Tag Archives: Zimmer

ALCS Game 4. Yanks pushed to the brink after 8-3 loss. CC ends career by getting hurt.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

It can’t be looking worse. An 8-3 loss to the Astros puts the Yanks down three games to one in the ALCS, and the Yanks are looking at Justin Verlander tonight, and if the series continues, Gerrit Cole later, and the Astros can afford to save Cole for a possible Game 7.

Besides giving up the eight runs, the Yanks’ bats were quiet for the most part again, as they blew a couple of chances. Twice they loaded the bases, only to come away with one run total.

In the bottom of the first, D.J. LeMahieu walked, was forced at second by Aaron Judge, but then Aaron Hicks blooped a single and after Gleyber Torres popped out, and a double steal was executed, both Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Gardner walked, Gardner’s walk forcing in a run. But the struggling Gary Sanchez struck out.

The Yanks really could have dropped the hammer there. They let the Astros off the hook.

Masahiro Tanaka gave up a 3-run HR to George Springer in the third inning, giving the Astros a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

The fifth inning was a killer, as the Yanks loaded the bases with one out. You thought here’s where they get back in the game, but Gleyber Torres and the slumping Edwin Encarnacion both struck out.  Torres has carried the team, but this was one occasion where he couldn’t do it.

Things unraveled in the sixth. Normally sure-handed Gold Glover D.J. LeMahieu made an error, the first of four (2 by LeMahieu, 2 by Torres) by the Yanks on the night. That ended Tanaka’s night and brought in Chad Green. An out later, a single, then a 3-run HR by Carlos Correa made it 6-1 Houston and the game, for all intensive purposes, was over.

Gary Sanchez finally woke up, hitting a 2-run HR in the bottom of the sixth to cut it to 6-3. LeMahieu later doubled with two out, but Aaron Judge struck out to end the inning, so the Yanks could not get closer.

I’ve disagreed with Boone’s decisions to keep going back to the struggling Sanchez and also Adam Ottavino. As Joe Torre said, he was advised by Don Zimmer that you can’t have patience in the offseason. Time is too short. Boone, in this series, basically has chosen to sink or swim with those guys (Encarnacion, too, and I’ll get to that in a bit) and it looks like the answer is sink. Ottavino came in for the eighth, and gave up a double right away. Then things got sloppy. LeMahieu, so good with the glove, made his second error of the game to put runners on first and third with one out. In came CC.

Torres then made an error, making it 7-3. A lineout and HBP loaded the bases. CC got another lineout, runners holding, but then had to leave the game with a sore shoulder. Even if the Yanks can come back in this series, win it, and go to the World Series, CC’s career is over. He’ll be replaced on the roster, perhaps by Stephen Tarpley or Jordan Montgomery. Jonathan Loaisiga got a strikeout to get out of the inning.

More sloppiness in the ninth. Torres made his second error of the night, a 2-base error, then a WP and a single made it 8-3 Astros. There was another WP and a walk, but no further damage.

The “savages” have turned tame. The Yanks only had five hits in the game.

The Yanks (.204) are actually out-hitting Houston (.182) in the series, but Houston is getting key hits and the Yanks are not.

Correa is 3 for 17 with 7 strikeouts, but had the GW HR in Game 2 and a 3-run shot last nght. Springer is just 2 for 17 with seven strikeouts but both are homers, the game-tying HR in Game 2 and a 3-run HR last night.

Meanwhile the Yanks were 0 for 7 w/RISP last night.

The late Bill Gallo of the NY Daily News used to draw cartoons, and in big series like this, had the hero with a halo over his head, and the goat with the goat horns.

Encarnacion, 1 for 15 in this series. It could be his last games as a Yankee, as I expect the Yanks not to p/u the $20MM option but buy him out at $5MM instead.

Brett Gardner is 2 for 15. Didi Gregorius 2 for 16. Gary Sanchez 2 for 17. Gio Urshela 2 for 15.

If Stanton can’t play, and he hasn’t, then I do have to question the Yanks’ decision to keep him on the roster and not replace him. If, as Boone states, he can PH, then why can’t he DH instead of the slumping Encarnacion? If he can’t do that, then why is he on the roster? Replacing Stanton with say, Luke Voit or Mike Ford would enable the Yanks to bench the slumping Encarnacion, and get someone off the roster who can’t play anyway.

Also, the decision to stick with Sanchez and not give Romine a game (he couldn’t be worse than Sanchez’ 2 for 17) may come back to haunt them.

There are some decisions made in this series, like the ones I mentioned above and in the last few days) (Stanton/Encarnacion/Ottavino/Sanchez) that it appears the Yanks will rue all offseason.

One thing also appears evident. The Yanks starters are decent, but not elite. That’s the difference between them and say, Houston or Washington.

As good of a bullpen as the Yanks have, consider this. Your best pitchers generally either start or are your closer. The last pitchers on your team are generally the middle relief guys. John Smoltz made a good point in the telecast. You really would like to have your starter go a long way and just hand the ball to the closer. No middleman. Maybe one. But not a bunch of them. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Of all the teams in the playoffs, Washington is in the WS, and had two guys with 200 IP this year. Houston has three starters who went 200 IP or more.

The Yanks haven’t had a starter give 200 IP in a season since 2013 (CC, who had a bad year that year with a 4.78 ERA, and Kuroda, who pitched well that year but had tough luck and no run support).

The Yanks need their starters to give more length, and especially in the postseason. They could really use an ace. An “A” pitcher to go along with a lot of “B” starters they currently have. That would help put them over the top instead of doing what they have the past few years—win 100 or more but come up short to a team that won 106 or more.

Of course, Domingo German, and what he did, didn’t help the Yanks, but that’s another story.

More clutch hitting would also help. The Yanks had 5 hits, and 7 walks, but …  the Yanks struck out 13x.

LeMahieu 2 hits (of the Yanks’ 5). Of course. But uncharacteristically, 2 errors.
Torres 0 for 5, 2 strikeouts, 2 errors. After carrying them so far, a bad game.

Tanaka (LOSS) 5 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Green 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Ottavino 0 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 W, 0 K. Once again, couldn’t get an out. An error hurt.
Sabathia 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 HBP.  Last outing of his career.
Loaisiga 2/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Lyons 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.

The Yanks aren’t done, but they are close, unfortunately. If they can come back from 3-1 down, and in doing so, beat Verlander and Cole, it’ll be one of the great comebacks ever, and maybe it will wash away some of that bad taste still left from 2004.

Passings: One -time Yankee (briefly, 20 games) Bobby Del Greco. 86. OF. Pittsburgh (1952, 1956), Cardinals (1956), Cubs 1957,  Yankees 1957-1958, Phillies 1960-1961, KC A’s 1961-1963 and Phillies again 1965. Hit .229, 42 career HR, OPS+ 85. 162 game average .229-9-37.

Jackie Hernandez, 79. Platooned at SS for the 1971 WS Champion Pirates. Angels 1965-1966. Twins 1967-1968. KC Royals 1969-1970. Pittsburgh Pirates 1971-1973. Hit .206-3-26 for 1971 Pirates (WS Champs), and .188-1-14 for 1972 Pirates (NL East champs). 162 game average .208=3-32, OPS+ 49. 7 for 31, 2 RBI in 11 postseason games.





Zim. 1931-2014.

Don Zimmer, who never received a paycheck out of baseball, died yesterday at the age of 83. Zimmer spent 66 years working in professional baseball as a player, adviser, coach, manager. What a life.

Zimmer was a great prospect, but two beanings nearly killed him. From Wikipedia (I edited it a bit, all blockquotes from there).

During a minor league game on July 7, 1953, Zimmer was struck by a pitch thrown by pitcher Jim Kirk, causing Zimmer to faint. He suffered a brain injury that required surgery. He woke up two weeks later, thinking that it was the day after the game where the incident took place. This led to Major League Baseball adopting batting helmets as a safety measure to be used by players when at-bat. Phil Rizzuto was the first player to use the batting helmets.

Zimmer nearly died after being hit with a pitch in the temple while with St. Paul in 1953. He was not fully conscious for 13 days, during which holes were drilled in his skull to relieve the pressure of swelling. His vision was blurred, he could neither walk nor talk and his weight plunged from 170 to 124. He was told his career was finished at age 22.

Zimmer was beaned again in 1956 when a Cincinnati Reds fastball broke his cheekbone, but he persevered. Because of these beanings, it has been widely reported that he had a surgically implanted steel plate in his head. This rumor is false, although the holes drilled in the surgeries following the 1953 beanball were later filled with four tantalum metal corkscrew-shaped “buttons.”

Zim was a major league player from 1954-1965. He played in MLB with the Dodgers (1954–1959, 1963), Chicago Cubs (1960–1961), New York Mets (1962), Cincinnati Reds (1962), and Washington Senators (1963–1965). He was a member of the 1955 and 1959 Dodger WS Champs, 1955 in Brooklyn and 1959 in Los Angeles (he was there early in 1963, when the Dodgers won another WS, but wasn’t there at the end of the season, just the beginning). In 1955, he hit only .239, but did have 15 HR and 50 RBI (OPS+ 88) in just 280 at bats. He had a bad 1959, and was replaced at SS mid-season by Maury Wills. Zim hit just .165-4-28, OPS+ 37 in 1959.

He hit .235 in his career. His 162 game average was .235-13-52, OPS+ 77. He primarily played 2B, SS or 3B but did see 35 games at catcher and a few games in the outfield.

He made the All-Star team in 1961, a season in which he hit .252-13-40, OPS+ 82.

Despite being an All-Star in 1961, he was left unprotected and was taken by the Mets in the expansion draft. On April 11, 1962, the Mets lost the first game in their history, 11-4, to the Cardinals. Batting 7th and playing 3b was Don Zimmer. Zimmer only played 14 games for the Mets.

After his playing career ended,

Zimmer began his coaching career. He worked in minor league baseball, before coaching the Montreal Expos (1971), San Diego Padres (1972), Boston Red Sox (1974–1976, 1992) New York Yankees (1983, 1986, 1996–2003), Cubs (1984–1986), San Francisco Giants (1987), Colorado Rockies (1993–1995), and Tampa Bay Devil Rays / Rays (2004–2014). He served as manager for the Padres (1972–1973), Red Sox (1976–1980), Texas Rangers (1981–1982), and Cubs (1988–1991).

Zimmer was 885-858 as a manager, .508. That translates to an 82-80 season. His average finish with these teams was 3rd or 4th place.

As a manager, he’s most famous for managing the 1978 Red Sox, who lost a 14-game lead they had over the Yankees. The AL East needed an extra game to break the tie between New York and Boston, and it was the Yankees who won that 163rd game (the Bucky Dent game) and who went on to win the World Series.

Despite guiding the Red Sox to a 97-64 record in 1977 and 99-64 in 1978, Zimmer and the Red Sox got no postseason play out of it, as the Yanks won the WS in both seasons.

In 1989, Zimmer was named NL manager of the year for guiding the Cubs to a division title with a 93-69 record. They lost the NLCS to San Francisco.

Later, he was best known as Joe Torre’s bench coach during the Yanks’ great run of 1996-2003 (before Boston broke the “curse” in 2004), during which the Yanks won six pennants and four World Series in an eight-year run.

In 1999, Zimmer filled in for Manager Joe Torre while Torre was recuperating from prostate cancer.  Zimmer went 21-15 while guiding the Yankees during Torre’s absence. This record however, is credited to Torre’s managerial record.

Zimmer’s playing and managing record don’t merit the Hall of Fame, but maybe he should be considered for the Hall as a result of a long history of meritorious service to the game. There are some owners and commissioners in there for that reason, and, for example, who do you think did more for the game of baseball, Don Zimmer or Bowie Kuhn?

Feller passes away; some history and some Yankees news.

Hall of Famer Bob Feller  passed away at the age of 92. I met Feller a few years back and got an autographed baseball. Unfortunately, Feller signed in felt-point, not ball-point and you can guess what happened. Faded away. Sigh. I did thank him for his military service.

Feller won 266 games, all with the Indians, 1936-1941 and 1945-1956. He missed 3 2/3 years due to WWII, when he was with the Navy fighting the Japanese in the South Pacific.

Look at his stats (click the link) from 1939-1947 and consider those years he missed.

Feller was only 17 when he reached the majors. An 8x All-Star, he finished 3rd, 2nd and 3rd in MVP voting in 1939, 1940 and 1941. He finished top-10 in 1946, 1947 and 1951. Six times he was a 20-game winner, including seasons of 24-27-25 (1939-1941) and 26 wins (1946). Six times he led the AL in wins (3x all of MLB). He led the AL in ERA once. Games pitched AL  3x (MLB 1x). Games started 5x (MLB 4x). CG 3x (MLB 2x). 44 career shutouts. He led the AL in shutouts 4x (MLB 1x). 5x he led the AL in IP, the majors 4x. Three times he pitched over 300 innings in a season, including 371 1/3 in 1946! 4x he led the majors in walks. “Rapid Robert” was said to hit 98 with his fastball, but it’s unknown how high he actually hit, given the rudimentary measuring devices of his day. Many thought he was the fastest since Walter Johnson. Seven times he led the majors in strikeouts, and he had the record of 348 from 1946 to 1965 when Sandy Koufax topped it (Nolan Ryan broke that in 1973). I could go on, but you get the picture.

Before he turned 18, he had a 15 and a 17 strikeout game. For many years, he had the record of 18 strikeouts in a game (it is now 20).

Most players who lost significant time during WWII lost 1943-1945, as did Rizzuto, Williams and DiMaggio. He lost all of 1942-1944 and most of 1945. Since he won 24 games in 1939, 27 games in 1940 and 25 in 1941, if we give him 75 wins for 1942-1944 and another 20 for 1945, those 95 wins would take him from 266 career wins to 361.

In 1945, the war ended in time for him to come home and start 9 games. After some 3 2/3 to 3 3/4 years away, he went 5-3, 2.50.

In his first game back in the majors in almost four years, 8/24/45 (shortly after the atomic bombings of Japan—Feller was in the Navy in the South Pacific, fighting on the U.S.S. Alabama), Feller pitched a complete game victory, 2 R, 4 H and 12 K. It was his first MLB game since 9/26/41. He had enlisted in the Navy the day after the Pearl Harbor attack.  

Feller threw three no-hitters, one on Opening Day (I earlier said 1946, it was 1940 (sorry), and the only Opening Day no-no in major league history to date), and twelve one-hitters.

In postseason play, he went 0-2, 5.02 in the 1948 WS. His non-pickoff of Phil Masi is still considered a controversial call. Most thought Masi was picked off by Feller in Game 1 of the 1948 Series. He wasn’t (he was on second) and he scored moments later. Feller lost that game to Johnny Sain 1-0. The Indians did win that series, which was Feller’s only WS win and the Indians last to date. Feller didn’t pitch in the 1954 Series that the Indians were swept in, despite going 13-3 that year.

For his career, 266-162, 3.25 ERA. ERA+ 122. 2581 K. WWII probably stole some 980 K from him. If so, then he could have wound up with say, 361 wins and 3500 K. As a hitter Feller hit .151 with 8 HR.

He won the triple crown of pitching in 1940 (K, W, ERA) when he was just 21. He was elected to the HOF in 1962.

If you read that he was the oldest living HOFer, don’t believe it. Bobby Doerr is still alive and he is the oldest HOFer. Doerr was born seven months before Feller.

Feller’s #19 is retired by the Indians.

One of the all-time greats.

A little history. In 1992 the Yanks were after Greg Maddux, but he spurned a 5-year $34MM offer from the Yanks to go to the Braves for $28MM. The Yanks got Jimmy Key to shore up the rotation instead. In game 6 of the 1996 WS, Maddux loses to the Yanks (he won Game 2) and the Yanks wrap up the Series. Who does he lose to? Jimmy Key. (Maddux also lost to the Yanks in the 1999 WS. He did pitch well in all three games he faced them. The 3-2 loss in game 6, 1996. In the 1999 game, 2 of the 4 runs he gave up were unearned).

Yankees news on LoHud:

SWB coaching staff remains Miley, Wynegar, Aldred. Frank Menechino joins as infield coach. Tony Franklin (underrated mgr.) back at AA Trenton.    

They also report that Don Zimmer, 79, had a pacemaker installed. Get well, Zim.