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Thoughts From a Classic Ballgame in Texas

By Mike Silva ~ August 11th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

Although it ended on a sour note, the Yankees 4-3 loss to Texas was one of the better ballgames of the season. A few thoughts that I came away with:

- Boone Logan and David Robertson are stepping in prominent bullpen roles. This doesn’t appear to be just an “experiment” as Logan has been used in big spots frequently since the end of July. Robertson has not given up a run since the All Star Break. He’s struck out 14 per nine innings and has a WHIP under one. This is the David Roberts of 2009 that largely has been missing this season. Clearly these two are the most trustworthy out of the Yankees bullpen. Knowing how deep starters can go into games it’s possible that Girardi will only need a couple of relievers and Rivera to navigate a ballgame. Although Chamberlain has been outstanding his last seven outings, there is a certain trust he needs to regain from the skipper. I wonder if he can accomplish that this year.

- All the sabermetricians stood up and cheered in the ninth as Girardi let Mariano Rivera pitch in a tie game on the road. I can’t disagree with the thought process about using your best pitcher to keep the game going. I wonder if the game went long who would be summoned to close it out. My guess is Joba Chamberlain or Kerry Wood. The presence of both those arms makes it easier to make such a decision on the road. Is there really a difference losing the game when it’s tied or blowing a save later in the contest?

- Alex Rodriguez appears to be getting a second wind this season. The home run to tie the game in the eighth and subsequent diving stop in the tenth would be considered turning points if they won.  Since the All Star Break, A-Rod has a .725 OPS, including .544 in August. Now that the 600th home run is in his rear view mirror perhaps he can get back on track. Last night was one of his better games in a while.

- Is Brett Gardner the fastest man in baseball? It amazes me how close every play at first seems to be when he is running. Gardner hit a relatively hard ball to Elvis Andrus with two outs and a runner on third in the eighth. Andrus got it over quickly, and if he didn’t, Gardner very likely would have beaten it out. Even if he isn’t the speediest player in baseball his hustle makes up for whatever gap there is running 90 feet.

- A.J. Burnett really is feast or famine. I still wonder if the Yankees will consider using Hughes over Burnett in a possible playoff matchup. It’s too early to tell, but Mark Simon of ESPN NY had two interesting numbers. In Burnett’s wins his ERA is 0.74 and in losses he is 12.17. Also, to quote Simon, “He (Burnett) has eight starts this year where he has given the Yankees less than a 10 percent chance to win, and eight starts where he has given his team at least an 80 percent chance for victory. Amazingly, in every single one of his starts, he has given the Yankees at least a 69 percent chance of winning OR less than a 34 percent chance. Not one start in between.” There is no in between and perhaps NYBD contributor Paul Catalano has the reason why. I am starting to believe Burnett is too combustible to trust in a big start. The Yankees probably will rue the last three years of that contract.

- Cliff Lee is going to make Texas a nasty team to play in a short series, but look at the bullpen performance this year using ERA+:

Neftali Feliz – 125

Frank Francisco – 120

Darren Oliver – 187

Darren O’Day- 369

Chris Ray – 133

That is an outstanding group that has Ray, a former closer, as fifth in the pecking order. Oliver and O’ Day make a good lefty/righty tandem, while Felix and Francisco bring the heat.

Tonight Javier Vazquez takes on the man that got away. Texas is playing this series with something to prove. Right now the Yankees will have their hands full if they face them in the postseason.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Thoughts From a Classic Ballgame in Texas

  1. Viper

    Texas will probably have to get through TB first. THAT is no easy task.

    They have had their issues against AL East teams.

    David Price has been every bit as dominant as Cliff Lee this season and they would likely be going head to head.

  2. Paul Catalano

    Totally agree with your assessment of Burnett (If fact, I wrote something about it…..). But yes, if they re pitching the same right now, i would go with Burnett in the pen.

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