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Now that we’re a few weeks into the season and we’ve gotten a brief look at the 2013 Yankees, we can safely say that this team looks to be competitive this season despite the loss of power from it’s 2012 counterpart.
At least, so far. It’s been a short sample size and the Yankees haven’t seen much left handed pitching thus far, so we’re still in wait and see mode. Plus, the Yankees are still waiting for Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and even Alex Rodriguez to heal up and join the team. It seems as though Granderson has the most straight forward injury/recovery, while Teixeira’s issue seems to be all about not rushing it. As for Jeter, it sounds like they’re having him take a break of sorts, so not sure if that’s a bad sign or what… and who knows what the deal is with A-Rod. Oh, and I forgot about Michael Pineda, the pitcher the Yankees traded for in the 2011-2012 off season who has yet to throw a pitch for the team. If all of these guys come back and can be above replacement level, that should be worth something – especially Teixeira, Jeter and A-Rod as they can help against left handed starters immensely. And Granderson’s numbers against lefties aren’t bad, either.
Beyond the walking wounded, the two biggest things that I’m watching on this team are Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes. At this point, I’m just tired of Hughes. I think he could be a wonderful bullpen piece, but as a starter, I just don’t trust him. He’s had some good performances here and there, but his injury history makes me nervous if the Yankees want to resign him after this year. His career ERA of 4.46 doesn’t exactly blow me away, and given that he’s only pitched 150 innings twice in his career, I just don’t have a lot of confidence in the guy to stay healthy and be better than a 6.0 IP/3 ER guy at best, and I would expect Hughes to get worse as time goes on as he couldn’t stay healthy in the beginning of his career, never mind in the later stages. On the other hand, there’s Ivan Nova, who has really only had one bright spot of success in his short career, but when I watch this guy pitch, I think he has the stuff. He’s got velocity, his breaking ball breaks and has good velocity separation from his fastball… he just needs to bring it all together. That’s a tall order, but I think he could be great if he does, as opposed t Hughes, who is a fly ball pitcher in a park that’s not especially fly ball friends and who’s best days are probably behind him. Even if Nova doesn’t work out as a starter, I think his 95 MPH has a starter could play up to 99ish in the bullpen, and between that and his curve ball, Nova could be a dominant reliever.
Well, there’s still over 90% of the Yankees season left, so let’s not make predictions just yet and hope the injured guys make it back before June and go from there.
I know, I still owe ya’ll a Baseball Prospectus post. It’s coming! Editing videos for CreativeJamie.com is taking up a lot of my time…
The BomberBanter.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 13,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
"Where was the pass rush? Brees was having a field day."
This was the question one my friends put to me this morning, and the answer probably lies in the current status of Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, neither of whom are anywhere near 100% healthy. I’m sure few players are at the point in the season, but still, without these two guys playing at a high level, I think it’s pretty clear that the Giants are not able to get it done.
Here we are: the Giants have met the hard part of their schedule and for the most part, they have failed miserably. Although many thought that beating the Patriots was a sign of what was to come, it’s now looking like the last hurray in a season that may now be beyond recovery.
(It’s easy to forget that the Patriots were not looking good that game and the Giants weren’t exactly making plays; I remember the Pats offense looking fairly disorganized, especially in the 1st half, and the Giants couldn’t get out of their own way. Of course, the second half was a different story all together, and the Giants defense was able to hold on.)
So what has happened to the Giants season? Was it a front loaded schedule of easier opponents that made the Giants look better than they are? Is it the injuries? Or maybe just the roster construction over all? Perhaps that loss to the Eagles took some fight out of them.
Now the Giants have to prepare for the Packers on a short weak with a roster weakened by injuries, but even at full strength, the Giants have fundamental flaws, so it’s not like I’m disappointed – i predicted them to be a .500 team, and I still believe that’s where they’ll end up. Sure, they still have to play Dallas twice, and those as well as others are winnable games coming up on the horizon, but I can’t get too excited about their prospects. Even if the Giants do sneak into the playoffs (not that one really sneaks into the playoffs in the NFL but rather falls in ass first), I just dont see the them doing any significant post season damage.
But you never know how things will turn out. My buddy reminded me that the Jets got the last seed with a 9-7 record and went to the AFC championship. There they were, beating teams that won 11 and 12 games… well, they didn’t win the Super Bowl, but they certainly made a statement.
One they haven’t followed up on since.
The Bright Spot
Since Mario Manningham doesn’t seem to have the playbook memorized, it’s been fun to watch the emerging of Victor Cruz, this week coming up with 9 receptions good for 157 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Maybe Cruz is the long term answer at wide receiver that the Giants have been looking for since the fall of Plexico Buress…
The New York Giants just don’t have the pieces they need to succeed, and while I’m usually yelling at the receiver core until I’m blue in the face, it’s time to take a hard look at the Giants running game.
Or lack there of.
The Giants rushed for 29 yards. Twenty-nine yards. That’s it. Brandon Jacobs averaged under 2 yards per carry in 12 tries. What. The. Hell. Is. That. About?!? At this point, the guy just doesn’t provide the Giants with much value, and I don’t know what they can do to turn around his season.
Whatever. This is who the Giants are. They play close games against mediocre teams and sometimes they make fewer mistakes than their opponents, and sometimes they make more. It’s a weak division in a weak league, so ultimately, it doesn’t matter, because the Giants don’t have what it takes to go all the way. If you have any fantasies about the Giants going deep in the playoffs, it’s time to let those go. If they were in the other league, they’d have a .500 record instead of being 6-4, and yet, they could easily be 8-2 and it still wouldn’t change who they fundamentally are – a flawed team that can’t get out of it’s own way and has no hope of winning the Super Bowl this year.
It’s always nice when someone can admit they’re wrong. In this case, it’s the Giants wide receiver core. Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole has got the goods:
…on at least half of Eli Manning’s eight interceptions this season, the problem has been tied to the receiver being in the wrong place at the wrong time. “There have been some pretty crucial times when we haven’t finished routes or read them correctly,” a Giants source said earlier this week. The latest example came on Manning’s second interception during Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers as wide receiver Mario Manningham didn’t finish a route the quarterback expected.
“You could say I’m supposed to work through it a little further,” Manningham said, a little sheepishly. “We definitely weren’t on the same page, so that has to get fixed.”
Likewise, Manning had an interception on a pass to Cruz in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks earlier this season when Cruz was in the wrong spot.
Yeah, I noticed that myself. I’m sure that memorizing an NFL playbook is no easy task, but when it’s your job, I’d like to think there would be a bit more emphasis on getting that done. Hell, Plexico Burress was usually hurt and couldn’t even practice with the team, but I don’t remember him having this problem. I’m willing to give Cruz a pass for now; after all, he’s been on the team for like five minutes, right? But Manningham needs to get his act together so I can start making Super Mario puns.
But yeah, look at Yahoo! Sports coming in handy! I usually don’t have much in the way of positive words for them, but this was a decent article… although they did make the obligatory joke about Giants receivers being in the wrong place at the wrong time in reference to a shooting at a nightclub that some of the Giants were at to celebrate Victor Cruz’s birthday. It’s not an especially funny joke and given that someone died, it’s not in the best of taste.
So, you know – standard Yahoo! article.
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Game 1: CC Sabathia vs CJ Wilson
Shock of shocks, I like the Yankees in this one because I believe the odds are in their favor:
- the Yankees are 2-0 on the road so far this post season
- the Rangers are 0-2 at home so far this post season
- CC Sabathia pitched poorly in his first outing and it’s unlikely he’ll pitch poorly again
- C.J. Wilson is good, but he’s not Cliff Lee
Game 2: Phil Hughes vs Colby Lewis
Again, I like the Yankees in this one because I believe the odds are still in their favor:
- the Yankees are 2-0 on the road so far this post season
- the Rangers are 0-2 at home so far this post season
- Phil Hughes pitched well in the ALDS against the Twins, and I don’t think the Rangers offense is that much better than the Twins
- Colby Lewis‘ first name is Colby. Seriously? I assume he spends a lot of time shopping at the Gap during the off-season with Jacoby Ellsbery
Game 3: Andy Pettitte vs Cliff Lee
Ah, the plot thickens, as the kids like to say. Given Cliff Lee‘s dominance against the Yankees this season (and against everyone else – ask Tampa Bay), it’s hard to expect the Yankees to suddenly give him a beating. But Andy Pettitte could toss a gem… and still lose. It’s a tough one. I think the Rangers win this one.
Game 4: AJ Burnett vs the World
OK, maybe it’s not that bad, but I can’t expect the Yankees to play with any confidence with A.J. Burnett on the mound
So there’s the good part: the Yankees beat the Twins twice in one day. The bad part: The Yankees didn’t score hardly any runs. 4 runs combined is pretty dreadful. I know the Yankees are beat up right now, but that’s no excuse with this line up.
Game 1 started Tuesday night and ended in a 0-0 tie after five innings due to rain only to resume the next afternoon with a Derek Jeter home run that ultimately won the game. A.J. Burnett looked shaky the night before, but some how, he got through it and wiggled out of trouble, Andy Pettitte style, who I think should be a Batman villain known as The Wiggler! But I’ll get back to that. I followed the afternoon conclusion on Game Day, and Mo looked pretty shaky to me. It also looked like some absurd calls went in favor of my boy, David Robertson (who Game Day neglected to mention got hit in the back – ‘injury delay’ is a waste of my time; they might as well just put ‘delay’ and not give ma heart attack!), who scooted through an extended appearance I was wagering was going to be presided over by one Sergio Mitre… show’s what I know. Bottom line: the Yankees didn’t score any runs.
So imagine my surprise when later that evening, the Yankees left a zillion runners on base. Here are my favorite highlights from the box score:
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out – D Jeter 1, A Rodriguez 1, R Cano 1, B Gardner 2.
Team LOB – 9.
2-out RBI – N Swisher, K Russo, B Gardner.
10 hits, 3 runs.
So there it is: 9 runners left on base. That’s just awesome, guys. And check out the big bats not getting it done AGAIN. Jeter, ARod and Cano all missing out on RBI chances, not to mention the non existent Mark Teixeira, who is positively killing my fantasy team. I know they won both games, but the team is really in an offensive swoon that needs to come to an end.
Enough complaining; it’s time to reward the Constant Wiggler award to Mr. Andy Pettitte, who went 8 innings strong and gave up only 2 runs and wiggled out of an intense 8th inning jam of 1st and 3rd with nobody out. The momentum shifted after he made the impossible happen and set the stage for Nick Swisher‘s home run, which you could just smell coming, and Mo came on in the 9th for his second save of the during which he looked much sharper than he had in the afternoon. I do feel that Mo’s lack of innings in, well, the entire season, is the reason behind his recent ineffectiveness. Still, as the season goes on, he’ll start getting consistent work and I believe we’ll get the same old Mo all year long. I’d like a 2 or 3 foot tall marble Mariano Rivera statue for my veggie garden… can anybody hook me up?
Noteworthy: Ozzie Guillen did battle with Joe West – I love it when two guys I don’t like get into it. No matter what, I win. But really, while Guillen is a knucklehead, it’s time for Cowboy Joe to retire. He’s never going to change and he’s only getting worse as time goes on – or rather, getting better at getting media coverage. That guy needs to learn that umpires are scenery and should not be heard from. Somebody buy that guy a condo in Miami already!