Why No Gardner?

Joe Dugout

Really shouldn’t take that much thought. Courtesy of Getty Images

I’ve written this post before, but if you’re not familiar with it, here’s the updated version.

Joe decided to give Brian McCann and Brett Gardner a night off last night and Derek Jeter a half-night off by DHing him against lefty Chris Sale.  That left the middle of his lineup pretty thin and the bottom half of his lineup almost non-existent.  A 6-9 of Brian Roberts, John Ryan Murphy, Brendan Ryan, and Zoilo Almonte wouldn’t be ideal against Chris Hammond let alone the best left-handed pitcher in the American League, but that’s what Joe went with.

Sale predictably shut down that weak lineup over his 6 innings of work.  Made them look terrible.  Took them out back and slapped them around like children.  The only thing that stopped the madness was the pregame pitch count limit Robin Ventura had put on Sale.  Now resting McCann I get.  …

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An Airing Of Grievances From A Frustrating Weekend At Miller Park

Jeter vs MIL

Avoiding this dude on Friday night was literally the only good play Jeter made all weekend. Courtesy of Getty Images

For those who didn’t know, my family came out to Milwaukee this past weekend for the Yankees-Brewers series.  They hadn’t been out here in a few years and our favorite baseball team coming out to my neck of the woods was as good a reason as any to break that streak.  The girlfriend was also along for the ride, so with her meeting the fam for the first time and them meeting her for the first time, it was a pretty big social event.

More relevant to this post than that were my expectations for the series.  Despite losing the DH and coming in not playing the best baseball in May, those expectations were very high.  The Brewers were 4-6 in their last 10 games before this series and had been playing .500 baseball for the past few weeks after their white hot start.  …

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New transfer rule interpretation goes against how players are taught

Has anything been more annoying in baseball this season than the new interpretation of the transfer rule?

We’ve had pine tar issues, catchers can’t block the plate, and replays galore.

However, the most universally hated “new rule” has been the interpretation of the transfer rule. Essentially, after a player catches a ball – whether it be turning...

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On Pineda, Pine Tar, And General Human Stupidity

Pineda Pine Tar Check

Nobody likes a cheater.  We’re all raised to follow the rules and play fair.  But in the sports world, especially the baseball world, the blurring of the line of right and wrong is an unspoken understanding between all players and coaches and there are plenty of familiar phrases that speak to that mindset.  “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying”.  “It ain’t cheating if you don’t get caught”.  And so on.

Michael Pineda was trying last night.  He was very obviously struggling with his grip and command of the baseball in the bottom of the 1st inning due to the colder temperatures and wind blowing through Fenway Park.  The guys on the ESPN broadcast pointed it out no more than 10-12 pitches into the inning.  He labored through it, went to the dugout, and came back out for the 2nd with a little substance aid to help solve his grip problem.  His method of using this substance was so blatant and flagrant that it forced John Farrell to point it out to home plate umpire Gerry Davis, who very easily identified the pine tar smudge on Pineda’s neck and ejected him from the game.  …

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Hal Is Drinking The Small Sample Size Kool-Aid

Hal S 2014

Yesterday’s rainout gave everybody an extra day to process the first 13 games and form some more opinions on what this team needs right now.  Obviously the infield is the biggest area of concern, but not according to Hal Steinbrenner.  Speaking to reporters for what I believe is the first time since the regular season started, Hal shared his thoughts on the Yankees’ current infield situation.  They were unanimously positive:

“I’m pretty content with our infield right now.  I think guys like Anna and Solarte have been pleasant surprises. Kelly Johnson has been good. Derek is healthy. So so far, so good. But it’s early.”

Nothing to really argue with there.  If I wanted to pick nits, I could say that calling Derek Jeter “healthy” when he just had to miss a few games due to a sore quad is a bit of a stretch, but I won’t go there.  Hal’s basically right about everybody he mentioned in that statement.  …

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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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Quit yer stallin’ for relief pitchers

Originally published at The Flagrant Fan

Although I am on the high side of my fifties, I am in large part still a kid inside. Baseball works very well for that. And when I yell at players on my television screen, I often yell in the voices of Bugs Bunny characters. If you don’t believe me, ask my wife. Such an occasion occurred last night in the Blue Jays – Yankees game when Toronto manager, John Gibbons, clearly stalled the game trying to give a relief pitcher in the bullpen a few more reps before he came in to pitch. Out of my mouth, Yosemite Sam’s, “Quit yer stallin’!”

This is how it happened. Starter, Dustin McGowan was having a rough night. Gibbons had been forced to start up the bullpen in the first when the Yankees started cuffing McGowan around and had the bases loaded with two runs already in. But McGowan got out of the jam without further damage and then pitched a successful second inning.…

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On the Phillies, and Despicable Business Decisions

Early this morning, Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt reported that the Phillies had formally accused Ben Wetzler, last year’s fifth-round draft pick, to the NCAA for violating its strict “no agent” rule. This comes on the heels of the Phillies reporting last year’s sixth-round drat pick, Jason Monda, for the same violation. What do the two have in common? Well, aside from the fact that they, like most every other amateur player negotiating with a Major League team, has some form of representation at the table? Both spurned the overtures of the Phillies, and chose to return to college for their senior years.

Speaking in generalities, this simply does not happen (at the very least, it hasn’t happened since A.J. Hinch was an 18-year-old draftee, as opposed to the Vice President of Professional Scouting for the Padres). It may be due to the fact that a large percentage of these players end up signing (particularly those that are drafted in the first several rounds, and offered bonuses of six figures or more), or it may be a product of teams realizing the nature of the beast, and avoiding the possibility of burning any bridges, with respect to agencies and talent – either way, this maneuver by the Phillies is essentially uncharted territory.…

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Report: Rakuten Won’t Post Tanaka

MasahiroTanaka

Maybe next year, guy.

It seemed like things were starting to move in a positive direction on the Masahiro Tanaka front.  The new posting system between MLB and NPB was agreed upon and officially announced, and earlier this week Tanaka told his team that he wanted to pitch in MLB in 2014.  Despite their waffling on the decision to post him and their clear desire not to, it was reasonable to expect that the Rakuten Golden Eagles would eventually give in and honor Tanaka’s wishes, not wanting to set a bad precedent for future players who would want to make the jump to the top level of competition.

But in the immortal words of Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend!  A report by Ken Belson of the NY Times, citing multiple Japanese newspaper sources, states that Rakuten has decided not to post Tanaka and instead will retain control over him for the 2014 season.  Rather than limit themselves to the $20 million max posting fee and risk losing more in stadium and merchandise revenues by not having Tanaka next season, the Eagles appear to prefer maintaining their team control over Tanaka, as is their right, and maximizing their own revenue potential.…

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