Sunday, October 18, 2009

From Mr. April to Mr. October?

Of course, that's a little bit of an exaggeration.

But Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who has previously been dubbed "Mr. April," is continuing his hot streak this post-season.

In five post-season games (all wins), A-Rod is hitting .368 (7 hits in 19 at bats) with three home runs and eight runs batted in.

He only had one hit last night, but it was an 11th-inning home run.

Before the 2009 post-season, Rodriguez was hitting .279 with 10 home runs (in 166 ABs) and 25 RBIs in 44 career post-season games.

For Yankee fans to fully embrace him, A-Rod needs to continue his hot streak, or at least play well, for the remainder of the post-season. For many Yankees' fans, the season will only be deemed a success if it ends with a World Series ring.

But it really only takes one strong post-season to remove the non-clutch tags. Just ask Peyton Manning. Manning had that tag for what seemed like forever until he and the Colts beat the Bears in the Super Bowl. Now it's never mentioned.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Joba's status for 2010 cloudier per Post's Sherman

Could Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain spend part of the 2010 season in the Minor Leagues?

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that is a possibility. In addition to the starter-versus-reliever debate, some in the Yankees' organization wanted to send Chamberlain to the minors in August, per Sherman's sources.

It's unlikely that Chamberlain, who's pitched well in relief in the ALDS thus far, will start if/when the Yankees advance to the ALCS. Instead, it's more likely that the Yankees will use Chad Gaudin as their fourth starter.

"He had a different look about him," pitching coach Dave Eiland said of Chamberlain (via the NY Daily News). "His demeanor was different, the look in his eye, his tempo. He was in straight attack mode."

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports compares Chamberlain's career numbers as a starter and reliever, as follows:
  • Starter Joba: 4.18 ERA, 342 baserunners in 221 2/3 IP, 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
  • Reliever Joba: 1.50 ERA, 60 baserunners in 60 IP, 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
While C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett are locks at the top of the Yankees' 2010 rotation, several pitchers will be in the mix for the other rotation spots including Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre and Al Aceves.

As Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues points out, the potential uncertainty at the #3, 4 and 5 rotation spots is disconcerting as a Yankees fan heading into the 2010 season.

Then again, this season isn't over.

For a team that missed the playoffs in 2008 and hasn't won a World Series since 2000, the Yankees look to take care of a more pressing issue -- closing out the Twins tonight in Minnesota and moving one step closer to the ultimate goal.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Twins-Tigers in Tie-breaker on Tuesday

Fighting for their playoff lives, the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins were tied heading into their regular-season finales against the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals, respectively.

And after both teams won today, they will face off in a tie-breaker on Tuesday. Detroit beat Chicago 5-3 and Minnesota beat Kansas City 13-4 today.

The tie-breaker will be played at the Metrodome and the Tigers will start 20-year-old Rick Porcello.

"He’s not going to be scared, I know that – and that’s a good thing," [Tigers manager Jim] Leyland said, per "This will be a tremendous experience for him because he’s going to pitch in the toughest place he’s ever pitched in his life with the most at stake."

Scott Baker, who finished the season 15-9 and pitched five shutout innings in Detroit on Thursday, will pitch for the Twins.

The Twins are 15-4 in their final 19 games.

The winner of Tuesday's game will face the Yankees in the American League Divisional Series on Wednesday. The other A.L. series will feature the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox.