Tonight, the 2013 Major League Baseball season begins, with the Texas Rangers playing the Houston Astros. The most beautiful thing about the baseball season is that it changes how I spend my leisure time. Nothing on TV tonight? They always play baseball. Can’t think of something to do after work? Call a buddy and watch some baseball. Don’t know how to spend time on a sunny afternoon? Upper deck tickets are cheap on Stub Hub and the 4 train moves fast. 162 games plus the playoffs means something to do, something to watch and something to talk about for half the year, and in terms of weather it’s the better half of the year.
After the gift of always having something entertaining to do, my second favorite thing about the baseball season is following story lines. Most Yankee fans are upset because the team enters 2013 in the weakest state that it has been in since 2008. Not only is the team not favored to win the AL East, but many believe the team will miss the playoffs. Win or lose, challenging seasons at least give fans like me more story lines to follow. When the Yankees put a juggernaut on the field and it demolishes its opponents every success was essentially scripted and only the failures make headlines. When the team is predicted to struggle, as it is this year, then new story lines will emerge, not only about failure but also about unexpected success. If the Yankees are going to make the playoffs they’re going to need to get strong performances from a number of players who are not household names, especially while household names Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson are on the DL. Here are some of the story lines I’ll be following during the first month of the season:
LHP Vidal Nuno
Nuno wasn’t originally supposed to start today’s game, Adam Warren was.
Today’s game is at 2:05 p.m. and will be on the YES Network.
The prognostications for the Yankees 2013 season have featured a lot of “doom and gloom” by virtue of their aging rosters and the injuries that seem to keep racking up. However, things may not be as bleak as they seem and bear in mind that I am no doctor, although I have told innumerable people that I play one on TV, but from the news that has been coming out in regards to the slew of shelved Bombers it seems that this rag-tag group that will take the field on Opening Day will only have to “hold the fort” until June.
Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, who accounted for a combined 67 homers and 190 RBI’s last season, are slated to return from their respective stints on the DL, in May (Granderson) and June (Teixeira). Even in an absolute worst case scenario where this team finds themselves double-digit games under .500 (which is unlikely), there will still be more-than-ample time for them to find their groove with their sluggers back in the lineup. The best case scenario would be if the former center-piece of the Jesus Montero trade, Michael Pineda is able to work his way back from injury during that same time span in June. Imagine for a second, what these same talking heads will say if Pineda and his power arm join this already-formidable rotation, it will undoubtedly make them front-runners for the AL East once again.
Take a moment and try to look at the laundry list of key injuries as a blessing in disguise because it may actually force this team to figure out a way to score runs outside of the “long ball.” God forbid the vaunted Yankees ever try to manufacture a run and win a game 3-2 as opposed to 8-5. In the absence of their sluggers, the Yankees will be forced to adapt and will look a lot more like the Oakland A’s than the Yankees, especially having acquired high OBP guys over the off-season like Travis Hafner and the renowned “Greek God of Walks,” Kevin Youkilis.
The Yankees being forced to adapt the way in which they score runs comes at a convenient time, as realignment (for better-or-worse) has made Inter-league play a daily occurrence. Basically what I’m trying to say is start getting used to a lot more base-stealing and bunting in order to move runners over, essentially some more National League style baseball. The prospect is also a little scary if you think about it, especially with the age of the pitching staff, the likelihood of a Starter getting injured is increased exponentially by having to pick up a bat, just ask Chien-Ming Wang.
From a spoiled Yankee fan’s perspective, a little adversity should make things more fun ala the latter Torre years where early season swoons eventually gave way to late-season rallies and playoff berths. Regardless, fans should saddle up for a bumpy ride over the first few months of this season and think about warmer weather and hopefully a healthier roster.
In not very surprising news, the Yankees designated David Aardsma for assignment. Via Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger:
The Yankees designated David Aardsma for assignment. Team felt he couldn’t provide distance in ‘pen. “He didn’t really fit,” Girardi said.
Aardsma signed as a free agent with the Yankees in February 2012, as he was making his way back from a 2011 Tommy John surgery. He appeared in one game for the Yankees last year, giving up a home run, walking one and striking out one batter in one inning of work.
Two weeks ago, I took a look at Brennan Boesch‘s hitting mechanics, and saw some changes in his approach from 2011 to 2012. The outfielder admitted that a thumb injury and subsequent surgery forced him to change some aspects of his swing, but looked to correct these in 2013.
Of the changes he made over the previous two seasons, Boesch brought his hands closer to the hitting zone, and the bat closer to his shoulder. When he entered camp with the Yankees, the left-hander’s stance was still very similar to his 2012 approach, with the exception of a two-handed follow-through. Though he missed some time with the club over the last week, it looks like Boesch has corrected his hands, and reverted back to a one-handed follow-through.
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And for everyone who was bitching about the Yankees releasing David Adams, bitch no more.
Bryan Hoch just tweeted that the Yankees have signed him.
“Yankees have signed IF David Adams to a minor league contract. Was released this week when Vernon Wells was acquired.”
Adams was released when the Yankees signed Vernon Wells but it was thought that the Yankees would turn around and sign him. And they did!
Good afternoon, everyone!
It’s the last Friday without meaningful baseball until almost Christmas (not really) and the Yankees are down in Washington D.C. to take on the Washington Nationals in an exhibition game. The game starts at 2:05 p.m. and will be shown on YES.
Here’s the lineup that will be facing Jordan Zimmerman:
LHP Andy Pettitte
Hey guys, did you hear about the Yankees and how awful they’re going to be this season?
The Yankees are dead this year, everyone. According to nearly every major sports outlet, we shouldn’t even bother watching them this season. Maybe we should all root for the Mets? Oh wait, that wouldn’t be fun either.
Just when you thought Juan Rivera being released by the Yankees would be the biggest news of yesterday, Johan Santana and his shoulder took over the crown. It seems Santana retore his surgically repaired shoulder and will be out all of 2013 and may possibly have to retire.
That is awful news and I feel bad for him, for the Mets and for their fans. Johan Santana is an amazing pitcher and to see his career possibly end like this is not very fun.
Back to the Yankees and their eulogies, here’s one from Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, saying how the Yankees will finish in last place in the AL East but, don’t worry fans, they won’t actually be terrible.
Good friend of the blog, Rebecca Glass, wrote a piece for the Sweetspot on ESPN about Yankee fans and their expectations for this season. It’s been a while since we’ve gone into a season with such low expectations and maybe that might be a good thing? Instead of expecting something, we should hope for it. It’s a different way to go about rooting for the Yankees but it may be the only way to stay sane.
- Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger writes a great piece about Brian Cashman staying optimistic while the fan base is pessimistic.
- His colleague Steve Politi thinks the Yankees will be fine this year but I have a bone to pick with him about his Alex Rodriguez section of the piece. How come when people bring up how bad A-Rod was from July – October, they neglect to include the fact that he was out from July – September with a broken hand? That seems like a large oversight, doesn’t it?
The in case you missed it IIATMS edition:
The season starts in a few days and predictions are like opinions–everybody has one. Now is the time to poll our top notch panel of IIATMS / YA writers to see who is on the money when it comes to predictions. Each one of us was asked to name the division winners, the wild cards, the post season awards and make one additional bold prediction. The only thing we forgot was to predict which league will win the All Star game.
Did any of us predict the Yankees to win the American League East? It should be in the bag now that Juan Rivera was jettisoned, right?
Let’s start with the founders and emeritus types:
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