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Robertson to White Sox, Sad Keanu

sad-keanu-david-robertson-to-white-sox

 

David Robertson is going to the White Sox and I am bummed.  He got what people are calling a fair deal at 4 yrs/$46 million.

The Yankees are good at building a bullpen (I think it’s their best organizational skill) and I understand they wanted (and probably needed) an elite lefty (and they just signed one in Andrew Miller), but Robertson is a stud like me.   (I’m a stud, BTW.)  He’s 29 now, and I do understand that in the middle of this four year deal is when people start to downturn hard, but again, he’s a stud, so I don’t love this non-sign at all.  I get that the Yankees receive a first round pick, but this is a tough way to grab a pick!  Finally, I must acknowledge that the Yankees have a track record of developing  relievers in their farm system, so maybe they are higher on some of their guys on the way up then I realize.
Anyway, bummer.  Robertson was classy.
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Death by Bullpen

Before I start complaining, let’s have a round of applause for the return of Andy Pettitte and his effective pitching. Even when he doesn’t have his best control, he’s still great. I know the Minnesota Twins aren’t exactly the most difficult of opponents, but Andy got it done last night.

OK, now on to the complaining: Joba Chamberlain did his job, but as the rest of the Yankees pen… meh.

Corey Wade seems to have lost it. Last year and the first two months or so of this season were great, but since then, Wade just can’t get it done. I wonder if he’ll ever find it again. Justin Thomas has the distinct advantage of being left handed, which will probably prolong his career (and his stay with the Yankees), but this kid doesn’t exactly look like the goods And after these bumbling baboons required the assistance of David Robertson, he wasn’t exactly sparkling either.

Now I know David Robertson (2012: 61 games, 57 IP) didn’t pitch great, and Joba Chamberlain probably needs all the work he can fit in during a reasonable time frame to get his act together, but frankly, the middle relief guys are going to have to be better than this. If the Yankees hand the middle guys a 6-0 lead with 6 outs to go, they need to do better than this. It’d be nice if, just one time, the middle guys could protect the back end guys. Can’t they just, for once, come up with a 1-2-3 inning against a demoralized, nearly last place team that will probably lose 95 games this year?

Meh, guys. Very meh.

Release or Trade Garcia, Keep Eppley

After two sweeps in a row, the Yankees get a much deserved off day (especially for their bullpen) before they start a series in Washington DC against the Nationals. And speaking of the bullpen, David Robertson is going to make his return to the 25 man roster on Friday, which means somebody has to go. I nominate Freddy Garcia.

If you watched last night’s game, you saw Cody Eppley dig down deep in a tough situation, get ground balls and never give in with a fastball over the middle of the plate. His numbers aren’t gaudy, but he got the job done. Nevertheless, Eppley is perceived as the lowest man on the Yankees bullpen totem pole, but I don’t agree – Garcia isn’t nearly as valuable than Eppley, who has proven he can come into games and get big outs. Garcia is nothing more than a garbage time long man who soaks up innings when the Yankees are either so far ahead the don’t think he can screw it up or so far behind that they don’t care what happens. A pitcher like that doesn’t provide much value.

My hope is that before Robertson is activated, Garcia is either traded or given his release so Eppley can hang around. It’d be nice to have a long man, but I don’t see a point in keeping someone around who’s only job is to mop up a big mess.

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.

David Robertson Blows The Save, But Don't Panic Yet

Yankee fans are used to the near perfection that having Mariano Rivera as their closer provided. That’s gone now, and we’re riding the D-Rob Express right to a heart attack.

But don’t jump off the train yet. We all know how good David Robertson is. The guy has put up great numbers, but we all know why they call him Houdini – he gets into trouble, and then he gets out of it. Almost every time. D-Rob was more than over due for a blow up – the dude hasn’t given up a run since… what, August of last season? It was bound to happen eventually, it’s just that when he takes his licks and fails, it’s going to happen in the 9th inning. It’s too soon to say D-Rob can’t handle the closer roll, and what’s more, I’m sure that he can. He’s just not going to be as near perfect or efficient at it as Mo was (hopefully is), but then, no one has ever been Mo, and no one else probably ever will be. I’m not trying to apologize for D-Rob, but let’s just call this what it is – him blowing a save and having his first really bad inning in a really long time. Let’s see how this goes over a larger sample size of save opportunities.

On David Phelps
Let’s take a quick moment to congratulate David Phelps on another good outing. I know 4.2 shutout innings isn’t exactly what you want from your starter, but given the circumstances he’s had to pitch through this season as his role has changed, I think he’s been very impressive. I’m sure he’ll be the one to lose his job when Andy Pettitte returns to the team on Sunday, which sucks, but there it is. At some point, the Yankees are going to need someone to make a spot start or fill in while someone is hurt/ineffective, and David Phelps should be that guy.

“Say it ain’t Mo!” The Yankees Next Closer

As the hours blend into days, Mariano Rivera’s injury truly sinks in, and it’s time to stop being sad and move on.  Mo insists he will return to the team and can never be replaced anyway, but someone will have to step up in his role for now.  Who will it be?

I think this is an enormous opportunity for the Yankees to break with convention and stop using designated roles for their two best relievers.  Instead, when it gets to the 8th and 9th inning, Joe Girardi should look at who’s coming up in the 8th inning and line up the best pitcher to face the best hitters.  For example, if the 2, 3 and 4 hitters are due in the 8th inning, I think I’d like to see the best pitcher available face (David Robertson or Rafael Soriano) those hitters rather than saving that pitcher for the bottom of the order in the 9th.

If Phil Hughes continues to struggle and the Yankees have a serious need in their bullpen, he could slot in there nicely.  We know he’s had great success out there and I’ve never been a huge fan of his work as a starter, so it seems like a good match.  Not only that, but Hughes is well suited to be an old school, multy innings reliever in the style of Goose Gossage or Sam Malone.  Or even a young Mariano Rivera, who would dominate the 7th and 8th innings.

Who knows what will happen… and suddenly, the Yankees biggest strength (the bullpen) now has a serious question mark.  The Joba Chamberlain injuries loom even larger!

David Robertson is starting to look like Scott Proctor

I had such high hopes for Scott Proctor – maybe Joe Torre did, too; he certainly must have had a lot of confidence in him. Way back in 2006, Torre would run Proctor out there almost every other day. I kid you not; check this out:

G: 83
IP: 102.1
H: 89
BB: 33
SO: 89
ERA: 3.52

Pitching over 100 innings out of the bullpen is totally insane, but that’s how Joe Torre managed his bullpen. Hell, he made Mike Myers the long man for a while – his lefty specialist! I still believe that Torre’s bullpen management (or rather mismanagement) was a direct contributor to his departure from the Yankees.

In 2007, the Yankees traded Procter to the Dodgers, and he must have sighed with relief on some level. Sure, the Dodgers weren’t the greatest team in the world, but at least he was free from Torre’s abuse… until Torre took over as manager of the Dodgers. That had to have been one of the worst days of Procter’s life. Procter finally broke down and was left off the Dodgers’ 2008 playoff roster. (I speculate that the famed Joba Rules were put in place as a reaction to the Scott Proctor experience.)

So far this season, David Robertson has pitched in 19 games for 16.2 innings. Last year, he threw 61.1 innings in 64 games, and my feeling is that’s probably about the ceiling for a relief pitcher’s work load – or at least it should be if you care about not blowing the guy’s arm out.

While I’m not the biggest fan of Joe Girardi’s bullpen management, he does NOT ride his guys into the ground, which is good news for Fireman D-Rob. Still, I think D-Rob is an extraordinary talent of rare mental makeup, and he should be carefully applied to games so he’s healthy when we need him. So far, so good.

The Yankees finally put Rafael Soriano on the disabled list. What the hell took so long?

Yankees pitching and or bats falter against Red Sox

Ah the stench from the first series lost of the year. Can you smell it? You can smell it.

SATURDAY
What can you say about pitching like this? Ivan Nova had a bad outing, but Clay Buchholz had a TERRIBLE trip to the mound. That’s all there is to it. Kudos to David Robertson for getting the job done in relief. Nobody puts a fire out like D-Rob!

To anybody who didn’t want Russell Martin – now would be a good time to admit you were wrong. The guy is obviously a fine catcher, and he can actually frame a pitch (take that, Jorge Posada!), but also has a variety of offensive tools, including power and base stealing. Assuming he stays healthy, we’re pretty lucky to have Martin.

Luis Ayala pitched two scoreless innings in relief – who knew he had it in him? Given Ayala’s many-stopped history, I’m sure he was the last person to know, but good for him!

SUNDAY
Sunday night’s top of the 9th strike outs to Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira… wow. Those last called looking strikes were not strikes. I appreciate that it was getting late and it was raining and it’s only April, but come on – don’t give Jonathan Paplebon any help, Blue.

That being said, Mark Teixeira looked awful at the plate during this series, going 0-15 with 7 Ks and 2 BB. Of course, Derek Jeter looked infinitely worse swinging wildly at those fastballs against Josh Beckett. Beckett looked, for the most part, like he’s returned to prime form after a few off seasons – the velocity was especially impressive, but can he stay healthy? That’s the question.

Dustin Pedroia was a beast the entire series: 9-13 in the series, 4 XBH, 4 R, 5 RBI. Not saying I’d trade Robinson Cano for him, but still, a good performance. Is it just me, or does he play back on the ball or is never in the right position to field a play, because he is always running all over the place out there. Granted, he always makes it, which is a testament to he is speed, but maybe if he was positioned better, he wouldn’t have to wear himself out every game. I feel like he has to sprint 5 yards to every routine ground ball, and it just looks weird.

CC Sabathia has an 0-1 record. What the shiz is that? He battled all night long last night and got zero run support. It’s ridiculous! Why can’t the Yankees score any runs for him?

Going into Friday afternoon’s game, I caught myself pitying the Red Sox fans. Their team was coming home with an 0-6 record, facing a Yankee team that was finding ways to win (mostly via the home run and pitching) on a 40 degree opening day. That sucks for anybody. Of course, the Red Sox fans made me regret any compassion I felt for them over and over throughout the weekend. Do you really need to let Fenway Park ring with chants of “Yankees suck!” when you’re winning a game 1-0? In April? I’m not saying Yankees fans don’t chant ‘Boston sucks!’ because we totally do, but the whole stadium doesn’t vibrate from the hollering of drunk morons – at a Yankee game, it’s just a few hundred people, not every single person in the building. I know this sounds crazy, but the behavior of Red Sox fans is so far outside the norm of what I see during other games (granted, the Yankees almost never head into Philadelphia) that I’m always shocked by it, no matter how many times I see it. Stay classy, Boston fans. (Keep in mind that I love the city of Boston and in my experience, people have always been very kind to me in and around the city. But I have been to a game at Fenway and yeah, it was scary. That building does something to those folks. Yankee fans might be hardcore, but Red Sox fans are in a cult or something.)

Monday is an off day before the Baltimore Orioles come to town with their AL East leading record, which I assure you, will not last. Brian Roberts is apparently not ill anymore and is cleared to play. We’ll have to wait and see what the Os truly have to offer on Tuesday.

Soriano, Bullpen Blow 4 Run Lead

I read that in the Asian leagues, they leave the pitchers in the game when they’re doing poorly, to shame him.  The concept of shaming can be difficult to understand for a westerner like my self, but I think I’m starting to get it.  And after the game, it’s easy to see why the team lost.  Sometimes, it’s just that simple; one guy blew it.

Which brings us to tonight’s game and judging from this post’s  title, I bet you’re expecting me to go after Rafael Soriano, or maybe David Robertson for blowing a 4 run lead in the 8th inning…  but no.  I’m pointing the finger squarely at Joe Girardi tonight.

Girardi could easily argue that he needed to see how Soriano would pitch two days in a row, he only threw 18 pitches yesterday, blah blah blah.  Me, I’m for leaving the bullets in the gun:  it’s April, it’s a 4 run lead (not3 or 2 runs), the Twins haven’t shown any offensive life at all, as C.C. Sabathia dominated them despite not having his best stuff (I heard a pretty loud F-word come out his mouth after a change up didn’t go where he wanted it to), and there is the series coming up with an actual division rival (the Red Sox at Fenway this weekend), so I would have had Robertson start the inning, and I was shocked when Soriano came out.

I also feel that when you bring in a bigger pitcher into a lesser situation, you kick start the other team’s adrenaline – imagine your team has been shut out for 7 innings and it’s the top of the eighth inning.  You’re freezing and you’re probably ready for dinner, but then Girardi sends in Soriano, and maybe you start thinking, “Huh.  The Yankees must be taking these at bats pretty seriously to use Soriano again tonight.”  It’s the sort of move that gets a sleepy team’s attention, and I don’t like it one bit.

I think it’s that simple; Girardi blew one decision, and it cost the Yankees the game.  It’s certainly not the end of the world, but when you have a four run lead in the 8th inning and your ace was on the mound, that’s a game you really ought to win.  Sometimes you draw up a great game plan, but your players don’t execute, but this time, it’s the game plan I  disagree with.

quick note: Again, the Yankees scored early and couldn’t tack on any more runs later in the game.  What’s the deal with that?  Hope this isn’t an emerging pattern…

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