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Monthly Archives: April 2012

I Still Can't Believe Bobby Valentine is the Red Sox's Manager

You know how sometimes you see a company making a decision that doesn’t make any sense to you? You hear what they’re doing and you think, "Why are they doing that? That’s the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard!" Thats what it was like for me when the Red Sox hired Bobby Valentine. As a former Mets manager, I have a pretty good idea of who the guy is and how he rolls, and you’d think the Sox checked up before they hired him… They must have, right? He’s already got Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis pissed at him on top of the fact that they’ve started off the 2012 season 4-7, which is kinda how I remember them starting of the 2011 season. I just can’t believe Valentine questioned Youkilis’s work ethic. Now if Valentine questioned his grooming habits, well, that’d be one thing, but he’s a first rate hitter who can man both the corner infield positions as good as anybody… I dont know what he was thinking.

I love that Brad from An A-Blog for A-Rod spells Dustin Pedroia "Dahhston Pedroyahh" – friggin awesome. Check out his site, at the link, he’s got all of the pertinent quotes compiled as well as excellent use of Seinfeld – as he often does.

Still, it’s only April – the Orioles are 7-4, so it’s too early to assume the Red Sox are riding on the proverbial Titanic, but I wouldn’t hire Bobby Valentine to captain my $146 million dollar boat.

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Hughes or Garcia

The fate of the Yankees starting rotation has been in flux since… I don’t know, since last season. Who will stay in and who will get pushed aside for better talent has become the question of the day. Now that both guys that are on the hot seat (Freddy Garica and Phil Hughes) have gone through the rotation twice, we can take a look at this tiny sample size and guess what the Yankees will do when the time comes about a month from now.

When I look at a sample size this small, I go right to WHIP, which doesn’t help us here because they’re both tied there. They’ve both given up 13 hits and their walks are only separated by 1 in favor of Garcia. When we look at hits vs innings pitched, Garcia is again the better pitcher, but he got to face the basement dwelling Orioles and Twins while Hughes got the Rays (who aren’t exactly barn stormers with the bat) and the Angels (who have the talent to hit a lot), so that’s tough. When it comes to numbers, the best thing I can say about Hughes is he’s got more strike outs per innings, which makes sense when you think about how great his bullpen results are. The best thing I can say about Garcia is he only walked 3 guys in the game against Baltimore and his splitter was bouncing 2 feet in front of the plate. They’re both giving up way too many homers in the early going.

Now we go to the eye test. Although Hughes is striking guys out, I feel as though he gets in too many deep counts and still struggles to finish batters off. His fastball and curve ball look much better than last year, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. He hasn’t made much in the way of progress when it comes to developing his change up, so maybe he needs to concentrate on his cutter… or something… or a slider. I don’t know… maybe a sinker? He needs something else. Garcia had much better command of his splitter against the Twins, but the Twins are so awful, it’s hard to accept when your starter can’t give you 6 IP and 3 ER.

At this point, I think the Yankees are still committed to Hughes and when Andy Pettitte is ready to come up to the big leagues, they’ll demote David Phelps (who’s been great, by the way) and send Garcia to the bullpen as the mop up/long man. As long as Hughes is healthy, I think they’ll keep him in the rotation, unless he’s unbearable for too long. They’ll give Hughes, who is still young, every opportunity to regain his 2010 form, which I still don’t think was that great, but good enough for the back of the rotation and sacrifice Garcia to do it. Garcia is fine for organizational depth, but at his age, he could decline rapidly or just decide to retire at any time.

I think Garcia is probably the better ‘win now’ solution, but Hughes is probably the better ‘long term’ pick, and I think that’s the way the Yankees are going – staying with younger, cheaper players so they don’t have to go out on the open market to flesh out the back end of their rotation.

Let’s Go Rangers!

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If you are a New York sports fan with a family that has a Bronx/Manhattan background, then odds are your favorite sports teams were handed down to you as follows:  New York Giants, Yankees, Rangers and Knicks.  For me, the psst two tend to get lost in the shuffle for several reasons:

1.  The baseball season is long and exhausting
2.  Over the last ten years, the Knicks have been pretty stinky (but at least there is hope now)
3. The basketball and hockey seasons are also long and get a little sports fatigued
4.  The basketball and hockey playoffs are crazy long!  I love that they are all best of seven, but it’s one round to many because they let too many teams in

Still, I very much would like to see the Rangers win another Stanley Cup, and this might be the year.  Hopefully, they can recover from the overtime loss and get back to business.

Let’s Go Rangers!

"Mariano Rivera Is Done" Articles

I thought all of the "The beginning of the end for Mo?" articles after the season opener were about Mo’s pending retirement announcement coming some time this summer, but no, they were about how he blew the save against the Rays and perhaps time has finally caught up with him. Once i realized this, I didn’t bother reading any further because I’ve read that article before many times over the last few years and as we all know, Mo always recovers.

What i didn’t realize was I’d read these articles a million times over the last 10 years. An awesome cut and paste of various "Is Mo done?" articles from the last decade or so can be found here. Of course, since blowing the save in game 1, Mo has pitched 3 scoreless innings for 2 saves, so yeah, business as usual

Why does Mo struggle in April? I’d say that in the past, it was probably winter rust – even his training program can’t simulate live baseball conditions against the pros. These days, I’d say it’s a combination of rust and his revised winter throwing program – and by that, I’m pretty sure Mo said he stopped throwing over the winter a few years ago. I believe this is because there is just too much wear and tear on his arm at this point, which has had it’s fair share of surgeries over his career.

Anyway, as per usual, I wouldn’t worry about Mariano Rivera any time he blows a save. He might pitch like a machine most of the time, but he is just a flesh and blood man, despite the fact that I worship the guy like a deity. If you want to worry about something, worry about the psyche of the guy who has to replace him. The first rough patch he goes through his going to be brutal.

ENJOY OPENING DAY AT YANKEE STADIUM!

Yankees First 6 Games Of 2012

The Yankees will play their home opener this afternoon, but before that, let’s take a look back at their first 6 games of the season in the road trip that started in disaster and ended in triumph.

Let’s break it down:

The Starting Rotation
Holy hell, what a disaster. Sure, it’s still early and I’m not rushing to judgement, but Ivan Nova is the only starter who’s put in a decent performance so far. C.C. Sabathia can’t command his fastball, Phil Hughes is looking better than last year (but that doesn’t say much), Freddy Garcia is trying to kill the dirt in front of home plate with his splitter and Hiroki Kuroda was up in the zone all night long. Here’s hoping he’ll be better today and everyone else will straighten out. I’m not worried about C.C. Sabathia, and what we’ve seen from Kuroda isn’t his reputation, so not much to worry about there, either – as for Hughes and Garcia… well, the clock is ticking. Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda are on the way. How Sabathia got through six innings last night is anybody’s guess…

The Bullpen
All hail the bullpen! For it is the bullpen corps that were the road trip saviors! Sure, Mariano Rivera did blow that first game, but whatever – that’s going to happen from time to time – he’s rebounded nicely. Just because I worship the guy doesn’t make him an infallible god. David Robertson likes to make us sweat, but he gets the job done. Boone Logan and Rafael Soriano also deserve high praise for their performances last night.

The Offense
Some ups, some downs, but mostly, I’m happy with the overall production – what I’d like to see is some POWER! What do Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez all have in common? No homers. I guess if they hang out with Derek Jeter, it’s a No Homers club – they’re allowed to have one. Derek Jeter is on fire so far this year – that guy sure is good at putting naysayers in their place.

The Defense
For the most part, I’m happy, but let’s do our best to keep Raul Ibanaz on the bench as the DH, hmm? And Eduardo Nunez… I just don’t know what to say about Eduardo Scissorhands. I’d need to see how he plays on a day to day basis (and I am starting to hope I never find out what that looks like) to know for sure, but I’m starting to think that this guy is just not an infielder.

Joe Girardi’s Match Up Binder
I’ve enjoyed Girardi’s tenure as manager so far, particularly his skill with the bullpen and keeping those guys healthy – a refreshing change after Joe Torre’s reign of terror (ask Scott Proctor, Mike Myers, Paul Quantral… you know, anybody that pitched out of the pen for Torre). Still, when he plays match ups in the first inning, I get annoyed – you can imagine what I was thinking when he went to match up strategies and started intentionally walking guys in the first inning of the first game of the season with his ace on the mound! On the other hand, I loved when he brought the extra infielder into the game, even if it was Eduardo Scissorhands.

Going Forward
I think things can only improve from here. Sabathia and Kuroda should round into form, I’m sure Sweaty Freddy will find his splitter and reinforcements are on the way.

The Mystery of the Chris Stewart Trade & the Francisco Cervelli Demotion

If you didn’t already hear, the Yankees traded RP George Kontos to the Giants for C Chris Stewart and demoted C Francisco Cervelli to AAA Empire State Yankees. Why they did this, I have no idea, but I can guess.

I’m sure this went down because AAA C Austin Romine is hurt, but I think Kontos might have been a tiny bit too much to give up for Stewart, but that’s not my primary concern: what irks me is that Stewart is not a significant upgrade over Cervelli, so why do this at all? I get that Romine’s ongoing back problems are a concern and that him being on the shelf means catcher depth is a bit low right now, but this doesn’t seem like the greatest of moves. I know Stewart spent some time with the Yankees in both 2008 and 2009, but how much does he really know the Yankees pitching staff? Spring training is over, so there is no time left to learn.

I don’t get it. Maybe the idea is that Stewart will be C.C. Sabathia’s personal catcher and Cervelli will help the organization monitor the top pitching prospects at AAA as he knows many of those guys and has caught them before, so he can provide valuable information in Romine’s absence. That’s the only justification I can come up with… unless this is just a depth move and Stewart is out of minor league options. That’s probably more likely.

I’m sure we’ll see Cervelli back with the big club at some point this year and I’m not especially morning his loss (although I will miss the fist pumps), but I’d love to hear someone from the organization explain this move just for clarity’s sake.

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