Born in Dover, Delaware and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, Brad now resides in Wisconsin, where he regularly goes out of his way to remind Brewers fans that their team will never be as good as the Yankees. When he’s not writing for IIATMS, he likes to spend his time incorporating “Seinfeld” quotes into everyday conversation, critiquing WWE storylines, and drinking enough beer to be good at darts.

Author Archives: Brad Vietrogoski

Cash’s Options To “Reinforce” The Rotation Are Limited

Cash Presser

Courtesy of Getty Images

Cue up the Cashman hate train!

Less than 2 weeks from the trade deadline and on the eve of his 47-47 team getting their 2nd half underway against the Reds, Brian Cashman spoke to Andrew Marchand yesterday about the team’s plans for said deadline.  It’s been over a week since the Brandon McCarthy and Jeff Francis acquisitions and the trade front has been very quiet since.  The discussion of whether the Yanks will or even should be buyers or sellers has grown louder in that time, and Cash gave some insight as to which way they might be leaning with his comments.  It’s exactly what you’d expect:

“I have to reinforce our pitching, in my opinion.  I have things that I feel I have to try to do, that I’m trying to do, but it is easier said than done…

“We have to try to improve, reinforce and upgrade, certainly.  We certainly we would love to have some significant upgrades but when you lose four out of five starters, it is hard to re-materialize the same type of abilities with the guys you lost.

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Is David Phelps Starting To Settle In?

Phelps vs MIN

Courtesy of Getty Images

For the third straight year, David Phelps opened the season as part of the Yankee bullpen.  For the third straight year, injuries to multiple starters have pushed him into the rotation.  Phelps took a spot in the rotation on May 5th and has been a fixture there ever since.  With Sabathia’s knee a mystery and Tanaka’s elbow a huge concern, the odds are good that Phelps will remain in this role for the rest of the season.

Phelps’ performance as a starter this time around has been pretty good.  In 13 starts he’s pitched to a 3.96/4.08/4.22 slash line with 60 strikeouts and 29 walks in 77.1 innings pitched.  It’s a sizable improvement from the near 5.00 ERA he posted in 12 starts in 2013, a performance that halted some of the momentum he’d made for himself in a strong rookie year and probably got him slotted behind Michael Pineda in this spring’s 5th starter competition.  With new guys like McCarthy and Greene adjusting to their new environment, Phelps has become a much more important piece of the rotation along with fellow holdover Hiroki Kuroda.…

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Evaluating The New Acquisitions At The Break

Beltran-McCann-Ellsbury ST

Courtesy of the AP

A popular thing to do in the blog world at the All-Star break is hand out midterm grades to your team’s players and their first half performances.  Most of the grades you’d see from me if I were to do that would be C’s, and that’s not just because the Yankees have a .500 record and have looked blah in every way through 94 games.  For the most part, things have gone the way the way they had been going and the way they were expected to go for the returning Yankee core.  Father Time has caught up to guys like Derek Jeter and Hiroki KurodaIvan Nova and Michael Pineda have provided more questions than answers about their futures, and CC Sabathia‘s performance decline has continued in perfect harmony with his physical decline.  These guys are who we thought they were and who we were afraid they’d become.

It was the new guys on the block who were supposed to be the fixers.  …

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The Chase Whitley Experiment Has To End In The Second Half

Whitley vs BAL

Courtesy of Getty Images

I can’t imagine there was a scenario where Joe envisioned things being so bad in his rotation this year that he had to use Chase Whitley as a regular member of it.  Even the worst of your average worst-case scenarios don’t get that bad.  When CC Sabathia joined Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova on the DL in mid-May, that worst-case scenario came about in real life and the Yankees were forced to go to the Whitley well.  The move proved to be a good one for a while.  Whitley allowed 2 ER or less in 6 of his first 7 starts, 3 in the other, and gave the battered rotation a needed boost by eliminating walks and keeping the ball in the ballpark.

Right around the time that he got stretched out to a comfortable starter’s pitch count, however, the performance started to sour and sour in a hurry.  Whitley gave up 8 ER in only 3.1 innings against the Blue Jays on June 23rd, his first time facing a team for a second time, and followed that up by allowing 5 in 4+ innings against the Red Sox on June 29th.  …

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Monday Morning Musings After A Week Off

I got to watch the Germany-Brazil World Cup semifinal match on Tuesday in Germany at an outdoor hotel bar surrounded by German people.  Say what you want about the sport itself, but soccer fans are easily the most passionate, energetic sports fans in the world.  The amount of celebrating that was going on in the streets of Hannover after the game was similar to what we see in the US when major colleges win their football or basketball national championships.  And this game wasn’t even for a championship.  Soccer people just LOVE them some soccer.  I can’t think of a time in the last 5 years when a Yankee Stadium environment was even close to half as crazy as that scene.

Not that the Yankees have given the fans much reason to cheer this season.  Or last.  They’ve been just as bad and almost as boring as last year’s team, and they figure to get more boring in the second half now that Masahiro Tanaka is on the DL.  …

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A Refresher Course On Zelous Wheeler, Newest Yankee Call-Up

Zelous Wheeler

Courtesy of the AP

It took 5 straight losses, 9 of 11, and dropping below .500, but the Yankees finally decided to make a move to attempt to help their floundering offense.  As first reported by Donnie Collins and later confirmed and elaborated on by Chad Jennings, last night Zelous Wheeler was called up from Triple-A to join the team in Minnesota.  He will be available for, and possibly playing in, tonight’s game.  No corresponding move has been announced yet, so we still don’t know who’s gone.  That may be something the team is still figuring out.  Because Wheeler needs a 25 and 40-man roster spot, there could be a couple of moving pieces here.

For those unfamiliar, Wheeler is a 27-year-old utility man who’s spent the entire season thus far in Triple-A after receiving a MiL invite to spring camp.  Drafted by the Brewers in the 19th round of the 2007 draft, Wheeler, like Yangervis Solarte before this season, has spent all of his 8-year pro career in the Minors.  …

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Quick Hit: Today’s Lineup

It isn’t pretty.  Here’s the lineup the Yankees will go to battle with today:

1) Gardner- LF
2) Jeter- SS
3) McCann- C
4) Beltran- DH
5) Johnson- 1B
6) Soriano- RF
7) Ichiro- CF
8) Roberts- 2B
9) Solarte- 3B

SP) Nuno

Via the beat reporters, Teix had his left knee drained after last night’s game and so Joe wanted to give him a day off, and Jacoby Ellsbury is out today with what’s being called “general soreness”.  Joe described him as “pretty beat up” when he talked to reporters earlier.

The betting line for runs scored today is 1.5.  Who wants that action?

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Reviewing The Yankees’ Fake Options To Improve The Offense

Jose Molina, Brett Gardner

If you had a ghost runner, you could try again. Courtesy of the AP

I tried to be level-headed and calm about dissecting the real options the Yankees have in front of them to get something going offensively and look where that got us.  With 4 hits in the next 9 innings and only 1 run scored, that run scoring not because somebody came up with a big hit with runners in scoring position, but because the defender who caught a pop up accidentally hit the baserunner trying to advance to second with his throw.  The Yankees had 1 run scored and 0 runs batted in last night, and if I’m being honest, I’m afraid they won’t have the stones to do any of the 3 options I covered yesterday.  So screw it, let’s investigate some “other” ways they can try to jump start the offense.

Cork All The Bats

Do hitters still cork bats?  Is that a thing?  Or is there so much time being spent trying to figure out how to stay ahead of the drug tests that guys don’t have the time to cork a bat anymore?  …

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Reviewing The Yankees’ Options To Improve The Offense

Brian McCann

This guy sucks. Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees lost for the 7th time in their last 9 game last night, and they lost again primarily because their lineup simply can’t score.  They’re the Beavis and Butthead of offensive production, and at the halfway point of the regular season it’s no longer a matter of waiting for guys to get healthy, get comfortable, or “come around”.  It’s a huge problem, one that’s been the biggest reason why this team is floundering around the .500 mark with one of the worst run differentials in MLB and one that needs to be addressed immediately.

Up to now, Joe has been hesitant to do too much with the lineup.  The last move of significance he made was demoting Alfonso Soriano to the bench and that happened weeks ago.  The front office has also been hesitant to make any moves, be they of the “shakeup” variety or the variety that actually helps improve the team.  …

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