You can now breath Yankee fans. Go ahead and breath (what a wonderful feeling isn't it?). After taking Game 2 of the World Series all of us can breath normally. Thanks to Burnett and company the series is tied 1-1 (much better than going 0-2).
So how did the Yankees win Game 2? Here is a list why:
1.) Burnett-Molina battery:
Again this is a shout out to Molina haters out there. People often say that the Yankees will miss Posada's bat, that Molina hits like a girl, or where in a hole if Molina is batting. It is true that Posada is a much better hitter than Molina but Burnett's personal catcher batted .333 AVE in the ALCS and has a walk in Game 2 of the World Series.
But the bottom line is Jose Molina is there to guide the Yankees No. 2 starter AJ Burnett to having a good pitching game. Yankee Manager Joe Girardi didn't like the idea of benching Posada but he can't deny the fact that Burnett is effective when Molina is behind the plate.
The result, AJ Burnett gave the Yankees seven extremely strong innings, 9 strikeouts and just 1 earned run. Burnett kept his pitch count down and was able to work in and out with his fastball and throw his good curveball.
Without Molina, we might have a different ballgame and might be down 0-2.
And oh I forgot to tell you about the amazing play of Molina in the 4th inning where Molina snap-throw pickoff at 1st base to nab Jayson Werth. That play ignited the Yankees. In that same inning Mark Teixeira homered of pitcher Pedro Martinez to tie the game at 1-1 apiece.
2.) Benching struggling Nick Swisher:
There is no debate here, Nick Swisher is struggling.
In the ALDS, Swisher batted .083 AVE, no home runs, just 1 RBI, and 4 strikeouts. In the ALCS, he batted .150 AVE, no HR and RBI's, and has 7 strikeouts. And in the World Series Swisher has no hit in his 3 at bat and have 1 strikeout.
I understand that every player has their slump every now and then. Damon, Melky and Cano played miserably in the ALDS but somehow managed to turn it around in the ALCS. Swisher was consistently horrible. So in Game 2 of the World Series, Girardi inserted Jerry Hairston Jr. in replace for Swisher.
The result, Hairston has a good hitting average against Pedro Martinez. Hairston hit 1 out of his 3 at bats. But that one hit was an important one because that gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead in the 7th inning. Speedy Gardner pinch run for Hairston. Melky singled and Gardner was able to reach 3rd base. Posada pinch hit for Molina and gave an RBI sending Gardner home.
We might or might not see Swisher again for the remainder of the series. But the important thing here is to monitor who's hot and who's not. Replacing one player to a slumping one might change the outcome of the World Series.
3.) Starting Pitcher to Closer transition:
This may sound weird but it work wonders with the Yankees. They did that in Game 6 of the ALCS (Sabathia-Rivera). And now they did it again (Burnett-Rivera). With the evaporation of the rest of the bullpen, the Yankees coaching staff all of a sudden lost faith to their relievers and thought of thinking the unthinkable.
Stretching the innings of a starting pitcher to 7-8 innings and inserting Rivera for 1-2 innings. It is a risky move (especially to Rivera) but an effective one. With this kind of strategy, the opponents had a hard time putting a run on board. My only concern is that the Yankees should not be to comfortable with this idea or it might backfire. Mariano Rivera, as great as he is, is only just human and is prone to commit mistakes from time to time. We need some help in the bullpen. Marte's performance in Game 1 sounds promising but that isn't enough. Somebody must step in and help Rivera.
The Yankees must keep on finding ways to help their team to produce a win. Replacing a struggling slugger, having a personal catcher for a starter, manufacturing runs, playing small ball if they are not hitting, stealing bases, improving the rest of the bullpen. All of this is important and integral for the Yankees to win their 27th World Series championship.
CC Sabathia was dominating in Game 1. But Chase Utley has other things in his mind. Utley homered twice of Sabathia giving the Phillies a convincing 1-0 lead in the World Series.
The Yankees were simply spooked. If only Chase Utley is not in the Phillies' line-up it will be a different ballgame. Utley has good hits against our Ace and No.1 guy CC Sabathia (a left hander). Chase Utley bats left and is known to struggle against left handed pitchers but scouting reports says Utley is also good against lefties. Utley is a tough out.
So what do you do then? Can you walk him? If Utley is playing with the Washington Nationals or the Baltimore Orioles you can walk him.
The problem is Utley is playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, the defending champions and No. 1 in home runs in the National League. The Phillies line-up is as strong and deep as the Yankees. And Utley has protection from NLCS MVP Ryan Howard and Jason Werth.
You may think twice before giving Utley a free pass. Did I tell you that Utley is a pretty good base stealer. He stole 23 base this season and is good on picking his spots (never been caught). So the probable scenario is if the Yankees intentionally walk Utley and he managed to stole 2nd base, you got powerful sluggers on deck with Howard, Werth and Ibanez batting 4th, 5th and 6th respectively. And that is assuming base stealers Rollins and Victorino are not on base who are batting 1st and 2nd.
The good news for the Yankees is Chase Utley have the tendency to have a slump (like most MLB player experience in their careers). In the NLDS, Utley batted .429 AVE, with 1 homer and 1 RBI. But in the NLCS, Utley just batted .211 AVE, 0 home runs, and 1 RBI.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Utley's bat came alive in Game 1 of the World Series. Will Utley still carry his hot streak in the following games? We don't know. What we know is Utley homered twice against our stud pitcher Sabathia. If Utley can do that to Sabathia. I bet he can do that too to Burnett and Pettitte. It doesn't look good for the Yankees pitching staff.
So how do we stop Chase Utley. First is not to be intimidated. Show to Utley you can bring the heat. Utley is a patient hitter, throw more strikes but be careful not to pitch it on the center of the plate. Watch the game played in the 2009 NLCS. See how the Dodgers pitchers throw their pitches to Utley. You may get a tip or two on how to beat him.
For the Yankees, to win the World Series, they have to slow down the Phillies heart of the line-up. Chase Utley is one of them. If somehow the Yankees managed to control Utley, the road to their 27th World Series will become more clearer.
Okay, The Yankees finally made it to the World Series. But it' still not all over. The Yankees will be facing a good team, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have a powerful strong line-up headed with NL MVP Ryan Howard.
What do we need to do? First adjust the Yankees roster. The Designated Hitter spot will be waived in Games 3, 4, and if necessary Game 5 in Philadelphia. So we will be needing a lot of good Pinch Hitters.
Hideki Matsui is the primary option. But after Matsui who?
Brett Gardner's role is to pinch run in late games, Freddy Guzman has not been a factor in the ALCS.
Jerry Hairston Jr. can help but we need somebody off the bench that can hit with some pop.
Eric Hinske fills that role perfectly.
This guy has the tools to hit home runs and have a decent batting average. He even homered twice against the LA Angels (If only Hinske was in the roster, the Yankees might wrap the series in 5 games).
Hinske has been through the trenches of the American League East and played in the postseason. He knows what's is like to play in the World Series playing for Boston in 2006. Hinske has a lot of versatility and can play the infield corner positions and outfield corner positions.
And besides Eric Hinske still remembers the last pitch of Phillies closer Brad Lidge during his stint with the Tampa Bay Rays. Lidge made a strikeout to Hinske as the final out of the World Series in 2008 where the Phillies was crown as champions.
I am pretty sure Hinske wants to even the score when he gets the chance.
So my advice, maintain the roster intact. Just replace Freddy Guzman for Eric Hinske.
Hinkse will be a valuable weapon when it matters.
Yes! The Yankees is in the World Series once again. Wow! Up until now I am still struck and amazed on the Yankees recent accomplishment.
The Yankees all season long have provided a powerful pitching rotation leaded by the recent 2009 ALCS MVP CC Sabathia.
A reliable bullpen with the future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera leading the crew.
A feared line-up with the resurgence of Alex Rodriguez, an excellent hitter and considered as the most valuable baseball player in the league today.
This is a also a tribute to all Yankee fans out there who waited for so many years to experience another World Series.
And since this is an awards night, let me give a couple of awards and distinction to our beloved Yankees. Here it is:
The Yankees defense has been tremendous through out the ALCS.
Our Ace CC Sabathia dominated in both Games 1 and 4. CC completely shut down the Angels offense. This gave enough breathing room for the Yankee sluggers to score just a few runs. Sabathia automatically gave the Yankees 2 convincing wins.
Although their bullpen has been a little bit of shaky as of late, the Yankees relied on the great Mariano Rivera to come out safely on those freaky innings. Rivera played extra innings just to make sure that the Angels will stay at bay.
Infield defense superb. Especially to the stretchable arm of former Gold glover Mark Teixeira. How many times have we seen Teixeira saving an error by catching the baseball almost everywhere.
Comeback wins and Pies:
This season the Yankees have been popular for comeback wins. And they are credited with a smash of Pie in the face.
In the ALCS, We've seen that in Game 2. Jerry Hairston Jr. made the winning run to place the Yankees up 2-0. In Game 5, they almost came close of making another come from behind win. The Yankees have so much fire and tenacity that they didn't even notice that Comeback wins is like just ordinary feat to them.
With the way that they are going, there's no team in baseball that can defeat them.
The New Yankee Stadium:
The Angels committed countless errors in the ALCS. Majority of which are encountered in the New Yankee Stadium.
I really don't know what made the Angels suddenly being afraid and tense to face the Yankees. Was it the Ghost that came from the old Yankee Stadium? Or the Antartic cold weather that freezes their Run and Gun style of play? Or the Yankees hostile crowd? (New Yorkers are pretty good at intimidating visiting teams). Or combination of the three? Either way, the New Yankee Stadium might bring back the glory days of the Yankees.
Alex Rodriguez is simply amazing!
In the ALCS alone, A-Rod produce .429 batting average, 6 RBI's, and 6 nerve breaking Home runs.
His presence alone intimidates the Angels pitchers. They simply don't know how to pitch to A-Rod. With feared sluggers Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada batting 3rd and 5th respectively, it gave A-Rod some protection. The Angels are clueless if A-Rod is at the plate.
Somehow, A-Rod's performance ignited his slugging team mates. Now the slugging batters from the ALDS like Damon, Tex, Cano, and Melky suddenly became alive in the ALCS and gave a spark to the Yankees offense.
Give credit to the Yankees who have won several World Series titles.
The Yankees' veterans Team Captain Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada gave some advice to their team mates on how to handle the pressure in playing in the play-offs. This gave them confidence and found a way not to be rattled in close games. They were able to produce in the clutch.
Indeed the New York Yankees are having a special year. Are they building another dynasty? It's to early to say.
For now let's us enjoy this fruitful moment. And let me be the first one to say congratulations on winning the ALCS. My hats off to you Yankees!
See this picture? What is the first thing that comes into your mind? Yes, you're right. World Series Champions! 3 of them has won four World Series rings in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000 (Only Posada has won 3 in 1998-2000). This 4 Yankee greats are at best in their positions and played consistently throughout their careers. They are pressure players and are known to excel in the post-season. They are tremendous leaders and great role models. Certainly the Yankees has truly find a worthy investment in these 4 Yankee gems. Here is a list on their contributions to the New York Yankees dynasty:
Jorge Posada (Catcher):
Yankees prized catcher. The switch hitting Posada is the only Major League catcher to ever have hit .330 or better with 40 doubles, 20 home runs, and 90 RBIs in a single season.
Since 2000, Posada had more RBI's, Home runs, and hits than any other catcher in baseball. Although Posada's catching skills is diminishing because of age, He is still dependable especially in the clutch. He is one of the most durable catcher in Major League Baseball.
Andy Pettitte (Starting Pitcher)
Through 2008, Pettitte is 10th among active major league players in win-loss percentage (.629); 8th in wins (215); and 10th in strikeouts (2,002).
He is also one of only three players that have pitched so far in the 2009 season with at least 200 wins, 2,000 strikeouts, and a winning percentage at or above .600.
Pettitte was the 2001 ALCS MVP and he has never had a losing season in Major League Baseball.
Pettitte has one of the best pick-off moves in the history of the game and owns tremendous movement on all his pitches, especially his cutter that moves in on righties.
Mariano Rivera (Closer)
Enter Sandman, Exit Opponents!
Known as the best closer in baseball history. Rivera has been effective by primarily throwing just one pitch, a sharp-breaking, mid-90s cut fastball that has been called an all-time great pitch. Rivera is a ten-time All Star, a five-time American League Rolaids Relief Man Award winner, and a three-time saves leader. He has recorded the second-most saves in Major League history. This year, he surpassed 500 career saves.
Nicknamed "Mo", Rivera is recognized as an exceptional post-season performer and holds Major League post-season records for saves and earned run average (ERA).
Rivera has 1999 World Series MVP Award, 2003 ALCS MVP Award, and 3 times DHL Deliver Man of the Year Award.
Derek Jeter (Shortstop)
The Yankees Team Captain. Captain Clutch is phenomenal in pressured games and has delivered when needed. Jeter's superb performance got a lot of awards:
- 3× Gold Glove Award winner (2004, 2005, 2006)
- 3× Silver Slugger Award winner (2006, 2007, 2008)
- 1996 AL Rookie of the Year Award
- 2000 World Series MVP Award
- 2000 Babe Ruth Award
- 2000 All-Star Game MVP
- 2006 AL Hank Aaron Award
Why have they been successful? Well they know what it takes to win. They know what it takes when it comes to taking care of their health and being on the field every day, being physically healthy year after year after year, taking care of their selves. These four players have had their fingerprints on every Yankees season for close to a decade and a half. (Pettitte did leave for three years, pitching for the Astros from 2004-06). These guys define the Yankees.
This year, A-Rod and CC Sabathia gave a big boost to the Yankees post-season games. But if the Yankees wants to grab their 27th World Series ring, they should rely on the Yankees 4 horsemen and let them bring the team to glory.
What's with the MLB Officiating nowadays? I know they are just human and are prone to commit mistakes but this has to stop at some point.
One of the questionable calls in Game 4 of the ALCS occurred in the fourth inning when the Yankees' Nick Swisher tagged up at third base and tried to score on a fly ball hit by Damon to center field Tori Hunter.
After Swisher crossed home plate, Hunter pointed for his team to appeal at third base on grounds that Swisher left the bag too early. Third-base umpire Tim McClelland agreed and the run was disallowed.
But television replays indicated that Swisher might have properly kept his foot on the bag until the ball landed in Hunter's glove.
According to Tori Hunter, Swisher was gone when he got the ball. In his peripheral vision he saw Swisher move.
But why should 3rd base umpire McClelland base his call on a appeal of an MLB player (and the opposing team at that). McClelland should make his call base on what he saw from his ground.
After the game, McClelland admitted he botches both calls at third. "I'm out there trying to do my job the best I can. Unfortunately, by instant replay, there were two missed calls," he said. But it hasn't just been one game. The Baseball play-offs this year have been riddled with questionable calls, and downright wrong ones by the umps.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL) has implemented instant replay. In fact in the NFL, Team Head Coach can challenge the call of the referee by checking on the replay. If the replay is according to what the Team head coach saw, then the referee stands corrected and he will automatically reversed the call in favor of the arguing team head coach. But if the replay shows that the call of the referee is right, the team head coach's team will be charge with a timeout. Meaning the team will have one less timeout. You see it works both ways. If the Referee makes a wrong call and was stand corrected base on instant replay, the league will take notice of that and will keep an eye on the performance of that referee. And at the same time the Team head coach gets penalized with a timeout for doubting the call of the referee.
It work wonders with the NFL. I don't see why we can't do it in MLB. Some people argue that implementing instant replays will slow down game. Well it might but it's better to see a slow game than a game that has a lot of lousy calls by the umpires. Do you agree?
Currently MLB only allows the use of instant replay to confirm that home runs were fair balls, or that they cleared the outfield wall. But the MLB should strongly consider allowing the umpires to check on their calls. People are losing faith nowadays and sometimes the wrong calls of the umpires causes fights and brawls. It's getting ugly and we need to use modern technology. It's not that the technology will take over the umpires. Technology is just there to help and guide the umpires. It's still the umpires who will make the call.Hope MLB is hearing me out on this.
Many have been asking if Joe Torre remained with the Yankees, will he get more wins than incumbent Yankee Manager Joe Girardi.
During Joe Torre's era with the Yankees (1996-2007), the Yankees reach the post-season each year and won ten American League East Division titles, six American League pennants, and four World Series titles. Torre presently ranks in MLB managerial wins (2,246 wins).
Torre's trademark is winning games. There is no doubt that Torre is a great manager but many people don't see that since Torre is accustomed to winning that somewhat his managerial and coaching skills have become predictable.
He doesn't play small ball that often and is not comfortable in manufacturing runs. Torre just rely on the power of his offense and suffers heavily if the offense is not there.
This might be the reason why Senior owner George Steinbrenner offered a lousy contract to Torre at the end of the 2007 season.
The Yankees need a new change, a new blood, a new era....
In comes Joe Girardi. Girardi's first managerial experience came with the Florida Marlins. Girardi guided the team into a surprising Wild Card contention (finishing with a 78-84 record) even though the team had the lowest payroll in MLB (around 14 million for 2006).
Joe Girardi was rewarded for his achievements with the Marlins in 2006 with the National League Manager of the Year Award and the Sporting News Manager of the Year Award for the National League.
Girardi also served the Yankees as their regular catcher from 1996-1999 and earning three World Series rings. Girardi caught Dwight Gooden's no hitter and caught David Cone's perfect game in 1999.
Girardi is also known as Jorge Posada's mentor and split their catching duties through 1999.
Girardi is the vice-versa of Torre. He is more of an up tempo kind of guy. Girardi wants his team to attack the bases aggressively. He likes to gamble. This year he has been lucky, his team is winning and is in the ALCS. But compared to Joe Torre, Girardi is still raw to post-season coaching. Girardi makes a lot of mistakes on late inning games by making wrong decisions. He has been criticized for miss-managing his bullpen and used a lot of pinch runners in late games. Sometimes it pays off sometimes it doesn't. But that is how Joe Girardi manages a team. You live with sword, you die with the sword.
Who do you think is a more suited to manage the Yankees? Joe Torre or Joe Girardi?
The Rally Monkey is an icon and an important figure of the LA Angels. Her role is to show up in the big video screen in the Angel Stadium and holds the banner "Rally Time". She bounces up and down to the House of Pain song "Jump Around". And in some unexplainable way, the Angels managed to come back from those games. The Rally Monkey was so effective that since her arrival on June of 2000, Katie, a white haired capuchin monkey, was hired by the Angels administration to star in original clips for later games.
What is this got to do with the Yankees? Although the Rally Monkey is not even close to shut down the Yankees offense, the monkey can get the crowd and the Angels pumped up. We don't want that. As much as possible shut down the Angel batters as early as possible. Easily said than done I know, but the Yankees should be aware that the Angels are capable of comeback games (Games 3, 4, and 5 if necessary will be at the Angels Stadium).
Through out the years, the Yankees have not been known to have a team mascot. They use to have a mascot named Dandy but he doesn't exist anymore. Mascots makes sense to a team that have few spectators. That doesn't apply to the Yankees (a team that won 26 World Series championships). Yankee fans don't come to view their mascot, they come to watch their team play.
How about Pie? Pie is not a mascot but a trophy or reward that the Yankee pitcher AJ Burnett gives to their winning team-mate. It became a habit whenever the Yankees had a walk-off win. They have 17 walk-off wins this year. 15 from the regular season and 2 from the post-season. That's a lot of pies. This is just to show how big the heart of the Yankees when it comes to winning games and coming from behind wins. The "Pie" will be a hot commodity not only this year but to the following years to come.
If the Angels are known for their running game and "Rally Time" from their prized monkey. The Yankees are proud to have a powerful team with a ton of homers and RBI's. Their specialty: Walk-off wins, Their prize: Pie.
So would you go for the energetic monkey or the famous pie?
Mr. Fantastic is a fictional comic character from Marvel's The Fantastic Four. As the leader of the group, Mr. Fantastic has the ability to stretch, expand, and elongate. He can stretch his limbs to incredible lengths.
In New York there is a realistic human being that has the capability to do what Mr. Fantastic does. His name is Mark Teixeira. The Yankees 1st baseman has been stretching his arms, limbs and legs just to get the opposing runners out in 1st base. That happened in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Angels. Tori Hunter bunted the ball of CC Sabathia's pitch just to have the opportunity to get to 1st base. CC managed to retrieve the ball and threw it to 1st base. The throw was a little wide but Mark Teixeira stretch his arms, legs and even toes to catch the ball and getting Tori Hunter out at 1st.
In Game 2, Teixeira used his super powers again by stretching and catching the balls thrown by Jeter, A-Rod, and Molina. Mind you, all of the the players I mentioned threw the ball to 1st off-line but somehow the former gold glover Teixeira managed to scoop the ball to save an error.
The Yankees infield defense dramatically improve since the arrival of Teixeira. Infield regulars like Rodriguez, Jeter, Cano and Posada has the confidence to throw the ball to 1st even if they knew that sometimes it's a wild throw. They know somehow Teixeira will use his stretching skills to catch it. Last season was different. The Yankees 1st baseman was Jason Giambi back then. There defense was not that exceptional because of Giambi's defensive liability.
Teixeira presence help the Yankees infielders to adjust their defensive positions because they know that Teixeira's range is wide. Teixeira sometimes stay a few meters away from 1st base, something Jason Giambi can't do, and given that he can take away the area what 2nd baseman Robinson Cano is guarding. Teixeira can guard the area at 1st and a some chunk of area at 2nd. Cano then can protect the middle infield. Jeter can help A-Rod at 3rd. It's a chain reaction and helps Girardi's team defense.
The good thing about Teixeira is his fantastic defensive plays at 1st rubs also his team mates. That is one of the reason why the Yankees are winning this season. Mr. Stretchy and his super gold glove.
Do you know why the Yankees are successful this year? It's their much improve bullpen.
On the start of the year, the Yankees envisioned their bullpen to heavily depend on their good old reliable closer Mariano Rivera. The question is who will set-up Rivera. On Opening Day, Brian Bruney, Jose Veras and lefty Damaso Marte were sharing set-up duty. Neither of the three set-up pitchers made an impact this season. All of sudden, Mariano Rivera is left alone in the bullpen with no back-up help.
Fortunately for the Yankees they added a new batch of youngsters eager to show their stuff in the league. Enter the likes of Mark Melancon, David Robertson, Alfredo Aceves, and lefty Phil Coke. Alfredo Aceves and Dave Robertson, who began the year in the minors, are multi-purpose relievers. Aceves can go long or work an inning; Robertson can go for a strikeout or work multiple innings. Coke began the season as the second lefty in the bullpen, but Marte got hurt. Phil Coke suddenly become their "only" lefty specialist.
But the most major impact to the Yankess bullpen this year is the insertion of Phil Hughes. Hughes opened the year in Triple-A, came up to start when Chien-Ming Wang struggled and went to the bullpen when Wang returned. By the time a rotation spot opened up again with Wang on the disabled list, Hughes had almost accidentally established himself as the eighth-inning alternative. The Yankees have found their set-up guy in Hughes. Phil Hughes amazingly fit in nicely as their set-up man.
And when the Yankees advanced to the ALDS, they have found and added another arm in their powerful bullpen: Joba Chamberlain.
Because of the increase innings that Joba had this season, his arm started to wear off at the end of the season. To keep any further damage and avoid any long term injury to their prize asset, the Yankees coaching staff place Joba in the bullpen. Girardi said that since the ALDS is a short series, he will only need 3 starting pitchers (Sabathia, Burnett, and Pettitte). Joba has no spot in the rotation. Joba went back to the bullpen and provided some spark like he used to do last season. Chamberlain has come out firing 95 mph fastballs right away -- something he wasn't able to do in the first inning as a starter.
Things become easy for the Yankees starting rotation knowing that the bullpen will back them up. In this year ALDS, None of the starters--Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte--finished the seventh inning. Sabathia threw 113 pitches, Burnett 95 pitches, and Pettitte just 81 pitches.
Indeed the Yankees bullpen has come along way this season!
The Yankees are strongly considering to start CC Sabathia 3 games in the ALCS if the series reach 7 games. With the four extra days before his next start, Sabathia will be fully rested for Game 1 on Friday night. He could take the ball in Game 4 next Tuesday (the 20th) on three days rest, and (with the extra off day in Los Angeles) still be available for a potential Game 7 on the normal four days in between starts.
Many people doubted if Sabathia can pitch Game 4 on short day rest. They would rather like to see Joba or Gaudin start in Game 4. But if you base it on history, CC Sabathia has pitch effectively on short rest. CC's final four starts of 2008 regular season with Milwaukee prove the critics that he can be effective. He went 2-2 with a 1.88 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 28.2 innings to drag the Brewers into the playoffs. But since the Brewers abused Sabathia's arm by stretching the Ace inning to 253 in the regular season, Sabathia lost steam in Game 2 of the NLDS. CC surrendered 5 runs in 2.3 innings, including a walk to the pitcher Brett Myers and a grand slam to Shane Victorino.
In New York it's a different story. The Yankees didn't abuse Sabathia's arm. The Yankees limited CC's innings to just 230 in the regular season. That's the advantage that the Yankees have. Their Ace pitcher is well rested and is capable to play in short day rest.
The Yankees are facing the LA Angels in the ALCS. A team who has mastered the skill of manufacturing runs. As much as possible, we dont' want to see any runners on base. That is where the Angels made their killing. They are a Run and Gun team. The main factor for defeating the Angels is Pitching. Don't put any Angels on base. And if you do that then we have a good chance in advancing to the World Series. These is the play-offs. There is no time to experiment by starting a pitcher like Joba and Gaudin. Go to your No. 1 guy, your stud, your ace. Every game in the post-season is important and if the Yankees have only 3 dependable starting pitchers to rely on then that is how they should play it.
Baseball isn't hockey. Baseball players do not need a day in between games during postseason play to heal the bumps and bruises of a non-contact sport. Extra days off interrupt the flow of momentum and focus, the two most important factors over a 162-game season. It ruins the game! Like I said these is the play-offs! No time for fooling around.
And besides Joba has proven himself in the ALDS that he belongs to the bullpen. Joba gives another weapon and is more effective as a reliever today than a starter. Gaudin can start but if the Yankees are up 3-0.
Start CC for 3, that's the key to winning and advancing to the World Series.
For those who knows the song "Johnny B. Goode" sang by Chuck Berry. The chorus of the song says Go Johnny Go Go! Well that is most of the Yankees supporters are cheering. Cheering Johnny Damon to go and perform. That seems not to be the case here.
Once known as an establish center fielder and among the premier lead-off hitters during his stay with Boston. Damon was batting .304, with 20 HR and 94 RBI's. Age is finally catching up with him. Although Damon has a good year so far (.282 AVE, 24 HR, 82 RBI), his performance in the ALDS against Minnesota was horrible. Damon's performance went down to .083 batting AVE (just hitting 1 of his 12 at bats). No home runs, no RBI and not even a single base stolen. The only thing Damon has is his 4 strike outs against the Twins. That's bad coming from a player in the 2 hole. Where did Johnny go? We need him especially now that we are facing the Angels in the ALCS.
What is on the mind of the Yankees coaching staff? What are they up to? Is it wise to insert Brett Gardner instead and let Damon pinch run in the late innings if Damon's production is zip? Or do we have to trust our instincts and believe that the veteran left fielder will come out of his slump and will shine in the following games in the post-season? Should we insert another batter in the 2 hole like Cano or Melky? So many questions and predictions. Assumptions and observations. Only time will tell.
What we know so far is we are not getting production from our 2 hole. Something that needs to be improve on. The only production the Yankees are getting production are from their lead-off hitter (Derek Jeter) and the heart of the line-up (Tex, A-Rod, Matsui and Posada).
If Damon continue to decline, there is a big chance that the Yankees might not sign him in the off-season. Damon is Scott Boras' client. Meaning they will demand the Yankees to sign Damon a bigger contract. And with age factor, Boras will also demand a longer contract (3-4 years) before Johnny retires. That is something the Yankees won't do. The Yankees are looking for 1-2 years contract and half the pay which Damon is receiving now (13 million).
Johnny Damon better shape up. Be more aggressive at the plate, steal some bases, and put some element of surprise like bunting. Damon still has some speed behind his old wheels.
Go Johnny Go!
Yankee Manager Joe Girardi has really evolve into a great coach. You could clearly notice Girardi's good decision making in game 2 of the ALDS.
Fact No. 1 : Burnett-Molina Battery
Yankee fans ignited in anger when they heard the news that Girardi is starting back-up catcher Jose Molina to catch for AJ Burnett. The fans know that Molina is not hitting and they want Posada's post-season experience and his batting prowess. But being a former catcher, Girardi knows very well that pitchers need to have a comfort zone and rhythm to perform well. Burnett is performing better with Molina as his battery mate. And Girardi knows in order to win game 2, Burnett has to be effective. The result, Burnett gave New York 6 innings with 1 earned run. Not bad! Would you imagine what it would be like if Posada is catching Burnett?
Fact No. 2: Not starting Brett Gardner
Again many Yankee fans are demanding to let Gardner start in center field since the speedster has so much to offer than Melky Cabrera. Gardner's speed can be an asset through 9 innings offensive and defensive wise. But Joe Girardi knows how valuable pinch running is in late games. The result, Gardner came in to pinch run for Posada. Gardner stole a base and almost scored a run if only Damon was able to hit the ball to the outfield. Gardner is good in creating havoc by stealing base and hustling. Another good call by Girardi.
Fact No. 3: Having 3 catchers on the ALDS roster
What? 3 catchers? Yes, that is also my first response. But if you really analyze the Yankees strength and weakness, having a 3rd catcher might come in handy. Girardi choose to have 3rd back-up catcher Francisco Cervelli in the play-off roster than having a 2nd pinch runner like Freddy Guzman or another arm in the bullpen. The result, when Burnett was relieved in the 6th inning, the services of Molina is no longer needed. Posada substituted for Molina for offensive purposes. And when Posada was able to hit on the 10th inning, pinch runner Gardner replace Posada for a potential to score a run. The Yankees won't have that kind of a luxury without having a 3rd back-up catcher. A brilliant choice for Girardi in placing another catcher in the play-off roster.
Fact No. 4: Joba in the bullpen
Most people say that Joba is done! His season is finished. Let Chamberlain rest his arm and prepare him for next season. But wait! Girardi has a few magic tricks under his sleeves. Girardi manage to still use Joba's services by putting him in the bullpen. Girardi's plan is to use Joba for one inning per game in order not to abuse his arm and save it for next season. And to help the other guys in the bullpen to bridge to gap to Mariano Rivera. The result, a superb performance from Joba in games 1 and 2 of the ALDS. Having Joba in the bullpen gave the opposing batters another intimidating presence. Brilliant tactical move by Girardi.
What else are in store for Girardi in the following games? Watch and learn!
With Alex Rodriguez strong performance in games 1 & 2 of the ALDS. Some people are wondering what is the reason that broke A-Rod's post-season slump (0-19 with RISP, just 2 hits and 2 RBI). Was it A-Rod has fully recovered from his injury? Or the protection he's getting from Mark Teixeira batting in front of him? Or the admission to steroid use before this season that cleared his conscience? Or was it that A-Rod's girlfriend, Kate Hudson, is sitting in the stands cheering him?
What do you think?
Offense vs Defense! Jorge Posada or Jose Molina? Normally your first instinct is to go to Posada. And why not, Posada brings play-offs experience and instant offense to the Yankees. Posada is the only Major League catcher to ever have hit .330 or better with 40 doubles, 20 home runs, and 90 RBIs in a single season. Jorge Posada is a legitimate switch-hitting power hitter and in the clutch, he's money at the plate.
Sorry to disappoint you but Jose Molina is starting. Why?
REASON NO. 1 : Statistics don't lie!
Let's look at the statistics of Burnett when Posada is behind the plate:
- In 16 starts throwing to Posada, Burnett held opposing batters to a .270 average, going 5-5 with a 4.96 ERA in those games.
- In 11 starts with Molina, Burnett held opposing batters to only .221 average, going 5-2 with 3.28 ERA in those games.
During the season, Jose Molina spent most of his time on the bench. That gave him a great amount of time to talk to the pitching starting staff. Molina jokes with them, ask them their likes and dislikes, and knowing where they are comfortable with. It just happen Burnett and Molina started to click. They were able to build trust. Through consistency of playing together as battery mates they were able to get a rhythm that generated good outcome.
REASON NO. 3: "DEFENSE!"
Remember what happened in game 1 of the ALDS? Posada has two past ball that made Yankee Manager Joe Girardi worried. Errors should must be maintain to a minimum especially in the post-season. There is no debate here that Molina is a defensive upgrade. Not only does Molina catches better but he is also good in throwing out runners. A technique where the Twins want to take advantage of. The Twins plays small ball to compensate their lack of offense at the bottom of the order. With Molina behind the plate, the Twins will think twice before they run.
It's a big gutsy move on the part of the Yankee Manager Joe Girardi. Losing Posada's bat and if Burnett doesn't pitch well, Girardi will face scrutiny. But Girardi, who was the personal catcher for both Andy Pettitte and David Cone in the 1998 post-season, knows very well that in order to win games you should know where their players strength are. Burnett is much of a better pitcher with Molina as his battery mate.
During the 1998 season, Girardi only hit .238 but he managed to win 5 games and capturing the World Series crown. The pitchers that he used to catch (Pettitte and Cone) performed well during those games.
It's not like we are not going to see Posada in the entire game. Posada can replace Molina when Burnett is relieved of duty. Yes, the Yankees will miss Posada's offense. But that is only on 6-7 innings span. We have to make a gamble at some point. Do you want Posada in the line-up and Burnett having 5 earned runs in 6 innings, or with Molina hitting 0-4 but gaving Burnett 7-8 good innings with 1 run? All Burnett has to do is to keep the runs low for 6-7 innings and let Hughes-Rivera combination close it out.
We just have to trust the rest of the line-up to produce while Posada is out for 6-7 innings. With the line-up that the Yankees have, losing Posada is not so bad. Everybody in the Yankees batting order can hit. That's our advantage.
It's the defense that we need to give attention to. Defense wins championships! Keep the opponents offense at bay. Offense will follow.
Brian Duensing, LHP
According to mlb.com The Twins will put the rookie left-hander on the hill to start Game 1 against the Yankees. Duensing, who spent the early part of the season pitching for Triple-A Rochester, has made just nine Major League starts. After being moved into the rotation in on Aug. 22, Duensing has put up an impressive 5-1 record with a 2.59 ERA in nine games. The only time he has faced the Yankees in his career was in a relief role back in early July, in which he gave up four earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.
How to beat him?
Get his pitch count up and stack our line-up with right handed and switch hitting batters. Here is starting line-up:
1.) Derek Jeter (bats right)
2.) Johnny Damon (bats left)
3.) Mark Teixeira (switch hitter)
4.) Alex Rodriguez (bats right)
5.) Hideki Matsui (bats left) (good in hitting left-handed pitchers)
6.) Jorge Posada (switch hitter)
7.) Nick Swisher (switch hitter)
8.) Robinson Cano (bats left)
9.) Melky Cabrera (switch hitter)
2 right handed hitters and 4 switch hitters. 3 left handed batters that can hit.
One way or the other, Twins pitcher Duensing will fold. Either by the pressure of the play-offs or the strength of the Yankees line-up where there are no holes and everybody can produce. Just be smart and be patient and wait for a good pitch.
Let's make a Fantasy Award for MLB through the season. You can make a comment on who should be the right man for the award.
Yankees - Mark Teixeira:
A though choice with Derek Jeter not far behind. Other consideration are Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia. Especially CC Sabathia, who's having another Cy Young season.
Why Mark Teixeira? Well he led the league in both home runs and RBI and finished second in OPS+. His glove at 1B also improved the overall play of the infield defense. Offense and Defense. It's hard to find an over-all player like that.
American League - Joe Mauer (Twins):
A catcher who has a batting average of .365 and has 28 HR and 96 RBI. Did i mention that Mauer is the best catcher in baseball today. If only the Twins has strong line-up and a good rotation, they would be prime candidate to win the World Series.
National League - Albert Pujols (Cardinals):
The best pound for pound player in the National League. Pujols, year after year, is a monster, and after 9 prolific seasons in the league I think there's enough to go on to classify him as an all time elite hitter. Pujols finished the season with a Major League leading 188 OPS+, and while that would likely stand out as a career year for most any other player, it's just another season for Pujols. He also led the Majors with 47 homeruns, and finished 3rd in the NL in both RBI and batting average.
Yankees - C.C. Sabathia:
Between Sabathia and Rivera, i would go for Sabathia. It's tough to compare a starter to a closer. With only 1 inning pitch by a closer compared to 6-8 innings pitch by a starter. I should say the award should go to a starter. Sabathia, after a shaky start, was as good as advertised - an ace and workhorse at the top of the rotation. He tied for the league lead in wins, finished sixth in ERA+ at 133, and fourth in IP with 230. There is probably some concern out there about how he'll perform in the postseason given his past struggles, but unlike with his prior teams, the Yankees haven't overworked Sabathia down the stretch just to make the postseason.
American League - Zack Greinke (Royals):
No debate here! With King Felix, Verlander and Yankee Sabathia as prime candidates for AL Cy Young award. With the way Greinke pitched, how many wins do you think he would have had with the Yankees offense and bullpen behind him? Greinke was clearly the best pitcher in the league this year and he shouldn't be denied his due because he was on a lousy team. His 203 ERA+ is an absurd, all time great number (15th best since the live ball era began in 1920), he also led the league in WHIP, while his 242 Ks were second in the league, and his 229 IP good for fifth. Greinke is also just 25, so the best could be yet to come.
National League - Adam Wainwright (Cardinals):
Another tough race, and the most impressive thing is that for the most part, the candidate pool is dotted with young pitchers who should only get better. Chris Carpenter is the exception to this, and while he did lead the league in ERA+, the fact that he didn't top 200 IP is what holds him back in this close race. Incumbent winner, Tim Lincecum is also up there, but unlike Greinke, Lincecum, while great, didn't distance himself from a tight pack to make his 15 wins largely irrelevant. Wainwright gets the nod for leading the league in IP and wins, while finishing fourth in strikeouts and ERA+ (158) - a dominant workhorse for sure.
Rookie of the Year
Yankees - David Robertson:
He came, he sought, he conquered! Except with the recent injury Robertson stands out compared to other Yankee rookies. With David Robertson, he helped transform a strong and reliable bullpen for the Yankees. Robertson was a impact out of the pen, able to pitch effectively in most any situation, and thus give Joe Girardi a lot of flexibility and stability.
American League - Rick Porcello (Tigers):
Porcello, a local product (Seton Hall Prep) was the youngest player in the league this year, and was good enough to qualify as a reliable third starter on most teams. He finished with 14 wins, 165 IP, and a 113 ERA+. Figure if he can do this at 20, imagine how good he'll be at 25. Also, to illustrate how close this is.
National League - J.A. Happ (Phillies):
At a time when the Phillies were struggling to solidfy their rotation, Happ emerged and provided much needed stability. He finished the year with an impressive 146 ERA+ in 166 IP, a very respectable 1.235 ERA, and won 12 games along the way.
Manager of the Year
American League - Joe Girardi:
Being to able to manage his players and giving rest to aging players like Matsui and Posada. Knowing his players strength. Like assigning Jose Molina to be Burnett's cacther. So with no obvious choice, I'll go with the guy who turned a team that was struggling early in the season into the most dominant in baseball by season's end. True, it's a easier when you have the Yankees payroll behind you, but the Yankees finished the regular season as unquestionably the best team, 6 wins better than anyone else in baseball and almost 30 runs better in run differential than any other team in the AL. The team had decided issues early in the year but Girardi found a way to solidify most every area and bring needed balance to the team's approach.
National League - Jim Tracy (Rockies):
Tracy wasn't there for the whole season, but he took over a team that was 10 games under .500 after 46 games, and led it to the postseason, even almost catching the once seemingly insurmountable lead of the Dodgers.
Yankees - Jorge Posada:
Who taught that an aging catcher can perform well this season coming from a shoulder injury. I'll go with Posada who had a typically strong year despite entering the season with a host of questions surrounding age, injury, and position. If there's been an underrated Yankee over the last decade, it's been Posada, whose production and leadership as a catcher have enormous value.
American League - Jorge Posada (Yankees):
I don't think many people would have thought realistically that Posada could come back from his injury and at his age catch 100 games, post a 130 OPS+, and even throw out a respectable percentage of base runners.
National League - Chris Carpenter (Cardinals):
This may be the easiest selection of all - Carpenter missed virtually all of the last two seasons, pitching just 21.1 innings combined, but he's returned this year without missing a beat, incredibly leading the NL with a 185 ERA+.
That's my choice! What's yours?
Take your pick. Would you go for the base stealer Brett Gardner or the strong defensive arm of Melky Cabrera? They have their pros and cons. Let's analyze their skills and you decide who will start in center field at ALDS.
.270 AVE/3 HR/23 RBI/26 SB
- Has tremendous speed. He is an adept base stealer and has solid baserunning instincts. He's good at picking spots and knowing when it's more valuable to the team to steal a base or to distract the opposing pitcher.
- Gardner covers a lot of grounds in center field and has an average throwing arm.
- He has outstanding plate discipline, draws a good number of walks, and uses the whole field while making consistent hard contact.
- A valuable asset when his on base.
- An exciting player. Always hustles and creates havoc to opponents.
.274 AVE/13 HR/68 RBI/10 SB
- An outstanding defensive center fielder. Has a powerful throwing arm.
- Switch hitter but has average power and speed
- Known for his 3 walk-off wins early in the season. Can be a clutch player in the post-season.
I posted a recent article that A-Rod might have problems coming in the post-season because of recent rumors that his girlfriend, Kate Hudson, is pregnant. I specifically wrote in my post that Rodriguez must ignore any issues that are not related to baseball and the ALDS. Just focus on the game. And guess what happens the following day....
Alex Rodriguez belted a three-run homer and a grand slam in a single inning. Wow!!!!
That incredible performance gave the Bombers a 10-2 victory over the Rays in the regular-season finale. And to top it all of, A-Rod reached a special achievement. Rodriguez's 30th home run of the season made him the first AL player to have seven RBIs in a single inning. The only other Major Leaguer to have seven or more RBIs was Fernando Tatis, who hit two grand slams as a member of the Cardinals to collect eight RBIs in the third inning on April 23, 1999.
The two shots gave Rodriguez 30 homers and an even 100 RBIs to close out a season in which he missed 28 games before coming back from right hip surgery. Rodriguez's two homers and seven RBIs confirmed that 2009 would be his 13th season of compiling 30 homers and 100 RBIs, giving him a new Major League record and breaking a tie for 12 seasons with Manny Ramirez and Jimmie Foxx.
Joe Girardi has improved a lot since last year. He managed to minimize the team injuries by giving some time off to their prize but aging veterans. He adjusted his once-rigid style accordingly. Now it seems he continues to evolve, perhaps ready to make any move necessary to win in the post-season. He has learned to accept the fact that Joba belongs to the bullpen (at least at the ALDS). Chamberlain can still be an important weapon in the play-offs. Joba can help guys like Hughes and Robertson to bridge the gap to Mariano Rivera. There are strong indications that Girardi will have Jose Molina, rather than Jorge Posada, catch A.J. Burnett in ALDS, a potentially crucial move if it keeps Burnett's head in the right place. Girardi knows that Burnett is much effective when Molina is behind the plate. And he might give Molina the nod to start in game 2 or 3 in ALDS. If that what it takes to give Burnett a 7-8 good innings, so be it. Girardi also knows how to spot an opponent weakness. Remember the game when the Yankess stole a lot of bases against the Red Sox. They know that the Red Sox's catchers are bad when throwing out runners. The Yanks capitalize and managed to produce some rus. Come play-off time. Let's watch what Joe Girardi has under his sleeves.
Joe Girardi has improved a lot since last year. He managed to minimize the team injuries by giving some time off to their prize but aging veterans. He adjusted his once-rigid style accordingly. Now it seems he continues to evolve, perhaps ready to make any move necessary to win in the post-season.
He has learned to accept the fact that Joba belongs to the bullpen (at least at the ALDS). Chamberlain can still be an important weapon in the play-offs. Joba can help guys like Hughes and Robertson to bridge the gap to Mariano Rivera.
There are strong indications that Girardi will have Jose Molina, rather than Jorge Posada, catch A.J. Burnett in ALDS, a potentially crucial move if it keeps Burnett's head in the right place. Girardi knows that Burnett is much effective when Molina is behind the plate. And he might give Molina the nod to start in game 2 or 3 in ALDS. If that what it takes to give Burnett a 7-8 good innings, so be it.
Girardi also knows how to spot an opponent weakness. Remember the game when the Yankess stole a lot of bases against the Red Sox. They know that the Red Sox's catchers are bad when throwing out runners. The Yanks capitalize and managed to produce some rus.
Come play-off time. Let's watch what Joe Girardi has under his sleeves.
The CEO of the company is a leader. The Buck stops here. In baseball, the Boss appearance and support to the club is very inspirational. That's what Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner did. On the last game of the Yankee season, Steinbrenner dropped in with a few words of motivation for his play-off bound team. He spent an hour with the club.
Girardi said that after Tuesday's game, Steinbrenner arranged a team party at a New York steakhouse, which the players appreciated. Girardi summarized Steinbrenner's message to the team as: "Just keep going -- keep doing what we're doing."
Steinbrenner is not expected to travel to New York for the ALDS, but he will likely be in attendance for selected games if the Yankees advance to the ALCS.
Hal Steinbrenner stated earlier this week that his father is planning to be present if the World Series is played in the Bronx.
"That's the plan, particularly if -- and when, I should say -- we make it to the World Series," Hal Steinbrenner said recently. "He'll absolutely be here."
When entering the play-offs, each member of the team should make some sacrifices. Time with the family will be reduced. Social life will be a thing of the past...and relationship will have to take a back seat for the mean time.
Tell that to A-Rod and find out what he has to say. Rumors are swirling in that his girlfriend, actress Kate Hudson, is pregnant. Perfect timing i know... but being a professional athlete Alex Rodriguez is, this issue (either the rumors are true or not) should not be at any matter be a disturbance.
I will give you one scenario in the past. This happened last October 18, 2007. Game 5 of the ALCS between the Red Sox and Indians. Josh Beckett was the starting pitcher for Boston in that game. Country singer Danielle Peck, rumored girlfriend of Beckett, was invited by the Cleveland Indians to sing the National Anthem. Red Sox fans theorized that her invitation was an attempt by the Indians organization to distract Beckett. Although the Indians denied this claim, it did not seem to affect Beckett, as he beat the Indians with 8 innings pitched and 11 strikeouts.
In a postgame interview with Beckett, when asked if he was affected by Peck's presence, Beckett replied "I don't get paid to make those decisions...She's a friend of mine. It doesn't bother me at all. Thanks for flyin' one of my friends to the game so she could watch it for free." You could feel the fire in Beckett's response. It didn't bother him at all. Eventually, the Red Sox won the series and won the World Series in that same year.
My point is Professional athlete should leave their problems and distractions behind when they are in the game. Most especially when the are in the post-season. They are being paid to perform and that's what they should do.
Going back to A-Rod, as the seasons change and it gets cold on the East Coast, this is when the heat is intensely on Alex Rodriguez. He spends summers knocking the snot out of pitchers but in October falls flat on his face. If the New York Yankees are to avoid another postseason bust, Rodriguez needs a breakout October in the Bronx. It's not all on him, of course, but it's time. He's overdue, and so are the Yankees.
In able to support the demand and the increase number of tickets buyers in the play-offs. The New York Yankees will install 60 cafe seats on the field level and sell 200 standing room places on the field and main levels. The cafe seats will cost $81 for the division series and $131 for the league championship series, and standing places will go for $30 and $25 in the first round and $64 and $48 in the second round.
That's good news for all Yankee fans out there. Their is a possibility that we might experienced the Yankees finally winning the World Series championship.
Post-season has arrived. Games in the play-offs will be more tense and exciting. Coaching staff will busy scouting opponents strengths and weakness. Players will be pressured to produce and perform better than what is expected of them.
But one thing that every team or organization in baseball forget that the game is suppose to be fun and not purely business. Every team must have that kind of mentality to ease away the pressure in the play-offs. Just think like your a kid playing baseball in the park.
Look at Nick Swisher for example. Why is he a vital part of the Yankees lineup. He is just an average hitter and average fielder, but he brings something different to the team. Swisher brings a good attitude. It seemed that in the past couple of seasons the Yankees were not having fun and everything was tense. Listening to Nick Swisher in postgame interviews leads me to believe he lightens up the atmosphere around the clubhouse. He seems like the type of player that could keep the team in high spirits if they happen to lose one or two games to open a series.
These are the things that we don't normally see or is to attached on watching baseball stats and numbers. Have fun out there! It will rub-off your team-mates and your team. Winning games is easy when the team's mood is relaxed and poised.
Do you know that Robinson Cano is struggling with runners in scoring position. That doesn't sound really good isn't it? Especially going to the post-season. Cano is only hitting .208 (38-for-183) with RISP, compared with .350 (164-for-468) in all other situations.
"Every time I'm in that situation, I just think, 'C'mon, Cano, just do your thing,' " Cano said. "I don't remember if I'm in a slump. I just go by the at-bat and forget about what happened the last game."
But who cares about the fact that Cano is struggling with RISP. He had a good turn-around season this year. The Yankees 2nd base man is evolving into a consistent power threat. Cano has 25 homers and and 85 RBI's. His batting average is up at .322. Give credit to Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. Long went to Cano's hometown in the Dominican Republic during the off-season to develop Cano's batting stance and swings.
I am pretty sure that the Yankees coaching staff are finding ways on how to improve Cano's hitting with RISP going in the play-offs. Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best. That's Robinson Cano dont' you know!
David Robertson or what we come to known as "D-Rob". Robertson has given the Yankees another reputable and reliable arm in their bullpen, which by the way is having a strong performance this season. It seems that Robertson is an automatic assurance in their post-season roster spot. But he got injured last Sept.5 (elbow stiffness). Will he ever play in the play-offs? Yankee Manager Girardi is confident that he will play. Robertson is back in the line-up and his last outing against the Royals shows no sign of pain in his elbow and there is a possibility that he could make the roster.
Here is Joe Girardi's comments:
- "In bullpen situations, you want guys that have the ability to strike guys out when they come in during the middle innings with guys on base,"
- "He definitely has that, and that's an important piece of the puzzle".
This are Robertson's quotes:
- "The elbow felt great, I didn't have any problems at all warming up. It felt really good. It felt just like normal. And then once I got out of the game, it felt the exact same. It felt like it was a month ago."
Though Robertson's inclusion on the postseason roster is no guarantee, another strong outing on Friday against the Rays in St. Petersburg could solidify his case. Currently, Robertson, Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte, Alfredo Aceves and Chad Gaudin are all in contention for what appears to be three open spots in a seven-man American League Division Series bullpen.
Robertson, easily the best strikeout artist of the bunch if he's healthy, would seem to have an early advantage based on those merits.
Let's just hope D-Rob remains healthy. We're gonna need him come play-off time.