Morning Bits: Are the Yanks really better in 2012?, SWB Yankees, Kuroda, Rivera

Good morning everyone and what a fantastic Sunday it is! Today is FINALLY the day where Pitchers and Catchers report for Spring Training although a lot of the players are already at the complex. Here are your morning links for today.

Fishjam was up early today so I added a bunch of links. Some good ones in here. Enjoy!

— Very interesting piece by Wallace Matthews & Andrew Marchand stating that pitching wasn’t the Yankees problem last year, clutch hitting was and asks the question, Is the team really better in 2012? I’d like to hear everyone’s comments after reading this.

— The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees don’t have their stadium this year, so their home stadium will be in Rochester for the season.

— The NY Post says pitching is still the team’s biggest question mark.  The Daily News also has their 5 biggest questions in their ST Preview.

— The Post also has a story on Kuroda.  Interesting quote from a NL scout who says Kuroda “isn’t afraid to knock somebody down.  I think he will be very good for the Yankees.”

— Newsday has Cashman and Larry Rotschild discussing having 6 starters and the team’s pitching depth.

–Wallace Matthews of ESPN wrote that A.J Burnett deserved his pay on one fateful night; October 29, 2009

— Wallace Matthews also wrote an article asking if we are expecting too much from veteran closer Mariano Rivera.

About Delia E.

Delia Enriquez is the managing editor of Yankees Fans Unite. She enjoys analyzing the New York Yankees whether it be their pitching, roster or their manager. You can follow her on twitter @dfiregirl4 for more tweets, analysis and opinion on the Yankees.

Posted on February 19, 2012, in Notes & Links and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Matt/UYF – Read the first link above from Wallace. This is what I’ve been driving at with the offense. Nothing has been done to improve the offense that tends to disappear in big moments. Tell me your opinions.

    Read this snippet:

    In fact, in one key situational category — Late and Close, defined as “plate appearances in the seventh inning or later with the game tied or the team batting either a run ahead or with the tying run on deck” — the Yankees batted just .221, worse than every team in the AL but the Seattle Mariners, the Oakland A’s and the Minnesota Twins, three of the weakest hitting teams in baseball. Even the Mets did better (.259) in those clutch situations last year than the Yankees did.

    In fact, the worst Late and Close numbers appear next to the names of some of the most feared hitters in the Yankee lineup: A-Rod, .167 with 17 Ks and just one RBI in 62 PAs; Teixeira, .200 with just three extra-base hits in 96 PAs; Swisher, .182 with 23 Ks in 94 PAs (Swish did also have three HRs and 12 RBIs).

    Only Granderson (six HRs), Jeter (.288 BA) and Cano (17 RBIs, the most by any Yankee in that situation) did much to remember when the game was on the line late.

  2. none of the bats were going to change for this season except for Posada so we knew we had the same group coming in. We knew the pitching would change. I am happy with the change of the pitcher we have.

    As for this stats what was it the prior year? what’s the sample size compared to other teams? like how many of the games in the 7th were the Yankees in compared to Boston? The Yankees did win the east.

    • The only thing that may help in the clutch hitting department is a healthy A-Rod and a revamped Tex and Brett. Yup, I said Brett, I believe he could be a valuable hitter in this years team. We have seen him (almost) carry the team for a few games, last year.
      The DH people on the short list are not a big help in the clutch department. Why not look for help in AAA, AA ball?

  3. Mo is, without a doubt, the best closer in the history of the game.
    Sorry to say but, this is his last year, for many reasons, the only one that concerns him and the Yankees is his ability to do his job!
    He has lost speed on his pitches, which has direct affect on his two pitches. His cutter doesn’t bite like it once did but, his ability to put his pitches where he wishes at any time makes up for his lack of speed and bite.
    He has already reserved his seat in the HOF, let him leave as the best…he played as the best!

  4. Hiroki Kuroda is a true throw back, they say he will come inside and also knock a hitter down, that approach has been missing from the Yankees team for years. We have one guy that was the exception, would you believe Nova? Yup, I remember how surprised Kay was when Nova knocked down a hitter in retaliation for one of ours.
    Good, old fashion hard ball, is needed more now then ever before. First; they lower the mound, 2nd-they change the strike zone, 3rd-they tell the pitchers they can’t come inside to keep the hitters from diving into the ball.
    Where are the Bob Gibsons, Sal Maglie and Bob Turliy type of pitchers? Hiroki Kuroda and Nova could be part of the answer…maybe?

  5. Thanks for adding some links Fishjam! These links are interesting. 🙂

  6. I don’t really this clutch hitting exists, when players get hot at the right moment, or a pitcher makes a bad pitch to a hitter they just take advantage of it. It is random at best, players like Mays, Mantle, A-Rod , who are considered at the top of the game did not hit in the clutch at times. I think part of it is that a pitcher does not want to make a mistake to a great hitter in a key situation. The pitcher is in control of who the clutch hitter is more than the hitter hitting. Players like the Cards Freeze or Giants Renteria just were at the right place at the right time in the world series. Billy Buckner was a much better player then both of them.

    • Doug…
      Your reasoning is sound and really true. But, there are some guys that have a habit of coming through in the clutch, guys like Billy Martin! Billy was the one hitter most very good pitchers, didn’t want to face with the game on the line.
      My thoughts on being clutch is; one that understands the situation and only concentrates on what he can do, not what he can’t do! If the situation calls for a HR and you hit one…it is very dramatic but, what if you don’t hit HRs. Just get on base, let the Big guys do their thing…that is just as clutch as the HR or the RBI.

  7. The great Yankee teams of the 90’s were not clutch it was their pitching that kept them in many games so that they had more opportinities to be successful. They were able to get hot at the right time. The more playoff rounds that are played today, gives the underdog a much better chance of beating the better team.

  8. It’s hard at this point to determine whether the Yankees are better now than in 2011. We have to wait about 9 months before we can make that assumption.

  9. I don’t think there is much doubt at all that the 2012 Yankees are better then the 2011 Yankees.
    1st) There rotation whether fans want to admit it is not just stronger but a lot stronger.
    2nd) The Depth of the starting rotation with players in Triple A waiting their turn make the depth stronger.
    3rd) The bullpen is as strong and will be even strong once Joba returns.
    4th) The offense will be better. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that A-Rod missed 63 games last year. Posada for all but 1 month couldn’t punch his way out of a paper bag.
    5th) And last but not least AJ Burnett is no longer on the team. The Yankees were not the same when he pitched.

    Just one additional comment about the Yankees and “clutch hitting”. Did they miss some opportunities absolutely. But let’s be honest with ourselves. If A-Rod or Tex had gotten that one hit I believe it was in the 7th or 8th inning of the last game of the ALDS versus the Tigers all this talk about “clutch hitting” would be a moot point. The Yankees would have won the ALDS, gone on to play Texas at home and who knows what the eventual outcome of the 2011 season would have been. That is just my opinion.

    • Well we can’t blame Tex on not hitting in the 8th inning. He was on base with an RBI walk. We CAN blame A-Rod and Swisher for K’ing back to back though.

      • I stand corrected about Tex in the example I mentioned. But my point still stands that one single hit in one inning out of 45 innings +/- of a 5 game playoff series and all this talk about “clutch hitting” is a moot point.

    • But it’s more than just the Playoffs. As the article states the Yanks as a team hit .221 in Late & Close Situations. Despite being 2nd in the league in Runs scored they are one of the 3 worst teams in the league in these situations.

      I don’t think it’s because the hitters suddenly get nervous, I just think the Yanks have too many “mistake hitters” that like to work the count and hope a pitcher makes mistakes when behind in the count. When facing a team’s top relief pitchers or in big situations, pitchers tend to get more aggressive and attack the Yankee hitters. OBP is great but if a pitcher is attacking you, you need the ability to hit for average.

      The Yankee batting average has been slowly decreasing as they become more and more reliant on HRs. Go back to the 90’s dynasty and each team had 5-7 batters in the lineup hitting over .300 with none who would really be considered HR hitters although many could hit over 20. In 2011 only 1 player hit over .300 and not by much.

      If Tex and ARod don’t return near their .300 lifetime averages, this team’s offense will continue to desert them at times. Losing Montero’s bat hurt because he was exactly what they needed. To replace him with Raul Ibanez is not going to help. More attention should have been paid to adding a hitter. Hopefully Cashman is just hoping to go cheap til July then add someone who can really hit.

      • Fish, my only point was that if the Yankees get that hit in the ALDS all this talk about clutch hitting becomes a moot point.

        • uyf1950….
          If wishes were inches I would have been 6′ 1″. (Always wanted to do that!). LOL
          Other then 1996-98 and one other year the Yankees have not had more then 4-.300 hitters at a time, I would love to have 4-5 .300 hitters along with some good power hitters also. I know of a guy that in a clutch situation came through……….!
          One must take a look at the last few years; once upon a time, the Yankees lead the league in winning % for close games of one run or extra inning games….aha, yes those years are long gone but, they showed the way things should be done. A balanced attack is the best thing a team can have going for it self.
          Well, there sure isn’t a consensus of opinion around here is there? 🙂
          Have fun Guys!

    • One would then that the Yankees corresponding announcement about the trade and possibly an addition signing of a DH would happen not to shortly thereafter. At least that’s my guess.

  10. You beat me to it.

    Pirates To Acquire A.J. Burnett
    By Mark Polishuk [February 19 at 4:35pm CST]
    SUNDAY: Burnett passed his physical, and Major League Baseball has approved the deal, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

    I can finally uncross my finger now. The deal is done.

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