Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 8/22/14

The girlfriend and I officially start our “moving in together” process this weekend.  I’ve become a pretty lazy person in my mid-to-late 20s and it’s going to be hot, muggy, and possibly raining at times, so needless to say I’m not expecting it to be a fun weekend.  At least I can chalk it up as 2 days of me approximating a workout and doing something productive with my time.  Because next Saturday I am turning off my entire life and posting up hard on the couch for college football opening weekend.  That’s a must.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Mike Petriello dug into some finer details of Brian McCann’s depressing offensive season and offered some harrowing suggestions for what his future holds.

- Chad Jennings of LoHud broke down the areas of roster need and the candidates to get call ups to fill them as September roster expansions approach.

- On Tuesday, Larry Fleisher of Metro Sports told the tale of Shane Greene’s atypical path to the Major Leagues.

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Quick Hit: Some Words Of Encouragement For The Weekend

Don’t worry about the slumping offense, gang.  Joe’s finally got the momentum-changing strategy all figured out.

“You keep running guys out there and believe it’s going to change.  Eventually it’s going to be right and it’s going to be consistent over a long period.”

Boom.  There it is.  Keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing and eventually it’s going to be consistent over a long period.  Even though it hasn’t been and there’s almost not enough time left in the season to establish a long period of consistently good production.  All we have to do is believe!

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Phelps Coming Back As A Reliever Makes Sense

I almost missed this, but Joe announced after Wednesday night’s game that the Yanks are planning to bring David Phelps back as a reliever now that he’s started throwing again.  While that may go against the unwritten rule of not losing your job due to injury, there are a lot of reasons why this is the right move.

For starters, the rotation isn’t exactly suffering without him.  McCarthy-Kuroda-Greene-Pineda has been a strong foursome and Chris Capuano‘s final lines are usually made to look worse by bad relief work behind him.  He’s been perfectly fine as a 5th starter.

The bullpen is where things are dire.  Joe’s binder is basically down to the Betances, D-Rob, and “If You’d Reached This Chapter Then You’re Probably Screwed” sections.  Adding a fresh arm in Phelps would give Joe another option for some of the higher-leverage middle relief innings and one he’s familiar and comfortable with.  It would also allow Phelps to get through his rehab and get back to pitching in meaningful games quicker, and it could help limit the risk for another follow-up injury.…

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Quick Hit: Starters Keep On Keepin’ On

While I stand by my comment in Wednesday morning’s rant about how it sucks that the rotation can’t ever get through 6-7 innings, I wasn’t trying to suggest that the rotation has, in any way, been part of the problem.  They haven’t.  Boland tweeted this out last night and it’s the continuation of something I pointed out a month ago.  The Yankee rotation, whoever’s been in it, has been killing it since early July.  Who honestly thought that would be happening without Tanaka, Nova, and Pineda for most of the season?

The Good News Here- The Yankees have given themselves some nice options to consider for next year’s rotation.  Nova’s out, Kuroda’s going to retire, and CC’s knee may be past the point of usability.  They’re going to need multiple arms, and cheap young guys like Greene and Phelps could be very valuable in the 4th and 5th spots, as could someone like Brandon McCarthy.…

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Yankeemetrics: August 19-21 (Astros)

Brandon McCarthy dominated the Astros in Thursday's win. (Photo: Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Brandon McCarthy dominated the Astros in Thursday’s win. (Photo: Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Houston, we have a problem
Entering 2014, the Yankees were 13-2 vs the Astros; following Tuesday’s loss in the series opener, they had more losses in four games this season against the Astros (3) than in all other seasons combined.

With the game tied 4-4 and two men on base in the ninth inning, Chris Carter swung away on a 3-0 pitch from David Robertson and sent it over the fence for a game-winning homer.

Robertson is the first Yankee pitcher to allow a homer in the ninth inning or later on a 3-0 count in the pitch-count era (since 1988). Carter is the first Astro to hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning or later against the Yankees.

Pitching on his 36th birthday, Chris Capuano allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings and received a no-decision, remaining winless in five starts with the Yankees.

He is the fourth Yankee pitcher to go winless in his first five starts with the team, despite allowing no more than four runs in each game.…

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Game 125 Recap: Yanks 3 Astros 0

McCarthy vs HOU

Courtesy of Getty Images

No matter how realistic or unrealistic your postseason aspirations are at any point during the regular season, losing 4 of 5 to the Houston Astros is thoroughly embarrassing and completely unacceptable.  The Yankees fell into that trap last night and needed a victory this afternoon to salvage a small sliver of respectability in the series finale at The Stadium.  Thankfully for my sanity and sliding glass door, they got one.

Brandon McCarthy hasn’t thrown a bad game in a Yankee uniform yet, even though he was the losing pitcher in his last 2 starts despite allowing 4 ER in 12.2 IP while striking out 15 and walking only 1.  He had his A-game working today and he twisted the Houston lineup into a pretzel with it.  6 scoreless innings to start, 2 hits, no walks, and 2 separate instances of 7 or more consecutive batters retired.  Sinker was sinking, curveball had good bite on it, and he was mixing the cutter in well once he got through the order a first time.…

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Game 125: Trying to get one

After losing two straight to the Houston Astros, the Yankees are trying to win the three-game finale at 1:05 p.m. today. They send Brandon McCarthy to the mound in hopes of ending their losing streak. McCarthy has been a hard-luck loser his last two outings. He have up two earned runs (two unearned in his last start) in each of his last two starts, but wound up losing both as New York was shut out in both games.

New York has lost seven of its last nine games,putting them five games behind the last Wild Card slot.

Before the game, the Yankees called up utility player Zelous Wheeler and sent down pitcher Chase Whitley.

Lineups
New York Yankees
Brett Gardner, LF
Derek Jeter, SS
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Martin Prado, 2B
Chase Headley, 3B
Francisco Cervelli, C
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Zelous Wheeler, DH

Brandon McCarthy, RHP


Houston Astros

Robbie Grossman, LF
Jose Altuve, 2B
Chris Carter, DH
Dexter Fowler, CF
Marc Krauss, RF
Jon Singleton, 1B
Carlos Corporan, C
Matt Dominguez, 3B
Marwin Gonzalez, SS

Dallas Keuchel, LHP

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Inside McCarthy’s transformation with the Yankees

Where would the Yankees be without McCarthy in the rotation? (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Where would the Yankees be without McCarthy in the rotation? (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Brandon McCarthy arrived in the Bronx with a 5.01 ERA but somehow has emerged as the de facto ace of the Yankees staff over the last six weeks. He has a remarkable 2.30 ERA and four wins in seven starts – numbers that even Brian Cashman could not have imagined when he traded for the sinkerballer at the beginning of July.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the adjustments by McCarthy that have made him into one of the most effective pitchers in the AL during the past month and a half. Hint: It’s more than just slimming pinstripes that have helped him.

It is high, it is far…it is not gone
The most fundamental difference in McCarthy’s performance since coming east is his ability to limit the longball. He gave up 15 homers in 109 2/3 innings as a Diamondback, but only three home runs in 43 innings as a Yankee.…

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Beltran’s Elbow: The Latest

Recent cold streak being what it is, the Yankees probably could have used Carlos Beltran in the lineup last night.  He was out after the bone spur in his right elbow acted up and caused him some pain when he swung on Tuesday night.  Beltran had just returned to playing the outfield when this happened, although he told reporters yesterday the elbow had not been bothering him on throws.

Beltran was checked out by the team doctor yesterday and given another cortisone shot in the elbow, the third one he’s received this year.  No further damage or any other problems were found, just the pesky bone spur.  Despite saying the pain yesterday wasn’t as bad as on Tuesday night, Beltran will not play in tonight’s game.  He may try swinging a bat today if Joe lets him, and said he’d like to return to the lineup by Friday.

This doesn’t sound as serious as some of this other setbacks, so that’s a relief.  …

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