Saturday, September 30, 2006

Not in Our House

It's decided. The American League pennant comes through the Bronx. The Yankees clinched home field advantage through the entire playoffs, which I'm sure makes George Steinbrenner and the Yankee accountants very happy. The Twins and Tigers both lost while the Yankees won, setting up a potential 3-way tie for the best record in the AL under the right circumstances. The Yankees own the tie-breaker against both clubs and therefore have won the right to play host in October.

I've been touching on a couple of interesting things to watch for the remainder of the year. With two days remaining, I'll run down those things again as a kind of reset. (By the way, why is Jeter on a boat in that CNNSi photo I stole? Can those article/photo shoots get any cornier?)

1. The Batting Title

Cano is at .342, Jeter is at .341, Mauer is at .346. It's really anybody's race, but somehow I feel as though Mauer has it wrapped up. He took an 0-fer in his last game and still has a decent spread against his competitors. Unless he loses it by going 0-8 or 1-8 in the last two games, I think he's safe. It's just a hunch, but my gut feels that way. And, as Joe Torre has been heard to say, I have "a belly full of guts." Prove me wrong boys.

2. Second Place in the AL East

This is wacky. Toronto and Boston are currently tied for second. I think Toronto holds the tie-breaker, but they play the Yankees twice. The Red Sox play the Orioles. By beating the Blue Jays, we are actually doing the Red Stockings a favor. Funny how this sport works. I think they'll end up tied and Toronto will take it by bureaucracy.

3. The Wild Card

The Tigers and Twins are neck and neck for the division. Santana is slated to go Sunday in the season finale, but he won't. Gardenhire isn't stupid. He needs his ace to potentially go twice in the ALDS to win a short series. I hope they make it 7 games next year. The Yankees should be cheering for the Twins. The Tigers seem like easy prey right now, and we have beaten up on them. If they are the Wild Card and have to start in Yankee Stadium, I'd be thrilled to see Wang-Rogers in the first game. (Yes, I wrote it that way as an innuendo).

4. The Rocket

Roger Clemens is 7-6 this season after quite idiotically choosing to pitch for the punchless Astros instead of the Red Sox or Yankees. He has a 2.30 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. By the way, he's 44. It would be a horrible shame to see Clemens walk away from the game with this kind of ability left in his body and a bad team behind him. He's going to barely miss the playoffs because his team crapped themselves in his start after climbing to within a half game of the overrated Cardinals with 3 days remaining. Whittled to 2 games, and a 1.5 game deficit, it's over. I'm going to start the stupid speculation now, since it's bound to happen somewhere and why not here.

Roger Clemens will pitch again next season. He'll deny it and deny it and announce his official retirement, but the Red Sox and the Yankees will be at his front doorstep with a wad of cash in the offseason. The Yankees would be smart to lure him back for a farewell tour, if for no other reason than it would make up for the sh!t performance of 40+ year old Randy "ICU" Johnson. Clemens would finish as a Yankee and probably a champion. I think he'll pitch for the Red Sox next year though. Theo Epstein needs something to save himself from being run out of baseball, and a Rocket Reunion Tour at Fenway would do it. If Epstein can pull it off, people in Beantown would be worshipping at his altar again, and the headlines would all be about him tutoring Beckett and Papelbon and blah, blah, blah. Watch.

5. MVP and Cy Young

It's Jeter. Mauer will get press if they win the Division and he wins the batting title as a catcher. He would deserve the MVP. Jeter is the popular choice, and I think he'll win it as much for his body of work as a professional as his 2006 season, which is perhaps his best. Hafner is the numbers MVP, but stands no chance after his injury and playing on a bad team. Ortiz is the hard luck MVP, and he let us know about it too. Manny is still better. Jeter may never get the numbers to be in the conversation again, and I think there's a kind of subconscious feeling among sportswriters that he needs to go to the Hall with at least one. This is the year to do it.

Cy Young is Johan Santana. As good as Wang has been, and a host of other pitchers for that matter, there was never any doubt. The only reason I included it here is to have the opportunity to look at his numbers quickly before the playoffs.

The 27(!) year old is 19-6 with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. He also sports ratios of:

9.44 K/9
5.21 K/BB
.216 BAA
.258 OBPA
.360 SLGA
.616 OPSA

Ouch. What has he done against the Yankees this year?

No decisions in 1 GS
6.1 IP
8 hits
4 runs (all earned)
2 BB, 4 K
.308 BAA

In his career against New York he is:

7 games, 4 starts
2-0 record
33.2 IP
33 hits
10 runs (all earned) - 2.67 ERA
1.34 WHIP
no home runs
12 BB, 30 K
.254 BAA

That doesn't include the playoffs, when he has been almost unhittable. The Yankees have beaten Minnesota because we club the rest of their pitching and they haven't hit us. If we face them, there's sufficient reason to worry. They have a decent rotation and Mauer/Morneau could be more than enough under the right circumstances.

Finally, I want to thank the Taiwanese fans that have been loyal readers at COH this season. Please continue!! I notice that many fans from Taiwan have started their own Yankee blogs, some in English and some in Chinese. It's really cool to me that the fan base from that country has fallen so deeply in love with our boys from the Bronx. In contrast, Japanese fans like the Yankees as a result of Babe Ruth's barnstorming tours in the 1930s. The Bombers are kind of royalty over here too. The thing is, the modern fans really only care about what Matsui's doing. I think people like the Yankees and want them to win as casual fans, but there isn't the sense of rabid fandom in Japan that I sense from Taiwan. I'll highlight a specific blog here that I found very interesting. It's dedicated to Everyday Scott Proctor. How cool is it that a Taiwanese fan has a blog solely dedicated to EDSP?

That's all for today. See you manana. Vamos Jankees!!


rabid stan said...

Scottie deserves it.

ami said...

Well, again, you take care of your blog readers from Taiwan and no one in Taiwan would ever thought that watching the Yankees play and beat the opponent has become more interesting than hearing the President talk on TV about all his corruption nonsense nowadays.

As for EDSP, I think fans here have started noticing him as he has been an unsung hero since this season began.

( I am thinking of starting a blog dedicating to Moose as well. After all, he has been the main reason why I started following Yankees games last year.)
Go Yankees!! q(-_-)p

peiwen said...

hi~I am the the Taiwan fan write the blog dedicating to EDSP. Thank you... "canyon of heroes" inspired me to start a EDSP blog. I spend 3 sleepless nights to finish the blog because I hope to "open" it on Scottie's "100" innings day.(I have never expected it's also the first "SV" day for Scottie) . I hope the blog is "international" so I try to write it "in English", it's one of the difficult parts to me. But the most difficult is how to let the EDSP blog be read. The blog seems cannot to be searched in yahoo or google. I can only leave the website in the note of youtube. Thank you so much COG, you encourage me so much, and the linkage from your site save my biggest problem. Thank you again, I will try harder to maintain the blog for the unsung hero Scott Proctor. ......Peiwen1210 ^^

mars2001 said...

Just a quick comment (that I'm just repeating)... but Clemens would be a fool to give up the arrangement he has going with the 'Stros (staying home on road trips, etc.) and relocate to either NY or BOS next year... look at what Arroyo did this year - the NL is an inferior league right now & Clemens wouldn't post the ridiculous numbers he is (right now) if he faced the AL. Just a (repeated) thought... but a solid one to consider.

Travis G. said...

I agree Mars. I see Clemens having a 4+ era in the AL. Plus there's the added pressure of the northeast.

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