Saturday, September 30, 2006

Told You Not To Laugh

This is why I held off on laughing at the Mets pitching predicament.

Thanks to Sheff and company last night, the Bombers were able to secure homefield throughout the playoffs. An important advantage when you consider both Wang and Mussina thrive in the Bronx.

We got another glimpse of the Death Star lineup and the potential havoc it will wreak in the postseason. Posada's two run shot in the eight might be considered as a garabage time shot by some. But with the precarious position Johnson's possible absence put us in, the Yankees have to be prepared to win some ugly games.

This is why the Yankees are bringing along Philip Hughes very, very slowly. It's nice having the money to use for free agents, but they have to start looking from within to fill their pitching problems. I'm not sold on Zito or any of the free agents out there. And after Wang and Moose (provided they pick up his option), we don't have one starter that you can hand the ball to and not cringe. I didn't include Johnson in that equation because you have no idea what to expect from a 43 year old with creaky knees and a bad back. After your 35th birthday for a baseball player, it can go downhill quite fast. Ask Bernie Williams. Unit is on borrowed time right now. Genetic freak or not.

He could end up turning back the clock this postseason. It's not as if the Twins, Tigers and A's will be confused with the Big Red Machine. But when it's gets to the point where you don't know what you're getting from start to start from a guy. It's time to explore other options.

The Corey Lidle/Abreu trade is looming very large right now. If Unit goes down, Lidle is the number four guy. Even with Johnson pitching, I could see Joe using Lidle as a long relief guy.

The Yankees still have enough talent to win. With or without Johnson. But every game is going to be a struggle if the pitching is spotty.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Two Possible Previews

Kris Benson was the first of what the Empire hopes are many victims this fall to this Death Star lineup.

However, Daniel Cabrera gave Yankee fans a glimpse of what a good pitcher can do when he's on his game. And why the playoffs can be such a crap-shoot if you don't have solid pitching.

Granted, that wasn't the Death Star lineup out there since Jeter and A-Rod were out. But they had more than enough firepower to win last night. They've won this year with less.

That's why the Randy Johnson situation is such a cause for concern. You want to go into the postseason with no less than three solid starters, preferably four. If Unit can't go, it gives us Wang, Mussina and some serious question marks afterward. Anyone who saw Jaret Wright in the 2004 postseason with Atlanta knows that he's hardly a lock to get out of the third inning, much less a quality start. And I don't even want to think about if it gets to Corey Lidle.

That's why, as much as you as you might hate Pedro and the Mets. Be careful before you laugh at their recent misfortune. There but for the grace of Palpatine, go the Yankees.

And they might not be as bad off as you might think. It's not as if the 2001 Diamondbacks, the 2003 Marlins or the 1995 Braves are on their horizon. This year's Senior Circuit Playoff roster is very, very weak. With El Duque, Glavine, Trachsel and Maine, they probably have enough to get through two rounds with their strong bullpen. They would have their hands full in the Fall Classic even with Pedro pitching. But they should have enough to get there provided Duque's arms doesn't fall of and Glavine's elbow doesn't explode.

Don't forget the 2002 Angels. They hardly had a lights out rotation, but they had a relentless lineup and a rock solid bullpen. The Mets lineup is better than that lineup and their bullpen isn't as good but its better than most. They'll be a very tough out for whoever faces him.

However, with the pitching rich AL, the Yankees, the clear favorites, won't have an easy ride. Johnson has to be able to give us something for us to guarantee that we get through two rounds and the big dance. Having this lineup gives us some wiggle room if one of the starters is less than stellar. But I'd rather have the insurance of Unit and win a few games 9-3 rather than 10-7.

This Toronto series is huge. It looks like we're guaranteed at least the number two seed. But I would love that number one seed for the ALCS.

More later....

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wang Wins As Jesus Saves

I don't need to say who I'm talking about now do I?

It was nice to see the boys win with half the team resting and Wang winning his 18th. But it was even sweeter to see Mo Christ strike out the side for the first time in over three weeks.

Call me blasphemer if you want. I'm already damned for a lot worse than that.

I had a feeling that they were just being extra cautious with Rivera since they had a big lead. If there's an opportunity to give him three weeks rest before playoffs begin, why not do it?

But still, you don't if someone is ok until they perform. So it was nice to get that first one out of the way. And just in time. I don't if anyone has taken a look at the updated standings. But there's a new sheriff in town and he doesn't live in Queens. Having Mo back means we can fight for homefield throughout the playoffs while getting him some needed work. It's nice when things come together like that.

The other event in this game was the return of Gary Sheffield and the way he handled playing first. You figure that his timing at the plate would be a little off. But that will come soon enough.

What impressed me was the way he handled the routine plays at first. Including a couple of nice scoops out of the dirt. Having Sheffield would mean that the Death Star offense we've all been waiting for would be complete. A team where you have Bernie, Melky, Wilson, Cairo and Guiel as your bench. Not bad.

A lineup with speed, power and patience at the top. H-bomb explosiveness in the middle. And solid professional hitters at the bottom. No holes. No little ducts to shoot photon torpedoes down.

The problems come on when they're in the field. Matsui is adequate in left, but doesn't give you arm strength that Cabrera has. And neither Sheffield nor Giambi remind anyone of Donnie Baseball.

If they can give us average defense, what we get in offense more than makes up for it.

Nice to see Wang get another W tonight. He was using his changeup and slider as an out pitch to get some K's. I doubt that we're seeing the second coming of Bob Gibson, but it would be nice to see him strike a few guys out just keep batters honest.

I would love for Torre to tease us with the Death Star a couple of times before playoffs begin. Come on, Joe! Please??

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Same As It Ever Was....Dom Anyone?

Actually, "Once In A Lifetime", is probably a more appropriate title for this post. Since, that's all the joy Red Sox fans will experience from their team.

Thanks Twinkies. Hey Papi hope you enjoy that 50th homer. You and Manny get reminisce about it on some golf course in the D.R this winter.

I wasn't disappointed in the least that the Yankees didn't clinch by winning Wednesday. I wanted to win the game more so because they haven't beaten Doc Halladay in a couple of years. Also a sweep would provide even another dagger in the heart of a division rival, beating them with three rookies when they pitch two of their best.

This was not backing into the playoffs. When you're up by 10 plus games at the end of the season, that's called inevitability. Even if you lose a few, at some point, so will they. You don't all of a sudden start playing well in September and win a pennant. Unless you're playing in an awful division. You win divisions by what you do in the preceding months. So the Yankees and their fans should feel zero guilt about winning the division with a Boston loss rather than a Yankee win. The groundwork was laid in blood, sweat and ass-whippings in July and August.

Now we have the best possible situation. The ability to rest guys and set up your rotation, while still going after homefield. I hope the skipper doesn't underestimate the importance of sleeping in your own bed for the majority of these games. It seems the team has taken it upon themselves to keep line moving by playing well even Torre rests a third of the regular lineup. But clinching now gives Torre the ability to try Sheffield at first base while Giambi rests his wrists.

Speaking of Giambi, interesting shitstorm this A-Rod article has created, huh?

Here's my take on it. First of all, the article written by Tom Verducci shows why he's one of the best in the business. Very thorough job. The access he received for this piece was impressive. The Yankee clubhouse is a very tough nut to crack.

As for the content, credit Verducci for being able to spin new material on an old subject. I'm hearing varying opinions on the Giambi factor. Lupica thinks he should shut up while my friend Karen thinks that Lupica should shut up. They're both scratching their head over why an admitted juicer welds so much clout in the clubhouse. Enough to tell Alex to get his head out of his ass.

Personally, I'm glad he did it. Would it have come off better from a PR point of view if Jeter, Posada or Bernie had done it? Yeah. But Giambi has always had the rep of being a great teammate since his Oakland days. In spite of what happened with him sitting out of game 5 of the 2003 World Series, missing much of 2004 season with a pituitary tumor and his admitting to taking steroids during the BALCO grand jury. He still holds a lot of weight in that clubhouse. Is it a tribute to Giambi's perseverance and personality or it a bad judgement on his teammates part? Who knows.

But Alex needed to hear what Jason said and the fact that he's responded by playing better is all that matters in Yankeeland. As for why an admitted cheater should still have the juice-no pun intended-to do goes back to something my mother taught me as a kid. People might forget what you do for them or to them. But they never forget how you make them feel. The Yankees like Giambi and when people like you, they'll give you the benefit of the doubt for just about anything. Anything.

As for Alex, he'd be better served by just shutting up and playing. Let his play speak for him. They'll love you when you win. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be powerful than popular.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Those Good Type Of Problems

Before I talk baseball, I want to send my condolences to Yankee announcer Michael Kay, who lost his mother recently. While he is been a punching bag for me and other Yankee fans, the loss of a parent is a traumatic experience. All the best to Kay and his family.

I also wanted to plug a couple of new blogs created by my friend Adam aka Brooklyn Met Fan. He's started two blogs for football season. Brooklyn Giant Fan and Brooklyn Jet Fan. I'll contributing something for the Giants blog along with some other writers. So take a look if you're interested in some good football writing.

The last two nights of baseball at the Stadium show that the Yankees, like Marlo on the Wire, has those good kind of problems.

It has to be a little disheartening for an opponent when Torre sits three of his starters and the lineup they face is still intimidating. To say that the Yankees have an abundance of riches is an understatement. A treasure chest that will

Here's the potential lineup without Sheffield...


Scary. Now take a look at the lineup with Sheffield...


Borderline illegal. Now obviously, there are some defensive challenges that have to be negotiated by Torre. Cabrera has brought a lot to this team, including range and a strong arm in left. But you can't discount what a healthy Matsui brings to a lineup. Call it overkill if you want, but without a viable fourth starter and an uneven Randy Johnson, you might have to slug your way out of the first couple of rounds. Plus Sheff came up as a 3B/SS so the learning curve for learning first might not be as great as you think. Noone expecting Keith Hernandez or Donnie Baseball. But with Giambi seemingly unable to play the field consistently, Sheff could be a viable option at first.

All this is hypothetical, of course. Saint Torre has to be the one who works through all of this. One thing that shouldn't be a factor is Sheffield's attitude. Hopefully, Gary will understand what's going on and not cause any waves about this.

One more pet peeve....I wish Chris Russo would stop trying to speak for Yankee fans. I hate when he goes on about "The Yankee fan feels this...The Yankee fan thinks that." How would you know? He hates the Yankees!! That's like Elton John trying to speak for George Clooney and what he likes in a woman.

Pro athletes are some of the biggest p***ies alive.

I can't think of a group that refuses to take responsibility to say and do more than these jerkoffs. Even the best of them try to play "the media misinterpreted my comments" schtick. Even when you have them on tape saying it, they try make like someone is twisting their words.

This Ortiz-Jeter thing is the latest example of this sort of punkass way of owning up to your mistakes. If Papi had said, "Hey I'm frustrated by the way this season has gone. I shouldn't have mouthed off like that about Jeter. Everyone would have forgiven him and all would have been forgotten. Instead, he goes the Barkley route and tries to blame the media.

Hey Papi, the Eddie Murphy "It wasn't me" act doesn't work.

This is why I love Jack Nicholson. Always keeping it real even on film.

Massacre Part allowing...begins tonight.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bobby Brutality's Smooths Godzilla's Return

This is getting really ridiculous. I really wish they wouldn't tease us like that. You know they can't possibly keep bludgeoning people like that.

Seriously, when you see that Jeter and Abreu will have 100 RBIs for the season with less than 20 homers and that Matsui is batting eighth in this lineup, you realize how scary good the Yankees are right now. And as if the rest of baseball didn't hate us already, Sheffield is also scheduled to come back this week. Now you have a log-jam at DH-LF-1B. Chris Russo was going nuts earlier about the glut of offensive riches the Yankees now have compared everyone else. You know you're doing something right when the President of the Yankee Hater Crack Committee starts his rants.

Personally I think Cabrera has earn a spot in the lineup. He's a better defensive player than Matsui with a stronger arm. He also has done enough offensively to justify his continued presence in left. If we win or lose the World Series, it won't be because Melky started instead of Hideki. The Yankees have the best lineup in baseball as is. Matsui and Sheffield are luxuries at this point. Pitching, starters and bullpen, will save the day in October.

This might sound strange, but bludgeoning opponents right now is the best possible thing for the club. Not because of the obvious enjoyment Yankee fans get out of blowouts. But blowouts mean less pressure on the rotation and the bullpen, which means more rest for your front line guys. The best of both worlds would be to make a run for homefield and still be able to rest guys. I don't know if they can do it, but homefield could be huge in the hunt for blue October.

Sports writers are idiots. I'm watching Around The Horn right now and several of these idiots are still picking the Twins to win the AL pennant. Now I love Johan Santana. I love the way Mauer and Morneau have developed into studs. And I've always loved Torii. But without Radke and with Liriano's elbow exploding on the mound today, there's no way they're running the gauntlet.

I in no way wanted to see Liriano go down. I don't want any excuses from the crack committee of haters out there when we beat teams so they can't say, "Well, if so and so were playing...." That and the fact that he's so fun to watch when he's on his game. It's a shame that he's probably out for the year.

More later....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Captain Cool Responds

“Why would I care?...I don't have to do it in his lineup . . . I'm not thinking about the MVP right now. We're thinking about winning the division. No one here is focused on individual awards." Derek Jeter on Ortiz's MVP comments.

If you ever wanted to know the difference between the Yankees and well, everybody else, Jeter's response to this foolishness encapsulated it.

Ortiz's whining proves that the Sox have truly raised the white flag on this season. Being the team player he is, I doubt he would be complaining about the MVP race if they still had a chance to make the playoffs.

Ortiz has some legitimate beefs with the way the MVP vote is judged. But do you think he's going to change any minds by whining about it?

On the contrary, now the Nation, being the cannibals they are, have turned on their beloved Papi for his whining. Noone does angst like the losers in Red Sux Nation.

Jeter scored big, by stating the obvious and leaving it at that. Whether or not he wins the MVP, he's been the most valuable Yankee. And that's all that matters.

Johnson got a gift last night and he knows it.

But hey, Steve Traschel has been winning like this all year so I have no problem if Johnson gets a couple of wins like that.

It was to see them come back in a game where the stakes were almost non-existent. It means that homefield is on the forefront of their minds. Hopefully it stays there.

Nice to see A-Rod get a dinger against a brand name reliever in the ninth. I'm glad that he decided to sit out when he was sick instead of trying to play sick.

Godzilla returns tonight. Giambi plays first. Could get ugly.

Monday, September 11, 2006

First Scud Launched From Red Sox Nation

"They're talking about Jeter a lot, right? He's done a great job, he's having a great season, but Jeter is not a 40-homer hitter or an RBI guy. It doesn't matter how much you've done for your ball club, the bottom line is, the guy who hits 40 home runs and knocks in 100, that's the guy you know helped your team win games. Don't get me wrong -- he's a great player, having a great season, but he's got a lot of guys in that lineup. Top to bottom, you've got a guy who can hurt you. Come hit in this lineup, see how good you can be."

Red Sox DH David Ortiz, on Derek Jeter's candidacy as an MVP candidate.

Wow....Big Papi uncensored. Now we know who one of the players who voted Jeter as the most overrated player in the game was a while back.

As harsh as it might be, it's a legitimate argument that Jeter's had to deal with since he's come into the spotlight. It's essentially the same thing A-Rod said several years ago. We'll see if he gets the same grief that Alex has gotten over the years.

It comes off as sour grapes from Ortiz but is there some validity to it? How good would the Yankees be if we didn't have Jeter? I don't know, nor do I want to. Jeter has been a very important piece to the Yankees continued success. But the team was already on the rise when he began his first full year in 1996. There's a good chance that the Yankees win that year without Jeter. But the bottom line is, he was there and there's no way of saying that wouldn't have won.

Is Jeter a franchise player? Yes, but what he brings to a team is much harder to quantiify than OPS numbers. The best way to describe his talents is that's he's the guy you want when your team is on the cusp of being great. He's not the sort of talent that you build a new team around. You'd want a big bat or a front-line starter for that. But he is the guy you'd want if your team is like that 1996 team. Make sense?

And by the way, Papi isn't a franchise guy. Manny is. It's funny how noone ever calls him on the fact that he hits in front of Manny. Manny's always going to get his 35-120. Let's see what young David would do without that protection. I understand he's angry that his team has gone into toilet and that he's going to lose the MVP award again. But get mad at Epstein, not Jeter.

To the victors go the spoils. It's always been this way. If your team wins, the players on that team are always going to get better press. Has Jeter benefitted from this? Yep. Has his stock become inflated because he plays with the Yankees? Yep.

But when your team falls apart in August and you miss two weeks with a heart murmur, you lose the right to complain about MVP. Your team went from 1 1/2 back to 6 1/2 back in a weekend. With you on the team. They could have gotten their ass kicked without you.

But I doubt the Yankees could have survived this year without Jeter. Without A-Rod's struggles, Matsui and Sheff's injuries; Jeter carried that team along with Giambi. Now with the team getting healthy and the Abreu acquisition, the Yankees have run away with the division. None of that happens without Jeter having the year that he's had.

Are his numbers typical MVP numbers? Nope, but you can't give me a player in the American League that has been more valuable to his team than Jeter has this year. Combine his leadership and his all-around baseball ability, and you have to give him serious consideration for the award. As valuable? Yes. More? Hell to the no.

There's more to winning ballgames than offense. Papi should know better considering what his team has gone through this year.

Speaking of victors and spoils, take a look at the standings....

NY Yankees 85 56 .603
Detroit 86 58 .597

I'm not going to sit here and say that I didn't think it was possible back in June. It's a long season and stranger things have happened. But it's nice to know that the Yankees now control their own destiny. I know Torre wants to rest the regulars, but I hope he doesn't blow off the opportunity for homefield like he did last year.

This news makes me sad.

Kitty has been by far my favorite announcer/analyst in any sport. In my opinion, he's the best baseball analyst in the game. He has the ability to be critical of a player or a situation without scolding anyone. He also can play the nostalgia card in a way that pays tribute to the past but doesn't belittle today's game or player.
And he hasn't fallen in love with his voice unlike some analysts who can't allow a moment to breath.

The Yankees fans who watch the games on TV will feel the void that his retirement creates next year. I like Kenny, Leiter and Flaherty, but I'm gonna miss Kitty.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

No A-Rod? No Giambi? No Problem....

Because we've got Jeter, Wang, and Wright.

A couple of points before the Giants game begins.

Wang should get serious consideration for the AL Cy Young this year. Johan Santana probably won it with today's performance against the Tigers. But he deserves to finish in the top three or five in the voting. Doesn't matter how he gets guys out. All that matters is that they go to the dugout empty-handed.

Jeter's having a great month but I wouldn't be surprised if Jermaine Dye wins the MVP. Particularly if the Sox win the wild-card. He will probably win the batting title unless Torre decides to rest him down the stretch.

The Orioles will never again compete for a title until Peter Angelos sells the team.

Wright should be the game four starter in a playoff series, if the situation warrants. He deserves it. He hasn't gotten through the seventh inning in a start, but he's a battler who will keep you in the game more times than not. 10 wins this year. That's 10 more than we got out of Carl Pavano. They could do a whole lot worse than Jaret. He has better stuff than Lidle and has more playoff experience. The Yankees should also consider exercising his third year option.

10 games up, 11 in the loss column and 11 as the magic number. Nuff said.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Orioles As Yankee Killers...

Wow, never thought that I'd ever write that. EVER.

Seriously, they have some nice young arms in the rotation and the bullpen. With Mazzone coaching them, they could be dangerous in a couple of years.

Too bad Peter Angelos owns the team. They could actually be a threat someday. He'll find a way to trade them for a box of rocks or another aging DH. It's just a shame that he hates Steinbrenner. Maybe we could benefit from his baseball retardation.

When I saw the Bedard/Lidle matchup for last night, I figured that this might be a good night to run some errands after work. Bedard is a tough southpaw and Lidle is, well, Lidle.

Nice to know I still have my touch.

This is what being a back of the rotation guy means. You alternate good and bad starts. At the end of the year, it comes out to being a .500 record with an ERA in the fours. Add Camden Yards to the mix, I'm not surprised.

If Wang loses today? Then I'll be a tad bit pissed.

Can't say much about the game, because I didn't get back until the seventh, and it was already 8-2. Nice jack by Craig Wilson off that rookie. When they said he hits lefties, I thought that meant he hit left-handed adults. Not zygotes.

More later....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

In The Darkness Of Night...

This was posted very quietly yesterday....

9/6/06 Carl Pavano-Transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.

Talk about a deafening silence. Wow.

The Yankees are in the same boat they were in with Giambi over a year ago. It's going to be tough to move him without taking on a significant portion of his salary. And if you get a taker, what would you consider a fair exchange? You're certainly not getting equal value for him. I doubt someone is going to trade their top prospects for damaged goods. Noone not taking serious anti-psychotic medication. Anyone who saw last night's no-hitter and last night's Red Sox game will know the danger of that gamble.

I've heard whisperings that Pavano has a problems with taking responsibility for his actions. But I had no idea it was this bad. Even if he was cleared to play, would you blame Torre for not trusting him in a big spot? If it's game 5 of the ALDS, we're up 1 in the seventh, and he has to face Thome, Konerko and Dye to get out of the inning, do you trust that the Sox don't put up a crooked number on us?

Neither do I.

This was the Yankees way of saying, "We don't want to see your ass again until next year. Get your head straight and maybe, we'll call you."

What a waste. Of talent and money.

Back To Reality

After a long hiatus, I've updated my Imperial Sports Page so take a look when you get a moment.

It's never fun watching your team get shut out for one of the worst teams in baseball. Having a nine game lead cushions the blow a bit, but it still sucks.

I suppose, taking a half-full point of view, getting Moose through the game healthy was the primary purpose. But after tasting blood Monday night, I got into a bit of a frenzy. I wanted more. Tuesday made me realize why nights like Monday are so rare. That even the worst major league pitchers are going to find a way to get hitters out.

Thankfully, Randy Johnson righted the ship with help from Jorge Posada.

I've been hard on Posada in the past and his catching. But he's having his best all around season. That throw to third to nail DeJesus in the seventh was huge. He's been nailing guys all year trying to steal all third. Whatever Tony Pena's done with him should be trademarked and mass produced.

Posada is clearly one of the four or five best backstops in pinstriped history. But is he a Hall Of Famer? If he plays four or five more years, he might have a fighting chance. Playing in the AL, he can DH, which means that he could get to 300 homers and 1000 RBIs primarily as a catcher. If he does, when you combine the four rings (one as the primary catcher) and six pennants, his numbers would stack up quite well against other HOF catchers. Could be an interesting debate in the future.

Johnson is no question, a first-ballot guy. But can he still be the man? He'll have his moments, but I don't you'll see the Johnson of 1995-2004 anymore. But he's still good enough to anchor a championship team if they can hit like the Yankees.

Of all the potential playoff teams and their top three pitchers, I like our guys the best. Santana and Liriano are the most dominant duo. But Radke or whoever they throw out drags down that staff in a big way. If they make the playoffs and Liriano can't go...they're one and done.

The Yankees staff, in my opinion, is the most balanced. And if Randy can keep the guys in the game, the Yanks have a chance to win their first title in six years. I'm not going to put too much credence into last night's start because I've seen this movie before. But the fact that he's pitching instead of throwing is a good sign.

Now on to Baltimore. They've got some payback coming to them.

I'll never say this again. But I'm glad to see Big Papi back on the field. He's too important a player to lose right now. Great ambassador for the game.

Now if he can only hit .220 against the Yankees....

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

You Can Hate Me Now...But I Won't Stop Now and I Can't Stop Now...You Can Hate Me Nowww!!!

Yankee fans, if you ever wondered why the baseball world hates us....tonight was exhibit A as to why.

This was a classic Torre giveaway game. Wang had a mediocre start and the Yanks couldn't touch Hudson for seven innings. Rather than bring out the big guns to minimize the damage, Torre opts for a struggling Villone and TJ "String" Beam. They promptly allow the lead to expand to five. Torre has this "Hey, if we win, fine. I want nothing to do with it" look on the bench. The Royals would continue to be the spoilers of the AL playoff race.

What happened in the eighth inning was straight ignorant. Just wrong. There was nothing cheap about it. It was assasin-type efficiency. They turned a well pitched game by the Royals into a farce in a half hour. This was Bret Hart putting Steve Austin into a sharpshooter, getting him to tap out, but not letting go until he passed out from the pain. This was Sonny Corleone getting caught at the toll booth. This was Ali carrying Floyd Patterson for 12 rounds just so he could punish him for calling him Cassius Clay.

They turned a potentially huge win for the Royals into a mind-numbing beatdown. 7-5 would have sufficient to get their point across. You win the game after being down four, but it's not as if a six spot is unprecedented.

10 runs is Bill Munny shooting Little Bill, pissing on his grave and nailing his wife.

But this is what the Yankees are supposed to do. People are going to hate you anyway so you might as well give them a reason. Pile on whenever you can. Let the field know there are a no giveaway innings. That unless Torre takes everyone out, if your pitching is lacking, it will be exposed eventually.

How awful must it have been for the Royals to watch that, on top of hearing "Let's go Bernie" and "MVP, MVP!" chants for Williams and Jeter during that rally. I could care less. I giggled like a school-girl watching.

I'm loving the approach of this team. This doesn't come from the manager. Torre was shocked at what happened...shaking his head in astonishment during the post-game. This is a team on a mission. With purpose. Yeah, I know it's KC. But this is what the teams in the late nineties used to do to bad pitching. No breaks. No giveaways. Feast on the weak, break even or better with the good teams, you win a 100 games. It'll be hard to do that this year because Torre is determined to sit guys as soon as everything is locked up. But they might try in spite of their manager.

The test to my theory is what Moose and Unit do in their starts. If they can keep the line going, it'll be interesting to see what approach they take in B'More. The O's have been playing the Yanks tough this year. I'm anxious to see if the Yanks can put an extended win streak together to wrap up the division with a couple of weeks to go and put the infidels out their misery.

Heads up, I'm going to start writing on my Imperial Sports Page tomorrow. I have an interesting rant to start things off. I'm also helping Brooklyn Mets Fan with a new page he's starting called Brooklyn Giants Fan. I'll keep you posted on when we start.

Monday, September 04, 2006

First Tiggers, Now Twinkies...Who's Next? Ho-Hos?

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the architect of Pearl Harbor after the sneak attack.

I'd apologize for the delay in posts, but since I do have a life to tend to and I'm not being paid for this....

While there is some debate about whether Yamamoto actually said those words, there is no question that the quote can apply to great athletes in their prime as easily as an Industrial Power like the United States. Better to just let sleeping dogs lie. Piss them off enough, and there'll be hell to pay.

A-Rod's recent tear tells me that he's having his personal chef cook some shit sandwiches for the media to be distributed if the Yankees win a World Series. Get ready to take a bite, Lupica.

It could be a very scary September if he keeps this up. I love how people say that he hits meaningless home runs. Talk to any major league manager and they'll tell you that no homerun is meaningless. If you have a decent offensive team and you're down 5-1 in the seventh, you still think you have a chance. Someone hits a three run jack that makes it 8-1, you're thinking about what clubs you're hitting tonight.

Or let's say you're up 11-1 and your bullpen burps and all of a sudden it's 11-9. Are those homers meaningless now? Particularly when you're facing these deep AL lineups. No lead is safe. What the NL calls piling on, the AL calls Full Coverage.

That's why having Alex right is so important. Because you never know when the tires go flat on the bullpen Volvo and you need someone who can change a spare.

I like a 2-1 win as much as anyone. I enjoy a well-pitched game. But in the AL, where some teams have 8-9 hitters with 15-20 homers and catchers hitting .350, it's not a bad idea to have guys that can drive themselves in.

10 years ago, teams like the Twins, Tigers and Angels would be considered offensive powerhouses. Now they're average to slightly above average hitting teams. It's the reason why as happy as I am that we beat Detroit and Minnesota four out of six this week (should have been five), I didn't get the same feeling of giddyness as I would the White Sox, the Mets or Boston when they were healthy.

Against those teams, I'm flipping a coin on whether we beat them four out of seven. The Tiggers and Twinkies? I like both teams, but I think even with Liriano and Maroth healthy, we find a way to win a short or long series. Seriously. I think for all our flaws, that this lineup when it's right is the best in baseball hands down. And it could get even deeper if you throw Matsui and Sheff in the mix. I think our pitchers will pitch well enough to win.

An angry pissed off A-Rod is exactly what we want going into October. We want him with a chip on his shoulder. Not too big that he doesn't relax, but big enough to want to prove a point.

This year for Alex could be like Reggie's in '77. Rodriguez didn't have it as tough as Reggie did. The manager and the Captain of the team couldn't stand him and neither could most of his teammates. The fans got on him as well. So when Reggie struggled that year he had to come out of it all on his own. Three homers later in October. He's the definition of grace under fire.

A-Rod and Jeter's "professional" relationship aside, A-Rod doesn't have nearly the problems with the team as Reggie did. But he does have a lot to prove in terms of whether he can perform on the Fall Stage. Let's hope this tear is the start of something good for Alex and the Yankees.

Now they're off to KC, who have been playing Giant-killers lately. The top of the rotation is scheduled for the three game set which means that the back is scheduled for Camden Yards this coming weekend. With the way Karstens, Lidle and Rasner pitched this weekend, I'm a little less worried about a let down against the O's. This could mean that we can finally go on a little winning streak. One that would cement the east and enable Torre to rest some guys. It will be interesting to see what happens if Torre sees that the Tiggers are in striking distance for homefield. Does he make that extra push or does he rest guys and stay content with the second seed?

I think it will depend on what Oakland does. If they're close, I think Torre makes the push. If not, then he rests guys and goes into the playoffs as the second seed unless Detroit burps. The way things are set up, the Yankees wouldn't face Oakland in the first round regardless if they're one or two. They're guaranteed to face whooever win the Wildcard (Chicago or Minnesota). So why run the risk of getting guys hurt when you don't have to play them?

Personally, I'd love to see them get the first seed. But I can understand why Joe would exercise caution in this case.