"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Seattle Mariners III: That’s The Magic Number

The Yankees’ magic number for clinching a playoff berth is three. That means they could do it this weekend in Seattle, though it might require a little help from, ironically, the Angels, who are in Arlington facing the Rangers, the team whose inability to catch the Yankees would thus guarantee New York a return to the postseason. The most likely scenario would have the Yankees and Angels both taking two of three from their lesser opponents, putting the Yankees in the odd position of arriving in Anaheim on Monday with warm feelings about the Halos.

Looking at the pitching matchups in Seattle, the Yankees would seem to have the middle game, which pits CC Sabathia against the unfortunately named Doug Fister, in hand. Joba Chamberlain seems to finally be rounding back into shape after posting this combined line in his last two Rules-shortened starts: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 HR, 1 BB, 5 K. That gives the Yankees more than a good chance against reclamation project Ian Snell on Sunday. One has to assume the Angels will at the very least avoid a sweep in Arlington. That’s three games. Of course, if the Yankees want to do it in style, they’ll start with an surprisingly unlikely win tonight.

A.J. Burnett has exceeded my expectations this year in exactly one way: he has made every single one of his starts. Tonight he’ll make his 30th start for just the third time in his 11-year career. That is worthy of a certain level of praise (Carl Pavano made four fewer major league starts in his four years as a Yankee combined), but the quality of those starts of late has been anything but praiseworthy. Just two of Burnett’s last five starts have been quality starts and over his last nine he’s gone 1-5 with a 6.14 ERA. Worse yet, he’s trending in the wrong direction. Four of his six starts in August were quality, but only one of his three in September has been and in those last five he’s posted a 7.67 ERA in part due to the eight home runs he has allowed in those outings.

Burnett hasn’t seen the Mariners yet this year, but shouldn’t find them much of a challenge given that they’re the second-worst offense in baseball and the only team in the junior circuit to have scored less than four runs per game on the season. What will be challenging is his mound opponent, Felix Hernandez.

Still just 23, King Felix seems to have finally become a pitcher worthy of his nickname. Despite the punchless M’s offense, Hernandez has already set a career high with 15 wins (against just five losses). More importantly, he has decreased his homer rate for the third year in a row, corrected the spike his walk rate experienced last year, and is striking out batters at a tick about his previous top rate (he’ll surpass 200 strikeouts for the first time in his career with seven more Ks). He has also benefited from the M’s improved defense, posting a BABIP below .300 for the first time since his rookie half season in 2005 and leading the league in fewest hits per nine innings. That last is a product of both his own effectiveness and the gloves behind him.

The Yankees have added first baseman Juan Miranda to the major league roster. With Jorge Posada serving a three-game suspension that finishes on Saturday, Jose Molina catches and bats ninth tonight behind the usual suspects. Melky Cabrera is in center despite Brett Gardner’s recent resurgence (six for his last 11 with two doubles).

Seattle Mariners

2009 Record: 76-71 (.517)
2009 Pythagorean Record: 68-79 (.463)

Manager: Don Wakamatsu
General Manager: Jack Zduriencik

Home Ballpark (Park Factors): Safeco Field (96/97)

Who’s Replacing Whom:

  • Bill Hall replaces Russell Branyan (DL)
  • Randy Messenger (minors) replaces Sean White (DL)
  • September additions: 1B Mike Carp, 3B Matt Tuiasosopo, C Adam Moore, RHPs Brandon Morrow, Carlos Silva (DL), LHP Jason Vargas

25-man Roster:

1B – Mike Carp (L)
2B – Jose Lopez (R)
SS – Josh Wilson (R)
3B – Adrian Beltre (R)
C – Kenji Johjima (R)
RF – Ichiro Suzuki (L)
CF – Franklin Gutierrez (R)
LF – Bill Hall (R)
DH – Ken Griffey Jr. (L)


R – Mike Sweeney (1B)
L – Jack Hannahan (IF)
L – Michael Saunders (OF)
L – Ryan Langerhans (OF)
R – Rob Johnson (C)
R – Matt Tuiasosopo (3B)
R – Adam Moore (C)
R – Jack Wilson (IF)*


R – Felix Hernandez
R – Doug Fister
R – Ian Snell
L – Ryan Rowland-Smith
R – Brandon Morrow


R – David Aardsma
R – Mark Lowe
R – Miguel Batista
R – Chris Jakubauskas
R – Shawn Kelley
R – Randy Messenger
L – Lucas French
L – Jason Vargas
L – Garrett Olson
R – Carlos Silva

15-day DL: 1B – Russell Branyan (herniated disk)

60-day DL: LF – Endy Chavez (ACL), LHP – Erik Bedard (shoulder surgery), R – Sean White (shoulder tendonitis), LHP Cesar Jimenez (shoulder and biceps tendonitis), LHP – Ryan Feierabend (TJ)

Typical Lineup:

L – Ichiro Suzuki (RF)
R – Franklin Gutierrez (CF)
R – Jose Lopez (2B)
L – Ken Griffey Jr. (DH)
R – Adrian Beltre (3B)
R – Bill Hall (LF)
L – Mike Carp (1B)
R – Kenji Johjima (C)
R – J. Wilson (SS)

*The ever-fragile Jack Wilson has a bruised heel and was on crutches earlier in the week.

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Game Thread  Series Preview

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Show/Hide Comments 1-100
1 Sliced Bread   ~  Sep 18, 2009 7:47 pm

Thanks as always for setting the stage, Cliff.

45 minutes til coffee and cheesecake (courtesy of the in-laws who arrived today) - gotta time my sugar and caffeine boost perfectly, then it's bring on the late start!

2 rbj   ~  Sep 18, 2009 8:14 pm

Bah, I hate the late starting west coast games. Gotta get up early tomorrow for an Aikido seminar, so it's early to bed for me.

Good night all.

3 ms october   ~  Sep 18, 2009 8:20 pm

and this is precisely the kind of information that petey is so good at providing; hopefully somebody else will get this too us:

UPDATE, 8:12 p.m.: Just talked to Andy Pettitte after he threw his bullpen. He felt fine and is ready to make his start on Monday. There was no discomfort in his shoulder.

“I’ll be satisfied if I get through that start. I’ve been off a few days and obviously it was good to get through my normal long bullpen. I had no problems,” he said. “I’ve had a good period of rest. I didn’t expect to feel anything. I played long toss yesterday and felt great. The big thing for me will be now to get through Monday without having it fatigue-ing out on me and I’ll feel I’m over it.”

4 ms october   ~  Sep 18, 2009 8:22 pm

[3] ugh too = to, and sounds like good news on andy, fingers are definitely crossed since to my knowledge there is no alds schedule the yanks can pick that allows for just 1 pitcher

5 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 9:06 pm

[3] Good news. If good AJ shows up tonight maybe the panic meter will go back do Defcon 3. I missed the Petey love-fest earlier. I think there's probably someone itching to do what he does but even better.

6 OldYanksFan   ~  Sep 18, 2009 9:28 pm

I'd be happier to see Texas sweep the Angels, and we can clinch in LA.

7 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:03 pm

Tell me whyyyy you cried. And why you liiieeed to me!

8 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:11 pm

Nice hit, Derek.

9 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:11 pm

Kenyy. Cone. King Felix. AJ. TGIF. Jeter on1st base, So far so good. : )

10 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:12 pm

Oooh, Damon!

Quick wrists!

11 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:12 pm

[9] :)

12 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:12 pm

GRD. Score 'em both now.

13 Yankster   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:13 pm

Anyone know why Kim is pinch hitting for Waldman? Her voice is a bit tough to bare.

14 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:15 pm

Damn Straight. Still need that other guy.

15 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:15 pm

Alex is really hitting everything square these days.

He's really locked in.

16 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:15 pm

[13] Really?

I'll have to tune in to check that out!

17 ms october   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:19 pm

[13] suzyn is off for the jewish holiday

[9] yeah to coney and singleton - but boo that it is one of those darn late night games

18 Yankster   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:21 pm

[16] Really. It's odd. Sterling and Kim don't have the timing down yet, but given that it's still the first inning, it's understandable. Kim gave the batting average against, a stat sterling doesn't much like (or understand). There was a long pause. Can't wait to see if she tries it again tomorrow (Sterling said she would be announcing all weekend).

19 Yankster   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:21 pm

[17] Thanks.

20 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:21 pm

I'm sorry, .353 is *never* overrated.

Maybe I'm some kind of medieval superstitious buffoon, but really, I'll take this guy to start my team any day of the week.

21 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:27 pm

If Ichiro started his career in Seattle he would already have near 3000 hits. He'd be Rose's biggest threat I do believe.

22 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:32 pm

Cano > Pat Kelly. : ).

23 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:32 pm

[21] I mean, his talent is ridiculous. I don't understand on what planet such a player is considered overrated.

24 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:33 pm

[22] :)

25 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:40 pm

[24] It's all good . : D Is it me or has Jorge missed AJ's last 6 starts? Day games after nights games, Resting thumb, suspensions. etc.. etc.....

26 Shaun P.   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:46 pm

[13] [17] That's another PeteAbe nugget of info, that Waldman was out for the weekend and Jones (and Sweeny Murti) were in.

[21] Undoubtedly.

Don't look now, but Nathan is about to slam the door shut on Detroit, and pull the Twins to within 3 in the Central. It would be fun if that was a real race down the stretch.

27 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:49 pm

Go Twinkies!!!

28 randym77   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:53 pm

Wow. Nice.

29 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:53 pm

How the heck did Tex catch Ichiro?

30 randym77   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:54 pm

That wasn't so nice.

31 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:54 pm

Oh, Melky.


32 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:54 pm

Take thatl Ichirol Over-Rated! : D Get a stick and kill it, Melky. Bollocks.

33 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:54 pm

I did think he was going to get there.

34 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:55 pm

Oh, damn it.

35 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:55 pm

That's 3 hits in a row.

36 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:55 pm

b doubel o. Shite.

37 randym77   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:56 pm

[29] Caught him napping, really. I think he was thinking about going, changed his mind, and fell over his own feet.

38 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 10:58 pm

Is this Burnett's everything falls apart inning, then he pitches a no hitter for the next 4.

39 randym77   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:00 pm

[38] I hope so. Might was well get it over with early.

40 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:01 pm

39 It would be good if he keeps it tied, Felix has been awfully good this year.

41 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:06 pm

Texas lost

42 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:06 pm

Yea Pete Abe mentioned earlier that Hideki has tied for the most HR's by Yankee DH in a season. Almost breaks it there.

43 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:06 pm

Godzilla. Just missed it. Where the hell will he be in May?

44 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:06 pm

41 magic number 2?

45 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:07 pm

Gutierez had that the whole way too.

46 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:07 pm

Nice Catch.

47 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:07 pm

Seattle's D pretty good.

48 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:08 pm

With that kind of D Seattle has themselves a nice CF.

49 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:09 pm

Big ballpark

50 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:10 pm

Damn. That's 2 smashes for zero runs. : (

51 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:10 pm

Is it the park, the Yankees seemed to be hitting it pretty good there. Sounded nice of the bat.

52 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:14 pm

I just told my kid about Mantle because he received number 7 for fall league.

I got all excited and told him that #7 was a special number.

Speaking of which, we have a game at 9 tomorrow morning! How uncivilized is that?

53 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:15 pm

Minnesota beat Detroit tonight. That could be interesting

54 JeremyM   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:18 pm

[53] Could be, but let's see if Pavano can beat Verlander.

55 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:20 pm

Is the Yankees magic number 2 or 3?

56 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:22 pm

I don't disagree with Cone. I always thought 6 IP 3 R was lame.

57 JeremyM   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:22 pm

[55] I believe it's three.

58 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:24 pm

According to Abraham (I'm going to miss saying that) Bruney is now wearing 99.

That should solve everything.

59 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:26 pm

57 Isn't it 2 now that Texas lost tonite?

60 JeremyM   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:27 pm

[59] Oops, forgot about that result :)

61 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:28 pm

[59] Lorenz said three though.

62 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:31 pm

61 Cliff has a link in the Post that the number was actually 3 before tonight's games because LAA and Texas play each other during the final stretch. So now that Texas lost it is 2. But that may not be recognized by the media.

63 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:31 pm

Atta boy, JD!

64 JeremyM   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:32 pm

Damon wants to make it 1.

65 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:33 pm

Seattle has very good pitching and defense they just need a little more hitting. Johnny scores, Yankees lead.

66 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:34 pm

Cone LOVES Fangraphs!. : O And Criteria.

67 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:37 pm

Beltre is pretty........pretty good.........

68 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:37 pm

King Felix thru 6 only 69 pitches, is Joba watching?

69 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:48 pm

Good on Ya' AJ!

70 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:51 pm

Kenny reading a promo for suites available at Yankee Stadium, anyone interested?

71 Just Fair   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:52 pm

Good double, Swish!

72 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:58 pm

No pinch hitter?

73 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 18, 2009 11:59 pm

What an unpleasant commercial

74 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:01 am

73 Those NYS smoking commercials don't mess around.

75 Rich   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:01 am

Molina stinks.

76 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:03 am

As long as Cone doesn't say the words "pitcher abuse points" I'm pro StatsCone

77 Rich   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:05 am

[76] PAP were the red flag on Javy Vazquez before he came here.

78 Rich   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:06 am


79 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:06 am

Twice in one game. Ichiro is great, but that is bad baseball.

80 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:06 am

[77] Say the phrase out loud and tell me it isn't the dorkiest thing you've ever heard.

81 Just Fair   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:06 am

Ichiro = dumb-ass.

82 randym77   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:07 am

Wow. Ichiro looked safe to me, but still. Wow.

83 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:07 am

I wonder when the last two times Ichiro has been picked off are, let alone twice in one night

84 Rich   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:08 am

[80] Even more than Batting Average on Balls in Play? ;)

85 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:10 am

[84] Much worse. Now, if you pronounce the acronym (BAH-PEEP) I reserve the right to reconsider.

86 Rich   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:10 am

More runs...

87 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:10 am

Nice play Arod.

88 Just Fair   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:11 am

Here's to good Mo Jo! And AJ.

89 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:11 am

Good game for AJ even if it was against the Mariners hitting. I'll take Hughes- Mo for the win Jack.

90 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:16 am

Quick inning.

91 Just Fair   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:25 am

Hughes'll do.

92 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:26 am

Hughes is superb, let's go Mo.

93 Just Fair   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:38 am

Hey Hanahan, you're wife's a D%$#. Slap Shot. : D

94 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:38 am

93 Nice

95 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:41 am

Men and boys

96 Just Fair   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:41 am

Keep punching 'em out. WORD.

97 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:41 am

Mo K # 1000!

98 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:41 am

Oh no

99 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:42 am

Mo vs Ichiro

Tonight on Syfy

100 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:43 am


Show/Hide Comments 101-125
101 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:43 am

Well that was a fucking disaster

102 Just Fair   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:43 am

Fuck you Ichiro.

103 Rich   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:43 am


104 cult of basebaal   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:44 am

Well, THAT sucked.


105 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:44 am

Six games on the Red Sox. If Brian Bruney makes an appearance before they win the division, Girardi should be fired.

106 cult of basebaal   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:45 am

Great AB and approach by Ichiro!.

Not even a strike.


107 Yankster   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:46 am

who was it claiming ichiro was overrated in an earlier post? Ouch. That was gorgeous. First pitch, no doubt.

108 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:46 am

Singleton was stressing the saves streak so much that I thought he might jinx it, but when I saw the terrible hitters coming up, I thought it wouldn't matter

109 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:46 am

Mo had to blow one sometime. Got it out now before the PS.

110 Rich   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:47 am

I thought Mo threw a meatball over the plate. I still blame Molina for the DP.

111 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:47 am

107 I think that was sarcasm earlier.

112 joe   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:48 am

Man, who would have thought it'd turn out like that after the backwards Ks

113 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:50 am

It's tough when Mo loses one, it happens so rarely.

114 The Hawk   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:51 am

Ah the overrated Ichiro strikes again. Rivera was pitching great too ... Second-guessing but knowing what a clever fellow Ichiro is maybe they should have started on the outside of the plate? Anyway not a terrible loss as far as walk-offs vs your team goes, at least it wan't a meatball - Ichiro just got over on Mo-lina. It happens. Too bad for Burnett - time to change player of the game, mayhap?

Well speaking of whom, I'll take the positive in Burnett's fine performance, hopefully a sign of things to come!

115 Yankster   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:51 am

[111] I thought it was a response [20] to something said on tv...

Guiterez (sp) caught the same ball that the melky and damon missed in the ninth, which is too bad.

116 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:52 am

Games like this are why you should never punt games. Girardi threw out the D team after the Yankees swept the Rays, and the Yankees lost three of five to miserable ballclubs.

Now they've lost four of six and the Red Sox are charging.

117 Rich   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:53 am

[115] Swisher missed it in the 9th.

118 BuckFoston   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:53 am

115 You're right about Gutierrez, he might've had that.

...tired...must sleep. Good night all, Yanks'll get'em tomorrow.

119 The Hawk   ~  Sep 19, 2009 12:55 am

Crazy to think the Yanks were 9 games up on the Sox. I shut the door right there, myself. But if it weren't that, 6 up would still seem pretty damn good. Okay, five in the loss column, but not bad. As long as the Yankees can win this series and hopefully the next, we're in good shape.

120 Rich   ~  Sep 19, 2009 1:01 am

This is a second guess, but Freddy Guzman probably could have played RF. He's fast, so I assume he's good defensively.

121 williamnyy23   ~  Sep 19, 2009 1:30 am

Joe Girardi strikes again. The manager had two chances to help the team win this game and in both cases he completely screwed up. With

Molina at the plate and runners on the corner, it was the perfect time to either try a squeeze or at least put Melky in motion. The chance of a Molina DP was high. So, what does Girardi do...nothing. Double play, inning over and an opportunity wasted.

Fast forward to the 9th...the tying run is on 2B and Seattle's most dangerous hitter is up. Intentional walk, right? Of course not...competence is too easy. Home run...game over. Incredibly, Girardi's excuse for falling asleep was he didn't wan't Ichiro's speed on 1B as the winning run. So, because he feared a career 91 OPS+ hitter's ability to strike a gapper, he pitches to a 117 OPS+/.333 BA hitter and risk the game tying hit. Girardi's ignorance was rewarded twofold...Ichiro didn't just get a hit...he went deep.

These are the types of games that fuel late season colapses. With Boston's schedule so easy and the Yankees so difficult, it isn't outrageous to paint the scenario wherein this lead slowly vanishes. Of course, even if you are of the mindset that the division is a lock, Girardi once again showed us what he'll do (or won't do) in a close post season game.

Everyone keeps pointing to AJ or Joba as the keys in the post season, but the team's biggest weakness by far is the incompetence of the manager. Even if they do manage to win the division and keep homefield, they'll still need to overcome Girardi's awful game management in the playoffs. How incredible and infuriating that this talented team can't be led by a quality manager.

122 williamnyy23   ~  Sep 19, 2009 1:33 am

[119] Yes, if they can win these two series, they should be fine. Of course, the Yankees are sending Joba-lite, Andy of an injury, Gaudin and AJ in the next 4 after CC. Meanwhile, the Red Sox get to feast on the Orioles and Royals.

123 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Sep 19, 2009 2:21 am

williamnyy23 (re: 121): http://bit.ly/2qyN7O

124 randym77   ~  Sep 19, 2009 6:17 am

[123] That's great. I hadn't seen that before.

125 seamus   ~  Sep 19, 2009 7:54 am

[123] oh wow classic!

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver