Game Thread: Yankees at Indians, Sunday August 26, 2012

After a disappointing sweep at the hands of the White Sox, the Yankees have split their opening games in the series against Cleveland. Every time it looks like the Yankees are going to start playing well in the second half, they seem to lose steam. Losing two of three to Cleveland after dropping three in a row to the White Sox would cement that. Every game may not be a must win at the moment, but the Yankees will put themselves in that situation if they let the Rays close to within two games in the AL East. Things are Continue reading Game Thread: Yankees at Indians, Sunday August 26, 2012

Game 127: RISP-ing Queens

Last night, the Yankees just couldn’t get it done against Justin Masterson and the Indians–but they did have some chances. They suffered from a combination of bad luck and good pitching, as my colleague William rightly pointed out, but there was a good deal of impotence at important moments, an incredibly frustrating display that will hopefully be scrubbed from our memory by this afternoon.

Today, they take on ex-best-player-EVER Ubaldo Jimenez, who has toppled quite a ways since his brilliant summer of command and power–he has a 9-12 record with a whopping 5.59 ERA. So we should see some chances for the on-again, off-again Yankee offense.

On the other side of the mound (metaphorically speaking) is Freddy Garcia, who rolls into this matinee with a 7-5 record, and a 4.96 ERA.

Yankees (73-53)
D. Jeter, SS
N. Swisher, RF
R. Cano, 2B
M. Teixeira, 1B
C. Granderson, CF
E. Chavez, 3B
R. Ibanez, DH
I. Suzuki, LF
C. Stewart, C
Indians (55-71)
J. Kipnis, 2B
A. Cabrera, SS
S. Choo, RF
C. Santana, C
M. Brantley, CF
C. Kotchman, 1B
M. LaPorta, DH
J. Hannahan, 3B
E. Carrera, LF Continue reading Game 127: RISP-ing Queens

Captain Clutch the new hit king?

Derek Jeter’s 2012 season has rapidly become a modern-day Juan Ponce de Leon story. Somehow, after an abysmal 2010 and a mediocre 2011, the one they call Captain Clutch has been graced by the Fountain of Youth. I don’t think any Yankee fans are complaining.

Despite turning 38-years-old earlier this summer, Jeter is currently leading the MLB in hits, ranks seventh in batting average, and is in the midst of his best season since 2009. I am by no means naïve enough to think that Derek Jeter has transformed back into the Jeter we all grew to know and love in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Do not expect Captain Clutch to continue to deliver like this day in and day out over the course of the next few years. Science and age are entirely against him.

Earlier this week (Tuesday), in a loss to the other Sox (Chicago), Jeter homered to claim his 3,256th career hit. An astonishing number to say the least, but also a special number. It brought Captain Clutch within 1,000 hits of the all-time hit king, Pete Rose. Rose’s 4,256 hits is one of those iconic numbers in sports that nobody ever could see falling. Could Mr. Jeter change that?

Pete Rose was also in the midst of his 17th full season as a 38-year-old playing for the Philadelphia Phillies (his first team other than the Reds). Amazingly, the one that was known as Charlie Hustle played until the ripe age of 45 (nothing too crazy like Roger Clemens). In his seven seasons after turning 38-years-old (from 39 to 45), Rose compiled 884 hits, an average of 126.29 a year. He only batted over .300 one time in those years, as a 40-year-old. Prior to becoming an old man, Rose had ten 200+ hit seasons.

In 16 full seasons (1995 he only played in 15 games), Jeter compiled 3,076 hits, an average of 192.25 a year. He also had seven seasons of 200 or more hits (this year will likely be number eight) and is the only New York Yankee to secure 3,000 hits. Jeter also has only had six seasons in which he slugged out less than 190 hits.

Both players are simply phenomenal. Consistency like this is not something you see every day, or really ever. The real question is does Jeter have the desire to play another five, six, or dare I say seven years? Captain Clutch is averaging 1.39 hits a game in 2012, putting him on a pace to end the season with 222 hits. This would give him a grand total of 3,310, 946 shy of Rose’s record. If Jeter were to hypothetically play five more seasons, he would need to average 189 hits a year. If Jeter were to play six more years, he would need to average 158 hits a year. And if he were to somehow keep it going until the ripe age of 45-years-old and play seven more seasons, he would need to average 135 hits. This would be feasible, but is it really desirable?

Jeter has never been about the records and individual accolades. He has always been about one thing: Winning. His current contract is set to end at the end of the 2013 season with a player option in 2014. After the debate that went down the last time Jeter was in contract negotiations, I do not think anybody wants to go through that again. If Jeter gets another ring this year or in 2013, his career will definitely be over. Even if he doesn’t, I do not see this guy playing into his forties the way Rose did. Jeter is a first-ballot Hall of Famer even if he retires right now. If you asked me today, I would say Charlie Hustle’s record is safe. Unless, Jeter decides to hold onto the Fountain of Youth for another half-decade. Continue reading Captain Clutch the new hit king?

Would A-Rod make sense for the Dodgers?

In the wake of the mega-deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto from the Red Sox to the Dodgers, a question popped up immediately in the minds of many Yankee fans, myself included. The Dodgers seem to have no regard for future obligations with their deep pocketed new ownership group. The Red Sox just got out from under 262M of contracts and have effectively hit the reset button for their franchise with one fell swoop. If there’s one contract the Yanks have on the books that they would love to get out from under, it’s Continue reading Would A-Rod make sense for the Dodgers?

RISP failure or bad luck and good pitching?

Last night’s loss to the struggling Cleveland Indians was a frustrating adventure for those who root for the New York Yankees. After a tough first inning, Hiroki Kuroda delivered a terrific performance that should have been good enough for a win. Except it was not. And the Yankees had several big opportunities to knock out Justin Masterson and it simply did not happen. Folks on Twitter used the #RISPFail hashtag on several occasions. Michael Kay, the Yankees play by play man, talked about “wasted opportunies” at the end of the game and most recaps of the game were critical of the outcome and the performance of the Yankees’ offense. Our own Gabe Lezra, in his terrific game recap last night tried to mitigate those feelings of failure somewhat. But let’s talk specifics. Sometimes failure is just bad luck and good pitching. Let’s look at each of last night’s “failures” a little more closely.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading RISP failure or bad luck and good pitching?

The Farm Report: 8/25/12

Empire State lost to Lehigh Valley 9-5:
The Yankees got ahead quickly, as Chris Dickerson doubled and Corban Joseph followed with a single to let. A single by Eduardo Nunez plated Dickerson and Joseph scored on a single by Brandon Laird for a 2-0 lead. Lehigh Valley got one run back in the bottom of the inning. Dickerson drew a walk in the second and Nunez singled, putting runners on the corners. Ronnier Mustelier grounded a single to right, scoring Dickerson. Austin Romine followed with a single to center, plating Nunez and the Yankees had a 4-1 lead. Lehigh Valley, however, rallied in the third. Jason Pridie, Steve Susdorf and Cody Overbeck hit consecutive singles, plating a run before Derrick Mitchell knocked a three-run homer for the 5-4 IronPigs edge. They added some insurance with a pair of runs in the fifth and the seventh, taking a 9-4 advantage. The Yankees tried to rally in the ninth, with Joseph starting the inning with a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch and Nunez singled him to third. A sac fly by Romine brought Joseph home, but that was all the Yankees could manage, as they fell 9-5.

Nunez went 3-5 with a run scored and a RBI. Laird went 2-5 with a double and a RBI. Dickerson went 1-4 with two runs scored, a double and a walk. Ramon Ortiz threw 4.1 innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits, four walks and five Ks. Chase Whitley went two innings and held the IronPigs hitless, striking out one.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading The Farm Report: 8/25/12

RISP-tastrophy! Yankees lose 1-3 behind Masterson’s gem, missed opportunities

The Yankees just couldn’t score Saturday evening in Cleveland, but it wasn’t because they couldn’t hit: they put 10 men on against Justin Masterson and the Indians, but couldn’t come up with a hit when it mattered most. Masterson was good on the night–I don’t want to say phenomenal, because it seemed like if things had broken their way the Yankees could’ve scored quite a few off him–and he managed to keep the Bombers’ bats under control, featuring a power sinker, and a strong arsenal of breaking stuff. He controlled the ball well, worked the count, and got outs when it mattered–the prototypical night for a strong, pitch-to-contact type like Masterson. His final line was 6.2 innings, 7 hits, one run, two walks, six K’s–a great performance, especially against the Yankees normally potent lineup.

His counterpart ultimately turned in a strong, albeit not perfect, night of his own: Hiroki Kuroda threw eight innings of three run ball, while allowing four hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts. On many other nights, a performance like that would have proved more than enough to get the win while saving the bullpen–in fact, most fans would happily sign up for eight innings and three runs from their de facto ace, especially with this lineup.
(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading RISP-tastrophy! Yankees lose 1-3 behind Masterson’s gem, missed opportunities

Yankees Blow An Opportunity To Increase Their Division Lead, Lose 3-1

I won’t say tonight’s game was a must-win but I will say it was a game the Yankees should have won. The Indians were in the midst of a nine-game losing streak coming into tonight but snapped that streak by handing the Yankees their fourth loss in five games. So far this has been the road trip from hell for New York who were swept in Chicago and with a loss tomorrow could finish the trip 1-5. Tonight, the Yankees seemed to have the bases loaded every inning and couldn’t do anything. They ended the game 1 for 7 with Continue reading Yankees Blow An Opportunity To Increase Their Division Lead, Lose 3-1

Game 126: Innocent bystanders

The Yankees take on the Cleveland Indians tonight (7:00 PM EST) in a game that will feel, to those who follow these things, almost like an afterthought: the Boston Red Sox officially threw in the towel on their 2012 season (and really the Theo Epstein era) today, dealing (arguably) their best player, Adrian Gonzalez, their onetime ace, Josh Beckett, and their 100-million-dollar-hospital-bill, Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers, for a couple of good prospects (pitcher Rubby Del La Rosa is legit, we think, and Jerry Sands has most of the tools to be fantastic). Oh, and Nick Punto was involved.

It’s fascinating to be a passive observer of this kind of project, especially when the main actors are your bitter rivals. In the long run, I think it’s probably a good move for the Sox. But will I enjoy seeing them at the bottom of the AL East for a couple seasons? Yes. Am I happy that Adrian Gonzalez–who remains one of the most terrifying hitters in baseball–won’t be playing against the Yankees very much? Yes. But more than any of this, I’m interested: interested in where the Red Sox go from here, in the choices they make on a personnel level, in the way they approach the task of pitching a few losing seasons to their fans. Whether I’m interested because I feel like I might just be peering into the future of the Yankees? Maybe, but I think the eventual, inevitable breakup of this Yankee side will be a little less drama-filled, if only because Bobby V won’t be involved (I hope).

But hey, Hiroki Kuroda is pitching for the Yanks against ex-Sox prospect Justin Masterson (his ERA is finally adjusting after a season of low-BABIP-ness). And Derek Jeter is playing great, amirite?! So screw you Skip Bayless, you’re the sports journalism equivalent of Nancy Grace–you act incredibly superior, and no one likes you.

Yankees (73-52)

D. Jeter, SS
N. Swisher, RF
R. Cano, 2B
M. Teixeira, 1B
C. Granderson, CF
E. Chavez, 3B
R. Martin, C
R. Ibanez, DH
I. Suzuki, LF

Indians (54-71)

J. Kipnis, 2B
A. Cabrera, SS
S. Choo, RF
C. Santana, DH
M. Brantley, CF
C. Kotchman, 1B
E. Carrera, LF
J. Hannahan, 3B
L. Marson, C Continue reading Game 126: Innocent bystanders