October 30, 2010

Inside the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory [Photos]

(Yes, I am in Louisville, Ky., right now. And yes, the coolest part about the city is the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.)

For starters…
Ruth Louisville   Gehrig Louisville
Those are Babe Ruth’s and Lou Gehrig’s plaques side by side.

louisville slugger museumHere’s me outside of the museum with what I’m assuming is the biggest Louisville Slugger bat in existence.
Swisher WishesI wasn’t expecting to see this, but this was a nice tribute to one of Nick Swisher’s charities.
 Jeter Mom Louisville   ARod Louisville
The Slugger on the left is one Derek Jeter got for his mother Dorothy (raised money for breast cancer research) and on the right is an authentic Alex Rodriguez bat. 
holding babe ruth batLastly, here’s a picture of me posing with a Ruth prototype.

Unfortunately the tour guide — who was hilarious — didn’t let us take photos of the factory’s machinery because there are at least 30 other bat making companies.

Some fun facts about the factory:

  • Making a bat with a wooden lathe takes a professional craftsman 30 minutes to make a professional bat.
  • A CNC lathe can turn a bat in 30 seconds and is laser accurate.
  • Louisville Slugger charges around $50 for ash bats and $83 for maple bats.
  • There are nine approved finishes for bats, one of which is named after Tony Gwynn. Another well-known finish is called “Hornsby” for Rogers Hornsby.

Sorry for the slow posting lately, but I hope you find my excuse valid. I’ve been in Louisville since Wednesday attending a national media convention with other members of student media at Quinnipiac University.

Sadly, the hosting hotel for the convention wasn’t prepared for a thousand young journalists to be using the Web at the same time and it’s been incredibly hard to access the Internet. I’m returning to school (and full Internet access) Sunday so you can expect my regular posting schedule to continue. Thanks for bearing with me!

October 28, 2010

Girardi re-signed, well that was fast

It didn’t take long for Brian Cashman to re-sign Yankees manager Joe Girardi to a three-year, $9 million contract. Definitely a good call by Cash to figure out the manager situation first. LoHud has a nice post up on what worked and didn’t work for Girardi in 2010.

But now it’s time to focus on re-signing the old, homegrown talent.

Contract Predictions for the big three:

Derek Jeter: Three years, $54 million
Mariano Rivera: Three years, $40 million
Andy Pettitte: One year, $10 million

Speaking of predictions… I haven’t forgotten about my preseason predictions. I’m waiting for some of the last end-of-the-year awards to release and then I’ll write a post.

October 27, 2010

Post: Sabathia to undergo knee surgery

Bad, but not terrible news for Yankees fans.

CC Sabathia was diagnosed with a minor meniscus tear of the right knee that will require surgery, The Post has learned.

The NY Post is reporting he’ll need just three weeks to fully recover from the surgery, leaving him plenty of time to get ready for spring training.

Still, the news is somewhat troubling because we rarely hear injury news surrounding Sabathia. Only once in his 10-year career has he started less than 30 games. In the past four seasons he’s started at least 34 games. He’s definitely one of the most durable pitchers in the game.

Will this affect how hard the Yankees go after Cliff Lee? Probably not.

Joba Featured Yankee Card of the Week

This could be the last chance I have to post this card of Joba Chamberlain as a Yankee. The first order of business seems to be re-signing Joe Girardi, who Jon Heyman expects to be signed to a three-year, $9 million deal.

Many fans have suggested Chamberlain should be traded this offseason. I am one of them.

October 25, 2010

Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland not coming back next year

Brian Cashman today announced Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland will not return to the club next year.

“It has nothing to do with what took place in the playoffs,” Cashman said.

Cashman said the decision is not based on performance. He labeled the reason as “private.”

“It was my decision,” Cashman said.

That was a shock. Cashman seemed to contradict himself a little when he said it was “not based on performance” but “it was my decision.” So why else, they didn’t get along personally? I doubt it, but I don’t think we’ll ever get to the bottom of this.

Either way it’s time to move on. Scranton Yankees beat Donnie Collins has already done so, noting Dave Duncan just re-signed with the Cardinals today.

Potential replacements? Well, I guess Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitching coach Scott Aldred — who has done a nice job here — should get some consideration. But I’m guessing this will be an outside-the-organization hire. Whoever comes in is going to have to work with some of the young guys, get Phil Hughes to the next level and get something out of Joba Chamberlain. Maybe the biggest name floating out there right now is ex-A’s pitching coach Curt Young, who turned down a contract offer from Oakland to pursue other opportunities over the weekend.

I’m not exactly an encyclopedia of pitching coaches, so Collins’ guess is as good as mine. If I had to guess, maybe an ex-Yankee pitcher like El Duque? Irabu?

(Just kidding.)

Yanks-Rangers ALCS sets record TV ratings

Via Sports Newser:

Game 6 of the American League Championship Series delivered a 7.2 U.S. household rating and 11.9 million viewers, making it the most watched Major League Baseball game of the 2010 season.

Rangers-Yankees was also the second most watched program in the 34-year history of TBS, finishing behind Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS between Boston and Tampa Bay (7.9/13.4).

The 2010 ALCS was the most watched LCS in the network’s history, averaging a 5.1 U.S. rating and more than 8.2 million total viewers.

Congrats to TBS, I guess. I’m so happy the Yankees could help the network even though they lost…

Poll Results: Girardi to return as manager

poll results45My latest poll was pretty much answered mid-week when the Cubs announced their manager for 2011 and the Yankees said they “absolutely” want Joe Girardi back in pinstripes.

Jon Heyman even reported Girardi will likely receive a raise. Here’s a critique on Girardi from the Post’s Joel Sherman.

I’m not really content with Girardi at the helm, but I’m not sure who’s a better option out there. I’d say there’s a 90 percent chance Girardi’s back next year.

OK, so for the first poll of the offseason I’d like to draw the attention back to the 2011 lineup.

Poll: Where should Cano hit in the lineup?

(Feel free to include an explanation in the comments after you vote; this is a highly debated topic among fans.)

I apologize for that unnecessary reminder


This was a nice little widget I kept on my blog’s right sidebar for the second half of the season, but I’m sorry for keeping it stationed on the site all throughout the playoffs. Kind of unnecessary during the playoffs, don’t you think?

October 24, 2010

158 days until Yankees Opening Day

I missed yesterday, but there are exactly 158 days until Opening Day 2011, when the Yankees host the Tigers.

October 23, 2010

2011 Yankees lineup projection, take 1

I know it’s early, but here’s what I have in mind at this point for the 2011 Yankees lineup:

1. Brett Gardner LF
2. Curtis Granderson CF
3. Robinson Cano 2B
4. Alex Rodriguez 3B
5. Mark Teixeira 1B
6. Adam Dunn DH
7. Derek Jeter SS
8. Nick Swisher RF
9. Jorge Posada C

I know, I know, Jeter hitting seventh looks terrible. But it’s going to happen at some point, so why not start after the worst year of his career? I think he has a chance to work his way back into the leadoff spot, but Gardner proved he has a lot of qualities of a great leadoff hitter in 2010: speed, patience and OBP.

October 22, 2010

Rangers finish off 2010 Yankees

The Rangers have eliminated the Yankees from the playoffs. It was fun while it lasted, but a World Series repeat just wasn’t meant to be.

Props to Colby Lewis and Cliff Lee for pitching lights out baseball this series. Lewis dominated for eight innings tonight, allowing just three hits and one run in a 6-1 victory.

While watching the Rangers celebrate in Texas I actually feel good for them. They hadn’t even won a playoff series before beating the Rays in the ALDS. I’ll be rooting for them in the World Series, even if it’s against the Giants.

Even though we’re all in a bad mood tonight, I just want to say thank you to all of my followers this year. It really means a lot. I had fun this year, and I hope everyone will continue reading my Yankees coverage and analysis this offseason. Thanks again everybody!

Yankeeist: Texas’ success with two strikes

Larry Koestler of Yankeeist posted a great analysis today on how the Rangers have been successful against the Yankees when hitting with two strikes. Here’s an enticing excerpt:

But the biggest eye-opener here is Texas' overall batting line with two strikes. The American League overall hit .181/.251/.275 with two strikes in the count in 2010. Texas is hitting a ridiculous .251/.298/.392 with two strikes! While they did hit .201/.263/.293 in those situations during the season, they've clearly been dramatically overperforming all series.

Be sure to check out the post for his full analysis.

Oh by the way, Game 6 is tonight at 8 p.m.! Here are the lineups; Lance Berkman is hitting fifth and Phil Hughes is on the hill. Plus: CC Sabathia is available for “anything.”

Heyman: Yankees will bring back Girardi

Via Jon Heyman:

The Yankees plan to bring back manager Joe Girardi at a raise, no matter what some fans may say about his reliance on his ever-present binder.

This is when we wait for the Yankees beat reporters to see if Girardi has been told the team plans to bring him back.

My guess is he’ll say the team hasn’t told him anything, but I still do believe Heyman’s report. The Cubs already picked Mike Quade as next year’s manager, which is where some thought Girardi might land. The Dodgers are committed to Don Mattingly, who I thought may take over for Girardi. There aren’t many other options.

I’ll keep you posted if anything gets confirmed or denied.

October 21, 2010

Some entertainment for a slow news day

Not a lot happened today in Yankeeland outside of the Kerry Wood deal going official, finally.

For some Thursday night entertainment, here’s the Avis commercial that every fan in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry loves.

Gets me every time.

Pondering the 2011 Yankees lineup [Twitter]

With Mark Teixeira shelved for the year, Robinson Cano has taken over as the No. 3 hitter for the few remaining games. It got me thinking, why doesn’t he do that all the time next year? So I asked my Twitter followers…
twitter cano lineup Thanks for all the responses everyone! This seems to be a highly debatable topic; but for the record, that’s four saying keep Cano batting fifth, two hinting at Cano batting fourth, and one for Cano hitting third.

For those not following me on Twitter, please leave your 2011 lineup ideas in the comments!

October 20, 2010

Granderson fuels Game 5 win, Yanks headed back to Texas trailing 3-2

Now this series just got a little more interesting. Curtis Granderson kept the second-inning rally going with an RBI single and then homered in the eighth to lead the Yankees to a 7-2 victory in Game 5. Now the series heads back to Texas for the two remaining games (if necessary).

Best of All: Granderson rode his hot September into October and is still hot. He was clearly the unofficial ALDS MVP and now he’s challenging Robinson Cano (he homered again today) for the ALCS MVP (that is, if the Yankees win).

CC Sabathia turned in a much better start than he did in Game 1, earning the victory on six innings pitched. He allowed 11 hits but worked out of trouble thanks to seven strikeouts and a couple of double plays.

Worst of All: Marcus Thames, Lance Berkman and Brett Gardner were hitless, but that’s about it.

Let’s count Girardi’s mistakes last night

Before last night’s game, A.J. Burnett was the sure bet to be the player to blame for the loss. Now that everyone’s had a night to sleep on the loss, it’s clear who was at fault: Joe Girardi.

Let’s count his mistakes, shall we? (chronologically)

  1. Opting to start Burnett/going to a four-man rotation
  2. Making Burnett intentionally walk David Murphy
  3. Allowing Burnett to pitch to Bengie Molina
  4. Pulling David Robertson after two easy outs
  5. Picking Boone Logan to face Josh Hamilton
  6. Not putting in Mariano Rivera to keep the deficit within reason

I’m sure I missed some, but if I had to pick just ONE of these mistakes to harp on, it would have to be No. 4.

Robertson has a short, but telling history against Hamilton. In five matchups (including postseason), Robertson has struck him out four times. This head-to-head data should’ve been more than enough evidence to have Robertson face Hamilton. But wait, there’s more.

Robertson needed just eight pitches to strike out Elvis Andrus and induce Michael Young to softly line out to first base. D-Rob wasn’t working very hard and he had the crowd behind him. Never take out a pitcher to “play the matchups” if he’s retired the first two in the inning. Never!

My ALCS Game 4 experience [Photos]

It sparked flashbacks to both the Jeffrey Maier and Steve Bartman incidents. It featured some of the most idiotic postseason management tactics of all time (more on that later today). It saw Mark Teixeira go down with an ugly hamstring injury (he’s being replaced by Eduardo Nunez). Like Game 3, it changed in the Rangers favor on one pitch. Oh, and did I mention it was freezing?

It was the first postseason game I’ve ever attended.

Since the Yankees fell hard, 10-3, the highlight of the night actually came before the game started. Our bleacher seats were located about 15 feet away from Cal Ripken Jr. and the rest of the TBS pregame crew. After the show ended, Ripken stayed behind for about 25 minutes signing autographs.

10.19 Ripken

Total class act. I had heard he always gave time for the fans, but I had never seen him in person before. I caught him early when there weren’t as many fans, but I still felt bad a little when a swarm of fans came over after. Then again, I think he and every major leaguer owes it to the fans.
10.19 Ripken Sig

There it is right on the back of my ticket. Thank you, Cal, for signing, and thank you, Fletch, for taking me.

For more photos from ALCS Game 4, check out my Facebook page!

October 19, 2010

Jeter’s right, offense is the problem

Just let the captain speak:

“We have confidence in everybody,” Derek Jeter said. “But regardless of who is pitching, we've got to score runs. I don't care who is on the mound. If we don't score, then it's kind of hard to win games. Yeah, we have confidence in A.J. He'll be ready and come out and hopefully we can score some runs.”

He’s right.

The Yankees have scored an average of 0.11 runs in the first six innings of the first three games this series. It’s not as easy for Yankee starters — any starters — to pitch when trailing in ballgames. In the first three games, no Yankee starter has pitched with a lead.

If the Yankees want to advance to their second straight World Series, they’ll need the offense to step up.

I’m off to Yankee Stadium! For live updates, follow my Twitter.

Where’s El Duque when you need him?

OK, I don’t even think the great El Duque could’ve beaten Cliff Lee last night. Still, he’d be a nice guy to have around for a Game 4 start, right? Well, that may not be out of the question next year.

MLB.com’s Bill Ladson is reporting the great El Duque is looking to play baseball in 2011.

I wouldn’t mind trying another four-year, $6.6 million deal on him. Brian Cashman said it was the Yankees’ best signing ever. I’m pretty sure it won’t be as big a mistake as any of these contracts.

Please understand this is a light-hearted post following a painful defeat last night. El Duque is 45 years old as of last Monday. All the Yankees need is another washed up starter.

But to be fair to one of my all-time favorite players, his last time in the majors was 2007 with the Mets: 9-5, 3.72 ERA. And his last three years in the minors: 6-4, 2.58 ERA.

I’m just sayin’.

October 18, 2010

Lee lights out in Game 3, Rangers go up 2-1

Cliff Lee didn’t live up to all the hype for his ALCS Game 3 start against the Yankees. He actually exceeded the hype: eight shutout innings, two hits, one walk and 13 Ks. And the Rangers won easily, 8-0, to take a 2-1 lead in the ALCS.

Best of All: The Yankees didn’t get embarrassed in the postseason as much as the Reds did when Roy Halladay no-hit them in the ALDS. I consider the Yankees lucky to come away with two hits against Lee tonight. He had unhittable stuff.

Andy Pettitte did his best to compete with Lee, lasting seven innings and striking out five. His only blemish was a two-run homer to Josh Hamilton in the first inning.

P.S.: Yankees fans might be seeing Lee in pinstripes next year if he signs as a free agent — but I’m not giving up on this year quite yet.

Worst of All: I think the score says it all.

Coming Up: Game 4 is Tuesday night. Same time, same place. The only difference is that I’ll be in attendance.

R.I.P. Freddy ‘Sez’

Another Yankee great has passed away in 2010. First it was the voice of the Yankees. Soon after it was the team’s owner. Sunday it was the team’s biggest fan.

9.4.10 Freddy SezEveryone who visited Yankee Stadium in the last 22 years knew who Freddy ‘Sez’ Schuman was. He carried a pan and a spoon for young fans to bang together, as well as encouraging homemade signs.

The Daily News first reported Sunday Freddy had passed at age 85. According to longtime friend Chuck Frantz, Freddy suffered a heart attack Friday night, the night the Yankees came back from a five-run deficit in Game 1.

It’s a terrible, terrible loss for the Yankees franchise. There hasn’t been any official announcement, but at the very least I expect the Yankees to hold a moment of silence in Freddy’s honor before tonight’s game. Many of my Twitter followers have advocated for the Yankees to add a third patch to their uniforms.

On a personal note, this has been a really tough year for me because of the death of my grandma. When incredible people pass on it really makes you stop and think about the ones you love. I know the Yankees have shared that feeling with me this year too. My deepest sympathies go out to Frantz and Freddy’s family.

Poll Results: Yankees four-man rotation a questionable decision

poll results44The latest poll results were inconclusive, as fans couldn’t agree on whether the Yankees’ move to a four-man rotation was the right decision. After much debate, my roommate and I voted for “If they’re winning,” then go with the four-man. This means it is still possible I’d agree with the move, but it’ll take an impressive performance from Andy Pettitte and the Yankee offense against Cliff Lee in Game 3 tonight.

However, it seems the decision isn’t as definite as we all thought it was when it was first released, according to the Star-Ledger.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn’t rule out the possibility that CC Sabathia could pitch on short rest in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series Tuesday.

“Right now, we are on rotation,” Girardi said after the Yankees’ 7-2 loss to the Rangers today. “So I mean, we haven’t discussed that with anyone.”

I think Girardi is siding with my roommate and I. If the Yankees fall against Lee tonight, I’m betting Girardi will switch Sabathia in for A.J. Burnett for Game 4. This would also allow Sabathia to pitch a possible Game 7 against Lee on short rest. I think it’s a move Girardi has to make if trailing 2-1 in the series.

October 16, 2010

Rangers even series, bullpen recovers

Another epic comeback wasn’t in store for the Yankees tonight, as the Rangers’ bullpen tossed 3-1/3 scoreless innings and held on for a 7-2 win.

Best of All: Robinson Cano’s sixth-inning homer is still flying. OK, it landed in the upper deck about five seconds after he hit it, but it might still be going if there were no seats in the outfield.

Worst of All: The Yankees left 12 men on base and went 1-for-11 with RISP. In other words, they still could’ve won despite Phil Hughes’ rough start.

Hughes allowed seven runs on 10 hits, walked three and struck out three over four innings and 88 pitches. Nothing like the guy we saw in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium in the ALDS.

Coming Up: The series heads to New York tied at 1 with Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte on deck for Monday night.

Twitter describes last night’s win in 1 word

I haven’t posted about last night’s game until now because I’m still getting over Andrew Marchand’s ridiculous post. By now you should know the Yankees won a thriller against Texas in Game 1.

Here’s a nice infographic of the Yankees’ eighth inning from MLB.com.
alcs 8th inningIn a single word, here’s how a few Twitter followers described last night’s win.
replies to alcs win Thanks for pitching in everyone! To participate in future Twitter polls, follow me on Twitter here.

Marchand: Jeter losing his legacy

Read: (my emphasis)

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Before Derek Jeter spoke to a pack of reporters at his locker after Game 1 of the ALCS, he yelled out, "Hold that bus!"

He was talking about the bus back to the hotel after the Yankees' come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers, but Jeter could have been referring to the bus that was rolling over his legacy.

Just awful. Marchand’s post goes on to say positive things about Jeter, but for him to even pose that bus analogy is mindboggling.

Jeter’s legacy. Really, Marchand?

October 15, 2010

ALCS Notes: Hamilton, Pettitte, A-Rod, Tex

I’ve already posted my ALCS preview, but I want to highlight four players in more depth.

The Baseball Beat blog has a nice series preview post of its own, and I especially like who the writer chose as his players to watch.

Texas Player To Watch: OF Josh Hamilton- Hamilton is this team’s MVP and greatly struggles in the ALDS. You have to wonder how much his ribs are bothering him. If the Rangers hope to win, Hamilton needs to produce.

New York Player To Watch: SP Andy Pettitte- Pettitte needs to outduel Lee in a pivotal game 3 of this series and might have to do it again in game 7 with the season on the line.

I couldn’t agree more with both picks. Hamilton is probably the favorite for AL MVP, but it’ll look pretty bad if he winds up winning it and has an awful postseason. So far, he has. He needs to turn it around in the ALCS if the Rangers want to play in their first ever World Series.

As for Pettitte, I don’t think it’s a coincidence he was pushed back in the rotation to face Cliff Lee. The Yankees understand how important Pettitte was to them last postseason (he won all three series clinching games), and if he can prove he’s still a big game pitcher the Yankees will have no trouble getting past the Rangers.

The Ex-Rangers Sub-Plot:
Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira manned the corners of the Rangers infield back in 2003. This year, they’re the top two Yankees sluggers and are looking to bury their old team. It will be interesting to see the Texas crowd’s reaction if either one of them goes yard.

Here are a couple of strange off-the-field issues surrounding both players:

Yankees-Rangers ALCS preview

The Yankees are eight wins away from repeating as champions. After dispatching the Twins in three easy games, the Yankees will face the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers almost fell apart against the Rays in the ALDS, but a 2010-ALCS-136pxheroic performance by Cliff Lee in Game 5 earned them the franchise’s first ever postseason series victory. Now they’ll face a team that’s eliminated them three times in the postseason.

Head to Head:
The Yankees and Rangers split eight regular season matchups evenly, but as I detail in this post, I’m taking the last series when the Rangers swept the Yankees with a green of salt.

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: CC Sabathia vs. C.J. Wilson 
This matchup is why I think the Yankees have the edge in the series. Because the Rangers used Lee in Game 5 of the ALDS, he was pushed back to Game 3 of the ALCS. Does Wilson have a chance against Sabathia? I don’t think so. And it looks like they’d meet again in Game 5 if necessary.

Game 2: Phil Hughes vs. Colby Lewis 
The way Hughes pitched in Game 3 of the ALDS gives me great confidence in him this series. Lewis did a nice job of shutting down the Rays in Game 3, but couldn’t go deep enough to clinch the series. I support Joe Girardi’s decision to throw Hughes in Game 2 at Texas because he proved this year he’s a road warrior. Plus, you might recall Hughes’ second start of his career was a memorable night in Texas.

Game 3: Cliff Lee vs. Andy Pettitte
This is the defining game of the series. Can the Yankees beat Cliff Lee, the starter who’s been as close to lights out as you can get in the postseason? Pettitte seems to be at full strength and is known for pitching in big postseason games. It’s worth noting he is the all-time postseason leader in wins. In addition, he’ll have the fans of Yankee Stadium behind him. Lee gets the slight edge, but it should be a great game to watch.

Game 4: Tommy Hunter vs. A.J. Burnett
I’ll be at this game, and I think this is when the fireworks could break out this series. When I think think of this matchup, all I see is Burnett’s straight fastball and Josh Hamilton’s pretty home run derby swing at Yankee Stadium. That’s scary. Hunter made one start against the Yankees this season, striking out eight over five innings and allowing nine base runners. I predict a total of 20 runs scored in this game.

Roster Notes:
The Yankees are using the same roster as they did in the ALDS, but they did mix up the rotation. Here’s a nice post from LoHud on Girardi’s thought process.

Yankees Have the Edge
To reiterate from my previous post, “I’d say the key is the starting pitching, and the fact that Lee is starting Game 3 — not Game 1.”

Yankees in five. W, W, L, W, W. CC Sabathia wins ALCS MVP once again. Hey, I nailed my ALDS prediction and my National League champion pick is still around.

October 14, 2010

Olney’s Key to ALCS: The pen is mightier

ESPN’s Buster Olney offered his take on both the ALCS and NLCS this morning on SportsCenter. This might surprise you, but Olney said the Giants’ and Yankees’ left-handed specialists (LOOGY*) will give them the edge in their respective series.

Before I get into that analysis, I’d like to quickly note Olney’s prediction bodes well for my preseason World Series prediction: Yankees-Giants. Thank you. Ah, thank you.

One of my Twitter followers suggested this:

The fact that the closer is not the key to winning is a joke. Last year [7] closers faltered and one didn't. The one won.

Nice point. However, it’s worth noting Mariano Rivera’s worst ERA against any opponent this season was 5.79 against the Rangers.

I don’t think the key to the series is just one reliever. I’d say the key is the starting pitching, and the fact that Cliff Lee is starting Game 3 — not Game 1.

If the Yankees can put the Rangers in a 2-0 hole going into Lee’s start, the Rangers will have lost all their momentum from winning their first ever postseason series. And I’m quite confident CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes can duplicate their ALDS performances to put the Rangers in a hole.

I was doing some research on both team’s pitching, and I came across some pretty interesting splits.

Reg. Season Splits Yankees Rangers
Starters ERA 4.35 4.23
Bullpen ERA 3.47 3.38

Both teams have great pitching. But I think since the Yankees have the edge early in the series, the Rangers will have difficulties making a comeback.

*For the clueless people staring at the acronym LOOGY, it stands for Lefty One-Out GuY. Creative, eh?

Also, here’s the video for my headline’s reference.

This picture might make your morning

cliff lee back

As first seen on SB Nation’s Lookout Landing.

Just to back up this clever picture-caption, here are Cliff Lee’s postseason numbers.

  • He threw 90 strikes in 120 pitches in his Game 5 win over the Rays.
  • He averaged eight innings, one earned run and 10.5 strikeouts in two starts against Tampa Bay in the ALDS.
  • He is 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA in seven postseason starts.
However, the Yankees DID score five against him in Game 5 of last year’s World Series. Lee still picked up the win, however, and in his Game 1 victory he allowed one unearned run over nine innings.

October 13, 2010

Yanks ALCS rotation: CC, Phil, Andy, A.J.

It’s time to take a look at the ALCS pitching matchups, as the Yankees and Rangers announced their starters for the first four games today.

Game 1 TBS, Friday, 8 p.m. CC Sabathia vs. C.J. Wilson
Game 2 TBS, Saturday, 4 p.m. Phil Hughes vs. Colby Lewis
Game 3 TBS, Monday, 8 p.m. Cliff Lee vs. Andy Pettitte
Game 4 TBS, Tuesday, 4 p.m. Tommy Hunter vs. A.J. Burnett

Since the Rangers-Rays series went to five games, the matchups aren’t very even. It’s really too bad, actually. A Sabathia-Lee Game 1 matchup would’ve been great to watch.

I still think the Yankees should’ve gone with a three-man rotation. Flip Bondy of the New York Daily News doesn’t have much confidence in Burnett either.

I’ll have a more in-depth series preview posted before Game 1. And look for my live Tweets from Yankee Stadium on Tuesday!

BBA: Ron Washington Manager of the Year

My blog is a part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and one of the neat things the group does is end of the year voting for awards. Here are the results for the first award we voted on, as originally posted on Bronx Baseball Daily.

The Connie Mack Award is our name for the Manager of the Year award. The award is named after the Hall of Fame manager of the Philadelphia Athletics. Mike Scioscia won the first Manager of the Year award that the BBA gave out last season.

Here is how we voted:

  • 1st Place: Ron Washington, Texas Rangers – 26 points
  • 2nd Place: Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins – 24 points
  • 3rd Place: Terry Francona, Boston Red Sox – 20 points

Also receiving votes were Joe Maddon of the Rays, Joe Girardi of the Yankees (obviously), and Cito Gaston.

Over the next few days and weeks we will make announcements on a few more awards: The Willie Mays Award (Manager of the Year), the Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever), the Walter Johnson Award (Top Pitcher), and the Stan Musial Award (Top Hitter).

Mickey Mantle Featured Card of the Week

I had to save the best for last.

Judging by the live listings at VintageCardPrices.com, this 1961 Topps Mickey Mantle card is by far the most valuable one passed down to me in this collection.

Putting the value of the card aside, it still gives me shivers down my spine just looking at it.

My dad always tells me how his mother threw out his baseball cards when he went to college and how upsetting it was to lose them forever. If she didn’t throw those cards out and he didn’t put any in between his bike’s spokes, my dad would have had a very, very valuable collection.

This card isn’t from my dad; it’s from his good childhood friend Neil Wernick. Since I believe this completes the set, I want to send a big thank you to Neil once again for passing down his sacred treasures to me. I can’t even begin to fathom what they must mean to him. But don’t worry, Neil, I’m taking great care of them!

October 12, 2010

It’s inevitable. Burnett will pitch in ALCS

Much to the chagrin of Yankees fans, myself included, A.J. Burnett will pitch Game 4 of the ALCS, Brian Cashman announced yesterday.

To clarify, Joe Girardi is still figuring out his team’s ALCS roster, but the Yankees will deploy a four-man rotation of CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and now Burnett.

I am not happy about this decision, to say the least. My attitude is: it’s the postseason; don’t hold anyone back. Will Hughes’ right arm fall off if he starts Game 6 on three days rest? Possibly. But I’m willing to take that risk if my team is one win away from the World Series or handing it to Sabathia for Game 7.

Last year the schedule allowed the Yankees to use a three-man rotation without taxing their starters because of the extra off day. That extra day is gone this year and the Yankees are dealing with a different A.J. Burnett.

I also don’t like how the Yankees made this rotation announcement before the Rays-Rangers series wrapped up. Their decisive game is tonight. Game 1 of the ALCS is Friday. What’s the rush?

It doesn’t sound like the Yankees are going to change their rotation plans, so I’m just trying to get used to the idea of seeing Burnett in a meaningful situation again. Unless of course, there is a conveniently placed rainout and the Yankees opt to go right to Sabathia for Game 4.

For once, Mother Nature, I’m begging for rain!

October 11, 2010

Yankees ALDS MVP: Granderson [Chart]

If there were such a thing, Curtis Granderson would be the Yankees’ ALDS MVP. He hit .455 with three RBIs, a double and a triple. The Yankees had three great starting pitching performances and a lights out Mariano Rivera, but no one contributed to the series victory as much as Granderson.

Did you expect Granderson to get off to a hot start in the postseason? I can’t say I expected it, but I’m certainly not shocked by it.
granderson ops chart

*Didn’t include May because he only played in five games

Sometime’s a chart is worth a thousand words. Any questions?

Poll Results: Yankees are World Series favorites

poll results43The Yankees made easy work of the Twins the ALDS and that influenced last week’s poll results. Fans voted the Bronx Bombers as the favorites to win the World Series with the Phillies coming in a distant second.

I didn’t think fans would have that much confidence in the Yankees despite heading into the postseason on a low note.

By the way, if the Phillies make the World Series again this year, it will be their third time in a row. The Yankees played in the World Series four times in a row from 1998 to 2001. Just sayin’.

New poll: Four-man rotation for Yankees in ALCS?

October 10, 2010

Girardi & Rivera in Taco Bell Commercial [Video]

For your viewing pleasure on a nice Sunday, Joe Girardi and Mariano Rivera promoting Taco Bell’s XXL Chalupa.

Girardi losing trust in Joba Chamberlain?

It certainly seemed that way last night when the Yankees had a 6-0 lead in the eighth inning and Joe Girardi opted for primary setup man Kerry Wood. With a five-run lead in the ninth, Girardi didn’t mess around and went with closer Mariano Rivera for the third time in four days.

A 6-0 or 6-1 lead should be safe with the last guy in the bullpen, but Girardi treated the eighth and ninth innings like they were the last two of the year. I guess I’m OK with that since the Yankees don’t play until Friday no matter what happens in today’s Rays-Rangers game.

Other than that, I don’t think there’s anything Girardi could say to Joba Chamberlain except that he doesn’t trust him anymore.

Fellow Yankees blog The Yankee U wrote a similar analysis on Chamberlain this morning, but I disagree with his final point.

Fans still hold on to 07 Joba, thinking that’s still within him. But it was a unique circumstance for a variety of reasons. It was his first time through the league, when pitchers always have an advantage before the scouting reports catch up with them. He was given regular usage and regular rest with the ‘Joba Rules’ so he was always sharp and always strong. He had built up his arm as a starter that year, so relief work was a breeze for him.

I don’t think it was very hard to pick up the scouting report on Chamberlain back in ‘07. He threw straight gas and a devastating slider in the dirt and for strikes. In the past two years he’s tried to find that stuff again, but never has as a starter or a reliever. I’m not saying he has to throw 100 mph to be effective again, but he cannot throw inaccurately in the low 90s and expect to get hitters out.

Yankees sweep Twins, advance to ALCS

The Yankees completed the sweep of the Twins the ALDS last night (like I predicted), as Phil Hughes pitched seven shutout inning en route to a 6-1 win.

Best of All: Hughes made people forget last night was his first postseason start, as he looked like a veteran silencing the Twins. He allowed four hits, one walk and struck out six.

Marcus Thames supplied the big blow in the fourth inning, a two-run homer to right-center field. Nick Swisher homered in the seventh for an extra insurance run.

Worst of All: Brett Gardner was the only Yankee starter without a hit. Kerry Wood allowed a run in relief.

Coming Up: The Yankees await their ALCS opponent, as the Rangers and Twins are still fighting it out. Game 1 isn’t until this Friday.

October 9, 2010

Stealing pages from the Braves playbook

If you stayed up to watch the Braves-Giants game last night, you witnessed a thriller. Trailing 1-0 in the series, the Braves couldn’t afford to lose Game 2. After falling behind 4-0 in the first two innings, the Braves were all but toast. But in the eighth, the Braves went to their playbook and eventually came away with a 5-4 win.

Pages from Atlanta’s Playbook:
-A great bullpen. Starter Tommy Hanson exited after four innings, but six Braves relievers combined to shut down the Giants for the final seven innings. Even Kyle Farnsworth was good.
-Error-free baseball. In the playoffs, teams can’t afford to give their opponents free outs. The Giants gave the Braves two extra outs last night, and the Braves scored two unearned runs — the difference in the game.

The Yankees Have These Pages Too, You Know:
In the first two games of the Yankees-Twins series, New York hasn’t allowed a run in relief and its defense hasn’t committed an error. The only thing the Braves have that the Yankees don’t is an ejected manager.

October 8, 2010

Berkman always had good postseason stats

I meant to write this before the postseason but schoolwork prevented me from doing so (and now of course I don’t get to look like a genius for saying what I’m about to say). The fact is, Lance Berkman has always been good in the postseason, which is why I wasn’t shocked to see him carry the offense in Game 2 last night.

Last night he broke a tie with the Twins on a homer and another tie with an RBI double. Here’s what he’s done in his career.

For his career, he’s hitting .321/.426/.566 in the postseason in just more than 100 at-bats.

According to Andy Pettitte, Berkman told him he had made a small change at the plate that gave him a lot of confidence to hit line drives. This seems to be the case.

October 7, 2010

Berkman, Pettitte propel Game 2 victory

Lance Berkman and Andy Pettitte led the way in Game 2, as the Yankees beat the Twins, 5-2.

Best of All: The Yankees banged out 10 hits against the hated Carl Pavano. Pettitte shined with a seven-inning, two-run outing. “Typical Andy,” as Berkman put it.

Berkman broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth with a solo shot, then broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh with an RBI double. Talk about clutch.

Worst of All: Jorge Posada was the only Yankee starter without a hit. That’s about it!

Coming Up: The two teams head back to New York for the next two games of the series, but the Yankees could end it early with a win Saturday night.

A.J. to Javy to Zito: most embarrassing?

Barry Zito will not be on the Giants postseason roster, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Like Zito, Javier Vazquez didn’t make the Yankees postseason roster and A.J. Burnett didn’t earn a spot in the postseason rotation. Of the three overpaid pitchers, who is the most embarrassing?

A) Case for A.J.: ($82.5MM contract)
Not only was he booted from the rotation, but Burnett didn’t even believe he belonged in it. “Those three have been our horses all year,” Burnett said. “It would be silly for Hughesy not to start.” He’s not lying through his teeth, either. He finished the year with a 5.26 ERA and a 10-15 record, for a .593 club! However, I’d be remiss not to tell you he did lead the league in one pitching category this year: Hit batters. Embarrassing.

J) Case for Javy: ($34.5MM contract)
Let’s get right into the first and second half splits for Javy:

First Half774.4595801.22
Second Half336.6462.1411.67
Awful. Just awful. For the first time in his regular season career, he was kicked out of the rotation. He made five relief appearances, snapping a 10-year streak of 30 or more starts in a year. Vazquez lost that streak because he was ineffective. Plain and simple. His 157 1/3 innings this season was his second lowest total of his career and lowest since 1999. And in one of those relief appearances he hit three batters in a row. Embarrassing.

Z) Case for Zito: ($126MM contract)
After a blazing start to the season (4-0, 1.53 April), it was all downhill for Zito in 2010. From Aug. 17 to Oct. 2, Zito went 1-8 with a 6.80 ERA. The Giants were lucky to win the NL West with him in the rotation. Embarrassing.

My Final Answer:
I’m going with Z, final answer. His contract is bigger than both A.J.’s and Javy’s combined.

Why instant replay is NOT today’s big topic

Mariano Rivera should have had a 1-2-3 ninth last night. Yankees right fielder Greg Golson made a shoestring catch on a Delmon Young line drive for what should have been the final out. BUT, the six postseason umpires met and determined Golson trapped it. Instant replay clearly showed after the call the umps had missed the call.

This gave Jim Thome a chance to tie the game with one swing of the bat. Luckily, and you’ll see why I’m saying luckily in a second, Thome popped up to third to end the game.

IF Thome had homered and the Twins went on to win Game 1, instant replay would’ve been the major news today. No question about it.

Last year when umps called Joe Mauer’s line drive foul in the postseason, it was a game-changing call and the instant replay debate exploded the next day.

Still, I stand by my take on this debate. Instant replay should not expand any further than it already has. Keep it for calling home runs correctly, but don’t add it for calls on the bases and don’t even think about adding it for balls and strikes.

I know there are plenty out there who disagree with me, but please tell me why you do in the comments.

Teix’s 2-run shot gives Yanks Game 1 win

Mark Teixeira broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning with a two-run homer and the bullpen nailed down the win in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Twins. Now the Yankees have control of the short series.

Best of All: Teixeira also started the four-run rally in the sixth off Twins starter Francisco Liriano. Heading into the series I expected Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez to carry the offense, but tonight Tex stepped up.

Boone Logan, David Robertson, Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera combined to close out the final three innings without allowing a run. Robertson and Wood worked out of two big jams to bridge the gap to Mo.

Worst of All: CC Sabathia only went six innings. The Yankees had to use all of their top relievers except Joba Chamberlain, and I expected more from the ace. This puts pressure on Andy Pettitte to go deep in tomorrow’s game.

Coming Up: Game 2 is Thursday night at 6 p.m. Don’t forget the early start!

October 6, 2010

Halladay throws 2nd no-hitter in playoff history, Don Larsen’s perfect game the 1st

When I first heard Don Larsen threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series, I didn’t think anybody would be able to match it. Roy Halladay didn’t today, but came as close as you can possibly get by throwing a no-hitter with just one walk.

Congratulations, Doc.

You struck out ex-Phillie Scott Rolen three times and finished with eight for the game, one more than Larsen K’d.

Here’s the video of Halladay completing the no-no. That last play wasn’t easy for catcher Carlos Ruiz, by the way. Here’s the box:

doc box doc box2

2010 MLB Postseason Predictions

I was just looking at my preseason predictions, and, well, I’m not very proud. Of the eight playoff teams, I picked three correctly (Yankees, Phillies & Giants). I think I deserve a chance to start over now that the postseason is here. Here we go:

Rays beat Rangers in three games
Yankees beat Twins in three games

Reds beat Phillies in five games
Giants beat Braves in four games
Yankees beat Rays in seven games

Giants beat Reds in six games
World Series:
Yankees beat Giants in four games
Hey, and I didn’t even change my World Series picks!

: I’ll be going over my preseason predictions in full once all the award winners are announced.

Yankees 1964 Team Featured Card of the Week

I really enjoy this baseball card. It’s not in great shape. You can barely see the players’ faces. But still, it just seems like a card representative of the era.

Nowadays, the team card in a set either isn’t included or a less important card to have. Back then, as my dad says, the team card was always a must-have.

Notables on the 1964 team include:

  • Mickey Mantle
  • Roger Maris
  • Elston Howard
  • Bobby Richardson
  • Joe Pepitone
  • Clete Boyer
  • Jim Bouton
  • Al Downing
  • Whitey Ford

October 5, 2010

Yankees-Twins ALDS preview

This is it. The real season begins tonight. It’s the only season that matters to the Yankees. It’s the postseason.

And the Yankees are taking on a familiar 2010-ALDS-136pxfoe in the first round. The Minnesota Twins. However, these Twins are without one of their M&M men: Justin Morneau. Delmon Young stepped up this year and will be their clean-up hitter. The other M, Joe Mauer, couldn’t quite duplicate his MVP season last year but still is the most dangerous hitter on the team.

The Yankees will rely on Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez for the bulk of their production, and then hope for the best from a sub-par Derek Jeter and a hobbling Mark Teixeira.

Head to Head:
The Yankees beat the Twins four times in six games back in May and haven’t played them since then. The scoring was pretty even, but the Yankees narrowly ousted the Twins, 24-21.

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: CC Sabathia vs. Francisco Liriano
The Yankees have the edge in this matchup, which is why I think oddsmakers consider the Yankees the AL favorites. Sabathia had the better season, not by much, but it should be a great matchup between two southpaws.

Game 2: Andy Pettitte vs. Carl Pavano
I hate to admit it, but I favor the Twins in Game 2. Pettitte’s last two starts after returning from the disabled list makes him a question mark. Pavano, on the other hand, consistently went deep into games down the stretch.

Game 3: Brian Duensing vs. Phil Hughes
This one’s a tossup. Hughes is making his first career postseason start, and Duensing was great in the rotation for the final two months. However, the Yankees did beat Duensing in the first round last year.

Game 4 (if necessary): Nick Blackburn vs. Sabathia
Game 5 (if necessary): Pettitte vs. Liriano

Roster Notes: Here’s the Yankees roster. Notable players left off: Javier Vazquez, Ivan Nova and Chad Gaudin.

I can’t say I’m as confident as I was last year when the Yankees finished with 103 wins in the regular season, but I still consider them the favorites. They’ve beaten the Twins so much in the past decade and it’s just too hard to ignore that history.

Final Yankees playoff roster prediction

The announcement will come later today. It has to. But since Joe Girardi is taking his sweet time, I’m going to give you all my best guess. Just in case you didn’t see before, the playoff rotation has been set. Here’s my projection (most notably without A.J. Burnett):

Position Players (14)
Jorge Posada
Francisco Cervelli
Mark Teixeira
Lance Berkman
Robinson Cano
Derek Jeter
Alex Rodriguez
Brett Gardner
Curtis Granderson
Nick Swisher
Marcus Thames
Austin Kearns
Greg Golson
Ramiro Pena

Pitchers (11)
CC Sabathia
Andy Pettitte
Phil Hughes
Mariano Rivera
Joba Chamberlain
David Robertson
Boone Logan
Kerry Wood
Sergio Mitre
Ivan Nova
Royce Ring

I don’t think there is much doubt about the position players except for the Pena-Eduardo Nunez battle for utility infielder. I went with Pena because of his experience.

As for the pitchers, I wanted to make it clear there was no use for Burnett in the playoffs. I have more trust in Nova and Mitre as mop-up guys than Burnett. Honestly, I don’t see the Yankees having to use anyone outside the “Big 5” of Rivera, Wood, Chamberlain, Robertson, Logan.

Here are a few Twitter reactions on the matter:
burnett reactions

Would you go with A.J.? Tell me in the comments.

UPDATE: Here’s the final roster. And yes, A.J. is on it.

Yanks ALDS rotation released, A.J. absent

Joe Girardi waited until game day to announce his rotation for the ALDS. Like last year, the Yankees will go with a three-man rotation. CC Sabathia for Games 1 and 4, Andy Pettitte for Games 2 and 5, and Phil Hughes for Game 3.

Some may have hoped Hughes and Pettitte would’ve been switched, as Pettitte has had a slow return from the DL and Hughes has looked relatively sharp down the stretch.

Here are all their final lines for the season:

Sabathia 21 7 237.2 3.18 197 1.23
Pettitte 11 3 129 3.28 101 1.27
Hughes 18 8 176.1 4.19 146 1.25

The Twins are calling on Francisco Liriano for Game 1, Carl Pavano for Game 2 an Brian Duensing for Game 3. Pitchers for Games 4 and 5 aren’t set in stone.

October 4, 2010

Early reactions to facing the Twins

When I found out the Yankees would face the Twins in the ALDS, not the Rangers, I spent a whole bus ride back to Quinnipiac from New York City thinking about the matchup.

But before I get into my points, here’s a look at what a couple of my Twitter followers had to say.
twins reactions

Looks like we have two differing opinions here. I think Mike’s take is a little more accurate. Here’s why:

The Yankees went 13-17 in September/October. That’s why they are the wild card, and the Rays are the AL East champs who get home-field advantage until the World Series.

I think Mr. Old Reliable (aka Andy Pettitte) is the key to the series. Without a quality start from him, whether it be Game 2 or 3, the Yankees will need to put a lot of runs on the board to out-hit one of the hottest offenses in baseball.

CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano must continue to do what they’ve been doing all year, and I think Alex Rodriguez can also be relied on to have a big series, but that trio can’t beat the Twins all by themselves.

P.S.: The last time the Yankees had a losing record in a month prior to this September was August 2008 (13-15) — via Twitter.

Did you hear what the Tigers are doing next year? And what they’re not doing?

The Tigers had two interesting news items about ex-Yankees yesterday.

  1. They are planning on using Phil Coke as a starter next year.
  2. They are not going to re-sign Johnny Damon.

On Coke:
This move should upset Yankees fans. The Yankees shouldn’t have given up their top lefty reliever in a trade for Curtis Granderson last offseason. Coke posted another solid line for the Tigers and will be tested as a starter next year. Don’t get me wrong, Boone Logan had a fine year as well. But with Damaso Marte on the DL now and most of the year, the Yankees could’ve used a better second lefty than Royce Ring (who isn’t guaranteed to be on the postseason roster).

On The Idiot:
Last month I thought I caught Damon hinting at wishing he were still a Yank. A week later he came out saying he loved Detroit, but doesn’t know whether he’ll be back with them next year. Will he be a Yankee next year? I don’t think so. The bridges have been burned.

Poll Results: Hughes should start Game 3

poll results42In one of the most lopsided polls in lenNY’s Yankees history, fans voted Phil Hughes should start Game 3 of the ALDS instead of A.J. Burnett.

The fans may have a point.

Sadly, the player they chose to start Game 3 isn’t the one making $16.5 MM. Hughes made a cool $447K this year.

For the record, Joe Girardi hasn’t said a word about the Yankees postseason roster, let alone the postseason rotation. Well, unless you count this: “We know that Derek Jeter is going to be on the roster.”

My expected playoff rotation is CC Sabathia for Game 1, obviously, then Andy Pettitte, then Hughes. After that, it depends on the status of the series.

New poll: Who’s your favorite to win the World Series?

October 3, 2010

Last game of the year decides everything

If the Yankees had swept the doubleheader yesterday, today’s game wouldn’t have mattered. But a walk-off win by the Red Sox (also known as the PawSox) made the 162nd game of the season matter.

Dustin Moseley and the Yankees will face John Lackey at 1:35 p.m. and the Rays are calling on Wade Davis to take on Sean O’Sullivan of the Royals at 2:10 p.m.

Sadly, I’ll be at the Met Museum in New York City all day so I probably won’t get to watch much of the game if any at all.

In two starts against the Yankees this year, Lackey notched one good and one poor start. Moseley came up big against the Sox in his only start against them this year on Aug. 8.

My final score prediction: 4-2 Yankees. Derek Jeter will come through with the big hit.

October 1, 2010

Yankees-Red Sox series preview

This is it. The final series of the year. What we’ve all been waiting for since schedules were released Sept. 15, 2009. But wait, it’s not going to be that intense.

The Red Sox are already eliminated and are playing on one leg. However, I’m sure Terry Francona will do everything in his power to keep the Yankees from getting home-field advantage in the postseason.

This weekend will be exciting because of the frantic scoreboard checking. The Rays are out in Kansas City for a set with the Royals. Get ready for lots of updates from me on those games on here and Twitter.

Head to Head:
The Yankees are 8-7 against the Red Sox this season. New York needs to take two games this weekend to win the season series, but really, they’ve already won the war by knocking Boston out of the playoffs earlier this week.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Yankees starters Red Sox starters
Fri., 7:10 p.m. Andy Pettitte (11-3, 3.17) D. Matsuzaka (9-6, 4.72)
Sat., 4:10 p.m. A.J. Burnett (10-15, 5.33) Clay Buchholz (17-7, 2.33)
Sun., 1:35 p.m. TBA John Lackey (13-11, 4.47)

Roster Notes: It’s too early to tell who will start Sunday’s season finale for the Yankees. It’s possible, though unlikely, that the Yankees will have already clinched home-field before Sunday’s game.

I like the Yankees this weekend with Alex Rodriguez and his red hot bat leading the way. I’ll say they take two out of three and clinch home-field on Sunday.

I can’t believe what I received in the mail

Thanks so much, MLB Insiders Club! You’ve convinced me to never become a “paid lifetime member” by sending me this official program for a series that reminds me of the lowest time of my life.

For those who don’t know what MLB Insiders Club is, it’s pretty much your ticket to several free gifts featuring giant MLB Insiders Club logos that you’ll never want to flaunt anywhere on earth.

The easiest way to begin this bombardment of mail is by typing in your contact information on this page and then by clicking the join button.

See, look what they’ll send you…
insiders club stuff insiders club bag
insiders club bag
…for $28.75 (my parents must’ve paid them).

I have much, much more items like these at home that I didn’t think to bring with me to my college dorm. How did I forget!?

Now they want me to pay for a “paid lifetime membership” that will get me a team jacket, complete with, of course, a giant MLB Insiders Club logo on the sleeve. I think I’ll pass.

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