What should the Yankees do with Tanaka?

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Masahiro Tanaka’s hamstring injury doesn’t seem to be too serious. Sure, he was held out of last night’s start, but that’s to be expected right now. Tanaka needs to be fresh for the postseason, which likely will start October 6 for the Yankees.

Tanaka is supposed to see a doctor today to determine when he is able to come back.

October 6 – the date of the American League Wild Card Game – is a Tuesday. Yankees are still 3.5 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays and can’t seem to overcome the hurdle known as the Blue Jays this season.

Part of me is relegating to the Yankees to the Wild Card Game even though there is still time left. Yankees and Toronto both play some pretty bad teams the rest of the way.

So this all comes down to what should the Yankees do about Tanaka?

At this point, there is no other pitcher I would rather see on the hill for the Yankees in the first game of their postseason other than Tanaka.… Click here to read the rest

Let’s forget about a closer for a little while

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has yet to name a closer for this season.

Hopefully, it stays that way.

Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances are the two big arms for the back end of the Yankees bullpen and Wednesday was a glimpse in how they should be used this season. Girardi brought in Betances, a righty, to face the Toronto Blue Jays’ big right-handed bats in the heart of their order in the eighth inning: Russell Martin, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Miller, a lefty, finished the ninth in order.

Betances didn’t pitch a clean inning, giving up two walks, but he was brought in when New York was down 2-1 in the eighth to keep the Yankees within striking distance. Even though an unearned was given up on Brian McCann’s throwing error, the Yankees still had life, and they took advantage of it the next inning by scoring three runs.

The key is that Betances and Miller knew their roles heading into the game based on the lineup.… Click here to read the rest

It takes more than just money

In mid-May, the baseball season is far, far from over, but we’ve also logged enough games to have a sense of which teams are competitive and which teams are not. This season in particular there are several ball clubs that stand out because they are not competitive. Specifically, the Dodgers, the Angels and the Blue Jays are struggling to win, after entering the season with high expectations. The teams are 14-21, 14-22 and 14-24 respectively. Of the three, the Dodgers stand out as the most egregious failures. Only the Yankees will spend more this season. A team doesn’t take its payroll above $200 million to finish last. The Angels are only moderately better. Over the past two seasons they’ve added Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton at exorbitant cost only to watch them struggle. Of the three the Blue Jays aren’t quite as profligate spenders, but they too made some ill-advised, splashy moves this offseason only to watch them backfire.

The big surprise is that these mistakes have been made at all.… 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

Is history on New York’s side?

With Friday the 13th not that far in the rear view, superstitious thoughts are on the mind.  When aren’t superstitious thoughts on the mind when it comes to baseball?

Only two times during New York’s eleven pennant years since 1969 have the pinstripes possessed the best record in baseball on July 15th.  In five of the eleven pennants seasons since 1969, the Yankees had the third best record in the Major Leagues.  Maybe the Rangers and Dodgers recent fades are not exactly welcome by the Yankees (would the third best record be better than the top record?).  Despite the frequently talked about issues regarding hitting with runners in scoring position, the Yankees have the fifth rated offense in all of baseball.  They also have hit nine more homers than any other team (on a franchise record pace).  Besides, the Yankees supposedly crippled pitching staff still possesses the fifth best ERA in the game.   As everyone knows, pitching wins championships in the end. … Click here to read the rest

Yanks overcome five-run deficit in Toronto as Mo ties Hoffman with save #601

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese)

Mariano Rivera once again made history Saturday afternoon in Toronto, throwing a perfect ninth inning to preserve the Yankees’ 7-6 victory over Toronto, earning his 601st career save in the process and tying Trevor Hoffman for the all-time record.

That Mo was even in position to record the save was a testament to a reawakened Yankee offense and more superb work from the bullpen, which pieced together five shutout innings of work in relief of an ineffective Bartolo Colon. It’s a good thing the Blue Jays won’t be making the playoffs, as Colon — who took a 6.84 ERA against the Jays in 2011 into this game — only lasted four innings and gave up six runs, inflating his season ERA against Toronto to 7.99(!). Stripping his 21 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings against the Jays out of his ledger, he actually has a 3.06 ERA against all other opponents. Not that we can magically make those Toronto innings and runs go away, but that’s an important feather in his cap (or arrow in his quiver; whichever idiomatic expression tickles your fancy) with regards to drawing up the playoff rotation.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks once again play tie game into 9th inning, lose

CC doing an impression of me watching a slumping Yankee offense. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

For the fifth time in their last nine games, the Yankees played to a tie against their opponent into the ninth inning and lost, this time by a score of 5-4 to the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Two days after giving up a walkoff home run to Luis Rodriguez, Cory Wade again surrendered the game-winning hit to a light-hitting part-timer in the form of former Yankee Jose Molina. Of course.

The loss dropped the Yankees to 20-23 in one-run games on the season, and while one’s record in games decided by one run is inherently random, one curious aspect of the Yankees’ recent stretch of shoddy play has been Joe Girardi‘s bullpen deployment. I’m all for resting key guys down the stretch with a playoff berth all but assured, but as many have noted, Girardi has made a rather strange habit of late of deploying his top relievers early and then going with the seamy underbelly of the bullpen after the Yankees don’t score.… Click here to read the rest

Series Preview | Yankees vs. Blue Jays VI: Woe, Canada

Maybe the Yankees can leave him in Toronto this weekend. (photo c/o Chris Young)

The Yankees close out their 18 games with the Blue Jays with three up in the Rogers Centre this weekend, a place they’ve gone 12-12 at since the beginning of 2009 and haven’t recorded a series victory in a three-game set since May 12-14, 2009. However, a year after having their brains bashed in repeatedly by the Toronto Extra-Base Hits, the Yankees have returned the favor, having won 10 of the 15 games the two teams have played this season and ensuring the Jays won’t be able to run up a winning record against the Yankees for a second straight year.

Having just previewed the Jays two weeks ago, you already know the deal — Jose Bautista still leads the world in wOBA and wRC+ and the team boasts a top-five offense, but the pitching just hasn’t been all that great. It looks like the Yankees will see rookie Henderson Alvarez this weekend, and he’s actually been the team’s best starter over the past month, so that could pose some potential problems.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees sweep Blue Jays for first time since August 2006

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

How pesky have the Blue Jays been over the years? Despite not factoring into a playoff race at any point in recent seasons, the Yankees’ 9-3 win on Sunday afternoon marked the first time the Bombers managed to sweep a three-game series against Toronto since August 2006. I had initially thought that it had been since July 2007, as stated in my recap of the Saturday game, but I was incorrect.

The Yankees got on the board first against onetime Yankee owner Brett Cecil, who wound up going six innings and giving up four runs, and Derek Jeter‘s three-run home run in the third would be more than enough for CC Sabathia, who went 7 1/3 innings, giving up only two runs and striking out 10 men for the second straight start. Jeter also added a two-run double in the eighth, to drive in a career-high-tying five men on the day. Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher homered as well.… Click here to read the rest