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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Scrappy is BACK – Ramiro Pena to get called up to replace A-Rod

I know the little infielder that is known as Scrappy around my house isn’t the greatest player in the world, but we love us some Ramiro Pena, and now that A-Rod’s hand is broken, he’s on his way to join the team. It sure has been a busy couple of weeks in Yankee Land.

Just to recap:

  • Brett Gardner had another setback and now is having what sounds like season ending elbow surgery
  • Nick Swisher is day to day with a hip flexor (or whatever the hell that’s called), making the outfield that much thinner, at least temporarily
  • then KABOOM! Ichiro Suzuki is suddenly a Yankee, patrolling right field, at least temporarily, and then moving to left field when Swisher returns… or so I heard on the radio
  • A-Rod gets hit in the hand by King Felix, breaking that shiz, and now Scrappy becomes the back up infielder, surely giving Jason Nix and Eric Chavez a lot more work at 3rd base

Whew!

Not to be too indelicate, but what the FUCK is going to happen next? Hopefully, something good – Joba Chamberlain may only be days away from rejoining the team, and that sure would be a boost to the bullpen. I was just about ready to close the book on Freddy Garcia, but last night’s start was a bit above average what with his 7.1 IP and 9 Ks, but 3 ER is nothing to get too excited about. Still, not a bad start, but I’d rather see what David Phelps can do at this point. (Also, it’s fair to point out that the Mariners suck at hitting – their team average is under .200 in their home park.)

Today’s day rubber game is one the Yankees really need to win for two reasons:

  1. the Mariners totally blow
  2. they got swept in a four game series by Oakland, who is not bad at all, but sheesh – four loses in a row to the same team… that’s assy

Hisashi Iwakuma is barely even a starter – he’s bee a reliever for most of the year, as far as I know, and when Ivan Nova starts, the Yankees generally win, so… let’s go Scrappy!

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MasterCard Monday Strikes Again

I’m not a fan of the MasterCard Monday promotion for two reasons:

1.  It’s usually not a good deal
2.  I hate the fact MasterCard” is one word

Anyway, in honor of the Yankees getting swept in four games by the A’s (I guess), they are offering four tickets for the price of three.  True, it’s a weekend series against the Red Sox, but they stink this year, so whatever.  Most of all, I want two tickets, not four.  Stop telling me how many friends I’m supposed to have!  Oh and the Sunday game is an 8 pm start on ESPN – you ought to get home from that game around 2 am.

Brett Gardner's 3rd Setback Could Ultimately Push Swisher Out For 2012

Now that Brett Gardner has had a third setback (which may be nothing, we’ll have to wait and see), this forces the Yankees hand to make a trade for a left fielder. Raul Ibanez, Dewayne Wise and Andruw Jones have done a fine job holding down the fort, but the Yankees really want Ibanez and Jones for their bats, not their gloves, and although Wise has performed well in limited duty, the Yankees would like more from a corner outfield spot and let Ibanez and Jones platoon DH.

A quick note on Gardner – from what a I read, he woke up with soreness in the same elbow again and he’s going for another MRI. I don’ t know how many he’s had, but I’m going to say this is his third and they never find anything. I wonder what the next step is… exploratory surgery? You have to start wondering what the deal is with Gardner and if he’s ever going to be a factor again. We can only hope…

So now what? Obviously, Justin Upton is available from the Diamondbacks, and that would be the holy grail in trades. It’ll cost a lot, but Upton is an amazing, young player that the Yankees would be crazy not to empty the farm system for. I did read on MLB Trade Rumors that Upton has a no trade clause that includes the Yankees, so it might be a pipe dream, anyway.

A more realistic option is a rest of the season rental of Shane Victorino from former trade partner Philadelphia Phillies, who are currently riding their season down the crapper at 11 games under .500 (didn’t see that coming). Anyway, Victorino isn’t knocking the cover off the ball at .251/.316/.389/.705 with 8 HR and 38 RBI, but he does have 5 triples, which means he’s still fast, and that’s important for a Yankee Stadium left fielder. Couple that with a change of scenery and hitting in a stacked AL East lineup and his batting numbers might improve, but ultimately, if his performance stays the same and he gives us the defense he’s capable of, it’s a win. AND he’s a free agent after the season. That’s the Swisher connection.

See, Swisher is a free agent after this season, too, and with the Yankees 2014 payroll goals, they might not want to resign him at all. If they bring in Victorino or Upton, you can pretty much kiss Swisher goodbye – for sure if they get Upton, but if Victorino plays well, they can probably retain him cheaper than Swisher… well, it’s hard to know exactly how it will work out, but if the Yankees bring in an outfielder from the trade market, I don’t think it helps Swisher’s chances to stay with the team – it only hurts them.

In other news, Mariano Rivera is going to ring the opening bell at the stock exchange tomorrow. I love Mo, but couldn’t care less about this.

Projecting the Yankees 25 Man Roster on August 1, 2012

Who will be on the Yankees come August 1st? Let’s speculate…

D.J. Mitchell will lose his spot to Joba Chamberlain
I’m pretty sure Mitchell has a minor league option left, so whenever Joba is ready (dude is consistently in the mid 90s in his first two rehab appearances!), Mitchell is out of here. From there, I think that will make Chad Qualls the defacto mop up/long man, during which time he will hopefully only throw his sinker, which seems like a plus pitch, as opposed to his slider, which seems to always get hammered… because it’s always up in the zone. Anyway, I won’t miss Mitchell.

Darnell McDonald will lose his spot to Brett Gardner… God willing, that is…
If Gardner finally heals, maybe we’ll get a 9th appearance from the starting left fielder. It’s not like the Yankees have missed him (they are 20 games over .500, after all), but I enjoy his game.

Freddy Garcia… will probably still be on the team
But David Phelps might get his spot in the rotation. Phelps is pitching well and Garcia isn’t especially effective, but there’s no reason to DFA him when Garcia can be the mop up/long man, so if the Yankees decide to bring Phelps back up, maybe they’ll get rid of Qualls. This is what I hope ultimately happens. Phelps has earned a shot and Garcia just stresses the bullpen. He’s a nice guy to have on the roster, but he doesn’t need to be in the rotation.

Russell Martin… will probably still be on the team
Jeez, this guy is not hitting anything this year and I don’t see the Yankees doing anything about it. He’s at .178 on the season, and his splits are .259 against lefties and .150 against righties, so if it was the other way around, I’d say he’d be an ideal candidate for a platoon partner, but having Martin only face left handed starters essentially makes him the backup and the Yankees would be looking for a starting catcher to face all right handed starters, which is, of course, most starting pitchers. I don’t see that happening.

  1. Joba Chamberlain
  2. Cody Eppley
  3. Freddy Garcia
  4. Phil Hughes
  5. Hiroki Kuroda
  6. Boone Logan
  7. Ivan Nova
  8. Chad Qualls ??? David Phelps
  9. Clay Rapada
  10. David Robertson
  11. Rafael Soriano
  12. Russell Martin
  13. Chris Stewart
  14. Robinson Cano
  15. Eric Chavez
  16. Derek Jeter
  17. Jayson Nix
  18. Alex Rodriguez
  19. Mark Teixeira
  20. Curtis Granderson
  21. Raul Ibanez
  22. Andruw Jones
  23. Brett Gardner
  24. Nick Swisher
  25. Dewayne Wise

Home Run Derby Embarrassment

Three things about last night’s home run derby really stuck out, and they were all embarrassing for baseball.

ESPN’s HORRENDOUS Coverage
It’s like ESPN went out of their way to make the home run derby as unwatchable as possible. They could barely be bothered to keep the camera on the action, nor could any of their cadre of announcers bother to pay much attention or comment on what was happening at the plate. They were blatantly eating ribs, for Christ sakes! (Or at least that one guy was.) And the endless stories about things that happened 30 years ago… just painful. There were too many people talking about who the hell knows what to even understand exactly who was saying what… You ever see that episode of 30 Rock during which Tracey Jordan goes on the fake ESPN show Sports Shouting? That’s all I could think about. Last night’s telecast was abysmal, even for ESPN’s low standards. It made Sunday Night Baseball look like… I don’t know… something you’d like to watch.

The Cano Thing
I understand that Robinson Cano didn’t handle the whole Captain of the AL Home Run Derby Team thing that great. I guess he said he would pick someone from the Kansas City Royals, and then he didn’t, and Royals fans didn’t take kindly to that – nor did a local radio station. Anyway, stay classy, Kansas City. Cano definitely screwed himself, but as a host city for a nationally televised event, you embarrassed yourself. Sure, the fans paid their money and they’re entitled to boo all they want for whatever reason they want to, but that was blatantly over the line. Of course, I’m sure the fans were bored silly by the time Cano finally took to the plate, so I’m not too surprised they took it out on him. (Because obviously. the edition of Billy Butler would have made the evening so much more exciting.) But seriously, you needed to boo someone out of the Home Run Derby, the most meaningless of all MLB events? And I’d love to know who came up with the bright idea that last year’s winner should pick the squad – that is the DUMBEST shit ever. If you are going to let the fans vote for something, let them vote for the Home Run Derby teams – NOT THE ALL STAR TEAMS. Now that the All Star game actually determines home field advantage in the World Series, the fans have less business then ever voting for who goes, but then you can’t let them choose who they want to see hit dingers? That’s just plain crazy. MLB needs to switch that up.

The Format

The Home Run Derby clocked in at under 3 hours, and I guess we should all be grateful. Maybe ESPN could have wedged a few more commercials in there to get it to a nice even 3 hours, but they can try for that next time. But the real problem is that although the first round is the longest, it’s the most fun, but after the first hour or so, the show completely runs out of gas. I’d say that it’s time to go to some sort of time limit or number of outs for each player (whichever comes first) so we can be sure this nonsense doesn’t take any more than 2 hours. And one other thing: I hate watching all those little kids running around the outfield, trying to kill each other to get the balls that don’t make it over the wall. Why not just tell each kid to stand 10 feet apart and stay in their area? They look like a pack of wild animals and they’ve just begging for someone to get hurt, and ESPN can’t keep the camera off what looks like a disorganized day at summer camp – which is basically what the Home Run Derby is in a nutshell.

I hate sunday night baseball on ESPN

Just a quick rant:

The only thing I hate more than baseball on FOX is Sunday night baseball on ESPN and it only gets compounded when the Yankees play the Red Sox as their games always take four hours.  You just can’t start a baseball game between two east coast teams at 8 pm and then add salt to the wound by doing your ridiculous interviews, promos for other stuff and announcers who get sick of watching the game by about the fifth inning. 

It just doesn’t work.

Yankees Status heading into the All Star Break

There are six games left before the Yankees head into the All Star Break, including a four game series with the Red Sox. With everything that is going wrong in Yankee Land, the Yankees can get by with going at least 3-3 in these remaining contests. Sure, they’re going to limp into the gate, but that should be enough – as long as they get recharged for the second half. Here’s a few guys I have questions or concerns about.

CC Sabathia

The Yankee Ace will only miss two starts, and we’re already through one of them. Maybe David Phelps will fair better than Adam Warren, but I wouldn’t expect too much – Phelps is not stretched out to 100 pitches. Anyway, this is temporary. Sure he’s not having the best season of his life, but he’s still pretty good and any stress they can take off him is a good thing.

Andy Pettitte
My hope is that Andy Pettite rides in on the figurative white horse in early September, throws 2 or 3 games and pronounces himself playoff ready. Until then, we may have to make due with Fredy Garcia, and if Sweaty Freddy throws the ball going forward the way he did last night, we should be OK. He wasn’t stretched out to 100 pitches last night and probably won’t be until after the All Star Break, and he still pitched very well, even if it was against an offensive dud like Tampa Bay.

Corey Wade
Whew, this guy had a really awful late May/all of June – I think his ERA was in the 9s during this period, and he’s already made a ton of appearances this year – I think he’s in the 40s. Hopefully he gets some rest at Triple A and then starts working on getting his act together. I think he pitched too well for too long for this to be an Aaron Small scenario, so hopefully he comes back soon. The bullpen has been overworked of late as the Yankees aren’t scoring a ton of runs and are constantly winning and/or playing in close games and I think Wade just couldn’t handle the physical stress.

Joba Chamberlain
I read that the big guy could start a serious rehab assignment in two weeks, which is hard to believe, but apparently true. If this guy is back with the big club in early August… wow. What a bonus that would be.

Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez
Tiex has been better since his three day vacation/abandonment of his new swing, but I’d like to see a bit more out of him. As for A-Rod… I don’t know. As if right now, he’s a three hitter without the necessary power instead of the cleanup hitter he’s paid to be.

Notes

The Yankees gave a game away to the White Sox when that potential double play ball wound up getting thrown into center field,and last night wasn’t much better. I know Teixeira made an error, but whatever, that’s going to happen and it was his first error of the season, so he gets a pass from me on that one. The real problem in last night’s game was the Yankees not getting the Rays’ hitters out, and I have no idea why Joe Girardi decided to spin the Freddy Garcia wheel in the 6th when he already had relieves ready to come in, especially when Garcia was at his pitch count and the relievers he’d gotten up were ready to come in. If he wasn’t going to go to them, why’d he get them up? I think he said it was a match up thing as Garcia had good numbers against Carlos Pena, but I thought Garcia was clearly tired and the relievers were ready. Maybe he was hoping to eek the 6th inning out of Garcia because the bullpen is tired, but it backfired and the game was ultimately given away by Boone Logan and David Robertson. And he had to go to the pen anyway. This is exactly how the Yankees gave away that game to the White Sox – Girardi stayed with his pitcher for too long and then had to bring in the guy he already had ready but apparently didn’t want to bring into the game anyway. Twice in less than a week… I don’t get it. Still, I think Chad Qualls is here just for this reason – the Yankees can throw him to the dogs – he’ll get chewed up and spit out as soon as the Yankees have someone better to take his spot. I think Qualls is just a place holder for the next 6 games or so and he’ll be on his way by the time the All Star Break is over. If the Yankees are getting pounded at any point soon, look for Qualls to get in there and soak up some garbage time innings. Ultimately, the most important thing is to at least split the four game set with the Red Sox, as they’re the real danger – the Rays will ultimately fade. If they can keep that series with the Sox even, it’s a win for the Yankees.

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