Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Limping Into the Playoffs

There is a long held perception that the teams who win in the playoffs are generally the hottest teams, and not necessarily the 'best' ones. It feels like a very true statement and even Derek Jeter once said “The best teams make the postseason, but the hottest team wins the championship.” 

However being the hottest team is not always obvious. In fact some teams may not even catch fire until they actually begin playing in those playoffs.

Take last year's champions the San Francisco Giants... They finished the year 4-6. They weren't lighting the world on fire until very close to the end. They went 4-1 in their last 5 games and the rest is history. It didn't take them long to get hot.

The year before, the Red Sox finished 5-5. in 2012 the Giants also finished up 5-5, and in 2011 the Cardinals went 6-4.

Of course every situation, team, and season are different. But I see and hear a lot of people pointing to the Yankees as a broken down team that has cooled off and has no chance in the playoffs. They point to poor performances as the season wraps up. There is some truth to that, but a team can catch fire at any moment, much like the last few World Series champions did at the very end of the season and beginning of the playoffs. To use a bad cliche, the playoffs are a whole new ballgame. The Yankees have just as much of a chance at turning on the jets as anyone else... 

They may not be the best team, but they can still become the hottest.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Game of Inches

'Baseball is a game of inches'. It's a phrase applied to any number of situations during a game. Maybe a ball lands an inch on the wrong side of the foul line. Or maybe a ball makes it's way an inch over the wall for a home run. Or maybe a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th is just a bit outside. Something as small as an inch can completely change a game or a season.

This season there is a more important few inches that may make or break the Yankees season. Those are the inches of ulnar collateral ligament attached to Masahiro Tanaka's elbow. That ligament, which is already slightly torn, is likely going to decide if the Yankees are contenders this year or on the outside looking in at the playoffs again.

If at any point this season Tanaka ends up with a 4 inch scar on his elbow, we'll know the Yankees are in dire straits. They've picked up some scrap heap starting pitchers but they do not have enough depth at this time to come close to replicating what a healthy Tanaka could give them.

In a game played by giants, where their strength, speed, and endurance make them seem larger than life sometimes, so much rides on small internal parts like the UCL. The smallest tear or sprain can put even the biggest and best athletes on the shelf. And with them, possibly a team's season too.

His elbow may never give out. The treatment and recovery plan he is on may work perfectly. "So far so good" is how he described how he was feeling after a workout that included throwing pitches. He may come back this year better than ever. But with every pitch, the organization and it's fans will have to hold their breath. Having to watch him walk off the mound clutching his elbow is not a sight any of us want to see. So clutch your lucky rabbits foot and keep your fingers crossed. He will likely be the most important piece of the Yankee's season.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009


Robinson Cano is a confusing player.

He has a great, smooth swing and at times looks like a world class hitter.
However other times he looks lost, impatient and out of his league.

It?s becoming very hard to judge him, because his numbers year to year are so different.

Really, his numbers within the season are also a bit strange and he's still struggling with men on base. He hit's .380 with the bases empty and .412 when there's a runner on first, but that drops to .231 with a runner on second and down to .186 with RISP. Still, despite those terrible stats he's still fourth on the team in RBI?s and third in Runs.

Another strange occurrence: he?s hitting .407 in day games (54 AB?s) and just .260 at night (77 AB?s).

He's a hard player to figure out and he's slumping bad right now, but when that swing is working he puts on a clinic. As a team (aside from Damon) the Yankees numbers with RISP need to go up but Cano's numbers, I think, are the most surprising.

I like where he's hitting in the lineup lately. The 7 spot is a good place for him. Some people point to his average and want him behind Matsui or A-Rod, but I don't think he's suited (yet) for that role. He needs to become a better all around hitter.