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 and An A-Blog for A-Rod, 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

Bottom Of The Order Coming Up Big Lately

Ichiro vs CHW

I’m actually going to say something positive about Ichiro. Believe it. Courtesy of Getty Images

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod.  Stats, for once, have been updated to include last night’s game)

Consistent offensive production continues to be a big problem for the Yankees as May winds down.  Carlos Beltran is on the DL, Teix may or may not have to join him because of his wrist stiffness, and Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano have been unable to find their footing to carry the middle of the order.  Despite all of this, the Yankees have won 4 of their last 7 games and 8 of their last 13 over the last 2 weeks.  It’s been the bottom of the order and the rotating cast of characters inhabiting it that have had a lot to do with that.

Look no further than Brian Roberts‘ game-winning hit with the bases loaded in the 12th on Monday as an example.  That was his 3rd hit in 6 extra inning plate appearances this season and he has 5 hits, 4 runs scored, and 2 RBI in his last 4 games.  …

Read more

Joe Needs To Keep Lengthening The Leash On His Young Starters

Joe-Nuno vs CHW

Courtesy of Getty Images

A funny thing happened this last turn through the rotation.  Joe showed a little more faith in his trio of young replacement starters, allowing all of them to work deeper into the game than they have since taking spots in the rotation, and the world didn’t collapse in on itself.  In fact, the Yankees won 2 of the 3 games pitched by David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, and Chase Whitley, and may have snuck out a win in the other game if Joe had put a competitive lineup on the field.

The Yankees have had a ton of problems in their rotation already this year, almost all of them due to injury.  The latest issue has been not getting enough length from the starters and it was an issue partially perpetuated by Joe and his quick hook with these 3.  He knows who his bullpen aces are and he’s leaned heavily on them to carry the burden of holding leads rather than leave it in the hands of pitchers in which he doesn’t have as much confidence.  …

Read more

Why No Gardner?

Joe Dugout

Really shouldn’t take that much thought. Courtesy of Getty Images

I’ve written this post before, but if you’re not familiar with it, here’s the updated version.

Joe decided to give Brian McCann and Brett Gardner a night off last night and Derek Jeter a half-night off by DHing him against lefty Chris Sale.  That left the middle of his lineup pretty thin and the bottom half of his lineup almost non-existent.  A 6-9 of Brian Roberts, John Ryan Murphy, Brendan Ryan, and Zoilo Almonte wouldn’t be ideal against Chris Hammond let alone the best left-handed pitcher in the American League, but that’s what Joe went with.

Sale predictably shut down that weak lineup over his 6 innings of work.  Made them look terrible.  Took them out back and slapped them around like children.  The only thing that stopped the madness was the pregame pitch count limit Robin Ventura had put on Sale.  Now resting McCann I get.  …

Read more

Jacoby’s Rotten Month Of May

Ellsbury K vs SEA

Courtesy of Getty Images

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod.  Stats have not been updated to reflect yesterday’s game)

It’s been the best of times and the worst of times for Jacoby Ellsbury in his first 2 months as a New York Yankee.  In April, he hit .312/.369/.452 in 103 plate appearances divided between the leadoff and #3 lineup spots, played a solid center field, and made a very good first impression on Yankee fans.  He was among the team and American League leaders in hits (29), runs scored (14), and stolen bases (8).

May has been far less kind to Ellsbury.  His production has dropped off dramatically, he’s been a negative fWAR player, and the whispers about the Yankees overpaying have started popping up as they usually do when a player signs the kind of contract Jacoby did to come to new York.  After last Tuesday night’s 0-fer, Ellsbury’s May slash line is down to .206/.315/.302.  He’s scored 1 run in his last 5 games, has 1 hit in his last 7, 1 stolen base in his last 14, and 1 RBI in his last 15.  …

Read more

Report: Shawn Kelley’s Rehab Shut Down After Setback

That’s not good news.  There was a slight chance that the Yankees could have gotten Shawn Kelley back this weekend, but that’s not happening now.

Joe informed the media before this afternoon’s game that Kelley suffered a setback with his rehab work and is being shut down for the time being.  He played catch on Monday and woke up yesterday with more back stiffness, so clearly he’s not even close to ready to return to action.  According to Dan Barbarisi, tests on Kelley’s back are still coming back negative, which is good news, but the team is “taking it slow” for now.  No timetable for his return, more on this as it comes out.

Read more

Maintaining Kuroda’s Workload Restriction In The Face Of A Rotation Depletion

Kuroda vs PIT

Courtesy of the AP

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

It’s Pitcher Workload Monday Week around here, huh?  That’ll happen when 60% of your Opening Day rotation is on the DL and replaced with 3 guys who struggle to complete 6 innings.  Further complicating matters is the fact that one of the remaining 2 healthy starters, Hiroki Kuroda, entered this season with a workload restriction attached to him.  Similarly to how Joe handled Andy Pettitte last season, the plan for Kuroda was to be a 6-inning/100-pitch pitcher for the most part.  The thought was that by limiting him to those thresholds early, it would help prevent the late-season decline in performance he experienced in 2013.  It’s also a smart “better safe than sorry” strategy to take with a pitcher in his late 30s.

The problem with that strategy is that the substitution of Nuno-Phelps-Whitley for Nova-Pineda-Sabathia has put an extra strain on the bullpen.  One way to help alleviate that strain would be to let Kuroda pitch a little deeper in his outings, something Joe had the opportunity to do that in yesterday’s Sunday’s opening doubleheader game.  …

Read more

Gardner Thriving In The Leadoff Spot

Brett Gardner, Travis d'Arnaud

Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees brought Jacoby Ellsbury in to be their leadoff hitter.  They knew that, he knew that, and Brett Gardner knew that.  With Ellsbury hitting first and Derek Jeter holding down the #2 spot based more on reputation and tribute rather than merit, Gardner was left without a clearly defined role or spot in the batting order heading into the season.  Best suited to hit in the 1 or 2 spot, Gardner was relegated to the bottom third of the order as a pseudo-sorta second leadoff hitter.

At least he was until the injury problems started.  Between Mark Teixeira‘s strained hammy and now Carlos Beltran‘s elbow bone spur, the Yankees have had to use Ellsbury to lengthen the middle of their lineup a lot in the first 40+ games.  When Joe has had to bump him down to the 3-hole, it’s been Gardner who’s gotten the call to replace him atop the order.  While Gardner’s first go-round in the leadoff spot in early April wasn’t bad by any means (15-48, 4 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 1 SB in 10 G), his second effort over the last week and change has been much better.…

Read more

Are Warren And Betances Being Overworked?

Warren vs SEA

Courtesy of Getty Images

The Yankees split yesterday’s doubleheader against the Pirates in part because they were working with an undermanned bullpen all day.  Joe declared Dellin Betances unavailable before the first game after pitching him for 2+ innings on Thursday and Saturday and 3 times in the last 7 days, and Adam Warren became unavailable after the first game when Joe went to him in the 8th for the 3rd time in 4 days and watched him give up 3 hits and record only 2 outs.

D-Rob finished up that game with his second straight 4-out save, so he may not have been available for the second game either.  What was certain was that his current top 2 setup men were definitely not available and their shoddy replacements got beat for 2 late runs that sealed the Yankees’ fate.  Betances and Warren are still pretty new to the higher-leverage relief gig thing, but it’s not a stretch to say they’re light years better than the Alfredos Aceves and Prestons Claiborne of the world.  …

Read more

Dellin Betances Says Hello

 

Get a gander at that right there.  That’s Dellin Betances‘ pitch location plot from last night.  In case you missed it and somehow started reading this post before any kind of game recap, Betances was brought in with 2 on and 2 out in the bottom of the 5th inning.  He got a groundball out to finish that inning and then proceeded to strike out the next 6 batters he faced in order to get through the 7th.  It was downright murderous.

By the simple counting numbers, Betances’ 2.1 perfect innings worked out to 27 pitches, 20 strikes, and 8 swings and misses.  Most of those were on the curveball, which Betances used to register all 6 of his strikeouts, and that location plot gives you an idea of how they were moving last night.  The Mets hitters were so baffled by it that they almost couldn’t swing.  4 of the 6 Ks were looking.  It was like Betances had the ball on a string.  …

Read more