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.  …

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Where Has All The Offense Gone?

Ellsbury K vs BOS

I feel ya, Jacoby. I feel ya. Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees should have been catching a big break last night.  Seattle choosing to push back Wednesday’s scheduled starter Roenis Elias rather than skip him meant the Yanks got to avoid getting carved up by Felix Hernandez for the 457th time.  Of course, there’s always that pesky theory about the Yankees never being able to hit rookie pitchers and it played out in full effect last night as Elias held the lineup to 2 runs (1 earned) through 7 innings while striking out 10.  2 runs isn’t enough to get it done with the rotation in the kind of shape it’s in these days and it didn’t get it done last night.

The 2-run output marked the 5th straight game in which the Yankees scored 4 runs or fewer and the 13th game this season in which they’ve been held to 3 or fewer.  Since beating Boston 14-5 last Thursday, the Yankees have scored 13 runs in their last 5 games.  …

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Yankee bats are cold…literally

My overwhelming impression of the Yankees’ season thus far has been players with red noses blowing on their hands…or putting pine tar on their persons to get a grip. Ahem. This is not to say that the Yankees are the only team dealing with the elements. The entire country east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon Line has been well below normal in temperatures. I wanted to see if I could see any correlation with the cold weather and the way the Yankees have hit so far this season. I believe I have discovered anecdotal evidence of the weather hurting the Yankees at the plate.

In my thinking, ideal baseball weather is higher than seventy degrees. The Yankees have played one non-dome game where the temperature was over seventy at game time. They have had three home games where the start-time temperature was over 60, the highest being 66 degrees. All the other games over seventy degrees have been in domes or parks that can be at least partially covered.…

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The Potential Long-Term Effects Of Nova’s Injury

Nova vs TB

Ivan Nova‘s Saturday was already a bad one before the injury was announced.  He was up in the strike zone again, getting knocked around the park, and not giving his team much of a chance to win.  His early exit and subsequent UCL tear diagnosis was a stomach punch to him, a sobering blow to what had been a mostly positive start to the Yankee season, and a possible explanation for his early struggles on the mound.

With Nova now out of the picture for the near future and most likely the remainder of the season, the Yankees will have to find a way to cover for that loss.  They appear to have found a suitable replacement for the short-term in Vidal Nuno, but the baseball season is a long one and it’s barely over 10% old.  More injuries are all but certain and it’s the long-term ramifications of Nova’s injury that are now the concern.  The ripple effect of losing Nova could extend from this past weekend into the final month of the season in a variety of ways, all of which the Yankees will have to consider and be prepared to address moving forward.…

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Corners Cut By Ownership Already Hurting The Yankees

Baseball is a business, and the goal of a team is to make money. The Yankees are in a unique position where their revenue is so high that they can both maintain one of the biggest payrolls in the game, as well as make a ton of money. When the organization went on their spending spree this season, in spite of rumors of a $189 million budget, the message was the clear that the Steinbrenners wanted to put winning ahead of profit. The problem is, the Yankees are starting with a payroll in 2014 that’s nearly $30 million less than 2013, and for the first time in 15 years, the organization no longer has the largest payroll in baseball.

It’s hard to write this without sounding like a spoiled Yankee fan, but I truly believe the Steinbrenners don’t owe fans anything, and I’ve already talked about the brilliant business strategy of the fake budget. The Steinbrenners were able to revitalize the Yankee brand of spending and winning without increasing either, yet the media and fans are caught up in the $500 million investment they made this offseason.…

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Infield Woes On Full Display Yesterday

Question.  What do you get when you combine a 40-year-old shortstop with already severely limited range coming back from a series of various leg injuries, a 36-year-old second baseman who’s played in only 29.6% of all regular season games since 2010, a 26-year-old MiL lifer playing third base, and a backup catcher playing first base for the first time since high school?  Why it’s yesterday’s starting infield, course!

Whether you watched it live or read about it later, you probably already know that yesterday afternoon’s game was a disaster.  Ivan Nova and his poor command are mostly to blame for that, but the infield deserves its fair share too.  The argument could be easily made that nobody on that infield deserved to be a Major League starter as his position and yet there the 4 of them were.  On this day, this was the best a team with a near $204 million Opening Day payroll could muster.

There was Derek Jeter, failing to get to a ball to his left in the 1st inning that was about as tailor made a double play ball as the batter could have possibly hit.  …

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Late Spring Training Injury Roundup

With 8 days until Opening Day, the Yankees enter their final week of ST game action with a few more potential roster holes to plug than they were hoping for.  It’s not competition that’s causing the uncertainty.  The starting lineup and rotation are mostly set, as is the bench, and the bullpen is starting to take shape.  A few late spring injuries have popped up and for now the Yankee training and coaching staffs are addressing them in a very slow and cautious manner.  None of the injuries appear to be too serious and none involve important ligaments or joints, continuing the refreshing string of good luck that Mike E. pointed out last Thursday, but there are a few that are serious enough to possibly affect the look of the Opening Day rosters.

Brendan Ryan- Already out for most of ST, Ryan suffered what I’m calling a setback with his back last week on the day the Yankees tried to get him back into a game.  …

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A voice crying in the infield wilderness

Shoot me if I disagree with just about everyone in the universe, but I like this infield. All due respect to my colleagues who I respect highly and most of our regular comment folks and most experts everywhere, I think the Yankees’ infield will be okay. I don’t want Didi Gregorius or Stephen Drew or Darwin Barney. I am fine taking this infield into the season. Wow…it’s lonely out here.

I have watched a lot of the spring games and I like what I see. I am a little worried about Derek

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

Jeter at the plate. Brian Roberts is moving around real well and looks like the Brian Roberts of five years ago. Mark Teixeira looks healthy and focused. And Kelly Johnson will be better than advertised. After all, he played for the Rays last year. Mick Kelleher likes what he sees.

The Yankees are in a very competitive division. As last year showed, a poor showing hit the attendance and television ratings hard, so there is a lot at stake this year.…

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Beltran’s Foot- Something Or Nothing?

Beltran ST 2014

The off day yesterday gave everybody a chance to step back and reset the ST landscape after a busy first 2 weeks.  Part of that resetting is updating all the injury/health issues in camp and Chad Jennings was generous enough to compile every update on every player into one post.  Most of this stuff is common knowledge to anybody who’s followed camp with any kind of consistency, but there was one name and one ailment on the list I wasn’t aware of.  That name is Carlos Beltran, who’s apparently been dealing with a sore left foot.  Jennings was quick to call it “a complete non-issue,” but his description of the situation doesn’t exactly read as reassuring:

“After playing last Sunday’s game, Beltran had an ice pack on his left foot. He said his toes bother him occasionally, especially if the dirt in the batter’s box is too firm. Said it’s not a problem, and he’s been able to play since then.”

Maybe this is my non-medical brain overreacting, but a player’s toes bothering him when he steps into the batter’s box simply because the dirt is “too firm” this early in the year doesn’t sound like a complete non-issue to me.  …

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