Thursday Morning Musings

Well the Yankees have officially put that bad stretch in the rearview after completing the sweep on Cleveland last night.  As someone who’s a firm believer in the “it really takes 3 to make it a streak” theory, cheers to the new winning streak!  While the team’s catching some shuteye out in Seattle, let’s take a few minutes to just bask in the aura of victory and talk about some random Yankee stuff.

– That 2-run HR stains the ERA a bit, but CC has looked plenty good in his last 2 starts.  19/1 K/BB ratio is always going to get it done and he’s been far less hittable than he was, giving up 13 in 16.1 IP.  The fastball looks livelier, the slider has been great; it looks like the big guy is starting to put things together.

– Did it bother anybody yesterday, or has it bothered anybody at all this season that Joe always seems to ride CC harder than he probably has to?  … Click here to read the rest

First Winning Streak Of The Year! Yankees Crush Indians 11-6

The Yankees played in their third home opener of the year this afternoon, a duel between Hiroki Kuroda and Ubaldo Jimenez. Both pitchers came into the game with their own concerns. Last week, Kuroda took a linedrive to his middle finger and was pronounced day-to-day. Meanwhile, Jimenez was coming off a strong outing in Toronto after an awful 2012 season.

The pitching worries were a big part of the first half of today’s game. Jimenez opened up the first inning with an 84 mph fastball, after averaging 96 mph just a few years ago in Colorado. After walking Robinson Cano and allowing a single to Kevin Youkilis, hometown hero Travis Hafner launched a 3-run home run to dead center.

Kuroda lacked control in the first inning, and immediately walked Michael Bourn. What followed was a series of unfortunate events for the right-handed pitcher. There were three ground balls that could have easily been double play balls, but they just happened to bounce off bags and gloves for infield singles.… Click here to read the rest

Briefly Discussing Joba’s Value

Over the last few days, there’s been a little bit of trade discussion surrounding Yankee reliever Joba Chamberlain. Mike touched on this yesterday and I’d like to expand on his value as a trade piece and to the team.

If the Yankees really could get Mike Olt or someone of his ilk for Joba Chamberlain, then there is absolutely no excuse for not executing the trade. But, that is not likely the case. For the Yankees to fetch someone of that caliber, they’d need to give up a lot more than just Joba. The thing is, that’s just not going to happen. As a reliever entering his contract year, he’s none too desirable, at least not right now. If the Yankees fall far out of contention at some point later in the year, say around the trade deadline, maybe they can flip him to a team that needs that one last guy to get it over the hump. Wouldn’t that be something for Joba?… Click here to read the rest

Who Could The Yankees Want From The Rangers?

Earlier today, George A King of the NY Post reported that the Rangers have been following and scouting Joba Chamberlain. With the type of relief depth the Yankees have, and the offensive needs, it’s no surprise that they’d make Chamberlain available. The question here is what the Yankees want back.

The team has some obvious needs offensively. The Yankees are down an outfielder until May and a corner infielder for even longer. If the organization is looking to find an outfielder, they’d likely target a right-hander to compliment the three lefties. They also may be looking younger, as Curtis Granderson will become a free agent in 2014, and Ichiro Suzuki the year after. The problem with acquiring an outfielder from the Rangers is their own needs in replacing Josh Hamilton.

If a corner infielder is what they want, the team is best suited to go with a younger player that can provide depth at third base while Alex Rodriguez‘ hips continue to be minced into pulp.… Click here to read the rest

A Dog Chasing Cars

During the day (and night thanks to a certain “media personality”) Tuesday, Joba Chamberlain made some small waves with his comments about his ability to be a starting pitcher; not surprisingly, he still thinks he can start. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen for the Yankees. Joba will be a free agent after this year (time sure flies) and presumably, he’ll look for some team that will let him start. The last thing you need this afternoon is another beating of this long dead horse, but I can’t help it; this situation is still a thorn in my side.

Call me an apologist. Call me an optimist. Call me naive. Whatever you call me, I don’t believe Joba Chamberlain failed as a starter. He never even had the chance to fail. Joba was not great by any means. Though he flashed brilliance in 2008, he did get away with some shaky in-zone command. In 2009, he was inconsistent. However, the wider judgement across baseball and definitely across the Yankee organization, was that if he couldn’t do it then, he’d never be able to do it.… Click here to read the rest

The Importance Of Joba & Aardsma This Season

Just a couple of wild and crazy guys. Courtesy of Reuters

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

I’ve made reference multiple times recently to the Yankees having another strong bullpen in 2013, and I strongly believe that’s going to be the case.  They’ve got the greatest closer of all time back for another shot at a last go-round, arguably the best setup man and one of the best pressure relief pitchers in baseball ahead of him, 2 strong lefty specialists to play the late-inning matchup game, what will be a more than serviceable long man in whoever loses the 5th starter competition between Ivan Nova and David Phelps, and 2 veteran power arms to work the middle relief innings in Joba Chamberlain in David Aardsma.  But it is worth pointing out that the overall depth created by the loss of Rafael Soriano is slightly less than it was in 2012, when depth became a really important issue for obvious reasons.… Click here to read the rest

2012 Statistical Trends: Joba’s Comeback

Courtesy of Getty Images

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

2012 was a rough year for Joba Chamberlain.  After being shut down in 2011 and undergoing Tommy John Surgery, he was in the process of working himself back to full strength to make a summer 2012 return when he suffered his now infamous trampoline accident that resulted in a dislocated ankle.  When reports first came out on that injury, it sounded potentially career-threatening, but follow-up examinations and surgery made it much less so and Joba was able to return to a Major League mound in August.  Joba pitched to a 4.35/4.01/3.55 slash line in 20.2 innings pitched this past season, a small sample size to be sure.  But within that small sample size there are some interesting splits and trends that could point to a very strong 2013 campaign for Joba.

The first thing worth mentioning is Joba’s velocity, simply because it’s always been looked at as a barometer for how well he’s pitching and it’s more important to Joba’s success than say D-Rob’s or Mo’s because he doesn’t throw a fastball with movement like theirs. … Click here to read the rest

After A Mechanical Change, Joba Looks Unstoppable

It’s hard to believe that Joba Chamberlain returned to this team over a month ago. When he came up on August 1st, things didn’t go too well. He surrendered a homerun immediately to JJ Hardy. In fact, the whole month of August didn’t bode well for the reliever, but through a key mechanical change, he’s picking things up in September. Take a look at the results he’s shown recently.

Joba Chamberlain’s 2012 Season 
Date G IP H R BB SO HR HBP ERA BA OBP SLG
8/1-9/2 9 7.2 17 9 5 5 2 2 10.57 .447 .522 .684
9/4-9/9 3 4.1 1 1 1 8 1 0 2.08 .071 .133 .286

Despite the small sample size we’re working with, Chamberlain has just looked flat out dominant of late. For a pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery, that’s a very rare thing. In August, he struggled giving up hits, homeruns, as well as walks, and even hit two batters. Command was the biggest issue for him, as it is with most pitchers returning from the ligament surgery.… Click here to read the rest

Randomly rambling

The last two weeks of Yankee baseball have been, well, frustrating is really the only word for them. They can’t see to pitch all the way right or hit all the way right and it’s led to more losses than wins. Let’s ramble a bit, just to get the verbal diarrhea out there and into the open.

The Rotation:

I think we all know what the issue is here, or rather who the issue is. Despite his bad start last night, Phil Hughes has been pulling his weight in the rotation for a while. CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda are, have been, and will be fine. And since returning to the rotation on July 2, Freddy Garcia has been more than serviceable (3.95 ERA/4.22 FIP). Ivan Nova, though, hasn’t performed up to task. Mike Axisa at RAB talked about the Nova problem yesterday:

Is that a good idea? No, not really. No team wants to start a bad pitcher every five days but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Click here to read the rest