Daily Archives: July 6, 2012
On the 4th of July, at 6:57 PM EDT, Rafael Soriano induced Carlos Pena to pop up to first base and seal a 4-3 comeback victory over the Rays. That popup marked not only the end of the game, but also the first half of the 2012 Yankee season.
Each regular season seems to have its own flavor or theme, something that makes it unique from recent seasons. The conclusion of the first half of the 2012 season finds the Yankees in first place in the AL East, exactly where they were at end of 81 games in the 2011 season. So what’s been different about the 2012 Yankees season? Plenty! Today we’ll take a look back at the events that shaped the first half of the 2012 season as well as the emotions those events inspired.
Spring Training- A Comeback And Setbacks
The Yankees took to Legends Field for spring training following a busy offseason by GM Brian Cashman. On January 13th, Cashman traded catcher/DH Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Michael Pineda and minor league pitching prospect Jose Campos. On that same day, Cashman signed free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to one year, ten million dollar contract. Those moves by Cashman would serve as catalysts for signing DH Raul Ibanez and trading pitcher A.J. Burnett to the Pirates.
These transactions were viewed very favorably by many fans and media members and as a result, the bar had been raised even higher on the expectations of the 2012 Yankee season.
There was a buzz surrounding the beginning of spring training that rivaled that of 2009, the year that Cashman had added the free agent trio of C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and the aforementioned A.J. Burnett. Those additions had played a huge role in the eventual World Series victory of that year and fans and management were hopeful that the additions of Pineda and Kuroda would help lead to the same outcome.
On March 16th, one of the most beloved Yankees of all time announced his return to baseball and sent Yankee fans into a fever pitch. Andy Pettitte, who had retired at the end of the 2010 season, announced that he still had a desire to play the game of baseball and signed a one year deal with the Yankees for the 2012 season. Pettitte, who was 39 at the time, looked to be giving the Yankees an eventual problem of “too much pitching” upon his projected arrival to the team in May. Pettitte also gave fans another link to the beloved Yankee dynasty teams as a member of the core four. With Jorge Posada‘s retirement following the 2011 season, only Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera remained as active Yankees from those teams who won 4 titles in 5 years. The idea of Pettitte rejoining his old teammates brought a smile to many fans’ faces.
Most baseball fans realize that the outcome of spring training games is meaningless. A good won-lost record in spring training and a dollar will you get you a cup of coffee. When the Yankees went on a spring training losing streak, the headlines calling for concern were as comical as they were misguided. Apparently Derek Jeter couldn’t hit anymore and Ivan Nova couldn’t pitch anymore.
While most fans were rational enough not to get taken in by those headlines, there were some serious concerns about pitcher Michael Pineda that were troubling. Pineda had taken being traded to the most franchise in professional sports so seriously that he had come to camp at anywhere from 290-305 pounds, depending on what source you trusted. You didn’t need a scale to see that he was out shape and Pineda himself said he needed to lose weight. Pineda was ineffective in his spring training starts, the biggest concern being a diminished velocity on his fastball.
On March 30th, Pineda felt some discomfort in the back of his right shoulder in a spring training start. Pineda was given an MRI and diagnosed with tendon inflammation in his right shoulder. Pineda was shut down until further notice, causing panic in those who had seen him as the number two starter the Yankees had needed.
Friday, 7/6/12, 7:10pm ET
Pitching for the Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda, RHP
Last Appearance: 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 11 K, 1 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 8-7, 3.17 ERA / 4.00 FIP / 3.86 xFIP, 7.04 K/9, 2.73 BB/9 in 102.1 IP
Pitching for the Red Sox: Josh Beckett, RHP
Last Start: 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 4 K, 3 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 4-7, 4.06 ERA / 3.75 FIP / 3.99 xFIP, 6.40 K/9, 2.13 BB/9 in 84.1 IP
Saturday, 7/7/12, 12:35pm ET (Double-Header Game 1; makeup of PPD game on 4/22)
Pitching for the Yankees: Phil Hughes, RHP
Last Start: 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 8 K, 1 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 9-6, 4.29 ERA / 4.60 FIP / 4.15 xFIP, 8.49 K/9, 2.10 BB/9 in 94.1 IP
Pitching for the Red Sox: Franklin Morales, LHP
Last Start: 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 7 K, 2 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 1-1, 2.51 ERA / 2.59 FIP / 3.61 xFIP, 9.63 K/9, 2.30 BB/9 in 43.0 IP
Saturday, 7/7/12, 7:15pm ET (Double-Header Game 2)
Pitching for the Yankees: Freddy Garcia, RHP
Last Appearance: 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 4 K, 0 BB, 2 HR
On the Season: 2-2, 5.94 ERA / 4.48 FIP / 3.98 xFIP, 6.69 K/9, 1.98 BB/9 in 36.1 IP
Pitching for the Red Sox: Felix Doubront, LHP
Last Start: 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 4 K, 5 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 8-4, 4.42 ERA / 4.20 FIP / 3.78 xFIP, 9.13 K/9, 3.41 BB/9 in 89.2 IP
Sunday, 7/8/12, 8:05pm ET
Pitching for the Yankees: Ivan Nova, RHP
Last Start: 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 5 K, 2 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 9-3, 4.05 ERA / 4.53 FIP / 3.91 xFIP, 7.76 K/9, 2.67 BB/9 in 104.1 IP
Pitching for the Red Sox: Jon Lester, LHP
Last Start: 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 9 K, 1 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 5-5, 4.33 ERA / 3.63 FIP / 3.59 xFIP, 7.33 K/9, 2.33 BB/9 in 108.0 IP
— Robinson Cano – 11 for 26 with 2 HR, 8 RBI in the last 7 days
— Andruw Jones – 4 for 11 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI in the last 7 days
— Eric Chavez – 3 for 10 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB in the last 7 days
— Russell Martin – 0 for 15 with 4 K in the last 7 days
— Nick Swisher – 4 for 21 with 2 BB, 9 K in the last 7 days
— Adrian Gonzalez – 9 for 26 with 1 RBI in the last 7 days
— Nick Punto – 1 for 13 with 1 BB, 2 K in the last 7 days
— Daniel Nava – 3 for 23 with 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K in the last 7 days
— Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 3 for 20 with 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K in the last 7 days
— Mike Aviles – 3 for 18 with 1 double, 1 BB, 4 K in the last 7 days
Enjoy the series everyone!