A Refresher Course On Michael Pineda

Pineda vs CHC

Courtesy of Getty Images

It’s been almost 4 months since Michael Pineda pitched for the Yankees.  16 weeks exactly.  111 days.  That’s a pretty long time, and with his Yankee career up to this point consisting of only the 4 starts he made this earlier season, it raises or re-raises a lot of questions about what we can expect from him tonight and for the remainder of the season.  What kind of velocity will he have on his fastball?  Will he be able to sustain it?  How sharp will his slider be?  How will his command be?  How many pitches/innings will Joe let him throw?  How many will he be able to throw?  Will he get hurt again?  It’s not a short list.

In an attempt to answer or bare minimum be better prepared to answer those questions, let’s take a look back at Pineda’s 4 games in April and revisit what he did in his only meaningful time as a member of the New York Yankees.…

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Can Greene be money again vs Orioles?

Shane Greene faces perhaps the biggest test of his young career tonight when he takes the mound against the division-leading Orioles.

Not only is winning this game crucial to the Yankees razor-thin playoff chances, but the O’s are the first team who will see him a second time as a starter (he has pitched against the Red Sox twice, though one game was a relief outing where he faced only five batters).

Greene has made six starts and has mixed results so far, with three excellent outings and three mediocre outings. One of those outstanding starts was a month ago in Baltimore, the same place he’ll be pitching tonight.

What can we learn from the differences in his pitching performances during his good starts versus his bad starts, and can he neutralize the strong Oriole bats again tonight?

Stay grounded
The biggest takeaway from looking at his good/bad splits is that he needs to keep the ball on the ground to be successful.…

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Prospect Profile: Tyler Webb

Tyler Webb Trenton

Courtesy of the Trenton Thunder Facebook page

When Matt Thornton was claimed and subsequently sent to the Washington Nationals last week, the conversation almost immediately turned from why the Yankees let Thornton go to what young player from the Minors would be his replacement.  The Yanks have a decent stash of lefty relievers, the latest and most high-profile one being this year’s top draft pick Jacob Lindgren.  Lindgren getting moved up to Trenton on the same day Thornton was let go added fuel to the speculative fire that the team was essentially clearing the spot and the lefty specialist role for Lindgren.

In addition to Lindgren and other guys like James Pazos, Pat Venditte, and the recently called up RIch Hill, the name that came up as a potential replacement most often last week was Tyler Webb.  Cashman mentioned him specifically as the closest to earning a call up, and that may have come as a surprise to people who aren’t familiar with Webb’s name or body of work.  …

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Is The Annual Hiroki Kuroda Late-Season Fade Underway?

Hirok vs CLE

Courtesy of Getty Images

Hiroki Kuroda did not look good yesterday.  His command was off, hitters were squaring him up, and he seemed to tire very quickly around the 80-90 pitch mark in the 5th inning, an inning he was unable to complete.  Paired with a similar failure to close an inning in the 7th on Tuesday night against the Tigers, the talk of Hirok slowing down in August as he did last year is quickly picking up.  Is it warranted?  2 starts is hardly enough to say definitively, but there are some SSS numbers worth considering for either side of the argument.

Case For:

The Contact Rates- The split in Hirok’s 2 August starts is 30.6% LD/38.9% GB/30.6% FB.  That’s by far the worst monthly split he’s had all year.  It’s the first time his LD % against has been over 22.0% and the first time his GB rate has dipped below 44.0%.  This isn’t guys sneaking seeing-eye singles through holes in the infield.  …

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Sorting Through The 30 Pitchers Used This Season

You can never have enough pitching.  Everybody who follows baseball knows that saying.  While it may ring true, it’s usually not a good thing to test how much pitching your organization has.  The Yankees have been finding that out the hard way since mid-April.  Injuries, inconsistent performance, and the constant need to shuffle roster spots has created a carousel of new arms joining, leaving, and sometimes re-joining the pitching staff.  As of yesterday, the Yankees had used an MLB-high 30 different pitchers this season.  They’ve used 11 different starters and will roll out a 12th tonight.

Over the course of 114 games and that many pitchers, it’s easy to forget 1 or 2.  There are names included in that 30 that I’m sure people never thought they’d see pitching in a Yankee uniform and a few that some people probably never heard of before they did.  As a helpful guide to the bevy of right and left hands that have flung baseballs towards home plate for the Yankees in 2014, here’s a breakdown and recap of all 30.  …

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What to Watch For: Verlander vs Yankees

The Yankees will try to beat another former Cy Young winner tonight. (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Image

The Yankees will try to beat another former Cy Young winner tonight. (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Yankees will make history tonight even before they swing a bat, when Justin Verlander takes the mound in the bottom of the first inning.

According to the Elias Sports Bureua, this is the first time in major-league history a team has faced the last three Cy Young Award winners (Max Scherzer, David Price, Verlander) in three straight games.

There is one caveat: tonight’s starter may have the name “Verlander” on the back of his jersey, but he is a shell of the pitcher that won the award in 2011. With a 4.66 ERA and 1.42 WHIP, he is on pace to have his worst season since 2008 when he led the league in losses and finished with a 4.84 ERA.

Cy who?
Verlander’s fastball velocity has declined every season since 2011 and opponents have increasingly been hitting his heater harder and harder each year.…

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Can Jeter reach another milestone vs David Price?

Derek Jeter hits a home run off David Price for his 3,000th career hit on July 9, 2011. (Photo: MLB)

Derek Jeter hits a home run off David Price for his 3,000th career hit on July 9, 2011. (Photo: MLB)

How fitting is it that as Derek Jeter approaches yet another milestone – he is three hits away from tying Honus Wagner for sixth place on the all-time list – the pitcher on the mound tonight in the Bronx will be David Price?

Whether by ironic fate or mere coincidence, Jeter has had his share of memorable at-bats against the former Cy Young Award winner.

Most fans remember that Jeter’s epic 3,000th hit – a home run on July 9, 2011 – came at the expense of the lefty ace, but that is not the only time Price has been at the center of a Jeter highlight reel. Here are some of the other milestone hits by Jeter during their matchups:

•  Jeter tied Lou Gehrig for the most career hits at the old Yankee Stadium on September 14, 2008 when he hit a solo homer in the fifth inning off the rookie Price (who was making his major-league debut).…

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Ichiro’s roster spot

Ichiro Suzuki is not a player that is easy to categorize or capture in words of objectivity. He carries himself like a proud Japanese warrior from a different time. And despite the sometimes one-dimensional side of his hitting, he has had a great career. He is nearly the same age as Derek Jeter and should be venerated for the career he has compiled. Instead, he has become the last man on the New York Yankees’ 25-man roster and it is up for debate if he should even be in the pecking order at all.

Ichiro has not been a good player since 2010. He still shows flashes of his old self like when he joined the Yankees in 2012 and the first month of his 2014 season. The rest is a whole bunch of mediocrity that rests more on his reputation than on his play.

His 2014 is playing out very similarly to his 2013–except that it might be worse. He started both seasons being fairly productive and then tanked right about the same time.…

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Quick Hit: Kelley Coming Back Around

The Yankees were working with a short bullpen last night, as they always seem to be these days when they routinely get 4-6 innings from their starters.  Dellin Betances was unavailable after pitching in the last 2 games and Joe had to find a new way to build his bridge to David Robertson.  That task was given to Shawn Kelley, who retired the side in order in the 8th, successfully making the handoff to D-Rob in a tight 1-run game.

It may not have seemed like much at the time, but Kelley’s outing last night was the latest in a long line of strong performances.  He’s pitched to a 9.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 14 K line over his last 10 appearances, and has allowed only 2 runs with 22 strikeouts over 13.1 IP since the start of July.  This comes on the heels of a very rough June that found him more often than not fighting to command his fastball.  …

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