Quick Hit: Jacoby Ellsbury Stinks

Were it not for Slade Heathcott‘s incredible timing, the big talking point from last night’s 9th inning would have been Jacoby Ellsbury and his potentially back-breaking GIDP.  On the first pitch from Brad Boxberger after Dustin Ackley singled to start the inning, Ellsbury rolled a grounder over to the first baseman to start a double play and clear the bases.  After a night of precious few offensive chances, Ellsbury took what looked like the last good one the Yankees would get and flushed it.

If you haven’t been playing close enough attention, Ellsbury has been doing a lot of that lately.  He’s slumping about as badly as anybody on the team has at any point this season, and it climaxed with that GIDP in the 9th.  Ellsbury wakes up this morning with a .254/.315/.354 batting line that is, quite simply, pathetic.  That .660 OPS is almost 30 points below Didi Gregorius‘ season line and a mere 3 ahead of everyone’s favorite Twitter punching bag Stephen Drew.  …

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As The Rotation Turns

It’s been a challenging year for the Yankee starting rotation.  From injury scares to innings limits to uneven performance to forearm strains to unforeseen promotions to undeserved demotions and everything in between.  Yesterday was another chapter in that saga both on and off the field, as Michael Pineda looked terrible in the 2nd inning of his start against the Orioles before rebounding to complete 6 innings and the team announced that Nathan Eovaldi will be out for the next 2 weeks with what’s been called “elbow inflammation”.  Guys getting hurt and missing a few weeks?  That’s basically par for the course for the Yankees this year.

Roll it back to the first month of the season and look what they’ve gone through.  Masahiro Tanaka made 4 starts in April and then went to the DL for a month with right arm problems.  The “he should have had TJS!!” crowd went into overdrive, but Pineda pitched like an ace and helped get the rest of the rotation through that month, highlighting his time at the top of the rotation with a brilliant 16-K performance against the Orioles in May.…

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Was This The End For CC Sabathia?

CC Sabathia future in doubt as Yankees fall out of 1st

Courtesy: Bill Kostroun, NY Post

I was in attendance for Andy Pettitte day yesterday at Yankee Stadium, and it was a huge day of mixed emotions. It certainly started off with a bang with the Pettitte ceremony. It was awesome, even if the crowd again gave a bigger applause to Derek Jeter just like they did on Saturday to Jorge Posada, which was annoying. To see your whole childhood out there on that field really makes you remember why you fell in love with this game and franchise. I even learned some things I didn’t know, like how Pettitte used to throw a knuckle ball. It was very cool stuff.

Then the game happened and it was a train wreck. Sure, a 4-3 game doesn’t seem so bad, yet it was the most excruciating Yankees game I’ve ever been to. There were 16 combined walks and the Yankees struck out 11 times. The umpiring seemed crazy inconsistent from what I could tell in my seats in right field.…

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Looking At The Short And Long-Term Implications Of CC’s Latest Knee Injury

While we’ve all been calling for CC Sabathia‘s removal from the starting rotation for some time now, I don’t think any of us were rooting for an injury to be the reason he got removed.  Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened yesterday and now the Yankees are left to scramble again to keep their pitching staff whole while Sabathia is likely to hit the DL and ponder where he goes from here.

The condition of Sabathia’s right knee has been a red flag all year, with 2 drainings having already taken place and a cortisone shot administered recently.  In Andrew Marchand’s article on the injury yesterday afternoon, Sabathia himself basically admitted that he’s been protecting the knee all season and that his decision to say “screw it” and pitch as hard as he could without focusing on protecting it was the reason for his recent uptick in velocity.  There’s a lot of moving parts to this latest setback, so let’s break it down in terms of short and long-term effects to make it more manageable.…

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That Happened Fast

Welcome to second place, Yankee fans. That happened quickly didn’t it? Thirteen days ago, the Yankees had a seven game lead in the division. Now they are a half a game behind the Blue Jays. I suppose if there is any good news, they are still two and a half games up in the wild card standings. The other good news is that this collapse did not happen at the end of the season. Gene Mauch is safe in that legacy.

What happened here? The bottom line is pretty easy to see. The Blue Jays have won ten in a row and seem incapable of losing (at the moment) while the Yankees have gone 3-7 in that stretch and have lost their last five in a row. Yes, that will do it right there.

If you dig deeper, then two trends emerge: The offense has tanked and the bullpen is built to protect leads, not ties. Let’s start with the offense.…

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Quick Hit: Will No Help Ever Come To Second Base?

While the slumps at the top of the batting order were largely to blame for last week’s offensive power outage, it is worth looking down at the bottom and pointing out that second base has become a black hole again.  The Yankees did nothing to address the position before the trade deadline, seemingly viewing Dustin Ackley as more of a bench outfielder, and now they are reaping the rewards of that decision.

Since the deadline, Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan have combined to go 5-28 with 9 strikeouts and 1 walk.  Only 2 hits have gone for extra bases and both of those came from Drew over a week ago.  In the games against Boston and Toronto, these 2 had 1 total hit.

At what point does that become unacceptable for the Yankees?  At what point is having an automatic out in the lineup every single day something that they’re going to address?  It’s great that they’ve been good enough everywhere else to ascend to the top of the division, but to still be sticking with these guys is insane.  …

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Quick Hit: Dem Road Hittin’ Blues

As cold as they’ve been in the last week or so, it’s been difficult to criticize the Yankee offense this season.  They remain firmly entrenched in the top 5 in MLB in home runs (103), runs scored (365), team slugging percentage (.427) and team wRC+ (107).  Over the full 78-game sample size, the offense has been the most consistent part of this year’s team.

But if there is a legitimate gripe to have with the O, it’s the ever-widening gap between the team’s home/road splits.  That’s been on full display during this road trip, with the Yankees managing a total of 3 runs in their last 3 games.  As of this morning, the Yankees have a .282/.350/.496 team tripleslash at home, good for an MLB best 130 wRC+.  On the road, however, they’re hitting just .233/.300/.369, a slash line that ranks them 19th in baseball with an 87 wRC+.  To put it into a different perspective, the Yankees are basically Jose Abreu at home and Michael Cuddyer on the road.…

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Bad Defense Continues To Hamper The Yankees

Gardner-Jones Drop vs HOU

The look of surprise on Jones’ face is actually pretty funny. Courtesy of Getty Images

The Yankees dropped the series finale in Houston yesterday, and while there’s nothing wrong with splitting a 4-game road series against a division leader, yesterday’s game was another one of those frustrating “coulda, shoulda, woulda” losses that the Yanks seem to have a little too often.

They wasted a very good start by Michael Pineda (2 runs in 8 innings), didn’t muster but 2 hits against what has been a very hittable Colin McHugh this season, and they even committed a defensive error that was worse than anything you could see in the Little League World Series.  In the bottom of the 4th, Carlos Correa lofted a lazy fly ball to left-center field.  Brett Gardner had a bead on it, called for it, and then at the last second pulled back as Garrett Jones did the exact same thing coming for the other direction.  The ball dropped between them for what was scored a double, but then Gardner made things worse by kicking the ball to the wall in his attempt to pick it up.  …

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And the winner of the factually irresponsible Tanaka article of the year goes to…

…Kevin Kernan, for this stunning piece of overly-sensationalized, factually devoid, panic-pandering trash. In a season filled with back seat doctoring, Mr. Kernan has somehow leapt them all with this take. Let’s feast on this buffet of goodness, shall we, with Mr. Kernan’s opener:

This was the sound and the fury.

And the Yankees better take this warning to heart as the decline of Masahiro Tanaka continues.

“…as the decline of Masahiro Tanaka continues“? We’ve been through this before, with the second guessing of the doctors, but hey, facts don’t seem to be a prerequisite for Mr. Kernan or The Post, who pays him to grind his pencil into the paper with a ferocity and anger which should be better applied to warcrimes.

Yes, our favorite elbow ligament surrounded by the body of Tanaka is a source of angst and nervousness for us all, but let’s sneak a quick peek at his last three starts since returning from the DL:


That’s right: Three starts, 1.71 ERA, a grand total of 4 earned runs over 21 innings (an even 7 IP/start).…

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