Quick Hit: Today’s Lineup, and the Almost Best Defense

Derek Jeter, Brian McCann, and Mark Teixeira have the day off, so today’s lineup will be:

Brett Gardner, LF
Martin Prado, 3B
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carlos Beltran, DH
Chase Headley, 1B
Stephen Drew, SS
Francisco Cervelli, C
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Brendan Ryan, 2B

Shane Greene, SP

The defensive alignment of this team is almost perfect, with Drew and Ryan playing up the middle, strong defenders throughout the outfield, and Headley and Prado at first and third, respectively. However, Headley is the superior defender at third, and Prado has played 56 games at first base, as compared to four for Headley. While moving from third to first is a move down on the defensive spectrum, it is not necessarily a transition that can be made easily at the drop of the hat, so it seems curious that Joe Girardi would downgrade at both positions this afternoon.

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Quick Hit: Tonight’s Lineup, Roster Moves

The first pitch for tonight’s game is scheduled for 8:05 PM. Here’s your lineup:

Brett Gardner, CF
Derek Jeter, SS
Brian McCann, 1B
Carlos Beltran, DH
Chase Headley, 3B
Francisco Cervelli, C
Brian Roberts, 2B
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Zoilo Almonte, LF

David Phelps, SP

To make room for Almonte, Jeff Francis was designated for assignment. This can be filed under ‘duh,’ insofar as predictability is concerned, as the team was carrying thirteen pitchers on the active roster, including three left-handed relievers (the other two being David Huff and Matt Thornton).

So long (for now), Jeff. We hardly new ye.

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Today’s Lineup: Wheeler In Right

Yanks going with a little bit of a different look at the bottom today as they continue to deal with life without Teix and KJ.  Here’s how Joe filled out his card for this afternoon’s series finale:

1) Gardner- LF
2) Jeter- SS
3) Ellsbury- CF
4) Beltran- DH
5) McCann- 1B
6) Headley- 3B
7) Cervelli- C
8) Wheeler- RF
9) Ryan- 2B

SP) Greene

Here’s hoping Brendan Ryan can handle second base better than B-Rob has been with sinker baller Greene on the hill.  Game thread coming up later.

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Tonight’s Lineup: 7/18/14

Featuring the return of Carlos Beltran from the 7-day concussion DL.  He’ll bat 6th as the DH and the rest of tonight’s lineup looks like this:

1) Gardner- LF
2) Jeter- SS
3) Ellsbury- CF
4) Teix- 1B
5) Big Mac- C
6) Beltran- DH
7) Ichiro- RF
8) B-Rob- 2B
9) Johnson- 3B

SP) Phelpsie

You’ll remember that Bryan Mitchell was sent down to Triple-A during the break, so the Yankees already had an open 25-man roster spot.  No other move was made to get Beltran back into the mix.  Here’s hoping that little rest was enough for the rest of his body and he can start hitting again.

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Seven (straw) arguments for Ellsbury leading off

I am saving you folks a bunch of time making comments by admitting up front that I am creating a flawed statistical argument to support a personal bias and belief. I want Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off for the Yankees. That is what he was signed to do and that is not what he is doing. And since I am not a statistical genius like many of my colleagues here, I can only create weak statistical arguments to support my biased belief. I bet you have never seen an opening paragraph like this one before.

At least I am being honest here. Like many Yankee observers in 2014, I am extremely surprised by the offensive efforts of this team. Offense was not supposed to be a problem this year. And yet it is. The team is 22nd out of 30 MLB teams in runs scored. The team has a 93 OPS+. The offense more resembles last year’s ragtag outfit than a team that was “fixed” in the off season by some key upgrades.…

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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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Kelley’s Return To The ‘Pen A Very Welcome One

Kelley vs CHC

Courtesy of Getty Images

It’s been exactly 5 weeks since Shawn Kelley was put on the disabled list with back stiffness and 5 weeks and a day since he last pitched in a Major League game.  Before he hit the DL, Kelley had been a critical part of what, at the time, was an overachieving bullpen.  He had a 3.52/2.36/3.83 line and 16 strikeouts in 15.1 IP, all of them worked as either the setup man or closer.  The Yankee ‘pen has stayed afloat and even flourished in parts without Kelley for the past month, primarily because Dellin Betances and Adam Warren have proven that their strong April starts were no fluke.  They’ve teamed up to build a very sturdy bridge to D-Rob, but the return of Kelley to the late-inning mix tonight should help reset the workload arrangement for the group and make the Yankee ‘pen even deeper and better.

Based on his preference for defined roles and the fact that Kelley was his handpicked setup man at the start of the season, I don’t see Joe keeping Betances and Warren where they are and having Kelley work middle relief.  …

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Yangervis Solarte Should Probably Be Batting Second

Solarte HR vs MIL

Courtesy of the AP

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod.  Stats have not been updated to reflect last night’s game.  Solarte went 2-4 with a BB and a HR)

If you had Yangervis Solarte as your pick for the player who would be leading all qualified Yankees in batting average, OPS, wOBA, and RBI on May 13th, then congratulations.  You’re a smarter person than I.  Even after cooling off from his smoking hot initial start, Solarte has maintained a level of consistent aboave-average production over the last month that nobody else on the team can match.  He’s got a hit in each of the last 7 games (multiple hits in 4 of those 7), 11 of the last 13, and he’s either scored or driven in a run in 6 of the last 7.

This latest stretch of good hitting has come at a time when the Yankees aren’t getting much from the middle of their lineup, and in that respect Solarte has been a quiet lifesaver.  …

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Designated hitter again a problem for the Yankees

A writer often comes up with random ideas and then says, “Yeah, let’s go with that one.” For me, today’s idea was about the Yankees and the designated hitter position. The silly part was realizing that the Yankees are in Milwaukee for a weekend series against the Brewers and will not have a designated hitter in the National League park. Oops. Well, hold on to these thoughts for later, okay? The bottom line here is that the Yankees are not getting much from the DH position thus far this season.

The good news, at least, is the DH has been better than last year. Last year was awful as the Yankees had an OPS of just .583 out of the DH position compared to the average OPS in Major League Baseball (all positions) of .706. In theory, if you designate a player to hit for you as a bonus in the lineup, you would like that player to actually hit.

With that little bit of good news out of the way, the 2014 Yankees are still below average from the designated hitter position.…

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