ALDS Game 4: Evening it up

In case you haven’t heard yet, Ron Villone has been added to the roster in place of Roger Clemens. This means Clemens won’t be available until the World Series at the earliest, and it likely signals the end of his career. We’ll put something together for the Rocket over the off-season. No, we won’t be going to get him down in Texas.

Got a few e-mails from friends lambasting the decision to bring in Villone over IPK. Guys. We don’t work for the team. We don’t know everything they know. IPK just got married on Saturday; perhaps he’s simply not ready to go on a moment’s notice. Maybe they’d like to have him work some more in the bullpen to confirm that his back is in pitching shape. But whatever it is, no one said “Ron Villone is better than Ian Kennedy.” So chill, please.

No complaints about tonight’s lineup. After watching Giambi’s two at bats last night, it’s tough to argue against leaving him on the bench. Yeah, you’d like to get him into a groove, but the team has painted itself into a corner in that regard. Turning back now would be counterproductive. Plus, as has been said many times, with Wang on the mound you want Minky at first. Couple that with Hideki looking solid at the plate last night (not just the results, but his swing was looking markedly better), and you have Giambi as the odd man out. He can always pinch-hit for Minky later in the game.

1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jorge Posada, C
6. Hideki Matsui, DH
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Melky Cabrera, CF
9. Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B

And on the mound, No. 40, Chien-Ming Wang.

We’re at about quarter to 5 right now, and game time is 7:30. If Eric Wedge is going to end up going with C.C., we’ll probably hear it within 45 minutes. It still wouldn’t surprise me.

ALDS Game 3: Do or die time

In 2003, Roger Clemens took the mound for the Yanks in a potential elimination game in the ALCS. While Clemens struggled, the Yankees won the game in grand fashion. That game would be one of the last elimination games the Yankees would win in the playoffs this deceade.

Today, the Yanks find themselves again facing elimination and again turning to Roger Clemens as a savior. Clemens has long been expected to fulfill that role for the 2007 Bombers, and this is the biggest stage for one of the game’s all-time greats.

Ideally, Clemens would have thrown more than 10 innings since September 1 and more than zero in the last 23 days. But such is the state of the Yankees pitching.

Meanwhile, it’s win or face changes for the Yankees. If the lose today, Joe Torre is gone and so are many coaches. Brian Cashman, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera may see their days in the Bronx numbered, and no one knows what the future holds for Alex Rodriguez.

Right now, it doesn’t matter. Win today; play tomorrow. It’s that easy. Just win today.

The lineups:

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Posada C
Giambi 1B
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF

Clemens P

ALDS Game 2: Making the same mistake twice

So we’re seeing Joe Torre repeating the past.

Fact: Hideki Matsui is slumping badly and has been since mid-August. The guess is that his recently drained knee is bothering him more than we realize.

Fact: Jason Giambi, while not necessarily better than Matsui, is an option off the bench. It couldn’t hurt to stick him behind A-Rod and Posada for protection.

So what does Joe do? He puts Matsui, the weak link, in between Jorge and A-Rod. I guess he figures Carmona will attack Matsui while pitching against A-Rod and Posada. I would much rather see Giambi there, but such are things.

Win today and everything looks rosy.

The lineups:

Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera CF
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B

Andy Pettitte P

ALDS Game 1: Debating the starting rotation

So here it is. The moment we’ve all been waiting for since the Yankees bottomed out at 21-29. It’s time for Game 1 of the ALDS and time to take another stab at securing that elusive 27th World Championship.

So far, in preparation for the playoffs, we’ve looked at why the Yankees won’t beat the Indians and why they will win. We worried a bit about Bob Sheppard and watched three other games yesterday as well as a riveting and controversial Wild Card playoff on Monday. What’s left to do?

Oh, that’s right. We have to debate the Yankees’ choice of Game 1 pitchers. The comments from here on down in the post on the Yankees’ playoff roster began a discussion I was planning on having, and Jay Jaffe over at Baseball Prospectus elaborated in his massive playoff preview piece. Let me quote the relevant passage from Jay:

Make no mistake: this Yankee rotation and its deployment may be the team’s downfall in this series. As good as Wang is, he’s shown a decisive enough home-road split (2.75 home/4.91 away this year; 3.04/4.62 career) to prefer that he not start in Cleveland once, let alone twice if the series goes five games. Pettitte has enough postseason experience (34 starts, 212 innings, 4.08 ERA, 14-9) to add a line to his resume virtually identical to his 2007 stats.

Therein lies the rub. While Chien-Ming Wang may be the ace of this staff for now, does it make sense to expose one of your weaknesses in starting your ace on the road? Andy Pettitte could easily be your games 1 and 5 starter based on his season success, and going with Pettitte, Hughes, Wang, Mussina/Clemens isn’t exactly terrible.

Hopefully, Jaffe is wrong. Joe looked through some of the game logs, and Wang’s bad starts on the road are few and far between. While the Taiwanese sinkerballer has a higher number of better starts on the road, which pitcher doesn’t? Last night, the numbers weren’t in John Lackey’s favor in Boston and he had another rough Fenway outing. But Wang’s numbers on the road are much better than Lackey’s were at Fenway.

But, hey, what fun is a playoff game without a little pitching controversy beforehand? Meanwhile, I’m standing by my prediction: Yanks in 4 after a game 1 loss. Maybe I’ll be wrong there too.

The lineups:

Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada C
Hideki Matsui DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera CF
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B

Chien-Ming Wang P

Play nice in the comments. Big game today.

Update 4:21 p.m.: There were rumors of an accident involving Doug Mientkiewicz this morning, and we can confirm the info right now. Mark Feinsand at Blogging the Bombers has the story. Mientkiewicz, leaving the team bus, was run over by a Cleveland photographer. His ankle is taped, but he should be good to go at first tonight. Not only has Doug been stellar in the field, but he’s hitting .424 over his last 10 games. We’ll update this if something changes.

When 162 games isn’t enough

Rockies vs Padres in the tie-break game tonight. The Peavy-Fogg pitching matchup favors the Pads on paper, but with the way the season has gone, you know it won’t be that easy.

Where’s the Yankee tie-in you say? Well, the totally awesome Troy Tulowitzki wears #2 because he grew up idolizing Derek Jeter. I know, where does the time go.

Game 1 of the postseason has arrived, comment on the action here.

Game 160: Trotting out the “A” lineup

Betcha can’t guess who’s not in the lineup. You’ll know after the leadoff slot.

1. Johnny Damon, CF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, LF
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Jason Giambi, DH
8. Robinson Cano, 2B
9. Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B

And on the mound, No. 35, Mike Mussina.

I’ll now be accepting any and all complaints about my (relative) dislike of Melky.

Game 159: Scrubs day!

Gotta love the lineup tonight. Not much else to say. Enjoy watching some of the irregulars.

1. Johnny Damon, CF
2. Wilson Betemit, 3B
3. Hideki Matsui, LF
4. Jason Giambi, DH
5. Shelley Duncan, 1B
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Jose Molina, C
8. Bronson Sardinha, RF — first major league start for him, and for…
9. Alberto Gonzalez, SS

And on the mound, the reason I’m watching this game, No. 65, Phil Hughes.