What should the Yankees do with Tanaka?

As long as he is healthy, I vote start Tanaka over the weekend. Having him start on Saturday or Sunday will give him a chance to test his leg, but also give Yankees flexibility needed if they want to hold him off for the end of the season – if New York has managed to climb its back to the top spot in the AL East – or save him for the Wild Card Game. Continue reading What should the Yankees do with Tanaka?

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. They were given the task of facing specific batters and not specific innings they were going to pitch.

Had Bautista and Encarnacion batted in the ninth, there is a good chance Betances would have thrown then instead.

“They want us to be flexible,” Miller told reporters after the game. “It’s my job to be flexible because they asked for that, and I think that makes perfect sense. I’m perfectly satisfied with the way that they’ve prepared us. It’s our job to get outs when called upon. That’s all we know.”

Miller earned just his second career save, but it would be nice see that stat abandoned for the Yankees this season. Rather, Girardi should continue to use his best pitchers in high-leverage situations late in games, holding leads or keeping a game close without concern for who should get a save.

It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of having a set closer. New York had been spoiled with one of the greatest ones for more than a decade. But with a new look to the bullpen, it’s time for a new way to use it efficiently. Continue reading Let’s forget about a closer for a little while

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. At this juncture of the game, Baseball has already seen just about every financial mistake a team can make. The Alex Rodriguez contract should have been a warning not to sign Albert Pujols to a mega-mega-deal when he was clearly in decline. Jose Reyes‘ own history of injuries should have been a warning not to trade for him. The entire history of the players the Dodgers added should have been warning not make those moves. Despite this, these teams went ahead and made these moves anyway, confusing splashy moves for smart moves.

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

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

Is history on New York’s side?

The good guys head into play today with the best record in all of baseball. They also find themselves making a mockery of baseball’s very best division, the AL East (currently up by 8 games). The second-half of the season started with a bang on Friday. Now the Yankees look to put the pedal to the medal as they try to claim number 28. Fortunately for the team out of the Bronx, history is on their side. Or is it? One would think so considering they possess the best record in all of baseball to date.

Here is a little history tutorial. The Yankees have been a member of the mighty American League East since 1969 (year of the Miracle Mets). During that time, the Bombers have captured seven World Series titles and eleven pennants. Not too shabby for most franchises. New York not only wants to win every year, but they expect to win every year. The AL East took its current form (with the current five teams) back in 1998. Since 1998, the Yankees have made the playoffs 13 of 14 years, won six pennants, and four World Series. Oddly enough, in two of those four most recent World Series seasons (2000 and 2009), the Yankees did not enter July 15th in sole possession of first place in the AL East. In 2000, they were tied with the Toronto Blue Jays (crazy I know) and in 2009 they were three games behind that team who must not be named.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yankees sweep Blue Jays for first time since August 2006

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 Continue reading Yankees sweep Blue Jays for first time since August 2006