Thursday Morning Musings: 8/14/14

You know, I always say I miss having YES and access to almost every televised Yankee game out here in Wisconsin.  For the last few seasons, I’ve almost caved and upgraded to a real cable package with MLB Extra Innings to be able to watch more games.  Today I feel really glad that I haven’t done that because I don’t think I would be a very enjoyable person to be around if I had the ability to watch the last 2 season’s worth of games.  Boring and bad baseball.  Not a fun combination.

- I haven’t put on my “bullpen decision overreacting” hat in a while, so I’m going to get a couple in from last night’s game.  First, I didn’t understand the move to pull Pineda.  Yes, I know he gave up a few hard-hit balls in the 5th, I know his velocity was dropping, I know he’s coming back from 4 months off.  I get why the move made sense.  …

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This Just In: The Yankees Still Stink

Cervelli vs TEX

I feel ya, Frankie. I really do. Courtesy of the AP

Hey, remember that shine I tried to put on the team yesterday with the posts about Ellsbury and how well the backup rotation has been doing?  Yeah, forget about all that.  I mean, don’t completely forget about them because I think they were expertly written, but forget about the idea that any of that means anything because the Yankees are terrible.  They’re a terrible baseball team.  They reminded folks like me of that last night, putting on an all-around poor display of the most basic baseball skills and completely reversing all the good they did by sweeping the Reds with a retch-inducing 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers.

Or should I say a collection of Quad-A organizational depth and guys I’ve legitimately never heard of wearing Rangers jerseys.  Be honest with me, who really knew who Miles Mikolas, Jake Smolinski, or Rougned Odor were before last night?  …

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#FreePatVenditte

On Thursday morning, John Sickels shared a piece about Yankees farmhand Pat Venditte, suggesting that the team should promote the switch-pitcher based on merit. For those of you who only know Venditte as something of a sideshow attraction, I suggest you dig into his numbers – they are excellent, to say the least. To wit, he has thrown 356.1 IP in his professional career. Over those innings, Venditte boasts a 2.45 ERA, 1.064 WHIP, 10.3 K/9, and 4.28 K/BB.

His naysayers will point out that he, garnered his first promotion to Triple-A earlier this season, and he has struggled at times. Venditte’s 4.18 ERA with the RailRiders is underwhelming at best, and three of his fifteen appearances have been disastrous. However, his peripherals remain strong, as he is still striking out better than a batter per inning (9.3 K/9) and limiting walks (2.9 BB/9).

To be fair, there is more than a bit of truth in the critiques of Venditte’s stuff.…

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Jeter going to the All Star Game isn’t the problem

jeter3400Derek Jeter is going to start the All Star Game at shortstop in his final MLB season.

Many people have a problem with this. I don’t.

At 40 years old, Jeter is hitting .273 with a .323 on-base percentage, .328 slugging and .651 OPS. It’s not pretty.

Should Jeter start the All Star Game based on those numbers? If the nature of the ASG is to truly honor the best of the best (and part of it is), then no. There are more deserving short stops in the American League such as Kansas City’s Alcides Escobar.

Yet, the problem isn’t Derek Jeter or that fans get to decide the starters. The problem is – and will be – that the All Star Game is supposed to mean something more than just an exhibition for fans. Using the All Star Game to decide which league gets home field advantage for the World Series has been an awful idea. Downright terrible.

The All Star Game is meant to be an exhibition game for fans getting to watch their favorite players represent their teams.…

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Joe’s Bad Bullpen Decisions Doomed That Series

Joe vs BOS

“What do you think here? Gotta be Huffy, right?” Courtesy of the AP

I’ve been a slow convert to the Joe Girardi management method.  At first I really didn’t like how he did things, and it was only in the last 2 or 3 years that I fully got on board Team Joe when it came to evaluating how he went about his job.  If I’m being honest, and also a bit of a homer, I think the job he’s done since the start of last season, with the teams he’s been given and the injuries he’s had to deal with, has been the best work of his career and arguably the best managing job in all of MLB.  So now that I’ve prefaced this post with that setting of context, let me say that I have absolutely no clue what the hell Joe was doing with his bullpen this weekend.

Saturday night, out for a late dinner with the girlfriend.  …

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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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