The Yankees are about an eighth of the way through the season, so I thought I’d take a look at what’s working, not working and what needs to be taken behind the barn and shot.* Read the rest of this entry
The Yankees first six games are in the books and there’s no sugar-coating it – you don’t want to go 2-4 at home. It’s not all gloom and doom and it’s still early… here’s the good and bad. Read the rest of this entry
Pitchers and catchers are due to report in just weeks, not months, so before we know it, the New York Yankees 2015 season will be upon us. And it’ll feature these guys, who are… uhm… I dunno. Let’s dig in. Read the rest of this entry
Stick a fork in it, the Yankees 2014 season is over.
Although Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow injury does not require surgery, he is expected to miss six weeks, which really means at least six weeks, which I suspect will easily turn into eight weeks. Given the Yankees patch work starting pitching rotation and inept offense, the Yankees can’t afford to miss one of Tanaka’s starts, never mind 6 weeks worth. This essentially turns the Yankees from an 85ish win team to a 75ish win team, meaning no miracle can help them get the playoffs and the season is effectively over.
Unless the Yankees can pull off a trade for David Price or someone similar (which they probably should NOT do as it’s this sort of trade away the future thinking got them into this mess in the first place), their season is completely screwed.
I can’t stress that enough – the Yankees have effectively been eliminated from the playoffs and we’re not at the all star break yet. This is easily shaping up to be the worst Yankees season for me since the strike.
Let’s do a quick starting pitcher autopsy:
CC Sabathia (knee, knee again), Michael Pineda (shoulder again), Ivan Nova (elbow) and Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) – four of five opening day starters are gone. Somehow, 39-year-old Hiroki Kuroda is the only member of the rotation to avoid the starting pitcher injury bug. The oldest guy. The guy who ran out of gas last year is the last man standing. Bizarre.
If this team had the 2004 Yankees offense, maybe they could bludgeon their way into the playoffs against the mediocre AL East, but this team can barely hit with a high school squad, so that’s not gonna work.
Yeah, we’re pretty well boned all right.
It sure does suck to lose to the Houston Astros, huh? Well, that’s just what happened to the Yankees – a hell of a way to start the season.
The reasons the Yankees lost were obvious – CC Sabathia was awful in the first two innings and the infield didn’t play so well behind him. It seemed to me that he pitched pretty well in innings 3, 4, 5 and 6, but when he gives up 6 runs in the first two innings, it hardly matters. Meanwhile, the bullpen was lights out behind him, so that was nice, but too little, too late. Sabathia is going to have to adjust his pregame so he starts the game with his A control. Maybe Andy Pettitte can help with that while the Yankees are in Houston…
The offense was sputtering – there were a few hits and walks, but it’s easy to blame Alfonso Soriano for striking out and grounding into a double play to end potentially big innings.
Still, I like this team… at least, I like this team a hell of a lot better than the 2013 edition. Sabathia might end up being the worst starter in the rotation… who knows. If this team stays healthy, they might do great things. Might.
There are two games left with the Astros. I’m not a big believer in winning streaks (they sure do help, though), but if you’re a good team, you have to win series against bad teams, so the Yankees need to take these next two. If they start the season by losing a series to the Astros… whew. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
QUICK NOTE: THE END OF AN ERA
The Yankees have designated Edwardo Nunez for assignment. The grand experiment (which everyone should now readily admit was a huge, embarrassing failure) is finally over. Who knows where Nunez will head next, but I think it’s safe to say, his days in pinstripes are over. That’s probably a good thing. The fact that he couldn’t make this team even with the added help of the Brendan Ryan injury speaks volumes about what the Yankees think of Nunez.
You gotta love those Yankees radio announcers… although this season, I can’t imagine anyone envies John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.
During a recent CC Sabathia start at Yankee stadium, Suzyn Waldman took the time to insist that Sabathia was/is hurt. Her premise is that no one forgets how to pitch one year. I guess Suzyn hasn’t noticed that Sabathia has been trending downward in recent years, but he certainly has been terrible for over two months up to this point. Given the cautious way that Yankees tend to handle injuries, I think it’s safe to say that they’d DL a player if he’s hurt given that they have under contact for several seasons to come. It just seems like the dude has lost velocity due to age (and body change? he’s lost a lot of weight – for him – coming into this season) and his fastball command isn’t especially sharp.
John Sterling was quoted in a recent Wall Street journal article as follows:
“The Yankees have been a home-run team since Babe Ruth, about 90 years ago,” Sterling said. “Babe, all the way on up, they’ve had home-run hitters, and especially lefty home-run hitters. And sadly, that’s just not part of the Yankees this year.”
“This year there’s a new Yankee every day,” he said. “I couldn’t keep up with them. Fortunately, I don’t have to bother with it, because they don’t hit home runs.”
Hey, he’s not wrong. He said this before the Alfonso Soriano trade and before Curtis Granderson was activated from the DL, so the Yankees lack of power was much more glaring than it is in the last two games. It’s just kinda funny to hear him complain he can’t make his signature home run calls as much this season.
Papa Bear CC Sabathia did jot opt out after all but instead accepted a contract extension. Now, the Yankeess and Sabathia are linked for 5 more years and $122 million – a 6th year automatically vests (as long as he’s healthy) at $20 million.
Oh yeah, the cardinals won the world series… nice pun, Bergen Record.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some C.C. Sabathia – it’s like the Yankees went out and signed a giant teddy bear to lead them to victory. But, since August began, Sabathia has had only one start where he gave up less hits than the number of innings he pitched and over all, the results have not been there as he’s gone 4-3 in 9 starts since August 1st.
Don’t get me wrong – I know hits against innings pitched don’t tell the whole story and wins might be the worst statistic to use when evaluating a starting pitcher, but these numbers are a bit scary.
The Yankees are in a comfortable position in terms of making the post season, but once they actually get there, they need C.C. Sabathia to pitch like the monster he is. If he can’t get it done, the Yankees chances of going deep in October are significantly reduced. I don’t think it’s time to start panicking, but we’re getting close.
In the first two innings of last night’s contest between the New York Yankees at the Boston Red Sox, CC Sabathia threw over 50 pitches, struck out 4 batters and allowed no runs. The results were there, but the monstrous pitch count was cause for serious concern and put the chances of a win for the Bombers in serious jeopardy.
Or so I thought.
Before last night, could you imagine a strike zone where the home plate umpire doesn’t call strikes at the knees? As the 2011 strike zone has been so big (including more above the belt strikes being called more this year than they have in any season I can remember), it would stand to reason the strike zone I grew up with (belt to knees) would be in full force, but not last night. That’s what pitchers had to deal with last night – so when umpires complain about long games but can’t get the basics of the strike zone correct, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for them. (I’d also love to know why John Lackey wasn’t automatically ejected for hitting Francisco Cervelli – and then the third base umpire had the audacity to throw out Larry Rothschild – a point I’m sure Joe Girardi made clear when he was going bizerk.)
Back to C.C. Sabathia – the man without fear. He doesn’t complain when the strike zone A) shrinks from its usual size; B) expands and contracts during the game; C) does whatever the umpire feels like. Ten strike outs, 2 runs, 6 IP, 128 pitches – not the greatest pitching line, but any day Adrian Gonzalez goes 0-4 against him, Sabathia has to feel good about it. Sure, there were lots of bright spots in this game: the running catch by Brett Gardner in the 8th inning, the home run by Francisco Cervelli, Eric Chavez’s RBI singles, Boone Logan and Mariano Rivera, but no accomplishment looms as large as the biggest 6 IP outing any pitcher is likely to have during the regular season. A lesser pitcher would have collapsed, but C.C. Sabathia doesn’t play that.
Stand and salute CC Sabathia – the big man who got it done!
Two nights in a row, Joe Girardi stuck with his starting pitcher for too long, and two nights in a row, the Yankees lost. As this afternoon’s contest is the last game of a three game set, the Yankees have now lost the series. This isn’t the end of the world, and the Yankees are bound to lose the occasional series (cough! Red Sox! cough!), but now, the Yankees have lost a series to the Oakland Athletics. The 59-70 Oakland Athletics – that’s just shameful.
This series has been marked by a disproportionate amount of RISP failures, but that’s going to happen. Hitters are going to go through good and bad stretches, and take you take your lumps while you’re not administrating them to the opposition. But the manager needs to do the little things he can do to push the team toward a win when he can, because for an AL manager, those opportunities are few and far between. Sure, having Derek Jeter bunt in the 9th on Tuesday was ridiculous (as he’s one of the hottest hitters in baseball since returning from the DL two months ago), but we all know Girardi is addicted to bunting and that is probably not going to change.
The management of the starting pitching, however, must improve to guarantee the success of the Yankees going forward. If Girardi is going to keep leaving starting pitchers in games late (Bartolo Colon on Tuesday, CC Sabathia on Wednesday) when they’re either clearly tired or in a bad situation, the Yankees’ bullpen, bench and position players are going to continue to feel the pressure from it. Colon was clearly tired in the 6th inning and should not have come out for the 7th. Sabathia, while he did right the ship after a shaky start, had no business facing a batter who hammers lefties such as Scott Sizemore (.341 avg, .437 obp, .511 slg, .948 ops against lefties and already had… two or three hits against Sabathia at that point) in the 8th inning while protecting a 1 run lead. Ace or not, it just doesn’t make sense.
The Yankees RISP problems of late are a slump, not the standard – we could say Girardi’s poor decision making is the product of the same limited sample size. You could also argue with 5 games in four days looming, he’s trying to protect the bullpen.. but those games are against the Baltimore Orioles, who have an even worse record than the Athletics at 50-77, so you would think you don’t need your elite bullpen guys in too many of those games. Anyway, for the sake of my sanity and hairline, let’s hope Girardi gets faster on the trigger when it’s clearly time to pull the starter.