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Friday October, 13 2006.
Stay Out of the Private Jets, Already!
By mvyb, 21:24

MLB.com
Barely 48 hours after Cory Lidle lost his life in a tragic plane accident, the Yankees had another scare on Friday afternoon about 3,000 miles away.

Alex Rodriguez was aboard a private jet that overran a runway at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif., and was brought to a halt by an arresting system.

"I spoke to Alex," his agent, Scott Boras, told The Associated Press. "He's fine."

Federal officials said that none of the seven people aboard were injured.

 
Ok, I think the Yankees should just stay out of private jets for a while. I know the players want to go home for the winter, but please, can't you guys just take a train or a bus or a boat? 
 
Some tidbits from around the blogging universe:
 
-Steve Lombardi talks about Mike Mussina's future...it appears the Yanks aren't gonna pick up his option.
 
- YanksBlog has several good posts on the issue of trading Alex Rodriguez. I think trading A-Rod is definitely something the Yanks should look into, but do we really want him hitting 50+ homers for an opposing team?
 
-And Baseball Prospectus has some great stuff on Robinson Cano...
 
Read on, and have a nice weekend!

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Thursday October, 12 2006.
A Look At Cory Lidle's Life and the Reaction to His Tragic Death
By mvyb, 13:01

 
Cory Fulton Lidle was born in Hollywood, California on March 22, 1972 to Doug and Lisa Lidle. He had one brother ( his twin), Kevin, who became a minor league catcher in the Detroit Tigers' farm system. Cory Lidle attended South Hills High School with future Yankee teammate, Jason Giambi.
 
After graduating highschool, Cory Lidle married Melanie Varela. Four months later, Lidle was signed by the New York Mets as a starting/relief pitcher. ( Because Lidle became a replacement player during the 1994 baseball strike, he was not eligible to join the MLB Players Union.) On May 7, 1997 Lidle made his major league debut, in which he worked two innings of scoreless relief. He picked up his first major league win three days later in St. Louis.
 
Over the next two years, Lidle was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks and then the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but an injury to his right elbow kept him off the mound most of the time. In 2000, Lidle's wife gave birth to his only son, Christopher.
 
Cory Lidle joined the Oakland Athletics in 2001. Over the final three months of '01, Lidle became almost unhittable ( 12-2, 2.74 ERA). It was by far the best stretch of his big league career. In 2003, Cory Lidle joined the Blue Jays and picked up 12 wins in another injury-plagued season. Lidle did garner a career-high 10 strikeouts in an August game versus the Chicago White Sox.
 
In 2004, Cory Lidle was an Opening Day starter for the first time in his career ( with the Cincinnati Reds.) He picked up career-highs in innings-pitched (211.1), games started (34), strikeouts (126), complete games (5), and shutouts (3). In July, Lidle was picked up by Phillidelphia, where he stayed until mid-2006, when he was traded to the New York Yankees.
 
 Lidle was 4-3 in 9 starts for New York, picking up his biggest win for the team on August 21st ( six scoreless innings against the Boston Red Sox). He also pitched in Game 4 of the Division Series against Detroit.
 
On Wednesday, October 11th, at approximately 2:36PM a small plane crashed into a 50-story building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The plane had been piloted by Cory Lidle.
 
Officials say that Lidle reported fuel problems minutes after taking off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. Others claim they heard the craft's engine sputter and die before it slammed into the apartment building. But there was one thing horrified New Yorkers knew for certain- Cory Lidle, a great father, husband, and baseball player had died.
 
"Right now, I am really in a state of shock, as I am sure the entire MLB family is. My thoughts are with Cory's relatives and the loved ones of the others who were injured or killed in this plane crash. " said Yankee first baseman Jason Giambi. "I have known Cory and his wife Melanie for over 18 years and watched his son grow up. We played high school ball together and have remained close throughout our careers. We were excited to be reunited in New York this year and I am just devastated to hear this news."
 
Johnny Damon was also a teammate of Giambi and Lidle in Oakland. "I am very saddened at the tragic loss of Cory, who was my teammate, and my friend," Damon said. "I cared for him and his family, and my heart goes out to his wife Melanie, and his son Christopher. He was a great person who enjoyed everything in life, and I will really miss him."
 
One by one, the Yankees made remarks to the media on the death of their teammate. Ken Macha, Barry Zito, Eric ChavezRick Peterson, and several other players and managers talked to reporters about Cory Lidle.
 
To hear of anyone's untimely death is saddening, but when someone like Cory Lidle, a member of the Yankees- someone who you feel you know, dies- it really shakes you up. All you can do is say a prayer for the family and friends of Cory Lidle ( and the flight instructor who also perished in the crash.)
 
I urge you to check out some moving posts on the grief that is being felt over Lidle's tragic death.
 
This is indeed a sad day for baseball...

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Wednesday October, 11 2006.
Cory Lidle Dies in Plane Crash
By mvyb, 17:02

ESPN.com breaking news story
A small plane piloted by New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle crashed into a 50-story condominium tower Wednesday on Manhattan's Upper East Side, raining flaming debris onto the sidewalks below and rattling New Yorkers' nerves five years after the Sept. 11 attack.

Lidle died in the crash.

The twin-engine plane came through a hazy, cloudy sky and hit the 20th floor of The Belaire -- a red-brick tower overlooking the East River, about five miles from the World Trade Center -- with a loud bang, touching off a raging fire that cast a pillar of black smoke over the city and sent flames shooting from four windows on two adjoining floors.

 
Absolutely sickening.... and terrifying....
 
Pray for Lidle's family and friends....

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Jeter, Cano Named Sporting News All-Stars
By mvyb, 13:36

Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter and second baseman Robinson Cano picked up the Sporting News' All Star awards for their positions on Tuesday.
 
Robinson Cano batted .342 ( 3rd best in the American League) with 17 homers and 78 RBIs. Cano, in his second year in the majors, missed over a month of playing time while on the DL with a hamstring injury. But when he returned, he boosted the Yankees to their 9th consecutive division title.
 
Derek Jeter, the Yankee captain, batted .343 with 14 HRs, 97 RBIs, 34 stolen bases, 214 hits, and 118 runs scored. Jeter is a front-runner for this year's league MVP award.
 
 
This is the first time that either player has made the Sporting News All-Star team.
 
Other players on the list: David Ortiz, Justin Morneau, Jermaine Dye, Joe Mauer, and Johann Santana.
 
In other news: 
 
Looks like Randy Johnson's going to have surgery on his back sometime this month.
  
Randy Johnson almost certainly will have back surgery in the coming weeks to repair a herniated disk, and it's possible that he may not be ready to start spring training on time, GM Brian Cashman said yesterday.
 
Johnson's been worth every penny...
 
Giambi's also going under the knife to have a torn ligament in his wrist repaired. Surgery should take place next week, giving Giambi enough time to recover before Spring Training starts in March.
 
Carl Pavano is starting a new offseason throwing program as he tries to get in shape for the '07 season.
 
Cashman said that Carl Pavano would take part in a new offseason throwing program this winter, as the team tries to get the pitcher in shape for the 2007 season.
"Both of us agreed that there's something we have to try different in our winter program to make sure we have a healthy, productive Carl Pavano for '07," Cashman said. "Those discussions are going on."
 
 
The article goes on to say that Brian Cashman will meet with Pavano and the MLB Players Association to discuss disciplinary measures that may be taken against Pavano. Pavano failed to tell the Yankees when he broke several of his ribs in a car accident.
 
Our '07 rotation is taking shape.
 
For those who can't get enough, there's still plenty of coverage on Joe Torre and his future with the team.
 
Oh, and congrats to the Tigers on their big win last night!

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Tuesday October, 10 2006.
Steinbrenner, Cashman, and Torre on Yankee State of Affairs
By mvyb, 18:33

George Steinbrenner press release:
"I spoke to Joe Torre today and I told him, 'You're back for the year. I expect a great deal from you and the entire team. I have high expectations and I want to see enthusiasm, a fighting spirit and a team that works together. The responsibility is yours, Joe, and all of the Yankees.' Yes, I am deeply disappointed about our loss this year, we have to do better. And I deeply want a championship. It's about time."
 
 
Couldn't have said it better myself. It's disappointing (and annoying) that the Yanks didn't win it all ( or go anywhere in the postseason, for that matter). But you have to start preparing for the future. Let's get that fighting spirit back!
 
Steinbrenner's statement was released several minutes after the press conference.
 
Joe Torre at this afternoon's press conference:

"Knowing what this organization expects, from its people, especially its manager. It's something that on the heels of not being able to get through the first round, it's just something that you understand goes with the territory.

"Unfortunately this year ended all too abruptly but the season itself was very gratifying for me. I'm glad I get a chance to do it again."

 
 
Now, when he says "do it again"...?
 
 
Brian Cashman on Joe Torre and this year's team:
"I think Joe Torre is the right man for this team next year. This team played hard all year for Joe. This team did respond to him; we played our worst ball at the worst time, unfortunately."
 
Cashman also said that he "fully expects" A-Rod to play for the Yanks next year. He said that he has gotten offers from other teams- he first started getting "hits" around May and June ( especially near the trade deadline).
 
Interesting stuff...

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Breaking News: Torre Stays
By mvyb, 13:50

MLB.com Report 
Joe Torre will continue to be manager of the New York Yankees.

"I just got off the phone with George Steinbrenner and he told me I'll be the manager next year," Torre said Tuesday during a gathering with reporters at Yankee Stadium.

Thus apparently ends three days of speculation about the future of Torre, who has managed the Yankees to four World Series titles and six American League pennants in 11 seasons.

"I'm very excited about it," Torre said. "This has been the best job of my life."

 
 
Ok, this isn't much of a surprise really, if Steinbrenner was going to fire Torre, he would've done it two days ago.
 
My first reaction to this announcement was that of loyalty- "Yes! Our long-time manager is staying!", but then my "sour-fan" side took over.
 
"Great. Another year of Torre's flawed management."
 
But to the fans who wanted Torre to stay- congrats, you got your way. To those who wanted Torre to get canned- well, maybe next year. But, I wouldn't despair or anything if I were you. The mighty Yankees can win both with Joe Torre's help and in spite of Joe Torre's "help."
 
I'll be back later with more stuff, but for now head over to Lohud Yankee Blog for updated coverage on Torre's press conference.

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Players Show the Love for Torre
By mvyb, 12:15

Here are some quotes the media's gathered over the past several days:
 
Ron Villone
"He gave us every opportunity (to win). He put us on the field at the right times ... You can't point the finger at him."
 
 
 
Jaret Wright
"I mean, he didn't get any at-bats. He didn't throw any pitches. We did that and we wish it could've turned out better for him, for us and for the fans, but it didn't and you go from there."
 
 
 
Scott Boras, Alex Rodriguez's agent
"Alex is very supportive of Joe Torre and enjoys playing for him. I think he views what happened this postseason as one where some great starting pitchers beat a very good offense. From his perspective, that had nothing to do with Joe Torre."
 
 
 
Miguel Cairo
"He's still the manager. I don't know what you guys are talking about. He's the manager. He's going to be the manager until something happens different but he's still the manager."
 
 
 
Ron Villone
"He's a class act. He knows what he's doing. He's a great manager."
 
 
 
Scott Proctor
"I've got nothing but great things to say about him. He gave me an opportunity. I learned a lot about handling New York. ... He handles the caliber of guys we had better than anyone."
 
NJ.com (Sports)
 
Chien-Ming Wang
"...[Torre] should stay here [as manager]. If I pitch a bad game, Joe [would say], 'Don't worry, forget about that.' "
 
NJ.com (Sports)
 
 
Ron Guidry
"The job I've seen him do with this team is probably the best job he [ever] did."
NJ.com (Sports)
 
 
Hmmm.... where's Jeter? Or Rivera? Or Posada? Mussina? Williams? All the veterans of the ball club have remained mysteriously quiet.
 
 The former New York mayor ( and huge Yankee fan) spoke out about Torre yesterday:
       
Rudy Giuliani
"I don't have any doubt that it is in the best interest of the Yankees to retain Joe Torre."
 
"You've got to look at a guy's whole record, and you have to look at the whole season, and you have to ask yourself, 'Would anyone have gotten the Yankees to the same place?"
 
 
 
   Reports are still floating around the country on the subject of Joe Torre's future. Some people insist he's on his way out, while others are quite sure that he'll stay with the Yankees for at least one more year.
 
Joe staying:
 
 
Read what you want. Believe what you want. My feeling is that Torre is gonna stay on as Yankee manager. Enough time has passed for Steinbrenner to cool down, maybe even think clearly.
 
Torre is holding a press conference today at 1PM, we'll learn his fate then.

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Monday October, 09 2006.
Aftermath
By mvyb, 15:38

The Question:
 
How can a 200 million dollar team ( with an All-Star at every position, home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and a month's worth of momentum ) crash, burn, and die so quickly in the Division Series? How can a small-market, no-name team like the Detroit Tigers dismantle the mighty New York Yankees so easily?
 
 
I'm sure I'm not the only Yankee fan who has spent the past two days (and nights) pondering those very questions. The regular season was so fun and exciting- for the first time in years, the Yankees actually played with energy and the will to win!
 
2006 Regular Season:
 
April 1st: Yanks mash Oakland, led by an Alex Rodriguez's grand slam and a Hideki Matsui 4-hit night
 
May 16th: The Yanks rally from a 9-run deficit and win in the ninth on a Posada walkoff 2-run homer.
 
May 20th: Down by 4 in the ninth, the Bombers beat up on Mets' star closer Billy Wagner and win the game in the tenth.
 
May 30th: Yanks score 5 in the 11th inning against the Detroit Tigers.
 
June 6th: Melky saves the game with an eye-popping grab, stealing a homer from Manny Ramirez.
 
June 16th: Bernie's hits a game-winning homer off of Chad Cordero in Washington.  Power outing here in NJ so I had to listen to this one on the radio in the dark.
 
June 28th: The one day Yankee fans supported Alex Rodriguez.
 
July 2nd: A-Rod hits 2 homers and drives in 7 against the Mets. ( Nick Green and Jorge Posada also homer.)
 
August 19-21: GREATEST. SERIES. EVER.
 
September 20th: Yanks clinch division. Yeehaw.
 
 
What happened to this magic??? What happened to the Yankees' will to win??? The games I mentioned above were some of the most important games the Yanks played all year ( Opening Day, 5-game series in Boston, Subway Series, etc...) And guess what? The Bombers stepped up and performed like they were an All Star team! Why couldn't they play this way against Detroit in the Divisional Series? New York had a nice 5-2 record against Detroit in the regular season, why couldn't they keep doing what they had been doing for 6 months?
 
The Answer:
 
The formula was changed.
 
A scientist has discovered the cure for the common cold. His medicine is tested and is highly effective. Later that day, another scientist tries to improve the formula by removing "chemical B" and replacing it with "chemical J". But what has happened? The formula no longer cures the common cold. It has been ruined by an ineffective chemical.
 
The Yankees had a winning formula. The had the key to beating good teams ( like Minnesota, Detroit, Boston, and the New York Mets). But when the season ended and the team charged into the playoffs, Joe Torre changed the formula:
 
- Alex Rodriguez bounced up and down the lineup.
 
- Sheffield played first base.
 
- Matsui played left, instead of DHing.
 
- Giambi didn't play in Game 4.
 
- Stolen bases and "hit-and-runs" were removed from the game plan. ( The Yankee didn't even ATTEMPT a stolen base or "hit-and-run" in the final three games of the series. )
 
One man made out the lineup cards. One man decided who played where and when. One man decided the order of batting. One man had the job of making decisions from the dug out. One man had the ability to send his runners, make them attempt to steal a base, or pull off a suicide-squeeze. Joe Torre.
 
 
Now, you have to give credit to the Detroit Tigers who played hard. Like good teams do, they took advantage of their opponents mistakes. And, the Yankee batters ( with the exclusion of Jeter and Posada) carry a lot of the blame for yet another postseason failure. 
 
But looking at the whole thing realistically, this one's pretty much on Joe. When he saw his team struggling to score, he did nothing. When he saw a pitcher losing control of his pitches, Torre did nothing. When one player ( like Rodriguez) was REALLY struggling, Torre left him in the lineup. You understand.
 
Now, I want you to know that I have a ton of respect for Joe Torre. During the '96-'99 Yankee dynasty, Torre was the best manager in baseball. I admired everything he did. He knew how to win.
 
But after this latest Yankee collapse, you wonder- has he lost his touch?
 
If Steinbrenner does fire Torre ( or Joe retires), I don't think I'll really be that upset. After getting beaten by underdog teams for 5 straight years, maybe it is time the Yankee organization and Joe Torre go their separate ways.

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Sunday October, 01 2006.
Johnson Will Pitch Game 3 of ALDS
By mvyb, 16:13

Randy Johnson's bullpen session went successfully today as the lefty threw 41 pitches in front of Torre and the other Yankee coaches.

Joe Torre told the press, "We anticipate he'll be all right. We were certainly satisfied. Everything seemed very normal today. It doesn't mean that there's not certain stiffness or something, but it's not restrictive and that's the big part."

The Big Unit was rather moody, yet hopeful after the session, "Everybody else was probably more pleased than I was, so I guess that's a good thing."
 

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Saturday September, 30 2006.
Big Unit May Miss Postseason
By mvyb, 14:07

Randy Johnson may miss this postseason after tests revealed a herniated disc in the Unit's lower back.

Yankee GM, Brian Cashman said, "I can't guarantee he's going to be there for us, but I'm not counting him out, either. He wants to pitch, to be out there competing and trying to help us win. I hope he gets that opportunity, but his body has to tell him first."

Last week, Johnson informed the team of back spasms he felt over the past month.

How does this affect the Yankees postseason hopes? Well, I'm not the worried about the loss- it's not like we lost a Johann Santana.

Randy Johnson's '06 Numbers
Record 17-11
ERA 5.00
IP 205
Hits 194
HR Allowed 28
WHIP 1.24

 
Ok, so besides his 17-11 record, he was awful this year. He allowed WAY too many homers, hits, and runs to be considered a good pitcher. Then how did he get the 17-11 record? Run support. With run support, anyone can pick up a "W".
 
Jeff Karstens ( 4.00 ERA), Wright ( 4.39 ERA), and Lidle ( 4.83 ERA) have all pitched better then Johnson this year.
 
One more thing to look at:  Our #3 starter will be facing the other teams' #3 starter.
 
( MIN) Matt Garza: 3-5, 5.76 ERA
(MIN) Carlos Silva: 10-15, 6.07 ERA
 
(DET) Jeremy Bonderman: 4.00 ERA
 
(OAK) Joe Blanton: 14-8, 4.83 ERA
(OAK) Dan Haren: 14-13, 4.11 ERA
 
The Yankees will be trotting out one of the greatest post-season lineup ever. They'll be able to hit anyone- even Johann Santana, Barry Zito, and Kenny Rogers.
 
As long as Wright, Lidle, Karstens, and Rasner (?) pitch halfway decently, the Yanks should be fine.

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Friday September, 22 2006.
American League East Chamipons: The New York Yankees!
By mvyb, 12:10

Time to celebrate!
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Wednesday September, 20 2006.
One Game to Clinch
By mvyb, 12:28

With a 6-3 victory over Toronto ( combined with a Boston loss), the Yanks lower their magic number to 1.
 
Karstens was pretty good, although he gave up a ton hits, only 3 runs scored. He was helped out big time by his defense- Johnny Damon stole a bases-clearing triple ( or maybe inside-the-park homer) from the Jays in the 5th inning.
 
Abreu, Matsui, and Posada all homered. Posada hit the 20 HR mark, passing last year's total. Posada has 85 RBIs, 62 runs scored and a .279 BA. Not bad.
 
The Yanks did sustain a few injuries though- Damon cut his hand diving to catch a ball on the warning track, Jeter was hit in the wrist by a pitch in the first inning, and Giambi felt discomfort/ soreness in his wrist during the fifth inning. Giambi was the only player who had to leave the game. I expect each of these players will miss a few games.
 
Tonight, we'll be treated to a pitching match-up for the ages:
 
Roy Halladay v. Sean Henn

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Thursday September, 14 2006.
American League MVP Race
By mvyb, 12:29

So much buzz is floating around the majors about the AL Most Valuable Player award... Some believe Big Papi still deserves it, while other are on the Jeter-for-MVP bandwagon.... so I decided to compare the stats of the AL MVP award front-runners. ( I'm leaving Johann Santana out of it since, being a pitcher, he'll be snubbed.)

Front-runners for the MVP Award:

Jermaine Dye, Chicago White Sox
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins
Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

Let's compare some POWER numbers:

Home Runs
Ortiz: 48
Dye: 41
Morneau: 33
Jeter: 13
Mauer: 11

RBI
Ortiz: 127
Morneau: 120
Dye: 112
Jeter: 92
Mauer: 78

Slugging Percentage:
Dye: .637
Ortiz: .628
Morneau: .583
Mauer: .505
Jeter: .492

Ok, so far we see that the big sluggers have been.... slugging. But that's not what the award is all about. Remembers, it's Most Valuable Player. Not- most valuable run-producer or most valuable slugger.

Some SWINGING numbers:

Walks:
Ortiz: 97
Mauer: 74
Jeter: 66
Dye: 52
Morneau: 47

Strike-Outs:
Mauer: 44
Morneau: 81
Jeter: 91
Ortiz: 105
Dye: 107

Ok, pretty simple so far... The sluggers usually are walked more ( though, as you can see Mauer and Jeter have had a lot of good at-bats) and whiff more.

Now, a few ON-BASE numbers:

On-Base Percentage:
Mauer: .433
Jeter: .423
Ortiz: .401
Dye: .388
Morneau: .379


Runs Scored:
Jeter: 104
Ortiz: 103
Dye:93
Morneau: 85
Mauer: 78

Doubles:
Jeter: 36
Morneau: 33
Mauer: 32
Dye: 26
Ortiz: 26

Stolen Bases:
Jeter: 30
Mauer: 8
Dye:7
Morneau:3
Ortiz: 1

These are some very revealing stats. Getting on base isn't all there is to it. Mauer leads all the candidates in OBP, yet he has scored the fewest runs. But, look at Jeter's production. Getting on, moving up, and eventually scoring. He's the fastest and the best base-runner among the bunch.

A few HITTING numbers:

Hits:
Jeter: 192
Morneau: 168
Mauer: 162
Dye: 158
Ortiz: 145

Batting Average:
Mauer: .348
Jeter: .346
Morneau: .324
Dye: .322
Ortiz: .285 ( pretty low)

BA at Home:
Jeter: .358
Morneau: .338
Mauer: .330
Dye: .320
Ortiz: .286

BA on the Road:
Mauer: .363
Jeter: .336
Dye: .324
Morneau: .310
Ortiz: .285

Now, for some SITUATIONAL HITTING stats:

Bases Empty ( rally needed) BA:
Jeter: .322
Morneau: .318
Mauer: .315
Dye: .297
Ortiz: .277

BA with RISP:
Jeter: .396
Mauer: .382
Dye: .353
Morneau: .333
Ortiz: .293

Bases Loaded BA:
Jeter: .455
Morneau: .412
Ortiz: .333
Mauer: .333
Dye: .000 ( 0-4)

BA Late in Close Games:
Jeter: .320
Ortiz: .313
Mauer: .311
Morneau: .307
Dye: .306

My own opinion on DEFENSE:

Defense:
Jeter: 2-time Gold Glove winner at SS
Dye: Gold Glove winning outfielder ( 6 years ago)
Mauer: pretty decent catcher
Morneau: average firstbaseman
Ortiz: designated hitter

And now, I present the top 5 AL Players of 2006:

5. Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer could be the first catcher to win the batting title in the history of baseball. Mauer has very patient at-bats, waits for the right pitch, and hits it well.

Why he doesn't win the MVP award: Even though he has a high batting average, Mauer isn't even in the top 10 "hit-collectors" in the American League. Mauer also lacks power, speed, and a run-producing bat. Even though he has the highest on-base-percentage of all the candidates, Joe Mauer has only scored 78 runs ( fewest among the candidates).

4. Justin Morneau

Justin Morneau became the first Minnesota Twins player in over a decade to hit over 30 homers. Morneau is also second in the league with 120 runs-batted-in.

Why he doesn't win the MVP award: Morneau is a bit too aggressive this year. He has the lowest OBP among the candidates, walks the least, and often chases pitches. ( He has seen 400 fewer pitches then Jeter and Ortiz.) But the biggest fact is that he isn't as important to his team, as other are to their's. He is only a small PART of the Twins' success this year.... sharing the spotlight with Santana, Nathan, Mauer, and Cuddyer.

3. David Ortiz

A few months ago, I would have told you- "David Ortiz is the MVP of the American League for sure!"

Ortiz leads the league in homers and RBIs. He has scored a ton of runs and hits the ball with amazing power every time he comes up. Ortiz works the pitchers he faces, and chooses the pitch he wants to hit. "Big Papi" has power in all directions, and really led his team during the first half of the season.

Why he doesn't win the MVP: While Derek Jeter and Jermaine Dye carried their teams through injuries and pitching troubles, Ortiz has kinda gone down with the ship, so to speak. As Boston's troubles started, Ortiz did not pick them up. Now, I know the collapse isn't entirely his fault, but he has done little to help. Instead, Ortiz complains about his teammates and the league. Not what the league's most valuable player does.

( Some might argue that he isn't even the MVP of his team! [ Schilling, Papelbon, Manny, and Varitek are the other noms] )

Besides this point, Ortiz doesn't hit very well. Of our candidates, he has the lowest Batting Average, fewest hits, worst speed, and gives his team no defensive help whatsoever.

And he bats a lowly .293 with runners in scoring position.

2. Jermaine Dye

If not for Dye, the White Sox aren't even in a wildcard race. Chicago's pitching has been so dismal, that Dye had to really carry this team on his back all year. Dye has 41 homers, 112 RBIs, 158 hits, and 93 runs scored. Woah!

Why he doesn't win the MVP: The only reason for Dye's not winning the MVP award will be the White Sox not making the playoffs. If they do, he will stand a good chance of winning. If he doesn't, then the shortstop from New York has it all wrapped up.

Jermaine Dye does have some noticeable flaws though. He rarely walks, and he has K'd more then any other of our candidates. He struggles sometimes late in games, and he has very little speed.

But I guess those are minor issues.

1. Derek Jeter

The guy who does it all. The most valuable PLAYER.

During the summer, the Yankees had innumerable injuries. Cano, Matsui, and Sheffield were on the DL. A-Rod couldn't hit to save his life. Giambi was on and off. The Yankees trotted out minor league lineups ( with guys like Terrence Long, Aaron Guiel, Miguel Cairo, Nick Green, Sal Fasano, Kelly Stinnet, and Kevin Thompson) But through it all, Jeter remained consistent. He was the Captain of the team, encouraging the rookies and supporting the struggling veterans. Jeter was always on base, making things happen. Whether he dropped down a bunt, walked and stole a couple bases, or homered into the opposite field upper-deck, Derek Jeter did it all. Jeter always worked the pitchers, always hit well with runners on ( especially with two outs and late in the game) and ran the bases wisely( 30+ SBs).

Jeter did it all. That's why he should win the American League MVP award.

Thoughts?

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Thursday September, 07 2006.
Bombers Win Third Consecutive Series
By mvyb, 10:36

The Yanks won an easy ballgame, 8 to 3, thanks to the efforts of two players: Randy Johnson and Jorge Posada.
 
RJ pitched very well, hitting the corners with his fastball and coming in with his slider ( as opposed to leaving it out over the plate). Johnson allowed only one hit and two walks in seven solid innings of work. The hit, a triple, was erased by Jorge Posada's brilliant pickoff, and a double play wiped away a walk. For some reason, Scott Proctor came into the game ( with a 8-0 lead). Why? Our bullpen is now expanded, and there were dozens of other pitcher Torre could have gone to, why Proctor, who leads the majors in appearances? Proctor allowed one unearned run, and Farnsworth, who did need some work, allowed a two-run homer in the ninth. But there were room for these mistakes, so I'll let them slip by without ranting.
 
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
 
The runs for Ne York were produced by Jorge Posada, who blasted two 3-run homers ( one to right and one to left-center). Posada now has 19 HRs and 79 RBIs. Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak with a single in the first and a an RBI-double in the fifth. Jeter is now only 1 point behind Joe Mauer in the batting title race ( .344 to .345). Giambi broke out of his 0 for endless at-bats, with a booming double to right-center. Finally!
 
The Bosox lost 8-1, so our magic number dips to 15. And, the Tiggers lost again, so we are 1.5 games behind them for the best record in the American League.
 
Hideki Matsui made an appearance with the Trenton Thunder, going 1 for 3 with and RBI single. He should be back by the end of the month.
 
Thursday is an off day ( I can hear Proctor and Villone rejoicing), and on Friday the Bombers head to Baltimore for a 4-game series ( Lidle, Wang, Mussina, and Johnson are the scheduled starters).

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Tuesday September, 05 2006.
Yankees ( + KC's Bullpen) v. Royals
By mvyb, 16:42

The Yankes headed into the bottom of the eighth last night, with a 4-run deficit. Chien-Ming Wang was not as good as he had been of late ( he wasn't terrible or anything, but he did give up 3 runs in 5+ innings). Luke Hudson was giving a career performance, striking out 10 Yanks ( thanks to some terrible calls by the home plate ump) and allowing only 1 run.
 
But as the seventh ended ( 5-1, Kansas City), the fun began. KC showed off its brilliant bullpen... this is how the inning went:
 
- A-Rod blooped a single to right-center
- Posada hit a 2-run homer the opposite way ( 5-3, KC)
- Cano singled to left
- Cabrera walked on 4 pitches
-Williams ( in a fine at-bat) walks
- Damon singled up the middle ( 5-5)
-Jeter struck out swinging
- Abreu doubled to DEEP center field ( 7-5, NYY)
-Giambi grounded out
- A- Rod walked
- Posada singled ( 8-5, NYY)
- Cano homered ( 11-5, NYY)
- Cabrera popped out
 
 
The Yanks would tack on another run in the ninth ( Abreu sac fly).
 
There were a couple of questionable decisions by Torre: Why was Villone used AGAIN???? Why did Proctor pitch with a 6-run lead??? What happened to Dotel ( why didn't he pitch)?
 
But in the end, I guess it all worked out.
 
Tuesday night, Mussina comes back off the DL ( groin injury).... This is a big game for the Yanks, since we need him to be back in shape for the playoffs.
 
Oh, and the magic number is now 17.

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