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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Report: Yankees Among Several Teams “Looking At” Jeff Samardzija And Clay Buchholz

Interesting tidbit of trade rumoring from Nick Cafardo today.  Buried in a larger article of mostly Red Sox-ian topics, Cafardo included the Yankees in a group of teams who are reportedly “looking at” right-handed starters Jeff Samardzija and Clay Buchholz as we inch closer to next month’s trade deadline.

These are new names as far as the Yankees and their potential deadline targets are concerned.  We’ve been hearing a lot more about Cueto, Leake, and Cole Hamels lately.  But both Samardzija and Buchholz would be upgrades over the guys currently occupying the back end of the Yankee rotation.  Samardzija has seemingly taken a step back this year (4.56 ERA, 123 hits, 19.0% K rate in 108.1 IP), but he’s still a workhorse and his velocity hasn’t dropped so presumably he’s healthy.  Buchholz has actually been one of the best starters in the AL and the only full-time starter in the Boston rotation who’s been any good.

Samardzija is a true 2-month rental while Buchholz has a few team options years attached to him, so the asking prices could vary a little.  …

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Quick Hit: How Active Will Yankees Be At Trade Deadline?

It’s almost July, so that means the MLB trading season will be kicking into high gear soon. We have heard a few Yankees rumors already with them scouting Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake extensively, and Joel Sherman speculating they might have interest in Jeff Samardzija.

The Yankees are in contention in both the AL East and wild card races, so they will be involved in many rumors as usual. Despite that, I really do not see them being that active this year. The only place the Yankees can add to their lineup is second base. They’re not going to upgrade at any other starting position, and they are pretty set on the bench as well. Besides Ben Zobrist — who will be in very high demand — what other good second basemen will be available? The Yankees offense has been among the best in baseball anyways, although it would be nice if they could be more consistent on the road.…

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Yankees vs Astros: Pitching Match Ups

Quick Hit: Why Mike Leake?

With the non-waiver trade deadline just over five weeks away, it is clear that the Yankees rotation needs a bit of help. CC Sabathia ranks among the worst starting pitchers in baseball, and Nate Eovaldi isn’t too far behind (or ahead, depending on your point of view). Michael Pineda has been shelled in two of his last three starts, and four of his last seven. And, in the minds of some, Masahiro Tanaka has been downright awful.

Sure – Adam Warren has looked quite good … but he remains relatively unproven, and may not have much left in the tank (he’s already at 77.0 IP, after tossing 78.2 IP 2014 and 77.0 in 2013). And, yes, Ivan Nova is back … but consistency has never really been his game.

The Yankees recognize this, obviously, and their scouts have been busy. In the last week alone, they’ve scouted Reds starter Mike Leake twice; many believe that he is the team’s chief target.…

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Quick hit: Maikel Franco is a pain in the ass

As I said in the title, Maikel Franco is a pain in the ass.

He’s done well this season batting .319/.368/.604/.972 in 37 games. But against the Yankees, so far, he’s batting .750/.800/2.000/2.800 with three home runs, two singles and a double.

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If you pitch to him over the plate, HE’S GOING TO HIT THE BALL! Amazing!
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If you don’t, he may actually make an out!
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So how about we stop throwing him pitches he can hammer and try to keep him off the bases? Maybe?

[Heat maps, grids and spray charts courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info]

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Quick hit: An All-Star vote update and Pete Rose makes the news again

Hey, check this out.

Look at Alex Rodriguez‘s overall votes. Yes, he’s well behind the leader Kendrys Morales for starting DH, but look at the people he’s ahead of overall. I think that’s pretty amazing for the most hated baseball player ever.

Or not?

For years and years, Pete Rose has denied betting on baseball as a player. He admitted to doing it as a manager but always maintained that he did not do it during his playing days. Well, earlier today, ESPN’s Outside the Lines, revealed that he actually did bet on baseball when he was still a player. It happened in 1986.

Wow, that’s just so shocking to me. Okay, not really.

So I guess any chance he had of being reinstated back into baseball has vanished.

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Quick Hit: Nova Touched Up In Latest Rehab Start

It was a big night for Adam Warren last night, but it was also another important night for Ivan Nova.  He made his third MiL rehab start, second for Triple-A SWB, and this one wasn’t nearly as good as the first 2.

Nova completed 5 innings and gave up 5 earned runs on 7 hits.  He walked 2, struck out 4, and threw 49 of his 84 pitches for strikes.  I thought he was scheduled for 90 or so, so he didn’t reach that level.  His command was not as sharp as it was in his first Triple-A start, which is not all that unexpected after TJS, but as with the first 2 outings there were no physical issues and Nova came out of the start saying he felt good.

The question once again becomes what do the Yankees do next with Nova?  There was talk of him rejoining the rotation after only 2 rehab outings, but after this step back in terms of command and performance, perhaps the Yankees will rethink whatever current rotation options they have in the works.  …

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Quick Hit: Are The Yanks Going To Use A Sixth Starter Or Not?

With another “20 games in 20 days” stretch underway and a pitching staff that’s a coin flip at best right now, the Yankees have reportedly been kicking around the idea of going with a 6-man rotation for a turn or 2 as a way to manage workloads and give everybody enough rest.  It’s really not a bad idea and something Matt discussed on this very site last week.  All things considered, I could live with a 6-man rotation plan for the short term.

What I can’t live with, and what doesn’t make me feel good about the possibility, is how the Yankees are going about it.  Or rather, how they’re not going about it since there’s no real plan in place.  Chad Jennings had a quote from Joe in his pregame notes yesterday, and what Joe had to say really didn’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling:

“We’re playing with some ideas, so I don’t have anything for you yet.

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