Rumors, rumors, rumors

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They’re starting to fly like crazy, so we may as well throw them out there like so much pasta at so many walls:

The Brewers are supposedly “serious players” for Halladay.
I’m not buying it. For one thing, they went that route last year with
Sabathia and I doubt they’d do it again. For another, the rumor comes
from Jon Heyman and he’s pretty much always wrong.

Nick Cardafo of the Boston Globe
thinks that Theo Epstein’s little moves yesterday with LaRoche and
Duncan suggests that he’s going to make a play for Halladay. Maybe so.
Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for him to try and turn Clay Buchholz
into a big bat while his value is still high, too, because based on his
first couple of big league starts he looks like he has nibbler’s
disease.

Morosi has a bunch of stuff:
The Indians may trade Cliff Lee to the Rays, though it could take a
three-way trade to make that happen. The Twins could use infield help
and may be thinking Orlando Cabrera or one of the Pirates’ guys.
Finally, it appears that no one is all that interested in Matt
Holliday. My guess is that he’s going to be acquired in exchange for
some magic beans right before the deadline next Friday, because the A’s
probably need the couple of million he’s owed more than they need the
draft pick he’d bring when he walks after ths season.

As always, these rumors are guaranteed to be 100% dicey, doubtful and dubious, or your money back!

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

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Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.