Category Archives: Media

Dynasty? SF wins 3rd title in 5 years.

When you think of baseball dynasties, you think of the Ruth-Gehrig-DiMaggio-Mantle Yankees of 1921-1964. The Big Red Machine. The Bronx Zoo. The Torre Yankees of 1996-2003. When you look at the makeup of the San Francisco Giants, you don’t see dynasty. But after winning their third title in the last five years, maybe that qualifies them as one now. At the very least, with the decade half-over, they can already call themselves the team of the decade (unless someone else runs off three or four titles over the next five years). The Giants became the first road team since the 1979 Pirates to win Game 7 when they beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 last night.

Madison Bumgarner joined a very select group of pitchers to win three WS games in the same Series. Bumgarner got the save. For his efforts, Bumgarner was named WS MVP. 2012 WS MVP Pedro “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval went 3 for 3, Mike Morse drove in two runs, and all the damage was done by the 4-7 hitters. Neither starting pitcher went four innings. Both managers had quick hooks. SF starter Tim Hudson went just 1 2/3, and KC starter Jeremy Guthrie 3 1/3. With neither starter going five innings, the decision on who got the win came down to an official scorer’s decision. Usually, they just hand the win to the pitcher who was on the mound when the eventual game-winning run was scored. That was Jeremy Affeldt, who was credited with the win. But the official scorer did not get it right. He handed the win to Affeldt. He did not have to. This was “official scorer’s discretion” and the guy who should have been given the win was Bumgarner, who came out of the bullpen on two days rest to pitch five innings of scoreless relief and preserve a 3-2 lead. Bumgarner thus wound up winning Games 1, 5 and saving Game 7 of this WS. No guts by the official scorer there. He went “formula.”

The difference in the series turned out to be one run, and one man. And perhaps, one slip. With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the fourth, Sandoval reached on an infield single. KC 2B Omar Infante made a nice play getting to the ball, but his right leg slipped out from under him as he tried to throw out Sandoval at first. Had he not slipped, who knows? That’s baseball. Sandoval eventually scored the eventual WS-winning run later that inning on a single by Morse. SF manager Bruce Bochy showed guts in going to Bumgarner. 3 titles in 5 years should put him into the HOF one day. Funny how he did go to Bumgarner after some “experts” I heard on ESPN radio said that there was no way Bumgarner should pitch, and no more than one inning. What pansies. To me, it was refreshing seeing Game 7 the way it should be. You manage that game differently than other games. The players have all offseason to rest, and although he didn’t start, Bumgarner winning pitching in a third WS game reminded me of Randy Johnson coming out of the bullpen in Game 7 of the 2001 WS (a painful memory for us Yankees fans), or Lew Burdette starting on two days rest in 1957 (another painful memory for Yankees fans),  Sandy Koufax in 1965 pitching a CG shutout on two days rest, Bob Gibson going 1-4-7 in 1967 or Mickey Lolich going 1-5-7 in 1968 (and facing and beating 1-4-7 Gibson in that 1968 Game 7). You go with your best in Game 7. You manage differently.

Bochy managed it brilliantly. If Bumgarner would have been too tired after only two days of rest, Bochy would have heard it from here to eternity. But Bochy played his trump card. He went with, and stayed with, his best. That’s one thing I’ll take out of this WS. One run, and one man (Bumgarner) made the difference. KC has nothing to be ashamed of.

So the offseason begins… with free agency, trades, etc. and oh yeah,….. A-Rod is now officially back. (Crying.).

In other news, it looks like a few moves are coming soon. Joe Maddon, who just left the Rays, is expected to take the manager job with the Cubs, and there are rumors that the Yanks are after Raul Ibanez to be their next hitting coach.

NLDS: Nats stay alive, St. Louis goes 1-up.

The San Francisco Giants didn’t get the sweep they were hoping for, as their pitcher, Madison Baumgarner, made an error that let in two runs and set up a third for the Washington Nationals, enabling the Nats to stay alive in their postseason series. Washington won 4-1 and kept hopes alive for a Beltway Series between them and the Baltimore Orioles. Game 4 is today.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals got homers from Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong in defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 to take a 2 games to 1 lead in that NLDS. For Carpenter, it was his third straight game with a HR and a double. Wong’s 2-run HR in the 7th broke a 1-1 tie. Game 4 is tonight, and Midwesterners are hoping for a redux of the 1985 Cardinals-Kansas City Royals series (and now, with instant replay and challenges, there won’t be a Don Denkinger moment, as what happened in Game 6 of the 1985 WS).

I really wish the media would stop comparing postseason stats as if all were the same. It’s unfair to the pre-1969 players like Ruth, Gehrig, Berra and Mantle who had WS only to compare their stats to the Jeters, Bernie Williams, etc. who have had LDSs, LCSs and WS.

Division Series/Jeter’s new venture.

Derek Jeter didn’t waste any time opening up a new venture. The Players’ Tribune will be a digital media site in which players take stories directly to the people, eliminating the middle man (or woman) of the media.

The ALDS started yesterday. Baltimore destroyed Detroit 12-3, while Kardiac KC did it in extra innings again, defeating the Angels 3-2 in 11.

The NLDS starts today. The two Game 1’s of the NLDS, combined with two Game 2’s of the ALDS mean wall to wall baseball today, weather permitting.

You were saying?

In 2012, a certain NY beat writer arrogantly dismissed me when I mentioned that the Yanks should call up Steve Pearce, who that year in AAA hit .318-11-30 in 53 games for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. At the time I advocated for his call up, the Yanks had some injuries/slumping players, I forget which. It was probably a combination of the two.

Now this reporter usually dismisses minor leaguers. I don’t know why he doesn’t like to give them chances. After all, he was a rookie in his job at one time. Someone had to give HIM a chance at one time. Often, he has no clue who is doing well in the minors or at what level. He’d rather bring in a washed up veteran than give a kid a chance.

I remember Suzyn Waldman once urging the Yanks to bring a 45-year-old David Wells out of retirement rather than bring up and see what a promising minor league prospect had. Really? You couldn’t give a youngster a chance to establish himself but want to bring a faded, retired veteran out of retirement? But then, we remember her going way over the top when the Yanks brought Roger Clemens out of retirement in 2007.

For all the praise heaped on the Core Five (and yes, I include Bernie Williams along with the “Core Four” of Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte and Posada), someone had to give them that first chance. Now, a quintet that that coming along at about the same time (Bernie came up four years before the others) doesn’t happen but once in a generation, and the Yanks’ minor league talent isn’t as deep as it was 20-25 years ago with those players, but people, especially youngsters, need chances.

But I digress. In 2012, Pearce played for three different major league teams at the age of 29. He wasn’t a prospect, but someone who bounced back and forth from the majors to the minors for Pittsburgh from 2007-2011. In that timeframe he hit .232-9-52 in 185 games. His OPS+ was 79. Nothing to write home about.

In 2012, for three teams (Balt/Hou/NYY) Pearce hit .239-4-26 in 61 games. OPS+ 92. He was 4 for 25, 1 HR, 4 RBI for the Yankees in 12 games. Nothing to write home about, and probably a good cause for the one reporter’s arrogant dismissal.

But sometimes all it takes is a player to get a chance and to be used right and managed correctly, which is what I hoped the Yanks could do with Pearce in 2012.

In 2013, Pearce only played in 44 games with Baltimore, but put up an OPS+ of 114. Solid. .261-4-13.

This year, the 1B/OF has an OPS+ of an excellent 146. .284-16-39 as a platoon player. Now, Pearce is a righty batter and LF at Camden Yards is as much of a short porch—-with a short wall—as RF is at Yankee Stadium. After all, it’s just 364 to LCF there (most places have it 370-390, and Yankee Stadium has a 399). That short LCF may have helped Pearce.

But look at those numbers. Pearce could have fit right into this Yankees team as a legitimate 1B backup to Teixeira (rather than using the players the Yanks HAVE used this year there). He also could have been a legitimate righty-hitting backup to Gardner and platoon partner for the power-challenged Ichiro in RF.

In 2013-2014 combined, Pearce has hit .278-20-52 in 136 games, 425 at bats. The OPS+ is a superb 136.

Take a look at those numbers. You think they wouldn’t fit in well with these offensively challenged Yankees?

Sometimes, all it takes is an opportunity, and a manager who gives you that opportunity. Someone who knows your strengths and weaknesses, and who maximizes those strengths and minimizes those weaknesses by platooning you —playing you and sitting you at the appropriate times. It appears Buck has done that with Pearce down in Baltimore.

We have no idea whether Pearce’s recent success will continue. After all, he is 31 now. But his 2013 and 2014 seasons have me doing a few things.

One is to shake my head and wonder what might have been. Could Girardi have utilized Pearce as Buck has? His numbers match anything any current Yankee has done this year. As I wrote above, he would have been a fine fit on this team as a backup 1B/sometimes DH/RF platoon/backup OF.

Besides shaking my head, there is also the satisfaction of having the last laugh.

Sometimes, all one needs is a chance.

The Minors, 7-11-14.

AAA: SWB won 5-1. RF Jose Pirela 3 hits, rbi. (.324). How I wish the Yanks would call him and Refsnyder up. Of course, you’d have to determine who they would replace. C Austin Romine 3 H, 2 RBI. Up to .244 after a brutal start to this season.

AA: Trenton lost 5-4 in 10. I really am down on Manny Banuelos, once considered a pitching star of the future. Banuelos has not gone more than three innings in any start this year as the Yanks are bringing him along slowly after his recovery from surgery. But he has an ERA of 5.79 at Trenton this year. Last night 3 R in 2 2/3. Until I see him going six-plus innings and getting that ERA down, how can I be encouraged? 1B Zach Wilson solo HR. 3B Rob Segedin 2 doubles, 2 rbi.

High A: Tampa lost 2-1. Three players with two hits each.

Low A: Charleston’s game was postponed, but here is an interesting announcement the Charleston Riverdogs put on Twitter:

Charleston RiverDogs ‏@ChasRiverDogs · 21m
Thirty five years ago today our Pres Mike Veeck blew up disco records, on July 19 we will give @MileyCyrus & @justinbieber similar treatment

Game 83. Yanks fall below .500 with 6-3 loss.

Not the way to end a homestand, losing five in a row.

Maybe the road will do them some good.

The Yanks lost to the Rays today 6-3. Tampa sweeps the three game set at the Stadium.

Vidal Nuno was, well, Vidal Nuno. He drops to 2-5, 5.42 after going 5 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 8 H, 2 walks and 5 K. He faced one batter in the sixth after giving up 3 R, 2 earned.

Shawn Kelley, struggling since coming off the DL, let that inherited runner score, and another, by giving up a HR. 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 4.63.

The game got off on a good foot, when Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the first with a HR (8). He tied his career high with that HR.

The Rays got a run in the third to tie it up, but Brian McCann Hit a HR in the bottom of the third (10) to put the Yanks up 2-1.

Tampa Bay tied it in the top of the fourth off of Nuno, then the Yanks went up 3-2 in the bottom half of the inning on a Gardner single. Gardner had 3 hits and 2 rbi in the game. He also threw a runner out at the plate.

But then Nuno gave up a run in the fifth and Kelley the 2-run HR in the sixth. Tampa Bay tacked on another run in the ninth.

Warren 1 1/3, 0 R, 2 H, 1 walk, 1 K. 2.82.

Huff 1 2/3, 1 R, unearned, 0 hits, 2 walks and 1 K. 4.73.

The Yanks were 1 for 9 with RISP.

The loss drops the Yanks under .500 to 41-42 and 4 1/2 behind Toronto in the AL East. They are still in 3rd, but 3 back of the 2nd place Orioles. They are five out of the last wild card spot.

Some A-Rod news coming from SI. Apparently he was approved by MLB to take some testosterone and some other strong PEDs in various years, including his MVP year of 2007. Rumors are he’s been using PEDs since his junior year in high school.

The Yanks are going big in the international market. Apparently five of the top 10 young international stars will be signing contracts with the Yanks and as many as 11 of the top 18. Now if just half pan out…

Game 74. O’s blank Yanks 8-0, beat Tanaka.

It was nice to see some people from both my Lehigh Valley Yankees Fan Club (with whom I went up to the Stadium for Old-Timer’s day via a bus trip) and also some members of Pinstripe Mania yesterday once I got to the Stadium.

It was also nice to see some great Old-Timer’s Day festivities and see Goose Gossage get a plaque for Monument Park.

It wasn’t nice to see what happened in the actual game, for the Yanks got blanked, 8-0, and Tanaka got the loss.

Tanaka didn’t pitch badly. In 15 starts this season, every single start has been a quality start.

He gave up two hits to lead off the game, but got out of it with a flyball and two strikeouts.

In the bottom of the first, Gardner tripled. At least we thought it was a triple to lead off the bottom of the first. Instead, upon review, it was determined that in sliding into third, Gardner came off the bag and was then out when he was tagged. Right there and then it probably wasn’t going to be the Yankees day, for he had beaten the throw.

Tanaka gave up a HR in the second, but settled in. After six innings, it was just 1-0 Orioles.

But the Yanks offense was doing nothing.

In the seventh, Tanaka gave up two runs. He went 7 innings, 3 R, 6 H, 1 walk and 6 K. Even with the loss, that puts him at 11-2, and his ERA is 2.11.

But the Yanks got four hits all game, two by Ichiro. No support.

Yangervis Solarte is 0 for 27 since June 8th. Hopefully he snaps out of it soon. Maybe he has to be sent down soon. Before you balk at that, remember that in 1951, the great Mickey Mantle, in his rookie season, had to be sent down for a while to get straightened out. But hopefully Solarte does get straightened out soon.

The game really got out of hand in the eighth, when Adam Warren came in and had nothing. Two Yankees errors didn’t help, even though the O’s Steve Pearce probably got away with baserunner interference.

Warren 1 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 1 walk, 0 K. 2.88.

David Huff pitched the 9th and gave up a HR. 1 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 walk and 1 K. 5.76.

With the loss, the Yanks drop to 39-35 and into a tie for 2nd in the AL East with Baltimore. They are 1 1/2 back of Toronto and now go to Toronto for a three-game set. The Yanks and O’s are tied for the final WC spot, one pct. point above Seattle.

It appears the Yanks will be needing a starting pitcher and a bat soon. The trade deadline is five weeks away. Stay tuned.

Just to clarify one thing from the Old-Timer’s Day festivities: John Sterling, in announcing Joe Torre, stated that Torre was the second manager to win three consecutive World Series. He was wrong. Joe McCarthy was the first (1936-1939), Casey Stengel the second (1949-1953) and Joe Torre was the third (1998-2000). As a Yankees broadcaster, Sterling should have known that (not to be a curmudgeon about it, but…). I don’t know why everyone forgets about “Marse Joe” ‘s accomplishment.

Now the A’s won three straight WS from 1972-1974, but with two different managers. Dick Williams was there in ’72 & ’73, but it was Alvin Dark who skippered them in 1974.

Jesse Barfield homered off of David Cone in the Old-Timer’s game.