Angels-Yanks: Head to head, Part II

My first kidney stone attack in 4.3 years. I am a happy, happy, happy guy right now.

It turns out that I can write this entry while curled into a fetal position and begging my wife to kill me.


The Yankees dropped Eric Hinske from the ALCS roster and added Freddy Guzman. The Yankees now have three non-bats on the bench in Jose Molina, Francisco Cervelli, and Guzman, and arguably another in Jerry Hairston. It’s wonderful that Girardi can pinch-run for the catchers and never run out of spare tires, but who the heck is going to hit for these guys if they get into a 1-1 tie in the tenth? Hinske can play four positions, and though he doesn’t man any of them brilliantly, that versatility is an asset in itself, even before you account for the fact that he’s the only guy reserve who can come off the bench and hit a home run. If baseball teams had larger rosters, you could stash a track and field guy at the end of your bench, but as things stand now you pay a definite price for the luxury of being able to win the broad jump event but not the home run derby.



A-Rod was actually the most productive third baseman in baseball on a per-game basis. That whole hip thing hurt his totals. We have apples and oranges here, a singles hitter who has learned to take a walk (Figgins’ walks and on-base percentage are career highs) and an apparently mellow slugger who had a terrifically productive year despite a bad leg. The further A-Rod was from his surgery, the better he was, hitting .310/.394/.518 in the second half. He had a more relaxed approach, seemingly trying for fewer home runs. Rodriguez also ran the bases surprisingly well for a man who was supposed to be, as Peter Cook famously put it, a unidexter.

Small sample caveats about, but it may be safe to call Figgins a poor postseason player. He’s participated in six October series over the years and is a career .182 hitter in 29 games. He actually went 0-for-12 against Boston. Note also that Figgins can be neutralized by southpaws. He hit only .246/.325/305 against left-handers, which is consistent with his career-long predilections. EDGE: YANKEES

SHORTSTOP: ERICK AYBAR (30.5, 13th) vs. DEREK JETER (72.8, 2nd)

Aybar is an interesting player, a singles hitter with great speed who isn’t allowed to run much because he’s so bad at it. A switch-hitter, his left-handed stroke is pretty much all singles, as is his right-handed stroke, only he gets a few more of them from that side of the plate. You don’t need me to tell you that Captain Jeter is a more rounded player and then some. EDGE: YANKEES

CATCHER: MIKE NAPOLI (24.8, 5th) and JEFF MATHIS (-9.2, 107th) vs. JORGE POSADA (35.8, 3rd)

Napoli is a fine, almost Posada-esque hitter who creamed lefties this year (.330/.417/.606). If he’s not in the lineup against Sabathia, officially deduct two genius points from Mike Scioscia. That he might not be in the lineup is because Mathis plays quite often due to various real or perceived defensive deficiencies on Napoli’s part. The problem is that neither player throws well, so you’re pretty much down to handling of pitchers, and Napoli would have to receive like an octuple-amputee octopus with a raging substance abuse problem to justify sacrificing the amount of offense that comes with dragging Mathis into the lineup. Mathis is a career .200/.277/.320 hitter and was worse than that this year. Oddly enough, Jose Molina is almost exactly the same hitter, .235/.277.332 for his career, so if Scioscia happens to time a Mathis start with A.J. Burnett’s game, it will be like both teams decided to forego the catcher’s spot and play an eight-man lineup. If Napoli or Posada is playing when the other one is not, the imbalance between the two positions is huge. Otherwise, Posada is the better all-around hitter, especially in Yankee Stadium, but Napoli has some advantages too, like striking out and hitting enough fly balls to rarely hit into a double play. Overall we’ll call this EDGE: YANKEES, but not a huge one.

We’ll wrap this up with the outfield and the first three starters in part three.


I’ll be participating in a BP roundtable during the first game of the NLCS. All are welcome. Information is available here.



    Sorry about the stone. The last one I had saw me begging emergency room nurses for morphine. Not a pretty sight. Worst part: when I passed the stone. I had fallen asleep or into a doze and suddenly the pain was gone. I was terrified that it might come back.

  2. hateslibs

    I’m disgusted that Idiot Giardi left Hinske off the roster and put Guzman, and Hairston on. We have speed in Gardner, and could really use a big bat (Hinske) off the bench. Can Guzman hit? I don’t think so. Betcha $$$ to doughnuts Giardi uses Posada to catch all the games, and the Angels will run wild on his Rag-Arm. Oh, I’m hoping for the Yanks, but I’m scared to death of Giardi picks. Oh, well, let’s all keep track of how many runs Posada lets in with his arm and defense skills , and the number he counters with his bat. Also we should sit Damon and his his wussy arm and play Gardner and Cabera… Good luck Yanks!!!!!

  3. sadaharuo

    “Oh, well, let’s all keep track of how many runs Posada lets in with his arm and defense skills , and the number he counters with his bat.”

    That’s a brilliant suggestion Mr. hateslibs. So glad you brought it up; since anyone with two brain cells to rub together realizes that Posada’s offensive contributions far outweigh his defensive shortcomings.
    Unless I misunderstood your point.

    P.S. what did “libs” ever do to you, anyway?


    The only logical reason that Girardi would put Guzman on the roster is because he plans to start Brett Gardner in some of the games. Among the roster we have Guzman, Cervelli, and Molina as guys who do not seem to be major league hitters at all. You also have another category of guys who are average to below-average hitters in : Melky, Gardner, and Jerry Hairston(you can’t categorize him as an absolute automatic out). This is unlikely, but it’s possible that late in a tie game, we have: Melky, Brett Gardner, Guzman, Cervelli, and Hairston all in the lineup at once. I’m really hoping this does not blow up in Girardi’s face, because say you’re down two runs with a runner on base and you have Gardner coming up to bat, what are you going to do? This is really shocking coming from Girardi who played on the 96’s Yankees with players like Cecil Fielder, Wade Boggs/Charlie Hayes, and Darryl Strawberry coming off the bench.

  5. hateslibs

    Sadaharuo, You need to rub your 2 brains cells a little harder. How many runs will posada give with his passed balls and runners stealing bases on his arm!!! DUH,DUH,DUH. Did I say it slow enough for you this time? I don’t think you as stupid as your trying to show us. I think libs(commies) are ruining the USA. DUH,DUH. Now quit playing with those 2 brain cells of your and go mediate or something…. GO YANKS

  6. alvaritogt

    Totally agree with the Hinske move, what if Freddy Guzman’s AB comes up? Unless he is thinking to double replace when AJ Burnett starts with Jose Molina, Posada to relievers and then extra innings and Posada gets on base. But that is a very unlikely scenario to structure your roster around it.

    Just for fun I looked up Herb Washington, Oakland’s A’s designated runner and his SB success rate was a measly 64.8%. What a waste of roster space!

    Pretty sure will be coming back to Hinske for the World Series considering the games in NL parks in which pitchers have to bat.

    No need to treat this like a town hall meeting! I agree with Posada’s compensation of offensive skills over his defensive woes. Hateslibs could explain with numbers how Molina contributes more than Posada, assuming something like: runs created offensively plus runs preserved defensively.

    According to hateslibs Posada “x” offensive plus “y” defensive x > y (y should be negative), while Molina x

  7. yankeexx

    Kidney stones?? Ouch!! Everyone tells me that 2oz olive oil mixed well with 2oz fresh lemon juice pulverizes the stones and relieves the symptoms too.

    Yankees vs Angels….nail biting time.

  8. sadaharuo

    Dear hatescommies-
    I’m sorry that the country has been destroyed so completely, and on your watch. That’s gotta suck. What are some examples of the way the country has been destroyed, if I may ask? Gays being allowed to marry? Black President? Health care for everyone? George Lopez getting his own talk show? Which of these things do you find most offensive?

    Hatescommies, you seem to be laboring under the delusion that I think Posada is a great defender. He is not. Posada is about a C, C- defender at this point in his career. I recognize this, but believe that his overall game is extremely valuable. Offensively he’s an A or A-. You just don’t get that from a catcher very often. Do you see how this works? His defense isn’t great, but his offense more than compensates. He doesn’t block balls in the dirt very well. This has been true, and been a source of frustration, his entire career. Posada does have a strong arm, though it’s not as strong anymore coming off the shoulder surgery. Don’t take my word for it. Ask “defense-only” former catcher John Flaherty, who says that Posada has a cannon for an arm.

    To hear you tell it, there might as well not even be a person behind the plate when Posada’s back there. As if the pitcher throws the ball and it just goes right on through to the backstop every time. As if the Yankees got Mo Vaughn to come out of retirement and throw on some catcher’s gear and squat behind the dish. Posada does have too many passed balls. But it’s not like he does it every game. If he had 140 passed balls over the course of a year, then yes I would say he’s unfit to catch. That would be SOME kind of record.
    Anyway, Mr. Goldman has written on more than one occasion how Posada’s offensive skills more than make up for his shaky defense. Steven even uses stats and things like that. You might want to check them out. I should warn you that Steven is one of those liberals that’s destroyed your country. Proceed at your peril.

    P.S. Regarding my “anyone with two brain cells to rub together” comment: I was not describing myself. I was merely using 2 as a minimum for being able to understand a simple concept. Two brain cells is, of course, an exaggeration. I have quite a few more than that. Functional human beings have billions of working brain cells. Dammit, it’s true what they say about jokes never being funny once you have to explain them. Either way, I think you should be a little less critical of my intelligence when your own writing is rife with spelling, factual, and grammatical errors. When your own writing borders on the level of gibberish you should really display a little more humility.
    Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go mediate (sic).

  9. singledd

    Posada has a career 29% CS, 28% this year, which is almost exactly average.
    Mike Napoli is at 23% / 22%.
    Jeff Mathis is at 23% / 26%.
    Bottom line: Posada throws out more runners then either Angel.
    The Angel’s team stealing success rate is 70%, just barely, if at all, productive.
    TheYankees’ team stealing success rate is 80%, which is quite productive.

    Bottom line: The Yankees have a superior running game and are better at stopping the running game, then the Angels. hateslibs… you are basically 100% wrong.

    At this point, Po is a slightly below average defensive Catcher and an average thrower. However, his offense more then puts him well up in the VORP category for a Catcher.

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