Adventures in Left Field: Hiroki Kuroda and Eric Chavez Beat Baltimore 2-1

Eduardo Nunez really shouldn’t be the story of this game. Hiroki Kuroda, Mike Teixeira, Eric Chavez, and the Yankee bullpen all had great games, and Eduardo Nunez was just playing a new position. But really, what image are you going to remember about this game a few days from now? For me, its Eduardo Nunez stumbling his way toward fly balls in the outfield, but still managing to catch them for outs.

Nunez’s dangerous play out in left was just one ostensible indicator that Hiroki Kuroda, while effective, was getting lucky in the field. He put a lot of fly balls to the Yankee defense, but managed to bend-but-not-break his way toward a one-run, seven-inning performance. Lucky or not, I’ll take that. The Yankees, Curtis Granderson in particular, got big outs for Kuroda when he needed them. It serves me right for writing about how bad the Yankee defense was just eight hours ago. Kiroda’s willingness to throw strikes and put the ball in play got him past the 7th inning in just 87 pitches, which should be a sign of good things to come.… Click here to read the rest

Pitching, defense, lead Yankees to 2-1 victory over O’s

Eduardo Nunez was playing left field for the very first time in his major league career, so of course the very first batter of the game hit one his way. Nunez actually caught it, however, as well as catching the final out of the inning coming in on a softly hit ball from the bat of Nick Markakis. The landing looked a little rough, but on the whole Nunez was actually not terrible in the outfield tonight.

Raul Ibanez was a different story in right, however, as he misplayed a high fly ball off the bat of Matt Wieters at the wall in the second, allowing Adam Jones to advance to third, though holding Wieters at first, at least. To be honest, at first blush I thought it was a decent play by Ibanez to knock the ball down before it went over the wall, but upon review it turned out Ibanez just horribly mistimed his jump and completely missed a ball most competent outfielders would catch 9.5 times out of 10.… Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report: 4/30/12

Trenton rallied to beat Portland 6-3:
The Thunder scored early, as Abraham Almonte started the game with a single to right.  He stole second and moved to third when Dan Brewer grounded out.  Almonte scored on a single from Cody Johnson, and Trenton had the first run of the game.  Portland tied the game in the fourth, when Graham Stoneburner was pulled for Michael Dubee.  Trenton responded in the top of the fifth.  Ronnier Mustelier singled to right with two outs and moved to third on a single from Johnson.  The bases loaded when Melky Mesa was hit by a pitch and Luke Murton singled Mustelier in to give Trenton a 2-1 edge.  Portland got the run back in the bottom of the inning, but the Thunder responded in the sixth.  Addison Maruszak reached on an error by the Sea Dogs’ shortstop.  Yadil Mujica singled to center and Almonte walked to load the bases.  Maruszak scored on a ground out from Mustelier and the Thunder took the lead once again.  … Click here to read the rest

Game 22: Keep the Ball on the Ground

Given the Yankees luck with injuries thus far, many were left incredulous at the sight of Nick Swisher being helped off the field yesterday – particularly those of us who remembered the groin woes that sidelined Swisher for a portion of Spring Training. Thankfully, the jovial slugger isn’t likely to miss more than a week or so, per Girardi – though Swisher is eying a Thursday return date, perhaps with the hopes that a strong performance will result in a buffet of succulent Kansas City barbecue.

On tonight’s pessimistic agenda, however, we see the corner outfield positions manned by Eduardo Nunez – he of 18.1 professional innings in the outfield – and Raul Ibanez (whose mere presence in the outfield may well be a violation of Hiroki Kuroda’s human rights). The pragmatist in me suggests that Nunez’s speed and strong arm will be an asset in the outfield, and I do think that some folks in the know must have a fair bit of confidence in his abilities to toss him to the wolves like this.… Click here to read the rest

Despite Historic Pace in April, Yankees Offense Leaves Fans Wanting More

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog; follow me on Twitter at@williamnyy23).

The Yankees’ offense is a victim of high expectations. Whenever the team loses a game or two, it has become fashionable to blame the lineup’s inability to get the “big hit” and lament all of the men left on base.  The more logical reaction would be to point a finger at the team’s underperforming rotation, which has compiled the second lowest quality start ratio in the major leagues and put the Yankees in a first inning hole of at least three runs on four occasions. But, that’s too easy. So, instead, fans fixate on the offense’s inability to get the one hit needed to finish off a big comeback.

How good has the Yankees’ offense been over the first month of the 2012 season? Well, for starters, the team’s 5.62 runs scored per game is the best in the major leagues. And, as if that wasn’t sufficiently impressive, the 128.7% premium over the American League average of 4.37 runs per game represents the second highest comparative advantage in franchise history.… Click here to read the rest

Previewing Yankees Vs. Orioles: CC…And Who?

Here are some statistics that might interest you: the Yankees are in the top 5 in every meaningful batting category. Seriously, don’t bother worrying about that. Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova have averaged a 16.44% HR/FB rate combined. Over their careers, they’ve averaged 9.4%. The three “and who?” guys have averaged a .369 BABIP in 2012; their career average (combined) sits around .290. Their 2012 ERAs are 4.38 (Kuroda), 7.88 (Hughes), and 5.18 (Nova); their 2012 xFIPs and SIERAs (two fielding-independent statistics that tend to be predictive of future ERA) are 3.85 and 4.00 (Kuroda), 4.68 and 3.91 (Hughes), and 3.13 and 3.13 (Nova). I’m not saying that these three guys are lighting the world on fire every time they go out there. But I am saying that they haven’t been a) nearly as bad as some media members might have you think, and b) not as bad as their superficial numbers indicate.

Does this mean they’re going to be world-beaters in 2012?… Click here to read the rest