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Archive for September 29th, 2010

vs. Brett Cecil PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 20 0.313 0.450 0.313 0 0
Nick Swisher RF 12 0.222 0.417 0.222 0 1
Mark Teixeira 1B 19 0.167 0.474 0.417 1 1
Alex Rodriguez 3B 12 0.273 0.250 0.364 0 1
Robinson Cano 2B 16 0.333 0.375 0.600 1 1
Marcus Thames DH 9 0.444 0.444 0.889 1 2
Austin Kearns LF 6 0.000 0.167 0.000 0 0
Francisco Cervelli C 3 0.667 0.667 0.667 0 0
Greg Golson CF 3 0.333 0.333 0.667 0 0
Total 100 0.289 0.400 0.446 3 6
             
vs. Javier Vazquez PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Travis Snider LF 4 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Yunel Escobar SS 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jose Bautista RF 12 0.300 0.417 0.900 2 2
Vernon Wells CF 42 0.190 0.190 0.429 2 3
Lyle Overbay 1B 30 0.269 0.333 0.500 1 5
Aaron Hill 2B 20 0.105 0.150 0.316 1 2
Adam Lind DH 10 0.250 0.400 0.250 0 0
John Buck C 25 0.200 0.280 0.400 1 3
John McDonald 3B 13 0.364 0.462 0.727 1 2
Total 158 0.211 0.266 0.451 8 17

 

Yankees vs. Blue Jays    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
TOR: 9-8 NYY: 12-6 TIED: 9-9 NYY: 267-214

 

  Last 10 Last 20 Last 30
Yankees 4-6 8-12 16-14
Blue Jays 7-3 10-10 15-15

 

  Away vs. LHP
Yankees 42-35 31-26
  Home vs. RHP
Blue Jays 44-33 69-54

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Ken Burns’ Baseball anthology went into extra innings last night when the long awaited “Tenth Inning” was broadcast on PBS.

Some of the early reviews of Burns’ latest take on the national pastime weren’t too kind, but the general consensus was that although unremarkable, the Tenth Inning is definitely worth watching if you are a baseball fan. For the best overview of what really is a series of vignettes covering a selection of overarching themes, Alex Belth’s take is highly recommended. Unfortunately, however, the documentary ultimately boils down to just another story about steroids, and in particular, a comment made by Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell.

There was another player now in the Hall of Fame who literally stood with me and mixed something and I said ‘What’s that?’ and he said ‘it’s a Jose Canseco milkshake’. And that year that Hall of Famer hit more home runs than ever hit any other year. So it wasn’t just Canseco, and so one of the reasons that I thought that it was an important subject was that it was spreading. It was already spreading by 1988.” – Thomas Boswell, excerpted from an interview in The Tenth Inning (via Wezen-ball.com)

At Wezen-ball.com, Larry Granillo compiled a list of possible candidates who would fit Boswell’s allegation. After drawing several inferences from Boswell’s statement, Granillo narrows down the list to eight potential suspects before concluding that Rickey Henderson most fits the profile. In a follow-up post, Granillo presents some history behind the “Jose Canseco milkshake” reference, and concludes that the vagueness behind the implication makes in unfair to single any one player out.

Although Granillo is correct to pull back from casting too strong an aspersion, it’s very likely that others are going to connect the same dots and land on Rickey Henderson. In fact, it wouldn’t be the first time that such whispers surfaced. Last July, just days after Henderson’s induction to the Hall of Fame, a story surfaced in which Jose Canseco alleged that at least one member of the hallowed institution had taken steroids. Canseco later expounded on his comment in a radio interview on ESPN 950AM in Philadelphia, suggesting that “one or two” Hall of Famers were likely on the now infamous list of 104 positives stemming from testing done in 2003. Because of the timing of the comment, and the lack of reference to the Hall of Fame in any of Canseco’s prior comments, the initial speculation centered on Henderson.

I’ll tell you this, Major League Baseball is going to have a big, big problem on their hands when they find out they have a Hall of Famer who’s used.” – Jose Canseco, quoted on ESPN.com, July 30, 2009

To be fair to Henderson, in the aforementioned radio interview, Canseco denied having any knowledge of his steroid use, but that didn’t stop the speculation. Unfortunately, the same will be true following Boswell’s vague implication.

Craig Calcattera wasn’t as interested in identifying Boswell’s mystery man, but instead took the columnist to task for casting a wide net. Calcattera is correct to call Boswell out for keeping this information under wraps, but perhaps that speaks to the flimsy nature of the allegation? In any event, the most interesting point is one echoed by Rob Neyer. If the Hall of Fame already has a PED user enshrined, what impact would/should that have on future elections?

By spending so much time on the topic of steroids, and then including a purposely veiled allegation, Burns’ Tenth Inning has probably pigeon-holed itself as just the latest in a long line of increasingly stagnant steroid exposés. With so many other great stories from the last 20 years either completely ignored or overshadowed by the focus on steroids, it seems a shame that Burns opted for this tired narrative. But, then again, that approach just might be the most fitting way to define the era. If art can imitate life, why not baseball?

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The champagne was flowing last night as the Yankees finally made the inevitable a reality by clinching at least a wild card spot with a 6-1 victory over the Blue Jays.

Several Yankees players douse manager Joe Girardi with beer (Photo: AP).

Although the events of last week made October baseball stop feeling like a fait accompli, it was still a little disconcerting to see the Yankees celebrate a post season berth with first place in the division still up for grabs. The Yankees weren’t alone in their premature partying, however, as the Rays also popped the corks after clinching with a victory over the Orioles in front of just under 18,000 fans. Two teams, two celebrations, but neither for first place…welcome to the odd realities of the wild card era.

In order to clinch entry into the post season, Girardi turned to his ace lefty C.C. Sabathia, a controversial move because it seemed to contradict the strategy of prepping for the playoffs. Instead of setting up the big lefty to start the post season on regular rest, the increasingly beleaguered manager decided to go for the kill with his ace. The ultimate validation of that decision won’t come until after game 1 of the ALDS, but until that time, Sabathia’s 8 1/3 innings were an ample reward.

While Sabathia was cruising through the free swinging Jays’ lineup, the Yankees were doing something they had struggled to accomplish all month: build runs. Over the last few weeks, the team had become overly dependent on the homerun and turned an inability to score runners from third with less than two outs into an epidemic. Last night, however, the team seemed fine tuned in the art of small ball. The Yankees scored single runs in the first, third, fifth and ninth as well as two runs in the eighth, but most noteworthy was all six tallies occurred without the help of an RBI base hit. Instead, three sacrifice flies, two RBI groundouts and a bases loaded walk were responsible for all six runs scored, the team’s most prolific display of manufacturing runs since seven men crossed the plate without the benefit of hit back on May 3, 1986 against Texas.

Entering the ninth inning, Sabathia had less than 100 pitches under his belt, which, along with the prospect of long rest between his next outing, prompted Girardi to allow his ace to go for the complete game. Having Sabathia on the mound for the clincher would have been appropriate, but after two of the first three batters reached, Girardi opted for the next best thing. Although not a save situation, Mariano Rivera was called on to get the final two outs and send the Yankees into the playoffs to defend their championship title. As soon as Alex Rodriguez’ throw on a Lyle Overbay groundout settled into Mark Teixeira’s glove, Girardi and his coaches shared an embrace, while the players more casually exchanged handshakes on the field. Soon thereafter, however, a raucous celebration would take place.

It remains to be seen how the final four games of the season will play out. During the celebration, just about every player insisted that finishing first in the AL East was still a goal, but Girardi immediately announced that Javier Vazquez would take over Andy Pettitte’s Wednesday start and also vowed to rest several of his regulars. Considering that the Yankees still trail by a game in the loss column and the Rays hold the tie breaker, it’s all but certain that the playoffs will open on the road in Minnesota. There will be plenty of time to debate the extent to which the organization’s strategy was successful or not, but for now, the time has come to look forward to the difficult decisions ahead.

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