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September 14, 2006

September 14th vs. The Devil Rays

Here's a wild idea - how about Darrell Rasner on the post-season roster instead of Dotel?

OK, you pull a bunch of guys because of the rain. Not a terrible idea. But, you leave in Giambi, to play the field (no less!), with his bad wrist? I just don't get Torre sometimes. Strike that - make it a lot of times.

Jim Kaat mentioned this several times on YES tonight, but, A-Rod is having one heckuva September. His OPS for the month, to date, is in the thirteen hundreds.

Part of me is bothered by this development.

Sure, I want to see him do well - because that helps the Yankees. But, on the flip side, seeing him mash (off the charts) like this now makes me worry about what happens in October.

If Alex Rodriguez bombs in the post-season this year, the case against him will be set up perfectly: He was great in May. He struggled badly when the team needed him in June. Once the season was locked up, he hit like Babe Ruth in September. And, once the games "counted" again in October, he failed.

The only way around this is for A-Rod to play well in the post-season. He doesn't need to have an OPS around 1300 - but, something in the range of 890 would make the case "for him" much easier.

Lastly, good for Jeter, Cano and Matsui tonight. Let's hope that Posada is O.K. - and, thanks for nothing Baltimore.

On the bright side, if the Yankees take 3 of 4 from Boston this weekend, it's officially over in the A.L. East. And, it would give New York 13 games to play around with until the post-season. That's one nice cushion - almost too big. But, it beats playing it down until the last weekend (like last year).

Posted by Steve Lombardi at September 14, 2006 10:40 PM


It never ceases to amaze me how even when he's going well, people ask these types of questions about ARod. Instead of getting tensed up thinking about what he might or might not do in October, let us just enjoy the fact that the man is hitting and fielding just the way we like it. Why is it that this stuff about him hitting only when we're down 5 or up 5 (or ahead 11 in the standings) just continues to dog him? Would it make anyone feel better if he sucked it up in September, continuing his "sucky" season just so everthing would be consistent? I honestly don't understand the value in such questions. Jeter's got a 23 game hit streak. He's hitting over .400 since mid-August. I wonder if his hits and his average are meaningless. What about Robbie Cano? Or Abreu's big night against Tampa on Tuesday? All meaningless stats in a meaningless part of the season?

Relax. Let's just wait and see since what ARod does. That's why they play the games.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2006 08:32 AM

Just out of curiousity, does anyone know his OPS in the 2004 playoffs? I know that he slumped badly in the last 3 games, but he was mashing before that. Thanks.

Posted by: JeremyM [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2006 09:53 AM

.378 + .516
Pretty good, overall.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2006 10:14 AM

This probably isn't the best place to post this, but there's an interesting article in "Newsday" about how Mattingly might become the next Yankee manager. In the article, they talk about how frustrated Mattingly was by the hitters' approach in the '05 playoffs and of how he stressed small-ball this year. He then basically credits the change in the Yankees' hitting style -- more stolen bases, moving guys over, etc., and less home runs -- on the injuries of Matsui and Sheff. If that's the case, is it really a good idea then to put those two back in the lineup for the playoffs and turn your back on a style that helped you get here? With both Sheff and Matsui in the lineup, this team kind of returns to '05. I don't mind having Matsui back on this team as the DH, but I really thinks it's unnecessary to bring back Sheff, who I don't believe will have his swing down by the playoffs.

It was also fairly vomit-inducing to read the quote from Torre where he dismissed Melky by saying he "did a good job filling in" for Matsui in leftfield. The statement is true, but it's so needlessly dismissive. And if Matsui is in leftfield, expect the team's ERA to rise by about a run -- we've been spoiled by the balls Melky gets to and how often he holds people to singles.

Here's the long-ass link:

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2006 10:46 AM

As usual Bailey (my brother from another mother), I'm with you. I honestly don't see the point in having Sheffield on the club as he's been more than adequately replaced by Abreu in RF and in the lineup. I appreciate his swagger and the intimidation factor that he brings to the table, as well as the fact that he seems to calm ARod down. But besides that, he just doesn't fit in on this team anymore. With Damon and Jeter getting on base and stealing bases, the Abreu-ARod-Giambi-Cano-Matsui portion of the lineup is more than enough to bring them all home. And, honestly, I love Matsui but there's no need for him to play LF this fall. Melky's range and arm in LF should not be subbed out until next spring (if at all...).

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2006 11:22 AM

While I share Mattingly's frustration from last postseason, doesn't this style of play have a lot more to do with inserting Damon at the top of the lineup and dropping Jeter to second in the order (not to mention the improvement of Cano)? Personally, I don't know what Sheffield will be able to offer, but if nothing else he will be a weapon off the bench. My feeling is Cabrera will see plenty of action in the playoffs, one way or another, as I don't think Matsui will be cleared to play the field. And Matsui has never been just a "slugger" and I think he'll fit back in fine- he already has.

Well, the more I think about it, and the more I think about Sheffield's postseason last year (worse than A-Rod's actually), the more I hope he is that weapon off the bench with an occasional start. Can't believe I'm saying that because I actually love the guy.

Torre's comments seem to be taken out of context a little bit, I read a longer article that had the complete quotes that wasn't nearly so damning (I forget where though). Taken as is, they are ridiculous, and he does seem to be very skeptical or even in denial of Melky's success so far, which is weird.

Posted by: JeremyM [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2006 11:51 AM

And by the way, I almost think they should audition Rasner for the 4th starter role--so far he's the anti-Wright. Regardless, as of right now he should at least be on the roster. Lidle is starting to look more like the throw-in he appeared to be instead of an outright steal, although it was still a good move.

Posted by: JeremyM [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2006 12:00 PM

Amen to the Rasner comment, Jeremy. I'd take Rasner over Wright, Lidle and Karstens. I hope he gets a real look out of spring training for the fifth starter's role next year.

But bottom line, with the way he came out of the bullpen last night, he gives the team more value than Lidle (or even Dotel, who hasn't put it together yet). So they should seriously consider taking him along for the post-season.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2006 12:25 PM