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Sports Then and Now

Five Reasons Why the New York Yankees Will Not Make the Playoffs in 2011 8

Posted on June 28, 2011 by Mike Pesesky

Derek Jeter has struggled with injuries and inconsistency so far this season for the Yankees.

At the risk of sounding like a New York Mets homer and an unabashed hater of the New York Yankees, I must tell you, that I am a New York Mets homer and an unabashed hater of the New York Yankees. I know, my subtlety and boldness is overwhelming, but all jokes aside, there are a multitude of reasons why the 2011 installment of the Yankees will miss the playoffs altogether, despite the fact they currently sit atop the American League East division. So, my heartfelt apologies, Mr. Bloomberg, but there will be no American League East championship, no wildcard, nothing, just the stench of another failed run at a World Series crown, for a team whose success is unequivocally defined by championship rings, not playoff berths.

Red Sox Nation
Despite a recent four-game losing streak, the Sox have a record of 20-10 over their last 30 games. Stop right here. I already know that you’re going to rebut my point with the fact that the Yankees are also 20-10 over their last 30 ball games. You see, records can be deceiving, much like the looks of that blonde you chatted up at the club over the weekend after you enjoyed a few beers. During this stretch, the Sox took two of three from Cleveland, three of four from Detroit, and they ripped off a nine-game winning streak, including a sweep of the Yankees in the Bronx. Boston also impressively won series versus Tampa Bay and Milwaukee. All told, that is five series wins against five of the top ten teams in the league in terms of overall record. Sure, the Yankees did take three of four from Cleveland and swept a Texas Rangers squad who sits atop the AL West. Let’s be honest though, The Rangers pitching staff has the consistency of bleu cheese crumbles.

Oh, did I mention the Red Sox own an 8-1 record against the Yankees in 2011? The Sox have outscored the Yanks 60-37 in the nine games this year and have swept them twice in the Bronx. With nine games remaining between the two teams, it is hard for me to envision the Yankees enjoying any success against a team that has dominated them in every facet of the game.

Stingray Alert

Not convinced the nine matchups against Boston over the final 86 games should be cause for concern? Fine, how about 16 more games against the pesky and very dangerous Tampa Bay Rays? The Yankees will close out the first half of the season with four games versus Tampa in the Bronx and will also face the upstart Rays in five of the last eight games of the season.

The Rays, fueled by consistent pitching, have benefited greatly from the impressive numbers put up by James Shields, who is once again living up to the “Big Game” moniker he was noted for in the Rays 2008 AL pennant run. Thus far in 2011, Shields has outpitched David Price, posting an impressive 8-4 record with a staggeringly low ERA of 2.29.

Speaking of impressive, it would be an egregious oversight if I overlooked what Evan Longoria did to the Houston Astros over the weekend. Longo was a beast at the plate, posting a .571 average with 3 HR’s and 10 RBI. If Longoria can continue to rake and post numbers like he did in Houston, the Rays offense will become one of the most balanced attacks in the American League.

Nobody could have envisioned the Rays sitting two games back in the AL East, especially after their abysmal start to the 2011 campaign. They are a young, hungry and well-managed team, and they have the best road record in the league at 26-16. Read the rest of this entry →

MLB Mid Season Report Card: Part 4 – AL East 2

Posted on July 16, 2010 by Don Spieles

New York Yankees (56-32): A+

What can you say about the Yankees? They have the best record in all of baseball and look pretty much unstoppable. They are, as usual, chock full of stars – Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeeter, Robinson Cano, and Curtis Granderson have combined for 62 home runs and 255 RBI. The teams on-base percentage is an AL best .353.

New York Yankees players Alex Rodriguez (2nd L), Nick Swisher (33), Andy Pettitte and C.C. Sabathia (R) wear black armbands in honor of Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner during a tribute before Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in Anaheim, California July 13, 2010. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

The Yankee Machine has been further galvanized with the passing of its owner, George Steinbrenner.

If anything in the Yankee roster can be considered a weak spot, it would have to be pitching, but keep in mind that most teams would kill right now for pitching as “weak” as that of the Yankees. All five starters currently post .500 records or better. They are second in the AL in ERA (3.81). CC Sabathia and Phillip Hughes are other-worldly and their strength more than makes up for an over paid and unpredictable AJ Burnett. Mariano Rivera, although showing sings of age and spending some time sidelined with minor injuries, is doing his usual with 20 saves and a 1.05 ERA. Joba Chamberlain is a serious weak spot in the bull pen, but with all the Yankees have going for them, the fact that they have essentially screwed up what could have been a premier set-up man by insisting on having him start the last couple of season, it is not enough of a drag on things to really matter.

Simply stated, if the Yankees are not in the World Series this year, then divine intervention will have to be blamed. And with George Steinbrenner now in the ethereal plane, acts of God against the Bronx Bombers seem unlikely. Read the rest of this entry →

2010 Baseball Previews: AL East – Can The Yankees Be Stopped? 0

Posted on March 02, 2010 by Don Spieles

To begin the 2010 Major League Baseball previews on Sports Then and Now let’s look at the American League East. The most dominant league in baseball over the last decade, the AL east has put a team in last three World Series and seven out of the last ten. It doesn’t get anymore impressive than that.

Who Will Win the AL East in 2010?

  • New York Yankees (40%, 12 Votes)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (23%, 7 Votes)
  • Boston Red Sox (20%, 6 Votes)
  • Baltimore Orioles (17%, 5 Votes)
  • Toronto Blue Jays (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 30

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1. New York Yankees

Will Andy Pettitte give the Yankees his usual dependable starts in 2010?

Will Andy Pettitte give the Yankees his usual dependable starts in 2010?

While most talking heads no longer rank the Yankees pitching staff as the best of the division, they are still pretty darn impressive, at least at the top of the rotation. CC Sabathia promises to have an even better year than last now that he’s had a full year to get used to his new surroundings. Being that last year was not too shabby (19-8 records, 3.37 ERA, 4th in AL Cy Young votes), Sabathia looks to be a real terror on the mound for New York.  Even though A.J. Burnett was a bit shakier than Sabathia, he still managed to win 13 games. He, too, will see improvement this season.

With the top two in excellent shape, a big question mark hangs over Andy Pettitte. While this is a guy who has been the meter stick of consistency (Pettitte has won between 14 and 18 games in 9 of his fifteen seasons, which leaves out a 19 win and two 21 win seasons) he will turn 38 during this upcoming season. The Yankees gave him a one year deal because they have come concerns about his durability (read: no more “healing” aides).

The real mysteries are the four and five spots in the Yankee rotation. Javier Vasquez is a big deal gain for New York as he offers a very, very solid middle of the rotation guy. The club seems intent on leaving Chamberlain as a starter despite overwhelming evidence that he should be a reliever, but now that Vasquez is in town, perhaps logic will prevail and put Phil Hughes in that fifth spot. If that’s done, the Yankees will win 100 games again this year. Read the rest of this entry →

Red Sox Are Dressed For Success As August Grades Are Turned In 2

Posted on September 01, 2009 by Todd Civin

Baseball_Red_Sox_Blue_Red_Shirt2While hanging around Fenway Park one afternoon last month, I found myself with an hour or so to kill before the Cask n’ Flagon opened for business. I spent a few minutes talking to my buddy Mike at the Sausage King and then moseyed over to do some shopping time with one of the street corner t-shirt entrepreneurs.

Once I was done thumbing through t-shirts that explained what A-Rod allegedly does to Jeter and what Jeter then in turn does to Teixeira, I spotted a less explicit dud which read, “Caution Yankees: Objects in Rear View Mirror Are Closer Than They May Appear”.

I chuckled and knew this fine looking, 100% cotton dud would find it’s new home to be smack dab in the middle of a bunch of previous “must haves”.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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