Monthly Archives: May 2012

As the Road Trip Turns

The Yankees have three games against the Tigers before they can go back to the Bronx, and I’m sure I’ll be glad when they get back to their cozy confines.  Still, 4-2 so far on this road trip isn’t bad at all.

Sweeping Oakland was sweet, but then, the Yankees are supposed to beat up on teams like that.  When it came to the Angels series, I was much more cautious:  I expected the Yankees to lose game 1 against the excellent Jered Weaver and win game 3 against Ervin Santana, who they always crush, and a series win or lose would hing on what happened in game 2.  Andy Pettitte didn’t pitch bad, but he wasn’t great, either, and that’s what they would have needed to win.  Games 1 and 3 didn’t go down the way I thought, but I did get the outcomes right.  5-1 would have been great, but I can live with 4-2.

We’re about a 3rd of the way through the season, but it’s amazing how much baseball is left to be played.  The American League East has started to settle down – this is the first sign that the season is truly under way.  The Baltimore Orioles are starting to fall back to earth and the Yankees are a game and a half out of first, and the slumbering Red Sox are starting to wake up – even in last place, they’re only 2.5 games out.  If that Sunday rain out back in April comes back to bite the Yankees in the ass, I’m gonna be pissed.  By the All Star Break, we’ll be to the status quo:  a three way battle between the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays.

Next up, the Yankees are going to Detroit, and if you’ve heard the word ‘disappointment’ and ‘Tigers’ thrown about a lot lately, it’s because Memorial Day has passed and the Tigers are 4 games under .500.  Besides God on earth Justin Verlander , this series also features former Yankees including Phil Coke (who looks silly with that facial hair) and Octavio Dotel.  So… there’s that.

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The Yankees Won a Game!

The Yankees won a game!  Hit the music!

But really, it was more of the same, just a different result.  Check out these numbers from offense’s 3 run triumph against the guy with a 6+ ERA.

Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Swisher; Ibanez 2.
GIDP: Teixeira, Jeter.
Team RISP: 2-for-7.
Team LOB: 5.

A quick shout out to Phil Hughes, who continues to make liars out of all of us who said he didn’t have what it takes to be a starting pitcher.  6 IP and 2 ER?  I’ll sign up for that every time out.  Great work by the bullpen, too – holds all around, except for Soriano, who escpaed thanks to a great throw by A-Rod and an equally great stretch by Mark Teixeira to keep the game from being knotted at 3.

Tune in again tomorrow night for more offensive shenanigans – same Yankee time, same Yankee channel!

Shaking Up The Batting Order

As the Yankees can’t seem to score a run to save their lives (or keep from falling into last place in the AL East) and their roster is totally inflexible, thus prohibiting the sort of call up the Yankees made that brought Robinson Cano to the Bronx, perhaps a radical line up shift is in order.

SS Derek Jeter
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
CF Curtis Granderson
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Eric Chavez
C Chris Stewart

ARod seems to be hitting singles of late, so let’s see how he does in the two hole – he certainly isn’t showing any power, so it’s not much of a lose to the middle of the order. Maybe sitting in between Jeter and Cano will give him some good pitches to hit. Granderson has been the team’s best power threat, so let’s see how he does in the clean up spot, backed up by Ibanez – man, can that guy hit the long ball. When he gets a hold of one, it stays gone – none of this ARod warning track BS. The corpse of Mark Teixeira is going to have to languish at the bottom of the order until he proves otherwise and as for Russell Martin, he is hitting .181 on the season and at this point, I recommend that he start checking his bat for holes.

If this keeps up, I would have to assume that someone is going to get traded or fired. The Yankees can’t be in last place at the end of May – it’s unacceptable. I feel that this team is under performing and is totally inflexible, and I feel that falls right on Brian Cashman. As for a trade… I don’t know… Swisher? For who? I have no idea, but they can’t go on like this. A major improvement or shake up is needed. Whatever comes first.

Yankees Poorly Timed Marketing

After last week, I’m sure most Yankees fans are feeling the way I do – down. The team played like unmitigated ASS these last few series, and it’s hard to see the upside amongst the under performing and injuries… well, Robinson Cano seems to have come around, that’s something. But when I get one of these MasterCard Monday emails I can’t help but think, "Hooray! It’s raining and the Yankees stink! Let’s go to the game tonight!"

Yeah, MasterCard Monday. If you buy tickets with a MasterCard in either the field level or the main level for tonight, Tuesday or Wednesday, you get half off – IF you buy the tickets before 10 AM tomorrow. That is, if you buy tickets for two games, not just one. That’s what "Buy 2, Get 2" means, right? Or does it mean that if I buy 2 tickets for 1 game, I get 2 more tickets for free? I have no idea. Anyway, I’m pretty sure they’re saying they want at least $55, so that doesn’t sound like some screaming deal to me.

And they’re playing the Kansas City Royals during these three games.

Hey, Yankees marketing department – I’ve got an open cut on my finger, you guys want to drop by my office and pour some salt on that? This is really disappointing, kinda like when the announcers have to stop and do the ‘cold hard blast’ promotion or the ‘good hands play of the game’ or whatever all that crap is called. my personal favorite is that we have to vote for the player of the game before the game is over just so they can make their masters at the wireless companies happy by having us racking up the texts, which we’ve already done via that text poll thingy anyway…

This is weak. Don’t send me this stuff when the Yankees are 2 and 5 over their last 7, they’re playing a team no one cares to see live via a discount that isn’t very exciting and the sky is so dark that it makes me think I should head over to Home Depot and get their ‘Survive the Almighty’s Judgement’ kit and start building an ark.

At least the Mets are doing that $5 ticket thing. That is a discount.

Will the Real Hiroki Kuroda Please Stand Up?

After 8 starts, it’s time to take a look at Hiroki Kuroda and try to figure him out.

The phrase ‘consistently inconsistent’ comes to mind when looking at Kuroda’s 2012 game log. There doesn’t seem to be anything close to a discernible pattern – sometimes he’s great, sometimes he stinks. The quality of the opponent doesn’t seem to matter, either; he pitched well against the Texas Rangers and got rocked by the Minnesota Twins.

When I look at his numbers over this short sample size, it’s the homers that concern me right now. Obviously, the 3 homers given up to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday inflates the number, but there it is: 9 HR in 8 starts. That’s just too many.

I don’t think the Yankees need Kurodato go out and dominate the world, but if he’s truly going to be the Yankees number 2 starter, he’s going to have to pick up the pace and be more consistent.

Tonight, we’ll have to hope Andy Pettitte can be the stopper. I’m sure Michael Kay will quote Pettitte’s record after a Yankee loss a million times.

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.

On Petitte and Teixeira

Andy Pettite is BACK. The starting rotation is set.

If you didn’t love Pettitte’s first start in his comeback from reitrement, I can’t blame you. Two home runs is a tough day, but besides those mistakes, you have to like what you’ve seen his first MLB start since 2010. His fastball was right where it needed to be (89ish) and his cutter, curveball and slider were all working. If he can stay healthy, I think we can look forward to some fun Pettitte starts throughout this season.

Finally – the rotation is set! No more waiting! And I have to say, I’m comfortable going to war with these guys: Sabathia, Kudora, Hughes, Pettitte and Nova is probably the best rotation the Yankees have had in some years, and backed by a quality bullpen (even without Mariano Rivera), this could take the Yankees far. I’m very optimistic about the upside!

Ah, but then there’s the offense. They only mustered two runs yesterday, and the Mariners walked in both of them. Friggin horrible! And will someone get the paddles and try to resuscitate Mark Teixeira? I know the dude is/was sick, but this is getting ridiculous.

Mark’s triple slash:
.223 / .275 /.369

4 homers, 17 RBI

This is not cutting it, dogg.

If Joe Girardi bats him higher than 5th at this point, I’m going to have to steal the match-up binder, light it on fire and hurl at Teixeira during BP. Maybe he can hit that out of the infield.

I know it’s not Teixeira’s fault that offense laid down to Kevin Millwood (well, not all his fault), but Teixeira is the sort of bat that’s supposed to pick the team up, not drag it down.

Eduardo Nunez to AAA

Eduardo Nunez has been demoted to the perpetual rode show that is the AAA Empire State Yankees. It’s the end of an era. Long live Eduardo Scissorshands!

We all know Nunez is being sent down because he’s such a butcher in the field, but I have to wonder what the plan is. Will they keep him as an infielder and let him play every day and see if that shakes his problems? Or will they send him to the outfield to perhaps replace Nick Swisher in right field next year if they can’t work out a free agent deal?

As you’ve probably heard by now, Brett Gardner had a setback with his elbow, so it’s going to be a few more weeks until he’s back, and given that Nunez made another error last night, it was time for a change. Not sure who’s getting called up, but anyone that isn’t a total embarrassment with the glove would be welcomed. Of course, Nunez can hit, so I don’t want to say the guy has no value, but my blood pressure can’t take any more of his errors. Pretty sure Eric Chavez is going to be activated from his short 7 Day Concussion DL stint, so that should take of backup 3rd base.

Fascinating development – and Andy Pettitte on Sunday for Mother’s Day! This is sure to be a crazy weekend.

Offense, Thy Name Is CANO

(Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson are both having tremendous years – I feel that everyone, including me, has hammered that nail in as deep as it’s going in, so let’s talk about Cano Today.)

Robinson Cano looks as though his early season struggles are behind him. Just in time, too.

Cano has hit safely in each game since May 2, giving him an 8 hitting streak, including:

12 hits (2 doubles)
2 home runs
Triple Slash: .333/.351/.556
1 BB
8 Ks

The dude can use more walks and less strike outs with an eye towards nudging that OBP closers to .400, but that’s Cano. He’s a swinger, and when he’s locked in, one of the sweetest swings you’ll ever see will do plenty of damage. I’ve always thought of him as something of a left handed Manny Ramirez, but Cano hasn’t quite shown that level of power yet – but I think it’s only a matter of time.

Cano is coming off last night’s monster 3 hit effort (including a homer) going into tonight’s first game of the series against former Yankee Jesus Montero and King Felix. Last year, Cano hit him pretty hard over three games:

5/28/2011 2 Home Run
5/28/2011 3 Strikeout
5/28/2011 6 Single
7/27/2011 1 Groundout
7/27/2011 4 Single
7/27/2011 6 Groundout
9/12/2011 2 Flyout
9/12/2011 4 Double
9/12/2011 5 Single

data via Texas Leaguers:

Yeah, 5 for 9 is pretty good! Let’s hope he can keep it up tonight.

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.


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