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Yankees
Tom Verducci
October 12, 1998
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October 12, 1998

Yankees

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Bench
Of Tim Raines loves to hit to leftfield from left side. Dives into the ball. Can get him out with hard stuff inside. C Joe Girardi is a singles and doubles hitter with a short stroke; very good catcher. OF Chad Curtis likes ball up and will chase pitches too high. Infielders Homer Bush and Luis Sojo are adequate but have a tendency to take too big a swing. OF Ricky Ledee is a good, not great, all-around player.

Rotation
David Wells, LHP In a helluva groove. Can put his fastball anywhere he wants and cuts it sometimes. Throws curve anytime in the count. Shows a changeup occasionally. Basically a two-pitch guy who is tough to bet against when pitching with confidence. David Cone, RHP Ability to give hitter different looks—overhand, three-quarters and sidearm—a big plus. Hitters don't get comfortable. Has nasty, tight slider with late bite, and a slower, bigger breaking slider that buckles righthanded hitters' knees. Andy Pettitte, LHP Lives on his changeup and cut fastball. Has a good curve and should use it more. Orlando Hernandez, RHP Pitches backward: Uses his good curve and slider to set up his fastball, which has good movement. Lefthanded batters are comfortable facing him, because they get a good look at the ball.

Bullpen
RH closer Mariano Rivera has plus fastball that seems to start out at hitter's belt and ends up at his eyes. Good cutter. Last month started showing a slider with a little bigger break. You never know which Hideki Irabu will show up. Sometimes righthander looks like he doesn't want to be out there. Body language is pathetic. Fastball has tendency to be straight. Lives off his splitter. RH Jeff Kelson's nasty sinker is tough on righthanded hitters. Lefties hit him, though, because they get good look at his sweeping slider. LH Mike Stanton has straight fastball and is up in the zone a lot. Gives up too many homers. With his long arms LH Graeme Lloyd is tough on lefties: "Wraparound" breaking ball gets them to flinch. RH Ramiro Mendoza has excellent sinker that runs away from righthanded batters. Slider has short break.

Bottom Line
Can't see anybody beating this team. Yankees can hit, pitch, run and catch, and they have a good manager. They don't panic and don't beat themselves, so opponent better be near perfect.

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