Daily Archives: June 14, 2012

Should Phelps have been the odd man out?

Phelps is heading to Tampa to build arm strength

With the return of David Robertson the Yanks have optioned David Phelps to Single-A Tampa to build up arm strength so he can start in AAA.  This was just reported by ESPN.

The Yankees have been playing great all around baseball for the last 3 weeks, going 16-4 over their last 20 games.  The major driving force during this time has been their pitching staff .  The rotation has been unbelievable lately but the bullpen has continued their season long excellence as well.  When David Robertson joined Mariano Rivera on the Disabled List May 12th there were questions whether leads would be safe in the late innings.  However, the major strength of the 2-headed Cashman/Girardi leadership has been building and maintaining deep & effective pens.  How many teams can overcome the loss of 2 All-Star relievers like Mo & DRob yet not miss a beat?

The fact that Rafael Soriano has saved 10 of 11 since taking the Closer role isn’t surprising – he saved 46 games for Tampa in 2010.  What has been a pleasant surprise is the performance of the rest of the guys who have had to take on new roles.  Girardi has used 2 groups of lefty/righty combos to get through the late innings.  His “A” team of Boone Logan & Cory Wade get the most work and generally pitch the 7th/8th innings with the “B” team of Clay Rapada & Cody Eppley taking the 6th/7th inning role.  With the starters going at least 6 full innings in 19 of the last 20 games, Girardi has only had to use his 4 “combo” set-up men and Soriano. These 5 pitchers have thrown 32 innings during the last 20 games with a 1.97 ERA.

 Despite an impressive season so far, David Phelps has been the forgotten man lately having only appeared 3 times in the last 26 days!  And Freddy Garcia has even less of a role – appearing in a few mop-up roles only.

So did the Yankees send down the right man with the  return of David Robertson?  Girardi has already announced that Soriano will retain the closers role and Robertson will return to the 8th inning.  That is the right call to make as both pitchers are more comfortable in those roles at this given time.  But what does that mean for the rest of the pen ?  The easy answer would be to get rid of  Sweaty Freddy.  He’s been dreadful all season long and is a waste of a roster spot at this point.  But he is making $4 Million and if he is released, the Yanks lose that money and lose Garcia since he wouldn’t accept a demotion to AAA.  Perhaps Garcia could be traded to someone for a little salary relief but it would be rough to swallow his full salary right now by cutting him.

In my mind, Rapada is safe.  He’s carved out a role as the 2nd lefty and has been excellent as a LOOGY all year.  Over the last 20 games he’s appeared in 7 games allowing only 1 hit and 1 run while holding Lefty hitters to a .067 BA and .330 OPS.  The other 2 candidates are Eppley & Phelps.  Joe G. has used Eppley much more than Phelps lately because he likes him vs RH batters and he likes that he generates groundballs.  While I agree Eppley has been a nice surprise, RH hitters have hit .250 with a .708 OPS against him this year.  Those are good numbers but not great.  Actually Phelps has been much better vs RH hitters with a .206 BAA and .610 OPS against.  Perhaps they should consider Phelps more often vs Righties.  The other consideration is Phelps’ future.  I believe he’s shown enough that he will have a role in the Majors as either a back-end starter or quality reliever but is he improving pitching 3 games & 4 innings in 26 days?  Perhaps he would benefit from starting in AAA to build up his innings count or at least pitching regularly out of the pen to stay sharp with Scranton.

Who would you have gotten rid of when Robertson returned?

Gardner will be out 3-4 weeks; Phelps optioned to Triple-A

The New York Yankees can breathe a sigh of relief now knowing that their left fielder Brett Gardner will most likely be back by mid-late July. Brett went to visit Dr. Kremcheck today and received a PRP injection as well as a cortisone shot. The diagnosis was that Gardner’s elbow had a muscle strain, joint inflammation & a bone bruise in the right elbow. Gardner will be in an elbow brace for the next 3-4 weeks while his elbow heals and could possibly back as soon as after the All-Star break.

The Yankees also made a move to put David Robertson on the roster by optioning David Phelps to Single A Tampa in order to build arm strength where he will then join the Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees in the rotation. The move was unfair since Phelps did deserve the big roster spot but  it was unfortunately the most obvious move since Cody Eppley adapted well to the Yankees bullpen, being the complementary pitcher to Yankees lefty Clay Rapada.

Morning Bits: Robertson, Joba, Sheets

Good morning all. With the Yankees win and consequent sweep of the Braves last night they are now in first place and have a 37-25 record. They are off today and head to Washington D.C. to take on the Nationals for a three-game series over the weekend. Here are your links…

— David Robertson is excited to return to the Yankees bullpen even if it means that he isn’t the closer.

— Joba Chamberlain isn’t ruling out returning to pitch for the Yanks at some point this season.

— RHP Ben Sheets threw for several teams yesterday including the Phillies, Braves, Yankees, and Angels.

Enjoy your day everyone!

Yankees sweep series over Braves with 3-2 victory behind Kuroda

In Hiroki Kuroda’s past 3 starts he held a 0.83 ERA which was the best out of the Yankees starters so far. Kuroda sure did no problems with pitching well for the Yankees as the Yanks were able to take the series sweep and beat the Braves by a score of 3-2 for the Yanks 6th straight win.

Kuroda pitched 6 innings while only giving up 2 runs on 9 hits with 8 strikeouts and 2 walks. Kuroda did have to work in and out of trouble, but there was something CC-esque about his outing since he was able to hold the Braves to only 2 runs while the Yankees quickly rallied back.

In the first inning, Derek Jeter doubled and was scored on an RBI single by Alex Rodriguez. In the 6th inning after Hiroki Kuroda gave up a HR to Brian McCann, Derek Jeter walked and Curtis Granderson hit a 2 run shot which gave the Yankees their 3-2 lead.

Cody Eppley and Boone Logan pitched well while Clay Rapada had the day off after pitching 4 straight games. The Yankees had Freddy Garcia warming up in the 8th inning but luckily Cody Eppley was able to get the double play to get out of the inning.

Tim Hudson had pitched against the Yankees in the past but the last time that the Hudson had pitched against them was in 2006. The last time Hudson had won against the Yankees was in 2003.  Unless Hudson pitches during the Yankees & Braves series in Yankee Stadium then Hudson might not pitch against them again until possibly maybe next year.

The Yankees have the off-day tomorrow and the Yankees will head to Washington to take on Bryce Harper and the red-hot Washington Nationals. David Robertson is making the trip with the team and he is slated to be activated on Friday. Phil Hughes is slated to get the start on Friday.