I predicted that the New York Yankees would go 5-3 last week. They went 4-3 and it would have been 5-3 if the game yesterday had not been rained out. The postponement was the second time this year that was problematic. Earlier in the season, the Yankees lost two games to the weather against the Indians. At the time, the Indians were playing awful and their pitching was a mess. It was the perfect time for the Yankees to catch them. Instead, those two games were made up after the Indians had time to regroup and start rolling. The result was a split of those two games. Yesterday could have concluded a second sweep of the Blue Jays at a time when the Blue Jays are really floundering. Will history repeat itself? As a team, you want to catch a team when they are down. The opportunity was lost.
So we enter a new week and the Yankees are back out on the road. They start the week in Baltimore and finish in their own personal house of horrors in St. Petersberg, Florida. This is going to be a very interesting week. Here is a preview of the week to come.
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Last week, I predicted this little-engine-that-could New York Yankees’ team would go 3-3 and figured that was a reasonable expectation. I was way off base as the team finished the week 5-1 with five straight wins after opening the week with a loss. I also noted that Vernon Wells‘ Cinderella story was turning back into a pumpkin. But somebody kept the clock from reaching midnight as Wells again became the carriage that carried the Yankees this week. He hit two homers in the five games with five ribbies and only struck out once all week. Of course, he did not walk all week either, but why quibble. Wells also made a couple of great plays in the outfield.
Lyle Overbay had a very good week with two doubles and a homer for an OPS in the last five games of .929. And my perennial punching bag, Jayson Nix, had a great week and finished the week with an OPS over one. But the real story this week was the pitching, which featured good outings from the entire rotation except for Phil Hughes and the Yankees still won his game. The Yankees allowed only seven runs in the four non-Hughes games. The bullpen was solid and Mariano Rivera picked up four saves this week. He did not look dominant in doing so, but again, the job got done.
So what happens this week? The Yankees play a troublesome double-header in Cleveland to make up two postponements there. But then they travel home to play Seattle and Toronto for six games at home. At some point this week, Curtis Granderson will be back and that will be a welcomed sight, though it will be interesting to see what Joe Girardi does with his outfield. So, here is a preview of the week to come in Yankees baseball.
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The Yankees will be in Kansas City this weekend taking on the second place Royals who at the moment are only a half game behind first place Detroit.
The Yankees are in a virtual tie for first place atop the AL East with Baltimore and Boston. While the Orioles and Red Sox both have 21 wins to the Yankees’ 20, both teams have 14 losses, the Yankees have 13. This season has certainly been interesting so far for the boys from the Bronx. Most people weren’t expecting much while their superstars Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez were out with injuries but I’d say hitting the 20 win mark on May 9th is a pretty big deal. As we all know, there is a lot of season left but so far the Yankees have been able to stay ahead while waiting for the aforementioned big guns to arrive.
Coming into this three-game series with the Royals, the Yankees are 6-4 in their last 10 games and they took two out of three in Colorado. The Royals are 5-5 in their last 10 and they lost two out of three to the Orioles in Baltimore.
This weekend marks the return of Mariano Rivera to the place where his 2012 season ended. And how’s this for a stat? From Yahoo: “Rivera has converted 35 of 37 save opportunities against the Royals (18-13), including 27 in a row dating to Aug. 18, 1998.”
Here are the pitching match ups for the series:
All three opposing pitchers are very familiar to the Yankees. Davis and Shields faced the Yankees many times while they were with the Tampa Bay Rays and Ervin Santana also faced the Yankees while with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Good afternoon, Yankee fans.
Overall, it was a successful weekend for the Yankees who took two out of three from the Blue Jays up in Toronto. Yes, yesterday’s game was disappointing but it’s always nice to win a series in a division rival’s home ballpark.
Speaking of that home ballpark, a blog post began circulating yesterday ahead of yesterday’s game, that accused the Yankees of hiring security to kick home fans out of their own stadium if they heckle the players in the Yankees’ bullpen. It spread like wildfire and now has even been mentioned on Hardball Talk.
The author Justin Jackson filed a complaint with the Rogers Centre. I can’t wait to see the outcome.
Can I mention how much I like Vernon Wells? It’s not just because he had a great series against the Blue Jays, it’s because he’s hilarious. Following Saturday’s victory, beat reporters asked him about the reception he was receiving from Jays fans. Naturally, it wasn’t a warm greeting but Wells took in stride by saying, “They’re just calling me by my nickname, ‘Boo,’.”
Oh and then there was his fantastic play in yesterday’s loss followed by a tip of his cap to Blue Jays fans who had been riding him all weekend.
I mean, how can you not like that?
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At the beginning of the month, I previewed April and the probable pitchers the Yankees would face this month. The discussion was centered around the Yankees’ lineup against lefties, and fortunately, it looked like the first few weeks of April would be relatively lefty-free. Indeed, the Yankees faced a total of two southpaws, Jon Lester and Wei-Yin Chen.
Their performance in both games hasn’t inspired much confidence, and our own Brad and Matt have their own issues with the Yankees’ lineup against lefties. For me, any lineup that sports Ben Francisco and Jayson Nix regularly is going to be a problem, then add the recent platoon splits from Robinson Cano, and there’s plenty to worry about.
We have been lucky enough to see only two lefty starters, but in the remaining 14 games of April, 7 project to be southpaws. Over the next couple of days, we’ll see Wade Miley and Patrick Corban of the Diamondbacks. In the Blue Jays series, Mark Buehrle will take the mound. Then the Rays will throw out two tough left-handers, Matt Moore and David Price, which will be followed by another series against the Blue Jays, featuring J.A. Happ and Mark Buehrle again. With half the games started by southpaws, we’re going to see a lot of Francisco and Nix over the next two weeks, and we could be in for a rough record by the end of the month.
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When the lineup for last night’s game was released, there were probably a few eyebrows that went up. After just two games, one against a right-handed pitcher, Joe decided to change things up a bit and shuffle the deck against Ryan Dempster. Gone were Ichiro or Eduardo Nunez from the 2-spot in the lineup, and instead Joe moved the middle of the batting order up a spot to hit Robinson Cano 2nd, Kevin Youkilis 3rd, Travis Hafner 4th, and Vernon Wells 5th. With such an incredibly small sample size to evaluate and base lineup decisions on, a move like this in the third game of the regular season could have come across as one of desperation. Considering the circumstances surrounding the roster right now, and the severely depleted amount of above-average hitters in the lineup, I actually thought it was pretty smart and a great example of playing the hand you’re dealt.
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While the Yankees big league club is already a couple games into the season, their full-season minor league counterparts get started today. In a year where the Yankees are already struggling with age and injuries and some of their most promising prospects are starting to get close to the Bronx, it should be a good year to keep an eye on New York’s farm system. If you need a break from the big league games, here are the minors games on tap for MiLB Opening Day, along with some minor league predictions from the crew here and some links in case you missed some of our Spring Training minors coverage.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders v. Pawtucket Red Sox (7:05pm):
After a year on the road, the Yankees Triple-A affiliate kicks off 2013 in grand style. Not only will they finally get to play a game at home, but it will be their first game as the newly christened RailRiders and in the newly renovated PNC Field. Vidal Nuno will get the start for Scranton, who will have a tough job in front of them as they take on last year’s International League Champs, the Pawtucket Red Sox. If you missed our Scranton/Wilkes-Barre preview check it out here.
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Baseball has an unfair advantage over every other sport. The games start when the weather turns warm. For those of us who live in the New York area, this past weekend was the first in a long time that had even a glimmer of warmer weather. It may be a coincidence that the temperatures broke into the high 50s without a cloud in the sky the same weekend as opening day, but it doesn’t feel like it. Baseball is a summertime game and part of the joy of the start of the season is the knowledge that the summertime is coming.
Game one of the season is today at 1pm. The Boston Red Sox will come into the Bronx for the season opener. Once upon a time this would be the start of a 162 game struggle between these two franchises as they battled for first place in the AL East, and possibly the American League. This year things are different. This year ESPN has predicted that these two teams will finish in last place in the AL East, and miss the playoffs. Maybe, but predictions are what sports fans make when games aren’t being played. After today only one thing matters: a team’s record.
CC Sabathia toes the rubber for the Yankees. Last season was CC’s worst in a Yankee uniform (and he was still pretty good), but only because of nagging injuries. His rate stats were as good as they’ve ever been. CC can be a slow starter, so we may not get a vintage performance today, but the Yankees are fighting with their best. Boston will counter with Jon Lester. Lester is looking to bounce back from a legitimately bad season in 2012. His K/9 rate has fallen from a high 9.96 in 2009 all the way down to 7.28 last year. As his strikeouts have gone down his homers have risen, to a career high of 1.10 per nine innings. One game won’t make a season for either of these Aces, but it’s fun to pretend. Use this as your game thread. Enjoy!
After all the discussion following a spring full of injuries to key players, the season opens this week and we will get our first real glimpse of what the 2013 season will bring for the New York Yankees. Right off the bat (pun intended), the Yankees will open the season with a series against old rivals, the Boston Red Sox. After three games with the beantowners, the Yankees will finish off the week with a series in Detroit, the place where last season ended.
Every week for the season, Monday morning will bring you a preview of the week to come. Early in the season, the preview will not only talk about the pitching match ups and the games scheduled, but also the weather, which is always a dicey proposition in April. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and let’s play ball!
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