Daily Archives: March 15, 2012

Pineda & Wang duel as Yankees win 8-5 over Nationals

Sure Michael Pineda gave up 2 runs. What pitcher doesn’t give up 2 runs and makes mistakes. Besides of the 2 runs, Michael Pineda looked sharp as the Yankees defeated the Nationals 8-5 in the first game of a 2 game set. The Yankees were facing their former teammate Chien-Ming Wang who looked sharp until a Russell Martin collison at 1st forced him to leave the game with a left hamstring injury.

Pineda’s line was pretty good. He went 3.2 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 base hits while striking out 4. Clay Rapada is making his case to be the second lefty in the bullpen by going 1.1 innings and giving up only 2 walks. Juan Cedeno went 0.2 innings while giving up 1 run on 1, Brett Marshall went 2.2 innings giving up 2 runs on 2 base hits while striking out 3. Michael O’Connor pitched 0.2 innings giving up 1 hit and Adam Warren ended the Nationals threat by getting out the only batter he faced.

The Good: Bill Hall made his case for a spot on the 25 man roster today, having 2 base hits and driving in 2 runs.Russell Martin also had a base hit for the Yankees. He came out of the Chien-Ming Wang collision unscathed so that was also good news.

The Bad: Brett Gardner had a very tough game, striking out all three times he was at the plate. I know this is Spring Training, but his performance is beginning to worry me (along with Robinson Cano‘s who didn’t play today.)

WHAT’S NEXT: The Nationals will travel down to Tampa and face the Yankees on their turf this time. CC Sabathia is slated to start for the Yankees.

Will working with Sports Psychologist help Swish?

Article on MLB.com  about Nick Swisher and all that he has done in the off-season to “get to the next level” .  “I want to be known as a good ballplayer,” he said. “There’s a lot more to me than just a good clubhouse guy. That’s the statement I’m trying to make this year.”

To get to the next level he has gotten in great condition training with the Ohio State football team and starting to eat properly. While this is important, we hear tons of players say every ST that they are in the best shape of their career. I do believe it will help because although it was never written anywhere, Swisher looked soft and out of shape to me last Spring and I think it led to his dismal first 2 months.  He got married last off-season and I think it took him a couple of months to work  back into proper condition last yr.

Swish acknowledged that athletes always say they are in great shape and said the thing that will really give him an edge is he started seeing a sports psychologist. This is an interesting development to me because Swisher is such an emotional and animated player that perhaps this will help him to relax a bit.  He’s a solid player but his 2 biggest knocks are inconsistency and terrible post-season play.  While most dismiss his post-season struggles with the convenient “small sample size” theory, perhaps there is credence to the theory that he puts too much pressure on himself in these situations and if he learns to better relax himself and focus, he’ll improve.  Psychology is a big part of sports and there are certain people who put added pressure on themselves and tense up or try to do too much in certain situations.  It remains to be seen if this will help Swisher, but if he becomes more consistent and finally has a good post-season, it will definitely add to his value in Free Agency.

Which brings us to the question of what to do with him at the end of the year.  I have never been the biggest fan of Swisher’s.  He’s a solid player and was very valuable when his first 2 years in relation to his salary.  But hitting the open market, he should be in line for at least a 3-yr deal and possibly 4 at anywhere from $10-15M per yr depending on this season. IMO, the Yanks simply cannot afford to re-sign Swish due to the impending 2014 budget constraints.  I think the right move is to offer Swisher the $12.5 Million Arbitration tender necessary to get 1st rd Draft Pick Compensation if he signs with another team.  that way, if he leaves you get a pick and if he stays, you have him for 1 year without adding another high guaranteed deal to the 2014 budget.

The emergence of Zoilo Almonte this Spring has raised a lot of eyebrows and if the young OF has a good season in the minors, he could be in line to help in 2013 or 2014. Either way, I don’t think the Yanks can sign Swisher long-term.  I believe they can trade for a lower priced OF to provide solid production and who is a better hitter from the LH side.

What does everyone think…..is the ‘great shape & nutrition” and “sports psychology” going to make a difference for Swish? And would you keep him after this season?

What the David Robertson Injury Could Have Meant

Last Thursday the Yankees received quite a scare when David Robertson hurt his foot. Robertson hurt his foot falling down the stairs carrying an empty box, which can only be described as a way you would think a Mets player would get hurt.  Girardi said he was concerned and that Robertson would be getting more tests. Girardi normally does not use this type of language if there is not a bad injury so I was pretty confident it was serious. Why foreshadow bad news if there was none coming? Fortunately, Roberston only has a bone bruise in his foot, has shed his walking, played catch without pain, and expects to be back by opening day. What would have happened if Robertson did have to miss significant time though?

What the Robertson scare made me realize that the bullpen is always one injury away from trouble. The Yankees have one of if not the best bullpens in baseball but if Mariano Rivera, Robertson, or Rafael Soriano get hurt you are one man less deep and it hurts. The bullpen is so good because of the quality and depth of the pitchers. I and many Yankee fans have been so spoiled by Rivera always being there to close it out in the 9th. It is not just how amazingly well he gets the job done, but that he is always available to get the job done. He is rarely hurt. If Robertson was out for awhile it would not be the end of the world, but it definitely would have hurt. I believe Soriano would be fine in the 8th inning, the issue would be you loose depth in the bullpen and what happens when Rivera or Soriano need a day off. You would have guys like Corey Wade and Boone Logan taking on much more featured roles. It would not have crippled the team like loosing a key everyday player would though.

The main goal of spring training in my mind is to get out completely healthy. Sure it is great to see guys producing but it is not that important. There is an old saying that you do not want to waste all your hits in spring training. The Yankees currently are not hitting very well but I will gladly take that over a key injury any day.  As long as the players are in shape and ready to go by opening day than spring training has been a success. Robertson is a big part of the Yankees and thankfully he should be able to continue to be a big part of this team going forward.

Spring Training: 3/15/12 Lineup

Lineup vs. Nationals:

Brett Gardner, LF
Russell Martin, C
Andruw Jones, DH
Chris Dickerson, RF
Bill Hall, 3B
Dewayne Wise, CF
Jayson Nix, 2B
Jorge Vazquez, 1B
Ramiro Pena, SS

RHP Michael Pineda

Enjoy the game!

Morning Bits: Mitchell, Garcia, Swisher, Ibanez, YES

Good morning all.  I’m escaping for a long weekend away after work so an early enjoy the weekend to you.  Let’s get right to the links….

* Small ESPN article showing love to my favorite pitching prospect D.J. Mitchell.  Anyone else on the Mitchell bandwagon with me?  I saw him pitch in Scranton last year and was completely amazed by how quickly he works.

* Garcia took a comeback of his hand yesterday X-rays are negative so that’s good.

* Swisher is in his best shape and expects results reports mlb.com.

* Slow start Ibanez is not worried just yet.

* The Yes Network is turning 10 Years old?  Not sure about you but my cable didn’t carry it when it first came out.