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John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman crack me up

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.”

[SNIP]

“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.

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Enough with the A-Rod bashing already!

Look, Yankee fans, I know A-Rod is, for a certain portion of you, the guy you love to hate, but the Alex Rodriguez bashing is getting old.  I know this is the playoffs and the stakes are high, but jeez.  Let’s take a look at the Yankees 2012 post season numbers so far:

yankees-2012-alds-stats-3-games

stats from USA Today

Sure, Ibanez was the big hero last night with two homers, but he only has 5 at bats in this series, so he’s not a regular. As for the every day players,  Jeter, Teixeira and Martin are hitting, but the rest of the starting position players?  Not so much.  If A-Rod didn’t have one more at bat than Granderson, their stats would be identical.  Granderson hit 41 homers this season, and he’s basically turned into an all or nothing guy, and so far, nothing is what has shown up from him… and I haven’t heard one person say shit about that.  Not on the radio, not on the web and not via text.  Everyone just maintains that A-Rod sucks, which isn’t wrong right now, but he’s not the only lifeless bat on this team.  If Cano hadn’t picked up that last minute RBI double in Game 1, he’d be about where A-Rod is in terms of production, and those were just tack on runs…  so why doesn’t anyone complain about Cano?  He’s supposed to be one of the great hitters in the game right now, and he’s not doing much of anything in this series.  And frankly, A-Rod is a broken down old man, but Cano and Granderson are supposed to be in their primes.  What gives?  Where’s the complaints?

I guess the problem is that these other guys are “True Yankees” and A-Rod is just some hired gun… except when he carried the offense on his back to a World Series title in 2009.  But then, that doesn’t count because A-Rod did steroids, right?  Something like that.  Jeter is 6-13 in this series, so who cares if he’s made 2 errors in 3 games and grounded out to 3rd with the bases loaded in a pivotal spot in game 2?  Nobody, that’s who.

I know, I’m just wasting my time trying to convince A-Rod haters that he’s not the reason they lost game 2 and not the reason they offense has been lifeless this series, but I had to try.   I figure A-Rod deserves and advocate because… you know… 2 MVPs with the Yankees.  One World Series title that he had a lot to do with .

Just sayin’.

Yankees Beat Os in Rain Soaked Blood Bath

I guess Mark Teixeira dropped by the site yesterday, read the post and thought, "PSH, I’ll show him!" I’m sure that’s exactly what happened.

Teixeira’s sound barrier breaking (and tie breaking) two run homer was a welcomed site, as was the double off the wall. Teix’s homer didn’t end up on Eutaw Street like Curtis Granderson’s did, but whatever. It’s nice to see Teix flexing his muscles – hopefully, it continues. As for the Grandy-man – sheesh, his 12th homer of the season. Somebody go get that dude a gator aid, he earned it. (Make sure you get him the right one – warm up, recover… what in the hell happened to Gatoraid, anyway? When did it become a fucking science experiment?)

Not only did my boy Ivan Nova get his ass kicked again, but he left the game with an injury. I know the x-ray results were negative, but maybe this is the perfect time for him to get away for a while and hide on the DL. I’m comfortable with David Phelps for a few weeks.

Speaking of getting their ass kicked, Raul Ibanez got hit by a pitch in the elbow, but he’s probably OK to pitch hit tonight as he won’t start against the lefty. It sounds like Clay Rapada is fairly sick, but I doubt he’ll go on the DL. Even if he does, no big deal; losing the second lefty for two weeks is not a big deal.

On the other hand, if David Robertson’s rib cage injury is serious… fuck. That’s the biggest worry of them all, and if it’s some kind of oblique injury, I bet we loose Robertson until after the all star break, which sucks very hard indeed. The minor league depth is going to be tested if Robertson is going to be missed for a long while, but I would think somebody like D.J. Mitchell could show up and pull a Joba Chamberlain circa… when was that, 2008?

We’ll have to wait and see how all this shakes out. Keep your fingers and toes crossed.

Yankee Offense-less

David Robertson needed to do his job last night, and he didn’t – but he wasn’t the only one.

The Yankees offense needs to get their collective act together, ASAP. D-Rob gets a pass from me for last night – he’s allowed to screw up every once and a while. I’ll also excuse Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson, because those guys have been dominant in 2012. The rest of you guys are slacking.

Last night:

0-8 with runners in scoring position

1 RBI (Robinson Cano, double, scoring Jeter from first)

That’s it. Nick Swisher had that great 11 pitch at bat, but nothing came of that. Hitters are supposed to win those long duels! Mark Teixeira is really starting to worry me – I know he always starts slow, but it’s May – let’s pick it up, guy!

9 hits, 1 extra base hit

9 hits isn’t bad, but one extra base hit coupled with 1 RBI is shameful. They need to figure out a way to string three hits together or… something! Hopefully, Brett Gardner can get these guys going, but I don’t really buy the idea that Gardner is the missing piece because Jeter is sitting at the top of the line up hitting .400.

Tonight, the Yankees face David Price. I don’t think he has great numbers against the Yankees, but he is a great pitcher.

In Praise of Curtis Granderson

Where would the Yankees be last night without the impeccable defense of Curtis Granderson? Or his bat? Hell, where would they have been all year?

You’ll note that this morning, a lot of folks are vindicating A.J. Burnett for his performance last night, and I’m not here to say he doesn’t deserve some acolades for how he pitched, but let’s be real – if Curtis Granderson doesn’t make that catch in the 1st inning, we’re looking at a very different game going forward form there. If that ball is dropped or worse, gets passed Granderson and rolls to the wall, we’re looking at a bases clearing double or triple AT BEST. Granderson’s catch saved an in the park grand slam at worst – can you imagine? Then he saved Rafael Soriano’s proverbial bacon with that full extension grab that sent him sliding across the outfield for several feet! Hitting the ground completely emptied the air out of Granderson’s lungs, but he still held onto the ball and somehow managed to raise his glove.

I was so happy when the Yankees acquired Granderson over the 2009-10 off season and although things didn’t go well from the get go, it’s fair to say that his 2011 performance has exceeded even my high expectations. Before yesterday’s game, I was encouraging people to pray for Burnett – maybe we should be praying to Granderson.

Game 151 – Phoning it in

There’s resting players and then there’s "Eh, I could care less about the outcome of today’s game." Sunday’s game was the latter when Joe Girardi sat Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson. I completely understood why he did it – off days in September are over for the rest of the month and on their last off day, they were flying from Seattle to Toronto, so that probably doesn’t offer much in the way of relaxation. Here’s the lineup they trotted out, which was able to produce zero runs.

Brett Gardner, CF
Eduardo Nunez, 2B
Robinson Cano, DH
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Nick Swisher, RF
Eric Chavez, 1B
Russell Martin, C
Chris Dickerson, LF
Ramiro Pena, SS

Freddy Garcia, SP

I would usually talk a lot about how Freddy Garcia didn’t last five innings, but when the offense doesn’t score any runs, what’s the difference?

Curtis Granderson Gives Props To Teachers

curtis-granderson-teachers

Just had a chance encounter with this poster of Curtis Granderson and his former marketing professor, David Koehler.  (Not sure what goes on in marketing classes that necessitates a baseball bat, but the business world is changing…)

Anyway, this poster serves as a reminder to student athletes that education is important.  Well, not if you’re Curtis Granderson – besides being insanely talented on an athletic scale, the guy also has a silver tongue – I’d buy anything that guy was selling.  He could sell a ketchup Popsicle to a woman in white gloves, for crying out loud!

Still, it’s a nice message.

Night of Blunders decreases Yanks wildcard lead

MLB.com’s headline, "Abreu torches Yanks with homer off Mo" might be hyperbole (the game was tied, after all; it wasn’t a save situation), but it’s general sentiment sums up the Yankees performance during the evening well enough.

This season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have scored 447 runs – that might sound like a lot, but when you compare it to the Red Sox’s league leading 629 or the Yankees own 607, you realize that you’re dealing with a team that has trouble scoring runs – at least compared to the superior teams in the league. So of course, A.J. Burnett promptly gives up the big hit and allows 4 runs in 6 IP… did I mention he allowed all 4 runs in the 6th inning? The guy has won some big games for the Yankees (game 2 of the 2009 world series), but these days, Burnett often folds like Superman on laundry day – faster than a speeding bullet. I think it’s time to admit that Burnett can’t start a game in the playoffs.

Yes, Mariano Rivera gave up the go ahead 2 run home run, and boy, did he look shocked. Mo usually goes through a phase where he gets hit hard around this time of year, so it’s no concern – but it couldn’t of happened at a worse time.

Curtis Granderson, who started things rolling with a solo home run, ended the scoring just as suddenly when he he got picked off with two outs in the bottom of the 9th as the Yankees tried to rally back from a two run deficit. I know it happens to everyone, but it looked HORRIBLE.

The Yankees need to put last night’s blunder behind them and rally behind Ivan Nova, who gave the Chicago White Sox a tremendous beating his last time out. They still retain a 6 game lead in the wild card, but the Yankees are a decidedly better team than the Angels, and there’s no reason to let things get interesting.

Yankees May 2011 Wrap Up

 

May was a bit of a roller coaster ride for the Yankees.

The month of May, 2011 began promisingly enough as the Yankees finished off a series win against the Toronto Blue Jays, which finished up the home-stand on a positive note. Then the Yankees went to Detroit and the wheels came off – or maybe I should say the arms came off as they dropped 3 of 4 while we watched Eduardo Nunez through the ball all over the place. But, when the Yankees got to Texas, the bats came out, and we got Derek Jeter‘s mythical 2 home run game, which seems to have quieted the “Derek Jeter is finished,” media machine – at least for now… for some reason, hitting .264 in May is much better than hitting .256 in April – although I must admit, hit at-bats do look a lot better of late.

Then the Yankees came back home and experienced The Home Stand of Tears, dropping 2 of 3 to the Kansas City Royals (current record 24-30) and getting swept by the Boston Red Sox. Wow. Swept by the Boston Red Sox at home. That was a tough one. Yet, despite the rough patch, the Yankees are in first today by one game over the Monsters from Fenway.

Then the Yankees split two games at Tampa Bay (and they really should have won that first game), swept two games from the Baltimore Orioles (two game series are a waste of my time!) and then took two of three from the lowly Mets at home (current record 25-29). The Blue Jays came to Yankees Stadium and this featured another Yankees series win, including a come from behind extra innings win (pie style) that I feel this team desperately needed.

The Yankees flew out to Seattle to face the Mariners and gave up leads to lose the first two games and salvaged the final one before flying to Oakland to take on Hideki Matsui and the A’s, taking the first two games, including a gem by Bartolo Colon, and here we are, at June 1st, waiting for Game 3 to start later today.

So what did we learn this month?

The Yankees can’t bunt. Seriously, enough with the bunting. Nobody on this team is any good at it. The Yankees need to either start working on this in BP or just stop doing it. Last night’s failed suicide squeeze that resulted in Nick Swisher being tagged out in a run down was embarrassing – almost as sad as the fact that Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter can’t bunt; considering they have no power, they both need to add this trait to their game ASAP, or at least stop doing it, but this in between crap needs to stop.

Curtis Granderson is a golden god. Obviously. I was soooooo happy when they traded for him, and although last year was a tough start, my girlfriend very kindly ran out and bought me a Grandy-Man t-shirt in May of 2010, which makes us both look like geniuses now. Unlike Russell Martin, I don’t expect Granderson to slow down.

In praise of Bartolo Colon. Where would we be without this guy and his fastballs? His low pitch counts keep him in games late, giving a bullpen that is teetering on over use a bit of a breather. The Yankees need to protect this guy and give him an extra day’s rest any time they get a chance.

Losing streaks are inevitable. If you saw a lot of the New York papers (cough Post, cough Daily News) insisting that the Yankees blew their chance to bury the Red Sox, I tend to disagree. The Red Sox (not to mention the Rays) struggled early, and the Yankees hadn’t struggled yet. It was bound to happen. It could happen again. It’s a long season and there are many ups and downs.

Derek Jeter isn’t Derek Jeter anymore, but he’s hardly terrible. I don’t have any plans to build a statue to the guy on my front lawn, but I refuse to kill him in print the way so many have done. But then, this is another good example of what happens when you let Randy Levine meddle in negotiations.

Phil Hughes… ugh. Can this guy get through two consecutive seasons without spending major time on the DL? I know he’s still young, but he’s not that young anymore. Is it time to stash Hughes in the bullpen for good? I’m not sure, but given the Yankees appeared shortage of starting pitching, it’s a tough call. If you don’t believe in Freddy Garcia, I can’t blame you, but is Hughes really a better option? I guess we’ll have to wait and see what he has when he comes off the DL.

GOING FORWARD:
Take a look at the Yankees June schedule; it’s a tough one. Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, Rockies, Indians… if they’re still in first on July 1st, it’ll be a miracle.

Yankees End Home Stand With Series Win

Before the Yankees head to the west coast to face every good pitcher the Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels of Midgard have on their roster, it was nice that the Yankees took care of business against the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Game 1: Intentional walk blues
I hate, hate HATE the intentional walk. I understand that it can be an effective strategy, but in my eyes, it’s almost the last act of the desperate. I don’t know what Bartolo Colon‘s ground ball rate is, but he’s a strike out pitcher, right? I don’t feel that his two seamer is the sort of pitch that sinks and generates a lot of ground balls the way other guys can, so I wasn’t a huge fan of the strategy, and low and behold, it lead to a big inning. I guess I’m bound to be right about something every once in a while when I yell at the TV. If you’re going to have Colon issue an intentional walk to set up a double play, you might as well just pull him, because he probably got into the tough spot in the first place because his stuff wasn’t there anymore (and it wasn’t), so why leave an ineffective pitcher in there? I just don’t understand the strategy deployed there.

Game 2: Let there be pie!
Things weren’t going well; the Yankees were down late in the game, but suddenly, the 2009 Yankees showed up and came from behind to win the game! (I’m still pumped about this – wearing my Curtis Granderson t-shirt today.) This gave me a sense of confidence in the 2011 Yankees that I don’t think I’d felt before.

Game 3: Poor Jo-Jo
Day games suck. I understand that teams need a getaway day game, especially when the Yankees have to fly to the west coast, but seriously, who’s around to watch a ball game during the afternoon in the middle of the week? How can this be profitable for the Yankees as a business? But whatever.
You ever drop by Fan Graphs? I love that graph they have on the scoreboard page, showing how the percentage changes as things happen during the game, as both team’s 50/50 chance to win the game modifies with particular events. The graph starts with both teams having a 50% chance to win, but when Jo-Jo Reyes is the game’s starter, shouldn’t the Yankees get at least a 10% bump toward a win? Reyes hasn’t recorded a win since 2008, when he was with the Braves – and he went 3-11 with a 5.81 ERA in 113 innings. This year, his 4.70 ERA over 51.2 IP isn’t terrible, but it’s certainly not good, but when a guy has a cloud like that floating over his head… I don’t know how he overcomes it. Bottom line, the Yankees crushed him, as they should. It’s good to see Andruw Jones showing some power with 2 homers in a game – maybe Joe Girardi needs to consider platooning him with Nick Swisher in right field – Swisher is still hitting around the .200 mark, and I don’t feel like his swing is getting any better. I do think his discipline has been a little better in May than it was in April, but that’s a small consolation.

Coming up:
As aforementioned, the Yankees are going out west to facing good pitching, so the staff needs to respond in kind and toss up zeroes. With A.J. Burnett on the mound tomorrow night, we’ll have to wait and see if the good doctor is there or if the raging Mister Hyde takes the mound and throws the ball into the backstop – or maybe it’ll be one of those starts where both guys show up. Who knows…

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