The Jones/Ibanez Situation

No less than a week ago, I wrote about Andruw Jones’ declining bat speed. It appears that all that extra play in the outfield had an adverse effect on his bat. His counterpart, Raul Ibanez has been equally terrible. The Yankees essentially forced their aging designated hitters onto the field to cover for Brett Gardner, and hoped these players wouldn’t tire out. The plan didn’t work.

"How do we keep getting at bats?"

Since the All Star break, Jones is hitting just .139/.252/.228 in 119 plate appearances, with just 2 homeruns. Then there is Raul Ibanez, who’s hit .194/.291/.347 in his second half. Over the last month, with 260 plate appearances, they’ve combined for just 10 hits, a 22% K rate, had just 2 extra base hits, and haven’t hit a single homerun.

Before we overreact and demand a releases, I think we have to appreciate what both players did before the allstar break. They combined for 22 homeruns, and did a great job of covering the offensive production that the team lost with Brett Gardner’s injury.… Click here to read the rest

My Melky Mesa Theory

Can we get this kid some swings in a different set of pinstripes? Courtesy of Paul Hasdall

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

There wasn’t much reaction to the Yankees calling up Melky Mesa on Monday.  With Mark Teixeira expected to miss 2 weeks and there being plenty of position player depth on the active roster, the move looked like nothing more than adding a warm insurance bench body to cover for the loss of Teix and rewarding an upper-level prospect with a long MiL history for a job well done in Double- and Triple-A this season.  That’s pretty much how the move has played out so far, with Mesa staying glued to the bench over the past 2 games despite there being instances where his skill set could have helped, but I think there might be something more to this move.

Stick with me on this, because this theory is admittedly out of left field (or right). … Click here to read the rest

Has Andruw Jones Lost Bat Speed?

I cringe when opposing managers bring in their lefty relievers in big spots. For one, a lot of the Yankee left handed batters appear to be slumping against same side pitchers lately. When it comes to guys like Eric Chavez though, you  can always forecast Joe Girardi going to his bench. Ever since last year, Andruw Jones was expected to be that guy, but thus far, his platoon splits are far from acceptable. He’s hitting just .209/.287/.411 against these lefties, which is far from ideal when he’s given big opportunities to pinch hit in.

Over his career, Jones has demolished lefties, just last year he hit .286/.384/.540. With Brett Gardner‘s early season ending injury, there was some speculation that Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez might not be able to handle all the playing time. Up until July, the veteran combination looked like a brilliant pickup from Brian Cashman, but as of late, neither have hit a lick. In particular, Jones not only looks tired, but he looks completely lost at the plate.… Click here to read the rest

The Big Man Returns And He Doesn’t Miss A Beat

CC's Back and Looking Good

Tonight the big story for the Yankees – no pun intended – was the return of CC Sabathia to the rotation. In his first start since June 24 against the Mets, Sabathia lasted six innings, gave up only four hits, struck out six and only walked one batter. Oh, and he held the Blue Jays scoreless in those six innings. Not a bad day at the office for the big man.

Sabathia looked sharp all night and he was taken out following a single by Adam Lind in the top of the seventh inning. He threw 87 pitches, 66 for strikes.

Thanks to a big three-run home run by Andruw Jones off of Blue Jays starter Brett Cecil in the second inning, the Yankees had a lead they’d never relinquish. It was Jones’s 432nd career HR which breaks a tie with Cal Ripken, Jr. to take sole possession of 41st on all-time list. That early three-run lead extended the Yankees’ streak to 41 games of three or more runs.… Click here to read the rest

Things I’m Looking Forward To In The Second Half

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

We’re just one day away from meaningful baseball games starting up again, and that time can’t pass quickly enough.  It’s been absolutely brutal without them this week because there is NOTHING on TV.  I barely paid attention to the HR Derby on Monday, started tuning out of the All Star Game around the 3rd inning and turned it off completely by the 5th on Tuesday, and don’t even get me started on how stupid the ESPYs are.  The Yankees are coming back into my life at the perfect time, and as some people say, the season REALLY starts now.  There are plenty of obvious second half storylines to follow, like the trade deadline, Andy’s return, September call-ups, and the always fun start of the magic number countdown, but there are plenty of other things I’ll be following as well.  Like what, you might ask?  Well, how about…

Joba’s Rehab

The David Aardsma comeback trail is still on a detour, but Joba Chamberlain stepped up to fill that void and made his return to game action on Tuesday for the GCL Yanks. … Click here to read the rest

Nova fans 10, Yanks win 3 of 4 in Boston

Can every inning be the first inning at Fenway Park? The Yankees scored 14 runs in the four first innings of this series, including two last night to jump out to an early lead against Jon Lester and the Red Sox in Fenway. Derek Jeter, who ended up with three hits, led the game off with (what else?) a single to right off of a left-handed pitcher. Curtis Granderson followed with a single of his own, this one to center. With two on and still no one out, Mark Teixeira ripped a 1-0 pitch down the left field line for a double, scoring Jeter. After a weak fly out by Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano drew a walk. Nick Swisher came up with the bases loaded and it a ground ball to Boston third baseman Mauro Gomez, who stepped on third for the force out. At that moment, it looked like the Yankees were, once again, going to come up short with the bases loaded.… Click here to read the rest

Andruw’s struggles against lefties

A funny thing has happened regarding Andruw Jones this season. Jones, typically a lefty masher, has had a complete and total reverse platoon split this year. Coming into yesterday’s game, in which he went 0-1 against a lefty pitcher, Jones was hitting just .188/.254/.344 against lefties with a .263 wOBA and a 58 wRC+. Compare that to his career numbers against southpaws of .243/.352/.478 with a .355 wOBA/114 wRC+. While his career numbers against righties are fine, .352/112 wOBA, they’ve been different of late and he’s employed by the Yankees as a lefty-masher. This year, he’s crushing righies: .250/.418/.563, .420 wOBA/166 wRC+. Obviously that’s welcomed, but the Yankees need him to start doing his job by crushing lefties again. What’s been the issue this year? What’s made Jones struggle against lefties so much?

First, let’s take a look at how Jones is being pitched and compare it to last year, when he had a .400 wOBA against left-handed pitching. Here are the tables from 2011 and here are the tables from 2012.… Click here to read the rest

Whatever Happened To The Ibanez/Jones Platoon?

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

The Raul Ibanez/Andruw Jones DH platoon was supposed to be the Yankees’ cheap filling of the hole left in their lineup after Jesus Montero was traded away.  Brett Gardner‘s elbow injury and delayed comeback from the DL has thrown a bit of a wrench into those plans, and both players have been forced into more OF duty than the Yankees anticipated (especially Ibanez) while the DH spot in the lineup has become a revolving door.  Even with the loss of roster flexibility created by the Gardner injury, there’s really no reason to get away from the L/R platoon plans for Ibanez and Jones, especially with a manager like Joe Girardi who loves to play the matchup game.  Lately, though, it seems as though Joe has gotten away from that tactic, particularly in late-game situations, which is puzzling considering that Ibanez and Jones were signed to fill those exact roles.… Click here to read the rest

Just Say “No” To Raul Ibanez In The Outfield

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

As important as it is for the Yankees to keep their key veteran players healthy this season, and as much as I want to see guys like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez get regular rest to avoid wear and tear and trips to the DL, I was a little surprised to see Eduardo Nunez starting at shortstop in the second game of the season while Jeter got a DH day on Saturday.  I was even more surprised to see Raul Ibanez in the lineup in right field Sunday while Nick Swisher got a DH day.  Seeing as how both Jeter and Swish are coming off of Spring Training injuries, it’s perfectly understandable that Joe would want to err on the side of caution early in the season and give them a day off from the field.  That being said, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t against the idea of Ibanez getting regular time in the field this season at the expense of healthy, better defensive options. … Click here to read the rest