Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Week In Review: Fillibustered!

Pardon the perfunctory Week In Review this week. I was working on this Monday, but I was so upset by the Yankees' series opener in Philly, that I couldn't post this until now. Also, I've been busy with some writing for Baseball Prospectus--another Game of the Week and a Notebook piece. Thanks for your patience.

June 12-18, 2006

Record for the Week
: 3-3, 28 runs allowed, 29 runs scored
Overall Record: 38-29 (2nd Place, one game out)

Player of the Week: Bernie Williams was the best in a week that featured comebacks by Derek Jeter (.455/.538/.545) and Alex Rodriguez (.292/.346/.538). Bernie's .417/.440/.813 was as studly a line as we've seen in quite some while, carrying with it 4 doubles and two homers, each a figure that matched or set the team lead. It came in six full games of playing time. This week-by-week stuff is all small sample sizes and whatnot, and I know that I've railed against Bernie's performance in the past, but there's no player I'd rather be wrong about.

Honorable mention to Chien Ming Wang, who put in an awesome week of pitching and came away with mixed results--a 1-1 record and 1.72 ERA in 15.7 innings of work. Randy Johnson also pitched in an effective start prior to getting booted from his game (6.3 IP 4H 1R 1ER 0 BB 6 SO).

Dregs of the Week: Jason Giambi (.150/.227/.300) and Melky Cabrera (.174/.296/.304) are hurtin', the first literally, the latter figuratively. The trio of Jaret Wright, Shawn Chacon and Mike Mussina (17 ER in 15 IP) took beatdowns this week.

Other Stats: Phillips 13 AB (.692 OPS), Cairo 2 AB (who cares what his OPS is, it's only two at bats).

Story of the Week: The death of Aaron Small's dream/the Bernie Williams rennaisance. We all knew that Aaron Small's undefeated 2005 was a short-term thing. Last season, we didn't want to believe, but somewhere inside we knew. A guy doesn't just come out of nowhere like that, to be that good, with such a low strikeout rate and such pedestrian stuff. We knew this last season, but all we could do was hang on for the ride, hope that Small didn't turn into a pumpkin at too crucial a spot.

If you've been reading here, you know how poorly Small did with the Yanks this season, and how I've advocated sending him down. So the DFA he received this week was no surprise. What was a surprise was that, at the same time Small was earning his demotion, Bernie Williams suddenly started hitting like it was 2001 again. Williams, who we'd given up for dead after three bad seasons and a bad April, has been stroking the ball well for the past few weeks.

Let's not get carried away, says our rational mind. It's not like Bernie's vying for the All-Star Game, here. Even with the recent surge, Bernie's OPS for the season is still only .739. More importantly, players don't just recover after playing the way Bernie has the last few years. So we're trying not to get carried away. But some part of us wants to believe in the extraordinary. Some part of us wants to think that Bernie's found some fountain of youth, even if we know that that's not possible.

The key is to enjoy this performance while it lasts, and hope it doesn't run out at a particularly harmful moment. Does that sound familiar?

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