Monthly Archives: August 2012

Game 131 Lineup: Orioles vs. Yankees

This just in…

Lineup vs. Orioles:

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eric Chavez 3B
Raul Ibanez LF
Russell Martin C
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jayson Nix DH

Hiroki Kuroda RHP


Gameday Goods giveway to our Readers: Robinson Cano Autograph Baseball

Yes a free Autograph baseball of Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano.

This contest will last for two weeks.   All you have to do is click this link.   Fill out the form and in the Redemption Code Enter: Yankee Fans Unite

The Only thing you will have to agree to pay is the shipping and handling.  Here is the link of the baseball.

It’s just that simple.  After the two weeks are done Game Day Goods will let me know who has entered and we will choose out of a hat for the winner.

Good luck to all!!!!

Random Thoughts and Musings

Yankees miss these guys.

Since there are so many things going on with the Yankees, most of them bad obviously, I decided to give my thoughts on everything, rather then just on one topic or player.

– It really boils down to this. Steve Pearce and Andruw Jones batting cleanup with Russell Martin batting 5th just isn’t going to get it done. Simple as that. What can you realistically expect with a lineup like that?

– What can they do at this point to fix it? Not much unfortunately. Sure they have some September call-ups but how much can we realistically expect from them? Guys like Chris Dickerson, Francisco Cervelli, Cory Wade, Eduardo Nunez, Zolio Almonte, David Adams, Corban Joseph, or whoever they call up are unlikely to be season changers. We have already seen some of those guys and know pretty much what they are. Not saying you can’t catch lightning in a bottle with any of those guys, but you really have no idea. They just have to hope to get healthy as quickly as possible.

– Speaking of getting healthy, perhaps people will now appreciate Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira a little more now?

– The lineup just has too many platoon players. They already had to many before two of their non- platoon players in Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira went down. Eric Chavez, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, and Steve Pearce should only be in the lineup against an opposite-handed pitcher from them. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano have not hit lefties this season. Also, Russell Martin can’t hit any pitchers. That leaves two guys in Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher who can hit either lefties or righties. That also will not get it done.

– The Yankees bullpen outside of Rafael Soriano and David Robertson has a 4.97 ERA since the All-Star break. The Yankees have no reliable righties outside of those two. This could be a big problem down the stretch as Joe Girardi may be forced to overwork Soriano aN. Robertson.

– The starting pitching will need to carry this team through this upcoming 10 game stretch.

– If Rodriguez, Teixeira, and Andy Pettitte are healthy I give the Yankees as good of a chance as anyone in the AL. Whether they get healthy at all or quick enough to halt this bad stretch remains to be seen.

Morning Bits: Joba, Swisher, O’s

Good Morning.  The weekend is here and so is a new series for the Bombers.   The O’s are in town and this is the chance for the Yankees to separate themselves from them and make the push for the playoffs.  On the mound tonight is Gonzalez vs Kuroda.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM Est.

Enjoy the day.  Now for some links…

Ian Begely of ESPN NY asks what to do about Joba.

—  Zack Meisel of has a nice write about Nick Swisher.

Marc Carig of The Star Ledger writes about how important this series with the O’s.

Yankees Off-Day Notes: Gardner, A-Rod, Aardsma, WCBS

Since the Yankees aren’t playing tonight, let’s get to some off-day notes, shall we?

— Brian Cashman made it perfectly clear that Brett Gardner is not a pinch-running candidate for a September call-up. Sorry Gardner fans. That means we have to wait until February before we see our favorite left fielder back on the base-paths.

— Alex Rodriguez might be back in the Yankees lineup on Monday vs. the Tampa Bay Rays but Cashman isn’t promising anything. He will begin an assignment with Class-A Tampa. David Aardsma will join him and he might also be a September call-up.

— And if you didn’t hear the news today, WCBS 880 renewed it’s contract with the Yankees for another year! Along with the radio signing a deal with the Yankees, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will be behind the microphone next season.


Yanks facing their biggest test of season

Jones falls flat on his face yesterday vs Toronto

The Yankees have been playing mediocre at best baseball for quite some time now.  Since July 18th when they had a 10 game division lead, they have gone a miserable 18-21 while their lead has shrunk to 3.5 games over Baltimore and 4 games over Tampa Bay.   The next 10 games, 7 vs Baltimore & 3 vs TB, will tell us a lot about how good these 3 teams are and could seriously alter the standings in the Al East.

Unfortunately, the Yankess head into this stretch playing terrible baseball and without their full lineup.  Injuries are never an excuse in baseball and the Yanks have done a great job filling in for much of the year.  However, it appears that the injuries have finally caught up to them.  Cashman & Girardi have chosen to go with veterans to fill in but now many of the backups are looking worn out and are getting exposed.   Or perhaps, the league has just found their weaknesses now that they are playing expanded roles.   Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez, Jayson Nix, Cody Eppley & Clay Rapada have all taken on additional playing time and responsibility and did a yeoman’s job until recently.  Right now, it looks like the Yankees are an old team with far too many platoon players who have little value defensively or fundamentally.

This week’s series for Toronto was a microcosm of the team’s struggles this year.  They did not execute in key situations, failed to move runners with productive outs or bunts and did not deliver with runners in scoring position.  In addition their defense was shoddy with 4 errors yesterday and another 2 misplays by Andruw Jones that should have been errors.  These mistakes led to 7 of Toronto’s 8 runs and allowed the Jays to win their first series in over a month.  They had lost 7 in a row before coming to NY.  Not the type of tune-up you’d like to see before the biggest 10-game stretch of the season.

I know the above sounds very negative but I try to be a realist and the reality is the team has played poor baseball for about 6 weeks now.  However, on the bright side, they will head into this stretch with at least a 3-game lead and even with all their injuries, I still believe they are better than Baltimore and Tampa.  Baltimore’s pitching is far inferior to the Yankees and while Tampa has the best pitching in baseball, their lineup is far weaker.

If the Yankees had ARod, Tex, Pettitte, Mariano & Gardner, I would have no worries at all.  But they don’t.  And Cashman’s attempts to bring in retreads is not working anymore.   If ever a team needed a breath of fresh air and youthful excitement, it’s the Yankees.  They are a slow, prodding team which doesn’t run, plays poor defense and doesn’t hit well with RISP.  Their calling card is the HR which without their 2 biggest RH bats isn’t nearly as strong as it was.  Say what you want about ARod & Tex but they were legit 25 & 30 HR bats, respectively.  Replacing them with the likes of Laynce Nix and Steve Pearce isn’t working.  This team has guys in AA & AAA right now that are hitting the shit out of the ball.  They also have youthful legs and could possibly provide a jump-start to this team.  With the rosters expanding on Saturday, the team can definitely use the talents of Chris Dickerson, Ronnie Mustelier, Corban Joseph, Eduardo Nunez, Francisco Cervelli, David Adams & Zolio Almonte.

Another arm or 2 in the bullpen is badly needed also as Joba Chamberlain continues to show he’s not ready for primetime and Cosy Eppley has been nowhere near the guy he was early in the year.  perhaps it is time to give Snap-Dragon Montgomery a chance to see if his Slider will work at the MLB-level.  These young guys could provide a boost to this struggling team.

Use this as your post to talk about the team and the upcoming big series with Baltimore.  Is anyone else worried about this team or are you confident the Yanks can just turn it on now that they need it? How many games do they need to win out of these next 10?

Morning Bits: RISP, O’s Series, Dave Miley, Pettitte

So many chances yesterday with 0 outs and a runner at second and the Yankees couldn’t do the job.  Ugh!  Well today is an off day.   Check back with us often for any updates.  Even though the Yankees aren’t playing today we have a lot to care about as both the O’s and Rays are playing.   Yankees start a series with the O’s tomorrow.

Enjoy the day now for some links…

Wallace Matthews of ESPN NY has an article about how dreadful the Yankees are with RISP.  Yesterday they went 3-17!!! Pathetic.

Cash Kruth of has the preview of the O’s vs Yankees series starting tomorrow.

— SWB (AAA) Yankees manager Dave Miley was named top manager in the international league.  As he should for having to deal with a team on the road all season.   SWB has clinched the playoffs so should be an exciting time for team.

Yankees Insider from The Daily News says time is running out for Andy Pettitte.


Game 130 Lineup: Blue Jays vs. Yankees

Lineup vs. Blue Jays:

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Andruw Jones RF
Curtis Granderson CF
Steve Pearce DH
Jayson Nix 3B
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Chris Stewart C

LHP CC Sabathia

Pregame Notes:

Mariano Rivera was in the Yankees clubhouse yesterday and the main reason he was there was because he needed to speak with Rafael Soriano about Monday night. After Soriano listened to Mo, he came out dealing and got the save yesterday. I’m sure we’re all thinking the same thing–Mo should be the pitching coach of the Yankees in the future.

David Robertson is not available out of the pen today after pitching 3 straight days in a row. This is the first time in Robertson’s career with the Yankees that he has pitched 3 days in a row.

Andy Pettitte is going to throw off a mound but that hasn’t been scheduled as of yet. Pettitte believes that he needs 2-3 starts before he would be ready to get a possible post-season start.

Morning Bits: Sabathia, Soriano & Hughes

Good morning all.   Hughes had a good outing and Cano made a hell of a double play.   Soriano came in and closed the game out.   Tampa lost which is good but the O’s won again.   Today is a day game as C.C. will be on the mound against Happ.  First pitch is scheduled for 1:05PM EST.
Enjoy the game.  Now for some links…

ESPN Stats shows how Sabathia owns the Jays.

Andrew Marchand of ESPN NY writes that Mariano mentors an angry Soriano.

Mark Feinsand mentions that Hughes gave a gritty effort.

Game 129 Lineup: Blue Jays vs. Yankees

Lineup vs. Blue Jays:

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Steve Pearce DH
Russell Martin C
Curtis Granderson CF
Andruw Jones RF
Jayson Nix 3B
Ichiro Suzuki LF

RHP Phil Hughes

Pregame Notes:

— Alex Rodriguez took batting practice today for the first time since his injury.

— Joe Girardi  says Mark Teixeira will be out “seven to eight to 15 days.”

— Casey McGhee was optioned to Class-A ball for Steve Pearce. Charleston isn’t going to the play-offs so McGhee will be with the Yankees again next week.

A Shocking Blockbuster Trade

One of the many old sayings in sports is that it is easier to fire the manager than the players. The Boston Red Sox tried firing their manager in the offseason and it did not do them any good. Now, they found a way to fire some of the players and trade some of the worst contracts in baseball. Last week, the Red Sox traded Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for first baseman James Loney and minor leaguers Allen Webster, Ivan De Jesus, Rubby De La Rossa and Jerry Sands.

There is no doubt that this is one of the biggest trades in MLB history. The Dodgers took on an incredible $272 million in salary for four players, all of whom have question marks. The Red Sox managed to get out from under the contracts of three players who were not only not living up to their contracts, but also were causing issues in the clubhouse.

Beckett was one of the ring leaders of the beer and chicken in the clubhouse incident from last season. Also, he had an incident this season where he played golf two days before he missed his scheduled start due to stiffness in his lat muscle. Beckett’s conditioning and his commitment to the team have always been in question as well. Meanwhile, Gonzalez was never a fit in Boston despite producing solid numbers. He blamed the Red Sox collapse last season on God and the fact that the Red Sox played too many ESPN Sunday Night Baseball games. Those kinds of excuses will not fly in a city like Boston.

The Dodgers new ownership group, led by global investment firm Guggenheim Partners, has not been shy about spending money since purchasing the franchise for about $2 billion dollars. They re-signed Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, traded for Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton, and now have made this enormous deal.

There is no doubt that this trade should help them right now because Gonzalez is a huge upgrade over James Loney. Gonzalez is having a down season, but he should be a lot more comfortable playing out west again. Loney is about as bad as it gets at first base, as his highest OPS in his career for a full season is .772, which is not even close to Gonzalez’s career worst .814 OPS this season. Beckett also may be more comfortable out west, but he is a guy that just may bring clubhouse problems wherever he goes. Also, Crawford won’t be able to help them until next season after getting Tommy John surgery.

The Dodgers are obviously going for it all and have unlimited funds, but one must ask whether they spent their money wisely? If you are going take on $260 million dollars in salary the players you receive should come with as little risk as possible. Crawford, who is owed $102.5 million over the next five years, was a complete bust for Boston and just received Tommy John surgery. Beckett, who is owed $31.5 million over the next two years, has seemed to have lost his stuff as a pitcher and doesn’t seem to care enough to make the necessary adjustments to be successful. Gonzalez’s deal at six years and $128 million is the best out of the three of them. The Dodgers probably could have spent all this money they have in the future on better players and still be in contention for a title this season.

The Red Sox managed to get rid of players who would have been holding them back for years to come. They also received two young pitching prospects in De La Rossa and Webster, who respectively placed #90 in 2011 and #95 in 2012 on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list. It is amazing that Boston got rid of such high priced players and got legitimate prospects for them. They still have a lot of work to do to be in contention in the AL East again, but at least now they have that opportunity again.

It will be interesting to see if they have learned from their past mistakes of giving big contracts to the wrong players. Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton will be out there on the open market this offseason, but they’re two guys who again might not be the best fit in Boston, due to Greinke’s anxiety issues and Hamilton’s past drug and alcohol issues. They would be smart to pass on those guys, develop some young players in 2013, sign some big free agents from a better free agent crop in the 2013 offseason and be ready to compete in 2014. They may now keep manager Bobby Valentine as well because his personality fits much better with a younger team than with a veteran one.

This trade can end up going in many different directions. The Red Sox should be the big winners if they play their cards right, but there is no guarantee that they will do that. The Dodgers can be big winners if the players they received live up to their contracts and they win a championship, otherwise they will be losers.  This is one of the most significant trades in MLB history and it will be fascinating to see the results of it in a few years.

Spanning the Yankee Blogs: Cashman, Mark Montgomery, Jeter, Swish & more

* An A-blog for A-Rod asks if Cashman fired up Jeter in 2010.

* Bleeding Yankee Blue thinks Cervelli will bring some much needed energy to this team.

* It’s about the Money Stupid wonders if the Yankees could ever become the Red Sox.

* Pinstripe Alley looks into the Mark Montgomery option.

* River Ave Blues writes how Jeter & Swisher have been carrying the Yankees offensively.

* The Captain’s Blog has a good article on how the Yankee dwindling lead could make history.

* The Yankee Analysts looks into one reason why the offense has declined since 2009.

* Yanks Go Yard has a good piece on Eric Chavez.

Morning Bits: Soriano blows off the media, Stretch run & More

What a horrible day for the Yankees in many ways last night.   They lost the game and lost Mark Teixeira for at least a week.  The year of the injuries continues.   Also Baltimore moved up in the standings.  The Yankees are back at it tonight with first pitch scheduled for 7:05PM EST.  On the mound will be Hughes vs Romero.   I will be at the game tonight as well.

Enjoy the day.  Now for some links….

Johnette Howard of ESPN NY writes that the Bad News Bombers are going into the stretch run the wrong way.

Ian Begley has some notes on the Bombers including that A-Rod will take batting practice today.

Greg Zeck of has the preview of tonight’s game.

John Harper of The Daily News mentions that Soriano blew off the media after blowing the game last night.

Standings from ESPN.COM

Game 128 Lineup: Blue Jays vs. Yankees

Lineup vs. Blue Jays:

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF

RHP David Phelps

Pregame Notes:

— The Yankees traded with the Houston Astros for 1B/OF Steve Pearce. If his name seems familiar, it’s because he was a Yankee from March-June and was traded to the Orioles.

— Big congratulations are in order for David Robertson and his wife Erin who welcomed their first child early this morning.


— Andy Pettitte and A-Rod will have X-Rays at 6pm so there won’t be an update on either of them until after the game.

Enjoy the game everyone!

Minor League Week in Review


Jose Pirela was placed on the DL with a broken hand; his season is now finished. Ryan Flannery will take his place,

Nick Goody has been promoted to Tampa; he’ll join the rehabbing Jeremy Bleich in the pen.

Greg Bird and Angel Rincon have both been promoted to Staten Island to get a few more reps in.

Zoilo Almonte was named to the EL All Star team.

Ronnier Mustelier was activated off the DL, while Dellin Betances was placed on the DL with shoulder tendinitis.

SWB Yankees  6-1 on the week, 80-57 overall

Corban Joseph led the charge for Scranton going 9-30 with two doubles, a HR and 7 RBI’s. Chris Dickerson could be making a push for a September callup as he continues to rack up hits. He went 12-31 on the week with 5 doubles and a pair of RBI’s. Ronnier Mustelier made his return with five hit week in thirteen AB’s. Melky Mesa added 7 hits of his own; he drove in four with the help of a pair of doubles and a pair of homers. Adam Warren turned in a nice start this week going 5IP, 2H, 0ER, BB, 4K. On the relief end Chase Whitley gave up a run over 3.2 on 2 hits. Juan Cedeno tossed three scoreless on two hits. He walked none and struck out three. Kelvin Perez started off with two no-hit innings, and then get hit around in his next outing. He gave up two runs in 1.2IP on three hits.

Trenton Thunder  3-4 on the week,  76-58 overall

The Thunder have been on a bit of a slide lately, but started to turn it around on the back of some solid starting pitching. Shaeffer Hall and Brett Marshall both started two games this week, and both had Jeckyl and Hyde type weeks. First they combined for 12IP, 15H, 8ER, 4BB, 7K’s and then came back with a combined line of 12.2IP 6H, 3ER, 2BB, 15K’s. Vidal Nuno bounced back for a 6IP, 4H, 0ER, BB, 3K outing while Mikey O’Brien threw a one hitter over 6.2IP. John Brebbia added 4.1 innings of his own, giving up a single run on four hits. He walked on and struck out five. Zoilo Almonte has cooled right off; aside from a 3-4 night Thursday, he’s 1-23. Yikes. David Adams continues to hit turning in a 7-20 performance where he drove in four, including two doubles and a long ball. JR Murphy drove in one of his own and had two doubles on seven hits.

Tampa Yankees  2-4, 33-27 in the second half

The OF provided the pop again this week for Tampa, led by Slade Heathcott who went 8-18 withthree doubles and a pair of RBI’s. Ramon Flores had 9 hits in 17 AB’s with two doubles and an RBI. Tyler Austin went 6-17 with a pair of doubles while driving in three. Nik Turley got roughed up a bit in his start; he gave up four runs on 7 hits; two of which went over the fence. Branden Pinder threw 2.2 innings of one hit ball, while Mark Montgomery got back on track with four one hit innings of his own. He walked one and struck ouit six. Nick Goody made his High-A debut with a hitless inning, walking one and striking out zero.

Charleston RiverDogs  5-2 on the week and 67-62 on the season

Saxon Butler kicks off the Dogs this week going 6-22 with two doubles and three RBI’s. Dante Bichette Jr. is getting it rolling; he went 7-22 on the week with a pair of doubles and four RBI’s. Robert Refsnyder didn’t hit for average this week but 3 of his five hits were for extra bases; a double and two HR’s which drove in five runs on the week. Scottie Allen threw a total of 8.2IP, 10H, 3ER, 1BB, 11K’s.

SI Yankees  6-1 on the week (wow!) 24-41 on the season

Big debut for Greg Bird in SI this week; he went 5-8 with a 2B, HR and 4 RBI’s. Taylor Dugas went 7-16 with a 2B and 2 RBI’s. Ravel Sanatan has been underwhelming this year; 5-30 on the week but he did drive in four and hit a HR. Tim Flight tossed three scoreless on two hits and five K’s. James Pazos tossed three scoreless of his own, yielding one hit, allowing a walk and striking out one. Derek Varnadore had a rough week; he ended with a line of 9IP, 10H, 5ER, 3BB, 5K’s.

GCL Yankees 4-3 on the week and 35-25 overall

This marks the end of the GCL; some will move on for some work in the Penn League or higher. Yeicok Calderon cooled right off to cap the season; he finished going 2-16 with a HR and 2 RBI’s. Christopher Breen had an ugly week… 0-fer. Nuff’ said. Miieson Oliberto finished strong going 6-20 with three doubles and a pair of RBI’s. Kenedy Agramonte threw 3.1 innings of one run ball walking none and striking out four. Giovanny Gallegos tossed five innings of two hit ball and Rony Bautista threw 1.2 innings of zeroes.

No p

Travel Day

The Red Sox get a reprieve, the Yankees have issues, and MLB’s horrible decision to expand the playoffs backfires are the topics of the week.

The Red Sox

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  In the case of the picture above, I’d say it is worth much more than that.

In one of the most stunning trades in history, the Red Sox sent over 270 million dollars in payroll obligations named Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez and Punto to the Dodgers in return for James Loney, Ivan Dejesus Jr, and prospects.

In reading recent columns and opinion polls it has stunned me that a large number of people think that the Dodgers won this trade.  While the immediate effect of this trade may be to strengthen the Dodgers playoff chances this season, the Red Sox were just given a reprieve like none in history.  Red Sox haters who are reveling in the misery of the franchise would be wise to hold their gloating to a minimum.

In 2013 MLB teams who exceed 178MM will pay a fifty percent luxury tax.  That represents an increase from the forty-two percent luxury tax that was in effect for the 2012 season.  That is a pretty serious penalty for all teams wishing to exceed the 178MM threshold, to say the least.  The luxury tax changes in recent years have made long-term big money contracts the biggest enemy of major league teams.  Flexibility, young performing players inside of five years of MLB service, a good farm system,  and the ability to make moves are now the most valuable assets that a team can have in this day and age.

Before departing for the Cubs, former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein made a series of bad trades and signings.  In the process of these bad signings and trades, Epstein crippled the Red Sox with a bloated payroll, a barren farm system, and a bad clubhouse full of disgruntled players.  The Red Sox haven’t won a playoff game since 2008 and if you had asked me a week ago when I could foresee them winning another playoff game I would have answered to check with me after the Presidential Election… 2016.

In one fell swoop the Red Sox were able to gain prospects, flexibility, payroll space, and cleanse their clubhouse of three of the unhappiest players on the team in Crawford, Beckett, and Gonzalez.  While Gonzalez is obviously a player that the Red Sox or any team would be lucky to have, the bottom line is that he was a small price to pay to be rid of Beckett and Crawford’s contracts.

I was asked after this trade by a friend if in the theoretical world that the Yankees were out of contention this season and had the chance to trade A-Rod and Texeira as long as they threw in Cano would I have been in favor of that.  My response was a quick and emphatic “ABSOLUTELY!”.  My reasoning in that is that if Yankee fans think A-Rod and Texeira’s contracts look bad now, just wait  three or four years and they’ll look apocalyptic.

In the new age of baseball, shedding overpaid, underperforming long-term contracts is the biggest home run a team can hit in this new era of baseball. The Red Sox just hit a grand slam and while their haters are basking in the glow of a current disaster, the Red Sox and their fans can now look forward to what should be a much brighter future.  While it isn’t always easy to be as excited about the future as it is about the present, it’s much better to have a brighter future than to be stuck in a hopeless situation.

One Hot Run

It is August 27th and the Yankees lead the AL East by four games over the Rays and four and a half games over the Orioles.  In a season that’s seen the loss of: Brett Gardner only nine games into the season, Michael Pineda before he ever threw a regular season pitch in pinstripes, the great Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte for what will be at least two and a half months, and Alex Rodriguez for what will be at least six weeks, and now Ivan Nova for an indefinite period, one would think that a division lead with only thirty-five games left to play would be a stellar achievement.  While the leading the AL East in late August is most assuredly an accomplishment, the fashion in which the Yankees have achieved that late is cause for concern.

The Yankees began this season with a 21-21 record from April 6th through May 21st.  The Yankees have gone 17-19 in their last 36 games between July 19th and August 26th.  The Yankees have looked and played like a below .500 team for the majority of the season and owe their division lead to a blazing run in 49 games  played between May 22nd and July 18th in which they went 36-13.

While it doesn’t matter how you amass a record during the regular season to make the playoffs, the mark of a good team is consistency and the Yankees have displayed little of that through the majority of this season.

The Yankees have been plagued by RISP issues and inconsistent pitching from virtually everyone except Rafael Soriano.  Derek Jeter has turned back the clock with an incredible season and Robinson Cano continues to shine but Mark Texeira, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones Curtis Granderson, and Russell Martin are a combined 404-1743(.232).

Texeira continues to underachieve woefully as a Yankee.  A plus .300 lifetime hitter before being signed to an 8 year, 180MM deal with the Yankees, Texeira hasn’t come close to living up to the expectations that he brought to the Bronx since the end of the 2009 regular season. Including his tragic 18-106 postseason stats, since the start of the 2009 postseason Texeira has gone 429-1730(.250).  His OPS since 2009 to this season has declined from .948 to .846 to .835 to .814. Texeira’s OBP since 2009 to this season has declined from .383 to .365 to .341 to .335.  While his defenders point to his incredible defense and home runs, the fact is that he possessed the same incredible defense and power when he was signed to a monster deal that pays him 23.5 million dollars this season.  Texeira’s is 6-53(.113) with two outs and RISP this season and those aren’t the kind of numbers you want to see from a player batting cleanup while A-Rod heals from his broken hand.

While the possible return of Pettitte would help the Yankees, the key to the Yankees’ playoff chances and success in the postseason may hinge on A-Rod’s return and subsequent performance. Still on track for an early September return, A-Rod’s return would alter the look of the Yankee lineup and strengthen it considerably.  Eric Chavez‘s outstanding bat could replace the Ibanez/Jones DH platoon in the postseason and give the Yankees this look in the postseason:

Jeter SS, Swisher RF, A-Rod 3B, Cano 2B, Texeira 1B, Granderson CF, Chavez DH, Martin C, Ichiro LF

For all of the bashing A-Rod has taken for his postseason failures and sub par regular seasons 2010-2012, he’s never hit below .270 in his career which is 14 points higher than Texeira’s best year from 2010-2012 with the same type of power Texeira has had.  Yankee fans would be wise to note this and refrain from the “who needs A-Rod?” talk that Chavez has inspired.

If The Playoffs Began Today

Before we get into how the playoffs would look if they began today, I’d like to thank Bud Selig for yet another destructive, ill-conceived, moronic decision in his tenure.  The decision to expand the number of playoff teams not only further negates the credibility of a long 162 game season, but also puts the higher seeds in a negative position to advance this season due to the incredulous decision to play the first two games of the best-of-five round on the road. But wait, there could be more disaster!

Not only will this playoff expansion debacle lessen the drama of what looks like could have been a thrilling race if only wildcard team was advancing to the postseason, but could possibly lead to chaos.  With 5 teams separated by only 4 1/2 games in the AL and 4 teams separated by the same 4 1/2 games in the NL for the two wildcard slots, it is very possible that 3 teams could end up tied for the wildcard positions.  The mess that this would create would be both comical and tragic at the same time.  Selig has zigged when he should have zagged from day one of his tenure.

In the AL:

The Orioles and A’s would have a one game playoff in Oakland on Thursday October 4th to determine who would play Tampa in a one game playoff on Friday October 5th to determine who would host the first two games of  the best-of-five series against Texas starting on Sunday October 7th. Got that? So basically if the A’s were to win both one game playoffs, the Rangers would travel to Oakland to play the first two games of the best-of-five on the road against a team they beat by 5 1/2 games in their own division. Pure genius there folks.

The White Sox would host the Yankees in the first two games of the best-of-five series starting on Saturday October 6th. The Yankees’ “reward” for having a 2 1/2 game better record than the White Sox would be a trip to Chicago to start a series. Sheer brilliance there.

In the NL:

The Braves would host a one game playoff against the Cardinals on Friday October 5th to determine who would host the first two games of a best-of-five series against the Nationals on Sunday October 7th. So basically if the Braves won the playoff game against the Cardinals, the Nationals would be on the road for the first two games of a best-of-five series against a team they beat by 4 1/2 games in the same division. Sure makes sense to me.

The Giants would host the first two games of a best-of-five against the Reds, who would have a 5 1/2 game better record than the Giants.  You couldn’t make this stuff up.