertive. Jeter moves better to his right, where he is able to backhand balls in the six-hole before leaping to make his signature jump-throw across the diamond. His move to his left is what he needs to improve on.
Maximizing his talents: Jeter strikes out a bit too much for a lead-off hitter. The Captain should look for more good pitches.
Their is a big possibility that the Yanks will face the Tigers in the ALDS. So here is a scouting report on how to beat the Tigers.
Gerald Laird (.229 AVG/4 HR/32 RBI)
Miguel Cabrera (.329 AVG/32 HR/100 RBI)
Placido Polanco (.288 AVG/10 HR/71 RBI)
Brandon Inge (.228 AVG/27 HR/79 RBI)
Adam Everett (.235 AVG/3 HR/44 RBI)
Magglio Ordonez (.297 AVG/7 HR/42 RBI)
Curtis Granderson (.250 AVG/28 HR/68 RBI)
Carlos Guillen (.258 AVG/11 HR/40 RBI)
Aubrey Huff (.243 AVG/15 HR/85 RBI)
Marcus Thames (.250 AVG/13 HR/36 RBI)
Alex Avila (.276 AVG/5 HR/14 RBI)
Ramon Santiago (.272 AVG/7 HR/32 RBI)
Ryan Raburn (.286 AVG/14 HR/42 RBI)
Clete Thomas (.243 AVG/7 HR/39 RBI)
It's only Miguel Cabrera that gives an offensive threat. The rest of the line-up can be contained. There are a lot of holes in the Tiger's starting line-up that the Yanks' pitchers can take advantage of. Laird and Granderson are struggling against lefties. With CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte on the mound plus Coke and Marte on the Bullpen, Detroit's left handed batters will have a nightmare in the play-offs. Detroit can't seem to find a solution to the struggles against opponents left handed pitching.
The Yanks pitching and defense will dominate the Tiger's offense. Tiger's runs will be limited.
This is where it become scary. The Tiger's has a vicious starting rotation!
Justin Verlander (3.41 ERA)
Edwin Jackson (3.36 ERA)
Rick Porcello (4.14 ERA)
But their bullpen has been horrible.
Eddie Bonine (4.60 ERA)
Ryan Perry (4.03 ERA)
Fu-Te Ni (2.70 ERA)
Jeremy Bonderman (9.00 ERA)
Zach Miner (4.31 ERA)
Bobby Seay (3.88 ERA)
Brandon Lyon (2.82 ERA)
Nate Robertson (5.56 ERA)
Fernando Rodney (4.35 ERA)
Here is the best solution to defeat Detroit's starting rotation. Make their pitch count high. Make their pitch 20 plus per inning. When they pass the ball to the bullpen that's the time we go crazy and score some runs. Just be patient and wait for a good pitch. The Yanks are deep with their line-up. Everybody can produce. We will score runs no matter what.
Play-offs is almost near. While Joe Girardi is busy making his roster for the ALDS, why don't we analyze if it is essential to add another spedster in our line-up. Yes, we have Brett Gardner. But it is nice to have another man who can run the bases like a cheetah.
I am talking to no other than outfielder Freddy Guzman. This 28 year old switch hitter is in consideration for a postseason roster spot. And why not? Speed is important and base-stealing is the most under-rated in baseball. Our offense and defense is superb but we need an element of surprise like what Gardner brings to the team. Guzman can contribute too.
On the 20-80 scale, Guzman can be rated as "really fast". That is the main reason why he stayed employed through the years. His batting skills is not great but that won't be a problem. The rest of the line-up will answer to that. It's his speed that we need. That's all!
With the Yankees needing only 10-11 pitchers on the postseason roster (probably using 10 tops). The team could add a second speed threat to the bench with their extra spot.
A speed threat on the bench is a luxury in October, and one the Yankees can certainly afford. But can they spare two spots to speedsters? It seems as though Melky Cabrera is the starting center fielder, with Gardner coming in every once in a while, rather than any kind of set platoon. Freddy Guzman is one guy who can pinch run in close and late situations.
What do you think guys? Will you insert Freddy Guzman into the ALDS roster?
Here is a potential line-up for ALDS:
Jorge Posada (Catcher)
Mark Teixeira (1st Base)
Robinson Cano (2nd Base)
Alex Rodriguez (3rd Base)
Derek Jeter (Shortstop)
Johnny Damon (Left Field)
Melky Cabrera (Center Field)
Nick Swisher (Right Field)
Hideki Matsui (Designated Hitter)
Jose Molina (Catcher)
Brett Gardner (Center Field-Left Field)
Eric Hinske (Right Field-1st Base)
Jerry Hairston (Can play almost all position)
Freddy Guzman (Pinch Runner-Out Field)
Note: Jerry Hairston is questionable, i doubt if he could contribute due to his recent injury. That is why we added Freddy Guzman. His speed will be needed to pinch run in late games.
Note: Rotate these 3 Starting Pitchers for ALDS and let the remaining Starting pitching staff to the bullpen (Joba, Gaudin). With enough rest, CC can start ALDS game 4 if necessary and Burnett for game 5. These is the Play-offs! We can't afford another upset!
Phil Hughes (Set-up)
Mariano Rivera (Closer)
Note: It's a short series. Yanks don't need to stack a lot of pitchers.
Who will be AJ Burnett catcher come play-off time?
AJ Burnett is a prized asset. Probably a No. 2 starter in the play-offs. Question is who will be his catcher? Jorge Posada? Their inability to work together has caused them trouble. During games, the two can rarely find a rhythm, and, during post-game interviews, the two rarely seem to agree on what the problems were.
There was one incident when Burnett says his curveball was great and he would've liked to go to it more often, and Posada says the curve was off that day, something is obviously not working. If the Yankees are to get 100% out of Burnett in the play-offs, it is better to have Jose Molina as his battery mate.
Problem is, Molina lacks batting power and play-offs experience. Molina will be a defensive upgrade and will throw out opposing runners, but the Yanks offense will have a significant drop. So it's a decision of Offense vs Defense.
I say let Posada catch for Burnett. These rift between the two are just media driven. There are games that we saw Burnett having a good game with Posada catching. All Burnett has to do is to execute properly. If A.J. Burnett doesn’t like Posada’s pitch selection, then he should just shake him off and throw what he wants to throw. It's his prerogative! But Burnett must make tough decisions. An effective Burnett would do wonders for this team's October chances.
Posada on the other hands needs to trust more on Burnett's pitch decisions and let him play.
Burnett and Posada need to use the rest of the season to get on the same page. Let Burnett and Posada work through their communication issues in AJ’s remaining starts.
Defense wins championships. Good Pitching will keep the opponents at bay while will give our offensive line-up an advantage to concentrate on producing runs.