A catching debate for the Yankees?

During the 2012 season, not only has Russell Martin struggled mightily at the plate (last night notwithstanding), but the pitching staff was floundering. Enter Chris Stewart who was obtained on the last day of Spring Training in a sudden spin of events that landed Francisco Cervelli in Triple-A. We were all kind of stunned at the event. And then C.C. Sabathia sort of fell in love with Stewart and whether Joe Girardi admits it or not, Stewart is Sabathia’s personal catcher. And then Stewart caught Andy Pettitte, who threw eight scoreless innings. Anjd then Chris Stewart caught Hiroki Kuroda, who threw eight scoreless innings and suddenly we have a debate to talk about. Stewart, who is even less capable offensively than Martin, is suddenly the darling of many for his catching skills. But is it a proper debate?

The numbers are so peripheral that they do not even make sense to talk about. Yes, the Yankees are 8-3 when Stewart catches.… Click here to read the rest

Sabathia’s Control Problems Graphed

Starting off this season, CC Sabathia had issues maintaining regular sink on his fastballs. In the span of 5 starts from April 17 to May 10th, the lefty corrected his problems by “getting on top of the pitch”, going 5-0 with a 2.52 ERA, an 8.69 K/9, a 1.14 BB/9, and a 6.68 H/9 in 39.1 IP. Despite pitching against some weak offenses in his 3 starts from May 15th to May 26th, he has gone 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA, a 7.2 K/9, a 4.95 BB/9, and a 9.45 H/9 in 20.0 IP. Strikeouts have been falling while walks and hits have been increasing in a very un-Sabathia-like fashion. I wouldn’t call his recent starts bad, but he hasn’t produced as an ace should, and there are some key issues haunting the southpaw.

As I mentioned above, the struggle in his first couple of starts this year were largely due to an inability to replicate the spin on his sinker and four-seam fastball.… Click here to read the rest

Death by the tiered bullpen is the most agonizing death of all

So here’s last night’s situation: two outs, bottom of the sixth, Angels have the bases loaded with a 6-5 lead and Kendrys Morales at the plate. Morales is a very dangerous hitter, to be sure, but he’s also got a pretty severe platoon split, and is much weaker from the right side of the plate than the left, boasting a career wRC+ of 73 against southpaws, compared to 129 against right-handed pitchers. Joe Girardi had called on right handed specialist Cody Eppley to pitch to the top of the Angels’ lineup three batters prior and, after retiring Mike Trout, Eppley allowed a two out infield single by Maicer Izturis before walking Albert Pujols to load the bases for Morales. Sensibly not wanting Eppley to face a left-handed batting Morales in that situation, and looking dead in the eye of a spot seemingly tailor made for his best left-handed reliever, Girardi called on…David Phelps to pitch to Morales. Predictably enough Morales doubled in a couple of insurance runs to push the Angels lead to 8-5, a fact that would prove incredibly consequential when the Yankees scored three runs in the next inning.… Click here to read the rest

Wondering About David Phelps’ Role

Courtesy of The AP

(The original version of this post was published at An A-Blog for A-Rod last week.  This version has been updated to reflect Phelps’ most recent outing)

The late-spring injuries helped, but David Phelps definitely earned his spot on the Yankee 25-man roster with the job he did in Spring Training, and quickly made people take notice of him after his first few successful appearances out of the ‘pen. Since then, he’s had a couple of rough outings, made a pair of spot starts, and been used in a variety of different scenarios as the pitching portion of the Yankee roster continued to change due to injuries. The roster has been relatively stable since D-Rob hit the DL, and it seems like a good time to talk about just how, and where, Phelps fits in the bullpen hierarchy moving forward.

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag season for Phelps.  In looking at his overall statistial profile, there are plenty of things that stand out both on the good side and the bad. … Click here to read the rest

What’s behind Teixeira’s surge?

It’s hard to tell in retrospect how much of Teixeira’s early season struggles were due to his own approach/failings at the plate and how much were attributable to his physical condition, but whatever the case, Joe Girardi finally decided to give his ailing slugger a rest last weekend against Cincinnati. Tex basically say out the entire series, making just one appearance as a pinch hitter in the final game of the set, before returning to the lineup against Kansas City in the seventh spot in the lineup. Teixeira responded with an okay performance against the Royals, going 2-9 with three walks and a double, before getting another day to rest thanks to the team’s scheduled off day last Thursday.

Since the Yankees began their current road trip, however, Tex has legitimately been on fire. In the four games played so far, Teixeira is 10-16 with three walks, three doubles, and four home runs. His overall season line is all the way up to .263/.330/.491, which is pretty remarkable for its respectability, and his wOBA/wRC+ are up to .351 and 120 respectively, which are both right in line with where he was at the end of last season.… Click here to read the rest

Trumbo, Angels walk off in a see-saw game

Memorial Day clearly meant “offense” to the Yankees and Angels, as they combined for 17 runs, 25 hits, and four errors in a back-and-forth game that ended on a walk-off homer from Anaheim’s Mark Trumbo as the ninth inning started.

The game started off crazily enough, with the Yankees plating three against the Angels and Jeff Weaver leaving the game with an injury before the Angels even had a chance to bat, thanks to an error by Erick Aybar, a Raul Ibanez sac-fly, and another error by reliever Bobby Cassevah. Phil Hughes, though, was kindly enough to give runs right back to the Angels, as he allowed four in the first on a Kendrys Morales single (1), a Mark Trumbo ground-rule double (1), and (of course) a Howie Kendrick single (2). Curtis Granderson, however, didn’t allow the tie to last for long. As the second batter of the second inning, he homered to right off of Cassevah and tied the game.… Click here to read the rest

Trumbo’s walk-off bomb sinks Yankees, 9-8

Hughes hung in there for five and a third innings, but the Angels roughed him up for eleven hits and seven runs. Hughes struck out three and did not walk a batter, but could not keep his fastball out of the sweet spots in the hitting zone and he paid for every one of his mistakes. Even the outs he recorded were hit to the warning track. Those kinds of outings happen once in a while and Hughes will just have to take the ball the next time out and have a better outing.

Bobby Cassevah relieved Weaver and pitched three and a third innings and besides allowing one of Weaver’s base runners to score in the first, kept the Angels in the game. Cassevah did allow a solo homer to Curtis Granderson (his fifteenth of the season) that tied the game and he walked three, but Cassevah probably saved the Angels this ballgame.

Hughes gave up single runs in the third and fourth.… Click here to read the rest