Monthly Archives: May 2013

Game 54 Lineup: Red Sox vs. Yankees

Brand new series, so it’s a clean slate. But here are some familiar faces to help the Yanks in their quest to beat the Red Sox. Here’s the lineup.

Brett Gardner CF
Kevin Youkilis DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Vernon Wells LF
Jayson Nix SS
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chris Stewart C

CC Sabathia P

Notes:

— The Yankees have officially sent down Vidal Nuno and Ivan Nova to Triple-AAA Scranton to make room for Teixeira and Youkilis on the roster.

Game 53 Lineup: Mets vs. Yankees

I’m desperate for a Yankees win here. Come on. If we can take at least this game, I’d be satisfied. Here’s the lineup.

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Travis Hafner DH
Lyle Overbay 1B
Brennan Boesch RF
David Adams 3B
Reid Brignac SS
Austin Romine C

LHP Vidal Nuno

Game 52 Lineup: Mets vs. Yankees

Oh how good it feels to play a game with American League rules. Here is your lineup as the Yankees attempt to break a three game losing streak  in their home ballpark. 

Lineup vs. Mets:

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Travis Hafner DH
Lyle Overbay 1B
Brennan Boesch RF
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Jayson Nix 3B
Reid Brignac SS
Chris Stewart C

David Phelps RHP

Teixeira and Youkilis Desperately Needed

Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis began their rehab assigment in Double A Trenton this morning and it could not come at a better time for the Yankees. When the Yankees were playing great baseball behind great pitching and newcomers like Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, and Lyle Overbay getting the job done, many Yankees fans were saying how they did not want veterans like Mark Texiera, Kevin Youkilis, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez to come back.  That was an insane notion then and it is proving true right now.

The Yankees are now 6-7 in their last 13 games and have scored four or fewer runs in nine of those 13 games, including less than two runs in five of those games. The Yankees have averaged a pitiful 3.7 runs per game in May. You can only ask your starters to pitch great under those circumstances for so long and expect your bullpen to hold every one run lead you give them. Obviously, over the last two games David Robertson and Mariano Rivera each blew a game, but those losses were on the offense for only scoring a combined two runs in those games.

The middle of the order for the Yankees struggling has been the main reason for their terrible offensive output in May. Robinson Cano is only hitting .247/.311/.464/.775 in May and the Yankees need him to carry them like he did in April. Cano is hitting .328/.403/.672/1.075 with 11 home runs in Yankee wins and .235/.261/.341/.603 with two home runs in Yankee losses. That tells you all you need to know. Cano has not gotten much support in May either, as Vernon Wells (.229/.260/.375/.635 in May) and Travis Hafner (.190/.309/.328/.636 in May) have cooled off considerably. When you combine those players not playing well with the black holes the Yankees have at catcher, shortstop and right field, you are not going to score many runs.

It  is obvious that Teixeira and Youkilis are needed. However, as Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues points out, they are coming back at postions where the Yankees have gotten good production. Lyle Overbay and David Adams have held up very well at first and third base. Texiera and Youkilis will be upgrades over them, but their real issues are at shortstop, catcher, and the outfield.

However, they will not be getting reinforcements at those positions anytime soon. Curtis Granderson will be inactive for at least four weeks and will probably take about two more weeks to rehab. Derek Jeter is nowhere near returning and Francisco Cervelli just got the pins out of his hand and has not started to rehab yet. The Yankees made their own bed at these positions in the offseason, as they willing let Russell Martin and Nick Swisher go and did not adequately replace them. Also, they did nothing to upgrade at utility infielder when they knew Jeter was an injury question mark.

The Yankees have a tough roster conundrum with Teixeira and Youkilis coming back. The Yankees are short on outfielders and it will be hard to carry Overbay and Hafner, since between them both they can only play one position. Ivan Nova will probably be the pitcher out of the bullpen sent to Triple A, but who goes with him is the question. The options are to send Brennan Boesch or Adams to Triple A or DFA Overbay. Sending Adams down would be the easy call, since you can always bring him back up, but he would be the best option as a DH against righties at the moment. Boesch is easily the worst player out of the three, but if you send him down than Jayson Nix is your fourth outfielder. You can probably get by like that for a little while, but long term having Nix as your fourth outfielder will not work. That is why Overbay may not be on this team for much longer.

This is not meant to discredit Overbay at all, as he has filled in better than anybody could have hoped for, but people need to pump the brakes on him a little bit. He is only hitting .251/.295/.468/.763, which is not great for a first baseman. Teixeira at his worst does much better than that. Overbay has been a great clutch player for the Yankees this season, but you cannot rely on that to continue. Good “clutch” hitting is more statistical randomness than anything sustainable because it is not really a skill.

For people who say Teixeira isn’t clutch he hit .390/.466/.932/1.398 in late and close games last year, .289/.360./.578/938 in high leverage situations and .285/.370/.646/1.016 in innings 7-9, so that is just a narrative and a fallacy that he doesn’t get any big hits. Unfortunately, if Teixeira starts out slow he will hear about it, but that is just silliness, as Overbay is nowhere near the player Teixeira is and there is a reason he was released by Boston three days before the end of spring training. Once Teixeira proves he is healthy there is not really room for Overbay on the team anymore. Obviously, that is not fair to him, but unfortunately it’s the business and the reality of the situation.  Overbay would be a great option to pinch hit late in games for the catcher, shortstop or Ichiro, but again can you really afford to have Nix as your fourth outfielder for six weeks?

I am really excited to get Teixeira and Youkilis back. It has been frustrating watching bad hitters take bad at bats lately. Unfortunately, like I said before you will still have three terrible hitters batting seventh, eighth and ninth but at least the middle of the order will be more intimidating.  People telling themselves that the Yankees are better off without the veterans hopefullt have seen over the last few weeks why they are dead wrong. What do you guys think should happen when Teixeira and Youkilis come back? What would your roster moves be?

Did yesterday’s game have a rivalry within a rivalry?

New York Yankees v New York Mets

The Subway Series didn’t get off to a great start for the Yankees, but what happened in yesterday’s game still left me with a smile on my face; even after the game was long over.

When you think of the Subway Series going into last night, you would think Robinson Cano vs. David Wright as the rivalry within the rivalry, them being the gigantic catalysts in bringing their team out in front during the games and leading their teams to victory. However, yesterday’s game had two players that you last expected to attempt to lead their teams to victory: Brett Gardner vs. Daniel Murphy. Gardner won the battle for his team, but Murphy won the war that night. Let’s rewind to last night, shall we?

Gardner commits Grand Larceny (on a HR): Daniel Murphy was entirely sure that he hit a HR to deep left-center. He was sure he had enough to give his team the lead–until Brett Gardner ran all the way to the track and robbed Murphy of a 2-run HR. Murphy’s reaction to Gardner’s catch was priceless: he took his helmet off his head and threw it to the ground, causing Yankees fans like myself to emit laughter, even through the commercial break. Even after the loss, I still had a smile on my face. Yes, I was ecstatic about the Gardner catch–but Murphy’s reaction is what kept me in a good mood.

Tickets to Citi-Field? $50
Subway Sandwiches? $9
Daniel Murphy’s reaction to Brett Gardner’s catch? Priceless. Everything’s better when you’re a Yankees fan.

Murphy extracts revenge (and wins the game for the Mets): In the 8th inning is where it got grim for the Yankees. David Robertson was one out away from getting out of the inning tied…until Daniel Murphy lined a base-hit…in front of Brett Gardner. Daniel Murphy’s reaction? He flipped the bat to the ground as if he hit a HR, walked to first base, then pumped his fist. Yeah, Mets fans may have liked that…but I didn’t. Let’s just say that my reaction to Murphy getting the game winning single mirrored his reaction innings earlier (I took my Yankees cap off and threw it to the ground). Don’t worry–the hat has recovered from collecting dust from hitting the floor.

Even if it was just for yesterday, the fact that Brett Gardner and Daniel Murphy were looking for ways to one-up another was exciting to watch. We all know that Daniel Murphy was ecstatic for winning the game for the Mets. Brett Gardner had trouble being upset about the loss–especially after the catch he made during the game. And frankly, I don’t blame him one bit.

Game 51 Lineup: Yankees @ Mets

It’s raining in Queens right now, so it will be interesting to see if we get this game in. For now, here’s the lineup.

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Reid Brignac SS
Chris Stewart C
Hiroki Kuroda P

Some fun facts about the Subway Series

mlb-rivals-mets-yankees-628x356

It’s that time of the year again Yankees and Mets fans. The time of year where you could take the MTA to your opposing teams stadium and watch some great New York baseball: The Subway Series. I love to make a big deal about the Subway Series because it’s the only time of the year where both New York teams play one another (and I love to make a big deal when the Yankees win the series). Now, in spirit of the Subway Series, I found some fun facts that I think you would be interested in. (I know it did this last year, but this year has some fun facts that I didn’t add). So here they are, and enjoy.

1.) Casey Stengel is the only former Yankee and Met to have his number retired by both teams. Stengel’s number 37 was retired by the Mets in 1965 while the Yankees retired his number in 1970.

2.) 111 players played for both the Yankees and the Mets. Pedro Feliciano would have been the 112th player, but he never pitched in a Major League game for the Yankees during his two-year contract.

3.) Prior to the Subway Series Match-Ups, the Yankees and Mets would play annually during the Mayor Trophy’s Game. The final Mayor Trophy’s game was in 1983. In all the match-ups the Yankees came out victorious with a 10-8-1 record.

4.) The largest blowout during the Subway Series was a 15-0 Yankees victory on June 14, 2009 at Yankee Stadium.

5.) David Cone was the only pitcher to win 20 games while playing for both the Yankees and the Mets. Cone was 20-3 in 1988 with the Mets and 20-7 in 1998 with the Yankees.

6.) Mariano Rivera earned his only RBI at Citi-Field on June 28, 2009 when he walked with the bases loaded against closer Francisco Rodriguez. He also earned his 500th career save.

7.) In 2003 the Yankees won all six games of the Subway Series, having the only Subway Series sweep in history.

8.) Four men have managed both the Yankees and the Mets: Joe Torre, Yogi Berra, Dallas Green and Casey Stengel.

9.) Alex Rodriguez hit his 564th career HR on June 26, 2009 at Citi Field to pass Reggie Jackson on the all-time HR list.

10.) The New York Yankees have won five straight series against the Mets coming into tonight’s series.

Game 50 Lineup: Yankees @ Mets

hwlHappy Memorial Day Yankees fans! Let’s give a thanks to the men and women that fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Here is today’s starting lineup:

Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Chris Stewart C
Phil Hughes P

Game 49 Lineup: Yankees @ Rays

Lineup vs. Rays:

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Travis Hafner DH
Lyle Overbay 1B
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jayson Nix SS
Austin Romine C

CC Sabathia LHP

Some Notes:

— The Yankees officially acquired David Huff from the Cleveland Indians on Saturday and is with the Yankees today. To make room for him, Ben Francisco has been DFA’d.

Game 48 Lineup: Yankees @ Rays

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Travis Hafner DH
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jayson Nix SS
Lyle Overbay 1B
Austin Romine C

LHP Vidal Nuno

Notes:

Curtis Granderson is going on the DL with a broken pinky bone. The Yankees are calling up Brennan Boesch to take Granderson’s spot on the roster.

David Phelps is fine after a line drive hit him in his elbow. He has a bruise on his elbow but Phelps should be ready to go by his next start.

— The New York Mets will honor Mariano Rivera on Tuesday before the game, which is one you don’t want to miss: Hiroki Kuroda vs. Matt Harvey. A duel of aces.

Game 47 Lineup: Yankees @ Rays

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Travis Hafner DH
Curtis Granderson RF
David Adams 3B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Jayson Nix SS
Chris Stewart C

RHP David Phelps

Some Notes:

Ivan Nova was activated from the DL today and Dellin Betances was sent down. Nova’s not sure what his role with the club will be right now but he said he will do whatever the club asks him to do. If that’s the case, I opt the bullpen.

Mark Teixeira had 6 AB’s today in extended spring and will be with the Yankees during the Yankees/Rays series.

Surprise Bullpen Arms Getting the Job Done Again

            Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay have gotten the most credit and attention for the Yankees’ 28-18 start and rightfully so. The Yankees would be in serious trouble without those bargain basement pickups. However, the Yankees’ bullpen has been the biggest strength of the team and is probably the biggest reason the Yankees find themselves on top of the AL East. This seems like an every year of occurrence, but Joe Girardi has done an outstanding job of managing the bullpen and he has found some more unexpected contributors.

It was Cody Eppley, Clay Rapada and David Phelps last year and this year it has been Preston Claiborne, Shawn Kelley Vidal Nuno, and Adam Warren. Those four relievers have combined for a 2.68 ERA and a 3.44 FIP. Those numbers could be even better if not for Kelley’s early season struggles. Combine those guys with what may be the best bullpen duo in MLB, in David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, and you have an outstanding bullpen. It will be interesting to see what happens when Joba Chamberlain returns because he was pitching very well before he got hurt, but if he falters the Yankees have solid options in Claiborne and Kelley.

Claiborne allowed his first run of the season last night when he allowed a three-run home run to Matt Weiters, but he has still been outstanding so far, as he has a .82 ERA and a .818 WHIP in 11 innings. Claiborne has done a great job of going after hitters with his fastball that has averaged 93.3 MPH. Throwing strikes and attacking with your fastball is a great quality for a reliever to have. The next step in his development is to better develop his slider and changeup.

Kelley has put his early season struggles behind him and has been absolutely dominant of late. He has only allowed one home run since April 19th and just one walk since April 24th. His 42.9% K rate leads all MLB relievers and he has struck out an incredible 15.91 batters per nine innings. Kelley is not an incredibly hard thrower (91.7 MPH average fastball), but he locates it very well has and has a 30.30% called strike rate with his fastball. His swing and miss pitch is his slider, as Kelley has a 20.38% whiff rate with it this season.

Warren has bounced back after his disastrous Yankees debut last season. It will be interesting to see if he may be more suited to be a reliever than a starter with the success he has had. Warren has taken over Phelps’ role in the bullpen with Phelps in the rotation for Ivan Nova. He has a 1.14 ERA and a 2.91 FIP in 23.3 innings this season. Warren has been very flexible, as he had success in short appearances and multiple innings appearances. He still only has 6.46 K/9 and a .275 BABIP, so there has probably been some of his success has been due to luck. However, he has done a great job of keeping the ball on the ground (57.1 GB%) and has used all four of his pitches well to keep hitters off balance.

The Yankees have been outstanding at protecting leads this year, and with their limitations on offense that has been very important. They are 21-0 when leading after six innings and 24-0 when leading after seven. Also, they are 17-7 in games decided by one or two runs. Obviously, Rivera being perfect in his save opportunities helps, but these middle relievers have been a huge part of the team as well.  These guys can also help the Yankees in their quest to keep their payroll under $189 million because none of them make much money. Rivera and his $10 million will be off the books and they can let  Chamberlain and Boone Logan walk, which would allow them to save $5 million.

In the meantime, the Yankees have an incredible deep bullpen that has and will continue to be the backbone of their success.

Game 46 Lineup: Yankees @ Orioles

Lineup vs. Orioles:

Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Travis Hafner DH
Lyle Overbay 1B
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Reid Brignac SS
Austin Romine C

Hiroki Kuroda RHP

Notes and Facts:

— Austin Romine is starting for the fourth straight time this season. He is the first rookie to do that since Jorge Posada, who started 11 games in a row during his rookie year.

Joe Girardi decided to go with Brett Gardner to get at least the beginning of the game off.

Game 45 Lineup: Yankees @ Orioles

Lineup vs. Orioles:

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Travis Hafner DH
Lyle Overbay 1B
Curtis Granderson RF
David Adams 3B
Jayson Nix SS
Austin Romine C

Phil Hughes RHP

Notes:

— A reminder that tonight’s Yankees game is not on YES. The game is on My9 and MLB Network.

— The Yankees will wear Memorial Day caps on Monday to honor the military. The caps will be camouflage with the interlocking NY while the Yanks are in Queens, New York to take on the Mets.

Game 44 Lineup: Yankees @ Orioles

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Travis Hafner DH
Lyle Overbay 1B
Curtis Granderson LF
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Reid Brignac SS
Austin Romine C

LHP CC Sabathia

Some Notes:

— Coming into tonight’s game, the Yankees are 18-0 when they score first in a game and are 24-0 when they lead after seven innings. Something tells me they’re doing something right.

— The Yankees will skip Vidal Nuno‘s start, and will put him in the bullpen for the Orioles series. CC Sabathia is on the mound tonight, Phil Hughes (who had an atrocious start last time) takes the hill tomorrow while Hiroki Kuroda will pitch on Wednesday.

Week 7 Yankees Player of the Week

The Yankees had another successful week going 5-3 against Kansas City, Cleveland, Seattle and Toronto. The week started out on the road as the Yankees completed a sweep against Kansas City on Sunday behind home runs from Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells and a solid outing from Hiroki Kuroda. The Yankees went on to split a doubleheader in Clevealnd after getting shutout but turned the table in the second game by shutting out Cleveand in Vidal Nuno’s first MLB start. On Tuesday, the Yankees had a huge come from behind win after training Seattle 3-0. In the seventh inning, Cano hit an RBI double that tied the game at and the Yankees went ahead on Lyle Overbay’s sac fly. However, the Yankees lost the next two against Seattle, including an embarrassing 12-2 loss on Wedesday, in which Phil Hughes allowed seven runs and did not make it out of the first inning. Fortunately, the Yankees got to beat up on Toronto two more times this year. Kuroda pitched a gem on Friday when he went eight inning without allowing a run in a 5-0 win. Yesterday, Cano pounded Brandon Morrow with two home runs in a 7-2 rout. This week’s nominees for Yankees Player of the Week are Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda and Vernon Wells.

Robinson Cano- Cano hit .250 for the week with 3 HR’s and 10 RBI. His game tying RBI double in the seventh inning on Wednesday was one of the biggest hits for the Yankees this season. Also, Cano’s two home runs yesterday were obviously huge in the Yankees winning that game as well.

Hiroki Kuroda-  Kuroda was absolutely fantastic in his two starts this week. On Sunday, he pitched 7.2 innings, allowed two runs on six hits and struck out one in Kansas City. He was even better yesterday, as he pitched eight shutout innings and allowed only two hits. Kuroda lowered his ERA to 1.99 for the season.

Vernon Wells- Wells hit .308 on the week with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI. His best game was on Sunday in Kansas City when he had three hits, including a two-run home run.

With his two outstanding starts Hiroki Kuroda is your Week 7 Yankees Player of the Week. With today’s rain out, discuss the solid week that the Yankees had in the comments. It was a fun week because we got to see a lot of new young players come up and perform as well as the regulars.